Understanding Tathata

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Understanding Tathata

Postby Mr. G » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:29 pm

Why are there so many definitions of Tathata and how does one know when to use each one when reading a text?

tathata = dependent origination

tathata = dharmata

tathata = see the truth of all things, to see the reality of the things. The wisdom arising to the person who practises insight meditation.

"Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana" describes the concept: "In its very origin suchness is of itself endowed with sublime attributes. It manifests the highest wisdom which shines throughout the world, it has true knowledge and a mind resting simply in its own being. It is eternal, blissful, its own self-being and the purest simplicity; it is invigorating, immutable, free... Because it possesses all these attributes and is deprived of nothing, it is designated both as the Womb of Tathagata and the Dharma Body of Tathagata."
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby Huifeng » Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:14 am

Mr. G wrote:Why are there so many definitions of Tathata and how does one know when to use each one when reading a text?

tathata = dependent origination

tathata = dharmata

tathata = see the truth of all things, to see the reality of the things. The wisdom arising to the person who practises insight meditation.

"Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana" describes the concept: "In its very origin suchness is of itself endowed with sublime attributes. It manifests the highest wisdom which shines throughout the world, it has true knowledge and a mind resting simply in its own being. It is eternal, blissful, its own self-being and the purest simplicity; it is invigorating, immutable, free... Because it possesses all these attributes and is deprived of nothing, it is designated both as the Womb of Tathagata and the Dharma Body of Tathagata."


They are all the same thing, don't be distracted by the different words.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby White Lotus » Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:30 pm

there are many names for 'it', tathata is one of them. another is emptiness. it is 012345 etc, north, east, south, west. it takes all positions and yet none.

taste the 'i am' and you will taste this emptiness, this tathata. it is non empty, just this ordinary every day feeling. as you get used to it you will see that what is within you is continuous with what is without (objects).

one need not only speak of tathata or emptiness, one can call it ordinary awareness, every day mind, this every day feeling... our natural way of being. nothing at all profound, no fire works. like the taste of water.

best wishes, Tom.

(ps. hope this is helpful).
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby Mr. G » Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:50 pm

Huifeng wrote:
Mr. G wrote:Why are there so many definitions of Tathata and how does one know when to use each one when reading a text?

tathata = dependent origination

tathata = dharmata

tathata = see the truth of all things, to see the reality of the things. The wisdom arising to the person who practises insight meditation.

"Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana" describes the concept: "In its very origin suchness is of itself endowed with sublime attributes. It manifests the highest wisdom which shines throughout the world, it has true knowledge and a mind resting simply in its own being. It is eternal, blissful, its own self-being and the purest simplicity; it is invigorating, immutable, free... Because it possesses all these attributes and is deprived of nothing, it is designated both as the Womb of Tathagata and the Dharma Body of Tathagata."


They are all the same thing, don't be distracted by the different words.

~~ Huifeng



Hi Venerable Huifeng,

In my mind there is a disconnect because if I were to equate dependent origination to how the "Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana" defines Tathata, it seems strange. It makes Tathata seem like some form of active compassionate intelligence.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby White Lotus » Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:50 pm

Tathata is an active compassionate intelligence, it is all things and encompasses all. it is emptiness, fullness, mind, true self, being, existence, time, the moment, the i am.

the mahayanasradhotpadasastra says that this emptiness that is tathata is non empty in that in it is the full spectrum of all noble qualities... i would say that these qualities are in themselves empty.

this feeling within you now is emptiness, this feeling within you now is tathata. it feels non empty and so has been called non empty emptiness.

dependent origination is simply the dance of consciousness, tathata. the arising and cessation of all things through dependence.

i hope that Ven. Hui Feng is able to further explain, he will be better able to explain Tathata to you, but just to remember that tathata is everything. all is Mind/Emptiness/Tathata. (the same thing).

best wishes, Tom.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby Mr. G » Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:15 pm

Hi White Lotus,

What I fail to see is why dependent origination should have anything to do with an active compassionate intelligence. I don't see it's relationship.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:05 pm

Mr. G wrote:
Huifeng wrote:
Mr. G wrote:Why are there so many definitions of Tathata and how does one know when to use each one when reading a text?

tathata = dependent origination

tathata = dharmata

tathata = see the truth of all things, to see the reality of the things. The wisdom arising to the person who practises insight meditation.

"Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana" describes the concept: "In its very origin suchness is of itself endowed with sublime attributes. It manifests the highest wisdom which shines throughout the world, it has true knowledge and a mind resting simply in its own being. It is eternal, blissful, its own self-being and the purest simplicity; it is invigorating, immutable, free... Because it possesses all these attributes and is deprived of nothing, it is designated both as the Womb of Tathagata and the Dharma Body of Tathagata."


They are all the same thing, don't be distracted by the different words.

~~ Huifeng


Hi Venerable Huifeng,

In my mind there is a disconnect because if I were to equate dependent origination to how the "Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana" defines Tathata, it seems strange. It makes Tathata seem like some form of active compassionate intelligence.

Hi Mr. G and Huifeng,

Wouldn't that be more of an inner experience as opposed to an intellectual one?

Pardon my ignorance.

Thanks,
Laura :)
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby Mr. G » Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:22 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:Wouldn't that be more of an inner experience as opposed to an intellectual one?


That's an interesting point too. I guess that's why I'm trying to understand if, and when the definition changes depending upon the context.
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    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:36 pm

Mr. G wrote:
Ngawang Drolma wrote:Wouldn't that be more of an inner experience as opposed to an intellectual one?


That's an interesting point too. I guess that's why I'm trying to understand if, and when the definition changes depending upon the context.


So it would seem. But Ven. Huifeng said it's only a matter of semantics.

Best,
Laura
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby Huifeng » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:41 am

Personally, I wouldn't take the Awakening of Faith as a definitive teaching, but as an expedient one.

Look for the central chapters of the small Prajnaparamita sutra in 8 000 verses;
and the center of the Sadaprarudita avadana at the end of same.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby Sherab » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:17 am

Mr. G wrote:tathata = dependent origination

tathata = dharmata

tathata = see the truth of all things, to see the reality of the things. The wisdom arising to the person who practises insight meditation.

:stirthepot: Tathagata is tathata + gata, or gone to tathata.
If tathata = dependent origination, then Tathagata is One who has gone to Dependent Origination. What does DO mean in this context then?

Similarly, if tathata = dharmata, then Tathagata = Dharmagata or One who has gone to the essence of dharma/phenomenon. If essence of phenomenon = emptiness and emptiness is not a mere nothing, then what is dharmata?

Similarly, if tathata = wisdom seeing reality of things, then Tathagata is One who has go to Wisdom seeing reality of things. How can one GO to a wisdom? Also wisdom seeing reality of things seems to imply a subject-object dichotomy. If there is a subject-object dichotomy, then there is a self-other dichotomy.

If DO is synonymous with wisdom seeing reality of things, then does DO have or not have a subject-object dichotomy? Similarly, if dharmata is synonymous with wisdom seeing reality of things, does dharmata has subject-object dichotomy?

..... just some food for thought .... ;)
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby Mr. G » Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:34 pm

Huifeng wrote:Personally, I wouldn't take the Awakening of Faith as a definitive teaching, but as an expedient one.

Look for the central chapters of the small Prajnaparamita sutra in 8 000 verses;
and the center of the Sadaprarudita avadana at the end of same.

~~ Huifeng


Makes much more sense now Venerable, thanks. I found the definition from the Awakening of Faith strange.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby White Lotus » Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:04 pm

when you see more clearly, you will see that all things merge together. this is an intuitive seeing. all names and forms merge. one feels this mergence within oneself and outside oneself, within and without merge in the same sensation of emptiness/mind. one first becomes aware of this when one has access to the experience of ones 'own nature'. i say 'i am', since this is own nature. this 'i am' is experienced as unreal like, vapid like cloud on the summit of a cold mountain. (reminded of Tai Mo Sahn in Hong Kong).

Yes, Venerable Hui Feng, i would agree that the Mahayanasradhotpadasastra is not always helpful. it was apparently popular with Hung Jen before the time of the sixth patriarch, but i wonder whether Hui Neng was keen on it... adhereing more to the prajnaparamita sutras and a clear teaching of emptiness.

from the start there is not a thing, so where is there for any dust to cling... not a thing.

the mahayanasradhotpadasastra still sees something. i dont have a problem with this since i recognise that there is a conventional reality that we have to live in and engage with... however i see that fundamentally there is not even nothing.

yes, intuition is soooo important. we learn to analyse this ordinary awareness. i believe however that the non dual nature of things cannot be seen so long as there is an individual ego residing within. the lesser i gives way to the true self of 'own nature'. the 'i am' remains the same come what may.

no ignorance seen... only wisdom.

best wishes, Tom.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:16 pm

Mr. G wrote:
Huifeng wrote:Personally, I wouldn't take the Awakening of Faith as a definitive teaching, but as an expedient one.

Look for the central chapters of the small Prajnaparamita sutra in 8 000 verses;
and the center of the Sadaprarudita avadana at the end of same.

~~ Huifeng


Makes much more sense now Venerable, thanks. I found the definition from the Awakening of Faith strange.


For me too. Thanks Venerable :)
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Re: Understanding Tathātā

Postby Will » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:02 pm

From Rulu's glossary:
true suchness (bhūta-tathātā, 真如). The changeless true reality of all dharmas, the absolute truth that dharmas have neither birth nor death. It has other names, including emptiness, true emptiness, ultimate emptiness, one appearance, one flavor, ultimate reality (bhūta-koṭi), true reality, true state, primal state, Buddha mind, true mind, inherent pure mind, the Thus-Come One (Tathāgata), the thus-come store (Tathāgata-garbha), vajra store, dharma-kāya, Buddha nature, dharma nature, dharma realm, the one true dharma realm, the highest truth (paramārtha), the great seal, and the great perfection. One’s body and mental states, and objects perceived as external, are all manifestations of one’s true mind, projected through causes and conditions from the pure, impure, and neutral seeds stored in ālaya consciousness.

Is there any real difference between tathātā unadorned and bhūta-tathātā? I mean, is there a 'false suchness'?
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby hop.pala » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:49 pm

"tathata = dependent origination

tathata = dharmata

tathata = see the truth of all things, to see the reality of the things. The wisdom arising to the person who practises insight meditation"

Perhaps one in the middle should explain the other two:
dharmata:"The Sanskrit word dharmatā, ཆོས་ཉིད་, chö nyi in Tibetan, means the intrinsic nature of everything, the essence of things as they are. Dharmata is the naked, unconditioned truth, the nature of reality, or the true nature of phenomenal existence.[1]"
http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Dharmata
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby Will » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:57 pm

hop.pala wrote:"tathata = dependent origination

tathata = dharmata

tathata = see the truth of all things, to see the reality of the things. The wisdom arising to the person who practises insight meditation"

Perhaps one in the middle should explain the other two:
dharmata:"The Sanskrit word dharmatā, ཆོས་ཉིད་, chö nyi in Tibetan, means the intrinsic nature of everything, the essence of things as they are. Dharmata is the naked, unconditioned truth, the nature of reality, or the true nature of phenomenal existence.[1]"
http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Dharmata


In other words, there is no difference between tathātā and bhūta-tathātā.
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby garudha » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:59 pm

Mr. G wrote:Why are there so many definitions of Tathata and how does one know when to use each one when reading a text?
It is eternal, blissful, its own self-being and the purest simplicity; it is invigorating, immutable, free... Because it possesses all these attributes and is deprived of nothing, it is designated both as the Womb of Tathagata and the Dharma Body of Tathagata."


We try to pin this down like an object and that makes problems for us.

If "Tathata " is like outer-space, minus all the planets, suns and moons, then you might well might have problems objectifying it!
~ "The requested topic does not exist" ~
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Re: Understanding Tathata

Postby Will » Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:16 am

From Hakeda's Awakening of Faith translation:

one mind and its two aspects

The revelation of the true meaning [of the principle of Mahayana can
be achieved] by [unfolding the doctrine] that the principle of One
Mind has two aspects. One is the aspect of Mind in terms of the Absolute
(tathata; Suchness), and the other is the aspect of Mind in terms
of phenomena (samsara; birth and death). Each of these two aspects
embraces all states of existence. Why? Because these two aspects are
mutually inclusive.
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
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