Buddha-nature made simple.

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Buddha-nature made simple.

Postby Indrajala » Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:36 pm

For a class I'm taking right now I drew up the following diagram based on a section of the Foxinglun 佛性論 which is said to have been composed by Vasubandhu but many doubt this. It was translated or possibly even written by Paramārtha in China between 557-569 CE.

The key point of the passage is that it equates Buddha-nature with cause (hetu) which is delineated into three types as outlined in the following diagram. Buddha-nature is considered to be not a thing or entity, but causes which may be fostered resulting in Buddhahood.

Image
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Emptiness of persons and dharma.

Postby Indrajala » Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:00 pm

Let me further add some material that might be useful regarding the first outlined cause.

The essay below was written by Chéngguān (738-839CE). He provides an analysis of the emptiness of the person followed by an examination of the pañca-skandhāḥ (emptiness of dharma). Chéngguān was an eminent monk of the Huáyán school of Buddhism during the Tang Dynasty (618-907CE). He was an erudite scholar composing over thirty works on a variety of subjects.


五蘊觀
Examination of the Five Aggregates

沙門澄觀述
Written by Śramaṇa Chéngguān

問。凡夫之人欲求解脫。當云何修。
It is asked, “A common person seeks liberation. How should he practise?”

答曰。當修二觀。
We respond saying that one should practise the two examinations.

二觀者何。一人空觀。二法空觀。
What are the two examinations? The first is the examination of the emptiness of persons. The second is the examination of the emptiness of phenomena (dharma).

夫生死之本莫過人法二執。
The root of birth and death – nothing goes beyond the two attachments of persons and phenomena.

迷身心總相。故執人我為實有。
One misunderstands the body and mind's characteristic of totality and thus grasps the self of the person as an actual existent.

迷五蘊自相。故計法我為實有。
One misunderstands the five aggregates' individual characteristics and thus conceives the self of a phenomenon as an actual existent.

計人我者。用初觀照之。
For the conception of the self of person we utilize the first examination and investigate it.

知五蘊和合假名為人。
We then know the five aggregates come together and are provisionally called a person.

一一諦觀。但見五蘊。求人我相終不可得。
Each are carefully examined. We only see the five aggregates. We seek out the self-characteristic of the person and in the end it cannot be found.

云何名為五蘊。色受想行識是。
What are called the five aggregates? They are form (rūpa), feeling (vedanā), perception (saṃjñā), volitional formations (saṃskāra) and consciousness (vijñāna).

云何觀之。
How does one examine them?

身則色蘊。所謂地水火風是。其相如何。
The body is the aggregate of form. This is said to be earth, water, fire and wind. What are their characteristics?

堅則地。潤則水。煖則火。動則風。
Solidity is earth. Moistness is water. Warmth is fire. Movement is wind.

觀心則四蘊。所謂受想行識是。其相如何。
In examining the mind there are four aggregates. These are said to be feeling, perception, volitional formations and consciousness. What are their characteristics?

領納為受。取相為相。造作為行。了別為識。
Sensation is feeling. Apprehending characteristics is perception. Creating actions is volitional formations. Cognition is consciousness.

若能依此身心相。諦觀分明。於一切處但見五蘊。求人我相終不可得。
If we can, based on these characteristics of body and mind, carefully examine and see clearly, then in all places we only see the five aggregates. We search out the self-characteristic of the person and in the end it cannot be found.

名人空觀。乘此觀。行出分段生死。永處涅槃。名二乘解脫。
We call this the examination of the emptiness of persons. If one utilizes this examination then one departs birth and death within the six realms and forever abides in nirvāṇa. We call this the liberation of the two vehicles.

計法我者用後觀照之。知一一蘊皆從緣生。都無自性。求蘊相不可得。則五蘊皆空。
For the conception of the self of a phenomenon we utilize the later examination and investigate it. We then know that each of the aggregates all arise from conditions and all are without self-essence. We seek out the characteristics of the aggregates and they cannot be found and so the five aggregates are all empty.

名法空觀。若二觀雙照。了人我法我。畢竟空無所有。
We call this the examination of the emptiness of phenomena. If we investigate with both examinations we understand the person's self and the phenomenon's self – ultimately empty without existence.

離諸怖畏。度一切苦厄。出變易生死。名究竟解脫。
Free from all fears, crossing over all pains and emerging into existence as a Bodhisattva – we call this ultimate liberation.

問。夫求解脫。祗是了妄證真。但能契真如理。寂然無念則便離縛。何假興心觀蘊方求解脫。豈不乖理哉。
It is asked, “Seeking liberation is only just understanding delusion and realizing the truth. It is merely being able to realize the principle of tathātā – in quietude without thoughts and then binds are removed. How does one provisionally arouse the mind, examine the aggregates and then seek liberation? Is this not in opposition to the principle?”

答。離蘊真妄約何而立。且五蘊者身心之異名。行人若不識身心真妄。何能懸契。
We answer: with what do you stand without aggregates, truth and delusion? For the moment the five aggregates are a different name for the body and mind. Supposing the practitioner is not aware of the truth and delusions of body and mind, how could they completely understand them?

不達真妄之本。諸行徒施。
They do not reach the source of truth and delusion and practises are vainly undertaken.

故經云。若於虗空終不能成。
Thus the scripture states, “It is like in emptiness ultimately nothing being able to be established.”

斯之謂也。且計人我者。凡夫之執也。計法我者。二乘之滯也。
This is how it is said. The provisional conception of the self of the person is an attachment of the ordinary person. The conception of the self of a phenomenon is the hindrance of the two vehicles.

故令修二觀。方能了妄證真。豈可離也。
Thus we have them practice the two examinations and then they are able to understand delusion and realize the truth. How could you do without this?
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Re: Buddha-nature made simple.

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:28 am

One day as Manjusri sat outside the gate. The Buddha called to him:

"Manjusri, Manjusri, why do you not enter?"

Manjusri replied, "I do not see myself as outside. Why should I enter?"
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

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Re: Buddha-nature made simple.

Postby Stephen » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:39 am

My understanding of "Buddha nature" has always been a bit sketchy. I imagined it meant that though we seek enlightenment, the enlightened mind was already ours to begin with. We've merely over-analyzed, blinding ourselves with our intellect which seeks structure, attachments and support.

Seeking enlightenment is the most thorough method of mental house-cleaning. What we're left with is a spotless mind, luminous and defect-free.
The "self", which is a construct of the mind, is non-self. It is not us, and we are not it. This self blinds us to reality; it is our Mara, our Satan, our Hades. Cast it out and behold the path to freedom.
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Re: Buddha-nature made simple.

Postby Indrajala » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:41 am

Stephen wrote:My understanding of "Buddha nature" has always been a bit sketchy. I imagined it meant that though we seek enlightenment, the enlightened mind was already ours to begin with. We've merely over-analyzed, blinding ourselves with our intellect which seeks structure, attachments and support.

Seeking enlightenment is the most thorough method of mental house-cleaning. What we're left with is a spotless mind, luminous and defect-free.


This is only just a one theory concerning Buddha-nature.

There are others. :smile: :reading:
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Re: Emptiness of persons and dharma.

Postby muni » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:21 am

Indrajala wrote:Let me further add some material that might be useful regarding the first outlined cause.

The essay below was written by Chéngguān (738-839CE). He provides an analysis of the emptiness of the person followed by an examination of the pañca-skandhāḥ (emptiness of dharma). Chéngguān was an eminent monk of the Huáyán school of Buddhism during the Tang Dynasty (618-907CE). He was an erudite scholar composing over thirty works on a variety of subjects.


五蘊觀
Examination of the Five Aggregates

沙門澄觀述
Written by Śramaṇa Chéngguān

問。凡夫之人欲求解脫。當云何修。
It is asked, “A common person seeks liberation. How should he practise?”

答曰。當修二觀。
We respond saying that one should practise the two examinations.

二觀者何。一人空觀。二法空觀。
What are the two examinations? The first is the examination of the emptiness of persons. The second is the examination of the emptiness of phenomena (dharma).

夫生死之本莫過人法二執。
The root of birth and death – nothing goes beyond the two attachments of persons and phenomena.

迷身心總相。故執人我為實有。
One misunderstands the body and mind's characteristic of totality and thus grasps the self of the person as an actual existent.

迷五蘊自相。故計法我為實有。
One misunderstands the five aggregates' individual characteristics and thus conceives the self of a phenomenon as an actual existent.

計人我者。用初觀照之。
For the conception of the self of person we utilize the first examination and investigate it.

知五蘊和合假名為人。
We then know the five aggregates come together and are provisionally called a person.

一一諦觀。但見五蘊。求人我相終不可得。
Each are carefully examined. We only see the five aggregates. We seek out the self-characteristic of the person and in the end it cannot be found.

云何名為五蘊。色受想行識是。
What are called the five aggregates? They are form (rūpa), feeling (vedanā), perception (saṃjñā), volitional formations (saṃskāra) and consciousness (vijñāna).

云何觀之。
How does one examine them?

身則色蘊。所謂地水火風是。其相如何。
The body is the aggregate of form. This is said to be earth, water, fire and wind. What are their characteristics?

堅則地。潤則水。煖則火。動則風。
Solidity is earth. Moistness is water. Warmth is fire. Movement is wind.

觀心則四蘊。所謂受想行識是。其相如何。
In examining the mind there are four aggregates. These are said to be feeling, perception, volitional formations and consciousness. What are their characteristics?

領納為受。取相為相。造作為行。了別為識。
Sensation is feeling. Apprehending characteristics is perception. Creating actions is volitional formations. Cognition is consciousness.

若能依此身心相。諦觀分明。於一切處但見五蘊。求人我相終不可得。
If we can, based on these characteristics of body and mind, carefully examine and see clearly, then in all places we only see the five aggregates. We search out the self-characteristic of the person and in the end it cannot be found.

名人空觀。乘此觀。行出分段生死。永處涅槃。名二乘解脫。
We call this the examination of the emptiness of persons. If one utilizes this examination then one departs birth and death within the six realms and forever abides in nirvāṇa. We call this the liberation of the two vehicles.

計法我者用後觀照之。知一一蘊皆從緣生。都無自性。求蘊相不可得。則五蘊皆空。
For the conception of the self of a phenomenon we utilize the later examination and investigate it. We then know that each of the aggregates all arise from conditions and all are without self-essence. We seek out the characteristics of the aggregates and they cannot be found and so the five aggregates are all empty.

名法空觀。若二觀雙照。了人我法我。畢竟空無所有。
We call this the examination of the emptiness of phenomena. If we investigate with both examinations we understand the person's self and the phenomenon's self – ultimately empty without existence.

離諸怖畏。度一切苦厄。出變易生死。名究竟解脫。
Free from all fears, crossing over all pains and emerging into existence as a Bodhisattva – we call this ultimate liberation.

問。夫求解脫。祗是了妄證真。但能契真如理。寂然無念則便離縛。何假興心觀蘊方求解脫。豈不乖理哉。
It is asked, “Seeking liberation is only just understanding delusion and realizing the truth. It is merely being able to realize the principle of tathātā – in quietude without thoughts and then binds are removed. How does one provisionally arouse the mind, examine the aggregates and then seek liberation? Is this not in opposition to the principle?”

答。離蘊真妄約何而立。且五蘊者身心之異名。行人若不識身心真妄。何能懸契。
We answer: with what do you stand without aggregates, truth and delusion? For the moment the five aggregates are a different name for the body and mind. Supposing the practitioner is not aware of the truth and delusions of body and mind, how could they completely understand them?

不達真妄之本。諸行徒施。
They do not reach the source of truth and delusion and practises are vainly undertaken.

故經云。若於虗空終不能成。
Thus the scripture states, “It is like in emptiness ultimately nothing being able to be established.”

斯之謂也。且計人我者。凡夫之執也。計法我者。二乘之滯也。
This is how it is said. The provisional conception of the self of the person is an attachment of the ordinary person. The conception of the self of a phenomenon is the hindrance of the two vehicles.

故令修二觀。方能了妄證真。豈可離也。
Thus we have them practice the two examinations and then they are able to understand delusion and realize the truth. How could you do without this?


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Re: Buddha-nature made simple.

Postby Indrajala » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:25 am

Kinda old flawed translation from years ago. :smile:
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Re: Buddha-nature made simple.

Postby LastLegend » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:26 am

Made simple? :lol:
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Re: Buddha-nature made simple.

Postby tobes » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:54 am

Indrajala wrote:For a class I'm taking right now I drew up the following diagram based on a section of the Foxinglun 佛性論 which is said to have been composed by Vasubandhu but many doubt this. It was translated or possibly even written by Paramārtha in China between 557-569 CE.

The key point of the passage is that it equates Buddha-nature with cause (hetu) which is delineated into three types as outlined in the following diagram. Buddha-nature is considered to be not a thing or entity, but causes which may be fostered resulting in Buddhahood.

Image


Obviously a very contested topic, but that is a cogent expression of the view that I most favour. Great work.

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