Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

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Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:25 am

Im finally coming to an understanding of buddha nature vs anatman that i can live with. Its emptiness. That is since nothing has a self nature or is permanent, all is process. Self, mind, the skandhas etc. Each apparent thing in itself is just an intersecting series of connections and processes that join it to the rest of the universe and the process as a whole is (as im understanding it) buddha nature. This makes compassion a rule of life, for if no being is separate and all are joined to you through infinite connectedness each being and all the universe is as joined to you as a limb to a body, it would make no more sense to deny compassion to another than it would to not use your right hand to put a band aid on your cut left hand, because it wasnt the same hand.

So what do you all think? Is buddha nature this process as a whole rather than some inherent quality?
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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby Astus » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:24 am

It is called "buddha-nature" because it somehow (depending on interpretation) bears the qualities a buddha has. For an Indo-Tibetan explanation best go for the Ratnagotravibhaga with available modern commentaries on it. For the East-Asian style you should start with the Mahayana-sraddhotpada shastra (Awakening Mahayana Faith).

Buddha-nature as dependent origination is a possible interpretation, but then where are the buddha-qualities here? If there are none, why call it buddha-nature?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:35 am

Astus wrote:Buddha-nature as dependent origination is a possible interpretation, but then where are the buddha-qualities here?


They are part of the interconnectedness, joy in the joy of others is your joy because there is no difference between you and others. Equanimity and wisdom also from the interconnectness, you can see everything matters equally (equanimity) and you get the whole picture (wisdom), again from the interconnectedness. They are qualities inherent in the system and anything that tends toward greater unity and interconnectedness decreases suffering.
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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby Astus » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:39 am

Well, if I have joy because of others' joy I should also have anger and greed because of others. Or you mean the realisation of interconnectedness is buddha-nature? Because then buddha-nature is not universal but a realisation. I hope you don't my I ask.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:45 am

Astus wrote:Well, if I have joy because of others' joy I should also have anger and greed because of others. Or you mean the realisation of interconnectedness is buddha-nature? Because then buddha-nature is not universal but a realisation. I hope you don't my I ask.


Even if "you" dont realize it the interconnectedness and lack of self nature is there.
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby Astus » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:20 am

True. However, just the fact of interconnectedness includes no buddha-qualities, otherwise all would have them.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby Indrajala » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:35 pm

Understanding emptiness, rather than emptiness itself, can be a cause of Buddhahood and thus called a type of Buddha-nature.

See the left side on my convenient diagram:

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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby White Lotus » Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:36 pm

:namaste: Noble morlock...

muni said in an earlier post...
"there is no arising of form". that is there is not even emptiness. therefore what is there? and what is there to worry about. understanding is that there is nothing to understand. nothing special to be, nothing special to become.

you have already arrived, there was no path to walk, and not even a single step to take in becoming what you always were... 'this'.

it is only the ego that has to become something special. a buddha or whatever. why not just 'be' what you are. if you are the interconnection/the dharmakaya, suchness... you will see that 'it' has already been attained. this is the miracle of what 'is'. the miracle of 'you'.

whats it all about? is it about enlightenment? is it about realization? some special attainment that is out there waiting to transform us. No.

its about YOU. just as you are. 'this' is it. this is your nature. i am morlock. what could be more simple. why look for something amazing, when you already are amazing. it is only the ego that tells you that you are not already a buddha.

actually you dont need to realize you are a buddha. no polishing of any kind of mirror needed. you just are. buddha just was. ask yourself honestly, apart from a few negative moods, or impure thoughts, what is the difference between you and buddha. doesnt the interconnection of all things show you that you are 'this'. this interconnection. it could not exist without you. you are the dharmakaya. all things are the dharmas of the kaya.

it only gets as complicated as your ego. but actually all things are the perfect embodyment of enlightenment. just as they are.

best wishes, White Lotus.

simple... why make things complicated?
you already know yourself perfectly,
what more is there to attain.
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: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby Will » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:30 pm

I have not read this in several years, but at the time I was impressed by how Vasubandhu (via King's interpretation) handled the buddha-nature notion.

http://books.google.com/books?id=VHQPxM ... &q&f=false

Buddha-Nature by Sallie B King

Here is a partial list of books on the subject: http://www.centreguephel.org/books/buddha_nature.html
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby meindzai » Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:35 am

m0rl0ck wrote:Im finally coming to an understanding of buddha nature vs anatman that i can live with. Its emptiness. That is since nothing has a self nature or is permanent, all is process. Self, mind, the skandhas etc. Each apparent thing in itself is just an intersecting series of connections and processes that join it to the rest of the universe and the process as a whole is (as im understanding it) buddha nature. This makes compassion a rule of life, for if no being is separate and all are joined to you through infinite connectedness each being and all the universe is as joined to you as a limb to a body, it would make no more sense to deny compassion to another than it would to not use your right hand to put a band aid on your cut left hand, because it wasnt the same hand.

So what do you all think? Is buddha nature this process as a whole rather than some inherent quality?


I wouldn't consider Buddha Nature a process at all. The other things you mentioned though - mind, self, the skhandas, and even the great "etc." (the myriad things?) would be a process. They are subject to arising and passing, coming and going, are impermanant, are not-self, are dukkha. I equate Buddha nature with the unconditioned - not subject to arising and passing, impermanance yet still not-self.

-M
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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby Huifeng » Sat Apr 24, 2010 3:44 am

Can't believe I'm actually replying here, but once again, seems that there is some talking at cross purposes. One takes one basic usage and meaning of "buddha nature", and then the other argues from the other usage.

Morlock gives a fairly basic take which sounds a lot like early Tiantai, and then out come the Tathagatagarbha systems in return.

Same term, different systems. Until this is clarified, these threads will always run in circles.
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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:56 am

meindzai wrote:
I equate Buddha nature with the unconditioned - not subject to arising and passing, impermanance yet still not-self.

-M


And the only thing that satifies all those requirements is a process. Certainly a thing, something you can stick the qualities to, cant do it.

The analogy of not being able to step in the same river twice occurs to me.
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:58 am

Huifeng wrote:Morlock gives a fairly basic take which sounds a lot like early Tiantai, and then out come the Tathagatagarbha systems in return.

Same term, different systems. Until this is clarified, these threads will always run in circles.


Thank you for replying, im not much of a scholar, if you would be so kind, clarify away. What is the Tathagatagarbha view?

Nevermind i looked it up :) Sounds like atman to me. From Wiki:

"In Mahāyāna and tantric Buddhism, the tathāgatagarbha doctrine teaches that each sentient being contains the intrinsic, effulgent Buddhic element or indwelling potency for becoming a Buddha. "

The article goes on to say later tho that "The later Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra presents the tathāgatagarbha as being a teaching completely consistent with and identical to emptiness and synthesizes tathāgatagarbha with the emptiness (śūnyatā) of the prajñāpāramitā sutras. "

Which is what im talkinig about. I dont really see how the same term could be applied to both ideas. And i think i will stick to my idea since i have intuition derived (at least partly i hope) from practice to back it up.
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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby Huifeng » Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:50 am

There are a couple of keys as to how the same term can apply to both.

Start by looking at the word itself: buddha-dhatu,
and also at a synonym for buddha: tathagata

There is a lot of room to play with the word "dhatu", for a start. On one hand, it has a "real solid actual source" type meaning to it. But, it was also used in the early suttas as "dhamma-dhatu", to refer to dependent arising.

The term "tathagata" has many plays with "tathata", another synonym for dependent origination. The tathagata is one who has "gone to" (gata = understood) tathata. But, in things like the 10 / 14 un-answered questions, the term "tathagata" is used essentially with the meaning of "atman". After all, some reasoned, a liberated sage has to go somewhere, right? (wrong!)

A lot of these are just the usual plays and jokes that the Buddha makes. Takes some old substantialist theory, and, using the same terms, flips it into an insubstantialist one, anatman means dependent origination. If one is not careful, still very easy to misunderstand.

The Mahayana really loved these sorts of jokes. The best known examples are in the Diamond sutra, all those "a living being (1) is without a living being (2), but is called a living being (3)". The 1st living being is just the regular sense of the term, as used by anyone. The 2nd living being is specifically a substantialist atman type pudgala, which is rejected. (Best to read as "without a living being", rather than the more common "not a living being", which is a translated strongly influenced by Chinese translation terminology, a long story.) The 3rd living being is the designation for an atman-less regular living being.

Or: buddha-dhatu is without any dhatu, that is how to buddha-dhatu.
realized-element is without any substantial element, that is how to realize the element.
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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby meindzai » Sat Apr 24, 2010 3:15 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
meindzai wrote:
I equate Buddha nature with the unconditioned - not subject to arising and passing, impermanance yet still not-self.

-M


And the only thing that satifies all those requirements is a process. Certainly a thing, something you can stick the qualities to, cant do it.



Then you've turned it into another conditioned dharma.

-M
"The Dharma is huge." - Rael
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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:14 pm

meindzai wrote:
Then you've turned it into another conditioned dharma.

-M


Yeah maybe. Could be that everything is conditioned or nothing is, samsara = nirvana. Where have i heard that :)

" And the Void Does Not Differ From Form.
Form is Void and Void is Form;"

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/heartstr.htm
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Re: Buddha Nature, Emptiness and Anatman

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:42 pm

Huifeng wrote:There are a couple of keys as to how the same term can apply to both.

Start by looking at the word itself: buddha-dhatu,
and also at a synonym for buddha: tathagata

There is a lot of room to play with the word "dhatu", for a start. On one hand, it has a "real solid actual source" type meaning to it. But, it was also used in the early suttas as "dhamma-dhatu", to refer to dependent arising.

The term "tathagata" has many plays with "tathata", another synonym for dependent origination. The tathagata is one who has "gone to" (gata = understood) tathata. But, in things like the 10 / 14 un-answered questions, the term "tathagata" is used essentially with the meaning of "atman". After all, some reasoned, a liberated sage has to go somewhere, right? (wrong!)

A lot of these are just the usual plays and jokes that the Buddha makes. Takes some old substantialist theory, and, using the same terms, flips it into an insubstantialist one, anatman means dependent origination. If one is not careful, still very easy to misunderstand.

The Mahayana really loved these sorts of jokes. The best known examples are in the Diamond sutra, all those "a living being (1) is without a living being (2), but is called a living being (3)". The 1st living being is just the regular sense of the term, as used by anyone. The 2nd living being is specifically a substantialist atman type pudgala, which is rejected. (Best to read as "without a living being", rather than the more common "not a living being", which is a translated strongly influenced by Chinese translation terminology, a long story.) The 3rd living being is the designation for an atman-less regular living being.

Or: buddha-dhatu is without any dhatu, that is how to buddha-dhatu.
realized-element is without any substantial element, that is how to realize the element.



Thank you, I think i got a glimmer :)
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard
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