Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

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Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Totoro » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:27 pm

HI

I wasn't sure to post this in the Gelugpa or Nyingma section. The quote below is from the book 'Achieving Bodhicitta' by Sermey Khensur Lobsang Tharchin and expresses a Gelugpa POV. I'm a bit confused by it and want to know what is the Nyingma POV. My questions come after the quote:


Some scholars of other systems describe a crucial element of sugatagarbha incorrectly. They understand it to mean that sentient beings already have the nature of a buddha and that this nature is temporarily covered or obscured by the stains of bad deeds. They say that once those stains are removed, a sentient being then becomes an actual Buddha.

In the Gelugpa system we have a term bakchak goshi (bag chags bsgo gzhi) , which refers to the subject or individual that is tainted by the traces or imprints left by our good and bad deeds. Karma is collected when a deed is completed. The seeds of those good and bad deeds are then deposited in the mental continuum. The individual who is related to that mental continuum is the subject tainted by those karmic traces. Each being is the subject that holds his or her karmic traces. But a Buddha does not collect bad deeds, nor is a buddha a receptacle or holder of karmic traces or seeds. given that, how could we say that we are already Buddhas? A Buddha cannot be a subject that is tainted by karmic traces. this is actually a subtle point that has serious implications if it is not properly understood.
- Page 155, 'Achieving Bodhichitta' by Sermey Khensur Lobsang Tharchin

I'm no scholar especially in subjects related to philosophy so:

I) By 'some scholars of other systems', was he referring to Nyingma system?
2) Surprised because I thought that all Buddhists believe in all beings as having buddha nature. Or does the second sentence 'already have the nature of a buddha' different in meaning to having 'buddha nature'? Confused here. Thought all traditions believed this.
3) The second paragraph talks about karmic traces - this concept is held by all traditions right?

I can't properly formulate my questions but I guess what I don't understand will reveal itself more clearly as you guys give your opinions. Thanks.
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby heart » Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:42 pm

1) Yes, in particular Dzogchen.

I studied for a few months with a Gelug master in Dharamsala, it was very strange for me. One thing he often said was that Buddha nature is like a seed, then you have to make it grow with the nourishment of the accumulation of merit and wisdom. Not at all the standard Nyingma teaching. However, since the Gelug also produce fine yogis it just goes to show that theory isn't practice at all. I feel anyway a lot more comfortable with the Nyingma style.

/magnus
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Will » Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:49 pm

Buddha nature is thought by some to mean that every ordinary person, while deeply stained by negative karmic effects has, at the same time, deeply buried in our mental continuum, a full & perfect Buddha. Others say that is not possible, but only the seed of the buddha nature is deeply buried. This seed needs supporting conditions to eventually appear as a full & perfect Buddha.
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: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Mariusz » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:03 pm

Totoro wrote:HI
Some scholars of other systems describe a crucial element of sugatagarbha incorrectly. They understand it to mean that sentient beings already have the nature of a buddha and that this nature is temporarily covered or obscured by the stains of bad deeds. They say that once those stains are removed, a sentient being then becomes an actual Buddha.

In the Gelugpa system we have a term bakchak goshi (bag chags bsgo gzhi) , which refers to the subject or individual that is tainted by the traces or imprints left by our good and bad deeds. Karma is collected when a deed is completed. The seeds of those good and bad deeds are then deposited in the mental continuum. The individual who is related to that mental continuum is the subject tainted by those karmic traces. Each being is the subject that holds his or her karmic traces. But a Buddha does not collect bad deeds, nor is a buddha a receptacle or holder of karmic traces or seeds. given that, how could we say that we are already Buddhas? A Buddha cannot be a subject that is tainted by karmic traces. this is actually a subtle point that has serious implications if it is not properly understood.
- Page 155, 'Achieving Bodhichitta' by Sermey Khensur Lobsang Tharchin

I'm no scholar especially in subjects related to philosophy so:

I) By 'some scholars of other systems', was he referring to Nyingma system?
2) Surprised because I thought that all Buddhists believe in all beings as having buddha nature. Or does the second sentence 'already have the nature of a buddha' different in meaning to having 'buddha nature'? Confused here. Thought all traditions believed this.
3) The second paragraph talks about karmic traces - this concept is held by all traditions right?

Hi. I wonder the context of the quote from Sermey Khensur? But I will try write something:

Ju Mipham is one of the best known in Nyingma. The quote is saying that by subtracting one (the imaginary nature; conceptuality) from the other (the other-dependent nature; other obscurations), one arrives at the third (the perfect nature; Buddhahood). But Mipham talks about the other-dependent nature as never such cause for the perfect nature (to be a Buddha) since it has to be completely absent because it is everything which deals with the duality of perceived and perceiver and it furher is the support for conceptuality (the imaginary nature). Ju Mipham explains:

• What appears to the nonconceptual sensory faculty as a duality of perceived and perceiver
• The process of formulation conducted by the rational mind, which is conceptual and first makes the assumption that whatever appears to be a duality actually exists that way and then formulates it by assigning a specific term; this is a process which is internal and equivalent to the rational mind’s conceptualization of percept and perceiver
• The inner faculties, that of the eye and so on
• Outer objects, form and so on
• The principles of awareness, the eye consciousness, and so on
• Vessel-like worlds’ appearances experienced in common.

Since these are all absent, suchness (the perfect nature) free of all these types of differentiation appears in its one taste (beyond reference points unimpaired vision, by example when the eye defect of blurred vision has been cured and one realizes that what appeared as floating hairs is no longer obctructive for the vision after the cure)
.

Kagyu one of the best known Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje elaborates it:
Likewise,
once the adventitious stains—or, more personally speaking, we as sentient
beings—have dissolved, it is a moot question whether “our” dharmadhātu (or
buddha nature) and “all the rest” of the dharmadhātu (or the buddha natures
of all Buddhas) are the same or different, since what is called a sentient being
is nothing but the very mistakenness that makes up such a distinction.
p.101:
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Malcolm » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:54 pm

Mariusz wrote:
Kagyu one of the best known Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje elaborates it:
Likewise,
once the adventitious stains—or, more personally speaking, we as sentient
beings—have dissolved, it is a moot question whether “our” dharmadhātu (or
buddha nature) and “all the rest” of the dharmadhātu (or the buddha natures
of all Buddhas) are the same or different, since what is called a sentient being
is nothing but the very mistakenness that makes up such a distinction.
p.101:


Correct.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby catmoon » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:49 am

I hate to say it, but it seems to me the lama quoted in the OP made a fundamental error when he said

But a Buddha does not collect bad deeds, nor is a buddha a receptacle or holder of karmic traces or seeds.


When Devadatta hurled his stone in an attempt to kill the Buddha, the Buddha was injured, however slightly. It seems to me that this unfortunate event must have been due to karmic traces carried by the Buddha. In other words, even a fully enlightened being has old, pending karma, and it takes time for it to ripen and be exhausted. Some writers attribute the injury to karma collected in a distant previous life, in which the Buddha was a wrestler or boxer and accidentally killed an opponent during competition. Whether or not you believe the story, this at least demonstrates that the writer, and many others who propagated this teaching, believed Buddhas carry karmic traces.
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Mariusz » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:57 am

catmoon wrote:I hate to say it, but it seems to me the lama quoted in the OP made a fundamental error when he said

But a Buddha does not collect bad deeds, nor is a buddha a receptacle or holder of karmic traces or seeds.


When Devadatta hurled his stone in an attempt to kill the Buddha, the Buddha was injured, however slightly. It seems to me that this unfortunate event must have been due to karmic traces carried by the Buddha. In other words, even a fully enlightened being has old, pending karma, and it takes time for it to ripen and be exhausted. Some writers attribute the injury to karma collected in a distant previous life, in which the Buddha was a wrestler or boxer and accidentally killed an opponent during competition. Whether or not you believe the story, this at least demonstrates that the writer, and many others who propagated this teaching, believed Buddhas carry karmic traces.

Not exactly. It only seems to carry karmic traces for sentient beings only, although it never so. (Dictionary) Nirmanakaya (sprul sku), (sprul pa'i sku): 'Emanation body,' 'form of magical apparition.' The third of the Three Kayas. The aspect of enlightenment that can be perceived by ordinary beings. So it is only the perceiving, the seeming of sentient beings.
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Sherab » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:54 am

heart wrote:One thing he often said was that Buddha nature is like a seed, then you have to make it grow with the nourishment of the accumulation of merit and wisdom.

I too have problem with the idea of Buddha nature as a seed that needs to be grown. This contradicts the Prajnaparamita sutras where one reads that enlightenment is not obtained or attained. It also contradicts the classification of nirvana as unconditioned.
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Mariusz » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:21 am

Sherab wrote:
heart wrote:One thing he often said was that Buddha nature is like a seed, then you have to make it grow with the nourishment of the accumulation of merit and wisdom.

I too have problem with the idea of Buddha nature as a seed that needs to be grown. This contradicts the Prajnaparamita sutras where one reads that enlightenment is not obtained or attained. It also contradicts the classification of nirvana as unconditioned.

Yes, for me buddha nature it is not so also. It is like the antidote to cure sentient beings from all obscurations, the medicine for the self-liberation of what has never been in the first place: the sentient being itself. The cure is because of this medicine until all the seeming is no more obstructive to all qualities/freedoms: the 3 kayas. So the accumulation of merit and wisdom is needed for the sentient being itself. Karmapa Rangjung Dorje continues from the quote written earlier:

From the point of view of what appears to the sentient
beings who obscure this very [Heart; Buddha Nature] and other beings to be guided,
it appears as if they have become Buddhas, which is just seeming buddhahood.
At this point, once the adventitious stains have become pure, it appears as
if this very buddhahood needed to become completely perfect omniscient buddhahood
gain. But in terms of the definitive meaning, this very Buddha heart
is buddhahood by its sheer presence
. Therefore, it does not need to become
buddhahood again, and nothing else is able to make it become buddhahood
either. ...As Lord Karmapa Tüsum Kyenba sang:
If there is no change in buddhahood,
There is no aspiration to attain all these fruitions.
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Sherab » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:50 am

We should also be clear that just because buddha nature pervades sentient beings does not mean that practices can be cast aside or are useless. Such a conclusion would imply a wrong understanding of what reality is and how obscurations arise.
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby heart » Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:00 am

Sherab wrote:
heart wrote:One thing he often said was that Buddha nature is like a seed, then you have to make it grow with the nourishment of the accumulation of merit and wisdom.

I too have problem with the idea of Buddha nature as a seed that needs to be grown. This contradicts the Prajnaparamita sutras where one reads that enlightenment is not obtained or attained. It also contradicts the classification of nirvana as unconditioned.


One even stranger thing was that this Geshe insisted that someone meditating on emptiness would not see or experience the world around him. Like emptiness was separate from phenomena somehow.

/magnus
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Malcolm » Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:07 am

heart wrote:
Sherab wrote:
heart wrote:One thing he often said was that Buddha nature is like a seed, then you have to make it grow with the nourishment of the accumulation of merit and wisdom.

I too have problem with the idea of Buddha nature as a seed that needs to be grown. This contradicts the Prajnaparamita sutras where one reads that enlightenment is not obtained or attained. It also contradicts the classification of nirvana as unconditioned.


One even stranger thing was that this Geshe insisted that someone meditating on emptiness would not see or experience the world around him. Like emptiness was separate from phenomena somehow.

/magnus


This is a sūtrayāna idea.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby heart » Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:09 am

Namdrol wrote:
heart wrote:
One even stranger thing was that this Geshe insisted that someone meditating on emptiness would not see or experience the world around him. Like emptiness was separate from phenomena somehow.

/magnus


This is a sūtrayāna idea.


Yes, but the heart sutra is also from the sutrayana, right?

/magnus
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Malcolm » Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:44 am

heart wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
heart wrote:
One even stranger thing was that this Geshe insisted that someone meditating on emptiness would not see or experience the world around him. Like emptiness was separate from phenomena somehow.

/magnus


This is a sūtrayāna idea.


Yes, but the heart sutra is also from the sutrayana, right?

/magnus



Yes, this idea comes from the PP sutras mainly.
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Mariusz » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:00 am

Namdrol wrote:
heart wrote:
One even stranger thing was that this Geshe insisted that someone meditating on emptiness would not see or experience the world around him. Like emptiness was separate from phenomena somehow.

/magnus


This is a sūtrayāna idea.

Can you quote any sutra on "emptiness as separated from phenomena somehow"?
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Malcolm » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:47 pm

Mariusz wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
heart wrote:
One even stranger thing was that this Geshe insisted that someone meditating on emptiness would not see or experience the world around him. Like emptiness was separate from phenomena somehow.

/magnus


This is a sūtrayāna idea.

Can you quote any sutra on "emptiness as separated from phenomena somehow"?



That is not the idea to which I am referring.

The idea to which I am referring is that when one is having a non-conceptual direct experience of emptiness on the path of seeing, etc. one does not have perception of phenomena. This how non-conceptuality is interpreted by those in sūtrayāna i.e. no eyes, not ears, etc.

And this is why Gelugpas frequently make the claim mentioned above.
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Tom » Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:39 pm

Mariusz wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
heart wrote:
One even stranger thing was that this Geshe insisted that someone meditating on emptiness would not see or experience the world around him. Like emptiness was separate from phenomena somehow.

/magnus


This is a sūtrayāna idea.

Can you quote any sutra on "emptiness as separated from phenomena somehow"?


This is not asserted by Gelugpas. They assert that emptiness and conventional nature of a phenomenon are actually not separate but one entity.

Why they assert that the mind realizing emptiness non-conceptually does not apprehend the world is because this mind is the result of an investigation searching for inherent existence. Conventional phenomena therefore falls outside the domain of this investigation. This is also one of the reasons why they assert that the mind realizing emptiness cannot refute conventional existence.

Importantly, for them a Buddha simultaneously realizes ultimate and conventional truths.

Edit: corrected terms
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Mariusz » Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:24 pm

Tom wrote:Why they assert that the mind realizing emptiness non-conceptually does not apprehend the world is because this mind is the result of an investigation searching for inherent existence. Conventional phenomena therefore falls outside the domain of this investigation. This is also one of the reasons why they assert that the mind realizing emptiness cannot refute conventional existence.

Importantly, for them a Buddha simultaneously realizes ultimate and conventional truths.
It supports only the following for me: for them the mind (as the result of an investigation searching for inherent existence) is totally different from the world? This is what Tsongkhapa's critics call a "hornlike object of negation": If you first fix a horn on the head of a rabbit and then remove it again, the rabbit might wonder what you are doing...
If a table is different from its real existence, in terms of affecting the clinging to this table, what does it do to the table itself if one nagates some hypothetical "real existence" that is different from the table itself?
Through negating the hornlike object of negation called "real existence" with regard to a table, we will neither relinquish the clinging to the reality of this table nor realize its ultimate nature.
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Tom » Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:01 pm

Mariusz wrote:
Tom wrote:Why they assert that the mind realizing emptiness non-conceptually does not apprehend the world is because this mind is the result of an investigation searching for inherent existence. Conventional phenomena therefore falls outside the domain of this investigation. This is also one of the reasons why they assert that the mind realizing emptiness cannot refute conventional existence.

Importantly, for them a Buddha simultaneously realizes ultimate and conventional truths.
It supports only the following for me: for them the mind (as the result of an investigation searching for inherent existence) is totally different from the world? This is what Tsongkhapa's critics call a "hornlike object of negation": If you first fix a horn on the head of a rabbit and then remove it again, the rabbit might wonder what you are doing...
If a table is different from its real existence, in terms of affecting the clinging to this table, what does it do to the table itself if one nagates some hypothetical "real existence" that is different from the table itself?
Through negating the hornlike object of negation called "real existence" with regard to a table, we will neither relinquish the clinging to the reality of this table nor realize its ultimate nature.


Yes, Tsongkhapa certainly has his critics!
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Re: Sugatagarbha : Gelugpa & Nyingma

Postby Mariusz » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:41 pm

Tom wrote:Yes, Tsongkhapa certainly has his critics!
This does not explain what is your position. You can take a quote and check yourself. For example, Tsongkhapa's Final Exposition of Wisdom" (By Jeffrey Hopkins; Snow Lion Publications; Ithaca, New York; 2008; p.160) quotes: I have proven in many ways that conceptuality apprehending true existence is just one class of conceptuality. So this hypothetical "real existence" is really "just one", so somehow universal no matter what phenomenon. Is it not? If so, the implication is: it has to be diffrent no matter what phenomenon, in other words totally different from the world.
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