How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

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Artziebetter1
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How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Artziebetter1 »

I’m asking this question because I consider Buddha dharma and realized masters as most authoritative in terms of truth.but due to my limited knowledge I do not see any difference between shentong and Hinduism,so I follow both(Also I am mimicking some mahasiddhas by doing so).

I heard from some posters that I do not know what shentong is.other posters have said to me that shentong is no different to Advaita.I don’t know who to believe.

Does shentong believe in a trans personal ground of being that is permanently enduring?and has Buddha qualities ?

Or is shentong it Tibetan Buddhism something different altogether?if it is something different altogether then what is controversial about it?
I am not asking what the tathagatagarbha sutras actually teach.I am just asking what shentong teaches.shentong also is not cittamatra but madhyamika.if madhyamika of Nagarjuna and chandrakirti is incompatible with shentong,wouldn’t that refute shentong views?

Please if you can outline why shentong is not like tirthika doctrine,why it isn’t controversial or believing in a self like tirthikas(even if it isn’t saying there is only one self etc)and why shentong is wrong from those that disagree with it.I don’t want to follow something wrongly or follow something wrong altogether.

Thank you and namaskarams
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kirtu
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by kirtu »

This is a difficult subject.

A Jonang summary: Sutra: Zhentong View
"Zhentong," (gzhan stong, "shentong") "extrinsic emptiness" or "other-emptiness" is a view of how the ultimate nature of reality is free from or empty of everything "other" than its absolute nature. In other words, a zhentong view understands how one's own enlightened essence is empty of everything false in superficial relative reality.
And the Jonang view is not the only zhentong view.

The so-called tirthika doctrine involves some concept of a self. However zhentong doesn't assert a self. Both sentences can be seen as polemic. The so-called tirthika view is asserted by Buddhists to be eternalistic and involves a concept of self. Their own view can actually be different than that asserted for them by Buddhists (possibly - this has been discussed here and other places many times - so some Advaita or other philosophy might possible not be eternalistic or involve a self - I haven't studied the objections in depth so I don't know).

Similarly zhentong is attacked because the assertion of an "absolute [enlightened] nature" can be seen as an assertion of a self (or can be asserted to be a reformulation of Chittamatra). Zhentongpa would certainly say that an "absolute enlightened nature" is not a self or some eternalistic existential object.

The Buddha From Dolpo is a good starting point for the exploration of zhentong - mostly because almost all the other texts concerning zhentong are polemics against the view.

Then there is The Essence of Other-Emptiness by Taranatha

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

PM
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
Malcolm
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Malcolm »

Artziebetter1 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:32 am
Does shentong believe in a trans personal ground of being that is permanently enduring?and has Buddha qualities ?
Nope. Buddha-nature is personal, not transpersonal.
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Here’s a link to Tsadra Foundation’s website dedicated to the various interpretations of Buddha Nature:


https://buddhanature.tsadra.org/index.php/Explore

It doesn’t promote a single view, but gives a gamut of perspectives.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
Malcolm
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Malcolm »

Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:43 pm Here’s a link to Tsadra Foundation’s website dedicated to the various interpretations of Buddha Nature:


https://buddhanature.tsadra.org/index.php/Explore

It doesn’t promote a single view, but gives a gamut of perspectives.
None of these presentations assert tathagatagarbha is transpersonal.
Danny
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Danny »

Buddha’s cannot enlighten anyone. Otherwise they would do so.
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:07 pm None of these presentations assert tathagatagarbha is transpersonal.

https://buddhanature.tsadra.org/index.php/Questions
Critics of the theory would say buddha-nature is the same as the self because buddha-nature teachings use positive language to describe an "essence" or an "innate characteristic" of a person. Some who accept buddha-nature argue that they are provisional teachings, that while they do seem to suggest a self, they nevertheless have practical value and, in any case, are not meant to be taken seriously—and there are scriptures to support this position. Others, however, disagree and hold to the buddha-nature teachings as a definitive teaching, and they maintain that in no way is buddha-nature a doctrine of a self. Those who advocate for this view teach that buddha-nature is not a matter of an individual essence; it is instead a universal reality—no one suggests that there are separate buddha-natures in each person. Individuals are subject to dependent origination—our existence comes about through causes and conditions and therefore cannot be said to be truly individually existent. But buddha-nature is not conditioned. It is simply a basic characteristic of having a mind and consciousness, and for this reason it cannot be said to belong to us as individuals. It is more like air—we all have it in our lungs, but it is not our own individual air.
(Underlining mine)
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
Varis
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Varis »

Which tirthika doctrine? There are a lot.
The difference between shentong and Advaita Vedanta's idea of a soul aren't that different.
However, are you willing to risk your chance to attain Buddhahood on the hope that Advaita's methods can lead you there? I'm not.
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Are you an iPhone person or an Android? I like iPhone. Some people like Android. I can’t stand Android.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
Malcolm
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Malcolm »

Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:58 am
Malcolm wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:07 pm None of these presentations assert tathagatagarbha is transpersonal.

https://buddhanature.tsadra.org/index.php/Questions
Critics of the theory would say buddha-nature is the same as the self because buddha-nature teachings use positive language to describe an "essence" or an "innate characteristic" of a person. Some who accept buddha-nature argue that they are provisional teachings, that while they do seem to suggest a self, they nevertheless have practical value and, in any case, are not meant to be taken seriously—and there are scriptures to support this position. Others, however, disagree and hold to the buddha-nature teachings as a definitive teaching, and they maintain that in no way is buddha-nature a doctrine of a self. Those who advocate for this view teach that buddha-nature is not a matter of an individual essence; it is instead a universal reality—no one suggests that there are separate buddha-natures in each person. Individuals are subject to dependent origination—our existence comes about through causes and conditions and therefore cannot be said to be truly individually existent. But buddha-nature is not conditioned. It is simply a basic characteristic of having a mind and consciousness, and for this reason it cannot be said to belong to us as individuals. It is more like air—we all have it in our lungs, but it is not our own individual air.
(Underlining mine)
The red part means it is not transpersonal. All fires are hot. But the heat of this fire is not the heat of that fire.

The rest of this person’s sentence is incoherent and contradicts the part outlined in red.
Last edited by Malcolm on Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Malcolm wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:55 am
Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:58 am
Malcolm wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:07 pm None of these presentations assert tathagatagarbha is transpersonal.

https://buddhanature.tsadra.org/index.php/Questions
Critics of the theory would say buddha-nature is the same as the self because buddha-nature teachings use positive language to describe an "essence" or an "innate characteristic" of a person. Some who accept buddha-nature argue that they are provisional teachings, that while they do seem to suggest a self, they nevertheless have practical value and, in any case, are not meant to be taken seriously—and there are scriptures to support this position. Others, however, disagree and hold to the buddha-nature teachings as a definitive teaching, and they maintain that in no way is buddha-nature a doctrine of a self. Those who advocate for this view teach that buddha-nature is not a matter of an individual essence; it is instead a universal reality—no one suggests that there are separate buddha-natures in each person. Individuals are subject to dependent origination—our existence comes about through causes and conditions and therefore cannot be said to be truly individually existent. But buddha-nature is not conditioned. It is simply a basic characteristic of having a mind and consciousness, and for this reason it cannot be said to belong to us as individuals. It is more like air—we all have it in our lungs, but it is not our own individual air.
(Underlining mine)
The red part means it is not transpersonal. All fires are hot. But the heat of this fire is not the heat of that fire.
That is not what it says.
it cannot be said to belong to us as individuals.
Last edited by Schrödinger’s Yidam on Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
Malcolm
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Malcolm »

Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:59 am That is not what it says.
This is not a canonical text, not even a pandita’s opinion; thus is just some person’s rather sloppily written synopsis. As such it does meet the standard for being taken seriously as an assertion that tathagatagarbha is some kind of transpersonal reality, apart from in some ignorant person’s febrile imagination.
Malcolm
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Malcolm »

Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:59 am
Malcolm wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:55 am
The red part means it is not transpersonal. All fires are hot. But the heat of this fire is not the heat of that fire.
That is not what it says.
it cannot be said to belong to us as individuals.
To say something is a characteristic is to say it is a property of a thing, for example, heat and fire. This person’s synopsis is incoherently written.
It is simply a basic characteristic of having a mind and consciousness,
Their words, not mine.
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

I like iPhone.
You like Android.
Arguing about it can only go so far.

In any case that Tsadra Foundation website is a nice resource dedicated to the subject of Buddha Nature as understood from a variety of schools and interpretations. It’s not a discussion board like this, but a lot of good people have put a lot of work into giving the subject a representative gamut of presentations. It’s good food for thought.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
Donny
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Donny »

This is not a canonical text, not even a pandita’s opinion; thus is just some person’s rather sloppily written synopsis. As such it does meet the standard for being taken seriously as an assertion that tathagatagarbha is some kind of transpersonal reality, apart from in some ignorant person’s febrile imagination.

Which canonical text - preferebly with a panditas commentary - would be a good place to go deeper into this topic?
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Which canonical text - preferebly with a panditas commentary - would be a good place to go deeper into this topic?
There's a couple translations of "The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra" that are good. Both are coming from Karma Kagyu sources.

The first is titled "Buddha Nature", Snow Lion, tr. Rosemary Fuchs. It has a commentary by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye.

The second is titled "When Clouds Part", Shambhala, tr Karl Brunnhölzl. This is a masterpiece. Brunnhölzl gives a quick little synopsis of what various Karma Kagyu masters and lineage holders have said about Shentong over the centuries. Plus he gives several other shorter translations of Shentong works. It's 1,000 pages and $50 but worth it.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
Malcolm
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Malcolm »

Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:29 am
Which canonical text - preferebly with a panditas commentary - would be a good place to go deeper into this topic?
There's a couple translations of "The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra" that are good. Both are coming from Karma Kagyu sources.

The first is titled "Buddha Nature", Snow Lion, tr. Rosemary Fuchs. It has a commentary by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye.
This commentary is based almost entirely on the commentary written by the Sakya scholar, Rongton Sheja Kunrik, regarded as an emanation of Maitreya. Library of Tibetan classics is coming out with a collection of commentaries on Uttaratantra from the primrary Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

There is only one Indian commentary, attributed to Asanga, generally regarded by Tibetans as being composed from the Prasanga Madhyamaka POV.
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

There is only one Indian commentary, attributed to Asanga, generally regarded by Tibetans as being composed from the Prasanga Madhyamaka POV.
I believe that one is available in English as “Changeless Nature”, tr. Ken Holmes. I’m not a fan of that one. The ‘commentary’ is just a slightly different wording of the original text. Right?
*******
The first 3 chapters are dedicated to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha respectively.

The Buddha Nature related chapters start with ch.4

Root verses from Tsadra’s website. Translations available in English, Tibetan, Sanskrit, and Chinese. The English is from Brunnhölzl’s “When Clouds Part”.
https://buddhanature.tsadra.org/index. ... ot_Verses

It really is worthwhile to spend some time exploring that website.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
Malcolm
Posts: 32807
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: How is shentong different from tirthika doctrine

Post by Malcolm »

Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:31 pm
There is only one Indian commentary, attributed to Asanga, generally regarded by Tibetans as being composed from the Prasanga Madhyamaka POV.
I believe that one is available in English as “Changeless Nature”, tr. Ken Holmes. I’m not a fan of that one. The ‘commentary’ is just a slightly different wording of the original text. Right?

No, that’s a translation of the root text.


*******
The first 3 chapters are dedicated to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha respectively.

The Buddha Nature related chapters start with ch.4

Root verses from Tsadra’s website. Translations available in English, Tibetan, Sanskrit, and Chinese. The English is from Brunnhölzl’s “When Clouds Part”.
https://buddhanature.tsadra.org/index. ... ot_Verses

It really is worthwhile to spend some time exploring that website.
Yes, that website is worthwhile. Doesn’t make Tathagatagarbha transpersonal though.
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