Tathagatagarbha

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tkp67
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by tkp67 »

Shakyamuni could not verbalize the transmission from the primordial buddha to ordinary minds as a teaching Nichiren did.

That story about a child birthing ancient points to this. i.e. the thus come ones articulate the teachings of the primordial buddha as they hear it so the later on in an age a thus come one appears the teaching from the primordial buddha is understood from the living moment's perspective not an antiquated one.

This is all given credence in the wonderful sounds chapter.
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by Queequeg »

tkp67 wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 9:53 pm
Queequeg wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:23 pm
tkp67 wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:19 pm
This is the 15th Chapter. In the 16th, Buddha states that he didn't really awaken in this world but awoke in the remote past.
You miss the point entirely. The OP is trying to resolve what seems a conflict but is not.

Supreme perfect enlightenment is from the primordial buddha the existence it is experienced in is still provisional. It is not one or the other.

This all meant to point to one's own enlightenment from the same source as all thus come ones are enlightened by this sutra (as well as all others that state as much because that represents supreme perfect enlightenment from the primordial buddha.

If one can't conceptualize that it happened in shakyamuni's lifetime one cannot conceptualize that it can happen in one's own.
Not really sure what you are saying. But if I understand Minobu correctly, he's pointing out the apparent problem of claiming to plant seeds of Buddhahood in beings who already possess them.

I've never heard a decent explanation of this, so I'm curious about it, too. There's no explanation of it in Nichiren's writings as far as I know, other than some ideas about Mappo. But even then, we're not then talking about Buddhanature, or Buddhanature in general - just a particular aspect of Buddhanature as I referred to above.

Pointing to the 15th Chapter does not resolve anything about this. It just makes the problem even more pronounced.

To be clear, the problem posed in the 15th Chapter is articulated by Maitreya: How is it possible that these grand bodhisattvas are the disciples of Shakyamuni who only attained enlightenment 40 years before? The resolution to the problem is that, as the Buddha explains in the following chapter, he attained awakening in the remote past and the BoE are his disciples since that time. That's the point that Shakyamuni was building toward through the first 15 chapters.

Not to make this even more problematic, but the Lotus Sutra does not mention Buddhanature. Buddhanature is a concept that emerged in Buddhist texts and discourse several centuries after the Lotus was compiled. I don't think its accurate to say that Buddhanature is retroactively read into the Lotus, but rather the Lotus informed the emergence of Buddhanature as a concept. We take the view of living beings as presented in the Lotus - all on the path to awakening - and from that identify the quality that all beings are on the path to Buddhahood, and that nature being the Buddhanature, or Tathagatagarbha. This is my speculation.

This interpretation by Nichiren only makes sense within the context of the Mahayana view that beings who do not reach the level of no-back-sliding can and often do forget what they learned lifetime to lifetime. He's not really sowing seeds so much as sowing them anew in people who have lost their connection to the Buddhas and fallen deep into forgetfulness/ignorance.

Nichiren did some interesting things - collapsing some ideas, or perhaps taking vantages that obscure certain aspects.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
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Minobu
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

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Queequeg wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:37 pm
Minobu wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:58 pm Well there were other Buddhas before Lord Sakyamuni Buddha..Buddhas like Lord Sakyamuni Buddha who look after sentients and the lived and dwelled in That pure land...and more to come..the next one is in ten thousand years Lord Maitreya Buddha , who sits on His Throne waiting as we speak.
This is not what the Lotus says. It says Shakyamuni awoke in the remote past. All Buddhas are his emanation, including the Shakyamuni who appeared in India.
this has been going for so long no one knows the time...look at how long ago Lord Sakyamuni Buddha said he first attained enlightenment..that was just when He attained IT...He was a common mortal for like how long before that...having to go through the samsaric cycle...like being everyone's mother at least 500 times and every sentient being his mother at least 500 times...it's like a long time and this is discussing just one Buddha..i think there were a thousand before this Buddha. ..think of that time period...i mean really if they all were like this Buddha then that time in the Lotus is like for one Buddha...
You're trying to understand Buddha on linear, conditioned terms (that are entirely conditioned by you). That understanding will never be more than an appearance of a provisional Buddha.
so there is some text where it actually gives numbers to past Buddhas and Buddhas to come...we are all Buddhas but then there are these certain Buddhas like Lord Sakyamuni Buddha who become part and parcel to the world till all the sentients are liberated...then like Buddha Avalokiteshvara had happen when he finally liberated everyone....He was told to turn around and look...He had a total break down and fell into a thousand pieces for he saw Samsara filling up again...So the Buddhas put Him back together again only this time with a thousand arms to aid Him..

I have a hard time seeing all Buddhas as One Buddha...Although Rinpoche was really in my face a couple of times sternly telling me "There is only one Buddha".

but what about before He attained Enlightenment...he even said he wandered around Samsara..

it's really hard for me...for they say there were others like Him and more to come...like Buddha Maitreya ...This Buddha is so old he forgot the Lotus sutra...lol...

thats what Rinpoche said about the whole Primordial Buddha thing to me....It happened so long ago no one remembers...

not easy my man ..not easy...
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by markatex »

I’ve kinda just skimmed through this thread, so I might not be addressing the question, but I had a couple of thoughts.

The teaching that we need to receive the seed of Buddhahood because we’ve lost the ability to awaken in the age of mappo is not specific to Nichiren Shoshu; this is taught in Nichiren Shu as well. This seed is not the tathagatagarbha, which we already possess. The sowing the seed of Buddhahood business means that we’re setting the stage for something to germinate and take root later; but because you can’t actually tease out which is the cause and which is the effect, the idea that this happens in a linear fashion kind of collapses in on itself. Or at least that’s my current understanding.
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by tkp67 »

Queequeg wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:46 pm
tkp67 wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 9:53 pm
Queequeg wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:23 pm

This is the 15th Chapter. In the 16th, Buddha states that he didn't really awaken in this world but awoke in the remote past.
You miss the point entirely. The OP is trying to resolve what seems a conflict but is not.

Supreme perfect enlightenment is from the primordial buddha the existence it is experienced in is still provisional. It is not one or the other.

This all meant to point to one's own enlightenment from the same source as all thus come ones are enlightened by this sutra (as well as all others that state as much because that represents supreme perfect enlightenment from the primordial buddha.

If one can't conceptualize that it happened in shakyamuni's lifetime one cannot conceptualize that it can happen in one's own.
Not really sure what you are saying. But if I understand Minobu correctly, he's pointing out the apparent problem of claiming to plant seeds of Buddhahood in beings who already possess them.

I've never heard a decent explanation of this, so I'm curious about it, too. There's no explanation of it in Nichiren's writings as far as I know, other than some ideas about Mappo. But even then, we're not then talking about Buddhanature, or Buddhanature in general - just a particular aspect of Buddhanature as I referred to above.

Pointing to the 15th Chapter does not resolve anything about this. It just makes the problem even more pronounced.

To be clear, the problem posed in the 15th Chapter is articulated by Maitreya: How is it possible that these grand bodhisattvas are the disciples of Shakyamuni who only attained enlightenment 40 years before? The resolution to the problem is that, as the Buddha explains in the following chapter, he attained awakening in the remote past and the BoE are his disciples since that time. That's the point that Shakyamuni was building toward through the first 15 chapters.

Not to make this even more problematic, but the Lotus Sutra does not mention Buddhanature. Buddhanature is a concept that emerged in Buddhist texts and discourse several centuries after the Lotus was compiled. I don't think its accurate to say that Buddhanature is retroactively read into the Lotus, but rather the Lotus informed the emergence of Buddhanature as a concept. We take the view of living beings as presented in the Lotus - all on the path to awakening - and from that identify the quality that all beings are on the path to Buddhahood, and that nature being the Buddhanature, or Tathagatagarbha. This is my speculation.

This interpretation by Nichiren only makes sense within the context of the Mahayana view that beings who do not reach the level of no-back-sliding can and often do forget what they learned lifetime to lifetime. He's not really sowing seeds so much as sowing them anew in people who have lost their connection to the Buddhas and fallen deep into forgetfulness/ignorance.

Nichiren did some interesting things - collapsing some ideas, or perhaps taking vantages that obscure certain aspects.
I believe I understand the conundrum. Because the answer spans much of the writings and the lotus sutra it is probably best I give a rough synopsis and back fill with reference after as required. It will be a bit indirect as I have to lay some of the considerations that led me to this point and then tie it together with summation.

Nichiren's discussion of seeds is very interesting. He makes some very stark statements and at some point seemingly contradicts them. I started going through the goshos searching for the word seeds to get a more comprehensive understanding and have notes to reflect the search. For example it seems some seeds are meant to be burned such as provisional seeds and some seeds are meant to be planted in place of them such as myoho renge kyo.

He aslo talks about lifetimes and warns against seeking the gohonzon outside of one's own life it puts the use of seeds in a particular context.

Furthermore chanting daimoku to the gohonzon has an important quality that makes the following more clear. When we chant daimoku to the gohonzon there is nothing between our mind and out senses and Shakyamuni's supreme and complete enlightenment from the lotus as taught by Nichiren from Eagle's peak. In the degenerate age there is no other representation of this dynamic. This isn't just Shakyamuni's enlightenment or his enlightenment as seen by Nichiren or Nichiren's enlightenment. This is the mirror of the primordial buddha and the person chanting daimoku is planting their own "seeds" in the process.

These seeds equate to the moments in which they are held by the mind and the actions that burn them simply means they did not take. At some point Nichiren comments off handly but there is no buddha to measure this offense against so it is essential of no consequence. This is also where one might come to reason that lifetimes over many existence translate to moments within one's own existence.

If we keep in mind that we plant our own seeds in our own conscious chanting daimoku in front of the gohonzon. If we have not achieved buddhahood we aren't burning seeds because we haven't reached a stage were they stick. The buddha in this context is one's self.

The provisional here within the lotus sutra is one's own existence. Every being that existed is a provision that expresses consciousness does it within the provision existence. Shakyamuni upon supreme and perfect enlightenment proved consciousness is not limited in such a manner but even he was ignorant to this fact within his own existence until he realized it.

The primordial buddha is constantly abiding in the saha world, this is how Shayamuni and Nichiren were able to commune on Eagle's peak. This is the continuum of the supreme and complete enlightenment of the thus come ones.

At some point one might come to understand that this existence is a provision to a greater continuity of sentient consciousness that can only be realized while one is existing. Thus the greatest fortune of being born human in this world of suffering. One has all the requirements to realize the lotus that in their own lives. There is no greater gift yet it still needs to be realized within the provision of suffering within this saha world.

Also remember Shakyamuni converted the bodhisattva of the earth within his supreme enlightenment which was never provisional it only appeared provisional as this is how he taught it before he preached the lotus.

I am sure there is much more to the notion of supreme and complete enlightenment of a thus come one but in context to the nature of consciousness that is both provisional and true (absolute, eternal etc all) as described in the writings and lotus this is how I believe the underlying dynamics function.
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by Minobu »

Queequeg wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:37 pm
Minobu wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:58 pm Well there were other Buddhas before Lord Sakyamuni Buddha..Buddhas like Lord Sakyamuni Buddha who look after sentients and the lived and dwelled in That pure land...and more to come..the next one is in ten thousand years Lord Maitreya Buddha , who sits on His Throne waiting as we speak.
This is not what the Lotus says. It says Shakyamuni awoke in the remote past. All Buddhas are his emanation, including the Shakyamuni who appeared in India.
this has been going for so long no one knows the time...look at how long ago Lord Sakyamuni Buddha said he first attained enlightenment..that was just when He attained IT...He was a common mortal for like how long before that...having to go through the samsaric cycle...like being everyone's mother at least 500 times and every sentient being his mother at least 500 times...it's like a long time and this is discussing just one Buddha..i think there were a thousand before this Buddha. ..think of that time period...i mean really if they all were like this Buddha then that time in the Lotus is like for one Buddha...
You're trying to understand Buddha on linear, conditioned terms (that are entirely conditioned by you). That understanding will never be more than an appearance of a provisional Buddha.
ok keep coming back here ...trying to see if it fits...

so maybe if you please explain to me what you mean by provisional Buddha ?
thats another thing that i don't get.
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by Minobu »

markatex wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 1:44 am I’ve kinda just skimmed through this thread, so I might not be addressing the question, but I had a couple of thoughts.

The teaching that we need to receive the seed of Buddhahood because we’ve lost the ability to awaken in the age of mappo is not specific to Nichiren Shoshu; this is taught in Nichiren Shu as well. This seed is not the tathagatagarbha, which we already possess. The sowing the seed of Buddhahood business means that we’re setting the stage for something to germinate and take root later; but because you can’t actually tease out which is the cause and which is the effect, the idea that this happens in a linear fashion kind of collapses in on itself. Or at least that’s my current understanding.
i don't get the linear stuff either./.

maybe if i could understand both what is meant by a provisional Buddha and this linear ...obviously you and Q have a handle on something i'm clueless about.
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by Queequeg »

Briefly looked into it.

This has to do with Mappo, pure and simple.

Nichiren is not talking about Buddhanature/Tathagatagarbha. He is talking about lineage. 仏種 - Buddha-vamsa.

In Mappo thought, Shakyamuni's lineage from the Nirmanakaya who appeared in India has expired. Full stop. Pun intended.

As recounted in the Lotus, in anticipation of Mappo, Shakyamuni entrusts Jogyobosatsu (Visistacaritra) with the Lotus Sutra. Jogyo is supposed to appear in Mappo and propagate the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren is claiming that his teaching is this teaching that was entrusted to Jogyo. (This also pertains to the identity of Nichiren - he believed he was Jogyo.)

This is consistent with Nichiren's writings. In Kanjin-no-honzon-sho, where he describes the Gohonzon, the Gohonzon represents the moment the teaching is entrusted to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

What Nichiren is doing is resolving the problem posed by Mappo - re-establishing the lineage to the Buddha that is now broken because of the nature of samsara - all things born, die, including the Buddha's teaching. By connecting lineage directly to Honbutsu (Original Buddha), Nichiren ensures that the lineage is not lost - that the people of Mappo can form a connection in the lineage of the Original Buddha.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by Queequeg »

Minobu wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:48 am
markatex wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 1:44 am I’ve kinda just skimmed through this thread, so I might not be addressing the question, but I had a couple of thoughts.

The teaching that we need to receive the seed of Buddhahood because we’ve lost the ability to awaken in the age of mappo is not specific to Nichiren Shoshu; this is taught in Nichiren Shu as well. This seed is not the tathagatagarbha, which we already possess. The sowing the seed of Buddhahood business means that we’re setting the stage for something to germinate and take root later; but because you can’t actually tease out which is the cause and which is the effect, the idea that this happens in a linear fashion kind of collapses in on itself. Or at least that’s my current understanding.
i don't get the linear stuff either./.

maybe if i could understand both what is meant by a provisional Buddha and this linear ...obviously you and Q have a handle on something i'm clueless about.
Whatever you think, is literally a series of mind moments according to Buddhist psychology. This is implicit in the teaching of Ichinen Sanzen. Whatever "you" think "you" are, its a construct composed of a series of mind-moments. As long as you are dwelling in this linear series of mind moments thinking this is the real, you are dwelling in constructs. Similarly, any notion of Buddha you compose based on this series of mind-moments is a constructed, composite notion of Buddha that is only found in your mind, or more specifically, as this illusion composed of mind moments. Think about a motion picture - a motion picture is not a real, organic thing with any real movement other than the movement of the film that projects a series of pictures that appears as things moving through an optical illusion in our mind.

The real Buddha, as I understand, is the real nature of things that is implicit though not necessarily obvious in all dharmas. This gets into that subtle canon of teachings that is really about trying to direct us to see in just the right way so that we see reality through a refraction of our ordinary perceptions. Madhyamaka gives us an analysis to break down our coarse perceptions and draws us toward increasingly subtle understanding. Sudden teachings bring us directly into Buddha.

This is stuff found in Zhiyi's writings. Nichiren is relying on the Tiantai framework to explain his teachings.

Provisional Buddha is the Buddha you see as an unenlightened being. True Buddha is the Reality of Buddha.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

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The five agents are earth, water, fire, wind, and space.37 They are also referred to as the five elements, the five components, the five precepts, the five constant virtues, the five directions, the five kinds of wisdom, and the five periods of teachings. It is simply that one single thing is explained in different ways in the various different sutras, or that the Buddhist texts and the non-Buddhist texts give different names to the various categories.

If now we consult the Lotus Sutra, we find that it opens up and explains these five agents as the five aspects of Buddha nature38 and the seeds of the five wisdom Thus Come Ones that are to be found in the lives of all living beings. They are thus equivalent to the five characters Myoho-renge-kyo. p.850These five characters are what make up the entity of the individual, and hence that entity exists eternally in its original state, it is the Thus Come One of original enlightenment.

This is what is explained in terms of the ten factors of life, that which “can only be understood and shared between Buddhas.”39 Bodhisattvas who have reached the stage in which there is no more regression or people who have attained the highest stage in the two vehicles know nothing whatsoever of this doctrine. But ordinary people who follow the teachings of perfect and immediate enlightenment understand this even when only beginners in religious practice, and therefore they are able to attain Buddhahood in their present form, to enjoy the entity that is diamond-hard and indestructible.

Hence it is perfectly clear that if heaven itself crumbles, then the body of the individual likewise will crumble; if the earth breaks asunder, the body of the individual too will break asunder; if the elements of earth, water, fire, wind, [and space] perish, the body of the individual too will perish. But though the three existences of past, present, and future may give way to one another, these five elements will never change or pass away. And though the three periods of time, the Former Day, the Middle Day, and the Latter Day of the Law, may differ one from another, these five elements are one in nature, not subject to rise or fall, to change of any kind.
If one should discard this freely exercised practice and instead allow one’s mind to dwell in a state of distorted thinking marked by ignorance and delusion, thoughts without substance, turning one’s back on the teaching and instruction handed down from the Buddhas of the three existences, then for all time one will merely move from darkness into darkness, always, alas, alas, at variance with the Law of the Buddha!

But now if one will only cast aside p.853such thinking, correct one’s outlook, and return to a state of enlightenment, then one will realize that the attainment of Buddhahood in one’s present form is to be found nowhere outside one’s own body. The mirror that is one’s own mind is none other than the same mirror that is the mirror of the Buddha’s mind. But we are looking at the back side of the mirror, and therefore we cannot see the truth or principle that underlies our nature, and so we are said to be in a state of ignorance. The Thus Come One, however, looks at the front side of the mirror and can see and understand the principle underlying our nature. For this reason, enlightenment and ignorance may be said to constitute a single entity.

The mirror is a single mirror, but depending upon whether one is looking at the front or the back of it, the distinction between enlightenment and darkness arises. The fact that the mirror has a back side does not constitute any interference to the front side, but, depending upon which side of the mirror one is viewing, the distinction between enlightenment and darkness is produced. This is known as the identity or the fusing and penetrating of two aspects of a single phenomenon.

The doctrines intended for the instruction and conversion of others are comparable to the back side of the mirror, while the observation of the mind that marks the teaching that pertains to the Buddha’s enlightenment is comparable to the front side of the mirror. But the mirror representative of the time when one is practicing the doctrines intended for the instruction and conversion of others and the mirror representative of the time when one is practicing the doctrines pertaining to the Buddha’s enlightenment are one and the same mirror in either case, the mirror of the nature of one’s own mind.

If we apply the mirror analogy to the process of attainment of Buddhahood in one’s present form, then looking at the front of the mirror is comparable to attaining Buddhahood, while looking at the back of the mirror is comparable to being an ordinary living being.

The fact that the mirror has a back side illustrates the point that there is no cutting off or elimination of the element of evil that is inherent in the nature of the individual. And the fact that, when one faces the back side of the mirror, the power to reflect an image that is a virtue of the front side is inactive, illustrates the limited type of blessings obtained through the doctrines intended for the instruction and conversion of others. That is, at such a time the Buddha nature inherent in living beings is not in a manifest state.

The teachings pertaining to the Buddha’s enlightenment and those intended for the instruction and conversion of others produce very different results because of the differences in power and function. The first volume of Profound Meaning states: “When Prince Siddhārtha stretched the bow of the king, his grandfather, to its full extent, this was an example of power or strength. And when the arrow he discharged pierced seven iron drums, went through one of the Iron Encircling Mountains, dug a hole in the earth, and reached as far as the circle of water,41 this was an example of function or activity.” (This illustrates the power and function of the teachings pertaining to the Buddha’s enlightenment.)

“The power and function of the various expedient teachings are paltry and weak in a way that is comparable to the bow and arrow of an ordinary person. This is because, though those who have in the past received from the Buddha the two types of wisdom42 associated with the teachings intended for the instruction and conversion of p.854others, their understanding of principle is not complete, the faith engendered in them is not deep in nature, and their doubts have not yet been fully dispelled.” (This applies to the teachings intended for the instruction and conversion of others.)

“But now when one forms a relationship with the Lotus Sutra, one receives the two types of wisdom associated with the teachings pertaining to the Buddha’s enlightenment, experiences to the full the realm of Buddhahood, calls up faith in the essential nature of phenomena, broadens the way of the perfect and wonderful teaching, cuts off all fundamental delusions, and frees oneself from transmigration marked by change and advance. Not only do those bodhisattvas who have been able to carry out religious practice in their present bodily form, and those who have done so and also attained the realization of the non-birth and non-extinction of all phenomena, benefit from this, but those who have just begun to manifest the essential nature of phenomena, and who have done so and advanced to the higher stages of religious practice,43 likewise benefit from it. This practice is highly effective in spreading the teachings abroad and brings benefits that are widespread and profound. Such is the power and function of this, the Lotus Sutra.” (This refers to the teaching pertaining to the Buddha’s enlightenment.)

One need hardly point out that the power and function pertaining to these two kinds of teachings, those intended for the instruction and conversion of others and those pertaining to the Buddha’s enlightenment, clearly differ greatly in their relative merits. One should pay very close attention to this passage, for it reflects as in a mirror the proper system of classification to be applied to all the sacred teachings of the Buddha’s lifetime.
---> https://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd- ... 5#para-143

The Unanimous Declaration by the Buddhas
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by jake »

tkp67 wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:10 pm
....
What does the wall of text mean for the posts above? Please consult the TOS with regard to Quoting and Referencing Sources.
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by Minobu »

Queequeg wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 1:57 pm
Minobu wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:48 am
markatex wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 1:44 am I’ve kinda just skimmed through this thread, so I might not be addressing the question, but I had a couple of thoughts.

The teaching that we need to receive the seed of Buddhahood because we’ve lost the ability to awaken in the age of mappo is not specific to Nichiren Shoshu; this is taught in Nichiren Shu as well. This seed is not the tathagatagarbha, which we already possess. The sowing the seed of Buddhahood business means that we’re setting the stage for something to germinate and take root later; but because you can’t actually tease out which is the cause and which is the effect, the idea that this happens in a linear fashion kind of collapses in on itself. Or at least that’s my current understanding.
i don't get the linear stuff either./.

maybe if i could understand both what is meant by a provisional Buddha and this linear ...obviously you and Q have a handle on something i'm clueless about.
Whatever you think, is literally a series of mind moments according to Buddhist psychology. This is implicit in the teaching of Ichinen Sanzen. Whatever "you" think "you" are, its a construct composed of a series of mind-moments. As long as you are dwelling in this linear series of mind moments thinking this is the real, you are dwelling in constructs. Similarly, any notion of Buddha you compose based on this series of mind-moments is a constructed, composite notion of Buddha that is only found in your mind, or more specifically, as this illusion composed of mind moments. Think about a motion picture - a motion picture is not a real, organic thing with any real movement other than the movement of the film that projects a series of pictures that appears as things moving through an optical illusion in our mind.

The real Buddha, as I understand, is the real nature of things that is implicit though not necessarily obvious in all dharmas. This gets into that subtle canon of teachings that is really about trying to direct us to see in just the right way so that we see reality through a refraction of our ordinary perceptions. Madhyamaka gives us an analysis to break down our coarse perceptions and draws us toward increasingly subtle understanding. Sudden teachings bring us directly into Buddha.

This is stuff found in Zhiyi's writings. Nichiren is relying on the Tiantai framework to explain his teachings.

Provisional Buddha is the Buddha you see as an unenlightened being. True Buddha is the Reality of Buddha.
L'il better

thanks Q

ok so read it wrong..lol..

so what i construct as Buddha is provisional...ok i get it..wow thats cool..please tell me thats what you mean...lol..confidence lacking here..
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by tkp67 »

jake wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:37 pm
tkp67 wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:10 pm
....
What does the wall of text mean for the posts above? Please consult the TOS with regard to Quoting and Referencing Sources.
They are postings from a goshos that support the context of the conversation. I didn't post commentary as I thought Nichiren's was sufficient.

The mirror analogy speaks of provisional and absolute perspectives being a function of the mind. It is not an external thing that can be seen and understood from an outside perspective. This is the perspective and methodology provisional teachings use.

Nichiren employs economy of effort by combining analogy that illustrates the dynamic as internal without using external reference even when regarding the provisional teachings. This actually plants a seed because when one reads that passage because the concept it illustrates is employing the true teaching. This means it happens and is observed within one's own mind.
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by Queequeg »

Minobu wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:45 pm so what i construct as Buddha is provisional...ok i get it..wow thats cool..please tell me thats what you mean...lol..confidence lacking here..
Its what we construct... in a dynamic experience with Buddha. There is True Buddha, but only Buddhas actually see other Buddhas accurately - "No one but the Buddhas can completely know the real aspects of all dharmas" yui butsu yo butsu naino kujin shoho jisso

The Buddha does appear to us in response to our causes and conditions. That Buddha is constructed through a dynamic mutual experience between us and the Buddha. The Buddha that is conditioned by our own limitations, that appears in response to our conditions, is the so-called Provisional Buddha. This is the rich father in the Rich Father/Poor Son parable who puts on rags in order to approach his impoverished son, making himself into a relative equal with the impoverished son. The point is not so that they can live happily ever after cleaning toilets together, but rather, so that the son will come to trust the father and allow himself to be elevated in notions of self worth so that the father can tell the poor man, "I am your father, you are my son; all of my wealth is yours." The point is, the Provisional Appearances of the Buddha, by befriending us, are able to approach us - touch us deep within our minds - and lead us out of the tangled knot of views that keeps us immersed in samsara.
"Since [my awakening in the remote past] I have constantly been residing in the sahā world, teaching the Dharma and inspiring sentient beings. I have also been leading and benefiting sentient beings in incalculable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of other worlds.

“O sons of a virtuous family! During this interim I explained about the Buddha Dīpaṃkara and others. Furthermore, I also said that they had entered parinirvāṇa. I have explained such things through skillful means ("upaya" - see the parable of the burning house in Chapter 3; "O Sariputra! What do you think about this? This affluent man gave to his children equally a large cart decorated with precious treasures. Has he deceived them or not?").

“O sons of a virtuous family! If any sentient being comes to me, I perceive the dullness or sharpness of his faith and other faculties with my buddhaeye. According to the way I should bring them to the path, I, myself, proclaim different names and lifespans in various places. In each case I have also clearly stated that I would enter parinirvāṇa. Through various skillful means I have explained subtle teachings and have made the sentient beings rejoice.

“O sons of a virtuous family! To those beings whom the Tathāgata perceives as taking pleasure in the inferior teachings, who have few qualities and grave defilements, he teaches that the Buddha attained highest, complete enlightenment after he renounced household life in his young age. However, it has been a very long time indeed since I attained buddhahood. I give such an explanation only to lead and inspire the sentient beings to enter the buddha path through skillful means.

“O sons of a virtuous family! The sutras that the Tathāgata has expounded are all to save the sentient beings. Whether the Tathāgata teaches about himself or others, whether he reveals his form or that of others, whether he shows his acts or those of others, everything he says is true, never false.

“Why is this? Because the Tathāgata perceives all the marks of the triple world as they really are: that there is no birth and death, coming or going; that there is also no existence or extinction in the world, truth or falsehood, sameness or difference. The Tathāgata does not view the triple world as sentient beings in the triple world see it. The Tathāgata perceives such things clearly and without mistakes.

“Since sentient beings have various natures, desires, behaviors, thoughts, and distinctions, the Tathāgata, wanting to cause them to plant roots of good merit, has explained various teachings through a variety of examples, explanations, and illustrations. He has not desisted from doing buddha acts even for a single moment and in this way it has been an extremely long time since I attained buddhahood. My lifespan is immeasurable and incalculable. I abide forever without entering parinirvāṇa."
Everything the Buddha teaches to ordinary beings is contrived but wholly in response to the conditions of beings. The Buddha's teachings are however informed by his profound, limitless wisdom. The teachings are effective because they perfectly resonate with the conditions of beings. This is what is called teachings according to the minds of others.

In the Lotus, the Buddha explains all of this - essentially pulling back the curtain and showing what he is actually doing (if you think about this a little more, you realize this story itself is another one of these stories...). And this is where its necessary to look at the negative space.

What do I mean by negative space? When we look at the letters that appear on the screen, we find ourselves paying attention to the lines that make up the letters. But, the negative space between the lines is equally critical. Miles Davis applied this in his music - the space between the notes is critical. Without those spaces, its just sound - not music. What is that negative space that the narrative of the Lotus Sutra point at? Its taken to be the well spring of the Buddha's upaya, the Buddha's wisdom itself. As I understand it, that is the actual Lotus Sutra. It is only revealed in the dynamic interaction with ordinary beings. A static Buddha wisdom can't be discerned because there are no reference points.

The True Buddha is revealed in that dynamic interplay. Zhiyi described this in terms of the Three Truths, 10 worlds, 100 worlds of mutual possession, 1000 factors, and three-thousand realms in a single moment of thought. Nichiren took the title as embodying all of that and more - emphasizing reality beyond all of these concepts, but which ironically rely on all the concepts to be discerned. Ultimately, though, only the Sudden path of entering into Buddha wisdom, discarding all proxies, leads to buddhahood. This is actually where Buddhist practice starts. Its the entering into Buddha wisdom. Everything short of that is just preparation, at best.

The point is... Nichiren was trying to point out that reality is the Buddha lineage. This general idea seems to be found in many traditions. It might be appropriate to identify the traditions that hold they will spread in the degenerate age (Mappo) as millennial Buddhism - the Buddhism of the end time.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by jake »

tkp67 wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:04 pm They are postings from a goshos that support the context of the conversation. I didn't post commentary as I thought Nichiren's was sufficient.

The mirror analogy speaks of provisional and absolute perspectives being a function of the mind. It is not an external thing that can be seen and understood from an outside perspective. This is the perspective and methodology provisional teachings use.

Nichiren employs economy of effort by combining analogy that illustrates the dynamic as internal without using external reference even when regarding the provisional teachings. This actually plants a seed because when one reads that passage because the concept it illustrates is employing the true teaching. This means it happens and is observed within one's own mind.
Can you share how this relates to the specific concept of tathagatagarbha? As an outsider reading it appears he is speaking to how awakening in the current life is possible, not on tathagatagarbha.
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by tkp67 »

jake wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:39 pm
tkp67 wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:04 pm They are postings from a goshos that support the context of the conversation. I didn't post commentary as I thought Nichiren's was sufficient.

The mirror analogy speaks of provisional and absolute perspectives being a function of the mind. It is not an external thing that can be seen and understood from an outside perspective. This is the perspective and methodology provisional teachings use.

Nichiren employs economy of effort by combining analogy that illustrates the dynamic as internal without using external reference even when regarding the provisional teachings. This actually plants a seed because when one reads that passage because the concept it illustrates is employing the true teaching. This means it happens and is observed within one's own mind.
Can you share how this relates to the specific concept of tathagatagarbha? As an outsider reading it appears he is speaking to how awakening in the current life is possible, not on tathagatagarbha.
The tenth world is one's own inherent buddha nature. One cannot understand these teachings if not through the context of the ten worlds.
QUESTION: The “Expedient Means” chapter in the first volume of the Lotus Sutra states, “The true aspect of all phenomena [can only be understood and shared between Buddhas. This reality consists of the appearance, nature... and] their consistency from beginning to end.” What does this passage mean?

Answer: It means that all beings and environments in the Ten Worlds, from hell, the lowest, to Buddhahood, the highest, are without exception manifestations of Myoho-renge-kyo. If there is an environment, living beings are bound to dwell there. A commentary states, “Living beings and their environments always manifest Myoho-renge-kyo.”1 Another says: “The true aspect invariably manifests in all phenomena, and all phenomena invariably manifest in the ten factors. The ten factors invariably manifest in the Ten Worlds, and the Ten Worlds invariably manifest in life and its environment.”2 And “Both the beings and the environment of the Avīchi hell exist entirely within the life of the highest sage [Buddha], and what is more, the life and the environment of Vairochana [Buddha] never transcend the lives of common mortals.”3 These explanations are precise and clear. Who could have doubts? Thus, the entire realm of phenomena is no different than the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo.

---> https://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/40

The True Aspect of All Phenomena
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by tkp67 »

Queequeg wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:36 pm Ultimately, though, only the Sudden path of entering into Buddha wisdom, discarding all proxies, leads to buddhahood.
Can this be referenced in a Gosho?

Thank you in advance.
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by Queequeg »

tkp67 wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:35 pm
Queequeg wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:36 pm Ultimately, though, only the Sudden path of entering into Buddha wisdom, discarding all proxies, leads to buddhahood.
Can this be referenced in a Gosho?

Thank you in advance.
You have to be familiar with Tiantai terminology, but this is what Nichiren is referencing when he writes about discarding the provisional to reveal the real. Implicit is a reference to the Sudden and Perfect Teaching of the Lotus Sutra. If you take the time to understand Tiantai, Nichiren all of sudden makes perfect and simple sense.

As a general comment - when reading Nichiren, pay attention to what is his actual commentary and what he quotes. Extensive passages of his important writings are actually quotes of Zhiyi and Zhanran.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by tkp67 »

Queequeg wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:55 pm
tkp67 wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:35 pm
Queequeg wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:36 pm Ultimately, though, only the Sudden path of entering into Buddha wisdom, discarding all proxies, leads to buddhahood.
Can this be referenced in a Gosho?

Thank you in advance.
You have to be familiar with Tiantai terminology, but this is what Nichiren is referencing when he writes about discarding the provisional to reveal the real. Implicit is a reference to the Sudden and Perfect Teaching of the Lotus Sutra. If you take the time to understand Tiantai, Nichiren all of sudden makes perfect and simple sense.

As a general coment - when reading Nichiren, pay attention to what is his actual commentary and what he quotes. Extensive passages of his important writings are actually quotes of Zhiyi and Zhanran.
He also taught the six identities. Nichiren builds off of them with a dialog that explains a developmental process contingent on daimoku as well as behaviors.
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Re: Tathagatagarbha

Post by Queequeg »

tkp67 wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 6:49 pm He also taught the six identities. Nichiren builds off of them with a dialog that explains a developmental process contingent on daimoku as well as behaviors.
To clarify, Zhiyi taught six identities.

Nichiren identified his teaching as corresponding to the Second Stage of Hearing the Name, or as Swanson translates it, Verbal Identity.

I'm not sure Nichiren actually discussed the stages at any length in his writings.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
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