Universal Atman in Buddhism

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Wayfarer
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

Post by Wayfarer »

asunthatneversets wrote:"inherent enlightenment" is not posited, otherwise there would be no reason for a path, or the teachings in general...
Hate to jump in here, but this is not so. In many schools of Buddhism, it is said that the 'original nature of mind is inherently pure but is obscured by adventitious defilements'. It is not something you would find in the Pali (I don't think) but I'm sure that general idea is found in many Mahayana sources, both Sanskrit and East Asian.

Another thing that ought to be considered is the difference between the various buddhist schools, not from the perspective of an advocate of one or another of them, but a more general perspective. This would help to get an understanding of the way the term 'mind' is used in Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism.
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

Post by krodha »

Wayfarer wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:"inherent enlightenment" is not posited, otherwise there would be no reason for a path, or the teachings in general...
Hate to jump in here, but this is not so. In many schools of Buddhism, it is said that the 'original nature of mind is inherently pure but is obscured by adventitious defilements'. It is not something you would find in the Pali (I don't think) but I'm sure that general idea is found in many Mahayana sources, both Sanskrit and East Asian.
Right, but this is not "inherent bodhi", that is the point I'm making. The fact that the nature of mind is originally pure and naturally perfected is not what is being challenged or addressed. What is being addressed is the event of awakening to that nature, that "awakening" or recognition of said nature is what we call "enlightenment" [bodhi].

So (i) bodhi and (ii) one's unconditioned nature, are two different things, our nature is always innately pure, but initially we do not have a direct, experiential, knowledge of that nature. We have to awaken to that nature, and that event of "awakening" is bodhi or "enlightenment". This means that enlightenment is not "inherent".
Wayfarer wrote:Another thing that ought to be considered is the difference between the various buddhist schools, not from the perspective of an advocate of one or another of them, but a more general perspective. This would help to get an understanding of the way the term 'mind' is used in Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism.
There is no school in Buddhism that states sentient beings are inherently awakened... sure, they may state that we possess an innately unconditioned nature... but that is something different than awakening or enlightenment [bodhi]. "Enlightenment" is awakening to experientially know that unconditioned nature that was previously obscured by adventitious defilements.

If enlightenment was inherent, then we would all be fully omniscient buddhas who have conquered saṃsāra, we would be free of all defilement, free of suffering, and the buddhadharma would serve no purpose because none of us would need it. Obviously this is not the case.
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

Post by Berry »

Wayfarer wrote: In many schools of Buddhism, it is said that the 'original nature of mind is inherently pure but is obscured by adventitious defilements'. It is not something you would find in the Pali (I don't think)
How about this ?

Pabhassara Sutta: Luminous

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements."

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements."

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — there is no development of the mind."

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

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asunthatneversets wrote:There is no school in Buddhism that states sentient beings are inherently awakened... sure, they may state that we possess an innately unconditioned nature... but that is something different than awakening or enlightenment [bodhi].
The Awakening of Faith in Mahayana 大乘起信論 states that all sentient beings are 'inherently awakened' 本覺. 覺 is the usual translation for bodhi, 本 means 'root' or 'originally'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hongaku

You'd either have to argue that schools following Awakening of Faith in Mahayana (most of East Asian Buddhism) are not Buddhist schools, or argue that although the text talks about inherent awakening, they really mean 'innately unconditioned' (that's a plausible argument). But the Awakening of Faith, and many other East Asian Buddhist texts do use a term that translates as 'inherent awakening'.
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

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Berry wrote: How about this ?
Of course! Sorry, I wrote in haste - that was the very verse that I was thinking of. (Comes from posting whilst at work.)
asunthatneversets wrote:I think you're getting at is the fact that our unconditioned nature is originally pure and naturally perfected, no one is suggesting that it isn't. However, the issue is that this unconditioned nature is obscured by adventitious defilements, so the nature of the path is akin to an excavation. Nothing is being created anew, or constructed, we are only removing the veil of defilement so that our unconditioned nature is known, free of any obscurations.
I agree - but isn't the point that this 'unconditioned nature' which is being compared (rightly or wrongly) with Ātman? I notice the Wiki entry on Ātman says:
Ātman is the first principle, the true self of an individual beyond identification with phenomena, the essence of an individual. In order to attain liberation, a human being must acquire self-knowledge (atma jnana), which is to realize that one's true self (Ātman) is identical with the transcendent self Brahman.
But the Buddhist view is that the unconditioned nature or true nature is not 'a self' - because nothing is self, in the sense of 'something that exists independently of everything else'. The Buddhist understanding is dynamic: it requires insight into the causally-dependent inter-relationship of everything and everyone. Within that, there is nothing that can be singled out as Ātman or as essence or enduring substance.

Nevertheless the role of the Tathāgatagarbha is at least analogous to the idea of Ātman, insofar as insight into the Tathāgatagarbha is liberating (in a way similar to the insight into Ātman is said to be.)

But you can acknowledge that, without saying they're the same.
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

Post by Simon E. »

The idea of the atman was one of the concepts which formed the received wisdom of Ancient Bharat.
And was a key target of the Buddha Shakyamuni in his mission to complete and refine the Dharma of that age in order to turn the wheel of his own Dharma.
Attempts to redefine anatta in terms of variations on a theme of atta are simply regressive.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

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well, the Buddha made extensive use of key terms including dharma, karma, and Brahmin. He didn't completely sever his teaching from the milieu in which it was situated but re-defined many of the key ideas along radically different lines. And lot of the arguments about it on the Forum are conducted as if we really were in a sectarian dispute with Hinduism - whereas, I'm not, being an anglo-saxon Western Buddhist convert, who has considerable respect for both sides.
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

Post by Simon E. »

Wayfarer wrote:well, the Buddha made extensive use of key terms including dharma, karma, and Brahmin. He didn't completely sever his teaching from the milieu in which it was situated but re-defined many of the key ideas along radically different lines. And lot of the arguments about it on the Forum are conducted as if we really were in a sectarian dispute with Hinduism - whereas, I'm not, being an anglo-saxon Western Buddhist convert, who has considerable respect for both sides.

I think that it is remarkable that on this forum..clearly marked as being ' a Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism ' that so many threads and so many words are being expended on Hinduism per se. :shrug:
Its not as though there is any danger that we will ever run out of core Buddhist topics.
At what point is it necessary to draw a line under what is in essence a pretty basic debate.
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

Post by srivijaya »

Simon E. wrote:I think that it is remarkable that on this forum..clearly marked as being ' a Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism ' that so many threads and so many words are being expended on Hinduism per se. :shrug:
Its not as though there is any danger that we will ever run out of core Buddhist topics.
At what point is it necessary to draw a line under what is in essence a pretty basic debate.
I think it's all credit to the members that they are willing to analyse this topic in a broad non-sectarian way.
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

Post by Matt J »

Actually, a lot of Buddhism develops through debate. But for some of us, these are not mere philosophical issues. They are live issues arising from experience in practice. When you practice and experience something like an Atman, it is something you struggle with. Not in a vague, book-reading, philosophical way, but in an experiential way. Struggling with these issues is part of how they move from intellectual exercises to experience and conviction.
Simon E. wrote: I think that it is remarkable that on this forum..clearly marked as being ' a Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism ' that so many threads and so many words are being expended on Hinduism per se. :shrug:
Its not as though there is any danger that we will ever run out of core Buddhist topics.
At what point is it necessary to draw a line under what is in essence a pretty basic debate.
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

Post by Simon E. »

Have you ' experienced something like an atman ' ?
Did you raise that with your/a Buddhist teacher? They will put you straight in a way that no amount of online debate can get near.

There is analysis..and there is endlessly circling the landing strip.
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

Qianxi wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:There is no school in Buddhism that states sentient beings are inherently awakened... sure, they may state that we possess an innately unconditioned nature... but that is something different than awakening or enlightenment [bodhi].
The Awakening of Faith in Mahayana 大乘起信論 states that all sentient beings are 'inherently awakened' 本覺. 覺 is the usual translation for bodhi, 本 means 'root' or 'originally'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hongaku

You'd either have to argue that schools following Awakening of Faith in Mahayana (most of East Asian Buddhism) are not Buddhist schools, or argue that although the text talks about inherent awakening, they really mean 'innately unconditioned' (that's a plausible argument). But the Awakening of Faith, and many other East Asian Buddhist texts do use a term that translates as 'inherent awakening'.
Chinese Buddhism departs from Indian Buddhism in many respects. Still, the idea of "inherent awakening" is patently absurd and cannot be taken literally or seriously by any means.
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

Post by krodha »

Qianxi wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:There is no school in Buddhism that states sentient beings are inherently awakened... sure, they may state that we possess an innately unconditioned nature... but that is something different than awakening or enlightenment [bodhi].
The Awakening of Faith in Mahayana 大乘起信論 states that all sentient beings are 'inherently awakened' 本覺. 覺 is the usual translation for bodhi, 本 means 'root' or 'originally'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hongaku

You'd either have to argue that schools following Awakening of Faith in Mahayana (most of East Asian Buddhism) are not Buddhist schools, or argue that although the text talks about inherent awakening, they really mean 'innately unconditioned' (that's a plausible argument). But the Awakening of Faith, and many other East Asian Buddhist texts do use a term that translates as 'inherent awakening'.
Being "inherently awakened" means you already have a direct, experiential knowledge of your nature and you don't need the teachings at all... I'm sure you can understand the issue with such a view.
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

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Might just be different ways to say have to peel the banana to get to it's meat.
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

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Wayfarer wrote: Nevertheless the role of the Tathāgatagarbha is at least analogous to the idea of Ātman, insofar as insight into the Tathāgatagarbha is liberating (in a way similar to the insight into Ātman is said to be.)

But you can acknowledge that, without saying they're the same.
One, the Indian scholastics belonging to the Madhyamaka and Yogacara strains did not really pay much attention to this idea or this class of sūtras. There exists but a single commentary and subcommentary on the tathāgarbhasūtras, the Ratnagotravibhaga, aka, the Uttaratantra (a title in all probability derived from the Nirvana Sūtra, which describes itself as such).

Most of the Tibetan scholastics around the issue arise from the Tibetan desire to reconcile the five treatises of Maitreyanatha with Madhyamaka.

In so far as tathagatagarbha being analogous to the notion of atman, it is simply another example of Buddhist expropriation and redefinition, so that now "ātman", in these sūtras, represents the potential to become a Tathāgata, which all sentient beings possess, the seed of buddhahood, as the Nirvana Sūtra so clearly states.

In any case, the idea is far more important outside of India than it was in India. We should take that into consideration. It was also far more important to later Indian Buddhists (Vajrayāna) than to earlier ones (common Mahāyāna), and that also needs to be taken into consideration. We can understand this is a fact due to the increasing attention it receives in Vajrayāna commentaries. Whereas earlier Indian Buddhists wrote voluminous commentaries on the Prajñāpāramita with the Abhisamaya-ālaṃkara literature, on Yogacara with literature on the Mahāyāna Sutra-ālaṃkara and so on, they virtually neglect the Uttaratantra. However, there is another important text which can give us some alternate insight into this doctrine as it was understood in India, and that is the Āryalaṅkāvatāra-vṛtti by Jñānaśrībhadra. I cannot reproduce all 47+ comments he makes on tathagatagarbha in this text, but this one should give you an indication of what Indians in general understood tathagatagarbha to mean. They generally understood tathāgatagarbha as a synonym for the mind's natural luminosity:
  • Therefore, that dharmatā of the mind that is being examined [with regard to being] conditioned and unconditioned has always existed; because all sentient beings are possessors of tathāgatagarbha, these vessels of natural luminosity (prakṛtiprabhāsvara) are neither pure nor impure. Because they have spoiled that natural total purity, by abandoning the temporary flaws that the form of two arisisings, they are like gold, i.e., for that reason through category of permanence the tathāgatas are like precious gold.
Indeed the Ārya-laṅkāvatāra-mahāyāna-sūtra treats this metaphor in the following way:
  • Just as one sees the golden color,
    the natural shine and pure surface
    when gold is polished, likewise
    are sentient beings in the aggregates.
So here, of we want to apply the term nature (atman) to sentient beings, we can say that the nature (atman) of sentient beings is luminosity. But luminosity is just a metaphor for purity. For example, we see in the Ārya-bodhisattvapiṭaka-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra:
  • All phenomena are naturally pure,
    natural luminosity has always been the pure foundation,
    unfabricated and unperceived.
And also:
  • The kāya of the Tathāgata is natually pure, totally pure, free from the taints of all afflictions.
To illustrate this further, the Ārya-sarvabuddhaviṣayāvatārajñānālokālaṃkāra-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra states very clearly:
  • Mañjuśrī, awakening (bodhi) is natural luminosity because of the natural luminosity of the mind itself. If it is asked for what reason is it luminous?, that which natural is totally without afflictions, equal with space, possessing the nature of space, truly inclusive of space and like space, because it is extremely luminous by nature.
And of course the Ārya-laṅkāvatāra-mahāyāna-sūtra clearly makes the equation between the naturally luminosity of the mind and the tathāgatagarbha:
  • Having purified the the afflictions
    abandoned by cultivation and seeing,
    the mind is natural luminous,
    the pure tathāgatagarbha.
It is also says:
  • The mind free of turbidty
    is the opposite of the mental consciousness;
    in order to understand all Dharmas,
    I have explained "The mind is the Buddha."
Now, if someone is going to assert the tathātagarbha is a self, they will also have to assert that the mind (citta) is a self. Then they will find themselves on a very slippery slope. But if, on the other hand, they assert merely that innate purity of the mind is all that is intended by tathāgatagarbha, then of course they will remain on level ground with no danger of falling in the ravine of permanence and annihilation. And perhaps it is needless to say, but this luminosity is only universal in the sense that it is a characteristic of everyone's mind, like heat in fire or wetness in water.
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

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asunthatneversets wrote:
Son of Buddha wrote:
Also the idea that tathāgatagarbha is full-fledged buddhahood is contradicted by this passage:
  • The seed existing in oneself that turns into buddhahood is called "tathāgatgarbha," the buddhahood which one will obtain.
Again one sentence with no context.

This is only in reference to inherent enlightenment manifesting in the life of the sentient being, it is in no way saying that the Buddha nature is a part that you can use to create the unconditioned unborn Enlightenment.

As I've pointed out to you before "Inherent enlightenment [bodhi]" also makes zero sense.
Sure it makes zero sense............to you.

If everyone was inherently enlightened then samsara wouldn't even be an issue and there would be no reason for the buddhadharma.
nobody said the current individual had manifested their inherent Enlightenment. Enlightenment itself even from the Pali Canon standards has always been uncreated ,Unborn, Unbecome, Unmade,Unconditioned(Udana 8,3)
This means that your Bodhi has never never been created or born and has always been Bodhi since beginningless time. This means that Enlightenment is not something you create it is only something that is revealed/manifested when all defilements are removed.

Example while the person is still a sentient being the inherent enlightenment is obscured by defilements(you being one of them) and when the person IS a Buddha, then the inherent enlightenment has been seperated from the defilements that has been obscuring it.

either way your Enlightenment has been unborn and uncreated from the beginning....that is inherent enlightenment.
So inherent enlightenment is an incorrect view.
Enlightenment is uncreated ,Unborn, Unbecome, Unmade,Unconditioned(Udana 8,3)

can you create your enlightenment? nope it is uncreated, when was your enlightenment born?? its not born Enlightenment has always been since beginningless time, when do we make our enlightenment and become buddha's? we don't Enlightenment is not made by us......................your enlightenment is like a mirror that is covered in dust all you have to do is remove the dust and the mirror that has been under it all along will be revealed.
"Enlightenment" or "awakening" [bodhi] only arises due to causes and conditions, as does buddhahood, buddhahood's cause (for example) is primarily the removal of the two obscurations and gathering of the two accumulations. There is no enlightenment to speak of without rectifying those afflictions, and one would be a fool to state otherwise.
Ahh so if people disagree with you then they are automatically fools....... and AGAIN Enlightenment does not arise due to causes and conditions, that goes against the basic definition of Bodhi itself.

“There is, O monks, an Unborn, an Unbecome, an Unmade, an Unconditioned; if, O monks, there were not here this Unborn, Unbecome, Unmade, Unconditioned, there would not here be an escape from the born, the become, the made, the conditioned. But because there is an Unborn,…therefore there is an escape from the born….” (Udana 8,3)

There are causes and conditions needed to remove the defilements off of the unborn, unmade, unconditioned Bodhi, But Enlightenment itself is unborn,uncreated and unmade and does not need causes and conditions to CREATE IT.....like I said before, our inherent enlightenment only needs to be manifested from what obscures it.

What you are mistakenly referring to as "inherent enlightenment" is a misinterpretation of the innate purity of phenomena, i.e., their unconditioned nature. That nature is not 'enlightenment'.
Although it is quiet, it has the ability to illumine the entire dharma-realm the three thousand great thousand world system. "Fundamental enlightenment" refers to the natural, primary essence inherent within us, which neither increases nor decreases, is neither produced nor destroyed, is neither defiled nor pure. Fundamental enlightenment is also called initial enlightenment.

Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
As I have cited before Śrī Siṃha is very clear about this idea of 'primordial buddhahood' or 'inherent enlightenment' being a misunderstanding, and you should make sure you are VERY clear on this, otherwise you will compromise your chances of buddhahood altogether:

  • This is acceptable since a so called “primordial buddhahood” is not asserted. Full awakening is not possible without being free of the five afflictions... It is not possible for wisdom to increase without giving up afflictions. Wisdom will not arise without purifying afflictions.
I have 5 translations of the Queen Srimala Sutra which is literally my favorite sutra and I have NEVER seen this passage ever, do you care to send a link to the chapter and translation you are using (the sutra itself is only 36 pages long so you should have no problem whatsoever sourcing this)

So no, 'inherent enlightenment' is not taught in any buddhist teachings, and you are grievously mistaken if you believe it is. Really these discrepancies are due to your unrefined knowledge of these teachings, hopefully you will take heed and learn correctly.
:rolling:
there are entire Buddhist schools built around the idea of inherent enlightenment, Tendai, the most popular chan teacher in the west Venerable Master Hsuan Hua,(a simple google search into his commentaries can easily prove that),Shingon, Dolpopa's Jonang, and the idea itself rubbed off on most if not all Japanese Buddhism.

so quit being sectarian guy.
Son of Buddha wrote:Also the idea that Buddha Nature is full fledged Buddhahood is the Basic Buddha Nature teachings 101
No, it actually isn't. The Mahāyāna-mahāparinirvāṇa sūtra states in no uncertain terms that buddha nature refers to a potential:

  • Child of the lineage, I have said that "curd exists in milk", because curd is produced from milk, it is called "curd".

    Child of lineage, at the time of milk, there is no curd, also there is no butter, ghee or manda, because the curd arises from milk with the conditions of heat, impurities, etc., milk is said to have the "curd-nature".
this quote doesn't say Buddha nature is different from Dharmakaya, this quote is just talking about the causes and conditions needed to manifest our inherent enlightenment

and the Nirvana Sutra says in no uncertain terms

Nirvana Sutra Moreover, emancipation is termed that which severs all conditioned phenomena [samskrta-dharmas], gives rise to all untainted [anasrava], wholseome qualities / phenomena and eliminates the various paths/ approaches, that is to say, Self, non-Self, not-Self and not non-Self. It merely severs attachment and does not sever the view of the Self/ the seeing of the Self/ the vision of the Self [atma-drsti]. The view of the Self is termed the ‘Buddha-dhatu’ [Buddha-Nature]. The Buddha-dhatu is true emancipation, and true emancipation is the Tathagata.

and

True emancipation is the Tathagata. The Tathagata is Nirvana. Nirvana is the Infinite. The Infinite is the Buddha-Nature. Buddha-Nature is definiteness. Definiteness is unsurpassed Enlightenment.”


So this is yet another case of me telling you the book says the "stop sign is red", then you proceeding to tell me that the passages that says the "stop sign is red".....REALLY does'nt mean or say that the stop sign is red....it really means something opposite of what it is actually saying

I can post quotes all day that literally say the Dharmakaaya is the Buddha Nature....and you would still deny what is literally written right in front of you. :applause:

Queen Srimala Sutra Chapter 8: The Dharmakaya V96. O’ Bhagavan, the extinction of suffering is not the destruction of the Dharma. Why so? Because the ‘extinction of suffering’ is known as the Dharmakaya of the World Honored One, which is beginningless, uncreated, unborn, undying, free from destruction, permanent unchanging, eternal, inherently pure, and separate from all the stores of defilement. The Dharmakaya is also not different from the inconceivable Buddha Natures which are more numerous than the sands of the river Ganges. The Dharmakaya of the World Honored One is called the Buddha Nature when it is obscured by the stores of defilement.”

you have a nice day.
Last edited by Son of Buddha on Wed May 13, 2015 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Malcolm
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

Son of Buddha wrote:
As I have cited before Śrī Siṃha is very clear about this idea of 'primordial buddhahood' or 'inherent enlightenment' being a misunderstanding, and you should make sure you are VERY clear on this, otherwise you will compromise your chances of buddhahood altogether:

  • This is acceptable since a so called “primordial buddhahood” is not asserted. Full awakening is not possible without being free of the five afflictions... It is not possible for wisdom to increase without giving up afflictions. Wisdom will not arise without purifying afflictions.
I have 5 translations of the Queen Srimala Sutra which is literally my favorite sutra and I have NEVER seen this passage ever, do you care to send a link to the chapter and translation you are using (the sutra itself is only 36 pages long so you should have no problem whatsoever sourcing this)
He is not citing the Ārya-śrīmālādevī-siṃhanāda-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra. He is citing an importan Indian Dzogchen master, Śrī Siṃha.
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

Post by Son of Buddha »

Malcolm wrote:
Son of Buddha wrote:
As I have cited before Śrī Siṃha is very clear about this idea of 'primordial buddhahood' or 'inherent enlightenment' being a misunderstanding, and you should make sure you are VERY clear on this, otherwise you will compromise your chances of buddhahood altogether:

  • This is acceptable since a so called “primordial buddhahood” is not asserted. Full awakening is not possible without being free of the five afflictions... It is not possible for wisdom to increase without giving up afflictions. Wisdom will not arise without purifying afflictions.
I have 5 translations of the Queen Srimala Sutra which is literally my favorite sutra and I have NEVER seen this passage ever, do you care to send a link to the chapter and translation you are using (the sutra itself is only 36 pages long so you should have no problem whatsoever sourcing this)
He is not citing the Ārya-śrīmālādevī-siṃhanāda-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra. He is citing an importan Indian Dzogchen master, Śrī Siṃha.

oh my bad, I thought he just misspelled Srimala :tongue: . of course the next question that begs is why he would think a Dzogchen master's writings would be considered to be an authority on anything to me.
Son of Buddha
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

Post by Son of Buddha »

Malcolm wrote:
Qianxi wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:There is no school in Buddhism that states sentient beings are inherently awakened... sure, they may state that we possess an innately unconditioned nature... but that is something different than awakening or enlightenment [bodhi].
The Awakening of Faith in Mahayana 大乘起信論 states that all sentient beings are 'inherently awakened' 本覺. 覺 is the usual translation for bodhi, 本 means 'root' or 'originally'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hongaku

You'd either have to argue that schools following Awakening of Faith in Mahayana (most of East Asian Buddhism) are not Buddhist schools, or argue that although the text talks about inherent awakening, they really mean 'innately unconditioned' (that's a plausible argument). But the Awakening of Faith, and many other East Asian Buddhist texts do use a term that translates as 'inherent awakening'.
Chinese Buddhism departs from Indian Buddhism in many respects. Still, the idea of "inherent awakening" is patently absurd and cannot be taken literally or seriously by any means.
well you are welcome to your opinions, of course you opinions do not get to dictate what the rest of East Asian Mahayana Buddhists practice.
Son of Buddha
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Re: Universal Atman in Buddhism

Post by Son of Buddha »

Malcolm wrote: Now, if someone is going to assert the tathātagarbha is a self, they will also have to assert that the mind (citta) is a self. Then they will find themselves on a very slippery slope. But if, on the other hand, they assert merely that innate purity of the mind is all that is intended by tathāgatagarbha, then of course they will remain on level ground with no danger of falling in the ravine of permanence and annihilation. And perhaps it is needless to say, but this luminosity is only universal in the sense that it is a characteristic of everyone's mind, like heat in fire or wetness in water.
I don't know who would be crazy enough to assert that the Tathagatagarbha is a Atman(Self) :tongue:


Chapter Twelve: On the Tathagata-DHATU
“Kasyapa said to the Buddha: “O World-Honoured One! Is there Self in the 25 existences or not?” The Buddha said: “O good man! “Self” means “Tathagatagarbha” [Buddha-Womb, Buddha-Embryo, Buddha-Nature]. Every being has Buddha-Nature. This is the Self. Such Self has, from the very beginning, been under cover of innumerable defilements. That is why man cannot see it.
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