Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

It's only a 3 1/2 minute video.

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)
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Könchok Chödrak
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by Könchok Chödrak »

A very interesting video. What a great Buddhist that man is. Can anyone go into detail here how Buddha-Nature is not an Atman? As that is what the video ended in, but without explanation, and I’d like to understand the philosophy behind the philosophical differences between Hindus and Buddhists, as the Atman has been explained as an undefiled Soul that is separate from matter. Buddha-Nature is also undefiled. My question is it because we don’t say we are the Buddha-Nature, but have Buddha-Nature? Simply the no self philosophy to overcome false interpretations? Also I am interested in how it was said that Buddha Nature is separate from who we are, it goes beyond the illusion of self. What aspect of us interacts with it and how? Let me know. Thank you.

Könchok.
Last edited by Könchok Chödrak on Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
namoh
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by namoh »

So, does anyone else remember when Brunnholzl was a Khenpo for a minute? Anyone know what happened? Seems to have been removed from all the webpages.
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

namoh wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:49 am So, does anyone else remember when Brunnholzl was a Khenpo for a minute? Anyone know what happened? Seems to have been removed from all the webpages.
I don't think he ever did shedra. My understanding is that it was an honorary title. He doesn't seem to be using it.

But I don't know any of that for a fact.
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)
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Könchok Chödrak wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:32 am Can anyone go into detail here how Buddha-Nature is not an Atman?
That is the $64,000 dollar question. Or rather, how is Buddha Nature not like Advaita Vedanta? There are a variety of interpretations to the idea of Buddha Nature.

Personally I think it comes down to semantics. Atman is not changeable. Buddha Nature is limitless. If there were something unchangeable about Buddha Nature that would limit how it can be expressed. That's a somewhat informed opinion, not a reliable or definitive answer.

Tsadra Foundation has a website specifically dedicated to Buddha Nature. It tries to cover from very basic to advanced understanding. That's where the Brunnhölzl video is from. There are at least a dozen more like it from Brunnhölzl.

Here's the link to the website home page.
https://buddhanature.tsadra.org/index.php/Main_Page
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)
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by Könchok Chödrak »

Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:21 am
Könchok Chödrak wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:32 am Can anyone go into detail here how Buddha-Nature is not an Atman?
That is the $64,000 dollar question.

Personally I think it comes down to semantics. Atman is not changeable. Buddha Nature is limitless. If there were something unchangeable about Buddha Nature that would limit how it can be expressed. That's a somewhat informed opinion, not a reliable or definitive answer.

Tsadra Foundation has a website specifically dedicated to Buddha Nature. It tries to cover from very basic to advanced understanding. That's where the Brunnhölzl video is from. It from a series of 13 short videos with Brunnhölzl.

Here's the link to the website home page.
https://buddhanature.tsadra.org/index.php/Main_Page
That’s a very nice answer. But what if someone tells you that the Soul or Atman is changeable, and is always changing in Anatta. That is actually the view of many Hindus who also practice tenants of Buddhism, and Buddha did come to reject the idea that the Atman was changeless, that is why He expounded the Anatta doctrine to many who followed the Vedic tradition. The Sanskrit word for for Soul is Jiva, not Atman in every instance. Do you or anyone know how Buddha viewed the idea of Jiva and where He stood on that subject? Because Self and Soul are not always synonymous, especially with what Buddhism has introduced Skillfully, and even in Buddhism there is an amount of people who believe in a True-Self doctrine. I would be very interested in this subject with regards to Buddha-Nature.
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Könchok Chödrak wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:31 am
Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:21 am
Könchok Chödrak wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:32 am Can anyone go into detail here how Buddha-Nature is not an Atman?
That is the $64,000 dollar question.

Personally I think it comes down to semantics. Atman is not changeable. Buddha Nature is limitless. If there were something unchangeable about Buddha Nature that would limit how it can be expressed. That's a somewhat informed opinion, not a reliable or definitive answer.

Tsadra Foundation has a website specifically dedicated to Buddha Nature. It tries to cover from very basic to advanced understanding. That's where the Brunnhölzl video is from. It from a series of 13 short videos with Brunnhölzl.

Here's the link to the website home page.
https://buddhanature.tsadra.org/index.php/Main_Page
That’s a very nice answer. But what if someone tells you that the Soul or Atman is changeable, and is always changing in Anatta. That is actually the view of many Hindus who also practice tenants of Buddhism, and Buddha did come to reject the idea that the Atman was changeless, that is why He expounded the Anatta doctrine to many who followed the Vedic tradition. The Sanskrit word for for Soul is Jiva, not Atman in every instance. Do you or anyone know how Buddha viewed the idea of Jiva and where He stood on that subject? Because Self and Soul are not always synonymous, especially with what Buddhism has introduced Skillfully, and even in Buddhism there is an amount of people who believe in a True-Self doctrine. I would be very interested in this subject with regards to Buddha-Nature.
I hold the politically incorrect view that the historical Sakyamuni's teachings while her was here on Earth are best preserved in the Pali Suttas. What he says there is pretty heavy handed about atman and the like. But the Pali Suttas are not held in high regard here, as this is a Mahayana and Vajrayana dedicated site. For instance, Mahayana accepts that there is an 8th consciousness, called the storehouse consciousness, that goes from lifetime to lifetime. The adherents of the Pali Suttas think that is a heresy and akin to atman. It isn't necessarily associated with Buddha Nature.

Here's a link to our sister website that is Pali Sutta focused:
dhammawheel.com

Here we hold the Sanskrit Sutras as valid. There's plenty of people here that can discuss this better than I can. Let's see if any of them will engage. (I've pissed a lot of people off about this and related subjects, better I stay quiet.)
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)
florin
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by florin »

It is more like the buddha nature is temporarily obscured by its own potential expressed as you, the sentient being.
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Könchok Chödrak wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:32 am A very interesting video. What a great Buddhist that man is. Can anyone go into detail here how Buddha-Nature is not an Atman? As that is what the video ended in, but without explanation, and I’d like to understand the philosophy behind the philosophical differences between Hindus and Buddhists, as the Atman has been explained as an undefiled Soul that is separate from matter. Buddha-Nature is also undefiled. My question is it because we don’t say we are the Buddha-Nature, but have Buddha-Nature? Simply the no self philosophy to overcome false interpretations?
It’s really not complicated.
Tathagatagharba (Buddha-nature) is the mind’s innate potential to return to its original full awareness.

It’s like the potential that the mind has to become calm and undistracted during periods of meditation. It has that potential because ‘calm and undistracted’ is the mind’s original or true nature.

This has nothing at all to do with the concept of a soul or atma, a permanent self-identity.

It’s true that Buddhists say that the nature of the mind is unsullied.
And Hindus say that the atma is unsullied.
But also, when I take my underwear from the washer and dryer, it too is unsullied.
Just because the same word can be used to describe the condition of three different things doesn’t mean they are the same thing.
Also I am interested in how it was said that Buddha Nature is separate from who we are, it goes beyond the illusion of self. What aspect of us interacts with it and how?
“...what aspect of it interacts with us...”
“it” ...is the mind’s original nature.
. “Us” ...is the illusion of self.
Buddha nature is not “separate” from the illusion, because the illusion isn’t real to begin with. The illusion is experienced as real because the mind’s true nature is not realized due to ignorance.

It’s like having a hundred dollars in your pocket but you don’t know it, so you walk around hungry, thinking that you are broke. The hundred dollars is like your Buddha-nature. You can find that money on you. You don’t have to get it from someone else. The “self” is the idea that “I am penniless” not realizing the money is right there.

How that “potential to reach into your pocket and find the money” interacts with “who we are” (the identity of a penniless person) is that the moment you find that money, the penniless person is no longer there.
Last edited by PadmaVonSamba on Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:38 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:43 am
I hold the politically incorrect view that the historical Sakyamuni's teachings while he was here on Earth are best preserved in the Pali Suttas.
So what?
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Könchok Chödrak wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:31 am But what if someone tells you that the Soul or Atman is changeable, and is always changing in Anatta. That is actually the view of many Hindus who also practice tenants of Buddhism, and Buddha did come to reject the idea that the Atman was changeless, that is why He expounded the Anatta doctrine to many who followed the Vedic tradition.
Please cite a source for this claim.

If an entity is subject to change then it is not permanent.
If it is not permanent then that negates the entire premise of atma.
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:43 amMahayana accepts that there is an 8th consciousness, called the storehouse consciousness, that goes from lifetime to lifetime.
Really? Where is it going to go?
More accurate to say that what it stores in this lifetime produces what arises in the next lifetime.
No atma is needed there.
It’s like if I shout from my end of a tunnel to your end of a tunnel, my actions produce the words at my end and they show up at your end. No “atma” needs to carry them there.
Only, for that analogy to be more accurate, I shout my dying words at this end, and they are the first thing I hear when I am born at the other end (yeah a super long tibetan bardo tunnel 😁)
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Also I am interested in how it was said that Buddha Nature is separate from who we are, it goes beyond the illusion of self. What aspect of us interacts with it and how?
Since I've read a bit of Brunnhölzl's book on Shentong I think I've got a handle on this.

I believe he is referring to an outlier position about Shentong within the Karma Kagyu school. In his book he attributes it to H.K. Karmapa VIII, Mikyö Dorje. Here in the video he also includes H.H. Karmapa III, Rangjung Dorje in this view. Basically the idea in that if Buddha Nature is "empty-of-anything-other" (than its own innate purity, etc.), that mean sentient beings do not partake of Buddha Nature. They are exactly the impurities that Buddha Nature does not have in its makeup. Therefore you cannot say that sentient beings either have or are of Buddha Nature.

But this is a radical view and is an outlier, even within the tradition. The fact that is exists at all within the Karma Kagyu is eyebrow raising. It should not be considered as widely accepted. The fact that Brunnhölzl includes H.H. Karmapa III in this view I've only heard in this video.
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)
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Mahayana accepts that there is an 8th consciousness, called the storehouse consciousness, that goes from lifetime to lifetime.
Really? Where is it going to go?
More accurate to say that what it stores in this lifetime produces what arises in the next lifetime.
No atma is needed there.
Hey, I don't have a problem with the idea. I'm just reporting that the Pali Sutta based Shravakayana see the idea as heresy. It was in response to "How did the Buddha see....." type question. I wanted to give the Shravakaya position on the question.
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)
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by Malcolm »

Könchok Chödrak wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:31 amDo you or anyone know how Buddha viewed the idea of Jiva and where He stood on that subject?
He rejected it as well.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by Könchok Chödrak »

Malcolm wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:13 pm
Könchok Chödrak wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:31 amDo you or anyone know how Buddha viewed the idea of Jiva and where He stood on that subject?
He rejected it as well.
Can you explain in more detail about this particular statement of Buddha rejecting the Jiva? Where I can find it in Suttas or Sutras, absolutely anywhere? Or you can tell me off the top of your head. Thank you.
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by Queequeg »

Don't want to wade too far into this as I have no perspective on Kagyu.

I understand alayavijnana is said by Vasubandhu to correspond to the bhavanga in what we know as Theravada Abhidhamma.
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
Malcolm
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by Malcolm »

Könchok Chödrak wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:20 pm
Malcolm wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:13 pm
Könchok Chödrak wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:31 amDo you or anyone know how Buddha viewed the idea of Jiva and where He stood on that subject?
He rejected it as well.
Can you explain in more detail about this particular statement of Buddha rejecting the Jiva? Where I can find it in Suttas or Sutras, absolutely anywhere? Or you can tell me off the top of your head. Thank you.
The Teaching of Akṣayamati:

The sūtras that, with various words, proclaim a self, a being, a life principle, a life-sustaining principle, a spirit, a personality, a human being, a man, a subject that acts, and a subject that feels and those that teach that there is a ruler where there is no ruler are called implicit. The sūtras that teach emptiness, the absence of distinguishing marks, the absence of anything to long for, the unconditioned, the unborn, the unoriginated, the nonexistent, the absence of self, the absence of being, the absence of soul, the absence of person, the absence of spirit, the absence of ruler, and the gates of liberation are called definitive. This is called the reliance on the sūtras of definitive meaning, not on the sūtras of implicit meaning.
https://read.84000.co/translation/toh175.html
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
Malcolm
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by Malcolm »

Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:57 am sentient beings do not partake of Buddha Nature.
If this is the case, and I doubt it, this would mean that this idea stands in direct contradiction with the main systematized source of the tathāgatgarbha theory, the Uttaratantra.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Re: Brunnhölzl on Buddha Nature as a radical teaching.

Post by FiveSkandhas »

Here is what I think: DharmaWheel, as much as I love it, spends far too much time bogged down in Metaphysical fretting about whether this or that aspect of the Dharma is "Hinduistic."

The Historical Buddha famously looked askance at metaphysical musings and his teachings were largely soteriological. In other words he told people what they needed to hear, when they needed to hear it, not with the aim of mapping reality like a Western philosopher but with the aim of liberating beings.

Just from the Mahaparanirvana Sutra alone one can make solid arguments on just about any side of the fence. There is even a fairly straight-up admission somewhere that Tathagatagharba theory is provisional upaya for those who fear emptiness excessively, I believe. In the same genre of writing you can also find passages that treat the theory as the utmost literal truth.

In actual fact, Tathagatagharba writings are so vast and multifaceted that you can find proof for any argument from "it's like Atman but that's OK" to "Buddha Nature is a potential within us rather than a state so it's nothing like Atman whatsoever."

My own personal view is that the Srimaladevi Siṃhanada Sutra has the most succinct take of all on the matter when it states:
"It is difficult to understand the meaning of an intrinsically pure consciousness in a condition of defilement." Here here. This is an issue that only an undefiled Buddha can truly fathom, and for us defiled samsaric schlubs, wallowing in such arguments can only lead to half-cocked misunderstandings.

In other words, it's beyond discursive thought for mere fools like ourselves.

南無阿弥陀仏。
"One should cultivate contemplation in one’s foibles. The foibles are like fish, and contemplation is like fishing hooks. If there are no fish, then the fishing hooks have no use. The bigger the fish is, the better the result we will get. As long as the fishing hooks keep at it, all foibles will eventually be contained and controlled at will." -Zhiyi
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