Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: ↑Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:37 pm
Correct. But then again something might just be the exactly right thing for someone to hear at a given time, discursive though it may be.
SilenceMonkey wrote: ↑Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:31 pm
There were only 14 questions that the Buddha refused to answer. The nature of the atman was not one of them, and he taught on this quite a bit. And believe it or not, it was actually a cornerstone of the Buddha's teaching.
The way I see it, the fundamental question becomes: Is Buddha Nature inherently real? Hindus say atman is inherently real. I think even most shentongpas would say it's not real, it's emptiness.
I found this article recently and it goes deep into the subject. (Coming from a master with realization in advaita vedanta and tibetan buddhism both.)
https://www.byomakusuma.org/MadhyamikaB ... danta.html
You both make good points. I don't want to come off as an "anti-intellectualist", which I personally see as a pernicious pitfall for many Buddhists. By all means Sutra and tenant study as well as analytical approaches are all valid, beneficial, and long-standing aspects of Buddhist cultivation.
Nevertheless, I can't help but feel people really beat their heads against the wall needlessly when it comes to Buddha Nature and Tathagatagharba thought. The issue as I see it is that Tathagatagharba texts present so many varied and often seemingly even opposing definitions and lines of argument when it comes to defining these concepts. You really can make well-reasoned arguments drawing on cannonical theory for maybe a dozen different definitions of Buddha Nature.
To avoid doctrinal discord, I personally tend to stand back from the whole issue in accordance with the lines I quoted from the Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sūtra. Even if one doesn't have to be a Buddha to wrestle with this topic, one has to be exceedingly cautious not to fall into dogmatic rigidity when it comes to Tathagatagharba thought.
Perhaps if one takes the position that these texts are shot through with heavily-context-dependent upaya,
it is an elegant solution to keep multiple seeming contradictory ideas in balance and avoid slandering the Dharma through dogmatic adherence to a limited view that rejects other ways of seeing Buddha Nature.
Certainly in the Diamond Sutra, for example, one can accept the manner in which it repeatedly makes propositions and then turns around and negates them, understanding this as a rhetorical strategy to demonstrate emptiness. In theory it should be possible to approach the Tathagatagharba texts with a similar understanding that what seems like contradiction is really ultimately harmonized when one takes all the different contexts into account. My problem is that there are just so many different formulations presented that it really feels as though one would truly need a Buddha's wisdom to keep the countless doctrinal strands from becoming hopelessly tangled in one's mind.
So in the face of all that I retreat humbly from the fray and choose to simply leave it all be. Your mileage may vary, of course.