Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatra?

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Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatra?

Postby zed » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:05 am

Excuse my ignorance, but can somebody tell me what the standard Cittamatra position is with regard to an arhat at the time of no remainder?
Does he/she (it?) have any existence at all?

The reason I ask is because I'm reading a text by Shakya Chogden, who seems to say that Cittamatrins accept that the buddha-gotra (which is possessed by all beings, and which may be 'nurtured' (gsos 'debs) by different types of conditions) is just the dharmadhatu, but at the time of no remainder an arhat no longer possesses the buddha-gotra and therefore lacks the cause for attaining the buddha-kayas.

But since the dharmadhatu (= buddha-gotra) pervades all that exists, then Shakya Chogden seems to be saying that in Cittamatra an arhat without remainder has no existence whatsoever.

As far as I know, to say that according to Cittamatra, gotra = dharmadhatu is unusual (it's normally considered a Madhyamaka tenet). But is it unusual to say that in Cittamatra an arhat at the time of no remainder has no existence whatsoever?

It seems a reasonable explanation of why there are three final vehicles in Cittamatra. But is it common to say that in the Cittamatra system there nothing whatsoever at the end of the road for the Hinayana practitioners?
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby Aemilius » Fri Aug 08, 2014 9:03 am

This question is answered several times in the writings of Vasubandhu, from different angles.
What You say sounds very nihilistic and unlike the Cittamatra that is expounded in the Lankavatara sutra: the three vehicles have no true existence, they are merely so many discriminations, -says the Lankavatara.

Lankavatara sutra, chapter two, LVI:
203. The Deva vehicle, the Brahma vehicle, the Sravaka vehicle, the Pratyekabuddha vehicle, and the Tathagata vehicle, of these I speak.
204. So long as there is a mind making conscious efforts, there can be no culmination as regards the various vehicles; when a revulsion takes place in the mind, there is neither a vehicle nor one who rides in it.
205. There is really no establishment of various vehicles, and so I speak of one vehicle; but in order to carry the ignorant I talk of a variety of vehicles.
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby zed » Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:24 am

Thanks, Aemilius, for your reply. The quotation for the Lankavatara suggests that the continuum of an arhat without remainder is not severed. But if all delusions have been eliminated, I wonder what cause there could possibly be for taking rebirth.

Just found something about the topic here. It represents the Gelug view.

http://www.fpmtabc.org/download/teachin ... Tenets.pdf
(See p. 61-62)

Apparently, the True Aspectarian Cittamatrins, who accept three final vehicles, say that a person's continuum is completely severed at the time of no remainder. In this respect they are like the lower schools. This is what Shakya Chogden also seems to be talking about, which is not surprising, since for him only True Aspectarians are actually Cittamatrins. He classifies False Aspecterians as Madhyamikas.

Nevertheless, I find it hard to believe that the idea that an arhat without remainder was always conceived so negatively. It seems to me more likely that there must have been some Buddhists who thought of it as some sort of real, deathless, blissful, permanent state, even if such views are not represented in the literature on tenet systems.
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:56 pm

zed wrote:But since the dharmadhatu (= buddha-gotra) pervades all that exists, then Shakya Chogden seems to be saying that in Cittamatra an arhat without remainder has no existence whatsoever.?


What he is saying is that according to this presentation, such an arhat is effectively an icchantika, and has severed their natural gotra by entering into parnirvana.
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby zed » Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:59 pm

Malcolm wrote:What he is saying is that according to this presentation, such an arhat is effectively an icchantika, and has severed their natural gotra by entering into parnirvana.

Which I take to be utter non-existence and consistent with the standard Cittamatra presentation of nirvana without remainder. Right?
I guess it makes sense, given that the natural gotra is held to be the special feature of the six ayatanas. If there are no more ayatanas, then there can no longer be a natural gotra.

Am I right in thinking that only False Aspectarian Cittamatrins assert that all beings possess buddha-essence, which is the truly existent natural purity of the mind?
If so, what do True Aspectarians assert is the buddha-essence? Obviously (?) it cannot be something that is possessed by all beings.

Thanks, Malcolm, for your input.
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:47 pm

zed wrote:
Malcolm wrote:What he is saying is that according to this presentation, such an arhat is effectively an icchantika, and has severed their natural gotra by entering into parnirvana.

Which I take to be utter non-existence and consistent with the standard Cittamatra presentation of nirvana without remainder. Right?
I guess it makes sense, given that the natural gotra is held to be the special feature of the six ayatanas. If there are no more ayatanas, then there can no longer be a natural gotra.

Am I right in thinking that only False Aspectarian Cittamatrins assert that all beings possess buddha-essence, which is the truly existent natural purity of the mind?
If so, what do True Aspectarians assert is the buddha-essence? Obviously (?) it cannot be something that is possessed by all beings.

Thanks, Malcolm, for your input.


I think it is better to put it in terms of classical Yogacara. For example, Dharmamitra states in his Prasphuṭapadā commentary on the Abhisamayālaṃkara:

    This one the Mahāyāna Madhyamikas describes as difficult to have realization, but the Yogacarin assertion that the icchanthika (rigs chad pa) 'burns the seed' slanders tathagātagarbha.

If you run a search on the term rigs med pa, rather than rigs chad pa, you will find very ample discussion of the concept in the Yogacarin section on the Tengyur.

For example, Municandra's Sūtrālaṁkāravṛttibhāṣya states:

    If one lacking gotra generates [bodhi]citta, the seed will not "take".


But it is important to keep in mind that the concept of agotra and icchantika comes from the Tathagatagarbha and Yogacarin stream of sutra, specifically the Lanka and the Nirvana. They are a little different from each other. But they are both rejected by Madhyamaka.
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby zed » Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:33 pm

Thanks again, Malcolm, for taking the time to reply. It is much appreciated.

So what you're saying is that in classical Yogacara there are three different types of natural gotra as well as those whose gotra is uncertain and those who are agotra. Fine.
And I take it that in each case, the gotra is a special feature of the six ayatanas.


But when talking about the similarities between Cittamatra and Madhyamaka, Shakya Chogden says:

"Although they [i.e., Cittamatra and Madhymaka] are similar in teaching that natural gotra is the dharmadhatu, [there are] two Madhaymaka systems, [based on] whether the nature of the dharmadhatu is or isn't the pole of experience that is luminous and aware."
[i.e., Cittamatra is like Alikakaravada in asserting something positive as the dharmadhatu, but not like Nihsvabhavavada, who asserts a non-affirming negative].

(rang bzhin gnas rigs kyi ngo bo chos dbyings la 'chad pa 'dra yang/ chos dbyings kyi ngo bo la myong a gsal rig gi cha yin pa dnag ma yin pa gnyis su 'byed ba ni dbu ma pa dag gi lugs yin dang/)

He then says:
"[They] are similar in not accepting [the existence of] beings who are cut off from the natural gotra and the buddha-essence, but there is a difference in [Cittamatra] asserting and [Madhyamaka] not asserting beings who possess the quality of never entering nirvana."

(rang bzhin gnas rigs dang sangs rgyas kyi snying po chad pa'i sems can mi 'dod pa 'dra yang/ gtan yongs su myang ngan las mi 'da' ba'i chos can gyi sems can khas len me len gyi khyad par dang/)

I understand he is saying that Cittamatrins hold natural gotra and buddha essence are the same thing and that some beings never meet the conditions that enable them to "nurture" the gotra in one of the three ways pertaining to the three vehicles.

He goes on to say:

"Although they are similar in accepting the Buddha essence at the time of no remainder, they are different in [Madhyamaka] accepting and [Cittamatra] not accepting the naturally abiding disposition exists [at that time]."

(lhag med gyi tshe sangs rgyas kyi snying po 'dod par 'dra yang/ rang bzhin du gnas pa'i rigs yod par 'dod mi 'dod kyy khyad par dang/)

"And although they are similar [in accepting] that there are no delusions at that [time of no remainder], they are a little different in [Madhyamaka] accepting the presence of causes for taking rebirth [while Cittamatra asserts their] absence."

(de na nyon mong med par 'dra yang srid par skye ba len pa'i rgyu yod med du 'dod pa'i khyad par tsm zhig las rnam par phye be yin te/)

As I understand, he is saying that in Cittamatra, the dharmadhatu of the meditator's own continuums, i.e., the pole of experience that is luminous and aware, is taken as a the support for meditation (dmigs rten), so whan that continuum is severed, as in the case of nirvana without remainder, there is no more gotra. But bodhisattvas never sever their continuums; they transform (or gradually reveal) the gotra as the dharmakaya.

In Madhyamaka, on the other hand, it is asserted that an arhat's contimuum at the time of nirvana without remainder is not severed. Although the delusional obscurations (nyon bsgrib) have been eliminated, some (or all) knowledge obscurations remain embedded in the alaya.

Reasonable interpretation? Or am I all screwed up?
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:45 pm

zed wrote:
As I understand, he is saying that in Cittamatra, the dharmadhatu of the meditator's own continuums, i.e., the pole of experience that is luminous and aware, is taken as a the support for meditation (dmigs rten), so whan that continuum is severed, as in the case of nirvana without remainder, there is no more gotra. But bodhisattvas never sever their continuums; they transform (or gradually reveal) the gotra as the dharmakaya.

In Madhyamaka, on the other hand, it is asserted that an arhat's contimuum at the time of nirvana without remainder is not severed. Although the delusional obscurations (nyon bsgrib) have been eliminated, some (or all) knowledge obscurations remain embedded in the alaya.

Reasonable interpretation? Or am I all screwed up?


I would understand it to mean that according to some Yogacarins when arhats enter the final samadhi of nirvana, they are done. There is no possibility for them to enter Mahāyāna and achieve Buddhahood.
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby uan » Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:13 pm

Malcolm wrote:I would understand it to mean that according to some Yogacarins when arhats enter the final samadhi of nirvana, they are done. There is no possibility for them to enter Mahāyāna and achieve Buddhahood.


Is that a bad thing?

Separate from the above question, is there a point where the arhat consciously makes that choice, or is it a result of a wrong view they are unaware of?
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:21 pm

uan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:I would understand it to mean that according to some Yogacarins when arhats enter the final samadhi of nirvana, they are done. There is no possibility for them to enter Mahāyāna and achieve Buddhahood.


Is that a bad thing?

Separate from the above question, is there a point where the arhat consciously makes that choice, or is it a result of a wrong view they are unaware of?


According to the promulgators of this view, it is an inferior awakening. Hence the term "hinayāna".
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby uan » Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:51 pm

Malcolm wrote:
uan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:I would understand it to mean that according to some Yogacarins when arhats enter the final samadhi of nirvana, they are done. There is no possibility for them to enter Mahāyāna and achieve Buddhahood.


Is that a bad thing?

Separate from the above question, is there a point where the arhat consciously makes that choice, or is it a result of a wrong view they are unaware of?


According to the promulgators of this view, it is an inferior awakening. Hence the term "hinayāna".


I don't have a reference handy, but I thought according to the Mahayana view, that eventually the (a) Buddha will go and awaken the Arhats and lead them to Buddhahood. But from what is just being discussed, that won't happen, ever. Or is it only for some Arhats and not others. I could be totally wrong in my understanding as well.
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:00 pm

uan wrote:I don't have a reference handy, but I thought according to the Mahayana view, that eventually the (a) Buddha will go and awaken the Arhats and lead them to Buddhahood. But from what is just being discussed, that won't happen, ever. Or is it only for some Arhats and not others. I could be totally wrong in my understanding as well.


That is one Mahāyāna view, Madhyamaka.
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby uan » Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:42 pm

Malcolm wrote:
uan wrote:I don't have a reference handy, but I thought according to the Mahayana view, that eventually the (a) Buddha will go and awaken the Arhats and lead them to Buddhahood. But from what is just being discussed, that won't happen, ever. Or is it only for some Arhats and not others. I could be totally wrong in my understanding as well.


That is one Mahāyāna view, Madhyamaka.


What would the Dzogchen perspective be?
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:06 pm

uan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
uan wrote:I don't have a reference handy, but I thought according to the Mahayana view, that eventually the (a) Buddha will go and awaken the Arhats and lead them to Buddhahood. But from what is just being discussed, that won't happen, ever. Or is it only for some Arhats and not others. I could be totally wrong in my understanding as well.


That is one Mahāyāna view, Madhyamaka.


What would the Dzogchen perspective be?


Same as the Madhyamaka view, there are no icchantikas.
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby uan » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:40 pm

Malcolm wrote:
uan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
That is one Mahāyāna view, Madhyamaka.


What would the Dzogchen perspective be?


Same as the Madhyamaka view, there are no icchantikas.


thanks Malcolm. I just learned about icchantikas earlier today -- a reminder to myself how narrow my knowledge of Buddhadharma is.
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby zed » Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:46 pm

Malcolm wrote:I would understand it to mean that according to some Yogacarins when arhats enter the final samadhi of nirvana, they are done. There is no possibility for them to enter Mahāyāna and achieve Buddhahood.

But it can't be because they have utterly ceased to exist. (?)

Shakya Chogden is saying that Cittamatrins accept that the buddha-essence exists at the time of no remainder. So there must be something there.

Just the bare alaya, perhaps, purified of all the contaminated seeds that cause rebirth in samsara, but lacking any of a buddha's positive qualities as well as any means by which that they could be manifested ?

I am aware that Shakya Chogden holds some unconventional views on Yogacara, but I really don't know whether this is one of them or not.
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:42 am

zed wrote:
Malcolm wrote:I would understand it to mean that according to some Yogacarins when arhats enter the final samadhi of nirvana, they are done. There is no possibility for them to enter Mahāyāna and achieve Buddhahood.

But it can't be because they have utterly ceased to exist. (?)

Shakya Chogden is saying that Cittamatrins accept that the buddha-essence exists at the time of no remainder. So there must be something there.

Just the bare alaya, perhaps, purified of all the contaminated seeds that cause rebirth in samsara, but lacking any of a buddha's positive qualities as well as any means by which that they could be manifested ?

I am aware that Shakya Chogden holds some unconventional views on Yogacara, but I really don't know whether this is one of them or not.


No they don't utterly cease, but they remain in a non-afflictive samadhi of cessation forever...and never aid anyone...[according to this idea]
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Re: Does Arhat w/o remainder have any existence in Cittamatr

Postby Aemilius » Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:02 am

zed wrote:Thanks, Aemilius, for your reply. The quotation for the Lankavatara suggests that the continuum of an arhat without remainder is not severed. But if all delusions have been eliminated, I wonder what cause there could possibly be for taking rebirth.

Just found something about the topic here. It represents the Gelug view.

http://www.fpmtabc.org/download/teachin ... Tenets.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
(See p. 61-62)

Apparently, the True Aspectarian Cittamatrins, who accept three final vehicles, say that a person's continuum is completely severed at the time of no remainder. In this respect they are like the lower schools. This is what Shakya Chogden also seems to be talking about, which is not surprising, since for him only True Aspectarians are actually Cittamatrins. He classifies False Aspecterians as Madhyamikas.

Nevertheless, I find it hard to believe that the idea that an arhat without remainder was always conceived so negatively. It seems to me more likely that there must have been some Buddhists who thought of it as some sort of real, deathless, blissful, permanent state, even if such views are not represented in the literature on tenet systems.


In buddhism there is a possibility of rebirth in the Arupya dhatu (formless realms), where you have no form/body, but you nevertheless exist, you exist as infinite space or as infinite consciousness, or as nothing whatever, or as neither perception nor nonperception. This kind of existence is difficult to imagine for human beings, it certainly is an "end", as regards all ordinary human consciousness. But this subtle form of existence comes to an end, a being of infinite space etc.. will, after millions or thousand million years, rise again as a being in the form realms.

Vasubandhu classifies Nirodha samapatti or the Attainment of cessation as similar to the formless realms. Sometimes he says there are five formless realms, the sravaka state of cessation being the fifth formless state.

Often Vasubandhu writes in a way that seems to accept the sravakayana view of cessation/nirodha. Because nirodha exists, in some way or another. Vasubandhu is a yogacarin/cittamatrin. I don't know how tibetans classify him in the their tenet systems.

Anyway Nirvana has been described time and again as not being nonexistence, not being existence, not both or neither. Nirvana is not nonexistence in the sravakayana sutras.
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