Why plants don't have citta?

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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by DNS » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:45 pm

odysseus wrote:
pael wrote:Why plants don't have citta? Why they don't transmigrate?
Plants are not sentient. Unless, we would have nothing to eat. They proliferate by seeds, not by mind. They don't have a mind. They cannot transmigrate like sentient beings.
I believe this is the Buddhist position. According to Buddhism, the realms for sentient beings for rebirth are:

Purgatory (hells, but impermanent, not eternal)
Asuras (jealous beings)
Hungry Ghosts (pretas)
Animals
Humans
Devas

Major categories above, full list:
https://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title= ... _existence

It's an interesting topic and there have been several ongoing research projects analyzing if plants are conscious, sentient and if it gets determined that they are indeed at least partially conscious, partially sentient, make "decisions" rather than just reacting to stimuli, then I guess that would mean the Jains got it right and Buddhism got it wrong. :shock: Unless there are some Mahayana sutras that suggest plant sentience?

I'm Buddhist, but keeping an open mind.

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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by mutsuk » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:48 pm

Queequeg wrote:Yeah, Zhanran's argument does involve some stretching definitions. Its not the simplistic thing you make it out to be, though. It does have some interesting implications for what "mind" is.
Shenhui and Huineng have both refuted Zhanrang's theories about insentients being endowed with a Buddha Nature since that would imply the existence of a substratum permeating everything (遍一切處), an idea which is outside buddhism. The Shenhui yulu 神會語錄 clearly negates this theory with reason and with a relevant quote from the Nirvāṇa Sūtra saying : "That which lacks Buddha Nature is deemed an insentient thing". I guess if insentient things have a Buddha Nature, then they can reach Buddhahood. I don't think that in the entire history of Buddhism any insentient thing became a Buddha. This is a serious deviation and a dramatic flaw of the Tientai theories about All-pervasiveness, Mutual inclusion, etc., which are all antinomian traps resulting from a non-understanding of the meaning of Buddha Nature. Even Dogen went wrong first on the matter, before correcting his error in some of his later writings.

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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by mutsuk » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:50 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
mutsuk wrote:Buddha Nature does not exist out there by itself as a force embrassing everything...
Why would anyone be embarrassed by Buddha nature? Image
Ok, let me correct my so terrible english that you can't resist to ridicule :
...as a force embracing everything...

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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by dzogchungpa » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:04 pm

mutsuk wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
mutsuk wrote:Buddha Nature does not exist out there by itself as a force embrassing everything...
Why would anyone be embarrassed by Buddha nature? Image
Ok, let me correct my so terrible english that you can't resist to ridicule :
...as a force embracing everything...
I tease because I love. :heart:


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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:30 pm

mutsuk wrote:
Queequeg wrote:Yeah, Zhanran's argument does involve some stretching definitions. Its not the simplistic thing you make it out to be, though. It does have some interesting implications for what "mind" is.
Shenhui and Huineng have both refuted Zhanrang's theories about insentients being endowed with a Buddha Nature since that would imply the existence of a substratum permeating everything (遍一切處), an idea which is outside buddhism. The Shenhui yulu 神會語錄 clearly negates this theory with reason and with a relevant quote from the Nirvāṇa Sūtra saying : "That which lacks Buddha Nature is deemed an insentient thing". I guess if insentient things have a Buddha Nature, then they can reach Buddhahood. I don't think that in the entire history of Buddhism any insentient thing became a Buddha. This is a serious deviation and a dramatic flaw of the Tientai theories about All-pervasiveness, Mutual inclusion, etc., which are all antinomian traps resulting from a non-understanding of the meaning of Buddha Nature. Even Dogen went wrong first on the matter, before correcting his error in some of his later writings.
I have to preface this by saying I am not at all well versed on the subject. I can't speak to these refutations you refer to, but Zhanran begins by addressing the Nirvana Sutra.

As for insentient things attaining Buddhahood - that is indeed what is asserted to happen at Buddhahood, or rather, happened, because Buddhahood has already been achieved.

Like I said, there is a nuance here which defies the criticism you make. Its not that plants and rocks attain Buddhahood on their own, but rather, they, being continuous with the Buddha, are also Buddha. And bringing in reference to Antinomianism is off base, as well.
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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by mutsuk » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:59 pm

Queequeg wrote:I have to preface this by saying I am not at all well versed on the subject. I can't speak to these refutations you refer to, but Zhanran begins by addressing the Nirvana Sutra.
Which he dramatically fails to understand properly, precisely because of his antinomian rhetoric, all-pervasiveness, mutual-inclusion and so forth. This is denounced by Shenhui (and a few others). The quote from the Nirvana Sutra shows Zhanran totally misses the point.
As for insentient things attaining Buddhahood - that is indeed what is asserted to happen at Buddhahood, or rather, happened, because Buddhahood has already been achieved.
No, you need a mind to achieve Buddhahood, insentient cannot do that. You are negating the Path. If Buddhahood is already there, then Bodies and Wisdoms (as well as Omniscience and Activities) can be displayed. If this is not the case, this means: 1. the Path has not be perfected, 2. Buddhahood has not been obtained, 3. insentient things cannot reach Buddhahood.
Like I said, there is a nuance here which defies the criticism you make. Its not that plants and rocks attain Buddhahood on their own, but rather, they, being continuous with the Buddha, are also Buddha. And bringing in reference to Antinomianism is off base, as well.
No, it is definitely not off base since it is the core of this approach which cannot escape its own doctrinal traps. In the Shenhui Yulu, it is said :
Chan Master Yuan of Ox-Head Mountain asked: "Does buddha-nature permeate everywhere or not?"
[Shenhui] answered: "Buddha-nature permeates all sentient things, but does not permeate all insentient things."

When Yuan says "Lush groves of emerald bamboos, Are wholly the dharma-body", this shows that his antinomian approach drives him out of Buddhism, since bamboos don't have a mind and therefore don't have a Dharmakaya. Even sentient beings do not have Dharmakaya, it's merely a potential, to experience that Dharmakaya in a manifest way, they need to practice the Path. And this dharmakaya is not even the dharmakaya at its fruition. In other words, the three Bodies are manifestations of the Path (sku gsum lam gyi snang ba), saying the contrary negates the necessity of the Path. This is more or less the same thing as in Dzogchen when someone is unable to distinguish the state of Dzogchen from the state of the practitioner of Dzogchen. This negates the Path. Negating the Path contradicts the Four Noble Truths. You see where that leads after that...
When Yuan says again "Luxuriant clusters of chrysanthemums, are Nothing other than prajñā (wisdom)" he again misses the point since prajñā is experienced by a mind, not by insentients.
Shenhui answers : "Surely you do not mean that the merit of groves of emerald bamboos equals that of the dharma-body, or that the wisdom of clusters of chrysanthemums is the same as prajñā? If the groves of bamboos and chrysanthemums are equal to the dharma-body and to prajñā, then in which scripture does the Tathāgata predict that an emerald bamboo or a chrysanthemum will attain bodhi? The notion that emerald bamboos and chrysanthemums are the same as the dharma-body and prajñā is a heterodox doctrine."
So it is indeed a case where antinomian traps have led those advocating them out of Buddhism.

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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by mutsuk » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:09 pm

The original source of the quotes I made above is :

Yang Zengwen 楊曾文. Shenhui heshang chanhua lu 神會和尚禪話錄. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1996, pp. 86-87:
牛頭山袁禪師問:佛性遍一切處否?答曰:佛性遍一切有情、不遍一切無情。問
曰:先輩大德皆言道、青青翠竹、盡是法身、鬱鬱黃花、無非般若。今禪師何故
言道、佛性獨遍一切有情、不遍一切無情?答曰:豈將青青翠竹同于功德法身?
豈將鬱鬱黃花、等般若之智?若青竹黃花同於法身般若者、如來於何經中、說與
青竹黃花授菩提記?若是將青竹黃花同於法身般若者、此即外道說也、何以故?
《涅槃經》、具有明文、無佛性者、所渭無情物是也.

A french version can be found here : Gernet, Jacques, Entretiens du maître dhyâna Chen-Houei du Ho-Tsö (668-760), Paris, EFEO, 1977 (sorry I don't have the book at hand right now so I don't have the exact page references for the quote but if someone has a PDF, this can be found easily).

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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:18 pm

mutsuk wrote:
Queequeg wrote:I have to preface this by saying I am not at all well versed on the subject. I can't speak to these refutations you refer to, but Zhanran begins by addressing the Nirvana Sutra.
Which he dramatically fails to understand properly, precisely because of his antinomian rhetoric, all-pervasiveness, mutual-inclusion and so forth.
Can you define what you mean by "antinomian"?
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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by dzogchungpa » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:35 pm

mutsuk wrote:The original source of the quotes I made above is :

Yang Zengwen 楊曾文. Shenhui heshang chanhua lu 神會和尚禪話錄. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1996, pp. 86-87:
牛頭山袁禪師問:佛性遍一切處否?答曰:佛性遍一切有情、不遍一切無情。問
曰:先輩大德皆言道、青青翠竹、盡是法身、鬱鬱黃花、無非般若。今禪師何故
言道、佛性獨遍一切有情、不遍一切無情?答曰:豈將青青翠竹同于功德法身?
豈將鬱鬱黃花、等般若之智?若青竹黃花同於法身般若者、如來於何經中、說與
青竹黃花授菩提記?若是將青竹黃花同於法身般若者、此即外道說也、何以故?
《涅槃經》、具有明文、無佛性者、所渭無情物是也.

A french version can be found here : Gernet, Jacques, Entretiens du maître dhyâna Chen-Houei du Ho-Tsö (668-760), Paris, EFEO, 1977 (sorry I don't have the book at hand right now so I don't have the exact page references for the quote but if someone has a PDF, this can be found easily).
I don't about that book, but you appear to be quoting from this paper:
https://www.academia.edu/27749171/Buddh ... Early_Chan
Last edited by dzogchungpa on Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by mutsuk » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:41 pm

This is in reference to all those theories developed by Northern Chan and Tientai about neutralizing opposites, leading in Tientai (starting with Zhanran but not only) to ideas such as all-pervasiness (遍), mutual inclusion (互具 ), as well as an incorrect understanding of non-duality (不二 ). For Shenhui, this has resulted in a complete neutralization of opposites entailing discarding morality (śīla), and ending up in discarding the Dharma itself. He says : "When I talk about "discarding", I (precisely and) only mean discarding the erroneous mind, not discarding the Dharma. 所言除者、但除妄心、不除其法." The Nirvâna-Sûtra quote cited previously is very clear and it demonstrates that Zhanran fails to understand it, precisely because of his doctrinal deviations.

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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:01 pm

mutsuk wrote:This is in reference to all those theories developed by Northern Chan and Tientai about neutralizing opposites, leading in Tientai (starting with Zhanran but not only) to ideas such as all-pervasiness (遍), mutual inclusion (互具 ), as well as an incorrect understanding of non-duality (不二 ). For Shenhui, this has resulted in a complete neutralization of opposites entailing discarding morality (śīla), and ending up in discarding the Dharma itself. He says : "When I talk about "discarding", I (precisely and) only mean discarding the erroneous mind, not discarding the Dharma. 所言除者、但除妄心、不除其法." The Nirvâna-Sûtra quote cited previously is very clear and it demonstrates that Zhanran fails to understand it, precisely because of his doctrinal deviations.
Is this a response to my question?

I think you are reading later Hongaku and Hongaku type thought into Zhanran. I can see the temptation, but all-pervasiveness and mutual inclusion do not in themselves lead to rejection of the path. That goes too far. There is a very tense dynamic balance, but Tiantai thought does not tip into rejection of the path.
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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by mutsuk » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:20 pm

Is this a response to my question?
If definitely is.
I think you are reading later Hongaku and Hongaku type thought into Zhanran.
Never read Hongaku and I don't know his theories about Zhanran.
I can see the temptation, but all-pervasiveness and mutual inclusion do not in themselves lead to rejection of the path.
They do. You don't understand the implications. Did you check Shenhui ?
That goes too far.
Insentients having a Buddha Nature is already gone way too far. Far outside Buddhism actually.

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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:27 pm

mutsuk wrote:
I think you are reading later Hongaku and Hongaku type thought into Zhanran.
Never read Hongaku and I don't know his theories about Zhanran.
Hongaku is usually translated into English as "Original Enlightenment" and is a strain of thought that emerged in Japanese Buddhism where it was believed no effort on the path is necessary because we are already enlightened.
I can see the temptation, but all-pervasiveness and mutual inclusion do not in themselves lead to rejection of the path.
They do. You don't understand the implications. Did you check Shenhui ?
Except that Tiantai, and Tendai down to the present assert that assiduous practice on the path is necessary for enlightenment.

I am not familiar with Shenhui. Can you briefly explain why I should check and what I can expect to draw from him?
That goes too far.
Insentients having a Buddha Nature is already gone way too far. Far outside Buddhism actually.
That is a conclusion, for sure.
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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by mutsuk » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:32 pm

Queequeg wrote:Hongaku is usually translated into English as "Original Enlightenment" and is a strain of thought that emerged in Japanese Buddhism where it was believed no effort on the path is necessary because we are already enlightened.
Oh, I see, so those advocatng this theory can display at will the Bodies, Wisdom, Omniscience and Activities ?
I am not familiar with Shenhui. Can you briefly explain why I should check and what I can expect to draw from him?
A negation of Zhanran's views, as well as a negation of some theories from Northern Chanists.

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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:24 am

mutsuk wrote: Insentients having a Buddha Nature is already gone way too far. Far outside Buddhism actually.
There is however the inconvenient statement by Padmasambhava in the Khandro Nyinthig rgyab chos where he declares that the distinction between the sentient and the insentient is not to be believed, and that it in fact disappears when one attains rainbow body. FWIIW.
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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:27 am

Queequeg wrote:
Hongaku is usually translated into English as "Original Enlightenment" and is a strain of thought that emerged in Japanese Buddhism where it was believed no effort on the path is necessary because we are already enlightened.

Definitely a wrong view, even in Dzogchen.
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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by mutsuk » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:54 am

Malcolm wrote:
mutsuk wrote: Insentients having a Buddha Nature is already gone way too far. Far outside Buddhism actually.
There is however the inconvenient statement by Padmasambhava in the Khandro Nyinthig rgyab chos where he declares that the distinction between the sentient and the insentient is not to be believed, and that it in fact disappears when one attains rainbow body. FWIIW.
You mean the passage about bem (inert whatever) and rig (awareness) are seen as dual, constituting a wrong view? If yes, it's clear bem is referring here to the body. If not, can you give the quote (in tibetan)?

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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by Anonymous X » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:00 am

[quote="Queequeg"]I am not familiar with Shenhui. Can you briefly explain why I should check and what I can expect to draw from him?[quote]

Shenhui was dharma heir to 6th Patriarch Huineng. Huineng and subsequently Shenhui, established the 'sudden' school opposed to the north's 'gradual' school which forms the core of most of the subsequent Chan and Zen teachings. Shenhui established the Heze school which Zongmi was a lineage holder of. Some believe him to be the originator of The Platform Sutra and not his teacher, Huineng.

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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by tiagolps » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:25 am

Malcolm wrote:
mutsuk wrote: Insentients having a Buddha Nature is already gone way too far. Far outside Buddhism actually.
There is however the inconvenient statement by Padmasambhava in the Khandro Nyinthig rgyab chos where he declares that the distinction between the sentient and the insentient is not to be believed, and that it in fact disappears when one attains rainbow body. FWIIW.
Would Guru Rinpoche be saying that a buddha can manifest as a rock or a tree?
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Re: Why plants don't have citta?

Post by Losal Samten » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:18 pm

tiagolps wrote:Would Guru Rinpoche be saying that a buddha can manifest as a rock or a tree?
Manifesting (as) objects to help people is one of the three kinds of nirmanakaya; the typical examples being bridges, texts, etc.

Such manifestations don't require ordinary objects to be sentient, just a buddha which manifests and another mind that perceives it.
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