Buddha nature vs Soul

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Malcolm » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:27 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Yes, one can argue that, but one can also argue that this is not about Buddha-nature at but a characteristic of the mind. After all, can Buddhanature, or enlightened mind be defiled?
Buddhanature (buddhadhātu) can be covered with obscurations. This is the purpose for the discussion in the Uttaratantra of the nine examples of how the buddhadhātu is covered with obscurations, which come from the ten tathātagarbha sūtras.

Buddhanature is nothing other than dharmakāya covered with afflictions (Luminous, monks, is the mind.[1] And it is defiled by incoming defilements); dharmakāya is nothing other than one's mind when it is freed from all obscurations (Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements.).
Wayfarer wrote:I'm sure that, from the Mahayana perspective, that verse can be taken to refer to Buddha Nature, but does the actual term 'tathāgatagarbha' appear in the Pali? And do you think a Theravadin would agree that that is what is meant by it?
The meaning is what is important. I used the Pali canon for convenience. But this sutta also exists in the Agamas. Statements like it exist in Mahāyāna sūtras as well.

Thus, your question, will a Hinayāna practitioner recognize that this as a reference to tathāgatagarbha, no. But that is not important since we in Mahāyāna understand the meaning of Agamas, etc., from the point of view of Mahāyāna, not from the point of view of Hinayāna.

I cited the Pali text to show a continuity in Buddha's teaching about the luminosity of the mind, which is an important connecting thread between Buddha's Hinayāna teachings and his Mahāyāna teachings.

M
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Dan74 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:07 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Dan74 wrote:
Yes, one can argue that, but one can also argue that this is not about Buddha-nature at but a characteristic of the mind. After all, can Buddhanature, or enlightened mind be defiled?
Buddhanature (buddhadhātu) can be covered with obscurations. This is the purpose for the discussion in the Uttaratantra of the nine examples of how the buddhadhātu is covered with obscurations, which come from the ten tathātagarbha sūtras.

Buddhanature is nothing other than dharmakāya covered with afflictions (Luminous, monks, is the mind.[1] And it is defiled by incoming defilements); dharmakāya is nothing other than one's mind when it is freed from all obscurations (Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements.).
M
Thank you, Malcolm. Of course this description is in a number of Mahayana Sutras, including the Platform Sutra and the Sutra of Complete Enlightenment. But perhaps a more plausible interpretation of
Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements.
is grasping and aversion. And then it is freed, because of insight:
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
.

Look, I'm really not sure. "Luminous" does appear to refer to a deep characteristic of the mind, so you could argue something like that. On the other hand folks over at the other Wheel argued that this luminosity is simply an aspect of contact, and anything else is overreaching. You can have a look at the thread I linked.

_/|\_

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by smcj » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:13 pm

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
This quote is important because it shows that even in the Pali mind can be described in positive terms.
Malcolm wrote:I cited the Pali text to show a continuity in Buddha's teaching about the luminosity of the mind, which is an important connecting thread between Buddha's Hinayāna teachings and his Mahāyāna teachings
Hey, Malcolm and I agree on something. That is cause for celebration!
:woohoo:
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Malcolm » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:23 pm

Dan74 wrote: On the other hand folks over at the other Wheel argued that this luminosity is simply an aspect of contact, and anything else is overreaching. You can have a look at the thread I linked.

_/|\_

Mahāyāna forum, Mahāyāna rules. :anjali:
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Dan74 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:52 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Dan74 wrote: On the other hand folks over at the other Wheel argued that this luminosity is simply an aspect of contact, and anything else is overreaching. You can have a look at the thread I linked.

_/|\_

Mahāyāna forum, Mahāyāna rules. :anjali:
Sure thing, but the sutta in question is a Pali sutta, hence the relevance of Theravada view on it. But OK, happy to let this rest.

_/|\_

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by smcj » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:27 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Dan74 wrote: On the other hand folks over at the other Wheel argued that this luminosity is simply an aspect of contact, and anything else is overreaching. You can have a look at the thread I linked.

Mahāyāna forum, Mahāyāna rules. :anjali:
Sure thing, but the sutta in question is a Pali sutta, hence the relevance of Theravada view on it. But OK, happy to let this rest.
There's plenty of different ways to interpret things. The main text on Buddha Nature is "The Uttaratantra". It can be read as Prasangika Madhyamaka (Middle Way), Cittamatra (Mind Only), or Shentong/Great Madhyamaka (Empty-of-Other). And then each of those interpretations have multiple interpretations depending on the school and author. So nobody gets exclusive rights over interpretation. It comes down to, "Whatever floats your boat."
...over at the other Wheel argued that this luminosity...
I'm surprised it has even come up for discussion over there. :thanks:
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Malcolm » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:34 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Dan74 wrote: On the other hand folks over at the other Wheel argued that this luminosity is simply an aspect of contact, and anything else is overreaching. You can have a look at the thread I linked.

_/|\_

Mahāyāna forum, Mahāyāna rules. :anjali:
Sure thing, but the sutta in question is a Pali sutta, hence the relevance of Theravada view on it. But OK, happy to let this rest.

_/|\_

Nagārjuna uses Hinayāna sūtras to illustrate points in Mahāyāna where Hinayāna practitioners have not understood the import of their own sūtras. This is an example of that.

Mahāyāna accepts both Hinayāna and Mahāyāna sutras, but considers Mahāyāna sūtras to reveal the true meaning of statements found in Hinayāna sūtras, like this Prabhasvara Sūtra, known in the Pali canon as the Pabbhsara Sutta.
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by dzogchungpa » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:45 pm

BTW, there's a new paper from Walser related to the soul idea in Buddhism When Did Buddhism Become Anti-Brahmanical? The Case of the Missing Soul. I haven't read it yet but it looks kind of interesting.
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Queequeg » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:00 am

dzogchungpa wrote:BTW, there's a new paper from Walser related to the soul idea in Buddhism When Did Buddhism Become Anti-Brahmanical? The Case of the Missing Soul. I haven't read it yet but it looks kind of interesting.
You read 1337?
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by smcj » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:06 am

Of course the alayavijnana, the 8th consciousness which goes from life to life, has bee accused of being akin to a soul.
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by krodha » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:34 am

smcj wrote:Of course the alayavijnana, the 8th consciousness which goes from life to life, has bee accused of being akin to a soul.
You really like souls and Jesus.

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by smcj » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:38 am

krodha wrote:
smcj wrote:Of course the alayavijnana, the 8th consciousness which goes from life to life, has bee accused of being akin to a soul.
You really like souls and Jesus.
And eternalism. You forgot eternalism. Actually souls not so much.
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by dzogchungpa » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:40 am

Queequeg wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:BTW, there's a new paper from Walser related to the soul idea in Buddhism When Did Buddhism Become Anti-Brahmanical? The Case of the Missing Soul. I haven't read it yet but it looks kind of interesting.
You read 1337?
A l177l3.
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Malcolm » Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:17 am

smcj wrote:
krodha wrote:
smcj wrote:Of course the alayavijnana, the 8th consciousness which goes from life to life, has bee accused of being akin to a soul.
You really like souls and Jesus.
And eternalism. You forgot eternalism. Actually souls not so much.
What is the point of eternalism if isn't something to be eternal?
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by smcj » Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:57 am

Malcolm wrote: What is the point of eternalism if isn't something to be eternal?
As Shakespeare said, "The play's the thing". Even so, every play needs a stage. Nothing about a play is permanent.
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Malcolm » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:08 am

smcj wrote:
Malcolm wrote: What is the point of eternalism if isn't something to be eternal?
As Shakespeare said, "The play's the thing". Even so, every play needs a stage. No need for an actor to get stuck in a role just because the stage stays the same.
The point is that there is no point to eternalism if there is no eternal agent or object.
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by smcj » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:11 am

The point is that there is no point to eternalism if there is no eternal agent or object.
Defining terms:

I'm using "eternalism" to refer to an Ultimate Reality that is unborn or non-manifest.

My understanding of "soul" is an identity or something manifest that is unchanging.

For instance, Kalu R gave the example of a being that is born successively as an elephant, then fish, then bird. Can you say that the true identity of the fish is really that of the elephant? Or say that the bird's identity is really as a fish? No. There is nothing essential and unchanging about any of those successive identities. Nothing about the continuity that goes between lifetimes limits the metamorphosis between lives. Thus there is no essential unchanging identity, no "soul", involved in the continuity. Part of its nature is limitless freedom to be expressed as anything whatsoever.
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Supramundane » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:24 am

takso wrote:
doublerepukken wrote:Hey all,

I have been reading more into the concept of Buddha-nature and honestly I am very lost. I was under the impression that in Buddhism all things are subject to change and are impermanent, yet here is a concept of something eternal that is present in all beings... I don't understand how this is different from atman. Also apparently from the Lotus sutra, Buddhas are actually also eternal and everlasting? This is all very confusing lol. If anyone is able to clear this up for me I would greatly appreciate it

:namaste:
Buddha nature is a phenomenon arising out of the observation by the conventional mind. It refers to an innate characteristic (behaviour) of our mind that is luminous. In other words, when we examine our usual mind, its delusion is negated, what is left is a nature of clarity of the innate mind. And Buddhism articulates on one’s potentiality of exploring the base level of the mind. This would mean a chance of making inroads into realising the innate mind that is pure, boundless, potent and luminous (the experiencing of the Buddha nature) by individuals.

On the other hand, soul is simply referring to consciousness. Actually, the mind is a pattern of consciousness that is born from awareness. Awareness is a ground condition that ‘supports’ consciousness. The nature of awareness is effulgence and it is in a not-knowing state before the appearance of object. Consciousness, on the other hand, is appearance of objects in the mind. When awareness touches on objects, consciousness would arise simultaneously. Consciousness is naturally looking outward to objects and it is flitting all the time.

In addition, consciousness is synergy i.e. energy that expands through cooperation. Synergy is a key to the geometric expansion of consciousness and thus the arising of several classifications i.e. prevailing conscious mind, subtle conscious mind and innate mind. In fact, mind is known as consciousness in individuality. Therefore, the origin of individuality is the same as the origin of the mind. Mind is something more objective and involves clear discrimination – differentiates and understands the characteristics of objects. One utilises mind to understand things because mind understands the manipulation of consciousness.

In the human realm, the conventional mind is comprised with a conflation of prevailing and subtle consciousnesses. On the other hand, the innate mind consciousness is luminous, highly commanding and even sharper than a sword that can pierce through the time stream, the space and the planes of existence. It is also known as a higher mind with the prevailing mind consciousness liberating from the thoughts churned out by the subtle mind consciousness. This liberation from thought identification to thought observation is called the experience of the Buddha nature. In other words, the innate mind has higher vibrational frequencies than the conventional mind and it has a vast potentiality or capability of projecting the future destiny of individuals. Therefore, it is crucial for one to develop the innate mind consciousness via expanding the frequency span to an uppermost level all the time while sustaining in the human realm.

At the end of the day, transcending the conventional mind via meditation would allow the dilution of one’s personal ego under the light of pure awareness and subsequently, it would give rise to the original source connection – the emptiness of all things. And the emptiness of inherent existence of the mind is called the Buddha nature.



‘There is no essence in who or what you are. There is no you in the so-called ‘you’ in the first place. Every event that arises, be it consciously or otherwise, is merely a continuum of orientating flux of energy in the cosmos. The delusion of you arises because of the elements of memory; without it, there can be no consciousness in play. Therefore, it is wise not to conceptualise anything if one were to discover the true nature of everything.’

:namaste:

Excellent post! I noted down some of the ideas you articulated to think on them later. I would only add one thing to help answer our friend's question: the impermanence you allude to, and sunyata, ironically are unchanging and thus the only eternal axioms of existence. Like a pupil in the eye, the eternal nature of impermanence is the only unwavering immutable principle in our realm of existence.

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:25 am

doublerepukken wrote:Hey all,

I have been reading more into the concept of Buddha-nature and honestly I am very lost. I was under the impression that in Buddhism all things are subject to change and are impermanent, yet here is a concept of something eternal that is present in all beings... I don't understand how this is different from atman. Also apparently from the Lotus sutra, Buddhas are actually also eternal and everlasting? This is all very confusing lol. If anyone is able to clear this up for me I would greatly appreciate it

:namaste:

nature must be understood not as a concept, in this point it differs from the soul principle of self conception

we see the first is "things as they are" and the second "things as we want to see them" like.

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Malcolm » Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:11 pm

smcj wrote:
The point is that there is no point to eternalism if there is no eternal agent or object.
Defining terms:

I'm using "eternalism" to refer to an Ultimate Reality that is unborn or non-manifest.

My understanding of "soul" is an identity or something manifest that is unchanging.

For instance, Kalu R gave the example of a being that is born successively as an elephant, then fish, then bird. Can you say that the true identity of the fish is really that of the elephant? Or say that the bird's identity is really as a fish? No. There is nothing essential and unchanging about any of those successive identities. Nothing about the continuity that goes between lifetimes limits the metamorphosis between lives. Thus there is no essential unchanging identity, no "soul", involved in the continuity. Part of its nature is limitless freedom to be expressed as anything whatsoever.
The term "ultimate reality" does not exist in Buddhist texts. This is a very misleading English gloss. The terms we have for an "ultimate" are 1) ultimate truth, i.e, paramārtha or don dam, which means "ultimate meaning" or "ultimate sense"; suchness, i.e. tatāta or de bzhin nyid; dharmatā or chos nyid refer to the ultimate essence of relative phenomena. Indeed, these terms, and others like them, are all pointing out something definitive about relative phenomena or beings.

There are terms in Buddhism that mean "reality," like gnas lugs, bhutatā, but there is no need to add the adjective "ultimate" to such terms because what is real is real. There is no relative reality as opposed to an ultimate reality. The first would be contradiction in terms, since the relative is not real, not constant, not unchanging, etc. The second is redundant since the real is constant, unchanging, etc.

There is no separate unmanifest reality which stands apart from manifest phenomena. This "nonarising" you seek is precisely the nonarising nature of dependently originated phenomena, their emptiness of arising, ceasing, and abiding.

Emptiness is the quality of things that allows them to undergo change and transformation.

Nonarising, aka, emptiness is ultimate truth and reality. Emptiness and nonarising are ultimate truths, veridical cognitions arrived at through an analysis of dependently originated phenomena. Emptiness and non-arising are real because they withstand analysis, i.e., they are the result that one finds upon analysis, they are the content of āryan cognition in equipoise.

But emptiness and nonarising are not ultimate realities because if they were, there would be nothing other than a blank void.
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