Buddha nature vs Soul

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doublerepukken
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Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by doublerepukken » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:44 pm

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:

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Malcolm » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:24 pm

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:
"Buddhanature" is a name for the nature of the mind. It means since the nature of the mind, clarity and emptiness, can be found in all minds, that nature of the mind can be realized by all beings, given the proper causes and conditions.

As to the permanence of Buddhas — when someone frees their mind from the afflictions that cause rebirth in samsara, and attains omniscience, that person is a buddha. Buddhas are permanent in so far as there are no conditions which can inhibit their continuums. Thus, buddhas remain in the world for as long as there are sentient beings who require their assistance, manifesting when needed. When there are no more sentient beings, there is no further need for buddhas in the world.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Queequeg
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Queequeg » Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:00 pm

Malcolm,
As I understand, Buddha-nature is a translation of Buddha dhatu.

Could you give some color on what "dhatu" means or refers to in the context of Buddha-nature? What is it's scope here?
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, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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doublerepukken
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by doublerepukken » Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:28 pm

Malcolm 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:
"Buddhanature" is a name for the nature of the mind. It means since the nature of the mind, clarity and emptiness, can be found in all minds, that nature of the mind can be realized by all beings, given the proper causes and conditions.

As to the permanence of Buddhas — when someone frees their mind from the afflictions that cause rebirth in samsara, and attains omniscience, that person is a buddha. Buddhas are permanent in so far as there are no conditions which can inhibit their continuums. Thus, buddhas remain in the world for as long as there are sentient beings who require their assistance, manifesting when needed. When there are no more sentient beings, there is no further need for buddhas in the world.
Malcolm,

Thank you for your reply. I think I may have misunderstood Buddha; what he is saying is that all things that are conditioned are said to be impermanent, so Buddha's would not fall underneath that banner, correct? Also thank you for your clarification of what "Buddha-nature" is. So rather than being something that is a thing it is more like a quality we possess... while I was checking into this, I read that Dogen referred to it not as something that we have, but rather something we are, I think that makes a lot of sense.

:namaste:

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by RobbyS » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:45 pm

Malcolm wrote: Thus, buddhas remain in the world for as long as there are sentient beings who require their assistance, manifesting when needed. When there are no more sentient beings, there is no further need for buddhas in the world.
If there ever is an end to sentient beings, does that mean there will be nothing left in the world? No earth, no planets? Just a black void?

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:10 am

The original Buddhist criticism of Ātman was about the belief that there was some element in the self, or the self itself, that was permanent and unchanging. The analogies given were that this was conceived as something 'set firm like a post' or 'like a mountain peak'. This was the supposed 'unchanging essence' which never changed whilst everything around it arose and passed away. The Buddha challenged this by the straightforward means of challenging those who believed in such a thing, to show that it exists, by asking 'where in experience do you find anything whatever that is not subject to change'?

The Buddha Nature teachings developed in much later forms of Buddhism, they are not found in the Pali scriptures. I think they refer to the innate ability of the mind to relate to, and to understand, the Buddha's teaching. Buddha Nature is not conceived as an 'unchanging essence' in the way described above, it is simply the aspect of the being that is able to understand and respond to the Buddha's teaching.

Buddhism generally doesn't use terminology like 'eternal' or 'unchanging' in the same way that other religions do. That is part of its unique and distinctive approach.

That is my current interpretation, it is of course subject to revision.

//ps// also, there is no direct translation for the Western term 'soul' in Hindu or Buddhist culture, in my view. Ātman is simply 'self' or 'I am'; the Western term 'soul' has many shades of meaning which differ from that. In any case, Buddhism certainly never incorporates the notion of 'soul' into its teaching, but I think it is also incorrect to say, as many people do, that 'Buddhism teaches there is no soul'. That's because 'no soul' is usually taken to be the view of Western materialism, and Buddhism is not a materialist philosophy. It simply leaves that term, 'soul', aside, and doesn't utilise it in its teachings.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by takso » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:09 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:
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:
~ Ignorance triumphs when wise men do nothing ~

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Malcolm » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:02 am

Queequeg wrote:Malcolm,
As I understand, Buddha-nature is a translation of Buddha dhatu.

Could you give some color on what "dhatu" means or refers to in the context of Buddha-nature? What is it's scope here?
=

Dhātu means "source." The nature of the mind is the source of buddhahood. There is no buddhahood apart from realizing the nature of one's mind.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Malcolm » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:03 am

RobbyS wrote:
Malcolm wrote: Thus, buddhas remain in the world for as long as there are sentient beings who require their assistance, manifesting when needed. When there are no more sentient beings, there is no further need for buddhas in the world.
If there ever is an end to sentient beings, does that mean there will be nothing left in the world? No earth, no planets? Just a black void?
There will be only buddhas and buddhafields.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Malcolm » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:07 am

Wayfarer wrote:
The Buddha Nature teachings developed in much later forms of Buddhism, they are not found in the Pali scriptures.
Yes, in fact they are:
  • "Luminous, monks, is the mind.[1] And it is defiled by incoming defilements." {I,v,9}

    "Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements." {I,v,10}

    "Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — there is no development of the mind." {I,vi,1}

    "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, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind." {I,vi,2}
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The above sutta is precisely a teaching on tathāgatagarbha.

M
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Malcolm » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:10 am

takso wrote:
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.
No, in fact it is rather the reverse. Awareness is a quality of consciousness.

There is no term for "awareness" the way you are using the word in any Buddhist sūtra, The Buddhist term for "awareness" is samprajana. It accompanies mindfulness.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by smcj » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:09 am

Wayfarer wrote:

The Buddha Nature teachings developed in much later forms of Buddhism, they are not found in the Pali scriptures.

Yes, in fact they are:
Brunnhölzl also cites references to "luminous mind" in the Pali as precursors to the BN teachings. But Asanga & Vasabandhu were much later.

Plus interpretations of BN that some would say are heretical had to evolve away from India because of the need to have be different than Hinduism while still in India.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:40 am

Malcolm wrote: The above sutta is precisely a teaching on tathāgatagarbha.

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?
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by kalden yungdrung » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:07 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:

Tashi delek D,

Tathagatagarbha is the most popular term for Buddha essence which is inherent present in every sentient being, up to heaven and down to hell.

It is indestructable and never born, so it is uncreated.

One can also say that we have:

- Absolute Bodhicitta - Tathagatagarbha, does not need to be perfected and cannot change, it is Buddhahood, but veiled by the
relative dualistic Mind of karma, or ego
- Relative Bodhicitta - methods must be practisecd to reach the Tathagatagarbha / Buddha essence.

Atman or the wrong self is based on dualisms like good and bad and is therefore illusion.
The Buddha explained that this is the wrong self or ego and not true.

In Mahayana, Compassion and Wisdom must be developed via the relative Bodhicitta to reach Tathagatagarbha.

Some relevant Tathagata Sutras:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tath%C4%8 ... -250_CE.29

Buddhas can emanate via a lower body to teach sentient beings.
How long will there be sentient beings ?
Well a sentient being has the never born pure inherent present Thatagatagarbha. If a sentient being goes wrong with his dualistic mind / ego, then because the accompanied never dying Tathagata is present, the duration of being reborn in the 6 realms can be endless. So Buddhas will have an endless task to teach these sentient beings.
The chance that a certain sentient being can come in contact with methods for enlightenment , that chance is very rare.

The Buddhas stay present to teach etc. as long there are ego minds.
To say when this will end ?
I guess that is utopia for the moment because time does not play a role here and the creation factor will never stop.
Also the number of sentient beings in the 6 realms is personal unknown.


But i heard there would be in the Mind also an inherent impurity which caused / can cause the degeneration / illusion /dualisms.
And seen in this light, the 6 realms are eternal, or the Minds can be reborn eternal in these 6 Realms.

There are certainly entities who never made the mistake of taken dualisms as real.................

- But interesting to know other /your visons about the emptying of Samsara, if this is possible or not ?
The best meditation is no meditation

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by muni » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:36 am

I have no idea what is soul. I heard about soul-mate as well, what is that? Perhaps soul is often spoken as "a soul" and "a Buddha Nature" sounds odd, very odd. Buddha Nature is not one not two, not many, is Primordial Goodness is said.
“ Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek. ”
H H Dalai Lama

"Relax." nirvana-samsara do not stray from spaciousness.

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Dan74 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:40 am

Malcolm wrote:
Wayfarer wrote:
The Buddha Nature teachings developed in much later forms of Buddhism, they are not found in the Pali scriptures.
Yes, in fact they are:
  • "Luminous, monks, is the mind.[1] And it is defiled by incoming defilements." {I,v,9}

    "Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements." {I,v,10}

    "Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — there is no development of the mind." {I,vi,1}

    "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, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind." {I,vi,2}
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The above sutta is precisely a teaching on tathāgatagarbha

M
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?

https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 3&start=20

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by muni » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:04 am

Defilements, great example of emptiness.

Buddha-Manjusri:
Manjusri, do you detach yourself from the defilements or abide in them? Manjusri: I neither detach myself from the defilements nor abide in them.
“ Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek. ”
H H Dalai Lama

"Relax." nirvana-samsara do not stray from spaciousness.

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Tiago Simões » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:17 am

"Mind, there is no mind, mind is luminous."
Then, the Licchavi Vimalakīrti spoke to the elder Śāriputra and the great disciples: “Reverends, eat of the food of the Tathāgata! It is ambrosia perfumed by the great compassion. But do not fix your minds in narrow-minded attitudes, lest you be unable to receive its gift.”

- Chapter 9, The Feast Brought by the Emanated Incarnation
The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Teaching of Vimalakīrti”

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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by takso » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:26 am

Malcolm wrote:
takso wrote:
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.
No, in fact it is rather the reverse. Awareness is a quality of consciousness.

There is no term for "awareness" the way you are using the word in any Buddhist sūtra, The Buddhist term for "awareness" is samprajana. It accompanies mindfulness.
It can be either way. Firstly there is the arising of preliminary awareness, then there is the arising of consciousness cum intermediary awareness, thereafter the arising of consciousness cum advanced awareness, and lastly the arising of ultimate/full awareness - samprajana.

Just like the emptiness of phenomena is both the cause and consequence of the dependent nature of phenomena.
~ Ignorance triumphs when wise men do nothing ~

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddha nature vs Soul

Post by Malcolm » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:16 pm

takso wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
takso wrote:
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.
No, in fact it is rather the reverse. Awareness is a quality of consciousness.

There is no term for "awareness" the way you are using the word in any Buddhist sūtra, The Buddhist term for "awareness" is samprajana. It accompanies mindfulness.
It can be either way. Firstly there is the arising of preliminary awareness, then there is the arising of consciousness cum intermediary awareness, thereafter the arising of consciousness cum advanced awareness, and lastly the arising of ultimate/full awareness - samprajana.

Just like the emptiness of phenomena is both the cause and consequence of the dependent nature of phenomena.
No, it cannot be either way. There is no word in Sanskrit Buddhist texts, or in Tibetan texts, that corresponds to the way you are using the word "awareness."

Awareness is a mental factor which belong the to the samskara skandha.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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