i think you are very perceptive, WF.Wayfarer wrote: ↑Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:32 amWell, there is the Pabhassara Sutta:Supramundane wrote:Is there an infinite consciousness or self that is shining everywhere?
The commentary by Ven Thanissaro depicts the difficulties it presents for the Theravada analysis, which is pretty much the same problem you're wrestling with here."Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements."
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements."
"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."
"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."
That said, I can see what you're trying to get at, but I think the problem revolves around 'objectification'. There is indeed no 'true self' or 'original nature' as an object of cognition or as something that exists. But recall that to say that 'there is no self' still does tend towards 'the error of nihilism'. So I think what you're objecting to, is the implication that 'true mind' or 'original nature' is something that can be designated or pointed out as an objective reality or 'something that exists'. And this is where I think you're interpreting 'original mind' or 'true nature' in 'eternalistic' terms and then questioning it on those grounds. But what you're not seeing is the way that 'true mind' etc is 'beyond objectification', and indeed it is a very subtle idea, but I think it is quite characteristic of the Mahayana understanding.
Consider this excerpt from The Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra:
It is not existent--even the Victorious Ones do not see it.
It is not nonexistent--it is the basis of all samsara and nirvana.
This is not a contradiction, but the middle path of unity.
May the ultimate nature of phenomena, limitless mind beyond extremes, be realised.
If one says, "This is it," there is nothing to show.
If one says, "This is not it," there is nothing to deny.
The true nature of phenomena,
which transcends conceptual understanding, is unconditioned.
May conviction be gained in the ultimate, perfect truth.
indeed, there is a fault in my thinking and you have put your finger on it. i in fact acknowledge it with my reference to two sutras that do explicitly point to doctrines of a True Self/Original Mind. you are very right: it is characteristic of Mahayana and cannot be discounted.
i find it hard to reconcile, admittedly.
still thinking this one through. thanks for the quote and your comments. perhaps nudging me forward to a better understanding!