original as misnomer

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Supramundane
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Re: original as misnomer

Post by Supramundane » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:09 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:32 am
Supramundane wrote:Is there an infinite consciousness or self that is shining everywhere?
Well, there is the Pabhassara Sutta:

"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."
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.

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.
:namaste:
i think you are very perceptive, WF.

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!

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Supramundane
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Re: original as misnomer

Post by Supramundane » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:08 am

Astus wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:40 pm
Supramundane wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:02 am
I often come across references to Original Mind, Nature, etc.in discussions of Buddhism (especially Zen).
If you want the East Asian teachings on such matters, start with the Awakening of Faith in Mahayana. It talks of "original enlightenment" (benjue 本覺).

"The essence of Mind is free from thoughts. The characteristic of that which is free from thoughts is analogous to that of the sphere of empty space that pervades everywhere. The one [without any second, i.e., the absolute] aspect of the world of reality (dharmadhatu) is none other than the undifferentiated dharmakaya, the “essence body” of the Tathagata. [Since the essence of Mind is] grounded on the dharmakaya, it is to be called the original enlightenment. Why? Because “original enlightenment” indicates [the essence of Mind (a priori)] in contradistinction to [the essence of Mind in) the process of actualization of enlightenment; the process of actualization of enlightenment is none other than [the process of integrating] the identity with the original enlightenment."
(Awakening of Faith, BDK ed, p 17)
Your comment on the 'essence body' is what interests me the most, A. the problem with the concept of the Trikaya is that it varies from tradition to tradition, so much so that it's meaning is lost on me.

do the three bodies --the Nirmanakaya, Dharmakaya and Sambhogakaya --- correspond to:

1) physical body, mental body and the Law
2) Body, Mind and Enlightenment
3) Form, Essence and Clarity
4) Body, Mind and Emptiness
5) Body, Mind and Rainbow Body?

Does one mediate between the other two?

it would be great if someone could clear this up for me. or perhaps it simply depends on what tradition you follow.

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Re: original as misnomer

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:24 am

You’re welcome! It’s a great question to have raised.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: original as misnomer

Post by Astus » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:40 am

Supramundane wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:51 am
how then can there be an 'original mind' or 'true self'???
The purpose of such terms is to encourage people, to inspire, to posit an attractive goal.

"“Self” is what “buddha” means. “Permanence” is what “dharma body” means. “Bliss” is what “nirvāṇa” means. “Purity” is what “dharma” means.
...
“Nonself” [actually] denotes “saṃsāra.” “Self” denotes “tathāgata.” “Impermanence” denotes “śrāvakas” and “pratyekabuddhas.” “Permanence” denotes the “dharma body of tathāgatas.” “Pain” (*duḥkha) denotes “all other paths.” Bliss (*sukha) denotes “nirvāṇa” itself. “Impurity” denotes “created dharmas.” “Purity” denotes “the true teaching of the buddhas and bodhisattvas.” All these are what I call the “noninversions.” It is by means of what is not inverted that one can understand the meaning of letters. If you want to separate yourself from the four inversions, you must understand permanence, bliss, purity, and self in this way."

(Nirvana Sutra, vol 1, BDK ed, p 59, 60-61)

"the reason why the Tathagatas who are Arhats and Fully-Enlightened Ones, teach the doctrine pointing to the Tathagata-garbha is to make the ignorant cast aside their fear when they listen to the teaching of egolessness and to have them realise the state of non-discrimination and imagelessness."
(Lankavatara Sutra, 2.28, tr Suzuki)

"[The sutras of the second turning of the wheel of Dharma] state in numerous places
that all knowable [phenomena] are in all ways empty like a cloud, a dream, or an illusion.
Why is it then, that in [the sutras of the third turning of the wheel of Dharma]
the Buddha, having said this, declared that buddha nature is present within beings?

With regard to faintheartedness, contempt for inferior beings,
perceiving the untrue, disparaging the true nature,
and exceeding self-cherishing, he said this to persuade those
who have any of these five to abandon their defects.

The final truth is in every respect
devoid of anything compounded.
The poisons, karma, and their product
are said to be like a cloud and so on."

(Uttaratantra, v 156-158, in Buddha Nature, p 40-41)
do the three bodies --the Nirmanakaya, Dharmakaya and Sambhogakaya --- correspond to:

1) physical body, mental body and the Law
2) Body, Mind and Enlightenment
3) Form, Essence and Clarity
4) Body, Mind and Emptiness
5) Body, Mind and Rainbow Body?

Does one mediate between the other two?
The nirmanakaya is how ordinary beings perceive/conceive a buddha, i.e. the human aspect. The sambhogakaya is how arya-bodhisattvas perceive/conceive a buddha, i.e. the devotional and meditational aspect. The dharmakaya is the true nature of a buddha, i.e. emptiness, free from perceptions/conceptions.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Supramundane
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Re: original as misnomer

Post by Supramundane » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:27 am

Astus wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:40 am
Supramundane wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:51 am
how then can there be an 'original mind' or 'true self'???


The nirmanakaya is how ordinary beings perceive/conceive a buddha, i.e. the human aspect. The sambhogakaya is how arya-bodhisattvas perceive/conceive a buddha, i.e. the devotional and meditational aspect. The dharmakaya is the true nature of a buddha, i.e. emptiness, free from perceptions/conceptions.
excellent.

you are a treasure trove of sutras, A!

i shall save this.
tq

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Re: original as misnomer

Post by Supramundane » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:30 am

I would like to take another go at comparisons using ‘child’s mind” or 'like a child' when some commentators refer to non-conceptual thoughts. Since a child does not yet possess language, it is possible he would not have the same categorizations and conceptualizations that an adult would. Some commentators note that language is what traps us in samsara since language is the ultimate ‘matrix’, i.e. source of illusion.

To a small child who has not yet acquired language, a man walking by may just seem like two long sticks switching position. If that man were to walk behind a door he would ---in the child’s mind--- disappear, winking in and out of existence (perhaps why the game ‘peekaboo’ thrills and enthralls small children).

Some Zen masters seem to advocate such a state of non-conceptual thoughts as the goal of meditation, changing the awareness of observing the world into becoming part of it.

However, IMO, if our goal in life is to recapture some sort of Eden of childhood, whereby we think like a child and are unable to avail ourselves of language, we would be no further ahead.

The child is still an observer of the world despite his lack of conceptual tools.

Mahayana is about an unrelenting search for the truth to help others attain enlightenment, not a regression to childhood or acquisition of an animal soul by forgetting language.

There must be a middle way.

instead of regressing perhaps we should be more cutting edge, downloading the 'enlightenment app' which i see is trending on google play lol.
c

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Re: original as misnomer

Post by Astus » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:23 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:30 am
Some Zen masters seem to advocate such a state of non-conceptual thoughts as the goal of meditation, changing the awareness of observing the world into becoming part of it.
What sort of Zen is that? Huineng is quite clear on the matter of what is the proper method and what is a mistake:

"The most important thing is not to become attached to emptiness. If you empty your minds and sit in quietude, this is to become attached to the emptiness of blankness. ... Furthermore, there are deluded people who empty their minds and sit in quietude without thinking of anything whatsoever, claiming that this is great."
(Platform Sutra, ch 2, BDK ed, p 28-29)

"What is nonthought? If in seeing all the dharmas, the mind is not defiled or attached, this is nonthought. [The mind’s] functioning pervades all locations, yet it is not attached to all the locations. Just purify the fundamental mind, causing the six consciousnesses to emerge from the six [sensory] gates, [causing one to be] without defilement or heterogeneity within the six types of sensory data (literally, the “six dusts”), autonomous in the coming and going [of mental phenomena], one’s penetrating function without stagnation. This is the samādhi of prajñā, the autonomous emancipation. This is called the practice of nonthought.
“If one does not think of the hundred things in order to cause thought to be eradicated, this is bondage within the Dharma. This is called an extreme view."

(ch 2, p 33-34)

"Nonthought is to be without thought in the context of thoughts."
(ch 4, p 43)
However, IMO, if our goal in life is to recapture some sort of Eden of childhood, whereby we think like a child and are unable to avail ourselves of language, we would be no further ahead.
The Buddha himself rejected such an approach:

"If an individual is endowed with these four qualities, I do not describe him as consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments. Rather, he stands on the same level as a stupid baby boy lying on its back. Which four? There is the case where he does no evil action with his body, speaks no evil speech, resolves on no evil resolve, and maintains himself with no evil means of livelihood. If an individual is endowed with these four qualities, I do not describe him as consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments. Rather, he stands on the same level as a stupid baby boy lying on its back."
(Samana-Mundika Sutta)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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