is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
User avatar
LastLegend
Posts: 3646
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by LastLegend » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:52 pm

While for enlightened beings, ‘grasp’ (is the act) and ‘drop’ (is merit) because they both are empty.
Make personal vows.

User avatar
jake
Global Moderator
Posts: 716
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:13 pm

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by jake » Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:28 pm

LastLegend wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:52 pm
While for enlightened beings, ‘grasp’ (is the act) and ‘drop’ (is merit) because they both are empty.
Where is this from?

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 9380
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by Queequeg » Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:44 pm

Caoimhghín wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:22 am
LastLegend wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:38 am
Caoimhghín wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:34 am
Well, language is fine because upāya is fine, no?

:spy:

No one has to agree with me, now we've entered into the realm of the hopelessly obfuscated.
You mean language is upaya? Or suggesting something else.
Yes, but in doing so, I have exited the realm of well-established and directly spoken teachings and entered into the muddy realm of personal interpretation. I'm sure some other Buddhist has said this before me, but I don't know.
Did you? IIRC, Nagarjuna says, we use conventions, namely language, because we have to. See Four Siddhanta discussed in Tazhiutulun.
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 9380
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by Queequeg » Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:49 pm

Caoimhghín wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:59 am
if all of the Buddha's teachings (in the sense of words spoken, thoughts thought) is upāya, than so is tathāgatagarbha.
Tathagatagarbha, like all teachings, is something intended to hold our view at a particular angle so that we can see the light. Isn't that why they used the verb dhr (hold in a form) to refer to teachings?

I don't think you're off the reservation in suggesting that. If its not stated explicitly, its certainly implied in the notion of upaya. IIRC in the Vimalakirti? the Buddha describes a land where the beings communicate in scents. In such a place, what are words? Likewise, what's sublime scent to us? Jitterbug Perfume, maybe.
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 9380
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by Queequeg » Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:19 pm

Caoimhghín wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:43 am
I'm a bit late to the party, but I noticed that a lot of people have been talking about the Mahāparinirvāṇanāmamahāyānasūtra, but the quote in question isn't here:
Mahākāśyapa Bodhisattva asked the Buddha to speak, saying: "O, Bhagavān, I start today in obtaining right view. O, Bhagavān, until now, we all entirely abided in wrong view. O, Bhagavān, in the twenty-five existences, is there not the ātma?"

The Buddha said: "Kulaputra! The ātma is tathāgatagarbha in meaning. All sentient beings, in entirety, have the Buddha’s nature, and the ātma is its meaning. Thus so, the ātma’s meaning is, from root proceeding onwards, constantly without limit under kleśāḥ covered, therefore sentient beings cannot obtain sight of it. [...]"
(T375.648a27)

Source text:
迦葉菩薩白佛言:「世尊!我從今日始得正見。世尊!自是之前,我等悉名邪見之人。世尊!二十五有,有我不耶?」

佛言:「善男子!我者即是如來藏義。一切眾生悉有佛性,即是我義。如是我義,從本已來,常為無量煩惱所覆,是故眾生不能得見。[...]」
The MHPNS also declares that the ordinary notion of Self held by uncultivated beings is wrong view. There is a right view on Atman, but its very difficult to understand. The story of the doctor and prescription of milk in the MHPNS illustrates this, and why the Buddha in "previous" teachings taught No-Self.

My take on this teaching is that it offers a counter to the slip into nihilism or the undifferentiated emptiness you referred to above with the quote from FHHI. In all that tail chasing argumentation above, what seemed unsaid, was, at the risk of being accused of asserting something substantial, cessation of words and thoughts doesn't end in nothing - there is still Mind; everyone was implicitly in agreement that Mind is still there. Inconceivability is not nothing. What can affirmatively be said/thought about it is precluded unless we accept the caveat that its upaya. Seems a lot of arguments on DW arise because we don't grant each other the caveat that what is argued is upaya; hence the unhelpful, but almost inevitable response, "無", the Sunyata Trump Card thrown on the table with varying styles and flourishes with the air of finality.

As I understand, in Buddha, its not that there is no 8th consciousness - but purified it is unlike the stained Alaya in any manner. There is no way to talk about it without using the very modes that are not it.

In talking about Tathagatagarbha, or Buddhadhatu, or Amala Vijnana, or Dharmakaya, we're putting a name to something that we also understand is not contained by any of those terms. But since we are samsaric beings, we use these symbols as ways to understand, and critically, props against which to work out our ignorance. Unbinding still involves unbinding.

Zhiyi talks about this process in the terms of Relative and Absolute Sublime (妙, Skt. sad, as in saddharma). He also describes it as cures that eventually turn into obstacles themselves and must in turn be cured. Or letting a boil grow until its ready to be lanced. And of course, all of this is based on the upaya described in the Lotus Sutra.

I linked to some videos (props to the fellow who shared them with my by PM). That video included in the message might be of interest to you, Kevin.

All that is stated with the caveat... I don't know what I'm talking about.
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

User avatar
LastLegend
Posts: 3646
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by LastLegend » Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:25 pm

jake wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:28 pm
LastLegend wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:52 pm
While for enlightened beings, ‘grasp’ (is the act) and ‘drop’ (is merit) because they both are empty.
Where is this from?
That’s what I was taught by my teacher.
Make personal vows.

User avatar
Matt J
Posts: 883
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by Matt J » Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:36 pm

Ju Mipham Rinpoche states that we start from relative concepts. Accordingly, we need concepts to bridge from the conceptual to the non-conceptual. So we have the conceptual and non-conceptual ultimate that serves to point beings from being mired in concepts to the non-conceptual ultimate.

Or, as the Zen Master Dainin Katagiri quipped: "You have to SAY SOMETHING!"
Caoimhghín wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:34 am
Well, language is fine because upāya is fine, no?

:spy:

No one has to agree with me, now we've entered into the realm of the hopelessly obfuscated.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

User avatar
LastLegend
Posts: 3646
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by LastLegend » Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:23 pm

Matt J wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:36 pm
Ju Mipham Rinpoche states that we start from relative concepts. Accordingly, we need concepts to bridge from the conceptual to the non-conceptual. So we have the conceptual and non-conceptual ultimate that serves to point beings from being mired in concepts to the non-conceptual ultimate.

Or, as the Zen Master Dainin Katagiri quipped: "You have to SAY SOMETHING!"
Caoimhghín wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:34 am
Well, language is fine because upāya is fine, no?

:spy:



No one has to agree with me, now we've entered into the realm of the hopelessly obfuscated.
Nice so at the ‘base’ or ‘place’ of conceptual is non-conceptual? No? The birth place of all dharmas yet never being ‘stuck.’
Make personal vows.

User avatar
LastLegend
Posts: 3646
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by LastLegend » Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:27 pm

6th Patriarch said platform Sutra somewhere along the line, ‘Maha contains everything rivers mountains good deeds evil deeds etc.’
Make personal vows.

User avatar
futerko
Posts: 1199
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by futerko » Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:33 pm

Matt J wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:36 pm
Ju Mipham Rinpoche states that we start from relative concepts. Accordingly, we need concepts to bridge from the conceptual to the non-conceptual. So we have the conceptual and non-conceptual ultimate that serves to point beings from being mired in concepts to the non-conceptual ultimate.

Or, as the Zen Master Dainin Katagiri quipped: "You have to SAY SOMETHING!"
Caoimhghín wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:34 am
Well, language is fine because upāya is fine, no?

:spy:

No one has to agree with me, now we've entered into the realm of the hopelessly obfuscated.
Yes, but Mipham distinguishes between imaginary imputation and dependent nature, so it strikes me here that the oft repeated idea that somehow words fail to impact 'reality' is in fact merely the issue of a conventional view which imputes the physical reality of objects designated.

So, for example, instead of the 'wetness of water' being viewed as the relationship of a property to its object (which would result in a conceptual name merely representing a real form), it becomes seen as merely the property attached to the concept itself (where the form is merely the appearing property and the name is now seen as the truth of the previously imputed 'reality').

User avatar
LastLegend
Posts: 3646
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by LastLegend » Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:52 pm

futerko wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:33 pm
Matt J wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:36 pm
Ju Mipham Rinpoche states that we start from relative concepts. Accordingly, we need concepts to bridge from the conceptual to the non-conceptual. So we have the conceptual and non-conceptual ultimate that serves to point beings from being mired in concepts to the non-conceptual ultimate.

Or, as the Zen Master Dainin Katagiri quipped: "You have to SAY SOMETHING!"
Caoimhghín wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:34 am
Well, language is fine because upāya is fine, no?

:spy:

No one has to agree with me, now we've entered into the realm of the hopelessly obfuscated.
Yes, but Mipham distinguishes between imaginary imputation and dependent nature, so it strikes me here that the oft repeated idea that somehow words fail to impact 'reality' is in fact merely the issue of a conventional view which imputes the physical reality of objects designated.

So, for example, instead of the 'wetness of water' being viewed as the relationship of a property to its object (which would result in a conceptual name merely representing a real form), it becomes seen as merely the property attached to the concept itself (where the form is merely the appearing property and the name is now seen as the truth of the previously imputed 'reality').
Now that conventional reality is no difference than ultimate reality; appearance is no difference than nature. There is ‘no place’ from which appearances arise so that arising is not difference than nature. Language is liberation. :mrgreen:
Make personal vows.

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 9380
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by Queequeg » Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:38 pm

futerko wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:33 pm
Yes, but Mipham distinguishes between imaginary imputation and dependent nature, so it strikes me here that the oft repeated idea that somehow words fail to impact 'reality' is in fact merely the issue of a conventional view which imputes the physical reality of objects designated.
Has this assertion reared its head here or is this just another one of your strawmen?

Please stop this mode of argument. Its annoying and critically, unproductive.
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

User avatar
futerko
Posts: 1199
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by futerko » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:50 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:38 pm
futerko wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:33 pm
Yes, but Mipham distinguishes between imaginary imputation and dependent nature, so it strikes me here that the oft repeated idea that somehow words fail to impact 'reality' is in fact merely the issue of a conventional view which imputes the physical reality of objects designated.
Has this assertion reared its head here or is this just another one of your strawmen?

Please stop this mode of argument. Its annoying and critically, unproductive.
No, I think you've misunderstood.

The two modalities which I perceive are either that there is "external reality versus my own imagination" on the one hand, which seems fairly standard and would appear to match the descriptions in various texts, versus the alternate view described precisely as counter to that view in the same Buddhist texts, and which simply demonstrates how the putative object, stripped of any predicates or properties, is merely nama which acts to bind the various properties together, as mutually dependent conditions.

Apologies that you perceive some kind of 'negative' tension there. Personally I found some of the responses here to be fantastic, I recognise the amount of work that has gone in to constructing such responses, the focus required to do so, and for that I am grateful - I have found it to be most instructive.

User avatar
LastLegend
Posts: 3646
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by LastLegend » Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:06 pm

futerko wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:50 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:38 pm
futerko wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:33 pm
Yes, but Mipham distinguishes between imaginary imputation and dependent nature, so it strikes me here that the oft repeated idea that somehow words fail to impact 'reality' is in fact merely the issue of a conventional view which imputes the physical reality of objects designated.
Has this assertion reared its head here or is this just another one of your strawmen?

Please stop this mode of argument. Its annoying and critically, unproductive.
No, I think you've misunderstood.

The two modalities which I perceive are either that there is "external reality versus my own imagination" on the one hand, which seems fairly standard and would appear to match the descriptions in various texts, versus the alternate view described precisely as counter to that view in the same Buddhist texts, and which simply demonstrates how the putative object, stripped of any predicates or properties, is merely nama which acts to bind the various properties together, as mutually dependent conditions.

Apologies that you perceive some kind of 'negative' tension there. Personally I found some of the responses here to be fantastic, I recognise the amount of work that has gone in to constructing such responses, the focus required to do so, and for that I am grateful - I have found it to be most instructive.
Yes! Because when we try to be descriptive it draws people in they can also get stuck. Similarly we get stuck with teachers’ words but things need to be told. While things appear instructive, it means we are stuck. But we have to start somewhere lol. Really it should be naturally like it’s unborn nature.
Make personal vows.

User avatar
LastLegend
Posts: 3646
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by LastLegend » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:37 am

While it sounds crazy, but it has nothing to do with a particular individual’s response, it’s everyone’s participation and blessings from the Buddhas of 10 directions to bring us to clearer Dharma.
Make personal vows.

User avatar
Supramundane
Posts: 355
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:38 am
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by Supramundane » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:57 am

nichiren-123 wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:24 pm
tathagatagarbha (more or less buddha nature) is the idea that beyond the early buddhist concepts of impermanence, suffering and non-self there is a permanent, liberated self of sorts which remains forever untainted from karma, delusion and all forms of suffering.

I was brought up a Nichiren Buddhist in which this idea is very central. However I've been reading and practising in the Theravada tradition for the last few months and it seems to me that the three dharma seals (impermanence, suffering and non-self) represent reality more closely than the tathagatagarbha doctrine.
I have also read about Madhyamaka (middle way, Nagarjuna doctrine) and currently understand it as the logical extension of non-self to every so called 'thing'.
So what are your guys opinions? Is tathagatagarbha true? If you think it is then on what basis do you say so?

Keen to hear what you guys have to say. :)
You are right that the original nature of the mind is pure and clear and as a result, some thus qualify it as a 'true self'.

But as someone much smarter than me once said, "you can only the heartwood by removing the bark". thus, Buddhamind can be thought of as a cutting tool, cutting through delusion.

The goal of dharma practice is to bring about discipline in the mind to make it free from --- hatred --- lust --- delusion.

There is hope ----Because delusion has never penetrated into the crucible --- into the essential nature of the mind.

And always remember :

"You may not reach enlightenment, but you can become a righteous and kind-hearted person in this life" -- DL

metta

SteRo
Posts: 361
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by SteRo » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:41 am

Caoimhghín wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:22 am
LastLegend wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:38 am
Caoimhghín wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:34 am
Well, language is fine because upāya is fine, no?

:spy:

No one has to agree with me, now we've entered into the realm of the hopelessly obfuscated.
You mean language is upaya? Or suggesting something else.
Yes, but in doing so, I have exited the realm of well-established and directly spoken teachings and entered into the muddy realm of personal interpretation. I'm sure some other Buddhist has said this before me, but I don't know.
Maybe it has more to do with individual immediate experience than individual interpretation/conceptuality? Some teachings resonate with an individual while other teachings do not.

Considering all spoken teachings as upaya in a sphere where the dichotomy 'truth vs non-truth' is transcended does appear appropriate to me.


:namaste:

User avatar
LastLegend
Posts: 3646
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by LastLegend » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:48 pm

I was told that we can clearly differentiate between gold and rocks without being ‘stuck’ or ‘grasped’ or ‘confused’ by that differentiating, that would be differentiating wisdom and using unborn Prajna. Differentiating becomes harmonious function with unborn Prajna. We can be stuck anywhere even in the view even if that view is very clear without much delusional thoughts, so when we are stuck will get stuck with language or anything.
Make personal vows.

User avatar
LastLegend
Posts: 3646
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by LastLegend » Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:34 pm

Platform Sutra:

“When in use, this mind pervades everywhere, yet it does not cling to anything. We only have to purify our mind so that the six consciousnesses exit the six gates (senses) without being contaminated or defiled by the six dusts (sense objects). Coming and going freely, the mind functions without hindrances, that is prajna samadhi; that is to be free and liberated.”

Consciousness is another word for differentiating according to my teacher.

Also somewhere in Sutra, he said something like ‘Enlightenment is instant’ which literally means within satna. But this depends on individual as he said:

“The Dharma is not inherently sudden or gradual;
Yet according to each person’s delusion,
Enlightenment may come swiftly or slowly.”
Make personal vows.

User avatar
LastLegend
Posts: 3646
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: is the tathagatagarbha true? Opinions?

Post by LastLegend » Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:26 pm

Further ‘instruction:’

From the Sutra:
Noble friends, by observing and contemplating with wisdom, which illuminates within and without, we realize our original mind.  Realization of the original mind is true liberation.  To attain liberation is to attain prajna samadhi.  Prajna samadhi is “no thought.”  What is “no thought”?  To understand and perceive all dharmas, with a mind free from attachment and defilement, that is “no thought.”

From your own true suchness, illuminate and observe with wisdom, neither grasp nor reject anything—this is to see your true nature and attain Buddhahood.

By always using this inherent wisdom to illuminate and observe clearly, we need not rely on words. Similarly, the rains do not originate from the sky but are brought forth from the ocean by the celestial dragon, to nourish all animates and inanimates, sentient beings, trees, and grasses. Hundreds of streams flow into the ocean and merge into one body. Such is the prajna wisdom of our intrinsic nature.

Those who realize this teaching of Sudden Enlightenment do not cling to external practices. When the right view arises in their minds at all times, defilements and afflictions can never contaminate them. This is to see one’s true nature.

Noble friends, abiding neither within nor without, coming and going freely, clearing the mind of attachments with thorough and unimpeded comprehension – being able to cultivate this way, one is in complete accord with the Prajna Sutra.

If you give in to erroneous, deluded, and distorted thoughts, even a great master’s teaching would be futile.  If you give rise to genuine prajna contemplation, in an instant all deluded thoughts will cease; if you realize your inherent nature, you awaken and you arrive at the stage of a buddha.

Noble friends, the ordinary person is Buddha. Affliction is enlightenment.  A deluded thought makes you an ordinary person, an enlightened thought makes you a buddha.  To have a clinging thought one moment is affliction, to be free from attachment the next is enlightenment.
My understanding of right view: without grasping/clinging, without self, and non-personal. Or at least try to :lol:.

It’s not really a particular view more of an understanding. But that view is ‘seeing.’
Make personal vows.

Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 68 guests