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Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:46 pm
by Matt J
So Dr. Berzin states that an omniscient Buddha mind pervades the universe like space. I'm not sure what to make of it.

Thoughts?
The Buddhas are those who have eliminated all their confusion so that they are able to use their potentials fully to benefit others. On the definitive level, the safe direction of the Buddhas is provided by their dharmakaya or bodies encompassing everything - namely, their omniscient awareness and its nature, both of which encompass everything. The rupakaya or body of forms that Buddhas manifest serve as the interpretable level, while Buddha statues and paintings are the representation of the first precious gem.
From Gelug-Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra

Also:
A Buddha’s omniscient mind pervades all knowable objects and, from an anuttarayoga tantra point of view, is purely a subtlest clear light level of mind. Since a Buddha’s subtlest wind and subtlest clear light mind have the same essential nature (ngo-bo gcig), a Buddha’s subtlest wind also pervades all phenomena – for example, all phenomena that are forms of physical phenomena (gzugs, Skt, rupa, form). This is similar to space (nam-mkha’) pervading all forms of physical phenomena. Taking the four elements – earth, water, fire, and wind – of some form of physical phenomena, such as the table, as a basis for imputation (gdags-gzhi), we can impute not only space on that basis, but also the person (gang-zag) of a Buddha.

But since the referent object of the labeling (btags-chos) and the basis for imputation are not the same, then just as the table is not the space of the table, so too the Buddha that we meditate on as being imputed on the basis of the table is not the table. Thus, we can meditate on the Buddha as being imputed on everything and everywhere, but that does not make Buddha identical to the universe or Buddha as being the size of the universe. Thus, the Buddhist assertion of a Buddha’s omniscient mind pervading the universe is not equivalent to the non-Buddhist Samkhya and Vaisheshika assertions of persons (skyes-bu, Skt. purusha) or “souls” (bdag, Skt. atman; selves) pervading the universe and being static, partless, and existing independently of a body or mind.
https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced- ... and-arhats

Re: Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:06 pm
by Malcolm
Emptiness pervades all phenomena.
The buddhas realize emptiness without any trace of knowledge obscuration.
Therefore, their unobscured knowledge pervades everything that is empty.

Matt J wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:46 pm
So Dr. Berzin states that an omniscient Buddha mind pervades the universe like space. I'm not sure what to make of it.

Thoughts?
The Buddhas are those who have eliminated all their confusion so that they are able to use their potentials fully to benefit others. On the definitive level, the safe direction of the Buddhas is provided by their dharmakaya or bodies encompassing everything - namely, their omniscient awareness and its nature, both of which encompass everything. The rupakaya or body of forms that Buddhas manifest serve as the interpretable level, while Buddha statues and paintings are the representation of the first precious gem.
From Gelug-Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra

Also:
A Buddha’s omniscient mind pervades all knowable objects and, from an anuttarayoga tantra point of view, is purely a subtlest clear light level of mind. Since a Buddha’s subtlest wind and subtlest clear light mind have the same essential nature (ngo-bo gcig), a Buddha’s subtlest wind also pervades all phenomena – for example, all phenomena that are forms of physical phenomena (gzugs, Skt, rupa, form). This is similar to space (nam-mkha’) pervading all forms of physical phenomena. Taking the four elements – earth, water, fire, and wind – of some form of physical phenomena, such as the table, as a basis for imputation (gdags-gzhi), we can impute not only space on that basis, but also the person (gang-zag) of a Buddha.

But since the referent object of the labeling (btags-chos) and the basis for imputation are not the same, then just as the table is not the space of the table, so too the Buddha that we meditate on as being imputed on the basis of the table is not the table. Thus, we can meditate on the Buddha as being imputed on everything and everywhere, but that does not make Buddha identical to the universe or Buddha as being the size of the universe. Thus, the Buddhist assertion of a Buddha’s omniscient mind pervading the universe is not equivalent to the non-Buddhist Samkhya and Vaisheshika assertions of persons (skyes-bu, Skt. purusha) or “souls” (bdag, Skt. atman; selves) pervading the universe and being static, partless, and existing independently of a body or mind.
https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced- ... and-arhats

Re: Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:25 pm
by Wayfarer
My only caveat would be that something is 'pervading' can easily make it seem like 'extended in space', like an 'essence' or 'ether', which I'm sure it's not. There is nowhere where it is not, but it's also not anywhere - which I think is the meaning of the last sentence in the second quoted paragraph.

Re: Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:49 pm
by Matt J
That sounds like the Buddha is omnipresent. This is how the Vedantins describe Brahman.
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:06 pm
Emptiness pervades all phenomena.
The buddhas realize emptiness without any trace of knowledge obscuration.
Therefore, their unobscured knowledge pervades everything that is empty.

Re: Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:04 pm
by Malcolm
Matt J wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:49 pm
That sounds like the Buddha is omnipresent. This is how the Vedantins describe Brahman.
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:06 pm
Emptiness pervades all phenomena.
The buddhas realize emptiness without any trace of knowledge obscuration.
Therefore, their unobscured knowledge pervades everything that is empty.
The difference is that what pervades phenomena is not buddhas. Emptiness is that which pervades phenomena, in other words, all phenomena are empty.

When we say pervades, we mean that all phenomena are similarly empty, just as all fires are similarly hot. It is not that there is one emptiness without a second that pervades all phenomena. And even emptiness is just a convention.

A Buddha is not omnipresent, they are unobstructed. There is a difference, subtle, but a difference that is important.

Re: Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:27 pm
by Wayfarer
Thus, the Buddhist assertion of a Buddha’s omniscient mind pervading the universe is not equivalent to the non-Buddhist Samkhya and Vaisheshika assertions of persons (skyes-bu, Skt. purusha) or “souls” (bdag, Skt. atman; selves) pervading the universe and being static, partless, and existing independently of a body or mind.

Re: Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:53 am
by Matt J
Well, we'll have to see where this rabbit hole goes.
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:04 pm
The difference is that what pervades phenomena is not buddhas. Emptiness is that which pervades phenomena, in other words, all phenomena are empty.

When we say pervades, we mean that all phenomena are similarly empty, just as all fires are similarly hot. It is not that there is one emptiness without a second that pervades all phenomena. And even emptiness is just a convention.

A Buddha is not omnipresent, they are unobstructed. There is a difference, subtle, but a difference that is important.

I couldn't follow his argument.
Wayfarer wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:27 pm
Thus, the Buddhist assertion of a Buddha’s omniscient mind pervading the universe is not equivalent to the non-Buddhist Samkhya and Vaisheshika assertions of persons (skyes-bu, Skt. purusha) or “souls” (bdag, Skt. atman; selves) pervading the universe and being static, partless, and existing independently of a body or mind.

Re: Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:13 am
by Wayfarer
It’s a deep question. Probably better to put it aside or just contemplate.

Re: Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:55 pm
by PSM
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:04 pm
A Buddha is not omnipresent, they are unobstructed. There is a difference, subtle, but a difference that is important.
Is this because a buddha (or emptiness) is not actually present, either in one place or every place?

Re: Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:14 pm
by tingdzin
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:04 pm
A Buddha is not omnipresent, they are unobstructed. There is a difference, subtle, but a difference that is important.
Wayfarer wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:13 am
t’s a deep question. Probably better to put it aside or just contemplate.
An intellectual grasp on such things will always be an imperfect understanding, no matter how subtle it becomes (which is not to say there aren't better and worse ways to put it). But human life is short.

Re: Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:36 pm
by Wayfarer
There is no 'that', right? When words such as 'pervading' are used, then you try to imagine 'what can that be'? But there is no objective reality there to know or grasp. That is one of the key characteristics of 'realisation' - realising the real nature of present reality which is not a 'that'. Which is why 'un-knowing' is fundamental, and why Prajñāpāramitā is the 'way of negation'.

Re: Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:07 pm
by anjali
I'll share an amusing story relevant to this issue of "all pervading mind."

Once I was in discussion with a Zen teacher when he asked, "Is it anywhere?"
I was somewhat perplexed and replied, "It's not anywhere; it's an experience."
He smiled in return and asked, "Is it here and now?"
I got a smile on my face and said, "Yes."
Then he got a big smile on his face and said, "Then it's everywhere."
And we both cracked up laughing.

Re: Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:00 am
by Malcolm
Wayfarer wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:36 pm
There is no 'that', right? When words such as 'pervading' are used, then you try to imagine 'what can that be'? But there is no objective reality there to know or grasp. That is one of the key characteristics of 'realisation' - realising the real nature of present reality which is not a 'that'. Which is why 'un-knowing' is fundamental, and why Prajñāpāramitā is the 'way of negation'.
Pervade simply means, "present in every instance." In this case, heat pervades all fires, meaning, in all instances of fire, there is heat.

Re: Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:22 am
by Wayfarer
Thank you. A very helpful analogy.

:namaste:

Re: Does the Buddha's Omniscient Mind Pervade the Universe Like Space?

Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:34 am
by Matt J
From TUR:
“Space is beyond center and edge. Wherever space pervades, there are sentient beings. Wherever there are sentient beings, buddha nature is present. That is what is meant the statement that buddha nature encompasses all of samsara and nirvana, all worlds, all beings”
– Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche