Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

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Seishin
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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Seishin » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:18 am

kirtu wrote: Really? Who/what Tendai groups don't accept some form of original enlightenment? More or less I thought that all the Kamakura Schools accepted it in varying interpretations with the exception of Nichiren (and this discussion has been illuminating on that issue).

Kirt
Historically speaking the Danna Branch rejected the idea of hongaku. There have also been many within Tendai who have criticised hongaku, most notably Hochibo Shoshin (late 12th, early 13th cent). As for present day, I couldn't say which sects or which people reject Hongaku, but my sensei has said there are still Tendai groups who reject hongaku. Personally, I'm not entirely sold either, but neither do I outright reject it - its simply part of my learning process.

However, looking at the thread thus far it seems that what some understand Hongaku as, is different to what I understand it as. This is understandable. The history of Hongaku doctrine isn't straightforward. There have been many interpretations over the past. Personally, although its related to Buddha-nature, I try to keep these two doctrines in different boxes. Buddha-nature is accepted by all Tendai Buddhists: the difference being those who believe we already are (perfect, fully fledged) Buddhas (Hongaku 本覺), and those who believe that we have a seed that needs cultivating (shigaku 始覚).

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Seishin » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:24 am

Minobu wrote:Tiendai thought is hongaku and speaks of everything including everything...comes from original enlightenment ...my way of looking at a creationist falsehood.
:thinking: I believe you are talking about "Hon-butsu" here, rather than "Hon-gaku"? :thinking:

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Seishin » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:49 am

One Tendai monk of the early Kamakura period, who was not a founder of a major new school, was forthright in condemning the hongaku theories. His name was Hochibo Shoshin (active 1165-1207) and his writings provide a template for grasping some of the key issues of his day...... His overriding concern, it appears, was the character and quality of monastic study and practice..... Shoshin condemns what he sees as doctrinal jargon about the supposed immanence of Buddhahood, taking his target the phrase "original and naturally enlightened Buddha" (honrai jikaku butsu). This phrase includes the two Chinese glyphs that make up the term "original enlightenment"... and can be understood as an elaboration of its meaning. Shoshin attacks the phrase on both philosophical and scriptural grounds, but the heart of his critique is that the proponents of hongaku thought deny the essential truth that Buddhist enlightenment depends on particular effort and insights, in other words, on practice.
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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:48 am

Minobu wrote:
Queequeg wrote:If Buddha is not imminent, then Buddha is something acquired. This is an inferior teaching.
Buddahood is acquired and is possible due to tathghatagarba .
Consider, how do you "acquire" Buddhahood? Is it a discreet substance? A frequency of energy one can attune to and vibrate with in sympathetic resonance? That is what came to my mind reading this. Just like emptiness is not a discreet substance, neither is Buddhahood, so I think it sort of makes sense how it couldn't be "acquired" in the strictest sense.

Buddhahood is often spoken of in via negativa, instead of in positive terms. Cessation of this, freedom from that. Which this and that? Probably ignorance would be a good candidate.

Nichiren's claim that hongaku is invalid on account of the defilements and delusions of ordinary beings (if I am understanding what some posters are implying, is there a handy quote from the man himself?), makes a lot of sense, but only really criticizes a certain reading of hongaku, namely one that argues that dharma practice of any sort is a waste of time? This lines up with that Seishin has brought up about figures in the Tendai school like this Hochibo Shoshin, it seems?

I think that Ven Zhiyi's criticisms of Ven Vasubandhu's mind-only metaphysics might also apply to the notion of "original enlightenment". I can imagine him saying something like "In X teaching they speak of an original enlightenment, but from the perspective of the integrated teaching, we can speak of either original saṁbodhi "and/or/as" original saṃsāra" (fabricated non-quote).

To quote another thread you started "only dharma practice leads to the manifestation of these realms", referring, for the purposes of this post, to the Buddha-realm/dhātu/element/quality (界), which is unrealized and unmanifest?

I'm just thinking out loud here. The internet has a tendency to make it look like people are preaching, or talking on a soap-box, but I'm just thinking out loud. No preaching or doctrine pushing here.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by narhwal90 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:05 pm

Minobu wrote:Nichiren saw the defilements as proof there cannot be an original enlightenment from which everything sprung...the whole point is to purify with practice and shakabukku..ourselves and others...

this original enlightenment thing, the way it is now defined is wrong view..it leads to things like The Buddha is somehow responsible for Samsara .

is this

If Buddha is not imminent, then Buddha is something acquired. This is an inferior teaching.
your words.
are you really using the word imminent?
i don't get it..it rings of inherency...

10 Worlds and ichinen-sanzen say we all have buddha nature- thus there is nothing to acquire, but some work is needed to manifest it.

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Queequeg » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:47 pm

OK, so Minobu, we're back to your concern about creationism. The hongaku issue is actually different - it has to do with the path to enlightenment, not some notion related to creation. You might benefit from studying abhidharma to understand how it is asserted that samsara comes into being.

I was thinking the other day about magnets - their magnetic quality is inherent in the material (I'm not addressing issues of their production and what causes subtances to exhibit magentism - this is a layperson's magnet). There is no volition or intent. Its the same with Buddhahood - its a quality of reality. There is no source Buddhahood, no Buddha that made everything come into existence - In Buddhist mythology a point of creation is irrelevant but nonetheless logically speaking, unsound.

I think this needs to be cleared up before we consider what hongaku means and if Nichiren was pro or anti hongaku.
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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Minobu » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:35 pm

Seishin wrote:
Minobu wrote:Tiendai thought is hongaku and speaks of everything including everything...comes from original enlightenment ...my way of looking at a creationist falsehood.
:thinking: I believe you are talking about "Hon-butsu" here, rather than "Hon-gaku"? :thinking:
apparently there is old school tendai hongaku in the post above we find this
One of the major discourses of medieval Japanese Buddhism involved
the concept of original enlightenment (hongaku 本覚、. While the term
“original enlightenment thought,is today used very loosely to indicate
any sort of innate Buddha-nature concept, in the medieval period
hongaku had a more specific meaning
and i believe now,there is new school tendai thinking .

today original enlightenment has morphed into"Tathāgatagarbha" for some anyway.

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:46 pm

"only dharma practice leads to the manifestation of these realms", referring, for the purposes of this post, to the Buddha-realm/dhātu/element/quality (界), which is unrealized and unmanifest?
So I've been thinking of the above, and I think that the above has to be viewed in light of karma, causes, and conditions, but only controversially so.

For instance, it is technically possible to attain complete saṁbodhi after one exposure to the Buddhadharma, depending on (past? present?) karma, causes and conditions, etc. This is unlikely to the point of "practical impossibility" (it would be interesting to know if this was "still" believed to be the case in a Nichiren context, namely, in the context of mappō). I think that this principle still stand in Dharma Degeneration, though, because I think (but do not know, as I am not an expert in the subject matter) that, in the context of Nichiren Buddhism, one can still become enlightened after just as much as one hearing of the saddharma, for instance of the Lotus Sutra, or via participation in Daimoku. It is still unlikely to the point of near-impossibility, but possible, yes?

That being said, the above discourse reminds me of a conflict in Tendai Buddhism, between two subsects, one of which is labelled today as heterodox and the other orthodox, in which one "heterodox" (heretical?) subsect posited a Buddha(hood) predicated on causes and conditions. I believe the mainstream Tendai view that won out was that Buddha(hood)/Awakening was not predicated on causes and conditions, but I am not familiar enough on the matter to know for sure.

If I may elaborate, the criticized hongaku, the "a-hongaku", if one will, which seems to be criticized by Nichiren and Buddhists outside of his dispensation alike, wherein all are anuttarasamyaksambuddhas fully realized without the need for practice, seems to be a product of viewing the first truth to the exclusion of the other two. It is viewing things in light of emptiness, which isn't wrong, but isn't viewing things on terms of the delusion and defilements that block the understanding of fundamental emptiness.

From a certain perspective, the perspective of some Tathagatagarbha sutras, we are all of us Buddhas fully realized, yet paradoxically covered in defilements, which don't exist themselves and yet somehow still obscure Buddha(hood). However there is also the appearance of myriad dharmas, the appearance of seperateness and dinstinctness, the "appearance" or "likeness" of inherent reality/existence. There is also a non-duality or "not-two-ness" between the two.

The hongaku which sees all as Buddha without defilement, I think at least, is only operating from 1 of 3 truths, namely the first only and to the exclusion of the other truths, and is therefore insufficient. The hongaku which is Buddha-nature is not subject to this criticism it seems to me.

Note: I got :offtopic: here but soon go :focus:

Similarly, from the Mahayanamahaparinirvanasutra, we have an identification of Buddhadhaatu and Tathaagatagarbha as aatman. I think this may be, and this is just IMO, but a vision of Buddhahood from the perspective of specifically the second truth, the myriad dharmas.

From the perspective of the deluded being, from the perspective of the myriad dharmas, from the perspective of the second truth, awash in myriad shifting dharmas, in the ocean of impermanence, Buddhahood, Buddha-nature, and Nirvana, "appear" or "seem" stable, eternal, unchanging, unperishing, like God, Heaven, Divinity, and Atman. But this is an "appearance" or "similarity", or "certain perception", not a reality or necessarily even a "true perception". This perception is a product of the perspective of the myriad dharmas, which, although themselves not "untrue", can still produce conventionally "false" understandings when viewed as a truth exclusive to the other 2 truths. That is why we have such language also in the Mahaayaana canon. Perhaps that is just my own delusion though. But I see it as a reconciliation of this language with what I understand of the Tiantai framework.

In short, a nirvana in light of Madhyamaka, in light of Tiantai, in light of Nichiren(?), can probably be called "original" "root" or "primordial", but that would probably also imply a primordial samsara to accompany nirvana in non-duality.

That is just my own thoughts though.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Seishin » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:50 pm

Minobu wrote:
One of the major discourses of medieval Japanese Buddhism involved
the concept of original enlightenment (hongaku 本覚、. While the term
“original enlightenment thought,is today used very loosely to indicate
any sort of innate Buddha-nature concept, in the medieval period
hongaku had a more specific meaning
and i believe now,there is new school tendai thinking .

today original enlightenment has morphed into"Tathāgatagarbha" for some anyway.
Well, this is precisely what I said earlier on; Hongaku has many interpretations, even within Tendai - what is usually referred to in Tendai Hongaku Theory is the consensus, or to put it a better way; the "most widely held belief". What I have found, though, much of the material one finds on the internet about Hongaku usually comes, not from Tendai, but from Nichiren, Zen and Pureland Schools.

My personal opinion is that the conflation of Tathāgatagarbha (Buddha nature) with Hongaku is a mistake, which is why I said earlier that I try to keep these two separate. However, it should be noted that they are very much related.

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Minobu » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:51 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Minobu wrote:
Queequeg wrote:If Buddha is not imminent, then Buddha is something acquired. This is an inferior teaching.
Buddahood is acquired and is possible due to tathghatagarba .
Consider, how do you "acquire" Buddhahood? Is it a discreet substance? .
Buddhahood is a term . a point of reference. no it is not a discreet substance .
thats the whole point of my quest .
Is everything coming from some sort of Buddha stuff. and then they use Tathāgatagarbha as a means to describe that stuff.

i don't think so...but when one says all things come from Tathāgatagarbha it's just another creationist theory.
No one actually knows what exactly it means to be a Buddha. Even The Buddha never nailed it down for posterity.
So you have things like hongaku changing over centuries and Tathāgatagarbha and what it means changing over time. different schools of thought.

Bringing these into the Nichiren Shonin paradigm has got me radar on full alert.

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Seishin » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:00 pm

Minobu wrote: i don't think so...but when one says all things come from Tathāgatagarbha it's just another creationist theory.
Please can you show me who and where is says "all things come from Tathāgatagarbha"...... :thinking:

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Seishin » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:02 pm

Coëmgenu wrote: That being said, the above discourse reminds me of a conflict in Tendai Buddhism, between two subsects, one of which is labelled today as heterodox and the other orthodox, in which one "heterodox" (heretical?) subsect posited a Buddha(hood) predicated on causes and conditions. I believe the mainstream Tendai view that won out was that Buddha(hood)/Awakening was not predicated on causes and conditions, but I am not familiar enough on the matter to know for sure.
As I said above, Danna Branch rejected Hongaku. Eshin Branch accepted Hongaku. Eshin branch became the dominant branch.

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:09 pm

Or look at it this way, from a pragmatical approach:

Nichiren wants Buddhists to practice Daimoku right?

I think that in and of itself makes him less likely to be enthusiastic about doctrines that, if misinterpreted, could result in absolving practitioners of the responsibility to actually practice Nichiren Buddhism, even if a true and correct understanding of the teaching in question exists.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:11 pm

Seishin wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote: That being said, the above discourse reminds me of a conflict in Tendai Buddhism, between two subsects, one of which is labelled today as heterodox and the other orthodox, in which one "heterodox" (heretical?) subsect posited a Buddha(hood) predicated on causes and conditions. I believe the mainstream Tendai view that won out was that Buddha(hood)/Awakening was not predicated on causes and conditions, but I am not familiar enough on the matter to know for sure.
As I said above, Danna Branch rejected Hongaku. Eshin Branch accepted Hongaku. Eshin branch became the dominant branch.
Yes, but I was actually thinking of a conflict in Chinese Tiantai specifically, although that certainly applies.

The schools I was thinking of were the Shanjia and Shanwai. Are these their Japanese counterparts?
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:44 pm

On the subject of hongaku as a doctrine in danger of misinterpretation, I think the same is precisely the case with Nichiren's expounding of the doctrine of the poison drum.

If we misunderstand hongaku, there is no need to practice, but if we misunderstand the poison drum, then it is actually more expedient, preferable, and more "in-line" with Nichiren Buddhism to "hate" it. Consider the following:

It is much easier to trash the Lotus Sutra than to praise it. It is much easier to mock and slander the saddharma rather than to try to understand/realize/live it. It is easier to make fun of Nichiren than it is to meet him on common ground. I don't say these things as insults, I just happen to think they are objectively true things. It is easier to mock, denigrate, and consider teachings/teachers inferior than it is to try to understand them.

With this in mind, why not trash the Lotus Sutra? Why not trash Nichiren? It all leads to enlightenment anyways. The Lotus Sutra's salvation is inescapable.

Obviously the above is a misinterpretation, but I hope the misinterpretation is illuminating.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Minobu » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:00 pm

Seishin wrote:
Minobu wrote: i don't think so...but when one says all things come from Tathāgatagarbha it's just another creationist theory.
Please can you show me who and where is says "all things come from Tathāgatagarbha"...... :thinking:
weird ..i was just chanting and one of the distractions was just that.
somewhere "Q" told me to get used to it..it all comes from buddha or Tathāgatagarbha or along those lines...i'm going to have to show you where...Q and I have been at this for months now.

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by narhwal90 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:13 pm

Coëmgenu wrote: With this in mind, why not trash the Lotus Sutra? Why not trash Nichiren? It all leads to enlightenment anyways. The Lotus Sutra's salvation is inescapable.

Obviously the above is a misinterpretation, but I hope the misinterpretation is illuminating.
There are disagreeable consequences of slander of the sutra and practitioners, NIchiren points out some of the types and relative severities in various gosho. So I suppose I'd say its a better idea not to trash others or the sutra since doing so is at least unskillful.

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Queequeg » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:39 pm

Minobu wrote:
Seishin wrote:
Minobu wrote: i don't think so...but when one says all things come from Tathāgatagarbha it's just another creationist theory.
Please can you show me who and where is says "all things come from Tathāgatagarbha"...... :thinking:
weird ..i was just chanting and one of the distractions was just that.
somewhere "Q" told me to get used to it..it all comes from buddha or Tathāgatagarbha or along those lines...i'm going to have to show you where...Q and I have been at this for months now.
99.999% chance you misunderstood me.
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Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Minobu » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:07 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Minobu wrote:
Seishin wrote:
Please can you show me who and where is says "all things come from Tathāgatagarbha"...... :thinking:
weird ..i was just chanting and one of the distractions was just that.
somewhere "Q" told me to get used to it..it all comes from buddha or Tathāgatagarbha or along those lines...i'm going to have to show you where...Q and I have been at this for months now.
99.999% chance you misunderstood me.
So you never said get over it it's all from Buddha , everything.

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Re: Nichiren/tendai original enlightenment

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:16 pm

Minobu wrote:it's all from Buddha , everything.
Do you mean viewing all contact at the sense bases as misunderstood contact with the expounding of the Lotus Sutra? Or the body of Mahāvairocana?
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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