Is there just one Buddha?

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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tomschwarz
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Is there just one Buddha?

Post by tomschwarz » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:49 am

Hello friends,

in short, is there individuality in enlightenment? If not, is the individualization of individual "buddhas" simply a skillfull means (thanks kausalya) in the Buddhist Dharma (see Namparnangdze, Mikyododjesempa, Rinchenschangna,Maiyatreya, etc..) created to help our self-centered, fundamentally ignorant minds begin to envision enlightenment? Doesnt it seem appearant that at the time of death, in any case, we will loose all individuality?

from alan watts (see 4:45)
to be awakened is the concern of buddhism. and of course, therefore the word buddha means a person who has woken up who is no longer under the illusion of separateness, what is called sakaya drishti
So if we agree with all of that, then what would it be like to "peel off of" or "form" an individual identity from the non-individual "Buddha"? Is that the bardo of becoming? Did sidartha gautama go through that same process when he was conceived?
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA

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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by Ayu » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:02 pm

I can't answer, because I don't know.

Your OP just reminds me of a saying by Nagarjuna : "... not one, not many ..."

I can't find it in English: it is from Nagarjuna's MMK the very first shastra 1.1
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by Sherab » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:44 pm

tomschwarz wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:49 am
Hello friends,

in short, is there individuality in enlightenment? If not, is the individualization of individual "buddhas" simply a skillfull means (thanks kausalya) in the Buddhist Dharma (see Namparnangdze, Mikyododjesempa, Rinchenschangna,Maiyatreya, etc..) created to help our self-centered, fundamentally ignorant minds begin to envision enlightenment? Doesnt it seem appearant that at the time of death, in any case, we will loose all individuality?

from alan watts (see 4:45)
to be awakened is the concern of buddhism. and of course, therefore the word buddha means a person who has woken up who is no longer under the illusion of separateness, what is called sakaya drishti
So if we agree with all of that, then what would it be like to "peel off of" or "form" an individual identity from the non-individual "Buddha"? Is that the bardo of becoming? Did sidartha gautama go through that same process when he was conceived?
It is possible for atoms to be neither one nor many. And if you subscribe to the idea that Buddhism teaches that the ultimate reality is some form of idealism, then it is possible that the ultimate reality is neither one nor many. In other words, neither individuality nor monism is ultimate.

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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:09 am

what does space become when you chop it up?
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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by Supramundane » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:24 am

Fair question. As in quantum physics and the double-slit experiement, we see that light is both a wave and a particle or rather that it has qualities of both.
Can this be equated with the three bodies of buddha? Which of the three is the 'real buddha'? The answer is all three.

The phenomena of interconnection and karma tell me that the question, 'who am i?" Is actually a false one but should be, who are we?".

If Copernicus told us we are not the center of the universe, Darwin that we are not king of the animals, Freud that we are not even masters of ourselves, then it was the Buddha who told us that we are not even who we think we are.

You say that at death we lose our individuality, tom, but whether we really had it in the first place, is the real question.

But lets do a thought experiment to test your question, much like the thought experiment of Schrodinger's Cat tests the double slit phenomenon:

Can what i believe or think change my destiny? Change the physics of what i will become in the future?

If yes, then obviously there must an individual element; if no, then everything is mechanically driven and what i think or feel as an individual will be irrelevant, right?

What do you think, T?

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tomschwarz
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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by tomschwarz » Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:27 am

If yes, then obviously there must an individual element; if no, then everything is mechanically driven and what i think or feel as an individual will be irrelevant, right?

What do you think, T?
I am not sure. Need some time for non conceptual focus on this, "vipasana"....meditation. will follow up. And thanks to others as well. Each poses a challenge to deepening practice.
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA

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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by Sherab » Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:06 am

tomschwarz wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:49 am
So if we agree with all of that, then what would it be like to "peel off of" or "form" an individual identity from the non-individual "Buddha"? Is that the bardo of becoming? Did sidartha gautama go through that same process when he was conceived?
My understanding is this: there are many Buddhas and they can each function individually. But they can also function as a single entity. This is because the ultimate reality is neither one nor many.

The analogy given by Alan Watts of an ultimate reality that is like a weave. I prefer the analogy where atoms can be in individual states, each with their own wave function; or being a single state (Bose-Einstein condensate) because their wave functions overlap so much that the atoms can no longer be described individually. A state where many Buddhas can function as a single entity exists only in the domain of Buddhas and not unenlightened beings. Therefore enlightenment of sentient beings is still an individual affair.

But do note that an analogy is not the same as the real deal. The real deal cannot be expressed in any language of the deluded.

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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by tomschwarz » Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:45 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:09 am
what does space become when you chop it up?
...I can not confirm that space is suey.... But with that said, if it was, and we chopped it up, it would become chopped suey.

Ax merry Christmas, that was funny. So i am still hopping to have some heart level feelings for the both-individual-and-not idea of buddhahood/buddha nature within us now.....

Until then, an easier point
Can what i believe or think change my destiny? Change the physics of what i will become in the future?
Yes. See karma as well as cause and effect outside of the realm of the mind (not karma). But that is about us, life now. The question in this thread is not about life in the land of reincarnation (birth) it is about either 1) not being born/ joining the ground luminosity at the time of death or 2) like Sidartha Gautama, becoming enlightened in Samsara as a suffering human.

Now you could say, regarding buddhahood as both-individual-and-not, that #2 is proof, because Sidartha Gautama was both enlightened and a human being at the same time. If anyone really believes that story (which I do), then riddle me this, how can you be enlightened and still keep youself alive when you have to kill all kinds of living beings (bacteria, insects, etc...) in the basic daily process if living (e.g. harvesting potatoes you dismember and kill all kinds of worms, beetles, ants, larvae, etc..)? Are there any other conflicts that you can think if between human life (basics) and enlightenment ?
https://simple.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enl ... (Buddhism)

My feeling about Sidartha Gautama (and about Jesus) is probably a buzzkill to many and that is that they are ordinary people, not "enlightened". But on the other hand, sure we all do have buddha nature, and we are all "God's children" just that, I am talking about science, I am talking about mushrooms growing up out of my chest (sorry no chop suey here, but is possible...). And how does life start? The best we know is that only life can make life. So the only cause of the mind is the mind? Sure, just like the only cause of my brain involves another brain (with nerve-connected genitals). What we are talking about is human reproduction and reproduction of all life forms down to plants through bacteria up through insects, animals, and so on. Multiplied by other inhabitable cosmic ecosystems....

So in that way I am both individual and collective (See emptiness). But the subject of buddhist enlightenment, to live but without being born? I doubt it - and that is why I doubt the anthropomorphic buddhas living out there with limbs and heads and so on being individual... so maybe we should start there, how can i be alive and not be born? Are buddhas alive?
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA

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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:57 pm

Source of being/ground of being/origin. Unborn/uncreated/not begotten. Known through un-knowing, un-binding, un-becoming. All discursive analysis useless noise, beating of a tin drum, dog chasing own tail.
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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by smcj » Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:50 am

This is because the ultimate reality is neither one nor many.
My dilettante’s rendering of the same idea is “monism—but minus any ‘one thing’”.

Merry Christmas.(from a non-dual perspective).
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2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by tomschwarz » Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:56 am

If a Perfectly Enlightened Buddha were to say to himself, ‘I am enlightened’ he would be admitting there is an individual person, a separate self and personality, and would therefore not be a Perfectly Enlightened Buddha.
Diamond sutra. True there is some text that does not negate individuality in buddhahood. But the lionshare strongly speaks against all individuality. No?

Can you find something in the diamond sutra that supports the idea that there are individual buddhas in enlightenment (e.g. individual stupas here on earth do not count http://diamond-sutra.com/read-the-diamond-sutra-here
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA

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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by well wisher » Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:32 am

One of my favourite sutra is the Amitabha Sutra, which I regard as one of the most optimistic sutra.
In this sutra it repeats: "all Buddhas such as these, numberless as Ganges sands"
So do not bother trying to quanitify the number of buddhas, it is countless. Prehaps even beyond infinte? :lol:

One such english translation website: http://www.cttbusa.org/amitabha/amitabha.htm

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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by tomschwarz » Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:13 pm

Please let me restate the question more simply. It is not a question about life, it is a question about Buddhist Dharma: on one hand we are taught the the illusion of individual existence (a.k.a. independent self) is fundamental ignorance, the cause of all suffering, and it must be countered with buddhist ethics, meditation and wisdom practice. Clear. Then we are taught to accept and revere individual buddhas. Why the two different directions?

Here is more of the anti-individual teaching from the diamond sutra:
“A true disciple entering the stream would not think of themselves as a separate person that could be entering anything. Only that disciple who does not differentiate themselves from others (...) can truly be called a disciple who has entered the stream."

"A true disciple knows that all things are devoid of selfhood, devoid of any separate individuality.

"only a disciple who is wholly devoid of any conception of separate selfhood is worthy of being called a disciple.”

"total Enlightenment (...) it is wholly independent of any definite or arbitrary conceptions of an individual self"

"Only in the sense of the cosmic unity of ultimate being can the Buddha rightfully refer to it ( "it" referring to the reality of 3000 galaxies and everything in them).”
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA

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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by Sherab » Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:45 am

tomschwarz wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:13 pm
Please let me restate the question more simply. It is not a question about life, it is a question about Buddhist Dharma: on one hand we are taught the the illusion of individual existence (a.k.a. independent self) is fundamental ignorance, the cause of all suffering, and it must be countered with buddhist ethics, meditation and wisdom practice. Clear. Then we are taught to accept and revere individual buddhas. Why the two different directions?
Even though the relative and the ultimate are not separate, for the sake of discussion, we say that there is the realm of the relative and there is the realm of the ultimate. (If the relative and ultimate are separate, then there is no way for anyone to "move" from the relative realm to the ultimate realm, i.e., there will be no path of liberation nor enlightenment.)

In the relative, there is the appearance of self and other. In the ultimate, there is neither self nor other since it is non-dual and the reality is actually not describable. But say we want to describe it anyway. We can say that there is individuality in the sense that all selves there are identical to one another and therefore to use the word self would not make any sense. So we use the word individual or individuality instead. But even individuals need not be strictly individuals as being identical they can "act/be" as a "single entity".

We also cannot say that the ultimate is a cosmic one or unity where there is no individuals within it because to describe it as such would be to describe something monistic without the possibility of change. It is one of the two extremes that was avoided by the Buddha when talking about reality.
tomschwarz wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:13 pm
Here is more of the anti-individual teaching from the diamond sutra:

“A true disciple entering the stream would not think of themselves as a separate person that could be entering anything. Only that disciple who does not differentiate themselves from others (...) can truly be called a disciple who has entered the stream."

"A true disciple knows that all things are devoid of selfhood, devoid of any separate individuality.

"only a disciple who is wholly devoid of any conception of separate selfhood is worthy of being called a disciple.”

"total Enlightenment (...) it is wholly independent of any definite or arbitrary conceptions of an individual self"
If what I described above makes sense to you, these would not be a problem.
tomschwarz wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:13 pm
"Only in the sense of the cosmic unity of ultimate being can the Buddha rightfully refer to it ( "it" referring to the reality of 3000 galaxies and everything in them).”
The full quote from the link that you provided on the Diamond Sutra is this:

“Furthermore, when the Most Honored One refers to the ‘3,000 galaxies,’ he could only do so as a figure of speech. Why? Because if the 3,000 galaxies really existed, their only reality would consist in their cosmic unity. Whether as microscopic powder or as galaxies, what does it matter? Only in the sense of the cosmic unity of ultimate being can the Buddha rightfully refer to it.”

The lord Buddha was very pleased with this reply and said:

“Subhuti, although ordinary people have always grasped after an arbitrary conception of matter and galaxies, the concept has no true basis; it is an illusion of the mortal mind. Even when it is referred to as ‘cosmic unity’ it is unthinkable and unknowable.”


It should be clear from the red portion that if the galaxies really existed, then you can use the term cosmic unity to refer to it. But, galaxies do not really exist since they are an illusion of the mortal mind. So the Buddha used cosmic unity only as a figure of speech and the actual 'cosmic unity' is really unthinkable and unknowable. So here, the Buddha indicated here that the ultimate reality is some form of idealism.

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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by Wayfarer » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:55 am

tomschwarz wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:13 pm
on one hand we are taught the the illusion of individual existence (a.k.a. independent self) is fundamental ignorance, the cause of all suffering, and it must be countered with buddhist ethics, meditation and wisdom practice. Clear. Then we are taught to accept and revere individual buddhas. Why the two different directions?

Here is more of the anti-individual teaching from the diamond sutra:
“A true disciple entering the stream would not think of themselves as a separate person that could be entering anything. Only that disciple who does not differentiate themselves from others (...) can truly be called a disciple who has entered the stream."

"A true disciple knows that all things are devoid of selfhood, devoid of any separate individuality.

"only a disciple who is wholly devoid of any conception of separate selfhood is worthy of being called a disciple.”

"total Enlightenment (...) it is wholly independent of any definite or arbitrary conceptions of an individual self"

"Only in the sense of the cosmic unity of ultimate being can the Buddha rightfully refer to it ( "it" referring to the reality of 3000 galaxies and everything in them).”
I agree that there appears to be a contradiction, but actually there's not. What you're seeing is a paradox - and there's a difference between paradox and contradiction.

A paradox is an assertion that is true, though it seemingly is not. A paradox is often encountered because something that is true from one perspective, may not be so from another. In contrast, contradiction is something that cannot be true, because it refutes its own premises. A paradox may appear to be a contradiction, but actually what it is pushing you towards is a shift in perspective. And that is especially so in this case.

An important original text in this is the Ananda Sutta. Note that when asked by Vacchagotta, the Buddha does not deny that self exists. But neither does he affirm that it exists! When asked straight out, 'does the self exist', he answers neither 'yes' nor 'no'. But your interpretation is leaning towards the view that he answered 'no'. But he didn't; he says, the self neither exists nor does not exist. And this turns out to apply to all of the objects of experience, as they all exist as a consequence of dependent origination; real in some respects, but not in others. Hence the paradox!

This becomes the basis of the very great texts called the Prajñāpāramitā Sutras, of which the Diamond Sutra, which you quote, is a profound example. Prajñāpāramitā is well-known for its paradoxical qualities. And of course this is a very hard thing to fathom! In fact fathoming it is the main task of Madhyamaka. There is a very good academic paper on this very sutra, called The Logic of the Diamond Sutra: A is not A, therefore it is A, Shigenori Nagatomo. You will find a version of it here. It is quite an arduous read but explains the paradoxical logic of the Diamond Sutra quite well. But I advise, reading it slowly, and a couple of times, to let it sink in.

:namaste:
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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by Supramundane » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:05 am

tomschwarz wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:13 pm
Please let me restate the question more simply. It is not a question about life, it is a question about Buddhist Dharma: on one hand we are taught the the illusion of individual existence (a.k.a. independent self) is fundamental ignorance, the cause of all suffering, and it must be countered with buddhist ethics, meditation and wisdom practice. Clear. Then we are taught to accept and revere individual buddhas. Why the two different directions?

Here is more of the anti-individual teaching from the diamond sutra:
“A true disciple entering the stream would not think of themselves as a separate person that could be entering anything. Only that disciple who does not differentiate themselves from others (...) can truly be called a disciple who has entered the stream."

"A true disciple knows that all things are devoid of selfhood, devoid of any separate individuality.

"only a disciple who is wholly devoid of any conception of separate selfhood is worthy of being called a disciple.”

"total Enlightenment (...) it is wholly independent of any definite or arbitrary conceptions of an individual self"

"Only in the sense of the cosmic unity of ultimate being can the Buddha rightfully refer to it ( "it" referring to the reality of 3000 galaxies and everything in them).”
I have meditated on your question, tom, because it is fundamental; i realized that this paradox is embodied by the Diamond and Heart Sutras: while the Diamond focuses on the impermanence of the individual, the Heart Sutra focuses on the individual's quest for enlightenment. Paradoxical or complementary?

If there is no self then how to understand the urge to reach enlightenment or to liberate all beings! ?

"...and though I thus liberate countless beings, not a single being is liberated, and why not Subhuti? A bodhisattva who creates a perception of a being cannot be called a bodhisattva, and why not, no-one can be called a bodhisattva who creates a perception of the self, who creates a perception of a being, a life or a soul."

Perhaps on meditating on the contrast between these two fundmental sutras you will find the clarity you are seeking

Parasamgate!

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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:57 am

The most common hurdle that people create is in trying to negate a self.
The reason why this is a hurdle, and also why it is the most common, is that one is basically trying to deconstruct something which
has no inherent existence to begin with.
What the Buddha taught was that there is nothing that arises (from the congregates, skandhas, etc.) that can be identified as a self.
But people tend to go about grasping this in reverse:
first, they assert, instinctively, "This here is a self, because I am experiencing it as ME"
and then, secondly, "but somehow it doesn't exist".
...and so, naturally, one can see the difficulty in this approach, because it seems contradictory.
It's only contradictory because this approach is coming from the wrong end.
It is beginning with an assumption, a conclusion, which in itself is erroneous.

There is no self to negate!

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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:07 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:09 am
what does space become when you chop it up?
...what that means is, you can divide space up into rooms of a house, or parking slots, or different pockets in a coat or whatever.
You can fill space or leave it empty, as in a swimming pool. But, it's all still the same big bunch of infinite space.
Similarly, you can refer to this buddha or that buddha, and the mahayana sutras refer to seemingly endless lists of buddhas,
but the nature of each one, almost the definition, is infinite.
Buddhas are infinite because they go beyond all concepts of duality, just as with space.
The true nature of Mind, likewise, is infinite. It is no different from Buddha.
You and I can, individually, occupy different volumes of space, but that doesn't alter the original nature of that space.
(maybe some quantum physicist could find exceptions to that, but it's just an analogy).
Thus, individuality doesn't contradict infinity, but is included in it.
So, "one buddha" and "many buddhas" are merely two ways of describing the same thing.
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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by muni » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:27 am

It looks very hard to see any separate individuality in "inseparable dependence-emptiness of all and All".

Skandas' dream is individual.

:heart:
May I be a guard for those without one,
A guide for all who journey on the road,
May I become a boat, a raft or bridge,
For all who wish to cross the water.

Which human beings are “fortunate and connected?” They are the ones who generate love, compassion, and devotion, as well as the commitment to remain steadfast on the path until all beings are liberated. Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches.

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Re: Is there just one Buddha?

Post by 明安 Myoan » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:21 pm

Sentient beings become buddhas. Is there just one sentient being? :shrug:
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

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