Coëmgenu wrote: ↑
Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:09 pm
Discourses of inanimate Buddha-nature, whether from Ven Dōgen or Ven Zhànrán, sees "the mind" as adhyātmaṃ citte bahirdhā citte ’dhyātmabahirdhā citte
If I may digress further and explore what I perceive as the possible relevance of the śrāvaka Buddhavacana above ascribed Mahāyāna venerables, as I probably should have included more English clarification.
above is a declension of citta
or mind (心)
In case anyone reading is unfamiliar, traditional accounts of mindfulness apply to four bases, kāya/body/身, vedanāḥ/sensations/受, citta/consciousness/心, & dharmāḥ/phenomena/法.
The instructions for the contemplation of these four bases is with a stock phrase of EBT Buddhavacana that is found above but reproduced below compiled from SF 293 (Sanskrit Sarvāstivāda Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra)
with SA 176 (Chinese Sarvāstivāda Smṛtyupasthānasūtra)
1) adhyātmaṃ kāye bahirdhā kāye ’dhyātmabahirdhā kāye / 內身 [...] 外身 [...] 內外身 [...]
2) adhyātmaṃ vedanāsu bahirdhā vedanāsu adhyātmabahirdhā vedanāsu / 內受 [...] 外受 [...] 內外受 [...]
3) adhyātmaṃ citte bahirdhā citte ’dhyātmabahirdhā citte / 內心 [...] 外心 [...] 內外心 [...]
4) adhyātmaṃ dharmeṣu bahirdhā dharmeṣu adhyātmabahirdhā dharmeṣu dharmānupaśyī viharaty / 內法 [...] 外法 [...] 內外法法觀住
As aforementioned: adhyātma is inner, bahiddhā(bhāva) is outer.
For an English rendering we have:
(hybrid translation from Ven Sujato adapted here by me with additions for the purposes of this post)
[In this way they meditate by observing an aspect] of the body inside; [...] of the body outside; [...] of the body inside and outside [... an aspect] of sensations inside; [...] of sensations outside; [...] of sensations inside and outside [...] of mind inside; [...] of mind outside; [...] of mind inside and outside [...] of phenomena inside; [...] of phenomena outside; [...] of phenomena inside and outside[.]
To quote Ven Sujato
, the translator of part of the above:
Internally means in one's own self; externally means outside one's self; and internally/externally means seeing with wisdom that inside and outside are essentially the same, for example, that the earth element inside and outside are just the earth element.
The contextualizing of this in relation to specifically the earth dhātu as explored in śrāvaka literature may or may not be terribly relevant to our purposes here in exploring this statement concerning 'this Gohonzon', but notice where he says "internally/externally means seeing with wisdom that inside and outside are essentially the same
". I think that when Ven Nichiren says "never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself,” it is fair to say that he is at least indirectly saying "seek this Gohonzon inside yourself", but perhaps I am wrong to say that. I do not think that Ven Nichiren here is arguing a dharma that goes against
the earlier dharma/Buddhavacana explored and iterated above. It comes from a more informed position, for certain, as this is not the Buddha establishing basic/elementary education for his earliest mass followers, and Ven Nichiren is able to draw on far more materials (such as the Mahāyāna itself, for instance)
than those with access only to early texts, but the teaching IMO is in substantial continuity, if not necessarily exactly "the same". When we consider internal and external as essentially the same then we understand that there is no difference between outside and inside. When Ven Nichiren says never to seek the Gohonzon outside of yourself, I think it is in the context of knowing that outside and inside are no different. So when a practitioner decides to go out of their way to seek the Gohonzon specifically outside
themselves, they are violating right view concerning the self.
In relation to the OP, the instructions of Ven Nichiren to never seek 'this Gohonzon' (or, I would argue, 'the Buddha')
outside of yourself seem to me to be related (though I would not be arrogant enough to say 'identical')
to the wider Zen instructions as not to seek the Buddha outside of the mind. This has to do IMO with establishing right view concerning how one conceives of "my mind" & "myself". The context of the Zen instructions afaik is related to the Cittamātra position that "all is mind". Allegedly truly existing external (mental) objects can only really truly epistemically-honestly be established as "consciousness appearing as object" (似塵識) to cite Ven Zhìyǐ's account of Ven Vasubadhu's Cittamātra teaching
In this context, I would hesitate to say that Ven Nichiren, by talking about seeking this Gohonzon outside of yourself, is perhaps talking about violating the above discourse that informs concepts widespread in Japanese Buddhism (particularly Tendai)
of the time. The existence of the "alleged object" (whatever the qualities of that object, animate or inanimate, for instance)
is only found as "mind-only", as to phrase it differently "as yourself" (meaning here "as your tathāgatagarbha" as per the Mahāyānamahāparinirvāṇasūtra pseudo-ātmavāda)
. As consequence of being found "as yourself" is also found "with Buddha-nature". Or is also found, "as the Buddha", and, perhaps, and "this Gohonzon", but I digress to others more informed than myself to gauge the accuracy of that statement.
This is of course only IMO in relation to the OP, but I hope it clarifies what I meant in my earlier post.