Buddha nature

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Buddha nature

Postby greggorious » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:51 pm

After practicing Zen for a couple of years I have started the practice of Vipassana and Samadha, as I prefer these meditations. For the most part I like therevada Buddhism. However I'm still heavily influenced by the Mahayana and I believe in Buddha nature. I've been told more than once that Buddha nature is not a Therevadin concept. Does this mean that we don't have the seed of enlightenment within us. I see Buddha nature everywhere, within my family, friends, even my Cats, and just because I've turned to Therevada I wont change this belief. :)
"The original heart/mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and nonself, beyond birth and death. When we see with the eye of wisdom, we know that the true Buddha is timeless, unborn, unrelated to any body, any history, any image. Buddha is the ground of all being, the realization of the truth of the unmoving mind.” Ajahn Chah
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:03 pm

greggorious wrote:After practicing Zen for a couple of years I have started the practice of Vipassana and Samadha, as I prefer these meditations. For the most part I like therevada Buddhism. However I'm still heavily influenced by the Mahayana and I believe in Buddha nature. I've been told more than once that Buddha nature is not a Therevadin concept. Does this mean that we don't have the seed of enlightenment within us. I see Buddha nature everywhere, within my family, friends, even my Cats, and just because I've turned to Therevada I wont change this belief. :)

seed? the Buddha in the early discourses of any school does not talk of a Buddha nature, everyone has the potential to walk the path, practice rightly, and reach enlightenment, but it does not imply that they are already enlightened, and delusion is just in the way, or any of the other things which is implied by Buddha Nature.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:21 pm

use the search engine for more results but
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3878&hilit=Buddhanature
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby santa100 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:33 pm

Theravada's Bhavanga concept?? maybe..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhavanga
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Sam Vara » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:01 pm

Here are Ajahn Thanissaro's thoughts on this:

Some people say that unlimited goodwill comes naturally to us, that our Buddha- nature is intrinsically compassionate. But the Buddha never said anything about Buddha-nature. What he did say is that the mind is even more variegated than the animal world. We're capable of anything. So what are we going to do with this capability?

We could do — and have done — almost anything, but the one thing the Buddha does assume across the board is that deep down inside we want to take this capability and devote it to happiness. So the first lesson of karma is that if you really want to be happy, you can't trust that deep down you know the right thing to do, because that would simply foster complacency. Unskillful intentions would take over and you wouldn't even know it.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... heart.html
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:03 pm

greggorious wrote:After practicing Zen for a couple of years I have started the practice of Vipassana and Samadha, as I prefer these meditations. For the most part I like therevada Buddhism. However I'm still heavily influenced by the Mahayana and I believe in Buddha nature. I've been told more than once that Buddha nature is not a Therevadin concept. Does this mean that we don't have the seed of enlightenment within us. I see Buddha nature everywhere, within my family, friends, even my Cats, and just because I've turned to Therevada I wont change this belief. :)

You have a belief system, a fixed belief system...and from what you say you are quite happy about that.
I am not sure what response you are looking for.
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:27 pm

greggorious wrote:Does this mean that we don't have the seed of enlightenment within us.


Seed implies something physical, I have the seed of another huuman life within me, it is located in a particular part of my body, we won't go there. The implication is that this part of me is seed, the rest is not, and then it's not too much of a much of a leap to personify or reify it.

I think if you changed the statement to "We all have the potential of enlightenment within us" then isn't that more true to the meaning? I don't see Theravadins arguing with such a statetement, seems like a no brainer.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby greggorious » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:17 pm

When did I say people are already enlightened? Having a seed of enlightenment doesn't mean you're enlightened, but have the potential to be.

[Metadiscussion removed. Mike]
"The original heart/mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and nonself, beyond birth and death. When we see with the eye of wisdom, we know that the true Buddha is timeless, unborn, unrelated to any body, any history, any image. Buddha is the ground of all being, the realization of the truth of the unmoving mind.” Ajahn Chah
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby reflection » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:20 pm

You don't have to turn to any particular belief because it is taught this and that way. You turn to a belief because you can validate it with your own experience. If you see Buddha nature everywhere, than go with that. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise. As said by the Buddha in the Kalama sutta, don't go by anything because it is said, instead go with things that resonate and make you more peaceful, that relieve your greed/hate/delusion. And a belief in Buddha nature can certainly decrease hate, because you see the goodness in all people.

I also think Buddha nature -as in the ability in us all to awake- fits in perfectly with Therevada, and I think it is a wonderful teaching, but that is something personal. There may be others with whom it does not really resonate, but that's ok too.
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:31 pm

greggorious wrote:After practicing Zen for a couple of years I have started the practice of Vipassana and Samadha, as I prefer these meditations. For the most part I like therevada Buddhism. However I'm still heavily influenced by the Mahayana and I believe in Buddha nature. I've been told more than once that Buddha nature is not a Therevadin concept. Does this mean that we don't have the seed of enlightenment within us. I see Buddha nature everywhere, within my family, friends, even my Cats, and just because I've turned to Therevada I wont change this belief. :)

Moderator note: This thread has been moved to "Theravada for the modern world", since it seems to be an expression of opinion, and an invitation for discussion, not a simple request for information.


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Re: Buddha nature

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:39 pm

Greggarious,

If you are coming from a Mahayana background you might find some useful connections by listening to some of Joseph Goldstein's talks, which give his perspective on compassion, bodhicitta, and so on.

For example:
http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/?searc ... ourney+own
http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/?search=bodhicitta
http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/?search=radiant

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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:08 pm

Sam Vega wrote:Here are Ajahn Thanissaro's thoughts on this:

Some people say that unlimited goodwill comes naturally to us, that our Buddha- nature is intrinsically compassionate. But the Buddha never said anything about Buddha-nature. What he did say is that the mind is even more variegated than the animal world. We're capable of anything. So what are we going to do with this capability?

We could do — and have done — almost anything, but the one thing the Buddha does assume across the board is that deep down inside we want to take this capability and devote it to happiness. So the first lesson of karma is that if you really want to be happy, you can't trust that deep down you know the right thing to do, because that would simply foster complacency. Unskillful intentions would take over and you wouldn't even know it.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... heart.html


Here is another more thorough talk dedicated to Buddha Nature By Ajahn Thanissaro
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ature.html
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:17 pm

greggorious wrote:When did I say people are already enlightened? Having a seed of enlightenment doesn't mean you're enlightened, but have the potential to be.

[Metadiscussion removed. Mike]

I am assuming this is for me.

There are many concepts of Buddha Nature hence I also put "or any of the other things which is implied by Buddha Nature."
seed of enlightenment also carries that implication BTW
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Fede » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:37 pm

greggorious wrote:After practicing Zen for a couple of years I have started the practice of Vipassana and Samadha, as I prefer these meditations. For the most part I like therevada Buddhism. However I'm still heavily influenced by the Mahayana and I believe in Buddha nature. I've been told more than once that Buddha nature is not a Therevadin concept. Does this mean that we don't have the seed of enlightenment within us. I see Buddha nature everywhere, within my family, friends, even my Cats, and just because I've turned to Therevada I wont change this belief. :)


I too subscribed to this notion, many moons ago... and felt it a salient and valid point.
then a good friend of mine pointed out that it was all very well to consider this assertion, but then we would have to face the fact that we all have Mara Nature also.
so providing you consider both aspects to be equal and valid - I don't see the issue..... :namaste:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Buddha nature

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:43 pm

Buddha-nature/tathagatagarbha is not a singular notion. It is something has varying explanations, depending upon when and where the doctrine is looked at. But, in its most basic form buddha-nature is expressing our potential to awakening because we are empty of any unchanging, self existence thingie-hood:

    Samyutta Nikaya III 144: "Bhikkhus monks, the Buddha said, holding
    a fleck of cowdung on his palm], if even if that much of permanent,
    everlasting, eternal individual selfhood/metaphysical being [attabhava],
    not inseparable from the idea of change, could be found, then this living
    the holy life could not be taught by me."

The nest expresion of buddha-nature I have come across in the Mahayana is from Dogen: "Impermenance is buddha-nature."

As a concept, the only problem I have with the idea of buddha-nute is that it tends, in common usage, to end up sounding like a self substitute: "I have buddha-nature."

And for your edification, a full throttle explanation from the Tibetan Gelugs:

    -- The tathagatagarbha [buddha-nature] is not just any emptiness,
    however. Rather it is specifically emptiness of inherent existence when
    applied to a sentient being's mind, his (her) mental continuum. ... When
    the mind is defiled in the unenlightened state this emptiness is called
    tathagatagarbha. When the mind has become pure through following the
    path and attaining Buddhahood so emptiness is referred to in the dGe
    lugs tradition as the Buddha's Essence Body (_svabhavikakaya_). The
    Buddha's pure mind in that state is his Gnosis or Wisdom Body
    (_jnanakaya_), while the two taken together, the Buddha's mind as a
    flow empty of inherent existence, is what the tradition calls the
    _dharmakaya._ ... This also means that the tathagatagarbha itself is
    strictly the fundamental cause of Buddhahood, and is no way identical
    with the result, _dharmakaya_ or Essence Body as the case may be,
    except in the sense that both defiled mind and Buddha's mind are empty
    of inherent existence. ...which is to say that even the _dharmakaya_,
    and, of course, emptiness itself, are all empty of inherent existence.
    They are not 'truly established', there is no Absolute in the sense of an
    ultimate really existing entity. --- Paul Williams MAHAYANA
    BUDDHISM, pub by Routledge. Pg 106-7.

And this is why I'll take Dogen's more practical explanation.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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Re: Buddha nature

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:46 pm

Greetings Greg,

greggorious wrote:I've been told more than once that Buddha nature is not a Therevadin concept. Does this mean that we don't have the seed of enlightenment within us.

The Buddha never once taught the concept "Buddha Nature", yet vast numbers of people attained arahantship, non-returning, once-returning and stream entry by following his teachings.

So what does that tell you?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Buddha nature

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:55 am

tiltbillings wrote:Buddha-nature/tathagatagarbha is not a singular notion. It is something has varying explanations, depending upon when and where the doctrine is looked at. But, in its most basic form buddha-nature is expressing our potential to awakening because we are empty of any unchanging, self existence thingie-hood:

    Samyutta Nikaya III 144: "Bhikkhus monks, the Buddha said, holding
    a fleck of cowdung on his palm, if even if that much of permanent,
    everlasting, eternal individual selfhood/metaphysical being [attabhava],
    not inseparable from the idea of change, could be found, then this living
    the holy life could not be taught by me."

Thanks for that perspective. That particular sutta doesn't seem to be on Access to Insight, but one of the variants is:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

It is here: http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html
21. 2. 5. 4.
(96) Gomaya: Cow dung

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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:02 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Greg,

greggorious wrote:I've been told more than once that Buddha nature is not a Therevadin concept. Does this mean that we don't have the seed of enlightenment within us.

The Buddha never once taught the concept "Buddha Nature", yet vast numbers of people attained arahantship, non-returning, once-returning and stream entry by following his teachings.

So what does that tell you?

Metta,
Retro. :)

:anjali: :anjali: :anjali:
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Dan74 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:49 am

It seems that Greg has already moved on...

http://zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=7773
_/|\_
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:51 am

Does the Pali Canon have buddha-nature? Or the Buddha, for that matter?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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