“True nature” approach to liberation?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: “True self” approach to liberation?

Postby pegembara » Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:24 pm

Now my question is:

Can the original mind [“the luminous pure mind”] be essentially defiled by the “dusts” (assavas/defilements), or the "dusts" are only "guests" to the "host"? Is Master Huineng’s “direct approach to liberation” alright for those with sharp faculties, who have realized the Dhamma? Can the “true self” (“the pure mind” or “the deathless”) approach really lead to nibbana?


The body is the bodhi tree,
The mind is like a clear mirror.
At all times we must strive to polish it,
And must not let the dust collect.

IMO this "mind" or "awareness"/"the one who knows" is like a mirror. It reflects all things but is never affected. There is a centre to this awareness that is observing phenomena. This is vippasana.

Bodhi originally has no tree,
The mirror(-like mind) has no stand.
Buddha-nature (emptiness/oneness) is always clean and pure;
Where is there room for dust (to alight)?

Master Huineng has gone beyond this level of insight and is describing anatta/emptiness. He says the mirror does not exist!
I am unclear how sudden enlightenment comes about though.

AJ Thanissaro's comments:

Although at present we rarely think in the same terms as the Samkhya philosophers, there has long been — and still is — a common tendency to create a "Buddhist" metaphysics in which the experience of emptiness, the Unconditioned, the Dharma-body, Buddha-nature, rigpa, etc., is said to function as the ground of being from which the "All" — the entirety of our sensory & mental experience — is said to spring and to which we return when we meditate. Some people think that these theories are the inventions of scholars without any direct meditative experience, but actually they have most often originated among meditators, who label (or in the words of the discourse, "perceive") a particular meditative experience as the ultimate goal, identify with it in a subtle way (as when we are told that "we are the knowing"), and then view that level of experience as the ground of being out of which all other experience comes.

Any teaching that follows these lines would be subject to the same criticism that the Buddha directed against the monks who first heard this discourse.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: “True self” approach to liberation?

Postby starter » Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:03 pm

A_Martin wrote:Sorry
I think I posted the above in the wrong forum. If one practices meditation as taught by the Lord Buddha, correctly, then one would understand what I was talking about.
I was not talking about True Self. For there is no True Self. There is nibbana, whatever nibbana means
And let us remember, that the Words of The Lord Buddha itself are not the Truth, but point to the truth, or point the way to the truth, whoever has found the truth, can rename the pointers in anyway he sees fit. (In programming language A= 3000, means A only points to the value, so somebody looks up the value, by following the pointer, then realizing this is his monthly income redefines the pointer A = monthly_income. The value does not change. Same as we take nibbana as pointing to nibbana, whoever goes there could redefine the pointer. We can compare ourselves to be at the foot of a mountain, what do we know what somebody who has finished his work, climbing up to the top of the mountain sees? Three people climb the mountain, whenever they tell us what they saw, it will differ to us, but if the three meet, they will know they have seen the same thing.
Good luck to all of you who cling to much to the words and try to define or think your way out of samsara.
Metta Martin


Hello Martin,

Hm, I agree we shouldn't be too attached to the words of the Buddha, but should try to comprehend where his words are pointing to. If I remember it correctly, the Buddha taught us that his words are not the moon, but serve only as the pointer to the moon.

We discuss in this forum together to help each other understand and practice the Dhamma better. I hope we'll be more patient and tolerant towards different opinions, and don't take the opposition or criticism personally, but rather appreciate their good intention to clarify the teachings and help us.

I'll send you a private mail about the link you asked. Metta to all,

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Re: “True nature” approach to liberation?

Postby starter » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:04 pm

pegembara wrote:AJ Thanissaro's comments:

Although at present we rarely think in the same terms as the Samkhya philosophers, there has long been — and still is — a common tendency to create a "Buddhist" metaphysics in which the experience of emptiness, the Unconditioned, the Dharma-body, Buddha-nature, rigpa, etc., is said to function as the ground of being from which the "All" — the entirety of our sensory & mental experience — is said to spring and to which we return when we meditate. Some people think that these theories are the inventions of scholars without any direct meditative experience, but actually they have most often originated among meditators, who label (or in the words of the discourse, "perceive") a particular meditative experience as the ultimate goal, identify with it in a subtle way (as when we are told that "we are the knowing"), and then view that level of experience as the ground of being out of which all other experience comes.

Any teaching that follows these lines would be subject to the same criticism that the Buddha directed against the monks who first heard this discourse.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Hello pegembara,

Thanks for reminding me of reading MN1 again. I understand the teaching as:

The Trainee

A monk who is a trainee — yearning for the unexcelled relief from bondage, his aspirations as yet unfulfilled — ...

He directly knows nibbana as nibbana. Directly knowing nibbana as nibbana, let him not conceive nibbana ["I"-making / "mine"-making], let him not conceive ["self"] in nibbana, let him not conceive ["self"] out of nibbana, let him not conceive nibbana as 'mine,' let him not delight in [crave for] nibbana. Why is that? So that he may [fully] comprehend it, I tell you. [based upon BB's translation]

This teaching clearly states that we shouldn't take nibbana or "the deathless" as "self" or "mine". But I don't see the Buddha criticized here any teachings that follows the lines of "the experience of emptiness, the Unconditioned, the Dharma-body, Buddha-nature ...".

I read "The Sutra of Hui Neng" [http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/huineng/content.html] and should apologize that I misunderstood him. He didn't use the "true self" approach at all. "The own/original/true mind and nature" he taught is not a "self" and has no "self", is the mind in its own original state, which the Buddha probably referred to as:

This is peace. This is perfect [exquisite?]. The stilling of all fabrications. The relinguishing of all accquisitions ...


Metta to all,

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