Meaning of “Pabhassaramidam cittam bhikkhave”?

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Meaning of “Pabhassaramidam cittam bhikkhave”?

Postby starter » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:40 pm

Hello Friends,

Many thanks for your previous kind help. I read the following in "The Path to the Arahantship":

"When referring to the original citta, the Buddha stated: “Pabhassaramidam cittam bhikkhave.” Pabhassara means radiant, it does not mean pure."

I'd like to know the exact meaning of “Pabhassaramidam cittam bhikkhave”.

I also would like to know if the Buddha had used the word "pure" in pali to describe the "luminous mind" or the “luminous all around” consciousness.

Metta to all,

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Re: Meaning of “Pabhassaramidam cittam bhikkhave”?

Postby adeh » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:56 pm

Bhikkhu Ñananananda has translated it as: ''This mind, monks, is luminous, but it is defiled by extraneous defilements.'' He goes on to say that this is in reference to the non-manifestative, infinite and all lustrous consciousness of the Arahant. I don't think that the Buddha ever refered to citta as 'original'.
Nibbana, The Mind Stilled. Ven. Bhikkhu Ñanananda, page 191.
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Re: Meaning of “Pabhassaramidam cittam bhikkhave”?

Postby lojong1 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:16 am

"Pabhassaramidam cittam bhikkhave"
Bhikkhave = Bhikkhus [I'm talking to you now.]
Cittam and pabhassaram show gender and case.
idam = this
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Re: Meaning of “Pabhassaramidam cittam bhikkhave”?

Postby lojong1 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:25 am

If seeing the defilements as defiling luminosity turns your crank, great, as long as defilements are seen as defilements and mind is freed from them, so there is kusala citta-bhavana.
Luminous, pure, mirroring, clean, watery, sky-like, whichever, follow the recipe and you'll get a piece.


Ven. Walpola Rahula:
"It is instructive to note here that there is a striking agreement between this concept of citta in the two suttas above and the Mahayana doctrine of the tathagatagarbha. Citta is qualified by the Pali word pabhassara. The Lankavatara-sutra (a Mahayana sutra of a later date than the Anguttara-nikaya and which has greatly influenced Zen), qualifies tathagatagarbha by the corresponding Sanskrit word prabhasvara (luminous). It says that the tathatagarbha is prakrtiprabhasvara (luminous by nature) and prakrtiparisuddha (pure by nature), but it appears impure 'because it is defiled by adventitious defilements' (agantuklesopaklistataya). (Cf. the Pali expression in the two suttas above: agantukehi upakkilesehi upakkilittham.) In the Lankavatara-sutra the term tathagatagarbha is used as a synonym for alayavijnana. Now alayavijnana is another term for citta. So the Lankavatara-sutra statement that the tathatagarbha is 'luminous by nature' and 'pure by nature' and that it is 'defiled by adventitious defilements' is tantamount to saying that citta (mind) is 'luminous by nature' and 'pure by nature', and that it is 'defiled by adventitious defilements'. It is obvious then that the concept of the 'Ox-herding Pictures' is derived from Pali and Sanskrit sutras as well as from the ancient commentaries and that it was later elaborated into a set of graphic drawings.
http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Zen_ ... ola_Rahula

There are also a couple dozenish little suttas near the pabhassara sutta on citta that might help.
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Re: Meaning of “Pabhassaramidam cittam bhikkhave”?

Postby beeblebrox » Sun Mar 06, 2011 8:35 pm

I think that we should be careful about drawing inference when there might be none. The Buddha is simply saying that the citta itself is luminous, and that it will shine forth when there are no defilements. That is what makes it possible for the monks to study it, and make progress... but not for the uninstructed run-of-mill person, because his is still obstructed.

:anjali:
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Re: Meaning of “Pabhassaramidam cittam bhikkhave”?

Postby piotr » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:21 pm

I've read interesting remark on this by Jayarava:

    Pāli citta is further confused with Sanskrit citra ‘to shine’. So when the Buddha says Pabhassaramidaṃ, bhikkhave, cittaṃ (AN 1.51) what most people miss is the pun. Citta means both ‘thought’ and ‘shine’ and the phrase could equally be read — ‘this thought is radiant’, or ‘this shiny-thing is radiant’. The context does incline towards reading ‘mind’, but the ambiguity and pun are obvious to a Pāli speaker.

    http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2011/02/ac ... n-iii.html
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...
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Re: Meaning of “Pabhassaramidam cittam bhikkhave”?

Postby starter » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:36 am

Hi thanks for all the helpful input.

beeblebrox wrote:I think that we should be careful about drawing inference when there might be none. The Buddha is simply saying that the citta itself is luminous, and that it will shine forth when there are no defilements. That is what makes it possible for the monks to study it, and make progress... but not for the uninstructed run-of-mill person, because his is still obstructed.
:anjali:


-- I thought the Buddha warned us that we first have to realize the pure nature of the mind "as it actually is" which is only defiled by the "incoming defilements", before we can actually develop it. Otherwise the ignorance of the truth will obstruct our practice. The Buddha also defined in MN 1 the trainee as the ones who know nibbana as nibbana, not those who don't know nibbana. To me, when we have completely purified our mind from the "incoming defilements", we reach nibbana.

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — there is no development of the mind." {I,vi,1}

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind." {I,vi,2}

Metta,

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Re: Meaning of “Pabhassaramidam cittam bhikkhave”?

Postby lojong1 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:21 am

starter wrote:first have to realize the pure nature of the mind [before mind can be developed]

This in itself is a development. Of what, if not citta?

starter wrote: The Buddha also defined in MN 1 the trainee as the ones who know nibbana as nibbana, not those who don't know nibbana.

The difference between sekha and puthujjana being the kind of perception, conception, knowing or understanding--not nibbana.
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Re: Meaning of “Pabhassaramidam cittam bhikkhave”?

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:53 am

starter wrote:I thought the Buddha warned us that we first have to realize the pure nature of the mind "as it actually is" which is only defiled by the "incoming defilements", before we can actually develop it.


This is true...

The Buddha also defined in MN 1 the trainee as the ones who know nibbana as nibbana, not those who don't know nibbana.


I think it's more like to try see it for what it is, without any pre-conceived notions, or personal ideas, so that one might actually comprehend it... instead of fantasizing about it, trying to describe it with different characteristics, identifying oneself with it, or putting a personal spin on it, like an uninstructed person would.

I basically read the, "The mind, bhikkhave, is luminous," in the following way:

There is a shiny goldfish in a bowl. An uninstructed person's bowl would have a lot of algae in it (defilement). He probably inherited this bowl from an old person who died recently (kamma), and he doesn't have any motivation in really cleaning it up (which is even more bad kamma).

He can't even see the goldfish... and might not know that it's there. He might be confusing that the bowl is what makes him a fish owner. So, he doesn't really have the opportunity to train this fish, make it do nice things, like to make other people happy... or even make it point them at nibbāna.

This fish actually can do great things like that... but only if it's seen clearly, without the algae messing it up.

I think that we probably need to read more suttas in this area from the AN... here are some from the collection by Ven. Nyanaponika and Ven. Bodhi. These will put it in context, of how the citta should be viewed:

AN I, iii, 1-10; selected

No other thing do I know, O monks, that is so intractable as an undeveloped mind. An undeveloped mind is truly intractable. (The fish is very unruly, if left untrained.)

No other thing do I know, O monks, that is so tractable as a developed mind. A developed mind is truly tractable. (The fish is nice, if trained.)

No other thing do I know, O monks, that brings so much suffering as an undeveloped and uncultivated mind. An undeveloped and uncultivated mind truly brings suffering. (An unruly fish is not nice to have.)

No other thing do I know, O monks, that brings so much happiness as a developed and cultivated mind. A developed and cultivated mind truly brings happiness. (A nice fish is pleasant.)


AN 1, iv, 1-10; selected

No other thing do I know, O monks, that brings so much harm as a mind that is untamed, unguarded, unprotected and uncontrolled. Such a mind truly brings much harm. (The fish has a bad temper.)

No other thing do I know, O monks, that brings so much benefit as a mind that is tamed, guarded, protected and controlled. Such a mind truly brings great benefit. (The fish is extremely useful when trained.)


AN 1, v, 8

No other thing do I know, O monks, that changes so quickly as the mind. It is not easy to give a simile for how quickly the mind changes. (The fish is floppy, extremely quick, and very slippery.)


This doesn't really belong in the Pāli forum... so I apologize for deviating. (Except maybe it's helpful in pointing out how I think that citta is used, in its context.)

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