Buddha nature

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

Re: Buddha nature

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:58 am

Dan74 wrote:It seems that Greg has already moved on...

http://zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=7773


Interesting, the Zen responses so far aren't much different from ours.
"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 Dan74 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:21 am

My sense is that we all hold on to concepts, teachings and beliefs. Most of these are hopefully beneficial and help to uproot unwholesome habits.

When someone else comes along with their pet belief, perhaps it is good to pause and reflect on whether this too could be beneficial to them even if we don't share this particular belief.

Buddha nature is an expedient, skillful means. It can be a designation, a pointer or an obstacle. It is not a statement of doctrine, it is not an assertion of an existent something. At most it is saying that Nibbana is an unconditioned dhamma. Typically (in my lineage) it is saying that liberation does not come from the outside and is not something to gain but manifests when the defilements and obscurations are let gone of. In terms of faith, it inspires a practitioner with the belief that he or she already have it and spurs them on with the inquiry why if they have it do they still suffer and delude themselves.

It is a powerful teaching that has been used by many generation of great Mahayana teachers.

Just because the Buddha is not on record to have used it does not make it useless. This is a leap of logic that is neither justified, nor probably beneficial in its effect on others (as we see with our friend Greg). It may indeed be no use to you or me - if you have attained liberation without delving into the teachings on the Buddha nature - wonderful! But it may well be of use to others and without proper understanding one should not rush to dismiss it, I think.

By coincidence just this morning I was reading one of the letters of Zen Master Ta Hui on this very subject, in the collection Swampland Flowers, which I heartily recommend to anyone remotely interested in Zen and Mayahana.
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:56 am

Thanks Dan,

When people use terminology that initially sounds completely oxymoronic to me, such as Buddha Nature or True Self, I have often found that the problem is with the terminology rather than what they are trying to get at.

:anjali:
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:03 am

Greetings Dan,

Dan74 wrote:When someone else comes along with their pet belief, perhaps it is good to pause and reflect on whether this too could be beneficial to them even if we don't share this particular belief.... expedient, skillful means.... Just because the Buddha is not on record to have used it does not make it useless...

I do think people here are cognizant of such things, which is why we didn't see anyone here say anything unnecessarily harsh or degrading with respect to the notion of Buddha nature. In fact, I'd say the responses were very diplomatic, logical, and respectful.

That said, Greg's decisions regarding his life are Greg's decisions to make and looking at his comments at ZFI, it would seem that Sanghamitta was quite possibly right on the money with the prediction that Greg is fixed in his views, and there's not much we can do about it. Also, consider that Theravadins haven't taken it upon themselves to lead all beings to enlightenment, but rather accepting that the Dhamma is the greatest of all gifts, we are happy to share what the Buddha taught (and where necessary, make clear that which he did not)... so if people aren't interested in what the Buddha's teaching has to offer (i.e. the gift of Dhamma) then their rejection of that gift simply is what it is. It is not cause for anyone here to beat themselves up over, or feel they have failed in some proselytization initiative. I am pleased Greg wishes to persist with the Dharma, in whatever form, and I hope it brings him benefit (but if it doesn't, it's no fault or failing on our part). We are not hunting for converts, nor are we proclaiming ourselves teachers or fulfilling bodhisattva aspirations... so please be mindful not to project your own self-imposed bodhisattva commitments onto us. It is sufficient that we do not misrepresent the Buddha. Thanks.

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:39 am

preferences make the world go round!
and to be away from them is....
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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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 12:21 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Thanks Dan,

When people use terminology that initially sounds completely oxymoronic to me, such as Buddha Nature or True Self, I have often found that the problem is with the terminology rather than what they are trying to get at.

:anjali:
Mike


That may be so, Mike, but as you probably know the term Buddha nature has been in wide circulation in Thai Buddhism, not least in the Forest tradition.
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Aloka » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:03 pm

Dan74 wrote:That may be so, Mike, but as you probably know the term Buddha nature has been in wide circulation in Thai Buddhism, not least in the Forest tradition.


This article is worth reading - "Freedom from Buddha Nature" by Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/freedomfrombuddhanature.html

excerpt:

"This is why the Buddha never advocated attributing an innate nature of any kind to the mind — good, bad, or Buddha. The idea of innate natures slipped into the Buddhist tradition in later centuries, when the principle of freedom was forgotten."


Details of the author from Wikipedia:

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu, also known as Ajaan Geoff, (born 1949) is an American Theravada Buddhist monk of the Dhammayut Order (Dhammayutika Nikaya), Thai forest kammatthana tradition.

He is currently the abbot of Metta Forest Monastery in San Diego County. Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu is a notably skilled and prolific translator of the Pāli Canon. He is also the author of many free Dhamma books.



kind regards

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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:22 pm

Dan74 wrote:That may be so, Mike, but as you probably know the term Buddha nature has been in wide circulation in Thai Buddhism, not least in the Forest tradition.

Hi Dan,
I personally have not noticed this, have you an example?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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 Aloka » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:48 pm

Dan74 wrote:That may be so, Mike, but as you probably know the term Buddha nature has been in wide circulation in Thai Buddhism, not least in the Forest tradition.



A quote from Ajahn Sumedho former Thai Forest Tradition abbot of Amaravati Monastery UK

"The "I am" is a perception - isn't it? - and "God" is a perception. They're conventionally valid for communication and so forth, but as a practice, if you don't let go of perception then you tend to still have the illusion - an illusoriness coming from a belief in the perception of the overself, or God or the Oneness or Buddha Nature, or the divine substance or the divine essence, or something like that."

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books3/Ajahn_Sumedho_Question_Time.htm


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Re: Buddha nature

Postby greggorious » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:12 pm

I haven't moved on, in fact I haven't moved anywhere. I'm more confused than I've ever been. I've practiced Zen for a few years but became interested in Vipassana too, As Zazen is primarily concentration based, and I also want something Insight based. However at the same time I'm not sure how many people who do Vipassana meditation trust their own wisdom through their meditations or still cling to every single thing The Buddha was meant to have said.
"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 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:29 pm

greggorious wrote:I haven't moved on, in fact I haven't moved anywhere. I'm more confused than I've ever been. I've practiced Zen for a few years but became interested in Vipassana too, As Zazen is primarily concentration based, and I also want something Insight based. However at the same time I'm not sure how many people who do Vipassana meditation trust their own wisdom through their meditations or still cling to every single thing The Buddha was meant to have said.

you have indicated otherwise
After briefly flirting with the Therevada tradition I think I'll stick just to Zen.


maybe due to our practice, and trust in others who are far more experianced than ourselves there is faith in the Teaching found within the canon?
clinging to the teachings and testing them oneself id better than clinging to a perception of self, or having fixed beliefs.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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 amtross » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:35 pm

Here's one you might recognize from Zen: Why don't you just sit? Get a good Vipassanna book or a teacher, sit down and see what you see. If you see buddha nature...great. What does that feel like. Is it permanent? or changing?....you get the idea.

May you be well
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby greggorious » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:41 pm

You checking up on me on the zen forum?
"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 amtross » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:43 pm

if you're talking to me, no

I was refering to my use of the term "just sit", which I've heard used quite often by zen practitioners.
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby greggorious » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:45 pm

No I wasn't refering to you. Yes I'm well aware of the 'Just sit' statement. Many Zen masters will say 'Why don't you just sit and shut up'.
"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 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:52 pm

maybe you should read the thread, there was a link shared earlier.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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 mikenz66 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:36 pm

Hi Aloka,
Aloka wrote:
Dan74 wrote:That may be so, Mike, but as you probably know the term Buddha nature has been in wide circulation in Thai Buddhism, not least in the Forest tradition.


A quote from Ajahn Sumedho former Thai Forest Tradition abbot of Amaravati Monastery UK
...

I presume Dan is referring to Thai forest monks such as Ajahn Maha Bua, with his "true nature of the citta", etc, or some of the other various sub-groups.

Bua sees the essential enduring truth of the sentient being as constituted of the indestructible reality of the citta (heart/mind), which is characterized by the attribute of Awareness or Knowingness. This citta, which is intrinsically bright, clear, and Aware, gets superficially tangled up in samsara but ultimately cannot be destroyed by any samsaric phenomenon. Although Bua is often at pains to emphasise the need for meditation upon the non-Self (anatta), he also points out that the citta, while getting caught up in the vortex of conditioned phenomena, is not subject to destruction as are those things which are impermanent, suffering, and non-Self (anicca, dukkha, anatta). The citta is ultimately not beholden to these laws of conditioned existence. The citta is bright, radiant, and deathless, and is its own independent reality:

'Being intrinsically bright and clear, the citta is always ready to make contact with everything of every nature. Although all conditioned phenomena without exception are governed by the three universal laws of anicca, dukkha, and anattã, the citta’s true nature is not subject to these laws. The citta is conditioned by anicca, dukkha, and anattã only because things that are subject to these laws come spinning in to become involved with the citta and so cause it to spin along with them. However, though it spins in unison with conditioned phenomena, the citta never disintegrates or falls apart. It spins following the influence of those forces which have the power to make it spin, but the true power of the citta’s own nature is that it knows and does not die. This deathlessness is a quality that lies beyond disintegration. Being beyond disintegration, it also lies beyond the range of anicca, dukkha, and anattã and the universal laws of nature. ….'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajahn_Maha ... 27Citta.27

:anjali:
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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:39 pm

Dan74 wrote:A quote from Ajahn Sumedho former Thai Forest Tradition abbot of Amaravati Monastery UK

an illusoriness coming from a belief in the perception of the overself, or God or the Oneness or Buddha Nature, or the divine substance or the divine essence, or something like that."


You might want to re-read this quote, I don't think a quote saying the perception of Buddha nature creates illusoriness is really supporting the point that the term Buddha nature has been in wide circulation in Thai Buddhism.

The dhamma talks of many of the western sangha are very eclectic in nature, I'm sure there must be a few that have something positive to say about the concept.
"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 Aloka » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:58 pm

You might want to re-read this quote, I don't think a quote saying the perception of Buddha nature creates illusoriness is really supporting the point that the term Buddha nature has been in wide circulation in Thai Buddhism.


Hi Goof,

My two previous posts are meant to show that from what I've investigated myself, there are forest tradition monks who

don't support the notion of 'Buddha nature'. I wasn't intending to support what Dan74 said !


kind regards,

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Re: Buddha nature

Postby Dan74 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:10 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
Dan74 wrote:A quote from Ajahn Sumedho former Thai Forest Tradition abbot of Amaravati Monastery UK

an illusoriness coming from a belief in the perception of the overself, or God or the Oneness or Buddha Nature, or the divine substance or the divine essence, or something like that."


You might want to re-read this quote, I don't think a quote saying the perception of Buddha nature creates illusoriness is really supporting the point that the term Buddha nature has been in wide circulation in Thai Buddhism.

The dhamma talks of many of the western sangha are very eclectic in nature, I'm sure there must be a few that have something positive to say about the concept.


Hi Goofaholix

You might want to reread the post - it didn't come from me! :D

In addition from what Mike has quoted from Ajahn Maha Boowa, I mean statement like this from Ajahn Chah:

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 no 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.


The famous talk from Ajahn Dune Atulo which is in his book "The Heart is the Knowing":

This citta, which is our true original nature, is the womb of our being. No one created it and no one can destroy it.


Some time ago I posted a link to a recent PhD thesis here that researched the history of the teachings on Buddha Nature in Thai Buddhism but I cannot find it anymore. I am sure knowledgeable people know about it. Whether it is called "original nature", "original nature", "original mind" as far as can I tell, they all point the same.
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