"Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: "Luminous, monks, is the mind."

Postby Ben » Sun Dec 27, 2009 8:43 pm

Thanks Jechbi
Jechbi wrote:

SN Goenka wrote:Observing oneself is a path of self-realization, truth-realization; one can even say "God-realization," because after all, truth is God. What else is God? The law is God, nature is God.


Goenkaji is DA MAN!!
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16310
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: "Luminous, monks, is the mind."

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:32 am

Cafael Dust wrote:The quote explains the Buddha taught the mind is inherently luminous (nibbana) but covered with defilements (ignorance). Which is what I wrote previously - I think these are very basic Buddhist concepts held by pretty much all traditions. I don't think they're contentious assertions or that they don't make sense in the ideology of any tradition.



if it makes sense to another tradition it would be out of the context of the original, in other words as Tilt said no real conextion to the real tradition.

have a look at the endnote to that sutta.
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."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5861
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:37 am

"Luminous, monks, is the mind.1 And it is defiled by incoming defilements." AN 1.49-52.

Here are a couple more texts that give an idea of the nature of the mind (citta).

It would be better, bhikkhus, for the uninstructed worlding to take as self this body… rather than the mind. For what reason? The body … is seen standing for one year, for two years, for three, four, five, or ten years, for twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty, for a hundred years, or even longer. But that which is called 'mind [citta],' 'mentality [mano],' or 'consciousness [vi~n~naana]' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. Just as a monkey roaming through a forest grabs hold of one branch, lets that go and grabs another, then lets that go and grabs still another, so too that which is called 'mind [citta],' 'mentality [mano],' or 'consciousness [vi~n~naana]' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. Therein, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple attends closely and carefully to dependent origination itself thus: ‘When this exists, that comes to be; with the arising of this that arises…. SN II 94-5


Always frightened is this mind [citta.m],
The mind [mano] is always agitated.
SN I 53


It is a mishap for me … that lust has infested my mind SN I 185


"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, do you know the awareness of other beings, other individuals, having encompassed it with your own awareness? Do you discern a mind with passion as a mind with passion, and a mind without passion as a mind without passion; a mind with aversion as a mind with aversion, and a mind without aversion as a mind without aversion; a mind with delusion as a mind with delusion, and a mind without delusion as a mind without delusion; a restricted mind as a restricted mind, and a scattered mind as a scattered mind; an enlarged mind as an enlarged mind, and an unenlarged mind as an unenlarged mind; an excelled mind [one that is not on the most excellent level] as an excelled mind, and an unexcelled mind as an unexcelled mind; a concentrated mind as a concentrated mind, and an unconcentrated mind as an unconcentrated mind; a released mind as a released mind, and an unreleased mind as an unreleased mind?" SN II 121 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/su ... 2-070.html


SN 11 226 Praise and blame obsessing the mind
"Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will put aside any gains, offerings, & fame that have arisen; and we will not let any gains, offerings, & fame that have arisen keep our minds consumed.' That's how you should train yourselves."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/sutta/samyutta/sn17-005.html


SN II 271 “He sees a woman there lightly clad or lightly attrired and lust invades his mind.”


SN II 273 “Steady your mind in noble silence, unify your mind in noble silence concentrate your mind in noble silence.


SN V 184 Bhikkhus, I will teach the origination and passing away of the four establishments of mindfulness. Listen to that.

And what, bhikkhus, is the origination of the body? With the origination of nutriment there is origination of the body. With the cessation of nutriment there is the passing away of the body.

With the origination of contact there is origination of feeling. With the cessation of contact there is the passing away of feeling.

With the origination of name-and-form there is origination of mind [citta]. With the cessation of name-and-form there is passing away of mind.

With the origination of attention there is origination of phenomena [dhamma]. With the cessation of attention there is passing away of phenomena.

Dhp 13. Just as rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, so passion penetrates an undeveloped mind.

14. Just as rain does not break through a well-thatched house, so passion never penetrates a well-developed mind.

33. Just as a fletcher straightens an arrow shaft, even so the discerning man straightens his mind -- so fickle and unsteady, so difficult to guard.

34. As a fish when pulled out of water and cast on land throbs and quivers, even so is this mind agitated. Hence should one abandon the realm of Mara

35. Wonderful, indeed, it is to subdue the mind, so difficult to subdue, ever swift, and seizing whatever it desires. A tamed mind brings happiness.

36. Let the discerning man guard the mind, so difficult to detect and extremely subtle, seizing whatever it desires. A guarded mind brings happiness.

37. Dwelling in the cave (of the heart), the mind, without form, wanders far and alone. Those who subdue this mind are liberated from the bonds of Mara.

89. Those whose minds have reached full excellence in the factors of enlightenment, who, having renounced acquisitiveness, rejoice in not clinging to things -- rid of cankers, glowing with wisdom, they have attained Nibbana in this very life.

116. Hasten to do good; restrain your mind from evil. He who is slow in doing good, his mind delights in evil.

371. Meditate, O monk! Do not be heedless. Let not your mind whirl on sensual pleasures. Heedless, do not swallow a red-hot iron ball, lest you cry when burning, "O this is painful!"


Cafael Dust wrote:Statement 1. We can all achieve nibbana, it's just covered up with ignorance.
Which is to say that nibbana is a self-existent thing, which is something neither the suttas not the Theravada tradition states.

Statement 2. Nibbana is everything (viewed without ignorance).
Nibbana is clearly not defined that way in the suttas.

As the quotes above show that the mind is also a rapidly changing process, hardly at all luminous in all situations. Ven Thanissaro footnote to the Pabhassara Sutta gives a reasonable response to the meaning of this text http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html .

The luminosity of the mind is not nibbana. It is, rather, that moment of awareness of an object before the rest khandhas kick in. It is what is cultivated by mindfulness practice. It is the tool of awareness/mindfulness that leads to insight into the interdependent rise and fall of the six things.

The equation of Buddha-nature (a non-Theravadin concept) with the inner light notion that is in the context of a god is not justified by the “luminous” text.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19905
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby yuuki » Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:02 am

Hey guys.

I have a friend who introduced me to Joseph Campbell, who spent time studying myth and religion around the world, finding (in my understanding of his work) that they all shared many stories and pointed to the same thing.

I think this is an important issue. If we can find equivalents to nibbana, and the path to it in other religions, then our sources for information about the path are greatly multiplied. Or, as some do, we may decide that some subset of the Buddhist path is equivalent to the entire path itself and therefore we can narrow our focus to developing just a few traits.

My answer to this question is to ask the Buddha himself. I think the Buddha is no stranger to multiple points of view, metaphor, simile, and myth. In his time there seemed to be an explosion of various views/paths/beliefs. I'd like to limit myself to a few points that I think he makes emphatically:

1) Universiality: the idea that people can practice purification unrelated to their knowledge of the Buddha's specific teachings. This point is made in a teaching to Rahula: "Rahula, all those brahmans & contemplatives in the course of the past who purified their bodily actions, verbal actions, & mental actions, did it through repeated reflection on their bodily actions, verbal actions, & mental actions in just this way." (MN 61, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html) The Buddha then goes on to note that this is the case for present-day and future purifiers of mind and body. The emphasis is on the singularity of the path, explained to Rahula earlier as the development of the skillful and the abandonment of the unskillful. However I think that implicit in this formulation of the path is that it is universal and followed by Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.

It seems that by this measure we should begin looking for nibbana in elements of Christianity and other religions, however this comparison has been done by the Buddha himself:

2) Brahmavihara: given by the Buddha as a metaphor (or the explanation of the metaphor underlying) the Brahman practices of the time. Unfortunately I don't have a translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu of the Subha Sutta, MN 99. Here is one from vipassana.info: http://www.vipassana.info/099-subha-e1.htm . In this sutta the Buddha answers a quite combative interlocutor who tries to frame his teaching as being at odds with Brahmanism. The Buddha seems to think that the "two" paths have much in common:
‘Good Gotama, it’s good if I’m taught the path to be born in the world of Brahmaa.’

‘Then young man, listen carefully I will tell.’ The young man agreed and the Blessed One said.The bhikkhu pervades one direction with thoughts of loving kindness, so too the second, the third, the fourth, above, below, across, in every respect, in all circumstances, the entire world, he pervades with the thought of loving kindness grown great and immeasurable without anger and ill will. Young man, when the release of the mind in loving kindness, is developed thus, none of the measured actions remain. (* 1) Just as a clever drummer in no time would make known the message in the four directions. In the same manner, when the release of the mind in loving kindness, is developed thus, none of the measured actions remain. This is the method to be born with Brahmaa.. Again the bhikkhu pervades one direction with the thought of compassion,…re…. with intrinsic joy,…re… with equanimity, so too the second, the third, the fourth, above, below, across, in every respect, in all circumstances, the entire world, he pervades with equanimity grown great and immeasurable without anger and ill will. Young man, when the release of the mind in equanimity, is developed thus, none of the measured actions remain. (* 1) Just as a clever drummer in no time would make known the message in the four directions. In the same manner, when the release of the mind in equanimity is developed thus, none of the measured actions remain. This is the method to be born with Brahmaa..’


In other suttas the Buddha explains that this method does not only cause rebirth with Brahma, but brings one to these divine qualities in the here and now. It seems that the Brahmaviharas provide the link between Buddhism and religions that propose some unity with God. Of course the Buddha didn't know about Christianity and Islam, but my guess is that he would treat them in a similar way and find their ultimate expression in the cultivation of the brahmaviharas.

3) Brahmavihara is not Nibbana: I think this theme occurs in many places, but here I give one support. In AN 9:16 we find:

“Monks, for one whose release of awareness through good will is cultivated, developed, pursued, given a means of transport, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, and well-undertaken, eleven benefits can be expected. Which eleven?
“One sleeps easily, wakes easily, dreams no evil dreams. One is dear to human beings, dear to non-human beings. Devas protect one. Neither fire, poison, nor weapons can touch one. One’s mind gains concentration quickly. One’s complexion is bright. One dies unconfused and—if penetrating no higher—is headed for the Brahma worlds.”


Clearly here, and in many other places, nibbana is beyond the perfection of the brahmaviharas, which are tools to be used in development of the path.

My conclusion is that it's nice to make metaphorical links between religions, and I see this practice itself as an exercise of metta and good will. However, it seems that the Buddha did not believe that the path to nibbana was described in the religion of his time, and I doubt he would think that it is described in the various religions of our time. The logic is mine, but it is simple: The Dhamma is universal in some respects, yet most religion seems to be equivalent in the ideal to cultivation of the brahmaviharas, which the Buddha does not regard as nibanna nor the sole step in the path to nibbana.

On a personal level, I feel that the teachings of other religions head straight for the questions which the Buddha decided were unfit to be answered: "What am I?" "Who created the universe?" "What is the soul?"

In closing, I'm sure this passage is familiar:
"But then there is the case where a woman or man when visiting a priest or contemplative, asks: 'What is skillful, venerable sir? What is unskillful? What is blameworthy? What is blameless? What should be cultivated? What should not be cultivated? What, having been done by me, will be for my long-term harm & suffering? Or what, having been done by me, will be for my long-term welfare & happiness?' Through having adopted & carried out such actions, on the break-up of the body, after death, he/she reappears in a good destination... If instead he/she comes to the human state, then he/she is discerning wherever reborn. This is the way leading to discernment: when visiting a priest or contemplative, to ask: 'What is skillful?... Or what, having been done by me, will be for my long-term welfare & happiness?'" (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html)


I think many of the religions fall short in answering these important questions in serious ways. They tend at best to fall second to the metaphysical questions that the Buddha avoids. I think in this sense the metaphor with other religions fails not only in the word of the Buddha, but also in the spirit of the Buddha's teachings.

Thank you for reading this long post. I'm glad there is a venue like this to post it to!
yuuki
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:21 am

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:19 am

tiltbillings wrote:The equation of Buddha-nature (a non-Theravadin concept) with the inner light notion that is in the context of a god is not justified by the “luminous” text.


it is strange but all the occurances to luminous mind in the Nikayas on wikipedia actually has more to do with the mahayana concept than the theravada texts

There is a clear reference in the Anguttara Nikaya to a "luminous mind" present within all people, be they corrupt or pure, whether or not it itself is stained or pure.[1] When it is "unstained," it is supremely poised for Arahantship, and so could be conceived as the "womb" of the Arahant, for which a synonym is tathagata. The Lankavatara Sutra describes the tathagatagarbha ("Arahant womb") as "by nature brightly shining and pure," and "originally pure," though "enveloped in the garments of the skhandhas, dhatus and ayatanas and soiled with the dirt of attachment, hatred, delusion and false imagining." It is said to be "naturally pure," but it appears impure as it is stained by adventitious defilements.[2] Thus the Lankavatara Sutra identifies the luminous mind of the Canon with the tathagatagarbha.[3] It also equates the tathagatagarbha (and alaya-vijnana) with nirvana, though this is concerned with the actual attainment of nirvana as opposed to nirvana as a timeless phenomenon.[3][4] The Canon does not support the identification of the "luminous mind" with nirvanic consciousness, though it plays a role in the realization of nirvana.[5][6] Upon the destruction of the fetters, according to one scholar, "the shining nibbanic consciousness flashes out of the womb of arahantship, being without object or support, so transcending all limitations."[7]

underlined is the only aplicable part to Theravada texts.
Last edited by Cittasanto on Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5861
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:34 am

yuuki wrote:Thank you for reading this long post. I'm glad there is a venue like this to post it to!
And thankyou for taking the time to write it.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19905
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:37 am

hi Yuuki
just something I think worth adding to what you say.
Brahma isn't described as the chief of all the gods in the suttas, I haven't looked into this in any way but I believe that in the order of Divine beings/realms the Brahma realm/beings aren't even the highest.
Sumedho in his Book 'The Four Noble Truths' says that the Noble Truths are Noble, not because they are metaphysical statements but because they are reflective.

nice post 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."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5861
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Cafael Dust » Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:53 pm

Tilt:

And see how many paragraphs of contorting text, written by you and in the link you provide, are needed to distance this very clear and unambiguous passage from both Mahayana and Quaker concepts. :juggling:
Not twice, not three times, not once,
the wheel is turning.
Cafael Dust
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:55 pm

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:35 pm

Cafael Dust wrote:Tilt:

And see how many paragraphs of contorting text, written by you and in the link you provide, are needed to distance this very clear and unambiguous passage from both Mahayana and Quaker concepts. :juggling:


it has been said several times simply, which done the job perfectly well, and even your writing here proves it. (underlining done by me)
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."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5861
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Cafael Dust » Mon Dec 28, 2009 5:20 pm

Manapa, aside from the debate at hand, I find some of your posts difficult to understand linguistically. I don't mean this as a get out clause in this argument, you seem intelligent and to know what you want to say and you make good points, but sometimes your grammar is difficult to pick apart.
Not twice, not three times, not once,
the wheel is turning.
Cafael Dust
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:55 pm

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:14 pm

Cafael Dust wrote:Manapa, aside from the debate at hand, I find some of your posts difficult to understand linguistically. I don't mean this as a get out clause in this argument, you seem intelligent and to know what you want to say and you make good points, but sometimes your grammar is difficult to pick apart.


Cheers :thumbsup:

it has been said in every possible way.
is that clearer?

P.S., I wouldn't of thought that is a 'get out clause' not understanding someone isn't a cop out,
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."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5861
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:43 pm

Cafael Dust wrote:Tilt:

And see how many paragraphs of contorting text, written by you and in the link you provide, are needed to distance this very clear and unambiguous passage from both Mahayana and Quaker concepts.

Yeah, well, first of all this is a Theravada forum, secondly, the Mahayana notion of Buddhanature is hardly uniform among the various Mahayana traditions and carries no weight within the Theravada, thirdly the text in question is from the Pali suttas, which do not support your reading at all.

What later schools of Buddhism may have done, while interesting, carries no weight within the Theravada, and if you are going to press a Pali text into service, you need to make your case from within that framework to show that it is saying what you are saying it is saying. That you have not done.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19905
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:19 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
What later schools of Buddhism may have done, while interesting, carries no weight within the Theravada, and if you are going to press a Pali text into service, you need to make your case from within that framework to show that it is saying what you are saying it is saying. That you have not done.


To respond to my own msg, I can expect there will be responses to the issue of the luminous citta (mind) text that will bring in Mahayana/Tibetan Vajrayana and other sources. While interesting, the above quoted praagraph needs to be taken seriously. It is good old traditional Buddhist rules of engagement. I refer individuals to my above msg: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3088&p=44749&sid=6a5fbe25dc701f4c3aa4cfebbc01156e#p44749 which puts the luminous text into a Pali sutta context, where it belongs.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19905
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Jechbi » Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:47 am

From the Access to Insight citation:
Ven. Thanissaro wrote:This statement has engendered a great deal of controversy over the centuries.

Not to be fully settled here to everyone's satisfaction, I imagine.

fwiw, I think it's perfectly possible that there are individuals in non-Buddhist religions who bring a certain understanding to Islam or Christianity or whatever faith they happen to find themselves in, and thus reinterpret the language of that faith for themselves personally in a way that might be regarded as heretical in the context of their faith, but that might also be recognized as conducive to Dhamma understanding. I think it's possible that this type of kamma can occur.

The Buddha himself gives us a wonderful, ongoing example of reinterpreting the language of his day so that it would convey Dhamma meanings. He co-opted words and infused them with meanings that helped disciples use the language of the day to approach an understanding of Dhamma.

Today some folks do the same thing, admittedly with less skill than the Buddha. Yet we don't need to dismiss it completely, in my opinion. There are at least two ways of looking at attempts like this:

1) They are an effort to say all religions basically say the same thing.

2) They are an effort to illustrate how individuals might apprehend some qualities of Dhamma in their own faith journeys even if they are not well-versed in traditional Buddhism.

In this thread, it seems like the discussion has focused on (1). And indeed, the idea of (1) is not valid, in my opinion.

But we've managed to skip past the possibility of (2). I am not so convinced that (2) is invalid, considering the mind-boggling blend of past and present kamma that might propel a person into this present moment, ready to hear a message that even the messenger did not mean to convey.

Who knows where other people are along the path, or what words or concepts might trigger just that spark of understanding that leads one closer to Dhamma?

In a very real sense, it might do more harm than good to debate too much about notions of God and Buddha Nature and all these concepts people might grasp at in pursuit of a context for identity -- or might understand in a surprising way that belies our assumptions. Yes, we might still have our delusions, but to me it makes more sense to treat them gently and loosely, to give them space, and to remember that the real task at hand is to keep on practicing and encourage others likewise. With practice, things become more clear, I think.

fwiw.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:58 am

Jechbi wrote: it might do more harm than good to debate too much about notions of God and Buddha Nature and all these concepts people might grasp at in pursuit of a context for identity
"in pursuit of a context for identity" Unclear what this means, and it is likely to do even more harm for an individual to not know what is entailed viacontext in such a concepts as "luminous citta," drawing all sorts of self filled ideas about the Dhamma.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19905
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Jechbi » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:22 am

tiltbillings wrote: and it is likely to do even more harm for an individual to not know what is entailed viacontext in such a concepts as "luminous citta," drawing all sorts of self filled ideas about the Dhamma.
Could be. Hard to say if our efforts to infuse such understanding through debate will be successful, however. And if we end up discouraging the person in the process, then what have we actually done? I agree with you, however, that it makes sense in this type of discussion to state one's case respectfully and clearly.

tiltbillings wrote:"in pursuit of a context for identity" Unclear what this means,
Generally speaking, these notions of god or Buddha nature, etc., are a way of framing the "self" vis-a-vis something that is not the "self," or that is a supposedly truer understanding of the "self." The god concept is tied to the concept of self. The god concept is an identity concept. It depends on the notion of identity to exist.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:30 am

Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: and it is likely to do even more harm for an individual to not know what is entailed viacontext in such a concepts as "luminous citta," drawing all sorts of self filled ideas about the Dhamma.
Could be. Hard to say if our efforts to infuse such understanding through debate will be successful, however. And if we end up discouraging the person in the process, then what have we actually done? I agree with you, however, that it makes sense in this type of discussion to state one's case respectfully and clearly.

Who is this "person?" What is the function of a forum like this? Sometimes discussions simply are going to be arcane for the newcomer. It happens, and I see no reason why we need to dumb-down discussions in fear that someone might be put-off by what they might not understand, but then I probably am totally clueless about what it is you are getting at.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19905
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Jechbi » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:39 am

tiltbillings wrote:Who is this "person?"
Good catch. I was speaking in generalizations. I have no way of knowing whether some certain style of discussion does in fact lead to discouragement in others. I can only guess, based on interactions that I have seen, and based my own sense of (possibly misinformed) empathy.

tiltbillings wrote:What is the function of a forum like this?
I can provide you with my opinion, if that's what you are asking for. The function of a forum like this is to provide a place for friendly Dhamma discussion that is salutary for all involved, and that encourages practice. I hope I have understood your question correctly.

tiltbillings wrote:Sometimes discussions simply are going to be arcane for the newcomer. It happens, and I see no reason why we need to dumb-down discussions in fear that someone might be put-off by what they might not understand,
Nor do I.

tiltbillings wrote:... but then I probably am totally clueless about what it is you are getting at.
Not for me to judge.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:26 am

Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:What is the function of a forum like this?
I can provide you with my opinion, if that's what you are asking for. The function of a forum like this is to provide a place for friendly Dhamma discussion that is salutary for all involved, and that encourages practice. I hope I have understood your question correctly.
This forum is not the usenet hell-holes, and even at it worse, it is a million miles from that. The reality is the people are going to get testy from time to time and that not everyone is going to like everyone and that someone may see impoliteness where it was not intended and so forth. Academic discussions or technical debates are not always going to be salutary for everyone. Though the primary focus of this forum is Theravada, this is a market place of ideas. Ceavat lector; it cannot be helped that we are going to say things or hear things that might unsettling to others or oneself.

The individual who participates in a forum such as this needs to learn to step back a bit at times, not take too seriously the two bozos who may be poking each other a bit as they exchange ideas about how they think things are. If that individual gets caught in the heat, he or she may miss something of considerable interest or entertainment.

Ideally, we all act as gentlemen and gentlewomen, but ….

The issue in this thread of the luminous citta (mind) is of interest. Is the luminous mind nibbana? Is it equivalent to buddha-nature and the Quaker’s inner light? It is worth a discussion, a debate, a technical excursus or two, and there might be something to learn from all that, but I see no reason in presenting my side not be as direct and informative as I can be.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19905
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:23 pm

Hi All
would anyone say they worship The Lord Buddha as Christians worship Jesus because there are similarities?
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."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5861
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Coyote, Yahoo [Bot] and 9 guests