Luminious mind

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Luminious mind

Postby Kenshou » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:18 am

Don't mistake my bluntness for harshness here Sherab, but the answer to your last question is simply no.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Luminious mind

Postby Sherab » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:26 am

Kenshou wrote:Don't mistake my bluntness for harshness here Sherab, but the answer to your last question is simply no.

No worries, I'm here to learn.
User avatar
Sherab
 
Posts: 163
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Luminious mind

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:42 am

Sherab wrote:My question is related to the idea of "collective karma" that you basically implied was non-Theravadin.
I did not imply. I stated it was not found in the suttas. The Buddha did not teach it.

To be specific, some form of collective karma bring into existence the various realms of existence and the arising and ceasing of realms of existence would be related to teachings on cosmology.
This was not what I was talking about. If you are here to learn, then listen to what is being said and quit trying to jam what you hear into small boxes.
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: 19383
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Luminious mind

Postby dhamma follower » Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:41 am

Lazy_eye wrote:
dhamma follower wrote: IMHU, the luminous mind is the natural quality of the mind to know things as they are before defilements come in. This is also the mind of an arahant. An ordinary person can also experience this luminous mind when he attains the stage of equanimity toward all formations. The minds is extremely sharp, is aware of the minutest details and totally equanimous. It has the quality of being luminous but there's no light, it's simply the luminosity of wisdom or fredom from defilements.


How different is this, really, from Ch’an/Zen “original mind”? Don’t throw rotten fruit at me, peeps – it just seems glaringly evident. You don’t have to read far in any Ch’an text to see a similar concept described in similar language...almost to the letter, in fact, down to the sharpness of mind during satori, the freedom from defilements, equanimity towards formations, etc...

[/digression]


Really ? "I" am however rather strictly Therevadin. I wouldn't call it "original mind" though. It is just the way the mind is experienced in absence of defilements. Could you please show some Ch'an/Zen texts for comparison ?

D.F
dhamma follower
 
Posts: 330
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:48 am

Re: Luminious mind

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:49 am

its a mistake to confuse the two things as the same , even if the language is similar. you see this sort of mistake in regards to taoism and zen, since translations of Buddhist texts into Chinese used similar language to those of taoist texts people assume they are meaning the same thing, but it's simply an accident of language. the problem with an original pure mind is how did it then become impure? what this implies is a pure mind (the mind of an arahant) can regress to an impure state. this is a claim of the Mahayana and part of the propaganda used to push the Bodhisattva path instead of the "hinayana path" of the arahant.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
User avatar
jcsuperstar
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska

Re: Luminious mind

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:21 pm

dhamma follower wrote:Really ? "I" am however rather strictly Therevadin. I wouldn't call it "original mind" though. It is just the way the mind is experienced in absence of defilements. Could you please show some Ch'an/Zen texts for comparison ?


Sure! You write of the "natural quality of the mind to know things as they are before defilements come in". Similarly, Hui-neng in the Platform Sutra writes: "when one is free from defilements, wisdom reveals itself, and will not be separated from the essence of mind."

Chinul, a Korean Seon master, describes this essence of mind as "uniformly equaninimous". Kueifeng sees it as "immaterial and immaculate, with radiant awareness".

You mention that an "ordinary person can also experience this luminous mind when he attains the stage of equanimity toward all formations". This is also true in Zen. As Chinul puts it, "the true mind is basically the same in sages and in ordinary people, but ordinary people perceive things in an arbitrary, subjective way, losing the inherently pure essence and thus being obstructed by this."

Finally, you say the mind is extremely sharp and aware of minute details. Likewise, Zen teacher John Daido Loori describes the mind during zazen as "alert and aware. The same kind of alertness as a deer in the woods hearing a twig crack." Hakuin says that when the mind awakens, "the light of insight shines forth, splitting even an atomic particle".

I'm not denying that Theravada and Mahayana have an different overall paradigm -- just saying the actual experience of awakening seems to be described in rather the same way. In Zen, as I understand it, satori is not the end of the path -- the awakened person then progresses through the bodhisattva stages towards eventual buddhahood.

LE
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 813
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: Luminious mind

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:42 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:its a mistake to confuse the two things as the same , even if the language is similar. you see this sort of mistake in regards to taoism and zen...


But whereas Zen and Taoism have separate points of origin, Zen and Theravada are two branches of the same religion. Mahayana, as far as I know, acknowledges the validity of the Pali Canon and Shakyamuni as our teacher. We could expect some flow of ideas between the traditions.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 813
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: Luminious mind

Postby dhamma follower » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:52 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:Really ? "I" am however rather strictly Therevadin. I wouldn't call it "original mind" though. It is just the way the mind is experienced in absence of defilements. Could you please show some Ch'an/Zen texts for comparison ?


Sure! You write of the "natural quality of the mind to know things as they are before defilements come in". Similarly, Hui-neng in the Platform Sutra writes: "when one is free from defilements, wisdom reveals itself, and will not be separated from the essence of mind."

Chinul, a Korean Seon master, describes this essence of mind as "uniformly equaninimous". Kueifeng sees it as "immaterial and immaculate, with radiant awareness".

You mention that an "ordinary person can also experience this luminous mind when he attains the stage of equanimity toward all formations". This is also true in Zen. As Chinul puts it, "the true mind is basically the same in sages and in ordinary people, but ordinary people perceive things in an arbitrary, subjective way, losing the inherently pure essence and thus being obstructed by this."

Finally, you say the mind is extremely sharp and aware of minute details. Likewise, Zen teacher John Daido Loori describes the mind during zazen as "alert and aware. The same kind of alertness as a deer in the woods hearing a twig crack." Hakuin says that when the mind awakens, "the light of insight shines forth, splitting even an atomic particle".

I'm not denying that Theravada and Mahayana have an different overall paradigm -- just saying the actual experience of awakening seems to be described in rather the same way. In Zen, as I understand it, satori is not the end of the path -- the awakened person then progresses through the bodhisattva stages towards eventual buddhahood.

LE


The similarities pointed out are interesting. However, such terms like "original mind" or "pure essence" are not used in Theravada. The reason for it, IMO, is to avoid the likely misleading effect on most people, who ,because of their tendency of grasping, would take it as their true self, having not directly realized the selfless nature of the experience,and let's not forget that it also arises and pass away.
In Theravada, experiences such as this are not considered the end of the Path either, not even first stage of enlightenment if the experiences have not been deepened to the experience of Nibanna. The End of the Path is permanent eradication of all defilements. Then, the luminous mind becomes a moment to moment reality of the Perfectly Awakened One (Arahant). What is to be done is done !

It kind of makes sense if aspirants of the Boddhisattva Path continue to cultivate their paramis from this point onward (equanimity toward all formations or satori ? - not arahanship). It is echoed in some Theravada commentaries as well, it seems to me.


D.F.
dhamma follower
 
Posts: 330
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:48 am

Re: Luminious mind

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:16 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:its a mistake to confuse the two things as the same , even if the language is similar. you see this sort of mistake in regards to taoism and zen...


But whereas Zen and Taoism have separate points of origin, Zen and Theravada are two branches of the same religion. Mahayana, as far as I know, acknowledges the validity of the Pali Canon and Shakyamuni as our teacher. We could expect some flow of ideas between the traditions.

It could easily, and with considerable justification, that the Theravada and the Mahayana are different religions coming from the same source.
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: 19383
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Luminious mind

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:36 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:its a mistake to confuse the two things as the same , even if the language is similar. you see this sort of mistake in regards to taoism and zen...


But whereas Zen and Taoism have separate points of origin, Zen and Theravada are two branches of the same religion. Mahayana, as far as I know, acknowledges the validity of the Pali Canon and Shakyamuni as our teacher. We could expect some flow of ideas between the traditions.

It could easily, and with considerable justification, that the Theravada and the Mahayana are different religions coming from the same source.

i wonder about this sometimes. i did a project involving Ganesha and the only rational way to understand the differences in his representation is to see that there are many different Hinduisms. different religions just being lumped together, in some he is the only god, others just one of many, still in others he is the entire universe, and there are more "sects" seeing him in different ways. these are fundamental differences. so perhaps this same type of thing was true of Buddhism in India (would explain a lot i think) but what we ended up with is a "mistake" of the Chinese to just grab any text called Buddhist and then try to fit them all into one religion, now this is just a really dumbed down version of my hypothesis but i think one can fill in the gaps on their own, the nature of the Buddha is different in different schools, there are different texts, practices, deities, understandings. it wouldn't take much of a leap of faith to see this as true in an Indian religious context.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
User avatar
jcsuperstar
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska

Re: Luminious mind

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:48 am

jcsuperstar wrote:i did a project involving Ganesha and the only rational way to understand the differences in his representation is to see that there are many different Hinduisms. different religions just being lumped together

I thought this was common knowledge. I had a friend who was from India and he explained Hinduism as exactly that: every wise person who ever lived in India shoehorned under the same umbrella called "Hinduism".
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Luminious mind

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:59 am

Peter wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:i did a project involving Ganesha and the only rational way to understand the differences in his representation is to see that there are many different Hinduisms. different religions just being lumped together

I thought this was common knowledge. I had a friend who was from India and he explained Hinduism as exactly that: every wise person who ever lived in India shoehorned under the same umbrella called "Hinduism".

i think it is and it isn't common knowledge. i guess you have to be paying attention. but what i was getting at is there may be a reason to assume the same thing may have been true for indian Buddhism.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
User avatar
jcsuperstar
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska

Re: Luminious mind

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:25 am

jcsuperstar wrote:but what i was getting at is there may be a reason to assume the same thing may have been true for indian Buddhism.

It may be or it may not be. I don't know nor, frankly, do I care. It's enough on my plate to just learn and practice this one set of teachings without worrying about other sets of teachings. For my own sake, I consider all non-Theravada Buddhism to be another religion entirely. But maybe this is a topic that deserves it's own thread?
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Luminious mind

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:57 am

I agree entirely :goodpost:
And I don't think that I am a narrow sectarian. It seems quite clear to me that the Mahayana and Theravada are completely different religions that share some symbols and a handful of concepts.
Analogous to the relationship between Judaism and Christianity.
This seems so obvious that in my view the onus is on the Mahayana to demonstrate beyond debate that their religion is the same as the Theravada. I have never seen a convincing argument to that end yet,
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: Luminious mind

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:01 pm

A fascinating and unresolvable question, in my view. Early Mahayana, from what I understand, is quite close to Theravada -- Ven Pannasikhara, if he's around, might have something to say about this.

Also, Mahayana recognizes and incorporates the original tipitaka. The Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, karma and rebirth, dependent origination, the "three marks of existence" (anicca, dukkha, anatta) are core teachings in Mahayana. Meditation practices in Zen could be described as a kind of radically condensed form of samatha-vipassana.

I agree that some later developments start to look like an altogether different religion, though it can be hard to identify a precise dividing line. The dynamic in Buddhism generally seems to be that any innovation has to be justified somehow with regard to the existing canon and the life/work of Shakyamuni Buddha. Of course, sometimes these justifications may be pure invention on the part of the innovator.

Maybe this should be a new thread?

LE
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 813
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: Luminious mind

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:00 pm

Well new thread or not Lazy Eye..I used the Judaism/Christianity analogy advisedly.
They have certain commonalities God..the soul...eternal life in some form. Resurrection of the dead in some form literal or not. But Christianity went on to develop a whole theology around the Trinity , Redemption etc etc. And at that point it became a new and different religion.
In the same way the Mahayana developed a whole " theology" of Buddha Nature or Buddha Dhatu and a whole pantheon of Buddhas, and a whole set of "sutras" to explain those developments and at that point became a new and different religion.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: Luminious mind

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:58 pm

A fair enough argument, Sanghamitta. However, Christianity entered the picture thousands of years into the history of Judaism and constituted a clear, radical break. By contrast, Mahayana originated only a few hundred years after the Buddha's paranibbana and actually not that long after Theravada itself emerged as a distinctly identifiable school.

At the time when this happened, a variety of schools and practices existed that were all based, or claimed to be based, on the Buddha's teachings. The most credible theory which I've heard concerning the Mahayana is that it developed as a kind of "back to basics" movement among monastics, focused on emulating the Buddha's journey from bodhisatta to buddha, and with a big emphasis on asceticism and seclusion. You can see this, I think, in influential texts such as Zhiyi's "Manual of Samatha, Vipassana and Dhyana Meditation". (http://www.amazon.com/Essentials-Buddhi ... 1935413007)

As we were discussing above, "buddha nature" can be connected to "luminous mind" -- though I agree that it did transform into a kind of metaphysical monster. Stephen Batchelor has an interesting talk on this subject -- he suggests a Chinese translation error was instrumental in this transformation.

Maybe the short answer is: for a Theravadin, there may be two different religions. For a Mahayanist, probably not. From an objective scholarly point of view, up for debate depending on how we interpret early developments.
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 813
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: Luminious mind

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:04 pm

So from a Mahayana point of view the Theravada is subsumed like it or not ?

Which is of course exactly what the Hindus say about Buddhism. They accept that Buddhism is part of Hinduism because they are tolerant but unfortunately the Buddhists stubbornly insist that they are not..the schismatics.. :smile:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: Luminious mind

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:11 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
Maybe the short answer is: for a Theravadin, there may be two different religions. For a Mahayanist, probably not. From an objective scholarly point of view, up for debate depending on how we interpret early developments.
The "early development" is not where the various schools of the Mahayana stopped. Being in its eariest years, particularly since the introduction of the us vs them concept of hinayana, the Mahayana was an oppositional movement which redefined, re-framed Buddhism in opposition to the Mainstream schools giving us, among other things, a deified, docetic Buddha and a pantheon of gods, and also keep in mind that the Mahayana as an institution was essentially non-existent during the early years:
"... even after its initial appearance in the public domain in the 2nd century
[Mahayana] appears to have remained an extremely limited minority movement - if
it remained at all - that attracted absolutely no documented public or popular
support for at least two more centuries. It is again a demonstrable fact that
anything even approaching popular support for the Mahayana cannot be documented
until 4th/5th century AD, and even then the support is overwhelmingly monastic,
not lay, donors ... although there was - as we know from Chinese translations - a large
and early Mahayana literature there was no early, organized, independent,
publicly supported movement that it could have belonged to."

-- G. Schopen "The Inscription on the Ku.san image of Amitabha and the
character of the early Mahayana in India." JIABS 10, 2 pgs 124-5
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: 19383
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Luminious mind

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:06 pm

Would you say oppositionality vs orthodoxy is enough to define separate religions? Also, is oppositionality a feature exclusive to Mahayana? My understanding is that there were several schools/movements around, all of which conflicted on various points and engaged in polemics. Theravada and Mahayana agreed on some points, disagreed on others.

"Hinayana" is just an (ugly) negative way of affirming the validity of Mahayana, since it basically means "those (whoever they are) who do not accept the Mahayana sutras". Mahayana opposes those who deny Mahayana, thus Mahayana=Mahayana, it's a tautology which resolves nothing and has no use except as a rhetorical weapon. It's in no way essential to Mahayana doctrine per se.

Personally, I feel some of the later shifts within Mahayana are more radical than the Theravada/Mahayana divide. After all, in early Mahayana up through Chan we still have the basic program of sila, samadhi and panna. But by the time we get to the later Pure Land schools, self-effort is abandoned in favor of trusting the deified Amida, samadhi is reduced to a secondary practice, sila becomes an optional set of guidelines, the monastic sangha gives way to a secularized priesthood, and so on.

This seems, to me, a far more dramatic split than arguing about buddha nature, bodhicitta or sunyata, all of which have antecedents in the nikayas.
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:24 pm, edited 5 times in total.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 813
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: chownah, Yahoo [Bot] and 5 guests