What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
4GreatHeavenlyKings
Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:20 pm

What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by 4GreatHeavenlyKings »

I am aware that this claim is made by the Dhammakaya movement, but they are aware that other Buddhists disagree with their claim. Are there any refutations of the Dhammakaya movement's claim about Nibbana as the true self?
User avatar
confusedlayman
Posts: 4836
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:16 am
Location: Human Realm (as of now)

Re: What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by confusedlayman »

4GreatHeavenlyKings wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:37 pm I am aware that this claim is made by the Dhammakaya movement, but they are aware that other Buddhists disagree with their claim. Are there any refutations of the Dhammakaya movement's claim about Nibbana as the true self?
nibbana is understanding of truth.. it is a name given to some finished activity or activity itself (sorry my English bad)
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 14112
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by DNS »

4GreatHeavenlyKings wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:37 pm Are there any refutations of the Dhammakaya movement's claim about Nibbana as the true self?
Yes, the Suttas.

Specifically, Digha Nikaya 1 Brahmajala Sutta
The 62 kinds of wrong view (regarding self and nibbana)
User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 6251
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Mae Wang Huai Rin, Li District, Lamphun

Re: What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by Dhammanando »

4GreatHeavenlyKings wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:37 pm Are there any refutations of the Dhammakaya movement's claim about Nibbana as the true self?
In the Thai language the most influential work is a 450-page critique called Koranii thammakai (The Dhammakaya Case) by Phra Prayudh Payutto (Bangkok 1999).

https://archive.org/details/The_dhammak ... 2%E0%B8%A2

As far as I know there's no English translation yet, but it's been frequently quoted in English-language books, articles and doctoral theses dealing with Wat Dhammakaya.
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
chownah
Posts: 9261
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by chownah »

4GreatHeavenlyKings wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:37 pm I am aware that this claim is made by the Dhammakaya movement, but they are aware that other Buddhists disagree with their claim. Are there any refutations of the Dhammakaya movement's claim about Nibbana as the true self?
This is an indirect refutation I think. It comes from the Water Snake Simile Sutta https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
"Monks, you would do well to cling to that clinging to a doctrine of self, clinging to which there would not arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair. But do you see a clinging to a doctrine of self, clinging to which there would not arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair?"

"No, lord."

"Very good, monks. I, too, do not envision a clinging to a doctrine of self, clinging to which there would not arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair.
So....I guess that if you cling to the doctrine that nibbana is the true self then it will bring you sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair.
chownah
TRobinson465
Posts: 772
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 5:29 pm
Location: United States

Re: What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by TRobinson465 »

Given that most Buddhist scholars do disagree with that interpretation. I'd imagine its not hard to find. Read any scholarly paper on anatta and most of the time you will find the arguments people usually use against it.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.
SteRo
Posts: 4970
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am

Re: What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by SteRo »

Since self is emptiness emptiness may be called "true self". Since nibbana is the unconditioned and as such cannot be different from emptiness many suttas may be interpreted as implicitly teaching nibbana as true self. However the explicit claim cannot be found anywhere in the doctrine.
Cleared.
TRobinson465
Posts: 772
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 5:29 pm
Location: United States

Re: What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by TRobinson465 »

SteRo wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:58 am Since self is emptiness emptiness may be called "true self". Since nibbana is the unconditioned and as such cannot be different from emptiness many suttas may be interpreted as implicitly teaching nibbana as true self. However the explicit claim cannot be found anywhere in the doctrine.
Your point is valid. but he was asking for resources arguing against the interpretation of nibbana as true self. not for it.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.
plabit
Posts: 63
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2021 2:49 am

Re: What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by plabit »

4GreatHeavenlyKings wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:37 pm I am aware that this claim is made by the Dhammakaya movement, but they are aware that other Buddhists disagree with their claim. Are there any refutations of the Dhammakaya movement's claim about Nibbana as the true self?
I doubt it, because to acknowledge that anyone anywhere has ever said that is dangerous to the no self doctrine since its nonsensical. Anyone who hears the possibility that nibbana is the true self will accept that unless they cling hard to illogic.
SteRo
Posts: 4970
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am

Re: What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by SteRo »

TRobinson465 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:36 am
SteRo wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:58 am Since self is emptiness emptiness may be called "true self". Since nibbana is the unconditioned and as such cannot be different from emptiness many suttas may be interpreted as implicitly teaching nibbana as true self. However the explicit claim cannot be found anywhere in the doctrine.
Your point is valid. but he was asking for resources arguing against the interpretation of nibbana as true self. not for it.
Applies to that as well: the explicit claim that nibbana is not true self cannot be found anywhere in the doctrine. Why is this so? Because 'true self' is not a doctrinal idea. The doctrine doesn't deal with true vs false self.
Cleared.
4GreatHeavenlyKings
Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:20 pm

Re: What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by 4GreatHeavenlyKings »

plabit wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:36 am
4GreatHeavenlyKings wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:37 pm I am aware that this claim is made by the Dhammakaya movement, but they are aware that other Buddhists disagree with their claim. Are there any refutations of the Dhammakaya movement's claim about Nibbana as the true self?
I doubt it, because to acknowledge that anyone anywhere has ever said that is dangerous to the no self doctrine since its nonsensical. Anyone who hears the possibility that nibbana is the true self will accept that unless they cling hard to illogic.
You are mistaken. In the Thai language there is a 450-page critique called Koranii thammakai (The Dhammakaya Case) by Phra Prayudh Payutto (Bangkok 1999).
chownah
Posts: 9261
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by chownah »

4GreatHeavenlyKings wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:29 pm
plabit wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:36 am
4GreatHeavenlyKings wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:37 pm I am aware that this claim is made by the Dhammakaya movement, but they are aware that other Buddhists disagree with their claim. Are there any refutations of the Dhammakaya movement's claim about Nibbana as the true self?
I doubt it, because to acknowledge that anyone anywhere has ever said that is dangerous to the no self doctrine since its nonsensical. Anyone who hears the possibility that nibbana is the true self will accept that unless they cling hard to illogic.
You are mistaken. In the Thai language there is a 450-page critique called Koranii thammakai (The Dhammakaya Case) by Phra Prayudh Payutto (Bangkok 1999).
Did you see my previous post talking about the Water Snake Simile Sutta? It seems to be a pretty strong case.
chownah
User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 4373
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:55 pm
Location: Whitby, Canada

Re: What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by Coëmgenu »

Wat Phra Dhammakaya not only claims that nibbana is your "true self," but that it is a crystal structure located in a distinct location in the cosmos, namely located "personally" within all sentient beings yet also "in the (external) cosmos" in a mystical manner. They call the individualized personalized nibbana the "vijja dhammakaya," or "dharma-body consciousness." You can get in contact with "your nibbana" or "your vijja dhammakaya" by locating its location in your subtle body:

http://enlight.lib.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/ ... 388400.pdf

See page 489, from said page:
Phra Monkholthepmuni discovered his own Dhammakāya on the full moon night during the middle of the rain retreat of 1916 at the main shrine hall of Wat Bangkhuvien. This, he said, allowed him to bring back the original teaching of the Buddha, the so-called Vijjā Dhammakāya. According to his description, a bright crystal ball that he saw in meditation in the early morning of that day led his consciousness further inside to discover the Body of Enlightenment of the Buddha, after passing through layers of inner refined bodies one inside of the other. These bodies are the interior dimensions of human existence. Dhammakāya Arahat is a genderless body which transcends all impure existences and is the True Self of individuals. It is the living Buddha within, tangible and permanent like a huge living crystal Buddha sitting in deep meditation. The distance between its kneecaps is 20 fathoms.

Nibbāna, according to Phra Monkholthepmuni, is not an abstract entity but rather an abode: a huge shining crystal sphere with a diameter of 141,330,000 yojanas and a surrounding shell of 15,120,000 yojanas. The lower rim of Nibbāna is located three times above the length of the diameter of the Three Worlds. Nibbāna is habited only by Dhammakāyas of the Buddhas of the past, present and future.
It seems to be a potpourri of tathagatagarbha, random bits of decontextualized Mahayana Buddhism, and New Age.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The spotless mind,
the most highly pure, the tranquil,
all unspoiled phenomena supporting,
this name applying to the consciousness of the Tathāgata.

A bodhisattva, one of two vehicles, an ordinary person:
these are thrones which hold seeds subject to germination.
In acquiring the virtuous pure mind of a Buddha,
which is resolute suchness, the sūtra says:

The Tathāgata's spotless mind
is a pure place without outflows.
It is liberation from all bondage.
It is like a spherical mirror.
It is consciousness always in internal agreement.

(T1585.13a19 Vijñaptimātratāsiddhiśāstra)
TRobinson465
Posts: 772
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 5:29 pm
Location: United States

Re: What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by TRobinson465 »

Coëmgenu wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:55 pm It seems to be a potpourri of tathagatagarbha, random bits of decontextualized Mahayana Buddhism, and New Age.
There's elements of similarity in all of it. But based on the stuff I read it's more likely Phra Monkholthepmuni was influenced by the yogavacara tradition than Mahayana. Any such similarities are likely just coincidental. Similar teachings and even a similar meditation style can be found in yogavacara texts and even among some of Phra Monkholthepmuni's early meditation teachers before the yogavacara tradition was wiped out by the Thai monastic reforms of the 20th century.

Also. Just so you know, the Dhammakaya movement and Wat Phra Dhammakaya aren't the same thing. Phra Monkholthepmuni passed away in 1959. WPD was founded in 1970. Just pointing that out.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.
User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 4373
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:55 pm
Location: Whitby, Canada

Re: What resources exist dealing with the claim that Nibbana is the True Self?

Post by Coëmgenu »

TRobinson465 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:50 pmBut based on the stuff I read it's more likely Phra Monkholthepmuni was influenced by the yogavacara tradition than Mahayana. Any such similarities are likely just coincidental.
I think the great crystal Buddha sitting before the heart cakra that the text makes reference to is influence from Tantric versions of Tathāgatagarbhavāda where the "inner Buddha" gets mixed with medieval Indian medical science (i.e. cakras, nadis, etc.). Dhammakaya pays a lot of money funding many scholars who connect their innovative meditation practices and doctrines with various kinds of supposedly repressed, oppressed, and marginalized versions of Theravāda. The repression of "true" folk religion by sponsored "institutional" religion is an easy boogeyman IMO.
The spotless mind,
the most highly pure, the tranquil,
all unspoiled phenomena supporting,
this name applying to the consciousness of the Tathāgata.

A bodhisattva, one of two vehicles, an ordinary person:
these are thrones which hold seeds subject to germination.
In acquiring the virtuous pure mind of a Buddha,
which is resolute suchness, the sūtra says:

The Tathāgata's spotless mind
is a pure place without outflows.
It is liberation from all bondage.
It is like a spherical mirror.
It is consciousness always in internal agreement.

(T1585.13a19 Vijñaptimātratāsiddhiśāstra)
Post Reply