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Aloka
16 Feb 11, 09:20
I found this definition of 'Buddha Nature'.

"Buddha-nature or Buddha Principle (Buddha-dhātu), is taught, within Mahayana Buddhism, to be an intrinsic, immortal potential for reaching enlightenment that exists within the mind of every sentient being.

Buddha-nature is not to be confused with the concept of Atman, or Self, but instead is viewed to be empty of defining characteristics (also see Sunyata and Nondualism)."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha-nature


I also saw it described in the glossary of a book as -"Unrealised enlightened mind, the essential nature of all sentient beings."

What does "immortal potential" mean - and how can the potential (and fruition) for reaching enlightenment exist in the mind of an ant or a fish?

Did the Buddha teach about "Buddha Nature"?


Comments ?

plogsties
16 Feb 11, 14:44
'Buddha Nature'.
This a concept in Buddhism that I cannot accept as true. To begin with, I assume by "all sentient beings" is meant man, since, as far as we can tell, insects and most of the animal kingdom (?all) are not able to reason and hence can't make the volitional choices that one must make on the path to enlightenment (I'm assuming here that enlightenment doesn't just occur suddenly without cause).

I also do not believe that all humans are born with the same capacity to reason and hence to make choices based on some very complex ideas. It is "nice" and "politically correct" to say this is true but I don't believe it - I'm sure I would be labeled an "elitest" .

I also believe there are humans - truly evil people -who do not have the mental software(instinct, "nature") to develop the sense of right and wrong required for "right view", etc; sociopaths (the previous "antisocial personality disorder")do not seem to be able to learn that stealing is wrong no matter what the circumstance (except perhaps for survival as in stealing food to keep from starving) but these folks (and I've had to deal with two such individuals over my career) see no contradiction or problem with stealing or harming other people in various ways - the person who recurrently breaks the law in the same way would seem to be a likely member of this group.

I obviously don't believe that each of us is born with a "clean slate" and that "all" behavior is learned - "most" of the animal kingdom's behavior is instinctual and not "learned" and , if evolution is true, some of man's behavior is instinctual as well and not learned, and I include more than pure survival instinct here.

So, I'm not sure what is meant by "Buddha nature" unless it means being able to use one's intellect to decide what choices in life to make to persue the path.



edited to create spaces in block of text to avoid getting vis. migraine

Aloka
16 Feb 11, 16:26
So, I'm not sure what is meant by "Buddha nature" unless it means being able to use one's intellect to decide what choices in life to make to persue the path.

No, that's not what it means. ;D ...and as far as I'm aware, "all sentient beings" means all living things.

Buddha nature was described by the late Chagdud Tulku in 'Gates to Buddhist Practice' as follows...


The mind is the source of both our suffering and happiness. It can be used positively to create benefit, or negatively to create harm. Although every being's fundemental nature is beginningless, deathless purity - what we call buddha nature - we don't recognise it.

srivijaya
16 Feb 11, 17:56
What does "immortal potential" mean
As I understand it, from my Tibetan days, the sentient being migrates in the round of samsara until it gains a precious human birth. Even then it must have generated enough merit to encounter Buddhist teachings. This potential exists, as we have all been swimming in samsara's strudel since beginningless time.


- and how can the potential (and fruition) for reaching enlightenment exist in the mind of an ant or a fish?
It can't happen as an ant or fish but as a turtle may surface on a great ocean once every million years and by karmic fate place its neck into a hoop (the only one in the mighty ocean btw) a sentient being may attain a precious human re-birth.

So, I think we can all agree on that right?

I'm outta here now... ;)

Aloka
16 Feb 11, 20:14
So, I think we can all agree on that right?

No, not really because Sogyal Rinpoche says here:


The buddha nature is simply the birthright of every sentient being, and I always say, “Our buddha nature is as good as any buddha’s buddha nature.” This is the good news that the Buddha brought us from his enlightenment in Bodhgaya, and which many people find so inspiring.

Through practice, we too can all become awakened. If this were not true, countless individuals down to the present day would not have become enlightened.

"Every sentient being" is literally animals as well, is it not? "birthright" is something understood to be in the same lifetime as that birth. Also, is the "good news" about "buddha nature" in the Pali Canon? Could someone point me to a sutta there, please?

Additionally we have this at the beginning of the article:



Buddha nature — when the Buddha became enlightened he realized that all beings without exception have the same nature and potential for enlightenment, and this is known as buddha nature.


source: http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Buddha_nature

So again,is there evidence that someone can show me that the Buddha gave this teaching about"buddha nature" after his enlightenment, please ?

Aloka
16 Feb 11, 20:30
More about animals:


"Animals have always been regarded in Buddhist thought as sentient beings, different in their intellectual ability than humans but no less capable of feeling suffering. Furthermore, animals possess Buddha nature (according to the Mahāyāna school) and therefore an equal potential to become enlightened.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animals_in_Buddhism

Aloka
17 Feb 11, 06:58
Here's an article "Freedom from Buddha Nature" by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

an excerpt......


"..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. Past bad kamma was seen as so totally deterministic that there seemed no way around it unless you assumed either an innate Buddha in the mind that could overpower it, or an external Buddha who would save you from it. But when you understand the principle of freedom — that past kamma doesn't totally shape the present, and that present kamma can always be free to choose the skillful alternative — you realize that the idea of innate natures is unnecessary: excess baggage on the path.


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

andyrobyn
17 Feb 11, 08:07
Here's an article "Freedom from Buddha Nature" by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

an excerpt......


"..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. Past bad kamma was seen as so totally deterministic that there seemed no way around it unless you assumed either an innate Buddha in the mind that could overpower it, or an external Buddha who would save you from it. But when you understand the principle of freedom — that past kamma doesn't totally shape the present, and that present kamma can always be free to choose the skillful alternative — you realize that the idea of innate natures is unnecessary: excess baggage on the path.


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








That is a very useful explanation to me ... I understand Buddha nature as being the potential, in all sentinent beings which incorporates acknowledging the dependant origination nature of all phenomona.

Element
17 Feb 11, 09:35
As I understand it, Buddha Nature simply means that that which is Buddha is not to be found outside. Being a Buddha is no more than what we are, in fact it's a lot less... but less what? Less ignorance, less greed and less aversion. When the defilements are eradicated, what remains is Buddha

Retrofuturist.
Hi everyone

My opinion:

The Buddha taught there are five spiritual faculties (indriya), namely, faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration & wisdom.

By wisdom, I intend to highlight the mind's capacity to both discern truth & be transformed by truth (eg. discerning impermanence resulting in letting go).

Retrofuturist mentioned a Buddha has less ignorance, less greed and less aversion.

In my opinion, ignorance is not the same as greed & aversion.

Greed and aversion can be lessened and ended by samatha (tranquility) practise. By calming the breath, body & mind, greed & aversion can be ended, for which the outcome is bliss (jhana).

But it is not possible to calm or lessen ignorance by samatha practise. Ignorance can only be lessened via the development or accumulation of wisdom.

To end ignorance, the mind must actually see conditionality, the four noble truths, impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, not-self, etc.

So I would say it is proper to say the Buddha is much more than we are because the Buddha has more wisdom (rather than less ignorance).

To me, what remains when the defilements are eradicated is not Buddha-Nature. What remains is luminous mind and Nibbana.

Nibbana is the unconditioned element in nature, the perfect stillness within which the universe turns. This is not Buddha-Nature. The Nibbana element itself does not possess any wisdom.

Luminous mind is also not Buddha-Nature, because a mind on an LSD or some other drug trip can experience luminous mind. Luminous mind is merely luminous mind. It also does not possess any wisdom.

So, to me, Buddha-Nature is the wisdom faculty, namely, panna indriya.

Kind regards

;D


Sariputta, I am now old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life and come to the last stage: my years have turned eighty.

Sariputta, even if you have to carry me about on a bed, still there will be no change in the lucidity of the Tathagata's wisdom.

Maha-sihanada Sutta: The Great Discourse on the Lion's Roar (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.012.ntbb.html)

:hands:

srivijaya
17 Feb 11, 10:11
"Every sentient being" is literally animals as well, is it not? "birthright" is something understood to be in the same lifetime as that birth.
Sogyal Rinpoche isn't saying that enlightenment is every beings birthright, merely that Buddha Nature is present within all. All sentient life possesses it but the potential at any time to realize enlightenment is vastly different according to individual conditions. They are not the same thing.

Also, is the "good news" about "buddha nature" in the Pali Canon? Could someone point me to a sutta there, please?
I've never yet seen it but that doesn't cut any ice within the Mahayana schools. Their Sutras are their authority, so there's no milage in pointing that out to them.

The only way to comprehend it, is within their own frames of reference and then make a decision on the validity of it for ourselves. I tend to sort of equate (perhaps wrongly) Buddha Nature with the Dharmakaya.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmakāya

Namaste
kris

Aloka
17 Feb 11, 10:49
Re #9, nice post Element, thanks.



Buddha Nature is present within all. All sentient life possesses it

Hiyah Kris,

Hmm, well I'm not convinced of the 'Buddha nature' of a slug - nor that it has the possibility of enlightenment in a future lifetime, because apart from it being too silly to comprehend anyway, such speculation would comes under what the Buddha called'unconjecturable'.

from a Vajrayana point of view again:

buddha nature = " The potential for enlightenment that is inherent in all sentient beings; the true nature of mind"

(Glossary of 'The Life of Gampopa' by Jampa Mckenzie Stewart - Snow Lion)


I tend to sort of equate (perhaps wrongly) Buddha Nature with the Dharmakaya.



To place 'Dharmakaya' into its complex Vajrayana context of the 'Four bodies of a Buddha' (from the same glossary)

" The four bodies or four kayas of the Buddha are:

1. the dharmakaya or ultimate truth body, corresponding to the mind aspect of the Buddha.

2. the sambhokaya or complete enjoyment body, corresponding to the speech and prana aspect of the Buddha.

3. the nirmanakaya, the emanation body, corresponding to the physical human body of the Buddha.

4. the svabhavikakaya, the essential or nature body, representing the inseperability of the first three bodies."


Phew! feels like its time for a lie down now,! :lol:

So to put it simply, what you are saying is that you equate Buddha Nature with the mind of a Buddha.

In which case a slug, being a sentient being with 'Buddha nature'......... ...:zonked:


Anyway, moving on, there was the following interesting comment in the article #7:

"If you're primed to look for innate natures, you'll tend to see innate natures, especially when you reach the luminous, non-dual stages of concentration called themeless, emptiness, and undirected. You'll get stuck on whichever stage matches your assumptions about what your awakened nature is. But if you're primed to look for the process of fabrication, you'll see these stages as forms of fabrication, and this will enable you to deconstruct them, to pacify them, until you encounter the peace that's not fabricated at all."

.

Esho
17 Feb 11, 15:37
Just an exaple of how Zen deals with such things like the Buddha Nature... let me give a short Zen story.


One day a fifty-year-old student of enlightenment said to Shinkan: "I have studied the Tendai School of thought since I was a little boy, but one thing in it I cannot understand. Tendai claims that even the grass and trees will become enlightened. To me this seems very strange."

"Of what use is it to discuss how grass and trees become enlightened?" said Shinkan. The question is how you yourself can become so. Did you ever considered that?"

"I never thought of it in that way," marveled the old man.

"Then go home and think it over," finished Shinkan.

Edited from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

;)

Snowmelt
18 Feb 11, 10:25
I object! 50 isn't old. ;D

Aloka
18 Feb 11, 10:49
I object! 50 isn't old.

It would be different to modern times in 8th century Japan.

Snowmelt
18 Feb 11, 10:54
It would be different to modern times in 8th century Japan.

Fair enough. ;D

Aloka
18 Feb 11, 11:02
I was just looking at a comparison chart between Theravada and Mahayana schools at Buddhanet and I was puzzled by the following entry under Buddha Nature for Mahayana

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/comparative.htm


Buddha nature

Theravada = Absent from the teachings of the Theravada tradition.

Mahayana = Heavily stressed, particularly by schools inclined practices.

What does "schools inclined practices" mean? http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/dazz/dunce.gif

Esho
18 Feb 11, 14:32
Buddha Nature, IMO, through the Mahayana tradition, is an open gate that leads to religious thought and magic believes. Buddha nature indicates a way mind works as it works, so to say, under other "natures", like when we talk about "human nature".

;D

Esho
18 Feb 11, 14:39
It would be different to modern times in 8th century Japan.

That's right Dazz,

;)

srivijaya
18 Feb 11, 14:46
So to put it simply, what you are saying is that you equate Buddha Nature with the mind of a Buddha.
Yeah but, no but... sort of...
Without reaching for my Tibetan tomes, I recall being told that the Dharmakaya was either purified (Buddha) or impure (Everyone else including poor slug). There are different terms for both, I'm certain of that but Buddha Nature is the potential for eventual enlightenment. A slug, of course can't get enlightened but whilst there is ignorance, volitional formations will arise, consciousness etc. etc.
The death of the slug is the end of the 'slug episode' but, as the twelve links demonstrate, it ain't the end.

The spark will jump, Bardo (for Tibetans) will occur etc. If this didn't happen then Buddhism would be irrelevant as death would be the annihilation of all becoming. Buddha would have said "Chill out guys, when you croak it's all over anyway LOL" (Perhaps not LOL)

That's kind of what I mean. If I get time to dust off my Geoffrey Hopkins or Geshe Kelsang books, I'll come up with the goods but I'm a bit busy at the moment.

I figure that we're dealing (to some extent) with the reification of an abstract. Kind of like insisting that all sense data is actually illusory because Buddha once compared it to an illusion. There's a whopping difference but folks do get the two mixed up.
:hands:

Esho
18 Feb 11, 14:53
A Monk Asked Nansen: "Is there a teaching no master ever preached before?"
Nansen said: "Yes, there is."
"What is it?", asked the monk.
Nansen replied: "It is not mind, it is not Buddha, it is not things."

Mumon's comment: Old Nansen gave away his treasure-words. He must have been greatly upset.

Nansen was too kind and lost his treasure.
Truly words have no power.
Even though the mountain becomes the sea,
words cannot open another's mind.

Esho's question: Is this about buddha nature?

:P

Aloka
18 Feb 11, 14:56
The death of the slug is the end of the 'slug episode' but, as the twelve links demonstrate, it ain't the end

Aha, but that's if one likes the 3 lifetimes version of DO -and I prefer the one lifetime version, because it makes more sense to me. However, as this thread isn't about DO I'll say no more! :P

Aloka
18 Feb 11, 14:59
Is this about buddha nature?


Emptiness ? :P

Esho
18 Feb 11, 15:02
Emptiness ?

Maybe stillness, ;)

srivijaya
18 Feb 11, 19:54
but that's if one likes the 3 lifetimes version of DO
Well, I don't have the faintest inclination towards the three lifetimes model, so if I'm guilty of seeming to support it, then it's coincidence.
It sounds like a lot of speculation to me.

Anyway, I don't need it - I've got my eternal Atman. I'm sorted. :meditate: ;)

Snowmelt
18 Feb 11, 20:10
Anyway, I don't need it - I've got my eternal Atman. I'm sorted.

Hyuk! :biglol:

Cloud
20 Feb 11, 21:08
Yeah didn't the lifespan used to be 40 or something back then? or less? I know plague-era it was something like 35...

Aloka
20 Feb 11, 21:22
Yeah didn't the lifespan used to be 40 or something back then? or less? I know plague-era it was something like 35...

Hi Cloud,

Did you post after reading page 1 and miss the posts in page 2 by any chance? ;D

Cloud
20 Feb 11, 22:01
Crap I did!

Aloka
17 Mar 11, 08:04
There's an audio from Thanissaro Bhikkhu here :

"What is wrong with Buddha- Nature ?"


http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/1390.html

clw_uk
17 Mar 11, 14:32
Depends on who is defining it

Ajahn Sumedho has made use of the term as a way of teaching present moment awareness, Buddha-nature or Buddha-wisdom being the "one who knows".



The word Buddha is a lovely word, it means 'the one who knows', and the first refuge is in Buddha as the personification of wisdom. Unpersonified wisdom remains too abstract for us, we can't conceive a bodiless, soulless wisdom, and so as wisdom always seems to have a personal quality to it, using Buddha as its symbol is very useful.

We can use the word Buddha to refer to Gotama, the founder of what is now known as Buddhism, the historical sage who attained Parinibbana in India 2500 years ago, the teacher of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, teachings from which we today still benefit. But when we take refuge in the Buddha it doesn't mean that we take refuge in some historical prophet but in that which is wise in the universe, in our minds, that which is not separate from us but is more real than anything we can conceive with the mind or experience through the senses. Without any Buddha-wisdom in the universe life for any length of time would be totally impossible, it is the Buddha-wisdom that protects. We call it Buddha-wisdom, other people can call it other things if they want, these are just words.We happen to use the words of our tradition. We're not going to argue about Pali words, Sanskrit words, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, English or any other, we're just using the term Buddha-wisdom as a conventional symbol to help remind us to be wise, to be alert, to be awake.


http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma2/bds.html




Ajahn Chah also made references to "original mind"


The human mind, the mind which the Buddha exhorted us to know and investigate, is something we can only know by its activity. The true 'original mind' has nothing to measure it by, there's nothing you can know it by. In its natural state it is unshaken, unmoving. When happiness arises all that happens is that this mind is getting lost in a mental impression, there is movement. When the mind moves like this, clinging and attachment to those things come into being.

http://www.amaravati.org/abmnew/index.php/teachingsofajahnchah/article/385/P1/


However both are quite clear that this is not some innate "thing" or some kind of "Self"



This makes sense to me, as I understand it Buddha is always here. "Siddharta" died a long time ago but whenever there is pure mindfulness and clear comprehension then Buddha manifests

What is the "nature" of the Buddha? Wisdom and freedom from greed and hatred, clear knowing, awakened attention

dannythehuman
05 Jun 11, 01:47
is the mind intrinsically pure and bright? when one is practicing, zazen, vipassana or shikantaza, the act of the meditation is so wholesome it make it seem like the mind or nama is intrinsically bright and pure. but in reality its not the mind that is bright and pure but the act of meditating?

Esho
05 Jun 11, 02:20
Hi Danny,


Bhikkhu Bodhi's book "In the Buddha's Words", he dedicates the first chapter to explore thoroughly what is human condition; at the end of his introduction he states:


"Most beings live immersed in the enjoyment of sensual pleasure. Others driven by the need of power, status and esteem, pass their lives in vain attempts to fill an unquenchable thirst. Many, fearful of annihilation at death, construct belief systems that ascribe to their individual selves, their souls, the prospect of eternal life. A few yearn for a path to liberation but do not know where to find one. It was precisely to offer such a path that the Buddha has appeared in our midst.

After this then come the selected suttas that explain human condition. In this way, Buddha Nature is the event of having overcome that human nature or that human condition.

I am a regular Zazen practitioner since quite more than two years. In short, what zazen is about, at least as the way we practice it at the Dojo, is to watch thoughts; the wilderness of thoughts; the muddle we have as a mind. We were warned not to expect any sort of experience but just to watch... and to be mindful of our breath, counting it, watching thoughts how they arise and fade. This helps to develop insight and tranquility so to bring zazen into daily life; to bring that same awareness into day a day issues. There is nothing more than that. But it is a huge task anyway.

;D

dannythehuman
05 Jun 11, 02:26
as a zen practitioner what is your stance on the nature of the mind? i can see how mahayanists beleive there nature is pure because when you do shikantaza, you literally dont do anything and then this creates much joy and compassion so i can see where they are thinking "if im just doing nothing being myself, and all these buddha like qualities manifest then my nature must be pure" what im thinking is, the mind might not be pure and bright, maybe the mind is neutral and its just that act of meditating the seeing of reality that is so pure. see what im saying?

Esho
05 Jun 11, 02:36
what is your stance on the nature of the mind?

Even when Soto Zen is thought to be a Mahayana branch, this school is not too involved into Mahayana. The central teachings are those of Dogen and his Shobogenzo. The Bendowa is one of our main teachings as it is the Genjo Koan and the Hachi Danin Kaku. The Hachi Danin are given one by one as understanding evolves through Zazen. I have been recently into Shi-Kan-Ta-Za that is an stage about Zazen.

Even all this we are grounded with the Four Noble Truths and in that sense the nature of mind is that mind free from delusions which has developed Right View. For our next seshin we will go thoroughly into the issue of Right View which is an essential aspect of Soto understanding.

;D

fojiao2
05 Jun 11, 02:57
is the mind intrinsically pure and bright? when one is practicing, zazen, vipassana or shikantaza, the act of the meditation is so wholesome it make it seem like the mind or nama is intrinsically bright and pure. but in reality its not the mind that is bright and pure but the act of meditating?

My understanding is this-

When people speak of the mind being originally bright and pure, this can be taken to mean that it has a sort of permanent characteristic, and this suggests to some people that the mind is regarded as a permanent thing, because a "thing" has characteristics that define it. If we say. "the mind is this" or "the mind is that" , even if we say it is 'bright and clear' then it is sort of like we are giving it a shape or color. But that is not really the case.

But when the mind is said to be originally bright and pure, it really means that it is free from defining characteristics. It's like going outside and saying that the air is fresh. The "air" that one experiences isn't one thing--it's a combination of temporary things such as wind, temperature, humidity levels, barometric pressure, pollen count and so on. Ultimately, there is no "air" that is "fresh" but on a relative level it is an accurate description. When there isn't some smog or foul smell or pesticide or something, or a lot of dust, the air is in its original state. Likewise, when the mind is free from the various attachments, clinging and other distractions, it is in its original state which is not some permanent thing, but flowing and free of defining characteristics.

So, with regard to meditating, which is the activity of the mind, I think what you are talking about is the experience of the clarity of the mind. The mind is bright and pure--meaning free of defining characteristics, and there is a sense of the experience of that "brightness" during meditation. Sometimes there is just the experience of that clarity without any sense of 'me' bearing witness to it. There is no 'experiencer', meaning no 2nd person intellectualization. There is just the experience, the clarity. It may only last for a second. with practice, it can last longer.

How can there be an experience without an experiencer? If you have ever pounded a nail and hammered your thumb instead, that is a sensation, for a split second, of pure experience without any conceptualization. A second later you may yell "Oh Sh***! I hit my thumb!!!" but the second when it is happeneing, it is also pure clarity (although a lot more painful!!!). It is not the experience of the clarity of the mind free of characteristics, but it is the direct experince of the mind temporarily characterized by pain.

That's my understanding.

Aloka
05 Jun 11, 04:30
Hi all,

We already had this existing 4 page thread "what does "Buddha Nature mean" in the Beyond Belief forum, so I have merged posts 32 to 36 from 'Buddha Nature' in the Mahayana forum with it.

Please continue to allow for the viewpoints of others in a friendly manner.

Thank you :hands:

mudra
06 Jul 11, 05:00
Hi,

My first post ever on this forum - and wouldn't you know it, straight into the dreaded "Buddha Nature" question! LOL

The thing about this question is that it simply doesn't have a definitive answer. It just really depends on which Buddhist you ask!
As I am more familiar with Tibetan schools, particularly Gelug, my reply comes from that perspective.

Though other schools may posit some kind of "seed" concept, from the Gelug (more particularly Madhyamika Prasangika/Nagarjuna perspective) there really is very little discussion about Buddha Nature because it engenders a tendency to give it some kind 'real thingness' if you like. Basically the Gelug pov is that as all sentient beings have minds, and as all minds are empty of any intrinsic nature - therefore can and do change from moment to moment - there is a possibility for these minds to attain Buddhahood. So indeed all sentient beings, slugs included, have a possibility of attaining Buddhahood. That would be the extent of most Gelugpas (from Je Tsongkhapa on) position on it, with exceptions of course depending on the particular teaching.

mudra
06 Jul 11, 05:09
Aloka, am wondering about this:


" The four bodies or four kayas of the Buddha are:

1. the dharmakaya or ultimate truth body, corresponding to the mind aspect of the Buddha.

2. the sambhokaya or complete enjoyment body, corresponding to the speech and prana aspect of the Buddha.

3. the nirmanakaya, the emanation body, corresponding to the physical human body of the Buddha.

4. the svabhavikakaya, the essential or nature body, representing the inseperability of the first three bodies."




I have always understood the four bodies to be: the two Dharmakayas (svabhavakaya [or svabhavikakaya] and jnanadharmakaya, the purified mind) and the two rupakayas (form bodies) being sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya. In addition normally (again, from a madhyamaka perspective) the svabhavakaya is simply the empty/void/shunya nature of the Buddha's mind, which emptiness is of course no different from when it was not Buddha mind, hence "svabhava" or 'it's nature' (rough translation) Was curious to see your division of Dharmakaya being separate from svabhavakaya, and the svabhavakaya being the inseparabilyt of the three bodies. Or does that simply refer to the fact that all three bodies are empty in nature?

Aloka
06 Jul 11, 06:39
Was curious to see your division of Dharmakaya being separate from svabhavakaya, and the svabhavakaya being the inseparabilyt of the three bodies. Or does that simply refer to the fact that all three bodies are empty in nature?

Welcome mudra,

These weren't my own words , in my original post I was quoting information from the glossary of 'The Life of Gampopa' by Jampa Mackenzie Stewart.

the explanation of the four bodies of a Buddha continues:


"Sometimes only two kayas are mentioned: the dharmakaya, and the rupakaya or form body. In this instance, the rupakaya encompasses both the sambhogakaya and the nirmanakaya. These are sometimes spoken of in the context of the "two benefits" : one realises the ultimate non-dual truth body of dharmakaya for one's own benefit; and one realises the relative manifestations of the rupakaya in order to benefit all sentient beings"


To answer your question, Mudra, regarding the svabhavikakaya, in "Path to Buddhahood" Ringu Tulku says:


"When we talk about four kayas the fourth is the svabhavikakaya. This is in fact the union of the three kayas, the fourth being mentioned in order to emphasise their inseparability, their union, and to show that we are speaking of three different apects of the same Buddha.
As Milarepa indicates, (in text on previous page) we can discover the three kayas within ourselves by looking directly at the nature of mind."

:hands:

mudra
06 Jul 11, 09:54
Ah ok. In any case perhaps it's more clear if we divide the dharmakaya into the two categories we use jnanadharmakaya and svabhavakaya (svabhavivkakaya). I just got a bit thrown, sorry.

As to the inseparability of the three Kayas being svabhavikakaya that Ringu Tulku states, this I suppose is a Kagyu perspective. For example in Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation, which is very similar in order to the Gelug Lam Rim (he studied with the Kadampa masters first), the main difference is that he includes a chapter on Buddha Nature, and it comes in as the very first thing. In fact even if one were to accept it simply as the selfless/empty nature of the Buddha's mind, the emptiness does apply to the other three kayas which makes them 'one in nature' from that aspect I suppose.

Aloka
06 Jul 11, 11:12
As to the inseparability of the three Kayas being svabhavikakaya that Ringu Tulku states, this I suppose is a Kagyu perspective

Yes


For example in Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation, which is very similar in order to the Gelug Lam Rim (he studied with the Kadampa masters first), the main difference is that he includes a chapter on Buddha Nature, and it comes in as the very first thing
Yes, I have the Guenthar translation and its mentioned in the first chapter 'The Motive.' I'm also familiar with Gampopa's life story.


In fact even if one were to accept it simply as the selfless/empty nature of the Buddha's mind, the emptiness does apply to the other three kayas which makes them 'one in nature' from that aspect I suppose.

I'm not sure how emptiness can be compartmentalised anyway, other than we probably understand it in different stages. Its seems like the terminology gets unnecessarily complicated -to me at any rate, because a lot of the technical terms don't seem relevant to my practice.....naturally I'm not meaning that its wrong to study, of course.;D

Aloka
07 Jul 11, 09:06
Returning to the expression 'Buddha Nature' again, in the article 'Freedom from Buddha Nature' by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, which I mentioned earlier in the thread, he asks some questions:



If you assume a Buddha nature, you not only risk complacency but you also entangle yourself in metaphysical thorn patches:

If something with an awakened nature can suffer, what good is it?

How could something innately awakened become defiled?

If your original Buddha nature became deluded, what's to prevent it from becoming deluded after it's re-awakened?

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

srivijaya
07 Jul 11, 11:06
Nice link Aloka. I especially liked this bit:

If you're primed to look for innate natures, you'll tend to see innate natures, especially when you reach the luminous, non-dual stages of concentration called themeless, emptiness, and undirected. You'll get stuck on whichever stage matches your assumptions about what your awakened nature is. But if you're primed to look for the process of fabrication, you'll see these stages as forms of fabrication, and this will enable you to deconstruct them, to pacify them, until you encounter the peace that's not fabricated at all.
Like this, there really is nothing whatsoever to grasp on to.

Lazy Eye
07 Jul 11, 11:21
Stephen Batchelor has some interesting things to say about Buddha Nature in this talk (http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/512.html).

The gist: "Buddha Nature", stripped of metaphysical baggage that may in part be the result of translation issues from Sanskrit to Chinese, can be seen simply as the human potential for enlightenment (he calls it a "capacity").

If we lacked such capacity, the path would be impossible to realize. So it is implicit in the third and fourth Noble Truths

Aloka
07 Jul 11, 11:36
The gist: "Buddha Nature", stripped of metaphysical baggage that may in part be the result of translation issues from Sanskrit to Chinese, can be seen simply as the human potential for enlightenment (he calls it a "capacity").



That looks like he's modifying Tibetan Buddhism - because its almost the same as one of the Tibetan Buddhist definitions which is stretched to 'all sentient beings':



buddha nature - The potential for enlightenment that is inherent in all sentient beings; the true nature of mind.

(Glossary of 'The Life of Gampopa' by Jampa Mackenzie Stewart)

Lazy Eye
07 Jul 11, 12:29
Interesting -- perhaps he picked it up during his Vajrayana studies.

Esho
07 Jul 11, 14:35
For some Soto Zen schools, Buddha Nature is the opposite to Human Nature. Buddha Nature is when mind develops, is developing or has developed Right View and because of it the relationship with day to day issues is taken under that same condition. Zazen helps to develop this mind condition.