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Buddha Nature

SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
edited October 2016 in Buddhism Today

This came up recently in another thread, and I thought it would be interesting to discuss it.

  1. What is Buddha Nature? I understand it to be the potential for enlightenment, but there seem to be a number of different interpretations.
  2. How is it relevant to your practice? Is is something you cultivate, or recognise?

http://buddhism.about.com/od/mahayanabuddhism/a/Buddha-Nature.htm

Comments

  • My thoughts on this are this:

    It is the divine spark in all things.
    It is realised as beings become more and more enlightened, it emerges.
    It is the oneness. It is the Source. The tao. The Logos. The Infinite intelligence.
    It is shrouded in attachments. It is dimmed by ignorance.
    It is brightened by love, kindness, truth, beauty and joy.
    It is seldom glimpsed,
    But I think it is there.

    SpinyNormanShoshinGus123
  • Good question @SpinyNorman <3

    @SpinyNorman said:

    1. What is Buddha Nature? I understand it to be the potential for enlightenment, but there seem to be a number of different interpretations.

    My interpretation and experience is that Buddha Nature is enlightenment but importantly does not have a nature or being. The most one could say is that real qualities and potential 'arise' from it.

    1. How is it relevant to your practice? Is is something you cultivate, or recognise?

    It is something I recognise, I certainly cultivate qualities but they are aproximations, not the BN (buddha nature), example qualities:

    • Stillness
    • Calm
    • kindness, metta, compassion
    • Wisdom

    You can not cultivate BN, only the qualities and surrounding karma that facilitate the clearing, allowing its 'presence' to be manifested ...

    Gus123DhammaDragon
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I think 'Buddha Nature' is an aspiration. Something we can strive to achieve, but I don't believe that every sentient Being has it. I don't necessarily think it's always 'nice', either. I think Buddha Nature sees all things as they really are, and is prepared, dispassionately, to kick ass where needs be.

    One of my ex-tutors in Shiatsu had this quality. He could tear a strip off someone when necessary, but be impartial and never be ambivalent. He didn't let things like emotional attachment encumber him. He spoke, stated the facts, and moved on. Always with warmth, affection and ice-cold clarity and precision. If anyone, in my considered opinion, had a Buddha Nature view on things, it was he. If I need an example of how to process things, he would be such a one....

    pegembara
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @SpinyNorman said:
    This came up recently in another thread, and I thought it would be interesting to discuss it.

    1. What is Buddha Nature? I understand it to be the potential for enlightenment, but there seem to be a number of different interpretations.

    Very loosely it seems to be defined as the fundamental essence of every thing. I define it as cooperative action which when delved into with a clear and curious mind could lead to liberation or waking up.

    1. How is it relevant to your practice? Is is something you cultivate, or recognise?

    http://buddhism.about.com/od/mahayanabuddhism/a/Buddha-Nature.htm

    It is relevant to my practice because it's really the whole basis of my practice. Walking the middle way and seeing through the distinction between self and other, the rest of the borders start to follow suit and we're left with cooperative action (D.O.) with the added bonus of wonder.

    I try to help when I can while tempering my compassion with wisdom and vice-versa. I don't always get it right but I can't help but figure it's beneficial.

    lobsterVastmindDhammaDragon
  • @David said:
    It is relevant to my practice because it's really the whole basis of my practice. Walking the middle way and seeing through the distinction between self and other, the rest of the borders start to follow suit and we're left with cooperative action (D.O.) with the added bonus of wonder.

    Well said. That sounds like the path/foundation. The growth of wonder is indeed a good sign. @federica talked about aspiration. Each of us I feel, moves towards an ideal resonance/co-operation/aspiration/awakening. In a sense we are already with Buddha Nature, in another the hindrance clearing is The Way ... <3

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    edited October 2016

    I think Buddha Nature sees all things as they really are, and is prepared, dispassionately, to kick ass where needs be.

    @federica -- Serendipitously, the following (dirty-word alert!) appeared in my mailbox this morning:

    Namadalobster
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    Buddha Nature to me is like the essentially clean water in a dirty pool. It is dirty and obscured but allow the dirt to settle and the pure water can be seen. Or like the sky in a cloudy sky, the clouds are there but they don't actually affect the sky. And that is largely how I practice, allow the obscurations to settle and allow Buddha Nature to shine through.

    Questions for me are what are the qualities of Buddha Nature and what is its ontological status in relation to emptiness.

    VastmindKeromedhammachick
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Yes, @genkaku I have come across this video before... I even think it may have vbeen posted here before by very our own miscreant scally-wag @lobster...
    One I came across recently, which, although also profane, holds wisdom and truth, is this:

    dhammachick
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I doubt you will find one solid answer. It seems to vary within schools and even amongst teachers. I think because it is one of those things most of us can probably touch on, or have experienced in small glimpses, but lack the right words to describe it in a way that everyone else can understand it.

    To me, it is the fundamental potential nature of goodness that everyone possesses. That doesn't have to mean it is always rainbows and flowers though. Sometimes, as Federica said, it means being "fierce" and standing up and saying what has to be said. But when you do that from a loving and compassionate center, then intention is the focus. Not everyone has it. But everyone (every being) has the potential for it, if they so choose to remove the obscurations and develop the mind to that level.

    In talking to others, it seems to equate to what others call your very soul, or your true self. Moments you can feel wisdom and compassion shining through and everything, just for a moment is perfectly clear. Just like the sun. That was always my favorite analogy. The sun is always there, shining warm and bright as it always does. It's still there on the cloudiest of days, during the worst of the storms. But we have to remove the clouds. Some of us live in Seattle where it's cloudy all the time. And some of us live in Arizona where it's almost always sunny. But we all have clouds and storms to contend with at some point.

    I guess it's relevant to me but it is not a focus. It's like the voice of a loved one who passed. You can hear the whispers of their voice, but as soon as you try to zero in on it, the details of it disappear. It's always there, and I am aware of it. I can feel it some days more than others. I do work to connect with it (for lack of a better phrase) but it isn't a constant thought. I don't sit to meditate with the thought of connecting with it. It is just always in the background as a desire to work to let it shine more frequently and for a longer period of time. My Buddha Nature batteries are the off-brand sort and I'm working on getting them to Energizer Max capacity, lol.

    CinorjerlobsterVastmindSpinyNorman
  • "Do dogs also have Buddha Nature?" (well known Zen koan)
    "To say one has or does not have Buddha Nature is to already go wrong." (well known Zen reply)

    I had to laugh, because I just did a quick google and most sites start their definition with "Buddha Nature is hard to define." But then they go on and define it as having many definitions. Such we fool ourselves we can box and wrap and label reality into neat packages using language.

    Buddha Nature is the innate nature of reality. Since beings and thus people are part of reality, that includes us.

    Show me a handful of Buddha Nature and I'll tell you what it is. But then I wouldn't need to, would I? You'd already know.

    Yes, I had to work overnight so I'm feeling particularly Zen today.

    karastiFosdickDhammaDragonseeker242
  • smarinosmarino florida Explorer
    edited November 2016

    The understanding I have the most affinity for is Dogen's. He states that it's not that all life has Buddha nature, rather that all life IS Buddha. It's close to what a real Christian (I am still looking for one) would say, or anyone that is on an authentic contemplative spiritual path. It does not surprise me a bit that a lot of people have made this needlessly complicated w/ strange definitions. The longer I am on this path the more I realize that it is so wonderfully simple (and difficult) that it just does not appeal to many people. We like to intellectualize most everything, yet the path is simple, right to the point, and is actually not intellectual at all. In fact, that sort of thing will hang people up for life until they drop it, and not a lot of us are willing to do that. That's how strong the ego, which actually does not exist, has a hold on us.

    To say that life has Buddha nature is to open the door for duality, but they way Dogen sees it, it is simply what it is, which is Buddha, the dharma, god, the universe, truth, whatever term one may wish to describe what cannot be described in words, and the intrinsic nature of all things is simply the suchness of what that thing is, to use a contrived word because I can come up w/ no other.

    Like everything on this path it has to be experienced, not read about or listened to in a talk, and when we experience it, then we know. When we sit in meditation, that itself is enlightenment, and that is just the start of our lives. We need to go from there to active mindfulness and bring that into the world at all times (or as best we can).

    I like what Cinorjer said a lot. I am pretty sure that when asked the dog question, S. Suzuki said "yes", just to simplify the whole thing. The koan, and it's a great one until we get it and then it's self evident, is powerful, but his answer is just to the point, and not seen in a koan manner.

    lobsterVastmindCinorjerFosdick
  • @Cinorjer said:
    Yes, I had to work overnight so I'm feeling particularly Zen today.

    LOL.
    Badly said well ... B)

    I very much liked what @smarino said. <3
    There are real Christians. One is a moderator here. :+1:

    Let us broaden the question ...

    • Does a Buddhist have Allah Nature? (All is He) o:)
    • Does Trump have human nature? (Tee Hee) >:)
    • Do women have a manly nature or vice versa?

    In essence are these Higher Beings within us constructs? From my experience our inner cod/god and Buddha Empty Nature/Being are either constructs or removal of veils/hindrances ...

    VastmindCinorjer
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @Cinorjer said:> Buddha Nature is the innate nature of reality.

    I thought sunyata was the innate nature of reality in the Mahayana? Or are you saying that Buddha Nature and sunyata are the same thing? Is that a Zen thing?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @karasti said:
    In talking to others, it seems to equate to what others call your very soul, or your true self. Moments you can feel wisdom and compassion shining through and everything, just for a moment is perfectly clear. Just like the sun. That was always my favorite analogy. The sun is always there, shining warm and bright as it always does. It's still there on the cloudiest of days, during the worst of the storms. But we have to remove the clouds. Some of us live in Seattle where it's cloudy all the time. And some of us live in Arizona where it's almost always sunny. But we all have clouds and storms to contend with at some point.

    I like that description. An analogy I have used is the eye at the centre of a storm.

    lobster
  • @SpinyNorman said:

    @Cinorjer said:> Buddha Nature is the innate nature of reality.

    I thought sunyata was the innate nature of reality in the Mahayana? Or are you saying that Buddha Nature and sunyata are the same thing? Is that a Zen thing?

    Sunyata is the ultimate nature as emptiness. Buddha Nature might be said to be the form this ultimate nature takes. So I'd say mostly different names for same thing. Or no-thing as the case may be. It's definitely a Zen thing. To my own thinking, Buddha Nature is just another way of looking at what can be experienced but not defined.

    lobsterGus123
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I feel Buddha Nature is partially related to the bodies. I have heard it said we have a bliss body, and I think that underlies a lot of our faith in the calmness of mind and body, when all is functioning well. That calmness is what you focus on when you meditate on the breath, which is quite important to my practice.

    By it's definition you would say Buddha nature encompasses the potential to become a Buddha, which goes beyond just being able to find a calmness in one's nature and feeling the bliss body beyond. These are steps along the path, the ability to walk the entire path is one's Buddha nature.

    Cinorjer
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    So what is the relationship between Buddha Nature and Nirvana?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Cinorjer said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Cinorjer said:> Buddha Nature is the innate nature of reality.

    I thought sunyata was the innate nature of reality in the Mahayana? Or are you saying that Buddha Nature and sunyata are the same thing? Is that a Zen thing?

    Sunyata is the ultimate nature as emptiness. Buddha Nature might be said to be the form this ultimate nature takes.

    That would mean Buddha Nature is also lacking inherent existence, conditional and dependently arising?

    Cinorjer
  • @SpinyNorman said:

    @Cinorjer said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Cinorjer said:> Buddha Nature is the innate nature of reality.

    I thought sunyata was the innate nature of reality in the Mahayana? Or are you saying that Buddha Nature and sunyata are the same thing? Is that a Zen thing?

    Sunyata is the ultimate nature as emptiness. Buddha Nature might be said to be the form this ultimate nature takes.

    That would mean Buddha Nature is also lacking inherent existence, conditional and dependently arising?

    I feel like you've handed me a shovel so I can dig myself a deeper hole. The answer would be in my case, "Maybe, I guess? Sounds right?"

    I don't know. It's not something I've spent a lot of time learning about.

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    Rather than an aspiration, Buddha nature has to do with unveiling something that is already there.

    We are Buddha nature: that glimpse of unspoiled purity and basic goodness before our neuroses, egoic scripts and conceptual twists take over and shove it to the inner recesses of our unconscious.

    Unveiling it seems like the goal in a lifelong undertaking, only because we have forgotten who we really are, and that it is always somewhere within.
    Very much like the gold Buddha statue that has been covered in a clay layer for so long that we are unable to see that in fact it has always been gold.

    Cinorjer
  • Once upon a time (and this is a true story) three seekers after truth visited one who had the gift to bestow the Truth.
    'What you seek is in this gift box and I have to ensure you can pay the price.'
    The first seeker laughed. 'You are a fraud, the truth is freely given, our time is being wasted, I am leaving.' The impatient seeker left.
    'It is true that the Truth is given freely but not everyone is willing to pay the consequences for receiving Truth. Nor are they willing to believe it can be contained in a freely gifted box. The box can not be opened from the outside, only the inside. If you are prepared to learn how to enter this small box, maybe you can open it?'
    The second seeker was perplexed.
    'How long does it take?' they asked.
    'Nobody knows, not everyone learns. The price is possible failure.'
    Reluctantly the second seeker said, 'I am seeking the Truth and you can not provide that certainty.' They left to find certainty, sure that they knew where and how it is found.
    'What will you do?' The third seeker was asked.
    'I will stay in case the contents can be learned and passed on.'
    'You may not be able to pass on the contents but you are free to open the box.'
    Slowly and carefully the third seeker opened the gift box.
    'There is nothing here', said the third seeker.
    'Indeed. The Truth Box contains my truth, another's fraud, someones uncertainty and your expectations. Yet no one calls it full.'

    CinorjerDhammaDragon
  • I did a History of Psychology course about 7 years ago. According to the text book, in European pre-Mediaeval times, the Holy Spirit (God) was not a man in the sky judging every move a person makes but was instead an inner spirit.

    I'm not Christian so I don't know how this is interpreted through contemporary European Christianity but the way I understood it at the time was that about 1000 years ago the Holy Spirit was the equivalent to Buddha Nature.

    Interestingly, in the Donhuang caves in China, there were scrolls which map Christ's ideas with the Buddha's. In Buddhadharma this month, there's a book review about The Rainbow Body and Resurrection by Fr Tiso. It's about these scrolls and the conversations that took place along what is now called The Silk Route.

    Cinorjer
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @Tiddlywinds said:
    I did a History of Psychology course about 7 years ago. According to the text book, in European pre-Mediaeval times, the Holy Spirit (God) was not a man in the sky judging every move a person makes but was instead an inner spirit.

    I'm not Christian so I don't know how this is interpreted through contemporary European Christianity but the way I understood it at the time was that about 1000 years ago the Holy Spirit was the equivalent to Buddha Nature.

    Interestingly, in the Donhuang caves in China, there were scrolls which map Christ's ideas with the Buddha's. In Buddhadharma this month, there's a book review about The Rainbow Body and Resurrection by Fr Tiso. It's about these scrolls and the conversations that took place along what is now called The Silk Route.

    I've never heard of the Holy Spirit and God being the same thing. They were elements in a tri-partite divinity, was my understanding. God was a bearded guy in the sky since long before Christianity; he was the Sky God/Creator God of early Indo-Europeans over 5000 years ago.

    So, Buddhadharma mag, eh? I'll check that out. So those scrolls must have been written after Jesus' death. I'll take a look at that, and the book, thanks.

  • Human nature is not always 'nice'.

    Yesterday I went for an early morning stroll with a friend. We were loudly stopped in our tracks by someone seeking help for their brother who had been stabbed.

    The story quickly developed ... and scam story it was. Basically requiring us to give emergency financial assistance to reunite stabbed brother and scammer. It happens, sadly those of us who are kind and usually help, grow to recognise bad acting/cons. It is one of the hazards of urban life in a big city.

    The Buddha Nature is not gullible, hippy-dippy but aware and open to underlying True Nature. What happened to the scammer? Ah that is another story for another ...

  • Buddha nature is the GEM implanted within us. Because of our ignorance we cover it with dust, layers by layers. Now it is time for us to clean the dust layers little by little. That is what we are doing by reading, listening, discussing, thinking about Buddha's Teaching and trying to meditate on BT.

    First try to concentrate by tranqual meditation
    Then try to gain wisdom by insight medittion /contemplating on Buddha's Teaching

    This is my understanding.

    lobster
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