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Our original nature - Buddha or Mara?

techietechie India Veteran

In Buddhism, our original nature is Buddha nature. In Christianity (not in all schools) our original nature is sinful.

Now let's consider a certain situation - a person insults us. We become angry. That situation is only a trigger, isn't it? The anger is always there, and a certain situation triggers it. You can only trigger something which is already present - you can't trigger something which isn't there.

Wouldn't this mean anger (and by extension other negative states too) are part of our nature? Wouldn't that make our original nature sinful, as the Christians believe? Where is the buddha nature in any of this?

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Comments

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    Anger is a response/reaction pattern, not something that is "in there."

    Along with other so-labelled negative emotions, it is part of the built-in survival kit stored in our primitive memory, which allows us to set up boundaries when a person tries to transgress beyond what we consider acceptable behaviour.

    We are not compelled to lash out in anger.
    We may choose other more skilful responses.

    Emotions don't make us bad.
    They make us human.

    Hozandhammachick
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited May 29

    Outstanding answer @Fosdick, many thanks.

    I was going to introduce the idea of qualia but that might be a red herring ...

    Far better to experience an emotion and know it's nature, origin, capacity to make us suffer. If sufficiently skilful can we make use of emotions? For example Love can be all shades between sin and wrathful Buddha Nature ...

    Kerome
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @techie, first it is important to know that which is programmed, and that which is conditioned.

    To know how we are programmed, look at your closest relatives in the animal kingdom.
    To know how we are conditioned, look at your upbringing and social peer pressure, influences and learning.

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited May 29

    @techie said:
    In Buddhism, our original nature is Buddha nature. In Christianity (not in all schools) our original nature is sinful.

    I think the difference here is Buddhism does not consider "human nature" to be "true nature" whereas original sin is only considering "human nature" and that's it. In other words, "true nature" means the nature that is before humans ate the forbidden fruit and got kicked out of the garden of eden. "Original nature being sinful" is referring to what happened after that.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited May 29

    OP, you'd be surprised the extent to which Christianity--and not just some of the warm fuzzy aspects--has commonalities with Buddhism. Buddhists also believe that newborns are programmed to "sin". But what does this word mean? In Buddhism, it means that from the time a baby is born, the adults around it are programming it to adjust to life in the material world; they're distracting the infant from any memories it may have of the spiritual realm that it came from. They're shaking a rattle in its face, perhaps pinning a mobile or other colorful item to the ceiling above the crib, and distracting it with other toys, singing, and other sensory stimuli. This trains the infant to develop its mind rooted in materialism. Such a world view makes people prone to making errors in judgment, which are what get labelled as "sin". They make choices that harm others--choices based on ego, as they grow.

    For this materialism-centric, ego-centric mind the child is developing, the Dharma is proposed as the antidote. The Path to bringing ourselves back to a spiritual view of reality, rather than a material one. It's the path away from anger (an ego-based emotion), and other mental afflictions.

    If you ask a Christian clergyman if the term "sin", when stripped of its cultural baggage, boils down to meaning "mistake", or error in judgment, they'll agree that it does. All spiritual paths are aimed at bringing us back to the awareness of our true nature as spiritual beings having human experiences, struggling together to navigate our way through this seemingly material world.

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

    @lobster said:
    I was going to introduce the idea of qualia but that might be a red herring ...

    To an enterprising lobster, a red herring must taste delicious :lol:

    Far better to experience an emotion and know it's nature, origin, capacity to make us suffer. If sufficiently skilful can we make use of emotions? For example Love can be all shades between sin and wrathful Buddha Nature ...

    Not forgetting the Four Immeasurables... they are certainly beneficial, if not exactly skilful.

    lobster
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 29

    I think in Buddhism that we recognize anger as suffering. So I suppose that which recognizes that is the Buddha nature. Anger comes and goes. and seemingly recognizing comes and goes. But can we purify and stabilize our recognition that anger is suffering?

    As defined by Buddha the self (later called 'buddha nature' by some Mahayanists) is not the aggregates or skhandas of body, feeling, perception, samskaras (concoction), or consciousness. Actually (and not just to be mysterious) Buddha said was not the skhandas, nor 'not in the skhandas', nor the owner of the skhandas, nor inside of the skhandas. So 4 x 5 = 20 negations. And that's not said that way just to be mysterious I feel.

    personlobster
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited May 29

    OP, another bit of information you may be missing about the Buddhanature concept is that it is unrealized until cultivated via Dharma practice. Most people are not born Buddhas. Buddhanature is a seed of potential everyone has within, but that seed needs to be watered, exposed to sunlight, metaphorically speaking, and nurtured in order to be realized. Its mere presence won't (typically) result in englightened, non-samsaric life without the nurturing of Dharma practice. We're told that egoic (= "sinful"} thoughts and actions are the natural tendency, and the Dharma is the path to liberation from that.

    lobster
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited May 30

    @techie said:> Wouldn't this mean anger (and by extension other negative states too) are part of our nature? Wouldn't that make our original nature sinful, as the Christians believe? Where is the buddha nature in any of this?

    In Buddhism the root cause of suffering is ignorance. In the teachings on dependent origination ignorance is portrayed as the default condition, something that we overcome by doing practice. Mara is the embodiment of ignorance and delusion.

    Buddha nature is usually described as the potential for enlightenment, which means we all have the potential to overcome ignorance and suffering.

    I'm not sure what people mean by "original nature" in Buddhism, it always seems so vague. It seems to imply that we start off enlightened and then become ignorant? I don't see how that would work.

    pegembara
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Fosdick said:
    The Christian dogma of original sin, apart from its other shortcomings, is not a useful way of thinking, any more than the notion of our being doomed by the karma of our past lives is a useful way of thinking. They're somewhat similar ideas, actually.

    Not really. Karma also means that good actions lead to good "destinations".

    Original sin is more like ignorance in Buddhism, in the sense that it is a default condition.

    Fosdickdhammachick
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited May 30

    @Jeffrey said:> As defined by Buddha the self (later called 'buddha nature' by some Mahayanists) is not the aggregates or skhandas of body, feeling, perception, samskaras (concoction), or consciousness. Actually (and not just to be mysterious) Buddha said was not the skhandas, nor 'not in the skhandas', nor the owner of the skhandas, nor inside of the skhandas. So 4 x 5 = 20 negations. And that's not said that way just to be mysterious I feel.

    That sounds rather like Atman, true self, something "beneath" the aggregates.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 30

    SpinyNorman, it does sound like the Atman. but you'd have to dig deeper than that to sort it all out. So you would have to hear what people say who say things like I did. I am referring to mentioning the 4 negations for each 5 skhanda as what Buddha said was not the self. And then you have to dig deeper and hear exactly what Hindus etc say about Atman. And then you would have to compare the two to say how they are different and how they are similar or the same. But yeah I understand thinking 'hmmm that could be Atman'.

    If you did not know what people said the Atman is (in Hinduism). And if you did not know what 'certain'* people say the Buddha said about self. And you did not compare the two. Then all you could say was 'hmmm that sounds like Atman' but you wouldn't have made an investigation so it would be a limited comment.

    And if you did investigate all of what 'certain'* people said and compare the likenesses and differences then you might either agree or disagree that they were the same. But in either case you would have read all about it and have sorted it all out to your own satisfaction and belief. Of course that would take a lot of time, energy, and interest to research all of that. You could just say "I don't have time to research what you are talking about and you are probably wrong (about what Buddha taught) it seems"

    • 'certain' meaning particular people with a particular view rather than all people in general who talk about Buddhism.
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 30

    Spiny I think the 'original' nature might be that there is a potential to know. So the word for ignorance is 'avidya'. That is not knowing. I believe 'avidya' refers to a specific type of not knowing and not just to all not knowing in general. Like I don't know very great knowledge of Spanish. But that is not what the Buddha was talking about. The Buddha did not speak Spanish. And he was ignorant of many many many things unless you believe he was omniscient which I don't quite understand how that could be. So 'avidya' refers to a very specific ignorance and when that ignorance is overcome then the whole problem of existence comes apart. That view I am saying is that it is like a tree and while you can do some things on the branches i.e. you can learn skillful things still the 'avidya' referred to is when the roots dug up and then the whole thing is not a problem anymore. And then you have 'vidya' instead of 'avidya'. And that refers to a specific ignorance and not all categories of 'not knowing' like not referring to speaking all languages or arts or music or science or philosophy or history or geography etc..

    So the 'original' nature is in reference to a specific 'avidya' and it refers to that we can recognize avidya and completely go to vidya.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    That sounds rather like Atman, true self, something "beneath" the aggregates.

    The "True Self" or Buddhanature doctrine, as we're told the Buddha articulated it on his deathbed, does sound a bit like Atman.

  • ToshTosh Veteran

    @techie said:
    In Buddhism, our original nature is Buddha nature. In Christianity (not in all schools) our original nature is sinful.

    In the Old Testament Adam and Eve were created and lived in the Garden of Eden until they ate fruit from The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

    Then they were cast out of the Garden of Eden.

    Smarter minds than mine say this is an allegory for our dualistic minds that label things as 'Good' or 'Evil' (bad) and it's this mind that casts us out of the Garden of Eden (a metaphor for an enlightened mind state maybe?).

    Buddha nature or sinful nature are - I would guess - empty of any inherent existence. Bad things don't happen to good people (or vice versa). What happens is that 'things happen to people' and our dualistic minds impute 'good' or 'bad' onto that event.

    I think if we could see through this dualistic mind, then anger wouldn't be there because we wouldn't label things in a negative way (or positive).

    DhammaDragon
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 30

    To expand on what I said about avidya and vidya (not knowing and knowing) I believe vidya does not refer to knowing about conditional phenomena what could be called 'ordinary knowing'. Examples of knowing about conditional phenomena abound from cooking to carpentry to science. That type of knowing is knowing about the skhandas. Skhandas were called 'heaps' and I believe Buddha did explain that they were 'conditional' phenomena. So the vidya I am talking about is not knowing the natures of the skhandas. So knowing about quantum physics or pharmacology or brain scans in diagnosis is knowing about conditional phenomena.

    And we can look at the skhandas in meditation which appear all together thoughts and body. And right in meditation we can see if the skhandas right there in meditation and ask are they self? THAT I would say is popular in both hinduism and buddhism. Asking what the self is through analysis. However I believe they come to different conclusions? And probably Hinduism more asks 'who am I' whereas Buddhists asks 'are these me'? I haven't read about Hinduism since reading an encyclopedia over 20 years ago, taking an elective art class about 'east/west', and talking to some Hari Krishnas but not certain that Hari Krishna is a branch of Hinduism? Hari Krishnas believe that everything has a spirit including the sun and trees and animals and so forth. So for myself I have not studied in a scholastic environment of Buddhism. I haven't heard anything of Hinduism and what I did hear was over 20 years ago.

    But the first paragraph is I think what my teacher had said about the skhandas and 'knowing' in Buddhism. She posited that knowing about conditional objects is not what the Buddha was talking about as knowledge of awareness.

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran
    edited May 30

    In fact, avidya or avvija, is more than simply not knowing, @Jeffrey, or lack of a particular information.
    It is the basic root of dukkha and an active force that opposes wisdom.
    It is an ignorance that prevents us from perceiving reality as it really is.
    According to bikkhu Bodhi, the erroneous perceptions conjured up by ignorance are the soil that nurtures the defilements.
    Ignorance issues in defilements, defilements issue in suffering.

    It specifically refers to ignorance of the Four Noble Truths: reality as it is.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Yes I think that's right DhammaDragon.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 30

    Tosh I think that does happen the imputing 'this good thing happened' 'this bad thing happened' and 'this person is good' or 'this person is bad'...

    And that is labeling. And could be 'monkey mind'. In quotes.

    but nonetheless I do think we shouldn't throw out our intelligence and from how I have learned 'mindfulness' isn't only just noting sensations or thoughts as they appear but it is also intelligent. Mindfulness is also sorting out what is harmful and helpful. It is just more gentle as in 'in it's own sweet time' than "ACHIEVE THIS AS FAST AS POSSIBLE"

    So it's confusing because it can be beneficial to realize 'such and such is just my thinking' and right there we have realized something useful. But it has gone too far to say there is no 'good and bad' or 'right and wrong'. I mean if you hit the rewind on the realization that 'thoughts are thoughts'... when you realize that there is an 'ah ha' moment of recognition "hey this is pretty cool I realized something that helped me"...

    so though monkey mind is monkey mind that doesn't mean there is no useful realizations...

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    From what I remember from my old days dabbing in Vedanta, "Atman" was a concept close to the notion of God, and "atman" was similar to the soul, the spark of divinity in human beings...

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    "In the Uttaratantra by Maitreya, it is said that our recognizing our buddha potential is like a man living in poverty discovering that buried beneath his home is a priceless treasure.
    It is like discovering a jewel buried in the mud.
    If our buddha potential is like a golden statue wrapped in filthy rags, the golden image can never be tarnished by the rags--it is merely obscured by them.
    When I was younger and my understanding of Buddhism was relatively poor, the images that came from this text had a profound effect on me.
    They gave me an intuitive sense of my intrinsic value in a way that I had never felt previously.
    The influence of religion in my early years had left me with the belief that I was essentially a sinner and that at the root of my being was an innate badness that I had to overcome.
    It left me fundamentally unable to trust myself because to let go would be to open up my innate badness.
    When I met my Tibetan teachers and they spoke of my buddha nature,
    I felt a huge sense of relief.
    Perhaps I was not so bad after all,
    and perhaps when I allowed myself to relax a little and open up,
    I would find my true nature as something whole and wonderful
    rather than something to be feared and suppressed."

    (Rob Preece, "The Courage to Feel: Buddhist Practices for Opening to Others")

    Jeffrey
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 31

    And with regard to what the Mahayanists have done compared to other Buddhist traditions i.e. compared to the actual writings from Buddha I think the Mahayanists have said 'the self (could be true self) is Nirvana'. The self is Nirvana. So compare that to 'there is no (non) self which is itself Nirvana'. What do you think? And then my teacher has said that Buddha himself never said that the self is Nirvana in the writings ascribed to him but that he DID say 'the self is the dharma'. That is pretty close to the self is nirvana and unfortunately I do not have a foot note to which sutra Buddha said 'the self is the dharma' as I only heard that orally. But presumably someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of the original sutras knows where the Buddha said 'the self is the dharma' or could keep a look out for that topic. And definitely in the Mahayana sutras (not from Buddha) it is definitely explicitly said "the self is Nirvana" and also explicitly said that "the self is Nirvana" is definitive rather than provisional. But yes I don't believe the Buddha had said 'the self is Nirvana'. @Dakini I had also not heard the Buddha gave teachings about the 'true self' at his death bed and I just heard he said 'practice hard monks for composite things decay (including your own bodies and minds)'...

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited May 30

    The Buddha's Parinirvana Sutra series was given on his deathbead. Those are the Buddhanature/True Self teachings. I'm not aware that he actually said "The Self is the Dharma", though. I haven't read the entire Parinirvana collection, though, because it's extensive. You can make a project of combing through it, though, if you want. It is a fascinating topic, because it appears to contradict his earlier teachings, but he said that that's why he saved it for last. The teachings on "Self" (with a capital "S") are for after practitioners have realized the earlier no-self teachings, and are successfully practicing that level of humility.

    This is why those teachings are sometimes referred to as "supramundane". They're for what one might call advanced practitioners. And apparently the "Buddhanature" (Tathagatagharba} sutras go beyond the Parinirvana teachings (deathbed teachings). Here's a rundown from Wiki on the various sutras that deal with that topic. Lots of material to cover.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tathāgatagarbha_sūtras

    http://zen-ua.org/wp-content/uploads/mahaparinirvana_sutra_english.pdf

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 30

    I think most of the teachings are for advanced practitioners! :) This includes his first sutra at deer park who he gave to 5 yogis/aesetics* he lived with for years and then abandoned to eat food and become stronger and find a different way. But we can read them anyhow because some part of us responds. I would add the Tathagatagarbha sutras the wikipedia link refers to add the Ratnagotravhibagga sutra and the Nirvana sutra.

    *yogi studies meditation directly
    *aesetic avoids sense pleasures such as eating very little

  • paulysopaulyso usa Explorer

    hmm..buddha nature ...our mara like a mirror through time ,if left in the attic,collects dust,obsuring the reclective quality of the mirror.the mirror is buddha nature . the collective dust is the mara state.the agent is dharma.when the agent of change,the dharma,moves the mirror outside and wipes it clean,the mirror can reflect again any object,this metaphor may mean the mirror is still a mirror what ever the condition,dust or no dust.the mirror is just is,whether in a crappy place,such as the attic,or a grand place--out doors.just thinking outloud.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Explorer

    buddha nature is the awaken state of our illusion.our illusion can be a persistent one.hence a buddha , such as shakyamuni,help our brain state,through his dharma,not be wrapped in self?i don't know,just a guess and an opinion.

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited May 31

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @techie said:> Wouldn't this mean anger (and by extension other negative states too) are part of our nature? Wouldn't that make our original nature sinful, as the Christians believe? Where is the buddha nature in any of this?

    In Buddhism the root cause of suffering is ignorance. In the teachings on dependent origination ignorance is portrayed as the default condition, something that we overcome by doing practice. Mara is the embodiment of ignorance and delusion.

    Buddha nature is usually described as the potential for enlightenment, which means we all have the potential to overcome ignorance and suffering.

    I'm not sure what people mean by "original nature" in Buddhism, it always seems so vague. It seems to imply that we start off enlightened and then become ignorant? I don't see how that would work.

    I concur with this view. There is nothing that we can claim to be ours and this also includes Buddha or Mara nature. Everything belongs to nature and not ours.

    "So, bhikkhus any kind of form whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'

    "Any kind of feeling whatever...

    "Any kind of perception whatever...

    "Any kind of determination whatever...

    "Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my self.'

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.059.nymo.html

    “All living beings, whether born from eggs, from the womb, from moisture, or spontaneously; whether they have form or do not have form; whether they are aware or unaware, whether they are not aware or not unaware, all living beings will eventually be led by me to the final Nirvana, the final ending of the cycle of birth and death. And when this unfathomable, infinite number of living beings have all been liberated, in truth not even a single being has actually been liberated.”

    “Why Subhuti? Because if a disciple still clings to the arbitrary illusions of form or phenomena such as an ego, a personality, a self, a separate person, or a universal self existing eternally, then that person is not an authentic disciple.”

    http://diamond-sutra.com/read-the-diamond-sutra-here/diamond-sutra-chapter-3/

    lobster
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 31

    I agree pegembara but keep in mind the second box that you quoted gave a part of Buddha's sutra says any form, feeling, perception, determination, and consciousness is not mine, not I, and not myself' But those five things are exactly what I was talking about. Those five are the five skhandas and that is the teaching Buddha gave that the skhandas were not mine, not I, and not myself.

    And if you read the mahayanists who talk about the Buddha's teaching of the skhandas they consistently say that the skhandas are not the self.

    Therefore that must be true that the mahayanists who talk about the teaching of the skhandas could not be concluding that the buddhanature IS the skhandas. Rather they are saying the buddhanature is NOT the skhandas and is not found in the skhandas.

    Is there an error in my thinking?

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 31

    And I would say the looking of the skhandas is called the shravaka view. For this area I haven't seen introduction of 'Buddha nature". But there are other views on the nature of awareness in the mahayana. I believe the cittamatra is a refinement of view on what awareness are. But the citta is not the same thing as skhandas. I believe the citta had already been talked about by Buddha. And citta refers to 'mind' but it is not the same thing as the skhandas. cittamatra is 'mind only'...But the cittamatra is an additional teaching in that literally it is added to what the Buddha taught and how the Buddha taught. And then there was the madyamaka teachings on awareness. Nagarjuna is famous for teaching the Madyamaka. The sautantrika and then the prasangika which that latter says that all views are wrong or inexact or what have you so at that point everything you say you realize it comes from a point of view and that point of view is not exact or absolute. and then the shentong (empty of other) which takes some elements of cittamatra and madyamaka.

    And these five views are about the wisdom of emptiness. Wisdom of emptiness is what Tibetans call the second turning of dharma. Buddha nature is not until the third turning of dharma. I think I am not in a position right now to realize the understanding of the third turning. but for myself i do have a different experience than if I did not believe the third turning exists. because for me I think right now that later on my path I will get to that point. this makes it different then not beleving my path is going anywhere. i think everybody can benefit from thinking they are going somewhere. not all believe in the third turning and it might not be realized. but it's like in meditation why do you meditate? do you think it is going somewhere?

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Tosh said:

    In the Old Testament Adam and Eve were created and lived in the Garden of Eden until they ate fruit from The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

    Then they were cast out of the Garden of Eden.

    Smarter minds than mine say this is an allegory for our dualistic minds that label things as 'Good' or 'Evil' (bad) and it's this mind that casts us out of the Garden of Eden (a metaphor for an enlightened mind state maybe?).

    :+1: :+1: :+1:

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran

    @Jeffrey

    My understanding is that the entire world of experience or existence itself in the six senses. There is no mind or consciousness outside of the six senses. To be alive is to be conscious. Without consciousness one is as good as dead.

    Yet to be conscious, one has to be aware or conscious of something (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, feelings, thoughts and perceptions). The citta or awareness does exist alone.

    "I will teach you the origination of the world & the ending of the world. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

    "As you say, lord," the monks responded to the Blessed One.

    The Blessed One said: "And what is the origination of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.044.than.html

    In short there are only these six consciousness operating and nothing else.

    "Exactly so, lord. As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another."

    "Which consciousness, Sāti, is that?

    "It's good, monks, that you understand the Dhamma taught by me in this way, for in many ways I have said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness.' But this monk Sāti, the Fisherman's Son, through his own poor grasp [of the Dhamma], has not only slandered us but has also dug himself up [by the root], producing much demerit for himself. That will lead to this worthless man's long-term harm & suffering.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.038.than.html

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited May 31

    @Dakini said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    That sounds rather like Atman, true self, something "beneath" the aggregates.

    The "True Self" or Buddhanature doctrine, as we're told the Buddha articulated it on his deathbed, does sound a bit like Atman.

    Some of these concepts do sound similar, and I sometimes think that Buddhism and Hinduism have more in common than we would like to acknowledge. In both traditions there is the theme of "seeing through" everyday experience, and realising something deeper. Not-self, universal self, something?

    To complicate things further we have the traditional Theravada view of Nibbana as an existing reality, which become visible when one "sees through" the insubstantiality of the aggregates and personal identity ( which sounds spookily similar to the Hindu idea of seeing Atman/Brahman through the illusion of maya ).

    And then there are suttas like this, which are rather ambiguous:

    There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that escape from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, escape from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned.
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.03.irel.html

    Dakini
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited May 31

    @Jeffrey said:> Spiny I think the 'original' nature might be that there is a potential to know. So the word for ignorance is 'avidya'. That is not knowing. I believe 'avidya' refers to a specific type of not knowing and not just to all not knowing in general.

    I agree with the idea of potential, though it doesn't shed much light on "original nature". Logically ignorance ( Mara ) is the default condition for sentient beings, because if wisdom were the default condition there would be no need to practice or attain insight. Ignorance is the first link of dependent origination, and is said to be without beginning.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Explorer

    this is an interesting topic.learning and pondering from everyones input.we are talking about self and not self.brain processes,the central path way of expirational moments,through our six sense organ.this leads leads to the subtle nuance of percieved illusion because of the state of imperminence process through our brain.this leads to subject of the phenomenon of ulra mundain dharma--self and the self.this lead to angle of emptiness .the common theame,is duality and the nessecity of the middle way.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 31

    @SpinyNorman it might be an issue in translation. Original. But to me what it means is that the ignorance is 'adventitious'. Whereas the nature of mind is to become clear. Does that make sense? Original means to me like a timeline where in the past at the origin something came to be. So that doesn't make sense. But I think the meaning is that 'anger' or 'ignorance' or 'dullness' or 'craving' is adventitious as I say. So when some very realized being like the Dalai Lama or Ajahn Brahm or what have you has a feeling of anger or dullness or craving then they very quickly probably observe that feeling and very quickly go back to awareness or mindfulness. And I suppose they say a Buddha the adventitious ignorance is completely obliterated.

    So as a timeline I am not so sure. But even as a timeline I think they say there is no start to Samsara but an end to it is the beginning of Nirvana. So maybe a timeline like that?

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    @pegembara

    My understanding is that the entire world of experience or existence itself in the six senses. There is no mind or consciousness outside of the six senses. To be alive is to be conscious. Without consciousness one is as good as dead.

    Yes sounds reasonable.

    Yet to be conscious, one has to be aware or conscious of something (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, feelings, thoughts and perceptions). The citta or awareness does exist alone.

    Did you mean does NOT exist alone from objects of consciousness?

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @Dakini said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    That sounds rather like Atman, true self, something "beneath" the aggregates.

    The "True Self" or Buddhanature doctrine, as we're told the Buddha articulated it on his deathbed, does sound a bit like Atman.

    It's sounds like it, but it can't be! Because if it was, it could not rightly be called Buddha nature to begin with!

    Jeffrey
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited June 1

    @Jeffrey said:

    Yet to be conscious, one has to be aware or conscious of something (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, feelings, thoughts and perceptions). The citta or awareness does exist alone.

    Did you mean does NOT exist alone from objects of consciousness?

    Does not exist APART from objects of consciousness.

    One can only be conscious of "something".
    No subject without an object.
    The experiencer needs to have experiences.

    They are dependently co-arisen.

    "Dependent on the ear & sounds there arises ear-consciousness.

    Instead of asking

    "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

    Ask

    "If there are no sounds, is there anyone hearing?"

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited June 1

    @techie said:
    In Buddhism, our original nature is Buddha nature. In Christianity (not in all schools) our original nature is sinful.

    I would have thought our original nature according to Christianity (back in the garden of Eden) is "innocence" ...( I read somewhere that the term "Sin" simply means To Miss The Mark )

    Now let's consider a certain situation - a person insults us. We become angry. That situation is only a trigger, isn't it? The anger is always there, and a certain situation triggers it. You can only trigger something which is already present - you can't trigger something which isn't there.

    I'm under the impression the psycho-physical phenomenon called the self, can take on the form of anger, which is just energy in motion =emotion, however depending on the causes & conditions this energy could manifests itself as anger or any number of emotions/effects depending on the cause & condition ...

    This psycho-physical phenomenon ( "the self" ) is in a constant state of flux ie, a vibrating bundle of energy flux held together by karmic glue, causes conditions and the effects may generate anger or even joy too....

    Wouldn't this mean anger (and by extension other negative states too) are part of our nature?

    They are just emotional states (energy in motion)/moods and it would seem that the clinging and grasping of the aggregates ( karmic patterns/impulses) is what causes the mind to become charmed/blinded by its own thoughts

    Wouldn't that make our original nature sinful, as the Christians believe? Where is the buddha nature in any of this?

    So in a nutshell...

    Our original nature ( true nature or Buddha nature) one would think, is an "Unfettered" mind...A mind which no longer (in an unskillful way) becomes attached to its own thoughts, it's uncluttered, one could even say a "Beginner's Mind"

    A state of innocence perhaps :) .....But what would "I" know ...."Ehipassiko"

    Jeffrey
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited June 1

    "Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — there is no development of the mind." {I,vi,1}

    "Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind."

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an01/an01.049.than.html

    A reasonable approach to understanding the statement can be derived from taking it in context: the luminous mind is the mind that the meditator is trying to develop. To perceive its luminosity means understanding that defilements such as greed, aversion, or delusion are not intrinsic to its nature, are not a necessary part of awareness. Without this understanding, it would be impossible to practice. With this understanding, however, one can make an effort to cut away existing defilements, leaving the mind in the stage that MN 24 calls "purity in terms of mind."

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

    I always find it useful to think of the different stages of human child's minds when considering innocence. Think of babies: before they even learn to gurgle they are born with very few inborn instincts, just grasping, suckling, sleeping really. But they seem perfectly content and happy. As close to a tabula rasa as a human being can be.

    It's only later that the skills of thinking start to arise in us, as well as emotions. By then you might be a toddler, when you first exhibit anger at a toy being taken away. It's the individuality that starts becoming established and that molds you.

    So is becoming an unfettered mind returning to a childlike state? In a way perhaps yes, your mind loses none of its complexity but you get to unlearn certain patterns of being absorbed in thought.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Kerome said:> Think of babies: before they even learn to gurgle they are born with very few inborn instincts, just grasping, suckling, sleeping really. But they seem perfectly content and happy.

    So why do babies cry a lot? :p

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited June 1

    @pegembara said:
    Does not exist APART from objects of consciousness.

    One can only be conscious of "something".

    But see Note 9 here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.049.than.html
    I realise there isn't a consensus on the significance of "consciousness without surface", but I wonder if it is connected to the global awareness which develops with mindfulness practice. It's like with strong mindfulness there is an higher awareness of the various sense-bases working, the various types of consciousness and their objects, the whole process.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited June 1

    @seeker242 said:

    @Dakini said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    That sounds rather like Atman, true self, something "beneath" the aggregates.

    The "True Self" or Buddhanature doctrine, as we're told the Buddha articulated it on his deathbed, does sound a bit like Atman.

    It's sounds like it, but it can't be! Because if it was, it could not rightly be called Buddha nature to begin with!

    So what exactly is Buddha nature in your view? Is it something inherent which comes to the fore when the craving and aversion subside, and we see more clearly? Is it something distinct from the aggregates?

    Would you talk about Buddha nature as "true self"? And, if so, how would you distinguish this experientially from Atman/Brahman?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited June 1

    @Jeffrey said:
    @SpinyNorman it might be an issue in translation. Original. But to me what it means is that the ignorance is 'adventitious'. Whereas the nature of mind is to become clear. Does that make sense? Original means to me like a timeline where in the past at the origin something came to be. So that doesn't make sense. But I think the meaning is that 'anger' or 'ignorance' or 'dullness' or 'craving' is adventitious as I say. So when some very realized being like the Dalai Lama or Ajahn Brahm or what have you has a feeling of anger or dullness or craving then they very quickly probably observe that feeling and very quickly go back to awareness or mindfulness. And I suppose they say a Buddha the adventitious ignorance is completely obliterated.

    So as a timeline I am not so sure. But even as a timeline I think they say there is no start to Samsara but an end to it is the beginning of Nirvana. So maybe a timeline like that?

    Both samsara and ignorance are said to be without beginning, which suggests that ignorance is an intrinsic feature of samsara ( like the 3 marks, ie anicca, dukkha and anatta ). So in some sense you have to step outside of samsara.

    Jeffrey
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited June 1

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Both samsara and ignorance are said to be without beginning, which suggests that ignorance is an intrinsic feature of samsara ( like the 3 marks, ie anicca, dukkha and anatta ).

    Considering babies again, their mind is a clean slate, yet they don't need anything more, their mind is complete and pure in its innocence of the world. So you could say that ignorance is formed by the learning we do in this world, shaping our emotions and sense of self. So the ignorance that is meant is ignorance of what, right view?

    The point being, you can go on learning all kinds of material for lifetime after lifetime and not be able to alleviate the totality of all "ignorance", but it is specifically alleviating ignorance of the 8FP that begins to shape and recast other knowledge we have into a more distinct form.

    It is not necessary for enlightenment for one to become all knowing, alleviating all ignorance, but you do need to adjust how you evaluate incoming knowledge.

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited June 1

    @SpinyNorman said:
    So what exactly is Buddha nature in your view?

    Inexpressible, immeasurable, unnameable, undefinable, inconceivable, unexplainable.

    Is it something distinct from the aggregates?

    Neither distinct nor not distinct.

    Hozanlobster
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 1

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @seeker242 said:

    @Dakini said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    That sounds rather like Atman, true self, something "beneath" the aggregates.

    The "True Self" or Buddhanature doctrine, as we're told the Buddha articulated it on his deathbed, does sound a bit like Atman.

    It's sounds like it, but it can't be! Because if it was, it could not rightly be called Buddha nature to begin with!

    So what exactly is Buddha nature in your view? Is it something inherent which comes to the fore when the craving and aversion subside, and we see more clearly? Is it something distinct from the aggregates?

    Would you talk about Buddha nature as "true self"? And, if so, how would you distinguish this experientially from Atman/Brahman?

    Spiny I could recommend some dharma talks about the self as 2nd turning which is mostly analyzing what is not self. They are on youtube and about 1.5 hours per talk. 4 on the topic of analyzing the skhandas 'sravaka' view. Also a couple of talks about a traditional story of 'Milarepa and the Shepherd boy' where a teacher asks an ordinary shepherd boy to find his mind and report back to talk about it. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation is a text about the Buddhist path and it has a section on the Buddha nature.

    But I will point out that you can't skip to the 3rd turning entirely and find out what the Buddha nature is. First you have to know about what the self is not. And in the Mahayana that topic is Wisdom of Emptiness. I don't think you can understand the texts about the Buddhanature as well if you haven't already become familiarized with what the self is not and the teachings describing the wisdom of emptiness. In the sense that you would already be familiar with what the 2nd turning teachings said so in light of that you would not mistake what is being said about Buddha nature.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 1

    Also I want to add that I had mentioned the citta and cittamatra 'mind only' view. And I wanted to add the comment that the citta matra did not come about I feel to reintroduced a mind or self and overturn the teachings on anatta and the analysis 5 skhandas.

    The reason these later views such as cittamatra came out from what I understand was that they were analyzing (thinking about) not just the non-self of the person but also the non-self of all phenomena.

    So like a table, a tree, or whatever.

    And also the views purpose is to try to understand the true nature of your experience. The purpose of the view is not to just understand these views, but rather understand your experience experientially. So Spiny I liked the question you had how to distinguish experientially from Atman/Brahman. And so these teachings about non-self we can do different exercises either in contemplation or maybe in meditation hearing about the views will have some effect?

    These should be experiential worked with because the big problem of attachment to something that is not self is the emotionality. It is not to understand an interesting problem rather it is that emotionality when we age or get a grey hair or have something we are attached to feel threatened. I kind of like just hearing ideas of views but the reason they are important is the emotionality we have around dying, dissapointment, and so forth.

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