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Nirvana - Atman - True Self - Spirit - how we see it?

misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a HinduIndia Veteran
edited November 2013 in Philosophy
Hi all,
this topic just came to my mind, as i was thinking to reply in another thread on Deathless by @EvenThird, but then thought of raising a new thread as it shall be better for the below topic, so raising the below thread.

the statement which lead me to think about it was - Many people misunderstand "Deathless" to be the Atman/True Self, etc. In actuality the realization of True Self is far from Nirvana! - which was written by @xabir.

so the topic is - Nirvana - True Self - Atman - Soul - how we see it? usually at first glance, we see there is a huge difference between these terms, but is it really that different?

as i think you all know that i am a Hindu and so just to let all know as per Hinduism, as per Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, the basic things which everything come down to is Matter or Prakriti and Consciousness or Shiva. now prakriti or matter is a manifestation of Consciousness. as far as consciousness is concerned, it emerges from Sunyata and dissolves into Sunyata or emptiness - how this is happening is not clearly explained as far as i know, because as per Hindu mythology, initially there was only emptiness, from which Shiva or Consciousness emerged - in a way, they are two sides of the same coin, then consciousness manifested into matter and the world emerged gradually.

the usual dispute which arises is Atman or Self is taken as an permanent entity, but if it is having no attributes or characteristics, then how do we know it is an entity first of all, because if it is an entity, then it should have characteristics, which can be verified - but this is not feasible. so there is a possibility that this Atman or Self may be referring to the actual reality of awareness or deathlessness. i think it all depends on us, whether we want to make a big deal out of it, or , be at peace finding the common ground - moreover, these are all words which are nothing but labels. these words are just prapancha of mind. the actual reality is just what it is.

moreover, if we see the concept of Buddha-nature, this is similar to the concept of Spirit(or Soul) in Christianity or Atman in Hinduism. moreover, Zen master like Dogen's teachings say to find our true self or our inner Buddha-nature, which is always available in here and now.

this is also not to imply that one religion is superior over another religion - which usually leads to competition and negative attitudes. this is to imply that though religions look too different on the surface level, but at a deeper level, they all lead to peace and have the common goal of knowing who we really are.


  • xabirxabir Veteran
    edited November 2013
    You're misunderstanding what 'Shunyata' means. Shunyata does not mean deathless awareness.

    As Dr. Greg Goode pointed out,

    "For those who encounter emptiness teachings after they've become familiar with awareness teachings, it's very tempting to misread the emptiness teachings by substituting terms. That is, it's very easy to misread the emptiness teachings by seeing "emptiness" on the page and thinking to yourself, "awareness, consciousness, I know what they're talking about."

    Early in my own study I began with this substitution in mind. With this misreading, I found a lot in the emptiness teachings to be quite INcomprehensible! So I started again, laying aside the notion that "emptiness" and "awareness" were equivalent. I tried to let the emptiness teachings speak for themselves. I came to find that they have a subtle beauty and power, a flavor quite different from the awareness teachings. Emptiness teachings do not speak of emptiness as a true nature that underlies or supports things. Rather, it speaks of selves and things as essenceless and free. "

    Emptiness has nothing to do with formless/attributeless awareness or nirguna brahman.

    Now there is nothing wrong with direct apprehension of Awareness, that to me is an important part of the path. But there needs to be further insights to refine the view so that one is purified of all views of duality and inherency. Then there is no reifying a formless awareness into an ultimate/absolute or ultimate identity, instead one sees only manifestation and total exertion, just that is the only 'awareness' or 'presence' or 'buddha-nature' there is. In seeing just self-luminous scenery, no seer, in hearing just self-luminous sound, no hearer.

    As Thusness puts it before, "I do not see practice apart from realizing the essence and nature of awareness. The only difference is seeing Awareness as an ultimate essence or realizing awareness as this seamless activity that fills the entire Universe. When we say there is no scent of a flower, the scent is the flower....that is becoz the mind, body, universe are all together deconstructed into this single flow, this scent and only this... Nothing else. That is the Mind that is no mind. There is no an Ultimate Mind that transcends anything in the Buddhist enlightenment. The mind Is this very manifestation of total exertion...wholly thus. Therefore there is always no mind, always only this vibration of moving train, this cooling air of the aircon, this breath... The question is after the 7 phases of insights can this be realized and experience and becomes the ongoing activity of practice in enlightenment and enlightenment in practice -- practice-enlightenment."

    Btw have you seen this:

    It is important to understand the realizing the luminous clarity/direct apprehension of Awareness is simply realizing the luminosity aspect of buddha-nature, yet not necessarily apprehending the empty nature of it (empty of any inherent existence or Self). Which is why Awareness becomes reified into a Self or Atman-Brahman. Many teacher have said so, not only I or Thusness, even Dalai Lama has stated so when clarifying the difference between Buddhism and Hinduism.

    You quoted Dogen, he is one very clear Zen master that rejected the Hindu view of Atman-Brahman or reifying an ultimate awareness. He said (along with Master Hui-Neng): Impermanence is Buddha-nature.

    Here's what he said:

    "From Bendowa, by Zen Master Dogen

    Question Ten:

    Some have said: Do not concern yourself about birth-and-death. There is a way to promptly rid yourself of birth-and-death. It is by grasping the reason for the eternal immutability of the 'mind-nature.' The gist of it is this: although once the body is born it proceeds inevitably to death, the mind-nature never perishes. Once you can realize that the mind-nature, which does not transmigrate in birth-and-death, exists in your own body, you make it your fundamental nature. Hence the body, being only a temporary form, dies here and is reborn there without end, yet the mind is immutable, unchanging throughout past, present, and future. To know this is to be free from birth-and-death. By realizing this truth, you put a final end to the transmigratory cycle in which you have been turning. When your body dies, you enter the ocean of the original nature. When you return to your origin in this ocean, you become endowed with the wondrous virtue of the Buddha-patriarchs. But even if you are able to grasp this in your present life, because your present physical existence embodies erroneous karma from prior lives, you are not the same as the sages.

    "Those who fail to grasp this truth are destined to turn forever in the cycle of birth-and-death. What is necessary, then, is simply to know without delay the meaning of the mind-nature's immutability. What can you expect to gain from idling your entire life away in purposeless sitting?"

    What do you think of this statement? Is it essentially in accord with the Way of the Buddhas and patriarchs?

    Answer 10:

    You have just expounded the view of the Senika heresy. It is certainly not the Buddha Dharma.

    According to this heresy, there is in the body a spiritual intelligence. As occasions arise this intelligence readily discriminates likes and dislikes and pros and cons, feels pain and irritation, and experiences suffering and pleasure - it is all owing to this spiritual intelligence. But when the body perishes, this spiritual intelligence separates from the body and is reborn in another place. While it seems to perish here, it has life elsewhere, and thus is immutable and imperishable. Such is the standpoint of the Senika heresy.

    But to learn this view and try to pass it off as the Buddha Dharma is more foolish than clutching a piece of broken roof tile supposing it to be a golden jewel. Nothing could compare with such a foolish, lamentable delusion. Hui-chung of the T'ang dynasty warned strongly against it. Is it not senseless to take this false view - that the mind abides and the form perishes - and equate it to the wondrous Dharma of the Buddhas; to think, while thus creating the fundamental cause of birth-and-death, that you are freed from birth-and-death? How deplorable! Just know it for a false, non-Buddhist view, and do not lend a ear to it.

    I am compelled by the nature of the matter, and more by a sense of compassion, to try to deliver you from this false view. You must know that the Buddha Dharma preaches as a matter of course that body and mind are one and the same, that the essence and the form are not two. This is understood both in India and in China, so there can be no doubt about it. Need I add that the Buddhist doctrine of immutability teaches that all things are immutable, without any differentiation between body and mind. The Buddhist teaching of mutability states that all things are mutable, without any differentiation between essence and form. In view of this, how can anyone state that the body perishes and the mind abides? It would be contrary to the true Dharma.

    Beyond this, you must also come to fully realize that birth-and-death is in and of itself nirvana. Buddhism never speaks of nirvana apart from birth-and-death. Indeed, when someone thinks that the mind, apart from the body, is immutable, not only does he mistake it for Buddha-wisdom, which is free from birth-and-death, but the very mind that makes such a discrimination is not immutable, is in fact even then turning in birth-and-death. A hopeless situation, is it not?

    You should ponder this deeply: since the Buddha Dharma has always maintained the oneness of body and mind, why, if the body is born and perishes, would the mind alone, separated from the body, not be born and die as well? If at one time body and mind were one, and at another time not one, the preaching of the Buddha would be empty and untrue. Moreover, in thinking that birth-and-death is something we should turn from, you make the mistake of rejecting the Buddha Dharma itself. You must guard against such thinking.

    Understand that what Buddhists call the Buddhist doctrine of the mind-nature, the great and universal aspect encompassing all phenomena, embraces the entire universe, without differentiating between essence and form, or concerning itself with birth or death. There is nothing - enlightenment and nirvana included - that is not the mind-nature. All dharmas, the "myriad forms dense and close" of the universe - are alike in being this one Mind. All are included without exception. All those dharmas, which serves as "gates" or entrances to the Way, are the same as one Mind. For a Buddhist to preach that there is no disparity between these dharma-gates indicates that he understands the mind-nature.

    In this one Dharma [one Mind], how could there be any differentiate between body and mind, any separation of birth-and-death and nirvana? We are all originally children of the Buddha, we should not listen to madmen who spout non-Buddhist views."

    Also relevant:
  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran
    You quoted Dogen, he is one very clear Zen master that rejected the Hindu view of Atman-Brahman or reifying an ultimate awareness. He said (along with Master Hui-Neng): Impermanence is Buddha-nature.
    @xabir: But is Buddha-nature not permanent?

    What if, the permanence which is attributed to Atman, is the permanence or continuity of awareness or unconditioned ultimate reality or Buddha-nature, which has no beginning and so no end?
  • xabirxabir Veteran
    edited November 2013
    No, Buddha-nature is not changeless.

    As Thusness pointed out in one of the links, "Although there is non-duality in Advaita Vedanta, and no-self in Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta rest in an “Ultimate Background” (making it dualistic), whereas Buddhism eliminates the background completely and rest in the emptiness nature of phenomena; arising and ceasing is where pristine awareness is. In Buddhism, there is no eternality, only timeless continuity (timeless as in vividness in present moment but change and continue like a wave pattern). There is no changing thing, only change."

    Awareness is not a changeless Self. And it is not just I, or Thusness, or Dogen who are saying so. (btw, I've gone through those stages of realization from personal experience)

    Posted this before elsewhere:

    "Archaya Mahayogi Shridhar Rinpoche:

    "If we analyze both the Hindu Sankaràcàrya’s and the Buddhist Śāntarakṣita’s, we find that both agree that the view of the Hindu Advaita Vedànta is that the ultimate reality (âtmà) is an unchanging, eternal non-dual cognition. The Buddhists as a whole do not agree that the ultimate reality is an eternal, unchanging non-dual cognition, but rather a changing eternal non-dual cognition. These statements found in the 6th century Hindu text and the refutations of the Hindu view found in the 9th century Buddhist texts (both of which were after the Uttara Tantra and Asanga), show that the Hindu view of the ultimate reality as an unchanging, eternal non-dual cognition is non-existent amongst the Buddhists of India. Not only was such a view non-existent amongst Buddhists of India, but it was also refuted as a wrong view by scholars like Śāntarakṣita. He even writes that if and when Buddhists use the word ‘eternal’ (nitya), it means ‘parinàmi nitya’, i.e., changing eternal, and not the Hindu kind of eternal, which always remains unchanged.

    The Hindu âtmà is not only non-dual cognition but is also unchanging, eternal, and truly existing. Sankaràcàrya defines existence (sat) in his Tattvaboda as that which remains the same in all the 3 times (past, present, future). In the commentary by Gaudapàda (who was Sankaràcàrya’s Guru’s Guru), of the Màndukya Upanishada, in verse number 96, he calls the eternally really existing non-dual cognition is non-relational, i.e., free from reference points. In the 37th verse of the same work it is said that this non-dual, eternal, really existing cognition is free from all sense organs, i.e., free from the dualistic mind (namshe). So the Upanishadic view is that the really existing, eternal / permanent, non-dual, non-referential cognition is the âtmà, and this is not dualistic mind. This Upanishadic view existed even before the Buddha, and this was what Sankaràcàrya expounded very clearly and most powerfully around the 6th century. This view, similar to this Sankara view, was refuted by Śāntarakṣita as a wrong view."

    The Dalai Lama has this to say:

    "...We have become so habituated to consciousness of the form and color of gross objects that, when we make concentrated introspection into the nature of mind, it is, as I have said, found to be a vast, limitless void free from any gross obscurity or other hindrances. Nevertheless, this does not mean that we have discerned the subtle, true nature of the mind. What has been explained above concerns the state of mind in relation to the concrete experience and clear cognizance by the mind which are its function, but it describes only the relative nature of mind."

    "... All compounded things are subject to disintegration. Since experience and knowledge are impermanent and subject to disintegration, the mind, of which they are functions (nature), is not something that remains constant and eternal. From moment to moment it undergoes change and disintegration. This transience of mind is one aspect of its nature. However, as we have observed, its true nature has many aspects, including consciousness of concrete experience and cognizance of objects. Now let us make a further examination in order to grasp the meaning of the subtle essence of such a mind. Mind came into existence because of its own cause. To deny that the origination of mind is dependent on a cause, or to say that it is a designation given as a means of recognizing the nature of mind aggregates, is not correct. With our superficial observance, mind, which has concrete experience and clear cognizance as its nature, appears to be a powerful, independent, subjective, completely ruling entity. However, deeper analysis will reveal that this mind, possessing as it does the function of experience and cognizance, is not a self-created entity but Is dependent on other factors for its existence. Hence it depends on something other than itself. This non-independent quality of the mind substance is its true nature which in turn is the ultimate reality of the self."

    It may be further questioned on the Dalai Lama's position: this subtle, relative nature of mind, which is not merely gross sensory objects and thoughts but which even seem like a void and illuminating source, how can that be said to be non-independent? It seems to be non-arising and non-dependent.

    What the Dalai Lama calls the 'subtle clear light' is indeed non-arising like anything and everything due to its empty nature, but in emptiness teachings we do not treat it as having some special or ultimate status of being a 'powerful, independent, subjective, completely ruling entity'. It is non-arising NOT because it is a "unborn Self" but because it is mind-manifestation that is fundamentally empty of any real existence that could be established as having birth, abiding or cessation. All phenomena is by nature non-arising and empty.

    Clear-light/luminosity/knowing-awareness/mind is never lost but is seen as a stream... as the Dalai Lama considers that this clear light mind is "permanent not in the sense of not disintegrating moment by moment but in the sense that its continuum is no interrupted…" ( In other words this mind of Clear Light, which is pure Knowingness and luminosity as described there, is not unchanging as a static substratum but as an uninterrupted flow like a mighty river. Luminosity will never be lost, so it is like a vajra (diamond), but not in the sense of a substantiated entity. It is not a background source behind manifestation but we see that the source is in fact manifestation itself - it is the flow of knowing without knower, in all manifestation and differentiation we experience the same taste of luminosity and emptiness.

    Elsewhere such as - the Dalai Lama furthermore clarifies the non-independent, causal nature of clear light.

    Geoff (jnana/nana) from Dharmawheel sums up this view:

    "...For example, Sajjana's Mahāyānottaratantraśāstropadeśa equates tathāgatagarbha with luminous mind, and then explains that although this luminous nature is not-conditioned (unlike ordinary states of mind that are contingent upon the four conditions), the luminous nature arises due to the previous moment of that same luminous mind. Shakya Chogden has a similar understanding, stating that although the tathāgatagarbha is often said to be permanent, etc., "that is also done in terms of its continuum. Otherwise, [it should] be [understood as] impermanent, precisely because of having an immediately preceding condition [deriving] from [its previous] moment."

    "...Again, Tibetan commentators such as Go Lotsawa maintain that space is also momentary. Relying on the Dharmadharmatāvibhāgavṛtti, he states:

    It is not the case that space that exists only as enclosed space does not partake of the nature of momentariness along a continuum. If you take time into account here, space at the beginning of an eon (kalpa) is not the [same] space at the time of [its] destruction. In terms of location, the substance that exists as the enclosed space of a golden receptacle is not that which exists as the enclosed space of an earthen receptacle.

    He then applies this analysis of space to the buddha element:

    Likewise, a moment in the continuation of a continuum having the quality of the [buddha] element's awareness of sentient beings is not a moment in the wisdom of a buddha. Notwithstanding, in the same way as the existence of the enclosed space of a golden and earthen receptacle is not different in terms of type (rigs), the nonconceptuality of a buddha and the nonconceptuality of sentient beings are of a very similar type." .

    In the above quotations, Dalai Lama made it clear that the "concrete cognizance" of mind (clear light/luminosity) is still the relative/conventional nature of mind, while the ultimate nature of mind is its emptiness. Awareness itself is conventional and empty! 'Awareness' is like the word 'chariot' or 'self', not a singular, independent and irreducible ("It's all just One Awareness") kind of substance or reality that can be pinned down somewhere apart from the various streams of dependently arisen consciousness (or revealing its actual state as the five wisdoms, when in knowledge) empty of any core or self/Self.
  • xabirxabir Veteran
    edited November 2013
    Similar statements can be found elsewhere such as

    "Khenpo: According to the Nyingmpa, the luminosity can be experienced as pure or impure but the ultimate truth is emptiness. We have two types of conventional truth, one is pure and one is impure. The conventional truth of the ordinary man is impure, while the conventional truth of the Buddhas is permanently pure.

    Ratnashree: So, salwa/luminosity/prabhashwar is still conventional. It is pure or impure but still conventional?

    Khenpo: Yes

    Ratnashree: Only emptiness is the ultimate truth?

    Khenpo: Yes

    Ratnashree: We have 1) self emptiness view, that is Rangtong/Swa Sunya view/Tawa/ Dristi and 2) other emptiness view Shentong/Para Sunya view/Tawa/ Drishti, etc. What is the official Nyingmpa view (Tawa/Dristi)? What is the view of Longchenpa, Mipham, Jigme Lingpa etc.?

    Khenpo: According to the Nyingmapa, we are not Rangtong, we are not Shentong. If you believe only Rangtong, it becomes nihilistic (ucchedvad). If you believe only Shentong, it becomes eternalist (saswatvad). We believe in Sung Zhug/Yuganadh or Abheda (the indivisibility of or unity of clarity and emptiness/ Prabhaswar Sunyata Yuganadha). According to the second turning of the wheel, all the appearance itself is emptiness .That is Rangtong/Swasunyavadin. According to the third turning of the wheel, we can say that there is some pure vision which the Buddha can see. That is called Shentong/Parasunyavadin. But these two are united. Pure vision and emptiness are united primordially. And that is the Sung Zhug view, Abhedavadin or Yuganaddhavadin, ‘Indivisible-ist’ so to say. Therefore, we are not Shentong and not Rangtong.

    (NB: Actually when it comes to actual meditation the Sakya meditation view is also what the Khenpo here calls Sung Zhug. Rangtong in the Sakya system actually means that the emptiness of the Prasangika is not abandoned in the ultimate truth and in Sung Zhug this emptiness (niswabhavata) or empty of real self existence is not abandoned. And regarding luminosity/clarity (prabhashwar) being the conventional truth, regardless of whether it is pure or impure, it is also the view of the Mahasiddha Virupa, which makes it the official Sakya view;( prabhaswar/luminosity/clarity/awareness by itself is the conventional truth)


    (end of excerpt)

    But with regards to the original teachings of Nagarjuna or Madhyamika studies in general, I think not much is spoken about clear light/luminosity, unless you consider treatises (which is attributed to but not likely to be actually written by, Nagarjuna) like In Praise of the Dharmadhatu to be the actual writings of Nagarjuna, which I think is great regardless of who wrote it.

    Clear Light however is spoken in all four traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and if you are talking about Tibetan Buddhism as a whole and not just Madhyamika teachings, then you will find abundant teachings about the inseparability of luminosity and emptiness."
  • xabirxabir Veteran
    edited November 2013

    "Thoughts, feelings and perceptions come and go; they are not ‘me’; they are transient in nature. Isn’t it clear that if I am aware of these passing thoughts, feelings and perceptions, then it proves some entity is immutable and unchanging? This is a logical conclusion rather than experiential truth. The formless reality seems real and unchanging because of propensities (conditioning) and the power to recall a previous experience. (See The Spell of Karmic Propensities)

    There is also another experience, this experience does not discard or disown the transients -- forms, thoughts, feelings and perceptions. It is the experience that thought thinks and sound hears. Thought knows not because there is a separate knower but because it is that which is known. It knows because it's it. It gives rise to the insight that isness never exists in an undifferentiated state but as transient manifestation; each moment of manifestation is an entirely new reality, complete in its own.

    The mind likes to categorize and is quick to identify. When we think that awareness is permanent, we fail to 'see' the impermanence aspect of it. When we see it as formless, we missed the vividness of the fabric and texture of awareness as forms. When we are attached to ocean, we seek a waveless ocean, not knowing that both ocean and wave are one and the same. Manifestations are not dust on the mirror, the dust is the mirror. All along there is no dust, it becomes dust when we identify with a particular speck and the rest becomes dust."

    "Because the karmic propensity of perceiving subject/object duality is so strong, pristine awareness is quickly attributed to 'I', Atman, the ultimate Subject, Witness, background, eternal, formless, odorless, colorless, thoughtless and void of any attributes, and we unknowingly objectified these attributes into an ‘entity’ and make it an eternal background or an emptiness void. When this is done, it prevents us from experiencing the color, texture, fabric and manifesting nature of awareness. Suddenly thoughts are being grouped into another category and disowned. In actual case, thoughts think and sound hears. The observer has always been the observed. No watcher needed, the process itself knows and rolls as Venerable Buddhaghosa writes in the Visuddhi Magga.

    In naked awareness, there is no splitting of attributes and objectification of these attributes into different groups of the same experience. So thoughts and sense perceptions are not disowned and the nature of impermanence is taken in wholeheartedly in the experience of no-self. ‘Impermanence’ is never what it seems to be, never what that is understood in conceptual thoughts. ‘Impermanence’ is not what the mind has conceptualized it to be. In non-dual experience, the true face of impermanence nature is experienced as happening without movement, change without going anywhere. This is the “what is” of impermanence. It is just so.

    Zen Master Dogen and Zen Master Hui-Neng said: "Impermanence is Buddha-Nature.""
  • xabir said:

    Zen Master Dogen and Zen Master Hui-Neng said: "Impermanence is Buddha-Nature.""

    Permanently or is that changeable? :crazy:
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited November 2013
    lobster said:

    xabir said:

    Zen Master Dogen and Zen Master Hui-Neng said: "Impermanence is Buddha-Nature.""

    Permanently or is that changeable?
    Going with permanently! :lol: Buddha nature is permanent in that what is true about one's nature has always been true and will always be true. The truth of reality (AKA one's true self) is unchanging, IMO :)

    DT Suzuki Introduction the Lankavatara Sutra:
    "Mind only" (cittamatra) is an uncouth term. It means absolute mind, to be distinguished from an empirical mind which is the subject of psychological study. When it begins with a capital letter, it is the ultimate reality on which the entire world of individual objects depends for its value. To realize this truth is the aim of the Buddhist life.
    Hwang Po:
    This Dharma is Mind, and outside of Mind there is no Dharma. This Mind is Dharma, and outside of this Dharma there is no mind. Self mind is "no mind" and no "no mind". Awaken the mind to "no mind" and win silent and sudden understanding. Just this!!

    A Ch'an master said: "Break off the way of speech and destroy the place of thinking!" This Mind itself is the ultimately pure Source of Buddha; and all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and sentient beings possess this same Mind. However, some people, because of delusion and discrimination, create much karma fruit. Original Buddha contains nothing.
    Treatise on the Supreme Vehicle
    By Hung Yen (Jap. Hongren), the 5th Patriarch
    4. Question: How do we know the inherent mind is fundamentally unborn and undying?

    Answer: The Scripture Spoken by Vimalakirti says that suchness has no birth and suchness has no death. Suchness is true thusness, the Buddha-nature that is inherently pure. Purity is the source of mind; true thusness is always there and does not arise from conditions.

    The scripture also says that all ordinary beings are Thus, and all sages and saints are also Thus. "All ordinary beings", refers to us; "all sages and saints" refers to the Buddhas. Although their names and appearances differ, the objective nature of true thusness in their bodies is the same. Being unborn and undying, it is called Thus. That is how we know the inherent mind is fundamentally unborn and undying.
    As for the OP's question. It seems to me that if one truly abides in non-duality, then true self, nirvana, deathless, ultimate truth, ultimate reality, buddha mind, suchness, thusness, emptiness, buddha nature, the unconditioned, the uncreated, all mean the same thing.

    In order for them to mean different things, one would have to start making distinctions and enter back into duality to make those distinctions. But if you don't enter back into duality to make those distinctions, they can't be made to begin with. Thus, they all mean the same thing.

    It does not matter what particular word you ascribe to it, if you are not making dualistic notions to begin with.
  • xabirxabir Veteran
    edited November 2013
    I've not read D T Suzuki too much but from the little I've seen and based on what Thusness told me, he seems to turn Buddha-nature into a metaphysical essence. It is quite common actually but that is due to failure to discern deeply into emptiness. Many teachers/masters both current and ancient have this fault of Advaita of turning luminous clarity into a truly existing, changeless and inherent/independent metaphysical essence or Self.

    I like what Zen Master Steve Hagen said about Mind:

    Buddhism Plain and Simple page 115, by Zen Teacher Steve Hagen:

    With the two types of views there are two kinds of minds. As human beings, we all have what we could call ordinary minds - the mind that you've always assumed you've had. It's a calculating mind, a discriminating mind, a fragmented mind. It's the mind of ordinary consciousness, the mind of self and other. We generally think of it as "my mind."

    But there's another mind that is unborn, ungrown, and unconditioned. Unlike "your mind," it is unbound, for there is nothing beyond it. To this Mind, there is no "other mind."

    This Mind is nothing other than the Whole. It's simply thus, the fabric of the world itself - the ongoing arising and falling away that are matter, energy and events.

    Speaking of this Mind, the great Chinese Zen master Huang Po said,

    All buddhas and ordinary people are just One Mind... This Mind is beyond all measurements, names, oppositions: this very being is It; as soon as you stir your mind you turn away from It.

    This Mind is self-evident - it's always switched on, so to speak. We can - and, in fact, we do - see It in every moment. If we would refrain from stirring our minds (rest our frontal lobes, as my Zen teacher used to say) and let our conceptualising die down, like the ripples on a pond after the stirring wind has ceased, we would realise - we would know Mind directly.

    (Steve Hagen)
    Ultimate Truth, on the other hand, is direct perception. And what is directly perceived (as opposed to conceive) is that no separate, individualised things exist as such. There's nothing to be experienced but this seamless, thoroughgoing relativity and flux.

    In other words, there are no particulars, but only thus.
  • I love this Zen Master's description of Buddha-nature too:

    "I think of all the traditions' explanations of Buddha-nature, I still prefer some of the explanations of Buddha-nature by some Soto Zen teachers (particularly those influenced by Dogen).
    A few excerpts/postings found on a good blog by Zen teacher Judith Ragir:
    The emancipation of suchness
    From Dogen, Bussho Fascicle, Shobogenzo:
    Although with mu-buddha-nature (no- Buddha-nature) you may have to grope your way along, there is a touchstone – What. There is a temporal condition – You. There is entrance into its dynamic functioning – affirmation. There is a common nature – all-pervading or wholeness. It is a direct and an immediate access.

    In contrast to some interpretations of Buddhism which are about transcending suffering or leaving the realm of samsara behind and not returning, Dogen always surprises me by turning that around. He encourages us see this moment of what we might call “ordinary life”, as the moment of practice and liberation. There is no room to stray far from the moment at hand. He is completely affirming of life, quite different then a nihilistic interpretation of Buddhism.

    Katagiri-Roshi said,
    The important point is not to try to escape your life. But to face it- exactly and completely the way it is beyond discussion of good and bad, right and wrong, like and dislike. All you have to do is just take one step. Strickly speaking, there is just one thing we have to face and nothing else (the temporal condition). If you believe there is something else besides this one thing, this is not pure practice. Just take one step in this moment with wholeheartedness.
    In studying the fasicle Bussho, we find that Buddha-nature is not a thing that represents some kind of foundation. Buddha-nature is impermanence and interconnectedness. It is essentially empty. Dogen breaks down the “thingness” or solidness of all things by deconstructing time, space and body. He only writes of the whole body or entire being, and the total functioning or interconnectedness of life. The temporal conditions are the coming together of all the factors which produce the formation of this very moment. That formation itself is Buddha-nature.

    The whole body or entire being is often expressed in Dogen with the words:
    Mountains and rivers or
    Earth, grasses and trees, fences and walls, tiles and pebbles
    All things in the dharma realm in ten directions
    Carry out Buddha work.
    From Jijiyu Sammai, Dogen Shobogenzo
    All human bodies completely inter-be with all other manifestations of life. We are not solitary, independent units.

    In this dynamic reality, Form is emptiness and emptiness is form. The temporal condition of the moment, the “what”, gives birth to and emancipates the suchness, emptiness, or aliveness of the moment. Emptiness, impermanence and interconnection are affirmed in this very moment. They are freed or manifested through their birth in form. In inversion, form is freed by the letting go into impermanence. This inter-embrace is Buddha-nature.

    It means just appearing, that’s all.
    This is the basic nature of existence.
    Posted by Byakuren Judith Ragir at 7:00 AM

    "Entire being is the buddha-nature"

    In the beginning of Dogen’s Bussho fascicle of the Shobogenzo, he quotes a famous passage from the Nirvana Sutra (ch. 27) All sentient beings without exception have the Buddha-nature. In Dogen’s way, Dogen reinterprets this sentence so that it more explicitedly reads in a non-dualistic style. In the previous sentence, it’s possible to read it dualistically as:
    A subject, “sentient beings” “has” an object, “Buddha-nature”

    Dogen reinterprets the sentence as: Entire being is the Buddha-nature. He tries to alleviate the duality inherent in the sentence structure. Entire being becomes the complete network of interdependent co-origination, which has no inside and no outside, no I and no you. Our being or a sentient being is actually the same as the total dynamic working of the entire network of beings. We cannot pull out a separated “being”. Dogen deconstructs the space or place of a “being” as a separate, independent unit. The entire network of beings, functioning together, is the Buddha-nature.

    The Buddha-nature is not seen as a “thing” or an “object” but rather the process of life life-ing itself. It is the total dynamic working of the machine of life. Katagiri Roshi deconstructs the “time” of Buddha-nature. He says :
    “Buddha-nature is impermanence itself. This real moment is constantly: working, arising, disappearing, and appearing. To say what the present moment is, right here, right now, is to say that this moment has already disappeared. This is called emptiness. Both cause and effect are exactly impermanence in themselves. It means just appearing, that’s all. This is the basic nature of existence. That’s why impermanence is Buddha-nature. Buddha-nature is being preached constantly. When you manifest yourself right now, right here, becoming one with zazen or with your activity, this is Buddha-nature manifested in the realm of emptiness or impermanence.” From Returning to Silence, page 9.

    Posted by Byakuren Judith Ragir at 7:04 AM

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    To know Buddha-nature, contemplate temporal conditions

    Buddha said, “if you wish to know the Buddha-nature’s meaning, you must contemplate temporal conditions. If the time arrives, the Buddha-nature will manifest itself. From Bussho, Shobogenzo, Waddell and Abe translation.

    This is it for me! No more seeking. (thank god, after 40 years I’m so tired of seeking) (Joshu calls us, “Buddha seeking fools”) No more intellectualizing on the meaning of Zen or the sutras or thinking we can understand. No more seeking deep and poo-pooing surface (ordinary things). No more wishing for sacredness and transcendence, which discounts our ordinary delusions and the problems of life. This dualistic thinking, separating the absolute and the relative, with our concurrent preferences, just continues all the worldly suffering, confusion and fatigue. Wishing things were otherwise.

    The absolute and the relative, the sacred and the ordinary, are completely intertwined and completely arise together. That means that this moment is complete, is the Buddha-nature. There is no “other” “thing” to search for. So our practice should be directed at seeing the inter-related quality, the process of no-solid-objects including me!, the openness and no-story (and the taking care of the story) of what is actually arising, the temporal condition of this moment. We must ONLY contemplate the temporal condition of this moment, and then the next. This moment is the nexus of process that brings forth this object and brings forth Buddha-nature. There is no exception and no abandonment. We can experience this when we release our concepts of truth and our preferences.

    If the nexus of forces that arrive are in alignment, we can see "no form" with integrity and "form" with integrity. We can also experience that they are not separated but whatever the object of our awareness is, This itself is the arrival of Buddha-nature. “If the time arrives, the buddha nature will manifest itself. From Fukanzazengi: :The treasure store will open of itself, and we will use it at will”"
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    Good stuff :)
    The Buddha-nature is not seen as a “thing” or an “object” but rather the process of life life-ing itself.
    Good quote! Seems to me he is saying if you don't objectify it to begin with, then it's not some-thing to begin with. Of course some people do objectify it, but I don't think that is intrinsic to the notion of Buddha nature or true self, by itself. It's just the minds habit making things out of nothing. It only becomes some-thing when we make it into some-thing. If you don't make it a thing, then it's not a thing.

    Reminds me of the korean zen teachers here in America saying "You make, you get". If you make "true self" into some type of entity, then that's what you get, some type of entity. If you don't make that, then you don't get that. But of course to make it into some type of entity, is a mistaken notion of it to begin with. So any "true self" that is made into an entity, is really not the true self to begin with. The "true self" in Master Sheng Yen's stage 2 for example. The "true self" in stage two is not really the "true self". The real true self does not appear until stage 3.
  • My goodness, you guys over-think things way too much..... ;)
  • seeker242 said:

    Good stuff :)

    The Buddha-nature is not seen as a “thing” or an “object” but rather the process of life life-ing itself.
    Good quote! Seems to me he is saying if you don't objectify it to begin with, then it's not some-thing to begin with. Of course some people do objectify it, but I don't think that is intrinsic to the notion of Buddha nature or true self, by itself. It's just the minds habit making things out of nothing. It only becomes some-thing when we make it into some-thing. If you don't make it a thing, then it's not a thing.

    What you're saying echoes Norman Fischer:

    "The problem is that we actually are incapable of seeing zazen as useless because our minds can’t accept the fundamental genuineness and all-rightness of our lives. We are actually very resistant to this reality. We hate it because it is too simple and we persistently think we need more. This is not a detail or quirk of our minds; it is not even a habit really; it is the deep nature of our minds. The Sanskrit word for consciousness is vijnana, which means to divide, or to cut. In order for us to have what we call experience we have to divide or cut reality. Genuine or all-rightness is wholeness, indivisibility, so it can’t be an experience. And even if we practice zazen and have an enlightenment experience, we immediately confuse ourselves with it."

    [emphasis mine]
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    lobster said:

    xabir said:

    Zen Master Dogen and Zen Master Hui-Neng said: "Impermanence is Buddha-Nature.""

    Permanently or is that changeable? :crazy:
    The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes.

  • "how we see it" here means "how we think about it"
  • MaryAnne said:

    My goodness, you guys over-think things way too much..... ;)

    Truly. What's wrong with chopping wood and carrying water?
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    robot said:

    MaryAnne said:

    My goodness, you guys over-think things way too much..... ;)

    Truly. What's wrong with chopping wood and carrying water?
    Nothing... But we all need a break every now and then.

  • I wish I could read all of that text, but it is a bit intimidating.
  • I can't even understand the small part I read. :(
  • Are you Robes from aol, xabir?
  • @xabir, do you find mind to be a blankness? A blankness void of form, color, size, etc?

    If so and it is a blankness then how do we establish it as EITHER changing OR unchanging? If we establish it as either then we have to give it an essence.

    I'm trying to read your posts and I hope I am not way off track. Thank you for your visit to our humble forum. :thumbsup:
  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited November 2013
    I think Buddha's way is actually very different to many other religions in that many promise some eternal peace in form of a soul or primordial consciousness kind of unimaginable thingy, but the Buddha said no, such things are impermanent also and really the only permanent 'thing' is the cessation of birth and death, the end of a beings existence who was otherwise bound up in the round of being reborn. The problem then is many people don't want to see that or can't accept that as the highest peace and because of that I personally belief Buddhism took on (and still takes on) ideas from outside religions, essentially watering down the teachings or in some cases even totally washing away the message.
  • @Sabre, what happens in your feelings when someone else interprets the dharma wrong according to you? One thing I do is to remember that they have the same characteristics of mind ie Buddha nature and so I don't have to correct them. They are already on the path and they may be getting benefit despite a wrong view here or there or anywhere.
  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited November 2013
    Hi @Jeffrey

    Well, Buddha nature is a term I don't see the Buddha himself having used, so that'd be another thing. ;) Although I get the idea and I do look at people in a similar fashion.

    But in general towards a person I don't feel a particular way about it, except perhaps a bit of a sorry feeling for the lack of appreciation of nirvana as just cessation. I am also not one who would jump into threads that are discussing certain ideas that I don't agree with, except when explicitly asked for other's opinions like this one. Wrong views exist on many levels and I think we all have our own to work with. Intellectual views may not be the hardest ones for many people so I'm also not really worried on a personal level, because it's mainly 'views' on the level of attachments toward things that we have to work with, as I see it. (Although of course intellectual views and deeper 'views' tend to blend together somewhat)

    Perhaps I am more worried about what I see as the original message getting snowed under. But then again, the Buddha warned that his teachings would eventually get lost, so I shouldn't hold onto it as if it would last forever anyway.

    And I must say (I wanted to post this before) that I personally had a hard time finding people who think about nirvana the way I do - the way I think it was meant by the Buddha. Yes, here and there people on the internet talk about it this way, but in reality it was not so easy to find for me and often I got disappointed. Perhaps I'm unintentionally projecting this disappointment in some way here. But I did find people with the same views in the end, so it's ok. ;)

    With metta!
  • Thanks for discussing that with me.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    Sabre said:

    "how we see it" here means "how we think about it"

    Or, it could mean that "how we see it" means "how can we explain it to someone else with words" (even though it really can't be expressed with words) without going all crazy zen master style and just putting a shoe on your head and walking away. :lol:
  • xabirxabir Veteran
    edited November 2013
    "do you find mind to be a blankness? A blankness void of form, color, size, etc?

    If so and it is a blankness then how do we establish it as EITHER changing OR unchanging? If we establish it as either then we have to give it an essence.

    I'm trying to read your posts and I hope I am not way off track. Thank you for your visit to our humble forum."

    From personal experience, when all gross waking sensory or thoughts subside, there can be a direct apprehension of Awareness aware of itself, as an illuminating void of Pure Presence. It has no shape, color, size, it is just pure and total Presence-Awareness. I experience this at times in my deep sleep too (I have experienced non-dual clear light both in deep sleep and dreams) and it is incredibly blissful.

    At the I AM stage of realization, this illuminating void Presence is being reified into some sort of an ultimate ground of being. Think of it as like the ocean floor itself. You experience the depth of Being as if it is the ocean, the ground underlying all waves, and it is seemingly unaffected while waves come and go.

    But as your practice evolve you begin to realize that all waves are the ocean, they are the pristine Awareness itself - same taste, same essence! There is no subject-object separation or a perceiver separate from perception. There is no more attachment to waveless ocean or clinging to an ocean as a background behind the waves.

    But later an even clearer insight arises, an insight into anatta arises and realizes that there is in each manifestation only that manifestation, no other you/agent/seer/mind... you realize there is no 'mind' apart from 'mental activity'. Everything is an activity, a manifestation, complete and self-luminous in itself. It is not that the ocean is one and inseparable with a wave, but the ocean is always a waving at any given instance (even a seemingly calm and quiescent one)! No transient manifestation (including the void-presence) is any more ultimate than any other.

    Even waveless ocean is also an activity! 'Presence-Awareness void of form, color, size" is also just another mind activity, and a transient sight and sound is equally of a single taste, present, self-luminous and self-aware! (Note that even this is not the one taste of the inseparability of luminosity and emptiness)

    Awareness is not some ground of being underlying anything... it is a whole foreground activity complete in itself... The initial direct apprehension of Presence (as formless void) is just the direct apprehension of the sixth sense, the mind, and even that too is a foreground activity (not a background substratum). There can equally be a direct apprehension of self-luminosity of all senses. It is just that the dualistic and inherent view (that sees in terms of a seer-seeing-seen) is preventing this from happening but when we realize non-dual and anatta this becomes very clear. Every experience is equally intensely vivid and alive in gapless intimacy. Even this is the beginning, one later penetrates into twofold emptiness and realizes the emptiness of Presence/appearance.

    At the "I AM" level, there is direct apprehension of Presence as a formless void, that is just the mind door... one later extends this luminous taste to all senses, and furthermore realizes its empty nature of that Presence/appearance. Then that is the beginning of having correct understanding of Buddha-nature, the inseparability of luminosity and emptiness. Not just skewing to the luminous clarity aspect.

    To answer your question directly: nowadays I do not see Mind as merely formless and colorless, I see the fabric, texture, colours and forms of Awareness/Mind.

    As the third karmapa said, Rangjung Dorje

    Mind is no mind--the mind's nature is empty of any entity that is mind
    Being empty, it is unceasing and unimpeded,
    manifesting as everything whatsoever.

    p.s. impermanence is the nature of everything, it does not require establishment. In this thoroughgoing flux there is no arising, abiding or cessation*

    * Steve Hagen:

    .....What Nagarjuna is pointing to is that believing things are impermanent involves a contradiction. First we posit separate, persisting things (in effect, absolute objects); and then we refer to them as impermanent (that is relative). What we fail to see is that we are still holding to a view of substance. We don't really appreciate the thoroughgoing nature of change, the thorough-going nature of selflessness.

    We don't really appreciate the thoroughgoing nature of change, the thorough-going nature of selflessness. Nagarjuna makes it abundantly clear that impermanence (the relative) is total, complete, thoroughgoing, Absolute. It's not that the universe is made up of innumerable objects in flux. There's Only flux. Nothing is (or can be) riding along in the flux, like a cork in a stream; nothing actually arises or passes away. There's only stream.

    ..... That forms appear to come and go cannot be denied. But to assume the existence of imaginary persisting entities and attach them to these apparent comings and goings is delusion....
  • EvenThirdEvenThird NYC Veteran
    edited November 2013
    @sabre -I'm very interested I'm your interpretation of nirvana. If you wouldn't terribly mind, would you post more about that, or send me a message?
  • xabirxabir Veteran
    edited November 2013
    Mind and thought/sensation/sight/experience is synonymous. There never actually is a Mind behind anything. When a thought manifest, thought is the experiential reality. From that viewpoint, there is no Mind-there is only thought (and sight-sound-smell-taste-touch)! In other words, Mind/Being/Presence/Awareness isn't off in the background somewhere, waiting for the thought to stop in order to apprehend itself. Mind is that thought/sight/sound/smell/taste/touch, totally! No other reality exists. No seer, thinker, doer apart from sight/thought/action. Just total exertion of everything. Even 'formless Presence' is also just this total foreground exertion and inseparable from causes and conditions. Presence-Awareness is always inseparable from causes and conditions and have no inherently existing/independent nature.

    But after that direct apprehension of Presence, a dualistic view kicks in by subtly referencing back to that previous non-dual experience and turning it into a background absolute underlying everything. Until further insights into non-dual, anatta and emptiness to clarify and purify oneself of all erroneous views and delusions.

  • Regarding Nirvana, I think this description is very complete in all aspects and based thoroughly on what the Buddha taught (scroll to 'recognition of cessation' somewhere in the middle, but the whole article is damn good):
  • @xabir the question remains how we establish something as permanent or impermanent given that it would result in giving a nature or essence to that object. I understand that there are NO objects in flux. Not one object it is all flux. But if you pick out something and say "this is changing" or "this is not changing" then you have posited a nature to a non-existing object.

    I think more foundational is to say there is nothing to be found than to say 'if there is a thing it would not be a thing'.

    I'm hoping I understand a bit of what you said! Glad to have you here.
  • xabirxabir Veteran
    edited November 2013
    Saying that it is impermanent leads to an important insight as long as it is not reified into "something being impermanent" (which is merely a concept of impermanence and not the direct apprehension-experience-insight of impermanence which leads to release)

    This leads to complete groundlessness, self-releasing and traceless experience. In the manner described in

    "The Buddha's Teaching of impermanence is not a feeling about things and it is not theoretical. It is not something that happens to things, let alone something that might or might not happen to things. It is how things always are. Stainlessness is not a mystical shining void, a special place, a special experience. It is what each and every moment already is...

    ... Each day the sun rises and sets; the moon appears and vanishes as the sun rises again. The sky is blue and bright and then clouds gather and shower the earth with rain or snow or hail. The earth shifts, mountain ranges grow and recede, shorelines change. Beings are born and die, wave after wave after wave of beings coming and going. What could be solid in any of this? How could you be solid when your experience shows you the obvious impermanence of all things? How could it be possible that any state you experience could be solid in the midst of all of this impermanence?
    I was once speaking with the Roshi about my father, now long dead, about his life, the things he thought important and commented on how strange it is that we struggle and endure and hope and fear and in the end nothing remains. The Roshi said , “Like an equation written on water, vanishing even as it's being written”.
    Zazen is not just a matter of changing this or that about ourselves. It exposes us to and reveals the fact that change is what we always already are.

    ...You feel sensations, but attention does not need to follow them. Just feel. You notice a thought and you don't need to look further into it. Just open to the experience of whole bodymind sitting on the cushion. Now. And now. Pleasant sensations, unpleasant sensations are felt, bright, distinct, gone. And now? What does it actually feel like to sit here in this moment of stainlessness?
    All experiences are stainless when attention is not distorted. All dharmas arise, dwell and decay as one's world. Penetrate each moment of experiencing. Penetrate this moment of breathing; penetrate this wall, this floor, this mind, this world. When you get up from the zafu and walk, you are still walking in this world. All beings are met, all events are rising and falling and this penetration into one's world is the essence of our practice. Our practice is not separate from the world. Our practice is the practise of mind stainlessly arising as world and world stainlessly arising as mind."

    Vivid clear non-dual crystal clarity is nothing solid, has no ground, and self releases upon inception! That is the kind of apprehension we should have in practice.
  • .
    .. Each day the sun rises and sets; the moon appears and vanishes as the sun rises again. The sky is blue and bright and then clouds gather and shower the earth with rain or snow or hail. The earth shifts, mountain ranges grow and recede, shorelines change. Beings are born and die, wave after wave after wave of beings coming and going. What could be solid in any of this? How could you be solid when your experience shows you the obvious impermanence of all things? How could it be possible that any state you experience could be solid in the midst of all of this impermanence?
    I was once speaking with the Roshi about my father, now long dead, about his life, the things he thought important and commented on how strange it is that we struggle and endure and hope and fear and in the end nothing remains. The Roshi said , “Like an equation written on water, vanishing even as it's being written”.
    Zazen is not just a matter of changing this or that about ourselves. It exposes us to and reveals the fact that change is what we always already are.
    Beautiful. Are those your words?
  • No it is by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho. I think "Stainless" + "Tada" (another article - should be a pretty complete summary of my practice.
  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited November 2013
    EvenThird said:

    @sabre -I'm very interested I'm your interpretation of nirvana. If you wouldn't terribly mind, would you post more about that, or send me a message?

    Hi, @EvenThird

    I'd be happy to, thanks for asking. First let me say a bit about the word nirvana being a noun. I think often it is more useful to see it as a verb that means 'cessate' or 'go out'. In the Buddha's language a fire 'nirvanaed' when it went out. This is important to know so we don't objectify nirvana into a thing or place or more dangerous: a state of consciousness. Also, often it may be more useful to say what nirvana is not, because trying to describe it in terms of what it is, is bound to create wrong ideas.

    Then also good to know: there is a separation between two 'nirvanas' - two stages of things going out. First the nirvana of an enlightened being who is still alive and second the nirvana after death. The two are not the same. This separation is in the texts (there are some other uses of the word, but I'll leave them out of here) and really it should be quite obvious, but people often forget it. The first one is the 'going out' of craving, anger and misunderstanding (delusion). This 'first nirvana' is often not where people in my eyes really misinterpret things (although it does happen), but also it is not the most important because of course it is all about what happens after death.

    More important to understand is the second nirvana, also called the final nirvana or in my words: the final going out, the final cessation. Here people come up with terms like primordial consciousness, the true self, the featureless awareness, the ground of being, things like that (which apparently often need to be capitalized ;) ). But I say no to all of that. First of all I personally think these terms say nothing and second of all (and more important) the Buddha clearly said ALL consciousness/awareness is impermanent - meaning it can all end.

    And there we have the answer to what the final nirvana is: you can see it as the final going out of consciousness. Because consciousness is gone, of course no other parts of a being can survive either; there is no will, there is no perception. I'm tempted to say nirvana is nothing, but then we get people saying "the nothingness" and objectifying that into something it is not. (more accurate would be to say because there is no will, there is no consciousness, but that's another thing)

    Intellectually it is not hard to understand like this and the Buddha never said it was. He said it is difficult to realize though, hard to accept this is really the highest happiness. The problem is people attaching to consciousness in whatever form. But that's Brahmin/Hindu ideas and the Buddha refuted those on multiple occasions.

    If you read the Buddha's direct teachings with this idea in mind, and neglect later commentary, you'll probably find it is very, very direct and clear. Passages like this (a reformulation of the four noble truths) leave no mystery. Perhaps other than the question "how can this be the goal of the path?", but that's a question coming from attachment. :)
    And whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, having thus directly known the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of consciousness, through revulsion towards consciousness, through its fading away and cessation, are liberated by nonclinging, they are well liberated.
    You see how it is so straightforward yet so deep? Why I started off in this thread saying how this is so different from what other religions teach? But the mind resists this. It creates fantasies. It denies impermanence. It does everything to see some permanence somewhere, just so it can survive. That's why we need real deep meditation to start to see all of this. To see there is no 'ground of being' we can rely on. To see that everything is unreliable and ready to fall apart. Like we were relying on a house made of cards.

    Wow I created a wall of text. Sorry. Also sorry @Jeffrey ;)

    Hope this helps anybody.

    Kindness to all living beings,
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited November 2013
    I can scale those walls of texts I just need to not freak out when I see them. My mind is so much more clear on my medicines though there is a price of painful dead body feeling. Thanks for your explanation @Sabre. I think the difference between your saying and the yogacara is that (in the yogacara) there is a 7th and 8th consciousness in addition to senses/mind. I don't know too much about the matter.

    I don't know what I would say about nirvana. In awareness there is always time and space, but we misunderstand time and space. So there is a timelessness and a spacelessness, but the appearance (we see) always has a time and place. I think the image of nirvana as a place is a teaching to appeal to the intuitive sense of our feeling. We are beings who exist in space,,, we enjoy dancing and walking and traveling... we enjoy the impermanence of our feelings; how could they stay the same? As Thich Nhat Hanh says if not for impermanence our bodies couldn't eat food and excrete. So Nirvana as space I feel is to help our intuitive mind.
  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran
    edited November 2013
    i opened this thread seeing nearly 30 replies - but the scroll-bar size was so small, that i just thought of scrolling to bottom - seems like it shall take me nearly 5 to 6 hours for reading all that - but i will read all that, though later as currently there is work in office - thank you all for sharing your knowledge - @xabir thanks for your detailed explanations - will go through all that and then come up with questions.

    in the mean-time, if you all want, you all please continue your discussion wherever you are on it. i am learning from you all and may be theoretically i may try to understand whatever you all have said and may be i may not be able to even understand what you all said above, due to me being a stupid ignorant person.

    as far as my thinking goes - i like the Hsin Hsin Ming's sayings in which it says basically to realize non-duality by no attachment towards anything and no aversion towards anything - even though i am far from it, and my meditation as you all may know is a mess, but these days i just sit.

    as far as this thread title is concerned regarding how we see it - i meant what we think about it or how we perceive this thing to be based on our understanding and analyzing in our thinking.
  • :clap:

    Good thread tasty as cyber apple pie. Yum. Can you smell the caramelised, cinnamon, apply goodness? Delicious. Yet empty.

    In a similar way we cling to projections, instead of enjoying their arising puff pastry.

    . . . and now back to the whipped cream . . . ;)
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