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How is bodhicitta different from Buddha nature?

I suppose this is a mahayana and vajrayana thing though anyone who is a sentient being may have a reaction.

I was just thinking what is a particular feeling I have felt at times. I was wondering if it is 'bodhicitta' or 'buddha nature'? And that lead me to wonder what is the difference. This feeling is a sense of beauty at other beings. It may or may not be associated with the mood component of my schizoaffective disorder.

So what is bodhicitta? Awakened mind or heart. And what is Buddha nature? The potential to be a Buddha. Ok it seems awakened heart would be better than a simple 'potential'. But does a Buddha go beyond just 'awake'?

And what anyway is 'awakening' in my experience? Is it only at certain times or even the messy 'shitty' perceptions? Shitty thoughts?

Comments

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    My understanding at this stage is bodhicitta is striving to develop compassion. Making it a top priority in ones life. (I'm sure there are better explanations but that's what I've gathered so far)

    Buddha nature is what we already are but fail to see. Awakening is waking up to our true nature. Of what we fundamentally are.
    It is a realisation that we are not the body/mind complex or ego.

    Through this compassion naturally arises. Or so I'm lead to believe. It makes sense.

    I think a Buddha is completely awake to what he is fundamentally with no more delusions, hate or greed. Where as many people have minor awakenings but the pull of the mind brings them back to believing they are a person.

    With metta
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited January 2015

    I am interested in you saying that we are not the body mind complex? How can this be? What is other than body and mind? I like the idea that a Buddha is awake to what he (or she) is

    Super duper for you to comment :smile:

    Earthninja
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    Hmm this is the tricky part. When I say this I mean of course this body mind is here existing. But there is no "person" behind it. There is no owner of the body mind separate from it.
    No thinker of thoughts, no doer of deeds.

    What we are truly would be really hard to put in words. I used to believe we are pure presence. This was from an experience I had. But I know I am wrong. I can only say what we are not.

    So just to reiterate. Yes there is a body and mind functioning but Jeffrey is not the body mind complex. You cant find Jeffrey if you look for him.
  • Bodhicitta can be cultivated whether or not one is awake. If it is a result of a mental condition, love for ones cat, partner or lama is secondary to its potential as a way into the Heart.

    In a similar way we can engage in cultivation of personal mind traits such as focus/concentration, positive expression (right this and that), intellectual development, reasoning faculty etc.

    All these qualities alleviate suffering and improve our life.

    However Buddha Nature does not have qualities or attributes, we can not improve it. We can 'attain' an awareness of it when the conditions are ripe. Most people are involved in everything but the ineffable. Hence that is where they are.

    So we practice . . . <3

    Earthninja
  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran
    edited January 2015

    My understanding of Dogen's teachings says: Bodhichitta (or awakened mind) has the capacity to realize the potential of Buddha-nature (or impermanence) and realizing Buddha-nature (or impermanence) can lead to cultivation of Bodhichitta (or awakened mind). But @Cinorjer‌/ @seeker242‌ - please help me by correcting me if my this understanding of Dogen's teachings is incorrect? Thanks in advance.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited January 2015

    This is a very good question, @Jeffrey. At first I thought they weren't that much alike, but then I looked up "bodhicitta" online, and here's what came up:

    the mind that strives toward awakening and compassion for the benefit of all sentient beings.

    Etymologically, the word is a combination of the Sanskrit words bodhi and citta. Bodhi means "awakening" or "enlightenment". Citta derives from the Sanskrit root cit, and means "that which is conscious" (i.e., mind or consciousness). Bodhicitta may be translated as "awakening mind" or "mind of enlightenment".

    So they do seem kind of the same. But I would say that bodhicitta can be a manifestation of the Buddhanature we have within, the first awakening of it. And we can cultivate it and expand it.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited January 2015

    One of my favourite quotes of HHDL is,

    'This Buddhism is a matter of the mind', he said pointing to his heart.

  • @misecmisc1 said:
    My understanding of Dogen's teachings says: Bodhichitta (or awakened mind) has the capacity to realize the potential of Buddha-nature (or impermanence) and realizing Buddha-nature (or impermanence) can lead to cultivation of Bodhichitta (or awakened mind). But Cinorjer‌/ seeker242‌ - please help me by correcting me if my this understanding of Dogen's teachings is incorrect? Thanks in advance.

    I really don't know what Dogen's teachings on Bodhicitta might be, other than what Mahayana teachings are in general. What you say sounds about right to me. Buddha Nature is seeing the world with a clear mind. Bodhicitta is the result, a wish (I'd say desire but that brings knee-jerk reactions) for everyone to be happy.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    Going from the explanations here I'd say Buddha Nature is the seed and Bodhicitta is the watering of the seed.
    CinorjerVastmindStraight_ManEarthninja
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