Author Topic: is buddhahood impermanent?  (Read 712 times)

Offline loopix

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is buddhahood impermanent?
« on: May 03, 2017, 12:52:20 am »
once buddhahood is attained, can it be lost?

Offline loopix

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Re: is buddhahood impermanent?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2017, 03:33:39 am »
bumping this thread and hoping for replies.  :headbow:

Offline francis

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Re: is buddhahood impermanent?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2017, 04:37:12 am »
once buddhahood is attained, can it be lost?

Hi loopix,

The short answer is no.
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: is buddhahood impermanent?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2017, 12:52:46 pm »
once buddhahood is attained, can it be lost?

My understanding is that Buddhahood (enlightened Mind) is never lost, so it cannot be "attained" either. However, it can appear to be gained and lost, repeatedly, due to illusion and ignorance.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Pixie

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Re: is buddhahood impermanent?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2017, 02:24:56 pm »

My understanding is that Buddhahood (enlightened Mind) is never lost, so it cannot be "attained" either. However, it can appear to be gained and lost, repeatedly, due to illusion and ignorance.

Lost by whom or what ? I'm not sure what what you're inferring in those two sentences, would you elaborate please ?


_/|\_
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 02:29:05 pm by Pixie »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: is buddhahood impermanent?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2017, 04:39:54 pm »

My understanding is that Buddhahood (enlightened Mind) is never lost, so it cannot be "attained" either. However, it can appear to be gained and lost, repeatedly, due to illusion and ignorance.

Lost by whom or what ? I'm not sure what what you're inferring in those two sentences, would you elaborate please ?
_/|\_
I think those two sentences are pretty basic Mahayana Buddhism -- that the BuddhaMind is inherent in everything and it is not like a "thing" that can be lost and found again. Thus it's said that there is no actual difference between a Buddha and an ordinary person. That can be a hard thing for a Buddhist to accept without actually seeing it.

I used the word appear because that's what gain or loss is -- appearance. Same with "whom" or "what."

A common analogy is the sun (BuddhaMind) covered by clouds (appearances or illusion). But it's also an illusion that Mind and appearances are separate. I suspect you already know all that, from having studied Tibetan Buddhism.

I could "elaborate" forever, but it would never really capture what is beyond "appearances." That can only be known firsthand.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline francis

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Re: is buddhahood impermanent?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2017, 06:13:28 pm »
once buddhahood is attained, can it be lost?

Hi loopix,

The short answer is no.

Hi loopix,

The long answer is Mahayana bodhisattvas that reach the eighth bhumi (Immovable) are said to be "irreversible", because there is no longer any possibility that they might blackslide on the path. I’m pretty sure this is equivalent to an anagami (Non-returner) on the Theravada path.
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline Pixie

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Re: is buddhahood impermanent?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2017, 11:00:12 pm »

I think those two sentences are pretty basic Mahayana Buddhism -- that the BuddhaMind is inherent in everything and it is not like a "thing" that can be lost and found again. 


This article by Thanissaro Bhikkhu might be of interest to you: "Freedom from Buddha Nature"

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


and from Ajahn Sumedho:

Quote
.... You're left with just letting go of things rather than holding on to the feeling of a God or Oneness or the Soul or the Subject with capital S, or the Overself, or the Atman or Brahman or whatever - because those are all perceptions and the Buddha was pointing to the grasping of perception. The "I am" is a perception - isn't it? - and "God" is a perception. They're conventionally valid for communication and so forth, but as a practice, if you don't let go of perception then you tend to still have the illusion - an illusoriness coming from a belief in the perception of the overself, or God or the Oneness or Buddha Nature, or the divine substance or the divine essence, or something like that.

Like with monism - monistic thinking is very inspiring. "We're all one. We are one - that's our true nature - the one mind." And you can talk of the universal mind and the wholeness and the oneness of everything. That's very uplifting, that's the inspiration. But non-dualism doesn't inspire. It's deliberately psychologically non-inspiring because you're letting go of the desire for inspiration, of that desire and need and clutching at inspiring concepts. This doesn't mean that those concepts are wrong or that monistic thinking is wrong; but the Buddha very much reflected the attachment to it. So, you're not an annihilationist saying there's nobody, nothing, no subject, but by non-dualism, you just let go of things till there's only the way things are.

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books3/Ajahn_Sumedho_Question_Time.htm

 


and a discussion from several years ago: "What does Buddha Nature mean?

https://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/showthread.php?623-What-does-quot-Buddha-Nature-quot-mean



_/|\_
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 11:41:43 pm by Pixie »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: is buddhahood impermanent?
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2017, 02:29:06 am »
Thanks all for the links. My current view is that we are all born with a latent ability to see things as they are for ourselves, but, before it has chance to develop properly, we are socialized into seeing things in other ways. Consequently we have to undo all of this by meditating and following the path, before we can get back to what could have been. Once we see things as they are, we understand in a somewhat fundamental way, a bit like going home. You can never unsee it, so it is with you for the rest of your life. However, you don't have to do anything with it, such as becoming a teacher, which is why some enlightened people traditionally have just wandered off, never to be seen again.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: is buddhahood impermanent?
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2017, 12:02:54 pm »
Hi Pixie,

I'll read those links when I have time. I think I'm already very familiar with both sides of that story. It really comes down to no-concepts, no discrimination, no-duality, mu, neither eternalism or nihilism, etc, etc. As Suzuki Roshi said "Not two and not one."

Most of those arguments are dualistic reactions, or "skillful means" if you prefer. The Buddha was reacting to the prevailing attachment to a reification of the absolute in "Brahman." But there's always a tendency in such reactions to go to far to the other side.

The point is to get to a direct experience by letting go of all conceptual thinking and conditioned views.

Quote
This doesn't mean that those concepts are wrong or that monistic thinking is wrong; but the Buddha very much reflected the attachment to it. So, you're not an annihilationist saying there's nobody, nothing, no subject, but by non-dualism, you just let go of things till there's only the way things are.

In my experience when there's really not two and not one, we arrive at interdependent-origination and we're back to the one mind of emptiness. I think the world very much needs to realize that deeper oneness right now. Both one and two.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: is buddhahood impermanent?
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2017, 10:10:08 pm »
In zen the term “BuddhaNature” is not limited just to sentient beings, but includes everything, even things that are usually considered inanimate and insentient such as Mountains and rivers, rocks and grasses -- nothing can possibly be left out except in our discriminating minds, which cut up reality and form all sorts of dogmatic opinions and personal attachments. Even good Bhikkhus are not immune to that tendency.

I think it’s interesting that the concept of “interdependent origination” goes back to early Vedic times, long before Buddhism came on the scene, yet it appears to be accepted by all the schools of Buddhism.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Pixie

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Re: is buddhahood impermanent?
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2017, 10:49:42 pm »
In zen the term “BuddhaNature” is not limited just to sentient beings, but includes everything, even things that are usually considered inanimate and insentient such as Mountains and rivers, rocks and grasses -- nothing can possibly be left out except in our discriminating minds, which cut up reality and form all sorts of dogmatic opinions and personal attachments. Even good Bhikkhus are not immune to that tendency.

I think it’s interesting that the concept of “interdependent origination” goes back to early Vedic times, long before Buddhism came on the scene, yet it appears to be accepted by all the schools of Buddhism.

In Tibetan Buddhism, 'Buddha Nature' is described as "Unrealised  enlightened mind, the essential nature of all sentient beings," which wouldn't make much sense if it was applied to a rock or a pile of horse shit. The term doesn't exist in Theravada.

"Interdependent Origination" isn't a term used in Theravada . The historical Buddha taught about Dependent Origination - Paticcasamuppada.

This is an excellent 24 minute talk about it from Ajahn Amaro:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-wIGlgmgpY

_/|\_
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 10:52:48 pm by Pixie »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: is buddhahood impermanent?
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2017, 09:30:33 am »
In zen the term “BuddhaNature” is not limited just to sentient beings, but includes everything, even things that are usually considered inanimate and insentient such as Mountains and rivers, rocks and grasses -- nothing can possibly be left out except in our discriminating minds, which cut up reality and form all sorts of dogmatic opinions and personal attachments. Even good Bhikkhus are not immune to that tendency.

I think it’s interesting that the concept of “interdependent origination” goes back to early Vedic times, long before Buddhism came on the scene, yet it appears to be accepted by all the schools of Buddhism.

In Tibetan Buddhism, 'Buddha Nature' is described as "Unrealised  enlightened mind, the essential nature of all sentient beings," which wouldn't make much sense if it was applied to a rock or a pile of horse shit. The term doesn't exist in Theravada.

"Interdependent Origination" isn't a term used in Theravada . The historical Buddha taught about Dependent Origination - Paticcasamuppada.

This is an excellent 24 minute talk about it from Ajahn Amaro:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-wIGlgmgpY

_/|\_


I'm not very familiar with Tibetan buddhism. I prefaced my statement with "In zen."

You haven't noticed that everything is alive and interconnected, especially horseshit?

Paticcasamuppada, or "dependent origination," as I noted, apparently originated earlier in the Vedas, and shows up in every school of Buddhism -- but is interpreted in widely different ways. I'm only familiar with the Theravada view of it from reading the Visuddhimagga, which I'm still working on.

I like the approach Hue-yen Buddhism takes, which is more "interdependent" (another translation). To paraphrase what I wrote on a previous discussion here -- everything is intimately interconnected and the whole is each part and each part, no matter how small, is the whole and can awaken to that reality. How is that possible? By virtue of emptiness (one mind).
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Pixie

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Re: is buddhahood impermanent?
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2017, 10:26:39 am »
 
Quote from: Zafrogzen
I'm only familiar with the Theravada view of it from reading the Visuddhimagga, which I'm still working on.

Whoa! good luck with that lengthy tome. I've never been interested enough to attempt it myself, reading the occasional quote from it has been more than enough.

I sent you a PM, by the way.

_/\_



May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: is buddhahood impermanent?
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2017, 10:39:58 am »
In zen the term “BuddhaNature” is not limited just to sentient beings, but includes everything, even things that are usually considered inanimate and insentient such as Mountains and rivers, rocks and grasses -- nothing can possibly be left out except in our discriminating minds, which cut up reality and form all sorts of dogmatic opinions and personal attachments. Even good Bhikkhus are not immune to that tendency.

I think it’s interesting that the concept of “interdependent origination” goes back to early Vedic times, long before Buddhism came on the scene, yet it appears to be accepted by all the schools of Buddhism.

In Tibetan Buddhism, 'Buddha Nature' is described as "Unrealised  enlightened mind, the essential nature of all sentient beings," which wouldn't make much sense if it was applied to a rock or a pile of horse shit. The term doesn't exist in Theravada.

"Interdependent Origination" isn't a term used in Theravada . The historical Buddha taught about Dependent Origination - Paticcasamuppada.

This is an excellent 24 minute talk about it from Ajahn Amaro:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-wIGlgmgpY

_/|\_

If we're  taking about Buddhahod, the becoming of  a Buddha,is not something we usually find in Theravada.  They stopped listening after the Buddha turned the wheel of Dharma for the second time.  That's  fine.  No one need practice beyond their understanding.  However, this means that Theravadin teachings really don't  have a place in the realization of Thagathagarba.  That doesn't mean that a Theravadin can't  take part in such discussions, but to say that something like "Buddha Nature isn't  a part of Theravadin teachings", while correct,  does nothing to move the discussion forward. 

According to Mahayana teachings the Buddha taught Interdependant Origination.  He also taught E
mptiness, and Buddha Nature.

 


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