Author Topic: "Great Madhyamaka"=Shentong  (Read 2228 times)

Offline santamonicacj

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"Great Madhyamaka"=Shentong
« on: July 05, 2011, 10:00:30 am »
I've decided my posts in the "How to practice Madhyamaka simply" thread to be somewhat off topic, so I thought I'd start another thread that is about Shentong, a.k.a. "Great Madhyamaka" or "Yogacara-Madhyamaka" or "empty-of-other".
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For those that are unfamiliar with the concept, Shentong says that the essence of all beings is their Buddha Nature and it truly exists. Shentongpas (people who hold this view) concede that everything that can be taken as a subject of consciousness is self-empty, just like Nagarjuna and his followers say. But since Buddha Nature cannot be taken as an object of consciousness it can be said to be empty-of-(anything)other than its own pure, undefiled nature.
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I've been reading a lot about it lately so I'm going to just throw out some interesting things I've come across. That way others will not have to invest lots of time and energy in order to appreciate the same things. So these are just ideas I've personally found interesting:

According to Hookam in The Buddha Within the Chinese Tathagatagarbha schools describe Buddhajnana as the totality of all that is, which pervades every part of all that is in its totality. So that means "Ultimate Reality" is more than just the mind of someone that attains Buddhahood--it is everything. However the Tibetan commentators do not develop this theme, preferring to reserve it for their Vajrayana Tantric commentaries where Buddhajnana is finally described not only as the essence of beings but also of all things. (p37) So this is Tantric Shentong view as opposed to Sutric Shentong view which says Buddha Nature refers only to one's mind.

Also I've come across several references in different books that say Shentong is not accessible through conceptual mind but only through faith. In Hookam there is a reference on p 32.


« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 10:05:22 am by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline White Lotus

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Re: "Great Madhyamaka"=Shentong
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2011, 08:12:13 am »
it can be said to be empty-of-(anything)other than its own pure, undefiled nature.

it was said by Ashvaghosa in the Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana that emptiness contains many excellent qualities and that for this reason emptiness can be called non-empty. Kaizan calls this non empty emptiness. my own feeling differs... i am more in favour of the lankevatara sutras. "even imaglessness is seen not to exist". there is "not a thing" of Wei Lang. "there is from the beginning not a thing, so where is there for the dust to cling."

the myriad qualities of emptiness are in themselves empty... merely appearances. so... emptiness is just empty. and yet cut myself and i appear to bleed. it hurts!

the undefiled nature of emptiness is undefiled because it is empty of all things, even its attributes are empty. i cannot however say that it is empty of itself. this is since buddha nature or own nature is experienced within the subject. ichantika on the other hand... annihilation of buddha nature results in dissapearance of the subject. buddha nature becomes only objective. (this is later teaching and very shocking to some, however it must be noted that buddha nature in this case only ceases within the subject and is still objectively seen.)

also i cannot deny that buddha nature is seen because it glimmers once seen.

there may be evolution of nature after the primary experience of buddha nature, however all subsequent natures are really still only the original nature that was first seen. this is becase all subsequent natures are the same emptiness. this is because  basically only emptiness exists regardless of the quality of the buddha nature. subjective buddha nature can be annihilated, however any subsequent nature still remains originally empty.

that means "Ultimate Reality" is more than just the mind of someone that attains Buddhahood--it is everything. once buddha nature has been and is seen one realizes that there is no inifinite, no one, nor many. all things are buddha nature. originally empty, and always empty. it is everything and yet... not a thing. not nothingness, not anythingness and yet all things at the same time.

Shentong is not accessible through conceptual mind but only through faith. emptiness is understood by the conceptual mind, but that does not mean that every one sees it. faith is always helpful, but seeing own nature/emptiness is rational and does not in any way require faith. it is a seeing. directly... that as i type at this computer my seeing the computer is no different from my being the one who types at the computer. seeing is being. there is no difference.

best wishes, Tom.

im sorry, i have to say this... but even the radiance of buddha nature is emptiness. it has no nature. the truth of buddha nature is that it has no self, only the appearance of self perhaps in being subjective as well as objective, but ultimately... nope. no self. and yet we can call this true self. this seeing, but it would be more accurate to call it N

Offline Karma Dondrup Tashi

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Re: "Great Madhyamaka"=Shentong
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2011, 06:22:43 am »
IMHO Hookham's book is really a really great explanation of all this.
[size=90]what I want is a view. Hannibal Lecter[/size]

Offline francis

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Re: "Great Madhyamaka"=Shentong
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2011, 05:40:48 am »
IMHO Hookham's book is really a really great explanation of all this.


You can also learn much from reading A Review of The Buddha Within 
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

 


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