Author Topic: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind  (Read 2567 times)

Offline Dharma Flower

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There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« on: November 20, 2018, 06:23:54 pm »
In his Kyogyoshinsho, Shinran quoted Shandao as saying "There is no Buddha apart from the mind." Please compare this to the following words of Rinzai Master Bassui Tokusho:

Quote
The Mind which the Buddhas realized in their enlightenment is the Mind of all sentient beings. The substance of this Mind is pure, harmonizing with its surroundings. In a woman’s body it has no female form, in a man’s body it has no appearance of male. It is not mean even in the body of the lowly, nor is it imposing in the body of the noble. Like boundless space, it hasn’t a particle of color. The physical world can be destroyed, but formless, colorless space is indestructible.

This Mind, like space, is all-embracing. It does not come into existence with the creation of our body, nor does it perish with its disintegration. Though invisible, it suffuses our body, and every single act of seeing, hearing, smelling, speaking, or moving the hands and legs is simply the activity of this Mind.

Whoever searches for Buddha and Truth outside this Mind is deluded; whoever directly perceives that his intrinsic nature is precisely that of a Buddha is himself a Buddha. A Buddha has never existed who has not realized this Mind, and every last being within the Six Realms of Existence is perfectly endowed with it. The statement from a sutra “In Buddha there is no discrimination” confirms this.

Everyone who has realized this Mind, attaining to Buddhahood, wants to make it known to mankind. But men, clinging stupidly to superficial forms, find it hard to believe in this purposeless Dharma-kaya, this pure, true Buddha.

To give it a name Buddhas resort to such metaphors as “Treasure Gem of Free Will,” “Great Path,” “Amitabha Buddha,’” “Buddha of Supreme Knowledge,” “Jizo,” “Kannon,” “Fugen,” “One’s Face before one’s parents were born.” The Bodhisattva Jizo is the guide through the Six Realms of Existence, he being the symbol of the power which controls the six senses.

Every epithet of a Buddha or a Bodhisattva is simply a different designation for the One-mind. If one believes in his own Buddha-mind, it is the same as believing in all Buddhas. Thus in a sutra we read: “The Three Worlds are but One-mind; outside this Mind nothing exists. Mind, Buddha, and sentient beings are One, they are not to be differentiated.” …

Everyone’s Original-nature is not less than Buddha. But since men doubt this and search for Buddha and Truth outside their Mind, they fail to attain enlightenment, being helplessly driven within cycles of birth-and-death, entangled in karma both good and bad.

The source of all karma bondage is delusion, i.e., the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions (stemming from ignorance). Rid yourself of them and you are emancipated. Just as ash covering a charcoal fire is dispersed when the fire is fanned, so these delusions vanish once you realize your Self-nature.
https://sites.google.com/site/esabsnichtenglisch/bassui-tokusho-the-letters?tmpl=%2Fsystem%2Fapp%2Ftemplates%2Fprint%2F&showPrintDialog=1

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2018, 03:54:12 am »
In his Kyogyoshinsho, Shinran quoted Shandao as saying "There is no Buddha apart from the mind." Please compare this to the following words of Rinzai Master Bassui Tokusho:

Quote
This Mind, like space, is all-embracing. It does not come into existence with the creation of our body, nor does it perish with its disintegration. Though invisible, it suffuses our body, and every single act of seeing, hearing, smelling, speaking, or moving the hands and legs is simply the activity of this Mind.

"Mind" here sounds rather like Atman/Brahman, or perhaps the Tao?  Is that the idea?
« Last Edit: November 21, 2018, 03:59:56 am by Dairy Lama »
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Offline zafrogzen

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2018, 11:50:30 am »
Bassui was playing with mud and water (the title of his collected talks). Anytime concepts and words are applied to something beyond concepts and words there are bound to be misunderstandings. It’s like trying to wash off dirt with muddy water.

Bassui's practice was assiduous zazen (meditation) over many decades using the classic Hua tou "Who hears?" from the Surangama Sutra.

An intellectual understanding of the Mind Bassui refers to is of little use and can actually be a hindrance if not accompanied by serious zazen. Connecting the concept to the image of a deity is even more distracting.


« Last Edit: November 21, 2018, 01:15:33 pm by zafrogzen »
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 stillpointdancer

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2018, 04:46:24 am »
Interesting. I think that our 'Original-nature' is there and has always been since we evolved consciousness. We lose it as the process of internalising the prevailing cultural definitions of reality takes over. It is still there, but needs the hard work that zafrogzen spoke about to bring it to the fore. Merely knowing that it's somewhere buried in our minds isn't enough.
“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 Dharma Flower

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2018, 12:25:39 pm »
Shinran Shonin would agree with the following words of Master Bassui Tokusho:

Quote
Everyone who has realized this Mind, attaining to Buddhahood, wants to make it known to mankind. But men, clinging stupidly to superficial forms, find it hard to believe in this purposeless Dharma-kaya, this pure, true Buddha.

To give it a name Buddhas resort to such metaphors as “Treasure Gem of Free Will,” “Great Path,” “Amitabha Buddha,’” “Buddha of Supreme Knowledge,” “Jizo,” “Kannon,” “Fugen,” “One’s Face before one’s parents were born.” The Bodhisattva Jizo is the guide through the Six Realms of Existence, he being the symbol of the power which controls the six senses.

Every epithet of a Buddha or a Bodhisattva is simply a different designation for the One-mind.
https://sites.google.com/site/esabsnichtenglisch/bassui-tokusho-the-letters?tmpl=%2Fsystem%2Fapp%2Ftemplates%2Fprint%2F&showPrintDialog=1

Shinran taught that Amida is a upaya-symbol for the one Dharmakaya, rather than a literal flesh and blood Buddha. This can be found in The Essential Shinran by Alfred Bloom:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9729498-the-essential-shinran

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2018, 02:28:45 pm »
DF,

Bassui didn't realize the "One Mind" through "other power" but through his own prolonged practice of zazen.

How about you? Quotes from other sources are OK as far as they go, but they're like someone else's regurgitated leftovers. Eventually it comes down to one's own practice (if any). That's what I wonder about. What are your personal experiences with pure land or zen practice?
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: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2018, 04:00:53 pm »
"Mind" here sounds rather like Atman/Brahman, or perhaps the Tao?  Is that the idea?

I don’t think that’s “the idea,” but the Mahayana notion of “Mind” is obviously similar. Bassui goes a little bit far towards eternalism while some Theravada teachings sound nihilistic.

To me it looks like anatta or anatman in Mahayana means no individual self or mind, separate from everything else. As for “everything else” -- we’re talking about a subjective realm where labels and concepts are inadequate and misleading.

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 Dharma Flower

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2018, 06:34:33 pm »
In his Kyogyoshinsho, Shinran quoted Shandao as saying "There is no Buddha apart from the mind." Please compare this to the following words of Rinzai Master Bassui Tokusho:

Quote
This Mind, like space, is all-embracing. It does not come into existence with the creation of our body, nor does it perish with its disintegration. Though invisible, it suffuses our body, and every single act of seeing, hearing, smelling, speaking, or moving the hands and legs is simply the activity of this Mind.

"Mind" here sounds rather like Atman/Brahman, or perhaps the Tao?  Is that the idea?

When you read Zen literature, their descriptions of Buddha-nature and the Dharmakaya might sound like Taoism or Hinduism, but it's based on Mahayana scriptures like the Lankavatara Sutra:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La%E1%B9%85k%C4%81vat%C4%81ra_S%C5%ABtra

The most popular sutra in East Asian Buddhism that serves as the basis of belief in Buddha-nature and the Dharmakaya is the Lotus Sutra. If you'd like, I can explain how the Lotus Sutra relates to these concepts.

I would not be surprised if, ultimately, Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism are describing the same Ultimate Truth in different ways:

Quote
The Brahman of the Hindus, like the Dharmakaya of the Buddhists, and the Tao of the Taoists, can be seen, perhaps, as the ultimate unified field, from which spring not only the phenomena studied in physics, but all other phenomena as well.

In the Eastern view, the reality underlying all phenomena is beyond all forms (e.g. beyond a god) and defies all description and specification.

It is, therefore, often said to be formless, empty, or void. But this emptiness is not to be taken for mere nothingness. It is, on the contrary, the essence of all forms and the source of all life."
- Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics
https://books.google.com/books?id=H0pwCjzBW18C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
« Last Edit: November 25, 2018, 06:38:44 pm by Dharma Flower »

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2018, 06:44:07 pm »
Anytime concepts and words are applied to something beyond concepts and words there are bound to be misunderstandings.

Didn't he already address this?

Quote
Everyone who has realized this Mind, attaining to Buddhahood, wants to make it known to mankind. But men, clinging stupidly to superficial forms, find it hard to believe in this purposeless Dharma-kaya, this pure, true Buddha.

To give it a name Buddhas resort to such metaphors as...
https://sites.google.com/site/esabsnichtenglisch/bassui-tokusho-the-letters?tmpl=%2Fsystem%2Fapp%2Ftemplates%2Fprint%2F&showPrintDialog=1


What he's saying here is that, out of compassion and skillful means, the Buddha explains a reality beyond words and concepts using metaphors and symbols, to make that reality accessible to unenlightened beings like ourselves. 

The second chapter of the Lotus Sutra explains this fully:
https://rk-world.org/publications/lotussutra_B2.html

There are instances of the Buddha using upaya or skillful means in the Pali canon as well, but it's fully explained in the Lotus Sutra.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2018, 06:46:43 pm by Dharma Flower »

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2018, 06:48:53 pm »
Interesting. I think that our 'Original-nature' is there and has always been since we evolved consciousness. We lose it as the process of internalising the prevailing cultural definitions of reality takes over. It is still there, but needs the hard work that zafrogzen spoke about to bring it to the fore. Merely knowing that it's somewhere buried in our minds isn't enough.

Mahayana Buddhism teaches that all sentient beings, regardless of their level of consciousness, have Buddha-nature. Dogen went as far as to say that all beings are Buddha-nature.

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2018, 06:51:55 pm »
Bassui didn't realize the "One Mind" through "other power" but through his own prolonged practice of zazen.

In the teaching of Shinran, the One Mind and the Other-Power are one and the same. The image of Amida Buddha and the recitation of his name are a form of skillful means for awakening us to the outworking of the One Mind in our lives. I can explain this in more detail, if necessary.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2018, 04:36:34 am »
To me it looks like anatta or anatman in Mahayana means no individual self or mind, separate from everything else. As for “everything else” -- we’re talking about a subjective realm where labels and concepts are inadequate and misleading.

The ideas being presented here appear to conflict with the Mahayana teachings on sunyata, which negates ultimates, absolutes and "grounds of being".
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Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2018, 12:50:41 pm »
To me it looks like anatta or anatman in Mahayana means no individual self or mind, separate from everything else. As for “everything else” -- we’re talking about a subjective realm where labels and concepts are inadequate and misleading.

The ideas being presented here appear to conflict with the Mahayana teachings on sunyata, which negates ultimates, absolutes and "grounds of being".

It appears that you are taking an extreme approach to Madhyamika philosophy, and applying it to all Mahayana Buddhism. Please look into how Yogacara philosophy has been a counterbalancing influence in the history of Mahayana thought. Please also look into the Tathagatagarbha sutras.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2018, 01:48:25 pm »
To me it looks like anatta or anatman in Mahayana means no individual self or mind, separate from everything else. As for “everything else” -- we’re talking about a subjective realm where labels and concepts are inadequate and misleading.

The ideas being presented here appear to conflict with the Mahayana teachings on sunyata, which negates ultimates, absolutes and "grounds of being".

That was my point -- that latching onto an image or concept, be it "One Mind" or "Amitabha," and imagining that one has figured it all out is to close the door on real experience.

I equate sunyata with meditative samadhi which I see as a distinct mental posture which leads to insight into reality -- as in samatha/vipassana. That insight is a direct experience which is lost as soon as one attempts to express it conceptually. That doesn't mean that there are not myriad ramifications of such an experience which can be expressed and are of great benefit.

« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 01:53:22 pm by zafrogzen »
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 Dharma Flower

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2018, 01:43:17 am »
To me it looks like anatta or anatman in Mahayana means no individual self or mind, separate from everything else. As for “everything else” -- we’re talking about a subjective realm where labels and concepts are inadequate and misleading.


The ideas being presented here appear to conflict with the Mahayana teachings on sunyata, which negates ultimates, absolutes and "grounds of being".


If you haven't read Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, I highly recommend it:
http://www.khamkoo.com/uploads/9/0/0/4/9004485/mahayana_buddhism_-_the_doctrinal_foundations_second_edition.pdf

Please don't just take whatever forum posters say at face value.

 


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