Author Topic: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind  (Read 2116 times)

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2018, 04:00:42 am »
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.


Good advice, and you can support pretty much any position with some judicious quote-mining.  Though of course you are a poster too.  :teehee:

A couple of interesting comments from the Wiki article on Sunyata:

According to Matsumoto Shiro and Hakamaya Noriaki, the idea of an ontological reality of the Buddha-nature is an un-Buddhist idea:[68] Their "Critical Buddhism" approach rejects what it calls "dhatu-vada" (substantialist Buddha nature doctrines)

Buddhism is based on the principles of no-self and causation, which deny any substance underlying the phenomenal world. The idea of tathagata-garbha, on the contrary, posits a substance (namely, tathagata-garbha) as the basis of the phenomenal world. [Matsumoto Shiro] asserts that dhatu-vada is the object that the Buddha criticized in founding Buddhism, and that Buddhism is nothing but unceasing critical activity against any form of dhatu-vada.[70]

The critical Buddhism approach has, in turn, recently been characterised as operating with a restricted definition of Buddhism. Paul Williams comments:

At least some ways of understanding the tathagatagarbha contravene the teachings of not-Self, or the Madhyamika idea of emptiness. And these ways of understanding the tathagatagarbha were and are widespread in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Yet by their own self-definition they are Buddhist.[71]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5%ABnyat%C4%81
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Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2018, 04:04:24 am »
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.

Religion does seem very much concerned with latching on to explanations for "spiritual" experiences, creating an ontological framework for subjective insights.   
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Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2018, 04:46:11 am »
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.

Religion does seem very much concerned with latching on to explanations for "spiritual" experiences, creating an ontological framework for subjective insights.
Yes, most religions that survived did so because they could impose their explanation on what is fundamentally an individual experience. Most then made sure that people followed their explanation, without the need for individuals to go through the experience themselves. "We did it for you so you don't have to" or "It's not possible for ordinary people to go through such an experience" or "Not possible in this lifetime" or some such phrase. The social cohesion arising from such a strategy enabled those societies to be more successful.
“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 paracelsus

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2018, 05:45:42 pm »
Ice is water, but we can't drink ice without its condition changing.

To quote Hui-neng (again):

"If your nature is deluded,
Buddha-hood is Ordinary being.
If your nature is enlightened,
Ordinary being is Buddha-hood."

In this equation there is neither loss nor gain, no intercedence from a "higher power", no addition and no remainder.

So how does Amida Butsu effect the miracle of saving sentient beings? I don't know but:

Perhaps it helps the ordinary being to relax and drop its determination to achieve salvation "for itself", which by definition risks an assertion of "self". Open-ness to faith in "Other Power" may help some beings to allow their self obsession to fade and lose dominance, thus allowing self and other to merge, as it were.

The Buddha urged us, due to the inevitability of suffering in Samsara, to "seek your own salvation, with diligence".
Amida's promise is that since all samsara is impermanent, so too is suffering. It is by the dropping away of the conditions that bring about suffering that we achieve our liberation. Giving up the Lordship of "Self Power" to integration with "Other Power" may for some be just the way to do it. For others it may not.

Happy practice to all.




Offline zafrogzen

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2018, 11:28:37 am »
I have to confess that the concept of "One Mind" comes closest to capturing my own rather limited meditative insights. It's probably a case of whatever form is thought of appearing in that very form.

The "One Mind" is not exactly a noun but more like a verb, since it actively produces all forms. It's the form in "form is emptiness, emptiness is form." Although it is empty, it's the source of everything, similar to the way one can have an apparently real experience while dreaming -- except that the One Mind is beyond concepts like individual or collective. Since it is also a concept itself, it's just an inadequate word pointing to something that cannot be grasped conceptually. Better to leave some things unspoken.

« Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 11:39:29 am 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 Dairy Lama

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2018, 02:33:37 am »
The "One Mind" is not exactly a noun but more like a verb, since it actively produces all forms. It's the form in "form is emptiness, emptiness is form." Although it is empty, it's the source of everything, similar to the way one can have an apparently real experience while dreaming -- except that the One Mind is beyond concepts like individual or collective. Since it is also a concept itself, it's just an inadequate word pointing to something that cannot be grasped conceptually. Better to leave some things unspoken.

So you think of "One Mind" like a "ground of being", the source of all things? 

As for "form is emptiness, emptiness is form", I understand it to mean that form is conditional ( empty ), and that conditionality ( emptiness ) is only expressed as form and the other aggregates - so emptiness is just a quality of the aggregates, and not a metaphysical "thing". ( see teachings on "emptiness of emptiness" ).
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Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2018, 11:45:29 am »
I have to confess that the concept of "One Mind" comes closest to capturing my own rather limited meditative insights. It's probably a case of whatever form is thought of appearing in that very form.

The "One Mind" is not exactly a noun but more like a verb, since it actively produces all forms. It's the form in "form is emptiness, emptiness is form." Although it is empty, it's the source of everything, similar to the way one can have an apparently real experience while dreaming -- except that the One Mind is beyond concepts like individual or collective. Since it is also a concept itself, it's just an inadequate word pointing to something that cannot be grasped conceptually. Better to leave some things unspoken.

I think it's an adjective, a desperate attempt to describe what one goes through during insight experiences when oneness is experienced. Personally I think that language breaks down when attempting to recreate what happened afterwards, which is why many leave such things unspoken. Not that I agree with them.
“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 Chaz

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2018, 12:11:57 pm »
I have to confess that the concept of "One Mind" comes closest to capturing my own rather limited meditative insights. It's probably a case of whatever form is thought of appearing in that very form.

The "One Mind" is not exactly a noun but more like a verb, since it actively produces all forms. It's the form in "form is emptiness, emptiness is form." Although it is empty, it's the source of everything, similar to the way one can have an apparently real experience while dreaming -- except that the One Mind is beyond concepts like individual or collective. Since it is also a concept itself, it's just an inadequate word pointing to something that cannot be grasped conceptually. Better to leave some things unspoken.

 :jinsyx:

But does it actively produce form or is it the merely(?) the basis of everything and other forces (karma?) produce form from that basis and form retains the one mind's essential emptiness with all other considerations mere appearance and illusion?
« Last Edit: November 30, 2018, 12:16:14 pm by Chaz »

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2018, 12:15:54 pm »
So you think of "One Mind" like a "ground of being", the source of all things?
I used to, but now I don't think about it much unless I'm trying to put it into words. When my meditations are strong I see it clearly, even if only momentarily, but the peace and happiness lingers.

This morning everything was crisp and fresh after an overnight rain.

Conditioned or unconditioned, samasara or nirvana. You can't have one without the other. Those are just more dead words. It's what you see before you right in this moment.


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 #24 on: November 30, 2018, 01:33:50 pm »
I have to confess that the concept of "One Mind" comes closest to capturing my own rather limited meditative insights. It's probably a case of whatever form is thought of appearing in that very form.

The "One Mind" is not exactly a noun but more like a verb, since it actively produces all forms. It's the form in "form is emptiness, emptiness is form." Although it is empty, it's the source of everything, similar to the way one can have an apparently real experience while dreaming -- except that the One Mind is beyond concepts like individual or collective. Since it is also a concept itself, it's just an inadequate word pointing to something that cannot be grasped conceptually. Better to leave some things unspoken.

 :jinsyx:

But does it actively produce form or is it the merely(?) the basis of everything and other forces (karma?) produce form from that basis and form retains the one mind's essential emptiness with all other considerations mere appearance and illusion?

I don’t know. It could “actively produce form” in line with causes and conditions (karma?) while still being empty and essentially illusory.
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 #25 on: December 14, 2018, 12:30:44 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.

Earlier DF posted the quote below on this thread, where Japanese Zen Master Bassui mentions Amitabha.

Quote
Shinran Shonin would agree with the following words of Master Bassui Tokusho:

"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."

Shinran taught that Amida is a upaya-symbol for the one Dharmakaya, rather than a literal flesh and blood Buddha.

However, that quote is followed by these words of Bassui --

Quote
But just as one must progress from shallow to deep by degrees, so is it a blessing for beginners, either deluded or obtuse, to recite sutras enthusiastically or to invoke the names of Buddhas. Fot them it is like getting on a raft or boat as a first step. But if they do not yearn to reach the shore of realization, contenting themselves to remain forever on the raft, they only deceive themselves. Shakyamuni Buddha underwent many austerities yet failed to attain Buddhahood. After this he did zazen for six years, giving up everything else, and at last realized this One-mind.

The One Mind is intrinsically bright and unblemished, in it there is no distinction of Buddha and sentient beings. But its clarity is hidden by delusive thoughts just as the light of the sun or moon is obscured by clouds. Yet such thoughts can be dispelled by the power of practicing zazen, the same way that clouds can be dissipated by a blast of wind. Once they vanish, the Buddha Nature reveals itself, just as the moon makes its appearance when clouds disappear.

« Last Edit: December 14, 2018, 10:58:53 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 Pixie

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2018, 02:51:18 am »
Quote from: Zafrogzen
The One Mind is intrinsically bright and unblemished, in it there is no distinction of Buddha and sentient beings. But its clarity is hidden by delusive thoughts just as the light of the sun or moon is obscured by clouds.



I am reminded of the following:


Luminous :Pabhassara Suttas  (AN 1:50–53)


“Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements.”

“Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements.”

“Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn’t discern that as it has come to be, which is why I tell you that—for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person—there is no development of the mind.”

“Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it has come to be, which is why I tell you that—for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones—there is development of the mind.”

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN1_50.html



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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 paracelsus

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2018, 07:49:34 pm »

The statement: “There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind” prompts the question:
Is there Mind apart from Buddha?
If so, “Mind Only” has to be a false assertion.
If not, the original statement stands.

Then why is my mind so apart from Buddha Mind? (See Pixie's post)

People happily practicing their Nembutsu or their Zazen or whatever, I hope will find out one day, as they say: "in a flash!"

Whatever their practice is, it won’t matter in the least.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2018, 10:14:53 pm »

Whatever their practice is, it won’t matter in the least.

That hasn’t been my experience at all. In fact, without meditation practice there is no realization -- or even flash experiences of insight. One will forever feel apart.

« Last Edit: December 18, 2018, 10:23:09 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 paracelsus

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Re: There is No Buddha Apart from the Mind
« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2018, 05:34:59 pm »

Whatever their practice is, it won’t matter in the least.

That hasn’t been my experience at all. In fact, without meditation practice there is no realization -- or even flash experiences of insight. One will forever feel apart.

I was comparing Pure Land with Zen as paths and saying it wouldn't matter which when one experiences realisation. Although the two practices differ the results are reportedly the same. (I’m playing an ambassador for peace here, since there seems to be some competitive animosity between posters of Zen and Pure Land comments.) If they’re not the same, one of them can’t be “right”

There’s a saying, (if we can take a "saint" to be an enlightened mind):  “If two philosophers agree, one of them isn’t a philosopher. If two saints disagree, one of them is not a saint”.

As for no realisation without meditation, I’m not so sure. The issue may be whether one recognises the experience and can make good of it. I think therefore instruction on the subject and meditation practice is necessary to understand and integrate realisation to avoid it simply becoming lost or subsumed.  There are examples I’ve read of enlightened experience/understanding in untrained people (and I’ve been scrabbling around trying to rediscover some, without success, but there is a Japanese word for them).

And "my mind being apart from Buddha Mind" is really a statement about the reality (for myself) of being in a different “state” post meditation when, as Pixie's quote suggests: “incoming defilements” transform or refract the pure luminosity of mind.

Recognition of this refraction allows the vision of the world to be like “… a bubble, a phantasm, a magic show”. The uninstructed or non meditator will be oblivious of this, having no other experience to compare normal experience with, ...

Perhaps.

 


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