Author Topic: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?  (Read 8158 times)

Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« on: July 02, 2013, 08:12:32 am »
Everyone Feel free to read and add your own quotations from the sutras, or ask any questions you may have on the subject.

[Queen Srimala Sutra] 8-9. The Dharmakaya and the Meaning of Void-ness
"Lord, the cessation of suffering is not the destruction of Dharma. Why so? Because the Dharmakaya of the Tathágata is named 'cessation of suffering,' and it is beginning-less, un-create, unborn, undying, free from death; permanent, steadfast, calm, eternal; intrinsically pure, free from all the defilement-store; and accompanied by Buddha natures more numerous than the sands of the Ganges, which are non-discrete, knowing as liberated, and inconceivable. This Dharmakaya of the Tathágata when not free from the store of defilement is referred to as the Tathágata-garbha.


[Nirvana sutra] CHAPTER TWELVE: ON THE TATHAGATA-DHATU
V417.   “Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! Is there Self in the 25 existences or not?" The Buddha said: "O good man! "Self" means "Tathagatagarbha" [Buddha-Womb, Buddha-Embryo, Buddha-Nature]. Every being has Buddha-Nature. This is the Self. Such Self has, from the very beginning, been under cover of innumerable defilements. That is why man cannot see it. O good man! [Imagine that] there is a poor woman here. She has true gold concealed in her house. But none of the people of her house, whether big or small, know of it. But there is a stranger, who, through expediency, says to the poor woman: "I shall employ you. You must now go and weed the land!" The woman answers: "I cannot do this now. If you let my son see where the gold is hidden, I will soon work for you." The man says: "I know the way. I shall point it out to your son." The woman further says: "Nobody of my house, whether big or small, knows [of this]. How can you?" The man says: "I shall now make it clear." The woman says further: "I desire to see. Pray let me." The man digs out the gold that had lain hidden. The woman sees it, is gladdened, and begins to respect that person. O good man! The case is the same with the Buddha-Nature which man has. Nobody can see it. This is analogous to the gold which the poor woman possessed and yet could not see. O good man! I now let persons see the Buddha-Nature that they possess, which is overspread by defilements. This is analogous to the poor woman who cannot see the gold, even though she possesses it. The Tathagata now reveals to all beings the storehouse of Enlightenment, which is the Buddha-Nature, as it is called. If all beings see this, they are gladdened and will take refuge in the Tathagata. The good expedient is the Tathagata, and the poor woman is all the innumerable beings, and the cask of true gold is the Buddha-Nature.   


V424.   O good man! The case is the same with all beings. They do not come near to a good teacher of the Way. So, they cannot see the Buddha-Nature which is within, even though they possess it. And they are reigned over by greed, lust, anger, and ignorance. So they fall into the realms of hell, animals, hungry ghosts, asuras, candalas, and get born in such various houses as Kshatriya, Brahmin, Vaishya and Sudra. The karma generated by the mind leads a person, though born a human, into such lives as a cripple, lame, deaf, blind or dumb person, and to the 25 existences, where such as greed, lust, anger and ignorance reign over the mind, and the person is unable to know of the presence of the Buddha-Nature.
V425.   The wrestler says that the gem has gone away, even though it is [actually] in his body. The same with beings, too. Not having come into contact with a good teacher of the Way, they do not know the Tathagata's hidden treasure and do not study selflessness. For example, even when a person is told of the unholy self, he cannot know the true quality of the Self. The same is true of my disciples. As they do not befriend a good teacher of the Way, they practise non-Self and do not know where it [Self] is. They do not know the true nature of selflessness. How, then, could they know the true nature of the Self itself? Thus, O good man, the Tathagata says that all beings possess the Buddha-Nature. This is like the good doctor's making the wrestler see where the adamantine jewel rests. All these beings are reigned over by innumerable defilements and thus do not know the whereabouts of the Buddha-Nature. When illusion is dispelled, there arises knowledge and brightness. This is like the wrestler's seeing the gem in the mirror. O good man! It is thus the case that what rests undisclosed [latent] in the Tathagata is innumerable and is difficult for beings to think about.


V451.   "O good man! Beings are sterile in fortune and do not come across this grass. The same applies to the Buddha-Nature. As defilement overspreds [them], beings cannot see. For example, the water of the great ocean tastes salty all the same, but it contains in it the best of water, as in the case of milk. Also, the Himalayas are perfect in various virtues and produce various medicines, but there are also poisonous herbs. It is the same with the bodies of all beings. There are the four poisonous serpents, but there is also present the great king of all-wonderful medicine. So-called Buddha-Nature is not something that has been made. Only, it is overspread by defilement. Only a person who thoroughly cuts it away, whether he be a Kshatriya, Brahmin, Vaishya or Sudra sees the Buddha-Nature and attains unsurpassed Enlightenment. For example, should the thunder roll in the sky, the clouds disperse and all the tusks of the elephant will be covered with flower-petals. If there is no thunder, the flowers do not come about. Also, this is as in the case where there is no denotative name. The same is also the case with the Buddha-Nature of [all] beings. It is always overspread by various defilements and is not seen. That is why I say that beings do not possess the Self.                                              V443.   One with Wisdom discriminates things and does not say that all is non-eternal. Why not? Because man possesses the seed of the Buddha-Nature. When non-Self is talked about, common mortals say that there cannot be Self in the Buddhist teaching. One who is wise should know that non-Self is a temporary existence and is not true. Knowing thus, one should not have any doubt. When the hidden Tathagatagarbha is stated as being empty and quiet, common mortals will think of ceasing and extinction. “One who is wise knows that the Tathagata is Eternal and Unchanging.” “If Emancipation is stated to be something like a phantom, common mortals say that the person who attains Emancipation is one who wears away to nothingness; a person with Wisdom thinks that he is a man-lion and that, though he comes and goes, he is Eternal and does not change."


[Nirvana sutra] Chapter Three: On Grief
V134.   the Tathagata teaches and says no-self. This is to adjust beings and because he is aware of the occasion. Such non-self is, as occasion arises, spoken of, and it is [also] said that there is the Self. This is as in the case of the learned Doctor, who knows well the medicinal and non-medicinal qualities of milk. It is not as with common mortals, who might measure the size of their own self. Common mortals and the ignorant may measure the size of their own self and say, 'It is like the size of a thumb, like a mustard seed, or like the size of a mote.' When the Tathagata speaks of Self, in no case are things thus. That is why he says: 'All things have no Self.'
V135.   Even though he has said that all phenomena [dharmas] are devoid of the Self, it is not that they are completely/ truly devoid of the Self. What is this Self? Any phenomenon [dharma] that is true [satya], real [tattva], eternal [nitya], sovereign/ autonomous/ self-governing [aisvarya], and whose ground/ foundation is unchanging [asraya-aviparinama], is termed 'the Self' [atman]. This is as in the case of the great Doctor who well understands the milk medicine. The same is the case with the Tathagata. For the sake of beings, he says "there is the Self in all things" O you the four classes! Learn Dharma thus!"


SN 22.59 
Anatta-lakkhana Sutta: The Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic
Thus it was heard by me. At one time the Blessed One was living in the deer park of Isipatana near Benares. There, indeed, the Blessed One addressed the group of five monks.
"Form, O monks, is not-self; if form were self, then form would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding form: 'May my form be thus, may my form not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since form is not-self, therefore form leads to suffering and it does not obtain regarding form: 'May my form be thus, may my form not be thus.'
"Feeling, O monks, is not-self; if feeling were self, then feeling would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding feeling: 'May my feeling be thus, may my feeling not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since feeling is not-self, therefore feeling leads to suffering and it does not obtain regarding feeling: 'May my feeling be thus, may my feeling not be thus.'
"Perception, O monks, is not-self; if perception were self, then perception would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding perception: 'May my perception be thus, may my perception not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since perception is not-self, therefore, perception leads to suffering and it does not obtain regarding perception: 'May my perception be thus, may my perception not be thus.'
"Mental formations, O monks, are not-self; if mental formations were self, then mental formations would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding mental formations: 'May my perception be thus, may my mental formations not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since mental formations are not-self, therefore, mental formations lead to suffering and it does not obtain regarding mental formations: 'May my mental formations be thus, may my mental formations not be thus.'
"Consciousness, O monks, is not-self; if consciousness were self, then consciousness would not lead to suffering and it should obtain regarding consciousness: 'May my consciousness be thus, may my consciousness not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since consciousness is not-self, therefore, consciousness leads to suffering and it does not obtain regarding consciousness: 'May my consciousness be thus, may my consciousness not be thus.'


 SN 22.46 Impermanent (2) pg 885
At Savatthi. "Bhikkhus, form is impermanent.... Feeling is impermanent.... Preception is impermanent.... Volitional formations are impermanent.... Consciousness is impermanent. What is Impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self."
SN 22.68 "Bhikkhu you should abandon desire for whatever is non self"
SN:22.69 "Bhikkhu,you should abandon desire for whatever does not belong to self."


[Nirvana sutra] CHAPTER TWELVE: ON THE TATHAGATA-DHATU
V463.   "Some time later, the Prince who has fled the country returns and becomes King. On ascending the throne, he asks the ministers: 'Have you ever seen the sword?' They reply: 'O great King! Its colour was pure, and it was like an utpala-lotus.' They also answer: 'It was like the horn of a ram.' They further reply: 'It was red and like a fire ball.' They answer,too: 'It was like a black serpent.' Then the King laughs: 'All of you have not, in truth, seen my sword.'
"Noble Son! A Bodhisattva-mahasattva is also like that - he appears in the world and expounds the true nature of the Self. After he has expounded it, he departs, as for example like the prince who takes the wondrous sword and flees to another country. Foolish ordinary people say, 'Everybody has Self! Everybody has Self", like the poor man who, lodging at another's house, cries out, 'The sword! The sword!' Sravakas and pratyekabuddhas ask people, 'What attributes does the Self have?', to which they reply, 'I have seen the attributes of the Self - it is the size of a thumb' or they say, 'It is like [a grain of rice], or 'It is like [a grain of] millet', or there are some who say, 'It is the Self's attribute to abide within the heart, burning like the sun'. In this manner people do not know the nature of the Self, [just] as, for example, the various ministers do not know the nature of the sword.
V464.   While a Bodhisattva discourses thus about the quality of the Self, ordinary people do not but impute various false concepts to the Self, just as when asked about the attributes of the sword the [ministers] reply that it is like the horn of a ram. These ordinary people generate false views in succession from one on to the other. In order to eliminate such false views, the Tathagata reveals and discourses on the non-existence of a self, just as when the prince tells his various ministers that there is no such sword in his treasury. Noble Son, the True Self that the Tathagata expounds today is called the Buddha-dhatu [Buddha-Nature]. This manner of Buddha-dhatu is shown in the Buddha-Dharma with the example of the real sword. Noble Son, should there be any ordinary person who is able well to expound this, then he [speaks] in accordance with unsurpassed Buddha-Dharma. Should there be anyone who is well able to distinguish this in accordance with what has been expounded regarding it, then you should know that he has the nature of a Bodhisattva.

Offline Hanzze

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Re: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2013, 08:20:05 am »

Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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Re: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2013, 09:39:31 am »

Freedom From Buddha Nature
(quotations are his blue is mine)

yes this is a paper by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on his misunderstanding of Buddha nature.

First Thanissaro Bhihhu goes on about how Buddha nature is the view that we are preodained/predestined

Quote
"The Buddha thus based all his teaching on freedom of choice. As he said, if everything were predetermined by the past, there would be no point in teaching a path to Awakening. The number of people who would reach Awakening would already have been set a long time ago, and they would have no need for a path or a teacher. Those preordained to awaken would get there inevitably as a result of a long-past action or an essential nature already built into the mind. Those preordained not to awaken wouldn't stand a chance."


This however is not our view nor is this even taught in the Buddha nature sutras,simply said Thanissaro Bhikkhu doesnt have a clue what he is talking about.

Quote
"But these things are not preordained. No one is doomed never to awaken, but — until you've had your first sight of the deathless at stream-entry — neither is Awakening assured. It's contingent on intentional actions chosen in each present moment. And even after stream-entry, you're constantly faced with choices that will speed up final Awakening or slow it down."


Again this is not our view no Buddha nature follower views the path to Enlightenement as predestination,simply said Bhikkhu Thanissaro has MADE UP and argument an is attempting to refute his own made up argument.

Quote
"Nibbana, of course, is independent and unconditioned; but the act of awakening to nibbana depends on a path of practice that has to be willed. It happens only if you choose to give rise to its causes. This, as the Buddha noted, involves determining to do four things: not to neglect discernment, to preserve truth, to develop relinquishment, and to train for peace."


Now Bhikkhu Thanissaro has actually agreed with us since this is actual Buddha nature teachings
so far as we have read Bhikkhu Thanissaro is actually in agreement with Buddha nature but disagrees with the things he has made up and claims tyo be Buddha nature.


Quote
"This is why the Buddha said that the mind is luminous, stained with defilements that come and go. Taken out of context, this statement might be construed as implying that the mind is inherently awakened. But in context the Buddha is simply saying that the mind, once stained, is not permanently stained. When the conditions for the stains are gone, the mind becomes luminous again. But this luminosity is not an awakened nature. As the Buddha states, this luminous mind can be developed. In the scheme of the four noble truths, if something is to be developed it's not the goal; it's part of the path to the goal. After this luminosity has been developed in the advanced stages of concentration, it's abandoned once it has completed its work in helping to pierce through ignorance."


here Bhikkhu Thanissaro confuses conscouisness for Enlightenment.
we as followers of Buddha nature do not beleive that the conscousness is inherently awakened
we beleive that ENLIGHTENMENT is inherently awakened(which means that ENlightenment is uncondoitioned,independent and has NEVER been anything other than Enlightenment.

as Bhikkhu Thanissaro himself said before
"Nibbana, of course, is independent and unconditioned; but the act of awakening to nibbana depends on a path of practice that has to be willed."
Bhikkhu Thanissaro himself has agreed Nibbana is already awakened(independent and not conditioned upon anything else,Unconditioned)

and again he has stated "But in context the Buddha is simply saying that the mind, once stained, is not permanently stained. When the conditions for the stains are gone, the mind becomes luminous again. But this luminosity is not an awakened nature."

This is what we beleive the consciousness is NOT awakened nature,so Bhikkhu Thanissaro is actually in agreement with us.(we view the consciousness to actually be an impermenant obscuration over the awakened nature)

(the rest of his writing after this is him trying to elaborate upon his previous position, it in itself is refuted due to the fact his previous position is based on misinformation and didn't even describe what Buddha nature was to begin with.)

Quote
"No Innate Nature
This is why the Buddha never advocated attributing an innate nature of any kind to the mind — good, bad, or Buddha. The idea of innate natures slipped into the Buddhist tradition in later centuries, when the principle of freedom was forgotten."


again we don't view the Buddha Nature(Enlightenement obscured by defilements) to be an innate nature of conciousness again hmore mistaken misundertsanding on the authors part

Quote
"If you assume a Buddha nature, you not only risk complacency but you also entangle yourself in metaphysical thorn patches: If something with an awakened nature can suffer, what good is it? How could something innately awakened become defiled? If your original Buddha nature became deluded, what's to prevent it from becoming deluded after it's re-awakened?"


the awakened nature doesn't suffer the impermenant obscuration suffers(impermenant concsiouseness)
the innately awakened doesn't become defiled remember Bhikkhu Thanissaro you your self stated that Enlightenment is independent and unconditioned,it being independednt it has never been anything else but itself(Enlightenment) it being unconditioned it has never been anything but itself and it does not ever change.
we as Buddha nature followers AGREE that which is innately awakened does not become defiled, what is defiled is the consciousness that obscures the Enlightenment.
Enlightenment has always been independent and Unconditioned.


Quote
These points become especially important as you reach the subtle levels of fabrication on the more advanced stages of the path. If you're primed to look for innate natures, you'll tend to see innate natures, especially when you reach the luminous, non-dual stages of concentration called themeless, emptiness, and undirected. You'll get stuck on whichever stage matches your assumptions about what your awakened nature is. But if you're primed to look for the process of fabrication, you'll see these stages as forms of fabrication, and this will enable you to deconstruct them, to pacify them, until you encounter the peace that's not fabricated at all.


EXACTLY as we have been saying all along the peace that IS NOT FABRICATED AT ALL,like we Buddha nature followers have said time and time again Enlightenment is pure and perfect,it has never been defiled and and has ALWAYS been Enlightenment it is not something else. Bhikkhu Thanissaro unintentionally is in agreement with Buddha nature.

Quote
"Exploring Freedom
So instead of making assumptions about innate natures or inevitable outcomes, the Buddha advised exploring the possibility of freedom as it's immediately present each time you make a choice. Freedom is not a nature, and you don't find it by looking for your hidden innate nature."


again Buddha nature has nothing to do with predestination, Bhikkhu Thanissaro has himself unintentionally agreed with the actual position of Buddha nature which is that Enlightenment is and always will be Enlightenment its is (not) defiled,it is independent and unconditioned and it is only OBSCURED by the defilements of our impermenant samsaric consciousness. and that it is not consciousness itself.

so what did we get out of Bhikkhu Thanissaro paper??? we know that Bhikkhu Thanissaro didn't actually take the time to study what Buddha nature is,he didn't provide actual quotes or reference points to SHOW WHAT HE WAS REFUTING,which further shows that he actually MADE UP what "he" "thought" Buddha Nature was then proceeded to refute his own mistaken views.

Offline Hanzze

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Re: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2013, 09:45:44 am »
Well, you seems to have a lot reputation and insight... let us talk about the 12 Steps, I guess that is a better topic for some wholesome actions. It really does not matter, whether you believe in this or that. So how are you? What is moving you so terrible?

Let us talk about your self. You can call it Buddhanature.  Should I call you Buddhanature?

Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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Re: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2013, 10:09:30 am »
Well, you seems to have a lot reputation and insight... let us talk about the 12 Steps, I guess that is a better topic for some wholesome actions. It really does not matter, whether you believe in this or that. So how are you? What is moving you so terrible?

Let us talk about your self. You can call it Buddhanature.  Should I call you Buddhanature?

this thread is about Buddha nature if you wish to start a different thread about the 12 steps then go ahead.

Offline BlueSky

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Re: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 06:33:02 pm »
Btw, which Buddha has self?  :cheesy:
Enlightenment is simply the clearing away of misunderstanding. When mistaken thinking is gone, liberation has happened. (Gampopa)


When we verbally indicate a thing as 'this' or 'that', our words, like rabbits's horns, are hollow names, mere fictive imputation upon what does not exist. (Longchenpa)

Offline songhill

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Re: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2013, 07:34:19 pm »
One of the reasons why I have a problem with Dogen's strange interpretation of Buddhism.

Quote
"Against the traditional Mahayana Buddhist understanding that all sentient beings have Buddha-nature, Dogen strongly emphasizes that all beings are Buddha-nature" (Abe & Heine, A Study of Dogen, page 142).
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 07:36:01 pm by songhill »

Offline BlueSky

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Re: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2013, 07:41:51 pm »
As long as you still have a concept, buddha nature cannot be understood properly.

Buddha nature can only be fully understood within non-conceptual experience.

Within non-conceptual experience, there is no buddha nature, because buddha nature is a concept.

Within that non-conceptual experience, that inexpresibble is foolishly named as buddha nature.

Enlightenment is simply the clearing away of misunderstanding. When mistaken thinking is gone, liberation has happened. (Gampopa)


When we verbally indicate a thing as 'this' or 'that', our words, like rabbits's horns, are hollow names, mere fictive imputation upon what does not exist. (Longchenpa)

Offline BlueSky

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Re: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2013, 07:45:23 pm »
Quote from: songhill
Quote
"Against the traditional Mahayana Buddhist understanding that all sentient beings have Buddha-nature, Dogen strongly emphasizes that all beings are Buddha-nature" (Abe & Heine, A Study of Dogen, page 142).

Actually I just wonder, do you think it is Dogen who is against the Mahayana Buddhist or Abe & Heine that is against Mahayana Buddhist?

Are Abe and Heine full practitioner, full time meditator? Or simply beginner scholars comparing words?

Enlightenment is simply the clearing away of misunderstanding. When mistaken thinking is gone, liberation has happened. (Gampopa)


When we verbally indicate a thing as 'this' or 'that', our words, like rabbits's horns, are hollow names, mere fictive imputation upon what does not exist. (Longchenpa)

Offline Hanzze

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Re: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2013, 08:06:34 pm »
So a non sentient being like a Buddha or a Arahant, has no Buddha-nature, is that right? I find the word "have" lovely.

Offline ground

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Re: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2013, 08:11:48 pm »
Quote
What is Buddha Nature?
An idea that affirms itself, i.e. sense of self merging with an idea or sentience affirming itself in the wake of arisen sense of self.

 :fu:

Offline BlueSky

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Re: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2013, 08:30:04 pm »
So a non sentient being like a Buddha or a Arahant, has no Buddha-nature, is that right? I find the word "have" lovely.

There is a big difference of meaning between:

You have buddha nature, with
You are buddha nature.

Enlightenment is simply the clearing away of misunderstanding. When mistaken thinking is gone, liberation has happened. (Gampopa)


When we verbally indicate a thing as 'this' or 'that', our words, like rabbits's horns, are hollow names, mere fictive imputation upon what does not exist. (Longchenpa)

Offline Hanzze

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Re: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2013, 08:32:59 pm »
I know, the important part is that you are something...  :wink1: and without anything, how could there be.

Offline BlueSky

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Re: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2013, 08:35:18 pm »
I know, the important part is that you are something...  :wink1: and without anything, how could there be.

Because you are not something, then everything is possible.

If you are something, anything is impossible.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 08:38:03 pm by BlueSky »
Enlightenment is simply the clearing away of misunderstanding. When mistaken thinking is gone, liberation has happened. (Gampopa)


When we verbally indicate a thing as 'this' or 'that', our words, like rabbits's horns, are hollow names, mere fictive imputation upon what does not exist. (Longchenpa)

Offline Hanzze

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Re: What is Buddha Nature(Tathagatagarbha)?
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2013, 09:00:20 pm »
No more possibilities might be to modest :wink1:

 


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