Author Topic: Is Bodhi essential?  (Read 1798 times)

Offline Arya-Shraman

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Is Bodhi essential?
« on: February 17, 2010, 03:14:15 am »
Friends,

Bodhi , in context of meditation, is variously referred to as 'awareness' ,'mindfulness' ,'the watcher of mind', 'the faculty of observation/insight' etc.


During meditation we use this Bodhi(awareness) to observe breath ,contemplate on a deity or emptiness(shoonyata),Buddha nature and/or for other such particular methods pertaining to traditions .

1.Now is this Bodhi in itself trustworthy? or to say is it devoid of three marks of samsaric existence (viz non-self ,suffering and impermanence)  ?
Is such bodhi separate from mind?

2.Considering the thesis of dependent origination such Bodhi itself has a dependent existence then how could it be devoid of three marks?And In that case how could it be used as a means for a definite insight into nature of these marks?The chances of the observer being as deluded as the observed.

3. is there a difference between the Bodhi of a Buddha and Bodhi of not-a-buddha-yet ? If yes then what is it (or who is it) that decides and observes this difference?

4.Can mindfulness lead to mindlessness?

Offline lowonthetotem

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Re: Is Bodhi essential?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2010, 08:15:28 am »
Let me start by saying that this is something that I have been contemplating as well in the light of recent readings on Yogacara.  Please don't consider what I am about to write as a definitive answer, or even an answer to any of the questions that you pose.  This is something I am working through myself and appreciate the opportunity to organize my thoughts on the subject.  I'd appreciate anyone pointing out inaccuracies.

From what I understand, bodhi-citta is different than mere mindfulness and/or awareness, in the general sense, although these latter states of mind help us to cultivate bodhi-citta.  In Yogacara, there are three aspects of what we may consider "mind," aside from the five sense consciousnesses.  There is the thinking and perceiving mind which uses the other sense consciousnesses as its base.  This is the mind that perceives, objectifies, and then names sensory data.  There is the manas, which is the consciouness that is prone from its inception to establish identity and a concept of permanance in the self (which is mistaken).  It has the ultimate base of being, the storehouse consciouness, as its base, which is mistakenly perceived is permanent and unchanging.  The storehouse consciousness is what undergoes transmigration from one life to the next, and is considered the ultimate ground for being and although it is long lived, for lack of a better word, it is neither permanent nor unchanging.

It is said that we cannot truly perceive this storehouse consciousness, which is the storehouse of our karmic seeds, with our other two mind faculties and that the manas is/are constantly tainting our perceptions of it by establishing selfness with regard to the storehouse.  In order to establish the bodhicitta, or awakened mind, we have to move past this selfness/selfishness, which is considered nearly impossible at the worst and very difficult at best.  In my experience with my teachers, Bodhicitta has been described, in a general way, as compassion, that is establishing the needs of others in a way that is more primary than our own needs.  This has been the practical explanation that I've received on how to establish Bodhicitta, although compassion, in the mundane sense, should not be confused with Bodhicitta in an ultimate sense, or enlightenment.

I am sorry if this does not go far in answering your questions, which seem vcery far reaching, but I hope someone will let me know if I've made any mistakes in this description.

Offline Arya-Shraman

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Re: Is Bodhi essential?
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2010, 12:34:59 pm »
No replies .May be these questions are too idiotic for the taste of This sangha. Anyway, Metta.

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: Is Bodhi essential?
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2010, 08:06:54 pm »
Arya,

As I understand it, the True Mind is Bodhi Nirvana, which is the Deathless, which is the Buddha nature - these terms are synonymous.  The Buddha nature is unconditioned and as such, it is the unborn, unformed, uncreated, unproduced.

During meditation, we use mindfulness (sati) to observe the meditation object.  But the Buddhanature functions whether we are mindful or not.

Dependent origination describes the arising and cessation of suffering with avijja (ignorance) at the first link.  Ignorance conditions sankhara, which then conditions vinnana... etc... till we get sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair (i.e., suffering) as the last link.  It basically describes birth and death and applies to the conditioned realm (the realm of arising and cessation, the realm of birth and death, creation and destruction).  One way of seeing it is that it says that when you have birth, what will eventually follow is decay and death - the decay and death is where the suffering lies.

The Buddha nature though is not conditioned.  As such, it is not dependent on anything.  It's like a pure, unsupported awareness.  It is beyond birth and death and as such, Dependent arising of suffering (i.e., the first half of Dependent Origination) does not affect it.  Because the Buddha nature was never born, how can it ever die?  In this sense, it is the Deathless and so, anicca and dukkha do not affect it.

 


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