Author Topic: Jonangpa  (Read 10157 times)

Offline TashiNyima

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #60 on: July 25, 2010, 07:54:33 pm »
I suspect that what TashiNyima calls "radical Zhentong" is the idea that all phenomenal are of the Buddha Nature, not just sentient and enlightened beings. One of my teachers said, "Not an atom in the universe vibrates that is not powered by love."

Is that what Jonangpas call "radical Zhentong"?

Dear Friend

om svasti

Through the three centuries of the persecution of the Jonang and the banning of our texts in Tibet, most references to zhentong were polemical attacks by the proponents of rantong (self-emptiness). While the lineage survived in the easternmost regions of Tibet and on the Chinese side of the border, conditions were not suitable for maintaining the pristine teachings of the Omniscient Dolpopa.

Moreover, the designated 'leader' of the Jonangpa through these three centuries, the officially recognized (by the 5th Dalai Lama) 'reincarnation' of Jetsun Taranatha, was (and is to this day) the supreme head of the Gelukpa in Mongolia. As you can well imagine, the doctrine suffered greatly from these circumstances.

It was the great Rime (non sectarian) teachers who, in the 19th and 20th centuries, revived interest in zhentong. However, because they were not Jonangpas by training, ordination, or conviction, their zhentong was admixed with much philosophical genuflection to the dominant Gelukpa Prasangika view, and is much closer to the doctrines espoused by many Karma Kagyupas to this day, such as the Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.

When Jonangpas speak of "radical zhentong", we mean the undiluted teachings of the Omniscient Dolpopa, as expressed in The General Commentary, Mountain Dharma, and The Fourth Council, and the elucidations of Jetsun Taranatha.

The view to which you refer is a doctrine of the Huayan (Avatamsaka) school (end of the Sui and beginning of Tang dynasties in China, c. 600-700 C.E.), that is not found in our teachings, since the Jonang view is that all apparent phenomena are self-empty. Having no intrinsic existence, phenomena cannot possess Buddha Nature. Only Buddha Nature itself is established, or other-empty.

mangalam

Offline TashiNyima

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #61 on: July 25, 2010, 08:17:49 pm »
This has renewed my interest in Buddhism. I felt that there had to be a soul. I also like your view of the guru/disciple relationship being a friendship, walking side by side. We won't get into my disappointment in gurus, not Buddhist ones.

Can you tell me what sutras you base the belief in a soul on? I would like to read them, and I want to learn more, but I am not very good with reading deep things unless it is mysticism. I have put down many a Buddhist book because it was hard to understand, but I often wonder if my belief in the soul and a Consciousness of Love, that I always called God, not the Christian God, was preventing me from even trying to understand.

Dear Friend

om svasti

EH MA HO  I am happy that your interest in the teachings of the Victor are renewed, and at the same time saddened that you have suffered disappointments in your previous experiences with the Dharma.

Although we do not speak of a 'soul' as such (the term has specific connotations, particularly in the Christian context of the West), we do not hesitate to speak of Pure Self. The term is used frequently and unabashedly in the Mah?y?na Mah?parinirv??a S?tra, Tath?gatagarbha Sutra, ?r?m?l?-S?tra, Anunatva-Apurnatva-Nirde?a S?tra, Angulimaliya S?tra, Ratna-gotra-vibh?ga (Uttaratantra), and many others.

The fundamental texts of the Jonang tradition are Maitreya's Five Treatises, Vasubandhu's Twenty and Thirty Verses, Arya Nagarjuna's In Praise of the Dharmadhatu, and the Omniscient Dolpopa's The General Commentary, Mountain Dharma, and The Fourth Council. Although these are dense texts, the Jonang rely more on oral transmission and meditation practice than on conceptual elaborations.

I would recommend reading The Buddha from Dolpo, by Cyrus Stearns, which provides an accessible introduction to the Jonang view, and includes translations of the two shorter texts by Dolpopa.

I would be happy to correspond with you further at your convenience, either here, or privately.

mangalam
Tashi Nyima


Offline TashiNyima

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #62 on: July 25, 2010, 08:27:46 pm »
Question for the Jonangpas here....Aside from practice of Kalachakra, and view of Shentong, could you provide more detail regarding daily practice...It's my understanding that the Shangpa lineage practices were somehow intertwined with the Jonang lineage, and Taranatha wrote many of the manuals and sadhanas for the Shangpa practices.   Are these practiced currently in Jonang centers, as well?

Dear Friend

om svasti

As in other lineages, the practices of individual Jonangpas vary according to the instructions received from the Root Lama. There is no one standard practice for everyone.

However, there are some common practices, such as Ngondro, and the Six-branch Vajrayoga. Vajrasattva and Tara practices are very frequently performed as well. Text recitation, in particular of Dolpopa's The General Commentary, is also most frequent.

You will also find Jonangpas who practice most of the anuttara yogas present in other schools, and --as you correctly indicate-- the sadhanas written by Jetsun Taranatha continue to be practiced.

mangalam

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #63 on: July 25, 2010, 10:56:05 pm »
Question for the Jonangpas here....Aside from practice of Kalachakra, and view of Shentong, could you provide more detail regarding daily practice...It's my understanding that the Shangpa lineage practices were somehow intertwined with the Jonang lineage, and Taranatha wrote many of the manuals and sadhanas for the Shangpa practices.   Are these practiced currently in Jonang centers, as well?

Dear Friend

om svasti

As in other lineages, the practices of individual Jonangpas vary according to the instructions received from the Root Lama. There is no one standard practice for everyone.

However, there are some common practices, such as Ngondro, and the Six-branch Vajrayoga. Vajrasattva and Tara practices are very frequently performed as well. Text recitation, in particular of Dolpopa's The General Commentary, is also most frequent.

You will also find Jonangpas who practice most of the anuttara yogas present in other schools, and --as you correctly indicate-- the sadhanas written by Jetsun Taranatha continue to be practiced.

mangalam
So it sounds like Jonangpas are more Mahamudra oriented than Dzog Chen, right?
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 santamonicacj

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #64 on: July 25, 2010, 11:45:54 pm »
The view to which you refer is a doctrine of the Huayan (Avatamsaka) school (end of the Sui and beginning of Tang dynasties in China, c. 600-700 C.E.), that is not found in our teachings, since the Jonang view is that all apparent phenomena are self-empty. Having no intrinsic existence, phenomena cannot possess Buddha Nature. Only Buddha Nature itself is established, or other-empty.
So then is Buddha Nature completely disconnected from apparent phenomena? In the other thread about debate you say that (with liberal paraphrasing) the desire for enlightenment is itself an indication of the presence of Buddha Nature in sentient beings.
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 Thao

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #65 on: July 26, 2010, 04:36:22 am »
Thank you so much, TashiNyima. I will email you later, not sure when, but will bring up somethings here for all to read:

You wrote:


Although we do not speak of a 'soul' as such (the term has specific connotations, particularly in the Christian context of the West), we do not hesitate to speak of Pure Self.

What is the difference in the Christian and in the Pure Self? Is the Pure Self what Hindus call Atman? I think I can understand Atman better than the Christian concept.

Looked up the Christian: The soul is often believed to exit the body and live on after a person’s death, and some religions posit that God creates souls.

The soul has often been deemed integral or essential to consciousness and personality, and may be synonymous with spirit, mind or self.[3] Although the terms soul and spirit are sometimes used interchangeably, soul may denote a more worldly and less transcendent aspect of a person.



Offline Thao

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #66 on: July 26, 2010, 04:46:40 am »
I am having to reply in two parts. for some reason the reply page keeps messing up. i try to write and it jumps so i can't see what i am writing, but only when i use italics.

What I believe, and i could be wrong, is that we have a soul, but that our soul is also the atman. that when we die our consciousness still exists. and then i read, "Consciousness, wherever it is found, is considered a symptom of the soul." And, "Atman refers to the non-material self, which never changes. It is distinct from both the mind and the external body."

I am clarifying what I mean, not that I don't know that you know this.

I always felt that when Buddha said, the soul is not this, the soul is not that, that it meant that the soul was something, just not those things. And I remember reading the Tath and what I read make me believe that it was speaking of a soul.

What is Pure Soul in the Jonanpa tradition?

Offline TashiNyima

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #67 on: July 26, 2010, 06:26:58 am »
Thank you so much, TashiNyima. I will email you later, not sure when, but will bring up somethings here for all to read:

You wrote:


Although we do not speak of a 'soul' as such (the term has specific connotations, particularly in the Christian context of the West), we do not hesitate to speak of Pure Self.

What is the difference in the Christian and in the Pure Self? Is the Pure Self what Hindus call Atman? I think I can understand Atman better than the Christian concept.

Looked up the Christian: The soul is often believed to exit the body and live on after a person’s death, and some religions posit that God creates souls.

The soul has often been deemed integral or essential to consciousness and personality, and may be synonymous with spirit, mind or self.[3] Although the terms soul and spirit are sometimes used interchangeably, soul may denote a more worldly and less transcendent aspect of a person.




Dear Friend

om svasti

The term 'soul' is usually associated with a belief in creation, which would make it impermanent (that which has a beginning, also has an end) and dependent (meaning, it has no inherent existence).

When the New Jonang speak of Pure Self, we refer to the essential identitity, which is neither created nor dependent, but purely permanent. That is one difference.

The other is that in many (not all) branches of Christianity, 'soul' is used to express an embodied spirit. We understand that, whether embodied or not, the Pure Self is fully established.

The Hindu concepts (there are many versions) of atman are somewhat closer to our view, with the significant distinction that in Hinduism, the atman is individual, whereas the New Jonang view understands the Pure Self to be neither individual nor plural. In its essence (dharmakaya), Pure Self is non-dual, pristine wisdom. By nature (sambhogakaya), Pure Self expresses all Divine Qualities and Activities. In manifestation, Pure Self expresses unlimited love and compassion.

mangalam

Offline TashiNyima

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #68 on: July 26, 2010, 06:33:42 am »

I always felt that when Buddha said, the soul is not this, the soul is not that, that it meant that the soul was something, just not those things. And I remember reading the Tath and what I read make me believe that it was speaking of a soul.

What is Pure Soul in the Jonanpa tradition?

Dear Friend

om svasti

Pure Self, in the Jonang view, is one of the Four Marks of Ultimate Reality:

True Purity: the luminous clarity of emptiness, free from subject, free from object

True Self: pristine non-dual identity, endowed with all the qualities of enlightenment (the ten forces, the four guarantees, the four perfect awarenesses, and the eighteen unshared qualities)

True Bliss: non-referential, non-temporal, and non-local

True Permanence: spontaneous compassion

The truth body (dharmakaya) is permanent by essence.
The glorious body (sambhogakaya) is permanent by nature.
The manifest body (nirmanakaya) is permanent by continuity.

mangalam

Offline Thao

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #69 on: July 26, 2010, 07:34:10 am »
Oooooh, the "soul" is impermanent in Christianity. I didn't realize that, but then now that I think of it the Bible says that "the soul that is sinning, it itself will die," which causes confusion, and with that, being created, then I don't believe in that definition of  soul. While I think that the Universe had a beginning, I think that Consciousness always existed. I  believe that Consciousness created the material Universe. (Is this too one of your beiefs?) Soul always existed to me, and I can understand when you said that Pure Self is non dual.

I will keep your comments.  I like how Pure Self is described not only as Love, but Wisdom, Compassion, etc.

Offline TashiNyima

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #70 on: July 26, 2010, 04:36:30 pm »
While I think that the Universe had a beginning, I think that Consciousness always existed. I  believe that Consciousness created the material Universe. (Is this too one of your beiefs?) Soul always existed to me, and I can understand when you said that Pure Self is non dual.

I will keep your comments.  I like how Pure Self is described not only as Love, but Wisdom, Compassion, etc.

Dear Friend

om svasti

The material universe, being impermanent, arises in dependence on the karma of ordinary beings. In that sense, it has a beginning. However, there is no way to determine what is its duration, since karma is, in a sense, beginningless.

While i'm sure this is just a question of semantics, Jonangpas use the term 'consciousness' to mean an afflicted (deluded) mental function. Consciousness is always 'consciousness of something'. There can be no consciousness without an apprehender and an apprehended, or a subject and an object. This is the very essence of duality, which gives rise to the concepts of self and other, 'me' (aham) and 'mine' (mamata). From these concepts arise attachment, aversion, and indifference, the three root poisons.

We thus prefer the term 'wisdom' (jnana) --and more specifically, 'pristine non-dual wisdom'-- when describing the ground or basis of all phenomena and individual persons, to avoid identifying duality as a real existent.

mangalam
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 04:38:21 pm by TashiNyima »

Offline Thao

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #71 on: July 27, 2010, 07:00:57 am »
Hi,

The first paragraph is real clear to me.

I can see how Consciousness can be dual in that creation is dual.

I am deeply thinking about what "wisdom" would be. Ever how deep it is that I think. Would not it be a type of Consciousness or is Consciousness only active when it is creating?

This Love that mystics feel is a Consciousness, and in some of the quantum mechanic books I have they say that we have an Aware Universe that Consciousness is in everything. But if a person becomes enlightened, would not this person want to live in bliss, which some I have heard tell me is Love? and would not this be Awareness and Wisdom? If it isn't Conscious then it would not know it existed, and if it didn't know this, then I would not wish to be enlightened. It feels like it would be better to be on this earth helping others.

I just feel that there has to be a Consciousness beyond the individual, beyond this Universe.

Am I making sense on what I am asking?

Offline TashiNyima

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #72 on: July 27, 2010, 07:22:17 am »
Dear Friend

om svasti

We are just using different terminology. We distinguish wisdom (or non-dual awareness) from consciousness, because the latter always implies a dualism of subject and object.

Are enlightened beings blissful? Certainly? Are they self-conscious? No. In fact, being self-conscious is an impediment to the fullness of bliss. While enlightened beings are aware of other's perceptions, they do not share in their delusions.

Let me give an example that might make this a bit more clear, although please bear in mind that an example is never to be confused with the ultimate truth of what is exemplified.

The compassion of ordinary beings has a subject (their view of themselves), an object (their view of the recipient of compassion), and an action (their view of the compassionate act). An enlightened being spontaneously acts for the welfare of others, without willfully considering him/herself, the recipient, or the act.

For example, if someone's hand is being burnt on a hot stove, an ordinary being (the subject) might feel compassion for the person being hurt (the recipient), and move that person's hand away from the stove (the compassionate act). This is conscious compassion.

An enlightened being will achieve the same result without reference to those three, just as when we inadvertently place our own hand on a hot stove, we (as subjects) need not feel compassion for the hand (as a separate being) before removing it from the stove (the act). It is an automatic, spontaneous response. There is no consciousness of separation.

In the same way, the bliss of an enlightened being is spontaneous, without the conscious thought "I am blissful."

mangalam

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #73 on: July 27, 2010, 09:28:16 am »
Dear Friend

om svasti

We are just using different terminology. We distinguish wisdom (or non-dual awareness) from consciousness, because the latter always implies a dualism of subject and object.

Are enlightened beings blissful? Certainly? Are they self-conscious? No. In fact, being self-conscious is an impediment to the fullness of bliss. While enlightened beings are aware of other's perceptions, they do not share in their delusions.

Let me give an example that might make this a bit more clear, although please bear in mind that an example is never to be confused with the ultimate truth of what is exemplified.

The compassion of ordinary beings has a subject (their view of themselves), an object (their view of the recipient of compassion), and an action (their view of the compassionate act). An enlightened being spontaneously acts for the welfare of others, without willfully considering him/herself, the recipient, or the act.

For example, if someone's hand is being burnt on a hot stove, an ordinary being (the subject) might feel compassion for the person being hurt (the recipient), and move that person's hand away from the stove (the compassionate act). This is conscious compassion.

An enlightened being will achieve the same result without reference to those three, just as when we inadvertently place our own hand on a hot stove, we (as subjects) need not feel compassion for the hand (as a separate being) before removing it from the stove (the act). It is an automatic, spontaneous response. There is no consciousness of separation.

In the same way, the bliss of an enlightened being is spontaneous, without the conscious thought "I am blissful."

mangalam

An act may be natural or instinctive, as an expression of compassion, but can Bliss ever be spontaneous, lacking in cause which gives rise to it?  Bliss itself is surely not spontaneously proactive or reactive, arising or disappearing - it is a constant state in an enlightened being which is why no subject/object process is required.   

My experience with a few different groups leads me to conclude that whatever they are supposed to believe as Gelugpas, having proven a view through logical discourse, there is actually a wide range of views based on experience, and also an understanding that the Madhyamaka Prasangika is of little practical use except as a gateway through which one is introduced to such practical applications of that constantly moving 'reality' through Highest Yoga Tantra.   On a mundane level, understanding of the logic of Madhyamaka Prasangika is far from experiential 'knowledge' of ultimate truth.

Offline Thao

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Re: Jonangpa
« Reply #74 on: July 27, 2010, 09:32:30 am »
Thank you TashiNyima,

Your explanation of this is so clear. It certainly changed my view.

 


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