Author Topic: The constituents of a Buddha  (Read 2128 times)

Offline Spinoza

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The constituents of a Buddha
« on: September 18, 2010, 09:26:00 pm »
I'm reading Encountering the Dharma, Richard Hughes Seager's exploration of SG, and was surprised by a quote from an early member of SG quoting Josei Toda, one of the three spiritual fathers of SG.  She recalls in her first meeting with Toda being questioned to the point of frustration.  Toda grows exasperated with her inablity to reach the place he is trying to take her and says: "You are a spirit, are you not?"  When she agrees, he ask for more.  What more are you.  She can't come up with anything more and Toda then jumps in:  "You are spirit, body and life.  These three constitute a Buddha."

In all my reading of Buddhism, I don't recall anything about "spirit" being a constituent part of experience, of being.  What is Toda on about?  Is this something unique to SG?


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Offline heybai

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Re: The constituents of a Buddha
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2010, 09:31:52 pm »
Sounds like the result of poor translation at some point.  Hard to know, but perhaps "spirit" is "consciousness" or perhaps, if there is a Chinese text involved, "qi".

What is "SG"?  Society of Germans?   :cheesy:

EDIT:  Sorry, I only just noticed that this is in the SGI forum.   :smack:
« Last Edit: September 18, 2010, 09:47:34 pm by heybai »

Offline Bodhicandra

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Re: The constituents of a Buddha
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2010, 12:50:28 am »
I agree with heibay that this reads like a weak translation.

I'm guessing now...

In my Vajrayana tradition we speak of everyone (not just already-buddhas) as having three bodies:

Dharmakaya - truth body,
Samboghakaya - bliss / enjoyment body,
Nirmanakaya - emanation / manifestation body.

Beings can exist at the Samboghakaya level, with no physical body, yet be apparent to, and interact with, ordinary humans.

Maybe this is what is being referred to?

Life    == Dharmakaya,
Spirit  == Samboghakaya,
Body  == Nirmanakaya


« Last Edit: September 19, 2010, 02:05:48 am by Bodhicandra »
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Offline santamonicacj

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Re: The constituents of a Buddha
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2010, 08:58:58 am »
Deleted by SMCJ for excessively Tibetan influenced perspective.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2010, 09:07:30 am by santamonicacj »
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 Monkey Mind

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Re: The constituents of a Buddha
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2010, 09:16:12 am »
Deleted by SMCJ for excessively Tibetan influenced perspective.
:cheesy: Thank you. I, too, was chomping at the bit and had to restrain myself. I think the SGI are influenced by other thinkers besides the Buddha. To my knowledge, none here in this forum have this as their practice, so you might need to look elsewhere for guidance (or invite a few devotees to join FS). They used to be active on E-Sangha, but I think they felt persecuted by the other Buddhists and I think they have withdrawn participation in e-forums.

Offline Caz

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Re: The constituents of a Buddha
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2010, 04:44:26 am »
If anyones knows anyone from the SGI who could comment please invite them here  :pray:
http://emodernbuddhism.com/

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Offline Spinoza

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Re: The constituents of a Buddha
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2010, 12:09:47 am »
It could very well be a problem of translation, although the writer is a researcher familiar with Buddhist ideas and terminology.  It appears there may be some SGI people active at New Buddhist, where I've posted the same.

http://newbuddhist.com/forum/
The world would be happier if men had the same capacity to be silent that they have to speak. - Spinoza

Offline Jikan

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Re: The constituents of a Buddha
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2010, 01:14:15 pm »
I don't know the explanation that would be specific to SGI or to Toda. 

I will suggest, though, that "spirit" in this sense refers to the Japanese interpretation of Tathagathagarbha known as hongaku, an interpretation Nichiren endorsed (having learned it from Tendai) and then re-expressed in his own unique way.  The idea is that you are not only inherently a Buddha, but you are in a sense always-already enlightened even though you don't know it or you don't believe it.  See Lotus Sutra chapter 4 on the lost and found son for an accessible textual source for this view.

Hope that helps.
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