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True Self, Eternal Self

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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby Avisitor on Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:40 pm

fragrant herbs wrote:This following may not have been taught in my sanga, but then I really don't know because I was there getting the basics for 3 1/2 years. But what I just found is that this subject was talked about on Dharma Wheel: http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=80

And I just started reading it and sSo far I found this from the Nirvana Sutra that is in the Pali Canon.

Reading or quoting the sutras is fine.
But, how is your understanding of it??

When the Buddha spoke that we all have Buddha nature, it is said to come from a place where one has reached Nirvana.
When a layman says the same thing, the layman can not present the truth of his Buddha nature to others.
So, are the words less true??
The meaning is obscured. Just like our true nature is obscured by this self we believe ourselves to be.
Disclaimer: There is no intent to be offensive in my posts. None was intended and none should be interpreted as such.
Sorry, got a message that I was not being PC.
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby bubuyaya on Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:22 am

fukasetsu wrote:
bubuyaya wrote:See this single letter "I".
I am 'I", and "I" is Me.

Likewise,
all is Me, and I am all.

Any doubts?
Then that's just the made of you.


You are it, but it is not you

Nevertheless the eye with which I see you is the same eye with which you see me
One by one each thing has it, one by one each thing is complete.


Hi, fukasetsu.

As whole world is a finger,
so a finger nail is full Moon.

People in dream say, they are not yet awakened.
Awakened say, the dream itself is the awakened itself.
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby 1handclapping on Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:27 am

I think it's helpful to clarify for beginning students and prospective students interested in walking the Buddhist path this fairly fundamental question that Fragrant Herbs raises. Some Buddhist traditions characterize Buddhism as "conquering the ego" or "destroying the ego", which can evoke violent imagery and be intimidating to students. Telling students that Buddhism is the path to no-self is very different, and potentially misleading in its incompleteness, from explaining that abandoning the mundane egoic self is a step towards the ultimate goal of realizing a supra-mundane Universal or Absolute Self that is the state of Nirvana.

I like what one of the articles in the OP says, that it's important to balance teachings about what is not real (the petty, mundane self) with teachings of what is real (the Ultimate Self).

I, myself, only first heard of Buddhanature and the True Self teachings a couple of years ago, at a retreat by Stephen Batchelor. I found this quite intriguing, but like the OP, I was surprised such teachings existed, as I'd never heard of them before. I think it's ok to discuss how these teachings fit in to the overall corpus of the Buddha's teachings, so that beginning-to-intermediate students can get a clearer and more holistic picture of the Dharma.
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:01 am

bubuyaya wrote:
Hi, fukasetsu.

As whole world is a finger,
so a finger nail is full Moon.

People in dream say, they are not yet awakened.
Awakened say, the dream itself is the awakened itself.


Thanks bubu,

appearance as appearance
source as source
oneself as source only.

People assert or deny thought-objects about self or no self on the level of appearances, (mind)
which are merely modifications of consciousness
i.e. from the virus of false self-identity/definition, it is never valid.
The dwelling mind = delusion

People ask "there is a self?"
People ask "there is no self?"
But they miss the very Light by which they ask the question.

Therefore it is usually not skilfull to give people answers, for there are no answers.
It only leads to more dwelling, more grasping, those who rest in their natural state have dissolved all such questions which are dependent on their imagining to be something they're not in the first place. The question is false, so any reply should be about that one understanding the nature of the question.

Neither speech or silence
Neither things, buddha or mind.

:daisy:
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:15 am

I don’t understand how one could be led to believe “in Zen Buddhism that we had no Self…” What, or Who, then, did you think the Zen masters were talking about when they referred to “self” – e.g. yourself, ourself, you, your mind, etc. ? For example, try to imagine how the following expressions would appear if there was no self in Zen:


Good point Ted, by denying ones very being one asserts it.
Anyhow most people discuss self vs no-self in the vs mode (the personality syndrome), and mistake expedients and grant reality to "yes" and "no" "is" and "is not" Far as I see it, there can be no quarrel about imagined things.
What is seen, thought, felt, experienced etc through the looking glass is mistaken for the very Light which constitutes it.
a.k.a. appearance for source, hence any self-definition is false.

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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby 1handclapping on Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:47 am

Ted Biringer wrote:I don’t understand how one could be led to believe “in Zen Buddhism that we had no Self…” What, or Who, then, did you think the Zen masters were talking about when they referred to “self” – e.g. yourself, ourself, you, your mind, etc. ? For example, try to imagine how the following expressions would appear if there was no self in Zen:

If you want to be no different from the patriarchs and buddhas, then never look for something outside yourselves. The clean pure light in a moment of your mind—that is the Essence-body of the Buddha lodged in you. The undifferentiated light in a moment of your mind—that is the Bliss-body of the Buddha lodged in you. The undiscriminating light in a moment of your mind—that is the Transformation-body of the Buddha lodged in you. These three types of bodies are you, the person who stands before me now listening to this lecture on the Dharma! And simply because you do not rush around seeking anything outside yourselves, you can command these fine faculties.
Lin-chi, The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-chi, Burton Watson, p.24
I'm assuming the OP meant that in Zen Buddhism, we strive to realize no-self, but maybe I'm wrong.

Did you mean to ask, "imagine how the following [...] would appear if there was no Self in Zen" ?
Those are beautiful passages. These are not texts that students in the first couple of years of study are exposed to, however. Thanks for your effort in posting those quotes. :Namaste:
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby fragrant herbs on Wed Sep 17, 2014 4:09 am

My original question was, why didn't any teacher teach about the Eternal Self? That was my question. I never bought into the belief that nirvana was non existence, if it were, then Buddhism have no other purpose than to learn to be kind to others while you are in this life on earth for no other reason than to be kind and not hurtful. But if that were all there was to life, then it would be the best life to live. Questioning is also good since disciples of Buddha questioned him and obtained answers. Do I understand what I am reading? Yes, I believe I do.

Do I accept all of what Buddha had to say? No. And I realize that I don't have to accept all. I personally believe that our life continues after we die, that we are all immortal. Would I want to be liberated? Not like how Buddhism describes it. What is explained in this sutra is that our True Self is pure, unchanging, peaceful, and blissful. I would not wish to be in this state forever if that was all there was to it. This is also what is said about God in other religions, yet God is said to have thoughts and to have created with Thoughts. I like thoughts, and I like change. Peace and purity are good also, but this all describes static states to me. It is kind of like a Catholic priest once said to me, "I want to go to heaven and be wrapped in Christ's arms in a blissful state forever." So, if I don't understand, it would be that there is more to know about this blissful everlasting state than what is presented or otherwise why bother trying to obtain something that is boring? Or that it could be a state that you would not know that you were experiencing. And why bother if it is non-existence as some Buddhists teach? Buddha is really rather vague on these matters you know. I have been in the blissful states in meditation, and while they were wonderful, I don't find myself wanting to continue to obtain more of them.
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Sep 17, 2014 4:26 am

fragrant herbs wrote:My original question was, why didn't any teacher teach about the Eternal Self? That was my question.


Do you mean to you personally?

Would you teach a transient cloud who already has an erroneous conception about its existence about the "eternal" sky?
When the cloud has vanished, where should the notion of eternal or non eternal come from?

If the awakened is the one who's vanished, who's there to think of themselve as eternal or ask about the eternal?

The very concept of "eternity" is based on the mistaken identity to the transient to begin with, so those who see the transient as transient, have no notion of "eternity"

It might appear in some books and talks, but there is no truth in words, only dreaming.

You yourself are the question and the answer, if you understand on what the question depends, the notion of "why any teacher does this or that, or does not do this or that" would not arise. Non-understanding is confusion, understanding is delusion.

The Real cannot be described, so you can't find it in a book, nor can it be taught. All the Buddha (or whoever) could teach is for you to see the false as false for yourself. So only the skilfull is taught, which varies among sentient beings according to whether their view is narrow or wide, shallow or deep. So there's not much use asking why anyone didnt teach something in particular to someone in particular or in a global sense. Trust that you'll always get the teachings you exactly need. So whatever you're presented with now, why wonder if it wasn't presented yesterday, or 1000 years ago?
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Sep 17, 2014 4:42 am

bubuyaya wrote:People in dream say, they are not yet awakened.
Awakened say, the dream itself is the awakened itself.


Hi bubu, forgive the indulgence I have something dreamt up.

It’s like watching through a camera obscura
you see all kinds of dream characters (locally known as sentient beings)
analysing scripture thinking; “there is a Self”
saying “I am awake” or grasping whatever water-moon.

it does not matter if a world, a cosmos, or whatever realm is perceived or not
or to experience the 3 states of sleep, the fourth and beyond the fourth
being or non being. Events become experiences due to false identifications with the particular, the perceived and conceived
alike the “directly experienced” Although you are the Heartbeat of all this, it is not you.
So renounce or do not renounce, enjoy the nectar of your natural state.

Eventhough one cannot seperate sunlight from the sun
One cannot paint oneself out of a picture.
Or act yourself out of a movie,
Liberate yourself from bondage
For all is liberated. All is Absolute.

Any talk on liberation and bondage, dreaming and awakening is but a story for the ignorant, so that they may shake it off.

Jai to You. :)

"The coming and going of birth and death is a painting. Unsurpassed enlightenment is a painting.
The entire phenomenal universe and the empty sky are nothing but a painting"
~Dogen.
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby Michaeljc on Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:20 am

My original question was, why didn't any teacher teach about the Eternal Self


In my view they did/do make references to it with monotonous regularity. It is fundamental to this practice

The problem is that it cannot be taught

As I see it, right now

m
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Sep 17, 2014 6:17 am

FH,

There are many misconceptions out there, not just the ones you raise.

And, it's only natural. ...because until we are really intimate with any subject, or a practice, we are playing with much less than a full deck, and using borrowed information, 2nd or 3rd hand or even further removed.

So, I would say, when it comes to issues in Zen Buddhism, do not be "led to believe" things. The only conviction and grace comes through correct practice with teacher and sangha. Sure, we all read things before we take up practice, but much of it has to be chucked when the time comes to pick up the practice in the traditional ways, and such stuff might better have not been taken on board in the first place.

It's given that the Buddha refused to discuss certain topics (14 of them). These famous fourteen even have a name, and are referred to collectively as "the Avyakrta". One of these topics was whether the Tathagatha is "eternal", or not (that's TWO topics, there). On these questions the Buddha maintained "a Noble silence". Why? He is said to have claimed that "they do not conduce to liberation". Or, in Zen Buddhist circles we would say that they do not conduce to awakening.

Right. Zen Buddhism is a tradition of practice. It is not a hobby of speculation. Nor is it Philosophy. It is medicine, not wall-paper. And to approach it aright, one needs a teacher. It's crucial to learn practices correctly, and to apply them correctly. "Book-l'arnin' " gets one deeper into a hole. If one does not believe this, then just try to get out of the hole by reading more books.

To see what is really (and actually) "taught", the good advice is to see a teacher, and stay for the long haul if that suits, and practice, avidly, vividly, sincerely, and most gratefully.

best!,

--Joe

fragrant herbs wrote:I found this commentary on Non Self and True Self online, and it appears to me that Buddha, in his later years talked about our True Self, but I was lead to believe in Zen Buddism that we had no Self, especially not an Eternal Self. I would like to know what the Zen students and teachers here think of these commentaries on the Mahaparinirvana sutra. Does Buddha teach both non-Self and the Self? If so, why are we not taught this? Or are some of us taught this?
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:07 am

Joe wrote:To see what is really (and actually) "taught", the good advice is to see a teacher, and stay for the long haul if that suits, and practice, avidly, vividly, sincerely, and most gratefully


Folks tend to forget (or just dont "see" it) that all thought objects are dependently originated and arise depending on causes and conditions, therefore have only relative meaning, there's no reality to any thought, and yet people grant reality to either self or no-self all the time.
Often people think they have the basics of Buddhism but have only an intellectual understanding, which is merely a fantasy of interpretation upon perception. If folks really want to do a lot of scripture stuff, let it be dependent origination, for that can be "seen/insighted" 24/7 right under their noses, every thought, every feeling, and even every external object. In other words, anything perceiveable or conceivable arises dependently, and cannot therefore be granted reality or "truth" Again understanding anything is just another name for delusion, knowledge is for the ignorant. Reading scripture is not about adding habitual knowledge, it merely obstructs, that's why most folks need a teacher or "experienced" friend in the dharma to assist them with this stuff. Remain free from the lure of interpretation upon perception, these are but acrobats of mind. Or don't remain free but at least observe what's actually happening, for nothing arises independently.
Therefore I keep urging people to see on what any question, thought or feeling depends, instead of the usual habitual stuff of simply entertaining whatever manifests and modifying it with fantasies upon perception.
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby partofit22 on Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:56 pm

Everyone suffers. But thank you for making sound otherwise!
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Sep 17, 2014 2:48 pm

P',

Can you be a little more specific, please? Who's "you"? Thanks!, --Joe

ps And, sounds interesting. Will you say a tad more, pls.?

partofit22 wrote:Everyone suffers. But thank you for making sound otherwise!
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby Chrisd on Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:01 pm

partofit22 wrote:Everyone suffers. But thank you for making sound otherwise!

What's behind that, I'm wondering now too? :peace:
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby 1handclapping on Wed Sep 17, 2014 6:09 pm

fragrant herbs wrote:My original question was, why didn't any teacher teach about the Eternal Self? That was my question.
I'm not sure if people got the part where the OP said she studied and practiced with a teacher for 3-1/2 years. So this particular "misconception", if such it be, didn't come from others' mistaken ideas about Buddhism, it came from her experience with her teacher.

There's a simple answer to your question, OP. The material in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra is usually considered an advanced teaching. And some teachers and some schools of Buddhism are very methodical in the way they present the body of teachings to new students. They begin at the beginning, with the most fundamental teachings (the 4 NT and 8-fold path, for example), and gradually progress from there to more complex concepts and practices. So True Self/Eternal Self would naturally come at or near the end of the curriculum. (Notice that the Buddha himself saved it for last, teaching it on his deathbed.)

Also, I suspect that teachers may feel there are risks involved with presenting some concepts too soon, and putting the cart before the horse, as it were. Students who naturally have a strong tendency towards ego-grasping might get carried away with the True Self/Ultimate Self teachings, or misinterpret them, and end up using them to bolster ego ("Cosmic Consciousness, man!" :peace: ) instead. Cautious teachers probably follow the Buddha's' example, and believe True Self should only be taught after students have succeeded in relaxing their grasp on ego, and have gained a sure footing in the teachings on dependent origination, Emptiness, and so forth. So really, your concern boils down to a matter of teaching methodology.

After 3-1/2 years, I don't know what stage you reached in the process. I can sympathize with your surprise, though, because these are truly wonderful teachings, and I can see how they'd give a completely different impression of Buddhism, in a way, from "self-denying", as it may appear to some, to Self-Affirming.

I hope this inspires you to get back on the path and continue your journey of discovery and practice of all that Buddhism has to offer. :<.<:
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Sep 17, 2014 6:48 pm

partofit22 wrote:Everyone suffers. But thank you for making sound otherwise!


Don't say everyone suffers, if you must say anything say "there is suffering"

I just mean this practically in ones practise, notice how "everyone" is dependent on the feeling "I am"
if this doesn't arise, that doesn't arise.
In the same way, don't say "I am conscious" but say "there is consciousness"

I'm not saying anything about communications on forums or daily flesh encounters.
So think nothing of it if I cut the cake before the birthday.
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby Avisitor on Wed Sep 17, 2014 6:51 pm

fukasetsu wrote:So think nothing of it if I cut the cake before the birthday.


Did someone mention cake??

:)X
Disclaimer: There is no intent to be offensive in my posts. None was intended and none should be interpreted as such.
Sorry, got a message that I was not being PC.
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Sep 17, 2014 6:56 pm

Avisitor wrote:
fukasetsu wrote:So think nothing of it if I cut the cake before the birthday.


Did someone mention cake??

:)X


I'll cut you a piece on sunday (it's my birthday) :)
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Re: True Self, Eternal Self

Postby fragrant herbs on Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:48 pm

I
'm not sure if people got the part where the OP said she studied and practiced with a teacher for 3-1/2 years. So this particular "misconception", if such it be, didn't come from others' mistaken ideas about Buddhism, it came from her experience with her teacher.


No, it also came from E-sangha, Dharma Wheel, Free Sangha, Zen International Forum and other forums that I have been on over the past several years. But it is quite a surprise, to say the least. People always argued against it, or changed the subject on the thread, which is a good way to end the discussion without putting their minds and hearts into the matter.

I had read the Mijjhima NIkaya many years ago and found glimpses of it in the book, but some on one of the Buddhist forums wanted to change its meaning. Now of course I would have to read it all over again to find what I had once read.
Last edited by fragrant herbs on Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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