Here is a compilation of articles by Zen Master Hong Wen Liang, who is very clear: https://app.box.com/s/ceb9i7wsk0lkfl2sjex97ai56l1k52pf 

http://www.hongzen.com/show.aspx?id=446&cid=4

开佛知见

[日期:2012-11-22] 来源:  作者: [字体: ]
开佛知见


20055月马六甲禅修  洪文亮老师开示

石头希迁讲了一句话,很多人存疑,不同意。他说:“修行不论禅定,唯开佛知见”。精进禅定我不论。我不讲那些要禅定,要精进的,我不讲这些废话,只要开你佛的知见。

佛知见是什么?我们时常看到的那个佛知见,佛的知见。知道的知,意见的见,佛的知见。他说要开佛的知见,其它那些打坐是怎么打的,怎么用功,怎么精进,我不讲这些,只看你有没有开了佛的知见。

那请问各位,你认为他指的佛知见是什么?如果你看到石头希迁这一句话,他说开佛的知见?你认为石头说的佛知见是指什么?佛的那种意见,佛的想法,或者是佛对这个宇宙生命的了解、正见?佛的那个正确的看法、意见,是不是这样?如果这样,那就变成佛也跟我们一样了!他对人生、生命的奥妙,宇宙的神秘,他也有看法,跟我们的看法一样,只不过是他高明,他是佛嘛!他还有知见吗?

他讲开佛知见,并不是说你要跟佛一样,有正确的见解,不是的。现在我跟各位说明一下,佛知见是一个事实,不是佛有什么高明的见解,不是。他指佛的知见就是一个到处都可以看到的真实的事实。

什么样的事实?大家在底下听到我开口说话了吗?我说“阿弥陀佛”,你那里就“阿弥陀佛”这样动。我这里讲“阿”,你那里有没有“阿”?有啊!那么你听到的这个“阿”的声音。我请问你,你从哪里把这个声音制造出来的?有没有地方,有没有工厂?耳朵是工厂吗?那脑子就不要了?空气就不要了?那我的嘴皮不要了?到底工厂是哪个?我是问你听到的“阿”的声音。

这些事看起来好像很无聊,但是非常重要的就在这里。平常我们不把它当作问题,释迦牟尼佛是头一位把我们平常不当作问题的,他“哎?这是问题嘛!”我们平常生下来看、听、闻到味道、尝到这个咸的、辣的。或者身体接触,舒服的、痛的,我们就自以为这个是自然的。没有什么可以讨论的,是不是?这里哪有问题?我抬头看天上的星星,抬头看到了,看到了就看到了。风吹过来,感觉凉爽,就这样而已,从来没有人在这个问题上,这个上头,这个事实上去想很多。人们不把它当作问题,他是头一位把它当作问题。然后在这个上头用功,变成他的现成公案,时常注意这个。后来才发现,原来我们迷在什么地方,迷的根本原因在哪里。他是这样下手的。所以佛的知见就是什么?不是他有看法,他有见解,不是这样。

佛知见是说,我这里讲“阿”,每一位那边都有一个“阿”,那这个“阿”,找不到工厂。没有工厂有没有员工?有没有老板?有没有机器制造你的“阿”呢?你一定要制造“阿”出来你才听到“阿”嘛!难道这个“阿”是我们嘴唇制造的吗?那你把耳朵闭掉,听神经拿掉,还有“阿”吗?你的耳朵参与这个“阿”的制造,但不全都是它!对不对?从这里下手。工厂找不到,工厂没有的话,员工也没有,制造的机器也找不到,老板也不知道。资本呢?也没有,也不要资本。制造了“阿”过去了,这个东西要丢掉啊,你刚刚制造的这个声音,现在我讲过了,你又要再听别的,放在那里就重迭了!混了嘛!一下子就消失了,你丢到哪里去?制造源,工厂也找不到,资本,员工,技术,老板什么都找不到。那不用的时候,过去的时候,你也不要动它,它就清除掉了,没有了,你丢到哪里去?那个声音你丢到哪里去?你也不知道。消失在何方?不知道。把这个事实说成什么?我们一直以为你那边讲一个“阿”,“我”听到了!这个是自以为是的想法,跟事实不符合。他发现这个,这个不是事实。因为要是“我”听到的话,一定是“我”去制造这个声音,我才听到啊!光凭你的嘴唇这样动一下,两片嘴皮动一下,不一定有声音在我这里响。所以这个问题是谁制造了这个声音?找不到。也不是我制造,也不是你制造,也不是虚空制造,也不是神制造,也不是佛制造,但是就有。这个叫做找不到工厂,找不到资本,找不到工程师,找不到员工,无中“砰”生有。缘有了就有,来源不知道,这个叫做无所从来,佛经里讲的无所从来。没有了,消失了,你不用去找那个垃圾场,它自己清除掉了,亦无所去,亦无所至。来无所从来,去亦无所至。到哪里丢掉了?垃圾场在哪里?怎么把它火化了呢?用什么药把它除掉了呢?都不用,就没有了。这个是声音。

你抓抓你的手,你碰碰你的手背,这个触感,碰的时候有,这个触感哪里制造的?皮肤制造的吗?皮肤不能制造啊,皮肤能制造的话,我就不用去碰它了,它也可以“哎,你造出来”,它就可以造了。那我的右手制造的话,我就不必用左手背让我摸到触到,右手去制造就行了。这等于讲来讲去,色声香味触法,通通是无所从来,找不到生处;去也找不到它跑到哪里去。这是一个事实嘛!这个,先知道这个事。

所以说,当我讲“阿”的时候,各位那边有“阿”出现,对不对?这个时候真正实在的样子,并不是各位有一个“你”,在那里听到我这里发了声音,每一位在你那个地方听到这个声音。不是这样!那是怎么样?既然这个声音找不到哪里制造出来的。其实是自己给自己骗掉了。为什么给自己骗了?我们一直以为听、看、想、感觉都是有“我”,有一个“我”去听到,有一个“我”看到,有一个“我”感觉到,有一个“我”在这样想,有一个“我”下决定了,都有那个“我”,无始以来这种妄想。

他们举了个例子,在油锅里头下面条,捞起来那个面条,那个油都浸到那个面条里头去了,你怎么拿掉?拿不掉吧。很不容易把面条里头的油拿掉。我们有“我”的那个念头,那个妄想,那个错误的想法,跟这个一样,非常难除。除了释迦牟尼佛教我们的这个只管打坐的方法以外,几乎没有办法拿掉。看起来那么简单的一件事,就把那个油面里的油拿掉,不容易拿。因为有我的妄想,以为有一个“我”在听,有一个“我”在看,有一个“我”在感觉,有一个“我”在想,更要命的是,有一个“我”在决定。我要不要来这里参加禅修?要,所以来了。学得很好的人都以为是“我”决定的。如果无我的话,那决定还是有你决定的话,这个佛法就不用谈了。不是你决定的啊!但是不是我决定,也不是你决定,也不是我妈妈决定,也不是我孩子决定的,明明是我决定啊?就是这个样子,很不容易把这个妄想除掉。

所以回到刚刚讲的那个声音。我这里讲“阿”你那里有“阿”,不是你听,不是你的耳朵听到,也不是你的脑子听到,因为这个声音的生出的地方,工厂,找不到。那么你怎么听到?问题来了,那你怎么听到?声音的来源不知道,也没有人动它,但是有啊!明明有声音“阿”,有啊!有的时候,禅宗祖师就简单地说“无而有”,那么简单地讲。有呢?从哪里来?谁制造?没有,找不到,“有而无”。一切都是这个样子。把这个东西讲得更好的是怎么讲的?“有而无,无而有”也就是,当你听到的时候,他们用这种话,很好,“举身听”,看到的时候,“举身看”。举的意思是什么?全身、全心、全身心,整个。不仅仅是你的耳朵,你的头发,你的皮肤,你的毛孔,你的脚指甲,你肚子里头的肠、胃、肺、心脏,通通都是,举身听,都是听本身!不是你的皮肤,你的牙齿,你的眼睛,你的耳朵,你的毛发,你的毛孔它们通通一起听这个“阿”,不是这样!整个都变成了“阿”,这叫做举身听,是我们不知道。

所以怎么听的?我们叫做暗暗的。真的怎么听到,真的为什么有这个声音,佛都不知道,佛也不知道。但是当我讲“阿”的时候,那边马上有“阿”,所以这个叫做举身听。你抬头看这一朵花,看到那个时候,举身看。不是眼睛看,或者头脑看,都不是,不是视神经看,都不是。你整个全身心,四大五蕴,通通变成这个花!你说奇怪了,四大五蕴在这里,我这里不是花嘛!我皮肤,我头发,我心脏,那么这个哪里变花呢?花在那里,我没有变花啊。这个就是你把四大五蕴的,这个身心固定了,以为这样一个固定的有自性的东西,一直这个东西放不掉。四大五蕴如云、如幻,它当下就是变成整个就是花。你把花跟四大五蕴隔开来,所以说我这个没有变成花。这是你给色碍骗去了,知道吗?色碍,有滞碍,认为这个东西还是我的手,怎么变成花呢?不要乱讲!我跟你讲,肉体的这个存在,你碰起来有这个滞碍,这个东西是妄想的境界。真正的你是法身!真正的你是一个法身法性的那个东西在动,所以那个东西跟前面的花,或者是前面有一个“阿”的声音,“阿”的声音跟一朵花的那个相,色相,相融的呀!跟水倒进水一样。你的法身法性跟外面的色声香味触法,外面的色声香味触法也是法性,也是法身,水,你这里的四大五蕴也是,它真正的那个本来的面目是法身法性,两个都是法身。所以水跟水很容易沟通!不是沟通了,本来就是一个东西!所以一看到就有相。因为你的四大五蕴,四大,地水火风,跟我的四大,地水火风一样!它的自性都是空性,一样都是法性,所以一对到,就水倒进那桶水一样,马上有相出现。你还要说哪里制造啊?如果说你这个身体是这个身体,对面的声音,那边来的声音是“阿”,“阿”是“阿”,我这个身体没有变成“阿”,那你就把这个滞碍的东西,当做自己的妄想还那么坚固,把这个死抱着这个身心,这个我自己感觉到的这个色碍的东西,当做自己的关系,“我没有变啊,我哪里是举身听啊?声音是声音,我是我。”你掉在那里,你不懂得你真正的法性身。这个弄清楚吗?

这个弄清楚了之后你就晓得,石头希迁讲的开佛知见。佛知见就是,对到什么那你就变成对到的那个东西!对到一朵红花,你的法性,真实的你,整个是花。听到“阿”,你的整个法身,真实的你的存在,法身,跟那个“阿”是一样东西!“阿”声音的法性身,跟我这边能听的法性身都是一样东西,所以就马上有“阿”出现了。不要找制造工厂,不要去探讨谁制造了。这么简单的,这么直截了当的这个事实,没有人把它当作问题。因为我们生下来,能听能看,好像很自然,必然的。这个“必然”害了我们。因为我们本来就有一个妄想,一辈子一辈子投胎,一辈子一辈子都有一个“我”,“我”在轮回,那个“我”,都一直没有放掉。所以在轮回里头滚,把墙壁围起来在里头跑,所以,总不能把这个色身滞碍的这个身心,他的真正的法性,真正的法身的存在忘掉了。法身法性的存在是遍满宇宙的!无处不到,解脱自在,非常自由自在的一个作用。他的作用的关系,我对到你,马上就有你的相出现。你对到我,马上有我的相出现,你的法性身跟我的法性身是一个东西。所以根本不必制造。不是“你”去看到,不是“你”去听到我的声音,这弄懂了吗?这个叫做本来的事实,对到什么,你就变成那个。对象是大的,马上有大,马上出现。你变大的,不是你看到大的,是你变大。那个“你”是法性的你,不是色碍的你。听得懂吗?是法性的你,所以对到小的东西,哎,很小,你变成小。听到大声音,你变成大声音那个。听到小声音,你变成小声音,法性的你变成那个,不是你这个滞碍的东西变的,OK?所以,是必然的。我们跟境界之间的互动,互相的作用,交互的作用,谁也不能逃开。不是佛给你这样的。我们把互相的这个作用,叫做必然的,没有一个人可以逃开的。对到墙壁是墙壁,闻到那个香味,你不想闻都有那个香味。为什么?你的法性身,那个香味就是你的法性身变成那个香味!不是鼻子闻到香味,我们错在这里!OK?听懂吗?这个非常非常非常重要。

参同契石头希迁只是要我们开佛知见。佛知见是我们的事实,跟境界互相作用,互相动作。互动的时候,必然的,没有一个人可以免得了。因为大家都是法性法身的存在。真正的存在是法性身,法身佛。我们的存在是那么伟大殊胜。你把这个骨头、皮肤这些东西当作我,你是小看了你自己了。本来是大存在,法性的存在,那么无边无量无限碍的存在,你把他缩成只有这个,身心这个具体的滞碍的一个小小的一块东西上,你把自己贬得那么小,好可怜!喝醉酒了,忘了自己。

这个弄清楚了就知道佛知见是讲这个事实。这个事实叫做佛知见。所以石头希迁是“哎呀,只要开,开就是了”,你本来就是这个事实,你真的是这个样子,是法性身在动,是法身佛在动。每一位都是法身佛的样子在动,跟境界一起互动。境界也是法身佛!所以当我成道的时候,我与大地有情同时成道,是这个意思。你把他隔开来的话,当然树是树,狗是狗,那个时候在的人是那个时候的人在,那么为什么2500多年前释迦牟尼佛成佛的时候,会跟他们一起通通成佛了,现在我们应该也是成佛的后代了,那就讲不通了!所以有一些和尚在网络上就说,这个可能是人家记错了,或者是人家以为是,佛多伟大,多加一笔,捧句捧错了。那其实是他不懂,他不懂刚刚讲的佛知见这个事。佛知见弄错了,你怎么学都搞不通佛法。都是以我这个样子,我看,我想,你道理对不对呀。你看,这个叫做我们在思想的窠臼里头,那个窠臼里头找佛法,想佛法,解决佛法。佛知见没有开,就不同了,你怎么想,怎么看都不是佛讲的。

这头一段是他在讲这个。因为我谈到石头希迁,他讲的不论禅定,打坐禅定很要紧,对不对?要静下来,开佛的智慧怎么样。他说不论,我不太注重这个。但是我要每一位,因为跟我学了,看我的留下来的这个经典,尤其是《参同契》,你要懂得我的真意在哪里,言外意思在哪里。我是要各位开你的佛的知见。佛的知见是你的事实,你的真事实。不是你去动头脑,说我的意见现在跟佛的意见一样了,“我开了佛的知见”。不是这个意思。你晓得你跟境界互动的时候,因为你的真正的存在是法性,法身佛,是你真正的、真实的你的真实人体。所以,一对到相就有相,对到声音,声音就是你,对到相,相就是你。如果说你是你,我还是我,难道我对到你,你就变成我了?你这是给这个滞碍骗去了。你死死抱着这个东西是“我”,所以我相没有除掉是听不懂佛法的。那么但是有时候有人会说“我没有我相了”,“我”没有“我相”了,什么意思?我听不懂!“我没有我相了,现在我修到没有我相了……”谁没有我相?因为他没有开佛的知见,所以还在那里糊里胡涂。“我修得很好,奇怪,还有这个问题”,“哼,你还有这个问题呀?”“是啊!”那我就没有办法。一点头,“好,算了算了,你的石头路滑,听不懂这个”。大家弄清楚这一点吗?那么这个《参同契》可以不讲了。



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大安樂法門,非思量之修行

[日期:2010-9-25] 来源:  作者:洪文亮老師開示 [字体: ]

大安樂法門,非思量之修行

洪文亮老师开示
瑩山禪師法語

 原文:
為了化度眾生,暫借生死,其也如影如幻,無有眞實,暫名為宗旨。要知此宗旨有二法:其一,放下萬緣,停止一切世間活動,心定如無波之水,如無雲之晴空。假如做到,就能確實離一切相,叫做不回互而成。安住在這裏就是坐禪一行三昧,這也是七佛的妙行,祖師的機要。縱然不得人,若能安住於此,不屬於知不屬於不知,則自成道人,諸佛也奈渠不得。這是絕學無為閒道人,不現悟與迷,不想證與不證,端坐如須彌。這就是卽心成佛之直道,諸佛之心印,佛祖之密受,叫做大安樂法門,非思量之修行。但若不修卽不顯其心,故不入此法門者,皆為昏暗之癡人。其二,行住坐臥間,大凡一切工作時是關鍵。一刻也不忘思量箇不思量底,悟入非情識所及處。譬如,所謂天地未分,身心未萌,上下四維無等匹,東西不辨,南北不分時節。倒地者未着地以前,做夢而未完全清醒時,箭之離弦而未中的以前,忘而不忘思量箇不思量,如此捨棄一切工夫,則能無作無為、與惺惺莫可名狀處相應。這是一念相應的時節,這時佛也不到,眾生也不得到,此之名為道。閃電光擊石火時,雷聲震耳時,有人不預期地呼喚時,脚踏一物而全身頓覺劇痛時,心當下察覺絕不失念。落馬時,從橋上掉落時,依有如是因緣,知盡情忘而悟入,恰如古時的香嚴。

200905月金馬侖三寶萬佛寺禪修
第三天開示

這是瑩山禪師法語裏頭的一節。瑩山是誰,各位知道嗎?道元下來是懷奘,懷奘下來是義雲,義雲下來是瑩山。我們以前介紹過大智禪師的詩偈子,大智禪師非常推崇瑩山禪師,非常尊重瑩山禪師。我寫的《信心銘玄旨》一書是對《信心銘》的解說,第一部分採用了真歇和尚寫的信心銘拈古,第二部分採用了瑩山禪師寫的信心銘拈提。這一節法語很重要!希望各位特別用心,這篇聽懂了你就知道“只管打坐”為什麼是佛法的正門。

“為了化度眾生,暫借生死。”所有成就的人为了化度众生,他的生死,他现出的生死,同释迦牟尼佛,同如净禅师,莹山禅师等等这些禅师一样,为了化度众生,他能够暂时借生死来,这个做到做不到?如果只是向他求啊,他能够使你做到这样吗?不可能的,如果是有特别的方法,方便的方法,释迦牟尼佛一个一个老早就讲了,他老人家不必要四十九年一直是讲经说法,一直劝各位像他一样在菩提树下打坐。“暫借生死”,要先懂得这个,各位是不是“暫借生死”来的,我们大概是糊里糊涂来的。这个暂时借生死,所以我们生死的这个存在的样子,就好像如同电影里的影子一样,“如影如幻”。不是如影如幻能够暂借吗?不能暂借的。能暂借出来的,它本身就是如影如幻。我们本身就是“如影如幻,無有真實”,没有一点自性。花,如影如幻没有真实;麦克风,如影如幻,没有真实的麦克风。确实能够证到这样吗?很难!是不是很难?我们一看就这是花嘛!这是麦克风嘛!实在的东西。花不能讲话,花不能传音;麦克风不是红的绿的,没有花香嘛!怎么能都是梦幻的?怎么能都不是真实的?这样就会觉得很奇怪!“暫名為宗旨”,把这个叫做暂时宗旨,宗旨就是要点。要点是什么?“如影如幻,無有真實”,一切如影如幻,没有真实,这是最重要的一点。不管你学律宗,学净土,学密宗,你能够证入到这一切,包括自己的存在,包括白云蓝天都是影幻一样,一点真实都没有。释迦牟尼佛在《金刚经》里头讲过,“一切有为法,如梦幻泡影,如露亦如电,应作如是观。”这个观,他不是教你应如是想,应如是相信,那都没有用。相信没有用,想也没有用。“啊!柏老讲这是如影亦如幻”,学莹山禅师的话,说“这一切都是如影亦如幻噢”,有什么用?没有办法“暫借生死”自由自在,都是照你的业力投胎,那个时候他力都没有用。

现在,很重要的一点。莹山告诉我们要知道这个宗旨有二个方法。宗旨是什么?一切沒有真实,如影如幻。确实能够证悟到这个宗旨。各位一定要弄清楚,宗旨只有一个——一切“如影如幻,無有真實”,這個要親自證到,他告訴我們二個方法,很少有禪師跟我們這樣直接的講。為的是什麼?是要我們知道這個宗旨。宗旨現在話講就是要點,真正要緊的一點。

第一個方法是什麼?“放下萬緣,停止一切世間活動,心定如無波之水,如無雲之晴空。”各位每天打坐,只管打坐,就是“放下萬緣”。打坐也是萬緣之一,打坐也放下,所以打坐也不在打坐,打坐也不是打坐,誰在打坐?“千聖亦不識”,就是一千個聖人來了,也不知道你在做什麼。“放下萬緣”,不要說“我在打坐”。這樣放下了沒有?沒有放下!停止一切世間的活動。在打坐裏想東想西,想道理,想只有這麼一個方法嗎?有沒有別的更加輕鬆,不用熬腿的方法有沒有?盡想這些事,世間的活動。為什麼叫世間的活動?你講出很多的道理,講出你的意見,講出你的看法。“停止一切世間活動”,這個(只管打坐)就是停止你一切世間的活動,做得到你就真的“只管打坐”了。“心定如無波之水,如無雲之晴空。”如象沒有波浪的水,沒有雲的晴空一樣。這裏不要誤會“如無波之水,如無雲之晴空”並不是都屬於昏沉不知噢!不屬於不知噢!你說“心定如無波之水”,就是什麼都不知道,就在那裏,看也看不見,聽也聽不到,這是什麼東西。這是昏沉了,這是無想定啊!思想有沒有來來往往?有啊!有一個聲音,你打坐的時候聽到嗎?聽到啊!所以這個“心定如無波之水”,並不是指什麼都不知道,這個不叫心定。就是一切你自然聽到的,看到的,想到的等等念頭,都讓它自然的現,不加干涉的意思。但是認到了就不對了,“啊!這個是什麼”念頭,就不好了。認為這個念頭是好,那個念頭是不好,這樣的話,你就加入了一個世間的評判法。

“假如做到,就能確實離一切相。”“離一切相”,不是沒有相噢!而是不給相影響。“要不要,喜歡不喜歡”,這個就是沒有 “離一切相”。“離一切相”是人世間的活動都沒有了。聲音就是聲音,念頭就是念頭,呼吸就是呼吸,心動就是心動,叫做“不回互而成”。在《參同契玄旨》書中我講的很多回互與不回互,大家可以參考。“安住在這裏就是坐禪一行三昧”。安住在這個地方,這個境界,叫做“坐禪一行三昧”。“放下萬緣”,打坐也是萬緣之一,停止世間的活動,不要在那裏想家裏怎麼樣,我來這裏有什麼用,學佛法有別的方法嗎?這些都是世間的活動,你的想法嘛。如果你想的話,已經不是“坐禪一行三昧”了。你那是在做你自己的打坐,而不是只管打坐。各位!要特別注意這個。每天打坐一定要“放下萬緣”,什麼緣都要放下。放下的意思,不是因為有塵、有緣我去放下,不是這樣的。不是你有緣你去放下,“放下萬緣”就是把生起的緣,你不分開來承認它,認識它。用簡單一點的話講就是,如“啪!”拍手發出聲音。“啊!我聽到聲音了”,這就是沒有放下。因為聲音跟你是分不來的啊!念頭起來,不是因為我想到我有什麼念頭,念頭跟你分不來的。如果 “我知道什麼念頭”,這樣的話你跟念頭分開了沒有?就分開了。念頭是不是萬緣之一?是的。念頭跟你沒有分啊!你跟緣一起一樣一樣,“啪!”(拍手)這個聲音就是,你跟聲音沒有分開的啊。這是很明白,很明歷歷的事嘛!難道聲音在那裏,我去聽到的嗎?或者聲音跑到耳邊,我聽到的嗎?都不是嘛!哪有來往啊?沒有啊!但是就聽到。這是因為你本身“盡十方界真實人體”的關係,你本身整個就是你自己。講整個就是你自己,你又把你想的自己套上去。自己平常想,“噢!這是我自己”,那所有一切都是我自己的話,把我自己的這個,錯認為自己的東西套上去,那個就是“我”。你看,這不是分成二元了嘛!“啪!啪!啪!”(拍手),不是我不是,聲音就是緣,整個緣。“坐禪一行三昧”,就是要做到這樣的情況。這用別的方法可以做到嗎?絕對不會做到的,都是一直依賴別人給我念咒,給我加持,念佛號等等。

我講過參公案和打坐的不同。參公案開悟的人也有,但是很少數,而且參公案開悟的人基礎上,他們也時常打坐。密勒日巴一直打坐打坐。打坐到屁股都一節一節,結成一塊一塊的。並不是說沒有打坐,你修法就會成就了,沒有這種事。而且以這個成就的人必竟是少數。只有只管打坐,這麼簡單的只管放下萬緣,不管世間的一切活動,就這麼坐,坐也沒有。上中下根都不管,聰明的,笨的,都沒有關係,一點關係都沒有。有沒有學問,有沒有認識字,一點關係都沒有,都可以做得到。所以就是要讓你知道一切“如影如幻,無有真實”。不是真實的,只有這個“坐禪一行三昧”,這是第一個方法。

“安住於此”,安住在這裏,不論上中下三根。你只要放下萬緣,什麼都不管,連不管都不管。聲音就是聲音,不是說“噢,我聽到聲音了”,這就不對了。有人來了,“噢,我認到這個人了”,這就不對了。這些緣跟你本來是一的啊!我們的根本無明就是認為對方。其實都是自己的境界,難道不是嗎?都是自己的境界,但是卻把那個四大五蘊幻起抱住當做自己的境界,不是這個意思。整個都是盡十方界,這個要通過打坐,坐禪三昧。這個就是“七佛的妙行”,釋迦牟尼佛以前七佛的妙行。這不是吹,說是打坐最好,不是這樣的,而是“七佛的妙行,祖師的機要。”“縱然不得人,若能安住於此”,假如你得不到一個很好的老師,很好的指導你的善知識,假如你能夠安住在這裏,一盤腿上座,端身正坐,世間事也沒有也不管,萬緣放下。如果在這裏有的拿家裏的,有的是公司裏頭的事情,在腦子裏轉,那就白浪費了,那就不是坐禪了,那是在坐在那裏胡思亂想。“若能安住於此,不屬於知不屬於不知”,這個最重要了。噢!有一個聲音,手拍出來的,自然知道那是手拍出來的聲音,鳥叫了也自然知道。知道是手拍出來的,鳥叫的聲音,這個就是知了。“不屬於知”啊!這個“知”不屬於它啊!知道一定有知道的對象嘛!沒有對象怎麼知呢?沒有對象生起,認為有對象這個知生起以前,是不是有了?不管你知道不知道,它都等在那裏。知道是知道,“我知道是榴櫣”,但是“知”不是榴櫣本身。這是花,是知道啊。那是知道,不是花本身啊。花跟你本來一起的東西你不知道,你說“哎,這是花”,把那個認識“知”的“知”當做是真的東西,真實的存在,問題就出在這裏。那不屬於知的話,那不屬於不知嗎?看花也不懂,聽到鳥叫也不是鳥叫,石頭碰到腳也不知道腳痛,不是不知嗎?那是糊塗昏沉了。不是不知,那個精靈靈的,靈靈昧昧的,我們都是在這個地方,安住在此地。“則自成道人”,這樣你就成就了嘛!一定要向外邊拿嗎?一定要請求別人的嗎?你本身都是在這個狀態。知以前,有知的對象。你認為是“我知道”了,“我知道”是你的意識動了。意識動以前是不是有那麼一回事?“啪!啪!啪!”(拍手),聲音是聲音,你是你嗎?如果聲音是聲音,你是你的話,聲音什麼時候跑到你那邊,或者你什麼時候跑到聲音那邊,在什麼地方碰到的。聲音就是聲音,那麼一下“啪!”,整個你就是聲音嘛!你把身體當做自己,所以就會認為(或者覺得)這種說法奇怪。一直放不掉這個己身對身心的執著,都拿身心的各種作用去想象、去要求,所以就會聽不懂佛在講什麼。“諸佛也奈渠不得”,你已經是自成道人,諸佛也沒有辦法你。誰有辦法你啊?魔鬼看了都怕。如果你是有一個我在這裏,希望這樣那樣的。希望到淨土,希望成佛,希望化光,希望分身等等,那裏有一個你在東想西想,魔鬼就會馬上來。你馬上會變成魔鬼的同黨。這個時候都好利用你執著身心的弱點。因為你都是想往生西方解脫生死,只要有一個你在那裏希望的話,魔鬼就會有隙可趁。“諸佛也奈渠不得”,這才是“絕學無為閒道人”

“不現悟與迷,不想證與不證,端坐如須彌。”悟了,迷了,都不現。我要為了開悟來坐,我要證果了,我現在迷,所以我打坐,想有一天“噢!”那麼一下悟——沒有這回事!那本身就已經是道人了,道人上頭有什麼迷悟啊。聲音裏頭有迷悟嗎?聲音就是聲音嘛!“啪!”一下,你就“啪!”一下,全身都是它,這個上頭有迷還是悟?吃到好的東西好吃那個味道,就是你全身都是那味道,味道上頭有迷的味道,悟的味道嗎?看了佛像跟看了其它的像,“噢!這是佛像,莊嚴的”,動了腦筋沒有?動了!看其它的像,“啊!這沒什麼,這不能看”,動了腦筋沒有?看到了像,像就現在那裏,那個現的就是整個是你啊,那才是盡十方界真實的你啊!盡十方界真實人,這要做到,一定要打坐。一定要坐在那裏,放下萬緣,不管世間事這兩個要點。放下萬緣,不管世間事,“端坐如須彌”,不管上中下根,這跟學問沒有關係啊,沒有聰明和笨的問題,“諸佛也奈渠不得”。這個時候,迷和悟,證和不證都不是問題,這就是“這就是卽心成佛之直道”,不只道元禪師、瑩山禪師如此說,永嘉禪師也說“一超直入如來地”。過去很多大成就的祖師爺都講頓悟法門。頓悟法門是一乘,唯有這個一乘,其它的都不是佛法。這樣講有的人會反對,因為你總是有你自己這個身心皮袋,它的很多的意見見解,聽過的學過的放不下。這裏“真實道人”是什麼意思?你本來赤裸裸的自己啊!那是盡十方界真實人體。要特別注意盡十方界的真實人體,當然會有慈悲心出現,因為都是你自己當然會出現。各位要知道這個即心成佛,“諸佛之心印,佛祖之密受,叫做大安樂法門,非思量之修行。”統統告訴你了。這是佛的心印,好像正字標記一樣。沒有這個心印就不是佛,不是佛法,不是佛道。有了這個心印才算是真的佛法、佛道。“佛祖之密受”,祖師爺直接一代一代,這樣沒有能授所授傳授過來的“密受”。是親密的意思,不是秘密的意思。親密到沒有辦法分開,師徒同時變成一個,這樣傳下來。傳了什麼?本來沒有什麼!本來是盡十方界真實人體,只是你“啊!啊!”醒過來而已。親密的教導,這個法門叫做“大安樂法門”。為什麼叫大安樂?這個以外,你證實到自己是盡十方界真實人體以外,一定有擔心愁慮的一些事。放下萬緣,不管世間事,“端坐如須彌”,這不是大安樂嗎?“哎喲!我這樣行嗎?”提起了,就會不安樂了。“這樣可以嗎?”用親授的方法不是還可以嗎?別人可以使我成佛,那釋迦牟尼佛四十九年白費了嘛!讓每個人排隊站在他面前,他一個一個加持就好了嘛!釋迦牟尼佛都做不到,因為什麼?我們本身就是佛啊!他只是告訴你本身是什麼,我再講一次,就是盡十方界真實人體的這個樣子。那麼其他呢?這些成就的大修行人,是借這個生死。因為是“借”到的生死,所以是如影如幻,這才是大安樂法門,“非思量之修行”。這個修行是思量的,我要念個咒,我要念個佛號,要不要動腦筋?要啊!要修儀軌,手印如何結等等,記了一大堆。學問更厲害了,大藏經那麼多,一個一個去想,一個一個去研究。這個(只管打坐)修行就沒有這個思量。非思量是什麼?我們活到都是非思量活到。你吃飯,你知道這個飯怎麼樣變成你的血肉嗎?不知道啊!但是你懂得吃,吃了它就會變成你的血肉。“啪!”(拍手)這個聲音,你想了才有嗎?不想也響啊,同時就已經合一了嘛!與緣合一了,還有你動思想的餘地嗎?所以你端坐在那裏,是大安樂法門,非思量的修行。不是在那裏賣弄的人間知識,這種修行是真正的七佛的妙行,祖師爺的密受,非思量的修行,講得那麼清楚。思量的修行沒有用,一睡覺就忘掉了。人家給你加持了,你睡覺還記得人家加持嗎?“哎!那個加持很有用,我睡覺也很有用。”真得嗎?你臨終的時候,它一定會發生作用嗎?佛本來就告訴你,你本來就是盡十方界的真實人體,還需要怎麼樣嗎?這個是大安樂法門,某些人深信進去了,就信心不二,不二信心。這個信不過,佛法就會跟你不相干,那就是外道法。依賴別的什麼,把這個臭皮袋弄成自己所希望的更好的境界,那是玩弄世間法。“但若不修卽不顯其心”,但是告訴你,雖然你本來是盡十方界的真實人體,你不修就不顯出來的啊!這個心顯不出來。“故不入此法門者”,所以不相信這個法門的,“皆為昏暗之癡人”統統都是昏暗的癡人。這就沒話講了,太笨了,昏暗暗,亮不出來,沒有一點光明,昏暗的癡人。講了半天“諸佛之心印,佛祖之密受,叫做大安樂法門”,這個修行才是“非思量之修行”。但是你這個不修就不會顯出來,這講得那麼清楚。“端坐如須彌”,就這樣的坐,不分上中下三根,對不對?我反復了幾次,希望各位能體悟到這個要旨。所以你要證實什麼?就是要證實這一切是如影如幻的存在。擰了一把感覺痛,痛也是如影如幻。不是說你想像如影如幻事,就象看電影的影子一樣,或者是幻像出來。你打一下感覺痛,這就是如影如幻。我們這裏打坐,聽佛法,也是如影如幻。這是第一個方法。
By Reginald A. Ray, Ph.D.

My principal meditation teacher was Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, one of the first Tibetan lamas to present meditation in the West.

During the 17 years that I knew him, from 1970 until his death in 1987, he transmitted the somatic Vajrayana lineage to me and his other senior students. Since his death, I have been fortunate to have the time and the opportunity to explore extensively Rinpoche’s transmission through study, practice—and most importantly, teaching—where I have learned the most.
One single concept best characterizes the instruction that Rinpoche received from his teachers and that he wanted to pass on to his students: “embodied spirituality.” But in using this term, what are we talking about?
The somatic approach teaches that the spiritual is already, from the beginning, implicit within what we call the material—not only in our own physical body but also (as we shall discuss further below) in the larger body of our incarnate situation in the cosmos. This means that the essential nature of our incarnational materiality, both what is inside (body) and what is outside (cosmos), is already primordially and inherently spiritual.
Trungpa Rinpoche taught that authentic spirituality cannot exist apart from embodied reality because disembodied spirituality is exclusive, separationist, and incomplete. Any attempt to present spirituality as disembodied is a bogus spirituality, a conceptualized, self-serving construct; at the end of the day, it is simply ego’s game, all over again, just on a subtler and more hidden level, what Trungpa called “spiritual materialism.”
The somatic view of Vajrayana Buddhism has revolutionary implications for our meditation practice as modern people and for our spiritual journey altogether. As mentioned, it means that our spiritual life, far from involving a distancing and separating from our body and all the realities of our physical incarnation, requires just the opposite: we must turn toward our body and our life as the proper and only possible arena for authentic spiritual development—as the only place where our path can unfold and as the only possible true access point for our genuine realization.

Anything else is a chimera, a dream.

When I talk about embodied spirituality in the book, The Awakening Body, then, I mean that connecting with our body and our ordinary life are not add-ons: they are the practice of spirituality; they are what the spiritual journey is all about.
The somatic point of view is that the spiritual journey can only really begin within the depths of our incarnation; that we make the full journey only by exploring our own actual experience as an incarnational being, as it progressively discloses itself in our practice and our life; and that, in the end, this body is what we realize in all of its dimensions, in all of its subtlety and depth. This is the ultimate spiritual illumination, the long-sought elixir of life, the realization of nirvana. There isn’t anything beyond this for, as I hope to show you, this is the illumination of the totality of Being.
We can further clarify what embodied spirituality is by seeing what it isn’t.
In many of the traditional religions of both West and East, including many forms of Buddhism, the spiritual life is understood as a process of separating oneself from everything that is problematic and nonspiritual in order to gain higher, “spiritual” states of meditative awareness. And what are these nonspiritual things that one is separating oneself from? All that seems ordinary, mundane, and “worldly”; the body and all that is seated in it, including instincts and sensations; feelings, emotions, and bodily perceptions; human attachment and sexuality; all that feels potentially problematic, chaotic, and obstructive in our life, all that triggers us, activates us, and stirs us up and leaves us feeling confused, troubled, and incomplete.
Meditation is often viewed as a way to separate ourselves from all of this and rise above it, to get to an altitude where we can relax into a space that is unobstructed and peaceful.
This goal of separation seems to reflect a somewhat negative attitude toward our regular life and the ordinary world as if, at least in a spiritual sense, those things don’t hold very much of importance for us. And so we often practice meditation as a process of progressive distancing and disembodiment, where we are employing meditative techniques to separate what we feel are the “higher” part of ourselves—our more pure, clear, and clean parts—from everything that is lower—all the mundane, ordinary, pained, nagging, struggling parts.
This approach leads, as mentioned, to a state of spiritual dissociation.

The process might look like this:

We sit down to meditate and use a technique to try to calm the distress and chaos in our mind, disturbances perhaps fueled by our compulsive thinking, painful memories of unresolved situations or relationships, aggressive competitiveness, and distressing feelings and emotions. We try to smooth the turbulence of all the things that seem to be closing in on us, suffocating us, creating an intense claustrophobia. This tranquilization of our minds is a well-known practice in Buddhism called shamatha, or mindfulness, mentioned earlier. The powerful techniques for this can indeed induce the desired effects and, as our minds begin to quiet down, we may then enjoy a more peaceful and open state.
But here is where things get very tricky: the practice of meditation as a process of tranquilization typically implies a conscious intention, a mental image of what we are looking for, and a process of deliberate inclusion and exclusion leading us toward our desired spiritual goal.
This is tricky because of our remarkable human capacity to limit and control experience: witness the human ego itself. It has been estimated that out of every million parts of information received and processed by our body, we humans only admit 13 parts into our conscious awareness.
That means we only allow ourselves to be conscious of .000013 percent of the data, of experience, known to our body.
That capacity to limit and control our experience is operational in the way mindfulness is practiced by many of us, although we may be quite unconscious of this fact. What often happens with many of us is that we are able, with sufficient discipline and willpower, to get ourselves into something like the desired state; but it takes a tremendous amount of effort of separation and exclusion of everything else to get there and it leaves us in a bit of a trance.

The positive benefits of this kind of meditation should not be minimized:

  • to have a way to separate ourselves, at least for a time, from all that is problematic and painful in ourselves and our lives

  • to have a safe haven to retreat to in the midst of life’s storms

  • to be able to rest and recuperate can have considerable benefits.

This kind of meditation thus becomes a powerful panacea helping us to remove ourselves from the more seamy and squalid, the more difficult and anxiety-ridden realities of daily life: “What a relief!”
Some would argue—some do argue—that this is exactly what meditation is for and, for that reason, we should enthusiastically embrace the capacity it gives us to step out and temporarily dissociate, to disembody, from our embedded, bodily existence. Meditation in this sense is clearly an oasis and an important one in our life, but, as Nietzsche famously remarked, “Where there are oases, there are also idols.”
Taking us in quite another direction, the somatic teachings see the spiritual life as a journey toward ever fuller and more complete intimacy and even identification with our human incarnation—and we are not talking about just the “nice” parts. This means surrendering our separate spiritual stance, our “spiritual” self, and falling into contact, communication, alignment, and, finally, union with the most ordinary, basic aspects of our human existence, as they are. These include everything we go through, our whole somatic existence, with its sensations, bodily perceptions, feelings, and emotions—including all of our ordinary mental life, the ups and downs, the confusion, the pleasure and pain, everything.

For somatic spirituality, our problem is not, as in conventional spirituality, that we are too close to these mundane features of our life but rather that we are too far away from them; our problem is not that we are too embodied (the disembodied approach), but that we are not embodied enough.

The only place we can truly, authentically, and fully wake up is in the midst of life—right in the middle of our quotidian life, exactly as it is.
The somatic lineage is thus life-affirming to an absolute degree; it is, in Trungpa Rinpoche’s words, “ultimate positivity”: we walk the path toward realization by abandoning any sense of distinction between our spiritual journey and our life journey that consists of the specific, gritty realities of our ordinary existence; in fact they are one and the same.
Many writers in our contemporary culture are articulating these or similar ideas. However, simply having this perspective on a purely intellectual or conceptual level is going to be of limited help for ourselves or our world. If, on the contrary, through the somatic methods, we come to see and experience this for ourselves, it changes everything.

We no longer need to be minimizing or denying large parts of ourselves or be engaged in a constant struggle to free ourselves from the mundane aspects of ourselves and our lives.

Quite the opposite, we are now fully and thoroughly liberated into a complete acceptance and openness to everything we are, to see for ourselves that everything we go through is an engagement with the heart of reality itself. Moreover, the somatic approach shows us how to meet the most painful and problematic situations, emotions, and people in our life and to find within those difficult aspects of our life the next step on our path or spiritual journey. In short, to see the grittiness of the world and, more than that, to experience it directly as the blessing we have been searching for.
The approach of somatic spirituality shows us how to transform the yuck and poison of our own negativity into something fresh, wholesome, and creative. And then, finally, the most simple and ordinary aspects of our human experience become sources of insight, freedom and joy, and revelations of the deepest mysteries of the universe.
Thus it is that if we turn our back on our body and our bodily existence—on the ordinary, the commonplace, and mundane—we are turning our back on what is ultimately and finally real; we are giving up our one opportunity to find our own true and destined place within the infinity of being.

From Awakening Body, © 2016 by Reginald A. Ray. Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston, MA. www.shambhala.com.

Reginald RayReginald A. Ray, Ph.D., draws on four decades of study and practice within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition to address the unique spiritual imperatives of modern people. He is the author of numerous books, including Touching Enlightenment, Indestructible Truth, and Secret of the Vajra World, as well as meditation-oriented audio programs, such as Your Breathing Body and Mahamudra for the Modern World. The spiritual director of the Dharma Ocean Foundation, Dr. Ray regularly leads meditation retreats at Blazing Mountain Retreat Center in Crestone, Colorado. For more information, and access to free audio talks and guided meditations, please visit www.dharmaocean.org.

The direct experience of THIS is exactly experienced in me (us) beyond both THIS IS IT and THIS IS NOT! Each Now, THIS should be experienced anew beyond both the habitual, fixed “THIS is IT” and the indispensable negating “THIS is NOT!”. THIS beyond THIS and NOT!

JUST THIS in our daily world is too boring, so nothing special. Everywhere we  naturally have THIS,  wherever we are, wherever we go . We are usually not  even conscious of it at all. We are already in the ocean of THIS without fail,  without paying attention. Therefore, everything is habitually going on, even  THIS. Once we (cosmos) are ignited by the fire of THIS awareness by/with THIS experience, suddenly the whole Univerself (you, me, our families, all living beings) are
awakening/actualizing/embodying/opening/flowering/laughing as THIS active/mindful/awakening NOW.

As this experience, the new universe is born breath-by-breath in the midst of our muddy world reality. This is our One_Experience. Our daily chaotic busy way need not be boring (and blind) if we discover THIS New habit-less awakening of Now-universe even in the midst of our messy city lives. Depending on ourselves, our sensitivity, each of our daily encounters is ever-habitual, ever-boring, OR This encounter is awakening, wondrous, opening, unknown, New-Life-being-born, New–cosmos.

“All is one, one is all”, my master’s master replied to me once, and his words are only understood when we are JUST THIS.“ When we are JUST THIS” means we discover/experience THIS and also we are discovered/experienced by THIS inseparably at the same time (as one Univerself-function).

THIS is ever-deepening Life as each Now is being born so fresh at/by unknown concrete encounters, for example, This_One_breathing_awareness, being called by someone, meeting with a street cat, or....  We do not need anything else at all!

(Hōgen Yamahata)

www.openway.org.au

(I used to visit open way zen center for Zazen/meditation sessions while studying in Brisbane)

Very good book - Touching Enlightenment: Finding Realization in the Body by Reginald A. Ray Ph.D. (Author)

The book describes anatta and losing boundaries into total exertion/Maha (cosmic body) expressed in another way through the portal of a body. The practice is similar to Vipassana or Satipatthana.

https://www.amazon.com/Touching-Enlightenment-Finding-Realization-Body/dp/1622033531/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480434415&sr=8-1&keywords=touching+enlightenment
 
“Through his own deep experience, Reggie Ray skillfully guides us into an awakened bodily life. He offers necessary, wise, and liberating practices of realization within our mysterious human form.”
Jack Kornfield, PhD, author of A Path with Heart
Touching Enlightenment provides readers with a fresh look at the steps required to turn our understanding of enlightenment into full embodiment—a vital process that determines the way in which we actually conduct our lives. An indispensible book for the serious practitioner.”
John Daido Loori, abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery and author of True Dharma Eye: Master Dogen’s Three Hundred Koans
"Reggie Ray’s approach to the dharma is wonderfully fresh while also radically rooted in the foundation of the Buddha’s meditation instruction—mindfulness of body. He has a richly textured understanding of the lived body as the vessel of wisdom mind, as well as the carrier of all the karmic patterns that obscure this pristine awareness. Highly recommended."
John Welwood, author of Toward a Psychology of Awakening 
Excerpts:

"This breathing practice also helps us uncover the energy that ultimately is the big toe... ...our seemingly solid physical sensations of the big toe are a substantialized and solidified experience of a more primary experience of the big toe: that it is actually a vibrating, scintillating field of energy... in a sense, we become the energy of the big toe, we are it."

"... by sensing it and feeling it, not just as the body does, but as the body. We begin to experience moments when we realize that, fundamentally, "we" are the body. As we find ourselves in greater and greater somatic embodiment, we discover deeper and deeper contact with this world. At this point, our conclusions about it recede into relative unimportance. Life is then less and less about thinking and more and more about simply being."

"When we bring our breath consciously into different parts of our body, there is the physical part, in this case pulling the breath in through the pores of the skin. But at a deeper level, there is the inner breath, by which we are bringing the life energy into that particular part of our body..."
"...Now you are breathing through the entire body, through every pore of the entire body, into every portion of its interior, all its bones, muscles, and organs, into all the cells of the body. Just work on that for a few minutes. It isn't easy, but if you stay with it, the energy, attention, and sense of intense vitality will become greater and greater.

As you are breathing through the entire body, notice if there are any places that perhaps seem a little dead or a little resistant to the breath, and you can emphasize those areas a bit. You are still breathing through the entire body, but you are ending up in that particular spot, trying to bring more life to it, more energy, more awareness, more feeling of being awake and sensitive and sentient.

Continue this for another minute or two. Try to make a lot of effort now, maximize your effort and exertion to the utmost, breathing in through every pore of your body, into every single cell of your body, surface and depth, simultaneously.

Then when you think you can't possibly do any more, you can just let go of the technique and lie quietly. Feel the energy circulating throughout your body. This is the inner breath, the prana, which is your vitality, flowing through your nadis, or energy pathways. Your body is now very, very awake, and you can feel an electricity flowing everywhere. Stay with this for several minutes, enjoying it and being completely in the flow. Stay with it until you feel really satisfied. After resting for a few more minutes, you can sit back up. As you do so, continue this sense of the full body, cellular breathing but gently now with a very light touch."

"We realize that our body feels, senses, knows its interconnection with all things. In fact, we are, we exist, only in and through interconnection; ultimately, we are nothing other than "interbeing," in Thich Nhat Hanh's beautiful phrase. All of this becomes increasingly clear the deeper we enter into our somatic existence... ...modern science is showing us that there is no solid, impermeable, discrete envelope to our individual body and that we are in constant and open-ended exchange with our larger bodies, just as our brain is with our lungs, our bones with our circulatory system: the same principle, just a larger scale."

"We have seen how the interior of our physical body unfolds first as more open than we had suspected, then as the space of our own awareness itself. In our further unfolding, again we saw, we discover that this "interior space" is not limited to our body at all, but is to be found "outside" of us, as a cosmic reality, in the earth beneath us; in this unfolding of our cosmic body, we discover an increasing boundlessness to our own awareness."

"...This standpoint, so to speak, of an experience of the earth beyond subject and object opens the way for the unfolding of a different way of being in and with the rest of the cosmos. Initially, we may begin to feel something very strong calling us - calling, calling continually: a mountain we have seen, a glacier, a particular valley, an open vista, a certain hillside or place in the forest, a tree, a river, a lake. We start to sense - although we cannot quite believe it - that the mountain, for example, is alive, and aware, and strongly inviting us, pulling us in its direction. There is something about it that is drawing us to it in the most compelling way. We may dream about it at night and feel its call during the day. What we feel is entirely somatic: our hearts are on fire and its call is resonating throughout our bodies. Such is the depth of somatic life, of *feeling* life, that is now becoming our way of being."

"Have you ever been present to a raindrop falling on a window sill, watched its great globule tumbling into sight, splashing on the sill, spreading out in slow motion, and exploding into a thousand specs of light? Have you ever gazed into a campfire, suddenly finding yourself within it, discovering your own state of being as nothing other than the raging inferno, burning, burning, burning, fueled by all it meets? Have you contemplated a lake and suddenly found yourself lost in its endlessly wet and watery world? Have you glanced up into a great tree only to meet an ancient presence looking back at you with immense understanding and care? Have you ever, one day, looked up at the sky and realized with a sudden, electric shock that courses through your body, that you are meeting a vast shimmering awareness, incredibly alive, that is watching you, utterly seeing you through and through, holding you within its boundless love?"

"...The mountain is our heart, the running streams, our blood; our mind, the limitless sky; our thoughts, the small passing clouds. Ultimately, we are nothing other than these."

- Touching Enlightenment
A video that Thusness and I found to be very good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xc3XdOiGGI&feature=share
Last year, Thusness wrote in a discussion with a follower of early Buddhism who doesn't identify with Theravada,

"The key issue about authenticity is centered on the idea of whether authenticity is based on the 'words of Buddha' or the 'teaching of Buddha'. All the four tenet systems have claimed their authenticity and each generation based on their experience, studies and realizations attempt to integrate these four tenets. If (authenticity is) strictly based on the 'words of the Buddha' then Mahayana isn't by definition Buddhism, of course.

...Yes Nixon, Vajrayana has their culture incorporated into Buddhism. But when we talk about Mahayana teaching, I think the cultural aspect has to be put aside. Rather, we should look at Mahayana as a development based on the 'teaching'. It is a development over time about what exactly is the right understanding of the 'teaching'.

...Many are linked to political systems and which sect is in power and their 'closeness' to the ruler, so we also cannot assume popularity as authentic either.

...We have stripped out those magical elements and fantasies when talking about the teachings as well. Many are simply metaphorical. Great teachings often blend themselves into cultures and teachers often used their cultural background settings as a base to explain and make people understand the deeper 'meaning' of certain ideas. Now, we must also understand that 'logic' is not the only way of understanding. Some insights are triggered not with rational induction or deduction theory. So a development of a great teaching to allow someone to understand something deep requires us to have multifaceted discipline and instrument.

We are not just a rational being. We dream and fantasize.. to understand our nature, our suffering, our way of understanding, we got to know ourselves too. When attempting to know what Buddhism has developed into a particular trend, these are all needed. However for deciding whether what is authentic, these are not needed."

Thusness then discussed the Tathagatagarbha teachings:

"Tathagatagarbha is a potentiality, the idea that everyone has the capacity to actualize oneself to Buddhahood. Invented as part of a reaction towards the strong movement of Hindu culture. Hinduism is basically based on Brahman and Atman - the eternal Self, and Buddhism's anatta is a direct contradiction against that. It is for this reason that Mahayana developed. In all the four tenets, the middle way, the yogacara, the sutra school and Vaibhashika, all are based on the fundamental understand of the three universal characteristics.

That said, in every system, there is surely some of those hiccups that deviate from the definitive view. Even in Theravada, we see the Thai Forest traditions promoting Poo Roo - The One Who Knows, as ultimate. Many foreigners in the West that are less informed can mistaken that to represent the teaching of the Buddha too. There are those who go even further to say that Anatta implies 'not self' as the five aggregates are 'not self' and the essence of the teaching of anatta is to find the True Self, quoting instead the Kevatta Sutta on the luminous mind and consciousness without features.

Buddha Nature is thus not a problem peculiar to Mahayana, in all traditions we see this.

To me, I'm a non-sectarian, so I am quite free not having prejudice for/against Theravada, Mahayana or Vajrayana. We get our experience and teaching to release, as well as to relief ourselves from our suffering from a great teaching.

To come to our understanding of what is the fundamental cause of our suffering, and the core teaching of Selflessness is not that straight forward. We experiment and test our paradigm to see if it works. It is a life experience and journey.

In my experience and journey, there is essential two paths. First is taking and seeking comfort in the ultimate and carrying it throughout, and the other, is looking into the fundamental core of suffering and understanding its nature. So there are basically these two - one relies on the essentialist practice that they need to have an ultimate, and the other says no... there is no need to, you just have to understand the nature of suffering. Therefore when we clearly see this, we realize that Buddhism is based on the latter, and the whole development of Theravada and Mahayana is based on such a system. Otherwise there is no difference from other (religions). As such it depends on an individual path and which core system one believes in.

For me, the essence view has in a certain sense proven to not be the way and I greatly appreciate the Buddha's path. To state otherwise would mean that Buddhism is using the view of an essence to solve suffering, which isn't true for me."

"I just appreciate Buddhism as a beautiful teaching and Buddha as my teacher, as a student doing something for a teacher... nothing more than that. I seldom participate in discussion as I am not a scholar and cannot contribute much."

"It's not in my nature to seek Buddhism. I have a strong Taoist background and passion for Hinduism when I was young. So philosophically and culturally, essencelessness is not a view that suits me. But it takes painful experiences to come to a willingness to let go, to see the truth of impermanence and anatta. To challenge and come to an understanding that you don't actually have to do this and that.... (or have an) ultimate here and there to release. But rather to truly accept and look deeply into impermanence, then you will let go and we can come to a new understanding of the relationship of suffering and the truth of suffering having to do with a fundamental paradigm we hold so dearly.

..Your mindset and experience can change, so is your understanding, and you just begin a new path with new understanding. Impermanence from personal, micro and macro view. You see when you see impermanence and use it as a door in practice, your view changes also, from Vipassana observing the minutest sensations in our bodily sensations to appreciating a view in current quantum physics, macro view, to observe events. So our idea changes and we adopt such understanding in our life over time. Sometimes it really depends and it needs the right condition and situation to trigger it, just like the case of financial crisis."


...

[24/3/19, 11:17:05 PM] John Tan: From the perspective of clarity, it is true that Buddhism anatta and emptiness is more profound and deep… lol. But still good to caution about respecting all religions and practice. Why empty clarity is only pointed out in buddhism. So although it is true about all points to pure consciousness, it is realizing the emptiness that is the prajna eye to allow us to clearly see the empty nature of clarity. Otherwise we will most likely land in alaya or [be] required to still in deep stillness of samadhi.”
Someone wrote:

"Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra is one of the most famous text of Mahāyāna Buddhism devoted to the positive affirmation of the eternal Self (or True Self) as opposed to impermanent nonself.

Buddha gives the following characteristics to the notion of Self:
“The Self (ātman) is reality (tattva),
the Self is permanent (nitya),

the Self is virtue (guna),
the Self is eternal (śāśvatā),
the Self is stable (dhruva),
the Self is peace (siva)”"

I replied:

"
Did the historical Buddha teach the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra? Certainly not. It developed several hundred years after the first suttas appeared. But Buddhism as a whole is clearly an evolutionary/evolving thing, in the same way as everything in the world - biology, religion, worldviews, politics, economy, art, culture, you name it, it has grown and evolved over time. Something that is alive and living is evolving and growing and progressing, otherwise it's dead. From the Pali suttas, to the Abdhidharma, to Mahayana - Tathagatagarbha, Prajnaparamita, Yogacara, Madhyamika, etc... from Theravada, to Mahayana, to Vajrayana, (and even within Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana, there were many evolutionary offshoots) etc.

Mahaparinirvana Sutra should be seen in that light. It arose as an evolutionary reaction to the environment, the times. In particular as a reaction to the growing influence of Hinduism. But something evolutionary would by definition include its preceding doctrines, but 'transcend' it by adding 'new features' or a 'new presentation' of it. However, it cannot be something that fundamentally contradicts the preceding teachings by completely replacing it with something else (then that would not be 'transcend and include'), such as replacing the non-substantialist Prajnaparamita tenets with a diametrically contradicting tenet such as a substantialist/essentialist or Vedantic vision of reality.

So we cannot understand Tathagatagarbha Sutra without first understanding the fundamental teachings of Prajnaparamita, Abhidharma, and Pali Suttas, since the evolutionary edge always includes but transcends its predecessors.

And we know this from the Mahayana sutras that dealt with the Tathagatagarbha doctrines. We know that Nirvana Sutra "transcends and includes" its preceding doctrines.

Nirvana Sutra: "If selflessness is demonstrated, the immature grasp to the explanation thinking there is no self. The intelligent on the other hand think "The [self] exists conventionally, there is no doubt."

-- The conventional nature of self is taught even in the Pali Suttas, such as Vajira Sutta.

Nirvana Sutra: "One must know that the teaching of the Buddha is "this is the middle way." The Bhagavān Buddha teaches the path as the middle way that is free from the extremes of permanence and annihilation. Some fools however, confused about the Buddha's teaching, like those with weak digestive heat who consume butter, quickly come to have views about the two extremes. Though existence is not established, also nonexistence is not established."


Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith:

This passage merely indicates that sometimes Buddha taught there is no self, other times he taught there was a self, as an antidote to different extremes. It is not the case however that this passage is claiming there is an actual self that is real, permanent, and so on. The Nirvana sutra states, as mentioned before:

When it is explained that the tathāgatgarbha is empty, the immature cultivate an incorrect fear; the intelligent know permanence, stability and immutability to be illusory.

Also the idea that tathāgatagarbha is full-fledged buddhahood is contradicted by this passage:

The seed existing in oneself that turns into buddhahood is called "tathāgatgarbha," the buddhahood which one will obtain.

Or:

When the Tathāgata explains to the bhikṣus and bhikṣunis that his body is afflicted with a limitless great illness, at that time it should be understood that absence of self is being explained, and one should cultivate the meditation of selflessness. When the Tathāgata explains liberation is signless, empty and nothing at all, at that time one should understand the explanation that liberation is free from the 25 existences, and therefore it is called emptiness. Why?, since there is no suffering, there isn't any suffering at all, it is supreme bliss and signless. Why?, since that [suffering] is not permanent, not stable and not immutable, and because the nature of peace is not nonexistent, therefore, liberation is permanent, stable, immutable and peaceful, that is the Tathāgata. When the Tathāgata explains that the tathāgatagarbha exists sentient beings, at that time, one must correctly cultivate the meditation of permanence.

So really, it is not necessary reify liberation as a self, though some people may find it temporarily useful. But in the above statement there is no reason to reify an entity. Being free from the 25 or three realms does not mean that there is some entity outside of or apart from the three realms. A self either a) exists in the three realms, b) or it does not exist at all, or c) is just a philosophical abstraction used to describe the permanence of liberation when it is attained, and the permanent potential one has to be liberated.
http://www.atikosha.org


Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith:

Here, the Nirvana sutra clearly and precisely states that buddha-svabhaava, the "nature of a Buddha" refers not to an actual nature but a potential. Why, it continues:

"Child of the lineage, I have said that ‘curd exists in milk’, because curd is produced from milk, it is called ‘curd’.

Child of lineage, at the time of milk, there is no curd, also there is no butter, ghee or ma.n.da, because the curd arises from milk with the conditions of heat, impurities, etc., milk is said to have the ‘curd-nature’."

So one must be quite careful not to make an error. The Lanka states unequivocably that the tathagatagarbha doctrine is merely a device to lead those who grasp at a true self the inner meaning of the Dharma, non-arising, the two selflessnesses and so on, and explains the meaning of the literal examples some people constantly err about:

"Similarly, that tathaagatagarbha taught in the suutras spoken by the Bhagavan, since the completely pure luminous clear nature is completely pure from the beginning, possessing the thirty two marks, the Bhagavan said it exists inside of the bodies of sentient beings.

When the Bhagavan described that– like an extremely valuable jewel thoroughly wrapped in a soiled cloth, is thoroughly wrapped by cloth of the aggregates, aayatanas and elements, becoming impure by the conceptuality of the thorough conceptuality suppressed by the passion, anger and ignorance – as permanent, stable and eternal, how is the Bhagavan’s teaching this as the tathaagatagarbha is not similar with as the assertion of self of the non-Buddhists?

Bhagavan, the non-Buddhists make assertion a Self as “A permanent creator, without qualities, pervasive and imperishable”.

The Bhagavan replied:

“Mahaamati, my teaching of tathaagatagarbha is not equivalent with the assertion of the Self of the non-Buddhists.

Mahaamati, the Tathaagata, Arhat, Samyak Sambuddhas, having demonstrated the meaning of the words "emptiness, reality limit, nirvana, non-arisen, signless", etc. as tathaagatagarbha for the purpose of the immature complete forsaking the perishable abodes, demonstrate the expertiential range of the non-appearing abode of complete non-conceptuality by demonstrating the door of tathaagatagarbha.

Mahaamati, a self should not be perceived as real by Bodhisattva Mahaasattvas enlightened in the future or presently.

Mahaamati, for example, a potter, makes one mass of atoms of clay into various kinds containers from his hands, craft, a stick, thread and effort.

Mahaamati, similarly, although Tathaagatas avoid the nature of conceptual selflessness in dharmas, they also appropriately demonstrate tathaagatagarbha or demonstrate emptiness by various kinds [of demonstrations] possessing prajñaa and skillful means; like a potter, they demonstrate with various enumerations of words and letters. As such, because of that,

Mahaamati, the demonstration of Tathaagatagarbha is not similar with the Self demonstrated by the non-Buddhists.

Mahaamati, the Tathaagatas as such, in order to guide those grasping to assertions of the Self of the Non-Buddhists, will demonstrate tathaagatagarbha with the demonstration of tathaagatagarbha. How else will the sentient beings who have fallen into a conceptual view of a True Self, possess the thought to abide in the three liberations and quickly attain the complete manifestation of Buddha in unsurpassed perfect, complete enlightenment?"


Thus, the Lanka says:

All yaanas are included
in five dharmas, three natures,
eight consciousnesses,
and two selflessnesses

It does not add anything about a true self and so on.

If one accepts that tathaagatagarbha is the aalayavij~naana, and one must since it is identified as such, then one is accepting that it is conditioned and afflicted and evolves, thus the Lanka states:

Tathaagatagarbha, known as ‘the all-base consciousness’, is to be completely purified.

Mahaamati, if what is called the all-base consciousness were (37/a) not connected to the tathaagatagarbha, because the tathaagatagarbha would not be ‘the all-base consciousness’, although it would be not be engaged, it also would not evolve; Mahaamati, it is engaged by both the childish and Aaryas, that also evolves.

Because great yogins, the ones not abandoning effort, abide with blissful conduct in this at the time of personally knowing for themselves…the tathaagatagarbha-all basis consciousness is the sphere of the Tathaagatas; it is the object which also is the sphere of teachers, [those] of detailed and learned inclinations like you, and Bodhisattva Mahaasattvas of analytic intellect.

And:

Although tathaagatagarbha
possesses seven consciousnesses;
always engaged with dualistic apprehensions
[it] will evolve with thorough understanding.


If one accepts that the tathaagatagarbha is unconditioned and so on, and one must, since it is identified as such other sutras state:

"`Saariputra, the element of sentient beings denotes the word tathaagatagarbha.
`Saariputra, that wordtathaagatagarbha’ denotes Dharmakaaya.

And:

`Saariputra, because of that, also the element of sentient beings is not one thing and the Dharmakaaya another; the element of sentient beings itself is Dharmakaaya; Dharmakaaya itself is the element of sentient beings.

Then one cannot accept it as the aalayavij~naana-- or worse, one must somehow imagine that something conditioned somehow becomes conditioned.

Other sutras state that tathaagatagarbha is the citta, as the Angulimaala suutra does here:

"Although in the `Sraavakayaana it is shown as ‘mind’, the meaning of the teaching is ‘tathaagatagarbha’; whatever mind is naturally pure, that is called ‘tathaagatagarbha’.

So, one must understand that these sutras are provisional and definitive, each giving different accounts of the tathaagatagarbha for different students, but they are not defintive. Understood improperly, they lead one into a non-Buddhist extremes. Understood and explained properly, they lead those afraid of the profound Praj~naapaaramitaa to understanding it's sublime truth. In other words, the Buddha nature teaching is just a skillful means as the Nirvana sutra states

"Child of the lineage, buddha-nature is like this; although the ten powers and the four fearlessnesses, compassion, and the three foundations of mindfulness are the three aspects existing in sentient beings; [those] will be newly seen when defilements are thoroughly conquered. The possessors of perversion will newly attain the ten powers (44/b) and four fearlessness, great compassion and three foundations of mindfulness having thoroughly conquered perversion.

Because that is the purpose as such, I teach buddha-nature always exists in all sentient beings.

When one can compare and contrast all of these citations, and many more side by side, with the proper reading of the Uttataratantra, one will see the propositions about these doctrines by the Dark Zen fools and others of their ilk are dimmed like stars at noon.

............
 
Lankavatara Sutra then states:
"O Mahāmati, with a view to casting aside the heterodox theory, you must treat the tathāgatagarbha as not self (anātman).


............

https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=97&t=19453&start=80


Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith:

The Uttaratantra states:
  • Unconditioned, effortless,
    not realized through other conditions,
    endowed with wisdom, compassion and power,
    buddhahood is endowed with two benefits.
But what does this really all mean?

When we examine Asanga's comments on this, he states:
  • When these are summarized, buddhahood is described with eight qualties. If it is asked what those eight qualities are, they are unconditioned, effortless, not realized through other conditions, wisdom, compassion, power, the abundance of one's own benefit and the abundance of others' benefit. [Buddhahood] is unconditioned because it is the nature of lacking a beginning, middle and end. It is called "effortless" because peace is endowed with the dharmakāya. It is not realized through other conditions because each person must realize it for themselves. It is wisdom because those three things are realized. [Buddhahood] is compassionate because [the Buddha] shows the path. It is powerful because it is free from suffering and affliction. The former three [unconditioned, effortless and not realized through other conditions] are for one's own benefit; the latter three [wisdom, compassion and power] are for others' benefit.

    In that regard, the conditioned is fully understood as arising somewhere, and also understood as abiding and perishing. Because those do not exist [arising, abiding and perishing], buddhahood itself is unconditioned without a beginning, middle and an end. This is seen as a differentiation made through the dharmakāya. Because all proliferation and concepts are pacified, [buddhahood] is effortless [lhun gyis grub]. Buddhahood is not realized through other conditions because it is realized through wisdom oneself produced. Here, udayo [to produce] is not the arising of a desire for realization. As such, the tathāgata is unconditioned due to the truth, out of the characteristics of non-engagement, all the activities of the buddha effortlessly engaged in without impediment and without interruption for as long as samsara exists
So let us parse this out a little bit.

Asanga states in his commentary on the Uttaratantra:
  • ...the conditioned is understood as arising somewhere, and also understood as abiding and perishing. Because those do not exist [arising, abiding and perishing], buddhahood itself is unconditioned without a beginning, middle and an end.
Buddhahood is unconditioned because the trio of arising, abiding and perishing are false. Not because in contrast to things that arise, abide and perish, buddhahood does not arise, abide and perish.

Buddhahood however has a cause, as he writes:
  • Buddhahood is not realized through other conditions because it is realized through wisdom oneself produced.
Buddhahood is also effortless, because, as he writes:
  • ...all proliferation and concepts are pacified, [buddhahood] is effortless [lhun gyis grub]...As such, the tathāgata is unconditioned due to the truth; and from the characteristics of non-engagement, all the activities of the buddha are engaged in effortlessly [lhun grub], without impediment and without interruption for as long as samsara exists
As for tathāgatagarbha always existing in the continuums of sentient beings; if you think somehow tathāgatagarba is something other than or different than a sentient beings mind, there there is a fallacy of the tathāgatagarbha being something like an atman. But there is no atman in the tathāgatagarbha theory, not really. the supreme self, (paramātma) is explained very clearly in the Uttaratantra:
  • The supreme self is the pacification of the proliferations of self and and nonself.
But what does this mean? Asanga adds:
  • The perfection of self (ātmapāramitā) is known through two reasons: due to being free from proliferation of a self because of being free from the extreme of the non-buddhists and due to being free from the proliferation of nonself because of giving up the extreme of the śrāvakas.
He explains further:
  • From cultivating prajñāpāramita in order to turn away from seeing the five addictive aggregates as self, the non-existent self in which the others, the nonbuddhists, delight, one attains the result, the perfection of self. In this way all the others, the nonbuddhists, accept natureless things such as matter and so on as a self due to their being deceived by a characteristic of a self according to how those things are being apprehended, but that self never existed.

    The Tathāgata, on the other hand, has attained the supreme perfection of the selflessness of all phenomena through the wisdom that is in accord with just how things truly are, and though there is no self according to how he sees things, he asserts a self all the time because he is never deceived by the characteristic of a self that does not exist. Making the selfless into a self is like saying "abiding through the mode of nonabiding.
There are some people who, ignoring the Nirvana Sutra's admonition to rely on the meaning rather than on the words, fall headlong into eternalism, unable to parse the Buddha's profound meaning through addiction to naive literalism.

Tathagatagarbha is just a potential to become a buddha. When we say it is has infinite qualities, this is nothing more nor less than when the Vajrapañjara praises the so called "jewel-like mind":
  • The jewel-like mind is tainted with
    evil conceptual imputations;
    but when the mind is purified it becomes pure.
    Just as space cannot be destroyed,
    just as is space, so too is the mind.
    By activating the jewel-like mind
    and meditating on the mind itself, there is the stage of buddhahood,
    and in this life there will be sublime buddhahood.
    There is no buddha nor a person
    outside of the jewel-like mind,
    the abode of consciousness is ultimate,
    outside of which there isn't the slightest thing.
    All buddhahood is through the mind...
    Matter, sensation, perception
    formations and consciousness
    these all arise from the mind,
    these [five] munis are not anything else.
    Like a great wishfulfilling gem,
    granting the results of desires and goals,
    the pure original nature of the true state of the mind
    bestows the result, Buddha's awakening
There is no other basis apart from this natural purity of the mind that is inseparable clarity and emptiness. We can call it whatever we want, but still this fact remains. The Lankāvatara rightly observes that tathāgatagarbha is just a name for emptiness and the ālayavijñāna for those afraid of emptiness. Jayānanda writes that ālayavijñāna is the mind that comprehends the basis, i.e. emptiness. How else can the mind be purified of evil conceptual imputations other than by realizing emptiness? Emptiness free from all extremes is the pure original nature of the true state of the mind, so why bother confusing oneself with all kinds of rhetoric? The mind itself has two aspects, emptiness and clarity, ka dag and lhun grub, and these are inseparable. This inseparable clarity and emptiness is call the ālaya in gsar ma and the basis in Nyingma. This also known as tathagatagarbha when it encased in afflictions, the dharmadhātu from its ultimate side, the ālayavijñāna from its relative side and so on. It really is not that complicated.


.....................................


According to the Lanka, it is a doctrine for those afraid of emptiness, therefore provisional.


Seeker12: 

According to Longchenpa, the TTG Sutras are the definitive ones. FWIW. I'm sure you know that. 
 
 
Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith:
 
They are for Gorampa as well, providing tathāgatagarbha is properly understood. But if for example the nine examples are not correctly understood, he states the TTG sūtras are provisional.

Also, the reason Longchenpa claims the TTG sūtras are definitive has to do with how he understands them in relation to Dzogchen. He also defines Prasanga Madhyamaka as the definitive view.

In general, however, the Buddha himself declares the tathāgatagarbha doctrine provisional, that is interpretable, in the Lanka Sūtra.


.....


No, Yogacāra really is a realist school, despite the attempts of some traditional Tibetan and Chinese scholars, and modern scholars like Dan Lusthaus, to revision it in nonrealist terms.
 
 
.....
 
 
You can just use Nāgārjuna as a source: emptiness incorrectly seen is like grasping a viper by the tail or incorrect reciting a vidyāmantra. Nevertheless, the Lanka's perspective on tathāgatagarbha is pretty clear.
 
 
....
 
 
shankara wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 9:31 pm I just last night read something of Taranatha on this subject. A short treatise you can find here: https://dzokden.org/read/library/study/ ... mentaries/.

What he says about the Rangtong treating the second turning of the wheel of Dharma as definitive and the third (as well as the first) as provisional is very interesting. Firstly, I would like to know if this is true? If so, it strikes me as problematic.
Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith:

The whole theory of the three turnings of the wheel is problematic, actually. There isn't any agreement which sutras are "third turning."

The Indian masters paid no attention to the three turnings at all. As a doctrine it finds no place in Dzogchen teachings at all until after the thirteenth century. The Sakyapas largely ignore it.

The Gelukpas treat the second turning as definitive.

Some teachers include the tathāgatagarbha sūtras in this category (though the Indian Yogacāra master themselves were skeptical of tathāgatagarbha theory, since they advocated the theory of the icchantika, Madhyāmikas were actually more open to it than Yogacārins).

This is mostly a Tibetan trip, based on the commentary of the Korean Master Wongchuk on the Samdhinirmocana Sūtra, translated during the imperial period.
shankara wrote: The "Mahaparinirvana Sutra" is apparently of the third turning, and personally I think it is the most definitive of all Sutras (excepting perhaps the Lotus) due to it being the last preached before the death of Shakyamuni. Does the Rangtong school really regard this Sutra as provisional?
Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith:

There is no such thing as a "rang stong school," except in the eyes of gzhan stong pas.

Generally speaking, everyone in India, including the Yogacāra masters, regarded the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras as definitive in meaning. We know this for example because Virupa, who had been a Yogacāra master prior to his awakening, carried a copy of the PP in 8000 lines with him everywhere he travelled.
 
 
 
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As for what is the definitive meaning of Buddha-Nature, the Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith wrote:

https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=77&t=15368&hilit=definitive+clarity+empty&start=120

The term bdag nyid, atman, just means, in this case, "nature", i.e. referring to the nature of reality free from extremes as being permanent, blissful, pure and self. The luminosity of the mind is understood to be this.

There are various ways to interpret the Uttaratantra and tathāgatagarbha doctrine, one way is definitive in meaning, the other is provisional, according to Gorampa Sonam Senge, thus the tathāgatagarbha sutras become definitive or provisional depending on how they are understood. He states:

In the context of showing the faults of a literal [interpretation] – it's equivalence with the Non-Buddhist Self is that the assertion of unique eternal all pervading cognizing awareness of the Saṃkhya, the unique eternal pristine clarity of the Pashupattis, the unique all pervading intellect of the Vaiśnavas, the impermanent condition, the measure of one’s body, in the permanent self-nature of the Jains, and the white, brilliant, shining pellet the size of an atom, existing in each individual’s heart of the Vedantins are the same.

The definitive interpretation he renders as follows:

Therefor, the Sugatagarbha is defined as the union of clarity and emptiness but not simply emptiness without clarity, because that [kind of emptiness] is not suitable to be a basis for bondage and liberation. Also it is not simple clarity without emptiness, that is the conditioned part, because the Sugatagarbha is taught as unconditioned.

Khyentse Wangpo, often cited as a gzhan stong pa, basically says that the treatises of Maitreya elucidate the luminosity of the mind, i.e. its purity, whereas Nāgarjuna's treatises illustrate the empty nature of the mind, and that these two together, luminosity and emptiness free from extremes are to be understood as noncontradictory, which we can understand from the famous Prajñāpāramita citation "There is no mind in the mind, the nature of the mind is luminosity". 
 
 
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So, the definitive meaning of buddha-nature is the union of clarity and emptiness.

This is why clarity is not being negated but realised to be empty of inherent existence -- http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2019/01/no-awareness-does-not-mean-non.html

Not just John Tan, Malcolm, Archarya Shridhar Rana Rinpoche, etc etc, even the current Dalai Lama has explained in his talks multiple times that the Hindus and Buddhists both share similar realisation on the Clarity aspect of Buddha-Nature, but what is unique about Buddhism is the insights into its empty nature.

As John Tan/Thusness wrote way back even in 2004:

“Buddhism is nothing but replacing the 'Self' in Hinduism with Condition Arising. Keep the clarity, the presence, the luminosity and eliminate the ultimate 'Self', the controller, the supreme. Still you must taste, sense, eat, hear and see Pure Awareness in every authentication. And every authentication is Bliss.” - John Tan, 2004

“Understand immense intelligence not as if someone is there to act and direct, rather as total exertion of the universe to make this moment possible; then all appearances are miraculous and marvelous.” - John Tan, 2012

“The Pristine awareness is often mistaken as the 'Self'. It is especially difficult for one that has intuitively experience the 'Self' to accept 'No-Self'. As I have told you many times that there will come a time when you will intuitively perceive the 'I' -- the pure sense of Existence but you must be strong enough to go beyond this experience until the true meaning of Emptiness becomes clear and thorough. The Pristine Awareness is the so-called True-Self' but why we do not call it a 'Self' and why Buddhism has placed so much emphasis on the Emptiness nature? This then is the true essence of Buddhism. It is needless to stress anything about 'Self' in Buddhism; there are enough of 'Logies' of the 'I" in Indian Philosophies. If one wants to know about the experience of 'I AM', go for the Vedas and Bhagavad Gita. We will not know what Buddha truly taught 2500 years ago if we buried ourselves in words. Have no doubt that The Dharma Seal is authentic and not to be confused.

When you have experienced the 'Self' and know that its nature is empty, you will know why to include this idea of a 'Self' into Buddha-Nature is truly unnecessary and meaningless. True Buddhism is not about eliminating the 'small Self' but cleansing this so called 'True Self' (Atman) with the wisdom of Emptiness.” - John Tan, 2005

"What you are suggesting is already found in Samkhya system. I.e. the twenty four tattvas are not the self aka purusha. Since this system was well known to the Buddha, if that's all his insight was, then his insight is pretty trivial. But Buddha's teachings were novel. Why where they novel? They were novel in the fifth century BCE because of his teaching of dependent origination and emptiness. The refutation of an ultimate self is just collateral damage." - Lopon Malcolm

In January 2005, John Tan wrote:

“[19:21] <^john^> learn how to experience emptiness and no-selfness. :)
[19:22] <^john^> this is the only way to liberate.
[19:22] <^john^> not to dwell too deeply into the minor aspect of pure awareness.
[19:23] <^john^> of late i have been seeing songs and poems relating to the luminosity aspect of Pure Awareness.
[19:23] <^john^> uncreated, original, mirror bright, not lost in nirvana and samsara..etc
[19:23] <^john^> what use is there?
[19:24] <ZeN`n1th> oic...
[19:24] <^john^> we have from the very beginning so and yet lost for countless aeons of lives.
[19:25] <^john^> buddha did not come to tell only about the luminosity aspect of pure awareness.
[19:25] <^john^> this has already been expressed in vedas.
[19:25] <^john^> but it becomes Self.
[19:25] <^john^> the ultimate controller
[19:26] <^john^> the deathless
[19:26] <^john^> the supreme..etc
[19:26] <^john^> this is the problem.
[19:26] <^john^> this is not the ultimate nature of Pure Awareness.
[19:27] <^john^> for full enlightenment to take place, experience the clarity and emptiness.  That's all.”

    And in March 2006, John Tan said:

    <^john^> the different between hinduism and buddhism is they return to the "I AM" and clings to it.
    <^john^> always "I" as the source.
    <ZeN`n1th> icic
    <^john^> but in buddhism it is being replaced by "emptiness nature", there is a purest, an entity, a stage to be gained or achieved is an illusion.
    <^john^> there is none. No self to be found. No identity to assumed. Nothing attained.
    <ZeN`n1th> oic..
    <^john^> this is truly the All.
    <^john^> so for a teaching that is so thorough and complete, why must it resort back to a "True Self"?
    <ZeN`n1th> hmm but i got a question about just now you say impermanent... but mahayana texts also say tathagathagarbha is permanent right?
    <^john^> yes but for other reasons.
    <ZeN`n1th> what kind of reasons
    <ZeN`n1th> wat you mean
    <^john^> first you must know that there is really a very subtle difference between pure subjectivity and emptiness nature.
    <ZeN`n1th> icic
    <^john^> for one that has experienced in full emptiness nature, does he/she need to create an extra "True Self"?
    <ZeN`n1th> so wat difference
    <ZeN`n1th> no
    <^john^> he already knows and experiences and completely understand the arising cause and conditions of why the "true self" was created...
    <^john^> will he still be confused?
    <^john^> he knows exactly what is happening, the reality of the 'self'.
    <ZeN`n1th> icic..
    <^john^> i would say it is due to his compassion to let the other sects have a chance to understand the dharma that he said so.
    <^john^> this is what i think.
    <^john^> but there is no necessity to preach something extra.
    <ZeN`n1th> oic
    <^john^> in light of emptiness nature, "True Self" is not necessary.
    <ZeN`n1th> icic
    <^john^> the so called "purest" is already understood, there is no clinging.
    <^john^> there is hearing, no hearer...etc
    <^john^> is already beyond "True Self".
    <ZeN`n1th> oic
    <^john^> yet it exactly knows the stage of "True Self".
    <^john^> if there is no hearing...then something is wrong.
    <^john^>
    <^john^> but there is hearing but no hearer.
    <ZeN`n1th> hahaha
    <ZeN`n1th> oic
    <^john^> put your time into practice and understanding of no-self and emptiness.
    <^john^>
    <ZeN`n1th> ok