Someone shared this on buddhism group. Nice self enquiry pointers.
拔隊得勝 Bassui Tokushō (1327–1387)
If you would free yourself of the sufferings of Samsara, you must learn the direct way to become a Buddha. This way is no other than the realization of your own Mind. Now what is this Mind? It is the true nature of all sentient beings, that which existed before our parents were born and hence before our own birth, and which presently exists, unchangeable and eternal. So it is called one's Face before one's parents were born. This Mind is intrinsically pure. When we are born it is not newly created, and when we die it does not perish. It has no distinction of male or female, nor has it any coloration of good or bad. It cannot be compared with anything, so it is called Buddha-nature. Yet countless thoughts issue from this Self-nature as waves arise in the ocean or as images are reflected in a mirror.
If you want to realize your own Mind, you must first of all look into the source from which thoughts flow. Sleeping and working, standing and sitting, profoundly ask yourself, "What is my own Mind?“ with an intense yearning to resolve this question. This is called "training" or "practice" or "desire for truth" or "thirst for realization."
Imagine a child sleeping next to its parents and dreaming it is being beaten or is painfully sick. The parents cannot help the child no matter how much it suffers, for no one can enter the dreaming mind of another. If the child could awaken itself, it could be freed of this suffering automatically. In the same way, one who realizes that his own Mind is Buddha frees himself instantly from the sufferings arising from (ignorance of the law of) ceaseless change of birth-and-death. If a Buddha could prevent it, do you think he would allow even one sentient being to fall into hell? Without Self-realization one cannot understand such things as these.
What kind of master is it that this very moment sees colors with the eyes and hears voices with the ears, that now rises the hands and moves the feet? We know these are functions of our own mind, but no one knows precisely how they are performed, It may be asserted that behind these actions there is no entity, yet it is obvious they are being performed spontaneously. Conversely, it may be maintained that these are the acts of some entity; still the entity is invisible. If one regards this question as unfathornable, all attempts to reason (out an answer) will cease and one will be at a loss to know what to do. In this propitious state deepen and deepen the yearning, tirelessly, to the extreme. When the profound questioning penetrates to the very bottom, and that bottom is broken open, not the slightest doubt will remain that your own Mind is itself Buddha, the Void-universe. There will then be no anxiety about life or death, no truth to search for.
Upon such realization question yourself even more intensely in this way: "My body is like a phantom, like bubbles on a stream. My mind, looking into itself, is as formless as empty-space, yet somewhere within sounds are perceived. Who is hearing?" Should you question yourself in this way with profound absorption, never slackening the intensity of your effort, your rational mind eventually will exhaust itself and only questioning at the deepest level will remain. Finally you will lose awareness of your own body. Your long-held conceptions and notions will perish, after absolute questioning, in the way that every drop of water vanishes from a tub broken open at the bottom, and perfect enlightenment will follow like flowers suddenly blooming on withered trees.
While you are doing zazen neither despise nor cherish the thoughts that arise; only search your own mind, the very source of these thoughts. You must understand that anything appearing in your consciousness or seen by your eyes is an illusion, of no enduring reality. Hence you should neither fear nor be fascinated by such phenomena. If you keep your mind at empty as space, unstained by extraneous matters, no evil spirits can disturb you even on your deathbed. While engaged in zazen, however, keep none of this counsel in mind. You must only become the question "What is this Mind?" or "'What is it that hears these sounds?" When you realize this Mind you will know that it is the very source of all Buddhas and sentient beings. The Bodhisattva Kannon is so called because he attained enlightenment by perceiving (i.e., grasping the source of) the sounds of the world about him.
At work, at rest, never stop trying to realize who it is that hears. Even though your questioning becomes almost unconscious, you won't find the one who hears, and all your efforts will come to naught. Yet sounds can be heard, so question yourself to an even profounder level. At last every vestige of self-awareness will disappear and you will feel like a cloudless sky. Within yourself you will find no "I," nor will you discover anyone who hears. This Mind is like the void, yet it hasn't a single spot that can be called empty. This state is often mistaken for Self-realization. But continue to ask yourself even more intensely, "Now who is it that hears?" If you bore and bore into this question, oblivious to anything else, even this feeling of voidness will vanish and you will be unaware of anything - total darkness will prevail. (Don't stop here, but) keep asking with all your strength, "What is it that hears?" Only when you have completely exhausted the questioning will the question burst; now you will feel like a man come back from the dead. This is true realization. You will see the Buddhas of all the universes face to face and the Patriarchs past and present. Test yourself with this koan: "A monk asked Joshu: 'What is the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming to China?' Joshu replied: 'The oak tree in the garden.´" Should this koan leave you with the slightest doubt, you need to resume questioning, "What is it that hears?"
If you don't come to realization in this present life, when will you? Once you have died you won't be able to avoid a long period of suffering in the Three Evil Paths. What is obstructing realization? Nothing but your own half-hearted desire for truth. Think of this and exert yourself to the utmost.
I like everything except the last part of 3 evil paths in the after life ? Why evil? Are not these astral realms not also empty? And is no wisdom gained in this incarnation carried over ?
Soh Wei Yu
The actual Pali word is this:
apaya-bhumi [apaaya-bhuumi]: State of deprivation; the four lower levels of existence into which one might be reborn as a result of past unskillful actions (see kamma): rebirth in hell, as a hungry ghost (see peta), as an angry demon (see Asura), or as a common animal. None of these states is permanent.
Soh Wei Yu
Lewis Stevens Likewise the celestial realms are very blissful, more blissful than human realm, but they are also not so good from the dharma perspective because one gets distracted by pleasure and generally do not want to practice. But there are exceptions, there are devas who practice and awaken, they are just more rare and more hindered by their pleasant environment than we are. Less impetus to practice.
Soh Wei Yu
Daniel M. Ingram wrote about his past lives:
As to world-cycles or the like, my past life experiences line up along the following lines, if you believe in such experiences having validity:
1) This life human.
2) Last life some sort of moderately powerful, clearly somewhat debauched male jealous god/sorcerer of some kind that was stabbed in the back with a dagger by a woman who he had wronged in some way, I think.
3) Some sort of mother skunk-like animal that was eaten by a large black dog or wolf.
4) Some sort of mother bat that was killed when the rock it was clinging to at the top of the cave fell to the floor.
5) Some sort of grim, gigantic, armored skeletal titan-like thing that ran tirelessly through space swinging a gigantic sword and doing battle nearly continuously without sleep for hundreds of thousands of years that was killed by something like a dragon.
6) Some gigantic, gelatinous, multi-tentacled, very alien being living in a very dark place for a very long time, probably under water, I think.
Other than some sense that the skunk-thing and the bat-thing were virtuous mothers, I have no sense that there was any profound previous dharmic development at least back that far, and, in fact, have the distinct sense that the previous one was a bit of a cad and not very ethical. Take that all for what you will.”
These are issues of (Buddhist) cosmology. My theology prof. (now at BU, Robert Neville) said that the essence of (mystical) religions like Buddhism is ontological. All the cosmological stuff are stories for the masses. The essence of Buddhism is ontological......the discovery of pure Being (in which the self like phenomenal reality itself is empty). Cosmology may be interesting but isn't "true."
Soh Wei Yu
There are evidence of other realms
Will be good to keep an open mind at least
Excerpts from http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/.../on-supernatural...
Evidence for the Afterlife
Soh Wei Yu
Buddhism goes beyond “pure being” which is the I AM realization of the thusness 7 stages
Among Buddha’s discoveries:
The Section of the Threes
99. The Threefold Knowledge
This was said by the Lord…
“Bhikkhus, I declare that it is through the Dhamma that one becomes a brahmin possessing the threefold knowledge: (I do not say this) of another merely because he can talk persuasively and recite. And how do I declare that it is through the Dhamma that one becomes a brahmin possessing the threefold knowledge?
“Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu recollects a variety of former lives, that is, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births; many aeons of world-contraction, many aeons of world-expansion, many aeons of both world-contraction and expansion. He recollects in a particular life being such a one by name, of such a clan, of such an appearance, having this kind of nutriment, experiencing these kinds of pleasure and pain, having this lifespan; and deceasing from there he arose here. Thus with all their details and particulars he recollects a variety of former lives. This is the first knowledge attained by him. Ignorance is dispelled, knowledge has arisen; darkness is dispelled, light has arisen, as happens in one who lives diligent, ardent, and resolute.
“Then again, bhikkhus, with the divine eye, purified and surpassing the human, a bhikkhu sees beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings pass on according to their deeds thus: ‘Those worthy beings practising misconduct by body, speech, and mind, insulters of the noble ones, of wrong view and undertaking deeds in consequence of wrong view, when the body perishes have been reborn after death in a state of misery, a bad bourn, a state of ruin, hell. But those worthy beings practising good conduct by body, speech, and mind, not insulters of the noble ones, of right view and undertaking deeds in consequence of right view, when the body perishes, have been reborn after death in a good bourn, a heavenly world.’ Thus he sees this with the divine eye and he understands how beings pass on according to their deeds. This is the second knowledge attained by him. Ignorance is dispelled, knowledge has arisen; darkness is dispelled, light has arisen, as happens in one who lives diligent, ardent, and resolute.
“Then again, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu, through realization by his own direct knowledge, here and now enters and abides in the mind-release and wisdom-release that is taintless by the destruction of the taints. This is the third knowledge attained by him. Ignorance is dispelled, knowledge has arisen; darkness is dispelled, light has arisen, as happens in one who lives diligent, ardent, and resolute.
“Thus, bhikkhus, do I declare that it is through the Dhamma that one becomes a brahmin possessing the threefold knowledge; (I do not say this) of another merely because he can talk persuasively and recite.”
He who knows his former lives,
Who sees heaven and states of woe,
Who reaches the end of birth,
A sage and master of direct knowledge—
By these three ways of knowing one becomes
A brahmin having the threefold knowledge.
That is what I call the threefold knowledge,
Not another’s babbling and reciting.
This too is the meaning of what was said by the Lord, so I heard.
Soh Wei Yu
And it is not only Buddha. Countless practitioners since him have recalled their past lives. About 5 people in the AtR group had vivid recollections of their past lives in addition to anatta realisation. It is possible to recall through deep samadhi and the Buddha taught how.
Soh Wei Yu
"Continuing consciousness after death is, in most religions, a matter of revealed truth. In Buddhism, the evidence comes from the contemplative experience of people who are certainly not ordinary but who are sufficiently numerous that what they say about it is worth taking seriously into account. Indeed, such testimonies begin with those of the Buddha himself.
Nevertheless, it’s important to understand that what’s called reincarnation in Buddhism has nothing to do with the transmigration of some ‘entity’ or other. It’s not a process of metempsychosis because there is no ‘soul’. As long as one thinks in terms of entities rather than function and continuity, it’s impossible to understand the Buddhist concept of rebirth. As it’s said, ‘There is no thread passing through the beads of the necklace of rebirths.’ Over successive rebirths, what is maintained is not the identity of a ‘person’, but the conditioning of a stream of consciousness.
Additionally, Buddhism speaks of successive states of existence; in other words, everything isn’t limited to just one lifetime. We’ve experienced other states of existence before our birth in this lifetime, and we’ll experience others after death. This, of course, leads to a fundamental question: is there a nonmaterial consciousness distinct from the body? It would be virtually impossible to talk about reincarnation without first examining the relationship between body and mind. Moreover, since Buddhism denies the existence of any self that could be seen as a separate entity capable of transmigrating from one existence to another by passing from one body to another, one might well wonder what it could be that links those successive states of existence together.
One could possibly understand it better by considering it as a continuum, a stream of consciousness that continues to flow without there being any fixed or autonomous entity running through it… Rather it could be likened to a river without a boat, or to a lamp flame that lights a second lamp, which in-turn lights a third lamp, and so on and so forth; the flame at the end of the process is neither the same flame as at the outset, nor a completely different one…" - Rizenfenix
Soh Wei Yu
In verse 6, he says,
"Then, as for extremely subtle entities,
Those who regard them with nihilism,
Lacking precise and thorough knowledge,
Will not see the actuality of conditioned arising."
Can anyone explain this a bit? What is being referred to as extremely subtle entities that may be regarded with nihilism, lacking precise and thorough knowledge?
Thank you for input.
The extremely subtle existents are particles, paramanus.
A more precise translation would be:
Although the aggregates are serially connected,
the wise are to comprehend nothing transfers.
Someone, having conceived of annihilation,
even in extremely subtle existents,
is not wise,
and will never see the meaning of ‘arisen from conditions’.
The auto commentary states with respect to this:
Therein, the aggregates are the aggregates of matter, sensation, perception, formations and consciousness. Those, called ‘serially joined’, not having ceased, produce another produced from that cause; although not even the subtle particle of an existent has transmigrated from this world to the next.
The purpose of this is to point out that even though nothing transfers from this life to the next, the assertion that even a subtle particle is annihilated is false. Why? Because in Madhyamaka causes and effects are neither the same nor different."
Soh Wei Yu
krodha commented on Im getting a little sick of Christians trying to scare me out of buddhism and into Christianity
23 points ·
1 day ago
There are six lōkas, meaning realms or destinations, in samsara. The narāka or “hell” realm is one of them.
Somewhat different than the Christian hell though. Buddhist hell is not actually a literal place, it appears like a literal place to those who experience it, but it is something like an extremely long and negative mental state which involves the projection of a hell environment.
Soh Wei Yu
Malcolm: " There is and only ever has been one model of rebirth in Buddhadharma. You keep conflating cosmology with the principle of punarbhāva, rebirth. The former is not necessary to the latter.
One, in Mahāyāna it is maintained that the three realms are mind only. This includes the six lokas, features such as Mt. Meru and so on, including the perception you have of your own sense organs, body and so on. According to Mahāyāna, all of these perceptions and experiences arise from traces activated in the all-basis consciousness.
Now that we have removed physicality and cosmology from the equation, we can understand that the apparent death of our physical body is not a death of a physical body, rather it is the cessation of the perception of a physical body we have now and in this life time. But given that we accept, as Mahāyānists, that all phenomena are only mind, the exhaustion of this life's appearances do not preclude the arising of the appearance of a new series of aggregates to our consciousness, whether or not we have any memory of a past life.
Descarte had it wrong, there is no demon in the mix; but there are afflictions in the mix, and for as long as the traces of those afflictions contaminate our minds streams, then for us there is no end to birth and death."
Is a steam the shape of the gully it cuts through or the water?
The water is shaped by the phenomena it passes and the force by which it cuts through.
It isn't good nor bad but flows through the habit it chanced to encounter.
It comes from the same source and runs to it.
This is consciousness.