Showing posts with label Buddha Nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Buddha Nature. Show all posts

A few people are simultaneously telling me that they saw Brahman and Buddha nature as pointing to the same concept, so I compiled this post to share with them.

Padmasambhava said in the text Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness

"As for this sparkling awareness, which is called "mind,"

Even though one says that it exists, it does not actually exist.

(On the other hand) as a source, it is the origin of the diversity of all the bliss of Nirvana and all of the sorrow of Samsara.

And as for it¡¯s being something desirable; it is cherished alike in the Eleven Vehicles.

With respect to its having a name, the various names that are applied to it are inconceivable (in their numbers).

Some call it "the nature of the mind" or "mind itself."

Some Tirthikas (non-Buddhists) call it by the name Atman or "the Self."

The Sravakas call it the doctrine of Anatman or "the absence of a self."

The Chittamatrins call it by the name Chitta or "the Mind."

Some call it the Praj?¨¢p¨¢ramit¨¢ or "the Perfection of Wisdom."

Some call it the name Tathagata-garbha or "the embryo of Buddhahood."

Some call it by the name Mahamudra or "the Great Symbol."

Some call it by the name "the Unique Sphere."

Some call it by the name Dharmadhatu or "the dimension of Reality."

Some call it by the name Alaya or "the basis of everything."

And some simply call it by the name "ordinary awareness.""

Likewise John Tan said before, John Tan, 2007: “No-self does not need observation. No-self is a form of realisation. To observe is to track the 'self': where is it, what is it - that 'sense of self', who, where and what... till we thoroughly understood it is an illusion, till we know there is awareness, but there never was a 'Self/self'. Isn't awareness 'self'? Well, you can say so if you insist...ehehhe

(1:59 PM) Thusness: if there is non-dual, no background, no mine and 'I', impermanence, not a form of entity and yet we still want to call it 'Self', so be it. :P

(1:59 PM) Thusness: its okie...

(1:59 PM) Thusness: lol”

John Tan, 2020: “Brahman or not doesn't matter as long Brahman is not any transpersonal being in a wonderland, but is the very relative phenomena that we misunderstood.”

However, we are not perennialists. We are saying it is not the label we give to consciousness that matters, but the nature of it that matters. All the teachings and religions are pointing towards Consciousness. Yet, the crucial matter lies in how clear and deep is the insight into the nature of consciousness. Is it reified subtly in terms of subject-object duality, and also reified in terms of inherent existence? If there is insight into emptiness that penetrates these reifications and delusions, what is the insight and experience of it like? This has tremendous implications on our liberation.

Padmasambhava also laid out the flaws of various views in the same text I quoted from above, "The Tirthikas who are outsiders see all this in terms of the dualism of Eternalism as against nihilism.

Each of the nine successive vehicles sees things in terms of its own view.

Thus, things are perceived in various different ways and may be elucidated in various different ways.

Because you grasped at these various (appearances that arise), becoming attached to them, errors have come into existence."

Even the I AM realization is an insight into the luminous clarity aspect of our Buddha nature, but its nondual and empty nature is not yet realized. As Dalai Lama said, "Nature - there are many different levels. Conventional level, one nature. There are also, you see, different levels. Then, ultimate level, ultimate reality... so simply realise the Clarity of the Mind, that is the conventional level. That is common with Hindus, like that. So we have to know these different levels...." - Dalai Lama on Anatta and Emptiness of Buddha Nature in New Book

When we first have a glimpse and realization of our essence of luminous clarity, it is just the aspect of Clarity. It needs to be refined with the wisdom of emptiness. All genuine practitioners should go through the process of deepening one's realization. Hence the important realizations has been laid out clearly in the Thusness 7 Stages .

Here are some quotes that I think are relevant:

John Tan, 2009: "Buddhism is to realise Brahman having sunyata (emptiness) nature, and that is awareness, the true face of awareness. That is, there is no denial of this non-dual luminosity but its nature is empty."

“Yes sahaja samadhi but that remain as "experience". Just like in taoism, it is all about naturalness 自然 and non-action (action without agent) though there are overlaps but they are different in praxis and view essentially. There is no need to forcefully integrate the various religions into one, that is just more attachment.

Although there is no monopoly over truth as ultimately all is/are talking about one's primordial nature but there are those that much clearer and precise in their system of practice. If the views and philosophies are 90% inherent and dualistic, the result from such a system will at best be a stage to be achieved albeit the emphasis of natural state.

As I said before, if someone were to say "Soh is a malay, a speckie, used to be a c# programmer, 1.9m tall and has a sister", obviously some informations are correct and some are misleading. Even if you were to stand right in front of him, he will not be able to recognize you. Therefore although all are talking about the natural condition of pristine consciousness, some are exceptionally clearer than others.” – John Tan, 2020

“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 difference 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^> 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.


    <ZeN`n1th> ok




As for what is the definitive meaning of Buddha-Nature, the Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith wrote:

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". 


Session Start: Monday, April 13, 2009 (12:18 AM) Thusness: by the way when i say u cannot downplay this "I" doesn't mean to be attached to this"I" (12:19 AM) AEN: oic u refering to sgclubs? orh (12:19 AM) Thusness: yes (12:19 AM) AEN: icic (12:20 AM) Thusness: what is the difference when u practice awareness in awareness? and realization of anatta? (12:21 AM) Thusness: (Someone wrote:) "when i was writing in overground forum, i have not completed the entire path, it is just starting." (12:21 AM) Thusness: Even after mentioning to Gozen about no-self anatta, it is also not the end. (12:22 AM) Thusness: Advaita is the abstracting of the luminosity aspect out from a moment of arising. (12:22 AM) Thusness: it is the realization of Self and seek the union with Brahman. (12:23 AM) Thusness: This is different from buddhism. (12:23 AM) AEN: oic.. (12:24 AM) Thusness: When we say rest Awareness in Awareness, we are clinging to Self. That is, we see only Self, we don't see phenomena. (12:24 AM) Thusness: A practitioner very quickly resort back to the Source. (12:25 AM) Thusness: As if by relating to the transience, they will get stuck with it. (12:25 AM) Thusness: and these practitioners knows nothing of phenomena, only Self. That is the problem. (12:25 AM) AEN: oic.. (12:26 AM) Thusness: It is similar to seeing Awareness as the light of Everything. (12:26 AM) Thusness: But in Buddhism, it is understood that there is no Light of Everything. The Light is the Everything. (12:27 AM) Thusness: This is not a mere play of words or wrangling over words. It is a form of Realization. (12:28 AM) Thusness: Only a Realization can burn the latent deep tendency of seeing things inherently. (12:28 AM) AEN: 77 Jesus said, "I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there." (12:28 AM) Thusness: Yeah. It is non-dual, but it is resorting back to a Self. It always trace back to a self. Self. (12:29 AM) AEN: oic (12:29 AM) Thusness: Whereas Buddhism is different. This is only the beginning. (12:29 AM) Thusness: Once a practitioner succeeded in bringing this background to foreground, it is understood that the Background is an illusion. How is this so? (12:30 AM) Thusness: only the tendency to divide blinding us, there cannot be a Source and Manifestation. (12:30 AM) AEN: icic.. (12:31 AM) Thusness: Like hearing sound and an Advaitin says Awareness is the isness or presence of sound. But Buddhism sees Sound as Presence itself. (12:31 AM) Thusness: This is No Mind. (12:31 AM) AEN: wats the difference (12:32 AM) Thusness: Yet after this, Buddhism goes further negating this Presence. (12:32 AM) Thusness: when one negates the Presence further, one sees Dharma. The practitioner has no more concern with Self or Awareness, there is only Dharma. (12:33 AM) Thusness: He rest completely in Dharma and sees Dharmakaya. (12:33 AM) Thusness: in other words, Awareness is being implied in all arising. (12:33 AM) Thusness: talking about it is 'extra' (12:34 AM) Thusness: for one to progress from no-mind, there is only phenomena and eventually dharma. No Mind is the entry point. (12:34 AM) AEN: oic.. (12:34 AM) Thusness: One mind u have not even entered the gate. (12:35 AM) Thusness: i mean practitioner who has realized One Mind has not even entered the gate. (12:35 AM) AEN: icic.. *Like hearing sound and an Advaitin says Awareness is the isness or presence of sound. *But Buddhism sees Sound as Presence itself. wats the difference (12:36 AM) Thusness: the difference is although the experience is non-dual, the insight is not non-dual. The understanding is dualistic. get it? (12:37 AM) Thusness: The practitioner is unable to see clearly that there is no Presence and the Sound. When he thinks that there is, it immediately becomes an illusion. That is not a realization, it is an illusion. (12:37 AM) AEN: oic.. (12:38 AM) Thusness: When we first experience the Eternal Witness, it is non-dual, presence, very real, it is the Reality. at that moment the experience is non-dual. (12:38 AM) Thusness: When we come to understand it, it becomes dual. (12:38 AM) Thusness: we understood it wrongly but we think that it is right. (12:39 AM) Thusness: therefore it appears to be 'there', still, unchanging, wherever is. (12:39 AM) Thusness: in actual fact, we are abstracting the characteristics of 'pristine clarity' from a moment of arising and call it Presence. it is the mind do the abstraction. get it? (12:40 AM) AEN: ic.. (12:40 AM) Thusness: this is a tendency that is dividing. that is why vipassana is taught. observing all arising sensation. (12:40 AM) Thusness: that sensation is already Awareness itself (12:41 AM) AEN: oic.. (12:41 AM) Thusness: otherwise, self enquiry instead of vipassana would be taught and there is no point observing sensation. (12:42 AM) Thusness: to be bare is to understand sensation in its pristineness, its luminosity that when it is bare. yet it is impermanent. (12:42 AM) AEN: icic.. its the same thing as what judith blackstone writes rite in her instructions (12:43 AM) Thusness: yeah (12:43 AM) AEN: i have difficulty following some of the instructions lol.. dun understand what she saying (12:43 AM) Thusness: but there is still abstraction (12:43 AM) AEN: btw i ask u yesterday when she say 'attune to the quality of your self' in the various body parts. isit simply being aware of the sensations in the different parts of the body without dividing observer from observed? (12:43 AM) Thusness: however it is a good practice bringing one to the next level of understanding (12:43 AM) AEN: oic (12:44 AM) Thusness: yes (12:44 AM) AEN: icic (12:44 AM) Thusness: the difference between Advaita and Buddhism is Advaita sinks back to the self despite the experience of no-self (12:45 AM) Thusness: while buddhism goes further and see the mutual integration of the inseparable. (12:45 AM) Thusness: when we separate what that cannot be separated, we are not truly understanding anything (12:46 AM) Thusness: We cannot say Awareness is not affected.... Awareness is not affected in the 'form' sense. (12:46 AM) Thusness: it is affected in the karma sense. (12:47 AM) Thusness: not dulling its luminosity does not mean one is not affected. (12:47 AM) Thusness: we have to understand it conventionally (12:48 AM) Thusness: when we say the ground is already perfected, we are referring to its empty nature and luminosity practitioner always attempt to polish the mirror, the luminosity (12:48 AM) Thusness: there is nothing to polish (12:49 AM) AEN: there is nothing to polish is a result of realising the 'already perfected'? (12:49 AM) Thusness: in terms of luminosity, u cannot make it any better (12:49 AM) Thusness: or its empty nature (12:49 AM) AEN: oic (12:50 AM) Thusness: but that does not mean that when u cling, attached, visualized intensely, nothing sink to consciousness. (12:50 AM) Thusness: u will still dream, get confused in dreams, lost in adverse situations... get it? when the tendency is there, this is the case (12:51 AM) Thusness: just like now u can't see clearly (12:51 AM) Thusness: and this is perfect luminosity even though u r lost. because of the tendency get it? (12:52 AM) Thusness: otherwise u would already see clearly if there is an essence (12:52 AM) Thusness: because it is essenceless, with the presence of this tendency, u cannot see clearly because our luminosity is perfect (12:52 AM) Thusness: it has to take into account of the tendency get it? (12:53 AM) AEN: i dun get it :P (12:53 AM) Thusness: it dependently originate with the tendency there, it is like that (12:53 AM) AEN: wat has not seeing clearly got to do with our luminosity is perfect wat do u mean by "u cannot see clearly because our luminosity is perfect" (12:54 AM) Thusness: to illustrate as an analogy, (12:54 AM) Thusness: if there is no luminosity, will u 'not see'? is there such a case as see or not see? there won't be. (12:55 AM) Thusness: there must be luminosity like pain. (12:55 AM) AEN: u mean luminosity allows both seeing and not seeing ic (12:56 AM) Thusness: if luminosity is not as it is, is there pain there won't be even confusion get it? (12:56 AM) Thusness: why is there confusion, it is the presence of conditions (12:56 AM) AEN: so u mean luminosity is everything including pain and confusion oic (12:57 AM) Thusness: it has to reflect what is it cannot reflect what is not (12:57 AM) AEN: icic (12:57 AM) Thusness: if u have strong dualistic tendencies, it reflects dualistic tendencies get it? u understand this way (12:58 AM) Thusness: there is no essential nature (12:58 AM) AEN: oic.. (12:58 AM) Thusness: when we say 'Self', it is learnt (12:59 AM) Thusness: we say permanent, is just an abstraction there is luminosity but it is empty (12:59 AM) AEN: icic.. (1:00 AM) Thusness: what is meant by Awareness watching Awareness? (1:00 AM) Thusness: it is for the beginner to first discard discursive thoughts and direct realized what Awareness is like. it is just a first glimpse (1:01 AM) Thusness: when we see that and think that we can rest in awareness, we are deluded. (1:01 AM) Thusness: awareness always manifests (1:01 AM) AEN: we cannot rest in awareness? (1:01 AM) Thusness: there is nothing to rest what is there to rest (1:02 AM) AEN: oic (1:02 AM) Thusness: true resting is the practice of vipassana is to open to whatever is (1:03 AM) Thusness: Awareness watching Awareness is for the Realisation not for the development (1:03 AM) Thusness: once realized, there is nothing to watch (1:03 AM) AEN: icic.. (1:04 AM) Thusness: anything further is mistaking a stage as Realisation all is empty. (1:05 AM) Thusness: a meditator meditating into absorption is also empty. if attached, he will be equally confused. (1:05 AM) Thusness: just like a flower, where is the redness? only dependently originates (1:06 AM) Thusness: if u are attached, when in other realms, u still seek for flower, then u will be confused. (1:06 AM) Thusness: still seek for redness when without the body, what is the experience of absorption? (1:06 AM) Thusness: is it still the same? (1:07 AM) Thusness: is there any absorption that is inherently 'there' get it? (1:07 AM) AEN: ic.. btw absorption can be sustained without body rite (1:08 AM) Thusness: it depends it is the mind state (1:08 AM) Thusness: what sort of tendencies if it is strong enough, yes. (1:09 AM) Thusness: if u have emptiness realisation and is strong enough, u will also see whatever in whatever state, realize emptiness. (1:10 AM) Thusness: there is no difference. (1:11 AM) Thusness: for example with the experience of "I AM", just sound, though completely different phenomena, it is immediately understood as "I AM: get it? (1:11 AM) Thusness: it depends on the degree and intensity of the realization. I see "I AM" everywhere. (1:12 AM) Thusness: means non-dual i see sound as I AM. I see taste...etc (1:12 AM) Thusness: then I AM is deem unnecessary (1:13 AM) Thusness: that path the base for the next stage. I am not more bothered by "I AM" (1:13 AM) Thusness: just like 1 to 12 timetable (1:13 AM) Thusness: once mastered, u r no more bothered by it. (1:14 AM) Thusness: u can make use of it to understand more complex mathematics (1:14 AM) AEN: oic.. (1:14 AM) Thusness: then u c DO again till u see DO everywhere (1:14 AM) Thusness: then u progress to spontaneous perfection get it? (1:15 AM) AEN: ic.. (1:15 AM) Thusness: u must understand that Eternal Witness is a Realization (1:16 AM) Thusness: u must understand that anatta is also a realisation (1:16 AM) Thusness: one may experience non-dual but insight need not arise...this is what i always emphasized. emptiness is also a realization spontaneous perfection is also a realisation (1:17 AM) Thusness: all these requires a quantum leap in perception (1:18 AM) Thusness: then these realization will gradually burns away those latent deep tendencies. get it? (1:18 AM) AEN: oic.. (1:18 AM) Thusness: i got to go now. (1:18 AM) AEN: ok nite (1:22 AM) Thusness is now Offline (1:26 AM) Thusness: By the way, don't always argue (1:27 AM) AEN: lol (1:27 AM) Thusness: when u want to lead, it must be gradual. (1:27 AM) AEN: icic (1:27 AM) Thusness: nobody can understand at one go. (1:28 AM) Thusness: if i straight away tell u from day one spontaneous arising, u will run away or think that i m mad instead it took 6-7 years (1:28 AM) Thusness: similarly when in dharmaoverground, i first talk about "I M" (1:29 AM) AEN: lol oic (1:29 AM) Thusness: and even until One Mind, there is already problem (1:30 AM) Thusness: u don't go talk here and there about no need to do this and all is already perfected kok ur head u know all already perfected ah (1:31 AM) AEN: oic.. lol (1:32 AM) AEN: btw my post got problem? u mean i wrote about all perfected? (1:32 AM) Thusness: for ur own practice it is okie but with guidance (1:33 AM) Thusness: for writing post in forum, it is better to stress the essenceless nature of awareness (1:33 AM) Thusness: because when there is no one to guide, it is easy to fall into the advaita understanding (1:34 AM) AEN: oic.. (1:35 AM) Thusness: for u, ur theoretical understanding runs ahead of ur experience u already understand non-dual [Soh: back in 2009 I did not have realizations yet, that happened a year later] (1:35 AM) Thusness: but u r now experiencing dual awareness (1:36 AM) Thusness: means u experience awareness but distinctly different from phenomena arising (1:37 AM) Thusness: so it is okie to continue experience this Awareness, it voidness, its clarity, its luminosity, its presence as vivid as possible till u have "I AM" sort of experience (1:37 AM) Thusness: then u proceed to non-dual (1:38 AM) Thusness: in fact up to a certain phase, i will tell u to do bodily sensation (1:39 AM) AEN: back oic..



Although traditions may claim to be free from extremes, in the end since they constantly depend upon a conceptual reference for a Self, or Brahma, and so forth, how could this manner be the Middle Way? . . . The Great Perfection is the culmination of extreme profundity, so it is difficult to realize. Most who cultivate idiot meditation—those who do not fully eliminate superimpositions182 regarding the abiding reality through study and contemplation, or who lack the key points of the quintessential instructions—wind up [making a] similar [mistake]. Without gaining certainty in primordial purity, a mere impassioned thought of a ground that is neither existent nor nonexistent will bring you nowhere. If you hold on to such a ground, which is empty of both existence and nonexistence, as separate and established by its own essence, whether it is called the inconceivable Self, Brahma, Viṣṇu, Īśvara, wisdom, etc., it is merely a different name for a similar [mistaken] meaning. The abiding reality that is free from the four extremes183—the luminous clarity of the Great Perfection which is realized reflexively—is not at all like that. Therefore, it is important to rely on the authentic path and teacher. Although [we share] mere words such as “illusory,” “nonentity,” and “freedom from constructs,” it does not help if you do not know through a firm conclusion, with certainty induced by reason, how Buddhist emptiness is superior to the limited emptiness of non-Buddhists. If you do know, you understand that what the Buddha taught has not been experienced in the slightest by those [non-Buddhists] such as Viṣṇu, and you know that the traditions of “Awareness” and “the Middle Way” they describe are mere words. Although the words may be similar, Buddhists and non-Buddhists cannot be separated by words; the difference, which is like the earth and space, is in the profound essential point. —WORDS THAT DELIGHT GURU MAÑJUGHOṢA, 470–72

Duckworth, Douglas; Mipam, Jamgon. Jamgon Mipam: His Life and Teachings (pp. 146-147). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.


Bötrül’s teacher and Mipam’s student, Khenpo Künpel,

states as follows in his commentary on Mipam’s Beacon of Certainty:

In general, if the essence of Buddha-nature were not empty, it

would not be different from the permanent Self of the non-Buddhists;

therefore, the nature of the three gates of liberation was

taught. Also, if the wisdom of luminous clarity did not exist, being

an utterly void emptiness like space, there would be no difference

from the Nirgrantha; therefore, the unconditioned wisdom of

luminous clarity was taught. Thus, the definitive scriptures of the

middle and last Word of the teacher show the empty essence and

the natural clarity.66

 Someone wrote: 

Buddha Nature in Mahayana seems roughly similar to the idea as Atman, i.e. 'Buddha Nature' imposes non-dualist framework over the Buddha Dhamma

I havent looked into the concept of Buddha Nature personally.

But the idea from what ive heard from second hand sources seems to contradict the three characteristics the Buddha told us.

Soh replied:

What you said is not accurate. Buddha Nature of Mahayana is not an atman.

The Mahayana Lankavatara Sutra states:

"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?"


Lankavatara Sutra then states:

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


Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith wrote:

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".

"One, whoever told you rig pa is not part of the five aggregates? Rig pa is knowledge of your own state. In its impure form one's own state manifests as the five aggregates; in its pure form, it manifests as the five buddha families.
Nagārjuna resolves this issue through using the eight examples. There is no substantial transmission, but there is serial continuity, like lighting a fire from another fire, impressing a seal on a document and so on. See his verses on dependent origination:
All migrating beings are causes and results.
but here there are no sentient beings at all;
just empty phenomena entirely produced
from phenomena that are only empty,
phenomena without a self and what belongs to a self,
[like] utterances, lamps, mirrors, seals,
lenses, seeds, sourness and echoes.
Although the aggregates are serially connected,
the wise are understand that nothing transfers.
Also, the one who imputes annihilation
upon extremely subtle existents,
is not wise,
and will not see the meaning of ‘arising from conditions’."
“The relative is not "reliant" on the ultimate, since they are just different cognitions of the same entity, one false, the other veridical.
There is no separate entity called "buddhanature" that can be established to exist in a sentient being composed of the five aggregates. If one should assert this is so, this position will be no different than the atman of the nonbuddhists.”

Also see: Dalai Lama on Anatta and Emptiness of Buddha Nature in New Book

While discussing with Yin Ling just now I re-read a passage in Dalai Lama's book. Pretty good so wanted to share.


Dzogchen and Mahāmudrā

According to Sūtra, meditation on the clear and cognizant nature of the mind or on the transforming buddha nature alone will not eradicate afflictions. However, it does lead us to have more confidence that afflictions are not an inherent part of the mind and therefore that becoming a buddha is possible. This, in turn, leads us to question: What defiles the mind and what can eliminate these defilements completely? Seeking the method to purify the transforming buddha nature, we will cultivate the wisdom realizing the emptiness of inherent existence and eradicate ignorance.

According to Dzogchen and Mahāmudrā, meditation on the clear and cognizant nature of the mind could lead the coarse winds to dissolve and the subtlest clear light mind to become manifest. When this happens, practitioners who have previously cultivated a correct understanding of emptiness then incorporate that understanding in their meditation and use the innate clear light mind to realize emptiness and abolish afflictions.

It is important to understand the Sublime Continuum correctly from a Dzogchen and Mahāmudrā point of view. Some people take it literally, leading them to incorrectly believe that primordial wisdom is permanent, inherently existent, independent of any other factors, and does not rely on causes and conditions. They then make statements such as, “If you unravel this secret, you will be liberated.”
Dodrup Jigme Tenpai Nyima (1865–1926) and his disciple Tsultrim Zangpo (1884–c.1957), who were great Dzogchen scholars and practitioners, said that the mere presence of this primordial wisdom within us alone cannot liberate us. Why not? At the time of death, all other minds have dissolved, and only the primordial mind remains. Even though it has manifested in all the infinite number of deaths we have experienced in saṃsāra, that has not helped us attain buddhahood. These two sages say that in order to attain buddhahood, it is necessary to utilize the primordial wisdom to realize emptiness; only that will liberate us. This is consistent with Tsongkhapa’s view.

Some commentaries on Dzogchen and Mahāmudrā say: This wisdom that abides in the afflictions is the true wisdom, and on this basis every sentient being is already a buddha. Although we have been buddhas from beginningless time, we have to be awakened again. The wisdom that we have now is the omniscient mind of a buddha, and the three bodies of a buddha exist innately in each sentient being. Sentient beings have a basis of essential purity that is not merely emptiness but is endowed with three aspects. Its entity is the dharmakāya — the mode of abiding of pristine wisdom; its nature is the enjoyment body — the appearance aspect of that mind; and compassion is the emanation bodies — its radiance or expression. In short, they say that all three buddha bodies are present, fully formed in our ordinary state, but since they are obscured we are not aware of their presence.

Such statements taken literally are fraught with problems. While some people are partial and unfair in their criticism and refute misconceptions in only some traditions, Changkya Rolpai Dorje (1717–86) was unbiased and pointed out incorrect interpretations in all four Tibetan traditions, including his own Geluk tradition. In his Song of the Experience of the View, he says, “I say this not out of disrespect to these masters, but perhaps they have had less exposure to rigorous philosophical investigation of the great treatises and were unable to use certain terminology appropriately.” That is, the difficulty in their assertions lies in a broad use of terminology that is not grounded in the authority of the great treatises. Of course, Changkya’s comments do not apply to Dzogchen and Mahāmudrā masters such as Dodrup Jigme Tenpai Nyima and his teacher Awa Pangchu, who have done serious philosophical study and examination of the great treatises and who ground their understanding of Dzogchen in them. Their interpretations and writings are excellent.

All four Tibetan traditions teach practices that search for the mind — where it came from, where it goes, what its shape and color are, and so forth. Speaking of this shared practice, Changkya said that after searching in this manner, we find that the mind is not tangible, lacks color and shape, and does not come from one place or go to another. Discovering this, meditators experience a sensation of voidness. However, this voidness is not the emptiness of inherent existence that is the ultimate reality of the mind; it is the mere absence of the mind being a tangible object. Although someone may think this voidness is ultimate reality and meditate in that state for a long time, this is not meditation on the ultimate nature of the mind. There are two ways to meditate on the mind. The first is as above, examining whether the mind has color, shape, location, tangibility, and so forth. This leads to the sense that the conventional nature of the mind lacks these qualities. The second is meditation on the ultimate nature of the mind, in which we examine the mind’s ultimate mode of existence and discover its emptiness of inherent existence. People who confuse these two ways of meditating on the mind and think that the mind’s absence of tangibility, color, and so forth is the mind’s ultimate nature may criticize masters such as Dignāga and Dharmakīrti for their precise expositions on debate, logic, and reasoning, saying these only increase preconceptions. Gungtang Konchog Tenpai Dronme (1762–1823), another master who was impartial in his critical analysis of Tibetan Buddhist traditions, said he found this amazing.

Some people believe there is no need for reasoning or investigation on the path, that simply by having faith and receiving the blessing of a guru primordial wisdom will arise. In this light, I have been very happy to see the establishment of more shedras — academic institutes — that teach the classical philosophical texts from India and Tibet.

Some Westerners similarly do not value Dharma study and investigation, perhaps because Buddhadharma is relatively new in the West. Without a comprehensive understanding of the Buddhadharma, people tend to seek the easiest and shortest path to awakening, a path that does not require giving up their attachments. Such an attitude exists among Tibetans as well. Tsongkhapa said that many people think that the Buddha’s qualities are wonderful, but when a spiritual mentor explains through reasoning and scriptural citations how to attain them, they become discouraged and say, “Who can actually achieve such realizations?”

Are We Already Buddhas?

In the Tathāgatagarbha Sūtra, the Buddha explained that each sentient being possesses a permanent, stable, stable, and enduring tathāgatagarbha that is a fully developed buddha body (kāya) replete with the thirty-two signs of a buddha. Questions arise: If an already realized buddha existed within us, wouldn’t we be ignorant buddhas? If we were actual buddhas now, what would be the purpose of practicing the path? If we were already buddhas and yet still needed to purify defilements, wouldn’t a buddha have defilements? If we had a permanent, stable, and enduring essence, wouldn’t that contradict the teachings on selflessness and instead resemble the self or soul asserted by non-Buddhists? Mahāmati expressed these same doubts to the Buddha in the Descent into Lanka Sūtra:
The tathāgatagarbha taught [by the Buddha in some sūtras] is said to be clear light in nature, completely pure from the beginning, and to exist possessing the thirty-two signs in the bodies of all sentient beings. If, like a precious gem wrapped in a dirty cloth, [the Buddha] expressed that [tathāgatagarbha] — wrapped in and dirtied by the cloth of the aggregates, constituents, and sources; overwhelmed by the force of attachment, animosity, and ignorance; dirtied with the defilements of conceptualizations; and permanent, stable, and enduring — how is this propounded as tathāgatagarbha different from the non-Buddhists propounding a self?88

Some Tibetan scholars accept the teaching on a permanent, stable, and enduring buddha nature literally, saying it is a definitive teaching. Sharing the doubts expressed above by Mahāmati, Prāsaṅgikas say this is an interpretable teaching. They say this, not on a whim, but by examining three points.

(1) What was the Buddha’s final intended meaning when he made this statement? When speaking of a permanent, stable, and enduring essence in each sentient being, the Buddha’s intended meaning was the emptiness of the mind, the naturally abiding buddha nature, which is permanent, stable, and enduring. Because the mind is empty of inherent existence and the defilements are adventitious, buddhahood is possible.

(2) What was the Buddha’s purpose for teaching this? The Buddha taught a permanent, stable, enduring essence complete with the thirty-two signs, in order to calm some people’s fear of selflessness and to gradually lead non-Buddhists to the full realization of suchness. At present, these people, who are spiritually immature, feel comfortable with the idea of a permanent essence. The idea of the emptiness of inherent existence frightens them; they mistakenly think it means that nothing whatsoever exists. They fear that by realizing emptiness, they will disappear and cease to exist. To calm this fear, the Buddha spoke in a way that corresponds with their current ideas. Later, when they are more receptive, he will teach them the actual meaning. This is similar to the way skillful parents simplify complex ideas to make them comprehensible to young children.

(3) What logical inconsistencies arise from taking this statement literally? Accepting this teaching on a permanent, stable, and enduring buddha nature at face value contradicts the definitive meaning of emptiness and selflessness explained by the Buddha in the Perfection of Wisdom sūtras. In those sūtras, the Buddha set forth many reasonings that refute this view. Furthermore, if this statement were accepted literally, the Buddha’s teachings would be no different from those of non-Buddhists who assert a permanent self.

The emptiness of inherent existence — which is the ultimate reality and the natural purity of the mind — exists in all sentient beings without distinction. Based on this, it is said that a buddha is present. But the ultimate reality of a buddha does not exist in sentient beings. While buddhas and sentient beings are the same in that the ultimate nature of their minds is emptiness, that ultimate reality is not the same because one is the ultimate reality of a buddha’s mind — the nature dharmakāya — and the other is the ultimate reality of a defiled mind. If we said that the nature dharmakāya existed in sentient beings, we would have to also say that the wisdom dharmakāya, which is one nature with it, existed in sentient beings. That would mean that sentient beings were omniscient, which certainly is not the case! Similarly, if the abandonment of all defilements existed in ordinary sentient beings, there would be nothing to prevent them from directly perceiving the natural purity of their minds. They would directly realize emptiness. This, too, is not the case.

Some people say the dharmakāya with the two purities — the natural purity and the purity of the abandonment of all defilements — exists in the mindstreams of sentient beings, but because sentient beings are obscured, they don’t perceive it. If that were the case, then whose mind is purified and who attains the freedom that is the purity of all defilements? If sentient beings already possess the dharmakāya, there is no need for them to practice the path and purify their minds, because from beginningless time their minds have been free of adventitious defilements.

The assertion that a buddha complete with the thirty-two signs exists within the continuums of all sentient beings echoes the theistic theory of an eternally pure, unchanging self. If the thirty-two signs were already present in us, it would be contradictory to say that we still need to practice the path to create the causes for them. If someone says that they are already in us in an unmanifest form and they just need to be made manifest, that resembles the Sāṃkhya notion of arising from self, because even though existing, this buddha would need to be produced again in order to be made manifest. Nāgārjuna and his followers soundly refuted production from self.

The sūtra continues with the Buddha’s response:

Mahāmati, my teaching of the tathāgatagarbha is not similar to the propounding of a self by non-Buddhists. Mahāmati, the tathāgatas, arhats, the perfectly completed buddhas indicated the tathāgatagarbha with the meaning of the words emptiness, limit of complete purity, nirvāṇa, unborn, signless, wishless, and so forth. [They do this] so that the immature might completely relinquish a state of fear regarding the selfless, [and to] teach the nonconceptual state, the sphere without appearance.89
Here we see that the Buddha skillfully taught different ideas to different people, according to what was necessary at the moment and beneficial in the long term to further them on the path. We also learn that we must think deeply about the teachings, exploring them from various viewpoints and bring knowledge gained from reasoning and from reading other scriptures to discern their definitive meaning. The purpose of learning about buddha nature is to understand that the mind is not intrinsically flawed and that, on the contrary, it can be perfected. It is not just that the mind can be transformed; there is already part of the mind that allows it to be purified and perfected. Understanding this gives us great confidence and energy to practice the methods to purify and perfect this mind of ours so that it will become the mind of a fully awakened buddha.


What does it mean to say that pristine wisdom abides in the afflictions?
Are we already wise buddhas but just don’t know it?
Do buddhas have afflictions?
The Buddha said there is a permanent, stable, and enduring buddha nature in each of us. What was his final intended meaning in saying this? What was his purpose for teaching this?
What logical inconsistencies arise from taking this statement literally?

Lama, Dalai; Chodron, Thubten. Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature (The Library of Wisdom and Compassion Book 3) (p. 372). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.