Showing posts with label Stages of Enlightenment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stages of Enlightenment. Show all posts

Soh wrote:

Never ending stream of I AM atmavadins posting at buddhism subreddit everyday.

I posted this post template (i have several so that i can just cut and paste in an instant from within my iphone notes) four times in buddhism subreddit just today alone, the same post in four different threads in in just one day:

"I see many here have given you a reply like this: you are not your thoughts because you are the observer of your thoughts, or you are the unchanging true self, the pure awareness that is the ground of being of all thoughts and phenomena, like the ocean underlying all waves.

That is more of the Hindu atman-brahman understanding. Buddhism however points to a more profound insight into anatman (no self) and sunyata (emptiness) and pratityasamutpada (dependent origination). It sees through the view of inherent existence and the false duality between some unchanging substance and changing manifestations.

I recommend reading these articles which provide an account on how the different experiential realizations unfolded: "



    William Lim
    You have several templates?? 😂
    Just send your model answers to Chat GPT and let it do the work for you

    Soh Wei Yu
    William Lim yes a lot
    I am like a chat bot these days

  • Soh Wei Yu
    Btw anyone is free to steal my templates.
    Feel free. And spread it widely.

    William Lim
    Mayb you should license from Open AI their tech and come up with Anatta ChatBot feature for ATR site 😂

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level 3

Thank you! This is quite comprehensive. I like that you span from Dogen to Bodhidharma to Buddha. That is what I was looking for. The complete record. Is self-awakening the same, whether you’re Theravadan or Zen Buddhist? If it isn’t the same, then it wouldn’t be the true Dharma, would it?

level 4

I wish to quote you some Zen masters explanations on this, but I'm lazy to find, but generally speaking since Zen as per Bodhidharma's teachings is based on Lankavatara Sutra (that Bodhidharma brought to China and told all his students to read and use as the basis for authenticating their wisdom and understanding), it is commonly understood in Zen that Mahayana's Buddhahood is a superior attainment than Arahatship of the Sravakaya (or commonly called 'Hinayana' which some may avoid as it may be deemed derogatory). Why?

Lankavatara Sutra states, “...Therefore, Mahamati, the assurances given to shravakas and bodhisattvas do not differ. Mahamati, what doesn’t differ is the taste of liberation when shravakas and pratyeka-buddhas or buddhas and tathagatas get rid of the obstruction of passion, not when they get rid of the obstruction of knowledge. Mahamati, the obstruction of knowledge is purified when they see that dharmas have no self. The obstruction of passion is removed prior to this when they become accustomed to seeing that persons have no self. It is when the seventh consciousness ceases that they are liberated from the obstruction of dharmas. And it is when the habit-energy of the repository consciousness ceases that their purification is complete.”

Another passage from the same sutra states, "Beginning with the sixth stage, bodhisattva mahasattvas, śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas enter into the concentration on cessation. On the seventh stage, mental moment by mental moment, the bodhisattva mahāsattvas enter into a concentration that eliminates the characteristics of all things, but the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas do not. The śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas' concentration on cessation falls into the characteristics of an apprehended object and apprehending subject through possession of ideation. That being the case, if the characteristic of the absence of the different dharma's they obtain and the characteristic of diversity were to become non-existent, it would not be proper — on the seventh bhumi one is to concentrate on one mental moment after another. They enter into concentration without comprehending the intrinsic characteristic of the virtue and nonvirtue of all phenomena. That being the case, such a one who enters into concentration is not skilled in entering into concentration on one mind moment after another."

In other words, a Mahayana Bodhisattva (at least those after the seventh stage) has a superior insight into the emptiness of phenomena compared to Sravaka or Theravadin arahats, in general.

User avatar
level 5

Thanks for that. I can appreciate the jump from Theravada to Mahayana, or Zen. Stepping off of that 100 foot pole.

level 4

To further elaborate on the passages I just posted about Lankavatara Sutra, here's a more in depth explanation by Mipham Rinpoche:


What follows is a short explanation of the way Mipam presents the structure of the Buddhist path to awakening. According to him, we can only go so far in the Lesser Vehicle, realizing the lack of a personal self based on its path, but without the Great Vehicle, we will not come to fully realize the lack of self (that is, emptiness) with respect to all phenomena. In other words, those in the Lesser Vehicle realize only part of emptiness (the lack of a personal self) but do not realize the entire scope of emptiness. They hang on to an ultimate foundation of reality (the fundamental elements of reality, or dharmas), whereas there is actually no such foundation. Therefore, according to Mipam, one cannot become a buddha based solely on the Lesser Vehicle path; becoming a buddha is the result of the Great Vehicle. Nevertheless, realizing the lack of a personal self is enough to free us from samsara, because in doing so, we relinquish the obscurations of the afflictive emotions. The afflictive emotions can be included within the “three poisons” of attachment, aversion, and delusion.

These afflictive obscurations function to prevent liberation, and they are tied in with the apprehension of a personal self. Based on the notion of such a self, we become attached (to me and mine) and averse (to what is other). This notion of self keeps the wheel of samsara rolling, because it perpetuates the distorted framework through which we selfishly act out attachment and aversion, thus sowing the seeds of suffering. Afflictive obscurations have two aspects: a gross, imputed aspect and a more subtle, innate aspect. According to Mipam, the imputed aspects are relinquished on the first “ground” (Tib. sa, Skt. bhūmi) when you directly perceive the suchness of reality. This experiential realization is called “the path of seeing.”

The imputed aspects of the afflictive obscurations are learned and not inborn like the innate aspects. Imputed aspects involve distortions that are explicitly conceptual, as opposed to the perceptual distortions that comprise the innate aspects. The difference between the imputed and innate aspects can be understood as something like the difference between software and hardware: the innate aspects are embedded more deeply in one’s mind-stream and are thus more difficult to eliminate. Imputed ego-clinging refers to imputing qualities to the self that are not there—namely, apprehending the self as a singular, permanent, and independent entity. This is overcome on the first bodhisattva ground in a direct, nonconceptual experience of reality that is the culminating insight of analysis. Nevertheless, the more subtle, innate aspect of ego-clinging hangs on.

The innate ego-clinging, as the bare sense of self that is imputed on the basis of the five aggregates, is more difficult to remove. Rather than construing qualities to the self such as singularity or permanence, it is a more subtle feeling of simply “I am” when, for instance, we wake up in the morning. This innate sense of self is a deeply rooted, instinctual habit. It thus involves more than just imputed identity; it is a deeper experiential orientation of distorted subjectivity. Although analysis into the nature of the self paves the way for it to be overcome, it cannot fall away by analysis alone. Rather, it has to be relinquished through cultivating the path of meditation. According to Mipam, there are no innate aspects of the afflictive obscurations left on the eighth ground. However, the afflictive emotions are only one of two types of obscurations, the other being cognitive obscurations.

Cognitive obscurations are nothing less than conceptuality: the threefold conceptualization of agent, object, and action. Conceptuality is tied in to apprehending a self of phenomena, which includes mistaking phenomena as real, objectifying phenomena, and simply perceiving dualistically. Such conceptualization serves to obstruct omniscience. Based on the Great Vehicle, these cognitive obscurations can be completely relinquished; thereby, the result of the Great Vehicle path culminates in not merely escaping samsara, as in the Lesser Vehicle, but in becoming an omniscient buddha. According to Mipam, up to the seventh ground, the realization (of the twofold selflessness) and abandonment (of the twofold obscurations) are the same in the Great and Lesser Vehicles.

As with the Great Vehicle, he maintains that accomplishing the path of the Lesser Vehicle entails the realization of the selflessness of phenomena, to see that phenomena are empty. Those who accomplish the Lesser Vehicle path also realize the selflessness of phenomena, because their realization of emptiness with respect to a person is one instance of realizing the emptiness of phenomena. The final realization of the Lesser Vehicle path, however, is incomplete. Mipam compares it to taking a small gulp of the water of the ocean: we can say that those who realize emptiness in the Lesser Vehicle have drunk the water of the ocean, just not all of it.150 The final realization of the bodhisattva’s path in the Great Vehicle, however, is the full realization of emptiness, like drinking the entire ocean.

- Jamgon Mipam: His Life and Teachings"