Talk:Buddha-nature

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Buddha Nature page[edit]

Copied from User talk:Joshua Jonathan#Buddha Nature page
Shouldn't you organize the page into sutric Buddha Nature (for example the Tathāgatagarbha sūtras) and tantric Buddha Nature (for example Mahamudra)? There are 2 Buddha Natures.VictoriaGrayson (talk) 01:32, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Oh my. You may be right, I don't know. Have you got a few sources or links, so I can read more? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 07:34, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
There are many books that indicate there is a division between sutra and tantra in general.VictoriaGrayson (talk) 20:27, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Philip Kapleau as a source[edit]

Copied from User talk:Joshua Jonathan#Philip Kapleau as a source
Hi! I noticed that the Three pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau is being used as a source at Buddha-nature. I was wondering, how reliable account about Hakuun Yasutani's life the book really is, taking into consideration that Philip Kapleau never received a Dharma transmission and wasn't later even acknowledged by the Sanbo Kyodan school? For example it is said that (Sharf, Robert H. (1995-C), "Sanbokyodan. Zen and the Way of the New Religions", Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1995 22/3-4)[1]:

Nevertheless, the dangers of defection and schism were not unknown, for just three years prior to Yasutani’s retirement his American disciple, Philip Kapleau, led his own af³liate group to secede from the Sanbõkyõdan. Kapleau’s training was, by Sanbõkyõdan standards, quite rigorous. As mentioned above, he spent almost three years (1953–1956) in the Hosshin-ji sõdõ under Harada prior to his training under Yasutani. He remained with Yasutani for about ten years, serving as translator in dokusan for Yasutani’s foreign students. He returned to America in 1965 and established a Zen Center in Rochester, New York, that was one of the first of its kind in America. Kapleau quickly set about adapting Yasutani’s Zen to the American scene: students wore Western dress and used English chants in the zendõ, they were given Western-sounding Buddhist names at ordinations, and they modified ceremonies and rituals to “accord with our Western traditions” (KAPLEAU 1979, p. 269). Apparently Kapleau took the Zen rhetoric he had been taught quite literally: he considered the outward forms of Zen mere upãya, to be modified in accord with the needs and abilities of his students. As long as he remained true to the experiential essence of Zen, the outward “cultural forms” were of little consequence. Yasutani, however, objected strongly to some of the reforms, notably to the use of an English translation of the Heart Sðtra in the zendõ. These and other factors led to a serious falling-out, and in 1967 Kapleau formally ended his relationship with Yasutani."

The assertions get even more severe, as we can see from here:

David Scates, an ex-student of the Rochester Zen Center, wrote to Yamada asking about Kapleau’s credentials. Yamada’s reply, dated 16 January 1986, included a blunt public statement to the effect that Kapleau never finished his kõans and never received inka. This was accompanied by a long letter to Scates that detailed Kapleau’s inadequacies and lack of training, and even hinted that Kapleau may be guilty of fraud (Yamada suggests that Kapleau might be proffering a precept or kenshõ certificate as a document of transmission; since Kapleau’s Western students know no Japanese, they supposedly would not know the difference)e

The most critical blow against Kapleau, however, can be found here (Lachs, Stuart (2006 / 2008), "The Zen Master in America: Dressing the Donkey with Bells and Scarves", Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Washington D.C., Nov. 18, 2006 / The International Association of Buddhist Studies Congress, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, June 24, 2008)[2]:

In 1997 Ji’un Kubota roshi, Yamada’s successor as head of the Sanbokyodan sect, answered an enquiry from a Polish Zen group asking about Kapleau’s credentials. He replied that Kapleau did not finish his training, claiming that Kapleau’s fame for the Three Pillars of Zen was undeserved because he [Kubota] and Yamada roshi had translated “all” of the work in the book. He added that Kapleau “was not able to read Japanese” and only made their translation “more understandable” to native English readers. He remarked that Kapleau was arrogant and proud and that he treated Yasutani “abusively and impolitely.” He then proclaimed, “He [Kapleau] is no more a Zen man. His teaching is no more Buddhist Zen but only his own philosophy.”

.

What do you think? =P Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 14:09, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Hi Jayaguru-Shishya. Thanks for your feedback; I appreciate your command of sources. Funny thing is, I think that Kubota's commentary underscores the reliability of the reference. The info on the ninth consciousness is in the notes-section, where a scheme is given of the eight or nine consciousnesses, based on a scheme by Haradi. The ninth consciousness is called there "Pure Consciousness" and "Formless Self" (the same term Hisamatsu and Jeff Shore use). Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:07, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Hi Joshua Jonathan, and thanks for your answer! May I ask you still further, why do you think that Kubota's commentary (according to Lachs) actually underscores the reliability of the reference? =P
Those concepts of "Pure Consciousness" and "Formless Self" are referring to the very Kapleau's book under consideration here. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:49, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, if it was actually written by Kubota and Yamada, then (I guess) this idea of a ninth consciousness is supported by them, isn't it? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:55, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
The sources were written by Kapleau and Lachs, and Kapleau's reliability as a source is under question here. The "ninth consciousness", "Pure Consciousness" and "Formless Self", I couldn't find them from either Kapleau or Lachs, can you please specify the source? =P Still, I'd like keep on top whether Kapleau is actually a really nice source or not? xp Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:24, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
In the 2013-version it's at page 400; the link is from Holland, so maybe restricted in your part of the world (Ha! Risk! "Attacking Ontario with ten armies"). I tend to thrust Kapleau as a source, but that's my personal preference. So maybe some other voice here? But the point here is: the Lanka's equation of alaija-vijnana and tathāgatagarbha apparently is not supported throughout the (east-Asian) Buddhist tradition. Kapleau's note makes sense in this. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:14, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Oh, by the way... Do you have any idea how to edit a table like this: Hakuun Yasutani#Influence? =P Thanks! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 15:01, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

I sure do; I created it ;) Template:Zen Lineage Hakuun Yasutani. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 15:59, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
Hohoho! :D Anyway, I think that chart needs a little bit clarification: at the moment there are dharma heirs and mere teachers all mixed up. For example, Philip Kapleau is placed right below Hakuun Yasutani without any distinction, even Kapleau wasn't a dharma heir of Yasutani. I think the table as such gives a wrong picture that Kapleau would be part of a true Harada-Yasutani lineage with his own heirs and all. =P Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 18:58, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

Critical Buddhism[edit]

The article makes this statement about Critical Buddhism:

"This view of the Buddha-nature as non-Buddhist is termed Critical Buddhism."

To me, this sounds as if Critical Buddhism is defined as a disbelief in Buddha-nature. But Critical Buddhism seems to be more about the method of being critical.
I am not sure whether criticism of the concept of Buddha-nature can be labeled as a school of thought. E.g. there are many Theravada scholars who criticize Buddha nature as a) a later development/invention and not part of Gautama Buddha's teachings b) a hindrance to the path. Maybe a section "Criticism" would be more suitable, though I am not familiar with the work of Matsumoto Shiro and Hakamaya Noriaki. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kathedra87 (talkcontribs) 07:37, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

I've rephrased the sentence, and moved it forward. I hope it's better now. Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 09:30, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Buddha-Nature as Potential AND Essence[edit]

Hello Joshua Jonathan. I see you deleted my amendment to the subsection on Buddha-Nature as potential. This is not justified. In fact, it is erroneous to state (as the article currently does) that the original idea was of a potential for Buddhahood, which then developed into an ontological notion. From the very start in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra (which is the first sutra to use the term 'Buddha-Nature' (Buddha Dhatu)), and in the Tathagatagarbha Sutra, the idea is of a real, substantial essence within each being (see Professor Zimmermann on this - a world expert on the TG Sutra), which precicely vouchsafes to that being the potential to fully realise his own indwelling Buddhahood. Buddhahood is possible of realisation because it is already present within! Also - and this is a key point - the Buddha Nature sutras themselves never stress or even seriously discuss the alleged idea of a 'growing Buddhahood' or developing Buddhahood. That is entirely alien to the main thrust and purport of the Buddha-nature notion as articulated in the base sutric texts. The image of the Buddha Embryo is to be understood as a perfect Buddha hidden deep within the being, invisible to normal sight - just as the Buddha was perfectly present in miniature inside the womb of his mother before being physically born on earth. Tathagatagarbha thus means an interior or deeply internally concealed Buddha - NOT a growing, mutating foetus. The former notion was the clear teaching of the primary and seminal Buddha-nature sutras (including the Angulimaliya Sutra), not the latter notion (which has been grafted onto the primal texts by much-later commentators without any real evidence in support of it). So if we want a fair subsection title for that particular section, it should include both aspects - Buddha-nature as essence, and as potency. That is balanced - and reasonable (after all, the section contains quotes supporting both notions, of essence and potentiality). We must present both ideas in the subheading. Otherwise it is out of kilter and flies in the face of what those first Buddha-nature sutras actually state. I therefore have amended the subtitle accordingly. Best wishes to you. From Suddha (talk) 11:13, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Very nice re-formulation. Best to you too, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 11:54, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Thank you very much, Joshua Jonathan, for formatting the quote I found and for adding the relevant reference. That was kind of you - and is appreciated. Warm wishes - from Suddha (talk) 12:21, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
This article shouldn't be organized by tradition. It should be organized by classes of literature, i.e. nikayas, Mahayana sutras and Vajrayana tantras.VictoriaGrayson (talk) 16:07, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Merger proposal: Ātman (Buddhism)[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result of this discussion was to keep the two articles separate. Altough there is (was) a considerable overlap, they are different topics: atman does not necssarily refer to Buddha-nature, and Buddha-nature thought does not necessarily imply an atman. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 07:54, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

From Ātman (Buddhism): "This doctrine, also known as Tathāgatagarbha". Says it all: duplicate. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:23, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

Oppose I do not support this proposed merger. It is perfectly appropriate to have a separate article on the diverse views of Atman within Buddhism. It is a highly important topic, and a contested one, and deserves its own entry. Of course there will be overlaps - that is inevitable; but that does not justify a merger, in my opinion. It seems to me that there could in fact be an agenda being played out here to downplay, minimise and even delete much of a whole important strand of Buddhist tradition which has a more positive, affirmative approach towards Atman (or its equivalents) within Buddhism. That positive approach to Atman or Svabhava is NOT merely Chinese, as has erroneously been stated on Wikipedia: it also embraces some of the Tibetan schools, some Thai traditions, some Korean schools, some Japanese schools, as well as some Indian texts (sutras, above all); indeed, one of the largest early Indian schools of Buddhism -that of the pudgalavadins - had a different, more affirmative take on the idea of personhood from what is constantly pushed these days as Buddhist orthodoxy. As even Prof. Paul Williams (himself formerly a Gelugpa-oriented Buddhist - so no natural enthusiast for essentialist doctrines) has said, we should not simplistically identify Buddhism with a 'non-Self' definition. Buddhism is far more than that, and far more diverse in the plurality of its gateways into Dharma.

Anyhow, the only way I would support a merger of Atman (Buddhism) with Buddha Nature is if the whole of Atman (Buddhism) - which, incidentally, contains a certain amount of material which I personally disagree with - is simply appended to Buddha Nature without any major disruptions to the existing content of Atman (Buddhism). Knowing some of the people operating within Wiki-Buddhism -I must say that this is unlikely to happen! Therefore I vote to keep Atman (Buddhism) where it is - unmolested! Best wishes to all. From Suddha (talk) 07:01, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

Comment: Hey Suddha, no agenda, but "developing insight" on Buddha-nature. Inportant indeed, but this article overlaps with Buddha-nature. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 14:15, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

Support Complete overlap. Suddha, based on your edits and comments you believe Tibetan schools such as Jonang are based on Tathāgatagarbha Sutras, when actually their doctrine is based on the Kalachakra tantra. There is a complete lack of awareness that there are 2 different Buddha Natures.VictoriaGrayson (talk) 15:48, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

  • Actually, Dolpopa - one of the most significant and erudite figures in all of Jonang history - draws heavily and repeatedly upon the tathagatagarbha sutras - especially the Mahaparinirvana Sutra - in his major commentarial writings. Of course I am aware of different views and formulations of Buddha-Nature - but I also know what Dolpopa taught and which sources he used to buttress his arguments. The Kalachakra Tantra is by no means the overwhelming reference-point within Dolpopa's shentong explications of the Dharma. In fact, in his central Buddha-Nature analytical compendium, Mountain Dharma, he references the Mahaparinirvana Sutra more frequently than he does the Kalachakra Tantra. Best wishes to you. From Suddha (talk) 01:11, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't think that's correct. Yogacara, Kalacakra, Hevajra, Cakrasamvara and their associated literature play more into Dolpopa's views than the Tathagatagarbha Sutras.VictoriaGrayson (talk) 03:11, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Hello Victoria. I do not deny that Dolpopa had immense reverence for the dharmic streams and literature you mention - but it is, I'm afraid, a simple matter of fact (easily verifiable by consulting Mountain Dharma itself) that in this massive, central work on Buddha-Nature he quotes the Mahaparinirvana Sutra more frequently than the Kalachakra Tantra. As I said earlier, for Dolpopa there was no conflict or cleft (contrary to what you seem to posit) between the TG sutras and the tantras on the question of the Buddha Nature. Let's move on from this, please! Regards, Suddha (talk) 04:59, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Oppose: In my understanding, the most important use of the term atman within Buddhism is in reference to a permanently existing, unique, independent self. In my experience, this is Buddhist philosophy 101. So the idea of merging the articles on atman and buddha nature is very strange to me. I have started a research page and added some sources that give some context for this primary use of term: User:Dorje108/Atman_research I will add more sources to this page as I find them. The debate over whether Buddha Nature is indicating a sort of permanent self is very interesting, but I think that discussion is more appropriately covered in the article in Buddha Nature. That debate (in my opinion) is getting into the finer points of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy and very difficult explain or understand without the proper context. Regards, Dorje108 (talk) 17:53, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

p.s. I appreciate the effort going into this. Cheers, Dorje108 (talk) 17:58, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
Comment: You mean: Buddha-nature may or may not be understood as "a sort of permanent self", but is not by default interpreted as such? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:07, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
Dorje108 has a very simplistic understanding of Buddhism based on modern popular authors. That's just what I have observed with his editing.VictoriaGrayson (talk) 19:08, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
Vic, please. Let knowledge be matched with compassion. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:14, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
Response for Joshua: Hi, Joshua. I think this discussion by Paul Williams should be helpful in understanding the use of the term atman in the context of Buddha nature: User:Dorje108/Buddha_nature_research#Mahaparinivarna_sutra. Basically, as I understand it:
  • There is the concept of a permanently existing, unique, independent atman that was refuted by the Buddha, leading to the concept of an-atman. There is no disagreement among any schools in Buddhism on this point.
  • In the discussions of Buddha nature, some Buddhist philosophers use the term atman in the sense of a true self, or great self, as a way to refer to Buddha nature. However, in this context, atman is used in a completely different way with a completely different meaning. The actual word may be the same, but the meaning is radically different.
So I think one aspect of these philosophical debates is on what is the best language to use to describe these concepts. That is, some philosophers would say that using the term atman to describe Buddha nature will encourage people to understand the concept, and others will say it might lead to confusion. This is my understanding at least. Cheers, Dorje108 (talk) 01:03, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:09, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Oppose First of all, I consider myself as a real noob contributor compared to you guys. I happen to know a thing or two about Zen Buddhism - especially the Sanbo Kyodan lineage - but on these other articles I am just here to learn. Well, that's why I think I could provide some insight to this vote, heh :) The reason why I got drifted to these many Buddhist articles that I've been gnoming lately, is the very question about "atman in Buddhism". See, I've been engaged into a discussion at this yoga-meditation forum, and I wanted to learn more about the relation between Self, samsara, and Metempsychosis. That's how I got drifted to atman views of Buddhism besides the mere sunyata teachings. :) Anyway, in my humble opinion this is a topic that might cause a lot of confusion in other noobs, and I think it deserves an article of it's own. =P Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:04, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Comment: I just picked up this note from Nakamura (Indian Buddhism: A Survey with Bibliographical Notes, p.64), that early Buddhism adopted "transmigration" from other Indian schools of thought, without (at first) realizing the philosophical implications. Matches my thoughts on this: early Buddhism can do without transmigration. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:13, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
Actually Nakamura is saying the exact opposite of your conclusion. Nakamura is saying transmigration is necessary for the theory of karma precisely because of non-self. Nakamura says: "how is it possible for the theory of No-soul to be a basis for ethical practices? In order to establish the notion of karma, the existence of the subject of transmigration was presupposed, even in the scriptures of Early Buddhism." VictoriaGrayson (talk) 17:24, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Oppose. Although these two concepts are similar, they should be treated separately, and scholarly research haven done so. Treating them as one borders on original research. Early on in the history of Buddhism, the three seal of dharma has stated that there is no atman in any dharma. Thus proponents of Buddha nature has sometimes tried to distance it from atman to avoid direct contradiction with seals of dharma. We should respect the philosophical and historical effort to distinguish the two within Buddhism. An outsider of Buddhism may think the two are pretty much the same, but that shouldn't be presented as an insider's view of Buddhism, or scholarly majority view by merging them. --Happyseeu (talk) 01:20, 22 July 2014 (UTC)


The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


Instead of organizing by Indian, Chinese, Tibetan etc.[edit]

Can we organize by class of literature?:

  • Nikayas
  • Tathāgatagarbha Sutras
  • Tantras

It would take minimal effort. Just a simple shuffling. And it is more correct. VictoriaGrayson (talk) 15:05, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

i'm sure you've got good reasons to say so, but where does it leave the Avatamsaka and the Lotus? And the influence on Chinese Buddhism? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 17:06, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
You might have tinier Chinese, Tibetan etc. sections at the end:
  • Nikayas
  • Tathāgatagarbha Sutras
  • Tantras
  • Chinese Buddhism
  • Tibetan Buddhism
  • etc.VictoriaGrayson (talk) 19:03, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Etymology[edit]

I'd never realized (s?z?) how many meanings and interpretations there are to tathagatagarbha. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:25, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

Ratnagotravibhāga (text)[edit]

Why does Jayaguru-Shishya repeatedly delete links to Ratnagotravibhāga?

Hi Dorje108. I deleted it because it is already linked elsewhere in the article. I quoted the explanation in my edit summary: "' "You can use the {{Main}} template to generate a Main article; link ... provided this does not duplicate a wikilink in the text." (WP:BODY))". I hope this helps to clarify! =P Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 21:16, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Dalai Lama on Buddha-nature[edit]

The article now states:

"The 14th Dalai Lama, representing the Gelukpa School of Tibetan Buddhism, and speaking from the Madhyamaka philosophical position"

does he represent the Gelugpa-school sec here? Or is it his particular understanding, which is blended with Nyingma-teachings? The understanding attributed to him is the same as the Nyingma and Sakhya-understanding:

"According to the Nyingma and Sakya schools, tathāgatagarbha is the inseparability of the clarity and emptiness of one's mind"

And Jeffrey Hopkins also gives the same understanding:

"The basis of purification is the Buddha nature, which is viewed in two ways. One is the clear light nature of the mind, a positive phenomenon, and the other is the emptiness of inherent existence of the mind, a negative phenomenon, a mere absence of inherent establishment of the mind." (Hopkins (1999), Intro to "Kalachakra Initiations", p.15)

(By the way, Hopkins also states "the Mind Only School and the Middle Way School-which hold that the continuum of mind never ends" (p.13) - does Madhayamika state such a continuum?!?) Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:31, 23 August 2014 (UTC)