"Shugchang" <> Date:  Wed Jul 18, 2001  10:10 pm Subject:  Vajra Point IV: Buddha Nature

    "Worldly beings take what does not exist as a self for an existing self and are attached to this self. In the shravaka tradition one counteracts this belief in an existing self through meditating on the non-existence of a self, yet only in terms of sheer voidness. These concepts, and mainly the latter one, are purified by the understanding that the fruit is a state of peace, of complete freedom from the conceptual elaboration of an existing self or the non-existence of a self. Thus it is the perfection of true self."

-Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, BN, p. 432

    This point is underlined again and again. It is not that there is nothing corresponding to what we take to be our 'self' or fundamental awareness. We simply suffer a serious case of mistaken identity. The infinite is obscured by adventitious attachments to the finite. We identify a continuity of conscious states with personal existence, a specific entity, the familiar sense of me is superimposed on a stream of composite phenomena, rather in the same way that we see a whirling firebrand as a solid ring of fire. Apparent yet deceptive. Memory and perception actively support this notion. It is not that there is no fire (consciousness) at all but that we are conditioned by an incorrect perception of the true nature of this element. We fixate on certain objects, string barbed-wire, labelling 'I' and 'mine', generating a vortex of pseudo-subjectivity, well described as karmic.

    Statements such as these from KTGR, where the fruit is described as a state of peace and complete freedom indicate the true nature of self or awareness. It is not simply no-self or non-existence which sounds more like death than freedom to me. Freedom implies unrestricted motion. Peace means liberation from undesirable circumstances, not death. As I read these pages and attempt to understand the import of this fourth vajra point, the one they named the book after, I am repeatedly thrown back into this great meditation: the true self is the Dharmakaya maha-guru beyond existence and non-existence, unborn fire of inconceivable bliss eternally radiant beyond all relative moments of association (life) or disassociation (death) with a body/mind.

It is this fundamental blaze, the incorruptible reality of who you are, the true self which is "like a jewel, like space, like water...."

"When viewed in the light of the Rangtong Madhyamaka, the dharmadhatu is nothing but emptiness in the sense of freedom from conceptual elaboration, whereas in the gZhäntong and Mahamudra views it is spaciousness-awareness inseparable. On the basis of sheer emptiness it could not become the cause for the attainment of Buddhahood."

-Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, BN, p. 335

    Since the Buddha is essentially Dharmakaya and Dharmakaya Sunyata and since this Sunyata permeates all beings, the latter are endowed with Buddha-nature.
     Beings are endowed with Buddha-nature since in the Tathata of Buddhas and of sentient beings there is no differentiation into good or bad, great or small, high or low.
    As silver is found in and may be refined from its ore, sesame oil pressed from its seed and butter churned from milk, so in all beings may Buddhahood become a reality.
-quotes from Gampopa's "Jewel Ornament of Liberation" translated by H V Guenther

"Shugchang" <> Date:  Wed Jul 25, 2001  9:35 pm Subject:  Re: Vajra Point IV: Buddha Nature


    We have been looking at the fourth vajra point in some detail this week. The chapter entitled The Element (Buddha Nature) is structured into ten points and nine examples, all of it an effort 'to determine the meaning of the dharmadhatu' according to Jamgon Kongtrul. The ten points are briefly considered here.

    1. the principle/ invokes three primary symbols found throughout buddhist scriptures; space, a gem, water, each indicating aspects of purity, each corresponding to one of the kayas.

    2. the cause/ lists the four essentials which must be present for a Buddha child to manifest the fullness of Buddha-nature and the four veils which obscure the correct view supporting effective practice. These are -

                1. sincere devotion to the Dharma, in specific, the three roots for tantrikas,
                2. Prajnaparamita, non-dual mother wisdom which understands the non-inherent existence of all things.
                3. the regular practice of true meditation which generates the bliss of samadhi and
                4. unceasing flow of the milk of compassion.

    3. the fruition/ consisting of true purity, true self, true happiness and true permanence. This bold proclamation of the third turning sounds like a far different message than the first turning emphasis on the corruption of compounded phenomena, no-self, suffering and impermanence, illustrating the radical difference between provisional and definitive teachings.

    4. the function and influence/there is only one primary raison d'etre, one purpose, a singularly essential impulse, at the heart of the secret nucleus: bodhi, to awaken beings. Initially, this often manifests as weariness with the tedium of samsara in order to gradually wean us from the primeval dither. As indicated in the root text (p. 124), were there no true nature, there would be no basis to transcend suffering or attain liberation. There would be no shame associated with non-virtue, no joyful effort, real attraction or spiritual magnetism associated with the Buddha's teachings or Dharma practice.

    5. the endowments/ the blessings of the ground, path and fruit, the dynamic of realization rooted in the mature wisdom of Dharmakaya consisting of the four mind-blows listed above in point #3 (the fruition) featuring the spontaneous compassion and joy which are inseparable from this trans-mundane insight. Of course these also correspond to the kayas, or the body, speech and mind of the Buddha.

    6&7. the manifestation and the phases/ both of these take three forms: as ordinary sentient beings, bodhisattvas and buddhas, corresponding in some measure to the Yogacara Trisvabhava doctrine of the imaginary, dependent and consummate levels of truth. Both of these points recount the triad of sentient beings, bodhisattvas and buddhas all of which are manifestations of buddha nature in its impure, partially purified, and pure aspects this is followed by the topic of 'phases' which repeats the triad this time to indicate that not only does reality take three forms but that none of them is an end in itself as each goes through a process of mutation wherein a sentient being morphs into a bodhisattva which in their turn become buddhas

-more on the Trisvabhava

    8. all pervasive/ again, the Element is compared to space in its sovereign purity, liberal accommodation, unbiased, non-conceptual and invariable, unchanging nature

    9. changelessness/ this one along with the previous point are included in the description of the first vajra point but are elaborated here to accommodate points 6&7; for ordinary beings, the relative invariance of the elements define the basic stability of the system... for bodhisattvas, the qualities of fruition (described in point #3 above) are defined as the transcendence of the four sufferings associated with impermanent, conditional, composite phenomena- birth, old age, sickness, death... for buddhas these same qualities are listed 'kataphatically' as per point #3 above (the fruition).

    10. indivisibility/The singular nature of the real as expressed from various viewpoints; Dharmakaya (as transcendent ontology), Tathagata (as evolutionary thematic), Jnana (as one's inmost awareness), and Nirvana (as the end of suffering). Elsewhere in relation to this point, the text states that the illumination, radiance and purity of the sun are inseparable in the same way as analytical wisdom (S. prajna, T. sherab), primordial wisdom (S. jnana/T. yeshe) and liberation (S. moksha, T. tharpa, rang-drol). Again, in the example of royal portrait (p.146), a team of artistic experts are undermined by the emigration of the fellow who does the head in the same way that generosity, morality and so forth must be complemented by prajnaparamita in order to go beyond the generation of worldly karmas.

Changeless you dwell throughout the three times.

 -Mipham Rinpoche from the Liturgy to the Buddha

    Points 8, 9, & 10 develop the space metaphor discussed in point one: all pervading, changeless and indivisible. Recall the third among the ten points listed under the heading of The Element called Buddha Nature is Fruition, part of which is true permanence. The unchanging nature of the secret nucleus is primarily experienced by impure sentient minds as the relative stability of the four elements constituting the world and the physical body. This is why materialism is such a popular philosophy.This same unvarying equanimity is experienced by genuine bodhisattvas as Dharma and the transcendence of the four primary forms of suffering articulated by Shakyamuni Buddha. While for Buddhas, this same changelessness manifests directly as absolute purity, real self, true happiness and deathlessness.



"Shugchang" <> Date:  Thu Jul 26, 2001  7:52 pm Subject:  Re: Vajra Point IV: Buddha Nature


Some loose associations made while reflecting on the nine metaphors of the Buddha Nature in ordinary beings, focusing on the obscurations:

    1. buddha in a lotus: (desire) impermanent beauty of the lotus, the initial attraction to color/form, and the putrid rot discovered upon closer inspection

    2. honey covered w/ bees: (anger) the cold sting and flaring pain of loveless (re-)activity, the aggressive/defensive hum of egoic concern and insistent worldly distraction, the inability to yield, preoccupation with boundaries and personal security

    3. unhusked rice: (ignorance) the illusion of refinement, unpalatable fruit, compromised nourishment, impenetrable coarseness, incomplete offerings, wasted resources,

    4. gold in filth: (active klesas) covered in human and animal waste, biologically active and infectious. mind still enamored by the lure of samsara has no energy or interest in dharma.

    5. buried treasure: (innate ignorance) very likely the long-term fate of the gold nugget mentioned above. mind given over to the poisons in their active state is as old as the hills (hosting all kinds of terma) so that these tendencies are carried from ancient times. the thing that struck me about these last two metaphors is just how unlikely anyone would ever be to ever discover the treasure. In filling out the analogy, the text suggests clairvoyance or celestial intervention might play a part in guiding one to the prize. In all nine cases, there is something of great value within arm's reach. Something must be done or understood to discover, appreciate or recognize the treasure. All of this is in keeping with the teachings on the unique opportunity we have here, the freedoms and endowments of this precious human rebirth and the necessity of taking the guru's words to heart.

    6. thick-skinned fruit: (active klesas) emphasis on tough leathery hide of this tropical exotic, the resistance offered by the ego to deeper inquiry or vulnerability beyond socially acceptable limits; the armor of opinionatedness and the sanctity of 'prior commitments'; the combination of moisture, warmth and the pull of the sun enticing the shoot to sprout and climb starward...

    7. precious rupa in tattered rags: (innate karmas) funky and thin, beginning to rot away on their own, a multi-colored array of jewels sparkling from within the oily, dusty shadows of fabric; easily removed as the path of meditation is traversed. The fact that it is wrapped in rags suggests a conscious attempt to hide or protect it during transport or invasion. It is as if this was something previously understood to be of value which was either lost or forgotten.

    8. wretch bearing a king: (impurities of bhumis 1-7) there is an organic gestation period involved with this one, corresponding to the subsequent length of path encountered after the first moment of attaining the path of seeing (associated with #6), where emptiness is known directly for the first time; this realization is gradually perfected on the path of meditation (associated with #7).

    9. clay-covered rupa: (impurities of bhumis 8-10) depending on how you count these, this could be the third symbolic use of a rupa in this list. On the basis of the nature of Tathagata being truly inconceivable, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche tends to interpret the first example of the lotus to contain an actual Buddha. The difference between this one and #7 is that here, the clay covering is extremely thin and the statue freshly cast, perhaps emphasizing something of the unborn originality, unique expression and freshness associated with full realization of the nirmanakaya.

"Shugchang" <> Date:  Sat Jul 28, 2001  2:17 pm Subject:  Buddha Nature

    All sentient beings have the Buddha nature, or seed of Enlightenment. In the Samadhi Raja Sutra, the Buddha said, "All sentient beings are pervaded by the essence of the Sugata (the well-gone state). For example, silver abides in its ore, oil abides in a mustard seed, and butter abides in milk. Likewise, the seed of Enlightenment abides in every sentient being. Complete Buddhahood is Dharmakaya, which is all- pervading emptiness. And this emptiness pervades all sentient beings. For this reason, all sentient beings have the seed of Enlightenment." The suchness of all reality has no differentiation. The reality- suchness of the Buddha and the sentient beings is not differentiated. There is no better and no worse, no higher and lower, no larger and smaller. Therefore, all sentient beings have the essence of Enlightenment. As it is possible to extract butter from milk and oil from the sesame seed, so it is possible for sentient beings to achieve Enlightenment.

- Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche on Buddha Nature
(from In Search of the Stainless Ambrosia, Jewel Ornament of Liberation, Jewel Treasury of Advice and Transformation of Suffering)

To seek Buddha, see the self-nature!
Self-nature is Buddha!
Buddha is being in himself; doingless and creationless one!
Without seeing self-nature, no matter how hard you look for Buddha, day and night, it  is absolutely impossible(to see).
Even though we might say there say there is originally not a thing to be attained, if you do not yet understand it, you  must, with sincere effort     and work, find and meet a Master to open your mind.
Life-and-death is a great puzzle. Do not spend your life in vain.
Deceiving  yourself does not help you in anyway.
 -attributed to Bodhidharma

Shugchang" <> Date:  Mon Oct 15, 2001  9:57 pm Subject:  THE TRUE NATURE OF MIND: by HHDL XIV

".....known as the Tathagata Garbha or "The Essence of Buddhahood Sutra", in these Sutras the Buddha explains the nature of our mind. In these Sutras the Buddha explains that the negative aspects of our minds such as afflictive emotions, desire, hatred, greed, anger and also our cognitive states, are not something which are innate aspects of our mind but rather they are adventitious, in that mental states arise within our mental continuum as a consequence of circumstantial conditions. They are not essential or intrinsic to our mind, whereas pristine clarity, the mere nature of awareness and luminosity are things which are innate aspects of our mind.

The negative aspects of mind, afflictive emotions such as anger, hatred, desire and so forth, because they are not innate aspects of our mind, they can be removed from the basic continuum of our mind. This point has been underlined in the Sutras that are related to the third public sermon."


Shugchang" <> Date:  Sat Jul 28, 2001  3:43 pm Subject:  Re: Buddha Nature

    The Buddha exclaims in Avatamsaka-sutra: "How wonderful, how surprising! All beings are already endowed with the wisdom of the Buddha! They already have all Buddha-qualities! How mysterious it is!"

    Indeed, how mysterious.