Recommended Posts

I frequently read that Buddhism does not accept the idea of a soul. Usually this is explained as an unchanging soul or unchanging eternal essence. The emphasis seems to be on 'unchanging'.

 

Does this mean that a changing essence might be more acceptable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lotus Sutra, Chapter 2, first page

“O Śāriputra! After attaining buddhahood I expounded the teaching
extensively with various explanations and illustrations, and with skillful
means (upāya) led sentient beings to rid themselves of their attachments.
Why is this? Because all the Tathāgatas have attained perfect mastery of
skillful means, wisdom, and insight.
“O Śāriputra! The wisdom and insight of the Tathāgatas is extensive,
profound, immeasurable, and unhindered. They are possessed of power, fear-
lessness, meditation, liberation, and samādhi that is profound and endless.
They have completely attained this unprecedented Dharma.
“O Śāriputra! The Tathāgatas can, through various methods, skillfully
illuminate the Dharma with gentle speech and gladden the hearts of the
assemblies.
“O Śāriputra! To put it briefly, the buddhas have attained this immeas-
urable, limitless, and unprecedented Dharma. Enough, O Śāriputra, I will
speak no further. Why is this? Because the Dharma that the buddhas have
attained is foremost, unique, and difficult to understand. 

 

The Lotus Sutra is one of the later and more mature records of Buddha's teaching.  Here he identifies a number of unique individual beings, including himself.  He refers to them as being individual, having individual character and skills, and being in liberation.
So the result of the path according to Buddha, is clearly an individual being with unique individual characteristics, or something we might call an immortal individual man.   
Or, this is a "soul" in the West.

What the relationship this immortal man has to the aspirant, and what the meaning of it objectively is, one can speculate.

 

(from same page)

 

The buddhas have closely attended innumerable hundreds
of thousands of myriads of koṭis of other buddhas. They have exhaustively
carried out practices with courage and persistence under uncountable num-
bers of buddhas, their names becoming universally renowned. They have per-
fected this profound and unprecedented Dharma, and their intention in adapt-
ing their explanations to what is appropriate is difficult to understand.

 

Therefore, a great deal of effort seems to be required.

 

The rest of the chapter is about the One Buddha Dharma that Buddha would like to present, that supersedes past teachings and is direct and powerful, and Buddha now realises that whatever paths are offered to sentient beings, there really is only one path.

 

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Yungdrung Bön teachings have a unique and interesting take on the Soul -

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, steve said:

The Yungdrung Bön teachings have a unique and interesting take on the Soul -

wow. very interesting.  we have prayer flags out side of our home for years. never got how they worked.  This video is very alien to my culture, for the most part.  Only by learning a little about Chinese medicine, can I understand any of it.  

Just a couple of comments so far. 

I have always wondered on a deep level about the "inherent sin" or "inherent blindness or muddy water" of the human soul.  It is this almost universal belief that we are born being flawed.  I have seen a lot of new born babies, and never saw one born with sin, or flaws. curious.  

The idea that we , by nature are some how blind or flawed is something both western and eastern,  but not necessary deep hunter gather tribal .  Seems the closer we get to the earth, to the actual living with mother earth, the less we see ourselves as some how flawed , don't know why that is, but I digress. 

Damaged Bla sounds right to me.

The Mu hunehen or bad tightly connected part of the soul connected to the physical body, that can become a "bad spirit" is very similar to the Hopi tradition of the so called "ego part "  that disconnects after death, and represents all of our egotistic greed, selfishness,  and other negative human potential.  amazing that the Bon and Hopi beliefs are so connected.  This is why in the Hopi culture one should never touch a dead body at death, because this part of us can invade a living human and cause damage.

great video.  thanks

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There have been a few Bönpo monks visiting the US who connected with Native folks to compare traditions, same in Mexico.

I think there is some very basic commonality in indigenous, shamanic cultures.

Great stuff

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I haven't watched the video above yet but within the first few seconds karma and reincarnation are mentioned and I have always thought that there is a direct correlation, basically they are the same thing or one-thing.

 

As for this soul stuff I figure when we're dead nothing remains except our potentiality! This is interesting if you think of something on a shelf which is said to have kinetic energy. We don't know how the object/thing got onto the shelf but we do know it has potential in the form of energy. I think we have a form of potential once dead. We can't point to a thing and say that's us because we were made up of aggregates and therefore exist eternally, albeit unconsciously,  in everything that makes up a human body. The key is genetics and gateways and it has been said that each day we are redefining our next gateway for rebirth until we're gone and then, as if by magic... 

 

So even though I generally take the Buddhist stance of no soul, I will concede that our soul can be seen as our potential.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have found this subject very challenging. By chance today I came across Analayo's book 'Rebirth in Early Buddhism'. I will read this and hopefully have a greater perspective. It has some good reviews.

 

Has anybody else read this book?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/7/2019 at 11:57 AM, rocala said:

Usually this is explained as an unchanging soul or unchanging eternal essence. The emphasis seems to be on 'unchanging'.

 

I'd like to reference the Platonic Theory of forms . My understanding is that there is one version of a person in existence in heaven, and our realities mirror that one existence. Although this is not necessarily Buddhist in concept (I've read many source Buddhist Sutras) perhaps you are reading from a secondary perspective about Buddhism and the author's Western viewpoint is getting in the way?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, whitesilk said:

the author's Western viewpoint is getting in the way?

This is certainly a factor in some of the material that I have read.

Thanks for the info about forms, This is a new one for me but a very interesting point of view.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites