Recommended Posts

6 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

 

Most Buddhist schools I am familiar with reject the notion that everything is mind. Everything we experience is mind, but that is not the same as saying everything is mind like Western idealism. And emptiness is not energy. In addition, most Buddhist teachers reject the idea of a universal mind.

 

It is important because all of this has an experiential component.

 

But energy is empty.

 

But you are right about most Buddhist schools.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Here’s an article on what two traditions mean by the “mind”. Some people might find it useful :)

 

The subtle body (energy body) is what is called the “astral body”. This is what transmigrates across multiple physics births. 

 

 

https://www.medhajournal.com/consciousness-according-to-zen-buddhism-and-how-it-relates-to-advaita-vedanta/

 

Spoiler

The-Zen-and-Vedanta-Rosetta-Stone.png

 

 

Edited by dwai
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

 

Most Buddhist schools I am familiar with reject the notion that everything is mind. Everything we experience is mind, but that is not the same as saying everything is mind like Western idealism. And emptiness is not energy. In addition, most Buddhist teachers reject the idea of a universal mind.

 

It is important because all of this has an experiential component.

 

I believe that the Yogācāra (and mostly resulting Zen) view is that is (universal/buddha) mind.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

 

Most Buddhist schools I am familiar with reject the notion that everything is mind. Everything we experience is mind, but that is not the same as saying everything is mind like Western idealism. And emptiness is not energy. In addition, most Buddhist teachers reject the idea of a universal mind.

 

It is important because all of this has an experiential component.

 

I will admit I am not a Buddhist and with that I may take something from one tradition or another to help express my view on things so that we have common terms to work with.

 

I am a big fan of the Lankavatara Sutra. It mentions Universal Mind often.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have found that most people who think that are coming at it from a Vedantic or a Western idealist perspective. In addition, many of the early translators (i.e. E.E. Evans Wentz) took a theosophical view in early translations of some of the Buddhist texts. 

 

However, according to people who specialize in this field (scholars and lamas), this is not at all the case. The Indian sources do not support this view. There may be some schools of Chinese chan who hold this view, but it is by no means widely accepted. I do not know any Buddhist teachers trained in a lineage, Zen or otherwise, who holds to a universal mind. This is not to say that they aren't out there, but if they are, I believe they would be in a minority. 

 

Here are some articles if people want to read about it. Of course, reading about Zen and Tantra is very limited in that the oral instructions are absent.  

 

https://www.vajranatha.com/articles/dzogchen-chinese-buddhism-and-the-universal-mind.html

 

http://www.acmuller.net/yogacara/articles/intro.html

 

7 minutes ago, Jeff said:

 

I believe that the Yogācāra (and mostly resulting Zen) view is that is (universal/buddha) mind.

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, steve said:

 

This is not the Dzogchen view.

Just an artificial division of the base for purposes of discussion.

This is important because the word view has a very precise definition in Dzogchen.

 

 

I mentioned the 3 aspects because the comment said that everything was emptiness. I thought it was important.

 

From Dzogchen Teachings pg 59.

Quote

 

"THREE ASPECTS OF THE BASE


In any case, it is important to know what zhi, or the Base, signifies in
Dzogchen. Understanding the meaning of zhi is of particular importance
in the Dzogchen teaching. The Base has three aspects: Essence,
Nature, and Energy. Its Essence is emptiness; its Nature is clarity; and
its Energy is without interruption. Through an understanding of what
is meant in this context by “Energy,” we can arrive at a definitive knowledge
of the inherent potentiality of the individual, which manifests as
sound, lights, and rays. This knowledge of the Base and how to work
with it are characteristic of the Dzogchen teaching.
 

 

 

From Dzogchen Teachings pg 61.

 

Quote


"In the Dzogchen teachings, emptiness is also considered to be important
because it is the Essence, but this Essence is also understood to
have its Nature and its Energy. Our real nature is not only emptiness.
As Dzogchen practitioners, we must understand this. So the Essence
has the aspect of clarity, and we discover that clarity is part of our real
nature."

 

 

The bolded is what I was getting at.

  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Jonesboy said:

 

I will admit I am not a Buddhist and with that I may take something from one tradition or another to help express my view on things so that we have common terms to work with.

 

I am a big fan of the Lankavatara Sutra. It mentions Universal Mind often.

 

I am no expert in the Lankavatara. Can you please point me out where that is the case? 

 

Some of the older translations used terms like "Universal Mind" for alayavijnana, but that is bad translation. Alayavijnana is the base or storehouse consciousness, but it is not a grand cosmic mind. It may be "universal" in the sense that everyone has it, but it is not "universal" in the sense that there is a single universal consciousness. 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

 

I am no expert in the Lankavatara. Can you please point me out where that is the case? 

 

Some of the older translations used terms like "Universal Mind" for alayavijnana, but that is bad translation. Alayavijnana is the base or storehouse consciousness, but it is not a grand cosmic mind. It may be "universal" in the sense that everyone has it, but it is not "universal" in the sense that there is a single universal consciousness. 

 

 

I am not putting forth that there is a Single universal consciousness, nor do I take the term to mean that as presented in the Lankavatara Sutra. It talks about it being a storehouse and that it is also the same as what i would call local mind.

 

http://buddhasutra.com/files/lankavatara_sutra.htm

 

If you want an amazing description of Universal Mind from a true master we would have to use the writings from Abhinavagupta in the book Triadic Heart of Siva.

 

Spoiler

The Heart of Siva

 

The Heart, says Abhinavagupta, is the very Self of Siva, of Bhairava,

and of the Devi, the Goddess who is inseparable from Siva. Indeed,

the Heart is the site of their union (yamala), of their embrace (samghatta).

This abode is pure consciousness (caitanya) as well as unlimited bliss

(ananda). As consciousness the Heart is the unbounded, infinite light

(prakasa) as well as the freedom (svatantrya) and spontaneity (vimarsa)

of that light to appear in a multitude and variety of forms. The Heart,

says Abhinavagupta, is the sacred fire-pit of Bhairava.1

 

The Heart is the Ultimate (anuttara) which is both utterly transcendent

to (visvottirna) and yet totally immanent in (visvamaya) all created things.

It is the ultimate essence (sara). Thus, the Heart embodies the paradoxical

nature of Siva and is therefore a place of astonishment (camatkara), sheer

wonder (vismaya), and ineffable mystery. The Heart is the fullness and

unboundedness of Siva (purnatva), the plenum of being that overflows

continuously into manifestation. At the same time, it is also an inconceivable

emptiness (sunyatisunya).2 The Heart is the unbounded and

universal Self (purnahanta).

 

The Heart of Siva is not a static or inert absolute, however. In fact,

the non-dual Kashmir Shaiva tradition considers it to be in a state of

perpetual movement, a state of vibration (spanda)3 in which it is continuously

contracting and expanding (samkoca-vikasa), opening and closing

(unmesa-nimesa), trembling (ullasita), quivering (sphurita), throbbing,

waving, and sparkling (ucchalata). The intensity and speed of this move

ment is such that paradoxically it is simultaneously a perfect dynamic

stillness.4

 

The tradition states that the Heart is the enormous ocean (ambunidhi),

the ocean of light, the ocean of consciousness. The waters of consciousness

that in man are broken by countless polarizing and divisive waves (urmi)

may be easily brought to a state of dynamic stillness by the process of

immersion or absorption (samdvesa) in the Heart.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


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

 

I believe that the Yogācāra (and mostly resulting Zen) view is that is (universal/buddha) mind.

 

Mushin or no-mind is I think the basic position of Zen.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Not sure how helpful it will be, but there's a pdf article entitled Original Purity and the Arising of Delusion by Jamie Hubbard that explores in some detail the subject of gzhi (the impure mind) and kun gzhi (the impure mind's original essence). Its quite technical so may not be an easy read for some. 

 

Buddhatantra at some level relates to the unlocking of potential of the kun gzhi and allowing that particular resonance to perfume over both the seed aspect and maturation aspect of the alaya consciousness in order to effect transformation. It asserts that gzhi and kun gzhi are fundamentally not two separate "minds", but only appears so due to individual habitual tendencies. 

Edited by C T
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Wuschel said:

 

do you distinguish between awareness and energy and intent?

 

can you recommend literature that talks about their relationship? (on level of consciousness/experience)

 

 

Hi,

 

You can distinguish but ultimately it is the union of these aspects which is the ultimate reality.  I can paint a picture of what I mean but bear in mind I am just an ordinary practitioner with an ordinary understanding.

 

Mind is often described as 'sky-like' by which they mean it is open, expansive, pure, clear and without a form of its own.  But the metaphor is limited because the sky is a physical appearance without qualities, while the Mind is self-luminous or full of awareness.  By self-luminous I don't mean to suggest a 'self' but in the reflexive sense - Mind has the inherent quality of awareness.  The image is a sun-lit sky.  You could say it's an infinite field of consciousness or awareness.  But even this is not enough because like space (of which the sky is an example) itself it is not just a field of light but also has a dark aspect - but by dark I don't mean obscured like shadow I mean it is an infinite expanse which is full of intent (or if you prefer power).  Because of this infinite potential it is continually and endlessly in motion - and this motion is energy.  The motion itself has two aspects - translational and rotational.  The translational motion of mind is like the activity of the infinite light field i.e. awareness spreading in all directions simultaneously - while rotational motion causes stable zones of particular stress within the infinite which manifest as content, things, thoughts, beings of all kinds.  These are nothing other than modalities of the infinite made finite in a particular place, for a certain time with a set a qualities derived from the infinite but expressing themselves in specific ways - a tree, a person, a universe and so on.  They are 'empty' because in essence they have no self-being other than modalities of the infinite - they are temporary, dependent and made of a collection of qualities derived from the infinite.

 

If we look from the perspective of our individual existence then the infinite appears to have two different aspects - that of awareness and that of intent/energy - but that is really our dualistic way of thinking and ultimately if we achieve enlightenment we will realise that awareness/consciousness/sentience and energy/intent/power while not being the same are not different - i.e. non-dual resolved in the infinite/dharmakaya/buddha-naure - call it what you will.

 

These words are my own and not strictly Buddha-dharma so beware they are inexact ad probably flawed but its the best I can.

 

There's a lot of literature on these subjects - if I can think of anything helpful I'll link to it :)

Edited by Apech
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 3

Share this post


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

 

I mentioned the 3 aspects because the comment said that everything was emptiness. I thought it was important.

 

From Dzogchen Teachings pg 59.

 

From Dzogchen Teachings pg 61.

 

 

The bolded is what I was getting at.

 

I think @steve was getting at the teachings about the view, are not the view.

 

And I think perhaps you unintentionally used the very specific phrase "the view" to indicate a more general understanding shared in the teachings. 

 

P.S. Thanks for the book recommendation; I'm still reading, and finding what I've read so far interesting. 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For anyone presenting the word "clarity" (and anyone else with an inclination to reply), would you type a few words on what this ("clarity") means to you?

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are several sutras that describe a “universal nature” varyingly as tathāgata garbha, buddhadhātū, etc. Mahaparinirvana Sutra, Brahmajalasutra come to mind. 

 

The last round on this resulted in folks screaming “Theravada is best, Mahayana is defiled by brahminical concepts” circa 2008-2010 during the buddhabum wars on TDB. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

I have found that most people who think that are coming at it from a Vedantic or a Western idealist perspective. In addition, many of the early translators (i.e. E.E. Evans Wentz) took a theosophical view in early translations of some of the Buddhist texts. 

 

However, according to people who specialize in this field (scholars and lamas), this is not at all the case. The Indian sources do not support this view. There may be some schools of Chinese chan who hold this view, but it is by no means widely accepted. I do not know any Buddhist teachers trained in a lineage, Zen or otherwise, who holds to a universal mind. This is not to say that they aren't out there, but if they are, I believe they would be in a minority. 

 

Here are some articles if people want to read about it. Of course, reading about Zen and Tantra is very limited in that the oral instructions are absent.  

 

https://www.vajranatha.com/articles/dzogchen-chinese-buddhism-and-the-universal-mind.html

 

http://www.acmuller.net/yogacara/articles/intro.html

 

 

Matt, I’d recommend reading Roshi Philip Kapleau’s book “zen - dawn in the west”. He clearly outlines the zen perspective about a “universal mind”. I’ve also pointed it out in the article I linked. 

Edited by dwai
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's an odd question: Would any differentiation, by default, indicate conceptualization?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, ilumairen said:

For anyone presenting the word "clarity" (and anyone else with an inclination to reply), would you type a few words on what this ("clarity") means to you?

 

I was hoping to discuss clarity. It seems to be rarely discussed when in comes to spirituality. People talk about silence and energy but rarely do they mention clarity.

 

One aspect of clarity to me would be this.

 

Quote

The manifestation of the primordial state in all its aspects,

its "clarity," on the other hand, is called the nature. It is said

to be "self-perfected" (lhun grub), because it exists spontaneously

from the beginning, like the sun which shines in

space. Clarity is the pure quality of all thought and of all

perceived phenomena, uncontaminated by mental judgment.

For example, when we see a flower, we first perceive

its image without the mind entering into judgment, even if

this phase of perception only lasts for a fraction of a second.

Then, in a second phase, mental judgment enters into the

situation and one categorizes the perception, thinking,

"That's a flower, it's red, it has a specific scent, and so on."

Developing from this, attachment and aversion, acceptance

and rejection all arise, with the consequent creation of karma and transmigration.

Clarity is the phase in which perception

is vivid and present, but the mind has not yet entered

into action.

 

 

Another aspect of clarity is more non-dual in nature and has more to do with knowing.

 

An example of that would be the Avatamsaka Sutra

 

Spoiler

From the Avatamsaka Sutra...

 

Great bodhisattvas have no attachment to Buddha and do not develop attachments; 

they have no attachment to the teachings and do not develop attachments; they have 

no attachment to lands and do not develop attachments; they have no attachments 

to sentient beings and do not develop attachments. They do not see that there are 

sentient beings, yet they carry on educational activity, civilizing and teaching ways 

of liberation; they do not give up the practices of bodhisattvas with great compassion 

and great commitment. Seeing buddhas and hearing their teachings, they act accordingly; 

trusting the buddhas they plant roots of goodness, ceaselessly honoring and serving them. 

 

They are able to shake infinite worlds in the ten directions by spiritual powers; their minds are 

broad, being equal to the cosmos. They know various explanations of truth, they know how 

many sentient beings there are, they know the differences among sentient beings, they know 

the birth of suffering, they know the extinction of suffering; while knowing all acts are like reflected 

images, they carry out the deeds of bodhisattvas. They sever the root of all subjection to birth. 

 

They carry out practices of bodhisattvas for the sole purpose of saving sentient beings and yet 

do not practice anything. Conforming to the essential nature of all buddhas, they develop a mind 

like an immense mountain. They know all falsehood and delusion, and enter the door of omniscience. 

Their knowledge and wisdom are broad and vast and unshakable, due to the attainment of true enlightenment. This is the insight of practical knowledge of equally saving all sentient beings in the ocean of birth and death.

 

Edited by Jonesboy
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think again it is very challenging with such words like “clarity” as it has a potentially different meaning depending on the context or tradition framework.

 

For me, clarity simply means the absence of things that obstruct one from the primordial.  It is not really a “thing”, but more like the absence of things that obscure.  Like if one sees more clearly through a window (mind) when you wash away the dirt (issues and fears).

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


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

There are several sutras that describe a “universal nature” varyingly as tathāgata garbha, buddhadhātū, etc. Mahaparinirvana Sutra, Brahmajalasutra come to mind. 

 

The last round on this resulted in folks screaming “Theravada is best, Mahayana is defiled by brahminical concepts” circa 2008-2010 during the buddhabum wars on TDB. 

 

I think that shows a lack of history on the Theravadans part because if Mahayana Buddhism was corrupted, it would have been corrupted by Tantra, specifically Nondual Shaiva Tantra. 

 

The problem with reading books is that Buddhism is not a religion of the book, like Protestant Christianity. Buddhism relies on oral transmission, and proper transmission requires that the teacher has realized the teachings. In that way, the teacher can guide the student experientially toward the same goal (or non-goal). The terms are coded, and the meaning on the terms can vary depending on the context in which they are taught. 

 

Accordingly, the only way to really learn Buddhism is to interact with a teacher and a sangha over an extended period of time, learning the practices experientially, and receiving feedback. To put it another way, it is an experiential transmission. This is especially true when dealing with Zen, Dzogchen, and Mahamudra. The teachings are put forth in a specific way for specific reasons. The idea of any self, universal or not, works crosswise against the techniques of Buddhism. This isn't to say that Self teachings aren't useful and liberating, say in a NST or a Vedanta context. It just isn't the case in a Buddhist context. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/25/2019 at 3:29 PM, Jonesboy said:

Here is an interesting quote from Norbu on Tantra from the book Dzogchen Teachings.

 

  Hide contents

In general, Tantra is a Sanskrit word used also in Hinduism; but even
though the same word is used, it does not always have the same meaning.
In the Tantric teachings of the Buddhist tradition, tantra means
our real condition. In the real sense, tantra means “continuity,” or “continuation.”
What does continuity of our real nature mean? It means a
recognition or understanding of our energy level.

 

For example, we have infinite thoughts arising that can be good or bad.
We also have a conception of good and bad, but the root of these thoughts is
relative to our energy, a kind of movement of thought, the source of which
is part of our real condition. If we observe a thought, where is it? Where
does it go? When we observe it, we cannot find anything. What we always
find is emptiness, the real condition of all things, the Dharmadhatu.
Immediately after one thought, another thought arises. When we
observe this second thought, it disappears, and we find only emptiness.
Immediately after that, the third and fourth thoughts arise, and this
continues infinitely. We have this infinite movement because we have
that potentiality, that energy, in our nature. This is the real meaning of
continuation—continuation of emptiness and movement, energy and
movement, again and again, without interruption. That knowledge and
understanding is the principle of the Tantric teaching, and is related
more to our energy level.


Although not transmitted on the physical level by the Buddha, this
teaching was transmitted through his manifestation. This is a characteristic
feature of Tantric teaching. Those who follow this kind of teaching
need more capacity to follow and understand. The physical level is
always easier to understand. For example, if you see someone coming,
what you see is their physical body. It is not so easy to see the energy
level of that person. If someone had no physical body, but was only energy
or mind, you wouldn’t be able to see them. If you could, it would
mean you had a special capacity. That is an example of how energy is

more difficult to understand.

 

 

Do you have a link for the book? or just the title?  What page is this on?  hope it is on kindle.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Fa Xin said:

I always get confused when Buddhist books mention “mind”. what do they mean? My western “mind” gets definition tangled with this word. :)

Shit you think that is hard :P  try dealing with people puking up local mind and not bothering to explain what the heck they are talking about. Lol how about an explanation on that since it keeps coming up?

 

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I think relative to this thread, clarity refers to the onset of pure perception viz establishing a continuum of awareness whereby forms are recognised as none other than manifestations from one's own universal mind (:D) and by definition perfect in its own nature. This is an attractive state, often appearing in the dream states (leaving fuzzy recollections) and most people actually have strong inklings what it is, which is wonderful. The thing with this almost-recognition comes the desire to generate assumptions by way of over-reliance and deference to intellectualism, and this gives birth to and simultaneously compounds actions that support grasping and aversion, which is how duality comes to be. Learning how to sustain pure perception is likened to masters exhorting students to not get distracted. Its this curiosity inherent in sentiency that follows the self-born knowing of primordial purity (which is like a seed in all things) that beings experience the mirage of separation. The more complex the biology the greater the degree of curiosity. 

 

Though the persistent encouragement from some tantric masters to indulge with fervour the body, speech and mind while maintaining a continuum of "pure" awareness is said to be a key to liberation, this is sooo easy to type out, but oh so difficult to cultivate :lol: 

 

In this context, "pure" = one taste (from which spells the end of curiosity lol)

Edited by C T
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Jonesboy said:

 

I use this.. 

 

I am sure some others might be able to give you a more detailed explanation.

 

I am curious why all the emphasis on the "Primordial State"  This in plain old English means "First State".

 

To me this is the very definition of anti evolutionary or devolvement to a no - thing  and makes less than zero sense,  since it it is tantamount to saying,    hmm We should do our best to return to Egg and Sperm.

 

Guess I am missing something.

 

Seems to me pointless to have come from the primordial state only to seek comfort in becoming nothing again in fact the direction is backasswards. 

 

Seems to me they have latched onto gong backwards instead of the natural obvious motion of progression which is away from the starting point, wow what a joke if this is indeed the case.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Pilgrim said:

I am curious why all the emphasis on the "Primordial State"  This in plain old English means "First State".

 

To me this is the very definition of anti evolutionary or devolvement to a no - thing  and makes less than zero sense,  since it it is tantamount to saying,    hmm We should do our best to return to Egg and Sperm.

 

Guess I am missing something.

 

Seems to me pointless to have come from the primordial state only to seek comfort in becoming nothing again in fact the direction is backasswards. 

 

Seems to me they have latched onto gong backwards instead of the natural obvious motion of progression which is away from the starting point, wow what a joke if this is indeed the case.

 

If we are all Buddha's, One like Siva.. however you want to say it but it is unrealized in the present moment. How did that happen?

 

What is the end state for your tradition?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Pilgrim said:

I am curious why all the emphasis on the "Primordial State"  This in plain old English means "First State".

 

To me this is the very definition of anti evolutionary or devolvement to a no - thing  and makes less than zero sense,  since it it is tantamount to saying,    hmm We should do our best to return to Egg and Sperm.

 

Guess I am missing something.

 

Seems to me pointless to have come from the primordial state only to seek comfort in becoming nothing again in fact the direction is backasswards. 

 

Seems to me they have latched onto gong backwards instead of the natural obvious motion of progression which is away from the starting point, wow what a joke if this is indeed the case.

 

Assume it all begins at A. 

Curiosity sets in 

One sees lots of things manifesting within A

That curiosity prompts ideas that these manifestations are not-A

since each appear to have its own separate identity

Fragmentation sets in

Restlessness follows

One seeks to return to A

Lots of hard work, frustrations, seeming breakthroughs felt

 A dawning of satisfaction and sense of achievement 

that all the hard work paid off

And one has at long last attained freedom

Suddenly one startles from that dream

 realizes, with much laughter (and tears)

No matter how much one tries

One could never

be separated from 

A

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites