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Switch to Forum Live View The Illusion of Self Nature
8 years ago  ::  Jun 19, 2009 - 3:58PM #1
etoro
Posts: 595

Various teachings of Buddhism say that life is a struggle with the illusion of self nature. But the Lotus Sutra teaches us to discard such teachings as expedients from a  time before the Buddha completed the expounding of his doctrine of enlightened wisdom. The Lotus Sutra, which incorporates the complete philosophy of the Buddha, expounds the principle of the true aspect of all phenomena" and the wisdom of a single moment of life possessing the three thousand aspects. It is important that Buddhists in general understand the relationship between these principles.


Lets explore the meaning of these teachings.


Why did the Buddha negate the principle of self?


Is the principle of self restored in the Lotus Sutra. Yes or no.


If yes, then please expund your understanding of this matter.


 


 

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 22, 2009 - 7:36AM #2
Engyo
Posts: 138

Etoro & all -


 


In my understanding, the Buddha negated the principle of a permanent, eternal, unchanging self.  That concept is one that humans seem to want very much to cling to, making it one of the most difficult illusions to eradicate.


Does the Lotus Sutra re-establish the concept of a permanent, eternal, unchanging self?  No, it does not as far as my understanding currently reaches.


I would postulate that the principle of the three thousand conditions in a single moment does not allow for anything living to be unchanging or unconditioned.


Namaste, Engyo

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 23, 2009 - 9:52PM #3
Littlebear4181
Posts: 25

 


 


Looking to Science we can find that postulates made about the nature of self and those


proposed by Buddhists are not in conflict at all.


 In reading of the "Tables of Enoch" there is a similiar concept. The idea in The Tables is


that all beings are individuals experiencing and expressing based on the consciousness


of that individual coming into awareness in a time and a space particular to that individual.


To give an analogy think of the self/ego as a crystal ball, the surface is the whole of the being, the very center represents the time-space of that being's coming into existence in conditional phenomenon and awarenss -expression.


 To give a practicum example, if you take twins born together and place them in different places, one a prince and one a pauper; they will have the same genetic code but their time-space experience will make them different. One suffering poverty and developing depravity or character from that experience and the prince experiencing pleasure and developing depravity or character from those experiences.


 They may become even identical in values but their experiences that are the foundational


basis of those values and demeanors will be different.


In the same way, the spiritual, eternal, infinity, unlimited, perfect, glad to be alive 'consciousness' that comes into being in flesh will shape its nature, values, identity and understanding from the specificity of the time-space experiences unique to that person-ego.


 Ego does not exist, it (consciouness encased in a unique experience) merely perceives its separateness and therefore posits its existence and need to struggle for continuance and thriving.


 

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 28, 2009 - 1:24AM #4
etoro
Posts: 595

Jun 22, 2009 -- 7:36AM, Engyo wrote:


Etoro & all -


 


In my understanding, the Buddha negated the principle of a permanent, eternal, unchanging self.  That concept is one that humans seem to want very much to cling to, making it one of the most difficult illusions to eradicate.


Does the Lotus Sutra re-establish the concept of a permanent, eternal, unchanging self?  No, it does not as far as my understanding currently reaches.


I would postulate that the principle of the three thousand conditions in a single moment does not allow for anything living to be unchanging or unconditioned.


Namaste, Engyo




 


Engyo, isnt it a fact that in the Lotus Sutra the Buddha refers to himself in the first person singular as "I" .  Isn't this a distinct feature of the Lotus Sutra and various other Mahayana works which beg the question?  How is this usage of the term being applied by the narrator aka the Buddha in that instance?

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 28, 2009 - 1:32AM #5
etoro
Posts: 595

Jun 23, 2009 -- 9:52PM, Littlebear4181 wrote:


 


 


Looking to Science we can find that postulates made about the nature of self and those


proposed by Buddhists are not in conflict at all.


 In reading of the "Tables of Enoch" there is a similiar concept. The idea in The Tables is


that all beings are individuals experiencing and expressing based on the consciousness


of that individual coming into awareness in a time and a space particular to that individual.


To give an analogy think of the self/ego as a crystal ball, the surface is the whole of the being, the very center represents the time-space of that being's coming into existence in conditional phenomenon and awarenss -expression.


 To give a practicum example, if you take twins born together and place them in different places, one a prince and one a pauper; they will have the same genetic code but their time-space experience will make them different. One suffering poverty and developing depravity or character from that experience and the prince experiencing pleasure and developing depravity or character from those experiences.


 They may become even identical in values but their experiences that are the foundational


basis of those values and demeanors will be different.


In the same way, the spiritual, eternal, infinity, unlimited, perfect, glad to be alive 'consciousness' that comes into being in flesh will shape its nature, values, identity and understanding from the specificity of the time-space experiences unique to that person-ego.


 Ego does not exist, it (consciouness encased in a unique experience) merely perceives its separateness and therefore posits its existence and need to struggle for continuance and thriving.


 




Littlebear thanks for your response. In reply I would ask the following.


What is the connection between the so called roundness of the "crystal ball" and the point in the center which you suggest is akin to the self?


You suggest that the self nature is a conditional nature that is shaped by its individual circumstances. What causes its appearance and its juxtaposition relative to all other selves which manifest?


What causes the predispostion towards the same values by the twins?  Why do you assume that the twins will eventually maniofest the same values albeit due to distinct events?


 


 


 


 

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 28, 2009 - 6:18PM #6
Engyo
Posts: 138

Jun 28, 2009 -- 1:24AM, etoro wrote:


Engyo, isnt it a fact that in the Lotus Sutra the Buddha refers to himself in the first person singular as "I" .  Isn't this a distinct feature of the Lotus Sutra and various other Mahayana works which beg the question?  How is this usage of the term being applied by the narrator aka the Buddha in that instance?



Hi, Etoro -


Yes, that is the way the Lotus Sutra reads.  I'm not sure what question you find being begged, though.   The usage of the term "I" applies to the narrator in the same way I use it: that is how to refer to ones self when speaking to others.  It doesn't imply that "I" am some sort of eternal unchanging being, if that was where you were going with this. 


We do speak of the Eternal Buddha, but even there I don't personally think that this negates impermanence.....it just means that even whatever concept I may have of the Eternal Buddha isn't static, fixed and without change.


Namaste, Engyo

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8 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2009 - 3:30PM #7
etoro
Posts: 595

Jun 28, 2009 -- 6:18PM, Engyo wrote:


Jun 28, 2009 -- 1:24AM, etoro wrote:


Engyo, isnt it a fact that in the Lotus Sutra the Buddha refers to himself in the first person singular as "I" .  Isn't this a distinct feature of the Lotus Sutra and various other Mahayana works which beg the question?  How is this usage of the term being applied by the narrator aka the Buddha in that instance?



Hi, Etoro -


Yes, that is the way the Lotus Sutra reads.  I'm not sure what question you find being begged, though.   The usage of the term "I" applies to the narrator in the same way I use it: that is how to refer to ones self when speaking to others.  It doesn't imply that "I" am some sort of eternal unchanging being, if that was where you were going with this. 


We do speak of the Eternal Buddha, but even there I don't personally think that this negates impermanence.....it just means that even whatever concept I may have of the Eternal Buddha isn't static, fixed and without change.


Namaste, Engyo




 


Actually Engyo the answer is no.  That is not where I was going with my statements.  This begs the question, "why did you go there?"

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8 years ago  ::  Jul 07, 2009 - 7:57AM #8
Engyo
Posts: 138

Hi, Etoro -


The answer is that is what your comments/questions suggested to me.


Where did you really intend to take the discussion?  The original questions are yours.......


Namaste, Engyo

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8 years ago  ::  Jul 08, 2009 - 2:48PM #9
etoro
Posts: 595

Jul 7, 2009 -- 7:57AM, Engyo wrote:


Hi, Etoro -


The answer is that is what your comments/questions suggested to me.


Where did you really intend to take the discussion?  The original questions are yours.......


Namaste, Engyo




 


Engyo, needless to say for advanced students of the Tien Tai Nichiren lineage, the direction we must inevitably head is towards the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, the true aspect of all living beings and phenomena, the oneness of the three truths and the three thousand aspects in a single moment of thought.  Nichiren states that the term "I" as referred in the Lotus Sutra concerns the true nature of all living beings and phenomena.


Surprised?  I dont think so.  But you need to continue examining your own cognitive filters.


Hands Palm to Palm


NMRK

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8 years ago  ::  Jul 20, 2009 - 3:23PM #10
etoro
Posts: 595

There are many in the Buddhist community who argue over the principles of self and non-self and who say that the  Buddha negated the principle of self nature.  Yet when various Buddhists of various stripes encounter the principle of the four virtues in the Mahayana Nirvana sutra where it states that the Buddha possesses the four virtues of true self, purity, joy and eternal life there are some who instantly think this sutra must be a fraud.  I also distinctly remember that there were persons here at beliefnet who reacted strongly to the teachings of the Nirvana Sutra. The person who called himself Zenmonk in particular was one who began to attack this teaching of the sutras very strongly.  Now we find from a thread in another section here from a women who dated him that this person himself was a fraud.


The sad part about all this was that I knew right from day one that this person was a fraud yet there were so many people here at beliefnet who belived this persons words.  It was sad to observe.  The worst part was to find out that this person was actually now dating a very naive and vulnerable women who he had come to meet here at beliefnet.  It was obvious that she did not know a thing about Buddhism yet she spoke strongly about her beliefs and even went along with the party line here and started to denounce Nichiren Buddhism. When I saw this I was very saddened to see how ignorant people can be and how unfortunate that many have difficulty embracing the correct teaching even when it is close at hand.  But I was not discouraged and have continued to assist Nichiren and help many enter the true way up until this very day.  "Still I am not discouraged."


In the final analysis, the principle of non-self was simply an expedient means. In spite of anything one may say about the status of a human being, in that they are all temporary beings, in that they lack anything that can be called a fixed self nature, in that their lives are fleeting and transient, it is human beings themselves whom are capable of displaying and transmitting the Buddha wisdom to others.   Nichiren himself taught that the mosr difficult teaching to believe in the world is the fact that the Buddha nature resides in the actual life of common mortals. But by virtue of the fact that the Buddha himself appeared in the realm of dependent origination it is a fact that all living beings possess the Buddha nature.


 


 

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