Thursday, May 17, 2007

Being Buddha, Being "a" Buddha

Another nice find, both in terms of a blog and particular blog content, comes in the form of BuddhaDharma Mum and specifically the post on The Supreme Identity which features a video of a talk by the late Brother Wayne Teasdale. The format is an interview with Ken Wilber. While the talk itself is, typical of Teasdale, and interspiritual / intermystical / interfaith review of Ultimate Nature, it tends to use the most common term for such Supreme Identity, a.k.a. God. To me this was reminiscent of my recent musings on Ultimate Reality and taking refuge as well as James' discussion of a famous quote by Pai-chang that all is Buddha --

Each form, each particle, is a Buddha. One form is all Buddhas. All forms, all particles, are all Buddhas. All forms, sounds, scents, feelings, and phenomena are also like this, each filling all fields.

In turn, this reminds me of a collection of quotes I gathered once in contemplating the regarding the implications of emptiness and the nature of existence and identity...

Do you want to understand? The whole world is one of your eyes, the body produced by your parents is a cataract. All ordinary people ignore the indestructible, marvelously clear, unfailingly mirroring eye, and cling fast to the dust cataract produced by the relationship of their father and mother. Therefore they take illusions for realities, and grasp at reflections as the physical forms themselves.

Ultimately, all phenomena are contained within one's life, down to the last particle of dust. The nine mountains and the eight seas are encompassed by one's body; the sun, moon and myriad stars are contained within one's mind.

The Smaller Sutra is a highly imaginative portrayal of the realm of enlightenment in very concrete terms: bejeweled railings, nettings, trees; bathing pools lined with golden sands with steps of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, and crystal; pavilions covered with exquisite jewels built on the earth made of gold. The atmosphere is filled with celestial music, rare and exquisite birds, and a subtle breeze blowing through jeweled trees which produces a melodious chorus. This rich and colorful description is said to be a manifestation of emptiness (shunyata) that expresses itself freely in any way it chooses. Since reality is empty of permanent being and all things are in flux, it can take any form.
-Taitetsu Unno

Once you stop clinging and let things be, you'll be free, even of birth and death. You'll transform everything; you'll possess spiritual powers that can't be obstructed; and you'll be at peace wherever you are. If you doubt this, you'll never see through anything; you're better off doing nothing. Once you act, you can't avoid the cycle of birth and death, but once you see your nature, you're a Buddha even if you work as a butcher."

When I was a young novice, I told my Master, 'If the Pure Land doesn't have lemon trees, then I don't want to go.' He shook his head and smiled. Maybe he thought I was a stubborn youngster. However, he did not say that I was right or wrong. Later when I realized that both the world and the Pure Land come from the mind, I was very happy. I was happy since I knew that lemon trees and star-fruit trees exist also in the Pure Land, with dirt roads and green grass on all sides.
-Thich Nhat Hahn

Each Buddha-Tathagata, as the body of the Dharmadhatu, pervades the mind of all sentient beings. This is why when your mind perceives the Buddha, it is your mind that possesses the thirty-two prominent features and the eighty secondary attributes. This mind that creates the Buddha is the mind that is the Buddha, and the wisdom of the Buddhas true, universal and ocean-like arises from this mind. This is why you should single-mindedly fix your thoughts and contemplatively examine that Buddha, that Tathagata, that Arhat, that Supremely Awakened One.
-The Sutra of Contemplation on the Buddha of Immeasurable Life

Which brings us back to the discussion by Teasdale and Wilber, particularly the difference between saying all things are of the substance of God but that no one thing can claim to be God. This can be confusing unless one applies a concept like dependent co-arising and emptiness, in which the fullness of "God" is in all things but no one thing can be separated out/singled out as God, as in a localized, intrinsic, or dualistic identity. This would be the difference in Triyaka doctrine between the created body which manifests in time and space and limitless body of the Dharma itself. Hence in terms of the latter, all things are Dharmakara and Dharmakara maniefests in and as all things, and one who awakens to this is called enlightened. That is the difference, such as it is, between being Buddha and being a Buddha.

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 comment:

  1. I love the blog in question, though I have to admit I've not watched the video in question.

    Thanks for the collection of thoughts - they've been fruitful for me.


Hello! Thanks for leaving a comment.

Everything but spam and abusive comments are welcome. Logging in isn't necessary but if you don't then please "sign" at the end of your comment. You can choose to receive email notifications of new replies to this post for your convenience, and if you find it interesting don't forget to share it. Thanks!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...