Buddha Nature in Theravada

Follow up to mention of Buddha Nature by HH Phakchok Rinpoche’s recent talk in Bkk. ‘Buddha Nature’ is an essential part of Mahayana teachings – does it have a place in Theravada? Or is it something new to the teaching of Buddhism?

Buddha Nature

You can look up general definitions for Buddha Nature easily enough on Wikipedia, that are fairly accurate. And also of the Tathagatagarba which is practically the same teaching.

Buddha nature is supposed to be a general background, underlying nature that we all share. It is not however, a shared consciousness in the Yungian sense, because there is no merging of people’s Buddha natures into one grand whole. We each have our own Buddha nature, though this essence is the same for each of us. Therefore it differs from the idea of an Atman, a permanent unchanging individual ‘Self’. The Atman is something that Theravada dismisses (or does it?), and Mahayana does not accept in name, even if it proposes it in nature. Indeed the Lotus Sutta, the heart of Mahayana, tells us that the Buddha and all the arahants are still existent in some other level, and we will meet them when we become enlightened. Therefore, our enlightened essence is eternal, even if it is not explicitly stated as being an ‘Atman’.

  • So, an Atman is a permanent, individual soul, that does not change. And it is rejected by most Buddhist Schools in the ‘Non-self’ doctrine.
  • Buddha Nature is a permanent unchanging essence, a ground of emptiness from which all appears. Though all beings have it, the Buddha Nature of each being is indistinguishable.

Theravada Angle

Theravada does not anywhere explicitly state that there is a Buddha nature. However, like most Mahayana concepts such as emptiness or the Bodhisattva path, the general concept appears in the Pali scriptures. Numerous times the Buddha states clearly that there is the Unconditioned – if there were not the Unconditioned, there would be no benefit or result of living the Holy LIfe. But since there is the Unconditioned, then living the Holy Life has a goal.

What is ‘the Unconditioned’? It is the goal of the practise, the nibbana element that does not change, that is not subject to birth, aging, or death. It is entirely free from Dukkha (suffering). This Unconditioned is real and can be experienced when the outflowings of the mind are brought to a halt (The end of the ‘asava’, or outflowings, of ignorance, becoming, desire, and sometimes a fourth category ‘views’). Another way it is described is ‘seeing and knowing the liberation of the heart’ (vimutthi nyanadassana). All Mahayana is doing is giving this experience a name – Buddha Nature. The Theravada uses only an adjective to describe the property of enlightenment – that is is Unconditioned, where Mahayana is giving it a proper noun.

Consciousness

Which brings us to consciousness. Theravada seems to reject any form of experience as simply something that is impermanent, and therefore dukkha. So how is it that the Unconditioned can be experienced? In fact there are numerous references in the Suttas to the fact that enlightenment arises as a direct experience, even if only temporary in the destruction of the asava or seeing and knowing liberation. Is this then an extra category of consciousness that is not impermanent, dukkha or non-self? And more importantly does this mean that some kinds of experience of the mind that arise in meditation should not be rejected as simply impermanent, dukkha and non-self? Good questions for the scholarly.

In the mean time we Theravadins can accept the Buddha Nature as an explicit understanding that enlightenment itself can be experienced directly here and now, without having to accept or creat the idea of a permanent abiding Atman or Soul.

For further discussion on the nature of Consciousness – from the modern psychological understanding of the term, to sense consciousness in Buddhism, and finally to the conscious experience of the Unconditioned (or Buddha Nature or whatever you want to call it), click here for a WORD document covering the topic in 20 or so short pages. 🙂

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About Cittasamvaro

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19 Responses to Buddha Nature in Theravada

  1. Marcus says:

    Hi,

    Thank you so much for this wonderful essay!

    I think one of the most interesting things, for me anyway, is this part here:

    “And more importantly does this mean that some kinds of experience of the mind that arise in meditation should not be rejected as simply impermanent, dukkha and non-self? Good questions for the scholarly.”

    Not just for the scholarly! My experience of meditation is itself an experience of letting go to, and dwelling within, Buddha-nature. Like the breath, it is something to which I can always return, like the rise and fall of in-breath and out-breath, it is sustaining and embracing.

    “I take refuge in Buddha-nature,
    my center, foundation, and teacher,
    which transcends existence and nonexistence,
    and through which enlightenment is attained.”

    (- Seon Master Daehaeng, ‘A Thousand Hands of Compassion’, Hanmaum Publications, Korea, October 2008.)

    By the way, Phra Pandit, I heard you on the radio this morning talking about the value of ritual, celebration, and community in Buddhism! It was a lovely talk! Thank you so much!

    With palms together,

    Marcus

  2. billzant says:

    Dear Littlebang,

    In a Tibetan book it says we should practice “the three yanas – Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana – without any contradiction or conflict between them”. There is a clear implication in this description of the Tibetan tradition that by practicing only Hinayana the practice is not complete. With this as part of HHPR’s tradition and learning Hinayanan practice cannot be complete. Is such a description, with Theravada and Hinayana being the same?, a fair representation of Theravada?

    This is the first of many semantic difficulties I experienced during HHPR’s riveting talk. He was saying Hinayanans do this, and then looking to the monks for glances of acknowledgement. Did they accept what he was saying?

    For him Buddha nature appeared to be a significant difference, and he used the Manhattan analogy. Therevadins are going to Manhattan, and Vajrayanans are in Manhattan but have to recognise it – the Buddha nature. How does one be “Manhattan”? Does Buddha nature have attributes such as the 4 Brahma-Viharas, metta, karuna, muditta, upekkha? So are these 4 the Buddha nature we be? Or are there more attributes?

    And as soon as we have attributes then we have limitation because of our own concepts – of metta for example. I love all sentient beings except for that mosquito that has just bitten me so my metta is flawed. In the litany Marcus quoted from Seon Master Daehaeng, what is the “Buddha nature” that you keep coming back to in meditation?

    So that brings me to the Unconditioned? Is that the same as Buddha nature if Buddha nature has attributes? Using Marcus’ same quote Buddha nature transcends existence and non-existence. Accepting this as a Mahayanan definition, is this truly Unconditioned if it transcends existence? Or does this Unconditioned also transcend existence and non-existence? So can this Unconditioned have attributes such as the 4 Brahma-Viharas?

    And then we come to Emptiness. Why is this not Unconditioned? My understanding is that these terms are synonymous. What is left when we remove all conditions or attributes? The nothing that is everything, Unconditioned, Emptiness, Tao.

    And what about the essential unity of the Tao? Don’t all beings return to the Tao? If so wouldn’t this Tao be a pool of Buddha natures?

    I remember a theosophy layer cake, the top three being Atma, Buddhi, Higher Manas. At the time (30 years ago) I saw the Buddhi (Buddha nature) pooling together into Atma, but that could be my interpretation or a theosophical interpretation – long ago.

    Personifications concern me. Is it not the practice to be “Manhattan” – to be the Boddhisattvva of Compassion? How can we be This as whatever we try to be is limited by our interpretation of language or concept?

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  3. Marcus says:

    Hi Bill,

    “If so wouldn’t this Tao be a pool of Buddha natures?”

    Words get in the way, isn’t that the first teaching from the book of the Tao? But, yes, interesting point.

    My Buddha-nature is the same as your Buddha-nature. It’s the same as the Buddha’s Buddha-nature and the same as the Buddha-nature of the dog in the soi.

    But this Buddha-nature remains one. My root teacher when asked about this has used the term Hanmaum for Buddha-nature, and Juingong for the Buddha-nature in each person, but she is very clear that it is a mistake to talk of MY Buddha-nature or YOUR Buddha-nature!

    A question I sometimes have (and the question I asked in the talk) is to what extent Buddha-nature is active or passive, simply waiting to be uncovered. One answer, of course, is that it is in direct relationship to the work (practice, faith, whatever) you do.

    Roshi Philip Kapleau put this best when writing about the practice of calling upon the name of the Bodhisattva of Compassion (one of the few practices I actually sometimes remember to do! LOL):

    “If you selflessly call upon Kannon, trusting in this universal heart of wisdom and compassion, a response is assured, for, in essence, his compassionate heart and yours are the same. In fact, the calling of his name is possible only because he is already moving toward you in a dynamic invocation-evocation process.”

    So good, I’m going to post it again:

    “If you selflessly call upon Kannon, trusting in this universal heart of wisdom and compassion, a response is assured, for, in essence, his compassionate heart and yours are the same. In fact, the calling of his name is possible only because he is already moving toward you in a dynamic invocation-evocation process.”

    All the best Bill,

    Marcus

  4. billzant says:

    Hi Bill,

    “If so wouldn’t this Tao be a pool of Buddha natures?”

    Words get in the way, isn’t that the first teaching from the book of the Tao? But, yes, interesting point.

    My Buddha-nature is the same as your Buddha-nature. It’s the same as the Buddha’s Buddha-nature and the same as the Buddha-nature of the dog in the soi.

    But this Buddha-nature remains one. My root teacher when asked about this has used the term Hanmaum for Buddha-nature, and Juingong for the Buddha-nature in each person, but she is very clear that it is a mistake to talk of MY Buddha-nature or YOUR Buddha-nature!

    BZ:-The teaching is clear, thanks Marcus.

    A question I sometimes have (and the question I asked in the talk) is to what extent Buddha-nature is active or passive, simply waiting to be uncovered. One answer, of course, is that it is in direct relationship to the work (practice, faith, whatever) you do.

    BZ:- Perhaps here Unconditioned is a useful notion. Unconditioned is, and we have blocked it out with our selves – defilements, ignorance, anger, desire etc. (conditions). Clearing these away reveals. Active or passive implies form, Unconditioned is formless – to use the Taoist description.

    Roshi Philip Kapleau put this best when writing about the practice of calling upon the name of the Bodhisattva of Compassion (one of the few practices I actually sometimes remember to do! LOL):

    “If you selflessly call upon Kannon, trusting in this universal heart of wisdom and compassion, a response is assured, for, in essence, his compassionate heart and yours are the same. In fact, the calling of his name is possible only because he is already moving toward you in a dynamic invocation-evocation process.”

    So good, I’m going to post it again:

    “If you selflessly call upon Kannon, trusting in this universal heart of wisdom and compassion, a response is assured, for, in essence, his compassionate heart and yours are the same. In fact, the calling of his name is possible only because he is already moving toward you in a dynamic invocation-evocation process.”

    BZ:- I am not comfortable with personifications. But my approach to this is similar to my reply concerning Buddha-nature. When we clear away what is not compassion, when we get rid of delusions then we become part of the already-existing Wisdom and Compassion. Personification for me introduces an “other”. Is there an “other” out there that we have to move towards or moves towards us? Is it not the case that if we remove all that is not-Wisdom or not-Compassion then we are part of All-Wisdom and All-Compassion?

    Thanks for taking time to reply.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  5. Cittasamvaro says:

    I too am not comfortable with personifications other than in an allegory tale (I Love fairy tales for this reason).
    Yet, viewing the path in a purely negative sense – not-greed not-anger not-delusion, or extinguishing the defilements etc.. – does not work for me either. I think we need some kind of positive notion of the goal, rather than just listing what it is not.
    In this sense, the ‘Buddha-nature’ teaching is useful, even if it is a way to sneak some kind of Atman back into the equation. In fact, in the Theravada suttas there are numerous positive references to Nibbana or the Unconditioned that have been overlooked.

  6. billzant says:

    Dear Bhikkhu Cittasamvaro,

    Thanks very much for the reply.

    I am not sure about the “some kind of positive goal”. Suppose the goal is to “be Buddha-nature”. What is the Buddha-nature that we are supposed to be? Even if Buddha-nature could be simplified to the 4 Brahma-viharas, that Buddha-nature would be limited to our own view or mindset of what metta, karuna, muditta and upekkha are. Being Buddha-nature could well be limited to a very small subset of what actual Buddha-nature is.

    If by being positive means attempting to be the 4 Braham-viharas as an example then I agree but that too suffers from the above restriction.

    There is also a danger in goal-orientation. If my target is to be something and I am not that target, then there is dukkha. It also can become a desire – wishing to fulfil the goal.

    I would be interested in some of the positive references to Nibbana and Unconditioned if you have time.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  7. Cittasamvaro says:

    The Brahmaviharas lie within Samsara – hence their name – the abode of the Brahma’s, and can only lead to rebirth in the formless realms, so we should not define the Unconditioned with reference to them. Even Metta, Karuna etc.. are still conditions.
    There might be a danger of setting a gaol, but I think there is more in the opposite. We are told to ‘strive ardent and resolute.. like a man whose hair is on fire would strive to put out the flames.’ These kind of statements show that there must be an application of effort and energy for “the attainment of what is yet unattained”. This kind of desire we call aspiration (dhammachanda) and is not a cause of suffering as Craving (Tanha) is.
    It is the special ability of a Buddha, as opposed to a pacceka Buddha, that he can point to certain practises and insights that lead one to the Unconditioned, even though all the practises themselves are simply making adjustments to the Samsaric realm of impermanence.

    The ‘positive’ examples, aside from those of ‘striving ardent and resolute’ that I mentioned already, can be seen in the many different words the Buddha used to describe the ultimate insight – like Ultimate happiness (Paramattha Sukkha), The Peaceful, The Sublime, The Goal, The shore that has no shore beyond it etc…
    Another example is the sutta which says even if Enlightenment took 100 lifetimes of Hell, it would be worth it. But such is not necessary for Dhamma is beautiful in the beginning, beautiful in the middle and beautiful in the end.
    In terms of meditation it helps (I think) to follow the silence and brightness of the mind positively, rather than look around for defilements to battle with.

  8. billzant says:

    Dear Bhikkhu Cittasamvaro,

    Thank you for this comment with necessary correction. I suffered from something I have done before. In an attempt to rationalise I lost sight of what I had previously understood. Specifically with regards to the brahmaviharas I knew they were in samsara but I was attempting to rationalise with regards to Mahayana – Boddhisattva of Compassion? But reflecting on that brought the following. I am not sure of the meaning of the “abode of the Brahmas”, but that expression adds strength to this simplification. These 4 might be considered “top level attributes” in samsara. And that led me to thinking about the personifications in Mahayana and Vajrayana. When describing personification this might also be “top level personification” within samsara whilst the Buddha-nature parallels Unconditioned. I would like to learn from someoone who uses personification.

    I have a difficulty here, and it is the issue of language across traditions again. In his talk HHPR placed a significant emphasis on Buddha-nature as a difference in the two traditions. In the above I am postulating “paralleling”. I use a looser term out of respect because in truth I cannot see a difference, and would welcome my eyes being opened. And I go back to Manhattan again. Why is Theravada “going to and Buddha-nature being Manhattan”? Removing conditions gives access to the Unconditioned, why is that different to “being Buddha-nature”?

    As to dhammachanda aspiration is a good word as a counter to craving, thank you. As to dangers 12 years ago I met a friend who was a drunk. He had been involved with a spiritual movement (not Buddhism) in his 20s in Devon somewhere I think. He had lived that “spiritual life” for a few years and it was significant in his development. However he had not achieved and considered himself a failure for not achieving, so he was drinking, and making no attempt. It had to be all or nothing. Made me sad.

    Thank you for the references to Nibbana in the suttas. In this process of rationalising traditions I note that HHDL is always talking of happiness, and here you mention about the Buddha and Ultimate Happiness.

    As to the meditation, thank you for the suggestions – brightness and silence. Personally I am conscious of many weaknesses but please be assured bashing myself on the head during meditation is not one of them.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  9. Cittasamvaro says:

    I also have the same impression on the Buddha nature issue. Seems there is no real difference between the two traditions. I think HHPCR mentioned at one point that Buddha Nature had its origins in the Pali (Or was it me who suggested that?). So is it just part of this ‘Hey we are the Greater (maha) path’ syndrome?
    I have seen in some Theravada schools the view that enlightenment takes 1000’s of lifetimes of gradual practice of certain virtues before one has reached a level of purity associated with an Arahant. This view is particularly prevalent in Sri Lanka, today as in the past. I suspect that the Buddha Nature angle arose in juxtaposition to this view – to point out that the Unconditioned is something that necessarily pre-exists, and is not a ‘super’ condition that takes eons to develop. In this scenario the Buddha Nature teaching makes sense, until you remove the original context.
    As for the postive approach to meditation, I’m glad you don’t bash your own head 🙂 Re: ‘brightness and stillness’, I was referring to my own interest in the Dhammakaya approach to meditation which focusses on these aspects rather than the more common ‘Insight’ approaches. But that is a whole new topic.

    Curiously, the lecture at the WBU in June is about Buddha Nature in Theravada and Mahayana, which I will try to attend.

  10. billzant says:

    Dear Bhikkhu Cittasamvaro,
    I am sure there is much more that can come from developing this discussion on Buddha-nature if someone who practises that way could explain in depth why HHPCR sees it so different. I have had no contact from them.

    “Suddenly happens.” I don’t know references to lifetimes but whilst there are moments of great joy isn’t it mostly about commitment to practice that leads to greater happiness? I do get the impression that some perceive enlightenment as just waiting to hit them suddenly. One friend described Theravada as too much hard work.

    Based on the quote I made in an earlier comment Vajrayana asks for the practise of three yanas, and has an obvious implication. What are your views on the heart sutra? Can the teachings in Mahayana and Vajrayana be taken on the basis that if we perceive they are true for us then use them?

    On Dharmakaya I had vaguely picked up this notion of evolving Dharma from reading Thich Naht Hahn. Yet in Thailand there is the Dhammakaya foundation, and then there is a Tibetan understanding. What do you understand by Dhammakaya? My own meditation is far from being Vipassana only.

    If I am in Bkk I too would like to attend that talk ….  

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  11. Cittasamvaro says:

    Well, the only things that can be developed are conditioned things, not the Unconditioned. Therefore, it must be pre-existing and not something that needs to be developed. That said, certain states are more conducive to penetrating Dhamma.
    The happiness that comes from the practise is not the same as the bliss of Nibbana. Sariputta said
    “this nibanna is bliss, this nibbana is bliss”
    Asked how it can be that nibbana is bliss when there is no more vedana (pleasant feeling), he replied,
    It is BECAUSE there is no more vedana that it is bliss.
    It’s been a while since I read the Heart Sutra, but the Lotus Sutra says that the three vehicals are nonesense, and just a ploy to get you out of the burning building (suffering).
    Dhammakaya in Thailand is a meditation method, rather than the more theoretical take on the word in the Mayayana, but that is a whole new topic….
    I recall Ajahn Chah’s comment on the Buddha nature – the idea that our Buddha nature is pure.
    He picked up a tray and said “If I dipped this tray in a pit of mud, would you tell me it is actually clean”
    or something like that. Good analogy.

  12. billzant says:

    This is not specifically in reply to the previous comment. I came across the passage below when reading Sogyal Rinpoche’s “Tibetan Book of Dying and Living”. It made me think there was a difference in their way of seeing Buddha nature, and then it made me think that it is my perceptions of what can be achieved rather than a Theravadin view of enlightenment that is the difference. To be quite honest I don’t know.

    “…. each of us can …. realize the nature of mind and so know in us what is deathless and eternally pure.

    “The wonder of this promise is that it is something not exotic, not fantastic, not for an elite, but for all humanity; and when we realize it …. it is unexpectedly ordinary. …. You don’t actually “become” a buddha, you simply cease, slowly, to be deluded.

    “One of the greatest Buddhist traditions calls the nature of mind “the wisdom of ordinariness”. [p54]”

    This reads a great deal of accessibility to me. Realising something of the nature of mind through insight is far more accessible through meditation than the Unconditioned. For me the Unconditioned seems unattainable. Daily life brings with it conditions. How can I get rid of those conditions? How can I live 24/7 in a situation of mindfulness so that no conditions arise? Some people may be able to but me …. no way. So I do the best I can.

    And in doing the best I can I am occasionally lucky and have glimpses – insights. I realise the pleasantness of my ordinary life here in the sticks, and if any of those ordinary glimpses are truly wisdom I am grateful. Whether they are or not, they do feel attainable and accessible – occasionally.

    This leads me to consider samsara. Although things are pleasant enough for me now I look back and see all the grief I have been through and some that I have caused, and I think:- do I have to do that again? That sometimes weighs heavily, but in truth I feel I can never attain the enlightenment of the Unconditioned to prevent the return.

    But insight can teach me a little of the deathless, and I can perhaps prepare for the moment of death in a way where I might not have to come back. And again this feels more accessible than an impossible Nibbana – even if it isn’t.

    Perhaps it is a more accessible buddha nature HHPCR was referring to?

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  13. Cittasamvaro says:

    I quite agree that the buddha-nature teaching is not really something of much practical use when we are meditating or developing the Path. It is really a statement of the Goal, such as ‘the shore that has no shore beyond it” “the Unconditioned” or the more usual “nibbana”.
    Practically we have to focus on what gets us there rather than speculating on ‘where’ that is, or finding new names for it (which is what I think the whole Buddha-nature thing is about)

    The idea is that this nature is there exising in you and your experience if you can find it. It is already pure – hence the teaching that ‘you are already enlightened’ which HHPCR described as knowing you are already in Manhattan.

    This is opposed to the idea that your enlightened defiled, and you need to purify yourself to perfection. Rather like gold might be alloyed with other metals, and therefore has to be smelted and purified. With Buddha nature your gold is already pure, but is hidden by the dirt (defilements).

    Theravada is not opposed to this view, though admittedly many teachers seem to favour 1000s lifetimes of purification are needed to be Enlightened.

    For the meditator of course, the question we are more interested in is not ‘what is enlightenment?’ so much as ‘what do I have to do?’

  14. Marcus says:

    Thank you for this discussion,

    Of course different branches of Buddhism, as well as different Buddhist practitioners, all have different approaches. The best you can do, probably, is dig deep into the tradition in which you find yourself and allow its teachings and practice and support to take you to the goal.

    So my comment is not to disagree with anyone, but just to point out that in the tradition in which I took refuge, Buddha-nature is of huge practical use. It is Buddha-nature which we let go to in meditation and in daily life, Buddha-nature that we rely upon, Buddha-nature that connects us to all things and which gives rise to all things.

    But, though I see Buddha-nature as being very practical, still I agree entirly with your conclusion – “For the meditator of course, the question we are more interested in is not ‘what is enlightenment?’ so much as ‘what do I have to do?’”

    Marcus

    PS – Regarding the defilements….. yes, trying to purify them away will take 1000s of lifetimes! Seeing through them is the key. I think it was Seon Master Seung Sahn who said (but don’t ask me for a source I’m afraid) that even the dust on the mirror, or the mud on the tray in this case, can awaken us – if we simply see it for what it is.

  15. Miemie says:

    Dear Phra Pandit,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to answer. It helped me a lot.

    I read your postings as well as all the other participants’ in the conversations. All taken and looking at my own observation, I suppose I no longer critically need scriptural support for Buddha Nature. Since a long long time ago, I knew(felt) that everybody is basically good, no matter what ugly things they do out of ignorance. To this day, I haven’t met someone intrinsically bad. So, yes, all must be basically good. The more layers of obsurations are removed, the further we move towards enlightenment, the more Buddha Nature is revealed ?

    Another point of observation : To me, Buddha Nature is a very good example of Mahayana/Vajarayana ‘s encouraging/coaxing/you-can-do-easily(I mean compared to Theravada) approach to prodding it’s followers. As opposed to Theravada’s austere/you-rely-on-your-own-effort/we-don’t-promish-much approach which would always attract fewer followers. In general, I think Mahayana/Vajrayana has far greater marketing tools.

    Finally, I suppose the concept of so many modern day Bodisattvas taking Bodisattva vows, has its very usefulness even if I find it literally not workable. I find that it is very uplifting and motivating to think of oneself as the savior to all sentient beings. You put yourself on the high pedestal of Bodisattva ; you are not going to stoop to do lowly things, right ? That’s really fantastic. As long as you know the parameters…

    Respectfully yours,

    Miemie

  16. Cittasamvaro says:

    Yes, you all have reminded me that it is not so important to see if a Mahayana teaching is in Theravada, so much as does the teaching work?
    ‘Upaya’ are skillful means, so if it is useful, use it.

  17. miemie says:

    Dear Phra Pandit,
    Thank you for wrapping it up so succinctly. I do hope to be skillful , at the same time, not losing track of what it is for.
    Respectfully,
    Miemie

  18. billzant says:

    I too thought being skilful wrapped it up, but does it? Or does it change the question?

    For HHPCR Buddha-nature was a major difference between the two traditions. So is it skilful to accept Buddha-nature? Marcus described his own use “Buddha-nature is of huge practical use. It is Buddha-nature which we let go to in meditation and in daily life, Buddha-nature that we rely upon, Buddha-nature that connects us to all things and which gives rise to all things.” For Marcus this is a skilful practice.

    So I ask myself is there anything to be gained in my practice? I came up with taking responsibility for my Buddha-Nature as being more personal than the Unconditioned. There is a danger in this but I think it is skilful for me. Discussed more in my blog

    And in Marcus’ same post he described seeing defilements for what they are can awaken us. If we have defilements see them and don’t purify them, are they not still defilements?

  19. billzant says:

    “I came up with taking responsibility for my Buddha-Nature as being more personal than the Unconditioned. There is a danger in this but I think it is skilful for me.”

    Although I was concerned about the inherent dangers at the time, I did follow this approach briefly. I believe iut helped but now I won’t. I focus on insight through Vipassana.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    Bill Z

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