Urban Dharma Newsletter...
March 23, 2004
This Issue: Ultimate Reality in Buddhism
1. The Ultimate Reality in Buddhism
2. Dhamma and Reality ...Bhikkhu
3. Buddhism and The True Value of Reality...by Thich Tam
4. Temple/Center/Website: NoZen
5. Book/CD/Movie: Man's Search
for Ultimate Meaning ...by Viktor E. Frankl
is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert
Einstein (1879 - 1955)
is a dangerous drug except reality, which is unendurable. -
Cyril Connolly (1903 - 1974), "The Unquiet Grave",
believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.
- Garrison Keillor (1942 - )
real distinction is between those who adapt their purposes to
reality and those who seek to mold reality in the light of their
purposes. - Henry Kissinger (1923 - )
no more to do with reality than anything else. - Hob Broun
is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it
- Jane Wagner (and Lily Tomlin)
wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to
state I finally won out over it. - Jimmy Stewart (1908
- 1997), in "Harvey", 1950
The Ultimate Reality in Buddhism
is another important Eastern religion that extended beyond the
boundaries of India, shortly after it was proclaimed by its
founder, Siddharta Gotama - the Buddha (6th century BC). Two
main forms of Buddhism are known today: the conservative branch,
represented by the Theravada school, spread mainly in Sri Lanka
and southeast Asia, and the liberal branch - Mahayana, spread
in China, Tibet, Korea and Japan.
Theravada school, which claims to have guarded the unaltered
message of its founder, teaches that there is neither a personal
god, nor a spiritual or material substance that exists by itself
as Ultimate Reality. The world as we know it does not have its
origin in a primordial being such as Brahman. It exists only
as a mental construction shaped by the senses. What we see is
only a product of transitory factors of existence, which depend
functionally upon each other. The Buddha said:
world exists because of causal actions, all things are produced
by causal actions and all beings are governed and bound by causal
actions. They are fixed like the rolling wheel of a cart, fixed
by the pin of its axle shaft. (Sutta-Nipata 654)
gods exist is not rejected, but they are only temporary beings
that attained heaven using the same virtues as any human disciple.
Gods are not worshipped, do not represent the basis for morality,
and are not the givers of happiness. The Ultimate Reality is
nothing but a transcendent truth, which governs the universe
and human life. The Buddha expressed it in the following words:
is grief but none suffering,
There is no doer though there is action.
There is quietude but none tranquil.
There is the path but none walks upon the path.
Nikaya 1; Visuddhi Magga 16)
will analyze these concepts in the document aimed at analyzing
man's destiny in Theravada Buddhism. The Buddha was concerned
only with finding a way out of suffering. Therefore he refused
to speak about things considered to be irrelevant or even hindrances
in reaching nirvana, and this included a definition of Ultimate
other branch of Buddhism was grounded later, probably in the
1st century AD, and organized by Nagarjuna in the 2nd century
AD. Although the texts of Mahayana Buddhism claim to be a recollection
of early speeches of the Buddha, they sometimes contradict conservative
doctrines of the Theravada school. It is said that the latter
texts were revealed many years after the master's death, because
at that time there were too few people able to understand them.
Mahayana takes a different stand on the person of Siddharta
Gotama. According to the traditional view he was a physical
being, the founder of the "four noble truths" and
the first man that reached nirvana. In Mahayana Buddhism he
is considered to be only one of the many humans who attained
the state of a boddhisattva, the celestial being that helps
other humans to find liberation.
according to Mahayana Buddhism, has three levels of perception,
known also as the three bodies (trikaya) of Buddha: nirmanakaya,
the physical body of the founder, that is subject to change;
sambhogakaya, the body of the boddhisattvas; and dharmakaya,
the ultimate nature of all things. The dharmakaya state is also
called suchness or emptiness (devoid of attributes). Although
any resemblance to the Hindu Vedanta is denied, there are at
least two important aspects that suggest the contrary. First,
the pure state dharmakaya, the absolute body of the Buddha and,
at the same time, the fundamental nature of the universe is
described in the same way as Brahman:
should enlightened beings see the body of Buddha? (dharmakaya)
They should see the body of Buddha in infinite places. Why?
They should not see Buddha in just one thing, one phenomenon,
one body, one land, one being - they should see Buddha everywhere.
Just as space is omnipresent, in all places, material or immaterial,
yet without either arriving or not arriving there, because space
is incorporeal, in the same way Buddha is omnipresent, in all
places, in all beings, in all things, in all lands, yet neither
arriving nor not arriving there, because Buddha's body is incorporeal,
manifesting a body for the sake of sentient beings. (Garland
statute of the Buddha allows him to become manifested whenever
people become ignorant, have no more interest in getting spiritual
wisdom, and are too concerned with carnal lusts. The same message
appears in the discourse of Krishna of theistic Hinduism (Bhagavad
Gita IV,7-8). The resemblance is even greater by the fact that
the boddhisattva beings (as the Hindu avatars) are mediators
between humans and Ultimate Reality. This is the second resemblance,
the substitution of the Hindu gods with the Buddhist boddhisattvas,
which might be interpreted as a penetration of the Hindu bhakti
tradition in Buddhism.
conclusion, Mahayana Buddhism is a pantheistic religion, with
an impersonal Ultimate Reality (the dharmakaya) and personal
beings (the boddhisattvas) acting as intermediaries between
humans and it.
Dhamma and Reality ...Bhikkhu
Nagasena - Birmingham Buddhist Vihara, UK
God, no Brahma can be found. No
matter of this wheel of life, Just bare
phenomena roll Dependent
on conditions all. (Visuddhimagga)
scripture of Dependent Origination demonstrates the Buddha's
view of the nature of reality by showing how human beings wander
in Samsara as a result of ignorance (avijja); it further defines
the path leading to the end of rebirth as the development of
wisdom (vijja). The ultimate reality as defined in Buddhism
rests on the definition of these words avijja and vijja. Reality
as perceived through ignorance is conditional and is that pointed
to in the first and second Noble Truths.
the Dependent Origination formula, it is suggested that due
to lack of wisdom, through not seeing reality clearly, a person
is bound to produce kamma. Conditional reality, therefore, leads
to wandering round the wheel of becoming. The nature of wisdom,
on the other hand, is pure and unconditional. This teaching
is the subject of the last two Noble Truths and it is this teaching
alone that leads to the end of rebirth. The Buddhist training
aims at abandoning the production of kamma and should be developed
by the practice of the Noble Eightfold Path. It is just through
this that we attain the ultimate wisdom that ends rebirth.
are thus two ways to experience reality in this world: the arising
of rebirth dependent on ignorance and the cessation of rebirth
dependent upon wisdom. This is all there has ever been. From
this point of view, the Middle Path means understanding the
reality of the present that no abiding self ever existed in
the past nor will persist in the future. When recollecting all
of His past births the Buddha found only this reality. The rebirths
were there without permanent abiding soul, as many people believe.
There was no self, no soul to be found, which is unchangeable,
he said. The existence of these two realities is not dependent
upon the manifestation of a Buddha to point them out.
came into existence as the result of the discovery of these
two realities. Accordingly, practice within it should be concerned
with practice rather than with ceremony. Since the realisation
of ultimate reality is the central element of Buddhism, the
practice of the Dhamma therefore means the practice of religion.
beings in a state of ignorance are subject to suffering and
the Buddha makes use of wisdom to show how one can be rid of
this suffering. Ultimately, experience of suffering and the
cause of its arising are products of the mind. Since this is
so, the Buddha insists that to investigate such metaphysical
questions as the creation of the universe and our place in it
only enslaves the mind and overpowers it with concepts of god,
divine grace and dependence. Such mind games do not provide
empirical evidence and, in fact, create the bondage that is
called Samsara. He further confirms that it is not possible
to get rid of suffering by such investigation.
our ignorance, it appears to us that a permanent being or soul,
or even inner spark of divinity, sets in motion a process which
surfaces in the form of physical, mental or verbal action. These
are the product of a mistaken belief in an unchanging self.
Thus, any form of craving, either for sensual pleasure or for
an eternity of individual existence (or indeed, anything else),
is called conditional reality and subjects the mind to the production
religious practices, for example, can be seen as the result
of attachment to the concept of a creator, an eternal soul and
so on. Such clinging produces kamma and results in rebirth.
In Buddhism, the concept of liberation is opposed to such clinging
to concepts. That is why the Buddha avoids metaphysical speculation,
judging it to be extremely harmful. Down the centuries many
battles have raged, much blood has been shed by religious factions
striving to prove the true message of their religion.
Buddha says that attempting to fathom the metaphysical world
does not put an end to the human predicament but creates Samsara.
Similarly, by craving pleasurable sensations there arise conflict
and suffering which, in their turn, produce kamma. For the mind
to become stable and at peace one has to experience for oneself
the conditional nature of reality. Ultimately, a human being
is solely a psycho-physical construct of five components: form,
feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness (the
khandas). This is the reality that the Buddha discovered. Because
of this five factors human being become identical in terms of
perceptions, emotions or feelings, no matter of their race.
These are common.
existence of a human being is a mere phenomenon of the rebirth
process. Such renewed being should not, however, be considered
dependent on an everlasting soul. There is no eternal soul nor
is there annihilation. Ultimate reality is completely apart
from concepts of annihilation and of eternal being. There is
no place for them. Samsara, conditional existence, is due to
the clinging of the five aggregates. It is necessary to learn
the theory and practice as discovered by the Buddha in order
to achieve liberation. When beginners learn the theory they
see it as philosophy rather than reality and misunderstand the
teaching. One must practice insight meditation to see things
as they really are. What ultimately exists is only peace, which
is experienced right now.
second part: Buddha said that neither parents nor relatives,
friends nor material acquisitions could give us inner peace.
None of these can surpass and excel the inner peace that arises
from one's cultivation of mind; a developed mind and a mind
associated with purity that comes from meditation. On contrary,
looking for peace outside of ourselves rather than from within
prevents us investigating the peace available within the framework
of our mind and body.
Buddha pointed out His central aim of teaching in the Majjhimanikaya
where he states “My teaching is only to know two things:
Dukkha and cessation of Dukkha”. Many people misunderstand
Buddhism since they do not accept Dukkha as a true reality.
They see Buddhism as teaching a negative view of life rather
than seeing the teaching on dukkha as a positive contribution
to their understanding. They cannot accept dukkha as a reality
because they never look into its underlying meaning. To see
the reality of dukkha, as it is one has to see it for oneself,
and the way to this realisation is through the practice of meditation,
through listening to the teaching on the dhamma and by the exercise
of wisdom. Meditation enables us to see the reality of mind
and how it operates within us. The timeless reality pertaining
to natural law, the pure method of dealing with the investigation
into the peace offered by the Buddha is to see the true dhamma
as it really is within human consciousness, and n o only to
see the consciousness associated with dukkha but to see the
consciousness associated with ultimate peace and purity. One
becomes peaceful knowing both purity and impurity, sukkha and
dukkha, and how they operate within us.
after another, we seek after pleasures, in the process causing
ourselves much worry, anxiety, fear, hatred and disappointment.
But we never see the arising of worry, anxiety, etc. because
the mind becomes overpowered by the object we crave, fettered
by taints and clinging to what is desired. Our mind remains
restless until our desired object is acquired, only to repeat
the same action over and over, as new objects of desire rise
up and confront us. So our mind remains restless, day after
day, week after week, month after month, year after year, even
up to death, never seeing reality nor finding peace. Unless
one sees into this process and recognises it for what it is,
the mental turmoil will continue to have the power to overwhelm
us. The meaning of dukkha should not merely be considered when
we are suffering from disease or are in pain, for the ultimate
meaning of dukkha transcends both disease and pain. We are dogged
by dukkha, by unsatisfactoriness. There is always something
to cling to: feelings, objects, fame, power, material objects
etc., and all are unsatisfactory for they never quench the thirst
for very long. Having achieved one desire another takes its
place you will hear someone say “I need only this in my
life to become happy” (a recognition of this sense of
unsatisfactoriness that drives us on). After acquisition, the
possession of that which was desire, there is only a temporary
easing before the mind diverts into another object causing new
desire and craving to arise, the same as before. This unsatisfactoriness
never comes to an end. Dukkha remains constantly active driving
us on and on, making us the seeker of ever-new desires, objects
and objectives. As well as the craving for acquisitions, there
is also the fear of loss associated with ownership and in relationships.
Those we love dearly may die or leave us. Maybe they stop loving
us back. Here dukkha comes in the form of disappointment, frustration,
despair, and loss, even fear of loss. We are never safe from
it. Living with undesirable consequences, full of resistance
and reaction, little relaxation and without a balanced mind,
how can even a so-called religious person fine peace? Only through
knowing the reality of dukkha can one achieve the peace that
is absent from mental turmoil, worry, fear, unsatisfactoriness
and so on. Insight meditation is important both to see and to
overcome this unsatisfactory life. The well-developed meditator
lives with knowledge, reality and peace within.
Buddhism and the True Value of Reality...by Thich Tam Thien
is the discussion paper delivered at the conference on "Religion
and The Modern Way of Life", organized by the Catholic
Solidarity Committee at Hochiminh City in December 1996.
of all, we would like to thank the Catholic Solidarity Committee
of Hochiminh City for inviting us to participate in the seminar
on "The Religions Way of Life in Modern Times". Today,
as a Buddhist participant in this non Buddhist conference, I
would like to focus my discussion on one of the most important,
unique but also the most complex concepts in Buddhism. That
is the true value of living reality.
BUDDHISM AND THE CONCEPT OF RELIGION.
Man's search for the meaning of Religion :
following and practicing any religion, first of all, one has
to know what that religion is all about and how it would guide
him to his ultimate liberation. Otherwise, the religious experience
that he tries to realize will be a sheer illusion and of course,
there will be no real spiritual growth whatsoever.
the noble but arduous attempt to understand what religion is
all about, many philosophers of religions, both ancient and
modern, have tried very hard to define religions, including
Buddhism. But so far, their efforts have not been very productive,
especially in the case of Buddhism. Most of the definitions
of religion which have been often built on conceptual reasonings
have been unable to grasp the vastness, depth, and vitality
of Buddhism. Before we come to a tentative definition of Buddhism,
I would like to reexamine some definitions of religions by some
of the most respected thinkers and / or from some of the most
reliable sources of knowledge in recent history.
Oxford Dictionary : "Religion - belief in the existence
of god or gods who has / have created the universe and given
man a spiritual nature which continues to exist after the death
of the body... particular, system of faith and worship based
on such a belief..., controlling influence on one life ; something
one is devoted or committed to". (1)
Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish essayist and historian (1795 -
1881) : "Religion is the thing a man does practically
to heart and knows for certain, concerning his vital relations
to this mysterious universe and his duty and destiny therein"
J. S. Mill, the English philosopher and economist (1806 - 1873)
: "The essence of religion is the strong and earnest
direction of the conditions and desires towards an ideal object
recognized as of the highest excellence, and as rightly paramount
over all selfish objects of desire". (3)
Aldous Huxley, the English novelist (1894 - 1963) : "Religion
is, among many other things, a system of education, by means
of which human beings may train themselves, first to make desirable
changes in their own personalities and, at one remove, in society,
and, in the second place, to heighten consciousness and so establish
more adequate relations between themselves". (4)
Fiedrich Engels, the German socialist (1820 - 1895) : "Religion
is nothing but the fantastic reflection in men's minds of those
external forces which control their early life". (5)
Sir. Edwin Ray Lankester (1847 - 1929) : "Religion
means the knowledge of our destiny and of the means of fulfilling
it. We can say no more and no less of science". (6)
Alfred North whitehead, the English mathematician and philosopher
(1861-1947) : "Religion is what the individual does
with his own solitude. If you are never solitary, you are never
are two trends of thoughts in the above statements. First is
the trend in which religion is defined as the moral and ethical
system that man can recognize and understand with his reasoning
mind. Second is the trend in which religion is presented as
a miraculous mode of existence which requires man's direct perceptions
and reflections. Besides these two trends of thoughts, there
is the third one which is based purely on reason. American political
philosopher Thomas Paine (1737 - 1809) represented this school
with his saying at the last moment of his life : "The world
is my country, mankind are my brotherhood and to do good is
my religion". (8) Last is the case of modern Indian philosophy.
Many Indian philosophers proclaimed that religion is not a series
of profound theological doctrines but an inner experience derived
from man's direct recognition of the divine existing in him.
of that these definitions of religions are different and contradictory,
they share one common ground. That is the emphasis and embrace
of loving-kindness as the highest religious value as Thomas
Paine eloquently and succinctly declared : "To do good
is my religion". (9)
The Buddhist definition of Religion.
Suzuki, the well known Japanese Zen master and Buddhist scholar
once said : "Buddhism is a religion that refuses to be
objectively defined, for this will be setting a limit to the
growth of its spirit". (10a) However, if Buddhism has to
be defined, in any case, we should then first examine what Buddhism
has to say about man and his world, both at the conceptual level
and the deep psychological one. At the conceptual level according
to Buddhism, language and logical thinking can only be used
to observe and analyse the surface of the human world and the
universe. They can deal only with the manifestation of the physiognomy.
On the contrary, at the deep psychological level ; the spiritual
experience is an implicit hermeneutical struture. It transcends
the monistic, dualistic and pluralistic world. It goes beyond
all linguistic formations because it is invisible and formless.
It belongs to the realm of metaphysics. This does not suggest
that Buddhism tries to lead man into the world of fantasies
filled with "incense mist". Buddhism only aims to
cut through the logical thingking of man's ego and shows him
a way to get in touch with the divine nature or the Buddha nature
T. Suzuki then put forward his definition of Buddhism which,
he argued, must be that of the life-force which carries forward
a spiritual movement called Buddhism.(10b) Suzuki 's definition
of Buddhism means that from the Buddhist point of view religion
can never be discussed without any refenence to the spiritual
realm and / or the inner experience of the individual involved.
It should be made clear that here, according to Buddhism, returning
to the primordial essence of man or the true nature does not
mean an advocacy of egocentrism. On the contrary, it means,
in order to take the first step to return to the primordial
essence of man, first and foremost, man must completely cast
off all the attributes of his ego, namely his infatuated feelings,
solid attachment, sensuous desire, mental formations such as
"I", "mine" and "myself". Neither
does the return to the inner spiritual experience means non-egocentrism.
According to Buddhism, precisely at the moment that one get
in touch with his devine nature, he establishes in himself an
ultimate reality which by nature is essential, original, and
eternal - This is called Tathata (Suchness) or Buddha nature
which is an everlasting, living stream of present consciousness.
a consequence, Buddhism is not the faith that one has to accept
blindly. Neither is it a series of sacred principles that are
created, transmitted to man's soul and guided by some mysterious
power from outside. It is the teachings that show us the path
to reach enlightenment through our inner individual experience.
In Dhammapada, Lord Buddha said : "Like earth, a balanced
and well disciplined person results not. He is comparable to
an Indakhila. Like a pool unsullied by mud, is he, to such a
balanced one life's wandering do not arise". (11)
BUDDHISM - ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR RELIGIONS OF THE MODERN WORLD
Einstein, the famous German physicist, in his Testament wrote
that : "The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion.
It should transcend a person God and avoid dogmas and theology.
Covering both the natural and spiritual, it should be based
on a religious sense, arising from the experience of all things,
natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers
this description". (12) How will Buddhism be understood
through this inclusive and thoughtful statement of one of the
greatest scientists of the 20th century ?
Buddhism - The Religion Which Transcends A Person God, Dogmas,
and Theology and The Doctrine of Dependent Origination and The
Doctrine of Cause and Effects.
essence, Buddhism is a system of teachings which shows us the
way to return to our primordial nature or our true nature. Once
standing on the ground of our true nature, we will recognize
the true nature of other human existences as well as other existing
beings around us like bird, stone, branch of tamarind tree.
This is the interdependent relations or the Dependent Origination
of the reality. Simultaneously, with the realization of his
true nature and those of other existing beings, man also realizes
that, it is his volitional actions that create and shape his
own destiny-as Lord Buddha said : "Owner of their karma
are the beings, heirs of their karma, the karma is their womb
from which they are born, their karma is their friend, their
refuge". (13) In Dhammapada, Lord Buddha also taught us
: "By oneself alone is evil done, by oneself alone is evil
avoided, by oneself alone is one purified. Purity and impurity
depend on oneself. No one can purity another". (Attanaø
'va katam paøpam, attanaø sankilissati, attanaø
akatam paøpam, attanaø 'va visujjhati ; suddhi asuddhi
asuddhi paccattam naønno annam visodhage) (14) This sugests
that The Buddha did not recognize any super natural power which
exerted over control human life. In Buddhism, man is the only
sentient being who has volitional actions. He has to harvest
and accept the consequences of these actions and, doing so,
he lives his own fate...
doctrine of causes and effects in Buddhism asserts that both
good karma and bad karma are the end results of man 's psychological
and physical actions ; and that through the relation of cause
and effect, man establishes his own karma with his good and
evil actions. It also affirms that man has the potential capacities
to liberate himself from the life which he has created and lived
with his own psychological attitude and actions accumulated
in successive previous lives ; that is the orientated biological
a consequence, the doctrine of causes and effects awakens in
man the inner power which makes him to be himself and transforms
him into his own creator with responsibilities and obligations.
In other words, the doctrine of causes and effects liberates
man from the ruling power of person God, dogmas and theology.
Once liberated, man would understand that he has to be responsible
for all the consequences of his own psychological states and
volitional actions and should not look for any salvation outside
himself. St. Paul 's famous statement that : If Christ be not
raised in you, your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins"
(15) - seems to acknowledge man 's self liberating power (once
he is aware of the causes and effects of his own actions).
Buddhism - The Religion Which Comprises Both The Natural and
Spiritual ; and The Doctrine of Sunyaøta.
Buddhism cuts through the natural world with prism of Dependent
Origination (paticcasamuppaø - anatta), it illuminates
the metaphysical world by spot lighting at the latter 's emptiness
(Sunyaøta). The metaphysical world is empty because it
does not reside in forms and sounds and goes beyond all appearances
(Buddhist terms called Naõma - Ruõpa : mentality and
corporeality). It is in the realm of non-dualism (Asunyataø-Abhaøvaø).
discussed above, in Buddhism, the process of becoming (Bhava)
and existence of human beings and nature is viewed as the operation
of a myriad interconnecting causations and conditions (yakti).
In this intricate operation, there is no single object that
can live independently, without being interconnected with its
surrounding, and / or in disharmony with its constituents.
this irrefutable interconnecting conditions of the human and
natural world, Buddha said :
God, no Brahma can be found
No matter of this wheel of life
Just bare phenomena roll
Dependent on Conditions all" (16)
other words, there is no prime force which sets in motion the
operation of the human and natural world. This is the foundation
of doctrine of Paticcasamuppaø - anatta, which consists
of the teachings of non-ego (pudgalanairaõtmya) and non-substantiality
of things (dharmanairatmya). It is also called the doctrine
of Sunyata or Emptiness.
a philosophical concept, Sunyata (Emptiness or E'tat de vacuiteù)
is the nature of the original reality, or the absolute reality.
recognizes and is conscious of Sunyata when he becomes one with
the absolute reality. However, it is important to note that
Sunyata is not the opposite of substantiality like the Have
not versus the Have or the Negative (asat) versus the Affirmative
(sat). Neither does it mean a complete absence of content. In
trying to understand the Buddhist concept of Sunyata, many people
tend to turn to logical reasoning and different sets of opposite
categories and subcategorizes such as "to be" or "not
to be" to define it with the irsecular philosophical mind
- set. However, in doing so, they are entangled in an endless
web of dualistic concepts such as to be (bhava) not to be (abhava),
birth or death, permanence or impermanence, coming or going
without directly experiencing or living with the original and
ultimate Reality which exists right in this very life. Lord
Buddha taught us that, all phenomenon (dharma) do not have a
true self (svabhava) ; neither birth or death that is pure and
Tathata by nature or it is Sarvadharmaøsuønyataø
(all is Emptiness). Consequently, Sunyata and Tathata are the
same. They are omnipresent and everlasting.
is the examination of the concept of Sunyata according to the
Mahayana Buddhist philosophy of knowledge-only (Prajnaøtimatra).
Sunyata is the true nature of dharma or the existing substantiality.
When man recognizes the entirely of Sunyata, he becomes enlightened.
Saying that does not mean to negate the existing substantiality
or the world of phenomena, but to affirm that man or the subject
which recognizes and the world or the object which is recognized
are created, and exist in a great number of causes and effects
systems. They are not independent and self contained entities.
They are non-entities. According to The Buddhist philosophy
of Knowledge-Only, in Buddhism all existing beings has three
Temporary nature (Parikalpita - svabhava)
Dependent nature (Paratantra - svabhava)
Absolute nature (Parinispanna - svabhava)
Temporary Nature :
man has a habitual tendency to control and to posses the objective
world. This is resulted in the idea that the world are made
up of living independent objects. But in reality, these object
do not have any intrinsic attribute. Their nature is emptiness
and no-self. So the so called independent nature that men imposed
on the world is called the temporary nature. The temporary nature
is formed in the process of interaction between man 's senses
which are determined by his physical and psychological make
up and the objective world. In Buddhist terms man 's physical
and psychological make up is called Skandhas (five aggregates
of body), AØyatana (six spheres of sense organs), and Dhatus
The Dependent Nature :
the temporary nature is unreal, it does not suggest that thing
are not actually existing. The key issure here is to explain
and illustrate the process of becoming of things.
yet this process of becoming is made up of the consequences
of paticcasamuppaøda or interconnecting causations. Therefore
the nature of the process of becoming of things is impermanent,
ever changing, and self annihilating (anitya - uccheda). This
view of the objective world refuses all man 's attempts to reduce
the world into an individual, unique and self contained entity.
It also rejects the theories of "Chances" and "Coincidences"
which advocates the simplistic and mechanical operation of the
material world. As a result, if one rejects the dependent nature
of the world, he will automatically and inevitably become the
victim of nihilism. And he also rejects the reality which is
actually becoming through the operation of the myriad of interconnecting
The Absolute Nature :
beings are Tathata (Suchness) because by nature, they do not
have temporary natures in themselves. Neither do they have the
dependent nature in themselves because the dependent nature
consists of series of causes and effects and by nature is non
substantiality. That is to say they are empty. As a result,
at the level of language and logical thinking what we call the
inherent nature of things never really exist. It is non-self
summation, of the three natures of things. The temporary nature
to shows that by nature the world is empty, the dependent nature
illustrates that man and his world are dependently originated
and the absolute nature asserts that the Tathata essence or
Nirvana exists right in physical and psychological world, not
in any other worlds regardless of how fantastically this other
world is imagined. As a result to experience the Emptiness of
the world one has no other way except to live or to merge with
the three natures of the existing world. This is the actual
process of living with reality and attaining the Enlightenment
in the Buddhist prajnaõptimaøtra philosophy
BUDDHISM - THE RELIGION FOR SPIRITUAL AND RATIONAL WHOLENESS
practice Buddhism is to lead a way of life with the motto :
"Not to do evil, to do good, to purity one's mind".
The Buddha's enlightenment is the end of the spiritual journey,
full of hardships and deprivations. It was the supreme will
power and the extraordinary energy which has transformed Prince
Siddhartha from a man with a deep religious consciousness and
a wholesome life into a Buddha. Buddha is the sentient being
who had reached enlightenment and obtained great wisdom.
it is necessary to affirm that it is the inner experience of
each individual that would lead him to the supreme enlightenment
and that enlightenment is the moment that the supreme wisdom
or The Boddhicitta in one individual blossoms and radiates to
all sentient and natural beings. Lord Buddha said that : All
sentient beings can become Buddha. On the path to enlightenment,
one has to light the torch and hold it to show the way for himself
; in the ocean of samsara (Cycles of life), each individual
has to be an isolated island ; I, Tathagata is merely a teacher
in principle. (17).
to Buddhism, the religious consciousness and the inner individual
experience are the two extremely important factors in man 's
path to his enlightenment. They are the keys which control man's
thinking and action in his relations with the outside world.
As a result, consciousness or mind is always the bases of Buddhist
training. Buddha said : "Mind is the forerunner of all
(evil condition) - Mind is chief ; and they are mind - made.
If, with an impure mind, one speaks or acts, then pain follows
one even as the wheel, the hoof of the Ox". "... If,
with a pure mind, one speaks or acts, then happiness follows
one even as the shadow that never leaves" (Manopubhanga
; manasaø le padutthena, bhaøsati vaø karoti
vaø, tato nam dukkhamanveti, cakkam 'va vahato padam...
manaøsa le pasannena, bhaøsati vaø karoti vaø,
tato nam sukhamanveti, chaøyaø 'va anapaøyinì".
lead a Buddhist way of life, whether it is to cultivate faith
in Buddha or to take refuge the three jewels, man has to have
the correct consciousness or the pure mind. The Buddhist term
for this is Ehipasiko, which means "Come and recognize".
Buddhism does not teach man to believe in, obey and worship
anything that he does not know or cannot recognize ; the term
Ehipasiko also implies the inner experience of enlightenment
that is only known by the individual himself. In a Buddhist
life, not the idol of worship but man is the most important
matter. As a result, a real Buddhist has to develop for himself
a life of religious sense and an inner spiritual experience.
The combination of these two elements will ultimately give rise
to the absolute truth or the spiritual value. With them, one
will develop the omniscient mind which rises above all delusions
and defilements. Only then, a life - force will surge from within
and brilliantly radiate into the world. This inner life-force
will fearlessly and gladly receive any infringements and not
be hindered by any obstacles. On the path to reach the highest
perfection in the spiritual life, each step forward is a belittlement
of the ego. Only when one reaches a totally egoless state, Nirvana
will rise in his life and right in this world.
conclude this paper I would like to read Venerable Thich Thien
Sieu 's statement about Nirvana : "Nirvana is something
which outrightly rejects the ego. Nirvana is indefinite and
spaceless. It is very difficult to enter Nirvana because it
is formless (Aristaka). To enter Nirvana, we must also be as
formless as Nirvana. The entrance to Nirvana is very narrow.
It is as thin as hair feather, so thin that we cannot go through
it, if we still carry our possessions with us, be it our body,
our concept of the "I" and the "ego". The
bigger our ego becomes, the further we will be away from Nirvana.
So it is ruled that ego will lead to Samsara ; non-ego to Nirvana"
OXFORD Advanced Learner's Dictionary, Jonathan Crowther, Oxford
University Press, New York, 1992, p. 762.
Why Religion ?, K. Sri. Dhammananda, The Buddhist Missionary
Society, Kuala Lumpur, 1966, p. 06.
Ibid, p. 06.
Ibid, p. 06.
Ibid, p. 07.
Ibid, p. 07.
Ibid, p. 07.
Ibid, p. 08.
One should be cautions about the do-goodlism that Thomas paine
advocated here. Not all the people who do good are religious.
Further more, doing good does not mean the same thing to different
nations, peoples and races. Taking the issue of family planing
by modern medical devices for instance. It may mean loving kindness
to some but unkindness to others.
and b) Essay in Zen Buddhism, D. T. Suzuki, Vol I, p. 53.
Extracted from, Ñaïi Cöông Trieát Hoïc
Phöông Ñoâng, Haø Thuùc Minh -
Minh Chi, Tröôøng Ñaïi Hoïc Toång
Hôïp, TP. Hoà Chí Minh, HCMC, 1994, p. 10.
Majjhima Nikaya. 135, from Buddhist Dictionary Manual of Buddhist
Terms and Doctrines, Nyanatikola, Frewin & Co. Ltd. Colombo,
Ceylon, 1972, p. 77.
Dhammapada, Thích Minh Chau, Buddhist Institute of Hochiminh
City, 1990, p. 97.
Essay in Zen Buddhism, D. T. Suzuki, Vol I, p. 57.
The Path of Purification, Bhadantacariya Buddha-Gkosa, translated
from the Pali, Comlombo, Ceylon, 1956.
In Nikaya and Mahayana Sutras.
Dhammapada, Naørada, Vajiraøraøma, Colombo, 1962.
Nirvana is Non-self, Thich Thien Sieu, Buddhist Institute of
Vietnam, Hochiminh City, 1990, Statement quoted on the back
cover. (Ven, Thich Thien Sieu is the Head of the Buddhist Central
Educational Committee in Vietnam).
make yourself comfortable and relax. Maybe some tea, maybe some
music, maybe just some silence or the sound of a small waterfall.
a style that pleases you and relaxes you and set yourself free
you'll find a koan that makes you laugh, or think, or maybe,
just maybe, you'll find the one that sets your mind free.
in the meantime, enjoy yourself.
is the brainchild of Ken Boucher. It's a simple site with a
simple purpose. However, I don't see my work on it ending anytime
isn't a for profit site. It's not here to drum up business or
to get rich off of banner ads. It's not here so that I can scream
to the world, "Look what I can do". I have other sites
a place I used to go once, as a small child, where I could sit
and think. Sometimes, I would just stare at a leaf or a bird
and get lost in the moment.
internet doesn't really have a place like that, or if it does,
I haven't found it yet.
maybe we can't build such a place. Maybe the zen gardens we
build with our rakes may never achieve true beauty any more
than the web pages we build with HTML.
for now, adding another koan or making a different style sheet
doesn't seem like such a bad way to spend a few minutes.
Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning ...by Viktor E. Frankl
- Viktor Frankl, author of the smash bestseller Man's Search
for Meaning, offers a more straightforward alternative to traditional
Freudian psychoanalysis: one's problems may be rooted in a failure
to find a meaning in life beyond one's interior world. The basis
for his interpretation, however, is not so straightforward.
It lies in Frankl's existential analysis, plumbing for the reasons
that people have repressed their consciences, their love, their
creativity. By legitimizing a spiritual aspect of the human
mind, Frankl has separated us definitively from the animal kingdom,
but it is still up to each of us to rise to our human potential.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition
of this title.
- Reviewer: A reader from Lubbock, TX USA ...Holocaust survivor
Frankl earned the right to teach us how to transcend ourselves
and find "ultimate meaning". He was a contemporary
of Freud who was able to take Freud to task for naturalism and
reductionism which "undermines and erodes the enthusiasm
of youth". Frankl has a lot to tell us about how to avoid
the neurotic train wreck many of us are headed for. He points
out that an existential vacuum (meaninglessness and emptyness)
is growing in our culture as man "Now, knowing neither
what he must do nor what he should do, he sometimes does not
even know what he basically wishes to do. Instead, he wishes
to do what other people do-which is conformism-or he does what
other people wish him to do-which is totalitarianism."
Frankl tells us "Man is responsible for fulfilling the
meaning of his life." He contends "man is not he who
poses the question, What is the meaning of life? But he who
is asked this question, for life itself poses it to him. And
man has to answer to life by answering for life; he has to respond
by being responsible;" and "Being human means being
confronted continually with situations, each of which is at
once a chance and a challenge, giving us a "chance"
to fulfill ourselves by meeting the "challenge" to
fulfill it's meaning.
it; read it; study it!
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