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March 18, 2010

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Read your mahaparinirvana sutra son and get a healthy daily dose of Buddha-juice.

" In the same way, noble son, the Tathagata first taught people to cultivate the notion that all phenomena are devoid of a Self, in order to encourage and train them. When they have cultivated non-Self, they eliminate the false view of the Self. Having eliminated the false view of the Self, they enter Nirvana. I have taught non-Self in order to eradicate the mundane/ conventional self. Subsequently, I teach the Tathagata-dhatu with skilful words of implicit intent. This is called the True Self, which is divorced from the mundane …

 “It is, for example, like this: a certain king had a great wrestler, who has fixed to the top of his head a precious jewel which can purge all infections. He had a bout with someone from a rival country which caused the jewel he was wearing to be forced into his body. Blood, flesh and skin covered it over and the jewel seemed to have disappeared. Though the wrestler searched for it, he could not find it and thought that he had lost it. Now, there was a skilful doctor, who had come to treat the injury. Consequently, the wrestler said to the doctor, ‘I had a jewel, but I seem to have lost it. I have searched in various places for it, but I don’t know where it is. You should know that a precious jewel is an impermanent thing, just like froth on water – quick to arise and quick to perish, elusive like a phantom.’ In that manner, he thought he had lost his jewel forever. The doctor replied, ‘The jewel is not lost – don’t think that you have lost it! When you were fighting, the jewel entered into your body. It is not visible because it is concealed by your blood, flesh and skin.’ The wrestler did not believe the doctor and said to him, ‘Whereabouts is the jewel in my blood and flesh? You are just speaking empty words!’ Then the skilled doctor extracted the jewel. Having got his jewel, the wrestler then believed the good doctor and was amazed at his knowledge.
 
     “All beings are also like this. Each one of them has theTathagata-dhatu, but, through having recourse to evil acquaintances, they give rise to attachment, hatred and delusion and fall into the three miserable states and so forth, adopting various kinds of bodies throughout the 25 modes of existence. The precious jewel that is theTathagata-dhatu is buried within the wound of thekleshas of attachment, hatred and delusion, so that they are unaware of its presence there. Engaging in the notion that there is no Self as regards the mundane/ conventional self, they do not understand the skilful words of implicit intent of the Tathagata, who is like the good doctor. They have the notion that there is no Self and are unable to know the True Self. Regarding this, the Tathagata again utilises skilful means: he causes them to extinguish the raging fires of the countless kleshas, revealing and elucidating the Tathagata-dhatu to them."

Nirvana sutra (Selected Extracts 1f).

"There is no exit from this self-created hell until mind, so to speak, passes through the defilements it has generated finally coming to rest in its own pure substance or nature."

How many lifetimes might this take? Incalculable eons? Apparently, the Dalai Lama needs to continue being reborn....on the other hand, when a zen master is enlightened, does this mean he has "passed through the defilements"?

I read this blog daily; it's great, but it might be even better if you would address more of the questions that are asked here.

I do meditate, in my own poor manner; and while I love your pieces, I'd have to say that I'm closer to being a Buddhist Without Beliefs, you could say; however, I'd love to be swung over to the esoteric side of zen.

For example, while I'd like to believe in things like rebirth and karma, I find that karma, for example (I know we confuse karma with karmic effects in the West) seems to be a baseless concept in many cases--it's the old "the evil keep prospering" song I'm singing here.

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