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January 10, 2017


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Sunn Samaadh: A "view" of atman or eternalism is not the same as the actual atman. During the Buddha's time some teachers held material shape to be the atman, or feeling, or even consciousness was the atman. This the Buddha called a "view of atman"—not to be confused with atman, itself. An-atman referred to conditioned worldly existence such as the five aggregates of material shape, feeling, perception, volitional formations and consciousness. The Buddha even taught us to abandon what is anatman—not our atman. We read in the Dhammapada that the atman is the natha which in Sanskrit means, lord, savior, protector, refuge. It was also an epithet for the Buddha. Most Buddhists are confused because their teachers are confused; who don't understand Dharma. Even in the Mahayana sutras we read: "The atman is the Tathagatagarbha. All beings possess a Buddha Nature: this is what the atman is. This atman, from the start, is always covered by innumerable passions (klesha): this is why beings are unable to see it" ( Mahaparinirvana-sutra).

I know what you mean about the feeling of moving around in a magnetic-like field.

When we release the senses to merge with the sensory objects, it feels as if the senses become less visceral and more admixed/unified.

Have you ever been accused of holding a view of eternalism?

I am often of the notion that the tathatagarbha can be considered synonymous to the soul and that Buddhism just gives expression in one way to a truth that is actually ineffable and thus anatman philosophy arose as an expedient.

What are your thoughts?

That is interesting about a "magnetic-like field". The mind can be conceived either as a living field-like being or a more solid-state fixed object or system. The most logical relationship between the two is that of the solid "mind" being a mere receiver of the transmitted "information" field-mind; also the field-mind can be conceived as a source of power, a kind of "wireless charging" of the psycho-physical organism. The field-mind is clearly the higher mind or the "true self"; the ordinary mind is a kind of mixed or imperfect interface between the field-mind and the solid mind; we think perceive the movie on the screen as originating and really existing in the screen. It is truly amazing how all these ideas are found in great detail not only in Buddhism but in Plotinus.

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