Author Topic: We inherently ignorant or enlightened?  (Read 17688 times)

Positive Change

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Re: We inherently ignorant or enlightened?
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2011, 01:09:44 PM »
I believe we are inherently enlightened, Otherwise Buddha would be wrong?
I quite like Big Uncle explanation :
this points back to the original fact that we are all inherently awakened but are just clouded by ignorance and its host attendant delusions. Because the duration of circling in Samsara for so long, we have developed tremendous amounts negative karma and it would take quite lot of effort to remove the obscurations.          

The above made me contemplate that, when we were babies/kids, we normally very much different from adults, and kids slowly clouded by ADULTS SAMSARIC /SECULAR/MATERIALISTIC informations that polluted our minds, thus become ignorant.

Due to all the negative karma created since countless lifetimes, our mind is so clouded. We all inherently awakened.Let say Buddha is a diamond with perfect "round brilliant cut" then we are the rough diamond stone which need to be polish and cut. Maybe in between the process to be a nice cutting diamond is interrupted, but eventually we will be a perfect diamond (achieve enlightenment) once we follow the Dharma and tamed our mind.

When we start to practice and apply Dharma in our life, immediately we will feel the different, we feel lighter, people will like to be close to us. That's why all of us have the same potential to be a Buddha which Prince Siddharta and the lineage Master had shown to us.

To add to what I have posted earlier, I do like dorjedakini's analogy of us being inherently enlightened/awakened is like a diamond in the rough. We all do have "potential" to be that "round brilliant cut". However, unfortunately not all of us may get to that stage of perfection without the proper tools (Dharma) or the right Diamond Cutter (Guru)... Hence these are crucial that work hand in hand with creating that perfect brilliance! :)

hope rainbow

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Re: We inherently ignorant or enlightened?
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2011, 02:21:24 PM »
Someone posed this question to me and it stumped me for awhile. Of course we know that through the Buddha's teachings that we have inherent Buddha nature within us. It is just that we need to awaken ourselves through the process of purification, realisation and rediscovery of this inner self. However, does anybody know how do we explain or prove that we are inherent enlightened versus ignorant.

Food for thoughts, forum friends kindly correct me if I got things wrong:

(karma as a proof of that our inherent nature is Buddhahood)

Would karma even exist if we did not have Buddha nature at our core?

If I was hard-wired evil, would it make sense that I create negative karma even though I act according to my true "evil-nature"? It's not logical.
In fact, hard-wired evil is illogical to start with, for it opposes the reality of inter-dependence. As I hurt others, I hurt me, because of the inter-dependence between all beings. So it can only be that I hurt others out of ignorance of how I exist. I can only hurt others by thinking that it benefits me -ignorance again.
Thus, hard-wired evil -inherent evil nature- is an impossibility. It could not even come into being, there would be no supporting environment for it to exist.

Then, when I know that by hurting others I hurt me, then I don't hurt others anymore. Logical.
That is getting up a notch on the spiritual ladder.

So I ask this:

Isn't it more like because Buddha-nature is my essence, that I create karma (negative and positive)?
Hurting others, from the delusion of "my self" gaining from hurting "others", creates negative karma.
I act in such ways out of ignorance of my true nature: buddhahood.
Yet being ignorant does not exonerate me from suffering the consequences of my actions against my true nature that I am blind to recognise.

Helping others, reaching out for others, applying efforts, exercising generosity, altruisme, compassion, letting go of everything that stand in the way of me benefiting others (my EGO, my attachments, my bias habits...) is in accordance with Buddha nature, to a point where the self as we understand it disappears, and there are only others.
Acting like that creates positive karma, because it works in accordance with our Buddha-nature.

But then, if karma exists because of our Buddha nature, can karma ever be extinguished?

Eventually, when it is not possible anymore for us to act in opposition with our Buddha nature, and that not even our virtuous acts are tainted by self delusions (reputation, "I am holy", ... egoistic good actions), and we gain enlightenment, that is ALL our actions are pure bodhicitta, then karma is not created anymore, because there is no more actions contradicting our true nature: buddhahood.

Thus karma exists, not because of our Buddha nature, but because -out of ignorance- we act in ways contradicting it.


Something inherent is not something we get "rid off", that contradicts the term.
Thus: ignorance being, by definition, something that can be eliminated, it cannot be inherent.
However, Buddha nature is not something that we can get "rid off", it is what makes us exist (through the forces of karma) as sentient beings when we contradict it and what makes us disappear as sentient being when we are aligned with it (enlightened).
Thus we cannot be inherently ignorant, this is illogical.
Then at the opposite of the scale from ignorance, there can only be one thing: enlightenment, that is: buddhahood.


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Re: We inherently ignorant or enlightened?
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2012, 04:53:45 PM »
Someone posed this question to me and it stumped me for awhile. Of course we know that through the Buddha's teachings that we have inherent Buddha nature within us. It is just that we need to awaken ourselves through the process of purification, realisation and rediscovery of this inner self. However, does anybody know how do we explain or prove that we are inherent enlightened versus ignorant.

A beautiful crystal or diamond that is covered with so many layers of mud, so hard to remove, when we pick it up and look at it, it wouldn't occur to us that this is a crystal or diamond. After cleaning it up a bit, we might notice some tiny spots of the actual substance which has very dissimilar qualities to the majority of the surface area, the mud-like substance.

In the context of school, some of us might have experience this situation. We were called the underachiever, and being called stupid, our intelligence are being put down. We might have disbelief what others had say and have persist until we succeed to prove our point. We might have belief what others had said and didn't bother to perform, thus become what others had said, an underachiever. We are inherently 'intelligence' but we still need to do something to bring out the 'intelligence'. Therefore 'enlightened mind' has been all long in us but we have to work on it to bring it out. :)

This is what I think: laziness is the polar opposite of work. Ignorant is the polar opposite of realization. To bring about realization or enlightened state, work is the condition, the cause.

Someone posed this question to me and it stumped me for awhile. Of course we know that through the Buddha's teachings that we have inherent Buddha nature within us. It is just that we need to awaken ourselves through the process of purification, realisation and rediscovery of this inner self. However, does anybody know how do we explain or prove that we are inherent enlightened versus ignorant.

What we can say is that we know we suffer because we have attachments, anger, and other delusions and this is real because we experience it everyday whether it is subtle or gross.  However, if we have heard spiritual teachings of any sort that is an opponent to our delusions and apply it, we can gain understanding and realization of the nature of our sufferings, mitigate and eventually eliminate it and get temporary and ultimate relief. 

In view that we are able to do that, it means that we are inherently enlightened.  If we are not, no amount of spiritual teachings can make us  transform or experience any sort of relief from sufferings or gain any sort of realisation and wisdom.

If we are inherently enlightened wouldn't we have a lot of time, and thus can take our time to become enlightened? If we are smart and intelligent but we don't go to school, many doors and opportunities will be closed. If we are inherently enlightened but we don't go learning about it, similarly we will close the doors to lasting happiness.

It's said that when a being has attained enlightenment  his/her attainment will not degenerate.

If , like Wosel Tenzin said, we are inherently enlightened how then did we acquire all the obscuration through negative actions of body ,speech and mind ?

It does appear to me that what Wosel said contradicts the first statement.

We use water to illustrate our point - that water by nature is clear like our mind. Once it's cloudiness is removed it's clear nature will be restored.

However, how did the cloudiness arise out of no where in the first place ? Does that mean we have inherent self grasping?

Water is easily polluted, delusions are easily spread. Why? The negative are more than the positive. Many layers of negativity has covered over our wisdom to see through reality, what is important for us and everyone.

The property of water is clear, transparent mirror like. On the other hand once polluted how easily can we clean the water?


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Re: We inherently ignorant or enlightened?
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2012, 06:11:50 AM »

Wikipedia: The idea of Buddha-nature originated in India, and was further developed in China, due to the different culture Buddhism had to adapt to. It was the result of an interplay between various strands of Buddhist thought, on the nature of human consciousness and the means of awakening.

The Buddha-nature, meaning the ability to be liberated and to become Buddha, is finitely within our consciousness, the fact that we are now suffering in samsara is because of our ignorant that caused the accumulation of negative karma, which need to be purifies or negate by accumulation of merits before the Buddha-nature could be awakened.

The last reincarnation of Lord Buddha was the proof to all of us that it is POSSIBLE for all sentient beings to become Buddha, as oppose to merely seeking salvation from God and go to heaven. This is the proof of the existence of Buddha-nature in us.

Down with the BAN!!!


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Re: We inherently ignorant or enlightened?
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2012, 10:49:51 AM »
Prajna, the Wisdom of Enlightenment, is inherent in every one of us. It is because of the delusions under which our minds labor that we fail to realise its presence, and that we have to seek the advice and the guidance of the more highly enlightened before we can realise it in our mind's Essence. You should know that as far as Buddha-nature is concerned, there is no difference between an enlightened man and an ignorant one. What makes the difference is that one realizes it and the other is ignorant of it.


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Re: We inherently ignorant or enlightened?
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2012, 01:11:41 PM »
In Buddhism, we believe that we are, by nature, pure. This is our Buddha nature (de gshegs snying po/ tathagatagarbha). Buddha nature is the pure nature of the mind of sentient beings which symbolizes one's potential to realize Buddhahood. Buddhahood is the state of perfect and complete enlightenment. It is the total purification (Jang) of all delusions and realizations (chub) of all qualities.

Since Buddha nature is one's basic nature, which can be revealed by removing the veils of defilements that obscure it, we are therefore inherently pure. Thus Buddhahood is innate and can be realized through religious practice.


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Re: We inherently ignorant or enlightened?
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2012, 02:35:06 PM »
It is Buddhas who understand ignorance ...his own ignorance.He is Buddha when he understand- when he  enlightened about his ignorance and it is people who are ignorant of enlightenment.So there is a difference between Buddha and people.
Buddha is someone who understand our ignorance and are ignorant of our enlightenment.Those attained enlightenment is awakened by his true nature.So in this life,profound teaching is nothing for us if we don't try to understand fully.We should strive for enlightenment and understand what he wants through spiritual practice.


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Re: We inherently ignorant or enlightened?
« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2012, 10:21:29 AM »
Our painful experiences have brought the five poisons* right into our world. Our heavy sense of being a separate person has led to an anxiety about our safety in the world. This leads us to aversion and attachment, as we long to predict and control our relation with the environment. From this all the other fixed and defensive positions arise. And so the world that we encounter is covered over and suffused with many subtle moods of hopes and fears, doubts, jealousies, pride. So even here on a dharma retreat, as we look around the room, we have a complex sense of whose faces we can look at, and who we might have to look away from. This is not at all a neutral place. The force of projections, interpretations and impulsive reactions keeps us busy in trying to stay ahead of the game instead of ignorance.

We are trying to get to the essential point where nirvana and samsara separate. This is like a great weed killer: If you spray it once all the weeds, all the confusion, all the pain and suffering will vanish. You don't need to pluck out each weed by itself. Believing that you are a bad person is very unhelpful, also believing that you are a good person is also not very helpful. You are not a person! Resting in the unborn state we are a pure awareness free of the least defilement. When you give up your ego identity, your samsara citizenship, you tear up your identity card and all the problems and sins and police records linked to that identity vanish immediately. This is the way to cut ignorance.


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Re: We inherently ignorant or enlightened?
« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2012, 07:41:58 AM »
Suffering and enlightenment cannot exist within the same mental continuum, otherwise you'd have to conclude that Buddhas suffer, that suffering living are already enjoying the great bliss of a Buddha, and so the teachings would be pointless and we should all just do whatever we want.

'Inherent' is defined as existing in something as a permanent, essential, characteristic attribute. The omniscient mind and body of the Guru pervades our fundamental nature, right now. In that sense, enlightenment is a permanent essential characteristic attribute of our fundamental nature ('Buddha nature'), but, we do not realize this consciously. Our 'Buddha seed' is the potential for us to realize our Buddha nature consciously. It is said that our very subtle mind of clear light is the basis truth body (our actual Buddha seed) because it is what will eventually transform into the actual omniscient mind of a Buddha. If we read the commentaries on completion stage very carefully, we will understand that our fundamental nature is already in union with the Guru's omniscient mind, and that the process of our clear light mind becoming omniscient is a actually a description of us gradually becoming more and more conscious of this fact until we achieve full consciousness (full awakening).

In other words, ignorance and suffering are not a permanent essential characteristic attribute of our mind, and omniscience is, but we are not fully conscious of that nature due to the dark sleep of our ignorance.

We can get a taste (similitude) of the fundamental nature by meditating on the conventional and ultimate nature of mind with a coarse/gross awareness, and this is certainly an important gateway to conscious realization of union, but it is only when we access and train with the very subtle clear light mind that we will approach a stable conscious realization. That is why it is said from the pov of highest yoga tantra that actual liberation is not possible in Sutra, because the mind that realizes emptiness directly on the Sutra path is a gross mind, and gross minds cease completely at the time of death. Though the concentration of such a practitioner is quite subtle and powerful, it is still only a subtle level of the gross mind. It is not just important to distinguish clearly between the conventional and ultimate nature of mind, we must also distinguish between the gross, subtle, and very subtle levels of mind if we are to truly comprehend the meaning of Buddha nature and Buddha seed. Meditating on the nature of the gross mind is very important, very useful, but we need to seek the path to the very subtle mind. There is no instant enlightenment without accessing the very subtle mind of clear light, because once again, if it is a coarse consciousness cognizing the experience, this will cease when death comes. In fact, it ceases every time the practitioner goes to sleep and the gross winds and minds dissolve into the more subtle minds.

I am not well versed in all the different lineages of Dzogchen, but according to a yogini I know, the actual Dzogchen training starts with the clear light realization, so, just training in Trekcho and Togal with a gross mind is not the actual Dzogchen. The so-called 'instant enlightenment' must therefore ultimately just be referring to that instant in which the practitioner finally achieves the final union, permanently. It may of course also be a term referring to the temporary similitudes we access, but these are not the actual experience, and they are definitely not permanent. It is the same with mahamudra training, we can get glimpses (a similitude) with the gross conventional awareness, and a similitude with the very subtle mind, but it is only when we gain the permanent realization of the Union of No More Learning that we can say we are an actual Buddha.

Guru Yoga is the quick path because it is when we begin to taste the fundamental nature of our own mind (mahamudra) beyond thought that we realize this nature is not different from the Guru. We will be unceasingly tormented by the three sufferings until we gain full consciousness of this fact by accessing and meditating with our very subtle mind with bodhichitta motivation.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: We inherently ignorant or enlightened?
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2015, 04:00:46 PM »
The Buddha's teachings has no fault.  So if the Buddha says that we are inherently Buddhas by nature, then believe that.  Buddha showed that in the form a human being he attained Buddhahood. What better example can be ask for? 

Buddha also taught of the many lives that he had lived before becoming enlightened and awakened.  The Buddha did all that on his own from trial and error.  And wondrously he has taught us the way.

From experience, I would have the opinion that we are both inherently ignorant and enlightened, now facing this question is the choice we can make to be totally enlightened or still be both.

With the great fortunate to be on this forum, we should make the choice for enlightenment and follow the path of Dharma. Will we succeed, not sure for every one but at least give it the best shot.


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Re: We inherently ignorant or enlightened?
« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2015, 08:00:32 AM »
We inherently have Buddha nature is true because everyone of us do have this nature in us but we need to  get rid of our ignorant mind which is in many life time we have actually polluted our mind with all the negative emotion like anger, hatred, jealousy and many more, because of that we need to polish our mind so that ww can develop the six perfection like Buddha . To develop this six perfection is not easy we need to constantly remind ourselves about being kind to others to work for others, to think less about ourselves.


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Re: We inherently ignorant or enlightened?
« Reply #26 on: March 16, 2015, 06:26:21 AM »
Are "We inherently ignorant or enlightened?". That is the question. LOL.

The question is flawed. To say anything is inherent is to deny the Dharma and suggest that we are all originally Buddhas that was somehow stained by ignorance. Also, to use the word "We", is to suggest the very thing that is cause by ignorance.

Lama Tsongkhapa especially propounded the view of non-assertion to mean that that which is our true nature cannot be asserted by our non-enligthened mind. Also, "Buddha Nature" does not mean that we are a Buddha that is covered by ignorances/aggregates/3  poisons. It is holistic in that everything is Buddha Nature but because we are not enlightened we do not have that view.

Another way of explaining Buddha Nature is that, since we can become a Buddha we must have that nature or potential. For example, an apple seed must have "apple nature" to become an apple tree (and many more apples).

The simplest view I adhere to is that we have the potential to become a Buddha but we do not know what is a Buddha. We have a glimpse of it via what the Buddhas represent (the positives) and what our sufferings are (the Maras). It cannot be asserted. It is what is after we rid all concepts and labels.