Saturday, November 13, 2004

My e-mail reply to JP on Nov. 12 (2)

>BUT it is 'not' true that all things that are empty are

impermanent. Because there are existing things
>that are permanent.


>REgarding the issue of an eternal soul. If you or I had
>used the word soul
from the start (without mixing it
>with mind), then I would have agreed with
you. I have
>heard a great buddhist scholar explain why buddhists deny

>the existance of an eternal soul. But, soul and mind
>are different, the same scholar that explained why an

>eternal soul does not exist explained why an eternal
>mind exists. Given
this situation, if the text you read
>about buddha reprimanding a disciple for
believing in an
>eternal soul actually used the english word "soul" or meant

>it in any other language, then maybe you have assumed that
>the soul and
mind are the same, and the buddha mean that
>the mind is eternal
but "souls" do not exist, let alone
>an eternal soul....

>As we both agree that the eternal soul does not exist and
>if the source
you read really did use the term "soul" and
>not "mind" then maybe the
buddha did mean "soul" and the
>buddha believes in an eternal "mind", but
somehow you
>assumed that the "soul" and "mind" are the same.
>let me know if the term used was really "mind" or " soul".

The English term used in most materials I came across was
“consciousness,” some “soul,” but I take it that Bhikkhu
Sati’s “consciousness” then meant the “soul,” which is a
more popular term today. Of course, it could also mean the
mind because consciousness is more relevant in meaning to
the mind than to the soul.

Now, be it soul, consciousness, or mind, it’s just the same
to me. I cannot accept an “eternal mind,” whether it’s
attributed to the Buddha (blasphemy!) or not. To me, the
doctrine of dependent origination, which Gotama the Buddha
taught, applies to all in samara. All phenomena are
impermanent. To me, the mind - be it Gotama's or not -
is a phenomenon; therefore, it is impermanent. IF, however,
Gotama the Buddha said that his mind is permanent or eternal,
then I shall re-evaluate my conviction.

On another topic, I’d like you to know that questions
have been raised regarding the authenticity of many
popular sutras, especially those belonging to the Northern
lineage (Chinese, Tibetan, Japanese, Korean, etc.).

Lately, I’ve been exposed to the Southern lineage, and,
based on my decades of exposure with the Northern lineage,
specifically the Chinese traditional Buddhism (and later
Tibetan and Tantric neo-Buddhism), I now find the Southern
schools simpler, plain, and direct to the point, whereas
the Northern schools tend to be romantic and prone to the
ornamental, as in too many extensions, attachments, and
“mysteries.” No wonder the Northern schools have so many
“Buddhist” deities.

Furthermore - this is just an observation – I find many
“Buddhist authorities” of the Northern schools being
prejudice towards practitioners belonging to the Southern
lineage; the most notorious being labelling the latter as
“Hinayana” or “Hinayanists.” In the past months, I used to
watch a Buddhist program in cable channel headed by a
very active Chinese monk. I always got turned off whenever
he referred to “monks of the Southern schools” or “teachings
of the Southern schools” with lesser respect in comparison
to his “Mahayana” lineage. That monk is typical of many
Chinese monks in my impression. But then, that’s his
business. I have my own cultivation to attend to.

Given my experiences with the more “romantic” schools,
and my awareness of the integrity of some sutras and
human “authorities” of the Dharma being put to question,
I no longer want to waste my time and effort with just any
sources other than the Buddha. For this reason, I now favor
ancient Buddhism. Of course, that doesn’t mean I would treat
everything that is labelled as coming from the Buddha’s
mouth as authentic and acceptable right away.

>To me, the buddha's compassion's depedent origination
>is that his great
compassion was caused by his cultivation
>in the past...but now that he is
the buddha and perfected
>his practice...his compassion will continue to be
>by its dependent origination but he will always retain his

>compassion..therefore his compassion is everlasing and

Frankly, I feel very uncomfortable with your use of the
present tense, especially the eternal parts. Ha ha ha!

>This is my buddhist should be tested like gold
cut..blablabla)...and this is what this discussion
>is doing I guess...atleast...
I hope.

It’s part of the cultivation.


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