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Void, Ego/Buddha

To: soc.religion.eastern
From: tyagi nagasiva
Subject: Void, Ego/Buddha (various quotes) (9309.egobudh.var)
Date: 49930926

Quoting: Evans-Wentz, Blofeld

From _The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation_, Edited and Introduced by
  W.Y. Evans-Wentz, Published by Oxford University Press, 1954:

"I. Reality According to the Mahayana


"In common with all Schools of the Oriental Occult Sciences, the Mahayana
postulates that the One Supra-Mundane Mind, or the Universal All-Pervading
Consciousness, transcendent over appearances and over every dualisitc
concept born of the finite or mundane aspect of mind, alone is real.
Viewed as the Voidness (known in Sanskrit as the *Shunyata*), it is the
Unbecome, the Unborn, the Unmade, the Unformed, the predicateless Primordial
Essence, the abstract Cosmic Source whence all concrete or manifested things
come and into which they vanish in latency.  Being without form, quality,
or phenomenal existence, it is the Formless, the Qualityless, the Non-Exis-
tent.  As such, it is the Imperishable, the Transcendent Fullness of the
Emptiness, the Dissolver of Space and of Time and of *sangsaric* (or
mundane) mind, the Brahman of the *Rishis*, the Dreamer of *Maya*, the
Weaver of the Web of Appearances, the Outbreather and the Inbreather
of infinite universes through the endlessness of Duration.

"Plotinus, the Platonic inheritor of this ancient oriental teaching, has
concisely summarized it: 'The First Principle, being One, is transcendent
over measure or number.... The Supreme Principle must be essentially
unitary, and simple, while essences [derived therefrom] form a multitude.'
[Note: Plotinus, Ennead V, Book V, II; Book IX, 14...]  The Great *Guru*,
Padma-Sambhava,... sets forth the same doctrine from the Mahayanic point
of view: 'The whole *Sangsara* [or the phenomenal Universe of appearances]
and *Nirvana* [the Unmanifested, or noumenal state], as an inseparable
unity, are one's mind [in its natural, or unmodified primordial state of
the Voidness].'  In like manner, the Buddha Himself teaches that *Nirvana*
is a state of transcendence over 'that which is become, born, made, and
formed.'  Accordingly, *Nirvana* is the annihilation of appearances, the
indrawing of the Web of the *Sangsara*, the blowing out of the flame of
bodily sensuousness, the Awakening from the Dream of *Maya*, the unveiling
of Reality.

"The Buddha, and, after Him, Nagarjuna, who compiled the _Prajna-Paramita_,
the chief Mahayana treatise on Transcendental Wisdom, aimed to avoid in
their teachings the extreme of superstition on the one hand and of nihilism
on the other; and so their method is that of the Middle Path, which, under
Nagarjuna, became known as the Madhyamika.  Prior to Nagarjuna, Buddhist
metaphysicians were divided into two schools of extremists, one school
teaching of a real existence, the other of an illusory existence.  Nagarjuna
showed that nothing can be said to exist or not to exist, for so long as
the mind conceives in terms of dualism it is still under the *sangsaric*
bondage, and fettered by the false desire for either personal immortality
or annihilation.  Reality, or the Absolute, or Being *per se*, is
transcendent over both existence and non-existence, and over all other
dualistic concepts.  According to Nagarjuna, it is the Primordial Voidness,
beyond mental conception, or definition in terms of human experience.

"The Madhyamika maintains that the World is to be renounced not as the
Theravada teaches, because of its pain and sorrow, but because it is as
non-real as are dreams; it, being merely one of the many dream-states
comprising the *Sangsara*, is wholly unsatisfying.  Many should strive
to awaken from all the dream-states of the *Sangsara* into the State of
True Awakening, *Nirvana*, beyond the range of all glamorous illusions
and hypnotic mirages of the *Sangsara*; and thus become, as is the Buddha,
a Fully-Awakened One.

"This Doctrine of the Voidness is the essential doctrine of the Mahayana;
it represents in Northern Buddhism what the *Anatma (or Non-Soul) Doctrine
does in Southern Buddhism.  Accordingly, as our treatise implies, no
existing thing or being has other than an illusory existence, nor has it
separate or individualized existence apart from all other beings.

"As set forth in the _Avatamsaka Sutra_, attributed to Nagarjuna, the
essentiality, the true essence, behind all *sangsaric* things or beings
is likened to a dust-free mirror, which is the basis of all phenomena,
the basis itself being permanent, or non-transitory, and real, the
phenomena being evanescent and unreal.  And, just as the mirror reflects
images, so the True Essence embraces all phenomena; and all things and
beings exist in and by it.  It is this True Essence which comes to
fruition in the Buddhas; and is everywhere present throughout the
manifested cosmos, which is born of it, and eternally present.  Far and
wide throughout the spaces and space the Buddha Essence is present
and perpetually manifested....

"In its totality, the Universal Essence is the One Mind, manifested
through the multitudinous myriads of minds throughout all states of
*sangsaric* existence.  It is called 'The Essence of the Buddhas', 'The
Great Symbol', 'The Seed', 'The Potentiality of Truth', 'The All-
Foundation'.  As our text teaches, it is the Source of all bliss of
*Nirvana* and of all sorrow of *Sangsara*.  Mind in its microcosmic
aspect is variously described by the unenlightened, some calling it
the ego, or soul.

"Complete realization of the essential and undifferentiated oneness
of the *Sangsara* and *Nirvana*, which, according to the Mahayana,
are the Ultimate Duality, leads to that Deliverance of the Mind taught
by the Enlightened One as being the aim and end of the *Dharma*, as
it is of all systems of *yoga* and of all Schools of Buddhism and of

Pages 1-4.

Above I think that Evans-Wentz does a tremendous job of elaborating some
of the subtleties of the identity of Nirvana and Samsara, by which we can
come to infer the identity of ego and Buddha.  Yet I understand that my
argument is still unconvincing, so perhaps, rather than simply point
to innumerable mystical utterances in which this principle is expressed
quite clearly ('As above, so below', for example), I can simply quote
my latest reading source in which I found relevant material....

I was re-reading _Taoist Mysteries and Magic_, by John Blofeld, Shambhala,
 1973, one of my most favorite books in the world, and came across this:

"As to the word 'Tao' itself, it is a term of great antiquity long
used by different philosophers in as many senses as the word 'God'
is employed by different schools or religion.  Literally meaning
'way' or 'path', it was later used by the Confucians to mean the
divinely ordained path of rectitude; by the Buddhists as an equivalent
of *Fa* (Dharma, Doctrine of the Buddha); and by the Taoists to mean
a combination of the undifferentiated unity from which the universe
evolved; the supreme creative and sustaining power which nourishes
the myriad creatures; the way in which nature operates; and the course
which men should follow in order to rise above worldly life and achieve
harmony with the Ultimate.  It is what Christian mystics all the
Godhead and what Buddhist sages mean by *Sunyata*, that mysterious
void in which all things have their being."

Pages 22-3.

Together with the following I hope to make my point more clearly:

"Whether union with the Ultimate is regarded as an *attainment* or
as a *realization* of a union never interrupted from the first
(this latter being the view of most schools of Mahayana Buddhism,
including Zen and Vajrayana), the character of the mystical
experience is, of course, one and the same.  The Taoists, rightly
conceiving that, since names are by their nature limiting, the
Illimitable must be nameless, chose the provisional name of Tao
which, since its primary meaning is Way, carries with it the subtle
implication, so familiar to Mahayana Buddhists, that the goal and
the path to it are in essence one.  Moreover, all mystics are agreed
that whatever name they use for the Ultimate - Tao, Godhead, *Sunyata*,
etc. - can at best be a makeshift, since nothing can be predicted of
a state beyond time and space that transcends all dualities.  Even to
say that It exists or does not exist is to belittle It, since each of
those terms excludes its opposite and is therefore finite.  The nature
of the goal can be known only to those exalted beings who have realized
it for themselves."

Ibid, pages 31-2.

If Nirvana = Samsara in the Void, and the we simply come to
*realize* the unity of all dual concepts, then how can ego NOT
be identical, undifferentiated, from Buddha?

tyagi nagasiva

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