Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Qualities of Mind - 2

In response to a further question, asking 'which qualities of mind do not pertain to Buddha Nature - is not everything an expression of mind, and primordial wisdom?

I think I can see why you say this, and feel this way. In one sense
it is so ... all that appears to arise has the same nature, that of
being apparent, yet empty. But, the teachings on Buddha Nature seem
to point to something else here, which is the difference between
those aspects of mind which are viewed as adventitious defilements,
and those which are Buddha Nature.

For example, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso:
"All the beings' flaws are unreal -- mere confused and
impermanent appearances, because actually the Buddha Nature is
originally perfect. It is empty of the separable, which are the
fleeting stains, but not empty of the inseparable, which are the
unsurpassable qualities.

How is this possible? Because the stains of confusion are not
intrinsic to the essence of mind, so they can be removed, whereas the
qualities of enlightenment are the nature of mind, so they cannot be

This is of course a Shentong view, and would be contradicted by

Coming to your point below ... I can understand what you are saying,
and can see the strength in not rejecting any of your experience or
in being attached to the labels of 'good' and 'bad' in relation to
aspects of mind. I can also understand what you are saying about the
positive changes in the balance of mental states as a result of
practice. However, I think the questioner you originally mentioned in
your first email was pointing at what looked like a contradiction in
the teachings, which was that certain qualities are accepted as
somehow 'ultimate' or innate qualities of mind, and others aren't.
For example, how compassion *is* a quality of mind, and uncompassion,
the opposite of compassion - ill-will, is not. And that issue is to
do with what Buddha Nature is actually pointing to in those

very best wishes to you ....

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