Originally posted by Big Mac
I'm not sure how to refer to Budhist quotes, since to my understanding, they would not consider them "scripture."
According to your previous posts, you are a practicing Budhist with an appreciation for universal truth found in all religions (and the natural world). Is this an accurate description of you?
If so, could you, to the best of rstand. I realise that is the point, but perhaps you could shed a little more light on it.
First, I’m not a “practicing Buddhist.” I am a non-dualist who finds streams of the “perennial philosophy” in most religious expressions.
I am, however, more Zen than “Zen-Buddhist.” And sometimes, I just tell people that—whatever religious language I might be using at the time—if they just think “Zen,” they are likely to have me pegged pretty well. But Taoist or Advaita Vedantist would work as well...
There are lots of kinds of Buddhists. What the Buddha discovered was (1) a way out of suffering/anguish in this life (recognition of the Four Noble Truths, the 4th one being the Eightfold Path); and (2) Buddha-nature, which all sentient beings have.
As a Zennist—and finding eight steps too many to keep track of—simply abiding in the Buddha-nature (awareness prior to conceptual thinking of any kind: I just call it clear mind) is a state in which there is no mental suffering/anguish. Easier said than done, but do-able. In that way of being, one is in harmony with the Tao, the tathata
(suchness/thusness) of the universe, with the sat-chit-ananda
(being-consciousness-bliss) that is the nature of the whole.
One can think/conceptualize whenever one wants/needs to—one just realizes that is what s/he is doing.
Nirvana means “extinction.” In Hinduism (out of which Buddhism comes) one’s self (or soul) is reincarnated many times, until one is enlightened (realizes one’s true nature), and which point the cycle of death and rebirth ends, and one returns to the Whole from whence one arose to being with. Buddhism—at least some Buddhism—kept that metaphysics.
Like Zen Master Gudo, I don’t speculate much about such stuff—and when I do, I realize that I am doing just that: speculating. My own view is that when I die, my transient individual “I-ness” will simply disperse into the Whole (the One-without-a-second, the All-without-another, Tao, Brahman—whatever name you wish) from whence I arose, of which I am, and in which I exist. Like a wave arising from, and of, the one ocean—and collapsing back into that ocean. I might call that “Nirvana.”
Now, there are many practices for discovering the Buddha-nature in oneself. Here is a westernized version of a Zen koan—
“Behind the makings of the mind,
before all images, thoughts or words,
what are you able to find
that is not just another making of the mind?”
Two points: (1) the exercise is to see if you can find
, not speculate, posit or think; and (2) any concept—even the concept “I” may be just another making of the mind (i.e., the ego-self, the somebody-self construct).
EDIT: Such a practice will not make you a Buddhist; there are Christian versions as well. Koans are very prominent in Rinzai Zen; there is a practice called "Centering Prayer" from the Christian tradition that is close to Soto Zen meditation, which may well be akin to what the Buddha did...