De ontdekking van de Boeddha over de werkelijkheid worden ook wel de vier zegels genoemd.
De leegte aan inherent bestaan
De bron van het lijden is de discrepantie tussen hoe de dingen zich aan ons voordoen en hoe ze in werkelijkheid bestaan. Een belangrijke bezigheid van het filosofisch denken in het boeddhisme is het bestuderen van deze discrepantie en het onderzoek van de werkelijkheid , de wijze waarop de dingen uiteindelijk bestaan , door analyse en experiment. De Boeddha sprak van Vier Zegels die alles bevatten.
1 Alles wat samengesteld is , is vergankelijk.
Alle geconditioneerde verschijnselen zijn vanaf het moment van ontstaan van voorbijgaande aard en blijven nog geen moment bestaan. Dit momentane karakter is het gevolg van de oorzaak zelf ; er komt geen andere factor aan te pas. Alles wat uit verschillende delen bestaat of geconditioneerd is door oorzaken en voorwaarden, is vergankelijk en van voorbijgaande aard. De dingen zijn niet eeuwig maar vallen voortdurend uiteen. Dit is de subtiele vergankelijkheid die ook in de moderne fysica gezien wordt.
2 Alles wat bezoedeld is ,is deplorabel
Vergankelijke samengestelde verschijnselen zijn in principe het gevolg van oorzaken.De mens bestaat uit fysieke en mentale bestanddelen die het gevolg zijn van vertroebelde emoties en verkeerde of bezoedelde daden.De vertroebelde emoties worden beheerst door onwetendheid dat wil zeggen de misvatting dat er zoiets als een intrinsiek bestaan zou zijn.Onderworpen zijn aan onwetendheid is lijden. Ervan bevrijd zijn is Nirvana .
3 Alle verschijnselen zijn leeg en hebben geen zelf
Moeten we wel eeuwig lijden ? Nee dit is geenszins nodig want alle verschijnselen zijn leeg en hebben geen zelf . In werkelijkheid zijn alle verschijnselen leeg aan inherent bestaan en hebben geen zelf.Dit is hun werkelijke staat. Dat de dingen intrinsiek lijken te bestaan is verkeerd bewustzijn en een foute denkwijze. Er is geen valide fundament voor aanwezig .Het geloof in inherent en dus onafhankelijk bestaan is een reeds lang ingeslopen misvatting. We dienen deze misvatting en de uit haar voortkomende vertroebelende emoties uit de weg te ruimen .Als we alle misvattingen en vertroebelende emoties verwijderen dan zijn er geen bezoedelende oorzaken meer en is onwetendheid (sk. Avidiya tib. Marigpa) gezuiverd tot alwetendheid. We bereiken de staat van vrede.
4 Nirvana is vrede
Nirvana is de uitblussing van alle lijden door de uitblussing van nieuwe geboorten in de cyclus van wedergeboorten.
It’s not the clothes you wear, the ceremonies you perform, or the meditation you do, says Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse. It’s not what you eat, how much you drink, or who you have sex with. It’s whether you agree with the four fundamental discoveries the Buddha made under the Bodhi tree, and if you do, you can call yourself a Buddhist.
Once, I was seated on a plane in the middle seat of the middle row on a trans-Atlantic flight, and the sympathetic man sitting next to me made an attempt to be friendly. Seeing my shaved head and maroon skirt, he gathered that I was a Buddhist. When the meal was served, the man considerately offered to order a vegetarian meal for me. Having correctly assumed that I was a Buddhist, he also assumed that I don’t eat meat. That was the beginning of our chat. The flight was long, so to kill our boredom, we discussed Buddhism.
Over time I have come to realize that people often associate Buddhism and Buddhists with peace, meditation, and nonviolence. In fact many seem to think that saffron or maroon robes and a peaceful smile are all it takes to be a Buddhist. As a fanatical Buddhist myself, I must take pride in this reputation, particularly the nonviolent aspect of it, which is so rare in this age of war and violence, and especially religious violence. Throughout the history of humankind, religion seems to beget brutality. Even today religious-extremist violence dominates the news. Yet I think I can say with confidence that so far we Buddhists have not disgraced ourselves. Violence has never played a part in propagating Buddhism.
However, as a trained Buddhist, I also feel a little discontented when Buddhism is associated with nothing beyond vegetarianism, nonviolence, peace, and meditation. Prince Siddhartha, who sacrificed all the comforts and luxuries of palace life, must have been searching for more than passivity and shrubbery when he set out to discover enlightenment.
The message of the four seals is meant to be understood literally, not metaphorically or mystically—and meant to be taken seriously. But the seals are not edicts or commandments.
When a conversation arises like the one with my seatmate on the plane, a non-Buddhist may casually ask, “What makes someone a Buddhist?” That is the hardest question to answer. If the person has a genuine interest, the complete answer does not make for light dinner conversation, and generalizations can lead to misunderstanding. Suppose that you give them the true answer, the answer that points to the very foundation of this 2,500-year-old tradition.
One is a Buddhist if he or she accepts the following four truths:
All compounded things are impermanent.
All emotions are pain.
All things have no inherent existence.
Nirvana is beyond concepts.
These four statements, spoken by the Buddha himself, are known as “the four seals.” Traditionally, seal means something like a hallmark that confirms authenticity. For the sake of simplicity and flow we will refer to these statements as both seals and “truths,” not to be confused with Buddhism’s four noble truths, which pertain solely to aspects of suffering. Even though the four seals are believed to encompass all of Buddhism, people don’t seem to want to hear about them. Without further explanation they serve only to dampen spirits and fail to inspire further interest in many cases. The topic of conversation changes and that’s the end of it.
The message of the four seals is meant to be understood literally, not metaphorically or mystically—and meant to be taken seriously. But the seals are not edicts or commandments. With a little contemplation one sees that there is nothing moralistic or ritualistic about them. There is no mention of good or bad behavior. They are secular truths based on wisdom, and wisdom is the primary concern of a Buddhist. Morals and ethics are secondary. A few puffs of a cigarette and a little fooling around don’t prevent someone from becoming a Buddhist. That is not to say that we have license to be wicked or immoral.
Broadly speaking, wisdom comes from a mind that has what the Buddhists call “right view.” But one doesn’t even have to consider oneself a Buddhist to have right view. Ultimately it is this view that determines our motivation and action. It is the view that guides us on the path of Buddhism. If we can adopt wholesome behaviors in addition to the four seals, it makes us even better Buddhists. But what makes you not a Buddhist?
If you cannot accept that all compounded or fabricated things are impermanent, if you believe that there is some essential substance or concept that is permanent, then you are not a Buddhist.
If you cannot accept that all emotions are pain, if you believe that actually some emotions are purely pleasurable, then you are not a Buddhist.
If you cannot accept that all phenomena are illusory and empty, if you believe that certain things do exist inherently, then you are not a Buddhist.
And if you think that enlightenment exists within the spheres of time, space, and power, then you are not a Buddhist.
You may not have been born in a Buddhist country or to a Buddhist family, you may not wear robes or shave your head, you may eat meat and idolize Eminem and Paris Hilton. That doesn’t mean you cannot be a Buddhist.
So, what makes you a Buddhist? You may not have been born in a Buddhist country or to a Buddhist family, you may not wear robes or shave your head, you may eat meat and idolize Eminem and Paris Hilton. That doesn’t mean you cannot be a Buddhist. In order to be a Buddhist, you must accept that all compounded phenomena are impermanent, all emotions are pain, all things have no inherent existence, and enlightenment is beyond concepts.
It’s not necessary to be constantly and endlessly mindful of these four truths. But they must reside in your mind. You don’t walk around persistently remembering your own name, but when someone asks your name, you remember it instantly. There is no doubt. Anyone who accepts these four seals, even independently of Buddha’s teachings, even never having heard the name Shakyamuni Buddha, can be considered to be on the same path as he.
The Beautiful Logic of the Four Seals
Consider the example of generosity. When we begin to realize the first seal—impermanence—we see everything as transitory and without value, as if it belonged in a Salvation Army donation bag. We don’t necessarily have to give it all away, but we have no clinging to it. When we see that our possessions are all impermanent compounded phenomena, that we cannot cling to them forever, generosity is already practically accomplished.
Understanding the second seal, that all emotions are pain, we see that the miser, the self, is the main culprit, providing nothing but a feeling of poverty. Therefore, by not clinging to the self, we find no reason to cling to our possessions, and there is no more pain of miserliness. Generosity becomes an act of joy.
When we see that our possessions are all impermanent compounded phenomena, that we cannot cling to them forever, generosity is already practically accomplished.
Realizing the third seal, that all things have no inherent existence, we see the futility of clinging, because whatever we are clinging to has no truly existing nature. It’s like dreaming that you are distributing a billion dollars to strangers on the street. You can give generously because it’s dream money, and yet you are able to reap all the fun of the experience. Generosity based on these three views inevitably makes us realize that there is no goal. It is not a sacrifice endured in order to get recognition or to ensure a better rebirth.
Generosity without a price tag, expectations, or strings provides a glimpse into the fourth view, the truth that liberation, enlightenment, is beyond conception.
If we measure the perfection of a virtuous action, such as generosity, by material standards—how much poverty is eliminated—we can never reach perfection. Destitution and the desires of the destitute are endless. Even the desires of the wealthy are endless; in fact the desires of humans can never be fully satisfied. But according to Siddhartha, generosity should be measured by the level of attachment one has to what is being given and to the self that is giving it. Once you have realized that the self and all its possessions are impermanent and have no truly existing nature, you have nonattachment, and that is perfect generosity. For this reason the first action encouraged in the Buddhist sutras is the practice of generosity.
A Deeper Understanding of Karma, Purity and Nonviolence
The concept of karma, the undeniable trademark of Buddhism, also falls within these four truths. When causes and conditions come together and there are no obstacles, consequences arise. Consequence is karma. This karma is gathered by consciousness— the mind, or the self. If this self acts out of greed or aggression, negative karma is generated. If a thought or action is motivated by love, tolerance, and a wish for others to be happy, positive karma is generated.
Yet motivation, action, and the resulting karma are inherently like a dream, an illusion. Transcending karma, both good and bad, is nirvana. Any so-called good action that is not based on these four views is merely righteousness; it is not ultimately Siddhartha’s path. Even if you were to feed all the hungry beings in the world, if you acted in complete absence of these four views, then it would be merely a good deed, not the path to enlightenment. In fact it might be a righteous act designed to feed and support the ego.
It is because of these four truths that Buddhists can practice purification. If one thinks that one is stained by negative karma or is weak or “sinful,” and is frustrated, thinking that these obstacles are always getting in the way of realization, then one can take comfort in knowing that they are compounded and therefore impermanent and thus purifiable. On the other hand, if one feels lacking in ability or merit, one can take comfort knowing that merit can be accumulated through performing good deeds, because the lack of merit is impermanent and therefore changeable.
Even if you were to feed all the hungry beings in the world, if you acted in complete absence of these four views, then it would be merely a good deed, not the path to enlightenment.
The Buddhist practice of nonviolence is not merely submissiveness with a smile or meek thoughtfulness. The fundamental cause of violence is when one is fixated on an extreme idea, such as justice or morality. This fixation usually stems from a habit of buying into dualistic views, such as bad and good, ugly and beautiful, moral and immoral. One’s inflexible self-righteousness takes up all the space that would allow empathy for others. Sanity is lost. Understanding that all these views or values are compounded and impermanent, as is the person who holds them, violence is averted. When you have no ego, no clinging to the self, there is never a reason to be violent. When one understands that one’s enemies are held under a powerful influence of their own ignorance and aggression, that they are trapped by their habits, it is easier to forgive them for their irritating behavior and actions. Similarly, if someone from the insane asylum insults you, there is no point in getting angry. When we transcend believing in the extremes of dualistic phenomena, we have transcended the causes of violence.
The Four Seals: A Package Deal
In Buddhism, any action that establishes or enhances the four views is a rightful path. Even seemingly ritualistic practices, such as lighting incense or practicing esoteric meditations and mantras, are designed to help focus our attention on one or all of the truths.
Anything that contradicts the four views, including some action that may seem loving and compassionate, is not part of the path. Even emptiness meditation becomes pure negation, nothing but a nihilistic path, if it is not in compliance with the four truths.
For the sake of communication we can say that these four views are the spine of Buddhism. We call them “truths” because they are simply facts. They are not manufactured; they are not a mystical revelation of the Buddha. They did not become valid only after the Buddha began to teach. Living by these principles is not a ritual or a technique. They don’t qualify as morals or ethics, and they can’t be trademarked or owned. There is no such thing as an “infidel” or a “blasphemer” in Buddhism because there is no one to be faithful to, to insult, or to doubt. However, those who are not aware of or do not believe in these four facts are considered by Buddhists to be ignorant. Such ignorance is not cause for moral judgment. If someone doesn’t believe that humans have landed on the moon, or thinks that the world is flat, a scientist wouldn’t call him a blasphemer, just ignorant. Likewise, if he doesn’t believe in these four seals, he is not an infidel. In fact, if someone were to produce proof that the logic of the four seals is faulty, that clinging to the self is actually not pain, or that some element defies impermanence, then Buddhists should willingly follow that path instead. Because what we seek is enlightenment, and enlightenment means realization of the truth. So far, though, in all these centuries no proof has arisen to invalidate the four seals.
If you ignore the four seals but insist on considering yourself a Buddhist merely out of a love affair with the traditions, then that is superficial devotion. The Buddhist masters believe that however you choose to label yourself, unless you have faith in these truths, you will continue to live in an illusory world, believing it to be solid and real. Although such belief temporarily provides the bliss of ignorance, ultimately it always leads to some form of anxiety. You then spend all your time solving problems and trying to get rid of the anxiety. Your constant need to solve problems becomes like an addiction. How many problems have you solved only to watch others arise? If you are happy with this cycle, then you have no reason to complain. But when you see that you will never come to the end of problem solving, that is the beginning of the search for inner truth. While Buddhism is not the answer to all the world’s temporal problems and social injustices, if you happen to be searching and if you happen to have chemistry with Siddhartha, then you may find these truths agreeable. If that is the case, you should consider following him seriously.
Richness Within Renunciation
As a follower of Siddhartha, you don’t necessarily have to emulate his every action—you don’t have to sneak out while your wife is sleeping. Many people think that Buddhism is synonymous with renunciation, leaving home, family, and job behind, and following the path of an ascetic. This image of austerity is partly due to the fact that a great number of Buddhists revere the mendicants in the Buddhist texts and teachings, just as the Christians admire Saint Francis of Assisi. We can’t help being struck by the image of the Buddha walking barefoot in Magadha with his begging bowl, or Milarepa in his cave subsisting on nettle soup. The serenity of a simple Burmese monk accepting alms captivates our imagination.
But there is also an entirely different variety of follower of the Buddha: King Ashoka, for example, who dismounted from his royal chariot, adorned with pearls and gold, and proclaimed his wish to spread the buddhadharma throughout the world. He knelt down, seized a fistful of sand, and proclaimed that he would build as many stupas as there were grains of sand in his hand. And in fact he kept his promise. So one can be a king, a merchant, a prostitute, a junkie, or a chief executive officer and still accept the four seals. Fundamentally it is not the act of leaving behind the material world that Buddhists cherish but the ability to see the habitual clinging to this world and ourselves and to renounce the clinging.
As we begin to understand the four views, we don’t necessarily discard things; we begin instead to change our attitude toward them, thereby changing their value. Just because you have less than someone else doesn’t mean that you are more morally pure or virtuous. In fact, humility itself can be a form of hypocrisy. When we understand the essencelessness and impermanence of the material world, renunciation is no longer a form of self-flagellation. It doesn’t mean that we’re hard on ourselves. The word sacrifice takes on a different meaning. Equipped with this understanding, everything becomes about as significant as the saliva we spit on the ground. We don’t feel sentimental about saliva. Losing such sentimentality is a path of bliss, sugata. When renunciation is understood as bliss, the stories of many other Indian princesses, princes, and warlords who once upon a time renounced their palace life become less outlandish.
This love of truth and veneration for the seekers of truth is an ancient tradition in countries like India. Even today, instead of looking down on renunciants, Indian society venerates them just as respectfully as we venerate professors at Harvard and Yale. Although the tradition is fading in this age when corporate culture reigns, you can still find naked, ash-clad sadhus who have given up successful law practices to become wandering mendicants. It gives me goose bumps to see how Indian society respects these people instead of shooing them away as disgraceful beggars or pests. I can’t help but imagine them at the Marriott Hotel in Hong Kong. How would the nouveau-riche Chinese, desperately trying to copy Western ways, feel about these ash-clad sadhus? Would the doorman open the door for them? For that matter, how would the concierge at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles react? Instead of worshipping the truth and venerating sadhus, this is an age that worships billboards and venerates liposuction.
Adopting Wisdom, Dropping Distorted Moralities
As you read this, you may be thinking, I’m generous and I don’t have that much attachment to my things. It may be true that you aren’t tightfisted, but in the midst of your generous activities, if someone walks off with your favorite pencil, you may get so angry that you want to bite his ear off. Or you may become completely disheartened if someone says, “Is that all you can give?” When we give, we are caught up in the notion of “generosity.” We cling to the result—if not a good rebirth, at least recognition in this life, or maybe just a plaque on the wall. I have also met many people who think they are generous simply because they have given money to a certain museum, or even to their own children, from whom they expect a lifetime of allegiance.
If it is not accompanied by the four views, morality can be similarly distorted. Morality feeds the ego, leading us to become puritanical and to judge others whose morality is different from ours. Fixated on our version of morality, we look down on other people and try to impose our ethics on them, even if it means taking away their freedom. The great Indian scholar and saint Shantideva, himself a prince who renounced his kingdom, taught that it is impossible for us to avoid encountering anything and everything unwholesome, but if we can apply just one of these four views, we are protected from all nonvirtue. If you think the entire West is somehow satanic or immoral, it will be impossible to conquer and rehabilitate it, but if you have tolerance within yourself, this is equal to conquering. You can’t smooth out the entire earth to make it easier to walk on with your bare feet, but by wearing shoes you protect yourself from rough, unpleasant surfaces.
If we can understand the four views not only intellectually but also experientially, we begin to free ourselves from fixating on things that are illusory. This freedom is what we call wisdom. Buddhists venerate wisdom above all else. Wisdom surpasses morality, love, common sense, tolerance, and vegetarianism. Wisdom is not a divine spirit that we seek from somewhere outside of ourselves. We invoke it by first hearing the teachings on the four seals—not accepting them at face value, but rather analyzing and contemplating them. If you are convinced that this path will clear some of your confusion and bring some relief, then you can actually put wisdom into practice.
In one of the oldest Buddhist teaching methods, the master gives his disciples a bone and instructs them to contemplate its origin. Through this contemplation, the disciples eventually see the bone as the end result of birth, birth as the end result of karmic formation, karmic formation as the end result of craving, and so on. Thoroughly convinced by the logic of cause, condition, and effect, they begin to apply awareness to every situation and every moment. This is what we call meditation. People who can bring us this kind of information and understanding are venerated as masters because, even though they have profound realization and could happily live in the forest, they are willing to stick around to explain the view to those who are still in the dark. Because this information liberates us from all kinds of unnecessary hiccups, we have an automatic appreciation for the explainer. So we Buddhists pay homage to the teacher.
Once you have intellectually accepted the view, you can apply any method that deepens your understanding and realization. In other words, you can use whatever techniques or practices help you to transform your habit of thinking that things are solid into the habit of seeing them as compounded, interdependent, and impermanent. This is true Buddhist meditation and practice, not just sitting still as if you were a paperweight.
Even though we know intellectually that we are going to die, this knowledge can be eclipsed by something as small as a casual compliment. Someone comments on how graceful our knuckles look, and the next thing we know we are trying to find ways to preserve these knuckles. Suddenly we feel that we have something to lose. These days we are constantly bombarded by so many new things to lose and so many things to gain. More than ever we need methods that remind us and help us get accustomed to the view, maybe even hanging a human bone from the rearview mirror, if not shaving your head and retreating to a cave. Combined with these methods, ethics and morality become useful. Ethics and morality may be secondary in Buddhism, but they are important when they bring us closer to the truth. But even if some action appears wholesome and positive, if it takes us away from the four truths, Siddhartha himself cautioned us to leave it be.
The Tea and the Teacup: Wisdom Within Culture
The four seals are like tea, while all other means to actualize these truths—practices, rituals, traditions, and cultural trappings—are like a cup. The skills and methods are observable and tangible, but the truth is not. The challenge is not to get carried away by the cup. People are more inclined to sit straight in a quiet place on a meditation cushion than to contemplate which will come first, tomorrow or the next life. Outward practices are perceivable, so the mind is quick to label them as “Buddhism,” whereas the concept “all compounded things are impermanent” is not tangible and is difficult to label. It is ironic that evidence of impermanence is all around us, yet is not obvious to us.
The essence of Buddhism is beyond culture, but it is practiced by many different cultures, which use their traditions as the cup that holds the teachings. If the elements of these cultural trappings help other beings without causing harm, and if they don’t contradict the four truths, then Siddhartha would encourage such practices.
Throughout the centuries so many brands and styles of cups have been produced, but however good the intention behind them, and however well they may work, they become a hindrance if we forget the tea inside. Even though their purpose is to hold the truth, we tend to focus on the means rather than the outcome. So people walk around with empty cups, or they forget to drink their tea. We human beings can become enchanted, or at least distracted, by the ceremony and color of Buddhist cultural practices. Incense and candles are exotic and attractive; impermanence and selflessness are not. Siddhartha himself said that the best way to worship is by simply remembering the principle of impermanence, the suffering of emotions, that phenomena have no inherent existence, and that nirvana is beyond concepts.
It’s time for modern people like ourselves to give some thought to spiritual matters, even if we have no time to sit on a cushion…
Now that Buddhism is flourishing in the West, I have heard of people altering Buddhist teachings to fit the modern way of thinking. If there is anything to be adapted, it would be the rituals and symbols, not the truth itself. Buddha himself said that his discipline and methods should be adapted appropriately to time and place. But the four truths don’t need to be updated or modified; and it’s impossible to do so anyway. You can change the cup, but the tea remains pure. After surviving 2,500 years and traveling 40,781,035 feet from the Bodhi tree in central India to Times Square in New York City, the concept “all compounded things are impermanent” still applies. Impermanence is still impermanence in Times Square. You cannot bend these four rules; there are no social or cultural exceptions
Profound truths aside, these days even the most practical and obvious truths are ignored. We are like monkeys who dwell in the forest and shit on the very branches from which we hang. Every day we hear people talking about the state of the economy, not recognizing the connection between recession and greed. Because of greed, jealousy, and pride, the economy will never become strong enough to ensure that every person has access to the basic necessities of life. Our dwelling place, the Earth, becomes more and more polluted. I have met people who condemn ancient rulers and emperors and ancient religions as the source of all conflict. But the secular and modern world has not done any better; if anything, it has done worse. What is it that the modern world has made better? One of the main effects of science and technology has been to destroy the world more quickly. Many scientists believe that all living systems and all life-support systems on Earth are in decline.
It’s time for modern people like ourselves to give some thought to spiritual matters, even if we have no time to sit on a cushion, even if we are put off by those who wear rosaries around their necks, and even if we are embarrassed to exhibit our religious leanings to our secular friends. Contemplating the impermanent nature of everything that we experience and the painful effect of clinging to the self brings peace and harmony—if not to the entire world, at least within our own sphere.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Alles heeft een oorzaak. Niets bestaat op zichzelf. Maar alles is ook weer gevolg van oorzaken die pas konden rijpen toen de condities ervoor aanwezig waren.Zo is dus alles geconditioneerd en bestaat niets werkelijk onafhankelijkl,De interdependentie van alle fenomen en het zelf volgen logischerwijs hieruit, Alle verschijnselen en ook ons ego zijn leeg aan inherent bestaan. Zij kunnen niet onafhankelijk van oorzaken en condities bestaan. Toch verabsoluteren we vaak onze angsten en onze vrees, alsof ze werkelijk enige op zich zelf staande verschijnselen zijn. Nee zegt de Boeddha , ze zijn leeg als de verschijning van de maan op het oppervlak van een nachtelijk meer. Zo ontberen je emoties alle realiteit. Zij bestaan slechts relatief. afhankelijk als ze zijn van oorzaken en condities. De Wijze doorziet dit spel van een geconditioneerde geest. Hij gaat heen met een hart vol mededogen………OM AH HUM SVAHA
Editor’s Note: In this excerpt from their new book Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions, the Dalai Lama and Thubten Chodron explore the qualities of the Tathāgata. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines Tathāgata as “one of the titles of a buddha and the one most frequently employed by the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, when referring to himself. The exact meaning of the word is uncertain; Buddhist commentaries present as many as eight explanations. The most generally adopted interpretation is ‘one who has thus (tatha) gone (gata)’ or ‘one who has thus (tatha) arrived (agata),’ implying that the historical Buddha was only one of many who have in the past and will in the future experience enlightenment and teach others how to achieve it. In later Mahayana Buddhism, Tathagata came to convey the essential buddha nature hidden in everyone.”
Learning about the qualities of the Three Jewels and especially of the Buddha increases our confidence in his ability to guide us from the dangers of saṃsāra. Both the Pāli and the Sanskrit traditions extensively praise the Tathāgata’s qualities by expressing his four types of fearlessness, ten powers, and eighteen unshared qualities.
Candrakīrti quotes (Madhyamakāvatāra 6.210cd) a passage, also found in the Pāli canon (MN 12:22–26), describing the four kinds of self-confidence or fearlessness of the Tathāgata that enable him to “roar his lion’s roar in the assemblies.” The Buddha sees no ground on which any recluse, brahman, god, or anyone else could accuse him of (1) claiming to be fully awakened although he is not fully awakened to certain things, (2) claiming to have destroyed pollutants (āsava, āśrava) that he has not destroyed, (3) calling things obstructions that are not obstructions, and (4) teaching a Dharma that does not lead someone who practices it to complete destruction of duḥkha. These four enable the Tathāgata to teach the Dhamma with perfect self-confidence free from all self-doubt because he is fully awakened regarding all aspects, has destroyed all pollutants, correctly identifies obstructions on the path, and gives teachings that lead those who practice them to nirvāṇa.
The ten powers are a set of exceptional knowledges exclusive to the Tathāgata. They enable him to do a Buddha’s unique activities, establish his doctrine in the world, skillfully teach sentient beings, and lead them to awakening. Spoken of in both the Pāli (MN 12) and Sanskrit sūtras (Daśabhūmika Sūtra), these ten are exalted wisdoms that have abandoned all obscurations and know the infinite objects of knowledge. Unless otherwise noted, the explanations below are shared by both traditions.
With direct, unmistaken perception the Tathāgata knows the tenable and the untenable, the relations between actions and their results as well as the implications of actions done by āryas and ordinary beings.
Only the Tathāgata fully and accurately knows the intricacies of past, present, and future karma and their results, including subtle causes leading to a particular experience in the beginningless lives of each sentient being.
The Tathāgata knows the various destinations of ordinary beings—the saṃsāric realms—and the paths leading to rebirth there. He also knows the destination of the āryas of the three vehicles—nirvāṇa—and the paths leading to that.
He fully understands the world and the various elements (dhātu) that compose it—the eighteen constituents (dhātu), six elements, external and internal sources (āyatana), twelve links (nidāna) of dependent arising, twenty-two faculties (indriya), and so on—with wisdom seeing them as impermanent, conditioned, and dependent processes.
He knows the different inclinations of beings (adhimutti, adhimokṣa)—their spiritual aims and the vehicles they are attracted to. This enables him to teach them the Dharma according to their individual faculties, abilities, and aspirations.
He knows the strength of each being’s faculties (indriya) of faith (saddhā, śraddhā), effort (viriya, vīrya), mindfulness (sati, smṛti), concentration (samādhi), and wisdom (paññā, prajñā) and teaches each being accordingly.
Because the Buddha has mastered the jhānas, the eight meditative liberations (vimokkha, vimokṣa), and the nine meditative absorptions (samāpatti), he knows the defilements, cleansing, and emergence (Pāli: sankilesa, vodāna, vuṭṭhāna) regarding them. Defilements are impediments hindering a meditator from entering a meditative absorption or, having entered, make it deteriorate. Cleansing is the method for removing the impediment. Emergence is the way to come out of a state of meditative absorption after having entered it. He is able to guide others to attain these meditative states without their becoming attached to the bliss of concentration and urge them to continue practicing the path to nirvāṇa.
The Tathāgata recollects in detail his manifold past lives with their aspects and particulars. This and the next power are the last two of the five superknowledges (abhiññā, abhijñā). Thus he knows his previous relationships with each sentient being and what types of relationship would be most beneficial to have with them now and in the future.
With the divine eye, he sees beings dying and being born according to their karma. Knowing this, he does whatever is most beneficial to guide each being on the path to awakening.
Realizing with direct knowledge, the Tathāgata here and now enters upon and abides in the unpolluted deliverance of mind (cetovimutti, cittavimukti) and deliverance by wisdom (paññāvimutti, prajñāvimukti) and knows that all defilements have been eradicated. He also knows the level of realization and attainment of each being of the three vehicles. The last three powers are the three higher knowledges that the Buddha gained while meditating during the night prior to his awakening.
Both the Pāli tradition (in later commentaries) and the Sanskrit tradition (in the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras) describe eighteen qualities of a buddha not shared by other arhats (aṭṭhārasāveṇikabuddhadhammā, aṣṭādaśāveṇikabuddhadharma):
Six unshared behaviors
Due to mindfulness and conscientiousness, a buddha has no mistaken physical actions, whether he is walking, standing, sitting, or lying down. He acts in accordance with what he says, and his speech satisfies what each sentient being who is listening needs to understand in that moment.
Always speaking appropriately, truthfully, and kindly, he is free from mistaken speech and idle chatter. A buddha does not dispute with the world, nor does he complain about what others have done.
He is free from any kind of forgetfulness interfering with the jhānas and exalted wisdom, or with viewing all sentient beings and teaching them appropriately.
His mind always abides in meditative equipoise on emptiness, and simultaneously he teaches sentient beings the Dharma.
He does not perceive any discordant appearances of inherent existence and thus recognizes all phenomena as sharing the one taste of emptiness. He also does not treat sentient beings with bias.
He abides in perfect equanimity, knowing the individual characteristics of each phenomenon.
Six unshared realizations
Due to his all-encompassing love and compassion, a buddha never experiences any decline of his aspiration and intention to benefit all sentient beings and to increase their virtuous qualities.
He never loses joyous effort to lead others to awakening. A buddha experiences no physical, verbal, or mental fatigue and continuously cares for the welfare of sentient beings without getting tired, lazy, or despondent.
A buddha’s mindfulness effortlessly remains constant and uninterrupted. He is mindful also of the situations each sentient being encounters in the past, present, and future and the methods to subdue and help them.
He continuously remains in samādhi free from all obscurations and focused on the ultimate reality.
His wisdom is inexhaustible and never declines. He perfectly knows the 84,000 Dharma teachings and the doctrines of the three vehicles, as well as how and when to express them to sentient beings.
It is impossible for him to lose the state of full awakening free from all obscurations. He knows the mind to be naturally luminous, and he lacks any dualistic appearance or grasping at duality.
Three unshared awakening activities
Imbued with exalted wisdom, a buddha’s physical actions are always done for the benefit of others. He emanates many bodies that appear wherever sentient beings have the karma to be led on the path to awakening. Whatever a buddha does has a positive effect on sentient beings, subduing their minds.
Knowing the dispositions and interests of each sentient being, he teaches the Dharma in a manner appropriate for that person. His speech flows smoothly, is accurate and lovely to listen to. It does not deceive or lead others astray but is clear, knowledgeable, and kind.
Filled with undeclining love and compassion, his mind encompasses all beings with the intention to do only what is of the highest benefit. He is effortlessly and continuously cognizant of all phenomena.
Three unshared exalted wisdoms
A buddha’s exalted wisdom knows everything in the three times—(1) past, (2) present, and (3) future—without any obscuration or error. His knowledge of the future does not mean that things are predetermined. Rather, a buddha knows that if a sentient being does a particular action, this particular result will follow, and if another course of action is taken, a different result will come. He knows all buddhafields and realms of sentient beings as well as all the beings and their activities there.
Reading such passages from the sūtras gives us an idea of a buddha’s exceptional qualities. Contemplating them brings joy and expands our mental horizons. These passages also give us an idea of the qualities we will attain if we practice the Dharma as the Buddha instructed.
While the descriptions of the four fearlessnesses and ten powers in the Pāli and Sanskrit traditions do not differ considerably, the Sanskrit tradition emphasizes how these abilities benefit sentient beings.
Lig, wanneer de droomstaat daagt, niet als een lijk in onwetendheid terneer.
Betreedt de natuurlijke sfeer van de onwankelbare aandacht.
Herken je dromen en zet illusie om in lichtgevendheid.
Beoefening van droomyoga vindt plaats in sommige tradities binnen het Tibetaans boeddhisme of Vajrayana boeddhisme. In de visie die ten grondslag ligt aan droomyoga, wordt een parallel getrokken tussen het proces van slapen en dromen enerzijds en de verschillende stadia van het stervensproces anderzijds.
Volgens het Tibetaans dodenboek (of Bardo Thodrol) lossen tijdens het stervensproces de vijf elementen waaruit het lichaam is samengesteld zich in elkaar op. Wanneer het laatste element, ruimte, zich heeft opgelost, gaat ons gebruikelijke bewustzijn dat gekoppeld is aan het materiele lichaam, op in wat wordt genoemd het ‘heldere licht’. Dit heldere licht wordt door de Dalai Lama omschreven als een niet-conceptuele staat van zijn, waarin er geen sprake meer is van een ervaren van het zelf. Voor mensen die geen of weinig meditatie beoefening hebben gedaan, duurt de staat van het heldere licht niet langer dan een ‘klik met de vingers’. Voor ervaren mediteerders kan het zo lang duren als ‘het eten van een maaltijd’. Deze fase in het stervensproces wordt vergeleken met het eerste slaapstadium direct na het inslapen.
En net zoals dit heldere licht slechts met grote moeite door de stervende kan worden herkend, is ook de slaper zich vrijwel nooit bewust van deze staat. Het Tibetaans dodenboek over sterven In het volgende stadium van het stervensproces doen zich, zo stelt het Tibetaans dodenboek visioenachtige beelden voor van verschillende boeddhavormen. Dit kan gepaard gaan met waarneming van zeer intensieve kleuren. Dit stadium wordt vergeleken met de droomstaat. En ook in deze fase geldt weer dat het voor de meeste mensen moeilijk is om het als zodanig te herkennen, om te weten dat ze dromen en dat de droombeelden voortkomen uit hun eigen geest.
Maar wanneer we in staat zijn om tijdens onze dromen droombeelden te herkennen als projecties van onze eigen geest is de kans groter dat we dat ook kunnen gedurende de periode die op ons sterven volgt. Deze helderheid van geest tijdens het dromen, wordt tegenwoordig in Europa en de Verenigde Staten lucide dromen genoemd. Binnen het Vajrayana boeddhisme zijn er beoefeningen die vertrouwd maken met de verschillende fasen van het stervensproces. Daarnaast kan er droomyoga worden beoefend. Juist tijdens het dromen is het mogelijk om de subtiele energie-geest te oefenen. Droomyoga is een uitstekende methode om vaste conditioneringen te doorbreken.
De concrete beoefening van droomyoga vindt plaats voor het slapengaan. Binnen de verschillende tradities van het Tibetaans boeddhisme zijn er verschillende meditatie-oefeningen om de heldere droomstaat op te wekken. De beoefeningen bestaan vaak uit visualisatie, soms in combinatie met ademhalingsoefeningen. Tijdens de droom kan iemand helpen door de dromer in het oor te fluisteren ‘Je bent nu aan het dromen’. Ook overdag kan droomyoga worden beoefend. De beoefenaar traint zich dan om alle verschijnselen als een droom te zien. Wanneer hij dat consequent doet, is de kans groter dat zijn zijn dromen zich als minder substantieel voordoen.
Bob Thurman brengt in zijn podcasts veel boeddhistische onderwerpen voor het voetlicht.
Laat je nooit verleiden om je keuze voor dharma te moeten verdedigen.
Volg je hart met wijsheid.
Je Pad is een innerlijk Pad dat je koestert omdat het bevrijding brengt.
Mensen hebben graag duidelijkheid en willen je in hokjes stoppen.
Alleen oprechte belangstelling in wat je bezielt is waardevol.
Dan is er communicatie van hart tot hart.
Plak nooit het label boeddhist op jezelf ,
dit leidt tot verwarring en onwetendheid.
Boeddhadharma is wat jij ervan realiseert.
In je daden zullen mensen zich een beeld van je vormen.
Bewaar wat kostbaar in je hart.
Laat liefdevolle vriendelijkheid je leiden in het leven.
De lotusbloem is zeer symbolisch geweest voor het Oosten , omdat het Oosten zegt dat je in de wereld moet leven , maar er onberoerd door moet blijven. Je moet in de wereld zijn , maar de wereld moet niet in jou zijn. Je moet door de wereld gaan zonder dat je enige indruk , enige schram met je meedraagt .
Als je tegen de tijd dat je sterft kunt zeggen dat je bewustzijn zo puur en zo onschuldig is als toen je geboren werd , dan heb je een religieus leven geleid , een spiritueel leven.
Daarom is de lotusbloem een symbool geworden. van een spirituele manier van leven. Onaangeroerd door het water groeit zij uit de modder in het water , en toch blijft zij onaangeroerd. En zij is een symbool van transformatie. Modder wordt getransformeerd tot de mooiste en meest geurende bloem die deze aarde kent. Gautama Boeddha was zo verliefd op de lotus dat hij zijn paradijs het Lotus Paradijs noemde.
Als je je gedraagt volgens de Boeddhistische moraal :
De kern van de Boeddhistische religie is het beëindigen van het lijden. Ergens waar men lijden beëindigt is ook de plaats waar Boeddhistische religie aanwezig is.
Je kunt overal Boeddhist zijn; in een huis, in een grot, in het bos, of in de bergen. Er hoeft geen mooie Boeddhistische tempel te zijn. Er hoeft geen monnik of novice te zijn.
Ook als gewone mensen zich gedragen volgens de leer van het Boeddhisme, dan is dat ook religie omdat dat de kern van de religie is. Het beëindigen van lijden.
Daarom als je de religie van het Boeddhisme wilt ondersteunen dan moet je dat doen door het beëindigen van lijden.