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Thread: Refuge in Tatha

  1. #1

    Refuge in Tatha

    Note: The following has been copied and pasted from a PM to Jundo, at his request. As such, please read "you" as "Jundo" when it appears in the text.

    I'm currently reading a book, Small Boat, Great Mountain, by Ajahn Amaro of Abhyagiri forest monastary in California. I'm reading this while Heather is finishing Moon in a Dewdrop, and it points to the same place that it seems you, Dogen, and Suzuki all point. In it, he quotes his teacher's teacher, Ajahn Chah, as saying "The Buddha who passed into parinibbana 2500 years ago is not the Buddha who is a refuge." As this book is, to my eyes, an apologetic pointing toward the ekay?na, the "One Vehicle" of Buddhism that encompasses all of the "paths up the mountain, (and anyway, what mountain?),"

    But, it makes sense (I think). Remembering the accounts of the historical Buddha may, as you say in your post today, inspire, present an example and ideal, but how can one take refuge in a man who died so long ago? Rather, perhaps we should understand it as taking refuge in the Tatha (Suchness, as in Tathagata, the "one who has come and gone in Suchness") that he was awakened to. And what is this "Suchness?" Just this. Just this moment, as it is. True reality; trusting, knowing that it is exactly what it is. The relative and the absolute merging. Nothing hidden. Taking refuge in Buddha is seeing the truth of emptiness, of suchness, and that they are not two.

    This ephemeral world is the relative and the absolute, beyond concepts and craving. We wander on, judging and wanting and craving and suffering, but to what ends? Reality manifests the true Buddha in each moment, in its emptiness and in its suchness. Buddha is present here and now. We don't see Buddha because we are looking for validation of our concept of Buddha. Let go of the concept, of all concepts, and instantly true Buddha is revealed. This is what Dogen meant when he said, "“To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things. To be enlightened by the ten thousand things is to drop off body and mind of self and other. No trace of enlightenment remains, and this traceless enlightenment continues endlessly.” Once we let go of "self" and dwell in this Tatha, this Suchness, the limitless, unborn, undying, uncreated is revealed, and Buddha is actualized throughout the whole of everything in all times and directions.

    Great robe of liberation,
    Field beyond form and emptiness,
    Wearing the Tathagata's teachings,
    Saving all beings.

    Truly seeing reality,
    Beyond all concepts,
    Immediate understanding,
    All is Buddha.


    Gassho,

    Saijun

  2. #2

    Re: Refuge in Tatha

    Taking refuge in the present moment, just as it is, the relative and the absolute merging. Very inspiring text Saijun. Thanks for sharing

    Gassho

    Rimon

  3. #3

    Re: Refuge in Tatha

    Saijun's message rings the Prajna bell. Lovely.

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #4

    Re: Refuge in Tatha

    Quote Originally Posted by Saijun
    Rather, perhaps we should understand it as taking refuge in the Tatha (Suchness, as in Tathagata, the "one who has come and gone in Suchness") that he was awakened to. And what is this "Suchness?" Just this. Just this moment, as it is.
    First, you should know that I am a grammar nazi, but only when it comes to Sanskrit. I apologize for that. With that said, I think you are thinking about the word "tath?t?" (Skr: ?????), which means suchness or thusness. "Tath?" (Skr: ???) just means thus. A Tathagata is therefore one who has gone/come thus. In some stupid way, I think it is important to differ between the two words. Again, I'm sorry.

    Second, I fully agree with your post. Thank you! Let us also remember that even though the historical Buddha lived close to 2500 years ago, there are other Buddhas who are our contemporaries. So, while the Buddha can be an ideal or example, and I fully agree with what you said about taking refuge in tath?t?, we can also take refuge to all the now living Buddhas.

  5. #5

    Re: Refuge in Tatha

    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    Quote Originally Posted by Saijun
    Rather, perhaps we should understand it as taking refuge in the Tatha (Suchness, as in Tathagata, the "one who has come and gone in Suchness") that he was awakened to. And what is this "Suchness?" Just this. Just this moment, as it is.
    First, you should know that I am a grammar nazi, but only when it comes to Sanskrit. I apologize for that. With that said, I think you are thinking about the word "tath?t?" (Skr: ?????), which means suchness or thusness. "Tath?" (Skr: ???) just means thus. A Tathagata is therefore one who has gone/come thus. In some stupid way, I think it is important to differ between the two words. Again, I'm sorry.

    Second, I fully agree with your post. Thank you! Let us also remember that even though the historical Buddha lived close to 2500 years ago, there are other Buddhas who are our contemporaries. So, while the Buddha can be an ideal or example, and I fully agree with what you said about taking refuge in tath?t?, we can also take refuge to all the now living Buddhas.
    Hello Anista,

    Thank you for your correction. Given that this is a copy/paste of sent correspondence, I'm going to opt to leave it as-is, but will make sure to get it right in the future ops: .

    Metta,

    Saijun

  6. #6

    Re: Refuge in Tatha

    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    First, you should know that I am a grammar nazi, but only when it comes to Sanskrit. I apologize for that. With that said, I think you are thinking about the word "tath?t?" (Skr: ?????), which means suchness or thusness. "Tath?" (Skr: ???) just means thus. A Tathagata is therefore one who has gone/come thus. In some stupid way, I think it is important to differ between the two words. Again, I'm sorry.
    Hmmmm. Most Sanskrit is Greek to me. However, I am curious as to your point, Anista. Thus Come One ... the 'Thus' is usually taken as Thusness. Why do you make a distinction?

    Thus, it is an "empty" subject. 8) I think it most expressed by the fact that, on my computer, the Sanskrit words ended up as little wordless squares ... ?????

    Gassho, J

  7. #7

    Refuge in Tatha

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    First, you should know that I am a grammar nazi, but only when it comes to Sanskrit. I apologize for that. With that said, I think you are thinking about the word "tath?t?" (Skr: ?????), which means suchness or thusness. "Tath?" (Skr: ???) just means thus. A Tathagata is therefore one who has gone/come thus. In some stupid way, I think it is important to differ between the two words. Again, I'm sorry.
    Hmmmm. Most Sanskrit is Greek to me. However, I am curious as to your point, Anista. Thus Come One ... the 'Thus' is usually taken as Thusness. Why do you make a distinction?

    Thus, it is an "empty" subject. 8) I think it most expressed by the fact that, on my computer, the Sanskrit words ended up as little wordless squares ... ?????

    Gassho, J
    Why I make a distinction? Because I can, of course!

    Seriously though, the distinction between tath? and tath?t? is that between happy and happiness. As I said, I am a grammar nazi, and this is a question of grammar. Also, when speaking about thusness, we always use the word tath?t?, not tath?. Also, The Buddha is never called a tath?t?gata, one who has gone into thusness, even though tath? can imply a thusness, when interpreted that way. That's why I think, stupidly enough, that it is important to differ between different Sanskrit terms. It can help when others, who may not know sanskrit, are searching for information. Also, a wrongly put letter can transform a word's meaning into something completely different. It's easy, since we aren't using Sanskrit in our day-to-day life, to just use phrases here and there, which just look wrong from a grammatical perspective. Since Sanskrit is our lingua franca, it can be useful to use the words separated and thus keep their original meaning. Does that make any sense?

    To sum up, Tath?gata can be interpreted as someone who has gone into thusness, because Tath?gata means someone who comes, or someone who has gone, that is, someone who neither comes nor goes, but instead resides in the here and now. But the word Tath?gata, comes from tath?, meaning thus. One who has gone thus.

    As I said, my reason for using one word instead of another, is surely stupid. Hence my apology.

  8. #8

    Re: Refuge in Tatha

    Saijun,

    Thank you for joining the chorus and the band.
    Your rendering of suchness and how the relative is the absolute itself has indeed a lovely bell sound.

    And the true meaning of the kesa is exactly what you point at.

    gassho


    Taigu

  9. #9

    Re: Refuge in Tatha

    Quote Originally Posted by anista

    To sum up, Tath?gata can be interpreted as someone who has gone into thusness, because Tath?gata means someone who comes, or someone who has gone, that is, someone who neither comes nor goes, but instead resides in the here and now. But the word Tath?gata, comes from tath?, meaning thus. One who has gone thus.
    Thank you, Anista, for the information. We need our grammarians too! It is very helpful.

    So long as the Thus Come/Thus Go gets to, thusly, no where in need of coming or going, here and now even as He/we come and go ... I think we thus come now to get somewhere with Real Meaning!

    Gassho, Jundo

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Refuge in Tatha

    Saijun,

    Thank you for posting this, it was very inspiring to read.

    There are so many wise people in Treeleaf.

    Thank you,
    Jodi

  11. #11

    Re: Refuge in Tatha

    Thank you for sharing.

    Gassho,
    Matt

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