Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature

Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature

by Dalai Lama, Thubten Chodron


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“The material in this volume is invaluable for those who sincerely wish to understand the Buddhist path and begin to follow it.”
—Venerable Sangye Khadro, author of How to Meditate

In this new book from the Dalai Lama, the reader will discover the mind’s infinitely vast potential, its buddha nature. Knowledge of buddha nature reveals and reconciles the paradox of how the mind can be the basis for both the duhkha of samsara (the unpurified mind) and the bliss and fulfillment of nirvana (the purified mind). To illustrate this, Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature first takes readers through Buddhist thought on the self, the four truths, and their sixteen attributes. It then explains afflictions—including how they arise and their antidotes—followed by an examination of karma and cyclic existence, and, finally, a deep and thorough elucidation of buddha nature. Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature shows us how to purify our minds and cultivate awakened qualities.

This is the third volume in the Dalai Lama’s definitive and comprehensive series on the stages of the Buddhist path, The Library of Wisdom and Compassion. Volume 1, Approaching the Buddhist Path, contains introductory material that sets the context for Buddhist practice. Volume 2, The Foundation of Buddhist Practice, describes the important teachings that help us establish a flourishing Dharma practice. Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature can be read as the logical next step in this series or enjoyed on its own.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781614295365
Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
Publication date: 01/22/2019
Series: The Library of Wisdom and Compassion , #3
Pages: 440
Sales rank: 128,585
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

His Holiness the Dalai Lama (b. 1935) is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. For sixty years, he was the also the political leader of the Tibetan people, first from the Potala Palace in Lhasa and then helping his compatriots adapt to the modern world from his residence in northern India. An advocate for science, ethics, and harmony among people of different faiths, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and travels widely in support of Buddhism, the cause of Tibet, and human happiness.

Table of Contents

Preface Bhiksuni Thubten Chodron xiii

Abbreviations xxi

Introduction by His Holiness the Dalai Lama 1

1 The Self, the Four Truths, and Their Sixteen Attributes 5

Three Questions about the Self 5

The Four Truths 10

The Coarse and Subtle Four Truths 18

The Sixteen Attributes of the Four Truths of Aryas 19

2 Revolving in Cyclic Existence: The Truth of Duhkha 39

Knowing Duhkha for What It Is 39

Realms of Existence 41

Three Types of Duhkha 47

Feelings, Afflictions, and Duhkha 50

Six Disadvantages of Cyclic Existence 51

Eight Unsatisfactory Conditions 53

Examining True Duhkha via Ten Points 54

Our Human Value 57

3 True Origins of Duhkha 63

The Six Root Afflictions 64

More Types of Defilements 87

Afflictions 88

Underlying Tendencies 88

Auxiliary Afflictions 92

Fetters 97

Pollutants 98

Hindrances 99

4 Afflictions, Their Arising, and Their Antidotes 101

Eighty-Four Thousand Afflictions 101

The Order in Winch Afflictions Arise 104

Factors Causing Afflictions to Arise 106

Feelings That Accompany Afflictions 109

The Ethical Dimension of Afflictions 110

Counterforces to the Afflictions 112

Afflictions, Our Real Enemy 119

5 Afflictions and Karma, Their Seeds and Latencies 123

Acquired and Innate Afflictions 124

Coarse and Subtle Afflictions 126

Seeds, Latencies, and Having-Ceased 126

Latencies and Ideas in Other Religions and in Psychology 135

Virtue, Nonvirtue, Merit, and Roots of Virtue 137

6 Karma, the Universe, and Evolution 141

The Origin of the Universe 141

Mind and the External World 144

The Laws of Nature and the Law of Karma and Its Effects 148

Karma and Our Present Environment 150

Karma, Instinctual Behavior, and Our Bodies 152

7 Revolving in Cyclic Existence: The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination 155

Dependent Arising 156

How Cyclic Existence Occurs 158

1 Ignorance (avidya) 159

2 Formative Action (samskara karman) 165

3 Consciousness (vijnana) 168

4 Name and Form (nama-rupa) 170

5 Six Sources (sadayatana) 172

6 Contact (sparsa) 176

7 Feeling (vedana) 176

8 Craving (trsna) 179

9 Clinging (upadana) 182

10 Renewed Existence (bhava) 185

11 Birth (jati) 188

12 Aging or Death (jaramarana) 190

8 Dependent Origination: Cycling in Samsara 193

How the Twelve Links Produce a Life 193

An Example 197

Flexibility 200

Pali Tradition: How We Cycle 200

An Example from a Pali Sutra 202

Who Revolves in Cyclic Existence? 204

The Ultimate Nature of the Twelve Links 211

9 The Determination to Be Free 217

The Benefits of Meditating on the Twelve Links 217

Invigorating a Dry Dharma Practice 219

Can a Leper Find Happiness? 222

Compassion for Ourselves and Others 225

The Demarcation of Generating the Determination to Be Free 227

10 Seeking Genuine Peace 231

The "Ye Dharma" Dharani 232

Forward and Reverse Orders of the Afflictive and Purified Sides of the Twelve Links 234

Transcendental Dependent Origination (Pali Tradition) 238

Karma in Samsara and Beyond 249

11 Freedom from Cyclic Existence 253

Stages Leading to Liberation and Full Awakening 254

The Two Obscurations 259

Nirvana 262

Pali Tradition: Nirvana 266

Bodhi 274

12 The Mind and Its Potential 277

The Mind's Potential 277

Is Liberation Possible? 279

Excellent Qualities Can Be Cultivated Limitlessly 281

Afflictive Mental States and the Nature of the Mind 283

The Equality of Samsara and Nirvana 284

Levels of Mind 286

13 Buddha Nature 291

The Mind's Potential according to the Pali Tradition 291

Arya Disposition according to the Vaibhasikas and Sautrantikas 292

Buddha Nature according to the Cittamatra School 293

Buddha Nature according to the Madhyamaka School 296

Buddha Nature according to Tantra 301

Nine Similes for Tathagatagarbha 302

Three Aspects of the Tathagatagarbha 310

Three Aspects of Buddha Disposition 314

A Puzzle 315

14 Going Deeper into Buddha Nature 319

The Three Turnings of the Dharma Wheel and Buddha Nature 319

A Link between Sutra and Tantra 322

Nothing Is to Be Removed 325

The Capacity Giving Rise to the Three Kayas 327

A Buddha's Nature Dharmakaya 328

Pristine Wisdom Abiding in the Afflictions 330

Causal Clear Light Mind 332

What Continues to Awakening? 332

Dzogchen and Mahamudra 334

Are We Already Buddhas? 337

Awareness of Our Buddha Nature Eliminates Hindrances 341

Notes 343

Glossary 353

Further Reading 367

Index 371

About the Authors 409

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