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More Re to Brigitte

Nov 10, 2001 07:26 PM
by Gerald Schueler

<<<<<<Jerry: “As far as the Lankavatara (a Mind Only sutra translated by D.T. Suzuki) is concerned, it addresses citta and locates it between alaya and manas.
[Brigitte]I am not sure you are right about that. All the interpretations I have seen put manas just below alayavijnana. The lankavatara is hard to interpret.>>>

JERRY: Agreed that it is hard to interpret. And I agree that manas is below the alayavijnana. I am relying somewhat on Suzuki's intro to the sutra. My interpretation (for what its worth) can be found at

<<<Blavatsky rejected the Madhyamika, while at the same time trying to claim Tzongkhapa.>>>

JERRY: Yes. She adopted a lot of Mind Only (Yogacarya or Cittamatra) positions, while acknowledging that Tzongkhapa (founder of the Gelug Middle Way School) was a reincarnation of the Buddha. Now, even the Gelug's don't go that far, but rather consider him to have been an incarnation of the famous bodhisattva, Manjushri.

<<< The Lankavatara uses alaya in much the same way that Blavatsky uses atman ? >>>

JERRY: Yes, atman is roughly equivalent to the ego/self in Buddhism. According to Suzuki, in his intro to the Lankavatara Sutra, atman is "ego substance" and this is pretty much what I find across the board with Buddhist writers. Blavatsky herself was forced to accept the lousy translations available to her. For example, she gives a quote from the Avatamsaka Sutra, from a chapter titled "the Supreme Atman (Soul) as manifested in the character of the Arhats and Pratyeka-Buddhas" (p 423 of CW Vol XIV). Now, I just happen to have read a new copy of this sutra translated by Thomas Cleary, and trust me, there is no references anywhere to any "Supreme Atman" in Cleary's translation. Not to mention that this work is non other than the famous Hwa Yen Sutra of Chinese Buddhism. With translations like the ones she had available to her, its a wonder that she was able to do as well as she did.

Jerry: “ the Madhyamika Prasangika
is generally considered to be the highest 
school, and this school would reject most of her core
teachings as being a form of absolutism" 
[Brigitte]Who says the Madhyamika is the “highest school”? Who could presume to make such a judgement?>>>>>>

JERRY: Who else - the Madhyamikas do. You can also find this in the works of HH the Dali Lama, who is also a Madhyamika. Jeffery Hopkins and other translators state this as well. I am not so sure that the other schools would agree. Probably the most famous critic of absolutism was Tzongkhapa, also a Madhymika (meaning Middle Way or Centrist).

<<<<<<Jerry: “ she with that opposes Buddhism and Hinduism, which allow for humans to reimbody as animals"
{Brigitte] Not every school of Buddhism takes that idea seriously.

JERRY: ALL schools of Tibetan Buddhism accept that humans can be reborn as animals (and as hungry ghosts, and hell-beings, and gods). This idea comes right from Buddha in the sutras, and so I would be surprised to find a single school anywhere that opposed it as Blavatsky did. She discusses the six kingdoms of Buddhism, but then says that the door into the animal kingdom is closed - does this mean that we can still be reborn as hell-beings and hungry-ghosts (pretas)? or are those doors closed as well - she never says.

Jerry S.


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