difference between atman and buddha nature

difference between atman and buddha nature

This question has been asked by myself to many lamas, whether there is any difference between atman and buddha nature. Very very difficult to answer this in one way. On the other hand, the Buddhist fundamental view of emptiness always helps. buddha nature is emptiness, emptiness is buddha nature. Emptiness is not other than the buddha nature and buddha nature is not other than the emptiness. That’s quote Heart Sutra. So basically buddha nature is not a phenomena. It is not a phenomenon. Whereas atman, the way the Upanishads talks about atman, it seems to be indicating that it is a phenomenon. And that maybe one of the biggest difference between the Hindu concept of atman the Buddhist concept of buddha nature. I will tell you, see, buddha nature is actually what we call dande. It is a result of elimination. You got it? Result of elimination. If you were to ask me: “How can you prove that buddha nature exist? Show me buddha nature.” Very difficult. Right? But there is something I can do and that is I can prove that defilements is destroyable. You got it? That ignorance is destroyable. Aggression, passion, ignorance, pride, jealousy, all these are destroyable. They are temporal. They are dependent. They are caused. They are conditioned. With effort we can destroy all of them. That I can prove. Easily. Let’s say you are an angry person. Right. Even without using the Buddhist method, somebody can pad you shoulder. Calm down. Calms down. So we know that anger is not a permanent entity. It is something that can be manipulated. It is something that can be destroyed. Now so I can prove that all these negative emotions can be destroyed absolutely. So what I am saying is I can proof the existence of absence of ignorance. And that proving, that absence of ignorance is presence of the buddha nature. Other than that, if you want me to show you buddha nature with light glowing from its head, six arms, eight legs. It doesn’t exist. And if it does exist then it becomes an entity and then it is very dangerous. Then Buddhist concept of buddha nature will become like a Christian concept of soul. See the Christians talk about saving the soul. Isn’t it? Save my soul, save his soul. You don’t save buddha nature. Buddha nature itself is a savior. It is the Buddha. Buddha cannot be saved. Two different thing.

The Three Levels of Perception, Singapore 2003

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