Obviously it refers to the philosophers of their time but i came across this interesting discussion in the Lankavatara i thought id share and gauge some responses with. what do you think?


"Then Mahamti said to the blessed one: The philosophers declare that the world rises from causal agencies according to the law of causation; they state that their cause is unborn and is not annihilated. they mention nine-primary elements: ishvara the creator, the creation, atoms, etc., which being elementary are unborn and not to be annihilated. the blessed one, while teaching that all things are un-born and that there is no annihilation, also declares that the world takes it rise from ignorance, discrimination, attachment. deed, etc., working according to the law of causation. though the two sects of elements may differ in form and name, there does not appear to be any essential difference between the two positions. if there is anything that is distinctive and superior in the blessed one's teaching, pray tell us, blessed one, what is it?"

"the blessed one replied: my teaching of no-birth and no-annihilation is not like that of the philosophers, nor is it like their doctrine of birth and impermanency. that to which the philosopher's ascribe the characteristic of no-birth and no-anihilation is the self-nature of all things, which causes them to fall into dualism of being and non-being. My teaching transcends the conception of being and non-being; it has nothing to do with birth, abiding and destruction; nor with existence and non-existence. i teach that the multidudinousness of objects have no reality in themselvesbut are only seen of mind and, therefore, are of the nature of maya and a dream. i teach the non-existence of things because they carry no signs of any inherent self-nature. it is true that in one sense that are seen and discriminated by the senses as individualised objects; but in another sense, because of the absence of any characteristic marks of self-nature, they are not seen but are only imagined. in one sense they are graspable, but in another sense, they are not graspable."

Lankavatara Sutra




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Comment by michaelcarlo on April 1, 2010 at 8:03pm
How can one learn and understand if the teacher cannot explain what “is” but can only reply what is “not”. How does one contemplate the mystery of the forest without an understanding of the tree? We’re scattered like seeds in a garden upon the planes and sub-planes of our organizing and life giving Logos, the Sun. This sutra I believe was never meant to reveal any thing because “That” mystery is beyond revelation. The delusional imaginations of the lower self, driven by fear, in time become tempered by the Inspirational Intuition of the higher self. The true function of the sutra in my opinion is to “still the mind, quiet the emotion and relax the physical body” enabling access to several doors that miraculously open before the student revealing his/her place in the Creation.
Comment by Katinka Hesselink on April 1, 2010 at 5:23am
I don't see the connection to The Secret Doctrine.

The Lankavatara sutra is one of the main Mahayana Buddhist sutras, so yes, it's not likely to be 'Buddha' talking. Though perhaps Blavatsky would disagree. She seemed to buy into the whole - these texts were hidden and only now came into the open - claim. Scientists generally assume that that claim is a device to make new texts appear to belong to the tradition, and therefore credible.
Comment by Martin Euser on March 31, 2010 at 6:06pm
This sutra seems to belong to Mahayana Buddhism, which deviates significantly from the older texts of Buddhism. Ask the webmaster of attan.com and he will tear it down more likely than not.
One point seems in accord with theosophy, as per H.P. Blavatsky and G. de Purucker, namely that humans attribute reality, meaning, and truth to what they perceive. If they see something in the dark that in reality is a rope, but they perceive it to be a snake, then they react according to their perception of the snake, i.e. kill it or get away. This position is called objective idealism.
The rope is still a rope, of course, despite one's active imagination of it being a snake.
Comment by michaelcarlo on March 30, 2010 at 11:54am
The sutra of the mahatma you quote and his lofty vision of what he non-perceives is way above my humble pay grade. I’ll use the Earth as an example. Where he see’s illusion, I perceive reality dictated by the ordered hierarchies (solids, liquids, gases and ethers) forever unfolding the inner swabhavic self-nature (mineral, plant, animal, individualized man, etc) contained within this sphere in a spiraling evolutional arc. Fohat, the serpentine vehicle of the causeless, cause; (Divine Will) deposits its residual footprint or effect in the lower worlds by stratifying the spiritual essence into material substance utilizing vibrational, cyclical rhythms of inbreathing and out breathing, activity and rest, manvantara and pralaya throughout the greater, lesser cycle. (as above so below) This Teacher, it seems, is minimizing the importance (life) of the players (Effects) in comparison to the overall victory, conception of the game. (Cause) Neutralizing the joy, honor and privilege (mental, emotional and physical) to experience what it is to be Man.

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