On Tuesday, Jan 1 sungmanitu28 wrote:
>[.Bodhisattva stuff cut.] Are babies, at the first moment of birth,
>not already enlightened beings?
If you mean by 'enlightened', acting from your Buddha nature without
hindrance, I think that is true; and I think there is a good argument for
that in Buddhist and Christian teachings.
The Bodhisattva vow starts out with 'Sentient beings are numberless, I vow
to save them.' 'Sentient' is defined in the online Wordsmyth dictionary as
"having the capacity to receive sensations; able to perceive." 'Perceive'
is defined as "to become aware of through the senses.' 'Sentient' does not
mean 'thinking' or 'having the ability to use logic'. Therefore you could
conclude that a newborn baby is already a sentient being. I think it is
'thinking', especially discriminatory thinking, that is separating things
into subject/object, is what conceals our original Buddha nature. Since
newborns don't have that ability yet, or at least it is not yet
well-developed, I think you could consider them enlightened.
In the Christian Bible, Mark 10:, when his disciples tried to keep some
children from coming to him during one of his teaching sessions, Jesus is
purported to say: 'But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to
them, 'Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to
such as these that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs'. . Now it you equate 'the
Kingdom of Heaven' with enlightenment, and I do, then this passage also
supports the idea that children are already enlightened.
Also, in Matthew 18:3, Jesus is purported to have said: 'Unless you are
converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the
kingdom of heaven.' That also lends some credence to such a belief that
newborns, and even little children, are enlightened, and their enlightenment
is unhindered and apparent.
And again, in Genesis Chapters 2 and 3, Eve's and Adam's original sin, that
which got them kicked-out of the Garden of Eden, which separated them from
God, was 'eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and
Evil'. That to me mythologically describes the point in human evolution
when humans first begin to discriminate: to assign such tags as good/evil,
right/wrong, you/me, subject/object, etc.
By the way, I normally don't come across with a lot of Christian rhetoric,
but I do think the essence of all religions are one. And in this case I
think the concepts of Buddha mind and enlightenment are very, very similar
to the Christian concepts of God and the Kingdom of Heaven.