Philomonk, I hadn't read the part in the Pali cannon where a 'human' is given some special category relative to enlightenment. I have no idea what that would mean and that idea doesn't 'feel' right to me. This is notwithstanding that I've always just been taught that enlightenment is available to all 'sentient beings', and humans are the only sentient beings I know of. So maybe that's okay after all.
(I might add here that I am interested in zen and not Buddhism per se. I do believe there is a important distinction between these two. I believe Buddhism is a sub-set of zen, not zen a sub-set of Buddhism. I believe Buddhism and all its tenets are just one perspective and way of talking about zen. I say this only to let you know I'm not constrained by any sutra or 'what the Buddha said'. I do read sutras and have a lot of respect for them, but I also read the Bible and other 'holy' writings from other religions and find a large part of them perfectly compatible with my zen experience.) Now, back to enlightenment, humans and self-awareness: I think 'self-awareness' means just what it says: the condition of being aware-of-self. This would apply to most humans. Therefore, since the concept of 'self' is an illusion, 'enlightenment' means (to me) the realization (and application in my life) that my concept of 'self' is an illusion. That would lead me to believe that beings that are not self-aware do not need enlightenment because they are not laboring under the illusion of self. As far as one of your original questions as to WHICH humans are capable of enlightenment, all I could offer here is that the process of realizing that self is an illusion is NOT AN INTELLECTUAL PROCESS. That would suggest to me that humans that are intellectually impaired would not be excluded from attaining enlightenment, in fact might achieve enlightenment more easily since they don't have so much excess intellectual baggage to sort through. Is your cup full yet? More tea anyone? .Bill! From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of philomonk Sent: Saturday, July 05, 2008 9:17 AM To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [Zen] Practice, Psychosis and the Human My question isn't concerning Buddha-nature, not initially anyway. I agree with you about sentient-beings too. At least in the Pali canon though, the Buddha makes "the human" a special category relative to enlightenment, and my question is how is that category to be understood in the everyday life of practice. It maybe that there isn't anything attained by a human that isn't already there for/with any other kind of sentient being, but that begs the question of the relevance of "the human" and what that even is in light of the varieties of "humanness" we know in our biological species.Your suggestion of self-awareness could be useful, but that begs a similar question as the one before regarding what it is that a human is aware of. A possible response to that is that humans are unique in being aware of their humanness, but aside from almost getting platonic, that brings back the question of why that matters at all. __________ NOD32 3237 (20080702) Information __________ This message was checked by NOD32 antivirus system. http://www.eset.com