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

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?



From: [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf
Of philomonk
Sent: Saturday, July 05, 2008 9:17 AM
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.


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