Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:49 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:So reality, for you, is material and non-material simultaneously? But you believe in non-material effects but not non-material existence (reality)? How does that work?


Reality is both material and non-material. Just as sentience is both material and non-material. Belief in beings that are non-material only, is a belief. Nothing more. There is no proof.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:46 pm

Andrew108 wrote: Reality is both material and non-material. Just as sentience is both material and non-material. Belief in beings that are non-material only, is a belief. Nothing more. There is no proof.


However, it is important to consider that in this case we are actually making a comparative analysis.
We are trying to evaluate whether such as thing as a "non-material being" (undefined * )
is in some sense "real" in the same way that one considers oneself to be real.
In other words,
the disbeliever is saying "non material being X is not as real as I am am"
and the believer is saying "non material being X is as real as I am am"

...and in both instances, the reality of the one (who is believing or not believing) is taken for granted as substantial,
as though an actual self exists that one is now comparing with "non material being X".

*"non material being" is undefined. A text might give a description, but beyond that, anything can be considered. A non-material being might be a ghost or a yidam or a Dharma protector, or whatever. This ambiguity works in favor of the materialist, because even the believer in non-material beings still regards the reality of non-material beings in the context of that which can be measured and specifically identified: the "material being". The believer still asserts that "the non-material being is just as real as (or perhaps even more real than) I am"

Or, if one takes into consideration the assertion that nothing actually arises that can truly be called a "being" (whether material or not), then the statement that "non material beings do not exist" is true, but it is also true that the "material" person making the statement has no true existence either.

We also have to take into consideration the idea that while the material of a "material being" (e.g., the carbon of a carbon-based life form) can be said to occur, and can be regarded as "real" within a relative context, the awareness or consciousness specifically associated with that "material being" is not, in itself material, just as a saxophone is made of a material (brass), but the sound waves it emits have no material substance.
In that light, even a "material being" ( if defined as the thoughts and sensations, and sense of identity associated with it ) has no material reality. We speak of "my body" as a possessive concept. We don't say, "My body's body" or "my body's hair needs a hair cut". The "being" is the abstract concept of a self who we imagine "owns" the material body.

Thus, the safest statement one can make is: "non-material beings are no more real than I am"
. . .
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:58 pm

Andrew108 wrote:Reality is both material and non-material. Just as sentience is both material and non-material. Belief in beings that are non-material only, is a belief. Nothing more. There is no proof.
"Sentience requires a brain" is a belief. "Non-material beings do not exist" is also a belief. "Electromagnetic waves are real" is also a belief since we cannot directly observe an electromagnetic wave, only its effect. "Reality exists" is also a belief because we have no truly objective manner in which to "see" reality, it is always through the subjective lens of the observer. So... I guess that puts us right back at the beginning of our discussion then.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:03 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote: "Electromagnetic waves are real" is also a belief since we cannot directly observe an electromagnetic wave, only its effect.


Because something has an effect, we can infer a cause. This is different from mere belief. Hence, we can state for a fact that there are things we do not know about. It is a mistake to think that the only things that occur are the things we are aware of, and that if we are not aware of something then it does not exist. A cancer or other disease can be causing damage to the body, even though there is no awareness of it until it is too late.

Since "real" is a very loaded term, it is more accurate perhaps to say that "Electromagnetic waves actually occur" .

. . .
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:12 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Because something has an effect, we can infer a cause. This is different from mere belief. Hence, we can state for a fact that there are things we do not know about. It is a mistake to think that the only things that occur are the things we are aware of, and that if we are not aware of something then it does not exist. A cancer or other disease can be causing damage to the body, even though there is no awareness of it until it is too late.

Since "real" is a very loaded term, it is more accurate perhaps to say that "Electromagnetic waves actually occur" .

. . .
And how do we prove the veracity of an inference of something that is unobservable (directly)? I could just as easily say the cause is pink winged unicorns (equally non-existent at a material level). Or God (if one is inclined that way). Or...

We believe that the effect is caused by electromagnetic waves. Now that would be the correct manner in which to state it. You disagree?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby conebeckham » Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:31 pm

Andrew108 wrote:
conebeckham wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:Okay. Do you believe in non-material beings?

How could he, as a materialist? If consciousness emerges from matter, as he indicated was his belief....


I didn't say consciousness emerges from matter. You are projecting. I said consciousness emerges from reality.


You said you don't think non-material beings are possible. Therefore, I am assuming that for you beings must have a material component, and I assume a component of "consciousness" as well...What is "reality," then, apart from consciousness and material, in your system? What portion of reality am I missing? Or does consciousness not "emerge" at all?

EDIT: I see, from reading the rest of the thread, you've already answered some of this...but I'd like to see you answer this, anyway...especially the last bit.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:56 pm

conebeckham wrote: What is "reality," then, apart from consciousness and material, in your system? What portion of reality am I missing? Or does consciousness not "emerge" at all?


I would say that reality is that which has a value at every point. That is my definition of reality. It happens that each value can be measured and we can see that we are part of it rather than it manifesting from us. Reality has characteristics and laws that are not just conventions. They are proven. We didn't create these laws - such as the laws of thermodynamics or gravity. They are themselves characteristics of reality and come about because at every point, reality has a value.

I have already posted what I think the implications of a naturalist view are for students of Mahamudra. You see in reality that there is natural non-fixation and so on and you see your thoughts as expressions of that same non-fixated reality and so on. And your meditation is without effort. This life/reality has the characteristics of non-fixation and so why wouldn't you have the same characteristics? This life/reality has no fixed identity. So why would you be different from this? In the end this is not much different from establishing the body of the deity - just that this deity is not a supernatural being but is in fact our reality.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:57 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:And how do we prove the veracity of an inference of something that is unobservable (directly)? I could just as easily say the cause is pink winged unicorns (equally non-existent at a material level). Or God (if one is inclined that way). Or...


Science. Scientific method. Quite powerful. Useful for everyone.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby conebeckham » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:00 pm

Interesting post, Andrew108. Thanks. I will think about it. You have a somewhat personal "vocabulary." But I see nothing inconsistent at first glance with what I understand about Mahamudra and reality.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:01 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:However, it is important to consider that in this case we are actually making a comparative analysis.
We are trying to evaluate whether such as thing as a "non-material being" (undefined * )
is in some sense "real" in the same way that one considers oneself to be real.
In other words,
the disbeliever is saying "non material being X is not as real as I am am"
and the believer is saying "non material being X is as real as I am am"

...and in both instances, the reality of the one (who is believing or not believing) is taken for granted as substantial,
as though an actual self exists that one is now comparing with "non material being X".

*"non material being" is undefined. A text might give a description, but beyond that, anything can be considered. A non-material being might be a ghost or a yidam or a Dharma protector, or whatever. This ambiguity works in favor of the materialist, because even the believer in non-material beings still regards the reality of non-material beings in the context of that which can be measured and specifically identified: the "material being". The believer still asserts that "the non-material being is just as real as (or perhaps even more real than) I am"

Or, if one takes into consideration the assertion that nothing actually arises that can truly be called a "being" (whether material or not), then the statement that "non material beings do not exist" is true, but it is also true that the "material" person making the statement has no true existence either.

We also have to take into consideration the idea that while the material of a "material being" (e.g., the carbon of a carbon-based life form) can be said to occur, and can be regarded as "real" within a relative context, the awareness or consciousness specifically associated with that "material being" is not, in itself material, just as a saxophone is made of a material (brass), but the sound waves it emits have no material substance.
In that light, even a "material being" ( if defined as the thoughts and sensations, and sense of identity associated with it ) has no material reality. We speak of "my body" as a possessive concept. We don't say, "My body's body" or "my body's hair needs a hair cut". The "being" is the abstract concept of a self who we imagine "owns" the material body.

Thus, the safest statement one can make is: "non-material beings are no more real than I am"
. . .


Non-material beings have no measurable value. Material beings, non-material things and material things do have a measurable value.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:04 pm

conebeckham wrote:Interesting post, Andrew108. Thanks. I will think about it. You have a somewhat personal "vocabulary." But I see nothing inconsistent at first glance with what I understand about Mahamudra and reality.


Yes I guess my vocabulary is unconventional. I'm glad we have the same kind of understanding.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:07 pm

Andrew108 wrote:Science. Scientific method. Quite powerful. Useful for everyone.
You obviously missed my earlier statements. Scientific method cannot prove the existence of a non-material phenomenon, all it can do is to provide the basis for an agreement (common belief) until a new scientifically proven belief comes along.

Anyway, the truth is that Buddhism is not materialistic/naturalistic. It just does not agree with materialism/naturalism on many points and actually, as far as I am concerned, it doesn't need to. There were materialist contemporaries of the Buddha back in the "good ol' days": Ajita Kesakambali, Payasi, Kanada, and the proponents of the Cārvāka school. Buddhism didn't agree with materialism then, so there is no reason for Buddhism to agree with it now (that it's fashionable in the "West").
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:07 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:And how do we prove the veracity of an inference of something that is unobservable (directly)? I could just as easily say the cause is pink winged unicorns (equally non-existent at a material level). Or God (if one is inclined that way). Or...

We believe that the effect is caused by electromagnetic waves. Now that would be the correct manner in which to state it. You disagree?


Certainly, a person can believe the causes for events to be anything they want, which is why, before there was an understanding of plate tectonics, people used to think that earthquakes were caused by angry gods.

Ultimately, what you are saying is that nothing can be verified simply because
anything that someone might imagine is an equally viable option.

If that is the case, then you are wrong, simply because Zombozzledrog, the "always wrong demon" that I just invented actually knocked you unconscious, and took over your computer and posted as you. But since Zombozzledrog, the "always wrong demon" is always wrong, then logically, your statement is wrong.
:rolling:
. . .
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:12 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Ultimately, what you are saying is that nothing can be verified simply because
anything that someone might imagine is an equally viable option.
For non-material phenomena. For material phenomena, it comes down to consensus.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:13 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote: Anyway, the truth is that Buddhism is not materialistic/naturalistic.

Then why did the Buddha refer to things such as looking at the body to see if there was anything that could be called a self?
What about the precepts? they are all concerned with natural "material" phenomena. Why did the Buddha suggest that one should not tale teachings merely on faith, but to test them out just as someone tests gold? Why did he propose the middle way between deprivation and indulgence?

If The Buddhadharma is not "materialistic/naturalistic" then it is about anything you want it to be about.
.
.
.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:15 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Ultimately, what you are saying is that nothing can be verified simply because
anything that someone might imagine is an equally viable option.
For non-material phenomena. For material phenomena, it comes down to consensus.


So, now you are saying that truth is a matter of popular opinion?
Okay, now you got me thinking about Germany in the 1930s.
. . .
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:18 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote: Anyway, the truth is that Buddhism is not materialistic/naturalistic.

Then why did the Buddha refer to things such as looking at the body to see if there was anything that could be called a self?
What about the precepts? they are all concerned with natural "material" phenomena. Why did the Buddha suggest that one should not tale teachings merely on faith, but to test them out just as someone tests gold? Why did he propose the middle way between deprivation and indulgence?

If The Buddhadharma is not "materialistic/naturalistic" then it is about anything you want it to be about.
.
.
.
You are seriously warping the meaning of the terms materialistic and naturalistic with your (rather bad) examples.
So, now you are saying that truth is a matter of popular opinion?
Okay, now you got me thinking about Germany in the 1930s.
. . .
You disagree? No need to look at Germany in the 30's, look at Lada Gaga in 2014: A true talent if ever there was one! Now that's the truth! :tongue:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:34 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Ultimately, what you are saying is that nothing can be verified simply because
anything that someone might imagine is an equally viable option.
For non-material phenomena. For material phenomena, it comes down to consensus.


By your own reasoning...
Since most of the people of the world do not share your opinion (and opinions are non-material)
therefore, it must be wrong.
. . .
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:37 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote: You are seriously warping the meaning of the terms materialistic and naturalistic with your (rather bad) examples.


How so? The Buddha taught people by having examine the phenomenal world.
How are the precepts against stealing, killing and drinking alcohol not about the material world?
How is the teaching of the four noble truths not specifically about how we relate to our senses?

Please give some examples of the terms materialistic and naturalistic that you consider to be accurate.

. . .
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:11 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:You obviously missed my earlier statements. Scientific method cannot prove the existence of a non-material phenomenon, all it can do is to provide the basis for an agreement (common belief) until a new scientifically proven belief comes along.


Science does prove the existence of non-material phenomena. Light would be one example.

Sherab Dorje wrote:Anyway, the truth is that Buddhism is not materialistic/naturalistic. It just does not agree with materialism/naturalism on many points and actually, as far as I am concerned, it doesn't need to. There were materialist contemporaries of the Buddha back in the "good ol' days": Ajita Kesakambali, Payasi, Kanada, and the proponents of the Cārvāka school. Buddhism didn't agree with materialism then, so there is no reason for Buddhism to agree with it now (that it's fashionable in the "West").


If you want. It's your choice.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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