when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:47 am

Experience of debating such questions on forums, and talking to friends, indicates that the only real answer to this question is 'sensitivity to suffering' - in other words, the ability to respond to the noble truth of suffering. If a person is not open to this possibility, then there is no way to talk to them about spiritual ideas. They won't generally see the point.

(I suppose this is one of the meanings of the Fire Sermon in the Lotus Sutra. You have to find ways to make the topic interesting, so as to interest those who are not really interested in them.)
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:20 pm

joda wrote:
Wanting presupposes an object, which is something you dont perceive anymore when youre realized.
......
everyone has Buddhanature but still needs to first beleive in Buddhism to become a Buddha.
......
In the days the Mahayana formed in the minds of lay people and monks the Buddha turned from a ascetic into more and more of an superhuman being and with that his qualities and the quality of enlightenment got boosted, resulting in the people who were reading the sutras of becoming more and more convinced that enlightenment also was a superhuman thing, very hard to reach.
......
Since there apparently is no Buddhist who knows how, it is now.


Sorry, you make too many random assumptions for me to respond to.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby wisdom » Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:10 pm

joda wrote:I see. It still has the failure tho that everyone has Buddhanature but still needs to first beleive in Buddhism to become a Buddha. Doesnt make any sense. If you think that nonduality of emptiness-clarity is the Tathagatagarbha then the same problem exists - it causes everything, you might as well call it rape-nature. Doesnt sound so great tho, does it :tongue:


You don't have to believe in Buddhism, you have to believe in Dharma, and those are two totally different things.

joda wrote:In the days the Mahayana formed in the minds of lay people and monks the Buddha turned from a ascetic into more and more of an superhuman being and with that his qualities and the quality of enlightenment got boosted, resulting in the people who were reading the sutras of becoming more and more convinced that enlightenment also was a superhuman thing, very hard to reach. So Tathagathagarbha was created to give them hope back that eventho enlightenment is a really great thing everyone can reach it, because everyone has Buddha-nature.
I forgot where I read this argument, I thought it was Williams but cant find it right now. Makes sense to me in any case.


Its just inconceivable what happens to the mind of a person who rests in their Buddha Nature because that nature is beyond all conception and all elaboration of thought. On the one hand its just a normal process, completely ordinary. On the other hand a person develops all these qualities and powers spontaneously that appear to be miraculous to others. Its through the power of compassion that a Buddha knows the minds and nature of sentient beings, and through that might appear to be superhuman. But we all have access to compassion, so we all have access to such superhuman attributes.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby wisdom » Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:35 pm

joda wrote:I find the merely psychological interpretation of dukkha rather silly, since only a small amount of mental suffering does really arise due to not perceiving transitoriness - most problems that we face in our lives are based on different and / or way more complex issues.


Its not actually complex at all when you look at what is really happening. Suffering is caused by attachment, attachment is caused by grasping, grasping is caused by desire, and desire is caused by ignorance. When we are ignorant of our Buddha nature we reach out for samsaric things in the hopes that it will free us from our situation, but we just create further causes of suffering.

joda wrote:If on the one hand side for example my house burns down I am not shocked because I expeced it to last forever but because of the problems arising due to that loss. On the other hand side, knowing that things are in fact not eternal is common-sense and does not have much to do with specific Buddhist understanding


Knowing that things are impermanent is totally different from having had the realization of emptiness. Knowledge of the emptiness nature of self and other is what imparts upon a person the ability to remain unattached to situations and outcomes. This doesn't mean it won't effect us, it just means we deal with it in a far different way. Its easy to see how a house burning down might ruin someones life, right? They would freak out, cry for days, talk about it for years. On and on it would go, suffering upon suffering. The loss would come again and again as you realized oh, I don't have this anymore, I lost that too, and those pictures are gone forever. More crying, more sorrow. When would it end? Only when you have what you want again, right? But its not over because you're still just attached, another fire would just create another situation identical to the first.

Not so for one who has realized emptiness. They will feel the pain of loss, sure, but they know what is true and real. They might have worked hard for what they had, but they knew the whole time that everything they accumulated was never existent in the first place and mere luxuries at best. They could even turn the situation towards Dharma and use it to teach onlookers about impermanence, especially if they were able to meet the situation while maintaining clarity of mind and even joy, which would be a true display of enlightened activity for the benefit of others. What I can't fathom is someone who has realized emptiness freaking out over the situation and letting it effect them for any prolonged period of time, though its easy to see that happening to someone who had strong attachments. Things are just things, objects are just objects. If there was any tears it would be due to loss of life or suffering, not because of the loss of material goods.

joda wrote:Well from inside Buddhism the idea of Buddhahood isnt too illogical.
From outside the box though thinking about Buddhahood is a step which cant be taken if enlightenment is unestablished.


Enlightenment is unestablished because our Buddha Nature is unestablished. What this means is that it is the supreme ground of all being and becoming. It is the groundless state, the groundless ground. Enlightenment is abiding in the Buddha Nature, what appears and manifests is not enlightenment but enlightened activity, but even that activity is essentially unreal and empty in its nature. However the emptiness of the Buddha Nature is not a big nothing. The following analogies are often given to describe the nature of our minds, but even these are just concepts and words:

The Nang Jang States- wrote:"Ah! This empty space is the ground for the arising of the entire universe! For example, it is like a mirror being the ground for the arising of a reflection, which has never existed as anything other than the mirror. It is like water being the ground for the arising of the moons image, which has never existed as anything other than water. And it is like the sky being the ground for the arising o a rainbow, which has never existed as anything other than the sky."


joda wrote:Ive read that in later literature but its not really logical. If you have Prajna active then you either dont have Avidya active or Avidya gets seen with Prajna. So if Prajna would be the nature of the mind then it would be active all the time and therefore you would always be enlightened. But if its not there then its not the nature of the mind and the queston would arise from where it suddenly comes from. More of a rhetorical remark.


Ignorance and wisdom are non-dual like samsara and nirvana, at least this is my understanding but perhaps I'm wrong.

joda wrote:In any case this presupposes that you both want to wipe your mirror all-day long and from the perspective of only relieving the psychological dukkha this seems like rather overdoing it. And if you want to wipe once and for all then we are at the beginning again not being able to show how to reach that moment of direct perception.


Actually you can be shown how to reach that moment of direct perception, its called direct introduction.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:10 pm

I mentioned before, that if your context is based purely on the Pali literature, the Mahayana perspective might not apply. This doesn't mean that one is right and the other is wrong. It is quite unfortunate that a lot of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhists have never read much Pali literature. It is rich in content, precise and direct.

But if the Dharma is the truth, then it is still the truth regardless of who said it. Fire is fire and it doesn't matter if one rubs two sticks together as the first caveman might have done, or uses an electric cigarette lighter, as long as the flame is produced. If practicing the Mahayana teachings results in the perfect cessation of suffering and rebirth, then it is Dharma, and proving that Shakayamuni really said it is of little importance to the Mahayanist.

I am always fascinated by those who rely exclusively on words from the Pali literature which were not written down until a century after they were (probably) spoken, recorded in a language that the Buddha did not speak, and preserved some 5,000 miles south of where he is said to have spoken them, and who refer to these texts as the absolute and exclusive gospel of Buddhism as though Indian society was any less complex 2,500 years ago than it is today.

Do you think that in 40 years of teaching, the Pali canon is all that was taught? Just as there are people with challenging viewpoints on this forum which is younger than the internet itself, don't you suppose the Buddha had forty years of conversations and debates with yogis, sadhus, Jains, Brahmins and all sorts of people? It is my understanding that he gave teachings to different types of people according to the questions they asked, and in the context of their own understanding. There is also much evidence to support the idea that Mahayana teachings were not just some reinterpretation that developed later on.

While the claim that Mahayana Sutras elevate the Buddha to the level of a superhuman or celestial being cannot be disputed, there are plenty of stories (including the legend of the birh of Prince Siddartha) in the Pali literature which can be interpreted the same way. Elaboration and selectivity is a fact of historical accounting!

But what is ironic is to insist, on the one hand, that the Buddha was an ordinary flesh & blood human, essentially indistinguishable from anyone else, and then in the same breath to suggest that since his time obviously nobody else has attained realization (of the perfect cessation of suffering and rebirth) ...ironic because, how would you know?

If a Buddha looks the same as you or me, there could be thousands of Buddhas all around us, driving taxis or whatever. If we insist that a Buddha is a regular guy and isn't radiating rainbows and flying around on a lotus flower, then there could have been many since Shakyamuni's time, and many traditions insist that there have been many enlightened teachers. If Only 1 person every so many thousands of years gets enlightened from practicing dharma, it must be pretty poor quality stuff.

Citing the insubstantial and illusory nature of our composite "reality"...and then criticizing Mahayanists because their description of The Buddha doesn't conform to that insubstantial and illusory "reality" is hardly an argument.

If you say a Buddha no longer perceives an object, then how could the Buddha touch the ground and say "The Earth is my witness" of even see and talk to people? If all thinking stops when one becomes enlightened, then how would one know that one is enlightened? That understanding makes no sense.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby greentara » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:00 am

Padma, You surprise me! "If a Buddha looks the same as you or me, there could be thousands of Buddhas all around us, driving taxis or whatever. If we insist that a Buddha is a regular guy and isn't radiating rainbows and flying around on a lotus flower, then there could have been many since Shakyamuni's time, and many traditions insist that there have been many enlightened teachers. If Only 1 person every so many thousands of years gets enlightened from practicing dharma, it must be pretty poor quality stuff."
You are being overly optimistic to think there are thousands of enlightened beings around us. To subdue the ego, to truely detach oneself from family, possessions, the strong sense of ownership, concepts and engrained habits you have to be very ripe 'just like a fruit about to drop from the tree' and then maybe the mystery of divine grace is still needed.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:42 am

greentara wrote:
You are being overly optimistic to think there are thousands of enlightened beings around us. To subdue the ego, to truely detach oneself from family, possessions, the strong sense of ownership, concepts and engrained habits you have to be very ripe 'just like a fruit about to drop from the tree' and then maybe the mystery of divine grace is still needed.


Oh, okay then. Hundreds. :tongue:

My point was that a person argues that The Buddha wasn't some glowing cosmic mega-being but was a regular flesh & blood person (suggesting that "enlightenment" IS possible to the ordinary person) and at the same time argues, essentially, that since nobody has turned up whose legendary status matches that of the "historic Buddha" (Shakyamuni) that therefore there haven't been any more people to achieve realization. And to me, that's a contradictory criteria.

Maybe I have been fortunate enough to meet teachers whose qualities you describe above.
On the other hand, "detach oneself" can mean a lot of things.
More to the point, however (or perhaps completely off topic for that matter)
since the discussion is about "evidence",
I often wonder how many people who study & practice dharma
really believe that they can achieve perfect cessation of suffering, or nirvana,
or buddhahood or whatever you want to call it.
Of course, it would be all too easy for someone to think they had achieved it (a delusion and big ego trip)
and unfortunately, one sees this from time to time.

Yet, I am curious as to whether not really believing it --
--actually stops people from achieving it.
And whether having unwaivering conviction in the teachings of the Buddha
how can i say it..."helps to make realization come true"
(words are often clumsy devices)
It is one thing to approach dharma hypothetically,
but something else to really have faith in it as a genuine possibility.

That is one of the things I appreciate about Pure Land Buddhism
which many "intellectuals" dismiss as moronic.
Its adherents often have such solid conviction in the truth of the teachings.
Does that kind of conviction actually help cut through ego-clinging?

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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby joda » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:02 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
joda wrote:
Wanting presupposes an object, which is something you dont perceive anymore when youre realized.
......
everyone has Buddhanature but still needs to first beleive in Buddhism to become a Buddha.
......
In the days the Mahayana formed in the minds of lay people and monks the Buddha turned from a ascetic into more and more of an superhuman being and with that his qualities and the quality of enlightenment got boosted, resulting in the people who were reading the sutras of becoming more and more convinced that enlightenment also was a superhuman thing, very hard to reach.
......
Since there apparently is no Buddhist who knows how, it is now.


Sorry, you make too many random assumptions for me to respond to.
.


No problem, I really didnt follow any red line anymore but just responded to what you said.
There are two things tho I would like to add, more of a personal note.
The first is that unlike how I might come across I am not dismissing Buddhism, I'm pretty agnostic about it actually - wouldnt have studied it for the time I did if it was just out of boredom. So my aim here was not convincing anyone that its all crap, but figuring out if people do have the answers to these things. I have been a fundamentalist Christian once, I know its impossible to convince anyone who believes in something, no matter how ridiculous the belief might be. Which touches my second aim - understanding why 99% of Buddhists need belief - this also is a bit of a quest to understand why I myself needed it because looking back it looks totally puzzling, but its also fascinating for me because for me it runs completely contra what the Buddha actually asked us to do. It makes me grin seeing that people who think they "look at how reality really is" are really doing not much more but repeating texts and wondering about skycastles, instead of really using their brains.
The second thing concerns your comments about Pali literature. As a pureland practicioner its understandeable that you react to statements concerning the old sutras in quite an automatic way, as it would destroy the basis of your practice if you looked at things from a historically accurate perspective - but as I said before I am talking about the old texts - thsi includes Sthaviravada, Theravada, Sarvastivada, but also Yogacara and Prajnaparamita/early Madhyamaka. So my definition of old is rather stretched ;). But I assume an this information is only relevant if you have an idea how Buddhist doctrines evolved over the time, just as my comments about different definitions of Prajna or TTG - which does not seem to be common knowledge at all and which also seems to be intentionally ignored.
End of statement :tongue:
Have a nice day! :hi:
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PorkChop » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:20 am

joda wrote:No problem, I really didnt follow any red line anymore but just responded to what you said.
There are two things tho I would like to add, more of a personal note.
The first is that unlike how I might come across I am not dismissing Buddhism, I'm pretty agnostic about it actually - wouldnt have studied it for the time I did if it was just out of boredom. So my aim here was not convincing anyone that its all crap, but figuring out if people do have the answers to these things. I have been a fundamentalist Christian once, I know its impossible to convince anyone who believes in something, no matter how ridiculous the belief might be. Which touches my second aim - understanding why 99% of Buddhists need belief - this also is a bit of a quest to understand why I myself needed it because looking back it looks totally puzzling, but its also fascinating for me because for me it runs completely contra what the Buddha actually asked us to do. It makes me grin seeing that people who think they "look at how reality really is" are really doing not much more but repeating texts and wondering about skycastles, instead of really using their brains.
The second thing concerns your comments about Pali literature. As a pureland practicioner its understandeable that you react to statements concerning the old sutras in quite an automatic way, as it would destroy the basis of your practice if you looked at things from a historically accurate perspective - but as I said before I am talking about the old texts - thsi includes Sthaviravada, Theravada, Sarvastivada, but also Yogacara and Prajnaparamita/early Madhyamaka. So my definition of old is rather stretched ;). But I assume an this information is only relevant if you have an idea how Buddhist doctrines evolved over the time, just as my comments about different definitions of Prajna or TTG - which does not seem to be common knowledge at all and which also seems to be intentionally ignored.
End of statement :tongue:
Have a nice day! :hi:


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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby joda » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:57 am

Porkchop wrote:(..)


You react to an accusation I never made. Also someone who talks of a Theravada-Mahayana split has no clue anyways.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby joda » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:01 am

wisdom wrote:Its not actually complex at all when you look at what is really happening. Suffering is caused by attachment, attachment is caused by grasping, grasping is caused by desire, and desire is caused by ignorance. When we are ignorant of our Buddha nature we reach out for samsaric things in the hopes that it will free us from our situation, but we just create further causes of suffering.


Sure, you are reducing the whole spectrum of all the complex problems of the world to the problem of rebirth. Makes sense - if you believe in it.

Knowing that things are impermanent is totally different from having had the realization of emptiness. Knowledge of the emptiness nature of self and other is what imparts upon a person the ability to remain unattached to situations and outcomes.


The only difference is that emptinesss from the Buddhist perspective is based on pratityasamutpada and has very specific implications as to why life is there in the first place. As duckfiasco said and as I myself say too, when you truly grasp the physical idea of reality, there is no real need for Buddhism, as you understand both transitoriness and selflessness. But as I also said, going deeply into that might be psychologically dangerous and is useless when you dont try to end rebirth.

This doesn't mean it won't effect us, it just means we deal with it in a far different way. Its easy to see how a house burning down might ruin someones life, right? They would freak out, cry for days, talk about it for years. On and on it would go, suffering upon suffering. The loss would come again and again as you realized oh, I don't have this anymore, I lost that too, and those pictures are gone forever. More crying, more sorrow. When would it end? Only when you have what you want again, right? But its not over because you're still just attached, another fire would just create another situation identical to the first.


There are people who suffer terribly over small losses and there are also people whose house burns down and they almost dont suffer at all and go about it very pragmatically - thinking that all people will suffer hysterically because they dont know Buddhist truth is silly. What is interesting in your description is that in this attempt to get rid of attachment and desire you are actually concentrating on both in such a way that you exclude all the circumstantial suffering that might arise plus all possibilities outside of your own limited scope.
If I would be asked why someone says it the way you do, I would say because you actually have more problems accepting the fact of transitoriness than Nonbuddhists. "We" just do. Life is finite, things go kaputt.

Enlightenment is unestablished because our Buddha Nature is unestablished. What this means is that it is the supreme ground of all being and becoming.


You cant redefine a term I used to your liking and then react to it according to your new interpretation. What I said was that trying to reach Buddhahood without even knowing if enlightenment exists makes no sense.

Actually you can be shown how to reach that moment of direct perception, its called direct introduction.


Direct introduction is not showing how to reach enlightenment but pointing out the nature of consciousness. In theory of course.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby greentara » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:35 pm

Has anyone seen the series on TV featuring Derren Brown? He is a British illusionist, mentalist and hypnotist. I am amazed at how open to suggestion people are and he's able to manipulate them into doing the most audacious and often horrific acts. You'd like to think he wouldn't be able to penetrate your defences but could he? Watching this program you wonder how skilled powers could take advantage of you. The human mind appears to be very vulnerable.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:59 pm

Actually, I am not a Pure Land practitioner, specifically, although I am very familiar with it.
And, I am very skeptical in my approach to dharma, and my convictions are rooted in that skepticism.

But to respond to a few of your comments,
No, the Pali literature does not threaten my understanding, or 'destroy the basis' of my practice.
If you rely on snippets from one text or another, and apply them narrowly, then yes, you can establish a lot of contradictions.
But you can widen the context of your understanding and see
where all these different teachings and schools lead to the same thing.
People should really read from all these sources, I think.

As far as why Buddhists need "faith" ...I would say "faith" (and you could substitute a lot of words for that) but i think in the Buddhist context it is more of a tool, or method for letting go of attachment. Intellectual understanding is a great thing, but it can also be something that we cling to for in order to justify how right we are about this or that. "Faith" is really, a totally stupid thing...and that's the beauty of it. Chanting to be reborn is Amitabha's Pure Land is probably one of the most idiotic things a person can do --from an intellectual perspective--and that is why it is so liberating. It is the manifestation of the complete letting go of the self. But Buddhism doesn't have a monopoly on this sort of thing.

There is a term used in Japanese Pure Land buddhism, ShinJin, which is usually translated as 'faith", but that is not really the right meaning. It doesn't mean blind faith or "belief" as one usually thinks of "belief in God". The meaning has more to do with absolute conviction based on what one considers to be valid reasoning. This does not contradict what the Buddha taught. A lot of Buddhists, especially , I think, in the west, are not motivated at all by fear of rebirth, or by karma or by some abstract notion of 'enlightenment'. Buddha said to test out the teachings, apply them fully to one's own experience and then see if, in one's own experience, they prove to be valid.

If you think of rebirth as only occurring when the physical body perishes, and regard consciousness as a sort of "thing" that goes from one body to another, the way a soul goes to heaven in Christianity, that is a very common but simplistic way of understanding. Buddha taught that there is nothing that exists that can be truly regarded as a 'self", so what can die and what can be reborn? Yet, awareness persists from moment to moment, even in an ever-changing, ever dying and ever-being reborn body. We die and are reborn every second. Every part of the baby you were when you were born is dead! A dead baby. gone. It is the illusion of a continuous "me" that causes problems. So, from the Buddhist point of view, awareness is not dependent on any continuity of the body whatsoever to begin with, so rebirth from moment to moment or lifetime to lifetime is pretty much the same thing. An arbitrary distinction.

If you try to grasp Dharma in the same way you might have grasped Christianity, or regard them as a study of comparative religions, then this is going to lead to confusion. If you say, "Well, I came from such and such a religious background, and I rejected that, and some of the stuff you are saying sure reminds me of that, so I reject that too, and here is why you are wrong" then the discussion really isn't about the teachings themselves, or what they really point to, but about one's own baggage.

Anyway, what is your point?
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PorkChop » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:56 pm

joda wrote:
Porkchop wrote:(..)


You react to an accusation I never made. Also someone who talks of a Theravada-Mahayana split has no clue anyways.


You keep referring to "the old stuff" and "history", "as it would destroy the basis of your practice if you looked at things from a historically accurate perspective".
Posted links to show your history might not be all that accurate.
This post will show your understanding might not be all that accurate.

First it's important to define Pure Land practice - you recite the name AND you visualize, not only the Pure Land, but the qualities of the Buddha of Infinite Light (a Tathagata).
Mantra recitation is a very well established form of single-pointed meditation.
The foundations of PureLand appear in Mahayana from the get go.
The Sukhāvatīvyūhasūtra was translated into Chinese around 147A.D. - it's safe to say it existed before that.
http://www.acmuller.net/descriptive_cat ... k0024.html

Pure Land's foundation of mindfulness of the Buddha is described in the Pali Nikayas if you want to get technical: Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa.
Here are some Pali Sutta references:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Excellent, Mahanama, excellent! It is fitting for clansmen like you to approach the Tathagata and ask, 'For those of us living by means of various dwelling places [for the mind], by means of which dwelling place should we live?'

"One who is aroused to practice is one of conviction, not without conviction. One aroused to practice is one with persistence aroused, not lazy. One aroused to practice is one of established mindfulness, not muddled mindfulness. One aroused to practice is centered in concentration, not uncentered. One aroused to practice is discerning, not undiscerning.

"Established in these five qualities, you should further develop six qualities:

"There is the case where you recollect the Tathagata: 'Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed.' At any time when a disciple of the noble ones is recollecting the Tathagata, his mind is not overcome with passion, not overcome with aversion, not overcome with delusion. His mind heads straight, based on the Tathagata. And when the mind is headed straight, the disciple of the noble ones gains a sense of the goal, gains a sense of the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma. In one who is joyful, rapture arises. In one who is rapturous, the body grows calm. One whose body is calmed experiences ease. In one at ease, the mind becomes concentrated.

"Mahanama, you should develop this recollection of the Buddha while you are walking, while you are standing, while you are sitting, while you are lying down, while you are busy at work, while you are resting in your home crowded with children.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"There is the case where you recollect the Tathagata: 'Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed.' At any time when a disciple of the noble ones is recollecting the Tathagata, his mind is not overcome with passion, not overcome with aversion, not overcome with delusion. His mind heads straight, based on the Tathagata. And when the mind is headed straight, the disciple of the noble ones gains a sense of the goal, gains a sense of the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma. In one who is joyful, rapture arises. In one who is rapturous, the body grows calm. One whose body is calmed experiences ease. In one at ease, the mind becomes concentrated.

"Of one who does this, Mahanama, it is said: 'Among those who are out of tune, the disciple of the noble ones dwells in tune; among those who are malicious, he dwells without malice; having attained the stream of Dhamma, he develops the recollection of the Buddha.'


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
""Mahaanaama, take the case of a man endowed with unwavering devotion to the Buddha, declaring 'He is the Blessed One...,' the Dhamma... the Sangha... He is joyous and swift in wisdom, one who has gained release. By the destruction of the cankers he has by his own realization gained the cankerless heart's release, the release through wisdom, in this very life, and abides in it. The man is entirely released from the hell-state, from rebirth as an animal, he is free from the realm of hungry ghosts, fully freed from the downfall, the evil way, from states of woe.

Take the case of another man. He is endowed with unwavering devotion to the Buddha... the Dhamma... the Sangha... he is joyous and swift in wisdom but has not gained release. Having destroyed the five lower fetters, he is reborn spontaneously where he will attain Nibbaana without returning from that world. That man is entirely released from... states of woe.

"Take the case of another man. He is endowed with unwavering devotion to the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha. But he is not joyous in wisdom and has not gained release. Yet by destroying three fetters and weakening lust, hatred and delusion, he is a Once-returner, who will return once more to this world and put an end to suffering. That man is entirely freed from... states of woe.

"Take the case of another man. He is endowed with unwavering devotion to the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha. But he is not joyous in wisdom and has not gained release. Yet by destroying three fetters he is a Stream-Winner, not subject to rebirth in states of woe, assured of enlightenment. That man is entirely freed... from states of woe.

"Take the case of another man. He is not even endowed with unwavering devotion to the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha. He is not joyous and swift in wisdom and has not gained release. But perhaps he has these things: the faculty of faith, of energy, of mindfulness, of concentration, of wisdom. And the things proclaimed by the Tathaagata are moderately approved by him with insight. That man does not go to the realm of hungry ghosts, to the downfall, to the evil way, to states of woe.

"Take the case of another man. He is not even endowed with unwavering devotion to the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha. He is not joyous and swift in wisdom and has not gained release. But he has just these things: the faculty of faith, of energy, of mindfulness, of concentration, of wisdom. Yet if he has merely faith, merely affection for the Tathaagata, that man, too, does not go to... states of woe.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"There is the case where a monk is wholly accomplished in virtue, wholly accomplished in concentration, and moderately accomplished in discernment. With reference to the lesser and minor training rules, he falls into offenses and rehabilitates himself. Why is that? Because I have not declared that to be a disqualification in these circumstances. But as for the training rules that are basic to the holy life and proper to the holy life, he is one of permanent virtue, one of steadfast virtue. Having undertaken them, he trains in reference to the training rules.

"With the wasting away of the five lower fetters, he is one going upstream to the Peerless [the Akaniṭṭha heaven, the highest of the Pure Abodes.]
"[Or], with the wasting away of the five lower fetters, he is one unbound with fabrication [of exertion].
"[Or], with the wasting away of the five lower fetters, he is one unbound without fabrication [of exertion].
"[Or], with the wasting away of the five lower fetters, he is one unbound on arrival [in a Pure Abode].
"[Or], with the wasting away of the five lower fetters, he is one unbound in between.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
In the wilderness,
in the shade of a tree,
in an empty building, monks,
recollect the Buddha.
Your fear won't exist.

If you can't recall the Buddha
— best in the world,
the bull of men —
then you should recall the Dhamma:
leading outward, well-taught.

If you can't recall the Dhamma
— leading outward,
well-taught —
then you should recall the Sangha:
the field of merit unexcelled.

When thus recalling
the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha, monks,
there'll be no horripilation,
terror,
or fear.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby wisdom » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:32 pm

joda wrote:Sure, you are reducing the whole spectrum of all the complex problems of the world to the problem of rebirth. Makes sense - if you believe in it.


Not really. Rebirth doesn't even have to be mentioned when considering the causes of suffering. Whether or not we are reborn we suffer in the here and now, which is all that we have anyways.

joda wrote:The only difference is that emptinesss from the Buddhist perspective is based on pratityasamutpada and has very specific implications as to why life is there in the first place. As duckfiasco said and as I myself say too, when you truly grasp the physical idea of reality, there is no real need for Buddhism, as you understand both transitoriness and selflessness. But as I also said, going deeply into that might be psychologically dangerous and is useless when you dont try to end rebirth.


The physical idea of reality as you call it would be the relative truth as opposed to absolute truth.

joda wrote:There are people who suffer terribly over small losses and there are also people whose house burns down and they almost dont suffer at all and go about it very pragmatically - thinking that all people will suffer hysterically because they dont know Buddhist truth is silly.


That may be how you read what I said, but its certainly not what I meant. Its an example of how people act with attachment, thats all.

joda wrote: What is interesting in your description is that in this attempt to get rid of attachment and desire you are actually concentrating on both in such a way that you exclude all the circumstantial suffering that might arise plus all possibilities outside of your own limited scope.


Not really. Its not about voiding your mind of all thoughts and knowledge and becoming dumb. If nothing else being able to maintain the view of emptiness could increase your capacity for understanding all the possibilities of suffering. But what we have to work with is whatever is in front of us now, so if we are standing in front of our burning house it doesn't really matter what possibilities might arise tomorrow. All the problems we have are already present, at least this is my take. Whatever we attach to and label as "problem" is a problem we will have, then how we handle it is up to us. We can either proliferate the problems by continuing to focus on all the bad things that could or would or are happening, or we can try to understand the root cause of "having a problem" in the first place.

joda wrote:If I would be asked why someone says it the way you do, I would say because you actually have more problems accepting the fact of transitoriness than Nonbuddhists. "We" just do. Life is finite, things go kaputt.


But an intellectual understanding is still different than experiencing the dissolution and subsequent illumination of realizing emptiness.

joda wrote:You cant redefine a term I used to your liking and then react to it according to your new interpretation. What I said was that trying to reach Buddhahood without even knowing if enlightenment exists makes no sense.


Sure I can!

But in all seriousness I didn't read every response in the thread so I actually though you were referring to whether or not enlightenment as a "thing" exists in "actual reality", which is why I took my response where I did. I really don't like twisting peoples words, and always try to reach an understanding with them even if I disagree.

joda wrote:Direct introduction is not showing how to reach enlightenment but pointing out the nature of consciousness. In theory of course.


Sure it is, it gives a person the ability to completely liberate themselves in one life if they apply themselves. Everything anyone does to reach enlightenment eventually just ends up with awareness of your true nature. Enlightenment exists as an object only as qualities which develop and are displayed by a person, and those qualities are obtained naturally by abiding in ones true nature. It all comes back to the same point, at least as I see it.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:11 am

Joda, please correct me if I am mistaken,
but I think you are regarding "enlightenment"
in much the same way that Christians regard heaven,
as a sort of a final destination or goal thing.
While essentially, that may be true,
you really have to look at what is meant by "destination"
and whether a destination is only realized at the end of a journey
or can be reached constantly, in every step of that journey.

For Christians, this would be going to heaven when you die,
reached by accepting Christ as your savior and praying for forgiveness of your sins.

If one insists on applying this sense of definition to Buddhism, it might be assumed that
for the Buddhist, by practicing meditation, perhaps some austerities, chanting, etc.
so that at some point one will have reached enlightenment.

But in both these examples, reaching the goal is an "either - or" proposition
and the topic of this thread is, "what evidence is there that enlightenment (nirvana) exists?"

However, while some schools may in effect present the Dharma in this manner,
generally speaking, Buddhists do not look at "reaching nirvana" in that way.
"enlightenment" is not an either-or proposition...
do such and such and such and then you reach nirvana or your buddha-nature or whatever.
it is a little more subtle than that.
and so, one can encounter many realized teachers
and people who really are free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
This doesn't mean they never have a bad day.
But what the Dharma teaches is how to experience joy without depending on it
and how to experience sadness without dwelling on it.
A little bit of enlightenment gained from non-attachment to the passing appearances of things.

In spite of many western scholarly interpretations,
The Dharma is really more process-oriented than goal oriented.
It's not like you are wallowing in samsara an then you try really hard and then suddenly you have achieved nirvana,
like trying to get a stubborn cork out of a wine bottle.
And so you often hear The Buddha being referred to as having attained
"Complete Enlightenment", meaning having completely eliminated
the generation (karma) of attachment, revulsion and ignorance
(called the three poisons) and all of their various manifestations (greed, anger, and so on).

What the Buddha noticed was that regardless of what people believed,
whether they thought reincarnation or rebirth was real or not,
whether they were materialists, or Vedic priests, kings, cow herders or whatever
or even whether they were human or not,
all this stuff didn't really matter. What really mattered was that
all beings were driven by the same insatiable desire to derive happiness
from things that had no lasting substance to them,
or were harmful to them. So, they suffer as a result.

What he taught was that the path to liberation from that endless craving
begins with working with ones own thoughts and emotions,
by analyzing them (vippasana), by patiently letting them exhaust themselves (shamatha)
and by employing various means (the eightfold path, the precepts and so forth)
in order to take control over one's actions of body, speech and mind
so that one can realize complete liberation, just as he did.
The Buddha considered it to be a very workable proposition.

This is different that saying there is some kind of a a self, or some sort of non-self,
that suppresses all desire until all of a sudden one becomes a buddha.
That's why, if somebody asks for evidence,
You know, "evidence of what?"
...evidence that if I eliminate the causes of suffering, I will no longer experience suffering?
What kind of evidence does one need to prove that?
.
.
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby Wayfarer » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:35 am

:good:

Truly great posting.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby duckfiasco » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:23 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:.
.
.

Wonderful, wonderful. :cheers:
Namu Amida Butsu
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby songhill » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:52 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
What he taught was that the path to liberation from that endless craving
begins with working with ones own thoughts and emotions,
by analyzing them (vippasana), by patiently letting them exhaust themselves (shamatha)
and by employing various means (the eightfold path, the precepts and so forth)
in order to take control over one's actions of body, speech and mind
so that one can realize complete liberation, just as he did.
The Buddha considered it to be a very workable proposition.

This is different that saying there is some kind of a a self, or some sort of non-self,
that suppresses all desire until all of a sudden one becomes a buddha.
That's why, if somebody asks for evidence,
You know, "evidence of what?"
...evidence that if I eliminate the causes of suffering, I will no longer experience suffering?
What kind of evidence does one need to prove that?
.
.
.


Are you suggesting that nirvana is simply the absence of craving that, in itself, it is not positive?
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:59 am

I think there are a couple of things to consider.
If you say, "simply the absence of craving" then you have to look at what is meant by craving,
in the buddhist context.
You might think it means never having any motivation towards accomplishing something,
or of wanting to get somewhere, or of wanting to do anything. Just sort of going blank.
But if that were the case, nirvana could be easily attained by a swift blow to the head.
When people asked the Buddha various questions, did he want to answer them?
Did he desire to have people stop suffering?
During the rainy (monsoon) season, did he crave having a dry place to sit?

So, is "craving" merely a matter of wanting something that you don't have,
maybe something that you need, or that would make things better,
or does it have to do more with attachment to desire,
and the feeling that you just can't rest until you get what you want?
Or does it have to do with "taking refuge" in things which are composites,
which cannot bring lasting happiness,
and of searching outside of oneself for peace of mind
when, maybe, peace of mind can only be found by working with the mind itself?
So, defining "craving" is important.

The other thing is,
if you are talking about nirvana in the sense of positive/negative
(the main point of the question, I think)
My understanding is that in nirvana, nothing extra is gained.
you don't acquire anything that you didn't already have.
So, it's like when you clean a window, and remove all the dirt and grime,
the window's original nature is clear.
You don't have to add anything to it,
or coat it with any sort of "clear paint" or anything to make it clear.
Once the dirt is removed, the window is as it always has been, fundamentally.
So in that sense, nirvana is simply realization of the mind's original state,
realized when craving and attachment to illusions cease.

But just as a glass window isn't merely an open hole in the wall,
neither is nirvana simply the absence of everything,
because the fundamental nature of mind is awareness.
Awareness is what the mind manifests as.
And we know, or can infer anyway, that the mind's true nature,
while being empty of any shape or color or size specifically,
that the mind's original state is the state of being free from craving,
and that freedom from craving likewise brings peace of mind.

"Peace of mind" is essentially the absence of craving.
And we can infer this, because
peace of mind (freedom from a troubled mind) is ultimately what everyone is after,
which is why we do all of the things we do in order to be happy,
and the absence of craving is ultimately what everyone is after,
and during those brief but frequent moments when we experience it,
like right after we finish a meal and no longer crave food,
or finish having sex, or get some money after being without money,
every time our cravings are satisfied, we are happy with that.
But the problem, the nature of suffering, is that
happiness doesn't last, because the causes of that satisfaction are temporary.
What a Buddha has realized is the perfection of the end of craving,
complete realization, perfect peace of mind without any residue or going back,
which is nirvana.

(Note: I have been writing a lot here, and in the previous post, but this is just my limited understanding of things, based on what I have remembered from my wonderful teachers. The reason I write in the style of breaking up concepts by line is that I find it easier to express words this way, and to follow long, drawn out concepts this way. This is the way speeches are often written for people who give speeches. Unfortunately, it also can make it sound as though I am either an authority or a real pompous ass, and trust me... I am not an authority!!!)


.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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