from selflessness to emptiness

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from selflessness to emptiness

Postby 5heaps » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:15 pm

the fact that persons are established imputedly in dependence on an emotion, a thought, a feeling, etc
seems worlds apart and much easier to understand than understanding that physical mass, physical functionality, one's physical body, are established imputedly as well.

the latter is much much more radical
so how does one progress from selflessness to emptiness?
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby catmoon » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:52 pm

Well you can start by taking a look at all the imputations we slather onto material objects.

Take, for instance, a fire hydrant.

You might like it as an example of metalwork, or dislike it as a dog's pee post. You assume what you are looking at is very heavy, but it might be much heavier than you think, or it might be a styrofoam fake placed there for a movie shoot. You might think it is an expensive thing, or cheap and easily made. You might think of it as a source of water, but it might not even be connected, and you might have all kinds of funny ideas about its inner workings. It might appear ugly, or as a bit of industrial art. On and on the imputations go, but where is the real fire hydrant?
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby 5heaps » Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:00 pm

catmoon wrote:You might like it as an example of metalwork, or dislike it as a dog's pee post. You assume what you are looking at is very heavy, but it might be much heavier than you think, or it might be a styrofoam fake placed there for a movie shoot. You might think it is an expensive thing, or cheap and easily made. You might think of it as a source of water, but it might not even be connected, and you might have all kinds of funny ideas about its inner workings. It might appear ugly, or as a bit of industrial art. On and on the imputations go, but where is the real fire hydrant?

these are only impressions existing inside a persons mind, and have nothing to do with the external physical particles. emptiness is primarily a statement about those external objects, and not one's internal impressions, because sautrantika selflessness already explains internal impressions [and more] (ie. theyre imputed, we already know that)
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby catmoon » Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:38 pm

So, besides the imputations and your sense impressions, what can you know about this allegedly external object?
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby asunthatneversets » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:48 pm

5heaps wrote:these are only impressions existing inside a persons mind, and have nothing to do with the external physical particles.


Externality and constituent particles are imputations as well, at no point during the experience of a fire hydrant does the experience itself claim to be external. And in direct experience constituent particles are never experienced either (unless under a microscope, but that experience would not be the same as looking at the fire hydrant on the street, one only infers that it's the same via imputation). It's direct experience that is the key point, every moment is fresh and brand new, as if it's the first moment that ever existed... we only form a causal chain of happenings and time via imputation of memory which is also always ever fresh and brand new. Also, experience never suggests that impressions exist inside a persons mind, this is also imputed. In your direct experience the 'sound' of a thought and the 'sound' of someone speaking are the same and occupy the same space, neither are internal or external. Mind is also never experienced, the seeming appearance of a consecutive number of thoughts in a sequence of time makes it seem as if there is an entity called the mind, there is no mind, only thoughts, and thoughts lack a thinker. Physicality is also never experienced, we only accept a story of the physical and impute this onto experience, for instance when you touch something, you believe a story that 'you' are 'touching' a 'thing'... the actual experience is only one sensation.. just a single tactile sensation. You can play a game with this by touching something and rubbing it lightly, if you shift attention to the object then the sensation becomes the touching and feeling of the object, if you shift attention to your finger the sensation becomes the feeling in your finger, there is only one touch sensation, the shifting of attention and intention creates the nature of the sensation via imputation. Or another one; if you rub your thumb and pointer finger together, shifting attention to the thumb it's your thumb doing the touching, shift your attention to your pointer finger and it's your pointer finger doing the touching, in truth neither are touching, a tactile sensation simply appears in awareness, and the sensation is in fact awareness itself.

5heaps wrote:emptiness is primarily a statement about those external objects, and not one's internal impressions,


The impressions themselves dictate external and internal, self and objects, apart from the impression none of these can be found, experience is whole and beyond any designations.

5heaps wrote:because sautrantika selflessness already explains internal impressions [and more] (ie. theyre imputed, we already know that)


Everything is imputed. No thing exists apart from imputation.
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby 5heaps » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:13 am

thats pretty good but constituent particles are in fact experienced any time you experience a fire hydrant. likewise constituent movements of mind are experienced when you experience an ordinary emotion etc. they are both experienced in the sense that they appear to consciousness (though they are not ascertained as being 'this' and 'not that')

so, therein lies much of the problem
there does seem, from the very beginning, to be a marker or identifier on the side of the object regardless of the fact that your following proofs are correct asunthatneversets. however, since they did not address the problem of physical and mental ultimates from the beginning it is of no surprise to learn that sautrantika who do not accept emptiness nevertheless have no problem asserting and accepting your reasonings (ie. there is only fresh moments of time a chain is only a mental synthesis, subject/object conceptual division, "Externality" vs "internality").

catmoon wrote:besides the imputations and your sense impressions, what can you know about this allegedly external object?
without external form (or nonexternal form if you are mindonly) a consciousness/sensation would be utterly impossible. so too with conceptual categories such as cheap or expensive, heavy or light. after all, heavy and light as conceptualizations and heavy and light as actual things are very different things
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby asunthatneversets » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:13 am

5heaps wrote:thats pretty good but constituent particles are in fact experienced any time you experience a fire hydrant. likewise constituent movements of mind are experienced when you experience an ordinary emotion etc. they are both experienced in the sense that they appear to consciousness (though they are not ascertained as being 'this' and 'not that')


The constituent particles are experienced? So prior to the day you went to school and/or read a book which informed you of particles and atoms and what-have-you, you knew 'things' were constructed of particles? My 3 year old certainly doesn't know of particles, if I asked him what a table was made out of he'd say "I dunno"... maybe once he goes to kindergarten he'll reply with "it's made of wood"... and someday down the line he'll say "it's made of particles". These are learned ideas, they are not inherent in experience. You presently do not see particles, you only know they are present at a subatomic level and therefore that knowledge governs your perception. Presently all 'you see' is shades of color and shapes (which bordering colors imply), that is all vision consists of. Kinesthetically you feel sensation attributed to muscle contractions, you feel tactile sensations when you touch things... soft... hard.. rough... smooth.. hot.. cold. Do the colors, shapes, kinesthetic feelings and tactile sensations communicate that particles are present? No. Your present experience consists ONLY of colors, shapes, feeling, auditory noise etc.. Now this is the kicker; there are not 2 separate parts to vision (1. the act of seeing and 2. objects seen), visual objects ARE the colors and shapes.... and colors and shapes ARE vision. There isn't "seeing" and "objects which are seen", the objects are the seeing. Colors and shape implies seeing, you never, ever, ever at any time experience unseen colors or shapes... they are one process... one appearance. The 'external' field of objects IS vision and is therefore your own display. You are looking at your own state. Awareness reflecting itself to itself in it's totality... timelessly. It is an ocean of being. Tactile sensations are the same way... not 2 processes, the touching of the object IS the object, the singular kinesthetic sensation of the objects weight IS the objects weight, and there is no object apart from these sensual appearances... again it is your own display. And we already discovered that there is no "you" for the display to belong to... so it is timeless awareness or consciousness... wisdom... whatever you want to name it.. in-and-of-itself. Same goes for hearing, same goes for taste, every single aspect of experience without fail is your own display... know this thoroughly, know it innately... divorced from intellect, be it, and be free.

There are no constituent movements of mind. The 'mind' is ONLY the apparent movement. There is no mind apart from thought, and thought itself conceptualizes a compartment or container called 'the mind' to belong to. Likewise there is no thought apart from awareness/consciousness... thought IS awareness, thought IS consciousness. Nothing appears to consciousness, consciousness IS these appearances... and there are no appearances, only consciousness. Consciousness alone IS. Lucid and clear, unobstructed and pure timeless nondual perfection.

Don't believe any of what I'm saying just look at your present experience, investigate empirically... it is self-evident and undeniable.

5heaps wrote:so, therein lies much of the problem
there does seem, from the very beginning, to be a marker or identifier on the side of the object regardless of the fact that your following proofs are correct asunthatneversets. however, since they did not address the problem of physical and mental ultimates from the beginning it is of no surprise to learn that sautrantika who do not accept emptiness nevertheless have no problem asserting and accepting your reasonings (ie. there is only fresh moments of time a chain is only a mental synthesis, subject/object conceptual division, "Externality" vs "internality").


There are no physical and mental ultimates. There never was a beginning in the ultimate sense. Physical, mental, beginning and notion of eventual end, were seemingly born with the first imputation of selfhood. These notions have merely become so subconsciously engrained into you through incessant reification of duality that to conceive experience to be any other way seems absurd and counterintuitive. The marker and identifier is your own intimate state, the compelling notion that there is a marker or identifier on the side of the object is your own radiance, you are it. Your being is the unparalleled birthless and deathless principle which saturates what-is.

5heaps wrote:
catmoon wrote:besides the imputations and your sense impressions, what can you know about this allegedly external object?

without external form (or nonexternal form if you are mindonly) a consciousness/sensation would be utterly impossible. so too with conceptual categories such as cheap or expensive, heavy or light. after all, heavy and light as conceptualizations and heavy and light as actual things are very different things


It seems utterly impossible, but disavow the reigning paradigm you champion and it's there to see, you just have to know how to look. There is no external or internal, these notions are based on identification with 'the body' as it is, the bordering line between "internal" and "external" is imputed as the surface of the skin. You are not the body or in the body, the body is in you, as you, and "you" is a concept, which is a thought, which is a sound, which is awareness, which is self-liberated the very moment it appears to itself in this primordial non-arising.
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby 5heaps » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:39 am

... thought IS awareness, thought IS consciousness. Nothing appears to consciousness, consciousness IS these appearances...

visual objects ARE the colors and shapes.... and colors and shapes ARE vision. There isn't "seeing" and "objects which are seen", the objects are the seeing.

again this is all just straight up sautrantika, and i am not in disagreement with any of it

furthermore, whether or not the particles are intellectually known at the time of seeing an object is irrelevant...because as i already said, they are not ascertained by an ordinary consciousness. nevertheless, they do appear to ordinary consciousness since the object which the ordinary consciousness can ascertain is in fact made up of particles.

at the root of emptiness is the dismissal of actual physical and mental ultimates....and therefore the dismissal of markers and identifiers. however, giving up markers and identifiers completely feels too much like giving up the object completely, so i only want to dismiss overly-real markers and identifiers. again....how to do that....how to move from selflessness to emptiness...... to simply say that base forces/particles arent there _at all_ is wrong. even mindonly people who negate external objects completely still accept that type of physical form in their own qualified context
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby asunthatneversets » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:09 am

5heaps wrote:
... thought IS awareness, thought IS consciousness. Nothing appears to consciousness, consciousness IS these appearances...

visual objects ARE the colors and shapes.... and colors and shapes ARE vision. There isn't "seeing" and "objects which are seen", the objects are the seeing.

again this is all just straight up sautrantika, and i am not in disagreement with any of it

furthermore, whether or not the particles are intellectually known at the time of seeing an object is irrelevant...because as i already said, they are not ascertained by an ordinary consciousness. nevertheless, they do appear to ordinary consciousness since the object which the ordinary consciousness can ascertain is in fact made up of particles.

at the root of emptiness is the dismissal of actual physical and mental ultimates....and therefore the dismissal of markers and identifiers. however, giving up markers and identifiers completely feels too much like giving up the object completely, so i only want to dismiss overly-real markers and identifiers. again....how to do that....how to move from selflessness to emptiness...... to simply say that base forces/particles arent there _at all_ is wrong. even mindonly people who negate external objects completely still accept that type of physical form in their own qualified context


Why are you afraid of giving up the object? In my opinion you're holding onto a few presuppositions about the nature of experience that are poisoning the well in a sense. You're insisting that consciousness acts as a flashlight in that when it shines on an object, the object is experienced but when it isn't shining on the object the object is still there but somehow off screen or something. So you're saying that there are substantiated physical objects made of particles that exist separately from awareness? I'm not sure what to say it sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it too, I'm afraid you're setting up barriers for yourself. There are far too many dualities in the schematic you're proposing to navigate to the place you want to be. Everything I mentioned above; the "straight up sautrantika" stuff will successfully dismiss actual physical and mental ultimates if they're applied to ones experience beyond the intellect. Because if the root of emptiness is essentially the dismissal of markers and identifiers (as you said), you'll obviously have to dismiss the markers and identifiers to establish emptiness. I mean, right off the bat; objects are dependently originated, on so many levels it's ridiculous. Everything is empty.. including emptiness itself, and emptiness teachings are undoubtably a process of giving up the ghosts that plague one's perception. We're talking about inherent existence versus conventional appearance. So you can dismiss objects' inherent existence and still know they have conventional existences. It's not as if 'poof' the objects will disappear, you're just not going to take them a seriously as you would, you'll know they're empty. If you want to take it further there are ways to fuse experience into it's natural state of timeless awareness, that will actually destroy physicality experientially, but that isn't achieved via intellectual understanding (except on rare occasions perhaps). These are all processes to remove ignorance. It is our own ignorance that makes the world and objects seem real.
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby 5heaps » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:28 am

asunthatneversets wrote:You're insisting that consciousness acts as a flashlight in that when it shines on an object, the object is experienced but when it isn't shining on the object the object is still there but somehow off screen or something. So you're saying that there are substantiated physical objects made of particles that exist separately from awareness?
nope, i'm very sensitive to not think that at all. unfortunately i'm also very sensitive to sautrantika so i cant pass off nonemptiness as somehow being emptiness..emptiness is far more radical than just simply that categories are imputed and are the same entity as specifically characterized phenomena, or that the definition of mind is clarity (appearance-making) and knowing.

So you can dismiss objects' inherent existence and still know they have conventional existences.

i guess thats one way of approaching emptiness from selflessness...advancing through the different versions of imputation, from vaibhashika to je tsongkhapa. ok how bout this: in either lower madhyamika or higher (whichever you want to answer) is a chair something which functions or not? is it changing or not? if so, is it physical or not? if not, is a chair just a label/mental image? are all existents only labels? thanks for all your answers so far btw..im rusty and this helps me
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby catmoon » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:06 am

Thot. Terms like "physical" "particle" and "real" are imputations too. When we are gripped by the idea that there is something other than sense impressions that we can work with, a form of reification has taken place.

Granted, in day to day life we find these reifications exceedingly useful, and probably could not survive without them. So, it would be unwise to abandon them, yet they remain reifications. Until we attain Buddhahood, we're stuck with them.
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby 5heaps » Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:06 pm

catmoon wrote:Terms like "physical" "particle" and "real" are imputations too. When we are gripped by the idea that there is something other than sense impressions that we can work with, a form of reification has taken place.

same problem as i said earlier though: sautrantika has already established that "particle" and "physical" are imputations, but they dont accept emptiness.

i think the 2nd part of what you say can be dangerous. its a basic function of the mind to produce a mental aspect (its the clarity part of the definition of the mind, with the full definition being clarity and knowing)...to then say that that is all which exists is very dangerous. even in mindonly where some accept no external objects, they nevertheless still distinguish between objective physical form and the subjective mental aspect of colors and shapes in an eye consciousness.

so...still missing that link between sautrantika and the jump into emptiness. it cant just be "imputation this", "imputation that", since sautrantika already accepts imputation. in fact theyre the ones who invented it in a sense, thanks to Mr Sautrantika Dharmakirti
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby catmoon » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:37 pm

Ya lost me. I'm no longer sure I am seeing the same problem you are describing.

At the moment, it seems to me that a sautantrika would establish emptiness the same way every one else does... by seeking the inherently existent and not finding any place it can be.
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby 5heaps » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:45 pm

catmoon wrote:I'm no longer sure I am seeing the same problem you are describing. At the moment, it seems to me that a sautantrika would establish emptiness the same way every one else does...

the problem is that noone asserts that sautrantika accepts emptiness, and yet sautrantika does establish that persons, "external", "internal", "physical", are imputed.
this isnt a contradiction, since just understanding that persons etc are imputed is not emptiness.

the question is how does someone who has realized selflessness graduate to emptiness. what new thing is understood that was not previously understood? whats left to understand once youve understood that "physical" and persons are imputed?
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby asunthatneversets » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:57 pm

5heaps wrote:
catmoon wrote:Terms like "physical" "particle" and "real" are imputations too. When we are gripped by the idea that there is something other than sense impressions that we can work with, a form of reification has taken place.

same problem as i said earlier though: sautrantika has already established that "particle" and "physical" are imputations, but they dont accept emptiness.

i think the 2nd part of what you say can be dangerous. its a basic function of the mind to produce a mental aspect (its the clarity part of the definition of the mind, with the full definition being clarity and knowing)...to then say that that is all which exists is very dangerous. even in mindonly where some accept no external objects, they nevertheless still distinguish between objective physical form and the subjective mental aspect of colors and shapes in an eye consciousness.

so...still missing that link between sautrantika and the jump into emptiness. it cant just be "imputation this", "imputation that", since sautrantika already accepts imputation. in fact theyre the ones who invented it in a sense, thanks to Mr Sautrantika Dharmakirti


Why do you feel it's dangerous to claim the "mental aspect" is all there is? Whether it's all that is, is truly ultimately irrelevant, it's all conjecture. It's the classic phenomena vs. Noumena argument. If such a noumena does exist there is still no way to ever "know" it. What is experienced directly is what-is. There is no objective physical form and subjective mental representation(of said objective physical form). These are simply imputations. If these imputations continue to govern ones perception then they remain lost in duality and true emptiness can never be accessed. The idea that one is subject to structures and laws of some world outside of themselves is innately defeating.. Like a victim saying "well I can only do so much since I'm confined to these limitations". In truth there are no limitations, there are no natural laws of outer or inner, phenomena and noumena etc.. You give these notions power. You are the source of their solidity and presence in experience, they're 110% imputed. So your question of how you go from selflessness to emptiness within the confines of your view is impossible.
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby 5heaps » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:13 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:Why do you feel it's dangerous to claim the "mental aspect" is all there is? Whether it's all that is, is truly ultimately irrelevant, it's all conjecture. It's the classic phenomena vs. Noumena argument. If such a noumena does exist there is still no way to ever "know" it. What is experienced directly is what-is. There is no objective physical form and subjective mental representation(of said objective physical form).

its a basic tenet of all of buddhism that you cannot have a mind/cognition without an object of engagement. so thats why we cant claim that only mental aspects exist. even the mindonly with their no external objects will never accept that only mental aspects exist.
Recognizing the Basic Factors of Mental Activity
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby asunthatneversets » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:16 pm

5heaps wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:Why do you feel it's dangerous to claim the "mental aspect" is all there is? Whether it's all that is, is truly ultimately irrelevant, it's all conjecture. It's the classic phenomena vs. Noumena argument. If such a noumena does exist there is still no way to ever "know" it. What is experienced directly is what-is. There is no objective physical form and subjective mental representation(of said objective physical form).

its a basic tenet of all of buddhism that you cannot have a mind/cognition without an object of engagement. so thats why we cant claim that only mental aspects exist. even the mindonly with their no external objects will never accept that only mental aspects exist.
Recognizing the Basic Factors of Mental Activity


The cognizer perceives the cognizable;
Without the cognizable there is no cognition;
Therefore why do you not admit
That neither object nor subject exists [at all]?

The mind is but a mere name;
Apart from it's name it exists as nothing;
So view consciousness as a mere name;
Name too has no intrinsic nature.

Either within or likewise without,
Or somewhere in between the two,
The conquerors have never found the mind;
So the mind has the nature of an illusion.

The distinctions of colors and shapes,
Or that of object and subject,
Of male, female and the neuter -
The mind has no such fixed forms.

In brief the Buddhas have never seen
Nor will they ever see [such a mind];
So how can they see it as intrinsic nature
That which is devoid of intrinsic nature?

"Entity" is a conceptualization;
Absence of conceptualization is emptiness;
Where conceptualization occurs,
How can there be emptiness?

The mind in terms of perceived and perceiver,
This the Tathagatas have never seen;
Where there is the perceived and perceiver,
There is no enlightenment.

Devoid of characteristics and origination,
Devoid of substantiative reality and transcending speech,
Space, awakening mind and enlightenment
Posses the characteristics of non-duality.

- Nagarjuna
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby wisdom » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:52 pm

5heaps wrote:
catmoon wrote:I'm no longer sure I am seeing the same problem you are describing. At the moment, it seems to me that a sautantrika would establish emptiness the same way every one else does...

the problem is that noone asserts that sautrantika accepts emptiness, and yet sautrantika does establish that persons, "external", "internal", "physical", are imputed.
this isnt a contradiction, since just understanding that persons etc are imputed is not emptiness.

the question is how does someone who has realized selflessness graduate to emptiness. what new thing is understood that was not previously understood? whats left to understand once youve understood that "physical" and persons are imputed?


That you yourself are of the nature of emptiness.

Someone who has realized emptiness is not living in a world full of countless trillions of atoms and aggregated forms calling themselves people. They recognize everything from the atomic level to the level of personal identity as being conventionally existent, as relatively real, but understand it all to be of the nature of emptiness. To look at an object as a collection of atoms is just taking dualistic thinking and moving it over a few decimal places, a few orders of magnitude. What that helps us establish is that what we think of as a cup is not a cup at all. What we think of as Sarah is not Sarah at all. However that just helps us establish the non-existence of a real and inherent entity. This is different from realizing emptiness itself as the true condition of all things.

To put it another way, realizing that a cup is composed of many parts is a denial of its existence as a cup. Denying that a cup exists is not the same as realizing that the cup is empty.
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Re: from selflessness to emptiness

Postby 5heaps » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:37 pm

wisdom wrote:That you yourself are of the nature of emptiness. Someone who has realized emptiness is not living in a world full of countless trillions of atoms and aggregated forms calling themselves people.

thanks. that resembles the closest hint ive gotten so far, which is that when one moves one's consideration from the person to a new object for example one's arm, and if the negation no longer immediately applies to that new object, then its not emptiness. emptiness necessarily applies to everything, so it makes sense to talk about the type of world we live in, and it isnt one in which atoms ultimately exist
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