The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

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The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby BFS » Sun Dec 20, 2009 6:02 pm

The Middle Way
Faith Grounded on Reason

http://www.dalailama.com/biography/books

The Middle Way - Faith Grounded in Reason

by H.H. the Dalai Lama, translated by Thubten Jinpa
In this book the Dalai Lama presents a brief, brilliant presentation of the view of reality in the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism.

Published by Wisdom Publications, London, 2009

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excerpt:



"The essential point is this: The luminous and knowing aspect of a given state of consciousness must come from a prior moment of that consciousness. It follows, therefore, that it must also beginningless. For were a beginning to the continuum of the luminous and knowing aspect of consciousness posited, we would then have to concede that consciousness arose from a cause that is not commensurate with it, which is untenable. "
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby malalu » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:32 am

Though I have not yet read this particular book and have only leafed through it, I have found that HHDL has a very good knack for explaining even some of the more complex ideas and tenants in a fairly straightforward manner so that not only Buddhists, but also regular everyday people are able to understand. The mark of a great teacher, I suppose. In this way he has done so much to spread dharma to such a wide variety of people according to their capacities. Whether it be concepts such as this, mind training techniques or even some aspects of Lam Rim, he has a great way of simplifying things for those, especially westerners, to whom many of these ideas are somewhat new. I have heard so many say that they were turned on to the dharma from reading one of his books or attending a teaching. Amazing...

On the other hand, I have heard him spend a great deal of time delving into and breaking down one point or one single line of text in order to fully explain it also. Teaching according to the conditions...

:namaste:
The past is but a present memory or condition, the future but a present projection, and the present itself vanishes before it can be grasped.- Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby catmoon » Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:30 am

BFS wrote:The Middle Way
Faith Grounded on Reason

http://www.dalailama.com/biography/books

The Middle Way - Faith Grounded in Reason

by H.H. the Dalai Lama, translated by Thubten Jinpa
In this book the Dalai Lama presents a brief, brilliant presentation of the view of reality in the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism.

Published by Wisdom Publications, London, 2009

Image

excerpt:



"The essential point is this: The luminous and knowing aspect of a given state of consciousness must come from a prior moment of that consciousness. It follows, therefore, that it must also beginningless. For were a beginning to the continuum of the luminous and knowing aspect of consciousness posited, we would then have to concede that consciousness arose from a cause that is not commensurate with it, which is untenable. "


I have run across this line of thought before, and I currently disagree with it for the following reason:

If in this this argument you substitute "1984 Ford Taurus" for consciousness, you come up with an argument that the 1984 Ford Taurus is eternal.

This worries me.
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby BFS » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:35 pm

catmoon wrote:
BFS wrote:The Middle Way
Faith Grounded on Reason

http://www.dalailama.com/biography/books

The Middle Way - Faith Grounded in Reason

by H.H. the Dalai Lama, translated by Thubten Jinpa
In this book the Dalai Lama presents a brief, brilliant presentation of the view of reality in the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism.

Published by Wisdom Publications, London, 2009

Image

excerpt:



"The essential point is this: The luminous and knowing aspect of a given state of consciousness must come from a prior moment of that consciousness. It follows, therefore, that it must also beginningless. For were a beginning to the continuum of the luminous and knowing aspect of consciousness posited, we would then have to concede that consciousness arose from a cause that is not commensurate with it, which is untenable. "


I have run across this line of thought before, and I currently disagree with it for the following reason:

If in this this argument you substitute "1984 Ford Taurus" for consciousness, you come up with an argument that the 1984 Ford Taurus is eternal.

This worries me.





Consciousness is not a material object.
Material objects characteristically have location and may have mass, velocity, and physical dimensions.

Consciousness is not permanent but it is eternal - beginningless and it never ceases; it continues in its momentary, ever-changing impermanent flow. It is eternal and impermanent.

You might enjoy, A Contemplative View of the Mind. ( Esp. starting at page 182 )

http://www.alanwallace.org/ChoosingReality23.pdf

and this audio with Venerable Thubten Chodron
Western Mind and Understanding Buddhism.
Covers all the points that westerners find most difficult with the Buddhist teachings, karma and rebirth, beginningless mind.

http://www.archive.org/details/Tse_Chen_Ling_Thubten_Chodron_Taming_the_Mind_20050416


** Edited to add link**

Interview with Alan Wallace on Conscious Media Network.


http://www.consciousmedianetwork.com/members/awallace.htm
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby catmoon » Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:46 pm

Sigh, I will look into this. I don't wanna, but I will.

On the surface it appears to me that impermanent, eternal consciousness is a flat contradiction. That which is eternal is unchanging, that which is unchanging cannot decay, and therefore that which is eternal is permanent, not impermanent.

right? am I messing up here or something?
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby BFS » Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:11 pm

catmoon wrote:Sigh, I will look into this. I don't wanna, but I will.



If you don't wanna, then don't.
Put it aside for another time when you feel more of a light hearted sense of curiosity with the investigation.
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby catmoon » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:35 am

Oh hang on... have I assumed that mind and consciousness are the same thing? Anyone got some handy definitions, preferably ones that accord with Shantideva?
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:41 am

BFS wrote:"The essential point is this: The luminous and knowing aspect of a given state of consciousness must come from a prior moment of that consciousness. It follows, therefore, that it must also beginningless. For were a beginning to the continuum of the luminous and knowing aspect of consciousness posited, we would then have to concede that consciousness arose from a cause that is not commensurate with it, which is untenable. "


This reasoning has to be investigated as to validity. I would not take this as valid without probing ;)

Since I see my face in the mirror it must have always been there.
There has never been a moment when I looked into the mirror and my face has not been there. :mrgreen:

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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:56 am

BFS wrote:
Consciousness is not a material object.

Material objects characteristically have location and may have mass, velocity, and physical dimensions.

Who categorizes as "material" and "non-material" (consciousness)?
Really, can this categorization be valid if it is so heavily biased?

BFS wrote:Consciousness is not permanent but it is eternal - beginningless and it never ceases; it continues in its momentary, ever-changing impermanent flow. It is eternal and impermanent.

This is where one leaves the middle way.

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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby catmoon » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:58 am

I'm still probing, albeit independent of counsel or study. Just pondering now and then through the day. If you look a causes and conditions it gets interesting.

As I understand it, mind is an aggregate of various sensations and thought. The sensations and thought are clearly impermanent. I can't think of a single one that does not arise, persist and decay.

Now if consciousness is dependent on mind, then it too is impermanent, and various consciousnesses will arise and pass away with each perception of the mind.

But what if that is not what is meant by consciousness? What if it refers to an underlying capability of sentient beings? Would such a capability be dependent on causes and conditions, for example, being alive?

Then again, what if conscousness refers to an entity? If that entity is permanent and eternal, what differentiates it from a soul?


Nothing is gettin solves here, just more and more questions. Sry.
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:02 am

I think the further categorization as "mind" and "consciousness" is not helpful in this context. Just confusing.

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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:05 am

catmoon wrote:If in this this argument you substitute "1984 Ford Taurus" for consciousness, you come up with an argument that the 1984 Ford Taurus is eternal.

This worries me.

No this is not correct, since you can validly infer that "1984 Ford Taurus" has been produced.

But you cannot validly infer that "consciousness" has been produced because the observer is the observed. But not being able to validly infer (conventional) production because the observer is the observed does not prove the contrary either.

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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby catmoon » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:29 am

But why not say, consciousness arises, persists, passes away and arises again?

Does this not occur every night to every one of us?
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:12 am

catmoon wrote:But why not say, consciousness arises, persists, passes away and arises again?

Does this not occur every night to every one of us?


Depends on whether you equate sleep with being unconscious. I would refrain from seeing it that way. At least there are dreams. Sometimes we remember them, some even say that there are dreams we do not remember.

Really this "thinking about" does not lead anywhere except to speculations.

The reasoning above originates from Dignaga. Dignaga was always defending buddhism against realists, materialists and nihilists.
If nowadays this reasoning is applied in the buddhist community as a kind of teaching then perhaps because the realists, materialists and nihilists are amongst the buddhists of today. ;)

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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby catmoon » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:43 am

TMingyur wrote:
catmoon wrote:But why not say, consciousness arises, persists, passes away and arises again?

Does this not occur every night to every one of us?


Depends on whether you equate sleep with being unconscious. I would refrain from seeing it that way. At least there are dreams. Sometimes we remember them, some even say that there are dreams we do not remember.

Really this "thinking about" does not lead anywhere except to speculations.

The reasoning above originates from Dignaga. Dignaga was always defending buddhism against realists, materialists and nihilists.
If nowadays this reasoning is applied in the buddhist community as a kind of teaching then perhaps because the realists, materialists and nihilists are amongst the buddhists of today. ;)

Kind Regards



If we stop thinking we are dead in the water. We have been specifically instructed to work things through for ourselves and reject appeals to authority, even the authority of buddha himself. Right?
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:12 am

catmoon wrote:If we stop thinking we are dead in the water. We have been specifically instructed to work things through for ourselves and reject appeals to authority, even the authority of buddha himself. Right?


No, I do not agree. We have been instructed to rely on the teacher and practice what he teaches in order to experience for ourselves.

The Buddha refrained from making ungrounded assertions and answering questions not conducive to liberation. He just taught: Do this and abandon that.

But I have deep respect for the tradition of logic taught by the tradition of the Dalai Lama. And for me the dialectical approach of his tradition is the dominant guideline for understanding the Buddha's teachings.

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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby muni » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:49 am

The mind within the senses does not dwell,
It has no place in outer things like form.
And in between, the mind does not abide:
Not out, not in, not elsewhere, can the mind be found.

If not in the body, yet is nowhere else.
It does not merge with it nor stand apart
Something such as this does not exist, not even slightly
Beings by their nature are beyond the reach of suffering.

If consciousness comes later than its object,
Once again, from what does it arise?
Thus the origine of all phenomena
Exeeds the reach of understanding.

"If this is so" you say,"there is no relative,
And then the two truths-what becomes of them?
Moreover, if the relative derives from beings' minds,
How can they pass beyond their sorrows?"

But that is just the thought of others;
It is not what I mean by the relative.
If subsequently there are thoughts, the relative's still there;
If not, the relative has ceased indeed.

The analyzing mind and what is analyzed
Are linked together, mutually dependent.
It is on the basis of conventional consesus
That all investigation is expressed.

"But when," you say,"the process of analysis
Is made in turn, the object of our scrutinity,
This investigation likewise may be analyzed,
And thus we find an infinite regress.

If phenomena are truly analyzes,
No basis for analysis remains. (!)
And when the object is removed, the subject too subsides.
That indeed is said to be nirvana.

Those who say that both are true,
Are hard-pressed to maintain their case.
If consciousness reveals the truth of things,
On what grounds in its turn, does consciousness exist? (!)

If knowledge objects show that consciousness exists,
What is it that shows that they exists?
If both subsist through mutual depende,
Both will thereby lose their true existence. (!) Shantideva. :buddha1:
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:55 am

muni wrote:If phenomena are truly analyzes,
No basis for analysis remains. (!)
Shantideva.


So here we see that analysis comes first. Shantideva was a Madhyamika, as is the Dalai Lama.

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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby muni » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:01 am

"The plant arises from the seed", you say,
"And through it is the seed deduced.
It's just the same with consciousness arising from its objects.
How can it fail to show the things's existence?"

A consiousness that's different from the plant itself
Deduces the existence of the seed?
But what will show that consciousness exists,
Whereby the object is itself established?

A part of offered treasury words by Shantideva about mind-consciousness which can help us in the elaboration. :bow:
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby BFS » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:03 pm

TMingyur wrote:
BFS wrote:"The essential point is this: The luminous and knowing aspect of a given state of consciousness must come from a prior moment of that consciousness. It follows, therefore, that it must also beginningless. For were a beginning to the continuum of the luminous and knowing aspect of consciousness posited, we would then have to concede that consciousness arose from a cause that is not commensurate with it, which is untenable. "


This reasoning has to be investigated as to validity. I would not take this as valid without probing ;)



Kind regards



Why wink? There is nothing, absolutely nothing in Buddhism that the practitioner takes on absolute blind faith, and does not investigate. This includes one's own ingrained,mostly ignorant beliefs and views. If a Buddhist teaching does not make sense, we can either set aside for a later time, or simply take as a working hypothesis and have some fun investigating further.
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