Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby CapNCrunch » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:17 pm

*Please* don't just summarily nuke Jax again. People have said things to him that were less than kind too. At the very least, if that is being considered, please keep these threads around and viewable *somewhere* so they can be a learning experience.
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby Malcolm » Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:25 pm

Jax wrote:Mental constructions cannot be said to exist or not exist as they are beyond both extremes.


We were not discussing the emptiness of mental constructs, but rather, how they come about. You have not provided an adequate response.

No worries. I did not imagine you could.
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Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby Malcolm » Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:26 pm

Mr. G wrote:
Jax wrote:You moron, I explained it in exact detail. Ok, ok... You are a bit slow, I get it.


Couldn't even keep it under control after being given a second chance, huh? ::sigh::



It's ok. I provoked him into on purpose.
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby Anders » Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:00 pm

CapNCrunch wrote:*Please* don't just summarily nuke Jax again. People have said things to him that were less than kind too. At the very least, if that is being considered, please keep these threads around and viewable *somewhere* so they can be a learning experience.


The worrying thing is that he read like a caricature of narcissistic enlightened personality disorder.

He grandstands and postures about his own realisation, comments on the lacking realisation of his co-posters, constantly wants to steer debates in directions of his personal preference, is oblivious and unrepentant of the impact of his own behaviour and thinks himself the equal, if not superior of past and present masters of great repute.

Checklists have been written in mock humour of this kind of behaviour and Jax is actually living out the parody here. It's the stuff you would expect from a new-ish practitioner who has had a glimpse of realisation and thinks he is king of the world. Ie, just plain immature. The stuff he talks about is about as profound as you would expect from someone with a minor but onesided glimpse of rigpa and emptiness. Except he allegedly has many years of experience and has set himself up as a teacher instead which makes it sad.

What I would expect from a teacher of genuine and mature realisation is a desire to fulfil the wishes and needs of practitioners instead of harping on about his own realisation and turning topics into what he thinks is relevant to himself. There is just way to much Jax™ in his posts for him not to be full of shit. And it's worrying that he is feeding JaxDharma to other people who think they have a qualified teacher.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby Josef » Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:15 pm

Anders Honore wrote:
CapNCrunch wrote:*Please* don't just summarily nuke Jax again. People have said things to him that were less than kind too. At the very least, if that is being considered, please keep these threads around and viewable *somewhere* so they can be a learning experience.


The worrying thing is that he read like a caricature of narcissistic enlightened personality disorder.

He grandstands and postures about his own realisation, comments on the lacking realisation of his co-posters, constantly wants to steer debates in directions of his personal preference, is oblivious and unrepentant of the impact of his own behaviour and thinks himself the equal, if not superior of past and present masters of great repute.

Checklists have been written in mock humour of this kind of behaviour and Jax is actually living out the parody here. It's the stuff you would expect from a new-ish practitioner who has had a glimpse of realisation and thinks he is king of the world. Ie, just plain immature. The stuff he talks about is about as profound as you would expect from someone with a minor but onesided glimpse of rigpa and emptiness. Except he allegedly has many years of experience and has set himself up as a teacher instead which makes it sad.

What I would expect from a teacher of genuine and mature realisation is a desire to fulfil the wishes and needs of practitioners instead of harping on about his own realisation and turning topics into what he thinks is relevant to himself. There is just way to much Jax™ in his posts for him not to be full of shit. And it's worrying that he is feeding JaxDharma to other people who think they have a qualified teacher.

Well said.
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:11 pm

Jax wrote: it would be more precise to say the only true refuge is one's own indestructible and changeless Nature as the Dharmakaya.


No, it would not be more precise.
Dharmakaya is not a "thing", indestructibe, changeless, or otherwise.
It is the true nature of what we would call "things", the appearance of phenomena.

You could say that one takes refuge in the infinite aspect of mind, rather than in limited appearances.
That would be a little bit more precise.
But we are not statues.

"one's own indestructible and changeless Nature" would essentially be atma (self).
Calling any notion of a permanenet self "Dharmakaya" doesn't change that.
This is the opposite of what the Buddha taught.

One might rephrase "Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves" as "rely on your own efforts"
but that does not exclude finding a teacher, and practicing what has been shown to work
-- by one's own efforts.
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:40 pm

And sometimes those who claim to be lamps shed little light and just get on your wick. ;)
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby Sally Gross » Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:28 pm

Jax wrote:We find a slightly different rendering in the Pali Mahāparinibbāna Sutta where it says:
"Therefore, Ānanda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge. (Tr. vipassana.com)
Tasmātihānanda, attadīpā viharatha attasaranā anaññasaranā, dhammadīpā dhammasaranā anaññasaranā.

How does this injunction from the Buddha square with Vajrayana in general?


It might be helpful to put this saying in context. (See "Maha-parinibbana Sutta: Last Days of the Buddha" (DN 16), translated from the Pali by Sister Vajira & Francis Story. Access to Insight, 17 February 2012, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html . Retrieved on 8 April 2012.). The Buddha, who is now in his eightieth year, became very seriously ill, and was clearly dying. Ananda begged him to remain alive for the sake of the Sangha and, acceeding to Ananda's pleas, the Buddha deferred his parinibbana at that time. Ananda expresses his relief:

(Part Two) 31..."Then the Venerable Ananda approached the Blessed One, respectfully greeted him, and sitting down at one side, he spoke to the Blessed One, saying: "Fortunate it is for me, O Lord, to see the Blessed One at ease again! Fortunate it is for me, O Lord, to see the Blessed One recovered! For truly, Lord, when I saw the Blessed One's sickness it was as though my own body became weak as a creeper, every thing around became dim to me, and my senses failed me. Yet, Lord, I still had some little comfort in the thought that the Blessed One would not come to his final passing away until he had given some last instructions respecting the community of bhikkhus."

32. Thus spoke the Venerable Ananda, but the Blessed One answered him, saying: "What more does the community of bhikkhus expect from me, Ananda? I have set forth the Dhamma without making any distinction of esoteric and exoteric doctrine; there is nothing, Ananda, with regard to the teachings that the Tathagata holds to the last with the closed fist of a teacher who keeps some things back. Whosoever may think that it is he who should lead the community of bhikkhus, or that the community depends upon him, it is such a one that would have to give last instructions respecting them. But, Ananda, the Tathagata has no such idea as that it is he who should lead the community of bhikkhus, or that the community depends upon him. So what instructions should he have to give respecting the community of bhikkhus?

"Now I am frail, Ananda, old, aged, far gone in years. This is my eightieth year, and my life is spent. Even as an old cart, Ananda, is held together with much difficulty, so the body of the Tathagata is kept going only with supports. It is, Ananda, only when the Tathagata, disregarding external objects, with the cessation of certain feelings, attains to and abides in the signless concentration of mind, [19] that his body is more comfortable.

33. "Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.


"And how, Ananda, is a bhikkhu an island unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge?

34. "When he dwells contemplating the body in the body, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world; when he dwells contemplating feelings in feelings, the mind in the mind, and mental objects in mental objects, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world, then, truly, he is an island unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; having the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge.


35. "Those bhikkhus of mine, Ananda, who now or after I am gone, abide as an island unto themselves, as a refuge unto themselves, seeking no other refuge; having the Dhamma as their island and refuge, seeking no other refuge: it is they who will become the highest, [20] if they have the desire to learn."

Viewed in context, being a refuge to oneself, seeking no external refuge, involves faithful adherence to the path to liberation taught by the Buddha, that is to say, the Dhamma/Dharma, and not seeking a path outside the Buddha's dispensation. Fidelity to the word and practice of the Dhamma/Dharma is fidelity to the Buddha, taking refuge in the Buddha. Later in the Sutta, in Part Five, 6, when the Buddha is reclining in preparation for his parnibbana, he says:

'Ananda, whatever bhikkhu or bhikkhuni, layman or laywoman, abides by the Dhamma, lives uprightly in the Dhamma, walks in the way of the Dhamma, it is by such a one that the Tathagata is respected, venerated, esteemed, worshipped, and honored in the highest degree. Therefore, Ananda, thus should you train yourselves: 'We shall abide by the Dhamma, live uprightly in the Dhamma, walk in the way of the Dhamma.'"

The Buddha is exhorting the Sangha, and it is the members of the Sangha qua members of the Sangha rather than unreconstructed individuals who are exhorted to be islands or lamps to themselves. Fidelity to the Buddha through the hearing and faithful practice of the Dhamma/Dharma are constitutive of the Sangha. Viewed in context, abiding as a refuge unto themselves (that is, as the Arya-sangha), seeking no other refuge, thus turns out to be refuge in the triple gem, and is most certainly not a warrant for going it alone outside the context of the dispensation, in which teachings have a pedigree, coming through the lineage.

I hope that this makes sense.
Dukkham eva hi, na koci dukkhito,
kaarako na, kiriyaa va vijjati,
atthi nibbuti, na nibbuto pumaa,
maggam atthi, gamako na vijjati


Suffering there certainly is, but no sufferer,
no doer, though certainly the deed is found.
peace is achieved, but no-one's appeased,
the way is walked, but no walker's to be found.

- Visuddhimagga XVI, 90
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby CapNCrunch » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:06 pm

Checklists have been written in mock humour of this kind of behaviour and Jax is actually living out the parody here


I get it. I think a thread listing of the qualities of the 'self-styled' internet guru would be helpful. I was tempted to re-invent the wheel, so I'm glad you mentioned this. Links?

I'm not a student or supporter - just someone who held out hope that at best Jax would be opening to question his position if he was treated kindly, or at least, that his flash across the DharmaWheel sky can be profitable for others who will come after and read the threads.

The forum had been hijacked, that much is certain - and I think there's enough material for the sincerely interested to provide a counterpoint - so at this point, it is probably best that the bodhisattva activity that baited him into a ban was well timed and for the best.
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:45 am

Very timely and important message right there in your post Sally.
This clarification pairs with the ones wise and informed people usually make concerning the Kalama Sutra when they see it being used and abused out of its context. I'll save it for future reference, if you don't mind. :smile:
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby mzaur » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:37 pm

Sönam wrote:Because Zen is sutra a teaching, therefore leading to sunyata, I would not comment ... we are in the Dzogchen Forum.

Sönam


Sonam,

Isn't sunyata the goal of Dzogchen? What is higher than the realization of sunyata? I thought that Rigpa = knowledge of sunyata. When Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche talks about our true nature, primordial nature, etc, I always think he is talking about sunyata -- I know that there is also the luminosity aspect to it too, but what's stopping Zen practitioners from realizing that also?
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby mzaur » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:45 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Jax wrote: it would be more precise to say the only true refuge is one's own indestructible and changeless Nature as the Dharmakaya.


No, it would not be more precise.
Dharmakaya is not a "thing", indestructibe, changeless, or otherwise.
It is the true nature of what we would call "things", the appearance of phenomena.

You could say that one takes refuge in the infinite aspect of mind, rather than in limited appearances.
That would be a little bit more precise.
But we are not statues.

"one's own indestructible and changeless Nature" would essentially be atma (self).
Calling any notion of a permanenet self "Dharmakaya" doesn't change that.
This is the opposite of what the Buddha taught.

One might rephrase "Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves" as "rely on your own efforts"
but that does not exclude finding a teacher, and practicing what has been shown to work
-- by one's own efforts.
.
.
.


Thank you for this post
:namaste:
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby Sönam » Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:46 am

mzaur wrote:
Sönam wrote:Because Zen is sutra a teaching, therefore leading to sunyata, I would not comment ... we are in the Dzogchen Forum.

Sönam


Sonam,

Isn't sunyata the goal of Dzogchen? What is higher than the realization of sunyata? I thought that Rigpa = knowledge of sunyata. When Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche talks about our true nature, primordial nature, etc, I always think he is talking about sunyata -- I know that there is also the luminosity aspect to it too, but what's stopping Zen practitioners from realizing that also?


To pure sunyata, sitting on a cushion, as taught in the sutras, is missing the movement. Here is an extract of the Dzogchen Teachings by ChNN, about it ...

Zen methods are nowadays very developed; and since many methods from different sources have been integrated with them, they no longer exist exactly as they did in ancient times. Nevertheless, even if they have been altered over time, they are still based on the Sutra teachings. This is why, in Zen, it is believed that the main point of practice is to get into the state of shunyata, or voidness, and to remain in it. That is what meditation is considered to be in Zen.
...
The state of emptiness is just an experience, and there are many kinds of meditation experiences that are not contemplation. Some people say that between two thoughts there is an empty space, and that is the state of contemplation. They believe that contemplation just means extending this empty space between thoughts. Some people write and think this way, and consider that to be the teaching of the Buddha; however, that is not the teaching of the Buddha at all. Being in the state of emptiness means that we are simply having a particular experience. Thinking that everything is empty, and being in that state, is only an experience of emptiness, but it is still very far from being in the state of contemplation.
Real contemplation means being in our real condition, which includes not only emptiness, but also movement. If we have no capacity for integrating or being in that movement, we are very far from our real condition.


Sönam
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby Malcolm » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:00 pm

mzaur wrote: but what's stopping Zen practitioners from realizing that also?


Lack of intimate instructions.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby Anders » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:12 pm

Sönam wrote:To pure sunyata, sitting on a cushion, as taught in the sutras, is missing the movement. Here is an extract of the Dzogchen Teachings by ChNN, about it ...


ChNN really doesn't understand Zen.

Seriously, first year Zen students know better.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby heart » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:27 pm

I always found it quite confusing that ChNNR seems to equate shamata and emptiness.

/magnus
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby Malcolm » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:33 pm

heart wrote:I always found it quite confusing that ChNNR seems to equate shamata and emptiness.

/magnus



He isn't. I used to find this consfusing too until I came across a passage by Sachen Kunga Nyingpo where he described the experience of the gap between two thoughts as being an experience of emptiness i.e. an experience of absence of thoughts.

But ChNN does not mean that this experience of emptiness is emptiness qua emptiness.
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http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:38 pm

Really Magnus? I never noticed that...
I never understood him to see shamatha as the experience of emptiness. Shamatha is single pointed meditation, even if we choose to do it without object. The experience of emptiness is not the concentration on anything, but remaining in the space between thoughts (of course there's calm abiding in that space, but that doesn't make shamatha and experiencing emptiness the same), that brings the insight about emptiness. How come does he conflate the two? I never saw/heard him do that, at least I never understood it that way.

Regarding Zen, I simply don't know. With few exceptions, Anders being an eminent one who clearly has a very good grasp of Buddhadharma, first year Zen students don't seem to know much of anything concerning Buddhadharma these days... what's surprising is that some 20th year western teachers don't seem to know much either!... :lol: sorry, I couldn't resist! :rolling:
More seriously though, I never quite got ChNN on Zen. It never really interested me much either, since I'm not a Zen practitioner. I read his little book about it long ago, but I don't recall very well what he states there or the correctness of it. I know there's disagreement though between his thoughts and what Zen practitioners claim, perhaps correctly.
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby Malcolm » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:40 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Really Magnus? I never noticed that...
I never understood him to see shamatha as the experience of emptiness.


ChNN frequently says this actually, but he does not mean realization of emptiness free from extremes, he means an experience where the mind is empty of thought.
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Seek To Be Lamps Unto Yourselves

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:44 pm

That's how I take it. But never really noticed him equating with shamatha. Remaining in the space between thoughts is not shamatha, I believe. Shamatha (method and state) is remaining/ results from remaining focused in one object, then the inner sign of that object and so on until the state of shamatha arises. I don't see how that's the same as remaining in the space between thoughts. Does ChNN actually says this?

I heard him talk many times about the experience of emptiness being the state between thoughts. Never took him to mistake that experience for the realization of emptiness beyond extremes. I mean, he has a very vast and deep theoretical/ practical background so I'm confident he knows this issue much better than me.
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