since there was quite an accumulation of posts I will not address every single point that was made so far. So I will exemplary pick some of them and comment on that.
In your case, a) you don't know Tibetan b) you have not properly studied tenet systems. c) you seem infected by idealism.
Frankly, I don't know where you get this idea of idealism from. To me it seems that everything that does not pertain to your
interpretation of scripture seems to fall into that pit... May I remind you that you first have to get a clear understanding of what the term consciousness
is used for, if you want to attest anybody
a 'false understanding' [according to your 'right' understanding of 'the only true system of Buddhism'] based on the fact that he speaks about consciousness
. When I speak of consciousness I do not mean 'being self-conscious' or 'thinking' or any of the like. I am speaking of consciousness as the opposite of what we perceive of as matter [for the sake of being able to distinguish between different levels
reality] and at the same time the root of matter but not different from it. [That's some non-aristotelian logic right away...;] In Zen you call that mind. I don't know how Nagarjuna called it.
There is no foundation. It is termed "the baseless basis" in (Buddhist) Dzogchen, Mahāmudra and Madhyamaka texts. What Adinatha says is perfectly correct. Everything is not established at all in any way.
Yes, the gateless gate, the pathless path – so what next? When I speak of a 'root', a 'base', a 'foundation' of reality I mean exactly that: non-duality. There is no top and down, no foundation and building upon in nondualism...
Can you now understand what I am talking about? And that you
should have no objection
to what I am saying. And that your objection
lead me to think that you are actually a materialist and not a Buddhist – when it comes to the ontology that you seem to argue from?
You should keep in mind that we use a completely degenerated language devoid of transcendental vocabulary or transcendental categories of grammar - which is why you urge me to learn Tibetan.... To understand the original Bön writings better. Which you are correct with. But
: You challenge me to present to you an alternative cosmology [to materialism] to then stick to terms
which I have to use since there are no better ones in our language. You are making a word game on Nagarjuna out of this whole discussion so that you can get your ad hominem arguments out which then
undermine my credibility in regards to the question we started out upon.
But please keep in mind that I am not an explicit follower of your philosophy. There might be a lot we agree upon - but there will be differences. So if in any case I should disagree with you on a question it is not a symptom of me not understanding dharma
– but you imposing your truths upon others.
There is no reality at all, of any kind
I have to disagree. And Nagarjuna disagrees also:
Not known from another, peaceful, not proliferated through proliferations,
non-conceptual, undifferentiated, that is characteristic of the real.
A simple reminder of Descartes should actually be enough to refute this. There is always reality. If something is – it is – and that is reality
. If emptiness is emptiness is. If form is form is. If form is emptiness, emptiness is form - but there still: IS
. Reality won't go away. The question is about what kind
of reality you are speaking of. If you speak about absolute reality in the way of 'matter always existing' or 'the self' or 'the Buddha' or what not – then of course you point into the right direction. But you are not correct to assert that there is no-thing. Nothing can not be. And what is not is not
. This is a semantic problem. Nothing more. In Bön the concept of aware space is utilized: Emptiness – but emptiness is not nothingness
. At least not in the Bön teaching. What you proclaim here is actually nihilism. And that is not dharma
I will quote John Myrdhin Reynolds
again to show that I am in complete agreement with [Bön] Dzogchen teachings
with what I have stated so far:
'However, the central concern of the Buddhist teachings is mind. Among these three dimensions of Body, Speech, and Mind, it is the latter that is most important and fundamental. Both bodily activity and the energy of the emotions depend on mind. Everything comes from mind.
The Upadesha teachings of the Buddha and the Buddhist masters point directly to this mind that is the source
. The focus of these instructions is the discovery within our immediate experience of this Nature of Mind and its capacity for awareness called Rigpa
. The principal concern of both Dzogchen and Mahamudra is Mind, that is to say, the Nature of Mind. Here a crucial distinction is made between the mind (sems), our normal everyday thought process and waking state consciousness, and the Nature of Mind (sems-nyid), which is the source of our three dimensions of Body, Speech, and Mind.
Our conscious thought process is changing from moment to moment; it is as fleeting as reflections seen on the surface of the water. But the Nature of Mind is outside and beyond time and conditioning. This distinction may be illustrated by the example of the mirror and the reflections that appear in the mirror. The Nature of the Mind is like the mirror and the mind or thought process is like the ever-changing reflections appearing in the mirror. In our normal waking state consciousness, afflicted with constant distractions, we live in the condition of the reflections, whereas in the state of contemplation we find ourselves in the condition of the mirror.'
'But what is mind? We tend to think in terms of dualities: mind vs. matter and spirit vs. nature. This brings to the fore many metaphysical questions where mind is opposed to matter and religious questions where Spirit is opposed to Nature. With meditation practice, however, we do not begin with philosophical conceptions and theories, scientific or otherwise, but with our immediate experience. Immediate experience is always the touchstone in Buddhism, not theory. Matter itself is an abstraction. We infer its existence, but we do not sense or experience matter directly. It is not a direct perception. It is inferred and conceptualized and abstracted from our sense experience, especially from our eye-hand coordination.
It represents a combination of sight and touch. If we see it and can touch it, we think that it is something real. But actually our sense experience is the datum, not the abstract concept we call “matter”.
Similarly “mind” is an abstraction. What do we mean when we say “mind”? Or “I have a mind” or “Mr. Smith has a mind”? Does “mind” simply refer to the observed behavior of others? Do they act sentient and intelligent? In Tibetan, “sems” means mind and “sems-can” means a sentient being, that is to say, a living being that possesses a mind. A living thing or animal that moves in response to stimuli is inferred to have a mind. Trees and plants, although living things, do not do this and, so, they are said not to possess a mind (sems). Plants just like animals, however, possess life-force or vitality (srog).
The Cartesian dualism of mind and matter has dominated our Western thinking for over three hundred years. We are told by our culture that we have a material body and that this body is like a machine. But then, where is the mind? Is it the ghost in the machine? Matter is thought to be something solid, real, and mechanical. Our culture provides us with a mechanical model of reality and causality. This model or paradigm has been the basis of modern science for three centuries and we are told that this model represents an accurate description of an external objective reality. Indeed, the procedures of modern science have provided us with an impressive technology, but providing us with a definitive and exhaustive description of reality is quite a different matter. But is this mechanism what we actually experience? Are we just computers made of meat?
Buddhist philosophy is not afflicted with this radical dualism. Mind and matter are two sides of the same coin. Everything is part of a single continuous reality. But, of necessity, we may analyze out and abstract certain aspects of reality by way of our intellect. However, this does not make these distinct aspects separate realities or separate substances. Mind and matter are part of a single whole; they are not separate orders of being
This should make my point clear. Or is John Myrdhin Reynolds equally infected by idealism as I am
or even the whole Bön lineage?
Can you relate to this being one and the same statement – now that I have explained it a bit more?
'Mind and matter are part of a single whole; they are not separate orders of being.'
→ 'Consciousness is the 'root' of reality.'
But please remember that we are bound by language and that language can by constitution only be the map to the territory we are speaking about... So don't get hooked up on terms, please. Logic proving the conceptual system itself - cannot
penetrate into the non-conceptual - the non-dual.
'The DAO that can be expressed
is not the eternal DAO.' Tao Te king, 1
'The limits of my language are the limits of my world.' Ludwig Wittgenstein
What comes to my mind when reviewing your judgement of me is that you might want to recap the idea of spiritual materialism again [you find that in Chögyam Trungpa's writings].
You happen to either deliberately misunderstand what I am saying - or having the idea that I disagree with you upon the nature of reality as presented by Nagarjuna
– but that doesn't make my understanding of dharma
flawed. I am not disagreeing with Nagarjuna. You having mentioned him
to prove that you are not a materialist is exactly what I referred to before: that you claim to have accepted an ontology based on certain metaphysical assumptions [Buddhism] but you speak from a perspective of another one [materialism]. Just because there is the doctrine of dependent origination [which I have not spoken upon at all] it does not mean that this is proof of Darwinian evolution
which needs to be accepted for your linguistic theory to uphold.
Remember where we started out? I doubted that with your analytical tools borrowed from linguistics based on anthropology, based on evolution theory - you might go wrong
in your assertions toward the past of Tibet - or of any other place in the world
. This is what I am saying. Then I go on and make the argument that quantum physics implies that 'consciousness' is the 'base', 'root, [in lack of a better term] of reality which opens the door for different models of dependent origination
concerning the appearance of life and the cosmos. Which would then be the ground to question your anthropology and hence your method of linguistical analysis. - and hence your assumptions about the history of Tibet or any other place in the world. It is as easy as that.
To give you an example: There is by nature a limited number of scripts and languages people can come up with. So if you would compute them and then have them lying before you you could sense similarities. Because by nature there will be similarities
– but we know that the computer generated these scripts
so there is no evolution of them. Evolution is an intellectual category applied onto reality. It is a scope through which we filter reality. Or could please be so kind and show me on your language tree how proto-indian languages develop into Chinese
? Or how Sumerian gives rise to Maya
-scripts? And please remember: a resemblance does not imply causation
. Cum hoc non est propter hoc. It is simply a logical fallacy.
The next thing is: I do not adhere to any foundation of anything. I simply make clear that there are different cosmologies available and hence it is not certain that any place in the world including his history can be accurately examined which would then let one state that one had found 'the Truth'. When Nagarjuna finds 'the Truth' he does so based on a solid system of logical reasoning. When anthropologists find 'the truth' you have to wait three years for the next National Geographic to revise the findings that lead up to it. I ask you to try to really understand what I am saying. What you are doing is setting up strawmen pointing to 'my bad understanding of dharma' and then starting your wordgames:
No, not eternal, here, rather it is actually amrita, which literally means "without death" and refers to the elixir of the devas, etc. as I am sure you know. It is funny because in the Tibetan, immortal would be translated as 'chi med, but here in Tibetan the word was translated as bdud rtsi which means figuratively the "elixir that defeats the demon of death" i.e. Yama mara.
'not mortal' 'without death' doesn't imply eternity? I am sorry but this is hilarious. I know about amrta pretty well - as I mentioned I am educated in the Vedic source literature. Amrta is the
symbol for eternity. You could say it is the endless knot of Sanatana dharma...
This is a semantic word game which does not lead anywhere. If 'without death' does not mean eternal what does it mean then? If something doesn't have an end is it not
timeless? Since everything subjugated to time has an end
? Is timelessness not equivalent
What is is
. And that describes these same eternity. It only depends on the level of relativity or absoluteness applied on this 'being-ness' whether it is really
real or just phenomenally
The same with this:
All commentarial gloss aside, it is well known that the Theravadins are slightly eternalistic in their understanding of nirvana, thus their hermeneutics. Sautrantikas, which are a higher tenet system, are unencumbered by this, but are instead encumbered by a subtle annihilationism.
I refute your point by referring to the comment that is essential to understand the verse you quoted and then you simply wind yourself out of it by exclaiming that Theravada is not developed enough and hence 'slightly eternalistic'.
The same with Adinatha:
So the adherence to a non-foundation are signs of attainment then? Jesus... I'm going to bed. Let's see if I can wrap myself up again to comment on the other stuff you wrote tomorrow...
Non-adherence to a foundation. No acceptance or rejection.
So this means that I shall accept any nonsense about anything - otherwise I am adhering... What a blast!
Why don't you start not accepting and not rejecting right away and just leave this discussion?
This discussion is a drag and a manifestation of obsessive philosophical inquiry – which will lead not one being present here to enlightenment...
Thank you though for your recommendations for studies. Actually I am seriously considering to ask for acceptance as a monk at Menri monastery at some point in the future and to go through the Geshe studies there. I have the strong faith that I can better understand Bön through that than by studying Tibetan at some Western university...
And there I can also learn the healing arts – not only from Doctors but also from shamanic practitioners...