Impermanence and Dharma

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Impermanence and Dharma

Postby edearl » Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:45 pm

As I understand it, everything is impermanent, which means the cosmos is impermanent and everything is changing. If everything is changing, can we expect Dharma to be permanent and unchanging?
HHDL: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby Paul » Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:06 pm

edearl wrote:As I understand it, everything is impermanent, which means the cosmos is impermanent and everything is changing. If everything is changing, can we expect Dharma to be permanent and unchanging?


It's not exactly that "everything is impermanent", it's compounded phenomena that are impermanent. For instance, space and nirvana are not impermanent since they are not compounded - they never end.

Dharma, as in specific teachings preserved by people will of course come to an end, but the description of reality cannot change. It is not as if things will stop being empty etc.
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"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby KevinSolway » Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:34 pm

edearl wrote:As I understand it, everything is impermanent, which means the cosmos is impermanent and everything is changing. If everything is changing, can we expect Dharma to be permanent and unchanging?


If it were the case that everything is changing then it means that it won't always be true that everything is changing. If things started being permanent that would throw a spanner in the works, eh?

Logical truths never change.
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby edearl » Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:56 pm

Paul wrote:It's not exactly that "everything is impermanent", it's compounded phenomena that are impermanent. For instance, space and nirvana are not impermanent since they are not compounded - they never end.

Dharma, as in specific teachings preserved by people will of course come to an end, but the description of reality cannot change. It is not as if things will stop being empty etc.

Forgive me, I am new to Buddhism; thus, quite ignorant. Consequently, your answer does not seem to answer my question.

I can accept that only compound phenomena are impermanent, that the emptiness of space is not impermanent, and the essence of nirvana is not impermanent while the karma of each person changes according the way they live their life. I can accept that the emptiness of space and essence of nirvana do not end.

I can accept, "Dharma, as in specific teachings preserved by people will of course come to an end;" that is a kind of change. Unfortunately, I need some clarification on "but the description of reality cannot change." First, I accepted that compounded phenomena are impermanent (i.e., changing), which means to me that reality is changing. Second, even if reality does not change, what makes our current description (understanding) of reality perfect and permanent, instead of not perfect and impermanent. In other words, if our current understanding of reality is not perfect, then it should be changed. Is the answer that the Dharma is not a compound phenomenon?
HHDL: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby Paul » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:04 pm

edearl wrote:I can accept, "Dharma, as in specific teachings preserved by people will of course come to an end;" that is a kind of change. Unfortunately, I need some clarification on "but the description of reality cannot change." First, I accepted that compounded phenomena are impermanent (i.e., changing), which means to me that reality is changing. Second, even if reality does not change, what makes our current description (understanding) of reality perfect and permanent, instead of not perfect and impermanent. In other words, if our current understanding of reality is not perfect, then it should be changed. Is the answer that the Dharma is not a compound phenomenon?


What I mean by unchanging Dharma would be how things are - the actual laws of the universe. A person's understanding, description etc. of the world would be impermanent as it's basically a person's thoughts and so on. So I think we agree.
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"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby ronnewmexico » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:47 pm

The way I look at it, to augument what is already stated as I read these other comments as saying the same thing....

Water, is always wet when it presents as water. This is not a perfect analogy but may express this a bit.
Solid it is ice not water. Gaseous it is mist or fog not really water, though composed of water.
Water is not present everywhere nor can we assume if the universe degenerates into a supermassive black hole, it will always exists.
But when it exists it is wet always.

So the dharma is the understanding...water when it presents is wet always. The dharma that true thing is always true.
Suchly is the dharma eternal.The truths are always true and permenant but the circumstances surrounding our particular display(where we find ourselves) will not always be beneficial to all productions.

Regardless if we are there to witness it or if water is actually present....it is always wet.
It is a truth.
So are truths negotiable in that they change with circumstance.....well not really.
They change only in response to the cirumstance....we can't say water is everywhere nor that it cannot be ice or fog or other things or not exist at all..but when it presents as we perceive it, water is always wet.
There is always a compounding with truth as they are observations about objects. But a compounding things does not infer always a changing thing in this sense. Quality of thing tends not to change with circumstance. Whether we are animal plant human or on earth mars or some other place water will always when it presents be wet.

The understanding of things they say some that produces nirvana. It is not that we are literally in a different place(all places are the same) understanding things as they are produces the place of nirvana as opposed to samsara.
We are conginitive things that understand. Our awarenesses speak to that fact. Suchly in a practical sense the more we understand the more we are at peace with things of any sort. REally our likes and dislikes are arbitrary and in relationship to a false construct a self.
The more we understand about things of all sorts and types(such as the me) the more we may be at peace or in a place some call nirvana.
AS cogntive things our reality(some say in a actual sense some not) how we perceive is how we order or create it.
A self fullfilling prophesy of sorts with me comes samsara and sorrow. With understanding(dharma) comes the production of nirvana.
A real nirvana** a heaven of sorts would be a discrimination of sorts..produceable but with aspect of aversion and like.
As such a unreal nirvana would be a place of mind that finds all discrimination finding all things as we are with no real source for aversion nor attachement, likeing or disliking.

There are different views on this thing so opinions vary. This may explain one way of looking at it. The first part coincides with the opinions already versed but adds a differing context. The second part is particular view which others may hold or not,I don't know.
Maybe that helps maybe not. :smile:

**real or unreal in this context refers to the variance of envisioning of this thing not the ultimate reality nor unreality of things of this sort. How they actually subside,in what mileau, that is another issue.

So can we forget truths....sure. a bit. WE have retentive aspect to our consciousness always, as part of cognitive function always.
Once found a thing is consciously known but habitual inclination and thuly the unconscious me tends to erode it.
With significant habitation complete intigration and full understanding such things may not be eroded.
The erosion, any that may occur, occurs on the basis of the me, working against or putting things in the context of me and other.
Completely understood, integration may be said the me to be dissolved.
So as me dissolved, the dissolution or erosion being of construct of me stops,

So without agent of dissolution, but with retentive aspect, consciousness retains that which is known of as true..that water is always wet and does not forget it or find it overlayed by other things.
So when nirvane is assumed...yes it is final as no cause exists to serve as dissolving agent. Me it is that essentially does the forgetting otherwise our conscsiouness is perfect in its retention. So the understanding the dharma is permenant in both aspects..always true and when underestood totally by us as cognitive things always present in consciousness and not able to be disintigrated. Of course us being under the full influence of me may forget things we learn today tomorrow. But with enough time and effort insight and study and habitation of a sort, me is dissolved no agent exists for retentive disruption...we remain with consciousness and perfect retentive aspect, not disrupted by me influcence.

I contend we do not necessarily always exist but others hold other view and that is another matter aside the topic a bit.
AS I read these things.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby edearl » Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:08 am

ronnewmexico wrote:The way I look at it, to augument what is already stated as I read these other comments as saying the same thing....

Water, is always wet when it presents as water. ....

True, water is wet, ice is cold, and steam is hot. What does Dharma say about things like the telescope, cell phones, antibiotics, gene manipulation, black holes, etc. that were unknown to humanity when the Dharma was written? Are the nature of such things incorporated into Dharma?
HHDL: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby Matt J » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:43 am

I don't agree that water is always wet. Wetness is a sensation that arises in consciousness--- no consciousness, no wetness.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby Virgo » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am

Matt J wrote:I don't agree that water is always wet. Wetness is a sensation that arises in consciousness--- no consciousness, no wetness.

Actually, water is always wet. Touching it or not touching does not change that fact. Cohesiveness is a characteristic of the water element. What one feels as "wet" is actually the cohesive property of water. If for example, your finger were made of dirt, it is this property that upon contact would turn your finger to mud. Wetness adds cohesion between properties.

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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:53 am

ed...these are conventional things you are describing. Material things of a compound nature.

The purpose of dharma is not to enumerate each and every thing that exists and then explain each away in a conventional fashion but to find and explain how we do know and understand as process. Dharma identifies the process by which we may understand. Then when accomplished we are awake and understand all, anything that may be considered by us.
As per example each thing you mention is compounded, so we may identify by study that we know only of compounded things, how we interact and understand things is on the basis of exchange. Nothing with inherantly existant property as aspect can we know that aspect of.
If non changing non perceptable a thing is to us as this is how we know of things..it is the process. That is a example of dharma as understanding of process.
A textbook definition of dharma I am not providing as I assume you want a answer beyond the textbook. YOu want textbook go to Wikipedia quary dharma and you will have your answer...but I suspect that is not what you want.

Dharma whether it be the most basic rule of conduct or the most complex of philosophy or psychology is about one thing....understaanding.
The rules dedication and all the rest, (many many things) put us in a position to understand. That environment of the spiritual coupled with meditation and means produces the result...understanding and eventually very long term enlightenment. A place of total understanding. We become awake..it is not that we know a lot about a lot of things. That may be a result but not in the fashion you describe, a conventional fashion.
REmoving the false barrier of self concept we may understand directly.

AS to appearences..they are mind. But that is a complex subject of other issue.
I can elaborate a bit if that is your want on the thing of appearence.

Dharma is all about producing one thing....happiness. With understanding as things are with our particular composite of awareness our being sentient, individual in perception....come happiness always.
WE awake we are happy. We are asleep...not so happy.

The buddha any buddhas words on this, in totality, comprise the dharma. Is dharma then a seperate thing that like a rock or hammer may be applied and it does this....well yes and no. In a conventional sense dharma may be applied. In a ultimate sense dharma the truth of things is the truth of things, the process of how we may understand, and as process does not change nor corrupt.
It is not for example telling us about black holes cell phones or such things, it is about in the main, describing a process of understanding, how we may understand, in part by explaining our relationship to all we perceive.
Again, rules devotion mantra perhaps tantra and all the rest, all that may be considered dharma.....it is all understanding this thing of us and what we perceive to be about us. Our ultimate reality which is not our conventional reality in the fashion you describe.
We create a conventional reality by our predispositions and how we habitually find things. It is not that convention things you describe do not exist or are beyond buddhism and dharma it is that understanding this process of how we understand devolves the faulted process of the conventional.
Things still exist but our relationship with them changes. As we understand we become happy and as result of our understanding eventually our reality as product of now a faulted understanding it changes as well.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby edearl » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:58 am

ronnewmexico wrote:ed...these are conventional things you are describing. Material things of a compound nature.
....

Sorry, my reading is sabotaged by dyslexia. I just realized Dharma and dharma were different. Nonetheless, I am still not totally clear about what the Buddha was supposed to have said. The things I mentioned (i.e., telescope, cell phones, antibiotics, gene manipulation, black holes, etc.) are products of modern science, including quantum and einsteinium mechanics; thus, relevant to cosmology. HHDL said, "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims," which I understand means that either Dharma or dharma may change. On the other hand, my reading so far indicates both Dharma and dharma are remarkably consistent with science. I am skeptical about some Buddhist beliefs because I am unaware of any reliable evidence, but some folks are very attached to these beliefs. Why should Dharma or dharma not change.
HHDL: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:00 am

edearl wrote: If everything is changing, can we expect Dharma to be permanent and unchanging?


An important aspect of Dharma is insight into impermanence. ;)

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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:57 pm

Buddhist cosmology was Dharma to those at the time it was related.
At that point in time describing Mr Sumuru as the literal center of the universe served purpose, it brought those particular peoples to certain understandings.
We may take that literally or as learning tool.

Point being it is not in this context the Dharma that has changed. WE can't seperate Dharma from its intended function..to bring us to understanding.
The specific tool has changed in that mount samaru as the center of the universe in literal fashion serves now to us the peoples here...no purpose.
So it is discarded or considered in a symbolic fashion not literal.

Buddhism is not as christianity.The buddha, and this is central to HHDL and how he speaks as well, said different things to different peoples to bring them to understanding. What works for a primitive peoples of violent predisposition does not work for a peaceful people of intellectual disposition, and vis a versa.
It is all with the intention to help human to understand. Select things and say...well this is literal fact...no generally that is in error.
Some Buddhists still consider Mt Samuru to be the center of the universe and that it may be found here on earth...that is not Dharma that is taking what was of use in the past and applying it to the present day where it has no literal use.

We can read error into Dharma if that is our intention.
Looking at it in the context of displayal, how it is intended there is no error or fault. That is how Dharma is written and understood...within circumstance, then we apply it.

YOu will as well find contradictions in buddhism apparent actual contradictions.
This may at times be a religion of fools but mostly it is not. If there are contradictions we must look to see in what context these things were intended.
Then we match intension with situation and choose as apporpriate.

Buddhisms basic tenant as much as anything else it says this....everything is dependently originated...circumstantially produced.
As such we cannot generally apply set strict rigid rules within buddhism and call that Dharma. There are some but really just a few.
Buddhism speaks against absolutism and nihilism both.
Absolutism takes things in that fashion, rules we must follow and obey, it extends from theism, self and other concept turned into diety or god concept.
Generally buddhists must qualify all by circumstance, did this in Dharma apply.... or did that.
And to find if a thing is Dharma the ultimate test is we ourselves must judge the logic or rational to it...is it true or not, does it apply to us or not in our circumstance.

So Dharma does not change and it is eternal as any truth does not change and is eternal.
It is not that MT Samuru does not exist or exist it is how is Mt Samuru relevent to us or not relevent.So we may apply thag thing or discard it....
Budddhas goal stated was not to tell us very remarkable things and then expect us to conduct ourselves in that fashion knowing this or that...that is theism.
Buddhas goal was to bring us to a end to suffering...all means employed to do so.
Mt Samuru if it serves such purpose it is utilized if not not. If serving no purpose to lead us to understanding things...it is discarded.

So Dharma may appear to change it actually does not.
Buddhism again is a process to understand. The specifics of how that process works in this time as opposed to that, to these peoples as opposed to that...that changes from minute to minute. Means change Dharma does not.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:05 pm

Permanent or impermanent?

A circle is one half of the story. A straight line is the other half of the story.

The trick is to combine the two. Sho'nuff.

Image
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby Paul » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:52 pm

edearl wrote:Sorry, my reading is sabotaged by dyslexia. I just realized Dharma and dharma were different.


There are actually ten meanings to the word dharma:

The Indian tradition distinguishes ten meanings of the word dharma. As explained in the Great Tibetan-Chinese Dictionary, 1) Knowables, as in compound and non-compound dharmas; 2) the path, as in the dharma of the truth of path; 3) nirvana, as in the dharma of the truth of cessation; 4) the object of the mind consciousness as in the sense base of dharmas; 5) merit, as in acting on dharmas together with a retinue of queens and youths; 6) life, as in childish beings cherishing the visible dharmas; 7) the scriptures, as in the dharma-vinaya; 8) the source-derived, as in ‘the body is an aging dharma;’ 9) realization, as in the four spiritual dharmas; and 10) tradition, as in divine dharma and human dharma. As the Great Dictionary notes, not all of these usages are common in Tibetan.


http://rywiki.tsadra.org/index.php/chos
Image

"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby Kyosan » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:55 pm

As Ron has said, there are different types of Dharma. There is an eternal Dharma which is not subject to cause and effect. The ultimate goal in Buddhism is to realize this eternal Dharma and when we realize it we become Buddhas. In order to realize it all attachments must be broken. Here's where the other kind of Dharma, sometimes called expedients or pointing, is important.

The purpose of expedients is to break attachments. Since expedients vary, depending upon the person and situation, I would call them non-eternal or impermanent. If a person is attached to existence a bodhisattva might speak of nonexistence to get the person to realize that attachment and break it. If a person is attached to nonexistence a bodhisattva might speak of non nonexistence to get the person to realize that attachment and break it.
:namaste:
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:20 pm

Don't conflate Sadharma and Buddhadharma. Buddhadharma is impermanent. It will vanish someday.
You can think about it as a map between two places. The map disappears and people forget the path, but it's still there. Buddha revealed a path. He didn't create it. That path will be forgotten. The moon will stay there, but there won't be any finger pointing it. ;)
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby edearl » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:04 am

Paul wrote:
edearl wrote:Sorry, my reading is sabotaged by dyslexia. I just realized Dharma and dharma were different.


There are actually ten meanings to the word dharma:

The Indian tradition distinguishes ten meanings of the word dharma. As explained in the Great Tibetan-Chinese Dictionary, 1) Knowables, as in compound and non-compound dharmas; 2) the path, as in the dharma of the truth of path; 3) nirvana, as in the dharma of the truth of cessation; 4) the object of the mind consciousness as in the sense base of dharmas; 5) merit, as in acting on dharmas together with a retinue of queens and youths; 6) life, as in childish beings cherishing the visible dharmas; 7) the scriptures, as in the dharma-vinaya; 8) the source-derived, as in ‘the body is an aging dharma;’ 9) realization, as in the four spiritual dharmas; and 10) tradition, as in divine dharma and human dharma. As the Great Dictionary notes, not all of these usages are common in Tibetan.


http://rywiki.tsadra.org/index.php/chos

Thanks for the link and info.
HHDL: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby edearl » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:24 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:Permanent or impermanent?

A circle is one half of the story. A straight line is the other half of the story.

The trick is to combine the two. Sho'nuff.

Image

Nice clock. :smile: and a good message.

My role in how the Dharma and dharma are understood by others will be insignificant. I understand that China has more Buddhists (probably including Tibet) than any other nation in the world. It is also a very competitive and producing many scientists and engineers. Many Asian countries are also educating scientists and engineers. Change will come from within that community of Buddhists; it is unlikely Westerners will much affect Buddhism.

In elliptic geometry parallel lines curve toward each other and intersect, eventually. Maybe there is some way to combine a circle and a line.
HHDL: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
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Re: Impermanence and Dharma

Postby muni » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:57 am

edearl wrote:As I understand it, everything is impermanent, which means the cosmos is impermanent and everything is changing. If everything is changing, can we expect Dharma to be permanent and unchanging?


Guru Rinpoche said: we need an unfabricated Dharma. Impermanent or permanent are fabricated concepts.
I found this:

"The idea that perceiving impermanence is the key to happiness also doesn't make much sense. It's not something that can be understood by intellect alone".
http://buddhism.about.com/od/basicbuddh ... anence.htm
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