St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:39 pm

LastLegend wrote:
Enlightened beings are limited. The Buddha had to eat food, breath oxygen, and go to the toilet, in order to survive. And when teaching others he was forced to work with the particular level of understanding and capacities of his students. He couldn't wave a magic wand and instantly turn them all into Buddhas.


Exactly. If Buddha manifests in a human form, he will not wave a magic wand to teach.

It's not like he has a choice in the matter. These are all limitations that are imposed on the Buddha.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby LastLegend » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:44 pm

tsultrim wrote:
LastLegend wrote:
Enlightened beings are limited. The Buddha had to eat food, breath oxygen, and go to the toilet, in order to survive. And when teaching others he was forced to work with the particular level of understanding and capacities of his students. He couldn't wave a magic wand and instantly turn them all into Buddhas.


Exactly. If Buddha manifests in a human form, he will not wave a magic wand to teach.

It's not like he has a choice in the matter. These are all limitations that are imposed on the Buddha.


If Buddha is not subject to samsaric effects, then that would contradict the teaching of dependent origination.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:45 pm

tsultrim wrote:It's just your personal view that reasoned truth is not absolute.
If through your reasoning you arrived at that conclusion, then it must be absolutely true! ;)

Can you provide a quote from the Buddha which says that reason is not to be relied upon?
I don't think you will find anywhere that I said anything of the sort. So this is just a extraordinarily flimsy straw man.

It doesn't follow from the fact that reasoning depends on many causes and conditions that the results of reasoning are not absolute. The absolute truths of the Dharma are achieved through reasoning, and not through any other means.
Bzzzzzzzzt... wrong!

The Buddha says, " Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."
Oh what a surprise!!! The Kalamas Sutta misquoted out of context yet again! He was talking about non-Buddhists and their teachings.

..."Don't accept a teaching that goes against reasoning." "Buddhism has to be followed through reason and not taken for granted based on faith."
The same straw man as above, dressed in different clothing.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:55 pm

tsultrim wrote:
LastLegend wrote:
Enlightened beings are limited. The Buddha had to eat food, breath oxygen, and go to the toilet, in order to survive. And when teaching others he was forced to work with the particular level of understanding and capacities of his students. He couldn't wave a magic wand and instantly turn them all into Buddhas.


Exactly. If Buddha manifests in a human form, he will not wave a magic wand to teach.

It's not like he has a choice in the matter. These are all limitations that are imposed on the Buddha.

Ludicrous! Remember you are in a Mahayana forum.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:02 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:
tsultrim wrote:It's not like he has a choice in the matter. These are all limitations that are imposed on the Buddha.

Ludicrous! Remember you are in a Mahayana forum.


I'm not sure what you are saying. Are you saying that you believe it is the Mahayana position that Buddhas can break the law of cause and effect?

Do you believe that Siddartha Buddha did not need to breathe oxygen, etc?

Do you believe that Siddartha Buddha could have instantly turned everyone into a Buddha if he wanted to?

I didn't think Mahayanists believed such things.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:06 pm

tsultrim wrote:It can be found three quarters of the way down that passage that you quoted on May 14, that begins with "2. The Omniscience of the Buddha".
You are quite right, a distinct lack of mindfulness on my behalf, sorry!

From the translation by I.B. Horner the passage states:
Even so, sire the mentality of the Perfect Budhhas who are omniscient and whose knowledge is unobstructed, arises bouyantly and proceeds bouyantly everywhere. For what reason? Because it is everywhere utterly purified. Because, sire, the Blessed One's mentality was utterly pure and bouyant, he showed forth the twin miracle. For those miracles that derive from the mentality of the omniscient Buddhas, there is no further reason that can be alleged.

and the version translated by T. W. Rhys Davids says:
'And just in the same way, great king, are the thinking powers of the Buddhas I have described brought quickly into play, and act with ease.

And why? Because of their being purified in every respect. This is the seventh class of minds.'

'Now of these, O king, the last--the thinking powers of the omniscient Buddhas--altogether outclasses the other six, and is clear and active in its high quality that is beyond our ken. It is because the mind of the Blessed One is so clear and active that the Blessed One, great king, displays the double miracle. From that we may get to know, O king, how clear and active His mental powers are. And for those wonders there is no further reason that can be alleged. (Yet) those wonders, O king, [caused by means of the mind (alone) of the omniscient Buddhas cannot be counted, or calculated, or divided, or separated, (For) the knowledge of the Blessed One, O king, is dependent upon reflection, and it is on reflection that he knows whatever he wishes to know. (But) it is as when a man passes something he already has in one hand to the other, or utters a sound when his mouth is open, or swallows some food that he has already in his mouth, or opens his eyes when they are shut, or shuts them when open, or stretches forth his arm when it is bent in, or bends it in when stretched out--more rapid than that, great king, and more easy in its action, is the all-embracing knowledge of the Blessed One, more rapid than that his reflection. And although it is by reflection that they know whatever they want to know, yet even when they are not reflecting the Blessed Buddhas are not, even then, anything other than omniscient.'
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/milinda.htm

So it seems that the sentence you quoted was not referring to the omniscience of the Buddhas, but to how the power of the twin miracle arises.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
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One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:12 pm

LastLegend wrote:Buddha is not subject to samsaric effects.


A Buddha (an awakened being) is not subject to samsaric effects, but there are many forces that are not samsaric, which a Buddha is subject to. One of these is the law of cause and effect.

If a Buddha was not subject to cause and effect, then he would be inherently and independently existent. No such thing exists.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby LastLegend » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:13 pm

Ok KelvinSolway.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:14 pm

tsultrim wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:
tsultrim wrote:It's not like he has a choice in the matter. These are all limitations that are imposed on the Buddha.

Ludicrous! Remember you are in a Mahayana forum.


I'm not sure what you are saying. Are you saying that you believe it is the Mahayana position that Buddhas can break the law of cause and effect?

Do you believe that Siddartha Buddha did not need to breathe oxygen, etc?

Do you believe that Siddartha Buddha could have instantly turned everyone into a Buddha if he wanted to?

I didn't think Mahayanists believed such things.

1- The teachings about karma are relative, not definitive.
2- There are different interpretations about this but all agree that having a human rebirth by "not having choice" has no meaning when applied to a fully enlightened being.
3- No, he is not omnipotent. Enlightenment is already there, it's not something created by a Buddha or any other being. We just have to realize it. A Buddha teaches how to do this according to the characteristics of those who listen.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby wisdom » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:32 pm

Katy wrote:
wisdom wrote:He acted, but in his mind nothing occurred.


In reality, all people are acting, but "nothing" is occurring. So that's not something that is peculiar to the Buddha. If the Buddha was putting on a display then we are all putting on a display.

If that is the kind of display we are talking about, then I don't believe the Buddha had a choice about putting on his display. His body was going to grow old and die no matter what he wanted. So that's not a display he put on intentionally, since it would have happened regardless of his intentions.


The difference is that most people don't actually realize this. A good example is any point in time when people are overcome with suffering, sorrow or confusion. This indicates they believe the display is real and don't realize it as a display. So in terms of conventional truth, Buddhas life was a display, because he never bought into its reality.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:38 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:So it seems that the sentence you quoted was not referring to the omniscience of the Buddhas, but to how the power of the twin miracle arises.


It was refering to how clear and active must be the powers of omniscience of the Buddha, based on the Twin Miracle.

Since he is only guessing about such things, it follows that he is not speaking from authority.

Likewise, in the translation by T. W. Rhys Davids, it says, ". . . clear and active in its high quality that is beyond our ken." Here again, the author states that he cannot speak from authority.

In any case, if the text is suggesting that Buddhas are aware of all the infinite physical details of the universe, and can perfectly predict the future with certainty - then I fully reject it as not being in accord with reason.

For I have ascertained, using reason, that it is impossible to know the future with certainty, and so I have no choice but to reject any claims that it is possible.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:48 pm

The quality of omniscience is beyond our ken (understanding) since it outclasses all other six categories of "thinking power". Please stop misquoting (quoting out of context) the passages.

For I have ascertained, using reason, that it is impossible to know the future with certainty, and so I have no choice but to reject any claims that it is possible.
In the same way that, let's say: because you can't figure skate, you have to reject any claims that somebody, that you don't know, can figure skate?
Anyway, really, this statement begs the question: "Who cares what you accept or reject?"
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One will not attain the real result
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:08 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:
tsultrim wrote:Are you saying that you believe it is the Mahayana position that Buddhas can break the law of cause and effect?

1- The teachings about karma are relative, not definitive.


When understood, relative truth and ultimate truth are not two different things.

Do you believe that Siddartha Buddha did not need to breathe oxygen, etc?


2- There are different interpretations about this but all agree that having a human rebirth by "not having choice" has no meaning when applied to a fully enlightened being.


If Buddhas have not escaped cause and effect - that is, if they are not inherently and independently existent - then Buddhas are not free to do whatever they want to do. Buddhas are free of delusion, and free of samsara, but that is all. There is a great deal from which they are not free, and from which they could never possibly be free.

Do you believe that Siddartha Buddha could have instantly turned everyone into a Buddha if he wanted to?



3- No, he is not omnipotent.


Okay. That's the main point I was trying to make. That is, there are limitations imposed on Buddhas. There are countless things that they cannot possibly do.

Do you believe that Siddartha Buddha could have instantly turned everyone into a Buddha if he wanted to?

Enlightenment is already there, it's not something created by a Buddha or any other being. We just have to realize it. A Buddha teaches how to do this according to the characteristics of those who listen.

My point was that "awakening" isn't already there, and the Buddha doesn't have the power to instantly awaken all of his students. Instead, he must teach students according to their capacity, and hope that they learn something.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:17 pm

So you do not agree with the Tathagatagarbha theory and the eight consciousness model then?
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:20 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:The quality of omniscience is beyond our ken (understanding) since it outclasses all other six categories of "thinking power". Please stop misquoting (quoting out of context) the passages.


I am not quoting out of context. The author says that the quality of omniscience is beyond his ken, and he even gives the reason why it is beyond his ken.

The quote about "From that we may only guess how clear and active their powers are" also wasn't out of context, since he was talking about how that applies to omniscience.

"Who cares what you accept or reject?"


It should matter because it would be a waste of time to appeal to the authority of a teaching that has been proven, through reason, to be false.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:23 pm

Basically we are all saying the same thing: ie that it is beyond our capacity to judge the Buddhas omniscience.

But now it looks as if you are saying that you've proven Buddhas omniscience as being false? That's strange coz all I've seen are contradictory claims, straw men, misquotations and unvalidated claims of your intellectual authority. A clear case of Solwayism!
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby LastLegend » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:25 pm

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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:30 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:So you do not agree with the Tathagatagarbha theory . . .


My position is that there is Buddha-nature in all things. All things are nothing other than Buddha-nature.

But it is very rarely that any being awakens to their Buddha-nature.


. . . and the eight consciousness model then?


There are as many categories of consciousness as you care to make up.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:37 pm

At 6.08 you said this
My point was that "awakening" isn't already there...
and at 6.30 you said this
tsultrim wrote:My position is that there is Buddha-nature in all things. All things are nothing other than Buddha-nature.

But it is very rarely that any being awakens to their Buddha-nature.
and this
There are as many categories of consciousness as you care to make up.
Obviously you do not have an understanding of what Tatahagatagarbha is, nor the role of the Alaya Vijnana. I recommend you go read the Lankvatara Sutra and then we can have a proper discussion.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:44 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:it looks as if you are saying that you've proven Buddhas omniscience as being false?


I have been very clear about what I am saying. I'm saying that if your idea of omniscience is the knowing of all the infinite physical details of the the universe, past, present, and future, with absolute certainty, then you are believing in the existence of something that ls as logically impossible as a square circle is impossible.

If, on the other hand, you have a more reasonable idea of what omniscience means, then that may well be something the Buddhas have. But one thing they definitely don't have is the ability to predict the future with certainty.

A clear case of Solwayism!


I have studied Kevin Solway's writings, but I certainly don't claim to be as wise as he claims to be.
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