Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:04 pm

Karel Werner is thus right to criticize the popular contrast which sees Hinduism as teaching a 'transmigrating personality', taken as the eternal atman or Self, and Buddhism as denying this (1988: 94). Even for Hinduism, the 'transmigrating personality' is of a changeable, composite nature, the 'subtle (sukshma)' or 'characteristic (linga-)' body (sarira), and is not the eternal Self, which only underlies it (1988: 84)


...Harvey (1995) p. 107
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:04 pm

deepbluehum wrote:The Upanishads were not in full bloom then. Even in Upanishadic tradition, the atman is not seen as unchanging. Harvey and Werner recognized this when commenting that Buddha was not rejecting Upanishadic notions. There is a definite symbiosis going on here.


The Chandogya, which defines Atman as permanant and unchanging, predates the Buddha by three or four hundred years, as does the Brihadarayanaka.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:05 pm

Jyoti wrote:
Lotus_Bitch wrote:This is yet again another Hindu/ Advaitin view, which is wrong view in all yanas of Buddhism.


These view is of definitive meaning that has only one yana, that is the mahayana, regardless of tradition.


The proper term is Ekayāna.

M
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:16 pm

Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:The Upanishads were not in full bloom then. Even in Upanishadic tradition, the atman is not seen as unchanging. Harvey and Werner recognized this when commenting that Buddha was not rejecting Upanishadic notions. There is a definite symbiosis going on here.


The Chandogya, which defines Atman as permanant and unchanging, predates the Buddha by three or four hundred years, as does the Brihadarayanaka.


As Harvey notes from Werner's analysis, the Buddha is only refuting an unchanging personality structure that could be called atta. An unchanging Unconditioned Atta is okay, Harvey also notes, Buddha describes Arahats as men of developed Atta. So Buddha is not refuting the Upanishadic notions at all.
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:38 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:The Upanishads were not in full bloom then. Even in Upanishadic tradition, the atman is not seen as unchanging. Harvey and Werner recognized this when commenting that Buddha was not rejecting Upanishadic notions. There is a definite symbiosis going on here.


The Chandogya, which defines Atman as permanant and unchanging, predates the Buddha by three or four hundred years, as does the Brihadarayanaka.


As Harvey notes from Werner's analysis, the Buddha is only refuting an unchanging personality structure that could be called atta. An unchanging Unconditioned Atta is okay, Harvey also notes, Buddha describes Arahats as men of developed Atta. So Buddha is not refuting the Upanishadic notions at all.


The Upanishads are not proclaiming a personality structure as atman.

The Buddha clearly rejects an atman that is one of the five aggregates, all of the five aggregates, or seperate from the five aggregates.

I see little ground to support the notion that Buddha supported the notion of a Self.

Harvey's discusison is very nuanced, and very precise, and to understand it, you will agree, one must read the whole text thoroughly and carefully because it is easy to be mislead in the middle if you have not got all the way to the end.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Virgo » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:40 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
Virgo wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:As it says in the Suttas cited in this thread. Nibbana is an eternal and radiant consciousness.

Dude, nibbana is unarisen not eternal.


Kevin


That's not what DN 11 or MN 49 says, dude.

Being unborn, uncreated, eternal or not eternal don't really apply here. It is beyond being eternal or not because it doesn't even arise and come into being, so it cannot be judged in such by those terms which inherently refer to phenomena that arise, or seem to arise, depending on your perspective.

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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Jeff » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:32 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Jeff wrote:
I would argue that everyone has equal access to everyone else's mind (body), but their perspective is obstructed.


Obstructions =lack of access.


Agreed. A buddha has access to everyones mind.

In the context of the discussion, I had mistakenly interpreted your "lack of access" to imply "not possible".

:smile:
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Jeff » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:44 pm

Lotus_Bitch wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:He said the Buddha only meant to refute a Creator God, but the notion of Brahman is basically fine with buddha-dharma. That was surprising to me.


With no disrespect what-so-ever, Buddha actually did refute the notion of Brahman or an independent, eternal, absolute "Awareness/Consciousness" that things arise from and dissolve into.

Taking these excerpts from a Dharmawheel forummer's blog.

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/09/two-sutras-teachings-of-buddha-on.html:

Two Sutras (Discourses by Buddha) on the Mistaken Views of Consciousness

In these sutras, the Buddha warned against mistaken understandings of the I AM and non-dual experience/realisation prior to the Anatta insight (i.e. Thusness Stage 1~4). Shurangama Sutra in particular maps well with Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment

First Sutra (Shurangama Sutra)

http://www.heartspace.org/writings/trad ... Sutra.html

(41) Ananda, you should know that the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty, and he must return consciousness to the source. He has already ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity.

He can cause the individual sense faculties of his body to unite and open. He also has a pervasive awareness of all the categories of beings in the ten directions. Since his awareness is pervasive, he can enter the perfect source. But if he regards what he is returning to as the cause of true permanence and interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall into the error of holding to that cause. Kapila the Sankhyan, with his theory of returning to the Truth of the Unmanifest, will become his companion. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

This is the first state, in which he creates a place to which to return, based on the idea that there is something to attain. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds of externalism.

Second Sutra (Mulapariyaya Sutta: The Root Sequence)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


..."He directly knows water as water... the All as the All...

"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because he has known that delight is the root of suffering & stress, that from coming-into-being there is birth, and that for what has come into being there is aging & death. Therefore, with the total ending, fading away, cessation, letting go, relinquishment of craving, the Tathagata has totally awakened to the unexcelled right self-awakening, I tell you."

That is what the Blessed One said. Displeased, the monks did not delight in the Blessed One's words.
Rob Burbea in Realizing the Nature of Mind:

One time the Buddha went to a group of monks and he basically told them not to see Awareness as The Source of all things. So this sense of there being a vast awareness and everything just appears out of that and disappears back into it, beautiful as that is, he told them that’s actually not a skillful way of viewing reality. And that is a very interesting sutta, because it’s one of the only suttas where at the end it doesn’t say the monks rejoiced in his words.

This group of monks didn’t want to hear that. They were quite happy with that level of insight, lovely as it was, and it said the monks did not rejoice in the Buddha’s words. (laughter) And similarly, one runs into this as a teacher, I have to say. This level is so attractive, it has so much of the flavor of something ultimate, that often times people are unbudgeable there


Thank you for the above links. I also got a chance to check out the Thusness seven stages. I found everything to be consistent with what I was trying to describe previously. As you pointed out, my definition of "non-dual" was far richer than the Buddhist definition.

Also, after stage 7 of Thusness, one begins to expand beyond of the local "body-mind" and can experience all existence (form). In Thusness terms, what I was describing would be a level 9 or 10.

:smile:
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:45 pm

Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:As Harvey notes from Werner's analysis, the Buddha is only refuting an unchanging personality structure that could be called atta. An unchanging Unconditioned Atta is okay, Harvey also notes, Buddha describes Arahats as men of developed Atta. So Buddha is not refuting the Upanishadic notions at all.


The Upanishads are not proclaiming a personality structure as atman.

The Buddha clearly rejects an atman that is one of the five aggregates, all of the five aggregates, or seperate from the five aggregates.

I see little ground to support the notion that Buddha supported the notion of a Self.

Harvey's discusison is very nuanced, and very precise, and to understand it, you will agree, one must read the whole text thoroughly and carefully because it is easy to be mislead in the middle if you have not got all the way to the end.


Sometimes you have to let things stand. The passage means what it says.
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:52 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
Sometimes you have to let things stand. The passage means what it says.


You have misread -- see pg. 94, section 6.9:

"...though it is clearly seen as not having any metaphysical self/ātman as an underlying support, as does the transmigrating ātman"
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:15 pm

Malcolm wrote:"...though it is clearly seen as not having any metaphysical self/ātman as an underlying support, as does the transmigrating ātman"


Right, there's a distinction made between a transmigrating atman. When the atman is freed of all transmigrating constructs it merges into the Brahman, hence the nonduality part. What he's saying is the Upanishads are describing an "atman as discernment" as well, which is what is transmigrating. IOW, so long as it continues asserting it's own metaphysical uniqueness, it transmigrates.

He is citing a parallell with Buddha's discourses, not a distinction.

Here's the whole section 6.9; I don't have time to fix the typos...

The above Upanishadic passage also shows other parallels to
Buddhist ones. It sees the individual atman, after death, as becoming
with-discernment, or discernment itself, and as 'descending' in this
form into a new womb (i.e. rebirth). To this may be compared
DII 62-3:
'Were discernment, Ananda, not to fall (okkamissatha) into
the mother's womb, would mind-and-body (ntima-riipa'fl) be
constituted there?' 'It would not, Lord'. 'Were discernment,
having fallen into the mother's womb, to turn aside (vokkamissatha)
from it, would mind-and-body come to birth in this
present state?' 'It would not, Lord'.
Just as the Upanishadic passage says that it is atman-as-discernment
which 'descends' (ava-kramati) into the womb (at
conception), so this says that discernment 'falls into' (o-kkamati)
the womb at conception. '0-kkamati' is, in fact, equivalent to avakkamati,
which is the Pili form of 'ava-kriimati'. Similarly, just as
the atman 'ascends' (ut-krtimati) from a person at death, so discernment
must not 'turn aside' (vo-kkamati) from the womb, if a live
birth is to follow. Here the Pali prefix 'vo' is equivalent to 'vi' +
'ut', and so the similarity of language persists. It can thus be seen
that the life-principle referred to by Maha-Kassapa seems to be, in
the main, the process of discernment which enters the womb at
conception and leaves the body at death. In this, it is talked of in
much the same way as the individual, transmigrating atman of the
Upanishads, though it clearly is not seen as having any metaphysical
Self/atman as an underlying support, as does the transmigrating
atman
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:30 pm

Jeff wrote:How is there dualism? Consciousness is just a subset of raw Awareness.

:smile:

I think this is a good article for you to read, since the person who wrote this came from a background in Advaita Vedanta. It's a long article, so I'm quoting only half of it.

http://www.heartofnow.com/files/emptiness.html

Why Emptiness?

Emptiness is another kind of nondual teaching. Emptiness teachings demonstrate that the "I," as well as everthing else, lacks inherent existence. The notion of lacking inherent existence has several senses. In one sense, empty things lack essence, which means that there is no intrinsic quality that makes a thing what it is. In another sense, empty things lack independence, which means that a thing does not exist on its own, apart from conditions, relations or cognition. A great deal of what one studies in the emptiness teachings demonstrates the relations between these two senses, and heightens one's sensitivity to their ramifications.

Emptiness teachings are found mainly in Buddhism, but there are some surprising parallels in the work of Western thinkers such as Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 535–475 BCE) Protagoras of Abdera (480-411 BCE), Gorgias of Leontini, Sicily (485-380 BCE), Pyrrho of Elis (c. 360-270 BCE), Sextus Empiricus (c. 160-210 AD), Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE), Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (c. 35-100 AD), Michel de Montaigne, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, Jacques Derrida, W.V.O. Quine, Wilfred Sellars, Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend, Donald Davidson, Richard Rorty, Nelson Goodman, Richard Lanham, John D. Caputo, Richard Bernstein and many others.
Lotus

According to Buddhism, when emptiness is realized, peace ensues. One's experience is transformed so that the self, other beings and the world no longer seem like intrinsically compartmentalized objects, distinct and separate from each other. The self and all things are experienced as free.

If the selflessness of phenomena is analyzed
and if this analysis is cultivated,
It causes the effect of attaining nirvana.
Through no other cause does one come to peace.
(The Samadhiraja Sutra)

One who is in harmony with emptiness
is in harmony with all things.
(Nagarjuna, Treatise on the Middle Way 24.14)



How Is Emptiness Nondual?

The most common connotation of "nonduality" is "oneness" or "singularity." Many teachings state that everything is actually awareness; those teachings are nondual in the "oneness" sense in which there are no two things.

But there is another sense of "nonduality." Instead of nonduality as "oneness," it's nonduality as "free from dualistic extremes.
" This entails freedom from the pairs of metaphysical dualisms such as essentialism/nihilism, existence/non-existence, reification/annihilation, presence/absence, or intrinsicality/voidness, etc. These pairs are dualisms in this sense: if you experience things in the world in terms of one side of the pair, you will experience things in the world in terms of the other side as well. If some things seem like they truly exist, then other things will seem like they truly don't exist. You will experience your own self to truly exist, and fear that one day you will truly not exist. Emptiness teachings show how none of these pairs make sense, and free you from experiencing yourself and the world in terms of these opposites. Emptiness teachings are nondual in this sense.

For those who encounter emptiness teachings after they've become familiar with awareness teachings, it's very tempting to misread the emptiness teachings by substituting terms. That is, it's very easy to misread the emptiness teachings by seeing "emptiness" on the page and thinking to yourself, "awareness, consciousness, I know what they're talking about."

Early in my own study I began with this substitution in mind. With this misreading, I found a lot in the emptiness teachings to be quite INcomprehensible! So I started again, laying aside the notion that "emptiness" and "awareness" were equivalent. I tried to let the emptiness teachings speak for themselves. I came to find that they have a subtle beauty and power, a flavor quite different from the awareness teachings. Emptiness teachings do not speak of emptiness as a true nature that underlies or supports things. Rather, it speaks of selves and things as essenceless and free.


Emptiness in Buddhism

According to Buddhist teachings, freedom from suffering dawns when we realize that we ourselves, as well as all things, are empty.

In Buddhism, suffering is said to come from conceiving that we and the world have fixed, independent and unchangeable natures that exist on their own without help from anything else. We expect that there is a true way that self and world truly are and ought to be. These expectations are unrealistic and prevent us from granting things the freedom to come and go and change. We like pleasant things to abide permanently, and unpleasant things to never occur. We experience suffering when we actually encounter comings, goings and change. Suffering often takes the form of anger, indignation, existential anxiety, and even a sense that, as they say in TV sitcoms, "something is wrong with this picture."

But when we deeply realize that we and the world are empty, we no longer have unrealistic expectations. We find peace and freedom in the midst of flux.
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What Does Emptiness Mean?

What are things empty of? According to the Buddhist teachings, things are empty of inherent existence.

Being empty of inherent existence means that there is no essential, fixed or independent way in which things exist. Things have no essential nature. There is no way things truly are, in and of themselves. We will investigate the notion of inherent existence in more detail below.

Different Buddhist schools or tenet systems have different ways of characterizing emptiness; they have different ways of helping students reduce suffering. My characterization of emptiness adheres somewhat to the Tibetan Gelug-ba school of Prasangika or "Consequentialist" Madhyamika. This is not the only tenet system in Buddhism that discusses emptiness. There are other schools with slightly different interpretations of the emptiness teachings. I prefer the Tibetan Prasangika interpretation for pragmatic reasons. It has a greater number of publically available supports for studying and meditating on emptiness than I have seen in other Buddhist schools. The term "Prasangika" is Sanskrit for "consequence." The "consequence" designation comes from this school's method of debate and refutation, which follows Nagarjuna's style in his Treatise.
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The Dialectical Approach

The Consequentialists do not argue for substantive positions, but proceed dialectically. They argue by drawing out the unwanted and unexpected logical consequences entailed by their interlocutors' positions. The Consequentialist style of refutation is as follows: while in debate over metaphysical issues with an interlocutor, the Consequentialist refutes the interlocutor not by negating the interlocutor's statement with a counter-statement (e.g., that matter exists, not Mind), but by finding an inconsistency or incoherent assumption buried amidst the interlocutor's statements. This allows Consequentialism to be positionless with respect to issues, most notably on questions of existence and non-existence.

Imagine a philosopher coming up to a man who is sitting quietly against a tree, and telling the man that the tree truly exists because it is truly independent of the mind that cognizes it. Our sitting man is a consequentialist. He doesn't have an opinion on the existence or non-existence of the tree, and doesn't wish to convince the philosopher of a contrary position; he's just sitting there. So he won't offer a counter-claim or argue that the tree really doesn't exist independently of cognition. Instead, he will draw out more statements from the philosopher until the philosopher is obviously involved in a contradiction or other difficulty. Or he might show that the philosopher's assumptions entail an absurd, unwanted conclusion. Then he'll go back to sitting against the tree.

The Consequentialist school is the most thoroughgoing of the Mahayana schools in its rejection of any kind of intrinsic nature. Even though it is the school of His Holiness the current Dalai Lama, most of the Dalai Lama's public teachings are about other topics of wider interest. Emptiness teachings can get abstract and subtle, and not everyone is interested in them. But if you do find books in English on emptiness, most of them are likely to be written from the Consequentialist standpoint. You will find a list of these books in the References below.
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The Buddhist World

Thumbnail of the Buddhist World

(Click image to expand in a separate window)

According to the Buddhist emptiness teachings, the world is made up only of things that are "selfless" or empty. Even non-existents are empty. Non-existents would include round squares, the hairs of a turtle, etc., and inherent existence. Existents are divided into two classes, compounded things and non-compunded things.

Compounded things are said to disintegrate moment-to-moment, in a way analogous to aging. They are impermanent in this sense. Compounded things have pieces or parts and are produced from combinations of other factors. Compounded things include physical objects, colors, shapes, powers, sensations, thoughts, intentions, feelings, persons, collections, and states of being. These various things fall under the categories of Form (colors, shapes and powers), Consciousness (the sensory modalities and thinking processes), and Compositional Factors (collections and states of being).

Non-compounded things include do not disintegrate moment-to-moment. In this sense, they are said to be "permanent." There are two kinds of "permanent" existent. There are "occasional permanents," which come into existence and go out of existence. These include, for example, the space inside the cup and the emptiness of the cup. Even though the cup is compounded and consists of parts (such as the rim, the handle, the walls, etc.), the space inside the cup and the emptiness of the cup are not compounded and do not consist of parts. Also, the emptiness of the cup and the space inside the cup stop existing when the cup stops existing. There are also "Non-occasional permanents," such as emptiness in general and space in general. These are the referents of general concepts, and exist as long as any objects or relations exist.

For the student of emptiness, it is not important to remember or utilize this scheme or employ these categories in one's day-to-day use. What is important is to learn the lessons taught by this scheme:

According to the Buddhist world-view, everything that exists is said to be empty
For each thing, there is also the corresponding emptiness of that thing, because to exist is to be empty
Inherent existence falls under the category of non-existent things

This last point is especially important when it comes to meditating on emptiness. When you meditate on emptiness, what you actually look for is inherent existence. Instead of finding inherent existence, you will find the lack of inherent existence. This lack itself is emptiness.
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Emptiness and Dependent Arising

According to the Mahayana paths of Buddhism that emphasize the notion, emptiness is what the early Buddhist sutras were pointing to when they presented the notion of pratītyasamutpāda (Sanskrit) or paticcasamuppāda (Pali), namely "dependent arising":

There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones notices:
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
(Anguttara Nikaya X.92; Vera Sutta)


Centuries later, Nagarjuna (2nd century C. E.) became the preeminent expositor of emptiness teachings. His Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (Treatise on the Middle Way) is today considered the most profound and sophisticated exposition of emptiness in Buddhism. The text provides scores of arguments for the conclusion that to propose any kind of inherent existence or metaphysical essence involves the proponent in logical contradictions and incoherence. Chapter 24 actually contains two specific verses that characterize the notion of emptiness itself:

Whatever is dependently co-arisen,
That is explained to be emptiness.
That, being a dependent designation,
Is itself the middle way. (Treatise, 24.18)

Something that is not dependently arisen,
Such a thing does not exist.
Therefore a nonempty thing
Does not exist. (Treatise, 24.19)

In verse 18, Nagarjuna sets up a three-way equivalence:

emptiness : dependent arising : verbal convention

and identifies this equivalence with the Middle Way. The Middle Way is a form of nonduality that is free from the dualistic opposites of essentialism and nihilism. Even emptiness itself is characterized as being empty. It is empty because, instead of having the inherent nature of being dependent arising, it is merely "explained to be" dependent arising.

In verse 19, Nagarjuna states that whatever exists, is in some sense dependently arisen, that is, empty. If something is not dependently arisen, then it is not empty. If it is not empty, then it does not exist. And of course even things we would normally consider as non-existent, such as unicorns and round squares, are also empty.
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Conventional Existence

So how do things exist if they don’t exist inherently? According to the Buddhist teachings, things exist in an everyday, non-inherent, dependent way. Our mode of existence is dependent on many things, such as the causes and conditions that give rise to us, the components that make us up, and the ways we are cognized and categorized. According to the teachings, we are not separate and independent entities, but rather we exist in dependence on webworks of relations and transactions.

For example, we can say that a bottle of milk exists in a dependent, conventional way because you can go to the store, lift the bottle of milk off the shelf, pay for it, and bring it home. It exists in dependence on its surroundings, its having been manufactured, and in relation to the actions of the store employees and yourself. The bottle of milk is not found to exist independently of these things.

It is taught that all things are empty and dependent like this. That includes people and all other living beings, as well as consciousness and unconsciousness; pleasure and pain; time and space; cause and effect; good and bad; logic and math; language, meaning and reference; art, commerce and science; planets, boulders and bridges; unicorns and Sherlock Holmes; energy, thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. Whatever exists is said to exist conventionally, but not inherently.
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Emptiness Itself is Empty

Even emptiness is empty. For example, the emptiness of the bottle of milk does not exist inherently. Rather, it exists in a dependent way. The emptiness of the bottle of milk is dependent upon its basis (the bottle of milk). It is also dependent upon having been designated as emptiness. As we saw above, this is alluded to in Nagarjuna’s Treatise, verse 24.18.

Understood this way, emptiness is not a substitute term for awareness. Emptiness is not an essence. It is not a substratum or background condition. Things do not arise out of emptiness and subside back into emptiness. Emptiness is not a quality that things have, which makes them empty. Rather, to be a thing in the first place, is to be empty.

It is easy to misunderstand emptiness by idealizing or reifying it by thinking that it is an absolute, an essence, or a special realm of being or experience. It is not any of those things. It is actually the opposite. It is merely the way things exist, which is without essence or self-standing nature or a substratum of any kind. Here is a list characteristics of emptiness, to help avoid some of the frequent misunderstandings about emptiness, according to the Buddhist Consequentialists:

Emptiness is not a substance
Emptiness is not a substratum or background
Emptiness is not light
Emptiness is not consciousness or awareness
Emptiness is not the Absolute
Emptiness does not exist on its own
Objects do not consist of emptiness
Objects do not arise from emptiness
Emptiness of the "I" does not negate the "I"
Emptiness is not the feeling that results when no objects are appearing to the mind
Meditating on emptiness does not consist of quieting the mind


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Inherent Existence

Inherent existence is the kind of existence we uncritically think things have, existing under their own power, without help from anything else. Our sense that things exist in this way is the root of our suffering, according to the Buddhist teachings. We have a sense of this inherence partly due to how we think of language. We think that words are labels pointing straight to pre-formatted, already-individuated things in the world outside of language or cognition. This tendency to feel inherence can even be intensified if we follow essentialist philosophies such as Platonism or materialist realism, which hold that things exist according to their own essential nature, independent of anything else. Our natural tendency to feel this inherence is the root of suffering, according to the emptiness teachings. Actually, being able to locate and isolate this sense of inherent existence in yourself is good news. The more clearly you can grasp the sense of inherent existence, the more powerfully you will be able to realize emptiness when you do your meditations.

What does the sense of inherent existence feel like? We will say much more about this later, but briefly, it feels like something is really there, just like that, being what it really is. You've had a very definite sense of inherent existence if you've ever wondered whether something or someone has been given the "correct" name! Or could it perhaps have been given the wrong name??

According to the emptiness teachings, inherent existence is the kind of existence that things do not have. Things actually lack inherent existence, because they exist as dependent arisings. This dependency is the lack of inherent existence, which in turn, is their emptiness.

The relation between inherent existence, emptiness and dependent arising can be seen through the translation of the Sanskrit or Pali terms for depending arising: pratītyasamutpāda (Sanskrit) or paticcasamuppāda (Pali). The Sanskrit components are individually translated as follows:

Pratītya = Meeting, Relying or Depending + Samut = Out of + Pad = To go, to fall

Notice the three English terms for Pratītya, Meeting, Arising, and Depending. These have been given three different kinds of meanings by the consequentialist writers (see H.H. the Dalai Lama, 2000, pp. 35ff in References), so as to cover all the variations of dependent arising. These kinds of dependence are explained as follows:
Thumbnail of the Inherent Existence chart

MEETING - The coming together of causes and conditions in time. In Western philosophical terms, this might be referred to as causal dependency. The cessation of cause comes into contact with the onset of effect within a network of supporting conditions. Examples would include one billiard ball striking another, or the sperm and ovum coming into contact at human conception. Because of uncritically thinking that things and people exist inherently, we can sometimes be surprised by the effects of the "Meeting"-style dependent arising. An example would be the surprise at the aging process if we see someone for the first time after a long absence. This is the least subtle of the three types of dependent arising.

RELYING - The way a thing depends on its pieces and parts. In Western philosophical terms, this might be referred to as mereological dependency. The pieces and parts of an object are sometimes called its "basis of designation." According to the emptiness teachings, we would see roots, a stalk, branches and leaves, and based on this, designate the object as a "tree." These various parts are the tree's basis of designation. Being a tree is dependent upon the basis of designation. The tree cannot be said to exist if its basis of designation did not exist. For example, if you have a car in the parking lot over a long period of time, and vandals come and steal pieces here and there over several months, there will come a certain point at which there won't be enough parts for you to call it a car. This is how the car depends upon its pieces and parts, or its basis of designation. Even though this seems reasonable if we think about it like this, it's never nevertheless easy to think that the true car exists in a way apart from the basis of designation, as though there were a "true car" that existed in an ideal realm of some sort. This sense that the car exists without depending on its basis of designation is the sense of the inherent existence of the car. This is more subtle than "Meeting"-style dependence.

DEPENDING - The way a thing depends on being designated by convention, language, or cognition. In Western philosophical terms, this might be referred to as conceptual dependency. Did Mount Everest exist before it was named? Did sub-atomic particles exist as such before they were ever thought of? Would a "rose by any other name" still be a rose? We look at the shape, size and structure of a natural formation of the earth, and call it a "mountain." According to the Consequentialist emptiness teachings, we would say that the basis of designation (formations of earth) existed, but the "mountain" as such did not exist until it was designated by the process of convention and cognition. According to emptiness teachings, it makes no sense to say that something exists if it was never designated or cognized. Nevertheless, it seems to us that things are always there regardless of cognition, and that cognition is a process of mere neutral discovery of what was pre-formed and present all along. This feeling of independence from designation or pre-formed existence is not only an easy feeling to get hold of, it might even seem like common sense to most people. This is another kind of sense of the inherent existence of things. But the emptiness teachings question this. This critique, this "Depending"-style of dependency (as opposed to the "Meeting" and "Relying" types of dependency) will be familiar to those who have studied Advaita-Vedanta, Mind-Only Buddhist teachings, or the philosophy of Idealism. The emptiness teachings are not themselves a form of Vedanta or idealism (because emptiness teachings posit that physical objects do exist externally and physically), but they agree with the views which hold that uncognized objects do not exist. This is the most subtle of the three types of dependent arising.

According to Buddhism, anything that exists exists conventionally, through the network of dependent arisings, that is through Meeting, Relying or Depending. Even emptiness exists in this way. But we think and feel that things exist without these dependencies. For something to inherently exist, it would have to exist without any dependencies at all. It would exist without Meeting, Relying or Depending. It is the job of emptiness meditation to find inherent existence, to ascertain whether it exists as we feel it does.

Other terms for inherent existence, gathered from Buddhist and Western sources, would include the following:

the reality of the thing irrespective of culture or language or human consciousness
objective existence
independent existence
true essence
Platonic essence
real existence
ontological existence
the thing as it really is
the thing in-itself
the is-ness of the thing
beingness
actuality
thinghood
perseity
self-sufficient being
self-inclusive being
essential being
instantiation in reality
subject of ontological commitment
the thing’s entitification
the way it really is, regardless of what anyone thinks
the reality of the thing as opposed to its appearance
what science will eventually discover the thing to be
the way God intends the thing to be
"it is what it is"
"it’s like that, 'cause that’s the way it is" (as the rappers Run DMC used to say)
Lotus_Bitch
 
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:38 pm

deepbluehum wrote:[

He is citing a parallell with Buddha's discourses, not a distinction.



A parallel, yes, but with a distinction. You are overlooking the distinctions.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:02 pm

Jeff wrote:
Thanks. I am new to Buddhist definition of terms. My background would be best described as a hybrid of various paths (or experimentally making it up as I go). Not a big adavaita fan.

With your definition on non-duality... It may be more accurate to say that my concept of non-duality = Buddhist non-duality + no-self. Dependent origination can be tossed in for free.

I will try to be more careful with my terms in the future.

:smile:

Most paths other than Buddhism either fall into eternalism or nihilism. Also I said it sounds like Advaita Vedanta. From my own experience and reading peoples experiences/interacting with people in this spiritual game: Everyone will reify non-conceptual presence and will fall into the "I AM" conceit of Hinduism (which means that when they progress to insight of "non-dual" it is the experience of Brahman aka non-dual "Awareness" as background consciousness.)

Of course the exceptions are those who start out with the insight into anatta, anicca, dukkha that makes up stream-entry/sotapanna; who then experience the "I AM" later on. Though those exceptions are rare. Pretty much everyone will go through the "I AM" phase first. The "I AM" phase is the luminosity of "awareness" experienced in a non-conceptual state; this is then reified into the Atman/Self. Brahman is basically when object is subsumed into subject, whereby "Awareness" is the formless background, from which there is the sense that the objects of our experience arise from and dissolve into.

Insight isn't necessarily some linear model. Actually somone could realize emptiness first without realizing anatta. Then they realize anatta. There really isn't some hierarchy of insight. Like the forummer who runs the blog I quoted from said (not verbatim): It's all a flat line of insight into certain aspects of the nature of mind. One sort of insight really isn't "higher"than the other.

Though, they are all expressions of our confusion about the nature of mind, yay!!
Last edited by Lotus_Bitch on Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Jeff » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:08 pm

Hi Lotus_bitch,

Thanks again for the text. Given it's length, I will just reply rather than include your full text.

Experiencally, "emptiness" is different (and simpler) than your above text. A possible way to think about it is that everything that "exists" is made of energy. The chair that you sit on is just energy particles in vibration. The "mind" defines it as a chair. Clear the obstructions of the "mind" and you can "notice" it. Percieve "deeper" and one realizes that "energy" is not really separate, but the localized motion (or change of state) of the base stuff (for simplicity I call it raw awareness - so that people don't confuse it with the perception awareness). So, if you can percieve deep enough, there is really nothing there.

Consciousness arises (bubbles up) from raw awareness (or is awareness in motion). The "base" level is nothing (or void), but in it is the potential for consciousness.
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:13 pm

Jeff wrote:
Thank you for the above links. I also got a chance to check out the Thusness seven stages. I found everything to be consistent with what I was trying to describe previously. As you pointed out, my definition of "non-dual" was far richer than the Buddhist definition.

Also, after stage 7 of Thusness, one begins to expand beyond of the local "body-mind" and can experience all existence (form). In Thusness terms, what I was describing would be a level 9 or 10.

:smile:

Actually most of what you describe as "non-dual" would actually fall into stage 4 of the Thusness category. Stage 4 of Thusness's model would be the experience of the Atman-Brahman. Stage 5 is anatta and stage 6 is 1st bhumi or the realization of the two-fold emptiness of persons and phenomena.

Stage 7 would be the equivalent of the realization of someone on the 8th bhumi. In Mahamudra terms: The yoga of non-meditation.
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:18 pm

Jeff wrote:Hi Lotus_bitch,

Thanks again for the text. Given it's length, I will just reply rather than include your full text.

Experiencally, "emptiness" is different (and simpler) than your above text. A possible way to think about it is that everything that "exists" is made of energy. The chair that you sit on is just energy particles in vibration. The "mind" defines it as a chair. Clear the obstructions of the "mind" and you can "notice" it. Percieve "deeper" and one realizes that "energy" is not really separate, but the localized motion (or change of state) of the base stuff (for simplicity I call it raw awareness - so that people don't confuse it with the perception awareness). So, if you can percieve deep enough, there is really nothing there.

Consciousness arises (bubbles up) from raw awareness (or is awareness in motion). The "base" level is nothing (or void), but in it is the potential for consciousness.

I'm going to be blunt, but only because I think one should be honest to themselves about their level of insight. That way instead of getting stuck because of pride, an individual will be able to asses where they actually are, to keep themselves honest and to make further progress.

You do not have insight into anatta or dependent origination/emptiness. What you are describing is akin to Hinduism (specifically Advaita Vedanta.)
Lotus_Bitch
 
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Jeff » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:27 pm

Lotus_Bitch wrote:
Jeff wrote:
Thanks. I am new to Buddhist definition of terms. My background would be best described as a hybrid of various paths (or experimentally making it up as I go). Not a big adavaita fan.

With your definition on non-duality... It may be more accurate to say that my concept of non-duality = Buddhist non-duality + no-self. Dependent origination can be tossed in for free.

I will try to be more careful with my terms in the future.

:smile:

Most paths other than Buddhism either fall into eternalism or nihilism. Also I said it sounds like Advaita Vedanta. From my own experience and reading peoples experiences/interacting with people in this spiritual game: Everyone will reify non-conceptual presence and will fall into the "I AM" conceit of Hinduism (which means that when they progress to insight of "non-dual" it is the experience of Brahman aka non-dual "Awareness" as background consciousness.)

Of course the exceptions are those who start out with the insight into anatta, anicca, dukkha that makes up stream-entry/sotapanna; who then experience the "I AM" later on. Though those exceptions are rare. Pretty much everyone will go through the "I AM" phase first. The "I AM" phase is the luminosity of "awareness" experienced in a non-conceptual state; this is then reified into the Atman/Self. Brahman is basically when object is subsumed into subject, whereby "Awareness" is the formless background, from which there is the sense that the objects of our experience arise from and dissolve into.


I think word "awareness" is where we keep getting stuck in our discussion. In all of my descriptions, "nothingness" could be used instead of awareness. Your (or Thusness's) description of "I am" is just the beginning of noticing there is a curtain to look behind.

Also, I am not trying to debate what words best describe terms for different paths. My knowledge of buddhist texts and terms are very limited. Just trying to give examples of the actual experience.

To really confuse/offend everyone, I would argue that Buddha used "guru yoga" or energetic "oneness" to teach. Why do you think in all the stories, he always told everyone to just sit quietly in his presence for a year before asking questions? My bet is that he formed a "guru" bond with them to help with the removal of their obstructions. With a master, words are meaningless in comparison to energy/silence being shared in their presence.

:smile:
Jeff
 
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Jeff » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:29 pm

Lotus_Bitch wrote:
Jeff wrote:
Thank you for the above links. I also got a chance to check out the Thusness seven stages. I found everything to be consistent with what I was trying to describe previously. As you pointed out, my definition of "non-dual" was far richer than the Buddhist definition.

Also, after stage 7 of Thusness, one begins to expand beyond of the local "body-mind" and can experience all existence (form). In Thusness terms, what I was describing would be a level 9 or 10.

:smile:

Actually most of what you describe as "non-dual" would actually fall into stage 4 of the Thusness category. Stage 4 of Thusness's model would be the experience of the Atman-Brahman. Stage 5 is anatta and stage 6 is 1st bhumi or the realization of the two-fold emptiness of persons and phenomena.

Stage 7 would be the equivalent of the realization of someone on the 8th bhumi. In Mahamudra terms: The yoga of non-meditation.


Or, in laymen terms... Beginning to integrate it into life.

:smile:
Jeff
 
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Re: Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?

Postby Jeff » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:34 pm

Lotus_Bitch wrote:
Jeff wrote:Hi Lotus_bitch,

Thanks again for the text. Given it's length, I will just reply rather than include your full text.

Experiencally, "emptiness" is different (and simpler) than your above text. A possible way to think about it is that everything that "exists" is made of energy. The chair that you sit on is just energy particles in vibration. The "mind" defines it as a chair. Clear the obstructions of the "mind" and you can "notice" it. Percieve "deeper" and one realizes that "energy" is not really separate, but the localized motion (or change of state) of the base stuff (for simplicity I call it raw awareness - so that people don't confuse it with the perception awareness). So, if you can percieve deep enough, there is really nothing there.

Consciousness arises (bubbles up) from raw awareness (or is awareness in motion). The "base" level is nothing (or void), but in it is the potential for consciousness.

I'm going to be blunt, but only because I think one should be honest to themselves about their level of insight. That way instead of getting stuck because of pride, an individual will be able to asses where they actually are, to keep themselves honest and to make further progress.

You do not have insight into anatta or dependent origination/emptiness. What you are describing is akin to Hinduism (specifically Advaita Vedanta.)


I thought we were just having a good discussion on perspectives, but I have obviously irritated you somehow. I am sorry to have caused you any concern.

Enjoy your weekend.

:smile:
Jeff
 
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