Common Anatta Question

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby smcj » Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:47 pm

I am struggling to understand how this is not nihilism. If it is the complete cessation of all concepts and the end of 'the person' how is this state different from non-existence?
My teacher used the analogy of the spiritual progression as going from a completely darkened room to a room with a little tiny bit of light. Then the further you go on the Path, the room gets more light, then more light, then more light, until the room is lit and you can see everything in it clearly. I think at this point the person would be "en-lightened." But if you keep going not the path there is yet more light, and after a while the walls of the room begin to become transparent. Finally the room dissolves, and all there is is light.

The initial state of the room being dark refers to our own self-blindness. We believe our own version of reality to be real, and our own b.s. to be authentic life.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
smcj
 
Posts: 2079
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby Son of Buddha » Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:50 pm

futerko wrote:
Son of Buddha wrote:"form is emptiness emptiness is form" so why would you have a problem with atta having form to begin with anyways?

I don't. If it has name and form, it is nāmarūpa.

edit: and if it doesn't have form, then it seems that basically what you are calling "True Self" is identical to emptiness.


Which view of Emptiness?
1st and 3rd turning views on Emptiness are identical(emptiness is viewed as a negation/i.e what is not Nirvana)

It seems in the 2nd turning,emptiness became Enlightenment.
User avatar
Son of Buddha
 
Posts: 888
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:48 pm

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby smcj » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:08 pm

1st and 3rd turning views on Emptiness are identical(emptiness is viewed as a negation/i.e what is not Nirvana)

You have a very unusual take on this subject. Even with historical precedents, textual citations and supportive quotations, you are not going to find much acceptance with your views. You are welcome to see things however you want, just don't be disappointed or frustrated if you find yourself marching to the beat of a different drummer.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
smcj
 
Posts: 2079
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:09 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote: How are they omniscient if they don't perceive anything? How do they even exist?

Aw, c'mon...answer the questions I asked you first!!!
(wah wah wah :tantrum: wah wah wah)

Oh, and come to think of it,
where does, say, for example, yourself end and myself begin?
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2845
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby Son of Buddha » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:24 pm

smcj wrote:
1st and 3rd turning views on Emptiness are identical(emptiness is viewed as a negation/i.e what is not Nirvana)

You have a very unusual take on this subject.

Hahaha.....yea most asians do :tongue:
Go on the chinese buddhist forum (www.bskk.com) and they would probably say the same thing about everyone else here.

Even with historical precedents, textual citations and supportive quotations, you are not going to find much acceptance with your views. You are welcome to see things however you want, just don't be disappointed or frustrated if you find yourself marching to the beat of a different drummer.

Im fine with that, 84,000 doors and all.....

If you ever get a chance compare the teachings of Ven Maha Boowa (Theravadan) to Ven Dolpopa (Shentong).
User avatar
Son of Buddha
 
Posts: 888
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:48 pm

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:33 pm

Son of Buddha wrote:If you ever get a chance compare the teachings of Ven Maha Boowa (Theravadan) to Ven Dolpopa (Shentong).

It's not surprising that two individuals who err into eternalism would be similar in their expositions.
asunthatneversets
 
Posts: 1346
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:30 pm

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby smcj » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:36 pm

If you ever get a chance compare the teachings of Ven Maha Boowa (Theravadan) to Ven Dolpopa (Shentong).

I actually adhere to the Shentong view myself. I just don't agree with your interpretation of the suttas. It is a very modern thing to go back and have a revisionist view of them.

Actually I like Brunnholzl's take on the Pali in this regard. He cites passages where the mind is described as 'luminous', which is the precedent for what later became the Buddha Nature teachings. But that's much different than your take on it.
Go on the chinese buddhist forum (http://www.bskk.com) and they would probably say the same thing about everyone else here.

I tried, but I can't read Chinese!

But anyway, Chinese Buddhism is very much influenced/based on the teachings on Buddha Nature, not the Pali Suttas.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
smcj
 
Posts: 2079
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby reddust » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:48 pm

I can't believe how long this thread is, it's all about nothing! No seriously, I thought the anatta teaching was medicine for those who attach to an eternal self (who knows if there is one or not). I was taught that I can explore whether there is an eternal self or not one, after I am free of the three poisons. Something so simple seems to have gotten really complicated over the years, or maybe people are really attached to their views?
Mind and mental events are concepts, mere postulations within the three realms of samsara Longchenpa .... A link to my Garden, Art and Foodie blog Scratch Living
User avatar
reddust
 
Posts: 761
Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:29 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby Malcolm » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:28 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:How is this different than Advaita Vedanta?


Because the self is not asserted as permanent.


You mean Buddhahood is conditioned? Whatever is impermanent is conditioned.

A Buddha's self is imputed on the Truth Body


A Buddha imputes a conditioned self onto the permanent dharmakāya? That seems very strange to me.

Buddhas can impute non-conceptually.


This is incoherent. Imputations cannot exist in absence of conceptuality, for example, in a direct perception.

It is a valid basis for imputing an I just as the parts of a car are a valid basis for imputing 'car' even though no car can be found in any of the parts of the car. The car, as a conceptual imputation, functions. So it is with the I or self - it functions in dependence upon being imputed upon the body and mind, otherwise it would be non-existent.


The parts of a car are not a valid basis for imputing a "car". If they were a valid basis for imputing a car, a car would work when all its parts were piled in a disorganized heap. So your assertion fails.

This verse is often misinterpreted.


Your alternate translation is incorrect. Mine is based directly on Candrakirti's own commentary.

It is absurd to suggest that Buddhas do not have minds.


Buddhas do not possess vijñāna; they possess only jñāna. This is a point poorly understood by most.

In any case, you admit that Candrakirti's verse states that all objects of knowledge are burnt by the fire of wisdom. Even you must admit a mind cannot arise in absence of an object. If there are no objects for a Buddha (as indicated by the verse above), how can a mind (citta) arise, conceptual or otherwise? Therefore, to call the wisdom of a Buddha a "mind" is at best a convention. A Buddha's mind is an omniscient nonconceptual wisdom.

Nāgarjuna states for example in the Sixty Verses of Reasonings:

When reflection-like things
are seen fully with the eye of wisdom,
those great beings
will not be stuck in the swamp of objects.


When there is no attachment, since there is no attachment to or engagement to those things as a self, there is no attachment to the swamp of objects. āryas are conventionally "like [those ones who have] trained their minds on reflections".
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 12146
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:48 am

reddust wrote:I can't believe how long this thread is, it's all about nothing! No seriously, I thought the anatta teaching was medicine for those who attach to an eternal self (who knows if there is one or not). I was taught that I can explore whether there is an eternal self or not one, after I am free of the three poisons. Something so simple seems to have gotten really complicated over the years, or maybe people are really attached to their views?


There is, of course some truth to your last point,
and peoples attachments are also manifestations of the 'self' experience.
But these sort of drawn out discussions serve a lot of useful purposes too.
they help people, not only to refine their own understanding,
but to examine and address other interpretations of the Buddhadharma.

keep in mind, if this discussion were happening face to face,
it would probably not go on for days at a time,
communication would be aided by facial expressions,
and the setting would likely be an auspicious and harmonious gathering to begin with.
of course, fights have also broken out under such circumstances.

What I find most useful, is that I gain an appreciation for the fact that
people often mean the same things, basically,
but the words they used often have conflicting definitions.
I have also found my own understanding of things corrected on numerous occasions
and have sometimes been presented with questions that took weeks to work on,
that really tested my own understanding.

The original post asked,
"Since there is no definite self or ego (the concept for which is called anatta iirc),
then what basis does rebirth have?"


and now there has been an assertion that in fact there is a definite self,
and this point is being argued.

What I find most interesting is that quite often
the person posting the original post is never heard from again
and meanwhile the discussion takes all types of twists and turns.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2845
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby reddust » Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:07 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
reddust wrote:I can't believe how long this thread is, it's all about nothing! No seriously, I thought the anatta teaching was medicine for those who attach to an eternal self (who knows if there is one or not). I was taught that I can explore whether there is an eternal self or not one, after I am free of the three poisons. Something so simple seems to have gotten really complicated over the years, or maybe people are really attached to their views?


"Since there is no definite self or ego (the concept for which is called anatta iirc),
then what basis does rebirth have?"

reddust wrote:Basis for rebirth, I am guessing, the momentum of habit? And yes I love reading back and forth, I also learn a lot and it gives me a reason to crack open my big books to follow along. I had a knee jerk reaction to the self-no self argument in Buddhism, I feel kind of bad about that because it's an old dislike that I should have gotten rid of long ago. It just seems like a huge waste and yes I know this is a very important argument because we all are attached to views of self. It just so overwhelming for a beginner like the OP and that's why they disappear many times, it's so overwhelmingly complicated and convoluted.


and now there has been an assertion that in fact there is a definite self,
and this point is being argued.

What I find most interesting is that quite often
the person posting the original post is never heard from again
and meanwhile the discussion takes all types of twists and turns.
.
.
.


Malcolm gave me the clue in his last post about what a Buddha sees with the Vijnana and the jnana answer. So I do learn from these threads regarding my habitual likes and dislikes. Maybe the best thing about being here for me anyway :thumbsup:

Also thank you very much for your kind reply, I really appreciate your time here :namaste:
Mind and mental events are concepts, mere postulations within the three realms of samsara Longchenpa .... A link to my Garden, Art and Foodie blog Scratch Living
User avatar
reddust
 
Posts: 761
Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:29 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:39 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote: It's utterly impossible to have awareness without mind


No, it's like having an allergy to bee stings, even if one never encounters a bee.
Its already there, but does not manifest as a reaction until it meets with the conditions of being stung.

In a similar way,
awareness is precondition.
but awareness is a clumsy word
because most people use it to mean sensory awareness,
which perpetuates the illusion of an intrinsic self.
"Dzogchen" might be a better word for it,
"ground of awareness" is a good term,
and my favorite term for is is used by the 17th centuryZen teacher Bankei:
"Marvelously Illuminating Unborn Buddha Mind".
It is the context in which mind arises.
it is all pervading, like space.

There is nothing in the human brain that can witness its own activity.
the water, fat, and so on only provide the mechanics.
Mind arises because awareness arises with those mechanics, and with phenomena.
For example, the experience of sound only occurs as a result of awareness.
if a tree falls in the forest, it will move air molecules
those air molecules will bounce off others until they reach and ear drum.
that ear drum will convert that vibration into an electrical pulse in the brain
but that is all. The tree falling doesn't make the sound.
the electrical pulse doesn't contain the sound.
the crashing sound of a tree does not echo throughout the brain, inside the skull.
Sound occurs only when the object of awareness,
that electrical pulse in the brain, arises in the context of awareness.
if there steps in that process lacking, no sound will occur.

Mind is the meeting of awareness and objects of awareness.
'self' is an object of awareness,
so, it must come after awareness, not before.
if there are potential objects of awareness,
for example, a rock, alone in a desert, with no sentient beings anywhere around.
even though the rock exists in the ground of awareness,
nothing manifests as anything we would refer to as mind
because the rock does not provide the other conditions for mind to arise.

If you say that a buddha is a self,
a buddha may appear as a self to an observer
but from the point of view of a buddha, purely,
there is only the ground of awareness.
After that, the kayas may manifest as aspects of this
basic ground of awareness.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2845
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby Sherab » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:03 am

Son of Buddha wrote:Its also not a misconception to say if something were self it would not lead to suffering.

Son of Buddha, if Amitabha Buddha and Medicine Buddha were to appear in front of you, how would you distinguish between the self of Amitabha Buddha and the self of Medicine Buddha?
User avatar
Sherab
 
Posts: 765
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:28 am

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:43 am

Sherab wrote:... and that is, that there is individuality where the uniqueness of self makes no sense.


This.
Karma Dondrup Tashi
 
Posts: 1014
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:13 pm

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby futerko » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:03 am

Son of Buddha wrote:
futerko wrote:
Son of Buddha wrote:"form is emptiness emptiness is form" so why would you have a problem with atta having form to begin with anyways?

I don't. If it has name and form, it is nāmarūpa.

edit: and if it doesn't have form, then it seems that basically what you are calling "True Self" is identical to emptiness.


Which view of Emptiness?
1st and 3rd turning views on Emptiness are identical(emptiness is viewed as a negation/i.e what is not Nirvana)

It seems in the 2nd turning,emptiness became Enlightenment.


So what I'm not getting here is this... You have argued that "True Self" is not to be viewed as form, and with this idea that, "emptiness is viewed as a negation/i.e what is not Nirvana" you are also claiming that "True Self" is not to be viewed as emptiness.

It is neither form, nor emptiness, so it seems the Heart Sutra is missing something then.
When it says, "form is emptiness, emptiness is form" it should also say... plus there's a bit extra which is neither form, nor emptiness, and which should be identified as the True Self (but which we kinda forgot to mention).
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby dude » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:53 am

And talking about it at such length may just reduce suffering as much as knowing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
dude
 
Posts: 555
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:38 am

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:58 am

Son of Buddha wrote: emptiness is viewed as a negation/i.e what is not Nirvana


That isn't what the Heart Sutra says at all.
Form & Emptiness in the Heart Sutra is not a discussion of affirmation and negation.
Totally missing the point.
A convoluted interpretation.
I suggest you read Essence of The Heart Sutra by HH Dalai Lama.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2845
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby Son of Buddha » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:19 am

asunthatneversets wrote:
Son of Buddha wrote:If you ever get a chance compare the teachings of Ven Maha Boowa (Theravadan) to Ven Dolpopa (Shentong).

It's not surprising that two individuals who err into eternalism would be similar in their expositions.


Do you even know what an eternalist is?
SN 12.17
"'The one who acts is the one who experiences [the result of the act]' amounts to the eternalist statement,
'Existing from the very beginning, stress is self-made.' 'The one who acts is someone other than the one who experiences'[2] amounts to the annihilationist statement, 'For one existing harassed by feeling, stress is other-made.' Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle:

If your going to call someone an eternalist at least have the respect to show what the Buddha defined eternalism to be,..then show how that persons fits the Buddha"s defined term...........otherwise your just name calling.
User avatar
Son of Buddha
 
Posts: 888
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:48 pm

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby Son of Buddha » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:30 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Son of Buddha wrote: emptiness is viewed as a negation/i.e what is not Nirvana


That isn't what the Heart Sutra says at all.
Form & Emptiness in the Heart Sutra is not a discussion of affirmation and negation.
Totally missing the point.
A convoluted interpretation.
I suggest you read Essence of The Heart Sutra by HH Dalai Lama.
.
.
.


You actually misquoted me I stated: "1st and 3rd turning views on Emptiness are identical(emptiness is viewed as a negation/i.e what is not Nirvana)

It seems in the 2nd turning,emptiness became Enlightenment."

As you can see I singled out the 2nd. Turnining teachings(heart sutra) as having a different view on the issue. I never claimed the 2nd turning held such a view,I only claimed that emptiness is viewed as a negation of something else in the 1st and 3rd turning sutras)
User avatar
Son of Buddha
 
Posts: 888
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:48 pm

Re: Common Anatta Question

Postby smcj » Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:00 am

I only claimed that emptiness is viewed as a negation of something else in the 1st and 3rd turning sutras.

The 3rd turning "empty of other" view* is a positive statement. Terminology may differ, but the non-conceptual Wisdom Mind (to use Khenpo Tsultrim's term) is said to have absolute and true existence. It is not self-empty, which is the whole "Anatta Question" of the 1st turning. It is what is to be realized in enlightenment, not somehow negated.

But if you read Dolpopa you should know that already.

If your going to call someone an eternalist at least have the respect to show what the Buddha defined eternalism to be,..then show how that persons fits the Buddha"s defined term...........otherwise your just name calling.

The Dhamma Wheel website is oriented towards the Pali Suttas. This one is more oriented towards the later schools, so a definition used by the later schools for "eternalism" is more appropriate. I believe that definition would be to posit something, such as an aspect of mind, as unchanging and truly existent--which I just did a moment ago. So I think that most versions of the Shentong view, and there are a number of versions, probably would be correctly considered eternalistic. But even as a self-avowed Shengtongpa I really don't care. If one is practicing the tantras the whole question is rendered moot, imo.

But that's just me. I've got no authoritative quotation or scriptural citation to back that claim up.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
smcj
 
Posts: 2079
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

PreviousNext

Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Concordiadiscordi and 23 guests

>