"the Self is real" according to T. Page

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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:14 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:If Mind's original nature is also composite,
as your statement, "Nothing exists that does not arise from conditions" implies,
then it also cannot be the source of the perfect cessation of suffering.
How does that work for you?


The mind essence is like space, it does not arise, so it cannot be counted as an existent.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby theanarchist » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:41 pm

Malcolm wrote:The mind essence is like space, it does not arise.



Not so sure if modern astrophysics agrees with that claim about space.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby theanarchist » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:52 pm

greentara wrote:Padma, "So, perhaps it is safe to say that the dharma has no intrinsic reality
which is what makes it quite perfect
for beings who have no intrinsic reality"

Its very cleverly written but it sounds mighty like neo advaita.


There is not a single phenomenon that has intrinsic reality. So why would dharma or a dharma practitioner have?
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:07 pm

theanarchist wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The mind essence is like space, it does not arise.



Not so sure if modern astrophysics agrees with that claim about space.


There are two kinds of space detailed in Buddhist texts, unconditioned space, which is what is meant by the above, the absence of obstruction, and conditioned space, i.e., cavities and dimensionality.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:22 pm

Sherab wrote:But, if you then defined emptiness as being unconditioned and say that phenomenon A, which dependently arisen, is therefore conditioned, and is also unconditioned because it is empty, an inherent contraction in terms between conditioned and unconditioned is introduced.

I hope it is now clearer where I am coming from.


Yes, it was understood from the beginning where your qualm was coming from. It's only a contradiction in terms for substantialists.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:54 pm

Malcolm wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:If Mind's original nature is also composite,
as your statement, "Nothing exists that does not arise from conditions" implies,
then it also cannot be the source of the perfect cessation of suffering.
How does that work for you?


The mind essence is like space, it does not arise, so it cannot be counted as an existent.


I think, "mind essence" may be the term have been looking for.
Do you have a sanskrit version of that term?
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Sherab » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:54 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote:So what is the meaning then of "whatever arises in dependence, that in truth does not arise"?



It means simply that when you examine dependently originated phenomena you cannot ascertain that they ever arose. A phenomena that never arose is defined as "unconditioned", for example, space, which is the primary metaphor used to describe the actual nature of things. Thus, when we examine phenomena for essences we cannot find one, because phenomena do not arise by virtue of an essence, they in fact, or in truth, never arise. This is what it means to say that conditioned phenomena possess an unconditioned nature, no more and no less.

If conditioned phenomena possessed a conditioned nature, that nature would also have to arise, leading to dual arising for same phenomena, which is absurd. However, since conditioned phenomena possess an unconditioned nature their arising is only apparent, not actual, merely conventional, similar with an illusion, etc. This covers all qualms you may have.

A thing and its nature are not separate. Saying a thing arises is not different from saying the nature of the thing arises. It has to be if inseparability is to make any sense. Therefore when a thing arises, its emptiness arises with it. When a thing ceases, the emptiness of that thing ceases because there is no emptiness of that thing to point to. So there is actually no two arisings as you have asserted. There is only one arising of the phenomenon and its nature and there is only one ceasing of the phenomenon and its nature.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:13 pm

Sherab wrote:A thing and its nature are not separate. Saying a thing arises is not different from saying the nature of the thing arises. It has to be if inseparability is to make any sense. Therefore when a thing arises, its emptiness arises with it. When a thing ceases, the emptiness of that thing ceases because there is no emptiness of that thing to point to. So there is actually no two arisings as you have asserted. There is only one arising of the phenomenon and its nature and there is only one ceasing of the phenomenon and its nature.


Indeed, from the perspective of Madhyamaka a thing and its nature are identical. This is not so for those in lower schools.

To elaborate, conditions are merely an appearance. The notion of conditioned and unconditioned arises out of the substantialist roots of the substantialist tenet systems. By showing that the essence of phenomena is unconditioned, you are essentially showing that phenomena are in truth unconditioned. This is why the Prajñāpāramita makes statements like:

Any teaching by the Bhagavan that matter lacks inherent existence, does not arise, does not cease, is peace from the beginning and is parinirvana by nature, all such teaching are not the indirect meaning, nor the intentional meaning, but must be understood literally. (Ārya-pañcaśatikā-prajñāpāramitā)
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Sherab » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:16 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote: When I was with the Gelugpas, I hear the phrase emptiness of emptiness quite a lot. To me, if one says that emptiness is also empty, one is actually saying that emptiness is conditioned and not unconditioned. I am not sure if the Gelugpas realize that though.


To say that emptiness is empty is to merely say that emptiness does not arise, not that emptiness is conditioned. If emptiness is conditioned, so is suchness. This kind of reasoning will cause all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas to turn their backs to one.

If you read my post carefully, you will notice that I am not saying that emptiness or suchness is conditioned. I am merely pointing out the consequence of saying that emptiness is also empty.

As an aside, to say that Buddhas and bodhisattvas turning their backs to one just because of a logical argument is to belittle their compassion and patience isn't it? I for one would not have respect nor have confidence in such buddhas and bodhisattvas.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:21 pm

Sherab wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote: When I was with the Gelugpas, I hear the phrase emptiness of emptiness quite a lot. To me, if one says that emptiness is also empty, one is actually saying that emptiness is conditioned and not unconditioned. I am not sure if the Gelugpas realize that though.


To say that emptiness is empty is to merely say that emptiness does not arise, not that emptiness is conditioned. If emptiness is conditioned, so is suchness. This kind of reasoning will cause all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas to turn their backs to one.

If you read my post carefully, you will notice that I am not saying that emptiness or suchness is conditioned. I am merely pointing out the consequence of saying that emptiness is also empty.

As an aside, to say that Buddhas and bodhisattvas turning their backs to one just because of a logical argument is to belittle their compassion and patience isn't it? I for one would not have respect nor have confidence in such buddhas and bodhisattvas.


Its figurative, it means if you explain the Dharma poorly, without recourse to citation and reasoning, without understanding how to apply this argument this tenet system and that one to that one, one is committing an error of leading others astray. Buddhas and bodhisattvas won't condone such actions. It does not mean that will abandon you in samsara.

As I pointed out, your arguments are fundamentally an argument from substantialist reasoning whereby the conditioned must be one thing, and the unconditioned another. I have already removed those qualms.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Sherab » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:40 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote:If you read my post carefully, you will notice that I am not saying that emptiness or suchness is conditioned. I am merely pointing out the consequence of saying that emptiness is also empty.

As an aside, to say that Buddhas and bodhisattvas turning their backs to one just because of a logical argument is to belittle their compassion and patience isn't it? I for one would not have respect nor have confidence in such buddhas and bodhisattvas.


Its figurative, it means if you explain the Dharma poorly, without recourse to citation and reasoning, without understanding how to apply this argument this tenet system and that one to that one, one is committing an error of leading others astray. Buddhas and bodhisattvas won't condone such actions. It does not mean that will abandon you in samsara.

As I pointed out, your arguments are fundamentally an argument from substantialist reasoning whereby the conditioned must be one thing, and the unconditioned another. I have already removed those qualms.

Actually, my quarrel is with the application of mutually exclusive terms of conditioned and unconditioned to describe one and the same thing because it creates confusion. If an explanation creates confusion, it is not a good explanation. It is like a mother telling her kid to take a shower (with water) but not to get wet in the process.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:08 pm

Again, to quote HH Dalai Lama from his book, Essence of the Heart Sutra:

"...It is important to clarify that we are not speaking of emptiness as some kind of absolute strata of reality, akin to, say, the ancient Indian concept of Brahman, which is conceived to be an underlying absolute reality from which the illusory world of multiplicity emerges. Emptiness is not a core reality, lying somehow at the heart of the universe, from which the diversity of phenomena arise.

...emptiness -- is not independent of form, but rather is a characteristic of form; emptiness is form's mode of being. One must understand form and its emptiness in unity; they are not two independent realities."
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:13 pm

Sherab wrote:
If you read my post carefully, you will notice that I am not saying that emptiness or suchness is conditioned. I am merely pointing out the consequence of saying that emptiness is also empty.


To quote HHDL from that same book:

"...We should not, however, understand this self-emptiness or emptiness of self-nature to mean that form is empty of itself; this would be tantamount to denying the reality of form, which, as I have been repeatedly emphasizing, these teachings do not do."
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:43 pm

Sherab wrote:Actually, my quarrel is with the application of mutually exclusive terms of conditioned and unconditioned to describe one and the same thing because it creates confusion.


Take it up with the Buddha.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:45 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sherab wrote:
If you read my post carefully, you will notice that I am not saying that emptiness or suchness is conditioned. I am merely pointing out the consequence of saying that emptiness is also empty.


To quote HHDL from that same book:

"...We should not, however, understand this self-emptiness or emptiness of self-nature to mean that form is empty of itself; this would be tantamount to denying the reality of form, which, as I have been repeatedly emphasizing, these teachings do not do."
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Correction, these Gelugpa teachings do not do. Since the reality of matter, etc., cannot be established other than conventionally, what is the use of defending their reality at all? The Gelugpas tie themselves into knots and wind up becoming quasi realists.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby han » Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:59 pm

bob wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
bob wrote: Nor can anyone who has not directly experienced the "Self" ...:

Thus, if there really were a 'true self', it would be what is already being experienced right now
and seeking it would be pointless, like a dog chasing its own tail
because you would already be there
and in regarding it as something yet unrealized, you would be mistaken.


Exactly -- that is why failure to recognize what has always been the reality is called "ignorance", and why effort is required.


Ajahn Sumedho (Theravadan teacher):


People say: "Then what is it that knows? Who is it that knows the way things are, who is it that's aware? What is it that's aware?" You want me to tell you? I mean you're aware aren't you? Why do you have to have a name for it? Do you have to have a perception? Why can't there just be awareness? Why do you have to call it mine, or the eternal essence, or whatever? Why do you have to name it? Why not just be that, be aware. Then you see the desire, the doubt, wanting to label it, add to it. It's avijja paccaya sankhara (creating conditions out of ignorance). The process goes on of wanting to complicate it by giving it a name, calling it something.

Just like the question "Can you see your own eyes?" Nobody can see their own eyes. I can see your eyes but I can't see my eyes. I'm sitting right here, I've got two eyes and I can't see them. But you can see my eyes. But there's no need for me to see my eyes because 1 can see! It's ridiculous, isn't it? If I started saying "Why can't I see my own eyes?" you'd think "Ajahn Sumedho's really weird, isn't he!" Looking in a mirror you can see a reflection, but that's not your eyes, it's a reflection of your eyes. There's no way that I've been able to look and see my own eyes, but then it's not necessary to see your own eyes. It's not necessary to know who it is that knows-because there's knowing. And then you start creating views about who is it that knows, then you start the avijja paccaya sankhara and on through the whole thing again to despair and anguish.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:23 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Correction, these Gelugpa teachings do not do. Since the reality of matter, etc., cannot be established other than conventionally, what is the use of defending their reality at all? The Gelugpas tie themselves into knots and wind up becoming quasi realists.


No, there's no problem from a Gelugpa point of view. Form is empty of inherent existence, not empty of itself, otherwise it wouldn't exist at all - where's the problem with that?
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:46 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Correction, these Gelugpa teachings do not do. Since the reality of matter, etc., cannot be established other than conventionally, what is the use of defending their reality at all? The Gelugpas tie themselves into knots and wind up becoming quasi realists.


No, there's no problem from a Gelugpa point of view. Form is empty of inherent existence, not empty of itself, otherwise it wouldn't exist at all - where's the problem with that?


Well, it is because also the existence of matter cannot be found.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:07 pm

Malcolm wrote: Since the reality of matter, etc., cannot be established other than conventionally, what is the use of defending their reality at all?


Well, there are two things wrong with this statement.
First, the 'reality of matter' cannot be established. Period.
Second, nobody is trying to defend their reality,
meaning that nobody is asserting intrinsic reality of objects.

What can be established is the arising of objects of awareness,
which quite often (but not always) includes matter.
The fact that an inherent reality of matter can't be established doesn't matter.

If a person says "composite things don't exist"
that is a really meaningless statement
because they arise, at least referentially, despite lacking inherent existence.
if they didn't it would be impossible to discuss them.

Fear has no intrinsic reality either
yet fear is experienced, and the experience results in physiological events, such as persperation.
That's why it is important to make a distinction between saying that
something is an arising object of awareness
and something is "real".
We can say with absolute certainty that objects of awareness arise.

The existence of matter can't be found
but there is absolutely no denying
the experience of it, nonetheless.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:13 pm

han wrote:
Ajahn Sumedho (Theravadan teacher):


People say: "Then what is it that knows? ...

More from Sumedho:
After teaching in the West for a very short period of time, I began to see that many people were disappointed both in materialism and theistic religions. To them Buddhism had great appeal but, lacking any fundamental sense of, or faith in the transcendent, the practice of Buddhism became almost a dry, technical procedure – intellectually satisfying but strangely sterile as well.

They had largely rejected the idea of an Ultimate Reality from their thoughts as being intrinsically theistic nonsense so I realized that people needed to be aware that there was also such a principle in the Buddha’s teachings, without there being any hint of a creator God in the picture. In Thailand, because there is already such a broad and strong basis of faith in these transcendent qualities, there is no need to talk about Ultimate Reality, the Unconditioned and so forth – for them it can be a distraction. Here, I saw that people needed something to look up to – that’s why I talk about it all the time. It goes a long way to cultivating faith and it gives a much more living and expansive quality to their spiritual life; there is a natural joy when the heart opens to its true nature.
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