What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby maybay » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:45 am

So, to say dependently-arisen phenomena are "like" an illusion, implies a subtle clinging to some sort of "reality" of dependently-arisen phenomena.

Its the reality you've yet to see! Think positive. Should we not talk about the path because it implies a clinging to enlightenment?

The problem doesn't go away if one says dp-phenomena 'is an illusion'. The implication here could be that behind the illusion is an illusionist. Its an assignment from general to specific - like saying 'fruit is apple' instead of 'apples are fruit'.

But if we use the simile 'Fruit are like apples' this is acceptable, if a bit awkward, since some fruit are not only like apples - they are apples. 'Fruit are like apples' is how anyone would explain the concept of fruit to a child. What should a child think if you told him 'fruit are apples'? Its only partly true.

The disciples are like the children and dp-phenomena is what they want to understand, where they already know what dreams and illusions are. If they think there is some deeper meaning behind 'like an apple', they might go one of two ways:
In the 1st they think there must be bananas and pomelos - something besides apples that can be called fruit.
In the 2nd they could suspect the designation 'fruit' to be an empty one.

So then is the illusory-ness the only characteristic we can comment about dp-phenomena? Isn't the designation 'dp-phenomena' an empty one? Surely not, and surely it is.

Therefore its important to use 'like' so that we are not tempted to conclude that we have understood dp-phenomena merely by hearing of their illusory-ness. With such grand scholarly topics as these we should be cautious of overestimation, not modesty.

I don't accept these:
'fruit is apple' - 'appearances are illusion'
'fruit is an apple' - 'appearances are an illusion'
'fruit are apples' - 'appearances are illusions'

These ok:
'some fruit are apples' - 'some appearances are illusions'
'fruit are like apples' - 'appearances are like illusions'
'fruit is applelike' - 'appearances are illusory'
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby trevor » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:08 pm

Illusion is something that gives a false impression. Is it true that all appearances give false impression of being inherently existent? If yes, then why is it not correct to say that appearances are illusions?
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby conebeckham » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:27 pm

Maybay Said:
Its the reality you've yet to see! Think positive. Should we not talk about the path because it implies a clinging to enlightenment?

The problem doesn't go away if one says dp-phenomena 'is an illusion'. The implication here could be that behind the illusion is an illusionist. Its an assignment from general to specific - like saying 'fruit is apple' instead of 'apples are fruit'.
..as well as a bunch more stuff about apples and fruit.

It is not the purpose of Buddhism to understand or explain phenomena, it is not what "the disciples" should wish to understand. This is not an ontological exercise, ultimately. It's also not the purpose of Buddhism to explain the origination of phenomena, their "causes," etc., except inasmuch as such explanations lead one to tread the path--the Paramitas, and adherence to Ethics, and observation of the workings of Karma all make reference to dependent origination, and this is the chief import of understanding Conventional Truth. How things appear. And, needless to say, they do appear, and Karmic law is infallible. Even so, the path, and all it comprises, is illusion!

The purpose of Buddhism is to free oneself and others from Suffering and the Causes of Suffering, of which the chief cause is ignorance.

Ignorance is the lack of knowledge as to Reality. The concept of reality, in Buddhism, can be expressed as the Two Truths, the selflessness of persons, the emptiness of conditioned phenomena, and the Wisdom that Realizes Reality.

I agree that "the problem doesn't go away if one says dp-phenomena "is an illusion." One must realize this, experientally, for the problem to go away. Wisdom is nonconceptual and direct, nonanalytical, experiential. In that sense, laying the "concept" of "things are illusory" onto our experience is of limited value. But it is not the things themselves, but our clinging to them, which is the fetter of samsara, to parhaphrase a Mahasiddha. It has been found helpful by practitioners, over the centuries, to understand that these "things" are mere appearances, illusions with no existence upon analysis, as the Buddha taught. After all, who would say that to "cling to an illusion" is a worthwhile activity?

You must admit, also, the problem also doesn't go away if one says dp-phenomena are "like illusions!" Such a statement just begs qualification, which leads to more proliferation, and conceptualizations, further miring oneself in conceptual elaborations and imputations, ultimately leading nowhere but in circles, IMO.
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby maybay » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:00 pm

trevor wrote:Illusion is something that gives a false impression. Is it true that all appearances give false impression of being inherently existent?

It is not true. Who sees the suchness of appearances does not see the imaginary, imputed, and false impression of them being inherently existent.
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby trevor » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:21 pm

maybay wrote:
trevor wrote:Illusion is something that gives a false impression. Is it true that all appearances give false impression of being inherently existent?

It is not true. Who sees the suchness of appearances does not see the imaginary, imputed, and false impression of them being inherently existent.


Why would that matter? Who comes closer to the mirage, also sees that it is fake and does not have the false impression anymore. But it's still an illusion, isn't it?
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby asunthatneversets » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:52 pm

maybay wrote:
trevor wrote:Illusion is something that gives a false impression. Is it true that all appearances give false impression of being inherently existent?

It is not true. Who sees the suchness of appearances does not see the imaginary, imputed, and false impression of them being inherently existent.


They certainly should if it's a genuine apperceiving of suchness which transcends the imaginary, imputed, and false impression of observer and observed.
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby maybay » Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:00 pm

(if you've already read this i post it later with the proper terms)
Last edited by maybay on Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby maybay » Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:33 pm

Conebeckham: Why the Buddha spoke of Noble Truthes. Why not just say suffering is a truth?
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby conebeckham » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:02 pm

Maybay-
Buddha spoke of the Four Noble Truths (and everything else he ever spoke of!) as expedient means to realizing that which is beyond suffering.
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby maybay » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:30 am

conebeckham wrote:It is not the purpose of Buddhism to understand or explain phenomena

'is an illusion' sounds more like a professor's explanation than the valley girl 'like an illusion'

You must admit, also, the problem also doesn't go away if one says dp-phenomena are "like illusions!" Such a statement just begs qualification, which leads to more proliferation, and conceptualizations, further miring oneself in conceptual elaborations and imputations, ultimately leading nowhere but in circles, IMO.

If you were uncomfortable with conceptualizations why post to this thread. And anyway, how much conceptualization has been done in the wake of the Buddha? Why try to stop the thoughts?

Ive just thought of something interesting now. I've been reading about transactional analysis 'The Games People Play' by Eric Berne. He describes three roles for every person - parent, child, and adult. When we interact with others we use one or more of these roles, and we expect the others to respond with the appropriate roles. So when I see 'is an illusion', this sounds to me like an adult talking to an adult. As adults we expect facts, we don't want guidance and advice. We just want the facts. We don't have the trust for anything more. But with 'see things like an illusion' it seems like the parent is speaking. Not everything is explained - as a parent would do - and so its something we need to have a little faith. But if we can find that faith somewhere, somehow, then it actually becomes very simple.

I don't think we can ever expect to have a perfectly adult-adult relationship with the Buddha. Khyentse Rinpoche says the Guru should always keep himself that little bit above. Its not that the potential is any different - again, we all have Buddha Nature - but if we ignore the realities of our situation then we could drift into overestimation and stop growing.

Proliferate, but do so in the constraints measured out by your preceptor. Then you don't get, as you say, mired. The Chinese for example have had a very low threshold for getting mired in thought. Here is a raw cultural appraisal from the influential "Chinese Characteristics"

To the uneducated Chinese any idea whatever comes as a surprise, for which it is by no means certain that he will not be totally unprepared. He does not understand, because he does not expect to understand, and it takes him an appreciable time to get such intellectual forces as he has into a position to be used at all. His mind is like a rusty old smooth-bore cannon mounted on a decrepit carriage, which requires much hauling about before it can be pointed at anything, and then it is sure to miss fire. Thus when a person is asked a simple question, such as "How old are you?" he gazes vacantly at the questioner, and asks in return, "I? " To which you respond, "Yes, you." To this he replies with a summoning up of his mental energies for the shock, "How old?" "Yes, how old? "Once more adjusting the focus, he inquires, "How old am I?" "Yes," you say, "how old are you?" "Fifty-eight," he replies, with accuracy of aim, his piece being now in working order.


It seems perfectly congruous that the austere Ch'an tradition should thrive in historical China. Vajrapani is very strong in China I think. Growth, ingenuity and creativity have a tough time in such a conservative and traditional setting.

I take 'see appearances as an illusion' the same way as 'keep your back as straight as a plank' or 'your back is like a plank'. I don't need a thousands reasons for it. But if someone says 'your back is a plank' you can bet I'm going to have something to say about it.
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby trevor » Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:15 pm

maybay wrote:But with 'see things like an illusion' it seems like the parent is speaking. Not everything is explained - as a parent would do - and so its something we need to have a little faith. But if we can find that faith somewhere, somehow, then it actually becomes very simple.


Maybe your parents told you that things are like illusions because they knew you wouldn't accept it without the like?
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby maybay » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:15 pm

trevor wrote:
maybay wrote:But with 'see things like an illusion' it seems like the parent is speaking. Not everything is explained - as a parent would do - and so its something we need to have a little faith. But if we can find that faith somewhere, somehow, then it actually becomes very simple.


Maybe your parents told you that things are like illusions because they knew you wouldn't accept it without the like?

Its the directive to see the world in a certain way which makes it parental. I'm just trying to pin down where the resistance is coming from. The perception of authority?

Curiously, in English, its impossible to have the directive without framing the object in a simile (as or like). Maybe in India where following the vision of the Buddha became ubiquitous it became a given, and so they could just as well say 'All appearances (which you have been duly cultivating) are illusion' as a kind of validation. The same way when tantra became ubiquitous in Tibet practitioners became slack about secrecy. I don't know. I just know language always suffers over time, and that the words of the Buddha as preserved in the sutras have more veracity to the world at large than the channeled writings of their purveyors. Heck, they knew we wouldn't understand. Why have secret tantras and ostensibly meaningless mantras?
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby catmoon » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:58 am

trevor wrote:
maybay wrote:But with 'see things like an illusion' it seems like the parent is speaking. Not everything is explained - as a parent would do - and so its something we need to have a little faith. But if we can find that faith somewhere, somehow, then it actually becomes very simple.


Maybe your parents told you that things are like illusions because they knew you wouldn't accept it without the like?


The "illusion-like" view is standard Gelugpa teaching.
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby trevor » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:25 am

catmoon wrote:The "illusion-like" view is standard Gelugpa teaching.


Thanks. I've found this in "The Gelug/Kagyü Tradition of Mahamudra" by H. H. The Dalai Lama and Alexander Berzin:

"Our illusion-like mind, however, generates our problems and can realize liberation from them, whereas an actual illusion can do neither."

http://books.google.sk/books?id=JKK_DKwYhk0C&pg=PA81&lpg=PA81&dq=Gelugpa++illusion-like&source=bl&ots=YoLKuTa7KU&sig=ze-Y8B2N7mZo6wm30OtVn3u-vQE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=CL6TT_TrMNPY4QS3wuHQDw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Gelugpa%20%20illusion-like&f=false
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby 5heaps » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:16 am

trevor wrote:Illusion is something that gives a false impression. Is it true that all appearances give false impression of being inherently existent? If yes, then why is it not correct to say that appearances are illusions?

Namdrol gave the example of the stick with fire, spinning and forming an illusion of a circle.
can you hold the circle? no. illusion.
can you hold the stick? yes. not an illusion.

period. therefore at best all you can say is the stick is like-an-illusion.
to say it is an illusion is to say the stick is like the circle, and then you would be a nihilist.

furthermore physical matter does not cast out false impressions at you. false impressions are your mind. therefore this as well is not a valid argument, saying that the cake is an illusion just because ones mind has never had a fullblown valid cognition of one before.
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby DarwidHalim » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:18 am

I think you get confuse with why this reality is illusions.

Something is called illusion if that thing has the capacity to deceive you. If something has the capacity to deceive you, you call it illusion, not like illusion.

Rainbow is said to be an illusion because the view of rainbow deceive you that you can go there and touch it. That is why it is illusion, not like illusion.

Mirage is said to be an illusion because the view of mirage deceive you that there is water there. That is why it is illusion, not like illusion.

A cake is said to be an illusion because by touching it, by eating it, it deveice you there is real self of cake. That is why it is called illusion, not like illusion.

Illusion has nothing to do whether you can eat that, touch that, hear it or what. If something is not illusion, when you touch the cake, it must have the self of cake. But when you touch that cake and search where is the self of cake, you cannot find it. Even you eat it, you also cannot find the self of cake. So, the touching and eating of cake, where should confirm the existing of self, but in reality, touching and eatin te cake tell you there is no self.

That is why cake is said as illusion, just because it has the capacity to rise the sense of self.

Because it is deceiving in this way, it is called illusion, not like illusion.

It is really deceive you.

This reality really deceive you to have te sense of self.

That is why this reality is illusion.

Something which is really deceive you, worth the title of illusion, not like illusion. Because it is REALLY deceive you.
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby 5heaps » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:34 am

DarwidHalim wrote:Something is called illusion if that thing has the capacity to deceive you. If something has the capacity to deceive you, you call it illusion, not like illusion.

Rainbow is said to be an illusion because the view of rainbow deceive you that you can go there and touch it. That is why it is illusion, not like illusion.

Mirage is said to be an illusion because the view of mirage deceive you that there is water there. That is why it is illusion, not like illusion.

A cake is said to be an illusion because by touching it, by eating it, it deveice you there is real self of cake. That is why it is called illusion, not like illusion.

the illusions are the internal beliefs that the rainbow can be touched, the internal beliefs that the mirage is actual water, and internal beliefs that the cake has the self-nature of cake.

therefore theres nothing wrong with the cake itself. the cake is 100% utterly fine and utterly real, only the internal conceptions (and even the nonconceptual sense consciousness, uniquely asserted by Gelugs) must be fixed and are the illusions. therefore, the object themselves are ONLY like-an-illusion with respective to a defective mind apprehending them. the cake with respect to a nondefective mind is not an illusion nor like-an-illusion. its just a fullblown direct nonconceptual cognition of the cake.

this was already explained in the 2nd part of the response to trevor. there is also the 1st part which is the difference between a fire stick and a circle of fire.
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby DarwidHalim » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:44 am

It depends on where is you standing position when you speak.

For scientist, rainbow and mirage are not illusions. They are illusion-like. Because those 2 things cannot deceive them.

For anyone who are already free from illusions, will not see reality of illusions as illusions. For them, it is illusion-like. Because it doesn't have the capacity at all to deceive them.

For a child, rainbow is illusion, not illusion-like, because for a child rainbow give a sense of something real.

For adult who doesn't have the capacity to be deceived by rainbow will say rainbow is illusion-like. But for adult who has the capacity to be deluded and if it really deceive them, that is illusion to them.

Same with ordinary beings.
This life deceives them. That is why for them it is still an illusion, not illusion-like.

Like illusion or illusion-like is only valid for anyone who no longer deceived by that object.

Since ordinary beings are always deceived by it an they don't realize it, they are living this reality under illusion, not like illusion.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:45 am

5heaps wrote:the illusions are the internal beliefs that the rainbow can be touched, the internal beliefs that the mirage is actual water, and internal beliefs that the cake has the self-nature of cake.

therefore theres nothing wrong with the cake itself. the cake is 100% utterly fine and utterly real, only the internal conceptions (and even the nonconceptual sense consciousness, uniquely asserted by Gelugs) must be fixed and are the illusions. therefore, the object themselves are ONLY like-an-illusion with respective to a defective mind apprehending them. the cake with respect to a nondefective mind is not an illusion nor like-an-illusion. its just a fullblown direct nonconceptual cognition of the cake....


So you accept that the subject is empty and illusory, but somehow the object gets away with being utterly real?

And then if the (allegedly internal) mind which is apprehending this allegedly external cake is deemed defective (with some type of "wrong view") then the cake is indeed like-an-illusion. But if the very same mind is deemed nondefective (and upholds what you consider to be "right view") then the previously defective cake undergoes metamorphosis and becomes 100% utterly fine and utterly real and is neither an illusion nor like-an-illusion?

"....Because of a lack of mindful attention,
self and other are grasped as a duality,
and both outer and inner dependent origination occur.
The whole universe arises
through awareness looking externally.
All sentient being arise
through awareness looking internally.
Through looking there, fearful appearances arise,
through looking here, ‘self’ arises.
Many mistakes arise from the single mistake
about the appearances of here and there.
Because of being mistaken about a self, there is a mistake about other,
attachment to self, aversion to other.
From the seed of attachment and aversion,
the whole outer universe and inhabitants are mistakes.
Because one is held as two,
that is called the delusion of dualistic grasping.
Since one imputed and mistook outer and inner,
that is called “the imputing ignorance”.
Because of familiarity of subject and object of that,
from the thick buildup of traces,
there was entrance into the state of samsara.
That is how the six migrations occurred.”
- excerpt from Uprooting Delusion Tantra
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Re: What is the concept of "reality" in Buddhism?

Postby conebeckham » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:14 pm

catmoon wrote:The "illusion-like" view is standard Gelugpa teaching.

Yes.
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