First Cause in Buddhism (?)

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First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby steveb1 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:03 am

Please forgive if this issue has been beaten to death around here, but I am looking for a short explanation of the seeming absence of a First Cause in Buddhism.

Seems to me that, if nothing else, Buddhism is an extremely "causal" Way. That is, everything that arises, arises causally, from pre-existing processes. The entire universe is a causally-linked chain of processes. One's karmic state is causal, i.e., the result of prior causation, and one's life itself causes karmic effects. Dependent origination is the state of all that exists. There is no religious creator, nor is there a philosophical First Cause or Originator.

What I don't "get" is how, in a view so utterly dominated by causality/causation, Buddhism is able to evade the (particularly Western/Christian) necessity for a First Cause Uncaused or a Prime Mover Unmoved. As most Christians will say, you can't multiply causes infinitely without destroying the very basis of causality itself.

On the other hand, I have read that, especially in Mahayana, there is a view that everything arises from the Dharmakaya. I don't know if I'm really understaning this idea correctly. But based on my admittedly small amount of reading, some authors do attribute all arising to an eternal Dharmakaya.

*IF* that is the case, is there a sense in which the Dharmakaya can be viewed as a kind of Buddhistic First Cause? Not as a personal creator or a philosophical conclusion, but as a living "Emanator" from which all things ... ummm... well, emanate?

Any input, from your own education and experience, to simply pointing me to pertinent posts here in Dharma Wheel, would be much appreciated :)

Gassho -

Steve
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby gad rgyangs » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:11 am

think of it like the causality in a dream: seems compelling at the time, but after you wake up....
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby LastLegend » Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:03 am

A cause is conditioned. If there is a first cause (a thought, ignorance), it must be conditioned. If we go deeper than that, the mind is the source of all dharma. With a deluded mind, we are here. With an enlightened mind, we are Buddha.

On the other hand, I have read that, especially in Mahayana, there is a view that everything arises from the Dharmakaya. I don't know if I'm really understaning this idea correctly. But based on my admittedly small amount of reading, some authors do attribute all arising to an eternal Dharmakaya.

*IF* that is the case, is there a sense in which the Dharmakaya can be viewed as a kind of Buddhistic First Cause? Not as a personal creator or a philosophical conclusion, but as a living "Emanator" from which all things ... ummm... well, emanate?


Dharmakaya is fancy word for the mind. The mind cannot be understood through conceptualization such as First Cause, no cause, or whatever words we use. We have to be the mind to experience it. It is eternal in the sense that nothing causes it. If something causes it, then it must be also conditioned. If it is conditioned, then it is illusion. If the mind is not caused or conditioned, can it cause and not conditioned at the same time? Yes, that is complete Buddha-total unity and no dualities. Like a TV when it is off, the images are not there. When it is on, the images are there.

Buddha is liberated from the self or consciousnesses and no longer operates upon those. We still do.

Hard to understand? Believe me everyone has this trouble because we are not enlightened.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby asunthatneversets » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:40 am

"In the transcendental truth there is no origination (utpada), and in fact, there is no destruction (nirodha). The Buddha is like the sky (which has neither origination nor cessation), and the beings are like him, and therefore they are of the same nature."

"He who realizes the transcendental truth knowing the pratītyasamutpāda (or the manifestation of entities depending on their causes and conditions), knows the world to be śūnya and devoid of beginning, middle or end."

"One who imagines that even the most subtle thing arises: Such an ignorant man does not see what it means to be dependently born!"
(i.e. Nothing is being reborn or liberated: One has to see the real nature of being dependently born, of rebirths. There is no continuity, nor discontinuity between lives, or from saṃsāra to nirvāṇa. To think that things are really arising or ceasing with dependent origination is to miss the point of this teaching.)

"Neither atom of form exists nor is sense organ elsewhere;
Even more no sense organ as agent exists;
So the producer and the produced
Are utterly unsuited for production."


"In brief from empty phenomena
Empty phenomena arise;
Agent(cause), karma(action), fruits(effect), and their enjoyer(subject) -
The conqueror taught these to be [only] conventional.

Just as the sound of a drum as well as a shoot
Are produced from a collection [of factors],
We accept the external world of dependent origination
To be like a dream and an illusion.

That phenomena are born from causes
Can never be inconsistent [with facts];
Since the cause is empty of cause,
We understand it to be empty of origination."


- Nāgārjuna
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby Sönam » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:20 am

First cause is ignorance ... not recognizing oneself.

Sönam
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby Seishin » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:39 am

Just like you said, in Buddhism we talk about things having a cause (and effect), therefore because of that there simply can't be a "first cause" because there needed to be something that caused that, which in turn caused that and so on and so fourth. There is a Pali sutta out there that states something a long these lines but I can't remember what it's called. :shrug:

Gassho,
Seishin.

*EDIT* This may help you http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2010 ... rspective/
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby steveb1 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:49 am

Seishin, thank you for the url.

Also thanks to everyone who has replied thus far to my questions.
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby kalden yungdrung » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:44 am

steveb1 wrote:Please forgive if this issue has been beaten to death around here, but I am looking for a short explanation of the seeming absence of a First Cause in Buddhism.

Seems to me that, if nothing else, Buddhism is an extremely "causal" Way. That is, everything that arises, arises causally, from pre-existing processes. The entire universe is a causally-linked chain of processes. One's karmic state is causal, i.e., the result of prior causation, and one's life itself causes karmic effects. Dependent origination is the state of all that exists. There is no religious creator, nor is there a philosophical First Cause or Originator.

What I don't "get" is how, in a view so utterly dominated by causality/causation, Buddhism is able to evade the (particularly Western/Christian) necessity for a First Cause Uncaused or a Prime Mover Unmoved. As most Christians will say, you can't multiply causes infinitely without destroying the very basis of causality itself.

On the other hand, I have read that, especially in Mahayana, there is a view that everything arises from the Dharmakaya. I don't know if I'm really understaning this idea correctly. But based on my admittedly small amount of reading, some authors do attribute all arising to an eternal Dharmakaya.

*IF* that is the case, is there a sense in which the Dharmakaya can be viewed as a kind of Buddhistic First Cause? Not as a personal creator or a philosophical conclusion, but as a living "Emanator" from which all things ... ummm... well, emanate?

Any input, from your own education and experience, to simply pointing me to pertinent posts here in Dharma Wheel, would be much appreciated :)

Gassho -

Steve



Tashi delek,

First cause is called in some Tibetan jargon Ma Rigpa.

That means that one is not aware that one is busy in a kind of dualistic manner of seeing. Here we speak of the Mind of ego.
The conclusion would be that one is not aware of the Mind behind and not to be aware of this never born and clear Mind would result in not knowing about this awareness = Ma Rigpa.

In Tantra one must do the work to eradicate / transform mentalities whereas in Dzogchen one only must rest in a certain non dualistic way.
Last mentioned non - dualistic awareness is the beginning of the Self-Awareness of the Clear Light. Here is the base the egoless Mind.

Mutsog Marro
KY
THOUGH A MAN BE LEARNED
IF HE DOES NOT APPLY HIS KNOWLEDGE
HE RESEMBLES THE BLIND MAN
WHO WITH A LAMP IN THE HAND CANNOT SEE THE ROAD
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby Malcolm » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:26 pm

steveb1 wrote:Please forgive if this issue has been beaten to death around here, but I am looking for a short explanation of the seeming absence of a First Cause in Buddhism.


There are no causes that are not also effects.

The Buddhist POV is beginninglessness -- we have not problem with infinite regress, we accept it, in this case.

Dharmakāya is not a cause.

N
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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
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby Mariusz » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:50 pm

Namdrol wrote:
steveb1 wrote:Please forgive if this issue has been beaten to death around here, but I am looking for a short explanation of the seeming absence of a First Cause in Buddhism.


There are no causes that are not also effects.

The Buddhist POV is beginninglessness -- we have not problem with infinite regress, we accept it, in this case.

Dharmakāya is not a cause.

N

It is not. "beginninglessness"- according to madhyamaka there was never such reference point in the first place. "First Cause" also never was in the first place. The freedom from all these reference points is just called sunyata.
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby Malcolm » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:53 pm

Mariusz wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
steveb1 wrote:Please forgive if this issue has been beaten to death around here, but I am looking for a short explanation of the seeming absence of a First Cause in Buddhism.


There are no causes that are not also effects.

The Buddhist POV is beginninglessness -- we have not problem with infinite regress, we accept it, in this case.

Dharmakāya is not a cause.

N

"beginninglessness"- according to madhyamaka there was never such reference point in the first place. "First Cause" also never was in the first place. The freedom from all these reference points is just called sunyata.


It is not necessary to elevate everything immediately to ultimate truth, unless of course you are trying to shut the conversation down.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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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
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby Mariusz » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:57 pm

Namdrol wrote:It is not necessary to elevate everything immediately to ultimate truth, unless of course you are trying to shut the conversation down.
But it is more not necessary to make division between ultimate truth and conventional truth, since another reference point.
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby Mariusz » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:15 pm

steveb1 wrote:On the other hand, I have read that, especially in Mahayana, there is a view that everything arises from the Dharmakaya. I don't know if I'm really understaning this idea correctly. But based on my admittedly small amount of reading, some authors do attribute all arising to an eternal Dharmakaya.

*IF* that is the case, is there a sense in which the Dharmakaya can be viewed as a kind of Buddhistic First Cause? Not as a personal creator or a philosophical conclusion, but as a living "Emanator" from which all things ... ummm... well, emanate?

Any input, from your own education and experience, to simply pointing me to pertinent posts here in Dharma Wheel, would be much appreciated :)

Gassho -

Steve
You should learn the progressive meditations on emptiness (sunyata). They are pedagogical only, until they will be not more necessary. In other words, until the realization beyond all these reference points.
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby Malcolm » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:27 pm

Mariusz wrote:
Namdrol wrote:It is not necessary to elevate everything immediately to ultimate truth, unless of course you are trying to shut the conversation down.
But it is more not necessary to make division between ultimate truth and conventional truth, since another reference point.


Actully, it is not even necessary to mention ultimate truth since it is another reference point.

Checkmate.
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
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby Mariusz » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:30 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Mariusz wrote:
Namdrol wrote:It is not necessary to elevate everything immediately to ultimate truth, unless of course you are trying to shut the conversation down.
But it is more not necessary to make division between ultimate truth and conventional truth, since another reference point.


Actully, it is not even necessary to mention ultimate truth since it is another reference point.

Checkmate.
zombification :smile:
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:01 pm

You and the zombification again, Mariusz... :lol:
You are being haunted by that idea.
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby Malcolm » Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:00 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:You and the zombification again, Mariusz... :lol:
You are being haunted by that idea.



Yes, he is big into no reference point, but inexpressibility is not his forté, since he keeps talking on and on using many reference points to talk about no reference points. He'll get over it eventually.
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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
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby shel » Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:43 pm

Sönam wrote:First cause is ignorance ... not recognizing oneself.

Sönam

Wouldn't that actually be the second cause, cuz like, ya gotta have a self to reconize a self. I'm just say'n!
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby gad rgyangs » Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:50 pm

shel wrote:
Sönam wrote:First cause is ignorance ... not recognizing oneself.

Sönam

Wouldn't that actually be the second cause, cuz like, ya gotta have a self to reconize a self. I'm just say'n!


Dzogchen cosmogeny is best considered poetry which points.
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby Sönam » Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:24 pm

shel wrote:
Sönam wrote:First cause is ignorance ... not recognizing oneself.

Sönam

Wouldn't that actually be the second cause, cuz like, ya gotta have a self to reconize a self. I'm just say'n!


It depends on the kind of self we are speaking about ... but ma-rigpa (ignorance) is the entrance to samsara/nirvana.

Sönam
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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