"2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

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"2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:45 pm

I wanted to discuss a little bit the appropriateness of applying modern philosophical ideas to ancient Buddha-dharma. The quote by ChNN comes from his movie. His statement appears to be an application of Dzogchen teachings on being free from limitations and to look at things from many possibilities. This is also the kind of statement that you might read from Ludwig Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Investigations."

So my questions, is it appropriate to lead students of Buddhism in this way, or is it not?

Is it more appropriate to condition students only with the dogma of the past?

If we decide to go the Dzogchen/Modern Philosophy way, does it mean we are no longer Buddhist? Or is there another way of being Buddhist that does not strictly adhere to dogma and might even challenge Buddhist dogma?

My tendency is to think that scrutinizing everything is necessary to any practice of mindfulness which is in one sense the Buddhist practice par excellence or in the practice of hearing, reflection and contemplation. I'm very interested in what people have to say about this especially the mods.
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:25 pm

I don't understand this post. Do you? Dharma is the simplest thing but you muddy the water. It's very important to get over worshiping words and the teacher.
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby Jesse » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:25 pm

The truth of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, stress)
The truth of the origin of dukkha
The truth of the cessation of dukkha
The truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha


just my opinion, but I think as long as it sticks to these, everything else is just what best suits the person, a means to an end and not the end itself.. or something like that.
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:20 am

Andrew108 wrote:I don't understand this post. Do you? Dharma is the simplest thing but you muddy the water. It's very important to get over worshiping words and the teacher.


I wrote it.
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby dharmagoat » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:47 am

deepbluehum wrote:Or is there another way of being Buddhist that does not strictly adhere to dogma and might even challenge Buddhist dogma?

I hope so. In fact I am counting on it.

Edit: It needn't be another way, as far as I am aware it is part of what the Buddha originally taught.
Last edited by dharmagoat on Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby Jikan » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:27 am

deepbluehum wrote:
Andrew108 wrote:I don't understand this post. Do you? Dharma is the simplest thing but you muddy the water. It's very important to get over worshiping words and the teacher.


I wrote it.


It's possible to write something and not understand it. Unclear or contradictory writing often indicates a weak grasp of the material by the writer. To your question though: it's not one or the other. It's not X is evil and it needs to be wiped off the earth, only Y is right. 84,000 Dharma doors. That means, in practice, an infinite number. Even for someone (there are some left!) who find the Philosophical Investigations interesting. No two people will enter the path the same way, no two practices (or trajectories of practice) will look the same. The goal's the same though. There's no Wittgensteinian Buddhahood per se. Buddhahood's Buddhahood. Dharmakaya is Dharmakaya.

If critical philosophy helps open you up, then great. Maybe reading the Koran or Das Kapital might help you too, who knows. At the end of the day it's less about what you think than about how you engage with experience, how you cultivate.

Let a thousand flowers bloom.
:cheers:
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby Sönam » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:51 am

This is not only a quote from a movie, but Rinpoché used it again in his recent teaching. What he says is that one can say that "1 and 2 equal 3" ... but that's our limitation because it can also mean "12". What's wrong with that teaching? it illustrates that we react with ours habituations and that we are limited by them.

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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: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby tomamundsen » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:02 am

Sönam wrote:This is not only a quote from a movie, but Rinpoché used it again in his recent teaching. What he says is that one can say that "1 and 2 equal 3" ... but that's our limitation because it can also mean "12". What's wrong with that teaching? it illustrates that we react with ours habituations and that we are limited by them.

Sönam

:good: That makes sense.
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby Virgo » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:03 am

Sönam wrote: What's wrong with that teaching?
Sönam

It's just not traditional enough, Sonam!

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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:18 pm

Jikan wrote:It's possible to write something and not understand it. Unclear or contradictory writing often indicates a weak grasp of the material by the writer.


What are you referring to?
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:49 pm

To be clear, it appears to me that the Buddha was originally trying to be radically non-dogmatic, nonsectarian and unstructured. For example he talks in the Atthakavagga about not having any views so as not to enter into disputes, and in the Parayanavagga where craving is also described in the context of craving for something to be true (which is a different sense of craving we read in other sutras). It seems Buddha was much less constrained to standard definitions and approaches in these (what are thought by some to be) early sutras.

I only used Wittgenstein for illustration of how non-Buddhist philosophers have shown that what we might think of as a fixed certainty or fixed definition is anything but, and that fixing definitions is not the name of the game anyway. I could easily have used an example from neuroscience. Modern teachers like ChNN also seem to maintain an unstructured approach, which reflects ancient teachers like Longchenpa who wrote a lot about unstructured creativity in nature: (and in Gampopa's talks with the Karmapa "the effulgence of dharmata"; or in the Lankavatara Sutra "the ocean and waves of the Alaya). Whereas, the mainstream threads of Buddhism, like Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana tend to have rigid structures to the teachings (for good reason). The Buddha did also institute the vinaya which was a very rigid structure and later in his life he seemed to dedicate at lot of time teaching many lists. So it's no wonder that the Sangha by and large followed a pattern of strict structure in their commentarial traditions.

So my question is whether I am right to assume there might be in a sense two different Buddhisms, one which is structured and one unstructured? Obviously we know there is the way of the Sangha that follows the lead of the vinaya, memorizing lists and doctrinal schemes. Is there a valid Buddhist path of radical revelation into the unstructured nature of existence? Can the mainstream Sangha types accept the unstructured reality types (if it is a valid approach)?

I'll admit that my preference is obviously for the unstructured sort. It comes from my early fascination with images of tantric mahasiddhas and their freedom. I'm sure it comes from frustration having accepted paternalistic controls for much of my life. I was rather disappointed when I actually joined some of the lineages how rigid their ideas seemed. I was expecting snappy methods to destroy my preconceived notions, but found myself enduring so much indoctrination. I found that to be emasculating and rather boring. I thought for some time that I probably ought to have my preconceived notions of no preconceived notions displaced by enduring indoctrination. After a while I began to feel I was wasting my life. When I looked into the sutras and hearing other masters I realized I was. It did seem there was this unstructured alternative Buddhist universe. What do you all think?
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby underthetree » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:39 pm

I'll admit that my preference is obviously for the unstructured sort. It comes from my early fascination with images of tantric mahasiddhas and their freedom. I'm sure it comes from frustration having accepted paternalistic controls for much of my life. I was rather disappointed when I actually joined some of the lineages how rigid their ideas seemed. I was expecting snappy methods to destroy my preconceived notions, but found myself enduring so much indoctrination. I found that to be emasculating and rather boring. I thought for some time that I probably ought to have my preconceived notions of no preconceived notions displaced by enduring indoctrination.


That mirrors my own experience very closely. There is obviously an immense, anarchic power bottled up in Vajrayana - and Chan, too, perhaps - which is exactly what I'm interested in and which I've yet to actually find. My heartfelt desire is to encounter what the Mahasiddhas encountered, and everything tells me that I won't find it in a 'center,' surrounded by formalism, quasi-Judeo-Christian religiosity and clubbishness. Or in some money-centric cult. So I sit under my tree.
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby dharmagoat » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:17 pm

underthetree wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:I'll admit that my preference is obviously for the unstructured sort. It comes from my early fascination with images of tantric mahasiddhas and their freedom. I'm sure it comes from frustration having accepted paternalistic controls for much of my life. I was rather disappointed when I actually joined some of the lineages how rigid their ideas seemed. I was expecting snappy methods to destroy my preconceived notions, but found myself enduring so much indoctrination. I found that to be emasculating and rather boring. I thought for some time that I probably ought to have my preconceived notions of no preconceived notions displaced by enduring indoctrination.

That mirrors my own experience very closely. There is obviously an immense, anarchic power bottled up in Vajrayana - and Chan, too, perhaps - which is exactly what I'm interested in and which I've yet to actually find. My heartfelt desire is to encounter what the Mahasiddhas encountered, and everything tells me that I won't find it in a 'center,' surrounded by formalism, quasi-Judeo-Christian religiosity and clubbishness. Or in some money-centric cult. So I sit under my tree.

What both of you have written resembles my own experience. I was attracted to Buddhism through reading accounts of the free spirit displayed by the Indian mahasiddhas and the early Chan masters, but found very little of this in the contemporary Vajrayana and Zen lineages. So I wander like a goat.
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby deepbluehum » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:03 am

Yes. That's it. It seems the Buddha's advice in the Rhino Sutta is apt. Wonder alone like a Rhino. Unless you are not a Rhino, then join the group.
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:05 am

deepbluehum wrote:So my questions, is it appropriate to lead students of Buddhism in this way, or is it not?

Is it more appropriate to condition students only with the dogma of the past?

If we decide to go the Dzogchen/Modern Philosophy way, does it mean we are no longer Buddhist? Or is there another way of being Buddhist that does not strictly adhere to dogma and might even challenge Buddhist dogma?


Wouldn't it be true that the perversion of the teachings into "dogma" is contingent upon individual interpretation? I suppose I see no dogma, all tenets of the dharma are merely pointers, none are meant to be absolute laws, rules or regulations. If one turns such things into dogma then that is merely the error of that individual, the tendency for such misinterpretation to be paraded as truth and taught to others (in it's skewed state) is again dependent on human error. If you get enough people to follow an erroneous view, then it is merely the manifest macrocosm naturally reflecting the initial misunderstanding of the microcosm. The original teachings however, are never adulterated or stained within this chain of ignorance. For the founding message or tenets are only ever what they're made to be, those who clearly understand them will benefit, and those who misunderstand will obviously deviate. It's only natural for this to happen. The attachment to the resultant dogma is again the error of the individual or group, those with higher capacity will naturally see through this mishap, and the higher teachings are there for them. The full spectrum of the teachings naturally reflects the spectrum of the human condition in it's many psychological and intellectual facets.

As for being a "buddhist", none are that. But the title or label is there and there's no need to suppress it in my opinion. Those who don't clearly perceive the fundamental message may attach to this label, identify with it and call themselves a "buddhist", and yes that may serve as an obstructive shortcoming. At the same time, others may implement the label and (because they exhibit right view) will rise above delusion and see the title as an ornament of their clear apprehension of the dharma. Either way, the label is again solely what it is made to be and harbors no authority or nature of it's own. Only that which is given to it by the mind of the individual and it will rightly reflect said designation (and founding perception). Those who know better will never fall victim to dogmatic views, the fundamental truth which transcends dogma is always present and there to be found, it's only ever obscured by one's own ignorance. Again (just as in the discussion on islam) the issue is never in the objective structure itself, but lies in the collective proclivity to pervert any subsequent ignorance derived from humanity's natural tendency to seek discipline, structure and authority. And there's nothing wrong with discipline, structure and authority, the problems arise from wrong identification with these things. There will always be the full spectrum, from wisdom to ignorance and all of the potential outcomes involved. The varying systems of belief or spiritual disciplines which exist today are reflections of a collective state of mind, not only of the individual systems but their interaction with other systems as well. It is the play of duality and it's only ever mankind's ignorance (or wisdom for that matter) which shines through. Luckily for us the dharma is meant to cut through any potential ignorance (and it is a incredible tool to do so), but that doesn't guarantee protection against the tendency for ignorance to flourish where the ground is fertile.

I find the original teachings to speak clearly and light the path unerringly. It is the clouded mind which cannot see the way.
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:47 am

deepbluehum wrote:So my question is whether I am right to assume there might be in a sense two different Buddhisms, one which is structured and one unstructured? Obviously we know there is the way of the Sangha that follows the lead of the vinaya, memorizing lists and doctrinal schemes. Is there a valid Buddhist path of radical revelation into the unstructured nature of existence?


A lot of people in East Asia will praise figures like Bodhidharma and Linji, but if you behaved or spoke like them in real life you would become unpopular very quickly. In Tibetan culture there seems to be a bit more appreciation for unorthodox yogis who pay little heed to authority and orthodoxy, if perhaps because lay yogis are held in equal esteem to formal monastics.

I think if there is a difference between the structured and unstructured, it is fundamentally a difference of institutionalized Buddhism versus non-institutionalized Buddhadharma. There are arguments for both, but the former usually wins out because it is better at acquiring resources, people and facilities. Having unattached yogis wandering in the world is perhaps appreciated by most, but they don't provide community and fellowship, which Buddhism as an institution is effectively designed to provide.

I believe that the non-institutionalized or unstructured Buddhadharma exists on the fringe. When the Buddha started his teaching career, his was a fringe minority movement on the outskirts of society. As time went on it became formalized with appropriate rules, facilities and staff, all of which required structure. The original sangha had no Vinaya, and the house rules were only laid down because the community was no longer loosely affiliated yogis, but a community co-habitating together.

Can the mainstream Sangha types accept the unstructured reality types (if it is a valid approach)?


In this case it is best for the unstructured types to live on the fringes and not actively participate in a system which they are essential incompatible with.
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:53 am

dharmagoat wrote:What both of you have written resembles my own experience. I was attracted to Buddhism through reading accounts of the free spirit displayed by the Indian mahasiddhas and the early Chan masters, but found very little of this in the contemporary Vajrayana and Zen lineages. So I wander like a goat.


I think if you are looking for a lineage, then you will have institutionalization and hence a lot of structure.
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby kirtu » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:12 pm

deepbluehum wrote:I wanted to discuss a little bit the appropriateness of applying modern philosophical ideas to ancient Buddha-dharma. The quote by ChNN comes from his movie. His statement appears to be an application of Dzogchen teachings on being free from limitations and to look at things from many possibilities. This is also the kind of statement that you might read from Ludwig Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Investigations."


Come on - you would not find this statement in Wittgenstein. Secondly Tibetans are ignorant of mathematics and science.

So my questions, is it appropriate to lead students of Buddhism in this way, or is it not?

Is it more appropriate to condition students only with the dogma of the past?


Well it's important to develop good upaya and examples that work.

Most examples that Buddhist teachers give involving math (or even arithmetic) and science are cringeworthy.

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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby kirtu » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:21 pm

Sönam wrote:This is not only a quote from a movie, but Rinpoché used it again in his recent teaching. What he says is that one can say that "1 and 2 equal 3" ... but that's our limitation because it can also mean "12". What's wrong with that teaching? it illustrates that we react with ours habituations and that we are limited by them.

Sönam


The problem is that 1+2 = 3 is an arithmetic rule involving an addition operation (really two operations) and Rinpoche is coupling that well-defined addition rule with permutations over a set of digits. These are two totally different things.

If the upaya works, then great. But these kinds of things sound more like Dennis Hopper in "Apocalypse Now" but stripped of the confusion.

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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: "2+1=3 it also equals 21." ChNN

Postby kirtu » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:27 pm

underthetree wrote:My heartfelt desire is to encounter what the Mahasiddhas encountered, and everything tells me that I won't find it in a 'center,' surrounded by formalism, quasi-Judeo-Christian religiosity and clubbishness.


Well you have to be introduced to it first. And then depending on the lama or teacher then can lead you toward it. Even if their examples aren't correct.

After that the matter is in your own hands (really even after the introduction but you need to rely on the teachers and lamas to make sure you don't waste your time).

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