Could someone explain emptiness?

General forum on Mahayana.

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby xabir » Sun Aug 19, 2012 8:37 am

Lotus_Bitch wrote:Damn, I really am confused. Thanks for posting this (Malcolm isn't a Loppon for nothing.) Do you think it completely undermines the whole article? I'm guessing the answer would be yes, huh?

Also, I beg to differ that the blog is complete nonsense. It has a bunch of articles from different traditions and different masters (some of ChNN's stuff is on there) and from people in the real world who has direct insight into Buddhas teachings. Though, not everyone would agree, but whatevs.

Can you post a link to the thread you quoted from?
Malcolm is talking from a different context. Archaya Mahayogi Shridhar Rinpoche is talking about a different context (his point is not 'things are real, yet dream-like'). I am perfectly fine with describing everything as illusory as it is true that everything is unreal (as long as it is not mistaken to mean a dream that ceases and changes to an alternate or underlying absolute reality like Brahman upon waking up), or describing everything as like an illusion (as long as it is not being mistaken with a realist view of things being real yet resembling an illusion). As I wrote recently:

To taiyaki: I think Namdrol/Malcolm was very insistent that it (what is empty) is not 'like an illusion' but really what is empty is 'illusory'. He made the comment that 'like an illusion' is still a realist POV. He has some good points there. Indeed 'like an illusion' should not be mistaken to mean something is real yet dream-like. It is pointing out that what appears is utterly empty of any real existence.

However, 'like an illusion but not an illusion' also points out that our perceptions are not something fabricated or projected in a way that they cease after 'waking up', as if when we 'wake up', we find an alternate or ultimate reality that transcends or lies beyond the appearances. There is in fact no ultimate reality beyond appearance, though there is the ultimate truth of emptiness, which is inseparable from luminous clarity and the appearances/display. Your awakening does not alter your pure sensory experience which pretty much goes on the same way (they are certainly not like a dream that disappears when you wake up), except now you are no longer projecting false imputations, and you are truly ‘tasting’ the vividness/luminosity of everything without any projection of self/Self.
xabir
 
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:14 pm

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby catmoon » Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:45 am

Terminology, terminology theres no end to it.

In common english, an illusion refers to something that simply is not there but appears to be. If you use the term "illusion" in that sense, most Buddhists would recognize the position as nihilism.

On the other hand, if you see an illusion, say a mirage, there is no question but that there IS an illusion, because if there were no illusion you would see nothing. So in a sense the illusion exists. If reality exists in that sense, it could be taken as an example of emptiness.

Now the Gelug position would be that a thing does exist, but not in the way it appears to. In this way, appearances are similar to illusions. This is the illusion-like property of things. Now, one might ask, what's the difference? What is it about the way things appear that is false? If you go back to Huseng's post (#2 in this thread) you find the answer: when we regard a certain set of sensory phenomenae, we impute a chariot when there is really nothing immutably "chariot" about it. The "chariot" concept is merely a bookkeeping device of sorts, something in our heads, not something "out there". It's something we add to the sensory stream, a wholly mental fabrication. Things get really interesting when you extend the reasoning and discover that the self is just such a fabrication.

What all viewpoints agree on is that the mind is filled with these imputations to the point of obscuring reality. They are the stuff of which ignorance is built, the blinders that prevent seeing. Our expectations are based on mental manipulations of imputations, on logic and planning, but reality persistently refuses to abide by the rules imputations obey. Even when things go right, they don't go quite the way we anticipate they will! The resulting stress is enormous.

Now, we can't really get by without logic and planning, but if we understand emptiness we won't expect everything to go as planned, and will not be surprised or upset when things go sideways. Since we expect things to go kittiwonkus, we have backup plans, we have duct tape in the tool kit, and we are not shocked even when the backup plans fail as they often do.

Now these are just some of the simpler benefits of having a grasp of emptiness. When this understanding grows into a direct experience, when we see the false expectations that come from conceptual thinking immediately, just as we immediately see the tree is green, when we know what is going on just as we know someone is cooking bacon by the smell- the possibilities simply explode!
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
User avatar
catmoon
Former staff member
 
Posts: 2995
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: British Columbia

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby SSJ3Gogeta » Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:20 pm

Konchog1 wrote:Just it's because it's unique doesn't mean it's wrong.



According to the other Tibetan schools, Tsongkhapa was wrong.

For example, refer to Gorampa.
SSJ3Gogeta
 
Posts: 189
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:26 am

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby Tilopa » Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:26 pm

SSJ3Gogeta wrote: According to the other Tibetan schools, Tsongkhapa was wrong. For example, refer to Gorampa.

Everyone's wrong according to someone. I think it's more a question of what works. I've met many great Gelugpa yogis and it seems to have worked for them so there's a good chance it might work for some of us.
User avatar
Tilopa
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby Jyoti » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:43 pm

Music wrote:I am assuming emptiness isn't taken literally to mean non existence. So is it just another word for dependent origination? Because everything exists in connection to everything else, no object really has any essence, so to speak. Is that what it is?


Emptiness referred to the basis/body is not about an absolute void. Phenomena is empty is refering to the thusness of the phenomena, it is not a negation of the phenomena as non-existence. The word emptiness resolved the problem of the lack of basis and permanence, for example dependent origination cannot operate logically without a basis that is permanent, however, when the contents of dependent origination is equated as emptiness, since emptiness is the basis that is permanent, it communicate the meaning of nirvana which is permanent.

Above is the emptiness of the basis/body, there is the emptiness of the function/means, means refer to the subjective side of our existence, our perception of self, emotions, and various concepts are equated as emptiness. At the level of definitive meaning, the view or reason of thusness (truth) is taken as the ultimate object rather than direct perception of thusness, since the direct perception is dharmata which is on the objective side of the basis/body, it cannot be utilize by the means directly. This reason of thusness is termed the first meaning emptiness (paramārtha-sunyata).
User avatar
Jyoti
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:07 pm
Location: Taiwan

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby SSJ3Gogeta » Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:30 pm

Tilopa wrote:
SSJ3Gogeta wrote: According to the other Tibetan schools, Tsongkhapa was wrong. For example, refer to Gorampa.

Everyone's wrong according to someone. I think it's more a question of what works. I've met many great Gelugpa yogis and it seems to have worked for them so there's a good chance it might work for some of us.



Or you can just subscribe to the original Indian Madhyamaka, and forget about Tibetan Madhyamakas.
SSJ3Gogeta
 
Posts: 189
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:26 am

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby Caz » Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:55 pm

You seem to be incredibly Hostile toward Tsongkhapa can I ask why ? :?
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
Caz
 
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:49 am

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby Josef » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:11 pm

SSJ3Gogeta wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:Just it's because it's unique doesn't mean it's wrong.



According to the other Tibetan schools, Tsongkhapa was wrong.

For example, refer to Gorampa.

To assert that he was "wrong" goes to far in my opinion.
I prefer Gorampa's approach and feel it is more in line with Nagarjuna, Aryadeva etc. and that it is more functional from the Vajrayana perspective.
However, Tsongkhapa's interpretation is not without merits.
It is quite effective actually for the path that he prescribes for his students.
Josef
 
Posts: 1565
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:44 pm

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby SSJ3Gogeta » Sun Aug 19, 2012 11:21 pm

xabir wrote:It is pointing out that what appears is utterly empty of any real existence



"real existence" is an incorrect phrase.

its just "existence".
SSJ3Gogeta
 
Posts: 189
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:26 am

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby Tilopa » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:16 am

Caz wrote:You seem to be incredibly Hostile toward Tsongkhapa can I ask why ? :?

Good question. If it doesn't resonate with you find another path but why the hostility?
User avatar
Tilopa
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby BuddhaSoup » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:21 pm

Music, I have always felt that the word "emptiness" throws people (me, included) off.

I even spent time early on chanting "form is emptiness, emptiness is form..." and sitting there wondering what the heck I was chanting. Not the first time this has happened. :)

In any case, once my teacher explained to me that it had to do with dharmas or forms being empty of independent existence ( reinforcing a dependently originated, nondual approach), the idea of emptiness as we practice it made sense. Still, when we use the word "empty" in daily life, it expresses the idea of voiding something: " my gas tank is empty," "please empty the rubbish." It's difficult to disassociate the usual meaning of the word from its Zen meaning and purpose. When there is a mention of emptiness in the Zendo, I run through my mind the idea "empty of independent existence," and this helps. I make this idea a koan for myself even though I'm sure for many it's an easily graspable idea. II played football as a youth and may have taken too may blows to the head. :) Others on this posting wrote much better expositions on the subject.

Oh, and I like the idea of using the word "stress" for dukkha, instead of suffering (dukkha meaning the broken or unbalanced axle of the oxcart.") . I also like the use of the word "goodwill" instead of "loving-kindness."
BuddhaSoup
 
Posts: 165
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:06 pm

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby Matt J » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:29 pm

If you go back to old sutta Buddhism, the Buddha teaches that everything is impermanent, lacks a self, and is not satisfying. In my mind, while these seem to be three things, they are actually related. Because things lack a permanent self, they are impermanent. Because they are impermanent, they are unsatisfying. Sutta teachings applied this method primarily to persons. There is no Matt J here, there is the temporary coming together of form, feeling, perception, impulse and consciousness. My body can be broken down into 32 parts, and each part can be broken down into elementary particles.

Mahayana teachings come along and say, hold on--- those elementary particles don't have a permanent substance either. In fact, everything lacks a permanent self, is impermanent, and unsatisfying.

In Western terms, there is no "noumenon". A "table" is just a temporary state of wood. Before it was a tree, after it is rubbish. If you look for a table, you'll just find bits of wood. If you apply this analysis to wood, you'll find there is no wood there, either. If you go back, a tree is just a temporary coming together of soil, seed, and sunshine. Before, it was a seed, after it is a table. You can keep going in any direction.

So you end up with the state that things don't really exist, and yet we're all in this together.

For me, the more I understand this, the less I cling, and the more compassion increases, which is the whole point.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/
User avatar
Matt J
 
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby Nothing » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:36 pm

Ok Music, here it is, below is a full description of what "Emptiness" means in one paragraph:













.
User avatar
Nothing
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:39 pm

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby futerko » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:49 pm

Matt J wrote:In Western terms, there is no "noumenon".


I'm not sure this is strictly true. I think there is an idea of a noumenon as Absolute Truth, however it is necessarily outside of any causal chain and must remain utterly indeterminate, it's only property being the "ground of being", which is exactly what makes a table "not a table".
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: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby Music » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:57 pm

futerko wrote:
Matt J wrote:In Western terms, there is no "noumenon".


I'm not sure this is strictly true. I think there is an idea of a noumenon as Absolute Truth, however it is necessarily outside of any causal chain and must remain utterly indeterminate, it's only property being the "ground of being", which is exactly what makes a table "not a table".


Could you explain this a bit more, especially the last line.
Music
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:43 pm
Location: India

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby futerko » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:53 pm

Music wrote:
futerko wrote:
Matt J wrote:In Western terms, there is no "noumenon".


I'm not sure this is strictly true. I think there is an idea of a noumenon as Absolute Truth, however it is necessarily outside of any causal chain and must remain utterly indeterminate, it's only property being the "ground of being", which is exactly what makes a table "not a table".


Could you explain this a bit more, especially the last line.


Matt described one of the "two truths", that of the relative truth of apparent phenomena - eg. colour is dependent on the eye that sees, change the eye and the colour changes, there is no lasting or permanent truth to be found in phenomena. Instead of speculations about the real nature of reality and the truth behind appearances which can only ever be speculations, Buddhism enquires into the conditions that make this possible, so although Matt describes the lack of substantial "solid" reality, the same conditions are in fact required for anything (relative) to appear at all.
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: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby lobster » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:19 am

I am assuming emptiness isn't taken literally to mean non existence. So is it just another word for dependent origination? Because everything exists in connection to everything else, no object really has any essence, so to speak. Is that what it is?


I think so.
If you think and explore the nature of any experience, it is dependent on other things, memories and associations for example.

Some of our associations and karmic interconnection with certain of our experiences is heavily loaded with apparent form. One by one we can go quite deeply into the aspects of those forms. Each one is empty or dependent on other aspects.

Emptiness is Form
and Form is emptiness . . . as one wheel said to another . . .
User avatar
lobster
 
Posts: 952
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:06 pm

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby DarwidHalim » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:38 am

Emptiness and form are like husband and wife.

Both are theory.

Because form is theory. We say this is a car. This is a form of intellectual theory.

Because the job of emptiness is to negate that form theory, emptiness itself is also just a theory.

We can only talk emptiness to someone who has the assertion of self.

We cannot talk emptiness to someone who never assert self.

When there is emptiness, there is always form. Because emptiness is the rejection of that form.

Someone who holds the view of emptiness has an obstruction. It is like someone who has crossed the island, but keep carrying your boat around.

The view of emptiness has fault, and that fault lying on the truth that traceless cannot be said as empty.

Emptiness of emptiness is then taught.

You left with no view, no any layers, perfectly naked.
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!
User avatar
DarwidHalim
 
Posts: 418
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:04 pm

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby catmoon » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:38 pm

DarwidHalim wrote:Emptiness and form are like husband and wife.


"Emptiness is form, form is emptiness". -Heart Sutra

Both are theory.

Because form is theory. We say this is a car. This is a form of intellectual theory.


A theory is much more than a hypothesis. A theory is something tested and demonstrated.

Because the job of emptiness is to negate that form theory, emptiness itself is also just a theory.


It's only a theory if you have no direct experience of it.

We can only talk emptiness to someone who has the assertion of self.

We cannot talk emptiness to someone who never assert self.


Any number of people discussed emptiness with the Buddha himself. Does he assert self?

When there is emptiness, there is always form. Because emptiness is the rejection of that form.


Emptiness is form and does not negate itself.

Someone who holds the view of emptiness has an obstruction. It is like someone who has crossed the island, but keep carrying your boat around.

The view of emptiness has fault, and that fault lying on the truth that traceless cannot be said as empty.


Gaining the intellectual view of emptiness is a preliminary to attaining some direct experience of it. A complete and ongoing experience of the emptiness of things is pretty much full enlightenment, cessation.



Emptiness of emptiness is then taught.

You left with no view, no any layers, perfectly naked.


If the emptiness of emptiness is understood and seen, there is no "you" left to be viewless, no "you" that can be naked.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
User avatar
catmoon
Former staff member
 
Posts: 2995
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: British Columbia

Re: Could someone explain emptiness?

Postby DarwidHalim » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:47 pm

So according to you, emptiness is the truth of the universe?
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!
User avatar
DarwidHalim
 
Posts: 418
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:04 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Mahāyāna Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests

>