wtompepper wrote:Pueraeternus: One could surely find passages in the Pali canon that disagree with my position, and many that agree with it as well. I take it as a given that the Pali canon is a compilation of philosophical thought that will contain many contradictory positions, and not a unified revealed word of a divinity. Mara can quote sutras to his purpose, right?
wtompepper wrote:I do take the nihilist position, as well: the position that we must accept our absolute impermanence to live fully. I guess from your moniker that you are not keen to accept this possibility?
wtompepper wrote:IViniketa: I’m pretty sure I didn’t say anything about alayavijnana—but my position would be that it is not permanent, although it does endure over a period of time. What I am saying implies a subtle belief in permanence, in an atman, is what you call “the original purity of tathāgatagarbha.” To “revert” to an “original” state that preexists the samsaric world is to assume a transcendent (even if “non-conceptual”) consciousness or “soul” of some kind. This is a fairly standard argument in the history of Buddhism—and was a quite intense argument when the tathagatagarbha idea was first introduced.
viniketa wrote:The tathāgatagarbha is hardly an atman. Tathāgatagarbha is manifold, not individual, so cannot be an individual "continuance" of mind (atman).
viniketa wrote:Let's leave tathāgatagarbha aside for the moment and talk strictly of dharmatā, which is outside of time (time is conditioned). Dharmatā is as unconditioned as ākāśa. As such, dharmatā is neither eternal nor non-eternal, both, or neither. Strictly speaking, dharmatā is beyond words. If we are to communicate, we use words. Dharmatā is the pure potentiality of the universe, all the possibilities of becoming.
wtompepper wrote:Matt 3: My point exactly is that there is no “true, ideal Buddhism,” and that we can get nowhere at all in reducing suffering until we abandon this particular attachment. We see this attachment most strongly when someone quotes sutras as “evidence” of a truth, for instance. This gets us nowhere, and does not promote understanding of reality as it actually is. My goal is to stop trying to reconcile the contradictory messages in the Pali canon or any Buddhist texts, to admit them as contradictory ideas, to recognize that the Buddhist tradition was for a long time engaged NOT in asserting revealed truths but in trying to come to a greater understanding of reality as it is, and this often required rigorous thought and intense debate (Witness Vasubandhu, Nagarjuna, Chandrakirit, Dharmakirti, the list could go on).
Anything that is outside of time and not conditioned is exactly the definition of atman.
Jnana wrote:First, the recognition of the continuance of an individual mental continuum doesn't entail assertion of an Ātman. If it did, all Buddhist schools, including Sarvāstivāda & Theravāda, would be subject the faults of eternalism.
Jnana wrote:Again, Tibetan commentators such as Go Lotsawa maintain that space is also momentary. Relying on the Dharmadharmatāvibhāgavṛtti, he states:
It is not the case that space that exists only as enclosed space does not partake of the nature of momentariness along a continuum. If you take time into account here, space at the beginning of an eon (kalpa) is not the [same] space at the time of [its] destruction. In terms of location, the substance that exists as the enclosed space of a golden receptacle is not that which exists as the enclosed space of an earthen receptacle.
He then applies this analysis of space to the buddha element:
Likewise, a moment in the continuation of a continuum having the quality of the [buddha] element's awareness of sentient beings is not a moment in the wisdom of a buddha. Notwithstanding, in the same way as the existence of the enclosed space of a golden and earthen receptacle is not different in terms of type (rigs), the nonconceptuality of a buddha and the nonconceptuality of sentient beings are of a very similar type.
wtompepper wrote:Vinika: You've never heard the term "samsaric world" before? How strangely concrete your thinking is. Anything that is outside of time and not conditioned is exactly the definition of atman.
viniketa wrote:I am not familiar with the work you quote nor the Tibetan terms. However, from the wording of the quote, it would seem kha rather than ākāśa is the topic of discussion. Kha is conditioned space, such as that contained in a jar, as opposed to unconditioned "deep space", ākāśa.
wtompepper wrote:As for passages in the Pali Canon, well, it's huge, and quite contradictory. I couldn't make any sweeping generalization about it.
wtompepper wrote:Are these two questions of importance at all in your position? For some schools they would be irrelevant, because the only evidence possible is scriptural authority--the word of Buddha--because we are not enlightened and cannot approach truth on our own, and because human suffering now is irrelevant since our suffering leads to permanent bliss in the afterlife.
wtompepper wrote:Johnny Dangerous: I accept Nirvana as it is explained in Nagarjuna's MMK--as a relation to or way of living in conventional reality. As such, it is not permanent (again, in the ordinary sense of that term), and is itself "empty" of an essential nature, because it is a relation to something that is impermanent. In Madhyamaka Buddhism, then, the goal is not to have an "experience of an unconditioned state" but to realize and accept that there is no such experience.
wtompepper wrote:Porkchop: you're a very careless reader. Where do I claim that Nagarjuna never quotes sutras? I said that sutras are not "evidence" of anything; rather, their truth must be argued for--which Nagarjunas does at great length.
wtompepper wrote: We see this attachment most strongly when someone quotes sutras as “evidence” of a truth, for instance.
25. Those who see essence and essential difference
And entities and nonentities,
They do not see
The truth taught by the Buddha.
26. The Victorious One, through knowledge
Of reality and unreality,
In the Discourse to Katyayana
Refuted both “it is” and “it is not”.
27. The Victorious Conqueror has said that whatever
Is deceptive is false.
are all deceptive.
Therefore they are all false.
wtompepper wrote:If you have a definition of "permanent" other than "lasting unchanged indefinitely", then my use of term may indeed seem "suspect" to you--I used the term in its ordinary sense, assuming that would be clear enough.
wtompepper wrote:The dominant approach here seems to be what I call the "half-strength" version of anatman, which still believes in some kind of essence or consciousness that is permanent and separate from the phenomenal world--and while it may be possible to persuade someone of this version of anatman with kind words (I think Thich Nhat Hanh has succeeded at doing so for many Americans), this is not a goal I would be interested in, because it seems to me that it only makes it that much harder to later accept the full-strength understanding of anatman.
Thich Nhat Hanh wrote:Dear Thay, yesterday you spoke about contemplating impermanence in accordance with the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing. My question is this: when we contemplate impermanence, do we include in that contemplation the phenomena of time and space? Should they also be considered as impermanent?
We know that when we really touch the nature of impermanence, we also touch the nature of interbeing. Impermanence makes life possible, makes things possible. To be impermanent means not to be the same thing in two consecutive moments, and there is always something coming in and something going out. Every thing is interacting with every other thing, and therefore touching impermanence is also touching interbeing. Interbeing means you don’t have a separate existence, you inter-are with everything else.
When we contemplate space, we know that space cannot be space by itself alone. Space has to interbe with time and matter, and everything. When we look into the nature of space, we also touch the nature of impermanence, we also touch the nature of interbeing, and we can see everything else in space. We can see matter in space; we can see time in space. Suppose we talk about spring. What is spring? Spring sounds like time—spring is followed by summer, then fall and winter—but spring is very much involved with space, because when it is spring here in Europe, it is not spring in Australia. So we know that in space there is time, and in time there is space. Even what we call the present moment cannot be by itself alone. The present moment has to be with past moments and future moments.
When you look at the sun in the morning—where I sit in the morning I always see the sun rising from the horizon—you might think that you are seeing the sun of the present moment; but scientists tell us that that is the sun of eight minutes ago. The image of the sun you see is an image sent by the sun to you eight minutes ago. So the present moment has to do with space, not only with time. But you can still live in the present moment even if you know that this is the image of the sun eight minutes ago. The present moment has to do with the "here", and therefore time and space are not separate entities, and looking into the one, we see the all. The insight of interbeing helps us to understand better the nature of non-self, the nature of impermanence.
Many teachers, many philosophers, spoke about impermanence. Heraclitus and Confucius also spoke about impermanence, but the impermanence spoken of by the Buddha is not a philosophy. It is an instrument for your practice of looking deeply. So use the key of impermanence in order to unlock the door of reality, and when you use the key of impermanence you unlock the nature of interbeing, of no self, of emptiness. That is why you should not look on impermanence as a notion, a theory, or a philosophy, but as an instrument offered by the Buddha so that we can practice looking deeply and discover the true nature of reality.
The individual chapters are also available on Scribd here.
Jnana wrote:I took a quick look around the Speculative Non-Buddhism site the other day and I noticed that you and some of your comrades have a bit of a penchant for drawing rather ridiculous caricatures of other Buddhist traditions.
conebeckham wrote:I find it amusing that someone can say they have an easier time "grasping" a notion of Anatman, Nonself, or....dare I say, Sunyata, while they feel that Tathagatagarbha can only be taken on faith, as it's not within the realm of their experience.
But hey, that's just me.
conebeckham wrote:Then you need to find the teacher appropriate for you..