Mind versus Self?

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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:20 pm

Jnana wrote:
And it's a wrong view. Why is it a wrong view? Because it doesn't lead to dispassion, cessation, and the complete extinguishment of fetters — i.e. nirvāṇa.


So what is nirvana realized with? :sage:
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby JohnRammy » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:23 pm

songhill wrote:
Jnana wrote:
And it's a wrong view. Why is it a wrong view? Because it doesn't lead to dispassion, cessation, and the complete extinguishment of fetters — i.e. nirvāṇa.


So what is nirvana realized with? :sage:


You are a Mahayanist right?

The goal is Buddhahood, not nirvana.

Buddhahood is predicated on understanding sunyata.

If you want to understand sunyata, study Madhyamaka.

Or better yet, get direct introduction to the nature of the mind from a Vajrayana guru.
Everything lacks the identity (atman) imputed by mere conceptual labels.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:30 pm

anjali wrote:I notice you are using the word atman and equate it with Pure Mind and true reality. It shouldn't come as any surprise that use of the word "atman" is going to raise a few eyebrows in a Buddhist forum like this one. I personally don't get too hung up on words as long as we are clear on the meanings for the outset.

If you identify the qualities of atman as: 1)empty in essence, 2)cognizant (or knowing) in nature, and 3) dynamically expressive (or unconfined) in capacity, I think most here could live with that, even though we would not choose to use the term "atman." Are you in agreement with these qualities for atman? Or, do you prefer to offer a different meaning for the word?


Just where are you getting this from? Neither the self nor pure Mind are percepts; nor are they metaphysical thought-forms.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Jnana » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:35 pm

songhill wrote:
Jnana wrote:
And it's a wrong view. Why is it a wrong view? Because it doesn't lead to dispassion, cessation, and the complete extinguishment of fetters — i.e. nirvāṇa.


So what is nirvana realized with?

Cognition. But both the cognition and nirvāṇa are merely designations used for the purpose of teaching the path. Neither are truly established entities.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:44 pm

JohnRammy wrote:
You are a Mahayanist right?

The goal is Buddhahood, not nirvana.

Buddhahood is predicated on understanding sunyata.

If you want to understand sunyata, study Madhyamaka.

Or better yet, get direct introduction to the nature of the mind from a Vajrayana guru.


Sure, the Buddha refuge is the major refuge in Mahayana. Sure, without bodhicittotpada no Buddhahood. Sure, dependently originated things are empty, lacking true reality. As for your Vajrayana Lama, sure, you're supposed to learn about the nature of Mind. But this is only after he has determined whether or not you have the spiritual IQ for it. So back to my question, what realizes nirvana?
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby JohnRammy » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:47 pm

songhill wrote:
JohnRammy wrote:
You are a Mahayanist right?

The goal is Buddhahood, not nirvana.

Buddhahood is predicated on understanding sunyata.

If you want to understand sunyata, study Madhyamaka.

Or better yet, get direct introduction to the nature of the mind from a Vajrayana guru.


Sure, the Buddha refuge is the major refuge in Mahayana. Sure, without bodhicittotpada no Buddhahood. Sure, dependently originated things are empty, lacking true reality. As for your Vajrayana Lama, sure, you're supposed to learn about the nature of Mind. But this is only after he has determined whether or not you have the spiritual IQ for it.


I'm not sure you understand basic Mahayana....

But anyway Namkhai Norbu is always giving direct introduction to everyone. Thats just one example.
Everything lacks the identity (atman) imputed by mere conceptual labels.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:59 pm

JohnRammy wrote:
I'm not sure you understand basic Mahayana....

But anyway Namkhai Norbu is always giving direct introduction to everyone. Thats just one example.


"In the past, it was always traditional for the teacher to examine disciples and for disciples to examine the teacher. From the standpoint of the spiritual teacher, this examination procedure was necessary to determine whether or not the disciples were suitable vessels to receive teachings on the nature of mind." ~ Yanthang Rinpoche


I guess the modern trend is to give direct introduction to everyone even though they are spiritual imbeciles. This must be the Dharma ending age. Oh gosh—it is!
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:07 am

songhill wrote:I guess the modern trend is to give direct introduction to everyone even though they are spiritual imbeciles. This must be the Dharma ending age. Oh gosh—it is!
Have you received direct introduction?
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Karma Dorje » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:23 am

anjali wrote:
songhill wrote:Pure Mind/âtman essence = water. The whirlpool is the five aggregates of material shape, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness. The deluded beings (puthujjana) are those who attach to whirlpoolness as if it were the true essence (pure Mind/âtman). Karma is the deed of continually attaching to whirlpooliness as being true reality (âtman). It ain't. :sage:


I notice you are using the word atman and equate it with Pure Mind and true reality. It shouldn't come as any surprise that use of the word "atman" is going to raise a few eyebrows in a Buddhist forum like this one. I personally don't get too hung up on words as long as we are clear on the meanings for the outset.

If you identify the qualities of atman as: 1)empty in essence, 2)cognizant (or knowing) in nature, and 3) dynamically expressive (or unconfined) in capacity, I think most here could live with that, even though we would not choose to use the term "atman." Are you in agreement with these qualities for atman? Or, do you prefer to offer a different meaning for the word?


:good:

One can certainly read sacidananda as just this, hence there is very little difference between the advaita of Adi Shankara and those forms of Buddhism that view tathagathagarbha teachings as definitive. In this sense one can easily equate atman with tathata. I don't think that we should reflexively reject the use of atman as a term, as you even find the use of the term mahatman in the tathagatagarbha sutras themselves. There is too much of a tendency for Buddhists to say "Oh, the other guy thinks this", when they haven't so much as read a single one of the philosophical texts of the tradition in question. There is certainly no fault in practicing one's tradition and that alone. I think there is a fault in misrepresenting the tradition of another based on tribal identification however.

In the case of the last posts in this thread though, it does seem that songhill is clearly refering to exactly the sort of merely conventional entity which is refuted by Madhyamaka reasoning.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:26 am

Any distinction between nirvana and buddhahood would have to be conditional.
Since both buddhahood and nirvana are not conditional (composite) states
there can be, ultimately no difference between them.

The witness of the cessation of suffering,
of nirvana, of buddhahood,
is awareness which comes from the realization of no-self,
which has always been the situation, uncaused but obscured.
It does not mean there is no awareness,
rather, that all conditional distinctions between
subject and object, or witness and that which is witnessed
are transcended, or no longer relevant.

Thus, a Buddha knows he is a buddha
not because he cherishes any idea of a self
but because he has gone beyond even
the contradiction between self and no self
and even beyond knowing and not knowing
in the conditional sense.

It is not possible for a self to realize no-self.
Thus, true "no-self" cannot be a type of atman, or self.
Yet, if you assert "I am no-self"
that is still a condition of being.
So, the Buddha didn't preach "no self"
and he didn't preach "self' either.

Perfect realization goes beyond these.
.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:34 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:The witness of the cessation of suffering,
of nirvana, of buddhahood,
is awareness which comes from the realization of no-self,
which has always been the situation, uncaused but obscured.
It does not mean there is no awareness,
rather, that all conditional distinctions between
subject and object, or witness and that which is witnessed
are transcended, or no longer relevant.

Thus, a Buddha knows he is a buddha
not because he cherishes any idea of a self
but because he has gone beyond even
the contradiction between self and no self
and even beyond knowing and not knowing
in the conditional sense.

It is not possible for a self to realize no-self.
Thus, true "no-self" cannot be a type of atman, or self.
Yet, if you assert "I am no-self"
that is still a condition of being.
So, the Buddha didn't preach "no self"
and he didn't preach "self' either.

Perfect realization goes beyond these.
.
.
.


Being unagitated, in the very self (paccattam) he attains complete Nirvana (parinibbayati). Cut off is birth (jati), the holy Brahma faring has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being. — S.iii.53-54


(edit)Songhill utilises a mistranslation of S.iii 53-54 to prove his point. In the Thannissaro Bhikkhu translations the text states:

"If a monk abandons passion for the property of consciousness, then owing to the abandonment of passion, the support is cut off, and there is no landing of consciousness. Consciousness, thus not having landed, not increasing, not concocting, is released. Owing to its release, it is steady. Owing to its steadiness, it is contented. Owing to its contentment, it is not agitated. Not agitated, he (the monk) is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world." 53

and

"If a monk abandons passion for the property of consciousness, then owing to the abandonment of passion, the support is cut off, and there is no base for consciousness. Consciousness, thus unestablished, not proliferating, not performing any function, is released. Owing to its release, it is steady. Owing to its steadiness, it is contented. Owing to its contentment, it is not agitated. Not agitated, he (the monk) is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world." 54

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby anjali » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:35 am

songhill wrote:
anjali wrote:I notice you are using the word atman and equate it with Pure Mind and true reality. It shouldn't come as any surprise that use of the word "atman" is going to raise a few eyebrows in a Buddhist forum like this one. I personally don't get too hung up on words as long as we are clear on the meanings for the outset.

If you identify the qualities of atman as: 1)empty in essence, 2)cognizant (or knowing) in nature, and 3) dynamically expressive (or unconfined) in capacity, I think most here could live with that, even though we would not choose to use the term "atman." Are you in agreement with these qualities for atman? Or, do you prefer to offer a different meaning for the word?


Just where are you getting this from? Neither the self nor pure Mind are percepts; nor are they metaphysical thought-forms.


I'm asking you to elaborate on how you see the nature of the atman/self. When I say "qualities", I'm not talking about percepts. If you prefer the word "aspects", "dimensions", or some other word, that's fine by me. The "qualities" were listed as 1,2 & 3: empty, knowing and expressive. Do you disagree that the atman/self has those aspects? Do you prefer an alternative view on the nature of atman? I'm not debating (or baiting) you. I'm just asking for clarification.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:43 am

songhill wrote: Being unagitated, in the very self (paccattam) he attains complete Nirvana (parinibbayati). Cut off is birth (jati), the holy Brahma faring has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being. — S.iii.53-54


yeah, but what about those of us who aren't Brahmas?
.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:49 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
songhill wrote: Being unagitated, in the very self (paccattam) he attains complete Nirvana (parinibbayati). Cut off is birth (jati), the holy Brahma faring has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being. — S.iii.53-54


yeah, but what about those of us who aren't Brahmas?
.
.
.


The passage I posted is from the Nikayas (Samyutta-Nikaya). By the way, the compound paccattam in Sanskrit is pratyâtmam.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:52 am

songhill wrote: Being unagitated, in the very self (paccattam) he attains complete Nirvana (parinibbayati). Cut off is birth (jati), the holy Brahma faring has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being. — S.iii.53-54


That doesn't actually say a whole lot.
If you take this phenomenal world,
composed as it is from composites and thus lacking any intrinsic reality
as something real, then certainly
"this state of being" refers to rebirth, or in this context, the cessation of rebirth.
But if one regards this phenomenal world as illusory to begin with
then cessation of rebirth in "this state of being"
doesn't preclude awareness as a Buddha once realization is attained,
just as when one wakes up from a dream
the person in the dream is gone because the
conditional causes for that person have been extinguished.
Just because the dream is over does not mean that
someone who is now awake isn't busy in the kitchen frying bacon.
.
.
.
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Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:19 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
That doesn't actually say a whole lot.
If you take this phenomenal world,
composed as it is from composites and thus lacking any intrinsic reality
as something real, then certainly
"this state of being" refers to rebirth, or in this context, the cessation of rebirth.
But if one regards this phenomenal world as illusory to begin with
then cessation of rebirth in "this state of being"
doesn't preclude awareness as a Buddha once realization is attained,
just as when one wakes up from a dream
the person in the dream is gone because the
conditional causes for that person have been extinguished.
Just because the dream is over does not mean that
someone who is now awake isn't busy in the kitchen frying bacon.
.
.
.


All things [including people frying bacon] are like a magical display; they arise from discrimination. In them there is nothing; they are all empty. ~ Maharatnakuta Sutra (Brackets are mine.)
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:08 am

Jnana wrote:
songhill wrote:
Jnana wrote:
And it's a wrong view. Why is it a wrong view? Because it doesn't lead to dispassion, cessation, and the complete extinguishment of fetters — i.e. nirvāṇa.


So what is nirvana realized with?

Cognition. But both the cognition and nirvāṇa are merely designations used for the purpose of teaching the path. Neither are truly established entities.


Pali also describes nirvana as a purified citta. Mahayana and Vajrayana are free to work with these ideas differently than the Theravada. You can develop a citta with merit and wisdom so that the three Kayas appear forever.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:41 am

songhill wrote:
All things are like a magical display; they arise from discrimination. In them there is nothing; they are all empty. ~ Maharatnakuta Sutra


so then, where is this holy brahman that supposedly ceases rebirth?

How can you, on the one hand, say a being is unagitated, attains complete Nirvana, is cut off from rebirth, and then say "In them there is nothing; they are all empty"

....and at the same time, assert the existence of a self
("If there is no self or âtman, then there is no Buddha-nature")

??????
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:34 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
songhill wrote:
All things are like a magical display; they arise from discrimination. In them there is nothing; they are all empty. ~ Maharatnakuta Sutra


so then, where is this holy brahman that supposedly ceases rebirth?

How can you, on the one hand, say a being is unagitated, attains complete Nirvana, is cut off from rebirth, and then say "In them there is nothing; they are all empty"

....and at the same time, assert the existence of a self
("If there is no self or âtman, then there is no Buddha-nature")

??????
.
.
.


"Holy Brahman"? I have no idea what you are talking about. I don't see any problem. Nirvana is not a thing like a strip of frying bacon in a skillet. It is a transcendent reality (it is also timeless, ultimate reality, the truly real, changeless, the immortal, transphenomenal, beyond thought [acinteyya] and does not rest on any other). For purposes of philosophical thought, it can be thought of as the logical counterpart of dependent arisings, for example, this universe and a strip of bacon, including the psycho-physical body of a fry cook.:D Obviously, the inmost or intrinsic self (paccattam) that attains complete nirvana is one with it. Kewl ain't it?
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby duckfiasco » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:04 am

What liberation is there in a self that thinks it's a liberated self?

And if you're talking on a deeper level where some "self" is still really there but just ignorant of its own selfness, then in ignorance there isn't liberation either. So tacking a self back on there after the fact is like putting googly eyes on the Mona Lisa. I'm so confused. Help me understand! :toilet:
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
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