Two opposing states cannot coexist without... (Dharmakirti)

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djlewis
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Two opposing states cannot coexist without... (Dharmakirti)

Postby djlewis » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:20 am

His Holiness The Dalai Lama says (Universe in a Single Atom, pp. 146-147) ...

Like other Buddhist thinkers before him, Dharmakirti invokes what could be called a “psychological law” in that he sees various psychological states, including the emotions, as a field of forces in which opposing families of mental states interact in a constant dynamic... This law whereby two opposing states cannot coexist without one undermining the other is the key premise in the Buddhist argument for the transformability of consciousness..."

I'd be grateful for pointers to books, papers and web sites discussing this "psychological law" in Buddhism, both traditional and modern. What are English terms used to translate this topic (to help me search for myself)?

Thanks. --David

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Astus
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Re: Two opposing states cannot coexist without... (Dharmakirti)

Postby Astus » Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:48 pm

I haven't really studied Dharmakirti, but I think if you look into abhidharma materials they discuss mental states, for instance that in a single moment there can be only one mental factor present.

Here is one good source on the classical Abhidharma Kosa: http://abhidharmakosa.wordpress.com/
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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seeker242
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Re: Two opposing states cannot coexist without... (Dharmakirti)

Postby seeker242 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:30 pm

djlewis wrote:His Holiness The Dalai Lama says (Universe in a Single Atom, pp. 146-147) ...

Like other Buddhist thinkers before him, Dharmakirti invokes what could be called a “psychological law” in that he sees various psychological states, including the emotions, as a field of forces in which opposing families of mental states interact in a constant dynamic... This law whereby two opposing states cannot coexist without one undermining the other is the key premise in the Buddhist argument for the transformability of consciousness..."

I'd be grateful for pointers to books, papers and web sites discussing this "psychological law" in Buddhism, both traditional and modern. What are English terms used to translate this topic (to help me search for myself)?

Thanks. --David


Any discussion on how or why "metta" practice works, would discuss this. As that psychological law is the basis for such practices. It has to deal with giving "appropriate attention" to skillful objects and redirecting your attention from unskillful ones, onto skillful ones. In the context of metta practice, if your mind is in a state of hate, you redirect your attention to thoughts of loving kindness which invokes feeling of loving kindness, thereby undermining the state of hate and replacing it with the state of love. Since love and hate are direct opposites, your mind can not be in both states equally at the same time. One will always be undermining the other. The one that "wins" so to speak, if the one you direct your attention to, via appropriate or inappropriate attention.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

djlewis
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Re: Two opposing states cannot coexist without... (Dharmakirti)

Postby djlewis » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:28 pm

Thanks for the replies. I have looked quite a bit at the compassion/method side of the Mahayana, which is where the "law of opposing states" is generally discussed, as in the HHDL quote.

My underlying question, however, is different. Does this same law also operate in insight meditation, or at least some kinds?

For example, one classical emptiness meditation juxtaposes the "object of negation", say the reified self, with the firm, reasoned conclusion that the self cannot exist that way (as reified, independent, etc) because if it does, then it must be either one with or not one with its parts, and further reasoning and observations show both to be impossible. So there are the opposing states. Eventually the reified self dissolves, leaving in its place a perception of emptiness of the self, that is, its lack of reified, independent nature.

Is it correct to say that the law of opposing states is working there too? It sure seems so, but I cannot find that in any teaching or commentary.

Thanks. --David.

djlewis wrote:His Holiness The Dalai Lama says (Universe in a Single Atom, pp. 146-147) ...

Like other Buddhist thinkers before him, Dharmakirti invokes what could be called a “psychological law” in that he sees various psychological states, including the emotions, as a field of forces in which opposing families of mental states interact in a constant dynamic... This law whereby two opposing states cannot coexist without one undermining the other is the key premise in the Buddhist argument for the transformability of consciousness..."

I'd be grateful for pointers to books, papers and web sites discussing this "psychological law" in Buddhism, both traditional and modern. What are English terms used to translate this topic (to help me search for myself)?

Thanks. --David

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Astus
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Re: Two opposing states cannot coexist without... (Dharmakirti)

Postby Astus » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:50 am

Excluding impossible realities with reasoning uses the laws of logic, that is, that something is either true or false, no third option possible (excluded middle).
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Karma Dorje
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Re: Two opposing states cannot coexist without... (Dharmakirti)

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:43 pm

djlewis wrote:For example, one classical emptiness meditation juxtaposes the "object of negation", say the reified self, with the firm, reasoned conclusion that the self cannot exist that way (as reified, independent, etc) because if it does, then it must be either one with or not one with its parts, and further reasoning and observations show both to be impossible. So there are the opposing states. Eventually the reified self dissolves, leaving in its place a perception of emptiness of the self, that is, its lack of reified, independent nature.

Is it correct to say that the law of opposing states is working there too? It sure seems so, but I cannot find that in any teaching or commentary.


The reified self does not dissolve. It never existed in the first place. What happens is that the confused apprehension of a self where there is none stops, hence the emptiness of self which is the actual condition becomes evident i.e. one does not replace one object of attention with another, one removes a mistaken identification.
Chemistry is applied theology. ― Augustus Stanley Owsley III


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