Mind versus Self?

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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:51 pm

catmoon wrote:What does everyone think of the idea of locking them all and starting a new thread that would get everyone under one roof?
I'd like to see you pull that one off. :tongue: I have already (once) split off discussions from other threads into this one, in an attempt to "get everyone under on roof".
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"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 greentara » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:51 am

Futerko, You can think and rethink it but at the end all concepts have to go. Only a rare one like Dogen knows true unity. What is one without a second? Beyond words, certainly beyond imagination. Even the sharpest mind can't grasp it. Is it prior to or beyond all mental activity?
Astus with his explanation of 'cup empty' is a wonderful but its still just talking and not 'being' it.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby futerko » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:54 am

songhill wrote:
futerko wrote:
songhill wrote:It is much easier to take the position that my self is greater than the sum of the aggregates; which is not bound by their limitations. This ends up making Buddhism systematic and not confusing.


That's because thought wants a bottom line, some kind of totality, to grasp the truth, to secure a system. Confusion shows that one has moved beyond the limits of thought.


Thought (mano, manoviññāṇaṃ) is trying to see what my self is as something determinate—a posited thing. Needless to say this project always fails. Thought (mano, manoviññāṇaṃ) nor the senses nor the aggregates can be, for us, a metric. Even thought is to be abandoned (S.iv.16-17). The Buddha teaches us dharma for abandoning (pahânam) all (sabbm) through direct knowledge and full understanding (abhiññā pariññā) (ibid). Rather thought is a confusion maker, for want of a better term.

Certainly it seems that calling "a self" that which is elsewhere referred to as "luminous mind" runs the risk of positing a determinate thing...

songhill wrote:Atman, tathagatagarbha, buddhata are signifiers which represent the true enlightenment experience. These signifiers are vastly different than the five aggregates which are, essentially, illusory (e.g., form is like foam) in addition to being empty (P. rittaka), hollow (P. tucchaka) and insubstantial (P. asâraka).

The idea that tathagatagarbha is a signifier for something that can be experienced (and your phrasing suggests that it is opposite to the qualities you mention, as if "transcendent" here means not-empty, not-hollow, and not-insubstantial), would seem to tend towards a determinate representation.

It makes sense to me to posit a determinate self on the side of the aggregates, and leave the "result" open, unposited, indeterminate, and ungraspable.
Furthermore, this idea of transcendence is accounted for by the fact that tathagatagarbha "pre-dates and underpins" the aggregates - it is an original and primordial unity - so what makes it transcendental is the fact that it is somehow already "foundational" rather than some resultant experience of the beyond - it isn't something that can be experienced because it IS the very reason for any experiencing in the first place.

It's not like we are all in exile from paradise and need to somehow climb up to get there - the doctrine of tathagatagarbha is that we are already there but we just can't see it (because it is obscured by notions such as "self") - transcendence here means not some kind of "other place" to be reached (such as some determinate content of experience), but rather "that (structure) which has endured unchanged."
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Son of Buddha » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:27 am

Astus wrote:
"The Buddha is the "thing" that has these qualities"

A buddha means a person without defilements.


A person is an individual personality "i" ego that which clings to the 5 aggregates
Donna sutta the Buddha is not a person.



Could this be called a permanent state of liberation?
Yes.
Is there really an actual thing or entity that is permanently free from defilements?
No.


You stated earlier the Buddha was a "person" so you have already labeled the Buddha an actual thing(person) and entity.you say the Buddha the person is free from defilement then you turn around and say No actual thing is permenantly free from defilement.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby jeeprs » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:23 am

Futerko wrote:...it isn't something that can be experienced because it IS the very reason for any experiencing in the first place.


I think this is a really important point, and very hard to get. I have thought for a long time that there is a difference between 'realization' and 'experience'. This is what that difference pertains to. 'Experience' is generally horizontal, as it were: the word itself always implies a separation between experience and experiencer - 'I experience that'. Whereas 'realization' is more like seeing what is 'always already the case'. (Strangely, this is similar to Plato's 'anamnesis', which is the recollection of true knowledge', or, literally 'un-forgetting'.)

Generally speaking, this distinction is something that Zen in particular is very adept at pointing out, although the only book I have noticed it spelt out in was Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche's Luminous Bliss (published as Mind at Ease in the US market - may he rest in peace.)
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Son of Buddha » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:31 am

ROLL TIDE
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby greentara » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:52 am

jeeprs, "I think this is a really important point, and very hard to get. I have thought for a long time that there is a difference between 'realization' and 'experience"
What about sudden awakening? It may not be enlightenment but it's an experience. Which gives the seeker the impetuous, energy to 'push on' like a hound following its nose to the treasure, full illumination.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby jeeprs » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:38 am

Perhaps it is not a hard and fast distinction. But 'experiences' always end, don't they? After a while, they always become a memory, but you can't really recall what the experience was like. But a realization is different to that, because it often signals a real shift in viewpoint. It is like a change in perspective. Of course one will often accompany the other, but they are actually distinct things. This is what Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche comments on in the section called 'Spiritual Experiences and Realizations'. He also agrees that experiences are a very important part of the path, not least because of providing motivation.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby jeeprs » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:40 am

Anyway the point about all this is that we can only demonstrate our grasp of the truth by the way we live. It is not a matter for arguing about. Zen masters carry a stick, and most of what gets argued about in such topics would be met with a thwack. Self exists. thwack. Self doesn't exist. thwack. Mind is different to self. thwack. Mind is not different to self. thwack. Why do you keep hitting me? thwack.

At which point, we sit some more.

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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:02 am

Son of Buddha wrote:A person is an individual personality "i" ego that which clings to the 5 aggregates
Donna sutta the Buddha is not a person.

You stated earlier the Buddha was a "person" so you have already labeled the Buddha an actual thing(person) and entity.you say the Buddha the person is free from defilement then you turn around and say No actual thing is permenantly free from defilement.


If you look at what I said, "person" is a superficial designation of the five aggregates and not some ego/I. That is "person = five aggregates", nothing more, nothing less. The five aggregates are not permanent. Defilement is believing that there is something permanent in the five aggregates, that is, imputing a self based on momentary experiences. For instance, believing that there is an ultimate essence is such a mistaken imputation, it is ignorance, the very cause of samsara. Such a belief includes thinking that buddha-nature means an ultimate essence/self. And that is, in other words, the "five clinging aggregates". So, the difference between ignorance and knowledge, suffering and liberation, is whether there is or there is not any clinging.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby oushi » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:10 pm

So, the difference between ignorance and knowledge, suffering and liberation, is whether there is or there is not any clinging.

I wouldn't oppose ignorance to knowledge, this is a misunderstanding. They often go hand in hand. Maybe you meant wisdom?
To see that there is no clinging is to see objects that can cling to each other, but are separate. Without objectifying, this problem does not arise, as objects and relations dissolve. This way, even knowledge(wisdom?), or liberation won't follow. You don't have to cut the world into two, and take the better half into nirvana. :jedi:
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:48 pm

oushi wrote:You don't have to cut the world into two, and take the better half into nirvana.
:applause:
"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 greentara » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:53 pm

Clinging and attachment are huge obstacles for a seeker. Until you really recognise, identify the emotions , the path is 'sticky'. progress easily stalled. How can there be peace of mind carrying this mental load? First be aware and then if you can unload. drop it!
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:31 pm

oushi wrote:I wouldn't oppose ignorance to knowledge, this is a misunderstanding. They often go hand in hand. Maybe you meant wisdom?
To see that there is no clinging is to see objects that can cling to each other, but are separate. Without objectifying, this problem does not arise, as objects and relations dissolve. This way, even knowledge(wisdom?), or liberation won't follow. You don't have to cut the world into two, and take the better half into nirvana. :jedi:


Call it objectification or clinging, in terms of the path one has to make a difference between the starting point and the goal. The point is, however, that the problem is not with the object but the approach/attitude toward it (i.e. aggregates and clinging), and there is no hidden substratum of some eternal self/soul/nature/etc. behind it all.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby oushi » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:53 pm

Astus wrote:Call it objectification or clinging, in terms of the path one has to make a difference between the starting point and the goal.

Must he?
Astus wrote:The point is, however, that the problem is not with the object but the approach/attitude toward it (i.e. aggregates and clinging), and there is no hidden substratum of some eternal self/soul/nature/etc. behind it all.

There is a profound problem with such a statements. You cannot know, that there isn't. You can only "not know" if there is. Opposite of "knowing" is "not knowing", not a different type of knowing. Hidden substratum is there, as soon as you name it (make it "Bliss"). If you won't name it, there certainly won't be any "eternal self/soul/nature/etc".This way, nirvana is not a nihilistic black nothingness even if there is no such thing as "eternal self/soul/nature/etc". The problem lies in conceptualization, not in the nature of reality. There is no world to escape and no need to escape it.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:46 pm

oushi wrote:Must he?

There is a profound problem with such a statements. You cannot know, that there isn't. You can only "not know" if there is. Opposite of "knowing" is "not knowing", not a different type of knowing. Hidden substratum is there, as soon as you name it (make it "Bliss"). If you won't name it, there certainly won't be any "eternal self/soul/nature/etc".This way, nirvana is not a nihilistic black nothingness even if there is no such thing as "eternal self/soul/nature/etc". The problem lies in conceptualization, not in the nature of reality. There is no world to escape and no need to escape it.


What other description can you give for a path then a way between two points?

I don't see what problem you mean. You first say that one cannot know about an ultimate self, then you make its existent dependent on naming. Naturally, if something exists only nominally it is not something ultimate. How that helps with mistaking nirvana for annihilation is not clear to me. Reality is conceptual (nominal), and mistaking concepts for substances is indeed the problem.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby oushi » Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:59 pm

What other description can you give for a path then a way between two points?

Plenty, and none... for pathless path ;)
Naturally, if something exists only nominally it is not something ultimate. How that helps with mistaking nirvana for annihilation is not clear to me

Yes.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Son of Buddha » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:48 am

"Astus"


If you look at what I said, "person" is a superficial designation of the five aggregates and not some ego/I. That is "person = five aggregates",


No the person is an identity or personality.
it is that identity/personality which is clung to the 5 aggregates that makes a worldy person

The five aggregates are not permanent. Defilement is believing that there is something permanent in the five aggregates, that is, imputing a self based on momentary experiences.


yes if one thinks the personality/identity "I" ego )self) that is based on momentary experiences are permenant they are mistaken this "self" is impermenant and is not the True Self.

For instance, believing that there is an ultimate essence is such a mistaken imputation, it is ignorance, the very cause of samsara. Such a belief includes thinking that buddha-nature means an ultimate essence/self. And that is, in other words, the "five clinging aggregates". So, the difference between ignorance and knowledge, suffering and liberation, is whether there is or there is not any clinging.
[/quote]

really so believing that there is an ultimate essence is ignorance and the very cause of Samsara. I could of swore anything that was dependently arisen/dependent origination was ignorance and the very cause of Samsara.the 12 links of dependent origination has as its root and source ignorance,everything that is dependently arisen is rooted and produced in ignorance

so in your view if the Buddha/Emptiness is dependently arisen then he is produced from ignorance.

also the "self" you speak of that clings to the 5 aggreagates is the worldly "i" personality/identity that thinks Astus will always be permenant,everlasting and unchanging this is called the super ego where one views his SELF as "I" have attained the highest.
this is the false self
it is not the True Self I speak of which is the Dharmakaya the body of attributes that which is NOT dependently arisen from Ignorance.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby greentara » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:32 am

I feel this discussion has become little more then intellectualism, lots of mental gymnastics thrown in. It's best to look at the problems in your own life , how you respond to them, how the scriptures, how meditation can help release you from the situation you find yourself in. Just taking an overview and pontificating doesn't help.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby futerko » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:44 am

Son of Buddha wrote: No the person is an identity or personality.
it is that identity/personality which is clung to the 5 aggregates that makes a worldy person
This aspect is two-fold. Belief that objects have self/identity and are consistent and unchanging from moment to moment sets up a division between subject and object where both are mistakenly seen as consistent.
By contrast "true Mind" views all of these apparent phenomena in a state of interdependent flux. This incidentally answers the OP.

Son of Buddha wrote: really so believing that there is an ultimate essence is ignorance and the very cause of Samsara. I could of swore anything that was dependently arisen/dependent origination was ignorance and the very cause of Samsara.the 12 links of dependent origination has as its root and source ignorance,everything that is dependently arisen is rooted and produced in ignorance
The cause of samsara is in failing to perceive dependent origination. Dependent origination and "essence" are the same. Its essence is that nothing ever arises but is mere appearance - ignorance is a failure to realize this.

Son of Buddha wrote: it is not the True Self I speak of which is the Dharmakaya the body of attributes that which is NOT dependently arisen from Ignorance.
Dharmakaya is non-dual, empty of conceptuality, and free of all characteristics, hence NOT self.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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