The Third Eye

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Re: The Third Eye

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:01 pm

In addition we have iconography of Chakrasamvara, Vajrayogini.
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Re: The Third Eye

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:53 pm

I think this thread is missing the point. The OP said:

Motova wrote: I had always had a magnetic attraction towards the paranormal, specifically psychics from a very early age which never went away.


I take this to indicate that 'Motova' is attracted to psychics, and might be psychic. 'Psychic powers' are not the subject of the text quoted above, which is about 'yogic physiology'.

While there is an association with yogic knowledge and psychic ability, I think there is a difference between psychics and those who perceive 'the higher truths'. Some people are both, and there is understood to be a relation between the two types of abilities, in that advanced yogis often acquire psychic abilities. But they are not the same thing. You can be psychic, without being oriented towards higher truth, or you can be oriented to higher truth, without being particularly psychic.

In the early tradition, and I think elsewhere, there are many warnings against pursuing or exploting the kinds of psychic abilities that can manifest as a consequence of meditative discipline. This doesn't mean that such powers are wrong in themselves, but they not to be pursued or exploited for their own sake. I'm sure that this is and was a real hazard on the path.

I would encourage Motova to research such subjects as parapsychology and learn about them, but not to confuse this with the actual practice of dharma which is first and foremost always concerned with compassion and wisdom, not psychic ability as such.

There is a usage of the term 'wisdom eye' in the Mahayana texts, which is concerned with the faculty that perceives the cause of sorrow and the end of sorrow. 'Opening of the wisdom eye' is then like a metaphor for the whole process of awakening to bodhicitta. It isn't necessarily concerned with psychic ability as such although is often associated with it.
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Re: The Third Eye

Postby tobes » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:30 am

Andrew108 wrote:Let me put it really simply. There is no 'third eye'. There are no horns on a rabbit. It is possible to construct an idea of 'third eye' just as it is possible to photoshop a rabbit with horns, but these are both conceptual constructs. The 'third eye' construct is typically a western construct/misunderstanding. So it is not like you can go to a doctor or even Tibetan lama and ask them to do something with this 'third eye' of yours. Here we are getting into new age fantasy about being able to open a third eye in order to access higher states of consciousness. It is a dangerous and misleading path to follow.
But then what about central channel and chakras and so on? It would also be a mistake to view them as biological phenomena. Why? Because we are giving them a size and location when infact they can be as big as the universe or as thin as a thread. If we are making them biological facts then we are getting into Lobsang Rampa fiction.
They are related to our energy but we shouldn't make anything of them. It all comes down to the teacher's instructions and to get a bit of knowledge about these things before been given the practice is very dangerous. I repeat that buddhists don't make objects. This is very important. It is misleading and dangerous to indulge fantasies in this way. Practicing Tsalung Tigle depends 100% on devotion. Can't get the fruit of the practice without devotion. Of course some practioners think they can get some knowledge and do things by themselves but it really isn't possible.


I'm not asserting the third-eye to be a biological phenomena. My analogy with the body was that both the course and subtle body are equally empty, which does not mean non-existent.

I'm just saying: there is a subtle body posited in all the Tibetan traditions. This subtle body includes the system of nadis/channels, wheels, winds and drops. The three major channels meet at the point in the forehead between the eyes.

I find it quite absurd that there is such a desire to deny this. You're attacking a new age construct - and failing to acknowledge what is plainly given by the Tibetan traditions.

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Re: The Third Eye

Postby tobes » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:35 am

Pema Rigdzin wrote:
tobes wrote:
I''m not sure what your point is here. If by fictitious you mean 'illusory' - in the sense of conventional (saṃvṛti) - then would you also advocate not going to a doctor when you have a chest pain, not eating and not drinking? Because your physical body is just as illusory as your subtle body. Treating them wisely does not imply treating them as non-existent.


This third eye you speak of is not illusory in the sense that it is dependently arisen, but the sense that it it just a product of imagination the syllable OM at the forehead is just that and corresponds to the enlightened body, not any third eye. It does not have to be developed, though it is practiced with, for sure. Then the central channel's opening is on top of the head, so that isn't the third eye. And the wisdom that cognizes emptiness is not spoken of as residing at the level associated in new age ideology as the third eye. The only time I've heard it used in Vajrayana was in English and by a Tibetan master trying to couch his language in terms he thought his particular western, new agey audience could relate to, and then it was just a metaphor for having opened up to one's own wisdom.

Now I don't mean to be saying "don't believe in that third eye business," but just speaking on it in relation to what Vajrayana and Dzogchen say. By all means, if this belief speaks to you or comforts you or you just plain like it, then have at it. Just don't say it's part of Buddhism.


In other words: you have a problem with the semantics of "third-eye" but acknowledge that there are practices are connected with that precise location.
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Re: The Third Eye

Postby tobes » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:42 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:In addition we have iconography of Chakrasamvara, Vajrayogini.


It is pretty hard to find any iconography in the Varjayana - ancient and modern - which does not highlight an illuminated round centre between the eyebrows.

You're right that Vajrayogini is often depicted with a third-eye which actually looks like an 'eye' - and that seems to be the thing which is getting everyone hung up. i.e. the notion that out of that symbolic representation, there is an actual, real, biological third eye to be found.

I've plainly not asserted this.

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Re: The Third Eye

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:22 am

Ugh apologies I cleverly deleted the images I uploaded to Imgur and my edit time ran out for that post. Let me know if you want me to repost anyone.
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Re: The Third Eye

Postby Adamantine » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:15 am

Clearly wisdom beings are portrayed with "third eyes" for a reason. Substantiating anything as real and solid, whether gross level or subtle level it is problematic. But denying it's relative condition doesn't help. In Vajrayana there are subtle channels and elaborate maps for them. Of course, they don't correspond to the limitations the grosser phenomenon are conditioned by, this does not make them non-existent in a relative sense though.

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Re: The Third Eye

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:32 am

Interesting and relevant Berzin Archives article on The Five Extra-sensory Eyes and the Six Types of Advanced Awareness.
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Re: The Third Eye

Postby tobes » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:47 am

Adamantine wrote:Clearly wisdom beings are portrayed with "third eyes" for a reason. Substantiating anything as real and solid, whether gross level or subtle level it is problematic. But denying it's relative condition doesn't help. In Vajrayana there are subtle channels and elaborate maps for them. Of course, they don't correspond to the limitations the grosser phenomenon are conditioned by, this does not make them non-existent in a relative sense though.

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Precisely. Well put.

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Re: The Third Eye

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:36 am

When you believe that empty rainbows appear and therefore exist in some way, albeit relatively, you are mistaken. And that applies also for your worship of deities. If Motova wants to concretize his experience and others want to give him further reason to do that then what can I do?
I could continue to talk about how the iconography has been misunderstood. I could continue to talk about how the teachings on subtle body don't reify the subtle body creating specifics (third eye). I could continue to talk about how the teachings on subtle body need to be underpinned by a deep knowledge of Nagarjuna's writings and devotion to the teacher. But then it doesn't really matter. Good advice counts for little these days.
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"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: The Third Eye

Postby tobes » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:34 am

Andrew108 wrote:When you believe that empty rainbows appear and therefore exist in some way, albeit relatively, you are mistaken. And that applies also for your worship of deities. If Motova wants to concretize his experience and others want to give him further reason to do that then what can I do?
I could continue to talk about how the iconography has been misunderstood. I could continue to talk about how the teachings on subtle body don't reify the subtle body creating specifics (third eye). I could continue to talk about how the teachings on subtle body need to be underpinned by a deep knowledge of Nagarjuna's writings and devotion to the teacher. But then it doesn't really matter. Good advice counts for little these days.


I think you mean: a particular interpretation of Nagarjuna's writings, and a particular kind of teaching/teacher.

I respect your right to have and assert this position, but I'm not really fond of the way you universalize it to be expressive of Tibetan Buddhism per se, and judge whoever does not subscribe to that position as mistaken.

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Re: The Third Eye

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:04 am

You need to know what 'purity' means with the context of vajrayana. Especially you need to know how vajrayana is all about methods that establish appearances as being pure. Purity here refers to no arising, abiding or ceasing of appearances. Appearances are beyond arising, abiding and ceasing. This is where we are headed when we take on practices that follow vajrayana traditions. In the end we see appearances as spontaneous and un-established expressions of the natural condition. This is very far from dabbling in psychic experiences.
As buddhists we are interested in realizing the nature of reality from it's own side and not from our concept of it. There is no 'I' or 'me' or 'other' in the natural state and this is another example of purity. So if we try to establish objects or experiences and follow after them as 'i' or 'other', even though we understand intellectualy they are empty, then it's not much more than being snared by illusion. We may think we interpret emptiness correctly but really we are applying emptiness as a label.
Jamgon Kongtrul 3rd pointed out in his commentary on 'creation/completion' that 'All elements which are used on the Vajrayana path have a profound meaning.' The channels and chakras have a profound meaning. They are not to be practised to bolster a persons ambitions or foster false beliefs. To practice in the way you have mentioned i.e to clear the third eye and so on, is to practice in an impure way. It is impure because we still cling to belief that object things are real and exist without having the result of the practice; which is an experiential knowledge of purity.
Meditating in an impure way just makes our many sufferings and delusions increase. I'm sure Tobes that you wouldn't want that to be the case. So if you can practice this 'clearing of the third eye' in a pure way then go ahead. But then if you have knowledge of purity then why would you need to clear anything away? There would be a firm confidence in the experience.
If we take the case of Milarepa and his confidence, he sang:
'The true nature of appearances is that they've never been born. If birth seems to happen it's just clinging, nothing more.'
and
'I've gained confidence that there is no arising. This swept away taking past and future lives as two.'
and
'Whenever I'm meditating on tsalung tigle, the principle channels are three and the chakras are four. My craving consumed, this body seems to vanish. Elixir refined into letter unceasingly shines........Appearance and emptiness blend into one, what bliss! Emptiness no longer intellect's realm, what relief! Confusion consumed in space, what a wonderful sight!'
You can get an idea of the importance of the practices of subtle body here. They are profound methods. They bring about natural confidence. They are not ends in themselves. Or objects in themselves. These are key points. Milarepa isn't establishing the channels and chakras as being true. He is using a method so as to bring appearances to a pure level. Which here means seeing that appearances are never born. No clinging. No applying the label emptiness. Unborn appearance as emptiness. And so on. What is not established is that there is a 'third eye' that should be unblocked and that exists seperately (even as empty appearance) from the practices of tsalung tigle.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: The Third Eye

Postby Adamantine » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:22 am

Andrew108 wrote: if we try to establish objects or experiences and follow after them as 'i' or 'other', even though we understand intellectualy they are empty



Who in this conversation was ever doing such a thing?


You can get an idea of the importance of the practices of subtle body here. They are profound methods. They bring about natural confidence. They are not ends in themselves. Or objects in themselves. .


Who was positing otherwise?

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Re: The Third Eye

Postby Namgyal » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:27 am

Andrew108 wrote:When you believe that empty rainbows appear and therefore exist in some way, albeit relatively, you are mistaken. And that applies also for your worship of deities.

Perhaps you are conflating conventional and ultimate views, for so-called conventional beings, deities are very real. As for 'the subtle body' it exists in Hinduism, Taoism and even Shamanism. My personal recommendation for an excellent Canadian Lama would be; http://www.karmathinleyrinpoche.com/
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Re: The Third Eye

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:45 am

Adamantine wrote:
Andrew108 wrote: if we try to establish objects or experiences and follow after them as 'i' or 'other', even though we understand intellectualy they are empty



Who in this conversation was ever doing such a thing?


You can get an idea of the importance of the practices of subtle body here. They are profound methods. They bring about natural confidence. They are not ends in themselves. Or objects in themselves. .


Who was positing otherwise?

I think you my friend, are chasing rainbows yourself. . .



From Motova the original poster: '' After a few sessions of mindfulness meditation and concentrating on an eye between my two physical eyes, I started seeing orbs (of various colours and sizes), masses (coloured clouds or smoke), auras, and visual snow. Moreover, I noticed the frequency of psychic happenings increased dramatically and my ability to see what I visualize had increased.'' and ''Does an opened third eye mean some kind of spiritual attainment? Or can someone on any level of spiritual development open it?''

From Adamantine: 'Hi Motova, I am not sure what Andrew's view is but in my experience and according to the authentic traditional lineage teachings I have received there is certainly a basis for what you could label the "third eye". ''

From Jeff: ''Experiences like yours are very common. In some traditions, what you describe would be described as the beginning of astral perceptions.''

From Tobes: ''If the heart and the third eye awaken, wholesome things follow ~ Motova, of course you should investigate this, and it is great that you feel a natural curiosity about it.''

Again from Tobes: ''Clearing the third eye with white light or aum is bread and butter stuff - in many practices it does not require initiation etc; and as I said before, it is far more dangerous to have a blocked third eye than to have a clear one.''

From Karma Dondrup Tashi: ''Since the avadhuti begins at the third eye, this location is important to completion stage practice. For those not doing such practice, not so important.''

From Adamantine: ''Clearly wisdom beings are portrayed with "third eyes" for a reason. Substantiating anything as real and solid, whether gross level or subtle level it is problematic. But denying it's relative condition doesn't help.''

From Tobes: ''I'm not asserting the third-eye to be a biological phenomena. My analogy with the body was that both the course and subtle body are equally empty, which does not mean non-existent.''

All of these quotes are establishing 'third eye' as a phenomenon. Could be that you are saying it is only a relative phenomenon. But you still think that there is action to be done with it. The point is that the 'third eye' has no relevance or existance even as a concept by itself.
Tsalung Tigle meanwhile should be understood as a system of teachings that vajrayana practitioners use in order gain experiential knowledge of the nature of appearances. If the practices are not used within this context then they are meaningless.
Last edited by Andrew108 on Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: The Third Eye

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:46 am

Namgyal wrote:
Andrew108 wrote:When you believe that empty rainbows appear and therefore exist in some way, albeit relatively, you are mistaken. And that applies also for your worship of deities.

Perhaps you are conflating conventional and ultimate views, for so-called conventional beings, deities are very real. As for 'the subtle body' it exists in Hinduism, Taoism and even Shamanism. My personal recommendation for an excellent Canadian Lama would be; http://www.karmathinleyrinpoche.com/
:namaste:

There are no separate conventional and ultimate views and that's what 'purity' means.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: The Third Eye

Postby Adamantine » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:20 pm

Hi Andrew108, these are some clips from your posts in this thread:

What Greg has said here is correct. Coming down to the ground is quite difficult but necessary. Ego wants you to fly. This is the problem all genuine practitioners face. So you are not alone. But I think all will be o.k.


If students concretize the channels then they will cause endless problems for themselves and others.



I can say with 100% certainty that buddhism is



Continuously in your posts you are using nouns to identify and differentiate objects such as self, other, etc. as shown above. We understand you need to use conventional language in a linear way to communicate anything effectively. The Buddha after enlightenment almost didn't teach anything because of the futility of trying to communicate his realization with words. But he did go ahead and teach anyway. So we have to be realistic. You can't keep implying the existence of phenomenon, self and other, etc. in your own language and then tell others they are in the wrong for doing the same thing. You keep using conventional labels for empty phenomenon and then differentiating between them as if one thing is more empty than another. Nobody is trying to establish some independent self-existence for a so-called third-eye. But there is a relative basis (not biological, or physical) for such a label. Anyway biological and physical phenomenon are equally empty. Non of them are the horns of a rabbit though. The horns of a rabbit are an example of phenomenon that doesn't even have a conventional basis.

To quote from Berzin archives for reference:

Now nonexistent phenomena (med-pa) are those that cannot be validly known, either conventionally or ultimately, by a mind that’s focusing on superficial or deepest truths. Take, for instance, a nonexistent phenomenon like rabbit horns (that’s the classic one that they always use), or chicken lips or turtle hair, anything like that. It cannot be validly known by a mind that is focusing on superficial truth – in other words, appearances. It could be nonvalidly known; you could have a hallucination of turtle hair – that can occur. But it’s a nonexistent phenomenon because it can’t be validly known. And, similarly, another nonexistent phenomenon would be true existence, truly established existence; it can’t be known by a mind that validly focuses on the deepest truth. Nevertheless, it could be nonvalidly known, distortedly known, because due to our habits of grasping for truly established existence we think that we see it. We think that that’s how things exist, but that’s not validly known, so it is nonexistent. It’s not validly knowable. It cannot be known by a valid mind that validly focuses on deepest truth of things.


The chakras (plexus of subtle nerves) and channels (major and minor) can not be validly known in the sense of gross perception and physical instruments. But either can that subtle mind that gives the appearance of life when it is in relation to a gross body or death when it no longer is in relation to a gross body. We know that these things can be validly known by subtle wisdom mind, or we wouldn't bother studying the yogas, we'd see it all as mere fabrication, in opposition to simple physical exercise that's based on the apparent physical body basis alone.



It would also be a mistake to view them as biological phenomena.
This is the true rabbit's horn in this dialogue. Nobody has ever posited such a thing.
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Re: The Third Eye

Postby tobes » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:30 pm

Andrew108 wrote:You need to know what 'purity' means with the context of vajrayana. Especially you need to know how vajrayana is all about methods that establish appearances as being pure. Purity here refers to no arising, abiding or ceasing of appearances. Appearances are beyond arising, abiding and ceasing. This is where we are headed when we take on practices that follow vajrayana traditions. In the end we see appearances as spontaneous and un-established expressions of the natural condition. This is very far from dabbling in psychic experiences.
As buddhists we are interested in realizing the nature of reality from it's own side and not from our concept of it. There is no 'I' or 'me' or 'other' in the natural state and this is another example of purity. So if we try to establish objects or experiences and follow after them as 'i' or 'other', even though we understand intellectualy they are empty, then it's not much more than being snared by illusion. We may think we interpret emptiness correctly but really we are applying emptiness as a label.
Jamgon Kongtrul 3rd pointed out in his commentary on 'creation/completion' that 'All elements which are used on the Vajrayana path have a profound meaning.' The channels and chakras have a profound meaning. They are not to be practised to bolster a persons ambitions or foster false beliefs. To practice in the way you have mentioned i.e to clear the third eye and so on, is to practice in an impure way. It is impure because we still cling to belief that object things are real and exist without having the result of the practice; which is an experiential knowledge of purity.
Meditating in an impure way just makes our many sufferings and delusions increase. I'm sure Tobes that you wouldn't want that to be the case. So if you can practice this 'clearing of the third eye' in a pure way then go ahead. But then if you have knowledge of purity then why would you need to clear anything away? There would be a firm confidence in the experience.
If we take the case of Milarepa and his confidence, he sang:
'The true nature of appearances is that they've never been born. If birth seems to happen it's just clinging, nothing more.'
and
'I've gained confidence that there is no arising. This swept away taking past and future lives as two.'
and
'Whenever I'm meditating on tsalung tigle, the principle channels are three and the chakras are four. My craving consumed, this body seems to vanish. Elixir refined into letter unceasingly shines........Appearance and emptiness blend into one, what bliss! Emptiness no longer intellect's realm, what relief! Confusion consumed in space, what a wonderful sight!'
You can get an idea of the importance of the practices of subtle body here. They are profound methods. They bring about natural confidence. They are not ends in themselves. Or objects in themselves. These are key points. Milarepa isn't establishing the channels and chakras as being true. He is using a method so as to bring appearances to a pure level. Which here means seeing that appearances are never born. No clinging. No applying the label emptiness. Unborn appearance as emptiness. And so on. What is not established is that there is a 'third eye' that should be unblocked and that exists seperately (even as empty appearance) from the practices of tsalung tigle.


You are basically asserting that you know emptiness and I do not. And that I am merely intellectualising emptiness - and that despite your long highly conceptual post, which offers an unambiguous and definitive position, you are somehow beyond this.

I understanding what you are saying, and I can see that you have the best of intentions, but to be honest I think a little more humility is required.

If you want to have a discussion about arising, abiding and ceasing in Nagarjuna - and after doing so, can see endless errors in my discourse, then I think you are well entitled to call me mistaken and start telling me what I need to know.

That discussion has not taken place, so I don't really think you're in a very strong position to be making strong assumptions about what my view is, and how it might be pernicious and flawed.

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Re: The Third Eye

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:21 pm

Everyone has had a chance to present their positions and so anyone reading through this thread would be clear as to what those positions are. I don't establish a third eye as being anything at all. Others believe that it is something, although existing as a relative, and practices can be adopted to change it or develop it. So all is well. A person is free to choose their own way after careful consideration of the arguments.
We use language to get as close as we can to our view based on experience and knowledge. Right now as I write this I know that appearances are pure. However difficult it is to communicate this I think it is worth the effort.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: The Third Eye

Postby CrawfordHollow » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:35 pm

It was my understanding that the three eyes dipicted in vajrayana are a symbolic attribute of the deity- like the eyes of wisdom being able to look into the three times or something. I have never heard of any completion stage practice that treats this third eye as something "closed" that needs to be "opened." I don't know, it really doesn't sound like anything that I have ever heard of in Buddhsim. Just my two cents.
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