Myth in Buddhism

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Nikolay » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:38 pm

Astus wrote:
I didn't say people are unable to interact, I specified direct mental influence. We can communicate and experience others via the five bodily sensory faculties, but we can't do it directly from mind to mind.

Good and bad experiences are the result of karma. Meeting the Dharma is a result of karma. Being able to practice is a result of karma. This subject is covered in Vajrayana preliminary practices, isn't it?

Maybe I am missing something? Naturally these things are the result of karma. However, doesn't the karmic seed require supporting conditions to bring the appropriate result? I distinctly remember that it does.

Regarding direct mental influence - how, then, can we account for things like mind terma?
While transmitting esoteric teachings to his realized disciples in Tibet, Guru Padmasambhava concealed many teachings with the blessings of his enlightened mind stream in the nature of the intrinsic awareness of the minds of his disciples through the power of “mind-mandated transmission” (gtad rgya); thereby the master and disciple became united as one in the teachings and realization. Here, the master has concealed the teachings and blessings, the esoteric attainments, as ter in the pure nature of the minds of his disciples through his enlightened power, and he has made aspirations that the ter may be discovered for the sake of beings when the appropriate time comes
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:51 pm

If we take as a starting premise that ultimately there is no me and you, then the problem of how can I influence/share/transmit to you really becomes redundant.

We all agree that conventional reality, as we perceive it, is not the way things actually are. If somebody is acting intentionally within the sphere of the ultimate... :shrug:

Some go as far as to say that there is no ultimate and relative reality/truth anyway, or that the perception of the duality of the two truths is an illusion.
"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: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Nikolay » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:21 am

gregkavarnos wrote:If we take as a starting premise that ultimately there is no me and you, then the problem of how can I influence/share/transmit to you really becomes redundant.

We all agree that conventional reality, as we perceive it, is not the way things actually are. If somebody is acting intentionally within the sphere of the ultimate... :shrug:

Some go as far as to say that there is no ultimate and relative reality/truth anyway, or that the perception of the duality of the two truths is an illusion.

:good:
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:11 am

mirage wrote:Maybe I am missing something? Naturally these things are the result of karma. However, doesn't the karmic seed require supporting conditions to bring the appropriate result? I distinctly remember that it does.

Regarding direct mental influence - how, then, can we account for things like mind terma?
While transmitting esoteric teachings to his realized disciples in Tibet, Guru Padmasambhava concealed many teachings with the blessings of his enlightened mind stream in the nature of the intrinsic awareness of the minds of his disciples through the power of “mind-mandated transmission” (gtad rgya); thereby the master and disciple became united as one in the teachings and realization. Here, the master has concealed the teachings and blessings, the esoteric attainments, as ter in the pure nature of the minds of his disciples through his enlightened power, and he has made aspirations that the ter may be discovered for the sake of beings when the appropriate time comes


We may separate karma (the person's mental habits) and non-karmic conditions (external phenomena, i.e. things perceived by the five senses). This still maintains the impossibility of direct mental influence.

As for explaining mind terma, I can ask the same question. Or, to turn it around, I may say that such thing is not possible. And to give it another turn, such teachings are based on insight into the nature of mind, so it is true that they are from Padmasambhava (or any chosen enlightened being), since, as we can see in guruyoga, the mind of the teacher and the student are ultimately the same.
"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: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:16 am

gregkavarnos wrote:If we take as a starting premise that ultimately there is no me and you, then the problem of how can I influence/share/transmit to you really becomes redundant.

We all agree that conventional reality, as we perceive it, is not the way things actually are. If somebody is acting intentionally within the sphere of the ultimate... :shrug:

Some go as far as to say that there is no ultimate and relative reality/truth anyway, or that the perception of the duality of the two truths is an illusion.


In ultimate reality there is no coming or going, no birth or death. Transmission is meaningless where there is no you and me. Receiving the four empowerments requires that the disciple follows the steps, does the visualisations, etc., without what he doesn't experience anything (I'm talking practically here). Intentional action in ultimate reality does not exist. As for the unity of the two truths, it is seeing that conventional phenomena are indeed conventional, and there is no separate ultimate beyond the conventional.
"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: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Nikolay » Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:33 pm

Astus wrote:We may separate karma (the person's mental habits) and non-karmic conditions (external phenomena, i.e. things perceived by the five senses). This still maintains the impossibility of direct mental influence.

As for explaining mind terma, I can ask the same question. Or, to turn it around, I may say that such thing is not possible. And to give it another turn, such teachings are based on insight into the nature of mind, so it is true that they are from Padmasambhava (or any chosen enlightened being), since, as we can see in guruyoga, the mind of the teacher and the student are ultimately the same.

I do not see why you insist so much on the impossibility of direct mental influence. I see this as dualistic thinking. In my opinion, direct mental contact no more contradicts karma than a physical contact does. Both are made possible and effectual by the presence of appropriate karma on both sides.

Anyway, it is widely accepted that such things are possible. For example, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche:
Mind treasures arise in the following way: In many instances, after bestowing an empowerment or giving a teaching, Padmasambhava made the prayer, "In the future, may this treasure arise in the mind of such and such tertön." While doing so, he would focus his prayers and blessings on the tertön, usually an incarnation of one of his disciples. When, due to Guru Rinpoche's blessings, the times comes, both the words and the meaning of the treasure arise clearly in the tertön's mind. The tertön can then write these down without having to think.


It is also said in suttas regarding the powers of Buddha:
He knows the minds of other beings (parassa ceto-pariya-ñāṇa), of other persons, by penetrating them with his own mind.

which implies a direct mental contact.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:17 pm

Mirage,

I do not see why you insist so much on the impossibility of direct mental influence. I see this as dualistic thinking. In my opinion, direct mental contact no more contradicts karma than a physical contact does. Both are made possible and effectual by the presence of appropriate karma on both sides.


I insist on it because as I said I see it as contradicting karma. How is that an objection that it's dualistic thinking? You don't confuse your right hand with your left, and you don't quench your thirst by someone else drinking. Physical contact is not the same as intention, while thinking is intention. If one person can put thoughts into another's mind then the buddhas can make everyone enlightened.

As it says in your quote, Padmasambhava communicated teachings to disciples by words and deeds, and then those disciples remembered the teachings in a future life. It's not the same as Padmasambhava putting memories into another's consciousness.

The ability (abhijna) to read another's mind, i.e. telepathy, is not unique to a buddha. In the Visuddhimagga there is also a method given how to attain it (XII.3), and the Kosha (VII.56) mentions - but doesn't explain - three ways of doing it: by reading signs, by mantra, by meditation. In the usual enumeration (DN 2) of the mental states one can know by telepathy there are only general qualities and not specific thoughts. Consciousness is apparently momentary, so the question is if a single moment of consciousness can be the same for two beings, practically a "mind meld", where two streams of consciousness become one. It is like two objects occupying exactly the same space, which means that it's just one object. Since they have different causal background meaning that the effects should be different - we arrive at the problem of different causes creating the same result and then we also have to explain how a single mind can continue on two separate streams. Another option is what Dharmakirti mentions in his Samtanantara-siddhi (Wood: Mind Only, p. 217-218) that there is only a similar form appearing in one's mind that somewhat reflects another's consciousness. However, this is not a direct mental contact.
"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: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Nikolay » Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:57 pm

Astus wrote:I insist on it because as I said I see it as contradicting karma. How is that an objection that it's dualistic thinking? You don't confuse your right hand with your left, and you don't quench your thirst by someone else drinking. Physical contact is not the same as intention, while thinking is intention. If one person can put thoughts into another's mind then the buddhas can make everyone enlightened.

But this is really easy to solve. As I repeatedly said here, suppose it takes at least two causes to produce a result: a substantial cause and a supporting condition. Now, suppose Buddhas can in principle put thoughts into minds of people. The catch is - there has to be a pre-existing substantial cause on that person's side for this to happen. Like a virtuous open mind, a connection to certain Buddha, or something. In other words, a person's karma. He needs to possess sufficient merit for this to happen. If he has it, then Buddha will be able to strengthen his aspiration, or give him a vision, or something else - by providing supporting conditions. It he does not, Buddha will be unable to affect his mind at all, or maybe some thought or feeling will appear and go completely unnoticed, without affecting that person's mind.
Astus wrote:As it says in your quote, Padmasambhava communicated teachings to disciples by words and deeds, and then those disciples remembered the teachings in a future life. It's not the same as Padmasambhava putting memories into another's consciousness.

I am pretty sure the quote does not imply Padmasambhava physically interacting with the recipient of his blessings.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:16 pm

Mirage,

The problem with the idea that buddhas can put thoughts into people's mind based on the person's receptiveness is that all buddhas continually work on liberating all beings. Therefore what happens is that only the individual's openness determines everything making the influence of buddhas meaningless. That is, buddhas have nothing to do and can't actually do anything, they are a meaningless extra with no actual relevance to anyone's life. Also, here we just simply skip the problem of a single moment of consciousness for multiple beings.
"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: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Karma Dorje » Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:55 pm

Astus wrote:Mirage,

The problem with the idea that buddhas can put thoughts into people's mind based on the person's receptiveness is that all buddhas continually work on liberating all beings. Therefore what happens is that only the individual's openness determines everything making the influence of buddhas meaningless. That is, buddhas have nothing to do and can't actually do anything, they are a meaningless extra with no actual relevance to anyone's life. Also, here we just simply skip the problem of a single moment of consciousness for multiple beings.


Many prayers in Vajrayana take the form of

By the power of your compassion and my devotion, be present before us


Hence there is exactly the situation that mirage is describing.

You can certainly say that the buddhas are continually working to liberate all beings, in the same way that the sun is continually shining. However, if you are on the dark side of a planet you won't feel the warmth of its rays. Even if you are in the sunlight, if you want to build a fire you may need to use a magnifying glass. Saying it is all on the side of people being receptive is the same thing as saying that it doesn't matter if there is a sun and that the sun itself is meaningless. Nothing could be further from the truth, obviously.

In the example under discussion, Padmasambhava made specific intentions that certain teachings would appear for particular beings at a future date. He didn't make the intention that these appear for all beings. Shakyamuni appeared to specific beings, not all of them at the same time. I think you are confusing absolute and relative.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:26 pm

Karma Dorje,

The problem is about direct mental influence as was raised regarding the transmission of mantras. The same problem stands with any other sort of idea that involves such consciousness to consciousness contact. Only if this can be clarified it is possible to move on to the specifics like the termas, empowerments and the rest.
"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: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Karma Dorje » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:15 am

Astus wrote:Karma Dorje,

The problem is about direct mental influence as was raised regarding the transmission of mantras. The same problem stands with any other sort of idea that involves such consciousness to consciousness contact. Only if this can be clarified it is possible to move on to the specifics like the termas, empowerments and the rest.


I am still waiting for specific sources that preclude direct mental influence. It is a given that direct mental influence is possible in just about every form of Buddhism I know about so I was hoping for you to spell out your argument against it in specific quotes rather than just a link to a general article on karma.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:59 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:I am still waiting for specific sources that preclude direct mental influence. It is a given that direct mental influence is possible in just about every form of Buddhism I know about so I was hoping for you to spell out your argument against it in specific quotes rather than just a link to a general article on karma.


In Xuanzang's Demonstration of Consciousness Only (ch. 7, in Three Texts on Consciousness Only, p. 239; tr. Francis H. Cook) it is explained that immediate perception of another's mind is impossible:

[Objection:) External form is really nonexistent and presumably not the object of internal consciousness. The minds of others really exist, so why are they not also one's own objects [of consciousness]?
[We reply,] who says that the minds of others are not the objects of one's own consciousness? We just do not not say that they are its immediate objects. That is, when a consciousness is born, it is devoid of real function, unlike hands, etc., that immediately grasp external things, or the sun, etc., that spreads its light and immediately illuminates external objects. [Consciousness] is only said to perceive the minds of others because it is like a mirror in which appear seemingly external objects. It cannot immediately perceive [others' minds]. What it immediately perceives are its own transformations. Therefore, a scripture says, "There is not the slightest dharma that is capable of seizing other dharmas. It is just that when consciousness is born, it appears resembling images and is said to seize things." As with having the minds of others as objects, so with form, etc.


Further explanation is found from Dan Lusthaus in Buddhist Phenomenology, p. 490-491.

It should be understood simply by considering that consciousness is a subjective experience. Making consciousness objective is not consciousness any more. Experiencing the same therefore requires an identical consciousness, and so on as I have already said.
"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: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Nikolay » Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:41 pm

Astus wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:I am still waiting for specific sources that preclude direct mental influence. It is a given that direct mental influence is possible in just about every form of Buddhism I know about so I was hoping for you to spell out your argument against it in specific quotes rather than just a link to a general article on karma.


In Xuanzang's Demonstration of Consciousness Only (ch. 7, in Three Texts on Consciousness Only, p. 239; tr. Francis H. Cook) it is explained that immediate perception of another's mind is impossible:

[Objection:) External form is really nonexistent and presumably not the object of internal consciousness. The minds of others really exist, so why are they not also one's own objects [of consciousness]?
[We reply,] who says that the minds of others are not the objects of one's own consciousness? We just do not not say that they are its immediate objects. That is, when a consciousness is born, it is devoid of real function, unlike hands, etc., that immediately grasp external things, or the sun, etc., that spreads its light and immediately illuminates external objects. [Consciousness] is only said to perceive the minds of others because it is like a mirror in which appear seemingly external objects. It cannot immediately perceive [others' minds]. What it immediately perceives are its own transformations. Therefore, a scripture says, "There is not the slightest dharma that is capable of seizing other dharmas. It is just that when consciousness is born, it appears resembling images and is said to seize things." As with having the minds of others as objects, so with form, etc.


Further explanation is found from Dan Lusthaus in Buddhist Phenomenology, p. 490-491.

It should be understood simply by considering that consciousness is a subjective experience. Making consciousness objective is not consciousness any more. Experiencing the same therefore requires an identical consciousness, and so on as I have already said.


Well, let us suppose it is correct. Earlier in this thread you referenced two different interpretations of the yogic power of mind-reading: one saying that two mind-streams become one for the duration of the contact, and the other (by Dharmakirti) is that they do not, but a copy of the contents of one mind appears in the other. The first one sounds less likely to me (there is that story about Marpa, where his wife's mind-stream merged with his upon her death, but I always found it confusing). But how about the second one? Sure, maybe in some technical sense it is not a direct mind contact, but for all practical intents and purposes it is. Quoting from Wood's Mind Only:
By the power of meditation the yogin can have such clear representations that they appear to him almost like the specific forms of the mind of another person, just as deities will bestow grace on a person by appearing in their dreams etc.

So, what matters for us is that blessings and teachings can be conferred in this manner - by causing through the power of yogic concentration the forms in one mind to be represented in another by their close copies. Doesn't it suffice for the purpose discussed in this thread?
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:04 pm

mirage wrote:So, what matters for us is that blessings and teachings can be conferred in this manner - by causing through the power of yogic concentration the forms in one mind to be represented in another by their close copies. Doesn't it suffice for the purpose discussed in this thread?


Non-direct contact between minds, that includes all sorts of communication (like this forum). The point of bringing up the distinction is to find what else could there be transmitted between teacher and student other than words. If we exclude direct interference we need a representation, something that conveys the message, something that creates a causal link. In case of merit transference, for instance, it is not that someone simply sends out merit to another person who then automatically receives it, but by informing the other person of one's merits and that other individual agreeing with the action that generated the merit, they share the merit, one because of the action, the other because of agreeing with the action. So, there is no "merit-energy transfer" in any literal sense. A teacher giving blessings has to announce the act of blessing and the receiver has to acknowledge it. That acknowledgement is the receiving, or accepting. That's why people can receive a guru's blessing who is not even in their presence, simply by guruyoga. Same at the time of empowerment, the recipients have to actively participate in it by visualising this and that. I'm not denying here the efficiency of any of those practices, I'm debating the idea that there is something mystical (prana, blessing, the seed of enlightenment, etc.) sent from teacher to the student, because it would entail interfering directly with another's mind-stream that skips the usual process of perceiving and comprehending.
"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: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Nikolay » Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:05 pm

Astus wrote:I'm not denying here the efficiency of any of those practices, I'm debating the idea that there is something mystical (prana, blessing, the seed of enlightenment, etc.) sent from teacher to the student, because it would entail interfering directly with another's mind-stream that skips the usual process of perceiving and comprehending.

But people affect each other all the time without resorting to words. One person bumps into another in a crowded bus, without any of them really noticing. One person sneezes, another person gets infected. One person throws a snowball, another is hit. All of this ultimately affects the recipient's mind. How is it different from things you mention, like prana or anything like that? What separates "mystical" intermediary from "non-mystical"? There are likely lots of unseen influences, substances, forces and such, especially if we consider tantric views of reality. Does the specific mechanism matter?
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:18 pm

Mirage,

People have six senses. The five physical senses deliver impressions from what we call the outer world. The sixth sense is our thoughts and emotions. It is this sixth sense, consciousness, that is capable of many magical and supernatural things. For instance, among the five eyes the first one is the physical and the rest are mental. The divine eye is capable of seeing heavens and hells, things far and close, and this is what an experienced meditator (of any religion or tradition) can use to see another's mind. This is not so unusual if we think about it a little, since dreams, visions, hallucinations and everyday imagination show us the virtually infinite abilities of the mind. The question is if what we see with the divine eye is not just imagination. The difference between what we call real and imagined is that we can't change real things by wishing so. Conventional reality has its rules. So, while I accept the existence of the six realms, its specifics (names of places and gods, etc.) as given in Buddhism is not definitive. There are many people who can travel to other worlds/realms by meditation (here using it as a very general term of spiritual techniques), but they experience more or less different things and they can't communicate with each other there. So, if a teacher transmits something not on the level of the five physical senses, in what realm does that happen and how can it be assured that anyone perceives it? What mental dharmas can be sent from mind to mind and what transmits them? Although both the teacher and the student are given specific instructions regarding visualisations and attitudes at the time of empowerment, it is not explained how blessings, etc. go from one person to another, if it is indeed a phenomenon transferred. Rather it seems that it is a matter of imagination, wishing so, just like in the case of the divine eye. However, if there is a way to establish the specifics of giving blessings, etc., I'm happy to hear about it.
"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: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Nikolay » Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:54 am

The assertion that, for example, people are unable to communicate with each other in such states seems rather arbitrary to me. Actually, it feels as if you feel obliged to admit the existence of six realms and various siddhis in theory, since it is an indispensable part of Buddhist doctrine, but unwilling to admit that such things may have any causal efficiency in relation to our everyday reality. It reminds me of the "causal closure" concept as often applied to the physical world in philosophy. I sincerely wonder how such notions can possibly be relevant to Buddhist worldview, which is basically a bunch of mind-streams (of dubious metaphysical status) interacting with each other through similar/shared karma.

So, I do not really feel I have to search for some non-mental intermediary to explain how one mind can affect the other, or other such events. It is actually me who should ask how your view accounts for phenomena such as siddhi, or visitation by deities, or mind terma, or tantric subtle body and body of light, or a whole host of tantric practices which do not rely on material interaction to achieve their results.

I'd also like to specifically quote Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche on prana, because I am curious about your viewpoint on this:
The Tibetan word for the vital energy is lung, but I will use the widely known Sanskrit word, prana. Prana is the energy that powers and is the substance of all things material and immaterial. It is the fundamental energy from which all things arise, the energy of the kunzhi, the basis of existence. At its most subtle level it is undifferentiated, non-localized, and non-dual. Its first discrimination is into the five pure lights of the elements, which are too subtle for us to perceive with our ordinary minds. However, we can sense prana directly at the grosser levels in the air we breathe. We can also sense its flow in our bodies. It is at this level, in which prana can be
felt both in its movement and its effects, that we work in tantra. We become sensitive to and develop the flow of prana using mind, imagination, breathing, posture, and movement. By guiding the grosser manifestations of prana, we can affect more subtle levels. As our sensitivity increases, we can directly experience prana in subtler dimensions.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Nikolay » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:10 am

Just in case my messages appear to be somewhat combative or defensive (I know I have this tendency) please be assured that it is not so. I am genuinely interested in increasing my knowledge of Buddhist philosophy and I respect everyone's opinions.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:04 am

Mirage,

What I'm looking for is a coherent explanation for rddhis and the rest. It is easy to say that it's just magic and you don't have to fit it into the larger Buddhist system. Alas, I don't want to do that.

I can see the practical value of Tantric/yogic methods, they are fine as skilful means. My problem is that the way they explain the reason for its functioning (energy channels, magic) does not hold up to analysis. I mean, nobody can visibly perform the mundane super-knowledges (moving through walls, walking on water, etc.), but one can in meditation with a mind-made body. So I say that it's an internal practice and not something observable in our shared (physical) world. From this comes the impossibility of mind to mind communication and such.

How is prana defined? What is it made of? What are its properties? What faculty perceives it? What kind of dharma is it? I have yet to see answers to these questions. As in your quote from Wangyal Rinpoche, there are different bodily feelings and an imagined system one works with and then believes that it's all because an unseen, unknown phenomenon called prana.
"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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