Philosophy vs Practice

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby shel » Fri May 31, 2013 2:35 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Things are empty because they are dependently arising, they arise dependently due to the fact that they are empty.


We're essentially talking about impermanence (emptiness) and causality (dependent arising). Not the same and no big mystery.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby oushi » Fri May 31, 2013 7:28 am

undefineable wrote:We don't practice in order to live meaningless lives (we have alcohol and video games for that ), but I guess we do practice in order to be released from the illusive 'meaning' samsara suggests to us (i.e. 'I').

Every meaning is illusive, but you don't run after illusion and hit it with a stick. It would be like trying to extinguish fire by hitting it with a torch . Meaning is the only tool that we have, and the only obstacle there is.
Where is suffering without meaning?
If philosophy is "correct" and honest, sooner or later it will hit the wall of meaninglessness, which it cannot pass. The question is, will it draw conclusion like Nagarjuna did, or will it return to the meaning mines, and dig deeper?
What may be interesting, is the fact that there are examples of Christian teaching going beyond meaning. A great example would be "The cloud of Unknowing", where it is clearly stated that unknowing is the way.
Sokrates "I know one thing: that I know nothing", is another example of emptiness of meaning. Why? Because everything investigated deeply enough, ends with "don't know". Meaning is a chain of relationships without firm root. An illusion. Going out of this great bag of meaning is practice, because you cannot take "yourself" out of it. Thus to practice, is to forget the self.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby undefineable » Fri May 31, 2013 2:56 pm

oushi wrote:
undefineable wrote:We don't practice in order to live meaningless lives (we have alcohol and video games for that ), but I guess we do practice in order to be released from the illusive 'meaning' samsara suggests to us (i.e. 'I').

Every meaning is illusive
{My emphasis}
You're using the literal definition of the word 'meaning' again, rather than the 'clingier' definition most Christians would be using when they say something like 'God gives our lives a meaning', in which your statement:
oushi wrote:Meaning is a chain of relationships without firm root.
would be false if their beliefs were true (which they're almost certainly not ofc :P )
oushi wrote:Where is suffering without meaning?

Worse - whichever definition of 'meaning' you use :tongue:
oushi wrote:Going out of this great bag of meaning is practice

Or, the 'meaning' discovered in practice is that nothing has enough weight to be seen as meaningful :shrug:
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby oushi » Fri May 31, 2013 3:19 pm

undefineable wrote:Or, the 'meaning' discovered in practice is that nothing has enough weight to be seen as meaningful :shrug:

Yes, very good, very good.
We can ask whether Tathagata is "meaningful enough", but to see meaning of Tathagata is to define Tathagata, while Tathagata is undefined, inconceivable nature.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby MalaBeads » Fri May 31, 2013 3:34 pm

oushi wrote:Every meaning is illusive, but you don't run after illusion and hit it with a stick. It would be like trying to extinguish fire by hitting it with a torch . Meaning is the only tool that we have, and the only obstacle there is.
Where is suffering without meaning?
If philosophy is "correct" and honest, sooner or later it will hit the wall of meaninglessness, which it cannot pass. The question is, will it draw conclusion like Nagarjuna did, or will it return to the meaning mines, and dig deeper?
What may be interesting, is the fact that there are examples of Christian teaching going beyond meaning. A great example would be "The cloud of Unknowing", where it is clearly stated that unknowing is the way.
Sokrates "I know one thing: that I know nothing", is another example of emptiness of meaning. Why? Because everything investigated deeply enough, ends with "don't know". Meaning is a chain of relationships without firm root. An illusion. Going out of this great bag of meaning is practice, because you cannot take "yourself" out of it. Thus to practice, is to forget the self.


Well said.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby shel » Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:44 pm

Totally whack? How old are you?
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Kabouterke » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:24 am

Jesse wrote:Lately I've been troubled by the inability of meditation, and spirituality in general to produce any real tangible truth about reality. Even if all attachment is severed, does that negate the importance of "figuring out", what reality is?

No matter how much I try, i can't let go of my searching for answers to life's big questions. In a way, I feel as if letting go of the search is in a way, betraying myself. I know it seems absurd, but before I die I would like to understand life itself, is there some ultimate purpose to it? If not, is it purposeless? Is a lack of purpose a purpose in itself? At the moment, I feel as if the third option might be the closest to the truth. No purpose is the purpose, an open ended existence where anything and everything is possible.

Anyway, I haven't figured out how to console the differences between the path Buddhism offers and this search. I almost feel as if they are contradictory. Yet I am drawn to both. In your experiences which do you believe is a more worthwhile en-devour?

Would satisfying your ultimate desire, and perhaps even purpose of your existence be more important, or achieving some measure of realization? I imagine you can 'take' neither with you once death arrives, so which is really more important?


Sorry to jump in the debate this late, but it's an interesting subject.

In a way, you are kind of internalizing a debate that has taken lace in Buddhism since Medieval Asia. Schools such as T'ien-t'ai/Tendai were completely focused on scholarly pursuit of the darma. The Tendai school, while over shadowed by other schools of Buddhism nowadays, was the most dominant, most influential, most powerful schools of Buddhism during this time. It left its mark on all forms of East Asian Buddhsim in one way or another. Eventually, after a few centuries of academic debate dominating the Buddhist scene, monks became dissatisfied with their lack of personal practice and wanted to penetrate the Dharma first hand. This movement gave rise to the incorporation of Zen practices in combination with Tendai at first, and then the development of fully independent Zen schools. It also helped give rise the Pure Land Buddhism. Monks and lay people wanted less intellectualism and something personal and real. And then for many centuries to follow, Buddhist schools kind of went through this teeter-totter: Schools get "revitalized" and energized for a century or so and focus on certain practice (meditation, chanting, whatever) and then the gradually fade into a period of intellectual pursuit, and then it begins all over again, etc.

So, what you are trying to do is decide is something that even the institution of Buddhism itself can't figure out. "WWBD?: What Would Buddhism Do?" I think there is nothing wrong to have periods where you intellectually pursue the dharma and periods where you pursue it more actively in practice. And there is nothing wrong with doing both at the same time, because historically speaking this is what Buddhism itself has done. :jumping:
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby droogiefret » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:53 am

Hi Jesse and everyone,

Late to the party too - but the busier the forum is the better - yes?

I love the big questions! Setting myself the task of resolving by intuition the conflict between classical physics and quantum is often the way I get to sleep. :smile:

It's a question of balance I think? We're trying to increase our capacity for compassion and reduce negative traits. And there are only so many hours in a day by the time I've caught up with Game of Thrones.

It seems a bit 'sticky' to try and suppress an enquiring mind. The question I would ask though - probably because I don't meditate much - is why we would look to meditation for the answers to some of these questions - wouldn't you use a conceptual mind to try to resolve conflicting concepts?
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:02 am

droogiefret wrote:It seems a bit 'sticky' to try and suppress an enquiring mind. The question I would ask though - probably because I don't meditate much - is why we would look to meditation for the answers to some of these questions - wouldn't you use a conceptual mind to try to resolve conflicting concepts?

This is where insight meditation (vipashyana/vipassana) comes in. After developing a clear and tranquil mind through shamatha/samatha techniques, we then go on to analyse our inner experience in meditation.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:42 pm

Off topic discussion on the "soul" moved here.
"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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