Like a dog in the forest?

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Like a dog in the forest?

Postby dimeo » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:22 pm

I've been struggling with getting this idea of "coemergence" and how true nature of phenomena is emptiness. I would love any tips suggestions for further study.


This quote really got me thinking about it:

"But the appearance of things and their suchness-their reality, their emptiness-are not sequential such that first one of them occurs and then the other. It is not the case, for instance, that things first exist and later become empty. Rather then appearance of things and their emptiness are simultaneous."
- Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

I was trying to get what he means, and then I had this idea of a dog in the forest which finally
seemed to make some sense to me, but I'd love to have any feedback on this:


When walking in the park you don't see many things, and such things remain "empty" to your awareness. There could be a wild dog 50 feet from you laying down in the bush but you're unaware. You have no awareness of it, and the wild dog is empty of significance to you. There could be a thousand other creatures there in the forest living their lives in quiet desperation!

But when a dog runs out and you suddenly are aware of it, then you begin to feel emotions like fear or anxiety. Upon that moment we feel it is 'real' and we have important thoughts and feelings about it. One might fear it could be a threat, and may bite!

But the appearance of the dog and the reality of it does not happen sequentially like that: as though the wild dog is empty of significance to you and then the dog exists and is very important to you at that moment.

Likely the dog has lived for many months or years before you saw it. It's nature was empty of any existence to you, and you totally unaware of it. And certainly the reality of the dog doesn't suddenly come into being because you finally saw it. Instead awareness of the the dog, and it's emptiness of existence are innate aspects of reality, and occur together at the same time!
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half baked ideas

Postby dimeo » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:05 pm

I'll keep working on this, and hopefully someone can throw in their 2c? Seems like I'm spinning in circles.
:shrug:

Nagarjuna wrote:
Whatever arises dependently / Is explained as empty.
Thus dependent attribution / Is the middle way.
Since there is nothing whatever / That is not dependently existent,
For that reason there is nothing / Whatsoever that is not empty.


Hopefully someone can help me with better understanding emptiness (sunyata) and dependent co-arising (pratitya-samutpada) (AKA interdependent origination or causality). Apparently sunyata and pratitya-samutpada are like two sides of the same coin? It's tough to comprehend! I think I need more concrete examples to meditate on...

From what I gather, understanding dependent arising helps to realize sunyata, in showing that all things which appear to have a seemingly independent permanent existence are really the product of many forces interacting.

I read today, the Dali Lama discussing a passage by Tsongkhapa:
A coiled rope's speckled color and coiling are similar to those of a snake, and when the rope is perceived in a dim area, the thought arises, "This is a snake." As for the rope, at that time when it is seen to be a snake, the collection and parts of the rope are not even in the slightest way a snake. Therefore, that snake is merely set up by conceptuality.


I was very interested by this example because the Dali Lama talks how it is about "unfindability" and how phenomena are dependent on conceptuality. I gather this is because perception of appearance is part of the mind itself and not outside the mind. So the existence of the 'snake' is more like an illusion created by the viewer's mistaken perception? Which of the 12 parts of Dependent Origination would this be related to?

An example I read was about how a rainbow, although we can see that it exists and is real, it's not a "thing". A rainbow is the product of various forces interacting: sunlight shining through water droplets in the air. Is this an example of how we typically believe "things" to exist independently and have inherent existence when in fact they do not, and so it's true nature is said to be "empty" in Buddhism?


When I perceive something to exist as a real solid object, the object is "empty" of the identity given by the designated label I use when talking about it. Is this also an example of emptiness (sunyata) and dependent co-arising (pratitya-samutpada)?

I will meditate on these things :meditate:
Any thoughts appreciated!
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Re: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:22 am

Some of my favorites:
"Like a magical illusion are all compounded things, worthless, insignificant, void, fashioned like the firmament, devoid of self, arisen from imagination."
-Prajnaparamitasutra

“The body is like an empty village or house; senses are like soldiers and thieves. Although they live in the same village, they are unaware of each other.
[…]
Forms, sounds and likewise smells, tastes, tactiles and phenomena, the mind in motion, like a bird in flight, in all six, enters the sense faculties. In whatever sense it abides, it lends that sense its knowing nature.
The body, like a machine in an empty village, is without motion and completely without action. Lacking core essence, it arises from conditions; arising from concepts, it lacks inherent nature.”
-King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light chapter six eng pg. 41-42

“When reasoning searches to whether the chariot intrinsically exists, it is not found in any of the seven ways. This is the case in terms of both of the two truths. But when reason fails to find it those seven ways, does this refute the chariot? How could it? Reasoning that analyses whether things intrinsically exist does not establish the assertion of the chariot; rather, leaving reasoned analysis aside, it is established by a mere unimpaired, ordinary, conventional—i.e., worldly—consciousness. Therefore, the way a chariot is posited is that it is established as existing imputedly; it is imputed in dependence upon its parts.”
-Lam Rim Chen Mo eng v03 pg. 283 tib pg. 725

“As previously explained, form a clear concept of the object that reason will be refuting. Then focus on how, if there were such an intrinsically existing person, it could only be one with or different from its aggregates, and how reason contradicts both of those positions. Develop certainty in seeing this critique. Finally, solidify your certainty that the person does not even slightly exist intrinsically. In the phase of meditating on emptiness, practice this often.

Then, bring to mind the conventional person who is undeniably apparent. Turn your mind to dependent-arising, wherein that person is posited as the accumulator of karma and experiencer of effects, and be certain of how dependent-arising is possible without intrinsic existence. When they seem contradictory, think about how they are not contradictory, taking an example such as a reflection. A reflection of a face is undeniably a conjunction of (1) being empty of the eyes, ears, and such that appear therein and (2) being produced in dependence upon a mirror and a face, while disintegrating when certain of these conditions are gone. Likewise, the person lacks even a particle of intrinsic nature, but is the accumulator of karma and the experiencer of effects, and is produced in dependence upon earlier karma and afflictions. It is not a contradiction. Practice this thought and understand that it is like this in all such cases.”
-Lam Rim Chen Mo eng v03 pg. 303-304 tib pg. 746-747

“When living beings experience or see a phenomenon, they do not apprehend it as being set up by the power of the mind to which it appears. Rather, they apprehend it as existing just as it appears, i.e., as existing in an essentially objective manner. This is how intrinsic existence is superimposed. The presence of such a nature in the object is what is meant by essence, intrinsic nature, and autonomous existence.”
-Lam Rim Chen Mo eng v03 pg. 316-317 tib pg. 759

“The earlier citation of Candrakirti’s Commentary on the “Four Hundred Stanzas” continues:
Therefore, since in this Madhyamaka system to be a dependent-arising is to lack autonomy, lacking autonomy is what emptiness means; emptiness does not mean that nothing exists.
Consequently, the view that functioning things do not exist is a mistaken denial of the existence of illusion-like dependent-arisings, both the pure and afflicted; hence, it is not accurate. The view that things intrinsically exist is also inaccurate because such intrinsic nature does not exist in anything. […] Therefore, those who wish to be free from the views of permanence and annihilation should assert both the lack of intrinsic existence and illusion-like dependent-arising of both pure and afflicted phenomena.”
-Lam Rim Chen Mo eng v03 pg. 317-318 tib pg. 760

“[Chandrakirti’s] Commentary to the Four Hundred Verses says this about the self:
The thing known as the ‘self’ is an entity whose nature is not to be the outcome of any other functional phenomenon. Selflessness is its non-existence.
Thus the self is supposed to be something distinct in itself, for it is not the outcome of other conditions. It is also said to be a self-contained entity, for it is independent of anything else; it is also not the outcome of anything else.”
-Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand pg. 684
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby Wayfarer » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:50 am

I do agree that understanding 'emptiness' can be very confusing. My point of departure for it - the way I get oriented around it - is to recall that it is connected with renunciation and so with 'not clinging' to worldly things.

The ordinary person (including myself of course) has many things we are attached to. So we cling to them in the sense of becoming attached and investing them with significance. We give them meaning in relation to us and all the other things that they are related to. We invest them with significance. That is how we create the kind of 'meaning-world' within which we live, which is very much a world of imputed meanings and things we hold to be important to us.

That is why one of the traditional examples given for emptiness is 'mistaking a rope for a snake'. When we do that, we are of course anxious, frightened, our adrenaline starts to pump - then when we see it is really only a length of rope, there is a relief, 'phew that is only rope, it is not dangerous'. That is because we have seen it for what it really is.

Likewise with the way we construe all kinds of things in our lives as 'important to me' like status, possessions, and the like. We invest them with a lot of significance. But if we learn not to rely on such things - to renounce them, in that sense - then suddenly they are not sources of anxiety and clinging any more.

ON a philosophical level, emptiness means that nothing - no particular thing, possession, form, shape, achievement, or whatever - has ultimate significance. That is not to say the don't exist and don't have relative importance - their 'relative existence' is samvritti, conventional truth. They exist on the level of conventional truth but they are not ultimate, therefore, they are empty, they don't exist in their own right, and so on.

So I think that is a more practical way of approaching the subject, I think your example of the 'dog in the forest' is a little speculative, if you don't mind me saying.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:01 am

Empty does not mean non-existent, it means conventionally existent as a consequence of causes and conditions, yet ultimately lacking any essence.

A simple (and modern scientific) example: You have an apparent solid object (let's say, a table). But when you start to look at it closely you see it is made up of parts: legs and a table top. These parts are made of wood and this wood was once part of a tree. This tree required soil, water, sunlight, etc... to grow. It needed to be cut down. The saw was made of steel, obtained through mining, smelting, fashioning, etc... The person using the saw had to have a mother and a father, to eat food, to be educated, etc... Then when we look closely at the wood this table is made of. The wood is made of molecules of cellulose. The molecules of cellulose are made of atoms. The atoms are, etc... and the deeper we go, the more nebulous and lacking in essence the constituents become. Actually we find infintely more empty space than constituents. Even the designator "table" has no real meaning or essence. Use the word in a non-English speaking country and all you will get is a blank look. Ever see children playing with a "table"? Suddenly it becomes a house, a boat, a car, a wild four legged beast, etc...

So we have a seemingly solid existent object which is simultaneously devoid of any essential nature.

Empty is a synonym for dependently arisen. Emptiness is the quality of a dependently arisen object.
"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: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby shel » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:03 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Empty is a synonym for dependently arisen.


Dependent arising is synonymous with a particular view of causality and is only related to emptiness in the sense that everything appears to be impermanent. Things can't arise unless things can change. :|
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Re: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:18 pm

shel wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:Empty is a synonym for dependently arisen.


Dependent arising is synonymous with a particular view of causality and is only related to emptiness in the sense that everything appears to be impermanent. Things can't arise unless things can change. :|
It also means that things function due to cause and effect, not their own natures.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:24 pm

shel wrote:Dependent arising is synonymous with a particular view of causality...
Which particualr view would that be?
...and is only related to emptiness in the sense that everything appears to be impermanent.
Everything appears to be impermanent or everything is impermanent?
"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: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby shel » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:26 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
shel wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:Empty is a synonym for dependently arisen.


Dependent arising is synonymous with a particular view of causality and is only related to emptiness in the sense that everything appears to be impermanent. Things can't arise unless things can change. :|
It also means that things function due to cause and effect, not their own natures.


No one knows this to be true. For one small (very small) example, quantum particles apparently pop in and out of existence for no reason or cause. Of course you might say to this, "well, just because we can't find a cause doesn't mean that there isn't one", to which I would reply, "EXACTLY." :tongue:
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Re: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby shel » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:30 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:Dependent arising is synonymous with a particular view of causality...
Which particualr view would that be?

The view that everything is caused interdependently.

...and is only related to emptiness in the sense that everything appears to be impermanent.
Everything appears to be impermanent or everything is impermanent?

Everything is apparently impermanent.
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Re: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:12 am

shel wrote:The view that everything is caused interdependently.
And there is another (Buddhist) view of causality?
Everything is apparently impermanent.
According to Buddhism everything IS impermanent. Just like, according to some Theoreticians of Physics, there is a basic physical particle.
"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: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby shel » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:28 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:Everything is apparently impermanent.
According to Buddhism everything IS impermanent. Just like, according to some Theoreticians of Physics, there is a basic physical particle.

You seem to be saying that Buddhism is theoretical (like theoreticians theories). Perhaps you'd like to rethink your response? That might be a really good idea! :tongue:
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Re: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:20 am

shel wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:Everything is apparently impermanent.
According to Buddhism everything IS impermanent. Just like, according to some Theoreticians of Physics, there is a basic physical particle.

You seem to be saying that Buddhism is theoretical (like theoreticians theories). Perhaps you'd like to rethink your response? That might be a really good idea! :tongue:
You seem to be splitting hairs and avoiding answering my (seemingly valid) point.
"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: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby shel » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:11 pm

You want me to answer your point? If you think Buddhism is all just theory that's your own affair, I don't care. Should I care?
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Re: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:13 pm

You (unskillfully) avoided the point again. No matter, I don't care anyway. Should I care? :tongue:
"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: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby shel » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:26 pm

You wrote that Buddhism is just like theoreticians theories. So what's your point? I'm apparently too stupid to figure it out.
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Re: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby shel » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:31 am

HELLO?
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Re: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby Seishin » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:18 pm

shel wrote:Everything is apparently impermanent.


Would you mind expanding this?

Gassho,
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Re: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby shel » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:20 pm

Seishin wrote:
shel wrote:Everything is apparently impermanent.


Would you mind expanding this?

Gassho,
Seishin


Let me draw an allegory for you instead.

Once upon a time there were people believed that the world was flat. For them that world WAS flat. There were other people of course, we will call them the wise people, who merely thought "well, sure, the world appears to be flat," and proceeded accordingly. Fast forward a few centuries. With the advent of new technologies and knowledge about the universe it became apparent that the world was actually spherical. The wise people though "well, sure, the wold appears to be spherical," and proceeded accordingly. There were other people of course, we will call them the foolish people, who would not accept that the world was spherical. For them the world WAS flat, despite all evidence to the contrary. The foolish people burned the wise people at the stake, and then started a holy war to purge the earth of all unbelievers. Some wise people survived however, because foolish people are easily fooled. Fast forward a few centuries. There was an alien race who visited the earth, and discovering that an asteroid was about to collide with earth and decimate all life they decided to transmigrate all life on earth to another world where they'd be safe. The new world happened to be flat. When the wise people arrived on the new world they though, "huh, what do you know, this world appears to be flat," and proceeded accordingly. When the foolish people arrived on the new world they though they were in heaven, because for them, heaven was flat. THE END.
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Re: Like a dog in the forest?

Postby Seishin » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:01 pm

Sorry Shel, it's difficult to understand what you are trying to say. Are you saying those who believe that everything is impermanent are foolish? :shrug:

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