Mystical Unity and Kensho

Re: Mystical Unity and Kensho

Postby Jikan » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:44 pm

Treetop wrote:Are humility and a deep respect for what I don’t know a part of Buddhist practice?

Yes and yes.
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Re: Mystical Unity and Kensho

Postby Koji » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:24 pm

Astus wrote:
jeeprs wrote:But in practice such an idea can be misleading.


Only if one believes that there is nothing to change about identifying with phenomena. Otherwise it is actually pointing to the practice to be done, because one has to see the emptiness of one's own everyday experience and not look for some supernatural realm outside of that. Also, obtaining the "ordinary mind" is right here and not some other place.



My comments will address the last part of your comment to jeepers. Emptiness deals with causation which comes under the heading of dependent origination. By emptiness (in the Sunyavada sense of the term) is meant the comprehension of the non-reality of things, their lack of svabhâva in other words. This means also that emptiness cannot be established apart from the phenomenal world. But we can't stop here if we do this blossoms into nihilism.

I forgot to mention it, but we can say that emptiness is the negation of false views. Naturally, too, there is no Buddha-nature to be found in emptiness since BN transcends causation (i.e. dependent origination). Hence, there is neither mystical unity nor kensho. As far it it goes we are still stuck in samsara. This is why we have to get beyond emptiness. It is inadequate. Emptiness is only descriptive, not essence. We have to be on guard not to reify emptiness making it, for example, into universal nothingness (sarva-abhavat). The true middle path leads to Buddha-nature or the same Mind-only. Here is where mystical unity or kensho kicks in.
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Re: Mystical Unity and Kensho

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:54 pm

Koji wrote:This means also that emptiness cannot be established apart from the phenomenal world. But we can't stop here if we do this blossoms into nihilism.


In your interpretation how could the affirmation of the phenomenal world mean nihilism?

I forgot to mention it, but we can say that emptiness is the negation of false views. Naturally, too, there is no Buddha-nature to be found in emptiness since BN transcends causation (i.e. dependent origination). Hence, there is neither mystical unity nor kensho. As far it it goes we are still stuck in samsara. This is why we have to get beyond emptiness. It is inadequate. Emptiness is only descriptive, not essence. We have to be on guard not to reify emptiness making it, for example, into universal nothingness (sarva-abhavat). The true middle path leads to Buddha-nature or the same Mind-only. Here is where mystical unity or kensho kicks in.


Emptiness is not holding on to any view:

"If even my correct teachings are to be abandoned, how much more incorrect teachings?"
(Diamond Sutra, ch 6)

"The victorious ones have said
That emptiness is the elimination of all views.
Anyone for whom emptiness is a view
Is incorrigible."

(MMK 13.8)

If you say there is a view beyond no view, that is another view and it is attachment.

"Outside mind there’s no dharma, nor is there anything to be gained within it. What are you seeking? Everywhere you say, ‘Th ere’s something to practice, something to obtain.’ Make no mistake! Even if there were something to be gained by practice, it would be nothing but birth-and-death karma. ... Buddhas and patriarchs are people with nothing to do."
(Record of Linji, p 17; tr. Sasaki)
"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: Mystical Unity and Kensho

Postby Koji » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:36 pm

Astus wrote:
Koji wrote:This means also that emptiness cannot be established apart from the phenomenal world. But we can't stop here if we do this blossoms into nihilism.


In your interpretation how could the affirmation of the phenomenal world mean nihilism?

I forgot to mention it, but we can say that emptiness is the negation of false views. Naturally, too, there is no Buddha-nature to be found in emptiness since BN transcends causation (i.e. dependent origination). Hence, there is neither mystical unity nor kensho. As far it it goes we are still stuck in samsara. This is why we have to get beyond emptiness. It is inadequate. Emptiness is only descriptive, not essence. We have to be on guard not to reify emptiness making it, for example, into universal nothingness (sarva-abhavat). The true middle path leads to Buddha-nature or the same Mind-only. Here is where mystical unity or kensho kicks in.


Emptiness is not holding on to any view:

"If even my correct teachings are to be abandoned, how much more incorrect teachings?"
(Diamond Sutra, ch 6)

"The victorious ones have said
That emptiness is the elimination of all views.
Anyone for whom emptiness is a view
Is incorrigible."

(MMK 13.8)

If you say there is a view beyond no view, that is another view and it is attachment.

"Outside mind there’s no dharma, nor is there anything to be gained within it. What are you seeking? Everywhere you say, ‘Th ere’s something to practice, something to obtain.’ Make no mistake! Even if there were something to be gained by practice, it would be nothing but birth-and-death karma. ... Buddhas and patriarchs are people with nothing to do."
(Record of Linji, p 17; tr. Sasaki)


Rather how is the phenomenal world not nihilistic insofar as the term nihilism means the world has no real existence? Existence (the phenomenal world) arises like an illusion or mirage; moreover it has arisen due to imagination according to Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna says sunyata aims at abolishing all conceptions (samkalpa). Even the kalpana by which sunyata is conceived doesn't exist. Sunyata, in other words, negates itself leaving no positive implication; no escape from samsara. But nowhere has the Buddha taught just nihilism i.e., negation without positive implication (nirvana). The Buddha points out the marks of the conditioned which enable him to lead us to the unconditioned wherein true reality and salvation lie.
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Re: Mystical Unity and Kensho

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:07 pm

Koji wrote:Rather how is the phenomenal world not nihilistic insofar as the term nihilism means the world has no real existence?


Real and exist - that are negated - mean ultimately real and existent. Ultimately means substantially, independently. No Buddhist says that a 'table' doesn't exist at all, what emptiness and dependent origination means is that a 'table' does not exist in and of itself independently of everything else. There is no 'substance' in a table. A table is necessarily made of several parts and it has a limited existence as that. It naturally disintegrates eventually. But a table exists as something one can see, touch, smell and think of.
"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: Mystical Unity and Kensho

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:30 pm

A quote from Thomas Merton, from the article that the Original Post linked to:

James Ford wrote:
Thomas Merton wrote:“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness. The whole illusion of a separate holy existence is a dream.…This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. And I suppose my happiness could have taken form in the words: ‘Thank God, thank God that I am like other men, that I am only a man among others.’ It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, though it is a race dedicated to many absurdities and one which makes many terrible mistakes: …A member of the human race! To think that such a commonplace realization should suddenly seem like news that one holds the winning ticket in a cosmic sweepstake. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun. They are not ‘they’ but my own self. There are no strangers! Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed… I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.”


A reader response:

TheodoreSeeber wrote:My spiritual journey took me from lukewarm Cafeteria Catholicism as a cradle Catholic, to the Orthodox Ultramontaine I am today. And it was kensho and a trip through Zen Buddhism that did it. My dedication to both social justice and pro-life issues is the result of many satori; and the realization that there is no difference between me and a one day old zygote and an old person dying of a terminal illness and the person living in poverty down the street and the person struggling with same sex attraction and the teenager struggling with heterosexuality. We're all human, and we're all in this TOGETHER.


Again, this is what I would think of as a sense of 'mystical unity'. Why it can't be so described, beats me, but I give up trying.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Mystical Unity and Kensho

Postby Koji » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:16 am

jeeprs wrote:A quote from Thomas Merton, from the article that the Original Post linked to:

James Ford wrote:
Thomas Merton wrote:“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness. The whole illusion of a separate holy existence is a dream.…This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. And I suppose my happiness could have taken form in the words: ‘Thank God, thank God that I am like other men, that I am only a man among others.’ It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, though it is a race dedicated to many absurdities and one which makes many terrible mistakes: …A member of the human race! To think that such a commonplace realization should suddenly seem like news that one holds the winning ticket in a cosmic sweepstake. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun. They are not ‘they’ but my own self. There are no strangers! Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed… I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.”


A reader response:

TheodoreSeeber wrote:My spiritual journey took me from lukewarm Cafeteria Catholicism as a cradle Catholic, to the Orthodox Ultramontaine I am today. And it was kensho and a trip through Zen Buddhism that did it. My dedication to both social justice and pro-life issues is the result of many satori; and the realization that there is no difference between me and a one day old zygote and an old person dying of a terminal illness and the person living in poverty down the street and the person struggling with same sex attraction and the teenager struggling with heterosexuality. We're all human, and we're all in this TOGETHER.


Again, this is what I would think of as a sense of 'mystical unity'. Why it can't be so described, beats me, but I give up trying.


We can achieve mystical unity with the trans-empirical (asamskrita) but it cannot be described or understood. "The person who has attained the goal is without measure; he does not have that with which one can speak of him. When all things (sabbesu dhammesu) have been removed, then all ways of explanation are also removed" (Sn. 1076).
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Re: Mystical Unity and Kensho

Postby Practice » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:15 pm

Is “trans-empirical” the same as “super-natural”? “Trans” or “super” meaning, above or beyond and “empirical” or “natural” meaning, existence, the natural order.
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