Emptiness and Nothingness

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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby greentara » Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:22 pm

Emptiness means that your mind is all stories. Your thoughts have no lasting reality, they come and go. You cannot predict what your next thought will be, not can you predict what you will dream tonight. Thoughts appear and disappear without volition.
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby muni » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:21 pm

"For example, let's take the appearance of a flower in a dream. This flower is not something that exists, that truly exists, because it's just a dream appearance - there's no real flower there whatsoever.

On the other hand, you can't say there's absolutely nothing, because there is the mere appearance of a flower - but just a mere appearance, that's it. That is its nature in terms of how it exists in the world of appearances. There's nothing really there but there is this mere appearance.

In a dream there's nothing substantial but there is the mere appearance of something substantial. Thus, its true nature transcends both existence and nonexistence. Its true nature is not something we can describe with these kinds of terms, because it is beyond any type of thing we might be able to think up about it. And so, just like a flower that appears in a dream, all phenomena that appear, wherever they appear, are the same.

They all appear in terms of being a mere appearance. There is nothing substantial to them, and their true nature transcends both existence and nonexistence and any other idea. All phenomena that appear to us in this life are exactly the same".

Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

http://www.ktgrinpoche.org/quote/mere-appearance

Selfappearing illusion
HTTP://WWW.KTGRINPOCHE.ORG/SONGS/ALL-THESE-FORMS


Coming or Going?
http://www.ktgrinpoche.org/quote/coming-or-going

A Song of No Attachment to This and That
http://www.ktgrinpoche.org/quote/song-no-attachment-and

(moon in water)
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby shel » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:26 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:Nihilism does not mean any particular sort of mental fixation, such as fixation on the Buddhist concept of emptiness.
Really?
Nihilism (/ˈnaɪ.ɨlɪzəm/ or /ˈniː.ɨlɪzəm/; from the Latin nihil, nothing) is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism, which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. Moral nihilists assert that morality does not inherently exist, and that any established moral values are abstractly contrived. Nihilism can also take epistemological or ontological/metaphysical forms, meaning respectively that, in some aspect, knowledge is not possible, or that reality does not actually exist.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihilism There's plenty of mental fixation happening there. Craploads of it!

I didn't write no fixation. I clearly wrote no particular sort of fixation. But more disturbing is the insinuation that emptiness has no meaning. The Buddha did not teach that life is meaningless. He taught that life is suffering and Eightfold Path is the way to the cessation of suffering.
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby oushi » Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:02 pm

muni wrote:"They all appear in terms of being a mere appearance. There is nothing substantial to them, and their true nature transcends both existence and nonexistence and any other idea. All phenomena that appear to us in this life are exactly the same".

Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

Shocking is the fact that honesty is enough to see that. Delusion arises from giving importance to different types of experience, and not treating all appearances as exactly the same. The question arises: what makes us intellectually differentiate phenomena into more and less important? Desire for control. We desire substantiality to grasp a phenomena, and we look for those which look more potent in changing reality. That's why people desire money and power so much. Now if we remove substantiality, we take away delusion of control, as phenomena are ungraspable and inconceivable. Why? Because as everything is interdependent, there is infinity to be grasped and conceived. Mind grasp after knowing more and more about it, and that creates suffering. That's something that needs to be let go of. But mind will not simply obey an order to let go. It needs to see that phenomena are inconceivable, until then it will strive for knowledge.
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby oushi » Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:08 pm

shel wrote:The Buddha did not teach that life is meaningless.

Yes, I never saw him saying that directly, but it is explained indirectly in prajnaparamita.
Here, an interesting teaching:
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby greentara » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:02 am

"First, before I forget I wanted to mention that I am in full agreement with you on the importance of translating an-atman as "no abiding self. In fact, the Chinese first translated this term with three characters, i.e., no - eternal - self. Later it was 'shortened' to just 'no-self' and, as you will see in my new attached article, this has contributed to yet more destruction!

None of this will amount to a hill of beans for those unconcerned with Buddhism. But for those who are concerned with Buddhism -- either by practice or as part of an intellectual toy box -- I think it is pretty important"
Genkaku

The truth is over time translations sometimes lose there original meaning and people become fixed in their ideas. They argue endlessly instead of embracing the spirit of the teaching.
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby shel » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:07 am

It's not that we don't embrace spirits, we just like to keep our toy box nice and tidy. :smile:
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby shel » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:18 am

oushi wrote:
shel wrote:The Buddha did not teach that life is meaningless.

Yes, I never saw him saying that directly, but it is explained indirectly in prajnaparamita.
Here, an interesting teaching:


They are saying that "true" or "big" meaning is love and compassion for other beings. Leave it to a religious authority to tell you what True meaning is. That is, after all, their job.
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby wisdom » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:05 am

shel wrote:
wisdom wrote:Oushi appears to be talking about "Sealing the view with the object of emptiness". This means that once a person has realized the truth of emptiness, rather than abiding within that emptiness without any conceptualization about it, they start labeling everything as "empty". This is empty, that is empty, I am empty, look at all the empty things!

Everything is empty, according to Buddhism. How could one thing be empty but not something else?


Sealing the view with the object of emptiness involves a conceptualization of emptiness rather than a direct realization of it. For example, someone sees an object and thinks "This object is empty" but that is *not* the experience of emptiness, nor its realization, just an intellectual understanding. Abiding in emptiness, there is no concept of it, nor are there any objects to label as being "empty" anymore because one is no longer engaging in mental projection, as the mind has withdrawn into its own true nature and mental projection and fixation has stopped.

shel wrote:According to Buddhism everything is empty, so if what you're saying is true then all Buddhist who haven't realized and 'abide' in emptiness are nihilists.That isn't right, right?


Not exactly. The difference is in whether or not the individual is aware that they only have an intellectual understanding. Its one thing to contemplate objects of the mind, which have been reified as real, and think "This object is empty" and in that way examine how and why its empty. Thats an intellectual process, and an important one. It can lead to realization of emptiness itself once conceptual elaborations are dropped, but the realization itself will be non-conceptual. This is in line with Buddhism and it is taught as a strictly intellectual exercise.

When someone only has an intellectual understanding of emptiness but thinks they have realized emptiness itself, then they become Nihilists because they have reified emptiness as being an object of the mind, which it is not. Therefore they "see" an object, which has been non-existent from the very beginning, and they "label" it as being "empty". This is a mistake.
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby Koji » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:39 am

Since ultimate truth does not exist in phenomena since they have no own nature,making them like an illusion or a dream, then ultimately there is nothing, conventionally speaking.
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby yegyal » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:34 am

"When thing and nothing
Do not abide before the mind,
At that moment, there is nothing else,
But perfect peace, devoid of any point of reference.

It's not the best translation, but I hope you get Shantideva's point, i.e. nothingness is NOT the same as emptiness.
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby shel » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:38 am

wisdom wrote:
shel wrote:
wisdom wrote:Oushi appears to be talking about "Sealing the view with the object of emptiness". This means that once a person has realized the truth of emptiness, rather than abiding within that emptiness without any conceptualization about it, they start labeling everything as "empty". This is empty, that is empty, I am empty, look at all the empty things!

Everything is empty, according to Buddhism. How could one thing be empty but not something else?


Sealing the view with the object of emptiness involves a conceptualization of emptiness rather than a direct realization of it. For example, someone sees an object and thinks "This object is empty" but that is *not* the experience of emptiness, nor its realization, just an intellectual understanding. Abiding in emptiness, there is no concept of it, nor are there any objects to label as being "empty" anymore because one is no longer engaging in mental projection, as the mind has withdrawn into its own true nature and mental projection and fixation has stopped.

shel wrote:According to Buddhism everything is empty, so if what you're saying is true then all Buddhist who haven't realized and 'abide' in emptiness are nihilists.That isn't right, right?


Not exactly. The difference is in whether or not the individual is aware that they only have an intellectual understanding. Its one thing to contemplate objects of the mind, which have been reified as real, and think "This object is empty" and in that way examine how and why its empty. Thats an intellectual process, and an important one. It can lead to realization of emptiness itself once conceptual elaborations are dropped, but the realization itself will be non-conceptual. This is in line with Buddhism and it is taught as a strictly intellectual exercise.

When someone only has an intellectual understanding of emptiness but thinks they have realized emptiness itself, then they become Nihilists because they have reified emptiness as being an object of the mind, which it is not. Therefore they "see" an object, which has been non-existent from the very beginning, and they "label" it as being "empty". This is a mistake.

Ah, I see. Thanks clearing that up so tidily.
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:39 am

Koji wrote:Since ultimate truth does not exist in phenomena since they have no own nature,making them like an illusion or a dream, then ultimately there is nothing, conventionally speaking.
Ultimate truth does "exist in phenomena", "form is emptiness and emptiness is form" after all.

"Front, back, in all ten directions,
whatever you see
is the real;

to be free from error today -
ask [for] nothing else now
but that."

Saraha in Tantric Treasures: Three Collections of Mystical Verse from Buddhist India
"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: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby Koji » Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:31 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Koji wrote:Since ultimate truth does not exist in phenomena since they have no own nature,making them like an illusion or a dream, then ultimately there is nothing, conventionally speaking.
Ultimate truth does "exist in phenomena", "form is emptiness and emptiness is form" after all.

"Front, back, in all ten directions,
whatever you see
is the real;

to be free from error today -
ask [for] nothing else now
but that."

Saraha in Tantric Treasures: Three Collections of Mystical Verse from Buddhist India


How does emptiness fit in with this passage (it is from The Connected Discourses of the Buddha, a translation by Bhikkhu Bodhi, page 935)?

"He [the uninstructed worldling] does not understand as it really is murderous form as 'murderous form' … murderous feeling as 'murderous feeling' … murderous perception as 'murderous perception' … murderous volitional formations as 'murderous volitional formats' … murderous consciousness as 'murderous consciousness.'


If ultimate truth exists in phenomena like form, the first aggregate (skandha), how can form be murderous?
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby anjali » Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:38 pm

Koji wrote: If ultimate truth exists in phenomena like form, the first aggregate (skandha), how can form be murderous?

By clinging to form.
  • The object of the game is to go on playing it. --John Von Neumann
  • All activities are like the games children play. If started, they can never be finished. They are only completed once you let them be, like castles made of sand. --Khenpo Nyoshul Rinpoche
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:20 pm

Koji wrote:How does emptiness fit in with this passage (it is from The Connected Discourses of the Buddha, a translation by Bhikkhu Bodhi, page 935)?

"He [the uninstructed worldling] does not understand as it really is murderous form as 'murderous form' … murderous feeling as 'murderous feeling' … murderous perception as 'murderous perception' … murderous volitional formations as 'murderous volitional formats' … murderous consciousness as 'murderous consciousness.'


If ultimate truth exists in phenomena like form, the first aggregate (skandha), how can form be murderous?
In the context of the teaching ( Yamaka Sutta ), Venerable Sariputra is talking in regard to considering the skhanda (starting with form) as self. In this context they are murderous. According to Ven sariputra "...the instructed noble disciple, who is a seer of the noble ones..." considers the skhanda as impermanent, painful, selfless, conditioned and murderous and thus "He does not become engaged with form [and the other "aggregates of clinging"], cling to it, and take a stand upon it as 'my self'."

You see, if the ultimate is not "here and now", then where is it? If it is beyond the "here and now" then we cannot "connect to" or realise it "here and now", and so enlightenment in this life and in this body becomes impossible. Actually enlightenment within this realm of existence (samsara) becomes impossible. It would contradict the logic of the tetralema too.
"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: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby Koji » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:43 pm

anjali wrote:
Koji wrote: If ultimate truth exists in phenomena like form, the first aggregate (skandha), how can form be murderous?

By clinging to form.


Sure, I understand that. Because form is murderous. So if I let go of form I am not affected by its murderousness (in the Patisambhidamagga the Buddha names, if I recall, forty negative things about the skandhas). But I was curious as to how Greg's reply, "Ultimate truth does "exist in phenomena", "form is emptiness and emptiness is form" after all" fit in with the skandhas. The "form is emptiness part and emptiness is form" I am not following. Maybe I need a spot of tea to wake me up. :zzz:
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:09 pm

Quite simply: ultimate and relative truth are not seperate. They are, though, not the same:

Ultimate reality.
Relative reality.
Both ultimate and relative reality.
Nether ultimate nor relative reality.

The four extremes in relation to views of reality.
"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: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby Koji » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:07 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Quite simply: ultimate and relative truth are not seperate. They are, though, not the same:

Ultimate reality.
Relative reality.
Both ultimate and relative reality.
Nether ultimate nor relative reality.

The four extremes in relation to views of reality.


Just like clay and a pot made of clay are not separate. Still, they are not the same.
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Re: Emptiness and Nothingness

Postby shel » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:00 am

Actually, ultimate and relative truth are separate, cuz relative is always relative to ultimate. :oops:
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