Early Buddhism and Mahayana

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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Koji » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:26 pm

Astus wrote:
Koji wrote:I am just wondering, but how does one personally know "there is just experience"? Of course we all know that anyone can imagine such as state but what the imagination concocts doesn't mean it is either real or attainable.


If there is something that is not an experience you don't experience it, consequently you don't know anything about it. What is not an experience is nothing more than a presumption, a hypothesis, a fantasy, an idea.


When you said ealier: There is neither an experiencer nor an experienced, there is just experience, and even that is empty, does this pertain to "a presumption, a hypothesis, a fantasy, an idea"?
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Malcolm » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:38 pm

Koji wrote:
Astus wrote:
Koji wrote:I am just wondering, but how does one personally know "there is just experience"? Of course we all know that anyone can imagine such as state but what the imagination concocts doesn't mean it is either real or attainable.


If there is something that is not an experience you don't experience it, consequently you don't know anything about it. What is not an experience is nothing more than a presumption, a hypothesis, a fantasy, an idea.


When you said ealier: There is neither an experiencer nor an experienced, there is just experience, and even that is empty, does this pertain to "a presumption, a hypothesis, a fantasy, an idea"?



The emptiness of things is even something you assent to, Ardent.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby conebeckham » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:43 pm

Koji wrote:
Astus wrote:
Koji wrote:I am just wondering, but how does one personally know "there is just experience"? Of course we all know that anyone can imagine such as state but what the imagination concocts doesn't mean it is either real or attainable.


If there is something that is not an experience you don't experience it, consequently you don't know anything about it. What is not an experience is nothing more than a presumption, a hypothesis, a fantasy, an idea.


When you said ealier: There is neither an experiencer nor an experienced, there is just experience, and even that is empty, does this pertain to "a presumption, a hypothesis, a fantasy, an idea"?


Well, I'll answer this, with a frank "Yes."

"This" means the quote, "There is neither an experiencer nor an experienced, there is just experience, and even that is empty" I assume, which you are asserting is a conceptual construct. As it must be, of course, as it's linguistic, and an attempt at communication. The Finger, not the moon, as it were.

Astus may say it is "a presumption, a hyopthesis, a fantasy, an idea"--but perhaps I will explain it a bit differently--how does one "explain" the taste of honey? No matter how one tries, one is left with an insufficient experience of honey until one directly experiences honey.

Ideas and descriptions of experiences may be more, or less, compelling, but they can never equal the actual experience itself. After one tastes honey, one KNOWS the taste of honey. Always and forever.

First person experiences of Wisdom, or Ordinary Mind, or Vidya, or whatnot, are of a different order than any attempts to analyze, conceptualize, or theorize.

This leads to the question: for those who feel they have "had an experience" or "experienced" Wisdom or Buddhamind or whatnot, and have somehow consequently conceptualized that experience as a sort of "Self," is that "experience" really the experience of Wisdom that is talked about in Sutra, Tantra, and Upadesha? Or is it a mistaken experience?
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby anjali » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:47 pm

Astus wrote:
anjali wrote:Just to confirm: you take the position that self-reflexive knowing is not possible (the knowing quality of the mind can't know itself in a direct, nondual way)?


  • Mind is itself knowing. (check)
  • Knowing is the essential quality of mind (check)
  • a mind without awareness is not mind at all. (check)
  • There is no mental phenomena that could be without consciousness. (check)
  • to say that "knowing knows itself" is redundant and unnecessary (needs discussion ;))
  • there is no mental phenomena without awareness (check)
  • there is no fixed phenomena as "knowing itself" that should be self-aware. (check)


All of these statements are valid. However, they are not incompatible with either the self-reflective model (higher-order knowing), or the self-reflexive model (direct self-knowing). I think we all accept the higer-order knowing model: I see an apple; I know that I see an an apple. I don't think this is a problem for anyone. Let's take a look at self-reflexive knowing. From my perspective, self-reflexive knowing (the knowing that directly knows itself) is an extension of the awareness model. People who reject this postulate are analogous to people who construct an impossibility theorem in 2-d, when we are discussing 3-d.

For purposes of discussion, let's accept the postulate of self-reflexive knowing. There are people who have adopted this extension. The trikaya model takes this three-aspect approach. The three facits/dimensions are, 1. emptiness, 2. clarity (knowing), and 3. radiance or emanation. The knowing knows itself directly; the knowing knows it is emptiness; the knowing knows radiance as itself. Again, none of this involves a knower of any kind. We discuss these three aspects separately, but in fact they are a unity and are indivisible.

From a practical point of view, a number of masters have adopted, and worked, with this model to good effect. :)
Last edited by anjali on Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:49 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The essence of the mind cannot be different than mind, otherwise it would not be the essence of the mind. It would be like suggesting that fire and the nature of fire [heat] were distinct.

This essence of the mind is the same as what they call the basis of the individual in Dzogchen?

bump
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:21 pm

ConeBeckham wrote:This leads to the question: for those who feel they have "had an experience" or "experienced" Wisdom or Buddhamind or whatnot, and have somehow consequently conceptualized that experience as a sort of "Self," is that "experience" really the experience of Wisdom that is talked about in Sutra, Tantra, and Upadesha? Or is it a mistaken experience?


I think there is a valid distinction between 'experience' and 'realization'. I mentioned this before, and it was said to be a semantic distinction. But I really don't think it is. The passage I referred to was from a book by Traleg Kyabgon RInpoche (published in the US as Mind at Ease) where he wrote:

The distinction between spiritual experiences and realisations is emphasised in Buddhist thought. …Spiritual experiences are usually more vivid and intense that realisations because they generally have physiological and other changes attached to them. On the other hand, realisations may be felt, but their tone is less pronounced Realization is about acquiring insight; while realisations arise out of our spiritual experiences, they are not the same as them. Spiritual realisations are considered vastly more important because they cannot fluctuate.


I think that 'realization' corresponds with what would be called in Greek philosophy a 'noetic transformation' which is when your very understanding of 'the nature of things' shifts. That is why realizations of that nature tend, as the passage says, to be more stable.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Koji » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:27 pm

conebeckham wrote:This leads to the question: for those who feel they have "had an experience" or "experienced" Wisdom or Buddhamind or whatnot, and have somehow consequently conceptualized that experience as a sort of "Self," is that "experience" really the experience of Wisdom that is talked about in Sutra, Tantra, and Upadesha? Or is it a mistaken experience?


Let's use the example of our monitors which are made up of pixels. Is it possible to discern (prajñâ) a single pixel from the smallest cluster of pixels in the image of a flower, for example? If I say I have attained pixel-nirvana, seeing only a single pixel, not being confused by clusters of pixels, how do I know that I am not deluded; and how might other people be convinced, who have never attained pixel-nirvana, that I have attained it?

I am not suggesting that these questions can be answered to anyone's satisfaction. Personally, I don't think they can. The tentative reason I give is the world of first-person knowledge is not the world of the third-person knowledge—the former cannot be assimilated into the latter. Hence the problem.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby daverupa » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:37 pm

jeeprs wrote:I think there is a valid distinction between 'experience' and 'realization'.


Probably the first is covered by sense-contacts generally, and the second by yathabhutananadassana. The seven factors of awakening, for example, are said to conduce to full realization, something that unexamined sense experience generally isn't going to do.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Malcolm » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:45 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The essence of the mind cannot be different than mind, otherwise it would not be the essence of the mind. It would be like suggesting that fire and the nature of fire [heat] were distinct.

This essence of the mind is the same as what they call the basis of the individual in Dzogchen?

bump


Not really.
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Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby conebeckham » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:14 pm

Koji wrote:Let's use the example of our monitors which are made up of pixels. Is it possible to discern (prajñâ) a single pixel from the smallest cluster of pixels in the image of a flower, for example? If I say I have attained pixel-nirvana, seeing only a single pixel, not being confused by clusters of pixels, how do I know that I am not deluded; and how might other people be convinced, who have never attained pixel-nirvana, that I have attained it?

I am not suggesting that these questions can be answered to anyone's satisfaction. Personally, I don't think they can. The tentative reason I give is the world of first-person knowledge is not the world of the third-person knowledge—the former cannot be assimilated into the latter. Hence the problem.


I'm not sure I understand this analogy at all. "Pixel Nirvana" would be, to me, being able to percieve each pixel, but also the conglomerate of pixels, etc. But this assumes there is something to "see" in the first place....and I don't think "prajna" sees in that way. As I said, this analogy doesn't seem to be instructive.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby anjali » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:30 pm

conebeckham wrote:This leads to the question: for those who feel they have "had an experience" or "experienced" Wisdom or Buddhamind or whatnot, and have somehow consequently conceptualized that experience as a sort of "Self," is that "experience" really the experience of Wisdom that is talked about in Sutra, Tantra, and Upadesha? Or is it a mistaken experience?


Once the mind starts analyzing the experience, the freshness is gone and the practitioner is hosed. ;)
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby conebeckham » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:47 pm

anjali wrote:
conebeckham wrote:This leads to the question: for those who feel they have "had an experience" or "experienced" Wisdom or Buddhamind or whatnot, and have somehow consequently conceptualized that experience as a sort of "Self," is that "experience" really the experience of Wisdom that is talked about in Sutra, Tantra, and Upadesha? Or is it a mistaken experience?


Once the mind starts analyzing the experience, the freshness is gone and the practitioner is hosed. ;)

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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Poorbitch » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:49 pm

anjali wrote:
conebeckham wrote:This leads to the question: for those who feel they have "had an experience" or "experienced" Wisdom or Buddhamind or whatnot, and have somehow consequently conceptualized that experience as a sort of "Self," is that "experience" really the experience of Wisdom that is talked about in Sutra, Tantra, and Upadesha? Or is it a mistaken experience?


Once the mind starts analyzing the experience, the freshness is gone and the practitioner is hosed. ;)

:bow:
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby smcj » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:56 pm

... does this pertain to "a presumption, a hypothesis, a fantasy, an idea"?

My teacher used the analogy of blindness. You can tell a blind man he is blind, and describe to him what it is like to see. That may motivate him to act and open his eyes. So there is a point in telling him about the hypothesis, although the explanation is totally inadequate to replace the actual experience of sight.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby daverupa » Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:53 am

anjali wrote:
conebeckham wrote:This leads to the question: for those who feel they have "had an experience" or "experienced" Wisdom or Buddhamind or whatnot, and have somehow consequently conceptualized that experience as a sort of "Self," is that "experience" really the experience of Wisdom that is talked about in Sutra, Tantra, and Upadesha? Or is it a mistaken experience?


Once the mind starts analyzing the experience, the freshness is gone and the practitioner is hosed. ;)


It depends on the practice; one would expect vipassana and samatha to be trained as paired qualities, developed in tandem if possible - so depending on how it is meant, "analysis" is essential.

The Sutra on the Concentration of Sitting Meditation is full of instructions which are examples of appropriate analysis together with calm, for both Arahant and Bodhisattva meditation directions. I expect that this text may be quite pertinent to the OP.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Sherab » Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:26 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The core of the conditioned is unconditioned.

So the core of the compounded is uncompounded, the core of the born is unborn, the core of the transcended is untranscended?
I agree.


Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote:That would simply mean that there is no conditioned, no compounded, no born, no transcended. And that would simply mean that all that is experienced is nothing but an illusion, a hallucination.
Correct.


We are in agreement in the above-mentioned.

But you did not comment on this:

Sherab wrote:And since, in a non-dual state, the experiencer is the experienced, the experiencer must also be an illusion. So we could all be merely part of a computer simulation such as The Matrix and the Buddha is part of that as well. Or the Hindu belief that we are all the dream of the God Brahma is correct and Buddha is also part of the dream.

And that would be a problem.


The fact that you did not comment on the above is to me, a reflection of the difficulty of avoiding the extremes of unconditioned and conditioned, and by extension the extreme position of the other mutually exclusive pairs such as permanent and impermanent, existence and non-existence etc. by using those very words, ie. words such as conditioned and unconditioned etc.

I prefer to follow the approach use in science which uses the idea of conservation. For example, the conservation of energy and the conservation of information. Here, energy can take different forms and information can be anywhere but taken as a whole, energy is conserved, i.e., not destroyed. Similarly for information. I find that by borrowing this idea of conservation for the base of all phenomena, it is easier to avoid the extremes positions that labels such as conditioned and unconditioned, permanent and impermanent etc. tends to force us into, or tend to distort the meaning that we intend to convey.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Sherab » Sat Sep 28, 2013 3:08 am

Astus wrote:
Sherab wrote:My view is that reflexivity has to be the nature of any form of awareness. Otherwise, there is no possibility of an awareness being an awareness. In other words, for awareness to be aware, it has be aware that it is aware.


It is aware that it is aware, and it is aware that it is aware it is aware, etc. I think it's rather that appearances and consciousness are inseparable. Whatever is experienced is necessarily perceived. This need for a special self-reflection comes up when awareness is believed to be an entity on its own that shines outside, as if it were like the physical eye, however, I consider it an incorrect metaphor.

I suspect we are not in disagreement.
My position was taken in response to those who hold that the mind cannot be aware that it is aware. To me, that would simply means that there is no awareness at all.
Consider a situation when there is no internal or external stimulus for the mind. In that situation, the mind should still be aware that it is aware in spite of the lack of any form of stimulus (ie. appearance). So to me, reflexivity should be part and parcel of mind itself.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Sep 28, 2013 3:11 am

Sherab wrote:But you did not comment on this:

Sherab wrote:And since, in a non-dual state, the experiencer is the experienced, the experiencer must also be an illusion. So we could all be merely part of a computer simulation such as The Matrix and the Buddha is part of that as well. Or the Hindu belief that we are all the dream of the God Brahma is correct and Buddha is also part of the dream.

And that would be a problem.

Actually, Malcolm has said many times that according to Dzogchen everything, including buddhahood, is completely equivalent with an illusion.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:58 am

Isn't that even true for outside of Dzogchen Sutrayana too though? It's alluded to constantly in Prajnaparamita stuff...
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Koji » Sat Sep 28, 2013 5:34 am

conebeckham wrote:
This leads to the question: for those who feel they have "had an experience" or "experienced" Wisdom or Buddhamind or whatnot, and have somehow consequently conceptualized that experience as a sort of "Self," is that "experience" really the experience of Wisdom that is talked about in Sutra, Tantra, and Upadesha? Or is it a mistaken experience?


Let's say I had the experience of attaining nirvana whose self-nature (svabhâva) is that of being unconditioned and, moreover, my attainment is incapable of being conceptualized. How can I be refuted? In fact, there is no way I can be refuted.
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