Early Buddhism and Mahayana

General forum on Mahayana.

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby daverupa » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:34 am

So, citta is able to assess faculties et al which are variously present or absent, including vinnana. There is also a certain formless attainment which makes reference to the base of boundless vinnana.

Are either of these states akin to the self-reflexive knowing being referred to, above? There's no necessary contradiction with the six sense bases being All there is...
    "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 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:36 am

Sherab wrote:
By definition, conditioned and unconditioned are mutually exclusive.



By definition they are mutually unintelligible without the other.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Sherab » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:18 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote:
By definition, conditioned and unconditioned are mutually exclusive.



By definition they are mutually unintelligible without the other.

Once you defined A, Not A is automatically defined as well and vice versa.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Wayfarer » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:23 am

Buddhist logic is not always bound by the law of the excluded middle.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Sherab » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:27 am

jeeprs wrote:Buddhist logic is not always bound by the law of the excluded middle.

Perhaps, those who developed Buddhist logic did not know of such a law. To me, that is an indication of a failing of their logic.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby oushi » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:32 am

Malcolm wrote:
oushi wrote:This is precisely how it is described in prajnaparamita for example.


Sorry, but no.

Your "arguments" are not convincing...

Perfection of wisdom in 8000 lines, chapter XII.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Wayfarer » Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:41 am

Sherab wrote:
jeeprs wrote:Buddhist logic is not always bound by the law of the excluded middle.

Perhaps, those who developed Buddhist logic did not know of such a law. To me, that is an indication of a failing of their logic.


It's not that simple. The Buddhists were expert logicians, one of the reasons Buddhism succeeded was because of their skill in debate. But the principles of Buddhist logic are different to Aristotelean logic, although that is a different topic to this one.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby muni » Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:57 am

anjali wrote:I'm in the "self-knowing" camp as well. It's somewhat of a mystery to me why people out-right reject such an experience is possible when we have the testimony of those who say it is. Perhaps people are uncomfortable with entertaining such a possibility because it seems to hint at a self. Which of course it doesn't at all.


As Malcolm, as Oushi seem to say something.
All-knowing means not knowing all phernomena but using the tools of Dharma so that one thing is knowing, which is no thing: Mind/Nature of Mind. The all-knowing or self-knowing: nature of mind knowing nature of mind. So I understood the Master. We need guidance and then the ability for meditation (or nonmeditation).

There are many kind of beings and so many medicines. Debates can be very useful for sharpening insight, for other they are distraction.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby oushi » Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:23 am

muni wrote: know one thing which is no thing

That is why knowing it is not knowing.
People often imagine that they know a part of everything, and they have to expand their knowledge until they know all. But this type of knowledge is delusive. All-knowledge of Buddhas is without content. It is a direct consequence of the nature of dharmas, which is emptiness. It is not something within them, but rather lack of inherent nature in then, otherwise emptiness would be an inherent nature of dharmas. Lack of inherent nature cannot be found, cannot be grasped.
To truly know something is to know its inherent nature. Since nothing contains inherent nature, all-knowing is without content. There is no need to know everything about delusion, simply because it is delusion. People thinking that they will find a proof of emptiness in a heap of delusion, are deluding themselves.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Astus » Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:02 pm

jeeprs wrote:Why then is there significance given to dhyana states such as the 'immaterial dhyanas'? Do you think when yogis are in those states they are simply inert? Might they as well be asleep? The way I would understand it, this is what is implied by 'passing beyond duality', but it is not simply 'unconsciousness'. It is consciousness without the sense of there being an observer. "Contentless consciousness" is one description I have read.


Arupa-dhyanas only exclude rupa but not the mental aggregates. All the qualities of the fourth dhyana are also present, so it is far from being an inert state. And the formless absorptions are not "beyond duality" either, at least not as realisations or mental states. A contentless consciousness is a misleading poetical term, or a mistaken philosophical concept, depending on what you mean by it. The realm that is without all mental functions ("contents") in Buddhism is found within the form realm and it's called the realm/heaven of unconscious beings (asamjnisattva; 無想天).
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Wayfarer » Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:12 pm

Astus wrote:When there is no "internal stimulus", it means there is no mental movement, no mental phenomena. And that means unconsciousness, mindlessness.


So you equate the jhanas with mindlessness?
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Malcolm » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:12 pm

oushi wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
oushi wrote:This is precisely how it is described in prajnaparamita for example.


Sorry, but no.

Your "arguments" are not convincing...

Perfection of wisdom in 8000 lines, chapter XII.


Abhisamaya alaṃkāra, the whole book, which explains the hidden meaning of the PP sūtras, including the scope and content of the two kinds of omniscience.
Last edited by Malcolm on Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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http://www.bhaisajya.net
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Astus » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:15 pm

jeeprs wrote:So you equate the jhanas with mindlessness?


Not at all. Absorptions are all mental activities themselves.
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby smcj » Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:59 pm

The question on the table is whether the knowing quality of the mind can turn back on itself (self-reflexive knowing)? To hijack a zen phrase, is it possible to "turn the light and illuminate back?" From the perspective of self-reflexive knowing, this can be interpreted as taking the light of one's awareness and turning it back on itself. There are folks who say this can be done, and describe it as a singular experience.

The omniscience of the a buddha is self-knowing, as I mentioned before.

Presumably you mean a buddha's self-knowing is not self-reflexive, in that mind cannot take itself as its own object. Mind would have to take a 'step back' in order to see itself, thereby setting up an infinite regression. It must somehow know itself without taking itself as an object, correct?
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Malcolm » Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:12 pm

smcj wrote:Presumably you mean a buddha's self-knowing is not self-reflexive, in that mind cannot take itself as its own object. Mind would have to take a 'step back' in order to see itself, thereby setting up an infinite regression. It must somehow know itself without taking itself as an object, correct?


The buddhas self-knowing is precisely self-reflexive.
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http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby anjali » Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:30 pm

daverupa wrote:So, citta is able to assess faculties et al which are variously present or absent, including vinnana. There is also a certain formless attainment which makes reference to the base of boundless vinnana.

Are either of these states akin to the self-reflexive knowing being referred to, above? There's no necessary contradiction with the six sense bases being All there is...


Self(-reflexive) knowing is present in all dualistic states, fixated on as the sense of "I".

One has to be clear on the distinction been self-knowing and self-grasping. Self-knowing is considered to be an inherent facet of knowing--at a fundamental level, knowing knows itself in a direct way. When ignorance kicks in, this primal self-knowing becomes self-grasping--the conceit of individuality. And with that, the starting gun has been fired, and we are off to the samsaric races. Self-knowing is still present, but as the dualistic sense of "I" in relation to objects.
All things are unworthy of clinging to (sabbe dhammā nâla abhinivesāyā). --Buddha
If there is clinging, you do not have the view. --Drakpa Gyaltsen
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby daverupa » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:16 am

anjali wrote:Self-knowing is considered to be an inherent facet of knowing--at a fundamental level, knowing knows itself in a direct way.


'Is considered' by whom? I mean, if we're comparing Mahayana with Early Buddhism, I wonder if I could trouble you for text(s) to this effect since my familiarity is with the Nikayas; I'd like to grok the terms being used here.
    "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 anjali » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:14 am

daverupa wrote:
anjali wrote:Self-knowing is considered to be an inherent facet of knowing--at a fundamental level, knowing knows itself in a direct way.


'Is considered' by whom? I mean, if we're comparing Mahayana with Early Buddhism, I wonder if I could trouble you for text(s) to this effect since my familiarity is with the Nikayas; I'd like to grok the terms being used here.


The phrase you are looking for in English is reflexive awareness direct perception. In Sanskrit it is svasamvedana-pratyaksha. In Tibetan it is rang rig mngon sum. In Buddhist epistemology it is considered one of four modes of valid direct cognition--not by everyone of course!

Two works that may be of value are The Buddhist Theory of Self-Cognition by Zhihua Yao and The Reflexive Nature of Awareness: A Tibetan Madhyamaka Defense by Paul Williams. They are dense and scholarly. The book by Yao gives an extensive overview of the early Buddhist development of self-cognition. Unfortunately, I'm not much of a scholar on this stuff. Perhaps others can provide additional references. One things for sure, the systematic usage (in theory and practice) of reflexive awareness direct perception in Buddhism comes in later.
All things are unworthy of clinging to (sabbe dhammā nâla abhinivesāyā). --Buddha
If there is clinging, you do not have the view. --Drakpa Gyaltsen
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby muni » Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:49 am

oushi wrote: Lack of inherent nature cannot be found, cannot be grasped.


Ok.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby muni » Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:58 am

smcj wrote: It must somehow know itself without taking itself as an object, correct?


Speechless. :smile:
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