Emptiness and omniscience

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Emptiness and omniscience

Postby montana » Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:14 pm

Is there a connection between emptiness and omniscience?
It seems to me that there should be because when you have this wisdom false appearances no longer obscure the mind.

Also, does bliss generated from compassion offer more than just energy to emptiness wisdom or is there something about compassion/bliss that primes you for seeing emptiness?
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby tingdzin » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:16 am

Huge questions, and no easy answers, though one might say a TENTATIVE yes to the first.
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby smcj » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:29 am

montana wrote:Is there a connection between emptiness and omniscience?
It seems to me that there should be because when you have this wisdom false appearances no longer obscure the mind.

I pulled out a Kalu R. book from the shelf for another thread. Here's a relevant quote:

The great awareness of buddha sees and knows all the phenomena which constitute samsara, nirvana, and the path. It is as if everything were placed in the palm of a hand. The karma of the three times, the past, present, and future, the seeds of karma, the results of karma--everything--is known individually, unconfusedly, and clearly, without any dimness.

Also, does bliss generated from compassion offer more than just energy to emptiness wisdom or is there something about compassion/bliss that primes you for seeing emptiness?

I dunno.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby yoga lion » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:35 am

montana wrote:Is there a connection between emptiness and omniscience?
It seems to me that there should be because when you have this wisdom false appearances no longer obscure the mind.

Also, does bliss generated from compassion offer more than just energy to emptiness wisdom or is there something about compassion/bliss that primes you for seeing emptiness?



Drop the conceptual emptiness, you may experience true emptiness. Emptiness is the place where creation and destruction happen, at the same time, it is where creation and destruction end. Therefore, it is omniscience.

Compassion means the coming together of all passions equally. Compassion is not love, though love is the biggest motivation to start anything, it is not an end by itself. True compassion is impartial and its spontaneous. What needs to be done will be done without hesitation, without judgement and attachment. Love only exists in beings, whether consciously from human or unconsciously from animals. However, there are also non-beings in the existence. "God" or emptiness permeates them all.

Bliss is not the highest state of being. Bliss is the result of freedom from anything good or bad, especially from negative emotions, which of course comes after experiencing and understanding emptiness. What follows after is a sense of contentment and peace, eventually the dissolution of the self or nirvana.
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:13 am

montana wrote:Is there a connection between emptiness and omniscience?
Yes and no. Emptiness is a characteristic of all phenomena, so if emptiness were omniscience then all phenomena would be omniscient. By the same token it is because of emptiness that one can achieve omniscience. If all phenomena were "fixed" then they would, by their nature, be limited, because they are dependently arisen (empty of self nature) they are also infinite in scope.
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby undefineable » Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:25 pm

yoga lion wrote:Compassion means the coming together of all passions equally. Compassion is not love, though love is the biggest motivation to start anything, it is not an end by itself.
It sounds questionable to rule out something as amorphous and apparently spiritual as love from enlightenment, as you appear to be doing. Is it a question of 'growing up' and accepting that love is too tied up with familial and sexual relationships to have much of a wider relevance, I wonder :thinking: I like your definition of campassion though :)
yoga lion wrote:However, there are also non-beings in the existence. "God" or emptiness permeates them all.
You seem to have leapt from a limited role for love to the concept of 'God', which most would define as a thing (real or unreal) both relavant to love and irrelevant to Buddhism :? Also, what are 'non-beings'?
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby yoga lion » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:15 pm

It sounds questionable to rule out something as amorphous and apparently spiritual as love from enlightenment, as you appear to be doing. Is it a question of 'growing up' and accepting that love is too tied up with familial and sexual relationships to have much of a wider relevance, I wonder :thinking: I like your definition of campassion though :)


What's your understanding of love? How do you see or think the role that love plays in "enlightenment"? What do you think "enlightenment" is?

You seem to have leapt from a limited role for love to the concept of 'God', which most would define as a thing (real or unreal) both relavant to love and irrelevant to Buddhism :? Also, what are 'non-beings'?


By God, I mean emptiness, the Tao, or the metaphysics, without realizing its a Buddhist forum that most would stay away from the word. It's definitely relevant to Buddhism. Non-beings are rocks, moon, sun....Maybe non-sentient being is more accurate from the Buddhist perspective.
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby undefineable » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:12 am

yoga lion wrote:
It sounds questionable to rule out something as amorphous and apparently spiritual as love from enlightenment, as you appear to be doing. Is it a question of 'growing up' and accepting that love is too tied up with familial and sexual relationships to have much of a wider relevance, I wonder :thinking: I like your definition of campassion though :)
How do you see or think the role that love plays in "enlightenment"? What do you think "enlightenment" is?
As an unenlightened being, I'm in no hurry to answer these questions, even if I was asking you :P . Since Buddhism is about ending suffering rather than ending happiness, it'd make sense that some aspect of love would be developed on the path, and that hate would be reconstituted. As it is, love is atleast mentioned positively in many teachings, hate being described at best as something to be transformed. An acceptance of the 'suchness' of all things implies a positive bias at the very least, however uneasily this may sit with the many teachings that urge unbiased perception. On the other hand, sunyata's reality is that there are no objects of love, rendering the term meaningless.

I'd imagine it's best to wait and see where the path takes you, and not to suppress or indulge particular feelings :shrug:
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby disjointed » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:30 am

montana wrote:Is there a connection between emptiness and omniscience?
It seems to me that there should be because when you have this wisdom false appearances no longer obscure the mind.

Also, does bliss generated from compassion offer more than just energy to emptiness wisdom or is there something about compassion/bliss that primes you for seeing emptiness?


There is a connection between the wisdom realizing emptiness and omniscience by the same means you've suspected. I don't know if wisdom realizing emptiness is the only factor of omniscience though as there are arhants with wisdom realizing emptiness that may not be omniscient according to what I've been taught.


The "bliss generated from compassion" temporarily inhibits karma supporting views of inherent self existence by being a strong opposing force to self cherishing. When the self cherishing is diminished or obliterated by compassion, there is little standing in the way of wisdom realizing emptiness.
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby montana » Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:56 am

Wow. there are more responses than I was expecting. I t will take some time to read them all.
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby oushi » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:05 am

montana wrote:Is there a connection between emptiness and omniscience?

They are the same thing.
All phenomena are empty, knowing emptiness of all phenomena is knowing all phenomena. Emptiness of phenomena is the only thing to know since everything else is delusion.
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:38 am

oushi wrote:
montana wrote:Is there a connection between emptiness and omniscience?

They are the same thing.
All phenomena are empty, knowing emptiness of all phenomena is knowing all phenomena. Emptiness of phenomena is the only thing to know since everything else is delusion.
Are emptiness and omniscience the same thing or are emptiness and knowledge/realisation of omniscience the same thing?
"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."
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby catmoon » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:40 am

Omniscience is emptiness practiced.
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby oushi » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:18 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:
oushi wrote:
montana wrote:Is there a connection between emptiness and omniscience?

They are the same thing.
All phenomena are empty, knowing emptiness of all phenomena is knowing all phenomena. Emptiness of phenomena is the only thing to know since everything else is delusion.
Are emptiness and omniscience the same thing or are emptiness and knowledge/realisation of omniscience the same thing?

I don't know what do you mean by realization of omniscience.
Since emptiness is all there is to know, what else needs to be known to be omniscient?
Omniscience in this case does not cover relative knowledge, simply because it is relative, and as such cannot be considered universally. Relative omniscience is an oxymoron.
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:27 am

Ooooooopsss... I meant knowledge/relaisation of emptiness.

So the question is: Are emptiness and omniscience the same thing or are omniscience and knowledge/realisation of emptiness the same thing?

Sorry! :emb:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby catmoon » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:44 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:Ooooooopsss... I meant knowledge/relaisation of emptiness.

So the question is: Are emptiness and omniscience the same thing or are omniscience and knowledge/realisation of emptiness the same thing?

Sorry! :emb:



Well there are three possible questions there. Fortunately the answer to all three is "no".


Just because A leads to B does not mean A is B. Even if A inevitably leads to B, it still doesn't mean they are the same thing. For example, my sister-in-law's pot roast leads to heartburn. Are we then going to say that pot roast and heartburn are the same thing?
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:50 am

Well, I was being kind of rhetorical (cf my intial reply in the thread).
"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 omniscience

Postby oushi » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:56 am

There is no such thing as free floating emptiness. We can only talk about realization of emptiness. Nevertheless, omniscience does not arise as a thing that we gain on realizing emptiness. It's a removal of wrong views, not a new set of ideal views.
So, it's not that after realization, omniscience will give you the ability to perfectly asses a situation and say "because X is empty then Y is true". Why? Because this is a relative knowledge, and omniscience cannot be relative. Omniscience is emptiness, thus it does not have a content.
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:14 pm

oushi wrote:There is no such thing as free floating emptiness. We can only talk about realization of emptiness
So you are saying that without the realisation of emptiness there is no emptiness? That seems to fly in the face of Buddhist theories of ignorance and emptiness.
Nevertheless, omniscience does not arise as a thing that we gain on realizing emptiness. It's a removal of wrong views, not a new set of ideal views.
Omniscient adj. - Having total knowledge; knowing everything.
Omniscience n. - 1. the quality or state of being omniscient. 2. infinite knowledge.

Your definition of omniscience does not square with the dictionary definition. Maybe that is why we cannot come to some sort of agreement.
Omniscience is emptiness, thus it does not have a content.
If omniscience is emptiness then we would be omniscient now since emptiness is our current state of being. We are not omniscient. Unless, of course, I am omniscient, but do not know that I am omniscient. In which case I would not be omniscient, since omniscience is (after all) knowledge of everything. :shrug:
"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."
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Re: Emptiness and omniscience

Postby oushi » Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:44 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:So you are saying that without the realisation of emptiness there is no emptiness? That seems to fly in the face of Buddhist theories of ignorance and emptiness.

There is no emptiness even after realization... But you will not take it at face value, so I will ask:
Phenomena contain emptiness, or emptiness contains phenomena? Is emptiness a thing?

Sherab Dorje wrote:Your definition of omniscience does not square with the dictionary definition. Maybe that is why we cannot come to some sort of agreement.

Not really.
Having total knowledge; knowing everything. (yes)
infinite knowledge. (yes)

There only difference is in the nature of known, which is empty. In other words, if there is nothing to know, you know everything. Anyway, I will ask. If knowledge of the definition of omniscience is two lines, knowledge of Gautama's life is 10 tomes, how much knowledge is emptiness?
Sherab Dorje wrote:If omniscience is emptiness then we would be omniscient

Yes.
We are not omniscient.

Depends on how you define omniscience.
Sherab Dorje wrote:Unless I am omniscient but do not know that I am omniscient. In which case I would not be omniscient since omniscience os knowledge of everything.

Relative knowledge is illusion. Knowing and not knowing are both empty, thus you are omniscient even if you don't know it. Problem lies in definition that is inconsistent. If you take your definition of omniscience, as something enabling you to know everything about every phenomena, what about not knowing? Does all-knowing include not-knowing, or it is excluded debunking the falsehood of such a omniscience?
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