"the Self is real" according to T. Page

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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:18 pm

han wrote:Can you see your own eyes?" Nobody can see their own eyes. I can see your eyes but I can't see my eyes.


Wow, it's funny (to me) to read this today, because I was just discussing this fact with someone.
An eye cannot look into itself directly.
but it can look directly at a reflection of itself
and that reflection, and the awareness of that reflection validates that the eye is there.
Likewise, while awareness cannot see itself directly,
the fact that objects of awareness are experienced
validates that awareness operates.
.
.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:52 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Well, it is because also the existence of matter cannot be found.


Matter cannnot be found in dreams either, but it exists and functions. Our perceiving it and its functioning is not a wrong awareness.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby greentara » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:15 pm

dzogchungpa, Ajahn Sumedho said "After teaching in the West for a very short period of time, I began to see that many people were disappointed both in materialism and theistic religions. To them Buddhism had great appeal but, lacking any fundamental sense of, or faith in the transcendent, the practice of Buddhism became almost a dry, technical procedure – intellectually satisfying but strangely sterile as well"

Ajahn Sumedho has his finger on the pulse. I've always felt without devotion there's no juice in the teaching and it just becomes sterile!
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:18 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:Matter cannnot be found in dreams either, but it exists and functions. Our perceiving it and its functioning is not a wrong awareness.


No, the matter which appears in a dream is recognized to be unreal. Do you call that which is recognized to be unreal something that exists. I don't.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby asunthatneversets » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:33 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
han wrote:Can you see your own eyes?" Nobody can see their own eyes. I can see your eyes but I can't see my eyes.


Wow, it's funny (to me) to read this today, because I was just discussing this fact with someone.
An eye cannot look into itself directly.
but it can look directly at a reflection of itself
and that reflection, and the awareness of that reflection validates that the eye is there.
Likewise, while awareness cannot see itself directly,
the fact that objects of awareness are experienced
validates that awareness operates.
.
.
.


Not according to Nāgārjuna. I mean, we can conventionally say that 'awareness operates' but ultimately 'awareness' and objects of awareness are unfindable.

Greg Goode wrote about this not too long ago:
"Nagarjuna argues that the faculty of vision cannot ultimately exist. And then neither can a seer or visual objects.

Then generalizes to other senses.

Even the first two verses deserve lots of contemplation:

3.1. "Vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch, and the inner sense (manas or the mind)
are the six faculties; the visible and so on are their fields."

(This is the doctrine, and it is held that they exist inherently. This latter claim is what Nagarjuna will refute.)

3.2. "In no way does vision see itself.
If vision does not see itself, how will it see what is other?"

Verse 3.2 seems odd, because we would normally think that vision is not SUPPOSED to see itself. It is only SUPPOSED to see something other than itself, right?

Verse 3.2.a is a version of the non-reflexivity principle. The eye cannot see itself, the knife cannot cut itself.

Verse 3.2.b seems like a non-sequitur. Here is what the Indian commentaries said about it.

There are at least several ways to look at this:

-1-

Think of being seen as a property or attribute, something that pervades a substance. It is like the scent of jasmine pervades the jasmine flower before pervading the air around it. If the flower is not pervaded by its own scent, then neither can the air be pervaded by it.

So in this way, is vision itself pervaded by the property or essence of being seen? Clearly not. So, like the example of the flower, the property of being seen cannot pervade anything else.

So nothing is pervaded by the property of being seen, and the visible is not established. Vision is also not established.

-2-

If seeing is the inherent, intrinsic property of vision, then it must see all by itself, regardless of whether there is an object present. If vision depended on an object in order for seeing to work, then vision would not be ultimately, inherently existent. Seeing would not be an inherent property of vision.

But vision does not see by itself. So it isn't an inherently existent element, and can't inherently see anything.

-3-

Another way to look at vision is by the objects it sees.

Vision either sees the presently visible, or the presently invisible, or both, or neither.

Vision doesn't see objects that are presently visible, because they are already being seen. Because they are already being seen, they do not need vision to see them. So this vision is not what is seeing them.

Vision doesn't see objects that are presently invisible. Invisible objects have the property of not being seen, so nothing can see them.

Vision doesn't see objects that are both visible and invisible because of a combination of the first two reasons above.

Vision doesn't see objects that are NEITHER visible nor invisible because we can REVERSE the first two reasons above.

Therefore vision doesn't see. If it doesn't see, then seeingness is not its intrinsic nature. Then it makes no sense to think that vision exists in the ultimate way that it appears to.

If vision doesn't exist, then how can visible objects exist?"
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:43 am

Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:Matter cannnot be found in dreams either, but it exists and functions. Our perceiving it and its functioning is not a wrong awareness.


No, the matter which appears in a dream is recognized to be unreal. Do you call that which is recognized to be unreal something that exists. I don't.


In dreams and in waking life, things exist in exactly the same way - as appearances to mind - and they have a relative degree of reality. A cup seen in a dream functions to hold liquid and to be able to be drunk from and this is the same in waking life. They are obviously different from an object that is mistaken for a cup or a cup that is hallucinated that cannot function at all. These dream-like appearances possess the functions they appear to possess and are therefore non-deceptive whereas an hallucinated object does not.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:47 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:they have a relative degree of reality.


Which is to merely say that they are objects of false cognitions, which when examined cannot be found to exist or be produced in anyway at all.
http://www.atikosha.org
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at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:17 am

asunthatneversets wrote:
Another way to look at vision is by the objects it sees.
Vision either sees the presently visible, or the presently invisible, or both, or neither.
Vision doesn't see objects that are presently visible, because they are already being seen. Because they are already being seen, they do not need vision to see them. So this vision is not what is seeing them.
Vision doesn't see objects that are presently invisible. Invisible objects have the property of not being seen, so nothing can see them.
Vision doesn't see objects that are both visible and invisible because of a combination of the first two reasons above.
Vision doesn't see objects that are NEITHER visible nor invisible because we can REVERSE the first two reasons above.
Therefore vision doesn't see. If it doesn't see, then seeingness is not its intrinsic nature. Then it makes no sense to think that vision exists in the ultimate way that it appears to.
If vision doesn't exist, then how can visible objects exist?"[/i]

Well, I totally do not understand anything that you posted up until this point (above). That part about the jasmine flower just went right over my head. Can you explain it better?

But, this part here (above) is partly correct.
What is experienced as "seeing" is an electronic pulse in the chemistry of the brain, triggered by light bouncing off objects and into the eyes. Technically, we don't even see objects. we only see light bouncing off objects.
Even ore technically, there is no 'we' seeing it. There is only awareness arising with objects of awareness.

That's why the whole thing about 'eye consciousness" , and so forth, doesn't make any sense to me

But this part is largely true. "Seeing" doesn't actually occur outside of being a manifestation of awareness. What occurs is awareness arising with physical brain activity, and experiencing that brain activity (which is all going on in total darkness, by the way) as the experience of 'sight'.

But "exist' is a somewhat meaningless term in Buddhism, I think.
If something 'exists' it must do so essentially, meaning that if an object is broken down into component parts, each part contains that object in essence. But, there's not too much that does that.
So, the question "If vision doesn't exist, then how can visible objects exist?" is off the mark.
composite objects, cars, for example, arise and are perceived visually.
What makes them 'visible objects' has nothing to do with their arising as composites.

Take for example, a painting of a Buddha. Like a Tibetan thang'ka.
The image on that scroll of canvas or paper only arisies ("exists", if you want to use that word)
in the presence of light. If you put that painting into a lightproof room,
that image isn't there. It's not just that it's there but you can't see it.
without light, there is no painted image.
But there is the cause of a painting of a Buddha (well, part of a cause, anyway).
The potential for a specific image to arise is there,
because the different chemicals in the paint on the surface of that canvas are there
and they can reflect different parts of the visible light spectrum.
So, the potential for a visible object may be present.
Otherwise, everything in the world would vanish for a split second every time your eyes blinked.
Just imagine how annoying that would be.
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Last edited by PadmaVonSamba on Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:58 am

^ well yes if you attempt to approach these pointers through the lens of physicalist science, it definitely is not going to make sense.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Sherab » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:03 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote:Actually, my quarrel is with the application of mutually exclusive terms of conditioned and unconditioned to describe one and the same thing because it creates confusion.


Take it up with the Buddha.

The ultimate is taught by the Buddha to be inexpressible. The problem therefore lies not with the Buddha but with how people confuse his teaching by using mutually exclusive terms to apply to one and the same phenomenon. They do that to try to express the inexpressible and in the process making the expression meaningless.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:26 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Well, I totally do not understand anything that you posted up until this point (above). That part about the jasmine flower just went right over my head. Can you explain it better?


When Greg unpacked the flower part further he wrote:

"Vision doesn't see itself. It is not reflexive. Vision is not pervaded by the property of being seen. So if it can't even pervade itself with a property it is supposed to have inherently, then how can it ever spread out and pervade other things? So therefore, the analogy with the flower fails. Vision is more like a knife that can't cut itself than it is like a flower that pervades itself with its own scent.

If it is the intrinsic nature of something to be seen, then vision doesn't see it (as it's not necessary), and non-vision doesn't see it (as it's not possible)..

If it is the intrinsic nature of something not to be seen, then vision doesn't see it (or then it would be seen and not unseen), and non-vision doesn't see it (because non-vision cannot see).

A visual object is either seen by vision or not seen by vision. If vision doesn't see it (because vision is superfluous), then it is not a visual object. If it is not seen by vision because its own nature is to be unseen, then it is also not a visual object.

Therefore there are no visual objects.

The key to getting this logic is that the assumption of inherent properties make any relationships either impossible or superfluous."
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:28 am

asunthatneversets wrote:
If it is the intrinsic nature of something to be seen...
...If it is the intrinsic nature of something not to be seen...


---what is that supposed to mean?
It can't be the intrinsic nature of something to engage in interaction with anything.
That immediately contradicts any notion of 'intrinsic nature' because interaction necessitates dependent arising
(unless you are asserting some kind of fate is at work).

Oh, I see what the point is being made.
Since both object being seen and faculty of seeing depend on each other for the action of seeing to occur
then neither can be called fully self-existent.

Likewise, one might argue that since awareness and object of awareness rely on each other for the action of awareness of object to occur, neither can be said to be self-existent either, and the point being that one cannot separate the action from the components of the action, because the action is what identifies / defines those components to begin with.

This is a very interesting point.
But there is a flaw in it.

By asserting that the action is an inherent aspect of the object,
the doctrine of emptiness isn't really being maintained at all.
the point of 'existence' is just being moved around
like the pea under the three walnut shells

This is an after-the fact approach.
It's like first defining a house as a place where people live
and thus, if the people move out, it is no longer a house.
If something does not cut, then it isn't a sword
and if it has no perfume, it isn't a flower.

What this ignores is the factor of potentiality
and instead applies a type of pre-destiny,
but as I said, a pre-destiny combined with an after the fact evaluation of things.

Composite objects occur whether there is any awareness of them or not
whether someone sees them or not
and in this case, this can be established after the fact
but not if a pre-destined purpose is asserted,
and that's where the flaw in the logic occurs.

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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:04 am

And what flaw might that be?
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:06 am

asunthatneversets wrote:And what flaw might that be?

Yeah, I went back and added to my post.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:17 am

asunthatneversets wrote:^ well yes if you attempt to approach these pointers through the lens of physicalist science, it definitely is not going to make sense.


How is the awareness of, say, a flash of lightning in the sky
appreciably different from the experience of a neuron firing inside one's skull?
If we are going to talk about the emptiness of phenomena
we have to apply it across the board, don't we?

We can't just pretend that our eyes are little windows and only discuss what's going on 'out there'.
Not only do we have cognition, but we have awareness of that cognition.
We don't just think, we know we think. We witness our experiences and we witness the act of witnessing our experiences.
Even if it is all a dream, there is awareness of it.
our awareness can also be an object of awareness
but only (or usually) in regards to the awareness of other objects of awareness.
But this doesn't negate awareness (merely because objects have no inherent reality).
It confirms it.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:30 am

An assertion that there's action inherent in objects was never made. He was saying that if something is seen intrinsically, then it doesn't need to be seen, ergo vision is superfluous. And if something is intrinsically unseen, then the question as to whether vision is involved or not is already answered, because an unseen thing is not seen by definition, ergo vision is a non-starter in that case.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:39 am

^ this isn't an assertion of actions being inherent in objects because since vision cannot be established (inherently), objects of vision cannot be (inherently) established either. If they (vision and objects) arise they do so dependently, and dependent origination is not origination. The same goes for the rest of the senses.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:46 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:they have a relative degree of reality.


Which is to merely say that they are objects of false cognitions, which when examined cannot be found to exist or be produced in anyway at all.


We must agree to disagree as we hold different views of the two truths.

If things are not produced they do not exist and they do not function, so there are no conventional truths. It's incorrect to say that things are not produced in any way at all, because if that where true, they wouldn't appear. Things are produced dependently and exist in that way, including the path to enlightenment. I don't disagree that our cognition with respect to how things exist is false, but relatively they exist and function which you seem to be denying. This is an extreme.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:03 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote: If things are not produced they do not exist and they do not function, so there are no conventional truths. It's incorrect to say that things are not produced in any way at all, because if that where true, they wouldn't appear.


It's better to say that If things are not produced they do not occur,
rather than they do not exist.
('arise" would also be a better word)

This is an important distinction to make,
and one that I think , once made, reveals there is actually no disagreement in this discussion as such.
Whenever one uses the word 'exist'
one runs the risk of suggesting some level of inherent existence, self-arising, and so forth.
I don't think there is any disagreement between Malcolm's argument and Tsongkhapafan's argument
with regard to dependently arising phenomena occurring or arising.
Is there?
The fact that this discussion is occurring (and perhaps functions) is proof that phenomena occur.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:12 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Which is to merely say that they are objects of false cognitions, which when examined cannot be found to exist or be produced in anyway at all.

Since your argument is thus, too, an object of false cognitions,
can it be found to exist or be produced in anyway at all?

If they are not produced in any way at all,
even as hallucinations, then there is no samsara,
not even relatively.
If that's the case, why practice Dharma
since it too cannot be
"...found to exist or be produced in anyway at all."
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