Do Mahayana texts ponder these things?

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Do Mahayana texts ponder these things?

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:41 am

In Hinayana, there are the four imponderables:

  • The scope of Buddhahood
  • The scope of jhana
  • The specifics of karma
  • The origin of the universe (or the cosmos, assuming many universes exist)

These are four things they are not supposed to think about because they lead to insanity and do not lead away from suffering.

But do Mahayana Buddhists have any explanations, though, as to the true nature of these four things?

Time, gravity, light, karma; these four things seem inexplicably linked in a way I don't fully understand but vaguely imagine. Maybe I just need to find a Lama, hahaha.

EDIT:

Don't know why I conflated Theravada with Hinayana.

I guess when I wrote the OP, I was a deluded Mahayana sectarian, lol.
Last edited by Individual on Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do Mahayana texts ponder these things?

Postby Huifeng » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:46 am

Mainly they fall under the range of acintya - inconceivable.
Ultimately they are as illusory as anything else.

That's just an overly generalized summary, though.
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Re: Do Mahayana texts ponder these things?

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:56 am

Huifeng wrote:Mainly they fall under the range of acintya - inconceivable.
Ultimately they are as illusory as anything else.

That's just an overly generalized summary, though.

Then elaborate! :woohoo:
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Re: Do Mahayana texts ponder these things?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:29 am

Greetings Individual,

Knowing the flippancy with which you put forward questions, some (particularly learned bhikshus with more important things to do than respond to disingenuous questions) may be disinclined to pander to your requests for further information.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes

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Re: Do Mahayana texts ponder these things?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:53 am

Individual wrote:In Hinayana, there are the four imponderables:

  • The scope of Buddhahood
  • The scope of jhana
  • The specifics of karma
  • The origin of the universe (or the cosmos, assuming many universes exist)

These are four things they are not supposed to think about because they lead to insanity and do not lead away from suffering.

But do Mahayana Buddhists have any explanations, though, as to the true nature of these four things?

Time, gravity, light, karma; these four things seem inexplicably linked in a way I don't fully understand but vaguely imagine. Maybe I just need to find a Lama, hahaha.


You could for example read what Nagarjuna says in Mulamadhyamaka Karika
about Buddhahood in Chapter 22. Investigation of the Tathagata,
about Karma in Chapter 17. Investigations of Acts and Fruits,
about the origin of the universe in Chapter 27. Investigation of Views and Chapter 11. Investigation of Extremes Before and After,
several other chapters of the same work are also relevant for this question.
Here http://stephenbatchelor.org/verses2.htm

The issues you mention are covered in Abhidharma literature, for example in Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosha.
In Anacker's Seven Works of Vasubandhu there is Karma Siddhi Prakarana, Investigation For The Demonstration Of Action.
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Re: Do Mahayana texts ponder these things?

Postby Individual » Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:49 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Individual wrote:In Hinayana, there are the four imponderables:

  • The scope of Buddhahood
  • The scope of jhana
  • The specifics of karma
  • The origin of the universe (or the cosmos, assuming many universes exist)

These are four things they are not supposed to think about because they lead to insanity and do not lead away from suffering.

But do Mahayana Buddhists have any explanations, though, as to the true nature of these four things?

Time, gravity, light, karma; these four things seem inexplicably linked in a way I don't fully understand but vaguely imagine. Maybe I just need to find a Lama, hahaha.


You could for example read what Nagarjuna says in Mulamadhyamaka Karika
about Buddhahood in Chapter 22. Investigation of the Tathagata,
about Karma in Chapter 17. Investigations of Acts and Fruits,
about the origin of the universe in Chapter 27. Investigation of Views and Chapter 11. Investigation of Extremes Before and After,
several other chapters of the same work are also relevant for this question.
Here http://stephenbatchelor.org/verses2.htm

The issues you mention are covered in Abhidharma literature, for example in Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosha.
In Anacker's Seven Works of Vasubandhu there is Karma Siddhi Prakarana, Investigation For The Demonstration Of Action.

Hmm. Seems like pretty useless stuff. Until somebody is able to use this sort of dialectical logical gibberish to perform miracles, I am better off studying real physics.

And really, I suppose the question in the OP was wrongly worded and with wrong intent anyway. It's just as imponderable for Mahayanists I'd bet if the Agamas contains the same list.
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Re: Do Mahayana texts ponder these things?

Postby White Lotus » Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:01 pm

Time, gravity, light, karma; these four things seem inexplicably linked


i have pondered time and gravity, they are the same fundamentally. i have no doubt whatsoever that light and karma are also the same fundamentally. at one time i would have said that these things are all mind. now i say that there is no mind. they are not mind, nor does a mind ponder them. not a thing.

love White Lotus. x

i hesitate to say that these things are illusory, or to say that they 'are'. i can only say that they are just so. scientists will probably never understand these things.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: Do Mahayana texts ponder these things?

Postby Aemilius » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:54 am

Individual wrote:
Aemilius wrote:
Individual wrote:In Hinayana, there are the four imponderables:

  • The scope of Buddhahood
  • The scope of jhana
  • The specifics of karma
  • The origin of the universe (or the cosmos, assuming many universes exist)

These are four things they are not supposed to think about because they lead to insanity and do not lead away from suffering.

But do Mahayana Buddhists have any explanations, though, as to the true nature of these four things?

Time, gravity, light, karma; these four things seem inexplicably linked in a way I don't fully understand but vaguely imagine. Maybe I just need to find a Lama, hahaha.


You could for example read what Nagarjuna says in Mulamadhyamaka Karika
about Buddhahood in Chapter 22. Investigation of the Tathagata,
about Karma in Chapter 17. Investigations of Acts and Fruits,
about the origin of the universe in Chapter 27. Investigation of Views and Chapter 11. Investigation of Extremes Before and After,
several other chapters of the same work are also relevant for this question.
Here http://stephenbatchelor.org/verses2.htm

The issues you mention are covered in Abhidharma literature, for example in Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosha.
In Anacker's Seven Works of Vasubandhu there is Karma Siddhi Prakarana, Investigation For The Demonstration Of Action.

Hmm. Seems like pretty useless stuff. Until somebody is able to use this sort of dialectical logical gibberish to perform miracles, I am better off studying real physics.

And really, I suppose the question in the OP was wrongly worded and with wrong intent anyway. It's just as imponderable for Mahayanists I'd bet if the Agamas contains the same list.


What you say about practicality is true. For me it somehow began to be true and have practical consequences, -the stuff of Nagarjuna that is-, after many years of finding it useless and nonconsequental. It becomes valuable if you study it long enough...
About Jhana: Jhana is Dhyana, that is Chan, that is Zen. Thus the whole Zen literature is explaining the imponderable Jhana, i.e. the Zen.
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Re: Do Mahayana texts ponder these things?

Postby Individual » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:53 pm

Aemilius wrote: What you say about practicality is true. For me it somehow began to be true and have practical consequences, -the stuff of Nagarjuna that is-, after many years of finding it useless and nonconsequental. It becomes valuable if you study it long enough...
About Jhana: Jhana is Dhyana, that is Chan, that is Zen. Thus the whole Zen literature is explaining the imponderable Jhana, i.e. the Zen.

Yes, thank you.
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Re: Do Mahayana texts ponder these things?

Postby kirtu » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:15 pm

Individual wrote:Time, gravity, light, karma; these four things seem inexplicably linked in a way I don't fully understand but vaguely imagine.


Buddhism has different theories of time. In general I will favor science over Buddhism on this one though. Just as Shakyamnui Buddha did not come to this world to teach geography he also did not come to this world to teach physics.

Time actually probably doesn't exist (which is what the Mahayana says, BTW). Gravity and light are real physical phenomena. Gravity is a property of mass and light is a form of electromagnetic radiation (so gravity and light are actually related indirectly) since all mass can ultimately be seen in string theory as a frequency vibration). Karma has nothing to do with gravity or light since it is the actions of sentient beings with results and sticks to the alaya of sentient beings causing obscuration. I would doubt that it has anything to do with time (at least in the Mahayana teachings). In the Kalachakra there may be a relationship between karma and time (certainly accumulated karma results in the experience of time).

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Last edited by kirtu on Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do Mahayana texts ponder these things?

Postby Individual » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:22 pm

kirtu wrote:
Individual wrote:Time, gravity, light, karma; these four things seem inexplicably linked in a way I don't fully understand but vaguely imagine.


Buddhism has different theories of time. In general I will favor science over Buddhism on this one though. Just as Shakyamnui Buddha did not come to this world to teach geography he also did not come to this world to teach physics.

I don't see Buddhism and science as being at odds.

Buddhism is wisdom. Right? Science is knowledge.

If so, science is best understood through the lens of Buddhism -- not to distort it, but for clarity. Because wisdom is the basis for knowledge.
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Re: Do Mahayana texts ponder these things?

Postby kirtu » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Individual wrote:Buddhism is wisdom. Right? Science is knowledge.


All of Buddhism is upaya in order to free beings from samsara. Buddhism itself is not wisdom (not directly). It is using poison (conceptuality and a refined view) to ultimately free beings.

Science is knowledge of the relative phenomenal world. This phenomenal world is ultimately an illusion that is experienced due to the ripening of karma. Science will not lead one to liberation (not directly at least) and furthermore is the analysis of the arising of polluted causes and conditions (the relative world). We can use science to help beings in the relative world but mostly we use science to harm beings in the relative world.

Buddhism and science really have nothing to do with one another. They have different concerns.

However Tibetan Buddhist teachers in particular will argue at least starting with Sakya Pandita that mastery of science is necessary for Buddhist teachers at least to help people relatively and to refine their intellects.

Because wisdom is the basis for knowledge.


Reals wisdom arises from realization and that is mostly nonconceptual and/or intuitive. Knowledge itself, non-spiritual knowledge, is not a basis for wisdom. It can be a basis for analysis though and analysis can be refined to generate wisdom (analysis can also be refined to generate ignorance - think of all the propaganda in history).

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Re: Do Mahayana texts ponder these things?

Postby Individual » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:50 pm

kirtu wrote:
Individual wrote:Buddhism is wisdom. Right? Science is knowledge.


All of Buddhism is upaya in order to free beings from samsara. Buddhism itself is not wisdom (not directly). It is using poison (conceptuality and a refined view) to ultimately free beings.

Science is knowledge of the relative phenomenal world. This phenomenal world is ultimately an illusion that is experienced due to the ripening of karma. Science will not lead one to liberation (not directly at least) and furthermore is the analysis of the arising of polluted causes and conditions (the relative world). We can use science to help beings in the relative world but mostly we use science to harm beings in the relative world.

Buddhism and science really have nothing to do with one another. They have different concerns.

However Tibetan Buddhist teachers in particular will argue at least starting with Sakya Pandita that mastery of science is necessary for Buddhist teachers at least to help people relatively and to refine their intellects.

Because wisdom is the basis for knowledge.


Reals wisdom arises from realization and that is mostly nonconceptual and/or intuitive. Knowledge itself, non-spiritual knowledge, is not a basis for wisdom. It can be a basis for analysis though and analysis can be refined to generate wisdom (analysis can also be refined to generate ignorance - think of all the propaganda in history).

Kirt

:good:
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