The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby BFS » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:15 pm

catmoon wrote:

If we stop thinking we are dead in the water. We have been specifically instructed to work things through for ourselves and reject appeals to authority, even the authority of buddha himself. Right?





"We all desire freedom, but what distinguishes human beings is their intelligence. As free human beings we can use our unique intelligence to try to understand ourselves and our world. The Buddha made it clear that his followers were not to take even what he said at face value, but were to examine and test it as a goldsmith tests the quality of gold. But if we are prevented from using our discrimination and creativity, we lose one of the basic characteristics of a human being. Therefore, the political, social and cultural freedom that democracy entails is of immense value and importance." His Holiness the Dalai Lama


Link- http://www.dalailama.com/messages/buddhism/buddhism-and-democracy

Testing and examining takes time, practice and effort.
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:26 pm

BFS wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
BFS wrote:"The essential point is this: The luminous and knowing aspect of a given state of consciousness must come from a prior moment of that consciousness. It follows, therefore, that it must also beginningless. For were a beginning to the continuum of the luminous and knowing aspect of consciousness posited, we would then have to concede that consciousness arose from a cause that is not commensurate with it, which is untenable. "


This reasoning has to be investigated as to validity. I would not take this as valid without probing ;)



Kind regards



Why wink? There is nothing, absolutely nothing in Buddhism that the practitioner takes on absolute blind faith, and does not investigate. This includes one's own ingrained,mostly ignorant beliefs and views. If a Buddhist teaching does not make sense, we can either set aside for a later time, or simply take as a working hypothesis and have some fun investigating further.


Two remarks:
1. Where is the borderline between "blind faith" and "faith"? I am asking this because I consider faith necessary.
2. If a teaching does not make sense we can also reject it if it does not appear important to us or if it does even appear unwholesome to us (which does not preclude that it may appear wholesome to somebody else). And sometimes it is better not to broadcast one's rejection.

Kind regards
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby muni » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:05 pm

Should say, Mingyur, no any borderline is when there is faith by wisdom.

I got a long telephone call, two or three words about Buddhism gave this: some nervous laughing and: "Not everyone should be pleased by these kind of ideas." Anyway, there was more important things to say.
So the idea of blind faith isn't just to find in the "practicioner." Blind faith is dwelling in misperception.

This talk showed not everyone is open for our teachings. This we must respect. While in Buddhism, we can look into own state of mind when we throw a view on another Buddhist approach. :anjali:
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby BFS » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:24 pm

From "The Middle Way - Faith Grounded in Reason " -

excerpt on faith -

His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

" As I wrote in the colophon to Praise to Seventeen Nalanda Masters: It is with an objective mind endowed with a curious skepticism that we should engage in a careful analysis and seek the reasons. Then, on the basis of seeing the reasons, we engender a faith that is accompanied by wisdom"


:bow:


and

" Now, whenever we engage in analysis, such as on the nature of mind or reality, if we proceed from the start already convinced that "it must be so and so," then due to our biases, we will be unable to see the actual truth and will instead see only our naive projection. It is therefore essential that the analyzing mind strive to be objective and not swayed by prejudices. What we need is a skeptical curiosity, our mind moving between the possibilities, genuinely wondering whether it is thus or some other way. We need to begin our analysis as objectively as possible. "
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby catmoon » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:41 pm

Indeed. For instance I find myself more or less in the position of facing the Dalai Lama himself in debate, for I have outright disagreed with him. This feels very awkward, but I must bear in mind this is the dialectic process and the Dalai Lama would, I'm sure, launch into the debate with gusto. Gusto and compassion. I think he might even be pleased that someone had examined his teaching closely enough to start a debate. How wonderful it would be to actually debate with the Dalai Lama. I think it would be a very happy debate.

Working it out, I'm doin it rite. At least I hope so.

Let see now, the differences between mind and consciousness...

I see it foggily but as something like the difference between a sheet of paper, and what is written on that sheet of paper. I will provisionally assume the sheet of paper, not the writing, is what goes forward to the next life, with karma trailing along behind somehow. Hm. I think maybe when people remember past lives... they are not remembering, but rather are viewing their past lives like a documentary about a stranger.
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:41 am

Reasoning:
"The essential point is this: The luminous and knowing aspect of a given state of consciousness must come from a prior moment of that consciousness. It follows, therefore, that it must also beginningless. For were a beginning to the continuum of the luminous and knowing aspect of consciousness posited, we would then have to concede that consciousness arose from a cause that is not commensurate with it, which is untenable. "



BFS wrote:His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

"... Then, on the basis of seeing the reasons, we engender a faith that is accompanied by wisdom[/i]"

Well yes, but honestly with reference to the example reasoning above it is not necessarily this reasoning which fosters faith. Why? Because this reasoning is not complete but only suggestive. The statement "that consciousness arose from a cause that is not commensurate with it, which is untenable" begs the question "Why is what is considered to be "not commensurate" not commensurate?"

BFS wrote:His Holiness the Dalai Lama:
" Now, whenever we engage in analysis, such as on the nature of mind or reality, if we proceed from the start already convinced that "it must be so and so," then due to our biases, we will be unable to see the actual truth and will instead see only our naive projection. It is therefore essential that the analyzing mind strive to be objective and not swayed by prejudices. What we need is a skeptical curiosity, our mind moving between the possibilities, genuinely wondering whether it is thus or some other way. We need to begin our analysis as objectively as possible. "

Now this is very true. However it seems to me that the reasoning above is not less biased:

Compare the premise
"The luminous and knowing aspect of a given state of consciousness must come from a prior moment of that consciousness"

with his statement above
"if we proceed from the start already convinced that "it must be so and so," then due to our biases, we will be unable to see the actual truth and will instead see only our naive projection.".


It may appear astonishing that what may be claimed to be "objective" analysis by someone fosters reificationist view as in this example reasoning above:

The reasoning infers (invalidly, because based on an ungrounded premise):
It follows, therefore, that it must also beginningless.


And this inspires BFS to further invalidly infer (taking the prior invalid inference as fact):
BFS wrote:Consciousness is not permanent but it is eternal - beginningless and it never ceases; it continues in its momentary, ever-changing impermanent flow. It is eternal and impermanent.

And BFS' invalid inference is contradictory in itself above that because of "not permanent but eternal and momentary, ever-changing impermanent flow". However it is contractory in itself only if one holds the view that phenomena do not have an inherently existent essence, and if one dose not hold such a view one holds a reificationist view.

Why is such invalid and reificationist thought possible based on what may be claimed to be "objective analysis"?

Because there is no absolute "objectivity" but so called "objectivity" arises in dependence on intention. And as a prasangika His Holiness knows that there is no phenomenon that exists from its own side, independently, inherently. And that of course holds true for so called "objectivity" too.

However IMO prasangika reasoning betrays its own intention when after undermining the "ordinary" sense of reificationist "reality" it introduces "alternative" reificationist views "through the backdoor".

Now having said all this I concede that for whomever this kind of autonomous syllogistic reasoning is helpful that one should practice this kind of reasoning. :smile:
However one should beware of clinging to illusory inherent existence.


Kind regards
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby muni » Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:35 am

TMingyur wrote:





However one should beware of clinging to illusory inherent existence.


Kind regards

This sentence says a lot.

There is no liberation when there is something seen as what can be clinging or a to clinging concept, whether very subtle or coarse. As then the debating shows fabricated clinging truth. This is not what The Dalai Lama is meaning I think.
When in experience there is no identity which characterize; how can there be a kind of conditioned existence harming? How can there be a consciousness grasping to things as real if we look to impermanence and dependency? As Absolute truth is not separated from conventional. :anjali:
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:39 am

muni wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
However one should beware of clinging to illusory inherent existence.

Kind regards

This sentence says a lot.

Yes because it refers to the Buddha's teaching of dependent origination and the cause of samsara.

Kind regards
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby muni » Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:43 am

TMingyur wrote:
muni wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
However one should beware of clinging to illusory inherent existence.

Kind regards

This sentence says a lot.

Yes because it refers to the Buddha's teaching of dependent origination and the cause of samsara.

Kind regards


Some talking of Absolute are not blindly hopping in an illusory existence without any understanding. The cause of samsara, yes. :anjali:
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:45 am

muni wrote:Some talking of Absolute are not blindly hopping in an illusory existence without any understanding. The cause of samsara, yes. :anjali:


What "Absolute" are you talking about?

My concern is "reasoning". Relying on reason there is no "absolute" at all. However this does not prove an "absolute beyond reason" because that would just be an ungrounded assertion.

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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby muni » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:02 am

TMingyur wrote:
muni wrote:Some talking of Absolute are not blindly hopping in an illusory existence without any understanding. The cause of samsara, yes. :anjali:


What "Absolute" are you talking about?


Regarding permanence. If it is so that the term permanence, defined as never-ending continuum is seen as an obstacle, throw it over your shoulder. In any case, there is no clinging consciousness present in this approach.

Then call it impermanent. As processes cannot be taken as permament entities can we say: impermanent and transitory.

But the need for elaboration about whether impermanent or permanent is no point then. :namaste:

Reasoning. Yes of course! Our intelligence leads us. But when there are concepts, aren't they dependent as well? The Absolute and Relative are in fact one.
What is just; is not produced, no product of circumstancial conditions. There is really "knowing" when apprehended elaborations are of no use and not disturbing neither.
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:16 am

muni wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
muni wrote:Some talking of Absolute are not blindly hopping in an illusory existence without any understanding. The cause of samsara, yes. :anjali:


What "Absolute" are you talking about?


Regarding permanence. If it is so that the term permanence, defined as never-ending continuum is seen as an obstacle, throw it over your shoulder. In any case, there is no clinging consciousness present in this approach.

Then call it impermanent. As processes cannot be taken as permament entities can we say: impermanent and transitory.

A phenomenon is either permanent or impermanent. There is nothing which is both.
And if you introduce the term "absolute" in the context of consciousness then this is postulating "permanence" and "inherent existence".

muni wrote:But the need for elaboration about whether impermanent or permanent is no point then.

Well then just stop making assertions or provide reasons.

muni wrote:But when there are concepts, aren't they dependent as well?

Nobody has asserted otherwise.

muni wrote:The Absolute and Relative are in fact one.

Well then you must say what the "absolute" is. Because if there is no "absolute" why then assert "Absolute and Relative" being one? Or you forget about "absolute" and accept that there is only the "relative".

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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby catmoon » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:15 am

Wow. This thread is showing a very low tolerance for illogic. I'm impressed.

Comparing the 1984 Ford Taurus and consciousness, I see similarities. Both arise from a prior moment of existence. But if the Taurus can have a beginning, why can't consciousness? At the very least, I would say this means you can't just deduce eternal existence of something just because it existed a moment before.

Consciousness, framed in any of several ways I can think of, changes. This consciousness I experience now is markedly different from that of thirty years ago. If it changes, it must be subject to dependent origination and therefore must decay over time and eventually end. And it must have a beginning.

If consciousness is eternal, what happened to my memories of previous lives? For that matter, what happened to my memory of breakfast on Sept first of this year?

The only way I can see HHDL being correct is if he means something radically different by "consciousness", that is, different from anything that has so far crossed my mind. He sometimes speaks of subtle mind and very subtle mind, maybe the answer lies there?
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby muni » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:32 am

Absolute = Dharmata. I don't think Mingyur, this way of debat has any other fruit than to feed clinging :stirthepot:

This itself is no inspiration, no wisdom.

Catmoon, like you say: subtle.
Here words from Aryadeva: The experience the seed exist, has objects as its' field of activity, when selflessness is seen in objects, the seed of existence isn't. This means not nothingness.

This text can clarify: http://hhdl.dharmakara.net/hhdlquotes22.html :anjali:
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:08 pm

muni wrote:Absolute = Dharmata. I don't think Mingyur, this way of debat has any other fruit than to feed clinging :stirthepot:

Yes, clinging to fantastic fabrications like "Dharmata", if one does not categorize "scriptures" or oral teachings as sources of valid cognition. In that case "Dharmata" is relative and it cannot be validly inferred. So it is not even a valid conventional, i.e. relative, phenomenon.
If one categorizes "scriptures" or oral teachings as sources of valid cognition then "Dharmata" is a valid but still conventional, i.e. relative, phenomenon.

Kind regards
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:18 pm

catmoon wrote:Wow. This thread is showing a very low tolerance for illogic. I'm impressed.

Comparing the 1984 Ford Taurus and consciousness, I see similarities. Both arise from a prior moment of existence. But if the Taurus can have a beginning, why can't consciousness?

The difference it just that you can prove the beginning of a Taurus but you cannot prove the beginning of a consciousness. Why? Because in case of consciousness the observer is the observed and this is not so in case of Taurus.

catmoon wrote:If consciousness is eternal, what happened to my memories of previous lives? For that matter, what happened to my memory of breakfast on Sept first of this year?

If one stops all speculations this does not preclude liberation but the contrary is true.

catmoon wrote:He sometimes speaks of subtle mind and very subtle mind, maybe the answer lies there?

If you do not know a phenomenon "A" what is won if you fabricate "subtle A" and still "subtler A"?

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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby BFS » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:01 pm

catmoon wrote:Wow. This thread is showing a very low tolerance for illogic. I'm impressed.


Not really. What I see this thread showing is that there are different schools of thought within Buddhism! :D TMingyur alluded to this in one of his posts -

However IMO prasangika reasoning betrays its own intention when after undermining the "ordinary" sense of reificationist "reality" it introduces "alternative" reificationist views "through the backdoor".


That alone shows clearly that TMingyur and my posts of course will not agree!

As His Holiness always points out - "Because of the varying capacities and inclinations of beings the Buddhas have taught various methods of practice and philosophy."

Why do we even discuss and debate these things?

His Holiness in When the Ironbird Flies tells us why - " So what is a Buddha's purpose in teaching? It is neither to boast nor to demonstrate how much he knows, but to benefit others. Also, he is not concerned with those of his generation alone but with many generations and different kinds of people. Therefore, his teachings must have many different levels of meaning, some often seemingly contradictory. Knowing this, there is never a valid reason for religious quarrels and disputes."

To get a good understanding of the different schools of thought, some links, including a look at the basic differences between prasangika logic and non prasangika logic -

http://www.lamrim.com/hhdl/

The book, Ocean of Reasoning, A great Commentary on Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika - Je Tsong Khapa, translated by Geshe Ngawang Samten and Jay L Garfield. - also much interesting!


http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/sutra/level5_analysis_mind_reality/cognition_theory/level_a_basics/basic_differences_between_prasangik.html

and

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/sutra/level5_analysis_mind_reality/truths/cognition_2_truths.html

:smile:
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:20 pm

BFS wrote:
catmoon wrote:Wow. This thread is showing a very low tolerance for illogic. I'm impressed.


Not really. What I see this thread showing is that there are different schools of thought within Buddhism! :D TMingyur alluded to this in one of his posts -

However IMO prasangika reasoning betrays its own intention when after undermining the "ordinary" sense of reificationist "reality" it introduces "alternative" reificationist views "through the backdoor".


That alone shows clearly that TMingyur and my posts of course will not agree!

As His Holiness always points out - "Because of the varying capacities and inclinations of beings the Buddhas have taught various methods of practice and philosophy."


BFS

that is not really an appropriate reponse but you are trying to escape the main point, because

1) The reasoning provided is invalid not only as to prasangika terms since it is based on an ungrounded premise:
TMingyur wrote:The statement "that consciousness arose from a cause that is not commensurate with it, which is untenable" begs the question "Why is what is considered to be "not commensurate" not commensurate?"


2) This contradiction here:
TMingyur wrote:Compare the premise
"The luminous and knowing aspect of a given state of consciousness must come from a prior moment of that consciousness"

with his statement above
"if we proceed from the start already convinced that "it must be so and so," then due to our biases, we will be unable to see the actual truth and will instead see only our naive projection.".



_____________________________________________

My reference to prasangika was made simply because the Dalai Lama (officially) follows prasangika himself (and it seems that this here a discussion about a reasoning you have found in his book about the middle way - but perhaps you have picked it out of context - ?).
Anyway for me it is not understandable why a follower of prasangika violates the principle of prasangika which is utterly directed against reificationism. But this violation is - I freely admit - a common tibetan phenomenon.

Also ALL tibetan schools claim to follow the prasangika view. But I know very well that actually this is a mere claim and that they are holding different views. ;)


Kind regards
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby BFS » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:01 pm

TMingyur wrote:
BFS wrote:
catmoon wrote:Wow. This thread is showing a very low tolerance for illogic. I'm impressed.


Not really. What I see this thread showing is that there are different schools of thought within Buddhism! :D TMingyur alluded to this in one of his posts -

However IMO prasangika reasoning betrays its own intention when after undermining the "ordinary" sense of reificationist "reality" it introduces "alternative" reificationist views "through the backdoor".


That alone shows clearly that TMingyur and my posts of course will not agree!

As His Holiness always points out - "Because of the varying capacities and inclinations of beings the Buddhas have taught various methods of practice and philosophy."


BFS

that is not really an appropriate reponse but you are trying to escape the main point, because

1) The reasoning provided is invalid not only as to prasangika terms since it is based on an ungrounded premise:
TMingyur wrote:The statement "that consciousness arose from a cause that is not commensurate with it, which is untenable" begs the question "Why is what is considered to be "not commensurate" not commensurate?"


2) This contradiction here:
TMingyur wrote:Compare the premise
"The luminous and knowing aspect of a given state of consciousness must come from a prior moment of that consciousness"

with his statement above
"if we proceed from the start already convinced that "it must be so and so," then due to our biases, we will be unable to see the actual truth and will instead see only our naive projection.".




My reference to prasangika was made simply because the Dalai Lama (officially) follows prasangika himself (and it seems that this here a discussion about a reasoning you have found in his book about the middle way). So it is not understandable why he violates his own view (which is utterly directed against reificationism).

Also ALL tibetan schools claim to follow the prasangika view
But I know very well that actually this is a mere claim and that actually they hold different views. ;)


Kind regards


TMingyur,
Firstly, my response was not addressed to you, so for you to tell me that my response to catmoon, sharing how I see things, is inappropriate, is a bit ridiculous don't you think? :lol: I have not yet responded to your posts, sorry for the delay! :hug:

All the quotes, including the ones that you say are contradictions, are not mine, they are things His Holiness The Dalai Lama said, not me.
There is no discussion going on from my side, not really. I will go back over and respond to things that I have said, that you have questioned, shortly.
I have, generally speaking, merely offered quotes by His Holiness from the book, in this thread. If you see those quotes, by His Holiness, as violating His Holiness's own view, then I suggest you get a copy of the book and check it out for yourself.
:thumbsup:
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:11 pm

BFS

BFS wrote:TMingyur,
Firstly, my response was not addressed to you, so for you to tell me that my response to catmoon, sharing how I see things, is inappropriate, is a bit ridiculous don't you think? :lol: I have not yet responded to your posts, sorry for the delay! :hug:

Okay, no problem.
Just wanted to make clear - also to catmoon - that the prasangika argument actually does not hit the target and I wanted to provoke a further response by means of the "escape"-remark ;)

BFS wrote:I have, generally speaking, merely offered quotes by His Holiness from the book, in this thread. If you see those quotes, by His Holiness, as violating His Holiness's own view, then I suggest you get a copy of the book and check it out for yourself.
:thumbsup:


Actually I have modified my post a bit meanwhile but you seem to have copied it earlier.
This version better expresses my intention:
My reference to prasangika was made simply because the Dalai Lama (officially) follows prasangika himself (and it seems that this here a discussion about a reasoning you have found in his book about the middle way - but perhaps you have picked it out of context - ?).
Anyway for me it is not understandable why a follower of prasangika violates the principle of prasangika which is utterly directed against reificationism. But this violation is - I freely admit - a common tibetan phenomenon.


Kind regards
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