are all observations delusions?

are all observations delusions?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:28 pm

Some schools teach that what the Buddha taught can be tested, and one can see the effects for oneself.

I have been reading some writings by Shinran from that book Shinshu Seiten.

Does his view suggest that, because beings are deluded, if one tries to test (what is said to be) the teaching of the Buddha (for example, non-attachment to thoughts of anger) that accurately determining the effect would be impossible because our observations would be based in 'self-power' , or for that matter, since we are not enlightened buddhas, that any observation would be basically incorrect because we are observing things with a clinging and confused mind?

I recently saw a sticker on a car that read: Don't believe everything you think and it made me wonder about the accuracy of how we measure our own practice.
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby LastLegend » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:36 pm

Well if you are not too angry now comparing to before you practice. If you experience peace now more so than before you practice...I certainly believe this is what you get.
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:58 pm

LastLegend wrote:Well if you are not too angry now comparing to before you practice. If you experience peace now more so than before you practice...I certainly believe this is what you get.


Oh, I believe so too. My question is, if I am a deluded and confused (Shinran says 'foolish' ) person, and I 'experience peace', how can I be certain that this is the experience I am really having? In other words, I believe I am experiencing peace, but everything I believe is in the mind of a "foolish" person.

So, is a person's observation of their own mind's activity accurate?
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby LastLegend » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:10 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
LastLegend wrote:Well if you are not too angry now comparing to before you practice. If you experience peace now more so than before you practice...I certainly believe this is what you get.


Oh, I believe so too. My question is, if I am a deluded and confused (Shinran says 'foolish' ) person, and I 'experience peace', how can I be certain that this is the experience I am really having? In other words, I believe I am experiencing peace, but everything I believe is in the mind of a "foolish" person.

So, is a person's observation of their own mind's activity accurate?


When the mind is not engaged by the thought of delusion and thoughts that are based on greed, anger, and ignorance, then you are at peace at that moment. But when anger arises again, you are not at peace, you are deluded again. When worries arise again, you are not at peace, and you are deluded again by those thoughts.

Deluded that he talked about mean that we are not enlightened yet, and cannot trust ourselves completely when it comes to seeing and perceiving everything around us because cannot see clearly like Buddha can. Only enlightened beings such as Arahants can trust their own judgment.
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby LastLegend » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:22 pm

Can you tell me one specific observation or thought that you think is a delusion?

You are right that there are delusions, but a clear mind is not a deluded mind. If we still hold attachment to experience, then that is an illusion. Hui Neng said fundamentally there is not a thing/dharma to be obtained in the mind of emptiness. So as long as there is one attachment, there is delusion.

So the path is the path of detachment not the path of gain.
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby Astus » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:14 pm

All our observations are delusions because we maintain a subject-object duality, this is our fundamental ignorance. Shinran's deluded person is prthagjana in sanskrit, that is an ordinary being without insight into the true nature of reality. Since it is practically impossible to attain enlightenment in the Dharma-ending age, says Shinran, the only realistic option is to rely on Amida's vow. That is a religious-soteriological statement. It doesn't mean if you see a cat it is not a cat.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby remm » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:34 pm

Astus wrote:All our observations are delusions because we maintain a subject-object duality, this is our fundamental ignorance. Shinran's deluded person is prthagjana in sanskrit, that is an ordinary being without insight into the true nature of reality. Since it is practically impossible to attain enlightenment in the Dharma-ending age, says Shinran, the only realistic option is to rely on Amida's vow. That is a religious-soteriological statement. It doesn't mean if you see a cat it is not a cat.


This. :thumbsup:
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:50 am

Astus wrote:All our observations are delusions because we maintain a subject-object duality, this is our fundamental ignorance. Shinran's deluded person is prthagjana in sanskrit, that is an ordinary being without insight into the true nature of reality. Since it is practically impossible to attain enlightenment in the Dharma-ending age, says Shinran, the only realistic option is to rely on Amida's vow. That is a religious-soteriological statement. It doesn't mean if you see a cat it is not a cat.


If all of our observations are delusions, then how do we know we are deluded? Wouldn't that observation be a delusion?
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby LastLegend » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:21 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Astus wrote:All our observations are delusions because we maintain a subject-object duality, this is our fundamental ignorance. Shinran's deluded person is prthagjana in sanskrit, that is an ordinary being without insight into the true nature of reality. Since it is practically impossible to attain enlightenment in the Dharma-ending age, says Shinran, the only realistic option is to rely on Amida's vow. That is a religious-soteriological statement. It doesn't mean if you see a cat it is not a cat.


If all of our observations are delusions, then how do we know we are deluded? Wouldn't that observation be a delusion?


We are really deluded when we are ignorant of karma and continue to walk the path of 3 karma of body, speech, and mind...yes that observation is also a delusion because that observation is based on self. Arahant is the one who has got rid of that attachment of self. Ultimately, meditation is to eventually get rid of that attachment.
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby remm » Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:01 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Astus wrote:All our observations are delusions because we maintain a subject-object duality, this is our fundamental ignorance. Shinran's deluded person is prthagjana in sanskrit, that is an ordinary being without insight into the true nature of reality. Since it is practically impossible to attain enlightenment in the Dharma-ending age, says Shinran, the only realistic option is to rely on Amida's vow. That is a religious-soteriological statement. It doesn't mean if you see a cat it is not a cat.


If all of our observations are delusions, then how do we know we are deluded? Wouldn't that observation be a delusion?


The key point is subject-object duality. As long as we attach to the 'ego' and and view various factors different from one another then this is a form of delusion. Like Astus said, just because you see a cat it doesn't mean that it is not a cat. The point is, we are deluded in the sense that we do not have true insight into the true nature of reality. It is not the case that because we have some true 'insight' that even that 'insight' is wrong or delusion. Having realized that we are deluded and defiled through ignorance is already like a step of true insight into reality. Don't get the two confused.

Astus can elaborate more on this. Sorry if my reply is a bit confusing. I can be completely wrong, though. Let's see what Astus says.

Perhaps you should read the Vimalakirti Sutra or various texts based on the Yogacara doctrine? Certainly, that may help you understand this a bit better.
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:52 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:If all of our observations are delusions, then how do we know we are deluded? Wouldn't that observation be a delusion?


Delusion in Buddhism is not some sort of Matrix-like concept where everything is fake. Delusion means that in our experience we imagine into an inherent self and we reify concepts. In the Pure Land teaching what matters is that we are bound by karma - as a result of ignorance - and to attain freedom the best choice is to be born in the Pure Land of Amitabha. Being bound by karma means that our acts are based on the view of a self, whether we do good or bad, consequently we keep being reborn in the six realms of samsara. This is not about our ability to comprehend our situation but about liberating ourselves from karma. In terms of the four noble truths, the Pure Land teaching means that we can understand that samsara is suffering, our desires cause the suffering, desire can be eliminated, but since we have low capacity to liberate ourselves we rely on the vow of Amitabha to be born in the Pure Land and there attain enlightenment and liberate all beings.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:37 pm

Astus wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:If all of our observations are delusions, then how do we know we are deluded? Wouldn't that observation be a delusion?


Delusion means that in our experience we imagine into an inherent self and we reify concepts.


But that's what I am talking about. "we imagine into an inherent self and we reify concepts" is the setting in which we experience the senses, suffering, pleasure, etc. and the means by which we establish for ourselves the validity of the Buddha's teachings. But because "we imagine into an inherent self and we reify concepts" doesn't that make what we experience also a delusion? And if we observe thay they are delusions, then isn't that observation a delusion as well?
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:41 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:But that's what I am talking about. "we imagine into an inherent self and we reify concepts" is the setting in which we experience the senses, suffering, pleasure, etc. and the means by which we establish for ourselves the validity of the Buddha's teachings. But because "we imagine into an inherent self and we reify concepts" doesn't that make what we experience also a delusion? And if we observe thay they are delusions, then isn't that observation a delusion as well?


Then please clarify what you mean by delusion. In my understanding the chair I'm sitting on is a chair for any other human being and it has the function of a chair. This is its conventional reality, something that people call real, so calling it a chair and perceiving it as a chair is correct comprehension, not mistaken.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby Mr. G » Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:01 pm

A relevant blog post by Huseng:

The Buddha told the monks, “Be careful not to trust your thoughts as those thoughts ultimately cannot be trusted. Be careful not to meet with physical desires, as meeting with physical desires will see misfortune born. It is only when you attain the path of the Arhat that you can trust your thoughts.”

Don't trust your thoughts...Read More Here...
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby LastLegend » Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:02 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Astus wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:If all of our observations are delusions, then how do we know we are deluded? Wouldn't that observation be a delusion?


Delusion means that in our experience we imagine into an inherent self and we reify concepts.


But that's what I am talking about. "we imagine into an inherent self and we reify concepts" is the setting in which we experience the senses, suffering, pleasure, etc. and the means by which we establish for ourselves the validity of the Buddha's teachings. But because "we imagine into an inherent self and we reify concepts" doesn't that make what we experience also a delusion? And if we observe thay they are delusions, then isn't that observation a delusion as well?


Yes, that observation is an illusion because you have not detached from self like an Arahant has. But Arahants still have thoughts I believe, but they are not attached to thoughts. So attachment is what needs be rid of.

And if what you experience comes with suffering, then it is not true. What you experience has to be pure 100% long lasting. This means you have realized enlightenment.
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Re: are all observations delusions?

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:45 pm

Master Yüan-chao states:
In breaking through delusion and realizing true reality in this world, one employs self-power; hence, [self-power practices] are taught in various Mahayana and Hinayana sutras. In going to the other world to listen to the dharma and realize enlightenment, one must rely on Other Power; hence, birth in the Pure Land is taught. Although these two ways differ, they are both means [provided by Sakyamuni] for leading one to realization of one's mind.

(KGSS II:83)

Shinran:
"I know nothing at all of good or evil. For if I could know thoroughly, as Amida Tathagata knows, that an act was good, then I would know good. If I could know thoroughly, as the Tathagata knows, that an act was evil, then I would know evil. But with a foolish being full of blind passions, in this fleeting world- this burning house- all matters without exception are empty and false, totally without truth and sincerity. The nembutsu alone is true and real."
A Record in Lament of Divergences (3)
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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