The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

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

Postby catmoon » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:14 am

The original quote was:
HHDL 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. "


And I have gone back and reread it. Suddenly something jumped out at me. I think I made an error in understanding what the subject matter was.

He did not say that consciousness arises from a previous moment, although that may be true. He said the luminous and knowing aspect arises from a prior moment of consciousness, and that is the subject of the paragraph, not consciousness itself.

This could change the discussion completely.

There has been some wrestling here about the mention of commensurate causes. I don't know much about the idea, but I believe that it basically means a virtuous action will not give rise to bad karma, and an apple will not give rise to a rhinoceros. There is a limit to what may arise from a given cause, and in some sense the effects carry forward some of the characteristics of their causes.

Now I need to sort out the logical consequences of all this. :) I'm pretty sure that when he used the phrase "The essential point is this" he was implying that what followed was a condensation that omitted extensive supportive reasoning for the sake of brevity.

Now I feel like I am getting somewhere. Maybe only a single step forward, but hey I'm not a sprinter.
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:57 am

ronnewmexico wrote:It is not that consciousness or awareness is eternal...
Consicouness as quality not thing. ...
So this quality we call consciousness is always there and cannot as qualities are, be removed. So as quality it is permenant


ronnewmexico wrote:I await a reasoned response.


I repeat:
You cannot establish a "quality" without having established an entity that displays that quality before.

So please answer: What "has" the permanent quality "consciousness"? In other words: What is permanently conscious?

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

Postby ground » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:18 am

catmoon wrote:The original quote was:
HHDL 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. "


And I have gone back and reread it. Suddenly something jumped out at me. I think I made an error in understanding what the subject matter was.

He did not say that consciousness arises from a previous moment, although that may be true. He said the luminous and knowing aspect arises from a prior moment of consciousness, and that is the subject of the paragraph, not consciousness itself.

This could change the discussion completely.

Why? There is no change whether you call the phenomenon "consciousness" or "subtlest consciousness" or "luminous and knowing aspect". Just replace the variable with "phenomenon X" then you have the generic arguement which has the same fault.
Actually the only "news" is the "aspect" but then again you arrive at "aspect of what?" which is no different form the "quality" RNM has introduced ... it is an endless regression. This "aspect" stands for "consciousness" so you might as well leave it at simply "consciousness".

catmoon wrote:There has been some wrestling here about the mention of commensurate causes. I don't know much about the idea, but I believe that it basically means a virtuous action will not give rise to bad karma, and an apple will not give rise to a rhinoceros. There is a limit to what may arise from a given cause, and in some sense the effects carry forward some of the characteristics of their causes.

Matter can give rise to light. Matter can give rise to energy. The argument above would claim "Only the cause light is commensurate with light" and "Only the cause energy is commensurate with energy". But this is obviously not correct. Now you may say: Well actually "matter" is "energy", so to say that "Only the cause enegry is commensurate with energy" is correct. But this then begs the question: What is consciousness that renders it not commensurate with matter/energy/light being its cause? The answer is our "not knowing". We do not know what may be "in" matter or "an aspect of" matter that could be a cause commensurate with consciousness.
There is a phase transition from matter1 being energy to (matter2 being energy + energy released).
Why can't there be such a phase transition from matter1 to (matter2 + "consciousness")? I tell you why this possibility is obstinately ignored: Because the observer is the observed.

catmoon wrote:Now I feel like I am getting somewhere

Why? Because your sole intention is to support the argument. That is how it always works: The intention determines the outcome from the beginning :lol:

Logic has its applicability in Buddhism where there is intention to validate the teaching of the Buddha. The Buddha never asserted a permanent aggregate. Never ever did he do this.
Logic has no applicability where the intention is to replace not-knowing with speculation.

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

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:16 am

Cat...This all from a layperson with little understanding of things to again state...

Be advised that in Tibetan Buddhism consciousness is considered to be a composit. There are considered to be eight consciousnesses. Six of which are considered unstable or momentary and two which are considered stable. Of the two stable....the Klesha mind consciousness is considered to be essentially the self consciousness, holding onto the self of a person and holding onto the self of a object. The all base consciousness is considered to be the general basis for the whole mind and thus for all of the consciousnesses. It is there that karmic imprints are stored and ripened.

Consciousnesses are all thought to originate from the five kinds of primordial awarenesses. Our ignorance and misaprensions lead to the developement and continuance of the consciousnesses. A good book on this subject is Everyday Consciousness and Buddha Awakening, by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.

To my personal view, the five kinds of awarenesses are what a thing requires to cognate another thing. We require for instance, a ability to discriminate, a ability to see sameness in a thing, a retentive aspect to compare it to other objects we have known, and on and on. To know what is. we utilize these processes. To know anything. Misconstrue these awarenesses and we create self, like dislike, and samsara. If we apprehend our true awarenesses in their totality to my view we dissolve the eight consciousnesses and no longer rebirth.But again....that is a personal opinion. I don't know if other hold that or explain it similiarly.

To Quote HHDL from his introduction to the Tibetan Book of the DEad....

"Material things come into being based on other material entities such as particles, atoms, and cells and the mind comes into being based on a previous moment of mind, which is something that is luminous and has the capacity to be aware".

I believe you will find (though I do not have a handy reference), that even the luminous nature of mind is not found to be inherantly existant in the Dali Lamas school of Buddhism, Galugpa.

To the other.....should I then repeat my whole page already written.The question you ask is already answered and there to be found. Are you perhaps reading only what you care to find in the words written?

I will repeat it in shorter form only.

A eternal truthful observation such as water is wet is always a truth regardless if water happens to be present or not. If no water is present it remains absolutely true that when water does again present when the causes are precipitated that result in water occuring.....it will be wet. It can be no other way. That is a eternal quality of water...it is wet always.
Suchly consciousness considered similiarily as quality can have a eternal aspect as quality but not be in every circumstance eternal. Consciouness requires a object to elicit its presence. Functionally, as mentioned already, habitual formation, the retentive aspect of our consciousness(found in the eighth consciousness) serves as the object which provides the continuance of consciousness.
What differentiates us from a rock or inanimate object is our quality of consciousness. The ability to be conscious when presented with a object to be conscious of.

So that explains or can explain the quote by the first poster. Which seems the intent of this thread to explain that quote. ONe may question if HHDL and Tibetan Buddhist thought is right or wrong. I will not state it is wrong or right, it does not matter to me what others think of such things. Nor will I engage in such discussions.....they are pointless.

"So please answer: What "has" the permanent quality "consciousness"? In other words: What is permanently conscious?".....we are. Functionally not inherantly. we are permanantly conscious. The conditions are always present(a object is always present) which elicits a aware response. It is a self encloseing loop. But nothing in reality presupposes such things cannot exist. A book on another subject Catch 22 referenced such a loop, they are common.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:18 am

ronnewmexico wrote:CatONe may question if HHDL and Tibetan Buddhist thought is right or wrong. I will not state it is wrong or right, it does not matter to me what others think of such things. Nor will I engage in such discussions.....they are pointless.

They are pointless only if one has no interest in the truth of logic. But if one relies on Manjushri then one should not approach any argumentation carelessly.
The issue being discussed here is NOT "Tibetan Buddhist thought" and it is NOT "persons" but it is the reasoning presented at the beginning of this thread.
As to the reasoning itself:
It may be right as to intention.
But (my assertion for which I have provided reasons)
It is wrong as to the "reasoning schools" own standards.

ronnewmexico wrote:we are permanantly conscious.

As long as we are but we are not permanent.

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

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:47 pm

Whoop de do!!!!

"As long as we are but we are not permanent."

Yes you finally get it. I nowhere state if you bother to read what I have written and not what one may care to read into what I have written.....water need be not present nor nonpresent for it to be true eternally that....water is wet. As such when sentinent being present, when the cause presents that effects their being existant....they are always characterized by awareness/consciousness. Now functionally as to why consciousness presents as a continum....that has been explained with the self formation of objects as mechanism of the habit forming retentive aspect of our consciousnesses described as the all base. This derived from the primordial awareness, (but that is another matter).

We essentially have this quality...to become aware when object interacts with us. As our awarenesses work this may be a internally perceived object, our memory of things(simply described) which serves as object eliciting a conscious response. So functionally it is eternal. We cannot escape our tendency to habit form and retain it is part of consciousness and how we become aware of things. That is essentially the cause of rebirth. This aspect combined with misaprehension which generates karma, karmic effect and all the rest.

None of this not a single solitary bit suggests inherant existant aspects to our consciousness nor to our mechanism of continum of consciousness. Galugpa does not allow for the existance of inherantly existant things not to the smallest or most subtle degree.

As to this....."But if one relies on Manjushri then one should not approach any argumentation carelessly.
The issue being discussed here is NOT "Tibetan Buddhist thought" and it is NOT "persons" but it is the reasoning presented at the beginning of this thread."

I for one need no lectures on Manjushri from the likes of you. Your opinions on such things as Manjushri are your own and you are certainly welcome to them. I would suggest you should share them when so requested, not before. This is not the subject even remotely of this discussion.

The initial quote is ......"Tibetan Buddhist thought".
Geeze Louise.....can a quote by HHDL one of the leaders of one of the four major schools of Buddhism found in Tibet, on one of the core teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, be considered in any manner shape or form....not Tibetan Buddhist thought?

No my friend, no offense to you personally but....you are not making sense.
I ask for a reasoned argument not this nonsense.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby catmoon » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:22 am

TMingyur wrote:
catmoon wrote:Now I feel like I am getting somewhere

Why? Because your sole intention is to support the argument. That is how it always works: The intention determines the outcome from the beginning :lol:

Logic has its applicability in Buddhism where there is intention to validate the teaching of the Buddha. The Buddha never asserted a permanent aggregate. Never ever did he do this.
Logic has no applicability where the intention is to replace not-knowing with speculation.

Kind regards


I think you are way off in the weeds now. Surely if it were my intention to support the Dalai Lama's statement, I would not have disagreed with it in the first place. If it were my intention to pursue speculation, I would not be examining the arguments so closely.

The reason I feel I am getting somewhere is because I have uncovered a basic misunderstanding in my reading of the text. That means I can discard prior thoughts and begin over with a clearer understanding of the subject matter. My chances of gaining a clear understanding have increased.

Now to work... (see next post)
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby catmoon » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:37 am

HHDL 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. "


So here it is again.

I have no experience of the luminous aspect, which I have seen the Dalai Lama mention any number of times. The knowing aspect is something we all experience continuously.

Let us assume for a moment that the argument is valid. If that is so, there must be some great difference between the 1984 Ford Taurus and "The luminous and knowing aspect of a given state of consciousness".

What could that difference be? It appears to me that both are empty. One (the car) has the advantage of being a confirmable phenomenon, by comparison with the experiences of others. The other I'm not so sure of.

Also to be considered: This knowing aspect is said to be "beginningless". In a Buddhist context this could be light years away from saying it is eternal and unchanging. For example, when asked about the beginning of the universe, Buddha merely said a beginning was not seen, or steered the listener towards more productive topics.

Ok enough tinkin fer today. I'm going to let that ferment for a bit and see what develops.

Namaste all!
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:11 am

Dear catmoon
catmoon wrote:
TMingyur wrote:I think you are way off in the weeds now. Surely if it were my intention to support the Dalai Lama's statement, I would not have disagreed with it in the first place. If it were my intention to pursue speculation, I would not be examining the arguments so closely.

Fine.

Actually I do not know who you are adressing your latest post to. Seems like you are writing your diary of thought in this thread.
From the fact that you are repeating again and again the same questions that have already been covered earlier, I conclude - although you are trying to deny that - that your intention actually is to verify the outcome of the reasoning but not to discuss and respond and consider the arguments of other posters. Fair enough. The misunderstanding that discussion has been your intention is on my side.

That is why I do not see any reason for further responding to what you are posting with arguments, reasons or "things" to consider. My intention has never been to undermine peoples faith or their struggle to gain faith because faith is a mandatory prerequisite on the path. I do not have to and I also cannot sell anything because I am empty-handed.
My focus has been on the reasoning itself which is 15oo years old and is neither consistent with our knowledge of today which casts doubt on the grounds of the presumptions in the reasoning nor is it consistent with the Dalai Lama's reasoning school's own conventions, one being not to start investigating with the outcome already presumed in one's mind.

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

Postby catmoon » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:40 pm

Patience, patience.

It may appear I am rehashing stuff, but I have made several false starts on this topic. Each, time, in light of new understanding, I have had to go back and verify the old reasoning still stands.

I have now worked my way up to a point where I can begin to look at your earliest posts. Everyone else has raced ahead, while I have been trying to establish a connection between what I can see and the point you started from.
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Re: The Middle Way - H.H. the Dalai Lama

Postby Josef » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:04 pm

This is an excellent book.
I was actually at the teachings that it is a transcription of and remember it as the best unification of the Four Noble Truths, the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination, and Madhyamika I have ever heard.
Also the argument about the 1984 Ford Taurus doesnt really work, HHDL is not saying that what is being called consciousness is permanent he is just saying that it cannot be traced to a single origin and therefore is "beginningleses".

This is how we maintain a view that is free from extremes.
Another great book on the topic is Freedom From Extremes by Gorampa translated by Jose Cabezon.
This is actually my favorite Tibetan work on Madyamika.
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