Sunyata and dependent origination

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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:23 pm

The propositions of the tetralema are to be taken entirely, not standing alone.
Besides, they are non affirmative negations.

Is takes to eternalism and is not to annihilationism.
Things function. This doesn't mean they ultimately exist or have any existence beyond appearances. Neither that they only lack inherent existence, as Gelugpas prefer.
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:45 pm

cloudburst wrote:
...please demonstrate my error.


When "is" and "Is not" are views, then they are wrong views and only wrong views. This of course is the reason for parsing "is" and "Is not" in quotations.

When used simply in conventional discourse and not as views, then of course 'is' and 'is not' are not wrong views since they are not being presented as views.

Your error is conflating the former with the latter.

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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:08 pm

Namdrol wrote:
When "is" and "Is not" are views, then they are wrong views and only wrong views.


When "is" and "Is not" are views, then they are wrong views?
...what does "are" mean?
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:15 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
When "is" and "Is not" are views, then they are wrong views and only wrong views.


When "is" and "Is not" are views, then they are wrong views?
...what does "are" mean?


it is a form of the verb "to be" used to make intelligible sentences.

The question you should really be asking is "What constitutes a view"?

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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby cloudburst » Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:22 pm

Namdrol wrote:
cloudburst wrote:
...please demonstrate my error.


When "is" and "Is not" are views, then they are wrong views and only wrong views. This of course is the reason for parsing "is" and "Is not" in quotations.


I see. That is quite clear.
So it seems there is an 'is' that is not a view.

Namdrol wrote:When used simply in conventional discourse and not as views, then of course 'is' and 'is not' are not wrong views since they are not being presented as views.
Your error is conflating the former with the latter.
N


Will you give a clear definition of the difference between a "view," which is being used in a specialized sense here, as opposed to something one holds to be conventionally true? How can we know when something is presented as a view and when something is being presented as conventional discourse?
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:43 pm

cloudburst wrote:
Will you give a clear definition of the difference between a "view,"...



A view is a fundamental belief one holds about reality. For example, "everything exists" (sarva asti)

How can we know when something is presented as a view and when something is being presented as conventional discourse?


One can easily observe that common people, not educated in tenets, generally believe their statements about the existence and non-existence of things. When a pot is broken, for them it is not a pot anymore. It may have become a broken pot, or shards, but for them the pot that was there is no longer there and has thus become non-existent in their mind.

Likewise, they believe in simple reality of a pot that they can see. For them the pot "is".

When it comes to people trained in tenet systems, this question is easier, because of of course, those who subscribe to various Buddhist and non-Buddhist tenet systems subscribe to various sets of beliefs such as those who assert arising from an existent, those who assert arising from a non-existent and so on.

The Buddhas and Nagarjuna's target at based was really more oriented at the sort of naive realism that people have, especially in regards to rebirth. Naively, some people believe that they exist, and that they will continue to exist after death. Other people, on the other hand, think that after death, they will not exist anymore.

The root of both these mistaken positions is "is" and "is not" -- for example "I exist now, and I will continue to exist after death" or "I exist now but when I die I will cease to exist".

We can assume then, based on people's statements and training whether they are naive realists or not, or are trained in some tenet system.

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby cloudburst » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:42 am

Namdrol wrote:
cloudburst wrote:
Will you give a clear definition of the difference between a "view,"...



A view is a fundamental belief one holds about reality. For example, "everything exists" (sarva asti)

How can we know when something is presented as a view and when something is being presented as conventional discourse?


One can easily observe that common people, not educated in tenets, generally believe their statements about the existence and non-existence of things. When a pot is broken, for them it is not a pot anymore. It may have become a broken pot, or shards, but for them the pot that was there is no longer there and has thus become non-existent in their mind.

Likewise, they believe in simple reality of a pot that they can see. For them the pot "is".

When it comes to people trained in tenet systems, this question is easier, because of of course, those who subscribe to various Buddhist and non-Buddhist tenet systems subscribe to various sets of beliefs such as those who assert arising from an existent, those who assert arising from a non-existent and so on.

The Buddhas and Nagarjuna's target at based was really more oriented at the sort of naive realism that people have, especially in regards to rebirth. Naively, some people believe that they exist, and that they will continue to exist after death. Other people, on the other hand, think that after death, they will not exist anymore.

The root of both these mistaken positions is "is" and "is not" -- for example "I exist now, and I will continue to exist after death" or "I exist now but when I die I will cease to exist".

We can assume then, based on people's statements and training whether they are naive realists or not, or are trained in some tenet system.

N


So a "view" is view of reality, involving some element of realism.

It's really so sensible. I really must agree about the rebirth points, so many what to appropriate the power of the Dharma, but leave behind so much of what makes the Dharma extraordinary. It would be wonderful if they could do some study of original sources to clarify.

perhaps more later...thanks for an edifying discussion.
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:48 am

Namdrol wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
When "is" and "Is not" are views, then they are wrong views and only wrong views.


When "is" and "Is not" are views, then they are wrong views?
...what does "are" mean?


it is a form of the verb "to be" used to make intelligible sentences.

The question you should really be asking is "What constitutes a view"?

N


I think "are' is the plural form of "is".
If you say that asserting something is (or is not) a wrong view,
doesn't that assertion that it is a wrong view thus establish a wrong view?
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby muni » Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:06 am

Understanding emptiness: free of assertions (the three principles of the path).

Those who assert dependent phenomena
As like moons in water,
As not real and not unreal,
Are not tricked by views.

Nagarjuna.
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:40 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
I think "are' is the plural form of "is".
If you say that asserting something is (or is not) a wrong view,
doesn't that assertion that it is a wrong view thus establish a wrong view?


I have already answered this and won't do so again.

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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:23 am

Namdrol wrote:The Buddhas and Nagarjuna's target at based was really more oriented at the sort of naive realism that people have, especially in regards to rebirth. Naively, some people believe that they exist, and that they will continue to exist after death. Other people, on the other hand, think that after death, they will not exist anymore.

The root of both these mistaken positions is "is" and "is not" -- for example "I exist now, and I will continue to exist after death" or "I exist now but when I die I will cease to exist".



This is very well put, thank you.
But I wonder (meaning, politely, that I am not disagreeing with your main point) if the root of the mistake might actually be starting with the assumption of "I" , which is only then later subject to the question of "is" or "is not".

I have found that a hurdle for some new students of the dharma is approaching the understanding of sunyata from a sort of deconstructionist starting point. For example, they might say "here is a table but it doesn't have any real existence" and then try to talk themselves into the idea that somehow the table isn't there.

If they approach the situation a little differently, saying, "there is nothing inherently there which can be (in essence) found to be a table" then the idea that we merely but labels on composite phenomena makes more sense, and the question of "is" or "is not" becomes moot, because, beginning with that understanding, no presumption of an object has been made.
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby Sönam » Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:31 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:...

But I wonder (meaning, politely, that I am not disagreeing with your main point) if the root of the mistake might actually be starting with the assumption of "I" , which is only then later subject to the question of "is" or "is not".


"is" or "is not" states there is two ... "other" and "I".


I have found that a hurdle for some new students of the dharma is approaching the understanding of sunyata from a sort of deconstructionist starting point. For example, they might say "here is a table but it doesn't have any real existence" and then try to talk themselves into the idea that somehow the table isn't there.

If they approach the situation a little differently, saying, "there is nothing inherently there which can be (in essence) found to be a table" then the idea that we merely but labels on composite phenomena makes more sense, and the question of "is" or "is not" becomes moot, because, beginning with that understanding, no presumption of an object has been made.


Both cannot be emptiness, for it is not empty ...

Sönam
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By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:18 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
This is very well put, thank you.
But I wonder (meaning, politely, that I am not disagreeing with your main point) if the root of the mistake might actually be starting with the assumption of "I" , which is only then later subject to the question of "is" or "is not".



When we get down to the basic problem, we have an appearance. Then we give it a label. Identification follows appearance. Then conventional discourse can ensue. Underneath the all identifications is the idea of "is".



I have found that a hurdle for some new students of the dharma is approaching the understanding of sunyata from a sort of deconstructionist starting point. For example, they might say "here is a table but it doesn't have any real existence" and then try to talk themselves into the idea that somehow the table isn't there.


Notions of 'is' and 'is not' lead us swiftly away from dependent origination. That is why Buddha and Nagarjuna criticized them.



If they approach the situation a little differently, saying, "there is nothing inherently there which can be (in essence) found to be a table" then the idea that we merely but labels on composite phenomena makes more sense, and the question of "is" or "is not" becomes moot, because, beginning with that understanding, no presumption of an object has been made.


Differentiating essences and existences is no different than trying differentiate things and their characteristics.

There is no table in a a table. Some people are helped with the idea there is no inherent table on a table, but then what often happens, is that they get hung up on the table, just the same.
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:10 pm

Namdrol wrote:
When we get down to the basic problem, we have an appearance. Then we give it a label. Identification follows appearance. Then conventional discourse can ensue. Underneath the all identifications is the idea of "is".




Well, you are saying that underneath the all identifications is the idea of "is", but still, you begin with appearance.
I am thinking here that "is" or "is not" are conceptual, and only follow the initial arising of an appearance, the raw arising of appearance to the senses.
What we experience as appearances is so unfathomably vast, and occurring so rapidly, i mean, you just need to glance around the room and already you are processing millions of bits of information about shape depth, color and so forth, and we are perceiving things we are not even aware that we are perceiving until they are brought to out attention, like when one's foot falls asleep.

I am not disagreeing with you at all about the illusory quality of "is' or 'is not", I am just wondering about the order of things.

By the way, getting back to an earlier discussion in this thread, i meantioned sunlight and you pointed out that sunlight has a cause, and so it is conditional and not eternal and so on. So, let me take it in the other direction.

What about total darkness? Total darkness is a complete lack of light.
If a person has their eyes completely covered, one will not know if one is in the dark room or not.
Thus, when one is in a totally dark space (accidentally buried alive) with one's eyes open,
There is the experience of something which does not arise conditionally, and this experience occurs through perception.
In other words, because my eyes are open I can see that the space is totally dark.

Now, I suppose it could be argued that darkness is dependent on no light and thus results from causes, or only exists in some relative context.
However, I do not think this is a logical argument, because the introduction of light can only be considered as an interruption.
Unlike the comparing, say, hot and cold, where each has something causing it, there is nothing actually causing darkness, yet that darkness can be directly witnessed because there is still the functioning of awareness.

So, perhaps sunyata can be directly experienced, precisely as both the non-arising of an experiencer and the non arising of an object of experience.
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:50 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
When we get down to the basic problem, we have an appearance. Then we give it a label. Identification follows appearance. Then conventional discourse can ensue. Underneath the all identifications is the idea of "is".




Well, you are saying that underneath the all identifications is the idea of "is", but still, you begin with appearance.



Of course.



I am thinking here that "is" or "is not" are conceptual, and only follow the initial arising of an appearance, the raw arising of appearance to the senses.


Yes, all views are conceptual in nature.

What about total darkness? Total darkness is a complete lack of light.


That means it is still conditioned.

there is nothing actually causing darkness, yet that darkness can be directly witnessed because there is still the functioning of awareness.


Darkness is conditioned because it is impermanent.

So, perhaps sunyata can be directly experienced, precisely as both the non-arising of an experiencer and the non arising of an object of experience.


Then it cannot be experienced since neither an object nor an experiencer of an object arose.
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:34 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Darkness is conditioned because it is impermanent.




When something is regarded as conditioned,
do you make a distinction between
that which simply undergoes transformation and is thus subject to gradual change
and that which undergoes total annihilation?"

In other words, absolute darkness is not subject to change, only to annihilation.
A room is either totally dark or else it isn't ..
That darkness is destroyed by the faintest illumination.
So due to external circumstances it may not be permanent
but it has no characteristics which arise, or by which it occurs dependent on anything else.
Light does not have to be removed in order for darkness to occur.
So, while it can be said to exist relatively,
i am not sure that it arises relatively.

if we define a phenomena in relation to what it is not, then can we say that spaghetti arises depending on how much it is not a goldfish?
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:44 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Darkness is conditioned because it is impermanent.




When something is regarded as conditioned,
do you make a distinction between
that which simply undergoes transformation and is thus subject to gradual change
and that which undergoes total annihilation?"

In other words, absolute darkness is not subject to change, only to annihilation.
A room is either totally dark or else it isn't ..
That darkness is destroyed by the faintest illumination.
So due to external circumstances it may not be permanent
but it has no characteristics which arise dependent on anything else.
Only the duality of light and dark is dependent.


Darkness is part of the rūpa āyatana, it is considered part of matter. It is a color, from a Buddhist point of view. It is therefore, impermanent and conditioned.

N
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:05 pm

Namdrol wrote:Darkness is part of the rūpa āyatana, it is considered part of matter. It is a color, from a Buddhist point of view. It is therefore, impermanent and conditioned.


Oh, well then I will leave it at that because I was considering it from a different point of view.
Thank you for your insight!
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:13 pm

So, is it possible experience something that isn't there, if the fact that it is not there is the result of conditions?

For example, what about a
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Re: Sunyata and dependent origination

Postby Dexing » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:35 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:So, is it possible experience something that isn't there, if the fact that it is not there is the result of conditions?

For example, what about a


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