Quiet Heart wrote:Now, how can anyone actually call that a "curse" and not a "gift"?
Quiet Heart wrote::smile:
Every time I read that topic heading I have to laugh.
Reincarnation: A gift or a curse.
Surely you must be joking.
I also see the tpoic has run away from the original post lately.
So let me just add a few comments.
First of all, I don't think, at least I hope not, that anyone really expects to be "reincarnted" after death like waking up from a dream; in another body and with the memory of the previous life. If they do, I'm afraid they are likely not to have that happen.
In short, there is no personal reincarnation...where your individual Ego survives death.
Secondly, I prefer to think of reincarnation as in the nature of a flower, that blooms for a brief time; then goes to seed. When the flower dies and fades away, that seed will carry on and eventually there will be another bloom.
That bloom will be another chance for the flower.
That is the same as being reborn as a "sentient being" with the possibility of finding the Dharma.
Of course, there is "suffering"; but without suffering there is no understanding of the nature of "liberation from suffering" and therefore no "liberation".
Now, how can anyone actually call that a "curse" and not a "gift"?
gregkavarnos wrote:Actually it would probably be correct to say that reincarnation is neither a curse nor a gift but just a fact of samsaric existence.
Is dependent origination a curse?
Is ignorance a curse?
No, I don't think "curse" is the correct term, again it is just an element of human existence, of sentience. It is no more a curse than knowledge is a curse.mudra wrote:Yeah ignorance is a 'curse'. The worst part is we curse ourselves.
gregkavarnos wrote:No, I don't think "curse" is the correct term, again it is just an element of human existence, of sentience. It is no more a curse than knowledge is a curse.mudra wrote:Yeah ignorance is a 'curse'. The worst part is we curse ourselves.
Anyway, if we did not experience ignorance, how could we experience enlightenment?
gregkavarnos wrote:Hmmmmm.... how can I say this? Can we realise the true nature of brightness if we have not experienced darkness?
I mean, if one is brought up in the tropics then ones idea of cold has no true bearing if one does not go to live in a polar region. Okay, one may have a relative experience of cold, 16 degrees celsius is colder than 39 degrees celsius, but this is is a pretty limited range of experience when you consider that Arctic temperatures can fall to -50 degrees celsius (even less with wind chill).
Without having experienced ignorance will we truly appreciate the bliss of enlightenment?
Even the Buddhas started off as plain old sentient beings and developed through countless lifetimes of experiences in order to arrive at omniscience. So, to me, it seems that ignorance is an unavoidable aspect of sentience and thus actually not a curse but a springboard into enlightenment.
Hmmmm... Well I'm putting it in dualistic terms because they is no other way to express it!Dechen Norbu wrote:I understand what you were saying, but still you are putting it in dualistic terms. We enjoy pleasure, bliss and so on, but enlightenment goes beyond these emotions, feelings and sensations. It's not the opposite of ignorance. It's its absence.
True (well not so true coz your statement makes it sound as if ignorance is more powerful than enlightenment), but without the presence of the cloud there would be no experience of the change towards sunlight. This is what I am talking about, the experience of realisation via the change that realisation brings.If there's no ignorance, there's enlightenment, not because ignorance projected you, very much the opposite, but because it was overcome. Ignorance is the biggest cloud in the sky, if you get my meaning. The fact that the sun shines has nothing to do with it being there.
gregkavarnos wrote:Hmmmm... Well I'm putting it in dualistic terms because they is no other way to express it!
Is heat the opposite of cold or the the absence of cold?
Is enlightenment the opposite of ignorance (note here that I did not talk about opposites, you did, I spoke of relative experiences) or the absence of ignorance?
So without one we cannot truly understand the experience of the other.
Would you say that to begin on the (gradual) path one first has to realise that they are ignorant before they can progress towards realising awakening?
True (well not so true coz your statement makes it sound as if ignorance is more powerful than enlightenment), but without the presence of the cloud there would be no experience of the change towards sunlight. This is what I am talking about, the experience of realisation via the change that realisation brings.
Birth as a sentient being is a consequence of ignorance. Sentience (human sentience) is a precondition for enlightenment. Enlightenment is the removal of the veils of ignorance (and the other afflicting emotions). Enlightenment may not depend on the veils, but the veils are there. That is the starting point. The veils are there, tathagatagarbha is there and the fun begins.
So ignorance is not a curse, it is merely an aspect of the condition of sentience (as much as our enlightened nature is).
Ultimately, realising we are ignorant is the same as realising that we are enlightened.
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Ignorance is a term that refers to something you don't have (wisdom), not something you have.
But there are different aspects of ignorance.
Suppose you are going some place, but you are headed in the wrong direction,
but you don't realize it.
You can go on for a long time this way, which is basically what samsara is.
At some point, you realize that all this time you have been headed in the wrong direction.
Now, there is some level of realization.
At least now you know you are lost.
You are less ignorant about your situation,
but you still may not know in which direction you should be headed.
If you find out, if somebody points you in the right direction,
then that degree of ignorance has been replaced by knowing.
But you still do not know what lies ahead,
what obstacles you will face, even though you know which way to go.
So, there is still some degree of ignorance,
but it's like a hole that gradually this gets filled up with knowledge and wisdom until,
by becoming filled, it no longer exists.
But of course, without that hole,
there is no place to pour in all the wisdom.
No more than darkness conditions lightness. Initially, in experiential terms, the experience of enlightenment (or a moment of enlightenment) would be defined dualistically. That is our habitual mode of definition. Just because we define it dualistically does not mean that it is dualistic. We also define sensory experience as a dualistic process (object of sensation, subject that is sensing) but its not. So...Dechen Norbu wrote:I know what you mean, Greg. But you can't say that enlightenment is not possible without the experience of ignorance. That would be conditioning it, so not only speaking of it in relative terms but also defining it in experiential terms as dualistic.
I agree with you here, I did not say though that one cannot experience cold without having expereienced heat, but that the experience of the difference becomes more distinct if one has experienced both. Buddhas that were never unenlightened? Some examples please.To begin the path one has to realize one's ignorance, only to do a full circle and understand enlightenment was there from the very beginning. It's not that I am disagreeing with your statement, only with the sentence that without ignorance one can't experience enlightenment as without cold one wouldn't know what heat is (and that is debatable). There are Buddhas who never were unenlightened, so never ignorant. Can you say that they are not enlightened? No.
But the expereince of wakefulness is understood as different from that of dreaming because of its different qualities. Even here there is a point of comparison.It seems an adequate simile like comparing enlightenment to awakening from a dream. It doesn't matter what your dream was. When you wake up, it's a different thing altogether. Being awake has nothing to do with the contents of the dream. It doesn't matter if you dream with a bird, a flower, a monster or even with being asleep and waking up.
I am aware of this, thgat is why I do not consider ignorance as a curse!It seems to me that this is the point where you go wrong. Enlightenment as the change of experience in relation to a deluded experience. The deluded experience is still the play of your energy. Enlightenment is already present.
I am not willing to make a statement like that, because, as long as I can remember i have been trapped in dualism (hell, I'm there now too), so I really can't say if your statement is true or not. And everything that I have described thus far has been through the limited prism of my own experience. In my experience it is like the blissful nature of mediative absorption becomes even more "appealing" when I compare it to the shallow drudgery (broken up by periods of emotional eruption) of daily existence.That would be possible even if you hadn't mistaken them for being independent.
Didn't say it was, but it is definitely the starting point for everybody that I know. This is our current situation. This is the materials that we have to work with right now.Yes, but this doesn't mean ignorance is a prerequisite for enlightenment.
Aren't all beings in samsara ripening the fuits of unfavourable karma?Rebirth is what some could consider a curse (that is the debate of this topic, right?), while others a blessing, not ignorance.
It depends, no? For those engaged in practice who haven't had the time to finish the path, it can be a "blessing". For those who will be ripening the fruits of unfavorable karma, it may look like a curse. But this discussion is a little silly I guess.
mudra wrote:Ignorance that is relevant in relation to samsara is not simply not knowing - it is a darkness of the mind that creates the setting for wrong views, some argue that they (darkness and wrong views) are pretty much the same thing.
in samsara, we definitely have wrong views.