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 Post subject: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 9:11 am 
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http://www.shantideva.net/guide_ch1.htm :buddha1:

The Way of The Bodhisattva of Shantideva, by Shambhala Classics. This book is specially recommend by His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

May bodhichitta, precious and sublime,
Arise where it has not come to be;
And where it has arisen may it never fail
But grow and flourish ever more and more.

:anjali:

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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:19 pm 
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:bow: :heart:


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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:20 pm 
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A text in which I always seem to come back to. Once, during a one day solitary retreat (or practice day?) I decided that I would recite the whole text in it's entirety. Very motivating.
:namaste:

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The past is but a present memory or condition, the future but a present projection, and the present itself vanishes before it can be grasped.- Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche


Last edited by malalu on Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:31 pm 
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I have been having great difficulty attaining clear understanding of the later chapters. However, I have found that if frustration or mental fatigue arises from these extended mental wrestling matches, I can always return to the early chapters. There I find mental rest, refreshment, and clarity. Sometimes I will stay with the first two or three chapters for several days until the urge to do battle with delusion arises again.

I do the same with some of HHDL's teachings that I don't get. I wrangle over them until I'm tired, then rest in the simpler teachings that are so clear and so warmly given. So if I fail to understand, or believe I understand but still disagree, it does not matter much. I can still engage in the practice of compassion as best I can.

I see forms of bodhicitta arising all around me. Merry Christmas.

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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:33 pm 
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No worries, Catmoon. I think that these are things that one must further realize through diligent practice, experience and the development of wisdom. The earlier chapter's are great in their own aspects as well.

From my limited experience, there are texts and teachings in which I thought I had understood, but then at some point in the future I would revisit them. I found that there were new things to discover, things that perhaps I did not have the capacity or the conditions to understand to it's full extent previously, or something that I did not initially see on the surface. This is why I feel it is helpful to take the attitude of trying to learn continuously- both through knowledge and practice.

Ya know, I have also noticed an overall sense of "good spirit" recently from this holiday season. Perhaps I was just in the right places at the right time! :tongue:

I do feel that this can also be a reflection of oneself, and I was always taught that you can generally gauge your own practice by looking at those around you. I think it's true!

Merry Christmas

M

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The past is but a present memory or condition, the future but a present projection, and the present itself vanishes before it can be grasped.- Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche


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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:28 pm 
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catmoon wrote:
I have been having great difficulty attaining clear understanding of the later chapters.


Which sections are you having difficulty with? The later chapters are in part structured as a response to arguments representative of opponent views and this can cause problems.

Kirt

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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:59 am 
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If you'd like a really in depth discussion of the Bodhicharyavatara, I'd recommend:

The Nectar of Manjushri's Speech

It's an excellent translation of Kunzang Pelden's very detailed commentary on the Bodhicharyavatara. It really clears up a lot of issues I've had understanding the Bodhicharyavatara because sometimes it's verse form can be a bit difficult.


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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:04 am 
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Sorry I lost track of this thread somehow! I'l definitely take a look at the commentary.

It was asked what I found difficult.


1. I can't seem to get free of some ideas. Like, there is some form of objective reality out there. Maybe all we have is perceptions, but they are so highly patterned and self-consistent that I just have to believe there is something there other than thought, even if we don't perceive it directly. I do see my perceptions as conditional on thought generally.

2. Even when I sit and watch the activities of the mind, there is still a very strong sense of there being an "I" doing the watching. Through study of Shantideva and others, I have stripped away a lot of old concepts about the "I" and clearly the mind is not the "I". But there it sits.

3. If consciousness is eternal how can it change? How can there be thought?

4. I see illogic in the arguments defining the object of negation.

On the plus side, the bulk of Shantideva is clear sailing for me. Of course when it's time for the rubber to meet the road there are the common obstacles of sloth and torpor, insufficient motivation and uncertainty. The real challenge is finding ways to practice the practice.

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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:17 am 
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catmoon wrote:
3. If consciousness is eternal how can it change?


Just a saying like "delusion is eternal" although the manifestations of "delusion" are impermanent and changing. Of course there is only "consciousness" if there is "being conscious of". These moments of "being conscious of" are subsumed as "consciousness" in the same way as "trunk", "legs", "arms", "head" etc are subsumed as "body".

Kind regards


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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:23 am 
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catmoon wrote:
1. I can't seem to get free of some ideas. Like, there is some form of objective reality out there. Maybe all we have is perceptions, but they are so highly patterned and self-consistent that I just have to believe there is something there other than thought, even if we don't perceive it directly. I do see my perceptions as conditional on thought generally.


While there may be an objective reality out there, your entire experience of it is contained within your mind right? If your experience of objective reality is all mental, then what's the difference between saying external reality exists inside or outside your mind? Does it even matter?

Quote:
2. Even when I sit and watch the activities of the mind, there is still a very strong sense of there being an "I" doing the watching. Through study of Shantideva and others, I have stripped away a lot of old concepts about the "I" and clearly the mind is not the "I". But there it sits.


How is the 'very strong sense of there being an "i" doing the watching' different than the other activities of the mind?

Quote:
3. If consciousness is eternal how can it change? How can there be thought?


Consciousness isn't eternal. You lose it when you fall asleep. You lose it when you drink too much. You lose it when you're anesthetized for surgery.

Quote:
On the plus side, the bulk of Shantideva is clear sailing for me. Of course when it's time for the rubber to meet the road there are the common obstacles of sloth and torpor, insufficient motivation and uncertainty. The real challenge is finding ways to practice the practice.


That's what's great about it. The really important stuff for you is clear when you need it. I think for a lot of us that's the teachings on compassion and diligence. I really think the stuff on wisdom you need a teacher to explain to you (repeatedly) from different angles til you can get a handle on it. I know it gives me a lot of trouble :(


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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:38 am 
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In addition to having this in several written formats, I also have a cd (well, 3 cd's to be exact) with the text read verbatim, and I regularly put that on in the background. I find it amazing how everytime, without exception, I pick up something new, or understand some point in a new, deeper or different manner.

Truly a most inspired and inspiring work.

:namaste:

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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:23 am 
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Jangchup Donden wrote:
While there may be an objective reality out there, your entire experience of it is contained within your mind right? If your experience of objective reality is all mental, then what's the difference between saying external reality exists inside or outside your mind? Does it even matter?


Yikes! yikes yikesyikes. Holy cats. never thot o that.


Quote:
How is the 'very strong sense of there being an "i" doing the watching' different than the other activities of the mind?


Uh.... yikes agin. While it currently appears to me that it is a qualitatively different thing, I can see that the question needs examination. Mainly because no answer leaps to mind. And the possibility appears that there is no such answer.

Consciousness isn't eternal. You lose it when you fall asleep. You lose it when you drink too much. You lose it when you're anesthetized for surgery.

SNIP



That's what's great about it. The really important stuff for you is clear when you need it. I think for a lot of us that's the teachings on compassion and diligence. I really think the stuff on wisdom you need a teacher to explain to you (repeatedly) from different angles til you can get a handle on it. I know it gives me a lot of trouble :([/quote]

At yesterday's teaching the teacher pointed at one of the two three-foot-wide, foot-thick concrete pillars in the room and asserted "The post is not there". This led to a burst of questions.

Wielding the logic of parts and sub-parts like a scythe, he mowed down objection after objection, many of which were objections that have caused me difficulty. Then someone said, with a note of desperation, "But everyone in this room agrees the pillar is there!" The teacher, without pause, dropped the logic he had been using and took a mindbendingly different tack - he smiled, shrugged and said "All your dream people agree it is there."

Now, this is pure solipsism and perilously close to nihilism. But on brief thought, there is clear, true and much wordier truth underlying this statement.

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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:23 am 
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catmoon wrote:
Jangchup Donden wrote:
While there may be an objective reality out there, your entire experience of it is contained within your mind right? If your experience of objective reality is all mental, then what's the difference between saying external reality exists inside or outside your mind? Does it even matter?


If there were something "out there," some phenomenon that truly, objectively existed, it would have to be eternal, unchanging, and could not be conditioned or interact with anything else. If something changes, then there is no basis on which to impute onto it a single, static identity, and therefore it cannot be said to truly exist. Also, if such an objective, unconditioned phenomenon existed, what could account for it being limited to a certain size and spatial location? If it were small, why? If it were big, why? If it existed in relation to other things, which would be necessary for it to have a perceivable size and location, then how is objectively existing?

Now, if we consider that everything observable is made of smaller parts which are themselves made up of smaller things, all the way down to space, where could this objective reality be and what could it consist of?

catmoon wrote:
Jangchup Donden wrote:
At yesterday's teaching the teacher pointed at one of the two three-foot-wide, foot-thick concrete pillars in the room and asserted "The post is not there". This led to a burst of questions.

Wielding the logic of parts and sub-parts like a scythe, he mowed down objection after objection, many of which were objections that have caused me difficulty. Then someone said, with a note of desperation, "But everyone in this room agrees the pillar is there!" The teacher, without pause, dropped the logic he had been using and took a mindbendingly different tack - he smiled, shrugged and said "All your dream people agree it is there."

Now, this is pure solipsism and perilously close to nihilism. But on brief thought, there is clear, true and much wordier truth underlying this statement.

It appears very similar to solipsism, but the subtle distinction has not so subtle implications. You have to remember that Madhyamaka, which sounds like what this teacher was speaking on, says the subject is as much a "dream person" as the objects it perceives. "I" am a "dream person" and "you" are too. From your POV, "you" are a dream person and so am "I." You can mow down the subject and object equally, in terms of analysis aimed at the ultimate level of truth; but it's not nihilism because, on the conventional level of truth, these things clearly appear and have clear functionality. And obviously, Mahayana doctrine differs from solipsism in that the whole Mahayana path is centered on the objective of helping other sentient beings become liberated and enlightened, and it features teachings on the positive results we experience from benefiting them vs the negative results of harming them.

As an aside, here's a link to an MP3 teaching on The Nectar of Manjushri's Speech, which might be particularly valuable to you for the commentary on the 9th chapter of the Bodhicaryavatara:
http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... ch%27_(MP3),_an_Overview


- Brian


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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:45 am 
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Pema Rigdzin wrote:
catmoon wrote:
At yesterday's teaching the teacher pointed at one of the two three-foot-wide, foot-thick concrete pillars in the room and asserted "The post is not there". This led to a burst of questions.

Wielding the logic of parts and sub-parts like a scythe, he mowed down objection after objection, many of which were objections that have caused me difficulty. Then someone said, with a note of desperation, "But everyone in this room agrees the pillar is there!" The teacher, without pause, dropped the logic he had been using and took a mindbendingly different tack - he smiled, shrugged and said "All your dream people agree it is there."

Now, this is pure solipsism and perilously close to nihilism. But on brief thought, there is clear, true and much wordier truth underlying this statement.

It appears very similar to solipsism, but the subtle distinction has not so subtle implications. You have to remember that Madhyamaka, ... but it's not nihilism because, on the conventional level of truth, these things clearly appear and have clear functionality.


The point here is simply that if the statement was made as indirectly quoted by Catmoon ("The post is not there") it is a very unskillful and absurd statement made by this person called "teacher" here. I would question the qualification as "teacher" of a person speaking in such irrational terms.
But as Catmoon mentioned there seems to have been an explanation afterwards. So it seems to be okay but there arises the suspicion that the instance may have been a case of sophistry.

Anyway the correct wording would have to be something like "If you apply an analysis that goes like that {explanation} then you cannot confirm the existence of the pillar that appears to be there."
So it would become clear that "not finding the pillar" presupposes a convention of seeing and analysis in the same way like saying "there is a pillar". It is simply a matter of choice of convention.

Madhyamaka is no hocus-pocus but it is logic. However logic presupposed the correct application of terms and comprises transparancy as to the conventional rules of procedure that entail certain conclusions.
If logic and transparency are skipped then what is intended to be Madhyamaka will actually become nihilism.

Kind regards


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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:22 am 
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With respect to the teacher, in which there should be trust, he can explain about how phenomena appear and how they are.

A good teacher has discarded all the veils of ignorance and realized all that is to be realized. By that he or she has the ability to cut through doubts and misconception with sharp wisdom. And so can teach the student directly.


"A wrong teacher is ignorant and proud and is lacking intelligence, he teaches mere words;
He cuts down others with disparaging statements;
With little learning and a lot of arrogance
He is a true evil for the disciple who fails to recognize." Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

If it is not like this explanation of wrong teacher, don't say: your teacher is not correct, this can harm the relationship between teacher and student which is very wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:54 am 
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Muni thank you for this kind reminder :namaste:


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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:20 am 
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muni wrote:
With respect to the teacher, in which there should be trust, he can explain about how phenomena appear and how they are.
...
"A wrong teacher is ignorant and proud and is lacking intelligence, he teaches mere words;

Correct. Therefore a teacher who says "The post is not there" while everbody else does see and affirm the post being there should go through the place where the post is assumed, walk right through the space occupied by the post others are affirming. Otherwise he is teaching mere words not grounded on anything.

Since nobody is immune against criticism one should think twice whom to quote and whom not to quote and whether one has the capacity to quote in a way that is beyond criticism if one wants to avoid criticism of the quoted.

Kind regards


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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:08 pm 
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Quote? That quote is showing the difference between a correct teacher and a wrong teacher; explained by a high respected master Dilgo Khyentse. It is very important before giving our completely trust.

When we don't know what the teacher was exactly explaining, we cannot correctly discuss about on a forum. No harm to nobody but respect.

Quote of Matthieu Ricard:

"There is an impostor in my head. I believe it's the core of my self, my entity. It gives me labels - I am English, I am an entrepreneur, I am a father etc.

This self-importance navigates my stream of consciousness - a boat that attracts attention and self-importance. It feeds on the next moment, future fantasies and past reminiscences.

I fear that without the boat, without these goals I cannot achieve yet these thoughts are the work of the impostor, giving me labels and sign posts that dictate shortcuts on how my life should be - other people's agendas.

Imagine drifting downstream in the boat and you suddenly are awoken by crashing into another boat. Insensed, you rise to give both barrels to the clumsy navigator who just rammed your boat. Only, you don't - you find the other boat empty so you laugh at the stupidity. Now imagine the same scenario but with the other boat occupied - your reaction will be different. Your reaction is different because of the self-construct of "I". Our suffering in form of the negative energies and anger too were self-inflicted.

Without clinging to the boat we have freedom."


Quote of Nagarjuna regarding the post (Vajrayana):

All those earlier appeared to consciousness
Because of not knowing that reality
Will later cease for consciousness in that way
Because of knowing that reality.

All these phenomena of beings
Are seen as fuel for the fire of consciousness.
They are pacified through being burned
By the light of true discrimination.

The reality is later ascertained
Of what was formerly imputed by ignorance
When a thing is not found,
How can there be a non-thing?

Because the phenomena of forms
Are only names, space too is only a name.
Without the elements how could forms exist?
Therefore even name-only does not exist.

Our concepts and thoughts are having no inherent exsitence.

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Last edited by muni on Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:58 pm 
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muni wrote:
That quote is showing the difference between a correct teacher and a wrong teacher; explained by a high respected master Dilgo Khyentse.
...
Our concepts and thoughts are having no inherent exsitence.

Of course. But that holds true for teachers, be they "correct" ones or "wrong" ones, and the vajrayana as well.

So what makes a non-inherent existent teacher a non-inherent correct one and what makes him a non-inherent "wrong" one?

It is non-inherently existing difference found by means of reasoning (which is not analysing the mode of existence but conventional characteristics).

Kind regards


Last edited by ground on Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bodhicaryavatara.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:07 pm 
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While we should not mix Conventionally and Absolute (Bodhichitta), are they one when understood. Dalai Lama.

The pointed finger to what just is, without all our concepts.

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