Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby ajax » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:05 am

Not to suggest that there is no such thing as non-duality, no, of course not. The existence of non-duality is beyond questioning. I sometimes wonder though, maybe some have drunk the non-dual Kool-Aid a bit too deeply. For example, on a Zen Buddhist forum I created a poll which asked the simple question of whether Zen was rational or not. I gave explicit instructions that participants simply choose which yes or no answer felt more immediately right to them, and that they could go-off intellectually as they pleased in following comments. It was as thought they could not read the words I had posted.

Are some Zen practitioners in the West so attached to the ideas and culture of Zen that they cannot even entertain the notion of expressing how they feel in an nonintellectual or undogmatic way?

See the poll here: http://zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=7231
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Acchantika » Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:20 am

ajax wrote:Are some Zen practitioners in the West so attached to the ideas and culture of Zen that they cannot even entertain the notion of expressing how they feel in an nonintellectual or undogmatic way?


Those who contribute only have four options; answering the poll in a dogmatic way, commenting in an intellectual way, both, or neither posting nor voting.

Since you cannot assess those who do neither, your only pool of results is of people who either answer intellectually or dogmatically, or both.

This means that it is impossible for people to express themselves within the context of the experiment in a way that is neither intellectual nor dogmatic.

Hence, the experiment only allows for one possible result.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:56 pm

ajax wrote:Not to suggest that there is no such thing as non-duality, no, of course not. The existence of non-duality is beyond questioning.


duality vs. non-duality is dualistic and zen goes beyond that.

But thanks for giving people an opportunity to respond.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby zangskar » Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:59 pm

An ambiguous question + binary answering option = bad survey. I mean no offense, but I do think you should be open to the possibility that the difficulty in communicating could just as well be at your own side as with a general population of Western zen practitioners.

Also to evaluate your results you should consider who and how many actually replied as a proportion of the population. The population could be all members or all potential members of the forum. So most people did not answer at all. And you probably have no basis in the survey for your inferences about the nature of Western zen practitioners. Framed more positively, the answer from the great majority was silence, nothing. Mu! Not some dogma or intellectualism. :-)

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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Malcolm » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:16 pm

ajax wrote:Not to suggest that there is no such thing as non-duality, no, of course not. The existence of non-duality is beyond questioning.


A) There is no such a thing as non-duality

B) The existene of non-duality is not beyond question in any sense.

N
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby alwayson » Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:06 pm

ajax wrote:Not to suggest that there is no such thing as non-duality, no, of course not. The existence of non-duality is beyond questioning. I sometimes wonder though, maybe some have drunk the non-dual Kool-Aid a bit too deeply. For example, on a Zen Buddhist forum I created a poll which asked the simple question of whether Zen was rational or not. I gave explicit instructions that participants simply choose which yes or no answer felt more immediately right to them, and that they could go-off intellectually as they pleased in following comments. It was as thought they could not read the words I had posted.

Are some Zen practitioners in the West so attached to the ideas and culture of Zen that they cannot even entertain the notion of expressing how they feel in an nonintellectual or undogmatic way?

See the poll here: http://zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=7231




Why don't you research Madhyamaka, Dependent Origination, and Sunyata??
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Kyosan » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:08 pm

I read the thread you mentioned on the other board and especially liked this response:
by So-on Mann on Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:26 am
Undertaking beneficial action is completely rational.

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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Kyosan » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:56 pm

Namdrol wrote:
ajax wrote:Not to suggest that there is no such thing as non-duality, no, of course not. The existence of non-duality is beyond questioning.


A) There is no such a thing as non-duality

B) The existene of non-duality is not beyond question in any sense.

N

Non-duality is part of Buddhism. It is taught in the Mahayana sutras, not just in the Zen literature. It is the middle way and it is beneficial because it helps beings overcome their attachments. It is also a term used to describe the underlying nature of all things.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Malcolm » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:00 pm

Kyosan wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
ajax wrote:Not to suggest that there is no such thing as non-duality, no, of course not. The existence of non-duality is beyond questioning.


A) There is no such a thing as non-duality

B) The existene of non-duality is not beyond question in any sense.

N

Non-duality is part of Buddhism. It is taught in the Mahayana sutras, not just in the Zen literature. It is the middle way and it is beneficial because it helps beings overcome their attachments. It is also a term used to describe the underlying nature of all things.
:namaste:


Non-duality is not a thing. There is no non-dual thing or state and so on.

There is a difference between an absence of duality (Madhyamaka, and so on) and so called "non-duality".
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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby ajax » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:05 pm

zangskar wrote:An ambiguous question + binary answering option = bad survey. I mean no offense, but I do think you should be open to the possibility that the difficulty in communicating could just as well be at your own side as with a general population of Western zen practitioners.

The poll performed it's function quite well and the instructions are clear and unambiguous.

Also to evaluate your results you should consider who and how many actually replied as a proportion of the population. The population could be all members or all potential members of the forum. So most people did not answer at all. And you probably have no basis in the survey for your inferences about the nature of Western zen practitioners. Framed more positively, the answer from the great majority was silence, nothing. Mu! Not some dogma or intellectualism.

My interpretation of the responses does not extent to all Western Zen practitioners, just some of them as I wrote, but it could be a sign of a larger phenomena. It's not just that they did not choose but why they did not choose. Look at the following quote from one of the responders:

Because it is not an either/or question. [why not choose?]

Zen isn't about either/or questions. It is about directly experiencing the true nature of reality. And answering such questions doesn't help us to directly experience reality.

This person's ideas about Zen prevented her from simply choosing one of two options that felt more right at that moment. Even if it were too difficult for this person to choose she wouldn't have chosen anyway, because it is against her beliefs to choose.

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It is like the story of Achilles and the Tortoise. Even though Achilles could easily outrun the tortoise in a foot race he was rendered immobile and unable to act because of the ideas that the Tortoise put in his head!
Last edited by ajax on Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby alwayson » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:08 pm

Ajax, why do you refuse to research Madhyamaka and Dependent Origination?

Afraid you will discover that the backbone of Buddhism is 100% rational??
Last edited by alwayson on Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Kyosan » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:11 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Kyosan wrote:
Namdrol wrote:A) There is no such a thing as non-duality

B) The existene of non-duality is not beyond question in any sense.

N

Non-duality is part of Buddhism. It is taught in the Mahayana sutras, not just in the Zen literature. It is the middle way and it is beneficial because it helps beings overcome their attachments. It is also a term used to describe the underlying nature of all things.
:namaste:


Non-duality is not a thing. There is no non-dual thing or state and so on.

There is a difference between an absence of duality (Madhyamaka, and so on) and so called "non-duality".

I agree!
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby alwayson » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:16 pm

There is NO such thing as Nonduality in Buddhism, including Zen.

Dependent Origination does NOT equal nonduality.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby ajax » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:16 pm

alwayson wrote:Ajax, why do you refuse to research Madhyamaka and Dependent Origination?

Afraid you will discover that the backbone of Buddhism is 100% rational??


Hello alwayson

Are you suggesting that Zen is the backbone of Buddhism?
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby alwayson » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:17 pm

ajax wrote:
alwayson wrote:Ajax, why do you refuse to research Madhyamaka and Dependent Origination?

Afraid you will discover that the backbone of Buddhism is 100% rational??


Hello alwayson

Are you suggesting that Zen is the backbone of Buddhism?



NO

Dependent Origination and Sunyata is the backbone of Buddhism, including Zen.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby ajax » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:22 pm

alwayson wrote:
ajax wrote:
alwayson wrote:Ajax, why do you refuse to research Madhyamaka and Dependent Origination?

Afraid you will discover that the backbone of Buddhism is 100% rational??


Hello alwayson

Are you suggesting that Zen is the backbone of Buddhism?



NO

Dependent Origination and Sunyata is the backbone of Buddhism, including Zen.


I would have said that the Four Nobel Truths, which I believe are rational and include the things you mention, are the backbone of Buddhism.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby alwayson » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:25 pm

ajax wrote:I would have said that the Four Nobel Truths, which I believe are rational and include the things you mention, are the backbone of Buddhism.



You are extremely ignorant.


Dependent Origination is THE cardinal doctrine of Buddhism from Theravada to Dzogchen to the extinct schools.


P.S. Until you study Madhyamaka, you have no credibility whatsoever. :toilet:
Last edited by alwayson on Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Kyosan » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:33 pm

alwayson wrote:There is NO such thing as Nonduality in Buddhism, including Zen.

Dependent Origination does NOT equal nonduality.

How about Dependent Origination, is there such a thing in Buddhism?
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Acchantika » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:44 pm

ajax wrote:The poll performed it's function quite well and the instructions are clear and unambiguous.


I don't think you have understood the criticisms directed at the poll. You can't make conclusions about people's psychology from arbitrary data.
...
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Kyosan » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:51 pm

Non-dualism is part of Buddhism. For instance, here is a quote from an important Mahayana Buddhist scripture
from chapter 2 of the Sutra of Innummerable Meanings
all laws were originally, will be, and are in themselves void in nature and form; They are Neither great nor small, Neither appearing nor disappearing, Neither fixed or movable, and neither advancing nor retreating; they are non dualistic, just emptiness. All living beings, however, discriminate falsely: "It is this" or "it is that", and "It is advantageous" or "It is disadvantageous"; they entertain evil thoughts, make various evil karmas, and thus transmigrate within the six realms of existence; and they suffer all manner of miseries, and cannot escape from there during infinite kotis of kalpas.

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