Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

General forum on Mahayana.

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby Sherab » Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:23 am

conebeckham wrote:Right. This is what Nagarjuna says--sort of....I don't think he would actually say they "exist only as illusions," though...he might say they "Appear, " you know?

All his analyses pointed to one, and I might add inevitable, conclusion, ie. that all mind and matter ARE illusions. So I am merely calling a spade a spade.

Mental and physical phenomena appear to us but we don't consider our experiences of them as illusions although they ARE illusions. Instead, we either experience them as real or as causally generated.
User avatar
Sherab
 
Posts: 695
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:28 am

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby Sherab » Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:15 am

Am having second thoughts.

Dependent existences are illusory but dependent arising is not. This is because if dependent arising is illusory, it does not exist. If it does not exist, ie. non-functional, then pure phenomena (appearances not tainted by ignorance) would not be possible.

While dependent arising is not illusory, causality is. Causality is what drives the world of impure phenomena.

Does this make sense to anyone?
User avatar
Sherab
 
Posts: 695
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:28 am

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby Andrew108 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:23 am

If the nature of things is not to be found in themselves then they are empty of any defining characteristics. If they are empty of defining characteristics but appear then we can say they are illusion-like. If there is no ignorance as to the true nature of things then there is no causality. Causality is posited as a relative truth in that it is based in the ignorance of beings who take things to have an abiding nature and who are mistaken as to the true nature of things. In short causality is what dualism smells like. Dependent arising and causality are the same thing.
Andrew108
 
Posts: 1057
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby Sherab » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:40 am

Perhaps I am splitting hairs, but I feel that dependent arising is not the same as causality.

Dependent arising is a mechanism that can explain the arising of phenomena without the need to invoke cause and effect and therefore the issue of infinite regression. The closest equivalent I can think of is "bootstrapping" mechanism.
User avatar
Sherab
 
Posts: 695
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:28 am

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby Epistemes » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:54 am

conebeckham wrote:
Virgo wrote:Right, phenomena simply appear to arise. They neither exist, nor do not exist.


Sometimes folks make the "jump" from understanding that a single, appearing-to-exist-on-it's-own phenomenon does not exist, to a sort of affirmation of existence-as-process. That was my concern--that it appeared that Swampflower was arguing that the continuum of, for example, seed-sprout-tree-fruit-seed-sprout-etc., could be said to exist, even if a single element--tree, for example--could not. Or that this continuum, in combination with various other causes and conditions--rain, sunlight, etc., could be said to exist.


This is based on Chandrakirti, right?

I'm going to derail this thread slightly for my own selfish needs:

I had an insight the other day. If I think of a squirrel, I can say, 'That squirrel does not exist because it is a mind-object'; however, even the apprehension of an actual squirrel is still a mind-object. How does this fit in with what's being discussed here?

My hurdle is precisely collective apprehension. If phenomena only appear to arise, being mind-objects, then how can we experience the same phenomena? For example, if five people were to apprehend the squirrel and describe it in the exact same way (or even remarkable similarity), then the squirrel must have some level of existence on its side, right?

I'm sorry for these stupid questions.
Cantankerous Buddha
User avatar
Epistemes
 
Posts: 234
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:30 am
Location: Here

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby el_chupacabra » Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:16 am

Epistemes wrote:My hurdle is precisely collective apprehension. If phenomena only appear to arise, being mind-objects, then how can we experience the same phenomena? For example, if five people were to apprehend the squirrel and describe it in the exact same way (or even remarkable similarity), then the squirrel must have some level of existence on its side, right?

I'm sorry for these stupid questions.


Well, we share common (dependently arisen) features, similar eyes, optical nerves, brains, and even language/concepts to interpret that sensory input. There's an African tribe that recognises only 5 colours, and they cannot differentiate between a certain shade of green and a certain shade of blue. They can however differentiate very well between subtly different shades of green that to us look identical. There's also a Canadian photographer who has no colour receptors in her eyes and sees entirely in black and white. She has managed to learn what we call colours from her ability to differentiate shades of grey.
If you were only two inches tall and happened to be a squirrel's favourite lunch, I'm pretty sure your perceptions of the creature would be very different. :tongue:
el_chupacabra
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:23 am

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby swampflower » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:34 am

I will ask all to really get real.
Did you see that squirrel? well whether you saw it or not had no effect whatsoever on the squirrel's existence.
We cannot dismiss existence. Otherwise we would not be here to discuss existence.
There is no reason to fear existence.
The path only exists because we do exist.
Relax and come to the non constructed uncontrived view of existence. the non view. the un viewed the true reality that does truly not have reality. and relax
Oṃ Tāre Tuttāre Ture Svāhā
User avatar
swampflower
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: Bellefonte, PA

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby swampflower » Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:18 am

May we once more go to the root teaching of our Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama Shakyamuni Buddha in this present time.
The Four Nobel Truths.
suffering exists
How will one refute any existence when the Buddha said that suffering exists
Here one must realize that this existence is not immutable or some inherent condition
Buddha has understood that there are causes to suffering
we must ask then where do these causes arise for without these causes then there could be no suffering
so there may be an end to suffering if the causes of suffering are not caused
suffering will naturally end without the conditions and causes that allow suffering to arise
so suffering may end
the Buddha has revealed that there is no inherent suffering
further the buddha has revealed the path to end suffering
we are not left blind on the path
the brilliant light of the Buddha is unquenchable
Oṃ Tāre Tuttāre Ture Svāhā
User avatar
swampflower
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: Bellefonte, PA

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby swampflower » Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:38 am

Buddha nature
if anything exists let it be this
ha ha just kidding
Oṃ Tāre Tuttāre Ture Svāhā
User avatar
swampflower
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: Bellefonte, PA

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby DarwidHalim » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:31 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

What did Nagarjuna explain to be the dangers of (explicit or implicit) belief in Existence and Non-Existence?

Let's just assume for the moment that Nagarjuna was right... so what? What is the practical implication to one's pursuit of the Buddhist path? How does belief in Existence or Non-Existence bring suffering or put roadblocks in the way of one's spiritual progress?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and for any references you may be able to share that address this question.

Maitri,
Retro. :)


Let this idiot try to share his ignorance

First we need to prove logically whether existance can exist or not. Second we need to prove whether non-existance can exist or not.

When Nargarjuna mentioned exist, he always means exist inherently. Similarly, when he mentioned non-existance, he always means non-existance inherently.

But, normally in writing, may be for the sake of simplicity, it will be just written down as exist and non-exist.

This the rule:
1. If thing exist (inherently), it will be also there. It cannot be affected by anything. If fire exist inherently, when you pour water into it, the fire will always there.
2. If thing non-exist (inherently), there is no way for it to appear. If fire is non-existance, there is no way we ever see fire.

In reality, there is no single entity fulfills those. Water can become an ice, ice can become water, so where is the inherent water? Where is the inherent ice?

If we say water exist inherently, we have to accept that since it is already inherent, there is no way it can change to ice. Reality is not like that. Similarly, for ice.

So what is water? Water doesn't exist neither non-exist. We cannot say it exist, because it can become ice. We also cannot say it doesn't exist because ice can become water.

There is nothing inherent in this planet.

Water is simply a label that we put to phenomena. You won't be able to find a single entity with the essence or self called water. Beyond that label, you won't find anything.

Same with body. You think there is body. In your vipassana meditation, you will come to the step where you will check 1 by 1 all of your body. You cannot find any single entity called inherent body. You just use similar analysis, and you will come to the conclusion that there is no inherent eyes, there is no inherent mouth, there is no time, no space, etc. There is also no inherent consciousness since it is always changing. You will find nothing. From perception, we normally think they all exist, but when you analysis, you won't find it.

Once we understand that everything doesn't exist inherently, we can be very sure that actually everything is simply the phenomena which we can never pin point its essence, or its self.

There is also no boundary (red thread) that can possibly separate 1 entity to another entity. We always see table and the vase as 2 object, but actually they are 1 system. Our body is actually also inside that 1 system. There is no way actually we can separate this entity and take it out from the system. We will always inside the system. We can only separate the system AS IF it is separate by labeling.

Once we know thing doesn't exist nor non-exist, the practical impact to our daily life is huge.

Let's take an example a diamond.

Does the diamond exist? Oh yes, you can touch it. If you see it exist, has a red thread that can separate it from the system, you will struggle a lot not to have it. Because you think it is real.

The consequence of accepting something as real is: When you try to let it go, you will fight with your desire or craving. It is real. I want it, but you are afraid you will be attached to it, so you need to let it go. But because we see it as real, the consequence is we will struggle to let it go.

But if you can see that the diamond is not real, you will be able to see that oh actually it is just a phenomena which is always changing and without essence. It is my perception who see it as real. So, you can let it go naturally. It is not that easy. But the higher your understanding about emptiness of inherent existance, they more natural you let thing go.

Actually, when we have perfect understanding of emptiness, the word let go is no longer relevant and doesn't make sense. Why? It is because you will know there is no essence of object (there is no essence of diamond) for you to hold. If there is no object, you cannot have a verb called let go. Everything simply natural.

You will not see diamond as single entity, but we will see the whole system without any red thread. Everything becomes natural and simply changing phenomena. No essence. Neither exist nor non-exist.

Btw, it is not easy to understand Nagarjuna teaching, really need time to get and understand the gist.

We need to be careful as well with the word non-exist because it is very easy to fall into nihilism.

The people with nihilism view are brave to do any negative deeds due to their lack of wisdom. They will fall into the hell and they will not ready and suffer with the fire of hell.
But
People with perfect of view of emptiness, not only brave to do anything based on their wisdom, but they will be very brave go to the hell purposely to do their boddhisattva deeds, and the fire of hell won't make them suffer at all.

People say oh you say no fire, so you go and burn your body, see whether there is fire or not.
If we cannot see the emptiness, actually we will be very scared and suffer when we go to the fire.
But in reality, when we burn our body plus this consciousness, every second inside the burning fire, it is actually simply a changing phenomena which is without essence. Every second that our body change shape, change smell, are simply changing phenomena like the moving cloud in the sky. That burning fire itself actually becomes the prove of impermanence, without essence. We think we will die, but actually we cannot die. This consciousness simply continue and changing.

People who have the thinking of nihilism, will not understand the emptiness, so when the fire burn him in the hell, they will suffer a lot.

The real example, where the fire cannot "touch" the monk is here. You can see that he is not affected at all by fire, peaceful and steady
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efnHvwNf ... re=related

It is very difficult to explain how he can do it by words.

However, you can try simple experiment that when you see that your belongings are simply phenomena, when you lost it, you won't have the pain.
When you go to your meditation, at certain level, you will reach a state where you won't feel your body anymore. And I think he is much deeper than that.

So the view of existance will bring us suffering because when we think something exists, it is natural we want it or reject it. No wonder, we are in samsara.
View of non-existance will bring us to the hell because we can kill, lie, etc. by thinking there is nothing after this life. Are you ready with the fire of hell?

View of neither existance nor non-existance will bring us natural freedom from letting go. We don't need to let go, it lets go by itself.

Btw, Don't trust me, you need to do your further research for it. I am also sleeping while I am writing :zzz: :zzz: :zzz:
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
User avatar
DarwidHalim
 
Posts: 418
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:04 pm

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby Epistemes » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:15 pm

DarwidHalim wrote:This the rule:
1. If thing exist (inherently), it will be also there. It cannot be affected by anything. If fire exist inherently, when you pour water into it, the fire will always there.
2. If thing non-exist (inherently), there is no way for it to appear. If fire is non-existance, there is no way we ever see fire.

In reality, there is no single entity fulfills those. Water can become an ice, ice can become water, so where is the inherent water? Where is the inherent ice?

If we say water exist inherently, we have to accept that since it is already inherent, there is no way it can change to ice. Reality is not like that. Similarly, for ice.

So what is water? Water doesn't exist neither non-exist. We cannot say it exist, because it can become ice. We also cannot say it doesn't exist because ice can become water.

There is nothing inherent in this planet.

Water is simply a label that we put to phenomena. You won't be able to find a single entity with the essence or self called water. Beyond that label, you won't find anything.


There are some persons in this thread who have posited that the very process of becoming and non-becoming is neither existent nor non-existent, which I interpret to mean that inherent freezing - which would be the inherent cooling and slowing of molecules - is neither existent nor non-existent. Likewise with inherent melting.

All of this sounds, though, as if things and nonthings have a conventional existence. We (plural) can perceive them, and our perceptions greatly overlap. For example, using the water example, 10 people jump in a swimming pool or lake. All 10 people are able to jump in the pool. All 10 people can describe the wetness of the water. Where we might differ is in assessing the temperature of the water. Some describe the water as cold, some describe it as warm, but no one describes the water as either freezing or hot - so, there is at least some consensus on what temperature the water is not. However, if, as some people in this thread assert, phenomena only appear to arise, then that would negate the conventional existence of phenomena. From this standpoint, water is a mind-object and a mind-object only. But it's a shared mind-object. Humans, animals, insects all gather to drink, swim, or live at this body of water. That makes me think that the water exists on some actual level. It may not have inherent existence or non-existence, but it's not just a mind-object either.
Cantankerous Buddha
User avatar
Epistemes
 
Posts: 234
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:30 am
Location: Here

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby el_chupacabra » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:13 pm

Epistemes wrote:...That makes me think that the water exists on some actual level. It may not have inherent existence or non-existence, but it's not just a mind-object either.


So if we were all just brains in jars hooked up to a virtual reality machine, how would our experience of water differ? Could we ever really know for sure?
If we examine mind-objects and phenomenal objects where is this boundary? Surely in order to experience any object it must be a mind-object, else it would simply be unknown. Accepting our experience of "conventional existence" is not really in question here, rather it is where to locate truth.
el_chupacabra
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:23 am

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby conebeckham » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:30 pm

Sherab wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Right. This is what Nagarjuna says--sort of....I don't think he would actually say they "exist only as illusions," though...he might say they "Appear, " you know?

All his analyses pointed to one, and I might add inevitable, conclusion, ie. that all mind and matter ARE illusions. So I am merely calling a spade a spade.

Mental and physical phenomena appear to us but we don't consider our experiences of them as illusions although they ARE illusions. Instead, we either experience them as real or as causally generated.


I agree with your interpretation entirely.....which is why I took (minor) issue with "exist only as illusions"---i.e., I prefer "appear as illusions"--which may be a redundancy, but which avoids any hint of "existence" in appearances.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2430
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby Epistemes » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:40 pm

el_chupacabra wrote:So if we were all just brains in jars hooked up to a virtual reality machine, how would our experience of water differ? Could we ever really know for sure?
If we examine mind-objects and phenomenal objects where is this boundary? Surely in order to experience any object it must be a mind-object, else it would simply be unknown. Accepting our experience of "conventional existence" is not really in question here, rather it is where to locate truth.


If it's mind-object only, then it cannot be a phenomenal object and there can be no shared collective experience of a thing or nonthing. If we were all just brains in jars hooked up to a virtual reality machine, there is no collective experience except for the reality of the virtual reality machine and the connections that make that possible. In actuality, our brains are in our bodies and we're connected through the "virtual reality" of phenomenal experience. When a group friends jump in a lake or swimming pool, they're not jumping in sunlight, a cloud, rain, steam, steam-becoming-water, ice-becoming-water, or ice. They each recognize that each one is jumping, that they themselves are jumping, and they each feel the wetness and relative temperature of water.
Last edited by Epistemes on Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Cantankerous Buddha
User avatar
Epistemes
 
Posts: 234
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:30 am
Location: Here

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby conebeckham » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:53 pm

The point is that we cannot directly know "an object," water, for example....aside from through the contents and experience of mind.

Madhyamika, and Dharma in general, is not concerned, really, with the "mode of existence of the 'external' world, despite the hundreds of thousands of words that seem to deal with precisely this issue.

The point of Madhyamika, and Dharma in general, is to alleviate suffering in the short term and bring forth Buddhahood in the long term. In order to do so, it addresses our experiences, and our minds, but it's not interested in being a "physical science." Simply put, Madhyamika and Nagarjuna do not assert any sort of existence to objects, or to mind, either. There are appearances, and experiences, and there is no denying any of this, but that is as far as Nagarjuna is willing to go, with respect to "objects," and the so-called "Conventional Truth." It should be noted that Nagarjuna does NOT say that "external objects are mind." With respect to "common experience," this is due to (illusory) common Karma of (illusory) sentient beings.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2430
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby conebeckham » Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:02 pm

Sherab wrote:Am having second thoughts.

Dependent existences are illusory but dependent arising is not. This is because if dependent arising is illusory, it does not exist. If it does not exist, ie. non-functional, then pure phenomena (appearances not tainted by ignorance) would not be possible.

While dependent arising is not illusory, causality is. Causality is what drives the world of impure phenomena.

Does this make sense to anyone?



Nagarjuna, and Prajnaparamita Sutras, say dependent arising does not exist. Function is something that we can speak of only in respect to "Conventional Truth."
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2430
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby el_chupacabra » Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:17 pm

Epistemes wrote:...we're connected through the "virtual reality" or phenomenal experience.


Yes, that's exactly the point, all realities are "virtual" - they rely on mental representations, the idea of a "reality" is itself a mental construct.
What is water? Is it h2o, two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom? If we explain it at the atomic level then what about the sub-atomic level? How many layers of "reality" are there? At what point do we hit the bottom? (How did they explain water before seeing it in this way? I'm sure that too was a common shared experience, but that doesn't make it any more or less true).

If we focus solely on objects of consciousness then it will always be subject to infinite relativity - explaining one layer of reality in terms of another layer - there is only one way to avoid this infinite regress, and its an issue of "knowing".
Fair enough, if there were no mind at all then maybe the phenomenal world might play out purely independently of any knowing of it whatsoever, but then that would be of no concern to anyone.
In order for there to be any notion or experience of phenomena at all, it has be located on the side of mind. That means that mind is prior, the whole basis for any experience within which phenomena may or may not appear.
el_chupacabra
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:23 am

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby Epistemes » Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:28 pm

conebeckham wrote:The point is that we cannot directly know "an object," water, for example....aside from through the contents and experience of mind.

(...)

There are appearances, and experiences, and there is no denying any of this, but that is as far as Nagarjuna is willing to go, with respect to "objects," and the so-called "Conventional Truth." It should be noted that Nagarjuna does NOT say that "external objects are mind." With respect to "common experience," this is due to (illusory) common Karma of (illusory) sentient beings.


I agree that we cannot know a thing or nonthing aside from through the contents of the mind. Does a tree make a sound if nobody or no thing is around? Eating an orange in a dream is little different from eating an "actual" orange. It is mind in both instances that conceives and processes such data.

Where I differ is on the grounds of common experience. And I think illusory is a horrible world. What about mass murder is illusory? Sure, the "mind" thinks it's murdering, and "minds" think they are witnessing others dying, but it's still mass murder.

If I have a dream that I watch a friend being murdered, I may go to her the next day and say, "I watched you being murdered," and she'll think I'm bonkers because, not only is she still alive, she has no recollection of being in such a situation. However, if we were to actually be in a situation where I were to actually watch her being murdered, though she may ultimately die and have no memory, she'll at least experience the same threat.

(Perhaps I should have stuck with the swimming example... :shrug: )
Cantankerous Buddha
User avatar
Epistemes
 
Posts: 234
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:30 am
Location: Here

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby el_chupacabra » Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:37 pm

Epistemes wrote:Where I differ is on the grounds of common experience. And I think illusory is a horrible world. What about mass murder is illusory? Sure, the "mind" thinks it's murdering, and "minds" think they are witnessing others dying, but it's still mass murder.


Common experience is itself mediated by concepts and language. If for example we all saw death as some sort of glorious release to a better world then this might look very different.
el_chupacabra
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:23 am

Re: Benefits of Nagarjuna / Dangers of Existence & Non-Existence

Postby Epistemes » Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:44 pm

el_chupacabra wrote:
Epistemes wrote:Where I differ is on the grounds of common experience. And I think illusory is a horrible world. What about mass murder is illusory? Sure, the "mind" thinks it's murdering, and "minds" think they are witnessing others dying, but it's still mass murder.


Common experience is itself mediated by concepts and language. If for example we all saw death as some sort of glorious release to a better world then this might look very different.


No doubt about that, but that doesn't necessarily "do away" with the common experience of "the happening."
Cantankerous Buddha
User avatar
Epistemes
 
Posts: 234
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:30 am
Location: Here

PreviousNext

Return to Mahāyāna Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests

>