Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:20 pm

You are arguing a commonly misunderstood meaning of sunyata (emptiness).

Take the example of a cup.
It is not true that the cup does not exist.
What is true is that nothing exists that is inherently a cup.

Buddha did not say material things don't exist.
He said that material things lack inherent existence.

The body exists, but if it did not lack inherent existence it would not fall apart when dead.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:59 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:You are arguing a commonly misunderstood meaning of sunyata (emptiness).


You are arguing a commonly misunderstood meaning of sunyata (emptiness).

As Nagarjuna says:

Whoever sees inherent existence, dependent existence,
existence or non-existence,
that person does not percieve
the truth in the Buddha's teachings.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Acchantika » Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:11 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:However, I disagree that nothing exists (or occurs) outside the mind,
specifically that nothing material exists outside of the mind.
That would imply that nothing material exists (because the mind is not material)


Fair enough.

I don't think there is a meaningful distinction between inside and outside of the mind/materiality. I cannot find an identifiable boundary between the two; i.e.:

When we look for matter, we only find the mind. (Yogācāra)

When we look for the mind, we only find matter. (Materialism)

Therefore, perhaps the distinctions are erroneous. (Mādhyamaka)

Take the example of a cup.
It is not true that the cup does not exist.
What is true is that nothing exists that is inherently a cup.


I don't see how you can posit some-thing to fundamentally exist when you accept that no-thing fundamentally exists.

I would say that the cup only appears to exist. When examined, there is no "thing" which is a cup to which "existence" applies.

Therefore, the statement "the cup exists" is also false.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Virgo » Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:18 pm

Actually, I take that back. I read your statement wrong.

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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:23 am

Acchantika wrote:

I don't see how you can posit some-thing to fundamentally exist when you accept that no-thing fundamentally exists.

I would say that the cup only appears to exist. When examined, there is no "thing" which is a cup to which "existence" applies.

Therefore, the statement "the cup exists" is also false.



matter exists.
but no thing arises unconditionally as matter.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby el_chupacabra » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:38 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
matter exists.
but no thing arises unconditionally as matter.


If no thing (appears to) arise unconditionally as matter, then really you can only claim that matter appears to exist, ie. only insofar as it is an object of consciousness.
Really its irrelevant whether there actually is matter or not as it only ever appears to us as something known. In order to claim that it exists outside of the knowing of it you would have to posit something unknown as evidence!
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:17 am

el_chupacabra wrote: In order to claim that it exists outside of the knowing of it you would have to posit something unknown as evidence!


1.Don't confuse objects of awareness with awareness itself.
2. If you are lost in the woods, you know that a way out of the woods exists but you have no awareness of it.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby el_chupacabra » Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:53 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
el_chupacabra wrote: In order to claim that it exists outside of the knowing of it you would have to posit something unknown as evidence!


1.Don't confuse objects of awareness with awareness itself.
2. If you are lost in the woods, you know that a way out of the woods exists but you have no awareness of it.


2. yes, if you have prior knowledge, else you are just guessing.

1. Is an imporatant point, but what would awareness look like with no sensory perception? If we include sensory input then it is awareness-of-something.

I think you also have to consider the efficacy of such a view. You’d be hard pushed to find anyone who would deny that material goods are anything other then empty in the relative sense - they know full well that they are impermanent, composite, conditioned, etc. If they had some degree of insight they might even admit that these things only have significance in terms of their relations - eg. As status symbols functioning to bolster their vanity - rather than things in themselves, but does this make them cling to them any less?

If you take seriously the idea that our sense receptors are subject to the same emptiness as phenomena, then surely the question of knowing external reality becomes as relative, contingent, and impermanent as the objects themselves?
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Aemilius » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:19 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Acchantika wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:A material reality exists. Buddha never said it doesn't.

Are you sure?

    "But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one...Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I think Buddha explicitly denied a mind-independent reality composed of materials (or immaterials).


Buddha never said that there is no such thing as physical matter.



In Mahayana there is an often quoted sentence of Buddha: " The three realms are merely mind", quoted for example in III Karmapa's Distinguishing Consciousness and Wisdom.

It depends on what you mean with "physical matter", do you accept that a thing composed of matter can become emptiness ? i.e. totally empty of matter. Or do you interpret the Buddha's teaching so that a thing can break up, but the atoms remain?
If you hold to the the second alternative, you are a Vaibhashika or a Sautrantika, who think that atoms really exist.

Madhyamaka and Yogachara refute the existence of matter and the existence of atoms, so you are basically saying that they are not the Buddha's teaching, which makes you a real vaibhashika, sautrantika or the like.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Acchantika » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:21 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:matter exists.


That which appears is never absolutely established.
That which exists is absolutely established.
Therefore, that which appears does not exist.

That which appears gives rise to perception.
That which nonexists cannot give rise to perception.
Therefore, that which appears does not nonexist.

    "Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle"
    ~ SN 12.15
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:42 pm

Do you believe that the Sun is merely a figment of your imagination?
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Acchantika » Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:43 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Do you believe that the Sun is merely a figment of your imagination?


In my opinion, you're asking that question based on the assumption that there is an separate subject experiencing a distinct material object. It is a loaded question.

If I say no, this implies a material reality exists. If I say yes, this implies only [my] mind exists. Neither represents the view I am presenting.

---

My intention was not necessarily to begin an ontological discussion, but simply point out that empiricism does not necessitate materialism or similar.

Hence it is unfair to say someone else that they "don't understand science", then conflate physics with [one's own] metaphysics.

One could very easily argue that "modern science" isn't materialistic anyway. Particles, and their constituents, are not objective material things, but the points at which probability waves intersect.

In other words, mathematics derives a probability from a mass of possibilites, and these are called "quanta", the smallest quantifiable units of energy.

Outside the context of measurement, however, they are not known to "exist" in any established sense.

So in this respect I think it is innacurate to suggest that science supports any kind of fundamental ontology whatsoever.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:33 pm

Yeah, of course every particle can be divided.
But this discussion has also divided.
I said that things such as Mt. Meru will never be discovered by science.
If a person really understands what the scientific method is, you know this is true.

Now the discussion has become one about relative and absolute truth.
I said that matter exists. Then people quote teachings on emptiness.
Those teachings could not be heard by Earthlings if matter did not exist, because sound travels through matter, causing molecules to bounce off one another.

I used the example of a tea cup.
A tea cup exists but nothing exists which is tea cup.
that means there is no inherent 'teacup' essence from which teacups arise.

I had lunch with my lama today and asked him about this.
He said that since we have to live in a world in which things appear to exist,
that is reality. But we also know that ultimately things are empty of intrinsic existence.
He said these are like the wings on an eagle. You need to have both, balanced, in order to fly.

He said that many great teachers have left their hand prints and foot prints in rocks.
If the rock didn't exist, this would not be possible.
In other words, such a feat is amazing because rocks exist.
At the same time, because there is no inherently existent rock, the hand prints are possible.

If it sounded, before, as though I was saying that matter had intrinsic existence, my apologies.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:19 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:He said that since we have to live in a world in which things appear to exist...


Yes, "things appear to exist". That is quite different than the blanket statement, "things exist".
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby alwayson » Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:00 pm

Namdrol wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:You are arguing a commonly misunderstood meaning of sunyata (emptiness).


You are arguing a commonly misunderstood meaning of sunyata (emptiness).

As Nagarjuna says:

Whoever sees inherent existence, dependent existence,
existence or non-existence,
that person does not percieve
the truth in the Buddha's teachings.


Are there 2 extremes or 4?

I've heard it both ways.

Which is original to Indian Madhyamaka?
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Acchantika » Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:52 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:I said that things such as Mt. Meru will never be discovered by science.
If a person really understands what the scientific method is, you know this is true.


I happen to agree with you, but it is an opinion. I simply think this method of argument - "if you don't agree that x you don't understand y" - is very misguided, and prevalent on this forum, which I think is a cause for great regret, personally. The basis of Buddha's Dharma is in empiricism, so it is important, I think to not confuse the method with a view.

Now the discussion has become one about relative and absolute truth.
I said that matter exists. Then people quote teachings on emptiness.
Those teachings could not be heard by Earthlings if matter did not exist, because sound travels through matter, causing molecules to bounce off one another.


I respect your view, of course. I suspect that if we invoke the Buddha's words as saying something that he did not necessarily say it is to be expected that people will comment. Particularly as the work of Nagarjuna, Asanga, Shantarakshita, Dharmakirti and so on would all be immediately invalidated were the existence of matter affirmed by Buddha. Moreover, if arguments such as the experience of sound were enough to affirm the existence of matter then these individuals would have all been quite ill-advised to not notice this.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Acchantika » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:03 pm

alwayson wrote:Are there 2 extremes or 4?


There are four in the traditional catuṣkoṭi.

Which is original to Indian Madhyamaka?


Neither. Nothing in Madhyamaka is original. The four-point logic of the catuṣkoṭi is present in the Vedas. The ancient Greeks had their own version called the Tetralemma. The Buddha used it too.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Aemilius » Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:02 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Aemilius wrote:Another interesting point is the plurality of worlds that we find in Theravada and Mahayana buddhism. The idea was known in ancient Greek world, it was known in the islamic world, one sentence in Quran speaks of worlds, it is also present in the Thousand and One Nights collection of stories. In Europe it re-emerges during the Era of Enlightenment. Thus for example Voltaire, in his novel Zadig, says that besides Earth there are millions of inhabited planets like Earth in the Universe, each unique and different.



No one said that Buddhist intuitions about multiple worlds was wrong. Just that rather late Sumeru Cosmology presented Buddhist texts dating from the common era is obsolete and has been superceded.

N


Mount Meru or Sumeru is found in Diamond sutra, Abhidharma and in Pali suttas. I still think it is a very ancient concept, older than buddhism that started with Shakyamuni, not necessarily older than buddhism on the eras of previous buddhas. What has superceded it? Please show us, don't keep it to your self!
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Kai » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:08 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Aemilius wrote:Another interesting point is the plurality of worlds that we find in Theravada and Mahayana buddhism. The idea was known in ancient Greek world, it was known in the islamic world, one sentence in Quran speaks of worlds, it is also present in the Thousand and One Nights collection of stories. In Europe it re-emerges during the Era of Enlightenment. Thus for example Voltaire, in his novel Zadig, says that besides Earth there are millions of inhabited planets like Earth in the Universe, each unique and different.



No one said that Buddhist intuitions about multiple worlds was wrong. Just that rather late Sumeru Cosmology presented Buddhist texts dating from the common era is obsolete and has been superceded.

N


Mount Meru or Sumeru is found in Diamond sutra, Abhidharma and in Pali suttas. I still think it is a very ancient concept, older than buddhism that started with Shakyamuni, not necessarily older than buddhism on the eras of previous buddhas. What has superceded it? Please show us, don't keep it to your self!


Its an ancient concept alright. Its found in the VEDAS, a collections of books and texts that predated any Buddhist sutras, sastras or commentaries........
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:41 pm

The belief that the earth is flat is probably even older
than the belief in Mt. Meru, therefore whole lots righter.

http://theflatearthsociety.org
.
.
.
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