Non affirming negation

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Non affirming negation

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:00 pm

:quoteunquote:

Why is it important?

"Lack of inherent existence" doesn't seem to me to be a very good conceptual emptiness because we already know unicorns have no inherent existence - but they are also empty.

A unicorn is already non-affirmatively negated. But this analysis has not realized the emptiness of unicorns.
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby catmoon » Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:37 am

I would say, the unicorn is not negated. "Unicorn" is not a valid verifiable thing, so there is nothing to be negated. The idea of a unicorn is the only thing existing that is negatable...
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby Dexing » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:45 am

"Lack of inherent existence" is usually understood in the Hinayana sense of emptiness as impermanence (dependent origination, etc.), i.e. an object exists but only dependent upon causes and conditions and will cease when those causes and conditions cease. Therefore it is said to have no inherent existence. This is an affirming negation, because it still implies an affirmation of the existence of an object, albeit dependently originated and impermanent.

"Non-affirming negation" is the Mahayana understanding that all such existence is an illusion. Even dependent origination which itself is based on illusory objects is therefore also an illusion. This type of negation does not affirm that there is something to exist or not exist in any fashion.

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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby catmoon » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:16 am

Dexing wrote:"Lack of inherent existence" is usually understood in the Hinayana sense of emptiness as impermanence (dependent origination, etc.), i.e. an object exists but only dependent upon causes and conditions and will cease when those causes and conditions cease. Therefore it is said to have no inherent existence. This is an affirming negation, because it still implies an affirmation of the existence of an object, albeit dependently originated and impermanent.

"Non-affirming negation" is the Mahayana understanding that all such existence is an illusion. Even dependent origination which itself is based on illusory objects is therefore also an illusion. This type of negation does not affirm that there is something to exist or not exist in any fashion.

:namaste:


This looks perfectly consistent with what I was saying. All I see being negated here is ideas about things, rather than things themselves, which is just fine by me. (I'm sure you are SO relieved lol). In my thinkning if you "negate the cup" you are simply denying reality and off into nihilism. But if you say, there are certain concepts and imputations onto the cup that are invalid, the looks good to me.
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby muni » Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:11 am

"There are two kinds of negatives; -affirming ones in which other positive phenomenon is implied in place of the object of negation and non affirming negatives in which no other positive phenomenon is implied in place of the object of negation. Emptiness is the latter." Dalai Lama.

To mind is this appearance not nothingness. Production-creation of idea Catmoon is pointing. Non conceptual cognition of voidness in clarity. Truthlessness of painting concepts.

"Clear vacuity accompagnied by the mere thought."

Cupness. Hehe.
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:12 am

catmoon wrote:
Dexing wrote:"Lack of inherent existence" is usually understood in the Hinayana sense of emptiness as impermanence (dependent origination, etc.), i.e. an object exists but only dependent upon causes and conditions and will cease when those causes and conditions cease. Therefore it is said to have no inherent existence. This is an affirming negation, because it still implies an affirmation of the existence of an object, albeit dependently originated and impermanent.

"Non-affirming negation" is the Mahayana understanding that all such existence is an illusion. Even dependent origination which itself is based on illusory objects is therefore also an illusion. This type of negation does not affirm that there is something to exist or not exist in any fashion.

:namaste:


This looks perfectly consistent with what I was saying. All I see being negated here is ideas about things, rather than things themselves, which is just fine by me. (I'm sure you are SO relieved lol). In my thinkning if you "negate the cup" you are simply denying reality and off into nihilism. But if you say, there are certain concepts and imputations onto the cup that are invalid, the looks good to me.



As an extreme/ultimate view, phenomena do not exist inherently as they depend completely upon the mind which perceives them. As far as your personal 'reality' goes, no perception of 'cup' = no cup.

So we end up with the lack of existence of phenomena, being impermanent and dependent on the causes and conditions which give rise to them, but also dependent upon the mind perceiving them. That mind is also an impermanent phenomenon etc. etc.

Berzin examines the topic of the relationship between our mind and objects in a very clear and short article here:

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... jects.html
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby Dexing » Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:00 pm

catmoon wrote:In my thinkning if you "negate the cup" you are simply denying reality and off into nihilism. But if you say, there are certain concepts and imputations onto the cup that are invalid, the looks good to me.


So you're saying the unicorn you were talking about cannot be negated because it's not a valid and verifiable thing. The idea of a unicorn however can be negated.

With the cup here you are saying it's okay to negate the invalid concepts and imputations placed onto the cup, but if you negate the cup itself then you deny reality off into nihilism.

This sounds like a cup is a valid and verifiable thing to you, since negating it is denying reality.

In what way do you find it valid and verifiable?

If you negate a cup's existence and fall into nihilism, you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater, forgetting the only real dependent origination- "all things are created by mind alone".

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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby catmoon » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:43 am

@Dexing:


I find the cup to be valid and verifiable.

It is labelled "valid" because it is verifiable.

It is labelled "verifiable" for several reasons.


1. It is functional. It can hold tea.
2. Other people can see the cup.
3. It is logically consistent. It does not, for instance, spontaneously transform into the Dalai Lama.
4. Happily it is also impermanent and dependently originated, which one can see without reference to emptiness.

Both terms, "valid" and "verifiable", are quite iffy if one brings emptiness into the discussion. I'm not sure if they can hold, if emptiness is brought in.

To signify that emptiness is NOT being brought into the discussion, one might use terms like "conventionally valid" and "conventionally verifiable". Maybe I should start doing that.

I find it worrisome that these discussions require such extremes of precise speech. It's more like doing mathematics than talking!


Next topic. Non affirming negation.

I have not less than three different versions of this idea circulating in my head. Each version entails intricate logic and each version uses the same words, but in each version the the words are being used to signify very different things, so the potential for confusion when trying to sort them all out is enormous.
I am not sure I want to attempt this.

But if I read the above correctly, the Dalai Lama can be paraphrased as follows:

There are two kinds of negation.
There is negation with replacement, in which the negated thing is replaced with something else.
There is negation without replacement, in which nothing replaces the negated thing.
Emptiness is of the latter type.

Now if you throw in my view that there are no negatable things, only negatable ideas, and replace "negated things" with "negated ideas" you may have a self consistent view. This does require a little reclassification though. In this view, the world is composed of things and ideas, with no overlap between the two classes. So it's clearly dualistic, and an idea cannot be seen as a "thing" in this view.
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby catmoon » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:10 am

Yeshe wrote:
As an extreme/ultimate view, phenomena do not exist inherently as they depend completely upon the mind which perceives them. As far as your personal 'reality' goes, no perception of 'cup' = no cup.

So we end up with the lack of existence of phenomena, being impermanent and dependent on the causes and conditions which give rise to them, but also dependent upon the mind perceiving them. That mind is also an impermanent phenomenon etc. etc.

Berzin examines the topic of the relationship between our mind and objects in a very clear and short article here:

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... jects.html


Extreme/ultimate?? The ultimate view of things is not extreme. It is the Middle Path, surely!

Where does the idea that there is "the lack of existence of phenomena" come from? Being impermanent and dependently originating in no way implies nonexistence. Things surely exist, just not the way we tend to think normally.


I looked at the Berzin quote and found it neither clear nor very short. I think it appears that way to you for the same reason basic calculus appears simple to a mathematician: long familiarity. I am afraid it will take me quite some time just to absorb the meanings of all the new terms he introduces, let alone understand what he is saying with them.
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby Clueless Git » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:31 am

Interesting conversation :bow:

Minds me of the old chestnut about Samuel Johnson (I think it was?) kicking a rock with the words "I refute the idea thusly!"

Also minds me of something I read by TNH about looking deeply at things .. If I read him correctly then the idea is to see a cup and know that in the present moment it is a cup but that it once wasn't a cup and, at some point in time, once again it won't be?
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby catmoon » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:39 am

Also brings to mind the story of the Zen master and the teacup. If I may grossly paraphrase, the teacup was exceedingly beautiful and only brought out for honored guests. One such guest remarked on the beauty of the teacup and the master replied, "Yes, it is beautiful, and in my mind, I have seen it fall to the floor and smash many times".

If we were to view our wealth, our relationships, our loves and passions, our faiths and beliefs in this way...
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:38 am

catmoon wrote:
Yeshe wrote:
As an extreme/ultimate view, phenomena do not exist inherently as they depend completely upon the mind which perceives them. As far as your personal 'reality' goes, no perception of 'cup' = no cup.

So we end up with the lack of existence of phenomena, being impermanent and dependent on the causes and conditions which give rise to them, but also dependent upon the mind perceiving them. That mind is also an impermanent phenomenon etc. etc.

Berzin examines the topic of the relationship between our mind and objects in a very clear and short article here:

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... jects.html


Extreme/ultimate?? The ultimate view of things is not extreme. It is the Middle Path, surely!

Where does the idea that there is "the lack of existence of phenomena" come from? Being impermanent and dependently originating in no way implies nonexistence. Things surely exist, just not the way we tend to think normally.


I looked at the Berzin quote and found it neither clear nor very short. I think it appears that way to you for the same reason basic calculus appears simple to a mathematician: long familiarity. I am afraid it will take me quite some time just to absorb the meanings of all the new terms he introduces, let alone understand what he is saying with them.


With essays like one reached by the Berzin link I posted, I tend to read through and then go back and take one small chunk at a time.

There are several variations on the theme. The Madhyamika Pransangika regard their view as the 'ultimate', and others such as Yogacara as more practical as a view for everyday life. (We may know that the earth revolves around the sun, but we still talk of 'sunrise' in everyday life.)

In the collection of Pabongka Rinpoche's teachings called 'Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand' he quotes Chandrakirti:

''Paths other than those Acharya Nagarjuna trod
Are outside his system and not the means to peace.
They debase relative and ultimate truth.''


He also quotes Je Tsongkhapa who usefully adds:
''When you do not touch on the imputed thing
You will not grasp its absence.''


'Absence' is perhaps closer to what is meant than 'emptiness'.

Pabongka then uses the example of the pot (as your cup) to show that whether we are dealing with a pot or with the 'I', we must undertsand the object we are refuting/negating before we can refute it. (pp 616-648.)

I recommend this book for its clarity in explaining Lam Rim, the works of Je Tsongkhapa, Nagarjuna & Chandrakirti, Geshe Chekhawa (Lojong - MInd Training in 7 Points) etc. It also has a really useful glossary of terms. It was edited by Trijang Rinpoche, tutor to HHDL and other Tibetan masters and IMHO acts as a useful bridge between the original works and the many of books written by the current generation of Gelugpas.
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby Dexing » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:44 am

catmoon wrote: I find the cup to be valid and verifiable.

It is labelled "valid" because it is verifiable.

It is labelled "verifiable" for several reasons.


1. It is functional. It can hold tea.
2. Other people can see the cup.
3. It is logically consistent. It does not, for instance, spontaneously transform into the Dalai Lama.
4. Happily it is also impermanent and dependently originated, which one can see without reference to emptiness.

Both terms, "valid" and "verifiable", are quite iffy if one brings emptiness into the discussion. I'm not sure if they can hold, if emptiness is brought in.


Okay,

1. Having a function doesn't prove reality. I can be scared out of my sleep by dreaming of being chased by a tiger. The tiger is not real, but has a function nonetheless, and like the cup is created by mind alone.

2. Other people share similar karma of human beings, but many people sharing the same dream does not make it reality.

3. When we think of the word "cup" each of us will have a basic image in our minds, but the shape, the color, the material will all be different. A particular cup in front of us will also change following our karma. We may know it as red, but if we were a dog it would be black and white. The sight, feeling, taste, texture and even sound of it heard when tapped is all dependent upon our own mind. The only experience of a cup one can have is through one's own mind. So we can never really say we've seen a cup itself, to be verifiable (because eyes only see color, and color is created by eye-consciousness. It is not external to mind, and it is not the cup). The same is applied to all ways in which we may say a cup is there.

4. False dependent origination is the coming together of illusory objects that depend on each other until they mutually fall apart. But each part is an illusion. True dependent origination is "All things in the three realms are created by mind alone", which is the ultimate truth that all things come from mind, which means they are emptiness. They are illusions and do not exist externally as though it may seem.

So true dependent origination is directly pointing to emptiness. When you see emptiness you immediately see all things are created by mind alone, and when you see mind you see emptiness of all dharmas.

Emptiness cannot be brought in or left out. You can't pick it up or put it down. It has no name and no form. You can only awaken to it, or not.

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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby Dexing » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:52 am

catmoon wrote:Where does the idea that there is "the lack of existence of phenomena" come from? Being impermanent and dependently originating in no way implies nonexistence. Things surely exist, just not the way we tend to think normally.


The idea of "the lack of existence of phenomena" comes from Mahayana teachings wherein all things are created by mind alone (true dependent origination), whereas the dependent origination you speak of comes from Hinayana teachings (which is actually illusory objects depending upon one another).

First Hinayana is taught to loosen our grip so that we become less attached to phenomena, to lessen our suffering, then we progress to the deeper understanding of the nature of phenomena in order to see true mind.

Briefly...

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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby catmoon » Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:04 pm

I'll take it point by point.

1. Having a function doesn't prove reality. I can be scared out of my sleep by dreaming of being chased by a tiger. The tiger is not real, but has a function nonetheless, and like the cup is created by mind alone.


The tiger differs, in that it cannot leave bite marks on you. In that sense, it is not a fully functional tiger.


2. Other people share similar karma of human beings, but many people sharing the same dream does not make it reality.


This is no good at all, it sort of begs the question. My point is that the cup is not entirely a dream. If you assume the opposite, then of course all your arguments will then fall out nicely. But I ask you to demonstrate your premises, not assume them!

3. When we think of the word "cup" each of us will have a basic image in our minds, but the shape, the color, the material will all be different. A particular cup in front of us will also change following our karma. We may know it as red, but if we were a dog it would be black and white. The sight, feeling, taste, texture and even sound of it heard when tapped is all dependent upon our own mind. The only experience of a cup one can have is through one's own mind. So we can never really say we've seen a cup itself, to be verifiable (because eyes only see color, and color is created by eye-consciousness. It is not external to mind, and it is not the cup). The same is applied to all ways in which we may say a cup is there.
\

I find this all quite true and beautiful. However it completely fails to address the point, which had to do with cups not spontaneously transforming into the Dalai Lama, as dreams are wont to do.

4. False dependent origination is the coming together of illusory objects that depend on each other until they mutually fall apart. But each part is an illusion. True dependent origination is "All things in the three realms are created by mind alone", which is the ultimate truth that all things come from mind, which means they are emptiness. They are illusions and do not exist externally as though it may seem. So true dependent origination is directly pointing to emptiness. When you see emptiness you immediately see all things are created by mind alone, and when you see mind you see emptiness of all dharmas.


Well, I completely disagree with all this, in fact it looks crazy to me. The "mind only" idea is pure solipsism if you ask me.

Emptiness cannot be brought in or left out. You can't pick it up or put it down. It has no name and no form. You can only awaken to it, or not.
:namaste:[/quote]

Again, totally disagree. People ignore emptiness and speak conventionally all the time. I do it, you do it, nun, monks, and bodhisattvas do it, even the Buddha did it.
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby catmoon » Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:09 pm

Dexing wrote:
catmoon wrote:Where does the idea that there is "the lack of existence of phenomena" come from? Being impermanent and dependently originating in no way implies nonexistence. Things surely exist, just not the way we tend to think normally.


The idea of "the lack of existence of phenomena" comes from Mahayana teachings wherein all things are created by mind alone (true dependent origination), whereas the dependent origination you speak of comes from Hinayana teachings (which is actually illusory objects depending upon one another).

First Hinayana is taught to loosen our grip so that we become less attached to phenomena, to lessen our suffering, then we progress to the deeper understanding of the nature of phenomena in order to see true mind.

Briefly...

:namaste:



I cannot exclude the possiblility that it is so. I can only say "It does not seem to be so to me at this time."
I have not seen true mind, although I am aware that all perceptions depend on mind as a condition. There may be a teaching that leads from where I am to where you are. I wonder...
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby Dexing » Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:27 pm

catmoon wrote:
1. Having a function doesn't prove reality. I can be scared out of my sleep by dreaming of being chased by a tiger. The tiger is not real, but has a function nonetheless, and like the cup is created by mind alone.


The tiger differs, in that it cannot leave bite marks on you. In that sense, it is not a fully functional tiger.


Still pain is subjective feeling, it is not a tiger. Bite marks are color or touch, subjectively created by eye-consciousness or body-consciousness. They are also not a tiger. The sight, sound, smell, taste, touch of a tiger is also subjective feeling, not objective reality. None of it is a tiger itself.


catmoon wrote:
2. Other people share similar karma of human beings, but many people sharing the same dream does not make it reality.


This is no good at all, it sort of begs the question. My point is that the cup is not entirely a dream. If you assume the opposite, then of course all your arguments will then fall out nicely. But I ask you to demonstrate your premises, not assume them!


I've been demonstrating it with showing subjective feeling and never objective reality. If you can see that in your own case, then applying it to others should be the same. So, many people having a similar subjective dream does not make it objective reality.

catmoon wrote:
3. When we think of the word "cup" each of us will have a basic image in our minds, but the shape, the color, the material will all be different. A particular cup in front of us will also change following our karma. We may know it as red, but if we were a dog it would be black and white. The sight, feeling, taste, texture and even sound of it heard when tapped is all dependent upon our own mind. The only experience of a cup one can have is through one's own mind. So we can never really say we've seen a cup itself, to be verifiable (because eyes only see color, and color is created by eye-consciousness. It is not external to mind, and it is not the cup). The same is applied to all ways in which we may say a cup is there.
\

I find this all quite true and beautiful. However it completely fails to address the point, which had to do with cups not spontaneously transforming into the Dalai Lama, as dreams are wont to do.


My point is that a cup is never a clearly defined static objective reality, and no one has ever had an experience of a cup itself, even in it's constantly changing forms.

catmoon wrote:
4. False dependent origination is the coming together of illusory objects that depend on each other until they mutually fall apart. But each part is an illusion. True dependent origination is "All things in the three realms are created by mind alone", which is the ultimate truth that all things come from mind, which means they are emptiness. They are illusions and do not exist externally as though it may seem. So true dependent origination is directly pointing to emptiness. When you see emptiness you immediately see all things are created by mind alone, and when you see mind you see emptiness of all dharmas.


Well, I completely disagree with all this, in fact it looks crazy to me. The "mind only" idea is pure solipsism if you ask me.


Solipsism requires both objects and mind to be true, and all that is true. But if there is no object then there cannot be a subject. So obviously it is not the mind of materialists. It is neither nihilism nor solipsism. True mind, true dependent origination is beyond both extremes.

catmoon wrote:
Emptiness cannot be brought in or left out. You can't pick it up or put it down. It has no name and no form. You can only awaken to it, or not. :namaste:


Again, totally disagree. People ignore emptiness and speak conventionally all the time. I do it, you do it, nun, monks, and bodhisattvas do it, even the Buddha did it.


Right, we can speak conventionally all we want, but we cannot change the true nature of phenomena. Whether we realize it or not, we can't use words and concepts to change reality.

So you said valid and verifiable become iffy when emptiness is brought into the discussion. But valid and verifiable is always "iffy" when applied to phenomena whether or not we speak of emptiness. It is their true nature. We can speak conventionally while having correct view, or we can fool ourselves and just call it conventional speech while still holding false view of illusory objects truly existing as objective realities.

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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby alpha » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:28 pm

so is it then that the existence of a cup cannot be denied and those who think that they are involved in denying the exsitence of a cup are merely involved in denying the idea of a cup?
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby catmoon » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:12 pm

alpha wrote:so is it then that the existence of a cup cannot be denied and those who think that they are involved in denying the exsitence of a cup are merely involved in denying the idea of a cup?


I doubt it is so simple. You see, there is confusion between the cup, the idea of the cup and the perception of the cup. All I can do is present a view, which no doubt others will regard as bonehead stupid.

There is a cup. We think we see it but we don't. We think we know it but we don't. Its nature is totally unknown, it is a necessary condition of our perception, it is impermanent and dependently arising, and dependently it will dissipate. Unseen, unheard, unfelt, untasted it exists, where we cannot say, or even if location and space have anything to do with it. This cup cannot be negated, but remember it is still impermanent.

There is the cup of perception. This cup we know as having color, sometimes making sounds, having weight in and warmth in our hand, holding the sweet tea. This cup is negatable in the sense that we can say, although these perceptions are real, I really am having these perceptions, that tells me just about nothing about the nature of whatever it is that is causing these perceptions.

Then there is the cup of the mind. This cup has shape, density, solidity and other properties created in the mind and that we commonly assume reside in the cup. These ideas are kind of handy when you need to wash the cups and put them away without breaking them, but they are rough, imprecise models and are easily negated on that basis alone. Plus, again they tell us nothing about the cause of all these perceptions.

Finally there is the other cup of the mind. We like the cup, so we assume some goodness resides in it, or we dislike the cup, and assume it is no good. The cup reminds us of other cups so we pour in properties that belong to other cups because we think they are similar. The cup was a gift from someone so we are fond of it. The cup came from a cheap store so we dislike it. Maybe its a holy cup because it came from a temple. None of these ideas have any validity that I can see, and so are completely negatable.

There's a lot to a cup. :rolling:
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby alpha » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:51 pm

catmoon wrote:
alpha wrote:so is it then that the existence of a cup cannot be denied and those who think that they are involved in denying the exsitence of a cup are merely involved in denying the idea of a cup?


I doubt it is so simple. You see, there is confusion between the cup, the idea of the cup and the perception of the cup. All I can do is present a view, which no doubt others will regard as bonehead stupid.

There is a cup. We think we see it but we don't. We think we know it but we don't. Its nature is totally unknown, it is a necessary condition of our perception, it is impermanent and dependently arising, and dependently it will dissipate. Unseen, unheard, unfelt, untasted it exists, where we cannot say, or even if location and space have anything to do with it. This cup cannot be negated, but remember it is still impermanent.

There is the cup of perception. This cup we know as having color, sometimes making sounds, having weight in and warmth in our hand, holding the sweet tea. This cup is negatable in the sense that we can say, although these perceptions are real, I really am having these perceptions, that tells me just about nothing about the nature of whatever it is that is causing these perceptions.

Then there is the cup of the mind. This cup has shape, density, solidity and other properties created in the mind and that we commonly assume reside in the cup. These ideas are kind of handy when you need to wash the cups and put them away without breaking them, but they are rough, imprecise models and are easily negated on that basis alone. Plus, again they tell us nothing about the cause of all these perceptions.

Finally there is the other cup of the mind. We like the cup, so we assume some goodness resides in it, or we dislike the cup, and assume it is no good. The cup reminds us of other cups so we pour in properties that belong to other cups because we think they are similar. The cup was a gift from someone so we are fond of it. The cup came from a cheap store so we dislike it. Maybe its a holy cup because it came from a temple. None of these ideas have any validity that I can see, and so are completely negatable.

There's a lot to a cup. :rolling:


there can't be so many cups surely :lol: :shock: :mrgreen:

for me the mind is the "king of all"..

the cup of the senses or the cup of perception still happens within the mind and they are not different cups.
if they were different they should be many when they are not.
and "many" cannot be established when we cannot find the "one"-the one cup as it were.

since we can only negate the ideea of the cup ,the "one" cup cannot be established.and therefore "many" cups has no support-the cup of senses,of perception..and so on.

if this ideea of the cup cannot be found does this mean somehow that we have arrived at the point where the mind can see itself?
AOM
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