Non affirming negation

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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:42 am

heart wrote:
catmoon wrote:
Well.... no. I guess I just don't see why this should be. Chenrezig is a mental perception, and I don't understand why this perception should not be subject to the usual examinations. If he's not a mental perception then no one has ever heard of him, right?


This discussion is getting out of hand. Most probably no one here have had any perception of Chenrezig. So either you are discussing your own visualizations or this whole discussion i very premature.

/magnus


Magnus,

Perhaps if you go back to when Chenrezig was first brought up and then read the ensuing discussion, the actual intent and direction of this conversation will be clearer to you. No one has claimed perception of Chenrezig or anything remotely similar.
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby heart » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:37 am

Pema Rigdzin wrote:
heart wrote:
catmoon wrote:
Well.... no. I guess I just don't see why this should be. Chenrezig is a mental perception, and I don't understand why this perception should not be subject to the usual examinations. If he's not a mental perception then no one has ever heard of him, right?


This discussion is getting out of hand. Most probably no one here have had any perception of Chenrezig. So either you are discussing your own visualizations or this whole discussion i very premature.

/magnus


Magnus,

Perhaps if you go back to when Chenrezig was first brought up and then read the ensuing discussion, the actual intent and direction of this conversation will be clearer to you. No one has claimed perception of Chenrezig or anything remotely similar.


Dear Pema,

I did and I do understand no one have claimed that. Still in a discussion about objects of perception what is the point of discussing something no one percieved?

/magnus
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby heart » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:42 am

catmoon wrote:
heart wrote:
catmoon wrote:
Well.... no. I guess I just don't see why this should be. Chenrezig is a mental perception, and I don't understand why this perception should not be subject to the usual examinations. If he's not a mental perception then no one has ever heard of him, right?


This discussion is getting out of hand. Most probably no one here have had any perception of Chenrezig. So either you are discussing your own visualizations or this whole discussion i very premature.

/magnus


I don't know about anyone else, but it was very much my intent to discuss my own visualizations and perceptions and imaginations. That was what I was discussing in the above quote. I did not intend to suggest I have seen Chenrezig or any other deity.

We do perceive our own imaginations, so that's that's he perception I meant.


Well if you are just discussing your visualizations perhaps you should choose and other object for these discussions. Could be anything.

/magnus
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby muni » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:49 am

As there is a kind of seeing form (cup) all meanings seems to arise and disappear by dependent origination.

(There was a cognition-question about unicorns and Chenrezig, maybe for other topic)
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:59 pm

heart wrote:Dear Pema,

I did and I do understand no one have claimed that. Still in a discussion about objects of perception what is the point of discussing something no one percieved?

/magnus


Magnus,
Yes, as you now know, that has been my point for some time. But when the question of whether or not the valid/invalid cognition argument was posed as a question to whether or not Chenrezig (or any Yidam) was just like the unicorn, I felt some clarification was needed before moving on. And Catmoon asked how he/she is supposed to be able to ever perceive such beings to prove that they exist, so I spoke on that briefly.
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:00 am

Anyhow, Magnus is right that this tangent about perceiving buddhas and bodhisattvas in their sambhogakaya forms is irrelevant to the topic of the thread and I think that's been made sufficiently clear. If anyone still feels like they need to discuss it, it would be more appropriate to create a separate thread for that.

Of course, aside from establishing a relationship with a qualified lama and entering the Vajrayana through empowerment and studying that vehicle's texts on the matters of deities and engaging in practice, etc, another thing that such interested individuals would benefit from is studying the relevant Mahayana texts, such as sutras and shastras. This would be much more profitable than simply asking question after question based on statements about this topic and other topics made by people at this forum.

Taking for granted that there's no guarantee that those of us questioned here really know what we're talking about if you've not studied the supposedly authentic sources we're claiming to be pulling from, there's also the matter of the good deal of background information needed on the part of the questioners so that questions are presented about what the teachings are actually saying, not about what you wonder if they say, or about a misperception of what we're claiming they're saying, etc. Since there's no guarantee how long any of our lives will last, it would be better if we all tried to do some learning for ourselves and then got together and asked questions based on what the sutras and shastras themselves have to say about the topics we're interested in so we can have the least sidetracks and make the most progress in our discussions.
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby catmoon » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:55 am

So now that we are all caught up on that, I believe the next order of business is my HHDL quote in the previous page. Nobody ever did comment on that.

I'm curious: is that the general Mahayana position or is there significant variation between sects?
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby muni » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:33 am

catmoon wrote:Ok we aren't getting anywhere with the Chenrezig question, maybe we should move on. Today my reading included the following from the Dalai Lama:

HHDL, How To See Yourself As You Really Are, Ch. 7 wrote:Reflecting on how an object is a dependent arising - arising dependent on causes and conditions, dependent upon its parts, and dependent on thought - greatly helps to overcome the sense that it exists in and of itself. However, if you do not figure out exactly what phenomena are empty of - what is being negated - then at the end of this analysis you will feel that the object does not exist at all.

This experience will cause phenomena to seem ephemeral, like insubstantial drawings, next to nothing. This mistake comes from not distinguishing between the absence of inherent existence and nonexistence. Failure to distinguish these makes it impossible to appreciate the dependent-arising of phenomena, whereas it is crucial to understand that emptiness means dependent-arising, and dependent-arising means emptiness.



I found this worth reading over closely several times. The mind has a strong tendency to disregard what it disagrees with, or what it cannot understand, and I tripped over this tendency repeatedly. When he talked about things seeming "ephemeral, like insubstantial drawings, next to nothing" it was a good description of my experience, so it was a bit disconcerting when he flatly calls it a mistake. On reflection, I think he has it right though.

edited for spelling


"Phenomena are infallible dependent arising
Emptiness is the understanding that is free of assertions
As long as these two are seen as distinct
You have not yet realized the intent of the Buddha.

Phenomena-appaerances refute the extreme of existence, (dependent arising= no inherent existence.)
Emptiness refute the extreme of non existence" The Dalai Lama.

To reflect here about we can avoid to lose sight. If not, the negation, the vacuity becomes just nothingness.
Mind also has a tendency to explore entities and a consciousness which is separated from outer appearances.

Interdependency.
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby heart » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:10 am

catmoon wrote:So now that we are all caught up on that, I believe the next order of business is my HHDL quote in the previous page. Nobody ever did comment on that.

I'm curious: is that the general Mahayana position or is there significant variation between sects?


The quote contains nothing secterian according to my understanding.

/magnus
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:39 am

HHDL, How To See Yourself As You Really Are, Ch. 7 wrote:This experience will cause phenomena to seem ephemeral, like insubstantial drawings, next to nothing. This mistake comes from not distinguishing between the absence of inherent existence and nonexistence. Failure to distinguish these makes it impossible to appreciate the dependent-arising of phenomena, whereas it is crucial to understand that emptiness means dependent-arising, and dependent-arising means emptiness.


So HHDL is saying one needs to understand that there is a great difference between saying a phenomenon (say, a cup) is completely nonexistent and saying that it appears while lacking inherent existence. The first view is nihilism and the second is dependent origination. To get into the dependently originated cup we were discussing a while ago, let me first sum up where we got with it: we determined that there was no inherent cupness in the ceramic having been formed and baked into the shape of a cup. We agreed that if one smashes the cup, no cup can be found in the shards. So, let's look at the emptiness of the ceramic itself. Let's say it's made of clay. In order to become the hardened form of the cup, it has to be formed by a potter into the shape, then baked, then cooled. But even the clay itself is made up of parts like earth and water, so even it is merely a designation we impute onto a particular kind of earth that has come together with water in just the right way, all due to causes and conditions.

We can take this even further and look at what modern science has discovered about matter itself: even the smallest particle of the earth is made up of smaller molecules that sort of hover together closely but don't touch. Those molecules are made up of smaller atoms which hover closely together but don't touch. The atoms are made up of subatomic particles that hover closely together but don't touch. Modern scientists have gotten all the way down to indeterminate energy that appears either like a wave or a particle, dependent on how we look at it, which means that it is not changeless or immutable, so it is not truly existing as any particular form; it is empty. Water can be broken down in the same way. So, where's the water, where's the clay, where's the ceramic, and where's the cup? Where's the matter itself, which is pervaded by space?

The answer is that these things aren't truly nonexistent because, when present and in plain view, they always appear to healthy senses and reliably perform their functions for all who encounter them. But they are not truly existent either because they are dependent on their parts and causes and conditions. Thus the saying "nonexistent yet clearly appearing." This is the middle way beyond extremes. The personal self is the same way. Upon analysis aimed at the ultimate, no single, immutable phenomenon fitting the description self can be found, but it still clearly appears to exist. Seizing upon that notion of true existence binds us to samsara, while being truly freed of that ignorance means we experience nirvana instead. Samsara and nirvana are the same; it is our perception that makes a difference.
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby catmoon » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:11 pm

Hmmm...

Cup is the whole...

If there was an essential cup in there somewhere, it should be possible to find it amongst the shards. But if you did find it there, well the thing found would BE the cup, which would raise the question, if the cup is here, in this part, well, where did all these other shards come from? It's an interesting reductio isn't it?

If the essence of cup resided in every part of the cup, then when you smash the cup you should get many many complete cups, not shards.

If the essence of cup resided in my mind then one might expect there to be an actual physical cup in my mind, which doesn't make any sense at all.

So what do we really have here? An assemblage of things, causes and conditions, in a particular configuration. And a label. And maybe some mental pictures that serve as archetypes against which one might assess the cupness or non-cupness of things.

I can see this all pretty clearly in the case of the cup, but I find seeing the "I" this way more difficult. Identical reason applies to the body, but it's hard to apply to the mind without knowing exactly what a mind is.


Oh, I missed a possibility. Suppose the essence of cup resides in every part of the cup, and that essence ceases to exist when the cup breaks. Do we then have a dependent-arising, impermanent essential cup? Is there any proof either way?
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby heart » Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:31 am

catmoon wrote:I can see this all pretty clearly in the case of the cup, but I find seeing the "I" this way more difficult. Identical reason applies to the body, but it's hard to apply to the mind without knowing exactly what a mind is.


This is because the I don't have a conventional existence at all.

/magnus
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby catmoon » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:45 pm

heart wrote:
catmoon wrote:I can see this all pretty clearly in the case of the cup, but I find seeing the "I" this way more difficult. Identical reason applies to the body, but it's hard to apply to the mind without knowing exactly what a mind is.


This is because the I don't have a conventional existence at all.

/magnus


Hm. Do think it's fair to say it is difficult to grasp, because the object of negation does not exist in this case? Maybe there is nothing to negate?
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Re: Non affirming negation

Postby 5heaps » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:25 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote: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.

according to gelugpas inherent existence is an impossible way of existing. unicorns don't exist therefore they can't lack impossible ways of existing, they lack just existence (ie. can't be known by a valid cognition).

A unicorn is already non-affirmatively negated. But this analysis has not realized the emptiness of unicorns.

there are many types of non-affirming negations. one doesn't necessitate the other.

even lacks are empty of inherent existence (ie. existence established from the side of the object, due to the object's own characteristics that transmit/communicate themselves to a cognizer)
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