Understanding emptiness

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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby Stewart » Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:47 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:First of all you are posting in the Mahayana section so you must respect the fact that those asking questions in this section want Mahayana answers. This means Sutra.

Number two, I'll take it that you consider yourself within the 1% of Buddhists that know everything. So making statements like the above means that you have done nothing all this time to deal with your Ego-centred pride. This means that you too are merely parroting. Back to the 99% with you young lad!

Number three, sticking "student of Namkhai Norbu" in your signature means nothing at all. You may be a hideously bad student of Namkhai Norbu and in no position whatsoever to be a representative of his teachings (ie you may be doing him a mis-service with your statements here).

And finally, if you have nothing valid to add to this discussion, then maybe you should just not be taking part in it.

The Sutta and Sutra have just a liitle bit more to say than an explanation of emptiness. Just a little.
:namaste:


Well said Greg....it looks like we may have another 'alwayson'....
Last edited by Stewart on Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby Center Channel » Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:53 pm

Jikan wrote:I'm rebutting your claim that nothing more profound that emptiness is to be found in the Mahayana sutras.



No you didn't.

The potential for a sentient being to become a Buddha is crucially related to the doctrine of emptiness.

Its actually the same thing.
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby Jikan » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:00 pm

Center Channel wrote:
Jikan wrote:I'm rebutting your claim that nothing more profound that emptiness is to be found in the Mahayana sutras.



No you didn't.

The potential for a sentient being to become a Buddha is crucially related to the doctrine of emptiness.

Its actually the same thing.


Yes, I described that relation above.

Have you read the Ekayana sutras?
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby catmoon » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:04 pm

Center Channel wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:How do you know this???


What is the bottom line of sutra?

Everything is empty (dependently co-arisen).

Bundles of conditions are imputed by nominal labels.

It is not really a deep message. :shrug:


Buddha seems to disagree with you.


"Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. We will lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.' That's how you should train yourselves."
"Ani Sutta: The Peg" (SN 20.7), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 29 June 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby Center Channel » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:08 pm

Jikan wrote:Yes, I described that relation above.


Yes I know you did. Since the potential to become a Buddha is the same as the doctrine of emptiness, I don't know what exactly you are suggesting is deeper than emptiness.

Jikan wrote:Have you read the Ekayana sutras?


I have studied enough of the Tathāgatagarbha Sutras as a whole.
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby ronnewmexico » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:35 pm

Perhaps to metion a intellectual assumption of emptiness has purpose, but really does not serve to remove the things that cause us to be where we are in our current state and plight. Our habits which we so attach to.
We must of course integrate this thing into ourselves..this understanding...hence meditative and other means.
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby conebeckham » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:38 pm

Center Channel wrote:
Jikan wrote:I'm rebutting your claim that nothing more profound that emptiness is to be found in the Mahayana sutras.



No you didn't.

The potential for a sentient being to become a Buddha is crucially related to the doctrine of emptiness.

Its actually the same thing.


I disagree that they are the same thing, though I grant that the doctrine of emptiness is crucial to the potential for Buddhahood. It's not the only factor. Conditioned phenomena that are not sentient beings do not possess the capacity to become Buddhas, and the Sutras have a great deal to say about this. So, Emptiness is not the sole most important topic, or apex, or summit, of "sutra" doctrine.
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:27 am

gregkavarnos wrote:The existence of the two truths/realities is vital to your understanding.

At the ultimate level there is no attacker, victim, weapon, feeling, reaction, they are just labels or conceptions.

At the relative level there is an attacker, victim, weapon, feeling, reaction, they do exist.

The truth though, lies somewhere in between these two.
Yes. That is exactly my problem.

Paul wrote:Being able to function, ie to be caused and to have an effect is a direct consequence of not having a nature. If something wasn't empty, it would be frozen and could neither be created, changed or destroyed.

Imgine an A4 piece of white paper that is by nature a blank A4 white piece of paper. You could not tear it, as to do so would mean it was no longer A4 size - which by nature it must be. You could not write on it, as it is blank and white by nature. You could not burn it, as it would become ashes - but by nature it must remain paper.

So you can see that if something had a nature it would be unable to function. Since appearances are dependant on the cause and effect of other appearances and not a nature, they can arise, change and cease. Emptiness is a mandatory requirement for a universe that can change and function.
Beautiful. I'm saving this.

Jikan wrote:When you stub your toe or break a tooth, it is very convincing. MY FACE IT HURTS. It feels real in a conventional way, even though that reality doesn't hold up to analytical scrutiny. Does the experience of a toothache really correspond to the concept of "toothache"? The tooth itself? is it really "your" tooth? &c. Emptiness is another way to say "dependent origination."

My point: you might say there are two levels of truth-claims to be made about an ordinary phenomenon such as a toothache. (ahem) That there might be something of value in the idea of the two truths when discussing emptiness. yes?
Right. Like what Greg posted about the Two Truths Doctrine. But then where is the middle line between Emptiness and Dependent Origination?

sangyey wrote:This is a good translation of Nagarjuna's 'Commentary On The Awakening Mind' translated by Thupten Jinpa that may be of some relevance.

http://www.tibetanclassics.org/html-assets/Awakening%20Mind%20Commentary.pdf

Also Nagarjuna's 'Sixty Stanzas of Reasoning' translated by Thupten Jinpa as well.

http://www.tibetanclassics.org/html-assets/SixtyStanzas.pdf
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby Center Channel » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:14 am

Konchog1 wrote:But then where is the middle line between Emptiness and Dependent Origination?




emptiness=DO

Emptiness/DO is the middle way between eternalism and nihilism.

Don't get confused by Gelug's view of emptiness, for example by Tsonkhapa/Dalai Lama, where emptiness is a nonimplicative negation of inherent existence.
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby Malcolm » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:25 am

conebeckham wrote: So, Emptiness is not the sole most important topic, or apex, or summit, of "sutra" doctrine.


Sure it is.

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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby Center Channel » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:29 am

Namdrol wrote:
Sure it is.

N



:cheers:
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby Center Channel » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:16 am

cloudburst wrote:Dint' the great Dzogchen master Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche say that "there is no teaching higher than emptiness?"



Let me clarify my position.

Emptiness is technically the same in sutra and Vajrayana for the most part.

But only in Vajrayana you have a chance to move beyond a mere intellectual understanding of emptiness (although this is crucially important as well).
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby conebeckham » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:54 am

Namdrol wrote:
conebeckham wrote: So, Emptiness is not the sole most important topic, or apex, or summit, of "sutra" doctrine.


Sure it is.

N


Okay..what, then, "realizes" emptiness? :smile:
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby conebeckham » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:55 am

The first lines of the Dhammapada strike me as pretty important, and very far-reaching.
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby catmoon » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:58 am

Center Channel wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:But then where is the middle line between Emptiness and Dependent Origination?




emptiness=DO

Emptiness/DO is the middle way between eternalism and nihilism.

Don't get confused by Gelug's view of emptiness, for example by Tsonkhapa/Dalai Lama, where emptiness is a nonimplicative negation of inherent existence.


As a Gelug type, I would have to reply, don't trust anyone else! :rolling:

Further, emptiness is not dependent origination. But, dependent origination is empty, a quite different statement.

Finally, there is one thing above that is correct. Emptiness is indeed the middle path between eternalism and nihilism.
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby Center Channel » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:15 am

catmoon wrote:Further, emptiness is not dependent origination. But, dependent origination is empty, a quite different statement.



Except for Gelug's Prasangika view, emptiness and dependent origination are indeed synonymous in Madhyamaka

Emptiness is dependent origination....a fact repeatedley stated by various Madhyamikas over the centuries

This is a view that famously goes back to Nagarjuna himself. Refer to mmk 24:18
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby catmoon » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:14 am

Center Channel wrote:
catmoon wrote:Further, emptiness is not dependent origination. But, dependent origination is empty, a quite different statement.



Except for Gelug's Prasangika view, emptiness and dependent origination are indeed synonymous in Madhyamaka

Emptiness is dependent origination....a fact repeatedley stated by various Madhyamikas over the centuries

This is a view that famously goes back to Nagarjuna himself. Refer to mmk 24:18



Woopsie. That rings a bell now... is seem to recall the Dalai Lama demonstrating it in one of his books... was that the demonstration that is easy going from one to the other but hard going the other way?
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:31 am

Center Channel wrote:Let me clarify my position.

Emptiness is technically the same in sutra and Vajrayana for the most part.

But only in Vajrayana you have a chance to move beyond a mere intellectual understanding of emptiness (although this is crucially important as well).
So you believe that no Mahayana practitioners have ever gone beyond an intellectual understanding towards a realisation of emptiness? That they were all waiting for the Vajrayana to come along and point it out to them? :rolleye:

Need I (also) point out that Nagarjuna and the Madhyamaka tradition are a Mahayana and Sutra trend? Or maybe Nagarjuna (also) only had an intellectual understanding of emptiness?
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby Adamantine » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:11 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
Center Channel wrote:Let me clarify my position.

Emptiness is technically the same in sutra and Vajrayana for the most part.

But only in Vajrayana you have a chance to move beyond a mere intellectual understanding of emptiness (although this is crucially important as well).
So you believe that no Mahayana practitioners have ever gone beyond an intellectual understanding towards a realisation of emptiness? That they were all waiting for the Vajrayana to come along and point it out to them? :rolleye:

Need I (also) point out that Nagarjuna and the Madhyamaka tradition are a Mahayana and Sutra trend? Or maybe Nagarjuna (also) only had an intellectual understanding of emptiness?
:namaste:


Greg, as a Vajrayanan you better get with the program and start espousing the superiority of the Vajra Vehicle! I'd hate to see you cast out of the fold, lost and lonely swimming in a sea of mere Mahayanists :o
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Re: Understanding emptiness

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:15 am

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." Groucho Marx in the film "A Day at the Races". ;)
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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