pondering the Vajra Cutter Sutra

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pondering the Vajra Cutter Sutra

Postby trevor » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:09 pm

Reading the Vajra Cutter Sutra, my understanding so far is that the illusion of a thing is created by naming it - if the thing really existed, there would be no need to give it a label, because it would be evident even without name. It is named "thing", because it is not a thing. If it really were, there would be no need to make it evident by naming it at all. But that does not mean that we should try to somehow stop labeling or discriminating things, because the labeling itself does not exist (and is named labeling because it is not labeling). So I think that there is nothing to do or not do, one can just relax and the habit of believing in thingness will eventually die off, as it is seen through...

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this, guys.
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Re: pondering the Vajra Cutter Sutra

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:48 pm

There's nothing wrong with labeling. As long as you remember they are just labels I think.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: pondering the Vajra Cutter Sutra

Postby asunthatneversets » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:05 am

trevor wrote:Reading the Vajra Cutter Sutra, my understanding so far is that the illusion of a thing is created by naming it - if the thing really existed, there would be no need to give it a label, because it would be evident even without name. It is named "thing", because it is not a thing. If it really were, there would be no need to make it evident by naming it at all. But that does not mean that we should try to somehow stop labeling or discriminating things, because the labeling itself does not exist (and is named labeling because it is not labeling). So I think that there is nothing to do or not do, one can just relax and the habit of believing in thingness will eventually die off, as it is seen through...

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this, guys.


This may be essentially true but if as you said "it is named thing, because it is not a thing" then what is "it"? If by "seeing through" the "thingness" you meant apperceiving that the object isn't it's label, that isn't what this sutra is pointing to(im not sure if thats what you meant). What this sutra is saying is true but if it only stays on the level of conceptualization then it's just another idea. What the sutra is addressing is the illusory nature of the subject/object dichotomy altogether. That the illusion(subject & object) is created by the projection of labels and concepts. The dying off of belief(in the sense of becoming disbelief) would still give subtle power to the reality of whatever "it" is, which is believed/disbelieved in. So the "seeing through" needs to be a complete and total actual apperceiving of the unreality. Yes the labels are useful and only exist conventionally. But again merely believing this to be true is no better than believing in the opposing position. The habitual pattern of projecting self/other (being subconscious at this point) will most likely not die off 'in time' of its own accord. There will have to be effort when effort is required... And when no effort is required that will also be appropriate. But doing nothing in the sense of being complacent wont bring about any change.

I'm not sure what you understand or don't understand so everything I'm saying may be preaching to the choir for all I know! 

And all this is my own opinion(I'm supposed to make that known) 
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Re: pondering the Vajra Cutter Sutra

Postby trevor » Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:58 am

asunthatneversets wrote:but if as you said "it is named thing, because it is not a thing" then what is "it"?


It's just a way of saying, there is no need to say anything more about "it". The point is that the thing is nonexistent. What blows my mind is that not only does this understanding completely stop all conceptualizing, it even burns the bridge, because discrimination itself is treated like that. There's no way back. I just can't wrap my head around it. It's so simple that it sounds like a cheat code to me.
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Re: pondering the Vajra Cutter Sutra

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:17 am

trevor wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:but if as you said "it is named thing, because it is not a thing" then what is "it"?


It's just a way of saying, there is no need to say anything more about "it". The point is that the thing is nonexistent. What blows my mind is that not only does this understanding completely stop all conceptualizing, it even burns the bridge, because discrimination itself is treated like that. There's no way back. I just can't wrap my head around it. It's so simple that it sounds like a cheat code to me.


But the "thing" isn't nonexistent. It may lack inherent existence, but it does have a conventional existence. The seeing that "things" are a creation of conceptualization is good in that it allows the thought-based-mind to relax and apperceive the illusory nature of clinging and projecting. But completely stopping conceptualization is unwarranted. In seeing the illusory nature of the conceptualizing the "power" or "concreteness" of the projections is taken away... so the "thingness" and "conceptualizing" of experience becomes like a mirage. There's no need to stop a mirage or reify a mirage... it's just a mirage, an illusion. The one who 'knows' this is part of the illusion as well, there is no 'controller' to stop conceptualization. So it's true that there's inherently no-things, but experience is still 'happening'... and upon the dissolution of conceptualization(which should negate previously held presuppositions) inquiry needs to be placed onto the nature of tangible sensory experience which undoubtably transcends labeling.

"All of this is but one's mind," That which was stated by the Able One, is to alleviate the fear of the childish; it is not [a statement] of [final] truth. - Nagarjuna

Dzogchen practice which cultivates 'presence' will ultimately cause "thought" to subside and fall into it's own pattern as an under-current removing it's influence... like a distant background noise no different than other auditory white-noise in experience. And if one is skilled, ultimately a state of nonduality and absence will literally cut any influence. But both are quite different than "seeing through" labels.

my own writing and opinions; except for Nagarjuna quote
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Re: pondering the Vajra Cutter Sutra

Postby Mr. G » Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:39 am

Thread moved to "Sutra Studies" :smile:
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: pondering the Vajra Cutter Sutra

Postby muni » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:24 am

Hi Trevor,

Simple pondering me is told about; "not nothing":

The changing attitude in daily mandala:

"that is how it is" ......in....... "that is how I think".

Then the merely fabrications, labels "are seen"; percieving is not caught in them as they collaps.

"As a star, a visual abberation, a lamp, an illusion, dew, a bubble, a dream, lightning and a cloud – view all the compounded like that".
Theories can create an illusory distance between us and enlightenment.
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Re: pondering the Vajra Cutter Sutra

Postby trevor » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:44 am

In seeing that conceptualizing or thinking doesn't alter my state, I don't feel the need to for it and I don't expect it to make me feel better or expect a solution.

Strangely, I had a few moments of insight where thoughts were just recognized without giving them meaning. Without going into the content, I noticed that every thought plays out automatically, there's no need to do anything with them. I became confident that the thought will play out the moment I first saw it. The moments of noticing the beginnings of thoughts became just a series of uniform meaningless arisings. I was quite surprised at how fast these can occur. I started to notice moments (of clarity?) between arisings and then I found that I don't know how to tell the difference between the moment of clarity and the arising, because the recognition itself is just another meaningless arising. Then I somehow got overly excited about it and it was over :) Anyway, I wonder if that was the glimpse of nonduality.
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Re: pondering the Vajra Cutter Sutra

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:37 pm

trevor wrote:In seeing that conceptualizing or thinking doesn't alter my state, I don't feel the need to for it and I don't expect it to make me feel better or expect a solution.

Strangely, I had a few moments of insight where thoughts were just recognized without giving them meaning. Without going into the content, I noticed that every thought plays out automatically, there's no need to do anything with them. I became confident that the thought will play out the moment I first saw it. The moments of noticing the beginnings of thoughts became just a series of uniform meaningless arisings. I was quite surprised at how fast these can occur. I started to notice moments (of clarity?) between arisings and then I found that I don't know how to tell the difference between the moment of clarity and the arising, because the recognition itself is just another meaningless arising. Then I somehow got overly excited about it and it was over :) Anyway, I wonder if that was the glimpse of nonduality.


That's good! However, In seeing that conceptualizing or thinking doesn't alter your state, and that you don't feel a need for it... Inquire into the nature of the one who believes these things.

Thoughts do play out automatically, everything is spontaneously arisen in the frame of considering 'things to arise'. The thought is liberated as soon as it appears. Seeing the thoughts as a series of uniform meaningless arisings is also useful, it's 'seeing' them in their 'suchness' as 'sounds' or 'noise', and eventually they won't be 'seen' as sound or noise and won't even arise or fall but will be timeless expressions of the true nature. But don't let that 'lead' you to seek that, just continue with your investigation. Expect nothing. Rest in those moments of 'clarity' (or whatever name you want to give them) getting excited or thinking they represent 'progress' will be counterproductive, if excitement arises immediately perceive that as a 'meaningless arising' as well, and let it self-liberate, continue to rest unmoved. The 'moments of clarity' will strengthen and 'become longer' if that makes sense, and you're right there ultimately is no difference between the clarity and the arising. But don't believe what i'm saying... just look for yourself... and don't let it 'validate' your conclusions... just continue to rest in that clarity.

Not a glimpse of nonduality, because it seems from how you described it that you still feel "you" are witnessing this 'happening'. What can help with this is to start to notice the habit of assuming there is 'time'... or a 'series of arisings' as you put it. Question this notion of time. Question the notion of 'space' between 'you' and an 'arising'. See that this notion of you(subject) witnessing arisings(objects) depends on these notions of 'time and space' and inquire into the nature of 'time and space'. Or locate 'that' which is untouched by 'time and space' and rest there, all of this falls in line closely to what you've already been saying so don't look too hard.

Apologize if it sounds like i'm preaching or teaching; don't believe a word i say... just look! Investigate empirically.

(All of this is my own opinion, i attach no authority to it.)
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Re: pondering the Vajra Cutter Sutra

Postby trevor » Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:03 am

Thanks for the advice :) I used to read various texts to get to recognize this, but even though I had glimpses, there were also long intervals where I got confused and didn't know what to do. This cannot be done by thinking certain thoughts, it is very counter intuitive to me. Now I use a single question or koan "Who am I?" and try to investigate and look rather than think. It seems that there arises a conditioned response - it happened so many times, that I don't expect to answer the thought "Who am I?" so much, but the moment I hear it, I just look at it and it liberates. It becomes like a new habit. When I get caught up in something, I simply ask to whom is it happening and give up the previous problem (it arises from the false notion of self anyway). So my goal is to get used to it throughout the whole day, rather than going deep for short moments. Instead of trying to rest in it, I try to disrupt it or get into confusing situations so that I will learn to immediately spot a problem and create a habitual response to immediately investigate the self rather than trying to think my way out of it or do something with it.
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