Misunderstanding emptiness

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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:55 am

yadave wrote:You just admitted that air molecules, vibrations, and tape recorders have a reality external to or separate from you and I. This is my point. Yes they are all empty, yes they depend on many causes and conditions for their existence, but they do not depend on my mood or whether you are taking a nap.


There are people who say that nothing exists outside of the mind
but I believe they misinterpret the meaning of that.
They think that an objective universe began when they were born.
This isn't what the Buddha taught or what great teachers have taught.
It's true that everything is a projection of mind
But not this way.

Buddha sat under a tree.
.
.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:01 am

yadave wrote:You are correct. I will try to dot my i's in future and use "idealism" rather than "solipsism" to describe the view that "reality is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial."


Ok, but it isn't "mentally constructed" either, a mental construction would have to originate from a mind.

yadave wrote:I did not know you were a guru. Right on.


I didn't know I was either, but yes... right on!

yadave wrote:I would need you to unpack this for me before I know how to respond.


Modern cognitive science and buddhism may have some parallel similarities on a relative level but ultimately they're not of the same nature.

yadave wrote:Well, there is no "me" as you pointed out above and my concern was how your (1) and (2) treat the brain as a source of things. I compare the brain to the heart. Some years ago, Israeli scientists successfully coerced stem cells into heart cells and the damn things were beating. It's amazing, they know how to be a heart on the cellular level. Similarly, brains know how to think, brains exude thoughts.


I didn't say there's no "you", i said there's no "you" apart from the concept of "you", apart from the conventionality of language the self or agent has no inherent existence. But i suppose that's irrelevant since you're thoroughly convinced you're not equipped with any frame of reference with which to gauge what i'm saying. I'm essentially some guy talking on an internet forum, you can't believe there's no self or substratum, it isn't a philosophy, it requires first hand experience for validation. How can the brain be the source of things?

yadave wrote:"Reality" is a word. It is subject to the world's shared definition of it if we are to heed Buddha's advice and "accept what the world accepts."


Yes reality is a word, so is every other word on this forum. I'm using the term reality to describe this "happening" called life. If the Buddha truly believed that one should "accept what the world accepts" then everyone would remain in ignorance.

yadave wrote:But it is a new paradigm, my Lord. I think that should count for something.


I'm sure that day countless centuries ago when someone declared the world is indeed flat, that paradigm counted for something then as well.

yadave wrote:Actually, lots of people are saying "the car really doesn't exist" or "ultimately, the car doesn't exist." It's awful. If this Ultimate Reality is not unreal then the car really doesn't exist and Buddhism reduces to Idealism.


Why would that be awful? Idealism asserts that reality is fundamentally a mental construction, again a mental construction would depend on the existence of a mind.

yadave wrote:Seems simpler to just say "for Buddhists, the car is not what it seems" and if anyone is curious we explain how the car depends on many factors. I mean, look at the expression "inherently existing". Does *anything* have this property? No? The darn thing (i.e., the concept "inherently existing") is metaphysical to start with yet it litters every other sentence. I appreciate its importance but wonder if we could leave existing language conventions, like "exists" and "reality", out of it and simply say "the car is empty" which has a specific meaning that differs from the notion of "empty space" which is what "nonexistent" brings to mind.


Why would this only apply to "Buddhists"? No-thing has inherent existence, every-thing is empty, including emptiness. It's no more metaphysical than believing you're a subjective entity encased in a body experiencing a physical world which is separate from you. And sure say "the car is empty".

yadave wrote:The car will pass by and we will see it regardless of whether:

4) We both somehow magically create mental projections of the same blue car moving at the same speed; or

5) The car possesses an external reality / existence that causes us both to experience the same thing.

I'm a Number 5. I think both (4) and (5) require us to grow up in similar environments where there are cars and such.


Ok, if you want to believe the car has an external existence have at it! I'm not here to win you over, i have no way to convey to you that essentially all that is, is timeless "consciousness" devoid of duality. Those are just words typed onto a computer screen, I really wouldn't want you to believe what i'm saying anyways in all honesty... adopting that as a belief and attaching to that would be just as counterproductive as insisting any other point of view.

yadave wrote:The language is too far from the world. Trust me on this one.


Yes that point of view certainly mirrors what you believe to be true.

I don't really understand the nature of this debating going on, refuting what's said, i mean it's all well and good refute what's said all you want it's just a conversation... but what is your perception of buddhism? Are you just here to stir the pot? Because that's great if that's the case, debates of this nature are good to get people thinking and answer questions for not just the ones debating but for others reading it. Or are you just attempting to have someone thoroughly convince you out of your conditioned point of view you've had your whole life? Only YOU can do that. You don't seem to be very "open" to the teachings, insisting the point of view you champion is some kind of ultimate truth.... almost like you're trying to convince yourself that your point of view is correct for reassurance. I'm not here to propagate some belief system or philosophy, the teachings may be presented in that manner but ultimately they're to be applied to yourself and to your experience, empirically, to bring about a change in perception and being. Buddhism is meant to radically alter life in it's entirety. The effects of the teaching are real, the change is real, but you have to want it, and you have to be open to it, otherwise you remain attached to an archaic conditioned point of view which only leads to suffering.... liberation is here for the taking, everyone wants you to know that love, but nobody can save you except yourself.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby yadave » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:07 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:
yadave wrote:I will try to dot my i's in future and use "idealism" rather than "solipsism" to describe the view that "reality is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial."

Ok, but it isn't "mentally constructed" either, a mental construction would have to originate from a mind.

But you said "mind is a collection of thoughts and memories" and "things" are just "concepts or ideas." Make up your mind.

asunthatneversets wrote:How can the brain be the source of things?

It thinks. I think we've even done this with computers now, cat brains: you put enough neural nets together and it starts having brain waves, it dreams. Remarkable.

asunthatneversets wrote:
yadave wrote:"Reality" is a word. It is subject to the world's shared definition of it if we are to heed Buddha's advice and "accept what the world accepts."

Yes reality is a word, so is every other word on this forum. I'm using the term reality to describe this "happening" called life. If the Buddha truly believed that one should "accept what the world accepts" then everyone would remain in ignorance.

Hey, it was your quote. Are you saying that we should accept only some of the Buddha's teachings and you know which ones to choose? I'm telling Greg.

asunthatneversets wrote:I don't really understand the nature of this debating going on, refuting what's said, i mean it's all well and good refute what's said all you want it's just a conversation... but what is your perception of buddhism?

Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha.

asunthatneversets wrote:Are you just here to stir the pot? Because that's great if that's the case, debates of this nature are good to get people thinking and answer questions for not just the ones debating but for others reading it. Or are you just attempting to have someone thoroughly convince you out of your conditioned point of view you've had your whole life? Only YOU can do that.

I was reading a book and wanted to understand emptiness a little better. I feel this was successful, thank you, and then there's various projections and things flying by in addition which, I suppose, is par for these forums.

asunthatneversets wrote:You don't seem to be very "open" to the teachings, insisting the point of view you champion is some kind of ultimate truth.... almost like you're trying to convince yourself that your point of view is correct for reassurance.

Sorry, I may state a question or position forcefully, as do you, in order to elicit a response, pro or con, but I am not trying to sell anything new, just better understand what is.

asunthatneversets wrote:I'm not here to propagate some belief system or philosophy, the teachings may be presented in that manner but ultimately they're to be applied to yourself and to your experience, empirically, to bring about a change in perception and being. Buddhism is meant to radically alter life in it's entirety. The effects of the teaching are real, the change is real, but you have to want it, and you have to be open to it, otherwise you remain attached to an archaic conditioned point of view which only leads to suffering.... liberation is here for the taking, everyone wants you to know that love, but nobody can save you except yourself.

We do agree on some things.

Regards,
Dave.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:11 pm

yadave wrote: Similarly, brains know how to think, brains exude thoughts.

Brains provide the physical apparatus for chemical interactions which are experienced by a mind as thoughts and emotions. But they are not thoughts and emotions. They are merely chemical interactions.

The mind is aware that it is thinking.
None of the other organs are cognitively aware of their own existence.
Please tell me what exists in the physical brain that can cognitively witness its own existence?
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:47 pm

The physical brain is like a saxophone. You can push different parts of it (lobes) to get different mental "notes". You can map out a brain and see that a certain type of brain activity goes on in one area and another type in another area. Just like on a saxophone, one valve produces a certain note and another valve a different note. But a saxophone doesn't play by itself. It needs a reed, and it needs air forced through the reed to make it vibrate, and it needs a person to blow that air and it needs ears to hear that vibrating air as music.

But thoughts, like sounds, don't take up space. They only last for durations of time (well, from the Buddhist understanding, not even that).

That's why, if you take apart a saxophone you won't find any music and if you dissect a brain you won't find any thoughts.
You might say that the mind plays the brain the way a musician plays a saxophone.

So, what is it that plays the brain like a saxophone?
My understanding is that

um.... wait a minute, somebody is at the door.

I'll be back.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby yadave » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:38 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:The mind is aware that it is thinking.

I would say the mind is aware that it was thinking. Then it thinks some more. ;)

There's a lot of fascinating work going on between meditators and cognitive scientists. I think both domains of inquiry will be enriched.

Regards,
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby catmoon » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:48 pm

Gee dat Fo Ming monk sure is taking his time at the door. But it's all good, I'm behind on my vippissana so I'll just sit here. Forever, if necessary.

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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:36 pm

yadave wrote:But you said "mind is a collection of thoughts and memories" and "things" are just "concepts or ideas." Make up your mind.


I'm not sure if you do understand emptiness to the full extent of it's implications. If it's grasped thoroughly it should give you a "holy shit" moment... it can't be left as merely an idea, it has to be applied empirically to your experience.

There is inherent existence as an actuality and there is conventional existence as an abstractive concept. Apart from conceptualization none of these "things" inherently exist. What I've been saying hasn't faltered or contradicted itself once, you just aren't comprehending what i'm saying because you're approaching it from a position of taking your point of view to be a solidified actuality.

The "idea" of a "mind" is an entity comprised of a collection of phenomena labeled as "thoughts and memories" by the phenomena called thought itself. The existence of this "idea" called "the mind" is dependent on the phenomena called "thoughts" in that 1) as a conceputal entity it is supposedly composed of "thought/memory" and 2) such an idea's origin clearly depends on conceptualization because the idea is not separate from conceptualization. So conventionally speaking, in order to bring about a realization in someone who wishes to apply "emptiness" to their experience in a holistic way, one approaches the presupposed conceptual entity called "the mind" and inquires as to what this notion is dependent on. Within the scope of conventional language we find that this idea is dependent on the arising of the phenomena labeled "thought" by thought itself - in "time" - as a series of consecutive arisings. When I say "mind is a collection of thoughts and memories" I'm conveying that what you take to be "the mind" is merely a concept composed of phenomena labeled as "thought and memory"(by the phenomena 'thought' itself) with the addition of another concept called "time". Time - is an idea... experientially there is only ever this present moment; the past is memory, which is vestigial imprints arising in this present moment. And the future is projected ideation about something that may 'happen', arising in this present moment. So experientially there is ONLY this present moment, which cannot even be called a moment because such a label would imply 'other moments'. "The mind" is actually dependently originated with aid from both of these concepts; time and conceptualization. The idea of a "mind" is dependent on the presence of "time" in order to be a "series of thoughts". The idea of "Time" is dependent on mind(thought/conceptualization). Likewise the "mind" is none other than the phenomena called "thought and memory". There is no entity "mind" as a separate container of thought or memory. Thought coupled with the illusion of time is telling a story about itself called the mind.

But not one of these "things" exists apart from conventional language and/or conceptualization.

And as i said before; when one looks at the mind, you see that the mind is made of constituents called thought and memory. So so far this intellectual deconstructing is dependent on mind(aka thought) and the mind(aka thought) is dependent on that which the thought is conceptualizing. So there is no mind separate from thought/memory... and no thought/memory separate from that which they(thought/memory) objectify. What is objectified is not separate from the thought/memory... and the thought/memory is not separate from mind. If that can be assimilated thoroughly what's seen is that there's no separation between any of them. And that there are no 'things' (branches, leaves, space) separate from conceptualization. And the collection of conceptualizations (in time; which is dependent on conceptualization) constitutes that which we call mind.

Once 'things' such as branches, leaves, space are seen to dependently exist on concepts (and the concepts dependent on those 'things'). And the concepts are seen to be dependent on mind (and the mind a conglomerate of concepts) one starts to see that a web of dependent origination starts to form and that these different designations are only a product of conventional language. Apart from the conventional language(which is useful!) these 'things' do not inherently exist.

yadave wrote:It thinks. I think we've even done this with computers now, cat brains: you put enough neural nets together and it starts having brain waves, it dreams. Remarkable.


Consciousness(innate "being") manifests sound-like-phenomena labeled as "thought" which is no different than itself 'consciousness'. What we label as "consciousness" dreams, scans cat brains and all of these things but any activity is never separate from consciousness itself.

yadave wrote:Hey, it was your quote. Are you saying that we should accept only some of the Buddha's teachings and you know which ones to choose? I'm telling Greg.


It was my quote? How so? Well obviously one should only accept some of the Buddhas teachings, a lot of those teachings were geared towards the people and circumstances of those times, in the frame of those peoples world-view. That being said, the buddha is just a story, the "Buddha" isn't treated like "Jesus" as some deity like actual historical figure which people worship. The buddha was merely a man who woke up, had a realization about the nature of being, and he shared this knowledge. A lot of practitioners of buddhist teachings who had high realizations after the "original buddha" was long gone actually attributed what they realized or wrote down to "the buddha" because the buddha is the symbolism or archetype which represents the awakened wisdom within themselves. The innate "buddha nature" everyone possesses, your pure timeless conscious-awareness. The buddha is no different than your own awareness or consciousness, "mind" whatever label you give it. So yes only accept what is going to work for you, otherwise you're a slave to a belief system scrambling to do things to try and make yourself happy.

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense" - The Buddha

"Followers of the way (of Zen), if you want to get the kind of understanding that accords with the Dharma(method), never be misled by others. Whether you're facing inward or facing outward, whatever you meet up with on the road, kill it! If you meet the buddha, kill the buddha. If you meet the patriarch, kill the patriarch. If you meet an arhat, kill the arhat. If you meet your parents, kill your parents. If you meet your kinfolk, kill your kinfolk. Then for the first time you will gain emancipation, will not be entangled with things, will pass freely anywhere you wish to go." - Linji

"The cause of bondage is mental construction; give that up. Liberation comes through the absence of mental construction; practice it intelligently" - Annapurna Upanishad

yadave wrote:Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha.


Something like that... it is a religion of no-religion and if it's merely left as a philosophy entertaining intellectual gymnastics it will not flower in it's full potential. Belief is slavery. Siddhartha Gautama is just a name. You are the power.

yadave wrote:I was reading a book and wanted to understand emptiness a little better. I feel this was successful, thank you, and then there's various projections and things flying by in addition which, I suppose, is par for these forums.


I think that's great, good for you for seeking out a means to understand it better. Yes i'm sure there's lots of projections and things flying which are par for these forums, know them to only be projections though!

yadave wrote:Sorry, I may state a question or position forcefully, as do you, in order to elicit a response, pro or con, but I am not trying to sell anything new, just better understand what is.


Well then we're much alike!

yadave wrote:We do agree on some things.


I would hope so.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby Beatzen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:43 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwHI-CJWsFk

the part about schizophrenia is what I was thinking about in relation to emptiness. Namdrol said that samadhi is a mental factor, and that we experience it all the time.

Maybe emptiness can't really be understood, ultimately. If it's our true nature. Like the other thread, where we were saying that cognizing self-nature is like trying to jump over your own shadow.

This confusion and the suffering I feel about my own nature I want to use to cultivate more compassion for others' confusion.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby Beatzen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:50 pm

note about this video link i posted above: Not a "buddhist" teaching, just food for thought. Watch it with an open mind.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:33 pm

Beatzen wrote:note about this video link i posted above: Not a "buddhist" teaching, just food for thought. Watch it with an open mind.


It's not a buddhist teaching?! Surely it is! It is the epitome and crux of the issue... Alan Watts was an incredible man... funny that i just listened to this video converted to mp3 in my car earlier today.

He's speaking about how in Zen they don't give credence to the notion of a lower(egoic) self/higher self dichotomy(because the notion of either is merely imputation derived from ignorance; avidya) and they cut straight to the point and have the practitioner rest in nonconceptual awareness... dzogchen and mahamudra have similarities to this. You've heard the buddhist saying "you can't get to there from here" or "the shoreless ocean of samsara" it's because the idea that we are this separate little individual who suffers, living in "samsara" seeking "nirvana" is an illusion... and these methods are meant to ultimately deliver a direct innate experiential apperceiving of this being an illusion... which is the release from the illusion... and that is liberation.

So Watts is discussing that "the idea that we are this person who suffers and is seeking liberation" actually feeds the fire of the illusion. By struggling and fighting to "get there" you reify the notion of a separate self. The more you struggle the more the noose tightens around your throat. But at the same time, one cannot simply be passive and do nothing either... one needs to go to the base of the "mind" and sever it, by innately 'seeing' how it functions and what it relies on... what feeds the illusion. Keen investigation and skillful means will reveal one's true nature.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby Beatzen » Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:14 am

On the one hand, I don't take Alan as an authority on Zen. He's a pioneer for sure, but he was explicitly open about the fact that he was attempting to ameliorate some of the philosophical dead-ends in western philosophy by translating eastern philosophy so it was accessible to westerners. In the end, he's still a philosopher, and not a buddhist.

On the other hand, most people have a hard time understanding where east asian and indo-tibetan buddhism diverge, for, as watts is keen on pointing out, the hindu cosmological model which was the substrate for the buddha's teaching sees the world as a drama. The Chinese cosmological model, of Tao, which seems to underly ch'an/zen view, sees the world more as fluid, or organismic. Indian Philosophy is concerned about the ultimate identity of the actor and the stage upon which she/he plays. Chinese philosophy approaches from an entirely different premise. There is no actors, or stage on which they play. I think it cuts straight to the emptiness. I tend to approach from the Confucian view on Tao, which is more akin to the Buddha's dependant origination. The difference between Confucian and Taoist "tao" is the difference between formal causality "the roof depends on the walls on which it stands" and effective causality, which is sequential. Confucian Tao, being sequential sees emptiness in motion. Taoist tao sees emptiness in terms of relationship, but gives the notion that emptiness if "full of emptiness"
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby asunthatneversets » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:37 am

Beatzen wrote:On the one hand, I don't take Alan as an authority on Zen. He's a pioneer for sure, but he was explicitly open about the fact that he was attempting to ameliorate some of the philosophical dead-ends in western philosophy by translating eastern philosophy so it was accessible to westerners. In the end, he's still a philosopher, and not a buddhist.


What makes one a "buddhist"? I don't think he ever claimed to be an authority on zen, or claimed to be a buddhist, or anything of the sort, I'd say he knew better. He took more of an all-encompassing approach to eastern thought and it's essential purpose which is to bring about liberation. He described and presented what he knew in a straight-forward manner in order to instill that knowledge in those who were interested. He didn't take himself to be a teacher or guru or anything of the sort and actually despised the thought of having students or followers. At the same time he inspired thousands and got innumerable people interested in eastern thought/philosophy/teachings. Just because he wasn't exclusively a "full-blown buddhist" doesn't mean what he had to say was of any less value, it's not like he was presenting his own far-fetched translation of the teachings. Ultimately he's only whatever you say he is, whether philosopher, or buddhist is of little importance in my opinion... he thoroughly understood the nature of the beast called the dharma and was very much on-point in my eyes.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:09 am

Okay, I'm back.
Nobody at the door. Must have been hearing things.

Anyway, I have heard said that the essence of thoughts is Dharmakaya.
And I have heard Dharmakaya defined as...no, wait...described as simply the ultimate nature of how everything is,
or the truth about everything...the fact of it all.
But the term dharmata also refers to this, but in a different sort of context.

So, it isn't really accurate to say that "The Mind" comes from the brain, or that some thing which is "the Mind" creates thoughts with the brain. It is, as I understand it, more accurate to say that
the arising of thoughts is mind. In other words, name of the action of thought is mind.
(using the previous analogy, it is the same way that what comes from the saxophone is sound. Outside oif the events which come together (and I am thinking John Coltrane here), there is no "sound" waiting to come out, or waiting to be produced. "Sound" is not a separate thing.
Likewise, Mind is not a separate thing.
This is why the concept of rebirth is hard for people to grasp, because they think "mind" is a thing.
And they wonder how mind can hop out of a corpse and into a fetus.

And this is where understanding emptiness comes in.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby Beatzen » Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:06 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:
Beatzen wrote:On the one hand, I don't take Alan as an authority on Zen. He's a pioneer for sure, but he was explicitly open about the fact that he was attempting to ameliorate some of the philosophical dead-ends in western philosophy by translating eastern philosophy so it was accessible to westerners. In the end, he's still a philosopher, and not a buddhist.


What makes one a "buddhist"? I don't think he ever claimed to be an authority on zen, or claimed to be a buddhist, or anything of the sort, I'd say he knew better. He took more of an all-encompassing approach to eastern thought and it's essential purpose which is to bring about liberation. He described and presented what he knew in a straight-forward manner in order to instill that knowledge in those who were interested. He didn't take himself to be a teacher or guru or anything of the sort and actually despised the thought of having students or followers. At the same time he inspired thousands and got innumerable people interested in eastern thought/philosophy/teachings. Just because he wasn't exclusively a "full-blown buddhist" doesn't mean what he had to say was of any less value, it's not like he was presenting his own far-fetched translation of the teachings. Ultimately he's only whatever you say he is, whether philosopher, or buddhist is of little importance in my opinion... he thoroughly understood the nature of the beast called the dharma and was very much on-point in my eyes.


I guess I should say that I've learnt to stop thinking of him as an authority on Zen. Like my teacher tells me, "He's good food for the mind, but he didn't practice Zen."

I just think it's a shame that great people like Watts and Trungpa Rinpoche get so much flack from more conservative buddhists because they suffered from (and eventually died from) alcoholism.

I read somewhere that you can measure the greatness of a teacher by what happens to his students. In that case, Chogyam Trungpa was a brilliant success. Look at Pema Chodron, for peet's sake.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby yadave » Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:06 am

I'm back. No-one was at the door. Worse, nobody was home. Reminds me of a favorite quote:

Rumi wrote:I have lived on the lip of insanity
Wanting to know reasons
Knocking on a door.
It opens.
I've been knocking from the inside!

Where were we.

asunthatneversets wrote:Well then we're much alike!

I think so. It is probably genetic. ;)

asunthatneversets wrote:I'm not sure if you do understand emptiness to the full extent of it's implications. If it's grasped thoroughly it should give you a "holy shit" moment... it can't be left as merely an idea, it has to be applied empirically to your experience.

I appreciate your generous replies and apologize for not being clearer in my initial post for this thread. I think we are in at least 95% (violent) agreement on "mind" but maybe not on "trees."

In meditation, there have been "holy shitzui" moments where I was not present. These experiences persist into postmeditation (daily life) to the extent that I practice (discipline has not been stellar). When I look for my "mind" or any aspect thereof (sounds, thoughts, *internal* whatever), it cannot be found. No "thing" can be found. No "Dave" can be found. This seems relatively easy per my Khenchen quote in 10th message (would be nice if these posts were numbered...).

Out back, there have been no "holy shitzui" moments gazing at my tree. Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful tree, a virtual universe as I describe elsewhere in broken poetry, but it is still a tree. It never disappears like a mind or a sound or a self.

To summarize the previous two paragraphs, in my practice I have noticed a difference in the nature of internal and external "things." This is my direct experience.

To summarize my goals in visiting this great forum, I do not see a clear reflection in the Dharma, in our conceptual story of what is, of these differences I notice in direct experience.

asunthatneversets wrote:It was my quote? How so? Well obviously one should only accept some of the Buddhas teachings, a lot of those teachings were geared towards the people and circumstances of those times, in the frame of those peoples world-view.

You sent me to Doctor Goode. It was his quote. I just thought I'd blame you for something. Seemed fun at the time. I think we may end up disagreeing on this quote's value but won't go there now.

Also, Alan Watts rocks. I have one paper book and several audios, good while walking the dog.

Regards,
Dave.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby yadave » Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:22 am

A quick quote from edearl, "Reasons for Conventional Reality," on the place I won't go now:

HHDL wrote:My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.

This is the issue I am not discussing.

Regards,
Dave.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby yadave » Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:07 pm

I see the gist of my concerns is explored at length in the Reasons for Conventional Reality thread.

Astus wrote:It is possible to say that since ultimately nothing is established, one can come up practically anything and call it illusory conventional reality. However, there is a huge amount of "shared reality" that allows us to think there is a system in all this. In Buddhism the basis of everyday experience is karma, from karma arises the whole universe, and karma is based on the work of the mind. Mind also has its own organised functioning that is explained mainly in abhidharma and yogacara works. Now here is a problem that divides Buddhist thinkers, whether there is an outer reality independent of mind or not. Either case, it is difficult to explain the relationship either between a separate mind and outer things, or between personal and shared reality.

So if I can find or make time, I may ask Sherab for his/her model and/or challenge myself with the Moonshadows book referenced there. It's pretty technical, might be over my head.

Regards,
Dave.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:44 pm

Astus wrote:Now here is a problem that divides Buddhist thinkers, whether there is an outer reality independent of mind or not. Either case, it is difficult to explain the relationship either between a separate mind and outer things, or between personal and shared reality.


My understanding goes along these lines:
Suppose you go to the ocean and scoop out a bucket full of water.
Now that water appears to be separate from the ocean
but in fact it is identical in nature with the rest of the ocean
and as soon as the cause of apparent separation (the bucket) is removed,
the water will all flow together again.
It is because, out of ignorance, we cling to (a bucket of) limitations we ourselves create through habitual karmic patterns
that we do not realize the vast expanse of mind's true nature
and that ignorance and wisdom, oneness and duality
are all contained within the ultimate state of things, or what we would call 'objective reality'.
In other words, we are not actually separate from "the ocean" of an objective reality to begin with,
and so our subjective reality is also part of that ocean.

One's own subjective experience may be either similar or different from
the subjective experience that someone else has
but both subjective experiences are in fact part of a bigger picture,
one which contains everything.
.
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Re: Misunderstanding emptiness

Postby yadave » Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:24 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Astus wrote:Now here is a problem that divides Buddhist thinkers, whether there is an outer reality independent of mind or not. Either case, it is difficult to explain the relationship either between a separate mind and outer things, or between personal and shared reality.

My understanding goes along these lines:
Suppose you go to the ocean and scoop out a bucket full of water.
Now that water appears to be separate from the ocean
but in fact it is identical in nature with the rest of the ocean

I did not understand this part of Astus' comment on first reading but now I think it refers to the famous mind-body problem. For cognitive scientists, I think the latest story is there is no mind, so no problem, we can relax. Come to think of it, there's no mind for Buddhists either, so they can relax too.

I downloaded gad rgyangs' MoonShadows book but it feels illegal and I'm afraid of returning as a snail so am going to purchase it. It is actually accessible, they include English translations of Tibetan and Sanskrit so lay readers like me aren't completely lost.

I was going to post a comment on MoonShadows but was not sure whether to post here or in the Conventional Reality thread. If all threads are identical in nature then any conventional thread might work.

Regards,
Dave.
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