Mahayana and the Dhyanas/Jhanas

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Re: Mahayana and the Dhyanas/Jhanas

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:47 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Maybe experiencing suchness :quoteunquote: in equipoise is easy - but carrying it out into karma reality is the difficult thing.


That's the thing, Tashi. It's not even easy to know suchness in equipoise according to Mahayana doctrine lol. If it were, many more of us would be liberated by now, since knowing emptiness directly is what makes one a first bhumi bodhisattva.
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Re: Mahayana and the Dhyanas/Jhanas

Postby White Lotus » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:41 pm

noble Pema, may i ask you what you see as suchness, do you not see it in everything around you, even in pain? is it not just as it is? just as things are?
i dont see suchness as something mysterious, rather what is right before my nose every moment of every day. always there.

i dont know how the Thibetan buddhists view suchness. i suppose it is seen as something mysterious, which it is in its simplicity and directness of experience.

from your own understanding Pema, what do you see as suchness?

best wishes, White Lotus. x

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waiting to see a friend.
just as it is.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: Mahayana and the Dhyanas/Jhanas

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:19 am

white lotus,

While I'm unfortunately hardly noble or capable of explaining this subject since it truly requires an arya bodhisattva, I will do as you asked and attempt to explain according to my understanding, but you should really look into what truly noble ones like Chandrakirti had to say about suchness. Anyhow, reality can be summed up like this, according to Prasangika Madhyamaka:

*** The relative (or conventional) truth is like an illusion, and the ultimate truth is free of any elaborations ***

In other words, the ultimate level of truth is free of such elaborations as the four extremes (of existence, nonexistence, both, and neither) and of all subject/object duality.

Now, for the relative level of truth, when we're caught up in the illusory characteristics of desirable vs undesirable, etc, as in my example of a delicious cup of tea vs a stinky turd, then from the POV of both the view and the path, the fact that all phenomena are suchness is not liberating us by itself. Just understanding it intellectually only does so much good in and of itself. If we're still seizing on objects and their characteristics as real and experiencing liking and disliking based upon our karma, this is still samsara. So in order for the suchness of self and phenomena to be liberating, we have to realize it, not just think it but keep on experiencing contrary to our intellectualizations, much less in accord with suchness.

Rather than experiencing suchness, this is experiencing karma and choosing to relish what pleases us and avoid what displeases us. That's just creating more samsara unless (in conjuntion with continuing to study, contemplate, and meditate on emptiness) you're using these concepts about phenomena to your advantage by making generous offerings to the 3 Jewels and sentient beings to generate merit, as well as contemplating the emptiness of the giver, the recipient, and the giving to cultivate wisdom as you dedicate the merit to the buddhahood of all sentient beings. (When dedicating the merit, one must also consider the emptiness of the one dedicating, the recipients, and the act of dedicating the merit so one will continue cultivating wisdom).

There's a lot more to be said about the obscurations that prevent ordinary beings and even arya bodhisattvas up to a certain level of realization from realizing suchness directly, as it is, but I'm not capable of explaining this. This is why I'm highly recommending study of Dzongsar Khyentse's commentary on Chandrakirti's "Entering the Middle Way" because it explains this all in a very detailed, systematic way which will make this all much clearer.
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Re: Mahayana and the Dhyanas/Jhanas

Postby White Lotus » Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:10 pm

Noble Pema,

dharmakaya/suchness/'this'. its real if you think it is, unreal if you think it is, neither real nor unreal if you think it is, both of these if you think it is, all of these if you think it is, or finally, none of these if you think it is. what the mind seeks it finds. this is relativity.

some people find comfort in seeing the buddha dharma body as absolute reality. some people see the dharmakaya as illusory. it makes no difference to me. take a position if you want to. today being a sunday, i am beyond all positions.

as for liking and disliking. i wonder if old Seng Chan would prefer a cup of tea to a piece of dirt! though in one mind, ultimately all is the same with no difference.

why try to be mindful of suchness, when you already are, quite naturally. how can you not taste a cup of tea? you are a master of tathata already, but you tell yourself. i am nothing, i dont know tathata. this is not true. you are an expert at tasting suchness.

best wishes, White Lotus. x

truly empty. at all times.
none received, none given.
totally true. the dharmakaya...
complete.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: Mahayana and the Dhyanas/Jhanas

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:13 am

White Lotus wrote:Noble Pema,

dharmakaya/suchness/'this'. its real if you think it is, unreal if you think it is, neither real nor unreal if you think it is, both of these if you think it is, all of these if you think it is, or finally, none of these if you think it is. what the mind seeks it finds. this is relativity.

some people find comfort in seeing the buddha dharma body as absolute reality. some people see the dharmakaya as illusory. it makes no difference to me. take a position if you want to. today being a sunday, i am beyond all positions.

as for liking and disliking. i wonder if old Seng Chan would prefer a cup of tea to a piece of dirt! though in one mind, ultimately all is the same with no difference.

why try to be mindful of suchness, when you already are, quite naturally. how can you not taste a cup of tea? you are a master of tathata already, but you tell yourself. i am nothing, i dont know tathata. this is not true. you are an expert at tasting suchness.

best wishes, White Lotus. x

truly empty. at all times.
none received, none given.
totally true. the dharmakaya...
complete.


Well, my friend, I'm afraid that enjoying many wonderful cups of tea, breathing in and exhaling out just naturally, and stopping to smell the flowers has been enjoyable for me, but it has not been liberating. Of course, the Buddha and his lineage heirs never said it would be, so I can't fault them. What they said would liberate was generating merit and cultivating the wisdom that knows the emptiness of the self and the emptiness of phenomena. So that's what I'm working on.

But tell me something: There are many tea, flower, and breathing enthusiasts in the world and yet they continue to experience an "I" and a notion of "other" and they continue to have attachment, aversion, or indifference toward these "other" phenomena (and even toward the "I," actually), so they suffer and continue to be reborn over and over again in samsara. You talk about accepting things just as they are and enjoying them or not enjoying them, and that that is "suchness" and is supposedly liberating. But others do this, yet it isn't liberating for them. How is it that it works differently for you? In other words, why is that liberating for you but not for them?

Let me tell you what the Middle Way school of Mahayana says about suchness: that which is suchness has no birth, no time of enduring, and no cessation, and it is free of any elaboration. This means it is beyond the extremes of existence, nonexistence, both (existence and nonexistence simultaneously), and neither (existence nor nonexistence simultaneously) and free of any ideas about it (because ideas or notions are innately and inescapably fabrications and not suchness itself).

As soon as you apprehend an object and label it as something - tea, for example - you have left the realm of suchness because you’ve got ideas. In labeling it, whether you realize it or not, you’re ascribing a sense of existence to it. Then you're further reinforcing its truly existent status in your mind when you make a judgment of good, bad, or indifferent about it, a judgment that is based solely on your own karma, not some objective reality. So what you are apprehending is in fact the dependently arisen object and your karmic judgments about it, not the object’s suchness (aka the fact that it is dependently arisen and was never truly born to begin with, does not truly endure, and does not truly cease).

So basically, what you’re doing is substantializing suchness as if it were a truly existent substrata to self and other, which in direct conflict with what the Buddha taught in the sutras and what his lineage heirs taught in the shastras.

Finally, let me state that I understand and have complete faith (based on both reasoning and meditation) in the explanations about how phenomena are perfect just as they are. However, I also understand that that is view language, not path language. There is a big difference. There is how things actually are - the view - which is how we'd experience reality were it not for our obscurations and negative karma, and there is reality as we currently experience it and have some work to do - i.e., "the path." In terms of "the view," there's no difference and no path to tread, but from the POV of "the path" - or where we are experientially - there's quite a gap. And it can't be bridged immediately just by labeling phenomena and our experience of them as "suchness." I mean, suchness is just a nice sounding word.
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Re: Mahayana and the Dhyanas/Jhanas

Postby White Lotus » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:24 pm

Noble Pema, suchness, at least savouring it is a zen thing, but not always. it is seen by some as the mindfulness of existence that leads towards enlightenment. im not sure but i think the therevada see it as part of the process that leads to liberation too.

the first Zen patriarch as far as i am aware (may be wrong) was Kasyapa, who was enlightened when he saw the Buddha raise a flower... he smiled and that was it. so some would say that savouring suchness... the mundane can be thoroughly enlightening.

why is mindfulness of suchness so important in the liberative path? simply because it is mindfullness of the buddhas Truth Body. the dharmakaya. the reality body. i know it can seem totally mundane and pointless at times. but, i believe awareness of what is, is fruitful.

when there is no longer an i or a self perceived, one focuses on what remains. it becomes beautiful and precious. yes, whatever 'comes' is it. 'this' is it. suchness. just so. ok there are cold damp days, or things that cause one pain, one has to endure such things. im not sure its a matter of liking or disliking. it just is. is a day a good day or a bad day... cant say, it just is a day. but if there is liking and disliking then this is also just so.

my liberation? do i have one? its utterly mundane, nothing special. just living, thats my liberation. it can be painful at times and difficult, but as they say in zen... "this is it!", and this is all that there is, all that weve got, so appreciate it.

suchness, is just a word! but it points towards a simple, mundane, yet profound reality. which to some may seem totally meaningless, but, when you know its all youve got... then you appreciate it!

theres no need for a path... you will make your own. views are only views, all dancing of the particles that form our universe. why complicate what is simple?!
'this is it'. reality, taste and see!

no need to vanquish views of self, no need to meditate, no need to have particular views. you are already special. every one is a buddha... so continue to practice until you want to, but its all really very simple. this is it, who is this, what is this.

are you awake? (what is your liberation), how can you possibly be asleep? why do you not accept yourself as you are right now. utterly perfect.

best wishes, White Lotus. x

just breathe![color=#8000BF][/color]
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: Mahayana and the Dhyanas/Jhanas

Postby Indrajala » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:27 pm

Can we get back to discussing dhyana/jhana?

White Lotus your comments are neither useful or relevant.
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Re: Mahayana and the Dhyanas/Jhanas

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:42 pm

White Lotus,

I changed my post as words came to me that I felt more fully explained my points about suchness, and I may have posted the edited version while you were replying. Please take another look and specifically respond to my definition of suchness and the apprehension of relative objects not being "suchness."

Mods, Huseng is quite right that our discussion is hijacking this thread. Would one of you please split our convo and anyone else's posts related to it into a separate thread? Thanks.
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