Suchness

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
White Lotus
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Suchness

Postby White Lotus » Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:55 pm

Noble Pema, i have opened a new thread, with no wish to derail the thread on Dhyana. We can discuss suchness here. You said...

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.
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.

White Lotus
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Re: Suchness

Postby White Lotus » Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:35 pm

:namaste: i cannot claim to be any kind of expert on the theory of suchness. i just know it in my daily life. i agree with what you are saying. it is perfect, but i would say that it has the appearance of being defiled/impermanent. but in reality suchness is always with us as our dharmakaya. it is our very body, and not only what we perceive. the dharmakaya is the body of all things. as a totality it can be called 'one'. there is no separation. there is no difference. it is also the embodiment of truth, since things are truly what they are. this does not detract from the fact that they are empty.

some may be feeling that my comments are not 'orthodox'. if that is so... please point out where i am not orthodox. i have no wish to slander the truth. if i seem to oversimplify that is simply because i believe in the simplicity of the path. it is just knowing your own nature. what could be more simple. people over complicate.

knowing your own nature is knowing suchness, knowing all things is knowing suchness, since suchness is the embodiment of all things.

Pema said...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.

i am free to substantialize suchness if i wish to, but attaching to no particular position i wont do that today. whether substantial or not... it remains empty. but i wouldnt say it was a substrata. if i am to substantialize suchness, i would say it was the only strata, and fundamentally emptiness. substance is emptiness, emptiness is substance. to deny substance is to be nihilistic. to deny substance is to deny emptiness. if you want to do that, your free to do that, in the buddha, all dharmas are true. everything about reality is true, including every embodiment of every doctrine. all is the same, there is no difference (samata). one.

as you imply, words can be seen as unhelpful. falling short of a formless descritption of prajna paramita, but conversely even the word 'you', or 'cat', or 'log', embodies the whole truth. being dharmas, of which ultimately there is only one dharma... the dharmakaya. there is no difference. (samata). all is the same. all is one.

please note, that this is my own experimentation with things. i hope it is not heterodox. i dont believe it is. i try to keep things simple.

best wishes, White Lotus. x

what is there to say?
you already know yourself.
why complicate the simple.
everyone is a buddha,
but not everyone knows this.
you already have it, so what
are you seeking?!


this is it,
this person, is suchness.
this world, is suchness.
you cant get away from it.
everything is just so.
empty. so.
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.

Pema Rigdzin
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Location: Southern Oregon

Re: Suchness

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:49 pm

White Lotus,

You're right, it is simple: according to Mahayana doctrine, suchness is unborn, does not abide, and does not cease, and it is free of any and all elaboration. As soon as you have ideas about it, you effectively cut yourself off from it - in terms of your experience - even though one could never be truly cut off from the nature of self and other. Let me repeat. Once you entertain any idea at all about suchness, you're caught in ordinary mind which is ruled by karma and habit patterns and all manner of obscurations. The only way to know suchness is by way of nondual, non-conceptual primordial wisdom, which is our true nature. Ordinary mind cannot be liberated by thinking about a concept we label suchness or by labeling self or outer phenomena "suchness." It's just a word that way. This need to tap into one's primordial wisdom is the central project of the Madhyamaka, which synthesizes the Prajnaparamita, as it focuses on negating the actual existence of outer phenomena and inner mind - though not that these things nonetheless appear and function, or how they appear to do so as they're ordinarily perceived. According to either main school of the Mahayana, the suchness in tea is not in its tea-ness but in the fact that it is either a display of Mind (in Mind-only) or in that it is merely a dependent arising - in other words, as it's a compounded, impermanent dharma, there's really no tea! But there is the undeniable appearance and experience of tea, so it is not nihilistically, absolutely nonexistent.

I'm afraid what you've been saying about suchness is in fact your own invention. What you've said does not match with what is said in the sutras or shastras. Dharmakaya or "all things" are not said to be "one." That is said to be a wrong view. Only the view which is no view is said to be the correct view, and that is the view without clinging to either one or many, free of all conceptual elaboration. What you're advocating is covering up suchness with illusory stains of concepts.

The thing about the empty nature of mind is that it is absolutely free. Free, almost to a fault, one might say, because it does not discriminate between being free to manifest as delusion or as wisdom. So there is freedom there to confuse itself and lose its way, and when that is one's reality - as it is for all us samsaric beings - then simply using that deluded mind to label its perceived objects as suchness or other lofty labels is only really child's play and doesn't get the job done. One has to get rid of the delusion, then the wisdom of suchness will be uncovered in all actuallity.

muni
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Re: Suchness

Postby muni » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:21 am


Ngawang Drolma
Founding Member
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Re: Suchness

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:22 pm


White Lotus
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Re: Suchness

Postby White Lotus » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:34 pm

:namaste: Noble Pema, what you are saying is largely what i agree with in analysis, but why not just make a cup of tea. analysis of what suchness is, or of what a cup of tea is, misses the experience of suchness, which is just what it is. just so. so.

we overcomplicate the experience, why not just be with the experience in its simplicity. dont try to get anything out of it, just see it and taste it as it is with no expectations.

this is it! making a cup of tea is enlightenement. eating cornflakes for breakfast is enlightenment. theres nothing in it. it is just what it is.

yes, oneness is not always a helpful description, but it is nontheless a way of seeing reality as 'the' thing we see, taste, touch, smell etc.

on a final note, your analytical/theological understanding of the way things are is to me quite profound. but still it is caught in the paralysis of analysis. i try to keep things basic, but often find myself too getting caught up in analysis sometimes and miss the beauty and simplicity of what is. the dharmakaya, is there to be experienced. it is as you say beyond all analytical descriptions, but not direct descriptions of experience. poetry can capture our experience better than analysis in my own opinion.

best wishes, White Lotus. x

a river in full flow,
may be aware of what it contains,
but it is still a river.
i am Tom, you are Pema.
you know yourself perfectly.
so what is this 'own nature' to know?
(what isnt it?!)


ps. i will be with my folks over Easter, so may lapse in my responses to posts.
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.

Pema Rigdzin
Posts: 1037
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:19 am
Location: Southern Oregon

Re: Suchness

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:47 pm


User avatar
catmoon
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Re: Suchness

Postby catmoon » Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:22 am

Um basic question here. Where does the term "suchness" originate? Does it just mean "emptiness"?
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.

Pema Rigdzin
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Location: Southern Oregon

Re: Suchness

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:57 am

Catmoon,

Yup. Just another way to speak of the true nature of all phenomena, which are unborn, unabiding, and unceasing, even as they clearly appear.

White Lotus
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Re: Suchness

Postby White Lotus » Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:36 pm

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.

Pema Rigdzin
Posts: 1037
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:19 am
Location: Southern Oregon

Re: Suchness

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:11 am


White Lotus
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Re: Suchness

Postby White Lotus » Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:59 pm

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.

muni
Posts: 4251
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Suchness

Postby muni » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:45 am

Experiences, cup of tea are all play of what is never formed. It is just okay.

White Lotus
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Re: Suchness

Postby White Lotus » Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:17 pm

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.

muni
Posts: 4251
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Suchness

Postby muni » Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:34 am

Dharmakaya: unborn, unformed. No label (solidifies habitual tendencies) will explain or prove.

Intellectual disturbed state of mind or simple cutting through minds' creations.

White Lotus
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Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:56 pm

Re: Suchness

Postby White Lotus » Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:56 pm

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.

muni
Posts: 4251
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Suchness

Postby muni » Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:18 am

Once there was a documentary in very high speed filmed about the grow of a jungle (plants, animals). There appeared no any possibility to grasp to a thing as the impermanence of the changing dynamic stream was just like dreamlike energy. In that play of interdependent relationship, no apprehended thought could freeze.

All phenomena are an expression of wisdom, all colors of attachment and aversion are my own delusions.

White Lotus
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Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:56 pm

Re: Suchness

Postby White Lotus » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:11 pm

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.

Pema Rigdzin
Posts: 1037
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:19 am
Location: Southern Oregon

Re: Suchness

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:37 pm

Last edited by Pema Rigdzin on Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

muni
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Re: Suchness

Postby muni » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:21 pm

"you can say they are an expression of wisdom, but being an expression of wisdom, why do we call them delusions." White Lotus.


Phenomena are unchanging absolute nature; empty and appaering, appearing and empty, they are not deluded. The deluded percieving mind is, in duality of no existing solid show.

Simple isn't as simple. the habitual tendencies are like a piece of hard paper roll. Make it flat and by one moment one loses hands on it, like losing awareness, the paper roll is back to its old habit.


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