are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:04 am

Looking briefly at Kumārajīva's ideas in his dialogue with Huiyuan 慧遠, he explains that the dharmakāya is conventionally able to teach the sūtras with an illusory body via a relationship like the sun to sunlight. The question Huiyuan poses is why bodhisattvas are able to perceive the Buddha, which is the dharmakāya, teaching the dharma.

Huiyuan's question as follows.

《鳩摩羅什法師大義》卷1:「遠問曰。佛於法身中為菩薩說經。法身菩薩乃能見之。如此則有四大五根。若然者。與色身復何差別。而云法身耶。經云法身無去無來。無有起滅。泥洹同像。云何可見。而復講說乎。」(CBETA, T45, no. 1856, p. 122, c6-10)


"Huiyuan asks, 'The Buddha as the dharmakāya teaches sūtras to the bodhisattvas. The bodhisattvas are able to see the dharmakāya. If it is like this, then it would have the four elements and five faculties. If so, what difference is there with a form body, and why call it a dharmakāya? The sūtras state that the dharmakāya is without going and without coming. It has no arising and no cessation, always like nirvāṇa. How are they able to see it and furthermore [how is it] able to teach?'"


Kumārajīva replies to this by introducing the idea of an illusory body.

《鳩摩羅什法師大義》卷1:「什答曰。佛法身者。同於變化。化無四大五根。」(CBETA, T45, no. 1856, p. 122, c11-12)

"Kumārajīva replies, 'The Buddha's dharmakāya is the same as an illusion. It is without the four elements and five faculties.'"


The thing to note here is that the illusory bodies are described as extensions of the dharmakāya. In one sense, they are the dharmakāya, but the true dharmakāya is not actually being perceived, but just a provisional manifestation of it. These illusory bodies, like the dharmakāya, are further described as having the quality of an image in a mirror.

《鳩摩羅什法師大義》卷1:「如鏡中像。水中月。見如有色。而無觸等。則非色也。化亦如是。法身亦然。又經言法身者。或說佛所化身。或說妙行法身。」(CBETA, T45, no. 1856, p. 122, c20-23)

"Like the image in a mirror or a moon in the water, it appears to have form, but there is no tactile [quality] to it, therefore it is not form. The illusion is also like this. The dharmakāya is also so. Again, the sūtras speak of a dharmakāya, others explain an illusionary body of the Buddha, while others explain it as a dharmakāya of excellent practices."


The relationship between the two as noted above is akin to the sun and sunlight. See the following.

《鳩摩羅什法師大義》卷1:「真法身者。猶如日現。所化之身同若日光。」(CBETA, T45, no. 1856, p. 123, a9-10)


"The true dharmakāya is like the sun manifest. The illusionary body is like the sunlight."


He also explains a difference between the "true body" of the Buddha and the innumerable illusory ones which arise from the former. The former is also beyond the three realms. Again, in his words:

《鳩摩羅什法師大義》卷1:「真法身者。遍滿十方虛空法界。光明悉照無量國土。說法音聲。常周十方無數之國。具足十住菩薩之眾。乃得聞法。從是佛身方便現化。常有無量無邊化佛。遍於十方。隨眾生類若干差品。而為現形。光明色像。精麁不同。如來真身。九住菩薩尚不能見。何況惟越致及餘眾生。所以者何。佛法身者。出於三界。不依身口心行。無量無漏諸淨功德本行所成。」(CBETA, T45, no. 1856, p. 122, c29-p. 123, a8)

"The true dharmakāya pervades the empty dharma-realm of the ten direction, its light completely illuminating immeasurable lands. The sound of the dharma being taught always encompassing innumerable realms of the ten direction. The masses of bodhisattvas fully abiding on the tenth stage are able to hear [that] dharma. From the Buddha's body there provisionally (upaya) manifest illusions, there always being immeasurable and unlimited illusory buddhas pervading the ten directions, manifesting forms appropriate to the differences in dispositions of sentient beings, differing in brilliance, physical appearance, fineness and coarseness. The true body of the Tathāgata is not even capable of being seen by ninth stage bodhisattvas. How much more so those who have achieved non-retrogression (avaivartika) and other sentient beings? The reason for this is that the Buddha's dharmakāya is beyond the three realms, not relying upon karma of the body, speech or mind, having been perfected by immeasurable and untainted pure merit and past deeds."


So, as to whether these nirmaṇakāyas are philosophical zombies or not, I would say judging from Kumārajīva's ideas, that this would be the case.

From an Abhidharma perspective, one needs a certain set of faculties for ordinary perception and awareness. As the nirmaṇakāya is made up neither of elements or faculties for that matter, we may infer that it would not have an awareness or perception, being an illusory body of the dharmakāya. It has the quality of a moon in the water or a reflection in the mirror. Visible, but not tangible. One might also suggest it is a non-volitional reaction (hence not karma as volitional action) spurn from the immeasurable qualities of the dharmakāya, though not relying on karma of body, speech and mind.
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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:58 pm

kirtu wrote:See this is highly problematic. It's one thing to assert that this is the case for Buddha nirmanakayas : actual Buddhahood occurs in Akanistha (fine) and then an emanation play acts (either for real or in effect). However this restricts mere sentient beings from attaining full enlightenment at least in this lifetime. That can be resolved by asserting that sentient beings actually don't attain enlightenment in this lifetime - it really happens after death in Akanistha, etc.


In common Mahāyāna, buddhahood only happens after one becomes a Mahāyāna never returner, and can see the Sambhohogakāya i.e. eighth bhumi onward.


However, in Vajrayāna, we are trained to understand how to realize Sambhogkāya buddhahood through mandala practice. This is another reason why Vajrayāna is fast.

So we never really ever achieve buddhahood in the sahālokadhātu.
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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:24 pm

Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote:See this is highly problematic. It's one thing to assert that this is the case for Buddha nirmanakayas : actual Buddhahood occurs in Akanistha (fine) and then an emanation play acts (either for real or in effect). However this restricts mere sentient beings from attaining full enlightenment at least in this lifetime. That can be resolved by asserting that sentient beings actually don't attain enlightenment in this lifetime - it really happens after death in Akanistha, etc.


In common Mahāyāna, buddhahood only happens after one becomes a Mahāyāna never returner, and can see the Sambhohogakāya i.e. eighth bhumi onward.


STMT2:However, in Vajrayāna, we are trained to understand how to realize Sambhogkāya buddhahood through mandala practice. This is another reason why Vajrayāna is fast.

STMT3:So we never really ever achieve buddhahood in the sahālokadhātu.


How can you justify stmt3 as a conclusion on the basis of stmt2? It doesn't seem to necessarily follow.

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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:31 pm

Huseng wrote:
So, as to whether these nirmaṇakāyas are philosophical zombies or not, I would say judging from Kumārajīva's ideas, that this would be the case.


You are seriously proposing that you and Kumarajiva could hammer a spike through Shakyamuni's foot and he would in fact feel no pain and maybe go through the motions of feeling physical pain?

As the nirmaṇakāya is made up neither of elements or faculties for that matter, we may infer that it would not have an awareness or perception, being an illusory body of the dharmakāya. It has the quality of a moon in the water or a reflection in the mirror..


A Nirmanakaya's mind is the Dharmakaya but his/her physical aggregates are the same as ours. So they have the same elements and faculties of any ordinary human being.

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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:40 pm

kirtu wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote:See this is highly problematic. It's one thing to assert that this is the case for Buddha nirmanakayas : actual Buddhahood occurs in Akanistha (fine) and then an emanation play acts (either for real or in effect). However this restricts mere sentient beings from attaining full enlightenment at least in this lifetime. That can be resolved by asserting that sentient beings actually don't attain enlightenment in this lifetime - it really happens after death in Akanistha, etc.


In common Mahāyāna, buddhahood only happens after one becomes a Mahāyāna never returner, and can see the Sambhohogakāya i.e. eighth bhumi onward.


STMT2:However, in Vajrayāna, we are trained to understand how to realize Sambhogkāya buddhahood through mandala practice. This is another reason why Vajrayāna is fast.

STMT3:So we never really ever achieve buddhahood in the sahālokadhātu.


How can you justify stmt3 as a conclusion on the basis of stmt2? It doesn't seem to necessarily follow.

Kirt


There is no attainment of buddhahood in impure dimensions. This is the purpose of path of transformation.

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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:17 pm

Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
In common Mahāyāna, buddhahood only happens after one becomes a Mahāyāna never returner, and can see the Sambhohogakāya i.e. eighth bhumi onward.


STMT2:However, in Vajrayāna, we are trained to understand how to realize Sambhogkāya buddhahood through mandala practice. This is another reason why Vajrayāna is fast.

STMT3:So we never really ever achieve buddhahood in the sahālokadhātu.


How can you justify stmt3 as a conclusion on the basis of stmt2? It doesn't seem to necessarily follow.


There is no attainment of buddhahood in impure dimensions. This is the purpose of path of transformation.


If my mind is transformed into wisdom then I have attained liberation at some level in an impure dimension. If my mind is transformed into the Dharmakaya in this body then I have attained Buddhahood in an impure dimension.

You are proposing that at least some high (in terms of attainment) lama's and masters are not actually human.

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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:46 pm

kirtu wrote:
If my mind is transformed into wisdom then I have attained liberation at some level in an impure dimension.



Nope.



You are proposing that at least some high (in terms of attainment) lama's and masters are not actually human.


Buddha denied he was a human being when the question was put to him.
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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby AilurusFulgens » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:07 pm

Namdrol wrote:Buddha denied he was a human being when the question was put to him.


This is fascinating! If Buddha is not a human being, then who or what is he? Does this also imply that he was not even born as a human being, despite having the appearance of a human?

May I ask in which Buddhist text did the above mentioned question appear along with the Buddha's answer?

Thank you in advance.

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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:39 pm

Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote:
If my mind is transformed into wisdom then I have attained liberation at some level in an impure dimension.



Nope.


That part is necessarily true (I expected this response for the second part of the 2 sentences but not the first) otherwise sentient beings cannot attain the paths and stages.



You are proposing that at least some high (in terms of attainment) lama's and masters are not actually human.


Buddha denied he was a human being when the question was put to him.[/quote]

:zzz: That's taken out of context - it's a legitimate response after attaining enlightenment (the context being when Shakyamuni began teaching beyond his first five disciples (or on the way to them) when a person asked what he was: are you a human? a sage? etc. No, I am Awake).

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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:03 am

AilurusFulgens wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Buddha denied he was a human being when the question was put to him.


This is fascinating! If Buddha is not a human being, then who or what is he?


His answer was that he was a Buddha.
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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby Sönam » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:19 am

Pure and impure dimensions are not somewhere else ... and Buddha Sakyamuni is a Buddha.

I do not see where is the difficulty?
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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:45 pm

kirtu wrote: :zzz:
Kirt


Kirt:

It is very simple: from a Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna perspective, no one attains full awakening in the Sahaloka. Awakening occurs only on the sambhogakāya level, never the nirmanakāya level. "Nirmana" means "to emanate". Sambhohga means means "to enjoy".

In common Mahāyāna, bodhisattvas take rebirth in Akaniṣṭha then they acheive full awakening having recieved abhisheka from the all the tathagatas. No buddha actually attains awakening here.

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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby kirtu » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:31 pm

Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote: :zzz:


It is very simple: from a Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna perspective, no one attains full awakening in the Sahaloka.


That's not a problem (except for the rhetoric of attaining enlightenment in this very body characteristic of Vajrayana).

The problem is the assertion of a Nirmanakaya as a philosophical zombie. This is very problematic IMV.

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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:48 pm

kirtu wrote: in this very body characteristic of Vajrayana

Kirt



This means during this lifetime.
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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby kirtu » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:02 pm

Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote: in this very body characteristic of Vajrayana

Kirt



This means during this lifetime.


Well obviously. Again, that's not the issue.

The philosophical zombie assertion is an issue.

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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:12 pm

kirtu wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote: in this very body characteristic of Vajrayana

Kirt



This means during this lifetime.


Well obviously. Again, that's not the issue.

The philosophical zombie assertion is an issue.

Kirt


BTW, this is not an issue for Dzogchen. But it is an issue for Sakyapas, because they have a very literal interpretation of the Gandavyuha cosmology. Therefore for them, it is hard to accept that the two rūpakāyas are the same continum because of various contradictions that arise. So because the Sambhogakāya is defined as the definitive rūpakāya, the nirmanakāya is relegated to a secondary status, not possessing any true motives, actions, etc.
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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby MalaBeads » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:43 pm

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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby CapNCrunch » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:06 pm

OMG. Priceless. Thanks for posting this cartoon! :rolling:
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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby klqv » Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:40 am

whichever of the form bodies are enlightened, is that body itself a philosophical zombie?

as the tathagata body is often described as an awareness, then presumably not??
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Re: are nirmanakayas, "philosophical zombies"?

Postby Tarpa » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:10 am

Wer'e all just emanations too, of deluded minds, tranced out karma zombies.
The nonexistence of the transcendence of suffering
is what the protector of the world has taught as the transcendence
of suffering.
Knots tied on space
are untied by space itself.

May I never be seperated from perfect masters in all lives,
and delightfully experiencing the magnificent dharma,
completing all qualities of the stages of the paths
may I quickly attain the state of Vajradhara
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