dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

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dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby klqv » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:59 am

i've just read dharmapala on the massive dangers of taking voidness literally - as an assertion that things do not exist. i just wanted to check that that's not the case with the selflessness of the person???

thanks!
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:27 am

klqv wrote:i've just read dharmapala on the massive dangers of taking voidness literally - as an assertion that things do not exist. i just wanted to check that that's not the case with the selflessness of the person???

thanks!


"Voidness" should not be confused with "sunyata" which is usually translated as"emptiness" , or with "anatman" which refers to the intrinsic non-existence of a self.

If you think "I am not really here" that of course doesn't make sense, because otherwise that whole thought wouldn't even occur. So, it's not as though nothing is happening at all. You could think yourself into some dangerous places with that.

It is interesting that you have taken this question up in this particular order, because one of the discrepancies in early Buddhism was that while all agreed that the "self" has no intrinsic reality, some insisted that external phenomena did, and others said no, it does not. You have approached it from the other direction: external emptiness is no problem but what about the big "me"?

However, it is true that nothing can be said to exist that is a self.
On a relative level, the sensation of a self is certainly experienced. Ultimately, even that experience isn't really happening.

The mistaken view of 'voidness" is usually referred to as a nihilist view, that nothing exists. The problem that many people encounter is that they think the teachings suggest that a self doesn't exist. The problem arises then, over the definition of 'exist".

So, I think it is more accurate way of understanding it is to say "there is no finite point from which you can say that a 'self" arises". And what that means is that anyway you look at any notion or concept of a "self" or of "me" you can keep chopping that up as being conditional and depending on other circumstances. There is no finite starting point for a 'self".

For example, who are you? are you your name? are you who your boss thinks you are? Is that really the same person your mother thinks you are? Are you the same person you were when you were born?

If you try to find any finite, continuous link, some permanent "thing" that is "me" or a self, there is no place you can find it. Your body changes constantly, your mind changes constantly. There is only the illusion of actual continuity.

So, if the literal meaning is "I don't exist, I'm not here right now, please leave a message at the beep"
then that is not accurate.
If the literal meaning is. "there is no thing that can be called a self" then that is accurate.
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby klqv » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:30 am

"Voidness" should not be confused with "sunyata" which is usually translated as"emptiness"... If the literal meaning is. "there is no thing that can be called a self" then that is accurate.
ok got it thanks.
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:50 am

Greetings klqv,

The Dharma pertains to phenomenological matters of suffering and its cessation, as opposed to ontological concerns regarding existence and non-existence that fall outside the domain of experience.

As sunyata pertains to the Dharma, it accordingly pertains to the phenomenological, and not to concerns of existence and non-existence. As I understand it, this is the thrust of Nagarjuna's work on sunyata.

That is my understanding. If it is different in some schools of Mahayana, I apologise for any misrepresentation I may have perpetrated.

Maitri,
Retro. :)
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby catmoon » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:38 am

The self unquestionably exists, in the sense that there is this hunk of animated meat wandering around eating, speaking and arguing Dharma. But this is far from the whole story. We have all kinds of mystical beliefs about the substance and nature of a mysterious self, most of which we just made up or had others make up for us. This is the part of the self, the part other than the skhandas, this is simply not found on examination. It is little more than a complex set of beliefs that are mutually supporting, but unconnected to reality in any way.

So if you define the self as the animated meatball, and nothing more, it's pretty workable.


But, the meatball itself is empty. It is composed of parts with labels which are composed of more parts with labels, ad infinitum. So now we are down to saying, look, the essential meatball isn't here, all we have left to work with is a set of appearances to mind that appear functional in a consistent way. This set of appearances is all that can be said to really exist, and we can't even prove there is a material reality behind them.

Seeing the emptiness is sort of a carving away process as above. When one becomes a habitual whittler, reality starts to look like a carnival, a mass of false appearances with very little underlying it. The mind generates these false ideas of things, people and what they are very rapidly, several hundred times a second at the least.

So that leaves the last question, what is that "very little" that underlies it all? What did you look like before you were born? :ugeek:
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:12 am

Self really really does not exist. The existence of self is just an imagination due to misconception of dynamic appearances.

Who wrote your last post?
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:00 am

Sorry. Something is wrong. The majority of the writing above has been deleted without my notice.

How is the security of this website or forum?

How can my respons change completely without any notice?

I am quite surprise.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby catmoon » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:32 am

Yeah I saw that. i'll check into it
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby catmoon » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:41 am

uh... according to the logs, I editted your post. I do not recall doing so, and if it was an edit, your post should still be there.
It sometimes happens that I accidentally hit the edit button rather than the reply button, but in that case what should happen is, my reply would appear in the same spot your post previously occupied. The delete button is very small, and it is not at all likely I hit it by mistake.

I'm very sorry if I accidentally nuked a post of yours. It is certainly not my policy to delete posts jsut because I have some minor disagreement with them.

But.... the logs don't jive with what happened...
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:44 am

Hi Catmoon,

Ok no problem.

:cheers:
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby catmoon » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:51 am

Wait a sec I have it sorted.....

yes it was an accidental edit rather than reply. My bad. I feel pretty bad about that, it was a long and thoughtful post. Damn.

You will note that your post is still there, but is almost unrecognizable, since in replying I cut the bulk of the post out.... but at the bottom of your post my reply question appears...under your name. Clearly a case of accidental edit.

I'm sorry, but it appears to be an unrecoverable error.
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby catmoon » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:53 am

So the question remains.... if the self "really really" does not exist, who is writing your posts?
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:09 am

Yes, self really does not exist.

Now, since there is no self. Who is writing?

Dynamic appearances, which is undescribable and without identity.

By right I cannot answer your question because it is undescribable and no identity. I can only tell the point finger.

How can we have a self when things are changing?
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby catmoon » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:21 am

Ok then it's just a semantic problem.

It's all about defining "self", there are several ways of doing it, and of course there is a delusional self that really really does not exist, just as you say. Trouble is, if you deny the existence of self entirely, then there is no way to perceive anything because it eliminates the perceiver. So there is a self, it does exist, and it is not all like we commonly think it is. It is certainly not the aggregated assembly of meat, thought, understanding, mental objects, preferences and beliefs that we tend to think it is. It may not be unique. It might be the same in everyone.
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:43 am

The main problem about realizing no self is the contradiction between dynamic appearance and no essence.

It is very difficult to see the dynamic appearances as just purely appearances without any essence.

My eyes see this exist. But the wisdom tell you there is no such thing. This is big contradiction, isn't it?

However, actually if things really have an essence, things won't be impermanent. It will always be permanent. It may just move here and there, and it will be like that forever.

Like a car. The car is moving here and there. We can see it is really exist. It is so so difficult to realize this moving car as actually there is no car. It is even more difficult to realize there is no movement.

I am not trying to play smart by saying there is no car, but somehow there is a car. What I mean by no car, is really no car.

It is really like a LCD display. You can see the car moving around here and there. But, can you find a car inside LCD?
Can you find something movement inside LCD?

Your LCD doesn't move isn't it. The pixels also don't move isn't it? How can you have a movement from unmoved pixels?

You see a movie in LCD and the guy is jealous. Can you find that jealously in the LCD?

Really, all are just our baseless perception.

There is really no car, no movement, no increment, no decrement, no self, no identity, no anger, no jealousy in whatever dynamic appearing which is occuring.

Even the mind cannot exist and the certain aspect of the dynamic appearances have been understood to be the mind, which is actually baseless.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby catmoon » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:58 am

That was a very good post. Really, you've done a lot of homework and it shows. Now.

In your current view, one might ask, what is causing the perceptions? And the only available answer is - previous perceptions. But now you have a universe in which the only thing that exists is a stream of perceptions. And that is solipsism. That won't do. This is what drives the Gelug position that things are illusion-like and not actual illusions.

It also neatly explains the Zen experience. You know the saying- first there was a mountain, then there was no mountain, then there was just a mountain. The key thing is that little word "just". No essence, no attributes, no qualities, it's just there, whether appearance or not. Suchness.
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby catmoon » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:04 am

After thought: I thought maybe I would add that the self that exists has no qualities of "me-ness"; it is not an I, yet there is something there. In short I'm saying exactly what appears in your sig line. I think. :rolling:
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby Paul » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:06 am

klqv wrote:i've just read dharmapala on the massive dangers of taking voidness literally - as an assertion that things do not exist. i just wanted to check that that's not the case with the selflessness of the person???

thanks!


Can you please quote exactly what you read?
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby catmoon » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:10 am

Here's the danger. Let us say there is no me and no you. Then there is no relationship between us and no reason for compassion, kindness or generosity. The position shoots the bottom out of the boat, half the Buddhist virtues are suddenly meaningless.
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Re: dharmas are not inexistent; what about the self?

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:29 pm

This is a very very good video about the teaching of emptiness, about how we misinterpret reality, etc. His body languages, his way to show the things are really excellent.

Please take a look.

I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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