Dharma practice is a placebo.

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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby deepbluehum » Thu May 03, 2012 4:30 pm

How do you know Mahamudra and Dzogchen aren't placebos? Then I wonder, if they aren't placebos. What makes you think other levels are?

To me, relative bodhichitta and love are streams leading to the ocean. The waters are indivisible. In some sense, relative bodhichitta is more pure than absolute. The waters of the river are more pure than the ocean and nourish the humans on the land. Similarly, love nourishes humans the most. The wisdom of emptiness is simply a counterbalance that prevents a leap into attachment and lust. However, love is the essence of the Buddha as much as emptiness. Method and wisdom inseparable means what it says. Love's vibrating bliss emanates from the deepest reaches of emptiness as the secret and ultimately secret sound, prior to and higher than the lights and rays. One can rightly say that the body of light hums with the energy of metta.
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby muni » Thu May 03, 2012 4:43 pm

deepbluehum wrote:H
However, love is the essence of the Buddha as much as emptiness.


:namaste:
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby pemachophel » Fri May 04, 2012 7:46 pm

In medicine, placebo means to administer something to patient with the belief that that substance should have no physiological effect on the patient's symptoms. However, the patient is told that the substance does/will treat their condition.

Based on this definition, Dharma is most definitely not a placebo. It is a time-tested system of "medicine" with very specific theory, technology, and prescriptive methodology along with a huge history of empirical effect. When you do a practice as specified by one's Teacher and you do it correctly, you get the expected result. The fact that this medicine is mostly taken at the level of mind, does not make it a placebo. It makes it a very effective mind medicine.

Sorry, I'm a retired doctor; so I'm nit-picking about such words used in the wrong way.
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby Andrew108 » Fri May 04, 2012 7:55 pm

pemachophel wrote:In medicine, placebo means to administer something to patient with the belief that that substance should have no physiological effect on the patient's symptoms. However, the patient is told that the substance does/will treat their condition.

Based on this definition, Dharma is most definitely not a placebo. It is a time-tested system of "medicine" with very specific theory, technology, and prescriptive methodology along with a huge history of empirical effect. When you do a practice as specified by one's Teacher and you do it correctly, you get the expected result. The fact that this medicine is mostly taken at the level of mind, does not make it a placebo. It makes it a very effective mind medicine.

Sorry, I'm a retired doctor; so I'm nit-picking about such words used in the wrong way.


Yes there are lots of references within the discourse to dharma being like medicine and actually very few references if any that point to dharma being a placebo.
So why do you think DZR used the term placebo? What point was he trying to make?
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri May 04, 2012 8:33 pm

I believe he is saying that Buddhadharma is relative. It's conceptual, unlike the fruit of its practice, Sadharma, which is beyond concepts. Buddhadharma is the finger and Sadharma is the moon.
I can, however, relate to what pemachopel said. Using the word placebo doesn't seem the most adequate, but I believe he is pointing to the fact that Buddhadharma is the raft, not the other shore. Once the other shore is reached, the raft can be abandoned. But then again so can medicine once we are cured. Because of that, perhaps we need to go a little further and assume he is talking from a Vajrayana perspective and taking in consideration our enlightened nature. Not being able to realize it, we need a placebo so that we imagine we are attaining enlightenment, when in fact we are just recognizing the sun that already shines above the clouds, our already enlightened nature.
That's what I make of it. I can be wrong, however.
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby Andrew108 » Fri May 04, 2012 8:53 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:I believe he is saying that Buddhadharma is relative. It's conceptual, unlike the fruit of its practice, Sadharma, which is beyond concepts. Buddhadharma is the finger and Sadharma is the moon.
I can, however, relate to what pemachopel said. Using the word placebo doesn't seem the most adequate, but I believe he is pointing to the fact that Buddhadharma is the raft, not the other shore. Once the other shore is reached, the raft can be abandoned. But then again so can medicine once we are cured. Because of that, perhaps we need to go a little further and assume he is talking from a Vajrayana perspective and taking in consideration our enlightened nature. Not being able to realize it, we need a placebo so that we imagine we are attaining enlightenment, when in fact we are just recognizing the sun that already shines above the clouds, our already enlightened nature.
That's what I make of it. I can be wrong, however.

Yes I think this is well said. You are right to say that we need to go a bit further. There is also the possibility that we were never sick in the first place.
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri May 04, 2012 9:24 pm

Also exists the possibility that so long and extended has been our sickness that we now even forget what exactly a presenting state of health may be....

mistaking all sorts of illnesses of me, delusions of grandeur leading us to think spiritual accomplishment of the greatest sorts....karma no longer applying to us at all...

when truth be told we lie far far from that. And this resultant state of conceived ultimate state is just that..conceived not real, and to be summarily thrown far away.

A truth in placebo perhaps also found a completely false thing found...is found to be absolute in the trueness of the statement....this is absolutely false. So a true thing is found in placebo. Which could be quite mistaken by some to think....so placebo...it is true as well...ultimately considered.

No it is not. Words are not things as concepts are but the same.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat May 05, 2012 12:28 am

Let me see if I'm understanding what you are saying, Ron.
ronnewmexico wrote:Also exists the possibility that so long and extended has been our sickness that we now even forget what exactly a presenting state of health may be....

In the metaphor sickness means being subjected to emotional and cognitive afflictions. This means that we do not know or have ever known what is enlightenment, since enlightenment is irreversible. It's not as if we forgot how enlightenment was. I'm not sure I'm getting you here...

mistaking all sorts of illnesses of me, delusions of grandeur leading us to think spiritual accomplishment of the greatest sorts....karma no longer applying to us at all...
when truth be told we lie far far from that.

Indeed. There are all sorts of fantasies around.

And this resultant state of conceived ultimate state is just that..conceived not real, and to be summarily thrown far away.

Here you are saying that those who imagine they are in that sort of ultimate state and yet are subjected to karma should throw away those ideas. Is it so? That would be a good advice.

A truth in placebo perhaps also found a completely false thing found...is found to be absolute in the trueness of the statement....this is absolutely false. So a true thing is found in placebo. Which could be quite mistaken by some to think....so placebo...it is true as well...ultimately considered.

No it is not. Words are not things as concepts are but the same.

Here you lost me... completely. Care to explain?
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat May 05, 2012 1:42 am

This....is stated by another.."There is also the possibility that we were never sick in the first place."

This is then stated...."In the metaphor sickness means being subjected to emotional and cognitive afflictions. "

If the first is true the second is not, if the second is true the first is not....so you do not agree with what another is stating not me.
It is obvious we were subject to emotional and cognitive afflictions.

On the second point.....there is truth found in things stated, but that does not infer that hence all things stated are true.
Confusing that things may be stated as truths with the fact of some things being untrue, as in a red dog being called black may be stated to be truly a false statement does not make the red dog black. WE then arrive at a point of all things taken as ambiguous and gray, when there do exist rights wrongs blacks and whites. It may be true that false statements may be truly stated to be false but also stated that true statements may be truly stated true. Really how things are is not in the description of how things are. Described things may be true or not things are as they are.

So likewise one attesting to being beyond karma is not..... because to be stating such or conducting oneself as such implies one is not.
If control of personal karma is to such a extent...... the circumstance of such contradiction would never occur.

So we confuse knowing with actuality. Truths exist, Descriptions of truths exist also, as true things. but we may not confuse the former with the latter. Discriptions and absolute truths are of differing sorts.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat May 05, 2012 2:03 am

To elaborate a slight bit.....we are so emersed in our defilements attachments and all the rest we take it all as real, thinking as Carl Jung would perhaps say a unconscious universal consciousness perceiving such as real.
And real it is.... but such a thing and thing which may identify the past and future as certainly as reading a novel one knows the ending of and beginning to....it is all a false thing we know.

Based on the unreal...the self individual identity part of awareness a differentiation aspect of awareness taken to a illogical extant.

So we may know conceptually this thing.... well know it as god, or cause and effect, and all the rest, and plan for it and act in response to it and be totally completely right in our predictions of its behavior.
Though right we certainly may be and predict the future and such things....it nevertheless is based upon a false thing....seperate identity....a placebo as the first poster describes....we may know this and only this.

Only one aspect of awareness it is and remains taken to furthest extant as a person being of sentient.
I suspect there are as well places of evenness accomplishment and all the rest taken to their furthest extant in solid form as well....but no matter...they are false based upon a part only of what is and we are.

So yes placebo....as muni describes...I agree.
ONly this we may know of but not only this is.

It is perhaps not for us to know....but karma us all the rest all we may know of.....it is false as false may be.
Our red dog called black then called a false statement, and then being a truth as true may be any statement...it is but we forget....false it is this thing of karma and I and you as well.

Placebo we may see the rest through it only, false it may be. Tool it may be this universal unconscious consciousness that pervades seemingly our every aspect.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby muni » Sat May 05, 2012 8:11 am

Welcome back ron.

Lot of goods reads, wow. Thank you. In the imagined city of samsara is only compounded sickness.


About the ideas of permanent apprehended independent things Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche said ones how we should see: a negation of a nonexistence. That's not nothing, but that's not in the domain of my concepts.

In the depth of reflection about that, i am easy lost in the woods of thoughts which drives me again to or solid or nothing.

:namaste:
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat May 05, 2012 1:27 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:This....is stated by another.."There is also the possibility that we were never sick in the first place."

This is then stated...."In the metaphor sickness means being subjected to emotional and cognitive afflictions. "

If the first is true the second is not, if the second is true the first is not....so you do not agree with what another is stating not me.
It is obvious we were subject to emotional and cognitive afflictions.

In the first what is being alluded, I think, is our true nature, that can't be polluted.
The second means our current deluded state.
According to the context, both sentences can have correct meanings.

On the second point.....there is truth found in things stated, but that does not infer that hence all things stated are true.
Confusing that things may be stated as truths with the fact of some things being untrue, as in a red dog being called black may be stated to be truly a false statement does not make the red dog black. WE then arrive at a point of all things taken as ambiguous and gray, when there do exist rights wrongs blacks and whites. It may be true that false statements may be truly stated to be false but also stated that true statements may be truly stated true. Really how things are is not in the description of how things are. Described things may be true or not things are as they are.

Too fuzzy for me to understand your point. You really could make an effort to communicate in a more accessible way.

So likewise one attesting to being beyond karma is not..... because to be stating such or conducting oneself as such implies one is not.
If control of personal karma is to such a extent...... the circumstance of such contradiction would never occur.

Basically what you are saying is that if someone claims to be beyond karma, such must always be false?

So we confuse knowing with actuality. Truths exist, Descriptions of truths exist also, as true things. but we may not confuse the former with the latter. Discriptions and absolute truths are of differing sorts.

If we consider the absolute as being beyond conceptuality, then all that can be said about it never matches it truly. Is this what you are saying?
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat May 05, 2012 1:36 pm

The style of your last post, Ron, makes it an impossible reading, at least for me.
Perhaps others like the way you write. Muni seems to like, but I wonder why that doesn't come as a surprise...
Anyway, my point is, if you keep writing in such fashion, I'll simply skip your posts as if they were fuzzy ramblings with little interest, not worthy of the time I take to decipher their meaning.
Just though I should let you know in case you address them to me. If you are not addressing them to me, well, write as you wish. Some people may like it, I don't know. Perhaps it's some sort of poetic writing and me not being a native speaker fail to get it.
But if you intend that I read any post you address to me (or any of your posts), please make an effort to make them more digestible.
It would be greatly appreciated. :anjali:
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby muni » Sat May 05, 2012 4:45 pm

Hello Dechen,

i must say that I read through all posts. Some things I don't understand very well, others better. But it is not because I appreciate kindness, I divide them in likes and dislikes. Or because i am twice nice to someone, others are out of my heart. That should be my own pain in the first place. I think this we wish nobody.

Taking the Bodhisattva vow with the wish all are happy and free and liberated from attachment/aversion, is what i did.

Thank you for yours kindness. :namaste:
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat May 05, 2012 5:05 pm

muni wrote:Hello Dechen,

i must say that I read through all posts. Some things I don't understand very well, others better. But it is not because I appreciate kindness, I divide them in likes and dislikes. Or because i am twice nice to someone, others are out of my heart. That should be my own pain in the first place. I think this we wish nobody.

Usually I do too. Unless they are unintelligible for me. :smile:


Taking the Bodhisattva vow with the wish all are happy and free and liberated from attachment/aversion, is what i did.


Thank you for yours kindness. :namaste:

All I can do is thank you. :anjali:
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby muni » Sat May 05, 2012 6:34 pm

My concrete perceptions of a substantial world,

When its true mode of being is sought,

Seem unreal and evaporate into the void.

Behold the vivid magic of unprobed form!

From 'The Love Dance of Emptiness and Appearance'

'Enemies and friends are constructs of the mind;

mind itself is constructed on experience and events;

there is nothing that is concrete and rooted,

for all are merely names and labels.'


Seen through this, only loving kindness is all there is. Dividing speech which destroy all kindness is not my wish. :group:
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat May 05, 2012 6:48 pm

Very well said, muni.
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat May 05, 2012 6:49 pm

Yes muni...coincidentally :smile: ...

in a jog through the forest last night(a real thing I did not a metaphor or such thing)
I was thinking how very difficult it could be to arrive at a thing of understanding by negation as opposed to position or the positive.
As in....I know this red dog is not black. I could say this red dog is also not grey nor white nor blue and on and on, forever really I could go on saying colors it is not, never arriving at what color it is.

Or I could approximate what color it is. Or position its color in relationship to others to ascertain its real color.

In any event..yes I think muni I take allowances very many when I am on your threads....I think we may communicate in different manners than words written.
Felt perhaps or other.

So yes DN I can be very seemingly obtuse evasive in meaning and subtle. This has no value to you so I say....yes, leave it alone.
I hold no value to you. There is nothing wrong with that, I hold no value to many, it is not my concern.

muni... I think she may understand we are not just communicating in words. Nothing special to her or to me about her or me....this is how peoples are, pushed aside this thing is in the way of words and thoughts......we are poetry and meaning is found in the cadence and notes as much as in the content of the words sung.
Such is why we may find drums and other things used in ceremony....it is not just for atmosphere...these many things are not spoken things and we can only approximate their meaning with words. Truth be told DN...like as not I think in light, no more no less than that.

So to communicate really truly beyond words we must want to know what is being communicated look for it in the tone context and atmosphere...

so leave it alone DN it is not for you. If I disagree it is that I disagree with a idea of yours, not you, you are not my concern nor my study.
Occasionally I will speak directly and forcefully.
I have no accomplishment nor spiritual understanding but cannot deny to please you or others what I am....it is this and this is largely how I communicate.
As I communicate with muni here on this thread...most comfortable I am with this way.
Others I am also comfortable with in this fashion and muni and I am not the only ones in this way I surmise.
It is not better nor worse but as we are...different, it is not the language or barrier....it is that we are different.
I have learned I must not deny nor hide that.
It may hold no value to others or great value....that is not my concern...it is as I am.
I don't think as you do. I cannot deny myself. Occasionally I may...mostly no.

To point placebo.....all samsara life....is false a false read on things. Things are not as they seem. We can study life false though it may be and use such a study to find a truth in it.
We have found the statement a red dog is black false and can now proclaim that we have found a false thing and that is a truth.
So through falsehood we have found truth.
A placebe a false thing which is not really a medicine or real for its purpose....provides us truth, a understanding.
So yes...the buddha did provide us a understanding of this placebo...which is karma self other found unreal....so we may be healed from its sickness..the sickness of individual identity...the me.

So I am agreeing with muni but in perhaps a different way then has been expressed by others.

Karma the collective unconscious reflecting karma, it all is based on a false conception of reality the notion of a singular identity...but we may use such false notion studied to find truth and essentially freedom from it and in the end...all concepts.

As to you muni....you cannot be other than compassionate...Really it goes without saying...all know that. It is quite obvious.
and attain this thing they call enlightenment.

The false red dog called black is however not the thing....karma me self other....it is all untrue and unreal...we tend to forget that....especially if we may develope consequent reading skills such as prophecy reading thoughts and such things.
We must remember really it is all false what we are reading.
The truth of things is beyond that and cannot be read in this conceptual fashion.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat May 05, 2012 6:50 pm

Well, since you make no case of what I asked, I assume you don't want me to read your posts, Ron. :shrug:
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Re: Dharma practice is a placebo.

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat May 05, 2012 7:09 pm

It is not that I want or do not want it is that it is not my concern but yours.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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