Author Topic: Back to basics  (Read 494 times)

Offline ZenFred

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Back to basics
« on: August 21, 2017, 04:48:46 pm »
As Soto Zen Master Jundo says "we are all beginners". I'm coming back to thinking about Buddhism after wandering pretty far from it. So I'm going to start (and maybe stay) simple.

What is Dharma?

https://rlp.hds.harvard.edu/dharma-teachings-buddha
This seems the traditional answer. Dharma is the teaching of the true nature of reality. It is the four nobel truths and the eightfold path.

http://www.aboutdharma.org/what-is-dharma.php/
Here's a different take, Dharma is protection from suffering.

One of my favorite teachings of Dharma I believe comes from the Pali Cannon but I can't seem to find the exact place.
The Dharma is like an anchient path that leads to a majestic but abandoned city deep in the wilderness with spacious shelter and abundant fountains all ready for the inhabiting.

What do you think the Dharma is?
How can we explain the many ways the Dharma is described?

-Fred

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Back to basics
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2017, 05:53:45 pm »

What do you think the Dharma is?

Pretty damned cool, that's what I think!

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How can we explain the many ways the Dharma is described?

Around here?  Any way we want.

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Back to basics
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2017, 05:57:00 pm »
Nagara Sutta
"It is just as if a man, traveling along a wilderness track, were to see an ancient path, an ancient road, traveled by people of former times. He would follow it. Following it, he would see an ancient city, an ancient capital inhabited by people of former times, complete with parks, groves, & ponds, walled, delightful. He would go to address the king or the king's minister, saying, 'Sire, you should know that while traveling along a wilderness track I saw an ancient path... I followed it... I saw an ancient city, an ancient capital... complete with parks, groves, & ponds, walled, delightful. Sire, rebuild that city!' The king or king's minister would rebuild the city, so that at a later date the city would become powerful, rich, & well-populated, fully grown & prosperous."
Thanks to Samana Johann for the citation!

Offline ground

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Re: Back to basics
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2017, 09:13:26 pm »
As Soto Zen Master Jundo says "we are all beginners".
:lmfao:
That's hilarious. How can you call him master when he says "we are all beginners"?

Does he accept that he is regarded as 'master' by others?

If so then that would be a case of using suggestive manipulative expressions saying 'we' and 'us' to establish an attitude of subservience and acceptance of his authority in the minds of unmindful others.

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Back to basics
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2017, 05:24:34 pm »
As Soto Zen Master Jundo says "we are all beginners".
:lmfao:
That's hilarious. How can you call him master when he says "we are all beginners"?

Does he accept that he is regarded as 'master' by others?

If so then that would be a case of using suggestive manipulative expressions saying 'we' and 'us' to establish an attitude of subservience and acceptance of his authority in the minds of unmindful others.

Ground,

  Jundo is a zen teacher but no he doesn't like being called master. But that's what a lineage holder in Zen is called, isn't it?  We can debate the value or worthlessness of lineages if we want.
It's also been a long time since I've studied with him so I don't remember the exact quote. Look him up on treeleaf his online zendo if you really want. He has some good videos there.
At the core, I think it's a good teaching. Enlightenment or God isn't something we ever own, at least not anymore than anyone else. Ever time we meditate or pray or practice, we encounter it anew.
If you want to get in a contest of who is more zen, you'll win. I'm a theist and don't practice Buddhism anymore.

But you posted on this thread, so please tell what you think dharma is?

Offline ground

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Re: Back to basics
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2017, 08:41:01 pm »
As Soto Zen Master Jundo says "we are all beginners".
:lmfao:
That's hilarious. How can you call him master when he says "we are all beginners"?

Does he accept that he is regarded as 'master' by others?

If so then that would be a case of using suggestive manipulative expressions saying 'we' and 'us' to establish an attitude of subservience and acceptance of his authority in the minds of unmindful others.

Ground,

  Jundo is a zen teacher but no he doesn't like being called master.

How can a beginner be a teacher?

But that's what a lineage holder in Zen is called, isn't it?  We can debate the value or worthlessness of lineages if we want.
It's also been a long time since I've studied with him so I don't remember the exact quote. Look him up on treeleaf his online zendo if you really want. He has some good videos there.
At the core, I think it's a good teaching. Enlightenment or God isn't something we ever own, at least not anymore than anyone else. Ever time we meditate or pray or practice, we encounter it anew.
If you want to get in a contest of who is more zen, you'll win. I'm a theist and don't practice Buddhism anymore.
I am neither interested in zen nor lineages nor this person called 'Jundo'.


But you posted on this thread, so please tell what you think dharma is?
Everybody knows better than everybody else. Nobody is a beginner.

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Back to basics
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2017, 05:04:19 pm »
Ground,

  I read a few of your posts on other threads. So I think what you're getting at is that liberation can't be taught, only shown.
How can you show someone liberation?

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Back to basics
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2017, 05:35:47 pm »
Ground,

  I read a few of your posts on other threads. So I think what you're getting at is that liberation can't be taught, only shown.
How can you show someone liberation?

That's not a question to ask, because he doesn't, really, know the answer.  He doesn't know how to show liberation and he can't show it himself.  He will protest, I'm sure, but it changes nothing.

I don't know the answer, either, but I do know a good story about it.  Tilopa was giving his student, Naropa, pointing out instructions to the nature of mind.  Naropa wasn't getting it.  At all.  No matter how many times and in different ways, Tilopa gave Naropa instruction he simply wasn't getting it.  Tilopa became so frustrated with Naropa, that he took off his shoe and hit Naropa over the head with it.  Naropa immediately understood the instruction and became enlightened in the same moment.

Nowadays they call that physical abuse, I suppose. 


There's really no difference between being taught and being shown.  It's the same thing.  Ground wants to confuse people by saying they are different.  They are not.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Back to basics
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2017, 05:38:00 pm »
I am neither interested in zen nor lineages nor this person called 'Jundo'.

I think they call that lying.

You were "interested" enough to respond to Freeds, posting about Jundo and reference to him as Zen "master".

Now you say you're not?


Offline ground

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Re: Back to basics
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2017, 11:55:50 pm »
Ground,

  I read a few of your posts on other threads. So I think what you're getting at is that liberation can't be taught, only shown.
How can you show someone liberation?
Showing liberation is a kind of coincidence. It can't be deliberately shown like e.g. a tree can be shown deliberately 'Look, there is a tree.'
Also it is not necessarily a person that shows but it can be any phenomenon that shows, i.e. reveals liberation.

It is because liberation is naturally and spontaneously present. It does not have to be fabricated or constructed. It is like there would be a veiling which just has to be lifted by a beath of air so that liberation which has been present all the time can be seen.

Actually everybody has seen liberation many times in his/her life but these moments have passed by unnoticed.
Therefore a certain kind of readiness is required to see liberation when it reveals itself in the context of a phenomenon that is said to 'show liberation'.

People always think that there has to be another person involved and call it 'teaching' or 'pointing out'. But although it is possible that the phenomenon that shows is the sound of another person's voice it is not necessarily so. It can also be one's own thought in rational analysis in the context of emptiness that shows liberation or a landscape or the sound of traffic ... the possibilities are countless.

However there is this readiness, a kind of alertness ... in the context of knowing that it is already present and that it is nothing extraordinary since one has already seen it many times inattentively.

If one gets too deeply involved in the concepts of buddhism it is very likely that one lacks the ability to see liberation because one is staring at 'the finger' continually and thus misses 'the moon'.

« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 12:10:18 am by ground »

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Back to basics
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2017, 09:20:27 am »
Ground,

  That was a great response, thanks.  It definitely makes sense why they you would object to a zen "master" or "teacher." No guru can give you liberation.
You reference the finger pointing at the moon teaching, its a classic one. But I really like your tajevin it and I agree. It's more than enlightenment being indescribable it's as you say "naturally and spontaneously present."

I'm a theist these days, but the same issue comes up in faith too. If God is omnipresent and is the creator and sustainer of the universe, then the divine Reality should be readily apparent and self evident. We shouldn't have to rely on humans to relay His messages or tell us about Him. Even if you do accept the possibility of prophecy (which I do) even then humans can only speak about God or point to God, they can never speak for God nor control His essence. Churches have no business claiming authority apart from the universal, naturally occurring revelation already available.

I'll preemptively defend my theism a bit. I do not believe in what many people really mean when they say God; a superficial super-human uberbeing that grants us promotions if we go to church. I'm a mystic and not of any one particular faith. Spinoza's God is probably much closer.

Offline ground

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Re: Back to basics
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2017, 11:22:29 pm »
The difference between belief and liberation is that liberation is a negative phenomenon. So if one believes in liberation this is not liberation but belief and as such it is the same as any other belief like e.g. belief in God. The object of belief necessarily is a positive phenomenon. Positive phenomena habitually are clung to or grasped at.
Liberation however is a negative phenomenon that does not allow for any kind of clinging to or grasping at.

If liberation is seen it is seen as pervading all phenomena which then turn into negative phenomena too.

'negative' here is not to be misunderstood emotionally but as a quality of perceiving phenomena as ineffably absent even when they are present. The expression 'direct perception of emptiness' often is used in this context.

So 'showing liberation' actually is like showing an absence like space.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 11:25:36 pm by ground »

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Back to basics
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2017, 05:39:42 am »
Thanks for the clarification. I think You're saying that liberation is like the cessation of suffering. Cessation isn't a thing. Right?

I do experience/believe in a fundamentally positive metaphysical reality. That's why I left Buddhism. This belief in a monad (to use a philosophy term rather than misleading term of God) exists within Hinduism but I'm not sure in Buddhism. "Buddha Nature" is a purposefully confusing concept and I don't know if it's fair to say the Buddha Nature exists or that is the ultimate reality.

Zen is still instructive though and goes well with apophatic (negative) theology. For a famous example see Thomas Merton. You touch on a vital truth. Our beliefs are not God. God's being, while positively existing, is not within our grasp. It is not a thing. Tillich says God doesn't "exist" because that would subject him to the laws of existence. God is a completely unique category. Again it's the finger pointing at the moon.


Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Back to basics
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2017, 05:42:22 am »
Quote
ground:  "The difference between belief and liberation is that liberation is a negative phenomenon. "

Please explain what you mean by "negative phenomenon".

For example, is it like matter and antimatter?  Or is it more like positive and negative ions?  Or is it more like positive and negative numbers?

Phenomenon are by their very nature positive.  They arise and then disappear.  Therefore negative phenomenon cannot be like phenomenon at all according to that idea.

Do phenomenon become extinguished when negative phenomenon appear, like when you add +1 to -1 and get the result of zero?

Help me out here.   :listen:
« Last Edit: August 25, 2017, 09:17:48 am by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline francis

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Re: Back to basics
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2017, 08:35:34 am »
Hi ZenFred,

Thanks for pointing out the in Nagara Sutta The City (nirvana)  SN 12.65. It is a description of the Buddha's awakening that I had not seen before.

The first part describes Dependent Origin (Conditioned Arising).   

Quote
..... "Then the thought occurred to me, 'This consciousness turns back at name-&-form, and goes no farther. It is to this extent that there is birth, aging, death, falling away, & re-arising, i.e., from name-&-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness, from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media... Thus is the origination of this entire mass of stress. Origination, origination.' Vision arose, clear knowing arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before.


Then the parable in the Nagara Sutta, you quoted previously thanks to Samana Johann.

Quote
"It is just as if a man, traveling along a wilderness track, were to see an ancient path, an ancient road, traveled by people of former times. He would follow it. Following it, he would see an ancient city, an ancient capital inhabited by people of former times, complete with parks, groves, & ponds, walled, delightful. He would go to address the king or the king's minister, saying, 'Sire, you should know that while traveling along a wilderness track I saw an ancient path... I followed it... I saw an ancient city, an ancient capital... complete with parks, groves, & ponds, walled, delightful. Sire, rebuild that city!' The king or king's minister would rebuild the city, so that at a later date the city would become powerful, rich, & well-populated, fully grown & prosperous."

After the parable, the sutta goes on to describe Noble Eightfold Path and how to be liberated from conditioned existence.

Quote
"In the same way I saw an ancient path, an ancient road, travelled by the Rightly Self-awakened Ones of former times. And what is that ancient path, that ancient road, travelled by the Rightly Self-awakened Ones of former times? Just this noble eightfold path: right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. That is the ancient path, the ancient road, travelled by the Rightly Self-awakened Ones of former times. I followed that path. Following it, I came to direct knowledge of aging & death, direct knowledge of the origination of aging & death, direct knowledge of the cessation of aging & death, direct knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of aging & death. I followed that path. Following it, I came to direct knowledge of birth... becoming... clinging... craving... feeling... contact... the six sense media... name-&-form... consciousness, direct knowledge of the origination of consciousness, direct knowledge of the cessation of consciousness, direct knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of consciousness. I followed that path.

"Following it, I came to direct knowledge of fabrications, direct knowledge of the origination of fabrications, direct knowledge of the cessation of fabrications, direct knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of fabrications. Knowing that directly, I have revealed it to monks, nuns, male lay followers & female lay followers, so that this holy life has become powerful, rich, detailed, well-populated, wide-spread, proclaimed among celestial & human beings."


With metta :)
« Last Edit: August 25, 2017, 08:42:05 am by francis, Reason: clarity »
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

 


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