Author Topic: Wanting and self  (Read 3424 times)

Offline Chaz

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #45 on: January 26, 2018, 03:50:51 am »
Thank you for taking the time to read it.

 I don't want to be contentious and honestly without any reservation, you have my sympathy for your suffering with you fathers death, losing a parent is traumatic, more so for some and I am glad that you have a way of seeing things which has brought you an understanding that is effective at coping with this. I am not implying any judgment on this point, if you are at greater peace from this suffering because of your understanding of the Dharma, that is good and more important than the scope of this discussion.

Much peace and loving kindness to you

Thanks, but you miss the point.

There is no need for condolence.  I don't care about that.  My point was meant to illustrate the utter pointlessness of using language like "there is no self".

Did you miss that?

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #46 on: January 26, 2018, 05:03:18 pm »
Empty of what? As I understand this it is empty of "self", empty in truth of independent nature, also empty of all of the aggregates and foundations which are reliant on self, because in truth there is no "self" in a relative way. It cannot be empty of nothing, the description of empty does not fit that logic. I agree with Master Thich Nhat Hanh that this is because it is full of everything. I think this is as an absolute, inclusive without bounds.


The Heart Sutra basically says that the aggregates are empty ( of independent existence ).  So the aggregates are conditional, dependent arising.  And the aggregates are a model of personal experience, which means that our experience is conditional and dependent arising.  So the Heart Sutra is about liberation from suffering via a direct realisation of the nature of our experience. 

Sunyata deals with phenomena ( dhammas ), and phenomena are what we experience.  Sunyata is the nature of phenomena, not a ground of being or Tao or whatever.  Check out "emptiness of emptiness" - sunyata is also empty!


Indeed, Sunyata, this is where we are having a disagreement I think.

Quote
Emptiness teaches the lack of substantiality or independence of things, and stresses the idea of no independent origination, that the present state of all things is the result of a previous state.   Emptiness includes the teaching of impermanence; everything is always in a state of change.   In other words, everything, including every sentient being, is an ever-changing process.


It goes on to say:

Quote
All knowable phenomena without exception are contextually defined composites.


From what I am seeing we have a difference of sect on this, I appear to be much closer to the Zen thinking in this regard:

http://thezenuniverse.org/sunyata/


Offline BlackLooter

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #47 on: January 26, 2018, 06:26:30 pm »
In the first story, the Zen master asked the novice monk:
“Tell me about your understanding of the Heart sutra.”

Quote
The novice monk joined his palms and replied:
“I have understood that the five skandhas are empty. There are no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body or mind; there are no forms, sounds, smells, tastes, feelings, or objects of mind; the six consciousnesses do not exist, the eighteen realms of phenomena do not exist, the twelve links of dependent arising do not exist, and even wisdom and attainment do not exist.”
“Do you believe what it says?”
“Yes, I truly believe what it says.”

“Come closer to me,” the Zen master instructed the novice monk. When the novice monk drew near, the Zen master immediately used his thumb and index finger to pinch and twist the novice’s nose.
In great agony, the novice cried out “Teacher! You’re hurting me!” The Zen master looked at the novice. “Just now you said that the nose doesn’t exist. But if the nose doesn’t exist then what’s hurting?”

Source:

https://plumvillage.org/news/thich-nhat-hanh-new-heart-sutra-translation/

I am pretty sure that the nose does not arise from delusion. Interdependent nature may create the nose and it is in fact empty of a separate self as are we all, but there is still also a nose.

You're dancing with the difference between absolute and relative truth.  In the absolute there is only emptiness and in emptiness there is no nose.  In relative thruth there is a nose, which is why when someone punches you in the nose, it hurts.

This is why, in the kagyu lineage there is a precept in the Bodhisattva Vows to not teach emptiness to a person who isn't ready for it.

The two are not exactly separate though either. My understanding is that there is not one truth, then another, or both separately,  but I am also not arguing the use of the language you have used there because it is as good of a way as any to put it. I agree that it can be damaging if not viewed correctly for a person. I think that Being empty of an independent nature makes one with everything, but it does not make everything nothing.

So the idea of being honest.. isnt that the truth? As in tell the truth?

If that isnt the only truth, hence being honest.. than what other truth is there?
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Offline Anemephistus

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #48 on: January 26, 2018, 11:12:08 pm »
"truth" in this case is not in the sense that any of us are lying to each other, or attempting to. We have understandings which we are comparing which we may find benifit us, that  we may not agree with, or that we may be intrigued by and choose to contemplate.

In any case, any number of  people can be entirely honest about their perception and none of them may be in possession of the truth .As an example it might be the case with say, a good stage magician. Everyone swears he was flying, the truth was that he used wires to look like he was flying and no one saw them.

  Relatively, the people are telling the truth about what they saw, absolutely, they are not correct, the truth is he had wires,  but everyone was honest and truthful. Then they all talk and wonder "how did he do that" and they might debate. They all saw it, but to each of them the method he used looked like it might have been different, perhaps mirrors, perhaps, a lift behind a curtain, perhaps wires.

For my part at least,  The integrity of the posters is not in question in this, nor is it a question of wisdom or intelligence, we seem to see a difference which comes from our underlying experience with how we have gained our insight. There can be several types of truth in a situation which are real and valid. This is just a thought about one of them

Offline BlackLooter

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #49 on: January 26, 2018, 11:25:40 pm »
So then what is the real truth..?

Just insight into nature?
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Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #50 on: January 27, 2018, 02:32:50 am »
From what I am seeing we have a difference of sect on this, I appear to be much closer to the Zen thinking in this regard:
http://thezenuniverse.org/sunyata/


I had a look at the article, but didn't see any real support there for TNH's "interbeing" idea.  "Interbeing" looks to me like a sort of sunyata-lite, for those who find the void a little scary.  :wink1:
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Offline Chaz

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #51 on: January 27, 2018, 10:06:56 am »
"Interbeing" looks to me like a sort of sunyata-lite, for those who find the void a little scary.  :wink1:

Perhaps, but I can't be even that generous.

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #52 on: January 27, 2018, 06:58:29 pm »
From what I am seeing we have a difference of sect on this, I appear to be much closer to the Zen thinking in this regard:
http://thezenuniverse.org/sunyata/


I had a look at the article, but didn't see any real support there for TNH's "interbeing" idea.  "Interbeing" looks to me like a sort of sunyata-lite, for those who find the void a little scary.  :wink1:



TNH has said himself that the delivery method of the inter being teaching he offers is made to reach a wide western audience while maintaining authentic understanding.

From Tricycle:

Quote
Tricycle: Is this idea of genetic lineage compatible with reincarnation?

Thich Nhat Hanh: I can only smile. Reincarnation means that there is something to enter into the body. That something might be called the “soul,” or “consciousness,” whatever name you might like to use. Re means again—reincarnationmeans “into the body again.” The understanding is that the “soul” can go out and “you” can be gone into. Maybe it’s not the best word, not a very Buddhist word. In Buddhism there is the word rebirth or reborn, and then the basic teaching of the Buddha is “no-self.” Everything manifests itself because of conditions. If there is no body, our perceptions, our feelings, and our consciousness cannot be manifested.

Tricycle: Not born, but manifested?

Thich Nhat Hanh: Yes. So, body is one condition. There are many other conditions. There are at least two kinds of Buddhism; popular Buddhism and deep Buddhism. Which kind of Buddhism you’re talking about is very important. It requires learning and practice, because anything you say in the second may be misunderstood and can create damage. The true teaching is the kind of teaching that conforms to two things: First, it is consistent with the Buddhist insight. And secondly, it is appropriate for the person who is receiving it. It’s like medicine. It has to be true medicine, and it must fit the person who is receiving it. Sometimes you can give someone a very expensive treatment, but they still die. That is why when the Buddha meets someone and offers the teaching, he has to know that person in order to be able to offer the appropriate teaching. Even if the teaching is very valuable, if you don’t make it appropriate to the person, it is not Buddhist teaching. To some other people, it is excellent teaching. But, to this person, it’s not Buddhist teaching because it does damage, does more damage than good. If you offer the things that are not appropriate, you destroy people.



Again thank you for taking the time since you have already expressed this idea is not something you ever interpreted this way and found it strange. The article I felt brought the root of the point out in this sentiment:

Quote
It also declares that this emptiness is the same as form (which connotes fullness)—i.e., that this is an emptiness which is at the same time not different from the kind of reality which we normally ascribe to events; it is not a nihilistic emptiness that undermines our world, but a “positive” emptiness which defines it.
 

As far as what has validated the concept of inter-being, as much as I can say is that the material world is all dependent, that when we see a wooden table it's history, the sunshine which fell on the trees, the rain that helped them grow, the logger, the carpenter, his thoughts which made the table, the experience of his teacher which gave him skill. All of it is present in the table. If you see the table but only see a table then you the whole picture isn't there. Perhaps this is a matter of why this matters to the subject?

The there is the inheritance of beings, along sociopolitical lines, geographic locations, genetics and foundations of thinking which come from these things. As children we are all taught things, those ideas come down from systems of reference similar to that of the table. In an ancient time perhaps we were tribes, we killed each other for hunting grounds, we fought and died over our own survival and the survival of our loved ones. We made ideas that could accept this because after all we must live with what we do.

Then the concepts stayed and were handed down. Eventually we find ourselves in a time where the weapons of global destruction exist because our thoughts have lived for so long through so many minds and changed so much as we grew in understanding that invention of this type of device seemed reasonable. We make false divisions which steal our compassion for others because we use inherited ideologies to define them as people, see Liberal, conservative, Marxist, though in truth they have nothing to do with who the people we focus them on are, just what they think as an ideology which while it makes sense to them, they may have been surrounded by it their whole lives. It has become a constituent element of their mental formation but it is not anymore their being than our thoughts are our being.

We know our thoughts are not exactly us because we have so many internal elements, well defined at this point in the conversation, but others, what they think, what they believe, there we often see only what we don't agree with. We fail to see their inheritance and the momentum of it from the full breadth of the circumstances which brought them into being, because we see a table not non-table elements which are the truth of their inter being with their environment. The emptiness which comes from the full reality around them, void in the nature we are encountering before us, but part of everything else same as us in the way we can interact.     

As a thought experiment, if we took a child from four hundred years ago and handed them a cellphone they would have no idea what it was, but if we raised them in our modern time, the would share all the traits we might expect save the ones which came from the disposition of their Karmic legacy and genetics. They are not inherently different in principle. The have no inherent knowledge that "this is a phone"  How many hours of human energy and thought went into the phone, how much school, how many meals to fuel those minds, sentient thought is constituent and as the link eloquently said in my opinion
Quote
knowable phenomena without exception are contextually defined composites.
 

 

   

Offline BlackLooter

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #53 on: January 27, 2018, 07:15:40 pm »
From what I am seeing we have a difference of sect on this, I appear to be much closer to the Zen thinking in this regard:
http://thezenuniverse.org/sunyata/


I had a look at the article, but didn't see any real support there for TNH's "interbeing" idea.  "Interbeing" looks to me like a sort of sunyata-lite, for those who find the void a little scary.  :wink1:


What is "the void"?

Does it relate to Buddhism.. or do you mean the void of outerspace?

Or do you mean the void inbetween nature and the universe from Gnosticism?
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Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #54 on: January 28, 2018, 03:56:27 am »
I had a look at the article, but didn't see any real support there for TNH's "interbeing" idea.  "Interbeing" looks to me like a sort of sunyata-lite, for those who find the void a little scary.  :wink1:


TNH has said himself that the delivery method of the inter being teaching he offers is made to reach a wide western audience while maintaining authentic understanding.

I'm not sure he has been successful in that.   In my view "interbeing" strays too far from the essential point of the teachings on sunyata.  The essential point is realising that skandhas and dharmas are transient, conditional and dependent arising.   Not to be grasped at.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 04:02:00 am by Dairy Lama »
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Offline Chaz

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #55 on: January 28, 2018, 06:52:28 am »
I'm not sure he has been successful in that.   In my view "interbeing" strays too far from the essential point of the teachings on sunyata.  The essential point is realising that skandhas and dharmas are transient, conditional and dependent arising.   Not to be grasped at.

I'm with DL on this.  TNH's purpose in his interbeing teachings may be as he says - to reach a wider western audience, but I question whether or not he's retaining "traditional understanding".   

What DL offered by way of describing an essential point is a traditional teaching, straight out of the Heart Sutra.  The skadhas are empty.

If a student is taught in that way, they may not "get it".  Emptiness is a difficult proposition, almost impossible for a novice to really understand, but the seed is planted for future understanding.  Dressing up the teaching, by saying it's being one with everything, serves no useful purpose and probably will confuse more than enlighten.

It is so very simple.  The skandas are emptiness.  In that emptiness there is no eye, ear, nose, sight, sound, smell, etc.    I don't see how you get from that to what TNH teaches.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #56 on: January 28, 2018, 07:47:09 am »
It is so very simple.  The skandas are emptiness.  In that emptiness there is no eye, ear, nose, sight, sound, smell, etc.    I don't see how you get from that to what TNH teaches.

Me neither!
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Offline Anemephistus

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #57 on: January 28, 2018, 04:02:32 pm »
TNH is not teaching the end point of the understanding, he just opens the window with this.

With an overview it may be difficult to see how this might work, but as a person who used the teachings he offered in his writings to see first the truth of my suffering then the possibility that it could end, then a path in the direction that leads to it's end, to be able to envision this end, it's a bit different for me. I spent just over a year with one book of about 300 pages, each time I hit a concept I had trouble with I lived more and looked for it and tested it in my life. I questioned a lot. I spent a lot of time sitting around thinking on this and adopted meditation as a practice.

To be clear, I got clean from a long drug habit, formed working (functional) and lasting relationships, found a job that could function at that time with my life (still working on that to see if it still can), lessened the grip of the attachments to suffering and wrong thinking which had driven me to drugs and suffering in the first place...I changed so much about myself, really the teaching touched my mind, and I was compelled out of pain to understand.  There are a few people who have known me long enough to be aware of the degree to which this change took effect, it was transformative. The insight from practicing this way lead me to see a world which is deeply connected and dependent but I was not where I am now yet with that understanding.

I read the Heart Sutra. The first thing I grasped from it was External emptiness. As you have said "Form is Emptiness" but because of the interconnected dependent nature of things that I saw from my understanding gained through study of Thich Nhat Hanh's work I see this as very accurately described in the link I shared to Zen Universe. 

I also see Internal emptiness when I look. This was not described by Thich Naht Hahn in his work, I am guessing because when one understands this is can be confusing and possibly harmful to them and I have reservation about posting it. It isa lso very eloquently described in the link I shared, My understanding with this was effected by my practice with Thich Naht Hahn's work as well because I already grasped that everything is basically nothing like what we perceive it to be, being due to it's interconnected nature. I learned from the heart sutra that this was also due to the dependence of the senses and the mind, which I knew already is also dependent on causes, all of it is defined with a frame of reference and so it is empty, but it is also everything because if you remove the reference, it is still there. That's why I say there is a nose, there is no other way to say it, if I try to say it in terms of the truth we all see, there is nothing to say. 

I do not see Absolute emptiness which is described as well in the link I shared. I simply do not have the insight for this and have no description of it past that of a stone skipping across a pond. But I think this is what we touch on here:
Quote

“Whatever can be conceptualized is, therefore, relative, and whatever is relative is Sunya, empty. Since absolute inconceivable truth is also Sunya, Sunyata or the void is shared by both Samsara and Nirvana. Ultimately, Nirvana truly realized is Samsara properly understood.”
-Nagarjuna

Since you say that you don't see how one gets from TNH's teachings to Sunyata, perhaps my path is going the right way, maybe not, but it is the only answer I can provide that might have any insight as to the answer. Without the books written by thich nhat hanh, I would never have even looked, this may be or become the case for many, and the disposition I chose from his input was relevant to my understanding of this topic and still will be because I am not anywhere near done. 
 

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #58 on: January 29, 2018, 02:59:23 am »
I read the Heart Sutra. The first thing I grasped from it was External emptiness.

There is nothing in the Heart Sutra about "external emptiness".  The Heart Sutra just describes the emptiness of skandhas and dharmas ( phenomena ), in other words, the emptiness of what we experience.  It's not intended as a basis for metaphysical speculation.  Trying to distinguishing between "internal" and "external" in this context is an unnecessary complication, and completely missing the point.

Since you say that you don't see how one gets from TNH's teachings to Sunyata, perhaps my path is going the right way, maybe not, but it is the only answer I can provide that might have any insight as to the answer. Without the books written by thich nhat hanh, I would never have even looked, this may be or become the case for many, and the disposition I chose from his input was relevant to my understanding of this topic and still will be because I am not anywhere near done.

Clearly you have gained a lot of benefit from TNH's teachings ( I did too ), and that is a good thing.  Just be aware that there are many other teachers and approaches, and there is always more to learn.  It's a journey.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 04:13:49 am by Dairy Lama »
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Offline Chaz

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Re: Wanting and self
« Reply #59 on: January 29, 2018, 10:51:16 am »
I read the Heart Sutra. The first thing I grasped from it was External emptiness.

There is nothing in the Heart Sutra about "external emptiness".  The Heart Sutra just describes the emptiness of skandhas and dharmas ( phenomena ), in other words, the emptiness of what we experience.  It's not intended as a basis for metaphysical speculation.  Trying to distinguishing between "internal" and "external" in this context is an unnecessary complication, and completely missing the point.

Could "External Emptiness" be the same thing as "Empty of Other"  as promoted in the Shentong school?  I hope not - that's a can of worms if ever there was one.

I agree that drawing a line between emptiness of self and other is unneccessary in this discussion.

 


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