Author Topic: dependent arising  (Read 5830 times)

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #30 on: June 27, 2018, 08:53:14 am »
My understanding of the Buddha's teachings of Dependent Origination is within a contextual relation to the Four Noble Truths. With it's foundation in ignorance of these Truths, Dependent Origination progresses on through it's enumerated links all toward the development of conceit. D.O. describes the construction or framing process of ego building. When coupled with a study of The Five Clinging Aggregates it seems clear to me that the teachings are meant to lead to an understanding of dukkha.

When I started this thread in the OP I said I didn't want to get "embroiled in sectarianism" again. But unbeknownst to me I picked a topic that is viewed quite differently by Thervada and Mahayana Buddhists. As Wikipedia states "Generally speaking, in the Mahayana tradition, pratityasamutpada (Sanskrit) is used to refer to the general principle of interdependent causation, whereas in the Theravada tradition, paticcasamuppāda (Pali) is used to refer to the twelve nidanas."

I can't discuss the Theravada view and the twelve nidanas intelligently without some further study (when I have time). However, at first glance it would appear that the Theravada are concerned with individual salvation (release from dukkha) and the Mahayana (zen at least) sees individual salvation as inextricably linked with the universal salvation of all. As I said at the beginning, my view of dependent arising comes almost exclusively from my own meditative experience and I'm not familiar with any Mahayana texts devoted to dependent origination, although I suspect Hue-Yen deals with the subject.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2018, 08:59:26 am by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Chaz

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #31 on: June 27, 2018, 05:44:27 pm »
Scientists think everything was created in the inconceivably remote "past" by the big bang. Christians think creation was accomplished in a few days a couple of thousand years ago. To me it looks more and more like it's happening right now, arising moment to moment.

Yes.

I agree that the phenomenal world is in a constant state of change described as dependant origination (or the Nidannas - same thing).  The change occurs moment to moment.  Each moment passes through each of the 12 links to arise and disolve with the karma created previously, driving toward the next moment.

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #32 on: June 27, 2018, 07:12:37 pm »
By intellectualism I meant conceptual, discursive thinking, which tends to be inherently dualistic. Of course such thinking is dependent upon direct experience and is a kind of direct experience itself. However, experience devoid of intellectualism is not some lower form of experience. In fact intellectual discriminations like lower and higher don't really apply to it.

I wasn't implying discriminations such as 'lower and higher', which are more of a class-conscious, biased form of judgement. I was implying that intellectualism gives meaning to whatever one experiences.

For example, if one were to experience an unusual state of peaceful bliss whilst sitting down meditating, a peace which was more blissful and enlightening than any previous experience, how would one know it was the most blissful experience one had encountered, without applying an intellectual process of comparisons with one's memories of previous experiences?

Of course, I appreciate that an intellectual description of an experience can never be a complete substitute for the experience itself. The best it can do is provide analogies which may or may not be meaningful to a particular individual.

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Do you practice meditation and nonthinking (samadhi)?

I don't spend much time 'sitting down doing nothing', at least not for long periods of more that a few minutes now and again. My emphasis is on 'mindfulness' whilst engaging in all my daily activities, which often consist of natural, organic gardening in a beautiful environment, surrounded by wallabies and kangaroos which I have photographed frequently. However, I often just stare at them peacefully as they stare back at me.

One might consider that to be a type of 'standing up meditation'. I interrupt my gardening activities for a few minutes to stare at a wallaby who appears to be as curious about me as I am about him/her.  :)


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Scientists think everything was created in the inconceivably remote "past" by the big bang. Christians think creation was accomplished in a few days a couple of thousand years ago. To me it looks more and more like it's happening right now, arising moment to moment.

I think science would also agree that everything is arising and changing from moment to moment. Almost every cell in our body is being replicated continuously, at different rates, although there seems to be a lot of uncertainty about the replication of neurons, or brain cells.

That the Buddha is reported to have fasted very seriously for a long period of time, during his quest for enlightenment, I find quite revealing, in the light of some modern experiments which have suggested that the brain creates new neurons during fasting. This appears to be a natural reaction of the human organism for survival, by making the brain more alert in order to recognize possible sources of food.

I can't help wondering if the Buddha's enlightenment under the Bodhi tree was at least partially dependent upon the new immune system and additional neurons which would have been created after he ceased his extreme period of fasting.

Hope this idea is not too confrontational. I tend to have some faith in the benefits of fasting.


Offline BlackLooter

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2018, 08:07:25 pm »
Anything that can be measured is necessarily dependent

As quantitative information is always a partial bit of a whole..


Though I'm still curious how qualitative assertions relate to dependent arising..

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Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #34 on: June 28, 2018, 01:59:29 am »
When I started this thread in the OP I said I didn't want to get "embroiled in sectarianism" again. But unbeknownst to me I picked a topic that is viewed quite differently by Thervada and Mahayana Buddhists. As Wikipedia states "Generally speaking, in the Mahayana tradition, pratityasamutpada (Sanskrit) is used to refer to the general principle of interdependent causation, whereas in the Theravada tradition, paticcasamuppāda (Pali) is used to refer to the twelve nidanas."

There are differences in interpretation ( universal v. personal ), though I suspect they are superficial.   It's similar to the distinction between anatta and sunyata.
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Offline zafrogzen

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #35 on: June 28, 2018, 08:23:46 am »
When I started this thread in the OP I said I didn't want to get "embroiled in sectarianism" again. But unbeknownst to me I picked a topic that is viewed quite differently by Thervada and Mahayana Buddhists. As Wikipedia states "Generally speaking, in the Mahayana tradition, pratityasamutpada (Sanskrit) is used to refer to the general principle of interdependent causation, whereas in the Theravada tradition, paticcasamuppāda (Pali) is used to refer to the twelve nidanas."

There are differences in interpretation ( universal v. personal ), though I suspect they are superficial.   It's similar to the distinction between anatta and sunyata.

Yes, I suspect those two views can be reconciled but I'm woefully unprepared for such a scholarly undertaking.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2018, 09:46:01 am »
I was implying that intellectualism gives meaning to whatever one experiences.

Yes, most Buddhist schools of meditation ascribe to samatha/vipassana -- where samatha (samadhi/non-thinking) leads naturally to vipassana (insight or intellectual understanding). This connection cannot be overstated. The unique experience of meditative samadhi stimulates intuitive insights that result in intellectual, conceptual understanding. That intellectual understanding is usually framed in whatever concepts one is already familiar with. However, such concepts are really inadequate when it comes to such experiences.

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I don't spend much time 'sitting down doing nothing', at least not for long periods of more that a few minutes now and again. My emphasis is on 'mindfulness' whilst engaging in all my daily activities

I think we've had this conversation in the past and it didn't lead anywhere. I too practice mindfulness and so forth as you do, but I also try to sit zazen (meditation) a couple hours a day and all day every Sunday, with longer retreats on occasion. Not for everyone.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2018, 10:30:58 am by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2018, 04:32:14 pm »
I think we've had this conversation in the past and it didn't lead anywhere. I too practice mindfulness and so forth as you do, but I also try to sit zazen (meditation) a couple hours a day and all day every Sunday, with longer retreats on occasion. Not for everyone.

I should have mentioned, whilst I rarely 'sit down doing nothing' for any significant period, I do 'lie down doing nothing' for about 7 hours every day, almost without exception.  :wink1:

Offline BlackLooter

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #38 on: June 28, 2018, 09:03:49 pm »
So meditation is dependent on the mode of meditation.. or the person observing..

Any causal relation is necessarily dependent.
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Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #39 on: June 29, 2018, 01:54:22 am »
When I started this thread in the OP I said I didn't want to get "embroiled in sectarianism" again. But unbeknownst to me I picked a topic that is viewed quite differently by Thervada and Mahayana Buddhists. As Wikipedia states "Generally speaking, in the Mahayana tradition, pratityasamutpada (Sanskrit) is used to refer to the general principle of interdependent causation, whereas in the Theravada tradition, paticcasamuppāda (Pali) is used to refer to the twelve nidanas."

There are differences in interpretation ( universal v. personal ), though I suspect they are superficial.   It's similar to the distinction between anatta and sunyata.

Yes, I suspect those two views can be reconciled but I'm woefully unprepared for such a scholarly undertaking.

I don't think you have to be a scholar, it's just trying to understand similarities and differences.  For me the important bit is to notice the conditionality of our experience, the transience and instability.   
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #40 on: June 29, 2018, 08:01:39 am »
Of course we are all conditioned from the time we were developing in our mother's womb.

Most people, if not all, are either Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Agnostics, Atheists, and so on, because of their conditioning, and the various influences during their upbringing and education..

A sensible and intelligent approach to religious education would be to teach Comparative Religion in all schools, and allow the students to choose which religion, if any, they find most meaningful.
But even this system would not necessarily be ideal, unless one could pick and choose, from each religion, which principles one finds the most meaningful.

In other words, to be precise, there are as many religions in the world as there are people. However, when the differences in religious views are relatively small, among a particular group, an all-encompassing name is ascribed, such as Buddhism, or Christianity, or Islamism.

When the differences are even smaller, a number of differing sects are created, such as Protestantism, Catholicism, Zen Buddhism, Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism, Sunnis, Shias and Kharijites Islamism, to mention just a few.

Within each of these sects, there will naturally be a number of different, individual views, but not necessarily so radical as to justify the creation of yet another sect.

My own conditioning is towards an unbiased scientific view, which tends to exclude a belief in a Creator God, but does not exclude all concepts of spirituality.

Of all the religions I've investigated, Buddhism is the most meaningful for me. However, when I came across the Kalama Sutta, my interest peaked. I was amazed that a religious teaching would state, 'Don't believe something just because it is stated in the scriptures.' Wow! That's the religion for me, I thought, or perhaps more precisely, the Philosophy for me.  :wink1:

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #41 on: June 29, 2018, 09:37:42 am »
I think we've had this conversation in the past and it didn't lead anywhere. I too practice mindfulness and so forth as you do, but I also try to sit zazen (meditation) a couple hours a day and all day every Sunday, with longer retreats on occasion. Not for everyone.

I should have mentioned, whilst I rarely 'sit down doing nothing' for any significant period, I do 'lie down doing nothing' for about 7 hours every day, almost without exception.  :wink1:


I wish it was as easy as falling asleep! Serious meditation, particularly zazen, is both physically and mentally strenuous. I've had to practice very hard for even a little bit of realization -- but I'm probably slower than most. Someone sharper and more spiritually gifted might find it easier.

BTW, with zen at least, most folks start out attracted to it as philosophy and reading about it, but eventually begin to practice.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #42 on: June 29, 2018, 09:53:58 am »
When I started this thread in the OP I said I didn't want to get "embroiled in sectarianism" again. But unbeknownst to me I picked a topic that is viewed quite differently by Thervada and Mahayana Buddhists. As Wikipedia states "Generally speaking, in the Mahayana tradition, pratityasamutpada (Sanskrit) is used to refer to the general principle of interdependent causation, whereas in the Theravada tradition, paticcasamuppāda (Pali) is used to refer to the twelve nidanas."

There are differences in interpretation ( universal v. personal ), though I suspect they are superficial.   It's similar to the distinction between anatta and sunyata.

Yes, I suspect those two views can be reconciled but I'm woefully unprepared for such a scholarly undertaking.

I don't think you have to be a scholar, it's just trying to understand similarities and differences.  For me the important bit is to notice the conditionality of our experience, the transience and instability.   

I should at least know what the 12 nidanas are and understand them in order to make a comparison. I agree that impermanence and conditionality (dependence) are important, but right now, for me, the key to actual practice is to let go of such concepts and stay in the present moment with the present situation, "just this" as they say in zen, without getting spun out into individual concerns over an illusory past and future. Then it turns out that impermanence is not so bad after all.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Chaz

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #43 on: June 29, 2018, 11:26:15 am »
When I started this thread in the OP I said I didn't want to get "embroiled in sectarianism" again. But unbeknownst to me I picked a topic that is viewed quite differently by Thervada and Mahayana Buddhists. As Wikipedia states "Generally speaking, in the Mahayana tradition, pratityasamutpada (Sanskrit) is used to refer to the general principle of interdependent causation, whereas in the Theravada tradition, paticcasamuppāda (Pali) is used to refer to the twelve nidanas."

There are differences in interpretation ( universal v. personal ), though I suspect they are superficial.   It's similar to the distinction between anatta and sunyata.

Yes, I suspect those two views can be reconciled but I'm woefully unprepared for such a scholarly undertaking.

I don't think you have to be a scholar, it's just trying to understand similarities and differences.  For me the important bit is to notice the conditionality of our experience, the transience and instability.   

I should at least know what the 12 nidanas are and understand them in order to make a comparison. I agree that impermanence and conditionality (dependence) are important, but right now, for me, the key to actual practice is to let go of such concepts and stay in the present moment with the present situation, "just this" as they say in zen, without getting spun out into individual concerns over an illusory past and future. Then it turns out that impermanence is not so bad after all.

Heck, figuring out the 12 nidanas is pretty simple I'd start by just looking it up in Wikipedia.  That's always good an introduction to the nidanas as you're likely to find anywhere.

Offline BlackLooter

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Re: dependent arising
« Reply #44 on: June 29, 2018, 05:38:56 pm »
Of course we are all conditioned from the time we were developing in our mother's womb.

Most people, if not all, are either Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Agnostics, Atheists, and so on, because of their conditioning, and the various influences during their upbringing and education..

A sensible and intelligent approach to religious education would be to teach Comparative Religion in all schools, and allow the students to choose which religion, if any, they find most meaningful.
But even this system would not necessarily be ideal, unless one could pick and choose, from each religion, which principles one finds the most meaningful.

I agree with this 100%

There would be an interesting thread discussing the different tenets of religions which people ascribe to.
Freedom reigns over everything!

 


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