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A Mosaic of Traditions - One Virtual Sangha => The Dharma Express => Topic started by: zafrogzen on June 12, 2018, 02:30:18 pm

Title: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on June 12, 2018, 02:30:18 pm
Since I keep getting visits to my website from this board, I’m going try posting here again. It looks like it could use a little energy here and maybe get some new voices. Hopefully I can refrain from getting embroiled in sectarianism again.

A topic which has recently piqued my interest (after a flash of insight) is dependent arising. The idea was apparently around before the Buddha’s time, but Buddhists took it up and developed it over the years. Essentially it’s the view that everything is spontaneously arising together in the present moment and each of us is dependent on everything else for our existence. Although it seems really obvious it is often overlooked, especially here in the West where individualism reigns supreme. Dependent arising ties into both non-self and impermanence, as well as emptiness and the One Mind of Zen. It also shows that cause and effect are not so simple and straightforward as our linear models presume.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da)
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: stillpointdancer on June 13, 2018, 02:50:48 am
Hi zafrogzen. An interesting topic, but one that abounds in seeming contradiction, probably through having to use English words to describe things. In one sense 'spontaneous' cannot occur where there is dependence on anything else, or it couldn't be spontaneous, so is this a good place to start the conversation?

For example, I think that everything is constantly changing, and nothing is in isolation, even our sense of self. We may think that we are separate and independent, but what would we be if we were born in silence, in darkness, with nothing to touch or sense in any way? It is only in relation to other things and other people that we are what we are. And if we were now placed in a sensory deprivation tank, how long would we keep our sanity, or sense of self?

Where for me everything is 'constantly changing', is this the same as 'spontaneously coming into existence'? I can imagine nothing being fixed, but not something coming into existence that doesn't depend on conditions for it to arise.

Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ on June 13, 2018, 05:23:29 am
This concept of 'dependent arising' is why Buddhism often appeals to rationalists and scientists in the West. It's a truth that can be verified through the scientific process. Everything we can imagine, is subject to a 'cause and effect' process.

For example, whatever we see with our eyes is a result of photons of light being reflected off the surfaces we are looking at. These photons pass through the lens of the eye to the retina that converts the light into electrical signals. These electrical signals are further processed as they travel along the optic nerve from the retina to the brain where the information continues to be processed in accordance with our individual characteristics, upbringing, biases, prejudices and conditioning.

What we see, and perhaps imagine as reality, is as much a process of the individual and unique processing of photonic stimuli, as it is of reality. It's impossible to separate the two.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ on June 13, 2018, 05:41:53 am
In one sense 'spontaneous' cannot occur where there is dependence on anything else, or it couldn't be spontaneous, so is this a good place to start the conversation?

Hi Stillpointdancer,
The word 'spontaneous' has a number of meanings. It can mean, 'having an open, natural, and uninhibited manner'. Some synonyms are, 'natural, uninhibited, relaxed, unselfconscious, unaffected, easy, free and easy'.

According to current theories of Physics, nothing can travel faster that the speed of light. That speed is so fast that anything involving light, or the transmission of electrical signals, is spontaneous from the human perspective, without the use of elaborate scientific instruments that can measure nanoseconds.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on June 13, 2018, 09:47:29 am
My use of the word "spontaneous" was itself spontaneous, but it does express the way dependent arising appears to me. I wrote -- "...everything is spontaneously arising together in the present moment"

My dictionary defines "spontaneous" as -- "Arising from internal cause: resulting from internal or natural processes, with no apparent external influence."

Individually it could be said that there is dependence on external causes in our arising, but I referred to "everything," the whole, not any particular part. If it is the "whole" there could be nothing "external" to act on it, so by the dictionary definition at least, and in the sense I was referring to, dependent arising is spontaneous.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: stillpointdancer on June 14, 2018, 02:10:16 am
I wrote -- "...everything is spontaneously arising together in the present moment"
My dictionary defines "spontaneous" as -- "Arising from internal cause: resulting from internal or natural processes, with no apparent external influence."

Individually it could be said that there is dependence on external causes in our arising, but I referred to "everything," the whole, not any particular part. If it is the "whole" there could be nothing "external" to act on it, so by the dictionary definition at least, and in the sense I was referring to, dependent arising is spontaneous.
I can see the 'arising from the internal cause' bit, where that there is no 'apparent' external influence. I assume though that there must be something arising in dependence of something else or else truly spontaneous occurrences change the whole ball game. If things arise spontaneously, without a link to anything that comes before, how can we break the link? Or is that the point, that there are no links, so we can rid ourselves of seeming links which continue to hold us back, even though they don't exist?
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Anemephistus on June 14, 2018, 07:51:26 am
Spontaneous or with certain cause is not the most relevant thing to dependent arising, definition "a" or "b" don't bring about a better understanding of the concept. If we were trying to track every butterfly which caused a thunderstorm we would need to discard the idea of "spontaneous", and I think we would be overwhelmed when it rained. If we over emphasize the idea of spontaneous we will be mystified like children at simple happenings attributable to obvious causes.

Why is our relative experience subject to the effects of our objective existence? We inherit genes which give dispositions to certain things, we inherit ideas from others which we either accept or reject, we build on those acceptances and rejections and form views in alignment with underlying concepts we built onto as we learned and accepted them. By the time we are old enough to evaluate those things and not simply be caught in the storm of one thing after another forming these complex dispositions the dispositions are deeply ingrained and can seem invisible to us.

As a child I owned a cat, I loved that cat very much and was very attached to him. He was hit by a car as happens to indoor/outdoor cats. I have always been kind to cats and loved them. As a young man I was bit by a dog, it tore my navel open and it hurt very badly even though the dog was just trying to play. I am uncomfortable around dogs that I don't know even when they seem friendly they make me uneasy. If I go to a friend's house for the first time and they have a large dog I will seem uneasy to them if they are paying attention. If they are not paying close attention they make think that I don't like their house, or I don't want to be there. It is especially bad when the dogs are poorly trained and jump up, I usually leave rather quickly under those circumstances.

Think of all the questions and dispositions in that cycle! For them they have to wonder  "I thought we were friends at work...maybe he doesn't actually like me as a friend? Every time he is here he leaves and he never stays for dinner when I offer!"  for me it looks like " Great, a big dog clawing me when it jumps. I hope they put it outside, if they don't I'm leaving." I feel angry at people and feel irritation when they say "Oh he's friendly, he just likes you!"

It goes on and on, next time they invite me over maybe I fell like making an excuse to try and avoid it without being rude. I like some dogs, but they have to be trained and I respect that others love them. What if I tell my friend "I don't like how your dog acts" ?  Then they think " My dog is a good dog" and they feel their love for the animal and they feel frustration with me over my implication that the dog does not act as it should and naturally figure I blame them.

 If I leave all of this un-evaluated for my own part I could lose friends, damage relationships, decide dogs are bad and blame them... The spontaneous part here for me is why the dog bit me in the first place, I think she was trying to play, but why? A lifetime of this disposition came from that circumstance and i don't know what all it has effected in my life. In the moment where I feel anger over a persons pet that anger is dependently arisen from the circumstance of having been bitten.


Quote
"Conditioned by the senses, contact comes into being. Because of the contact between the eye and color, the ear and sound, and the other senses and their objects, there arises feeling. Feeling means the quality of pleasantness, unpleasantness, or neither pleasantness nor unpleasantness involved in every mind moment, in every moment of contact. Whether it is contact through the five physical sense doors or through the mind, feeling is always present, and is called, therefore, a common mental factor. Conditioned by contact, there arises feeling; that is, the quality of pleasantness, unpleasantness or neutrality." 



The twelve links of dependent origination or arising:

https://tricycle.org/magazine/dependent-origination/ (https://tricycle.org/magazine/dependent-origination/)

I read a great discourse on this subject.

http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/G%20-%20TNH/TNH/The%20Twelve%20Links%20of%20Dependent%20Origination/The%20Twelve%20Links%20of%20Dependent%20Origination.pdf (http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/G%20-%20TNH/TNH/The%20Twelve%20Links%20of%20Dependent%20Origination/The%20Twelve%20Links%20of%20Dependent%20Origination.pdf)
 
   
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on June 14, 2018, 09:17:11 am
Internal and external are probably only relevant from the viewpoint of our individual mind and senses. The word "spontaneous" is bound to look wrong to those who are focused on Karma and past causes of present arising. My own view is somewhat limited since it is based almost entirely on my own meditative experience and I am only now beginning to read up on the subject.

To me the past only exists in the present -- a present where everything is in constant change and movement, or at least would appear to be. These changes are revolving (thankfully) according to natural laws of cause and effect. So dependent arising can be seen from the viewpoint of those changes, with one thing leading to another.

Another characteristic I see in dependent arising is simultaneity. At any given moment an almost infinite number of events and changes are occurring simultaneously. Obviously we are dependent on everything else for our existence so cause and effect is likely occurring spatially as well. This side of dependent arising could be just as crucial as causes from past events. Recognition of such interconnectedness is sorely needed in a world where separation and competition have become so destructive.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on June 14, 2018, 09:30:50 am
Still Point wrote,
Quote
If things arise spontaneously, without a link to anything that comes before, how can we break the link? Or is that the point, that there are no links, so we can rid ourselves of seeming links which continue to hold us back, even though they don't exist?

Ha, ha, I like that. Perhaps there are links and there aren't, depending....
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Pixie on June 14, 2018, 12:25:35 pm
Hi boys,  << waves>>

I highly recommend this 24 minute talk about Dependent Origination by Ajahn Amaro:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-wIGlgmgpY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-wIGlgmgpY)


_/|\_
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Anemephistus on June 15, 2018, 12:41:02 pm
Internal and external are probably only relevant from the viewpoint of our individual mind and senses. The word "spontaneous" is bound to look wrong to those who are focused on Karma and past causes of present arising. My own view is somewhat limited since it is based almost entirely on my own meditative experience and I am only now beginning to read up on the subject.

To me the past only exists in the present -- a present where everything is in constant change and movement, or at least would appear to be. These changes are revolving (thankfully) according to natural laws of cause and effect. So dependent arising can be seen from the viewpoint of those changes, with one thing leading to another.

Another characteristic I see in dependent arising is simultaneity. At any given moment an almost infinite number of events and changes are occurring simultaneously. Obviously we are dependent on everything else for our existence so cause and effect is likely occurring spatially as well. This side of dependent arising could be just as crucial as causes from past events. Recognition of such interconnectedness is sorely needed in a world where separation and competition have become so destructive.

Well said.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: stillpointdancer on June 16, 2018, 03:30:31 am

I highly recommend this 24 minute talk about Dependent Origination by Ajahn Amaro:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-wIGlgmgpY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-wIGlgmgpY)

Except that this talk is about the simplistic linear habits-feelings arising-action that zafrogzen was highlighting when he said "It also shows that cause and effect are not so simple and straightforward as our linear models presume." Ajan Amoro's whole talk was about the straightforward linear model that I had assumed to be the whole case. I'm interested in zafrogzen's  simultaneity and how this opens up a new way of looking at dependent origination.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VisuddhiRaptor on June 16, 2018, 03:38:40 am
My use of the word "spontaneous" was itself spontaneous, but it does express the way dependent arising appears to me. I wrote -- "...everything is spontaneously arising together in the present moment"

This shows a lack of enlightenment in respect to what is essential. Its just drivel lusting over creation.  :scratch:
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on June 16, 2018, 10:02:54 am
My use of the word "spontaneous" was itself spontaneous, but it does express the way dependent arising appears to me. I wrote -- "...everything is spontaneously arising together in the present moment"

This shows a lack of enlightenment in respect to what is essential. Its just drivel lusting over creation.  :scratch:

I'm curious -- what do you think is "essential."
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on June 16, 2018, 10:43:11 am

I highly recommend this 24 minute talk about Dependent Origination by Ajahn Amaro:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-wIGlgmgpY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-wIGlgmgpY)

Except that this talk is about the simplistic linear habits-feelings arising-action that zafrogzen was highlighting when he said "It also shows that cause and effect are not so simple and straightforward as our linear models presume." Ajan Amoro's whole talk was about the straightforward linear model that I had assumed to be the whole case. I'm interested in zafrogzen's  simultaneity and how this opens up a new way of looking at dependent origination.

I like Ajahn Amaro. I sat with him and listened to him talk when he was living near here. I felt totally at one with him in person. I also think his analysis of dependent origination makes perfect sense, especially the part about staying at the level of just "feeling" and not falling into desire. I'd interpret that as staying in the present (stillpoint) and not getting involved in ideas of past and future, which are just that -- "ideas" and not this present reality. That moment of stillness is where a new way of looking at dependent origination can open up and we realize that our separate individuality is not as separate as we imagined.

I must say, however, that getting rid of desire is very difficult, if not impossible, even for a monk. To try to do that, while admirable, looks to me like another desire connected to one's (seemingly) separate individuality.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: stillpointdancer on June 17, 2018, 03:17:26 am
Yes, we always discussed dependent origination in terms of looking for opportunities to find a point in the linear model to work on. We even called it a bardo at one time, a space, albeit small, to work on your reaction to feelings arising as a result of stuff happening.

In terms of past and future we also visualised dependent origination as part of a cycle, where past reactions and behavior reinforce present reactions. By working on present reactions we can bring changes to the cycle, and influence those in the future, thus breaking the cycle (at least in theory).

And of course, zafrogzen, the stillness is the still point that provides the opportunity for change. It's something that's intrigued me for a number of years, hence the tag 'stillpointdancer'' There is a different quality to the experience on the rare occasions when the still point happens, and it does indeed feel as if the 'simultaneity' kicks in.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Pixie on June 17, 2018, 08:36:27 am
Quote from: Zafrogzen
I like Ajahn Amaro. I sat with him and listened to him talk when he was living near here. I felt totally at one with him in person.

Yes, he's very nice. I've been to quite a few of his talks over the past few years . I also asked for and received some practice advice from him during one of the tea breaks in between a talk and the question and answer session afterwards.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on June 20, 2018, 09:32:57 am
Some things are so obvious that we tend to overlook them. It should be obvious that we are dependent on everything else for our very existence. Instead there's this focus on our individual past and future, as if they had some actual existence somewhere other than in our thoughts. It should also be obvious that we are born and die right here and that the world continues to exist after we die -- just as it existed before our seemingly separate individuality arose. We arise and disappear in this world totally dependent upon it. That this present world, the very source of our existence, continues on while our separate self dies and disappears should be a source of great comfort, but most religions (including Buddhism) are preoccupied with escaping it, one way or another, instead of nurturing and caring for it.

In zen it's said that we have to die before we die. That's where we find our true connection to the rest of the world, the source of our apparent individuality, the world from which we arise moment to moment and into which we die. So when we do zazen (meditation) we practice dying and letting go of individual concerns. It's simple. But also very difficult for most of us.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: BlackLooter on June 20, 2018, 11:32:34 pm
We are here as a material...and the medium between materials is some cosmic force..or communication..Like the laws of physics for example.. You can see into the physics with your mind to matter connection..

Material connections are true..

In independent arising people think that they can make choices without it affecting other people..and other things..other than the self/mind complex.. that they inhabit..Over the course of things..we will find .. through technical appeal.. a new way to involve ourselves...within other peoples lives...For example virtual reality..and virtual projections.. We are already inhabiting a world where Skype is very popular.. And so how is one supposed to be independent from other things...all your actions are signals that fill eternity as a memory...which lasts for ever...not only just an echo..but a permanent etch in time..and the now and future cosm...which is a net.. which is made of intra-relatable matter..

The Now is a projection from your being...Self mind.. When those projections touch people..they are officially in your life..It works as a thought to thought basis..

If these are all examples of Dependent Origination..

Then my question..is are there any valid examples in logic or reason that confirm the independent origination theory?
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on June 21, 2018, 05:26:04 pm

Then my question..is are there any valid examples in logic or reason that confirm the independent origination theory?

I wrote -- "It should be obvious that we are dependent on everything else for our very existence." That's not obvious to you?

I said "everything," but to give just one example for you, how would you have posted this without everything that went into making your computer and the internet possible? It would take pages to enumerate just that one dependency.

In the zen meal chant we remember how the food comes to us and the enumerable beings that made it possible. Hello.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: BlackLooter on June 22, 2018, 01:20:15 am
This is a quote that I found today:

Quote
We are members of a vast orchestra in which each living instrument is essential to the complementary and harmonious playing of the whole
from Kinship with All Life, by J Allen Boone
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: stillpointdancer on June 22, 2018, 02:21:17 am
It's interesting that the world of physics is in two minds about causality. Quantum mechanics has it that events occur in a fixed causal order, with different observers always agreeing on those events. General relativity, however, has every observer their own notion of present and future, allowing different people to disagree about the causal ordering of certain events (New Scientist 16th June 2018).

I remember being somewhat dazed and confused on first finding out that in a vacuum matter can spontaneously appear and disappear, in contrast to my science lessons where I was taught that matter can be neither created nor destroyed. As it happened, it helped me cut through some of the problems I had been experiencing in meditation and led to one of those mini-insight experiences that happen every now and then.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: philboyd on June 23, 2018, 05:57:55 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.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: BlackLooter on June 23, 2018, 06:27:24 pm
But the question is why does Duckka arise at all?
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: philboyd on June 23, 2018, 08:29:13 pm
But the question is why does Duckka arise at all?
[/quote

These teachings will help understanding
Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
Paticca-samuppada-vighanga Sutta
They can be found at accesstoinsight.org
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: BlackLooter on June 23, 2018, 09:31:01 pm
Scriptures are one thing..I've read a few Buddhist scriptures..

But hearing what people around the globe think about is important..
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ on June 24, 2018, 04:30:31 am
Some things are so obvious that we tend to overlook them. It should be obvious that we are dependent on everything else for our very existence. Instead there's this focus on our individual past and future, as if they had some actual existence somewhere other than in our thoughts. It should also be obvious that we are born and die right here and that the world continues to exist after we die -- just as it existed before our seemingly separate individuality arose. We arise and disappear in this world totally dependent upon it. That this present world, the very source of our existence, continues on while our separate self dies and disappears should be a source of great comfort, but most religions (including Buddhism) are preoccupied with escaping it, one way or another, instead of nurturing and caring for it.

This is a major philosphical problem, the part I've highlighted in bold. My most optimistic interpretation is that Buddhism is preoccupied with escaping from the usual, illusory concepts of the world, which are the source of all our problems.

The true, or ideal processes of the scientific methodology, attempt to dispel these illusory concepts, through repeated experimentation and genuine attempts to falsify any particular theory.
If all attempts to falsify a theory (or hypothesis) have failed, and all repeated experiments, under controlled conditions, produce the same results, then we accept the theory as 'truth', at least provisionally.
Usually, a few years, decades or centuries later, our theories are shown to be false or inaccurate, almost without exception.

When I first came across the hypothesis of the existence of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, I was amazed.
For several decades, it was assumed that the expansion of the universe was slowing down, and at some point the expansion would stop and the universe would begin to contract. The late Stephen Hawking used to believe this.

However, as a result of improved telescope technology, such as the Hubble telescope in outer space, it became apparent, from the observation of very distant galaxies, that the expansion of the universe is actually still accelerating, 14 billion years after the Big Bang.

It would seem that our most fundamental theories of Physics are wrong, at least wrong on the very large scale of the universe.

On the other hand, maybe our current theories are not wrong. Maybe the reason for the accelerating expansion of the universe, is due to an invisible and undetectable type of matter and energy which has a gravitational effect but doesn't chemically interact with the matter and energy which we know.

The significance of this issue is that the total quantity of this invisible and undetectable matter and energy, which we've named Dark Matter and Dark Energy, has to represent 95% of all matter and energy in the universe, in order to maintain the truth of our current theories of Physics and Astrophysics.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on June 26, 2018, 07:44:20 pm
Dependent arising of the sort I elucidated earlier, dependent on everything else in this present moment, only appears when the self is dissolved in the immediate environment, with subject and object no longer differentiated. This cannot be grasped intellectually, but can only be experienced directly.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ on June 27, 2018, 02:38:30 am
Dependent arising of the sort I elucidated earlier, dependent on everything else in this present moment, only appears when the self is dissolved in the immediate environment, with subject and object no longer differentiated. This cannot be grasped intellectually, but can only be experienced directly.

Zafrogzen,
You seem to be making a dualistic distinction between intellectualism and experience, as though the two are not connected and not dependent on each other.

I would suggest, as a reasonable deduction, that experience devoid of intellectualism, is the experience of non-human animals.

Intellectualism is a unique characteristic of the Homo Sapiens animal.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on June 27, 2018, 07:29:42 am
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.

Do you practice meditation and nonthinking (samadhi)?

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.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen 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.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Chaz 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.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ 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.

Quote
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.  :)


Quote
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.

Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: BlackLooter 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..

Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Dairy Lama 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.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen 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.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen 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.

Quote
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.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ 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:
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: BlackLooter 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.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Dairy Lama 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.   
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ 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:
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen 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.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen 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.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Chaz 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.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: BlackLooter 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.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: stillpointdancer on June 30, 2018, 03:46:32 am
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.
They are important, but once you understand this there is no further need to dwell on them and so, as you say, you let them go, or rather let go of fixating on them. All we need to know is that all is change, but we are able to influence the changes in ourselves by what we think and do. Impermanence becomes our best hope.

Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on June 30, 2018, 10:35:50 am

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.

I agree that Wikipedia sums up much of the basic concept and history of the 12 nidanas -- but they’re not “pretty simple.” Apparently the 12 nidanas can be looked at in a great variety of ways -- up and down, sideways, one at time, all together, all at once, etc etc. Just about every prominent Buddhist teacher and philosopher has commented on them and come up with different interpretations.

Besides Wikipedia, the links on this thread, such as those by Ajahn Amaro and Thich Nhat Hahn, are excellent. As I was looking into this material, I realized I’d already encountered it long ago and had forgotten most of it.

What came to mind almost immediately is how in the Theravada view, or at least the Thai Forest view, the weak link in the chain is at the point of “feeling” and how that is similar to my emphasis on the “present moment.” If one can remain right here, with the current sensations, not just of the body but the immediate environment as well (in zen the eyes are open in meditation) then the horizontal (linear) view of past and future, cause and effect, is cut off and what could be called a “vertical” view opens up -- where one can directly experience what in zen is referred to as the “true nature.” It’s also at that point that the Theravada and Mahayana part ways, with the latter launching off into such notions as the “Buddha Mind” while the Theravada (perhaps wisely) remain focused on the mechanics of realization.

I think it's important to note that in order to stay at the level of immediate, present feeling, devoid of reactions and thoughts, it’s essential to adopt the mental and physical posture of meditation where “emptiness” is not merely a philosophical concept but an actual experience -- or what Vincent RJ somewhat dismissively calls “sitting down doing nothing.”


Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ on July 01, 2018, 06:30:42 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.

I agree with this 100%

There would be an interesting thread discussing the different tenets of religions which people ascribe to.

Well, thank you! It's unusual for someone to completely agree with me on this forum.  :)
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ on July 01, 2018, 06:42:52 am
I think it's important to note that in order to stay at the level of immediate, present feeling, devoid of reactions and thoughts, it’s essential to adopt the mental and physical posture of meditation where “emptiness” is not merely a philosophical concept but an actual experience -- or what Vincent RJ somewhat dismissively calls “sitting down doing nothing.”

How can emptiness be an experience? That just doesn't make sense. Emptiness must surely be a complete lack of experience.  :wink1:
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 01, 2018, 06:58:04 am
When the bottom drops out of a container it's said to be empty. The container is your present awareness or "experience." If that ceased you would be oblivious or asleep.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ on July 01, 2018, 03:59:53 pm
When the bottom drops out of a container it's said to be empty. The container is your present awareness or "experience." If that ceased you would be oblivious or asleep.

Sure! It is said to be empty, but one doesn't have to 'sit doing nothing' for several hours in order to realize that.

The reality is, nothing is really empty, not even a vacuum. We are just unable to see most of the stuff that surrounds us. We can't even see the air we breathe, although we can feel it as we breathe.

Other stuff, such as the electromagnetic waves that allow me to communicate with you, using my computer, are completely undedectable with any of our senses, yet we understand intellectually that such invisible stuff exists.

To get back to your container analogy, if the container were full of honey, and the bottom of the container were to drop out, wouldn't there still be some honey sticking to the sides of the container?  :wink1:
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: stillpointdancer on July 02, 2018, 04:47:16 am
The 'empty' times would be those when we drop out of conscious thought, when things become timeless. We only notice them when we come back to thoughts.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ on July 02, 2018, 07:00:00 am
The 'empty' times would be those when we drop out of conscious thought, when things become timeless. We only notice them when we come back to thoughts.

A bit like those first few seconds after we awake from a good night's sleep, would you say?  :wink1:
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 02, 2018, 08:28:10 am
Vincent,

OK, so don't practice formal meditation if you see no point in it. It's not unusual for folks who haven't really practiced to think they do it all the time anyway, lying down or whatever, and that they already know all about it. As I said earlier, it's not for everyone. Serious meditation makes changes to the brain. It can even effect a few people adversely.

The longer I practice, the more I feel like I'm only just beginning.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 02, 2018, 09:26:26 am
The 'empty' times would be those when we drop out of conscious thought, when things become timeless. We only notice them when we come back to thoughts.

Yes, we drop out of "conscious thought," but I see consciousness itself, or "awareness," as actually becoming more acute once it is "empty" of images and discursive thoughts. That's when the "bliss" can kick in -- which we can never get enough of once it has been tasted, even if only for a moment.

I think that the real fruit though is seeing dependent arising and our true ... whatever you want to call it.

This all sounds rather spacey. But this practice can bring about a new "mindfulness," where subject and object are one and knots are untied of their own accord. Then we can begin to help heal this interconnected world in our own small way.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ on July 02, 2018, 05:48:38 pm
Vincent,

OK, so don't practice formal meditation if you see no point in it. It's not unusual for folks who haven't really practiced to think they do it all the time anyway, lying down or whatever, and that they already know all about it. As I said earlier, it's not for everyone. Serious meditation makes changes to the brain. It can even effect a few people adversely.

Zafrogzen,
I wouldn't describe formal meditation as being 'not for everyone', as you've mentioned a couple of times, but rather, 'not for all circumstances'. There's a difference.

It's more a matter of priorities. How do you want to spend your time? If one is leading a hectic life full of concerns and worries, then 'sitting down doing nothing' for an hour or so each day might well be justified and be of noticeable benefit.

I recall my situation many years ago when I landed a job in the Public Service as an office clerk. I found that having to contend with a mass of unfamiliar regulations and rules, rather disturbing and disquieting.

However, I'd previously been interested in Hatha Yoga, which I'd practiced now and again, just out of interest, so, during this initial period as an office worker, I spent part of the lunch break each day, standing on my head in a Yoga pose, with my feet up against a wall. This had a very noticeable effect of clearing my mind.

I imagine if I were ever captured by terrorists or put in prison for any reason, I would probably sit down quietly meditating, all day long.

Quote
The longer I practice, the more I feel like I'm only just beginning.

Sounds like your progress is rather slow.  :wink1:
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Anemephistus on July 04, 2018, 08:30:11 am
The reality we live in has a different version for every sentient being. We coin this "experience" but it is more than that in many ways. The governing principles of being similar creatures which interact with similar internally driven stimuli make us subject to several truths. How we reflect on truth, what shape that reflection takes, and how effective it is in bringing serenity may differ. A portion of all of my mental energy is always directed at trying to engage what I know to be true in any situation unless I lose sight of that. In a way life is a meditation for me when I am putting the right effort into it.

Everyone is looking here I think
One stands on his head, the other takes a drink of water, the third sits quietly in his room
three find peace.   

If we hope to be wise then I think right and wrong for a person are not decided in terms of cause to effect, but in terms of effect to cause. It seems like a moral person who seeks to find truth and act in accordance with the wisdom of the teaching asks first "what effect will this have" before they cause something to happen. We are not perfect at using our understanding to anticipate every outcome and so things do not always happen in the way we think they will.

As far as I can tell, the teaching of De-pendant co-arising (dependent origination)  is a tool to be used in order to understand internal fabrications and causes in order to determine what makes everyone suffer so that we can find freedom from the many loops we get caught in.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote a very thorough discourse on this topic. Which I feel at 112 pages is very worth reading. If we want to transform iron into steel we have to have a recipe, we have to understand the nature of the ingredients. I think the same is true of suffering into non-suffering, understanding both is very important. I am not sure it matters if that understanding comes from walking, sitting, or eating, I think we just have to steer life in the direction to be prepared to find it when it presents itself and so we have to first understand what we are looking for. I think this has the part of the answer to that where the OP's subject is concerned:

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/shapeofsuffering.pdf (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/shapeofsuffering.pdf)

“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
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 04, 2018, 10:15:59 am
Thanks. That's a lot of reading and analysis. I'll check it out but it might take awhile.

Zen is much more straightforward -- just empty out, turn around, and see what's always been present -- our true home. Unfortunately not as easy as it sounds.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 04, 2018, 04:12:37 pm

In a way life is a meditation for me when I am putting the right effort into it.

Everyone is looking here I think
One stands on his head, the other takes a drink of water, the third sits quietly in his room
three find peace.   



BTW I was told that Thai Forest Monks like Thanissaro Bhikkhu get up really early every morning and practice sitting meditation until their noon mealtime. Why do they even bother?
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Chaz on July 04, 2018, 05:19:14 pm


BTW I was told that Thai Forest Monks like Thanissaro Bhikkhu get up really early every morning and practice sitting meditation until their noon mealtime.

Tibetan monastics have a similar schedule.  They're up with the sun and practice in private until breakfast.  After that there are group practices with work periods folowing that until lunch, and so on.

Lunch is the last meanl of the day and followed by work periods, personal and group practice.

I suppose they have to make time to engage in sexual abuse, too.  :lmfao:

Quote
Why do they even bother?

Kind of a strange question.  Why do you ask?
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 05, 2018, 10:20:00 am
Here's a nice piece on dependent arising -- http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind/2018/07/toward-a-declaration-of-interdpendence-a-buddhist-contribution.html (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind/2018/07/toward-a-declaration-of-interdpendence-a-buddhist-contribution.html)
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Anemephistus on July 06, 2018, 12:51:06 pm

In a way life is a meditation for me when I am putting the right effort into it.

Everyone is looking here I think
One stands on his head, the other takes a drink of water, the third sits quietly in his room
three find peace.   



BTW I was told that Thai Forest Monks like Thanissaro Bhikkhu get up really early every morning and practice sitting meditation until their noon mealtime. Why do they even bother?

I cannot answer for the forest monks, but it seems like that's how they look for what they need to know. There is certainly a reason they spend their time the way they do, but I am not one of them, maybe they find their peace sitting in the quiet? It reminds me of a story from the Zen school, Chiyono’s “No Water, No Moon”. All of the time spent thinking about liberation but liberation comes at the breaking of her bucket.

My intention was to say that discordance over weather meditation is right for everyone or has a context or place or time is not very meaningful. The discussion of dependence is very important I think. I cant say it needs meditation to be realized or not because I have not fully realized it and even if I had I still don't think I could say. I just know that recognizing this teaching with the intention of using that recognition and putting that intention into action has been very useful.

I work around violence, when I am done subduing that violence now I drink some water and see that it came into being from ancient roots and I have only a memory. Maybe this will keep working for me, maybe it wont but for now it gives me clarity to pull at the roots where I can.  Life takes so many shapes, the forest monk has his day as I have mine. Someone else in the thread did a headstand, I don't have an answer but I suspect it's not one answer anyway.

 
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ on July 06, 2018, 04:53:30 pm
My intention was to say that discordance over weather meditation is right for everyone ........

Now that's an interesting concept. Meditating on the weather should help one to understand the impermanence of everything. The weather is always changing.  :wink1:
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Anemephistus on July 06, 2018, 05:22:49 pm
My intention was to say that discordance over weather meditation is right for everyone ........

Now that's an interesting concept. Meditating on the weather should help one to understand the impermanence of everything. The weather is always changing.  :wink1:

Oh my!  :lmfao: Thank you for that! I will leave it right there!  :hug:
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VisuddhiRaptor on July 09, 2018, 11:17:28 pm
Thanissaro Bhikkhu get up really early every morning and practice sitting meditation until their noon mealtime. Why do they even bother?

Thanissaro Bhikkhu is the only monk I am aware of that has explained Dependent Arising properly & completely therefore it appears his sitting has not been in vain.  :om:

Only here: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/shapeofsuffering.pdf (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/shapeofsuffering.pdf)

 :dharma:
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 11, 2018, 08:04:00 am
Thanissaro Bhikkhu get up really early every morning and practice sitting meditation until their noon mealtime. Why do they even bother?

Thanissaro Bhikkhu is the only monk I am aware of that has explained Dependent Arising properly & completely therefore it appears his sitting has not been in vain.  :om:

Only here: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/shapeofsuffering.pdf (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/shapeofsuffering.pdf)

 :dharma:

I had the same thought, although when I wrote that I was thinking of an earlier comment on this thread where meditation was equated with "sleeping."

I've been really busy lately so I'm only about half way through Thanissaro's piece on dependent arising. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around his explanation of the 12 nidanas and "feedback loops." Looked a little like "writing on water" to me -- but then I'm not the swiftest horse in the stable.

One quote ascribed to the Buddha that struck me was this --

Quote
§ 18. “If one is asked, ‘From what requisite condition does name-&-form come?’ one should say, ‘Name-&-form comes from consciousness as its requisite condition.
 If one is asked, ‘From what requisite condition does consciousness come?’
one should say, ‘Consciousness comes from name-&-form as its requisite condition.

"From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name and form. If consciousness were not to descend into the mother’s womb, would name-&-form take shape in the womb?"
“No, lord.”

According to this view of dependent arising consciousness arose from a specific combination of name-&-form in the previous life. If so then consciousness must have some continuity and individuality, separate from everything else, which is usually referred to as a "soul" -- a concept that is supposed to be anathema to Buddhists.

Rather than view consciousness as going into the womb, one could see the womb as coming into consciousness. Then there's no question of avoiding rebirth because you were never actually born in the first place.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VisuddhiRaptor on July 11, 2018, 05:54:23 pm
I've been really busy lately so I'm only about half way through Thanissaro's piece on dependent arising. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around his explanation of the 12 nidanas and "feedback loops." Looked a little like "writing on water" to me -- but then I'm not the swiftest horse in the stable.

If Dependent Origination was already realised, it would be known immediately whether what Thanissaro wrote on pages 3 to 6 was real or imaginary.

One quote ascribed to the Buddha that struck me was this --

Quote
§ 18. “If one is asked, ‘From what requisite condition does name-&-form come?’ one should say, ‘Name-&-form comes from consciousness as its requisite condition.
 If one is asked, ‘From what requisite condition does consciousness come?’
one should say, ‘Consciousness comes from name-&-form as its requisite condition.

"From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name and form. If consciousness were not to descend into the mother’s womb, would name-&-form take shape in the womb?"
“No, lord.”


According to this view of dependent arising consciousness arose from a specific combination of name-&-form in the previous life. If so then consciousness must have some continuity and individuality, separate from everything else, which is usually referred to as a "soul" -- a concept that is supposed to be anathema to Buddhists.

The above quote is non-sense & your interpretation of it is sounds equally non-sensical. A Buddha would not talk such non-sense. Most of the Digha Nikaya is non-sense. If the mind has penetrated Dependent Origination, it would know this.

Here's a nice piece on dependent arising -- [url]http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind/2018/07/toward-a-declaration-of-interdpendence-a-buddhist-contribution.html[/url] ([url]http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind/2018/07/toward-a-declaration-of-interdpendence-a-buddhist-contribution.html[/url])

How mundane or worldly. The above link is drivel.

Then there's no question of avoiding rebirth because you were never actually born in the first place.

 :wacky:

Rather than view consciousness as going into the womb, one could see the womb as coming into consciousness.

Its highly unlikely, probably impossible, a Buddha spoke the non-sense about "the womb". However, to give you some credit, yes, obviously the quote is not about a consciousness (aka soul) descending into a womb reincarnating from outer space but it would be about the consciousness of the mother entering into her womb so the mother is aware she is pregnant by feeling there is a child growing in her womb. Then the mother names the form of the child in the womb (which has nothing to do with Buddhism but is old Vedic non-sense). Thus, to name the form of the child in her womb, the mother's consciousness must first descend into her womb; similar to before scratching an itch in the testicles first consciousness must descend to the testicles. Regardless, a Buddha would not teach such non-sense. Dependent origination is properly explained in the Samyutta & Majjihima Nikayas; as Thanissaro explained on pages 3 to 6 of the link.

 :namaste: :teehee:
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 12, 2018, 10:21:23 am
Raptor,

Thank you for your opinions. I reread the first six pages of the book and they are not that subtle or difficult to grasp. Putting them into practice is another matter. Whether they lead to “unbinding” or more binding probably depends on how they are applied.

The “dependent arising” I started this thread with is quite different and not so easy to grasp conceptually. This was my modest attempt to bring up a dialectic that might resolve into that kind of intuitive insight – 
Quote
Rather than view consciousness as going into the womb, one could see the womb as coming into consciousness. Then there's no question of avoiding rebirth because you were never actually born in the first place.

Of course one must actually be ardently practicing meditation the way Thanissaro does, rather than merely reading and thinking about it.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VisuddhiRaptor on July 12, 2018, 04:33:35 pm
Thank you for your opinions. I reread the first six pages of the book and they are not that subtle or difficult to grasp.
Why should reality be difficult to comprehend & apply?

Quote
Putting them into practice is another matter. Whether they lead to “unbinding” or more binding probably depends on how they are applied.
Giving up craving and identification obviously leads to Nibbana.

Quote
The “dependent arising” I started this thread with is quite different and not so easy to grasp conceptually.
If what you posted is different to Thanissaro, it is non-sense.

Quote
Of course one must actually be ardently practicing meditation the way Thanissaro does, rather than merely reading and thinking about it.
The conceit in your mind is supreme; as though you are the only "person" ( :teehee:) that meditates. Since you dismissed Thanissaro whatever meditation you claim to do does not appear to be Buddhist meditation.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 12, 2018, 06:14:47 pm

The conceit in your mind is supreme; as though you are the only "person" ( :teehee:) that meditates. Since you dismissed Thanissaro whatever meditation you claim to do does not appear to be Buddhist meditation.

I don’t see how my saying that one can have an “intuitive insight" by "ardently practicing meditation the way Thanissaro does, rather than merely reading and thinking about it," is “dismissing” him, or that I was implying I was the only one who seriously meditates -- although, in my experience, most who do are monks or teachers, while I'm neither.

Anyway, I finally have some time to finish his tract. Fortunately I like reading this kind of thing, even though, except for the 12 nidanas, it’s pretty familiar material. I’m reminded of Suzuki Roshi’s comment that Soto Zen is the same practice as Theravada, but with a Mahayana Mind.

Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on July 14, 2018, 03:39:28 pm
Quote
zaforgzen:  "A topic which has recently piqued my interest (after a flash of insight) is dependent arising. The idea was apparently around before the Buddha’s time, but Buddhists took it up and developed it over the years. Essentially it’s the view that everything is spontaneously arising together in the present moment and each of us is dependent on everything else for our existence. Although it seems really obvious it is often overlooked, especially here in the West where individualism reigns supreme. Dependent arising ties into both non-self and impermanence, as well as emptiness and the One Mind of Zen. It also shows that cause and effect are not so simple and straightforward as our linear models presume."

Because an entity is caused by another entity does not mean that it is dependent upon that entity.  For example a mother and father conjugate to form a child, they raise it and form its physical body through feeding, protecting and shelter.  These same parents affect their child's psychological being, and moral being through education, training and other modes of rearing. Parents motivate, inspire, correct, encourage, and otherwise affect their child's being until the day they each die.  In this way they in fact "caused" this being's formation, but the being so affected at last independent of them from the date of their deaths, and therefore not dependent upon them any longer except for what remains in the beings memories.

What once was true (the child's dependence upon its parents) is no longer true except for psychological momentum. In this way, connectedness and and universal dependency is at the end and ultimately fallacious. :listen:

Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 14, 2018, 07:59:45 pm
Quote
zaforgzen:  "A topic which has recently piqued my interest (after a flash of insight) is dependent arising. The idea was apparently around before the Buddha’s time, but Buddhists took it up and developed it over the years. Essentially it’s the view that everything is spontaneously arising together in the present moment and each of us is dependent on everything else for our existence. Although it seems really obvious it is often overlooked, especially here in the West where individualism reigns supreme. Dependent arising ties into both non-self and impermanence, as well as emptiness and the One Mind of Zen. It also shows that cause and effect are not so simple and straightforward as our linear models presume."

Because an entity is caused by another entity does not mean that it is dependent upon that entity.  For example a mother and father conjugate to form a child, they raise it and form its physical body through feeding, protecting and shelter.  These same parents affect their child's psychological being, and moral being through education, training and other modes of rearing. Parents motivate, inspire, correct, encourage, and otherwise affect their child's being until the day they each die.  In this way they in fact "caused" this being's formation, but the being so affected at last independent of them from the date of their deaths, and therefore not dependent upon them any longer except for what remains in the beings memories.

What once was true (the child's dependence upon its parents) is no longer true except for psychological momentum. In this way, connectedness and and universal dependency is at the end and ultimately fallacious.

Hi Ron,
I don’t see that your last sentence was proved by what you wrote prior to that. Later on in this thread I said I wasn’t referring to dependence on causes and effects in time, such as your example of parent and child, which is one kind of dependent arising. I was pointing to a simultaneous arising of everything spatially and in the only time there is, right now – one interconnected whole. I also wasn't referring specifically to “entities.” In the view I was trying to elucidate, apart from our individual conscious minds, there are no truly separate entities.

Do you really think, scientifically or otherwise, that “you” can be separated out from everything else, right here, right now, and still exist? If so that would indicate some sort of separate self or soul which as a Buddhist you surely can’t countenance.

Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on July 15, 2018, 04:58:45 am
Quote
zafrogzen:  "Do you really think, scientifically or otherwise, that “you” can be separated out from everything else, right here, right now, and still exist? If so that would indicate some sort of separate self or soul which as a Buddhist you surely can’t countenance."

No, I don't think that any of us can be separated from everything else.  My only point was that what is caused is not necessarily dependent upon its cause once it comes into being.  Parents are the example I chose.  We are not dependent upon our parents once we become mature enough  to be "independent" of them.

Another example:  The existence of any given manufactured or created object is no longer dependent upon its manufacturer, or its creator once manufactured or created.

Dependence is a function of ongoing supports, its constituents, its composition, its fundamentals and those internal and external environmental conditions, which allow those supports, constituents, composition, and fundamentals to  exist.

Example:  States of matter are dependent upon temperature, pressure, volume, and the number of atoms present.:  Gases can only exist at appropriate temperatures, pressures, numbers of atoms and volumes.  Otherwise they change state into plasmas, liquids, or solids, "dependent" upon the environmental conditions present.

None of these environmental conditions created, or manufactured any given state of matter, they simply facilitated them thereby supporting their existence.  Their creation is another long beautiful story no aspect of which involves dependency.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ on July 15, 2018, 06:52:55 am
Quote
zafrogzen:  "Do you really think, scientifically or otherwise, that “you” can be separated out from everything else, right here, right now, and still exist? If so that would indicate some sort of separate self or soul which as a Buddhist you surely can’t countenance."

No, I don't think that any of us can be separated from everything else.  My only point was that what is caused is not necessarily dependent upon its cause once it comes into being.  Parents are the example I chose.  We are not dependent upon our parents once we become mature enough  to be "independent" of them.

Another example:  The existence of any given manufactured or created object is no longer dependent upon its manufacturer, or its creator once manufactured or created.

Dependence is a function of ongoing supports, its constituents, its composition, its fundamentals and those internal and external environmental conditions, which allow those supports, constituents, composition, and fundamentals to  exist.

Example:  States of matter are dependent upon temperature, pressure, volume, and the number of atoms present.:  Gases can only exist at appropriate temperatures, pressures, numbers of atoms and volumes.  Otherwise they change state into plasmas, liquids, or solids, "dependent" upon the environmental conditions present.

None of these environmental conditions created, or manufactured any given state of matter, they simply facilitated them thereby supporting their existence.  Their creation is another long beautiful story no aspect of which involves dependency.

With all due respect, Ron, isn't it the arising during a particular period of time that is dependent upon another entity, or force; or more commonly, numerous entities and forces acting in co-operation, and often triumphing against numerous negative forces.

The development in the womb of any child is initially dependent upon a conjugation of male and female. The successful birth of the child might be dependent upon the mother leading a healthy life-style, and/or an experienced midwife. The upbringing of the child might be dependent upon the facilities in an orphanage. The success of the future career of such a child might be dependent on a particular teacher who inspired the child in the orphanage, or later in the school, or even later resulting in a religious conversion.

However, all of those 'dependent arisings' are not so simple as described. There are innumerable causes for any type of behaviour. We tend to focus on the major cause, or causes that we can apprehend, but the reality is, there are numerous contributory causes or dependencies, which we are often not aware of.

During Buddhist meditation practices, or mindfulness, or introspective contemplation, one might become more aware of those numerous causes or dependencies, hopefully.  :wink1:
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 15, 2018, 07:19:02 am
"Connectedness and Universal dependency" isn't static, it's constantly changing moment to moment. That might be what makes it all work.
 
I'm off now to my kuti (meditation hut) in the woods for the day, where I'll try to slow things down a bit -- without falling asleep. If I do get sleepy I just lay down in the yogic dead pose and take a nice twenty minute nap for renewed clarity and stamina.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on July 15, 2018, 11:33:05 am
True:  All of what you said.  True:  All of what I said.

Have a rewarding meditation experience today.  :hug:
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on July 15, 2018, 06:42:42 pm
Quote
vincentRJ:  "With all due respect, Ron, isn't it the arising during a particular period of time that is dependent upon another entity, or force; or more commonly, numerous entities and forces acting in co-operation, and often triumphing against numerous negative forces."

Yes.  That is what I meant by "supporting" or "facilitating" factors.  Buddha used the analogy of the seed and the environment of the soil, whereby the seed could not activate (arise) into a monocot, or dicot dependent upon its genetic makeup unless the temperature, moisture, soil and the duration of solar radiation were optimal to support the sprout.


Sources for further study:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dicotyledon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monocotyledon

In this example, plants (monocots or dicots) cannot arise without the appropriate conditions, nor can they survive without them as well.  In this respect, plants are not only facilitated and supported in arising, but are also "dependent" upon these supports for their thriving.  Plants can go dormant, however, and not arise, or be allowed to arise until all of the supporting conditions are present.  Buddha mentions this is his discussions of kamma, which can give fruit in this life or a following rebirth when the supporting conditions are present.

Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Chaz on July 16, 2018, 04:30:39 pm
Quote
zafrogzen:  "Do you really think, scientifically or otherwise, that “you” can be separated out from everything else, right here, right now, and still exist? If so that would indicate some sort of separate self or soul which as a Buddhist you surely can’t countenance."

No, I don't think that any of us can be separated from everything else.  My only point was that what is caused is not necessarily dependent upon its cause once it comes into being.  Parents are the example I chose.  We are not dependent upon our parents once we become mature enough  to be "independent" of them.

Another example:  The existence of any given manufactured or created object is no longer dependent upon its manufacturer, or its creator once manufactured or created.

Dependence is a function of ongoing supports, its constituents, its composition, its fundamentals and those internal and external environmental conditions, which allow those supports, constituents, composition, and fundamentals to  exist.

Example:  States of matter are dependent upon temperature, pressure, volume, and the number of atoms present.:  Gases can only exist at appropriate temperatures, pressures, numbers of atoms and volumes.  Otherwise they change state into plasmas, liquids, or solids, "dependent" upon the environmental conditions present.

None of these environmental conditions created, or manufactured any given state of matter, they simply facilitated them thereby supporting their existence.  Their creation is another long beautiful story no aspect of which involves dependency.

My teacher instructed us that DA can be viewed withn the scope of one moment followed by another.  All the links of the 12 Nidannas are satisfied within a single moment, karma propelling us to a new moment's birth and death.

This can be applied to physical rebirth, - life being a series of karma-driven moments followed, ultimately, by the moment of death, which is followed by the next moment ....
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 18, 2018, 05:37:51 pm
Although I mentioned it when I started this conversation I haven’t considered how “emptiness” figures in my view of dependent arising. If there is a permanent, unchanging, inherent nature in something which makes it separate from everything else, then dependent arising is impossible. We put names and concepts on things to distinguish them from other objects and then we take those names and concepts for something truly existing. I use the example of a tree. If all of the constituents that make up a tree are taken away, such as the roots, the trunk, the bark, the branches and the leaves, would we expect to find a “tree” inside of the tree? Everything is empty like that, including us, and thus can only arise dependently.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Anemephistus on July 18, 2018, 09:49:55 pm
Although I mentioned it when I started this conversation I haven’t considered how “emptiness” figures in my view of dependent arising. If there is a permanent, unchanging, inherent nature in things which makes them separate from everything else, then dependent arising is impossible. We put names and concepts on things to distinguish them from other objects and then we take those names and concepts for something truly existing. I use the example of a tree. If all of the constituents that make up a tree are taken away, such as the roots, the trunk, the bark, the branches and the leaves, would we expect to find a “tree” inside of the tree? Everything is empty like that, including us, and thus can only arise dependently.

The discourse is heavily academic and gives a powerful cognitive understanding of the internal process through which suffering is created. I think it is true though that cognition does not bring serenity but is a tool used to help fabricate the requisite conditions upon which liberation is founded.  Staying in the moment, and separating from suffering seems to require the ability to recognize that an arising condition or formation is occurring and letting it pass skillfully without making more suffering. All under an umbrella of forming a life which lends itself to allowing for these  skillful practices to take root.

Inter-dependent co-arising (what is "empty" must be empty of something but is interconnected and dependent on all things and so is part of everything and empty of self nature) and dependent origination (because this is-that is, described often in terms of internal mental fabrications) are, I think, skillful means to view the world from in order to manifest abiding change when taken into practice and understood ( as best as I can say)  in the full scope of the teachings on which they rely. They are (interdependent co-arising and dependent origination) for the purpose of effectively considering them in subjective conversation a little different from one another.

Understanding only a part of this, I would say that it is not like performing a math calculation when encountering the conditions which either describes, but more like realizing I am on a path which leads to a predictable outcome and it allows for an understanding that I am in a loop caused by underlying circumstances...Circumstances which require a lot of my time to fully grasp and determine what course of action to take with them. I would also say that I see in others when they are under the influence of circumstances dependently arisen. As far as inter-dependent co-arising circumstances, this is part of my constant awareness I see a table and consider sunshine, but as for dependent origination I still wonder why I react the way I do on occasion and sometimes others baffle me.

With that word block written...Its all defining composites and conditions which are dependent on foundations that are not themselves freedom, it is a finger pointing at the moon, just a map and once we get to the destination I think there is no more need for it.  I have seen many inmates who have dispositions that fit their world views fuel their own suffering. Recently I recognized I was stuck in this trap and almost certainly still am, the teaching I posted is by a very wise person I think, because if he sees the many cycles this clearly he must be looking at them from the outside.   
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 20, 2018, 09:03:59 am
Quote
...if he sees the many cycles this clearly he must be looking at them from the outside.
Quote
Its all defining composites and conditions which are dependent on foundations that are not themselves freedom

Such as inside and "outside."

Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Anemephistus on July 21, 2018, 01:31:28 pm
Quote
...if he sees the many cycles this clearly he must be looking at them from the outside.
Quote
Its all defining composites and conditions which are dependent on foundations that are not themselves freedom

Such as inside and "outside."

Yes, as an example. :) I also use the word "I" but am aware there is no objective proof of such a thing. Language is a subjective vehicle though which we seem to be seeking objective truth. The answer is never on the page, the words make the conditions for the answers manifest at best. Cessation of suffering would seem to require knowledge of suffering, colloquially it seems fair to word it as a referencing being outside a specific form instead of inside, but to the left or right, past or ahead,  in a submarine under it's surface observing it, whatever you like. I simply mean that he is able to separate himself well enough to part out his understanding instead of being lost in it.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 24, 2018, 06:55:26 am
That's sort of what I was trying to say with this --
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We put names and concepts on things to distinguish them from other objects and then we take those names and concepts for something truly existing.

I came to dependent arising from "emptiness" It was only later that I discovered the concept of "Dependent Arising." http://www.frogzen.com/meditations/ (http://www.frogzen.com/meditations/) -- 
Quote
If there is a permanent, unchanging, inherent nature in something which makes it separate from everything else, then dependent arising is impossible.

I'm still reading Thanissaro's tract. It's slow going because I don't like to spend too much time sitting, staring at a computer screen. So far, beyond the initial section on the 12 nidanas (which I need to look into more), it's something of a mixed bag, mainly quotations from suttas -- a little like eating somebody's leftovers. Most very good, some not. The practice looks like basic samatha as in this passage -- .
Quote
..the ability to put an end to stress depends not on views, but on a type of vision that sees things simply as they arise, without trying to make a world or a self out of them, and without trying to destroy them.

I was struck by the use of the word "Such" (capitalized no less).
Quote
the one independent,
the one who is Such:

"Suchness" is often used in zen as a word for what cannot be put into words -- as in "just this," or "Tathagata," one who has "thus come" or one who is "thus," another name for a Buddha.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: stillpointdancer on July 25, 2018, 02:47:55 am
Although I mentioned it when I started this conversation I haven’t considered how “emptiness” figures in my view of dependent arising. If there is a permanent, unchanging, inherent nature in something which makes it separate from everything else, then dependent arising is impossible. We put names and concepts on things to distinguish them from other objects and then we take those names and concepts for something truly existing. I use the example of a tree. If all of the constituents that make up a tree are taken away, such as the roots, the trunk, the bark, the branches and the leaves, would we expect to find a “tree” inside of the tree? Everything is empty like that, including us, and thus can only arise dependently.

Well put. The Greeks considered things to have an eternal aspect. A tree would exist in some way apart from the physical aspects of a tree, would exist before there were trees. Buddhist emptiness, for me, is that everything exists, but is empty of stuff that is unchanging and permanent. Except, ironically, that this lack of permanence and eternality is permanent and eternal, which is why it is hard to follow sometimes.

The idea of a permanent, unchanging, inherent nature in things is a 'thing' we have to let go of before we can understand it. Even emptiness is a 'thing', so we have to let go of that too. And dependent arising.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VisuddhiRaptor on July 25, 2018, 04:36:42 am
I'm still reading Thanissaro's tract.

Just read pages 3 to 6 then meditate upon each nuance until the mind realises it internally so the realisation is independent of all gurus & doctrines.

There is ignorance; which stirs up internal non-thought urges (called "asava").

These ignorant urges then brew up subtle thoughts, memories, perceptions, feelings & agitations in breathing (called "sankhara").

These "sankhara" then capture or become the objects of consciousness.

These "sankhara" also affect, disturb and enslave the mind-body ("nama-rupa").....

Eventually the mind, if still under the power of ignorance, identifies itself with these sankhara and the external sense contacts the sankhara drive the mind towards seeking. This identifying is called "birth" ("jati").

Due to impermanence, when an object of identity changes or ceases, this is called "death" because that "identity" suffers a traumatic death along with the impermanence of the sense object identified with.

Its not rocket science.

Its like a man that identifies himself as a "husband". If his wife leaves him, the man is no longer a "husband". This identity "dies", which is generally suffering or traumatic.

 :namaste:

Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 25, 2018, 09:13:51 am
Yes, I'm still studying the 12 nidanas model. It's a different kind of dependent arising than I was speaking to -- although it probably is also only possible thru emptiness and lack of a separate, permanent entity. But it does look to be concerned primarily with changes occurring within a separate individuality or mind stream, in a linear time sequence, even if that individuality is seen as constantly changing and impermanent.

As for "identification," yes, that doesn't really run very deep and isn't that difficult to see through, since it's a conceptual construct without any real substance.

Ignore-ance is not just unconscious urges (like lusting after a separate individuality) but more likely means to willfully ignore something which is obvious.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 25, 2018, 09:33:58 am

The idea of a permanent, unchanging, inherent nature in things is a 'thing' we have to let go of before we can understand it. Even emptiness is a 'thing', so we have to let go of that too. And dependent arising.

Yes, that's my practice too. It doesn't leave a lot of room for studying conceptual models of dependent arising but can produce flashes of insight.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Anemephistus on July 25, 2018, 02:53:49 pm

The idea of a permanent, unchanging, inherent nature in things is a 'thing' we have to let go of before we can understand it. Even emptiness is a 'thing', so we have to let go of that too. And dependent arising.

Yes, that's my practice too. It doesn't leave a lot of room for studying conceptual models of dependent arising but can produce flashes of insight.

We build a fence with a hammer, then put it down, the knowledge of the wood will not let us pass though it, one has to know where the gate is or they have to find it.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Dairy Lama on July 26, 2018, 01:52:36 am
Eventually the mind, if still under the power of ignorance, identifies itself with these sankhara and the external sense contacts the sankhara drive the mind towards seeking. This identifying is called "birth" ("jati").

Due to impermanence, when an object of identity changes or ceases, this is called "death" because that "identity" suffers a traumatic death along with the impermanence of the sense object identified with.

This is not what the suttas describe.  The suttas describe birth, aging and death as physical events and processes, and there is no evidence to suggest these nidanas were intended as metaphorical or purely mental. 

Your interpretation of DO is not supported by the suttas in general, or by the nidana "definitions" in particular - these are presented in SN12.2 and MN9. 

https://suttacentral.net/sn12.2/en/bodhi
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 26, 2018, 10:05:35 am
From -- https://suttacentral.net/sn12.2/en/bodhi
Quote
But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance comes cessation of volitional formations; with the cessation of volitional formations, cessation of consciousness…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.
No wonder VincentRJ equates meditation with going to sleep. I'm reminded of someone with insomnia who can't stay asleep but keeps waking up over and over (rebirth after rebirth) and just longs for some rest (cessation of consciousness).

How's this differ from going to sleep? Or does it?
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 26, 2018, 11:34:15 am

The idea of a permanent, unchanging, inherent nature in things is a 'thing' we have to let go of before we can understand it. Even emptiness is a 'thing', so we have to let go of that too. And dependent arising.

Yes, that's my practice too. It doesn't leave a lot of room for studying conceptual models of dependent arising but can produce flashes of insight.

We build a fence with a hammer, then put it down, the knowledge of the wood will not let us pass though it, one has to know where the gate is or they have to find it.

That practice of “letting go” or samatha IS the “gate.” You seem to think you’ll find it in reading and study. Good luck with that. If one could find genuine enlightenment in words or teachings, we’d all be completely enlightened by now.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Chaz on July 26, 2018, 12:16:04 pm

The idea of a permanent, unchanging, inherent nature in things is a 'thing' we have to let go of before we can understand it. Even emptiness is a 'thing', so we have to let go of that too. And dependent arising.

Yes, that's my practice too. It doesn't leave a lot of room for studying conceptual models of dependent arising but can produce flashes of insight.

We build a fence with a hammer, then put it down, the knowledge of the wood will not let us pass though it, one has to know where the gate is or they have to find it.

That practice of “letting go” or samatha IS the “gate.” You seem to think you’ll find it in reading and study. Good luck with that. If one could find genuine enlightenment in words or teachings, we’d all be completely enlightened by now.

I absolutely agree.  If we look to our refuge in the Buddha and recall just how he achieved enlightenment, we can clearly see that he was meditating.  That is how you achieve enlightenment.

Is there any record of any Buddha, Siddah, Bodhisattva, or Arhant becoming enlightened while studying?  "Then in the midst of his study, he attained the Highest Realization."  Did the Buddha resolve to sit down to study and not rise until He achieved enlightenment?  Did the Buddha's disciples ask him to repeat a teaching over and over until they understood?

If an intellectual understanding were enough, there would be no suffering.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Dairy Lama on July 27, 2018, 01:55:54 am
From -- https://suttacentral.net/sn12.2/en/bodhi
Quote
But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance comes cessation of volitional formations; with the cessation of volitional formations, cessation of consciousness…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.
No wonder VincentRJ equates meditation with going to sleep. I'm reminded of someone with insomnia who can't stay asleep but keeps waking up over and over (rebirth after rebirth) and just longs for some rest (cessation of consciousness).

How's this differ from going to sleep? Or does it?

Unfortunately there is no consensus on what "cessation of consciousness" actually means here.  But I don't think enlightenment is anything to do with zoning out or going to sleep, quite the contrary - enlightenment is also referred to as "awakening".
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: stillpointdancer on July 27, 2018, 02:59:29 am
My current view is that the experience of enlightenment is what we do with the experience of 'cessation of consciousness', both in the lead up to it and in the aftermath. Anyone who sits and does nothing for long enough can go through the experience, but then needs to come to terms with what happened. In a Buddhist context this help comes from the Dharma and the Sangha, and, hopefully, becomes the 'awakening'. But there's no guarantee.

One of the most famous non-Buddhist examples here in the West is the 'Road to Damascus' experience of St Paul where he had a sudden insight into things, and completely changed his mind about the followers of Jesus. Context, and maybe intellectual understanding, becomes important afterwards.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Chaz on July 27, 2018, 06:18:36 am
Unfortunately there is no consensus on what "cessation of consciousness" actually means here.  But I don't think enlightenment is anything to do with zoning out or going to sleep, quite the contrary - enlightenment is also referred to as "awakening".

If you mean this forum, well, yeah.  In fact there's very little consensus about anything around there.

But anyway ....

You're right about "awakening", of course (wow! consensus!), but I can also see something of value in Z's analogy as well.

Shamatha training uses the term "rest"  quite a bit in reference to the relationship between the meditator and the object of meditation.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 27, 2018, 10:31:33 am
From -- https://suttacentral.net/sn12.2/en/bodhi
Quote
But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance comes cessation of volitional formations; with the cessation of volitional formations, cessation of consciousness…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.
No wonder VincentRJ equates meditation with going to sleep. I'm reminded of someone with insomnia who can't stay asleep but keeps waking up over and over (rebirth after rebirth) and just longs for some rest (cessation of consciousness).

How's this differ from going to sleep? Or does it?

Unfortunately there is no consensus on what "cessation of consciousness" actually means here.  But I don't think enlightenment is anything to do with zoning out or going to sleep, quite the contrary - enlightenment is also referred to as "awakening".
Yes, and I associate consciousness with being awake or aware. Without awareness how could there be awakening? All of what I would call my awakening experiences (without an experiencer), while indescribable, have involved what I would call awareness or consciousness.

In Theravada and the 12 nidanas isn't consciousness said to only arise with "contact?" And in Mahayana consciousness and its object are seen as one, not separate, which could amount to the same thing. In that case, if consciousness ceases completely, what would "remain" that is different than dreamless sleep or complete oblivion?

Isn't there something about consciousness "without surface" in the Suttas? Is this another kind of consciousness?
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 27, 2018, 02:01:06 pm

Is there any record of any Buddha, Siddah, Bodhisattva, or Arhant becoming enlightened while studying?  "Then in the midst of his study, he attained the Highest Realization."

In zen lore there are quite a few who's enlightenment was "triggered" by reading or hearing a "turning" word or phrase, but they were probably ripe from zazen samatha. I don't think someone who is not ready is likely to have enlightenment from words or studying, no matter how intelligent they are.

Words only have real meaning where there is a shared experience behind them. Something as personal and subjective as an enlightenment is even more difficult to communicate. That's why zen is said to rely on "mind to mind transmission," which is not so much "transmission" as a mutual understanding or simultaneous experience of the same thing, which words cannot reach. The point is that enlightenment is beyond description and the "practice" that is most reliable for stimulating it's occurrence is meditation.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: stillpointdancer on July 28, 2018, 04:03:39 am
Hi Zafrogzen. I'm reading about Gregory of Nyssa at the moment. He had an interesting, albeit Christian, take on the spiritual path. In order to get closer to an infinite and unknowable God you need to go on a spiritual journey where knowledge is rejected in favour of meditation. I like the last stage of this journey as 'a darkness of the mind in mystic contemplation of the God who cannot be comprehended'. This wasn't top of the list in my Methodist upbringing, but is interesting in terms of the relationship between study, meditation and awakening.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: VincentRJ on July 28, 2018, 09:19:32 am
From -- https://suttacentral.net/sn12.2/en/bodhi
Quote
But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance comes cessation of volitional formations; with the cessation of volitional formations, cessation of consciousness…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.
No wonder VincentRJ equates meditation with going to sleep. I'm reminded of someone with insomnia who can't stay asleep but keeps waking up over and over (rebirth after rebirth) and just longs for some rest (cessation of consciousness).

How's this differ from going to sleep? Or does it?

Unfortunately there is no consensus on what "cessation of consciousness" actually means here.  But I don't think enlightenment is anything to do with zoning out or going to sleep, quite the contrary - enlightenment is also referred to as "awakening".

There can be no awakening without sleeping. The word has no meaning if it is  divorced from the context of sleep, and this is true even if one uses both words in a metaphorical sense.

'Good' has meaning only in relation to 'bad', just as 'cold' has meaning only in relation to 'hot'. Everything is relative.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 28, 2018, 12:21:09 pm
From -- https://suttacentral.net/sn12.2/en/bodhi
Quote
But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance comes cessation of volitional formations; with the cessation of volitional formations, cessation of consciousness…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.
No wonder VincentRJ equates meditation with going to sleep. I'm reminded of someone with insomnia who can't stay asleep but keeps waking up over and over (rebirth after rebirth) and just longs for some rest (cessation of consciousness).

How's this differ from going to sleep? Or does it?

Unfortunately there is no consensus on what "cessation of consciousness" actually means here.  But I don't think enlightenment is anything to do with zoning out or going to sleep, quite the contrary - enlightenment is also referred to as "awakening".

There can be no awakening without sleeping. The word has no meaning if it is  divorced from the context of sleep, and this is true even if one uses both words in a metaphorical sense.

'Good' has meaning only in relation to 'bad', just as 'cold' has meaning only in relation to 'hot'. Everything is relative.

Yes, you have a point there Vincent -- at least from the Mahayana view, where the absolute, or "the omnipresent voidness of the real self-existent nature of everything," is everywhere equal, with nothing left out, and there is no actual difference between a Buddha and an ordinary person, except that one is awake and the other asleep. Even though they are essentially equal, being awake is preferable to being asleep, just as happiness is preferable to suffering.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Anemephistus on July 29, 2018, 12:46:41 pm

The idea of a permanent, unchanging, inherent nature in things is a 'thing' we have to let go of before we can understand it. Even emptiness is a 'thing', so we have to let go of that too. And dependent arising.

Yes, that's my practice too. It doesn't leave a lot of room for studying conceptual models of dependent arising but can produce flashes of insight.

We build a fence with a hammer, then put it down, the knowledge of the wood will not let us pass though it, one has to know where the gate is or they have to find it.

That practice of “letting go” or samatha IS the “gate.” You seem to think you’ll find it in reading and study. Good luck with that. If one could find genuine enlightenment in words or teachings, we’d all be completely enlightened by now.

I believe I said that :
Quote
The answer is never on the page, the words make the conditions for the answers manifest at best.
and yes, one must have right practice, right understanding is also important, since my own understanding at one point was not inclusive of even basic Buddhist teachings, I read a lot. What "seems" may not be what is, but that is the essence of what you are saying to me as well. Yes practice is a gate, but what is practice without understanding? I don't think enlightenment can be written down and transferred from one being to another, nor do I think in absence of understanding the teachings which lead to it a being can meditate and become, unless they are already a Buddha.

Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 30, 2018, 12:00:15 pm
Hi Anemephistus,

You wrote
Quote
Yes practice is a gate, but what is practice without understanding?

For me, practice leads to an understanding that goes beyond words. Reading can confirm that understanding, but it's not that crucial. I read a lot also, primarily for inspiration to keep practicing. Too much reading and study (and discussion) can become a hindrance to practice. It activates a different part of the brain.

To quote Thanisarro again
Quote
..the ability to put an end to stress depends not on views, but on a type of vision that sees things simply as they arise...

In Soto zen, where the practice is essentially that, practice IS enlightenment.  Intellectual understanding is secondhand, after the fact, dead words.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Chaz on July 30, 2018, 01:50:57 pm
Hi Anemephistus,
You wrote
Quote
Yes practice is a gate, but what is practice without understanding?
For me, practice leads to an understanding that goes beyond words. Reading can confirm that understanding, but it's not that crucial.

I agree.  Without meditation there can't really be much understanding.

Reggie Ray, an early student of Chogyam Trungpa, gave an excellent teaching on the so-called "3 Prajnas" or wisdoms.

They are hearing, contemplating and meditating.

Hearing the Dharma is one of the three ways to achieve the necessary insights for enlightenment.  1/3 of the total.  In my experience, teachers in the Mahayana place a much higher premium on contemplation and meditation than on hearing.  It's important, yes, but not THAT important.  The real understanding comes on the cushion.

https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-study-the-dharma/ (https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-study-the-dharma/)
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Dairy Lama on July 31, 2018, 01:45:09 am
Shamatha training uses the term "rest"  quite a bit in reference to the relationship between the meditator and the object of meditation.

I have heard samatha described as "calm", "tranquillity" and "stillness".  I like "stillness" best myself - like a stillness "beneath" the movement of mind and senses.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 31, 2018, 10:37:11 am
- like a stillness "beneath" the movement of mind and senses.
I know what you’re saying in terms of practice, but going a little deeper there is no separation between stillness (or emptiness) and the forms that arise in the mind and senses. Those forms ARE the stillness and visa versa. That’s dependent arising. “The coin that is lost in the river is found in the river.”
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Chaz on July 31, 2018, 12:11:56 pm
....there is no separation between stillness (or emptiness) and the forms that arise in the mind and senses.

I'm not so sure that the "stillness" associated with Shamatha practice is the same this as emptiness.  To me "stillness" means no movement of mind.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 31, 2018, 12:44:00 pm
I'm not so sure that the "stillness" associated with Shamatha practice is the same this (thing) as emptiness.  To me "stillness" means no movement of mind.

I was responding to Dairy Lama's comment below regarding samatha, where stillness and movement of mind appear to be occurring simultaneously.

- like a stillness "beneath" the movement of mind and senses.
I know what you’re saying in terms of practice, but going a little deeper there is no separation between stillness (or emptiness) and the forms that arise in the mind and senses. Those forms ARE the stillness and visa versa. That’s dependent arising. “The coin that is lost in the river is found in the river.”

 The intellect wants to chop everything up into bitesize chunks.

Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Chaz on July 31, 2018, 01:45:31 pm
I'm not so sure that the "stillness" associated with Shamatha practice is the same this (thing) as emptiness.  To me "stillness" means no movement of mind.

I was responding to Dairy Lama's comment below regarding samatha, where stillness and movement of mind appear to be occurring simultaneously.

Oh, I got that.  I'm just not so sure that stillness and emptiness are the same thing.  Ultimately, everything is emptiness and effortless stillness of mind will aid in the realization of emptiness, I still think in the context of DL's statement we're talking two different things.

Besides, I don't think you can have stillness and movement of mind in the same moment.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on July 31, 2018, 03:16:16 pm
Just ignore that (emptiness), it's a whole other discussion.  My point in response to what DL posted was that there's no separation between the stillness "beneath" what arises and whatever arises. Both are the same mind.

I wasn't the one who implied "you can have stillness and movement of mind in the same moment." You'll have to take that up with him. My point was that they're the same thing, just like Nirvana and Samsara are said to be the same in Mahayana, but usually not so in Theravada.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Dairy Lama on August 02, 2018, 01:31:45 am
- like a stillness "beneath" the movement of mind and senses.
I know what you’re saying in terms of practice, but going a little deeper there is no separation between stillness (or emptiness) and the forms that arise in the mind and senses. Those forms ARE the stillness and visa versa. That’s dependent arising. “The coin that is lost in the river is found in the river.”

You mean stillness like a "ground of being", from which movement and activity arise? 
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Dairy Lama on August 02, 2018, 01:35:17 am
....there is no separation between stillness (or emptiness) and the forms that arise in the mind and senses.

I'm not so sure that the "stillness" associated with Shamatha practice is the same this as emptiness.  To me "stillness" means no movement of mind.

Yes, I see what you mean, though I think there is always movement of some sort going on, it could just be subtle changes in mood or mind-state.  I was trying to describe something more like a point of stillness, like the eye at the centre of the storm.  Or perhaps the awareness associated with it.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on August 02, 2018, 10:19:52 am
You mean stillness like a "ground of being", from which movement and activity arise? 
No, a mind-ground is more like your "- stillness "beneath" the movement of mind and senses." I meant that there is no separation between the movement of the mind and the mind (or "stillness") itself. That conceptual separation is where the concept of a separate self comes from. The intellect habitually cuts everything up into parts like that and then projects it onto what is actually a much more subtle seamless groundless whole.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Dairy Lama on August 03, 2018, 01:37:25 am
You mean stillness like a "ground of being", from which movement and activity arise? 

No, a mind-ground is more like your "- stillness "beneath" the movement of mind and senses." I meant that there is no separation between the movement of the mind and the mind (or "stillness") itself. That conceptual separation is where the concept of a separate self comes from. The intellect habitually cuts everything up into parts like that and then projects it onto what is actually a much more subtle seamless groundless whole.


There seem to be different ideas about this.  For example this is from Ajahn Chah.  He was nominally Theravada but he sounds more Zen to me!

"The point is that really this mind of ours is naturally peaceful. It's still and calm like a leaf that is not being blown about by the wind. But if the wind blows then it flutters. It does that because of the wind. And so with the mind it's because of these moods - getting caught up with thoughts. If the mind didn't get lost in these moods it wouldn't flutter about. If it understood the nature of thoughts it would just stay still. This is called the natural state of the mind. And why we have come to practice now is to see the mind in this original state."
 http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Training_this_Mind1.php (http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Training_this_Mind1.php)

I have heard this referred to as experiencing the "weather" of the mind, eg moods passing like clouds through the sky ( possibly resonating with the Tibetan idea of the "sky-like nature of mind" ). 
But yes, I can see the downside of this view, the assumption that the mind is a self experiencing stuff - though actually the mind feels more like an empty space when experienced in this way, not really like a self.
Actually I think it's best to keep an open mind on this stuff - IMO the point is to keep looking, to keep noticing - to keep discovering.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on August 03, 2018, 12:42:40 pm
From Ajahn Chah
Quote
And why we have come to practice now is to see the mind in this original state.

That's true. And it does sound a lot like zen. I was trying to emphasize that that "original state" doesn't somehow exist separately, "beneath" whatever arises. It cannot be said to exist or not exist. Sometimes it's said that everything arises "within" that stillness, or that the Mind "becomes" whatever arises, but conceptualizations like that only create more confusion and make it look like a "place" or a "thing."

Still, when one lets go completely, there it is.
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: Dairy Lama on August 04, 2018, 01:36:56 am
From Ajahn Chah
Quote
And why we have come to practice now is to see the mind in this original state.

That's true. And it does sound a lot like zen. I was trying to emphasize that that "original state" doesn't somehow exist separately, "beneath" whatever arises. It cannot be said to exist or not exist. Sometimes it's said that everything arises "within" that stillness, or that the Mind "becomes" whatever arises, but conceptualizations like that only create more confusion and make it look like a "place" or a "thing."

Perhaps, but it's difficult to discuss or describe these experiences without some conceptualisation.   I agree it's not productive to think of Mind as a "thing", though perhaps "place" is a little nearer.  I started with a sense of mind being located "in my head", I guess because that's where the sense organs are mostly placed - but of course that isn't really accurate.  For me the idea of the mind as a "space" is more productive.   
Title: Re: dependent arising
Post by: zafrogzen on August 04, 2018, 12:25:39 pm
Yes, just by being clear and open like empty space, with no inside or outside, mind and whatever arises are seen to be one equal, interdependent reality. In the words of the third Zen Ancestor in China --

“All in One and One in All – if only that is realized, no more worry about not being perfect! This is where words fail; for it is not of the past, present and future.”

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