Author Topic: Two truths and so on ....  (Read 1379 times)

Offline Chaz

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Re: Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2018, 08:26:52 am »

I know what he wrote. I can read English. I'm just trying to make sense and understand, from a rational perspective, how it might be possible to determine with absolute truth, that all things are inherently empty, through a process of relying upon a 'non-empty' experience.


Well, I wouldn't call this:

Quote
That's another meaningless statement, or at least imprecise expression. It's impossible to have an 'actual' experience of 'actual' emptiness because no experience, by definition, can be empty. An experience of emptiness is an empty experience, which is equivalent to no experience at all. All experiences are 'something'.

"trying to make sense and understand"

It sounds, to me, like you are simply attacking zafrogzen's assertion.  I would say, especially, because of his reference to the impossibility of understanding these concepts without without a solid meditation practice.

Fact - you won't get a handle on what these teachings are through intellectual pursuit alone. Taking it out on zafrogzen, by calling what he posted meaningless and imprecise, won't change that.

You need to develop a solid meditation practice.  Find some to teach you Shamatha/Vipssana, and begin a daily pratice.  It will take time - a couple years at least - to get to a level of practice where this stuff will make sense.

You should also listen, very carefully, to users like zafrogzen.  He's been in practice for a very long time, and trust me, more often than not, he knows what he's talking about, whereas, in this topic, you do not.

For example you posted :

Quote
You need to precisely define 'conditioned' and 'unconditioned', for that statement to make sense. For example, if an Arahant, or a person who had achieved a state of Nirvana, a state of being so-called 'unconditioned', were to attempt to burn himself alive, he would presumably not burn, if he were in an unconditioned state. Do you not agree?

This is a classic straw man, because the scenario you offer is irrelevant to the subject of conditioned vs unconditioned, he didn't present his assertion that way,  and you are using it to discredit him.  That's fallacious and, frankly, not very nice.  It also shows you don't really understand the subject.

That's not against the rules.  However if you want to learn about stuff like this, ask questions without implying that the person being asked is full of shit.

You might consider this book by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/153740900X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

THis book by Andy Karr may be worth a read as well: https://www.amazon.com/Contemplating-Reality-Practitioners-Indo-Tibetan-Buddhism/dp/1590304292/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1590304292&pd_rd_r=a4f414eb-f321-11e8-b5ba-5dfed4e35b83&pd_rd_w=GjdJe&pd_rd_wg=81XCW&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=6725dbd6-9917-451d-beba-16af7874e407&pf_rd_r=Z4DFSRS96J2CKB3YSC2Z&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=Z4DFSRS96J2CKB3YSC2Z

Offline Pixie

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Re: Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2018, 09:25:47 am »
This book might also be helpful:

"The Open Door to Emptiness" by Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche :

https://www.namobuddhapub.com/Open_Door_to_Emptiness_p/bk-31.htm


...and here's a quote from Thrangu Rinpoche:

Quote

Only by directly experiencing selflessness can we end the process of confused projection. This is why the Buddha emphasized meditation on selflessness or egolessness (emptiness).

However, to meditate on egolessness, we must undertake a process that begins with a conceptual understanding of egolessness; then, based on that understanding, there can be meditation, and finally realization.

So to summarize; as long as we do not directly realize selflessness or emptiness, we are stuck in cyclic existence and we will always meet with problems and pain. Only the direct realization of emptiness opens the door to escape suffering completely, for once and for all.

 As everyone wishes to be free from problems forever, striving to realize emptiness is one of the most sensible things we can do in our life.

http://viewonbuddhism.org/wisdom_emptiness.html




_/|\_
« Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 09:55:26 am by Pixie »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2018, 10:35:54 am »
As I wrote earlier on this thread in regard to the two truths –
Quote
It’s a subtle philosophy which is somewhat meaningless without some insight from meditation practice.
Or without some genuine experience of emptiness or sunyata.

That's another meaningless statement, or at least imprecise expression. It's impossible to have an 'actual' experience of 'actual' emptiness because no experience, by definition, can be empty. An experience of emptiness is an empty experience, which is equivalent to no experience at all. All experiences are 'something'.

You're right. That's an "imprecise expression," although the meaning should be clear to someone with some "experience" of meditative emptiness. A more precise expression would be to say that it's an experience without an experiencer -- the experience is "empty" of any experiencer.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Two truths and so on ....
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2018, 10:48:50 am »
Regarding the passage you picked out, I’d say that with ultimate truth, everything is unconditioned, With relative truth everything is conditioned.

Isn't the ultimate truth simply that everything is conditioned? 

That is the materialistic view. I was referring to Nagarjuna's Malamadhyamakakarika which I'm still in the process of rereading (may take awhile), but if everything is conditioned, how is "unbinding" and Nirvana possible?
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline paracelsus

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Re: Two truths and so on ....
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2018, 03:17:20 pm »
Regarding the passage you picked out, I’d say that with ultimate truth, everything is unconditioned, With relative truth everything is conditioned.

Isn't the ultimate truth simply that everything is conditioned? 

That is the materialistic view. I was referring to Nagarjuna's Malamadhyamakakarika which I'm still in the process of rereading (may take awhile), but if everything is conditioned, how is "unbinding" and Nirvana possible?


The "materialistic view" is the view from inside the "house of monkey". Monkey sometimes tries to break out of its house by nailing  boards over the windows. To leave the house monkey simply has to depart through one of its several portals. This is why we meditate with our eyes open, so to speak.

Nagarjuna's "Examination of Nirvana" Poses the question: What has been relinquished and what ceases whereby Nirvana .... occurs?" and answers:

No relinquishment and no attainment,
No permanence and no annihilation,
No cessation, no arising -
In these terms Nirvana has been described.

We spend huge energy in intellectual debate, internal and external, wrestling with words. It won't help in the least except perhaps in koan practice designed, I presume, to defeat such activity.

The words in the verse above by Nargajuna, puts one (me at least) firmly in place on the cushion. "IS" is what is. Stop looking for an "elsewhere" or an "otherwise". The "Two Truth" is language. It isn't more than this. Nirvana isn't anywhere. It is a word.
The problem is conflict, separation, discursive thinking, unwholesome desire and aversion. This and That.

My suggestion to anyone fighting with the teachings is to relax a bit and try to practice what they say, there is plenty to choose from to find what suits best. It will bring results. The results can be judged. If the results aren't what one was after then the Dharma may not be the thing.

Maybe the point is that "emptiness" is (a term for) something realised, not something that can be adequately described in words. Therefore: do the practice which is designed to bring about the "realisation".

 If one succeeds, this will among other things demonstrate the inadequacy of words and conceptual frameworks, but nonetheless leave the practitioner with the experience. They will then annoy everyone by enthusiastically trying to explain what its all about, using words. And so it goes on.

Metta







 


Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2018, 02:35:17 am »
Regarding the passage you picked out, I’d say that with ultimate truth, everything is unconditioned, With relative truth everything is conditioned.

Isn't the ultimate truth simply that everything is conditioned?

Nope.

Ultimate truth = emptiness.  Simply.

The answer - that everything is conditioned - may be "true", but that doesn't mean it is "ultimate truth" - at least in the context of the Two Truths.

I guess you could call it ultimate if you want.  After all, the statement is true regarding all phenomena.  Perhaps "universal" would be a better choice?

"Universal" might work better.  I was equating emptiness with conditionality. 
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline Chaz

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Re: Re: Amida Buddha & The Book of Exodus
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2018, 07:05:20 am »
Regarding the passage you picked out, I’d say that with ultimate truth, everything is unconditioned, With relative truth everything is conditioned.

Isn't the ultimate truth simply that everything is conditioned?

Nope.

Ultimate truth = emptiness.  Simply.

The answer - that everything is conditioned - may be "true", but that doesn't mean it is "ultimate truth" - at least in the context of the Two Truths.

I guess you could call it ultimate if you want.  After all, the statement is true regarding all phenomena.  Perhaps "universal" would be a better choice?

"Universal" might work better.  I was equating emptiness with conditionality.

You can't consider conditioned/unconditioned without bringing emptiness into the discussion.  It's also important to consider the Two Truths

Sadly, I think this is one place where translation leads to some confusion.  It's not that I'm some wiz-bang translator, but I do understand what Ultimate Truth is and also how people in the West use the term.

It's said that "the only ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth".  That's how westerners see the use of the word "ultimate"  They use the word to describe a truth that is valid in every case.  Always.  That's fine to use it that way, but in a Buddhist context, especially a Mahayana context,  it means something else.  For me this presents a certain jen ne sais quois this morning.  I know there's a difference, but I can't quite put a finger on it.  But I do know there's a difference.

Anyway.

Sometimes the word absolute is used in place of ultimate.

Technically, the word ultimate is a valid antonym of relative, so it's proper use.  That doesn't make it less confusing.

Grrrrr.

 


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