Author Topic: Emptiness question  (Read 2542 times)

Offline catmoon

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Emptiness question
« on: January 14, 2011, 12:08:43 pm »
I am still inclined to think there may be an unseen reality causing our sense perceptions.  I don't understand how so many teachers and schools have eliminated the possibility. How do they know that which is unknowable? It looks to me like they are arbitrarily deciding an undecideable question.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline Caz

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Re: Emptiness question
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2011, 03:03:32 pm »
I am still inclined to think there may be an unseen reality causing our sense perceptions.  I don't understand how so many teachers and schools have eliminated the possibility. How do they know that which is unknowable? It looks to me like they are arbitrarily deciding an undecideable question.

The Unknowable ? The minds Job is to perceive and cognise phenomena.
I think the Buddha and so on may have come to the conclusion as they indulged in some serious meditative retreats on the subject, So far the chappies whom have followed in their footsteps seem to think it is valid.  :wink1:
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Offline swampflower

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Re: Emptiness question
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2011, 03:39:49 pm »
I am still inclined to think there may be an unseen reality causing our sense perceptions.  I don't understand how so many teachers and schools have eliminated the possibility. How do they know that which is unknowable? It looks to me like they are arbitrarily deciding an undecideable question.

My intuition suggests to me that there is unseen reality.
However in what way do you suggest that an unseen reality is causing our sense perceptions?
Please clarify for me...I can be thick
Om Tare Tutare Svaha

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought.  The mind is everything.  What we think we become." Buddha Sakyamuni

Offline catmoon

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Re: Emptiness question
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2011, 05:03:51 pm »
I am still inclined to think there may be an unseen reality causing our sense perceptions.  I don't understand how so many teachers and schools have eliminated the possibility. How do they know that which is unknowable? It looks to me like they are arbitrarily deciding an undecideable question.

My intuition suggests to me that there is unseen reality.
However in what way do you suggest that an unseen reality is causing our sense perceptions?
Please clarify for me...I can be thick

Just the usual way, A causes B causes C and at some point what we perceive as light, sound and touch and smell is caused.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Emptiness question
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2011, 07:17:11 pm »
I don't understand your question. Do you mean like a substratum of "Reality"?  :quq:
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline catmoon

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Re: Emptiness question
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2011, 10:40:55 pm »
I guess I've been unclear somehow. How puzzling.


Everything we experience comes to us through our senses and thoughts. This makes it impossible to prove that anything exists other than our sense inputs and thoughts. But it also makes it impossible to prove that there is not some kind of reality out there producing the sounds and sights we perceive.

It is as though we sit in a theatre, and can only see the screen, and can only speculate what might lie behind the screen.

It seems to me that an awful lot of Buddhists have determined that there is nothing behind the screen. And I don't see how that determination can be made.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Emptiness question
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2011, 10:46:44 pm »
Everything we experience comes to us through our senses and thoughts. This makes it impossible to prove that anything exists other than our sense inputs and thoughts. But it also makes it impossible to prove that there is not some kind of reality out there producing the sounds and sights we perceive.

It is as though we sit in a theatre, and can only see the screen, and can only speculate what might lie behind the screen.

It seems to me that an awful lot of Buddhists have determined that there is nothing behind the screen. And I don't see how that determination can be made.
You seem to think that Buddhism is solipsistic. I think the Cittamatra (mind only) school could be accused of that but I don't think that is a fair criticism of the other philosophical positions. Objective reality is thought to exist, just in an impermanent and essenceless way. When you get to the whole Shentong position then all apparent phenomena is self-empty but valid as a manifestation of the fundamental Truth that underlies everything. That's why I like it. Easier to understand.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 10:50:28 pm by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline catmoon

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Re: Emptiness question
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2011, 10:55:55 pm »
You seem to think that Buddhism is solipsistic.

Eeeks, it sure looks that way doesn't it?

Wait a minute, then, what am I supposed to make of all those statements about things not existing from their own side?

Am I getting caught in the crossfire between different schools?
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Emptiness question
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2011, 05:10:49 am »
I am still inclined to think there may be an unseen reality causing our sense perceptions. 

I'm inclined to think there is a seen reality causing our sense perceptions.   :wink1:

Spiny

Offline zerwe

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Re: Emptiness question
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2011, 08:12:28 am »
You seem to think that Buddhism is solipsistic.

Eeeks, it sure looks that way doesn't it?

Wait a minute, then, what am I supposed to make of all those statements about things not existing from their own side?

Am I getting caught in the crossfire between different schools?


The Madhyamaka don't dispute the relative reality of things. They posit that conventional phenomena are simply empty of the qualities that we think they possess. Essentially, it is taught in the most basic terms, that all phenomena are empty due to; being dependent arisings, imputation by mind, and parts/whole.
Imputation by mind; we project a whole host of ideas (dependent upon our own karma and delusions--our own perspective shall we say) upon our perception of an object and these ideas are false. That has nothing to do with denying the object's existence. Yes, something certainly is there we just are wholly unrealistic in our understanding of just what that is.
Shaun :namaste:
 

Offline J. McKenna

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Re: Emptiness question
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2011, 08:22:31 am »
I guess I've been unclear somehow. How puzzling.
Considering the subject it is expected and not your fault!
 
Everything we experience comes to us through our senses and thoughts. This makes it impossible to prove that anything exists other than our sense inputs and thoughts. But it also makes it impossible to prove that there is not some kind of reality out there producing the sounds and sights we perceive.
Very true, a key point in all of this Enlightenment hub-bub. We don't strive to eliminate sensory input by way of our senses, but we must stop interpreting all that is sensed with a subjective and tainted mind,; as you say "our senses and thoughts."
 
It is as though we sit in a theatre, and can only see the screen, and can only speculate what might lie behind the screen.
Plato's Cave is the World as most know it ....
 
It seems to me that an awful lot of Buddhists have determined that there is nothing behind the screen. And I don't see how that determination can be made.
By breaking what in the theater world would be called the fourth wall; appropriate given the Allegory of the Cave!  :wink1: It is not limited to behind the screen, but what is there outside the theater beyond the lobby and in the real Universe. Recognition and true acceptance of the myth of "life" as we have known it begins to breakdown the stage, play, and segregation of cast, audience, and staff. Easy? Hell no, but doable it is!
...i found there was no "i" anywhere.....

Offline zerwe

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Re: Emptiness question
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2011, 11:52:01 am »
Maybe this might help or maybe not;

Mipham --Sherab Raltri

The classification of perception is four-fold: \   There are the perceptions of non-confused sense and mind, \   Those of self-awareness, and the perception of yoga. . \   Their objects appear as individual characteristics. \   Therefore they are always non-conceptual. . \   If there is no perception, then there are no signs \   Because there are no signs, there is no inference. \   Things arising from cause, and cessation of such things, . \   All these appearances would be impossible. \   If it is like that, their emptiness and such, \   Depending on what could they be possibly known? \   Therefore, without depending on the conventional, \   The absolute as well will never be realized. .

L8: [2) The explanation of the particular]

 [First, Sense perception:]
   
        By whatever mind-events have arisen from the five senses \   Apprehension of their objects is experienced. \ Without this sense perception, objects would not be seen, \ As they are not in the case of those who are blind, and so forth.

L9: [Second, Mental perception:]

   Of outer and inner objects that rise from the mental sense \   Mental perception is the drawer of clear distinctions. \   Without this mental perception all the dharmas would be \   Without the knowledge of ordinary understanding. .

L9: [Third, yogic direct perception:]

   Meditating well according to the instructions \   One apprehends experience of the ultimate as our object. \   If there is not this kind of yogic direct perception, \   We will not see the real beyond the everyday. .

L9: [Fourth, self-awareness:]

        Just as perceived experience of form cuts through distortion. \   If such experience exists regarding our own mind, \   Knowing that, we will not meet the existence of other. . \   Therefore by the essence, gsal rig, luminous insight, \   Aware of objects  is of the nature of oneself, \   Self-apprehension, rang gsal,      is    without dependence. \   This is what is meant by terms like self-awareness.  \    That which is experienced by the other perceptions, \   Being ascertained to be perception itself \   Is the work of self-awareness. If that did not exist, \   No other modes of perceiving could establish anything.

 [3) Third, the summary of the meaning:]
 
       Inference has perception existing as its root. \  Perception in turn is ascertained by self-awareness. \  Once experience by unconfused mind is reached, \  There is no other establisher than that alone. \  Therefore, for whomever relies on pure perception, \  Unconfused and free from all conceptualization,                          From whatever    dharmas may be manifested \  Exaggeration will be completely cleared away.

Shaun :namaste:

Offline catmoon

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Re: Emptiness question
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2011, 02:39:14 pm »
I guess I will have to be content to go on thinking as I have before. There's a lot of  good material here, but I think it is all neatly summarized by a single case:


Consider a prism splitting a beam of sunlight into a spectrum. In the spectrum appears an area of blue light. There is no blueness suffusing the sun, like dye in water. There is no blueness in the beam of light, only oscillating fields. There is no blueness in the prism, which is clear as water. The is no blueness in the (presumably white) screen on which the spectrum falls.

The only place blueness is found is in the mind, which perceives a blue sensation, and labels it with the word "blue". And the mind is not found anywhere.

In spite of this, the sun, the light, the prism and the screen continue to function and that blueness is perceivable whenever they are brought together in a certain way.

The same reasoning can be applied to any perceived thing, including the sun, the light, the prism and the screen! (This is a deliciously tricky problem left for the student as an exercise. :brick:)
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Emptiness question
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2011, 02:44:44 pm »
I guess I will have to be content to go on thinking as I have before. There's a lot of  good material here, but I think it is all neatly summarized by a single case:


Consider a prism splitting a beam of sunlight into a spectrum. In the spectrum appears an area of blue light. There is no blueness suffusing the sun, like dye in water. There is no blueness in the beam of light, only oscillating fields. There is no blueness in the prism, which is clear as water. The is no blueness in the (presumably white) screen on which the spectrum falls.

The only place blueness is found is in the mind, which perceives a blue sensation, and labels it with the word "blue". And the mind is not found anywhere.

In spite of this, the sun, the light, the prism and the screen continue to function and that blueness is perceivable whenever they are brought together in a certain way.

The same reasoning can be applied to any perceived thing, including the sun, the light, the prism and the screen! (This is a deliciously tricky problem left for the student as an exercise. :brick:)
I think that you have distilled the essence of the Sautantrika school!

...but I'm not an expert so I could be wrong.
It feels odd to say but sometimes I do miss Namdrol...
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 02:48:05 pm by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline catmoon

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Re: Emptiness question
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2011, 02:59:39 pm »
Yup, the guys over on Dharma Wheel think I'm a Sautantrika too.  I wonder where a Pransangika might disagree with that prism post. Funny thing is, my sources of emptiness teaching are people like Lama Zopa, HHDL, Thubten Chodron - aren't they all supposed to be Prasangikas?
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

 


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