Author Topic: What is the Theravada assertion of how conventional phenomena exists?  (Read 561 times)

Offline tenzintharpa

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I am a Gelug practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism and understand Tsongkhapa’s view but am a little confused on the different views of conventional phenomena held by other schools of Buddhism. 
According to the Theravada, does conventional phenomena:
A) Exist as Illusion, existing only as a projection of the mind, (literally unreal).
B) Exist as Illusion ‘like’; real but existing in an ethereal manner, lacking any inherent true essence; nominally existent.
C) Does Theravada deny the existence of conventional phenomena and/or matter?

Gelug presentation
The Buddha often described life as dream-like but he never asserted that life was a dream or that phenomenon did not actually exist.

Observed phenomenon don’t exist as mere images, projections or visions in the mind but rather exists as separate entities from the mind. The mind and matter are two separate things. Matter is separate from the mind that cognizes and dominates it. And although observed phenomenon are not simply created by a mind, their ultimate mode of existence is dependent upon the mind, so the mind doesn’t create the matter but the matter is dependent on the mind that imputes it as the imputer. Therefore, their mode of existence is separate from the imputer but their existence is dependent upon the imputer. Their mode of existence is separate but their existence is dependent. Nothing can exist independently from the mind which perceives it. ~ Dalai Lama
Venerable Tenzin Tharpa

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: What is the Theravada assertion of how conventional phenomena exists?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2017, 04:40:37 pm »
Hi, tenzintharpa.

My understanding as a Theravadin practitioner is that the mind is but a container, many have called it much like a bottle, which may vary in contents. 

The contents of the mind are what we call mental factors, which include:  thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, any factors derived from the senses,, what Buddha called the sense doors, such as visualizations, sounds, sensations of touch, smells, and tastes.  Mental factors also arise from purely mental factors, such as logical reasoning, planning, formulation of intentions, assessments, predictions, and etc..

All of the above are dependently arisen, impermanent factors, dependent upon other impermanent factors.

As for your other questions, as to whether or not these factors are internally or externally derived, my experience is that they are a complex combination of many different factors.  I believe that echos, for example, result from sound waves bouncing off of canyon walls and reflecting back to my audio-sensory system, and that the objects I see with my visual systems are derived from light reflecting off of exterior objects. Tastes arise from my contact with food and drink.  Smells arise from olfactory systems.  Pain and pleasure arises from my organs with sense touch and pressure.  My experience is that I dream, and imagine, and remember.  So, that is what I mean by all of the above.  Buddha's discussion of all of this is documented in the suttas regarding Dependent Originaiton, and Consciousness:

Depenent Co- Arising:   http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.15.0.than.html

Consciousness:   http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn25/sn25.003.than.html

Awareness of Mind Just as Mood and Mentality:   https://what-buddha-said.net/drops/III/Focusing_on_Mentality.htm

 :r4wheel:
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 04:54:19 pm by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
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But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: What is the Theravada assertion of how conventional phenomena exists?
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2017, 06:32:28 am »
Quote
Ficus Religiosa:  "I was left questioning if this is really what the Buddha had in mind after I was able to return to this end of the universe.

From my study, and experience you are right to question if this was what Buddha had in mind:  Buddha explained this clearly in the following sutta:

SN 56.31 PTS: S v 437 CDB ii 1857
Simsapa Sutta: The Simsapa Leaves
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 1997

Quote
Once the Blessed One was staying at Kosambi in the simsapa[1] forest. Then, picking up a few simsapa leaves with his hand, he asked the monks, "What do you think, monks: Which are more numerous, the few simsapa leaves in my hand or those overhead in the simsapa forest?"

"The leaves in the hand of the Blessed One are few in number, lord. Those overhead in the simsapa forest are more numerous."

"In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.

"And what have I taught? 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': This is what I have taught. And why have I taught these things? Because they are connected with the goal, relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. This is why I have taught them.

"Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: What is the Theravada assertion of how conventional phenomena exists?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2017, 09:42:48 am »
Tashi Deley.

That's wild!  You use a common Tibetan greeting in a Theraveda thread.




Offline Pixie

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Re: What is the Theravada assertion of how conventional phenomena exists?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2017, 10:47:04 am »
Tashi Deley.

That's wild!  You use a common Tibetan greeting in a Theraveda thread.


Hmm.... its actually: "Tashi delek"..... and  it's "Theravada " not Theraveda.

 ::))

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 IdleChater

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Re: What is the Theravada assertion of how conventional phenomena exists?
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2017, 07:26:35 am »
Tashi Deley.

That's wild!  You use a common Tibetan greeting in a Theraveda thread.


Hmm.... its actually: "Tashi delek"..... and  it's "Theravada " not Theraveda.

 ::))

Whatever.

I adhere to the old usenet rule that says it's impolite to point out bad spelling.  This isn't a spelling bee, it's a conversation.

How do you pronounce Theravada with a space after it, and there should be a comma after the the trailing doublequote.  See what I mean?

I get where someome might get the spelling on Tashi Delek wrong.  It's pronounced "Tah-shee-deh-lay".

Offline Pixie

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Re: What is the Theravada assertion of how conventional phenomena exists?
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2017, 08:10:57 am »
Quote
I adhere to the old usenet rule that says it's impolite to point out bad spelling.  This isn't a spelling bee, it's a conversation.

Goodness me, some people are so touchy here!


Quote
I get where someome might get the spelling on Tashi Delek wrong.  It's pronounced "Tah-shee-deh-lay".


I know how its pronounced, thanks. I used to be involved with Tibetan Buddhism.


_/\_
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 08:18:39 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 IdleChater

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Re: What is the Theravada assertion of how conventional phenomena exists?
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2017, 03:54:44 pm »
Quote
I adhere to the old usenet rule that says it's impolite to point out bad spelling.  This isn't a spelling bee, it's a conversation.

Goodness me, some people are so touchy here!

Yeah they correct people's spelling and everything, ;-)



 


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