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Remind me how is there no anything in the heart sutra?

It seems that I have forgotten how there are no skhandas, no purity, no cessation, no path. How can there be none of these? When I am happy it is all well and good, but I forget the method of realization of non-anything.

No I, me, or mind. But how do you go from attachment and feeling low and anger?

Comments

  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    The sutra could be seen as a direction in which to steer your focus in absorption. Then as you become more adept in practice , the profundity of truth within the sutra will become more ever present, without needing to focus.. manjusri says that the effort becomes less and less, and finally none.

    You could say that with continued effort, you merge with the message contained in the sutra.

    Should contemplation of the sutra bring about negative mental/psychic states, know that you are misunderstanding, and consider clarifying key terms with, and analyzing imagery that arises during contemplation. Moreover, apply it directly to sensory input rather than try to imagine hypothetical states in which abstact versions of the principles exist.

    The rough idea is, get it to 'work' ... Rather than seeing it as an obtuse, cryptic philosophical principle, which usually brings about annoying, mental states and headaches. Feel it. Use it. It's pure in essence.

    This is kind of a general answer. I possibly didn't quite understand your question.
    Jeffrey
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Jeffrey said:


    No I, me, or mind. But how do you go from attachment and feeling low and anger?

    “If you want to cross the ocean of suffering you must take the ship with no bottom”
    (Seung Sahn in The Whole World is a Single Flower))

    Embracing negative emotions is (imho) a crucial step on our path to liberation.
    Invincible_summerJeffrey
  • But how do you go from attachment and feeling low and anger?
    With patience, prostrations, exercise. Burn it up.

    Personally I like to hit myself repeatedly with a wet fish. After some time the slapping becomes worse than the initial annoyance. Then I stop . . . oh the relief. No I, no me, no fish.
    :crazy:
    ToshJeffrey
  • In the same paradoxical way, when I was depressed, playing some really depressing music lifted me up. A Neil Young or a Leonard Cohen album would usually do the trick.
    riverflow
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    Jeffrey said:

    It seems that I have forgotten how there are no skhandas, no purity, no cessation, no path. How can there be none of these? When I am happy it is all well and good, but I forget the method of realization of non-anything.

    No I, me, or mind. But how do you go from attachment and feeling low and anger?

    I do not know the heart sutra but how can these things not be? If these things is not then how can you cultivate? Or is this just a zen koan type of thing.
  • I believe I relate to the sentiment you are expressing. When I am feeling low, the world is a different place. The present looks different. The past looks different in my memory and has different meanings. The future seems to hold a completely different set of possibilities. Things that had great meaning in better moments now seem to be just vain ideas.

    But, all feelings are temporary.

    Lately I am able to remember a particular time in my life that felt just right, like a warm flannel shirt on a cool, sunny autumn day. It has been just long enough ago that I can remember it well. Of course, I am forgetting that there was pain, suffering, and uncertainty then. I feel a bit of nostalgia and a sense of loss that the time has passed and I am in a different place, separated from the feelings I had then.

    It is like a new relationship. Things can be so magical in the beginning of a relationship, with the joy of discovering a new person and the idealization of the one another. Each time this happens, it feels like I have met someone so perfect, so marvelous. But, time passes and things change, yet again.

    All I can say is, coming from someone who has been in the low place, I feel a little of your pain. And, from here, my low places don't look so bad as they once did.

    Metta.
    Jeffrey
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    If there really were a "non-anything" and you knew it, that would just be another something, I imagine. Just what I needed ... more clutter.
    Invincible_summerJeffrey
  • The words are a finger pointing at the moon. The words present a path that one can follow. Perhaps once one truly understands where the path is going (closer to the moon itself), the words are no longer needed. Maybe one would see that there are many paths.

    genkaku: That is a funny concept. Are "things" and their corresponding "non-things" like matter and anti-matter, both existing?

    One can do intellectual work that takes one out of the normal way of thinking and spurs one on to new insights. But one can also follow the heart in practice. It seems that a balance of head / heart is best. Or an integration, and a balance. So it seems to me.
    Cinorjer
  • Jeffrey said:

    It seems that I have forgotten how there are no skhandas, no purity, no cessation, no path. How can there be none of these? When I am happy it is all well and good, but I forget the method of realization of non-anything.

    No I, me, or mind. But how do you go from attachment and feeling low and anger?

    I do not know the heart sutra but how can these things not be? If these things is not then how can you cultivate? Or is this just a zen koan type of thing.
    It's a brief 'synopsis' if you will , of the other prajnaparamita scriptures, a large group of Mahayana sutras dedicated to the perfection of wisdom. The Heart of Perfection of Wisdom is the full name of the sutra he mentioned. It is highly revered, and the most well known of the prajnaparamita sutras.
    Victorious
  • Jeffrey said:

    It seems that I have forgotten how there are no skhandas, no purity, no cessation, no path. How can there be none of these? When I am happy it is all well and good, but I forget the method of realization of non-anything.

    Note that the sutra contains several sets of negations and double negations: no skandas (aggregates) but also no (ignorance + no end to ignorance); no (old & death + no end to old age & death).

    This points not to compromise half-way between solution -- not to a bit of old age and death and a bit of youth and health -- but to a transcendent Middle Way that solves the extremes of suffering/no-suffering by pointing to a *real* place beyond: the Unconditioned.

    The mantra is explicit about this: gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā (gone, gone, gone beyond)

    Many of us get stuck at this point for two basic reasons:

    1. We do not really understand or believe there is an Unconditioned Realm; or,
    2. We feel confident that there is truly an Unconditioned Realm, but don't know how to experience it or "get there".
    Jeffrey said:


    No I, me, or mind. But how do you go from attachment and feeling low and anger?

    About "getting there" --

    It isn't easy. It takes patience. You need to continually to remind yourself that the state you call "low and anger" is generated by you yourself, and you need to cultivate letting go. OK, you know that by now. So, why is is so hard? Because you've been cultivating habits that general attachment since time immemorial. It will take some effort to unpack these habits and states.

    However, you probably already know how to let go already without reflecting on it a lot. Every time you do something generous, however "small," for another; or feel kindness -- even a little bit; or happiness at someone's or something's beauty or good fortune; or can let go in any other way, you are experiencing a level of non-attachment. You are not focused on your false self, in other words.

    But it takes a lot of cultivation of patience to go beyond this. If you have trouble with patience, you need to learn to cultivate patience for impatience.

    Shalom
    Jeffrey
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Jeffrey said:

    It seems that I have forgotten how there are no skhandas, no purity, no cessation, no path. How can there be none of these? When I am happy it is all well and good, but I forget the method of realization of non-anything.

    No I, me, or mind. But how do you go from attachment and feeling low and anger?

    You just do it. You learn to let go. The problem isn't wanting something, or feeling a bit low, or feeling angry, but our attachment to them. All these elements in our life are empty. There's no "there" that is these movements in our life. Show me a handful of desire. Put your anger on the table in front of me. Empty. Everything you are, everything that effects you is empty. Form is emptiness. Make a fist and look at it. What are you grasping? Open the fist, let go of the nothing.

    But you want to sit in meditation, calm and serene and untouched by the world? You want to live a life of emptiness, free from emotion and soaked in virtue? Then I take a stick and smack you on the head. Ouch! Where's your emptiness now? There is no great enlighted realm full of wisdom and peace. There's only you, sitting on a mat watching yourself breathe while your guts digest the last meal and you bladder calls for release. So this emptiness is also nothing but form.

    Do you understand? Then I hit myself on the head instead and say "Ouch!"


    JeffreyquietmathsMaryAnnelobster
  • AkaneAkane New
    edited September 2013
    Hello again my friends, if allowed, I will add my two cents into this, hoping to be useful.
    I will begin with a tale about Gautama Buddha, in which he was asked about what he did in order to achieve enlightenment. It is said that he answerd in terms of having done nothing. I shall return to this at the end of my post, which i shall keep small in order not to be boring.

    Samsara and Nirvana can be seen as nothing but states of the mind, a pure mind will perceive Nirvana, while an impure mind will live in... well, if you are as imperfect as me, you get the idea. :)

    In this samsaric state of mind, we are using a conceptual mind, a mind that clings to notions, concepts, and...a bunch of misconceptions, such as independent existance (i mean: existance of all things/persons/situations from "their own side" and not dependent-related to cause and effect/conditions/minds perceiving them). In this state of mind we have afirmations such as "my name is Akane" which help us understand and function in this existance, but...we also have negations, such as "i dislike hot sauce". Please notice something: both afirmations and negations in this stage of the mind imply something else.

    Given that my name is Akane, it implies that my name is not Tomoe, or Yuki, or Aoi. Oki?
    Given that i dislike hot sauce, it implies that i like food that does not make my tongue to burn.

    In this order of ideas, let me say that this dualistic thought can be a great obtacle in understanding emptiness. We go to Dharma lessons, we hear a teacher saying nothing exists bt its own side and everything is cause-condition-mind dependent, and we....

    ....create yet another mental concept for something that challenges concepts altogether. A cute little mental stamp named: "Emptiness", with a mental ilustration of blackness, or whiteness, or...whatever.

    Is this necessarily bad? No, but it is a reason why we can't reach a realization of emptiness itself. We expect to have a realization of something beyond concepts...by meditating on a concept. We expect to reach a subtle mind while using a conceptual one. It is like trying to force a big key into a small keyhole. Just-won't-do.

    In fact, this dualistic thought is a reason of why a very common reaction to emptiness lessons is seen. The Dharma teacher talks about emptiness, and in the afterwards gossips we hear: "so....nothing really exists?" (Facepalms). Dualistic thinking attack causing a mistaken link between Dharma and Nihilism.

    Everyone can see how an affirmation asserts a concept, but it can be tricky to notice how a negation does the same thing for a conceptual mind. However, both resulting thoughts are concepts, and both seem to have....inherent existance. (Facepalms, again).

    The realization of emptiness (but PLEASE, not emptiness as a concept, not emptiness "realized" by a conceptual mind, not even a "feeling" of emptiness) is a non-affirming negation, a negation that does not lead to another concept. Ultimate truth.

    O_O

    A...what?


    Exactly that. Because the mind that really realizes emptiness is a non-conceptual mind (the very subtle mind), it can not lead to concepts (geez, this took me so long to partially understand, even if conceptually, -giggles-).
    Therefore, in emptiness there are no -concept- of attainments, no cessations, no purity, no path. But also there aren't the negatives of those. Again, emptiness is a non affirming negation, realized only by a concept-free mind which realizes the lack of inherent existance, but does not place another conceptual thought against it.

    I will shut up and hide in my corner again. I am very sorry for my broken English, but in my defence i will say that it is not my natural language. Sorry again.

    Anyway, I will finish where I started. There is a tale in which Gautama Buddha was asked about what he did in order of reaching enlightenment.

    He answered in terms of having done nothing.




    -Hugs and kisses, Akane.










    riverflowCinorjerJeffreyoceancaldera207
  • riverflowriverflow Veteran
    edited September 2013
    On a very basic level, emptiness means we cannot locate any reified, independent, permanent metaphysical "substance"-- either ourselves or anything else for that matter.

    We can only refer to an eye in a conventional, nominal sense. Unfortunately, we tend to take the conventional for the ultimate, and so we end up believing there truly exists an eye as an entity that exists separately from the rest of the world. We don't ask ourselves: where does the eye end and the object it sees begins?

    Emptiness then resembles an ecosystem, where each plant, animal, mineral and many other factors come into play, all interacting INTER-dependently. You cannot remove one creature from an ecosystem without radically altering it. In this sense, we err when we think the bee and the deer as separate beings. They are intimately tied together-- and so, in the realization of emptiness, one realizes that there is no bee and no deer, just as there is no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, etc.

    It takes a whole universe to make a human being. It takes a whole universe to make a cloud. It takes a whole universe to make a single atom.

    The important point though is the existential realization of this-- not only as an aha! moment (though this is an important insight) but to carry that realization into compassion for others. Just as the bee and the deer in an ecosystem are intimately linked, in realizing emptiness, we realize that you and I are intimately linked.

    The insight of emptiness and compassion are likewise not two.
  • To add: It is better to think of emptiness as a method of insight rather than information about the world. Whether emptiness is "fact" or not ultimately doesn't matter-- assenting to facts can't bring about insight. Realization is the key, and emptiness is one of many other methods to help foster wisdom and compassion.

    I think this is another way of expressing what @Akane is saying.
    AkaneCinorjer
  • Akane said:

    Hello again my friends, if allowed, I will add my two cents into this, hoping to be useful.
    I will begin with a tale about Gautama Buddha, in which he was asked about what he did in order to achieve enlightenment. It is said that he answerd in terms of having done nothing. I shall return to this at the end of my post, which i shall keep small in order not to be boring.

    Samsara and Nirvana can be seen as nothing but states of the mind, a pure mind will perceive Nirvana, while an impure mind will live in... well, if you are as imperfect as me, you get the idea. :)

    In this samsaric state of mind, we are using a conceptual mind, a mind that clings to notions, concepts, and...a bunch of misconceptions, such as independent existance (i mean: existance of all things/persons/situations from "their own side" and not dependent-related to cause and effect/conditions/minds perceiving them). In this state of mind we have afirmations such as "my name is Akane" which help us understand and function in this existance, but...we also have negations, such as "i dislike hot sauce". Please notice something: both afirmations and negations in this stage of the mind imply something else.

    Given that my name is Akane, it implies that my name is not Tomoe, or Yuki, or Aoi. Oki?
    Given that i dislike hot sauce, it implies that i like food that does not make my tongue to burn.

    In this order of ideas, let me say that this dualistic thought can be a great obtacle in understanding emptiness. We go to Dharma lessons, we hear a teacher saying nothing exists bt its own side and everything is cause-condition-mind dependent, and we....

    ....create yet another mental concept for something that challenges concepts altogether. A cute little mental stamp named: "Emptiness", with a mental ilustration of blackness, or whiteness, or...whatever.

    Is this necessarily bad? No, but it is a reason why we can't reach a realization of emptiness itself. We expect to have a realization of something beyond concepts...by meditating on a concept. We expect to reach a subtle mind while using a conceptual one. It is like trying to force a big key into a small keyhole. Just-won't-do.

    In fact, this dualistic thought is a reason of why a very common reaction to emptiness lessons is seen. The Dharma teacher talks about emptiness, and in the afterwards gossips we hear: "so....nothing really exists?" (Facepalms). Dualistic thinking attack causing a mistaken link between Dharma and Nihilism.

    Everyone can see how an affirmation asserts a concept, but it can be tricky to notice how a negation does the same thing for a conceptual mind. However, both resulting thoughts are concepts, and both seem to have....inherent existance. (Facepalms, again).

    The realization of emptiness (but PLEASE, not emptiness as a concept, not emptiness "realized" by a conceptual mind, not even a "feeling" of emptiness) is a non-affirming negation, a negation that does not lead to another concept. Ultimate truth.

    O_O

    A...what?


    Exactly that. Because the mind that really realizes emptiness is a non-conceptual mind (the very subtle mind), it can not lead to concepts (geez, this took me so long to partially understand, even if conceptually, -giggles-).
    Therefore, in emptiness there are no -concept- of attainments, no cessations, no purity, no path. But also there aren't the negatives of those. Again, emptiness is a non affirming negation, realized only by a concept-free mind which realizes the lack of inherent existance, but does not place another conceptual thought against it.

    I will shut up and hide in my corner again. I am very sorry for my broken English, but in my defence i will say that it is not my natural language. Sorry again.

    Anyway, I will finish where I started. There is a tale in which Gautama Buddha was asked about what he did in order of reaching enlightenment.

    He answered in terms of having done nothing.




    -Hugs and kisses, Akane.










    Oh come now hehe, your english is fantastic :)
  • riverflow said:

    To add: It is better to think of emptiness as a method of insight rather than information about the world. Whether emptiness is "fact" or not ultimately doesn't matter-- assenting to facts can't bring about insight. Realization is the key, and emptiness is one of many other methods to help foster wisdom and compassion.

    I think this is another way of expressing what @Akane is saying.

    @riverflow the bold statement you made is like the shentong view. That view is that tantra is definitive and prajnaparamita is a method. The rangtongpa view is the oppositve. That's somewhat true but not totally.
  • betaboybetaboy Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Emptiness is dependent origination. And dependent origination, quoting Lenin, would be: Everything is connected with everything else.
  • “A wide gap exists be­tween the sensory experience of the worldling and that experi­ence the arahant gets through the eye of wisdom. It is the same gap that obtains between the two terms papanca and nip­papanca. In sensory experience, which is based on worldly ex­pressions, worldly usages and worldly concepts, there is a dis­crimination between a thing to be grasped and the one who grasps, or, in other words, a subject-object relationship (dualism).

    If there is a seen, there has to be some­thing seen and the one who sees. That is the logic. In the Bàhi­ya­sutta, beginning with `in the seen there will be just the seen', the Buddha proclaimed to the ascetic Bàhiya a brief ex­hortation on Dhamma which enables one to transcend the above narrow view point and attain the state of non-prolifera­tion or nippapanca.

    There is nothing to see, no one to see, only `a seen' is there. The cause of all these conceptual proliferation, or pa­panca, in the world is contact. The arahants understood this by their in­sight into the fact that the seen, the heard, the sensed and the cognized are simply so many collocations of condi­tions which come together for a moment due to contact, only to break up and get dispersed the next moment.

    What is called the seen, the heard, the sensed and the cog­nized are for the worldling so many `things'. But to the wis­dom eye of the arahants they appear as mere conglomerations of conditions, dependent on contact, which momentarily come together and then get dispersed. This insight into the depend­ence on contact, phassam paticca, is the very essence of the law of dependent arising, paticca samuppàda. It is equivalent to seeing the law of dependent arising itself.

    In order to transcend the narrow point of view limited to the bases of sense contact or the six sense spheres and realize the state of Nibbàna indicated by the words vinnànam anidas­sanam, anantam sabbato pabham,[2] "consciousness which is non-manifestative, endless, lustrous on all sides", one has to see the cessation of contact.

    Nyanananda Thera

    When we practice zazen our mind always follows our breathing. When we inhale, the air comes into the inner world. When we exhale, the air goes to the outer world. The inner world is limitless, and the outer world is also limitless. We say “inner world” or “outer world,” but actually there is just one whole world. In this limitless world, our throat is like a swinging door.

    The air comes in and goes out like someone passing through a swinging door. If you think, “I breathe,” the “I” is extra. There is no you to say “I.” What we call “I” is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale. It just moves; that is all. When your mind is pure and calm enough to follow this movement, there is nothing: no “I,” no world, no mind nor body; just a swinging door.
    -Shunryu Suzuki

    image

    The bell is a series of processes as is the "one" who makes contact with the "bell". There is only the "eye" that sees, "ear" that hears, "hand" that touch the bell.

    So no bell!
    oceancaldera207riverflowJeffrey
  • The bell is a series of processes as is the "one" who makes contact with the "bell". There is only the "eye" that sees, "ear" that hears, "hand" that touch the bell.
    To add:, the bell and the observer are both a flux of dependent circumstances, components and events that can't be seperated or even identified. We do so conceptually but it is not, can not be accurate.
    So, empty, no bell.

    This is important because if you put it into practice, you realize that the minds anxieties are based on objects that are not real, as really nothing can be identified. Of course, even if we realize it somewhat, we still return to habit. Also we can't say that nothing exists either, because that is just a label upon that which cannot be labeled. So it isn't negative either...it's sublime!


    :om:
    riverflowpegembaraJeffrey
  • The bell is a series of processes as is the "one" who makes contact with the "bell". There is only the "eye" that sees, "ear" that hears, "hand" that touch the bell.
    To add:, the bell and the observer are both a flux of dependent circumstances, components and events that can't be seperated or even identified. We do so conceptually but it is not, can not be accurate.
    So, empty, no bell.

    This is important because if you put it into practice, you realize that the minds anxieties are based on objects that are not real, as really nothing can be identified. Of course, even if we realize it somewhat, we still return to habit. Also we can't say that nothing exists either, because that is just a label upon that which cannot be labeled. So it isn't negative either...it's sublime!

    :om:

    Or as one old koan that certainly transcends cultures asks:

    "When you see a flag flapping in the wind, is it the flag moving, or the wind moving?"

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