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Compassion and Emptiness

BunksBunks Australia Veteran

"Great compassion holds a unique place in Mahayana spiritual
training. It is said that great compassion as a method for achieving
full enlightenment is like a father, whereas the wisdom of realising
emptiness is likened to a mother" - Venerable Geshe Doga, Deveoping Bodhicitta

I like it!

ShoshinCinorjerlobsterkarastiWill_BakerDavid

Comments

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    It makes no sense to me... how can the realisation of emptiness be like my mother? Who is a complex and kind and wonderful lady. And how can compassion be like my father? Who is proud and somewhat vain but has my best interests at heart.

    Sounds like one of those sayings that may be a bit culturally bound!

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    You may be right @Kerome. In Tibetan Buddhism they do like to transform these things into dieties and human form. They even assign a gender. For whatever reason it appeals to me.

    I don't think it should be taken literally though. It is just a metaphor.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator

    It's metaphorical, not necessarily cultural.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @federica said:
    It's metaphorical, not necessarily cultural.

    Then perhaps my brain lacks the translation bits needed to let me apprehend it :)

  • @Kerome it depends on the personification of qualities.

    The universal quality of the Buddha Nature that nurtures, protects and selflessly puts us baby Buddhas through our potty training is compassionate. Personally I would see that as a Mother manifestation.
    The Father personification I personally would visualise as wise, protective, supportive of understanding and the realisation of the emptiness of our tantrums.

    Maybe such calls to changing or different cultural gender roles are not the point. The parental Buddha Nature within us has components that can be thought of as 'Mother'/’Father'.

    In a similar way our major impediments can be seen as 'animal nature' or 'monkey mind'.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_poisons

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    It makes no sense to me... how can the realisation of emptiness be like my mother? Who is a complex and kind and wonderful lady. And how can compassion be like my father? Who is proud and somewhat vain but has my best interests at heart.

    Sounds like one of those sayings that may be a bit culturally bound!

    It just means that compassion and wisdom go hand in hand equally like a good marriage.

    Enlightenment would be their kid I guess.

    Bunksdhammachick
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited September 2016

    Yes I understand that you can think of abstract mental qualities as 'mother' or 'father'. It's a stretch but perhaps you could make that mental translation.

    But what is the point? In what way is it skilful? It seems to me to merely confuse the issues.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited September 2016

    We have idioms in our language we use every day without thinking.

    Have you ever used these?
    Skating on thin ice.
    Walking on eggshells.
    sweeping it under the rug
    batting on a sticky wicket
    letting the cat out of the bag
    looking like a dog's dinner....

    It's got very little if anything to do with 'skilful'. To someone not used to the English language, these may prompt the same questions, but you'd just tell them "it's just a turn of phrase"...

    It's the same thing here.
    I'm frankly just a bit puzzled you're making such a fuss about it...

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Kerome the saying is talking about general attributes assigned to mother and father. Not your parents attributes. "A" mother and "A" father. Not YOUR mother and YOUR father.
    If it is of no use to you, then let it be. I don't find it confuses anything. I find that usually we are the ones who confuse such things because we immediately think of attributes as they apply in our lives rather than very generally speaking. Your first thought was to get hung up on what mother and father mean. Which wasn't the intention of the quote at all. But that makes it a problem with the way you chose to see it, and not a problem with the words.

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited September 2016

    @federica said:
    We have idioms in our language we use every day without thinking.

    It could be just an idiom, sure...

    It's the same thing here.
    I'm frankly just a bit puzzled you're making such a fuss about it...

    Usually things posted on this forum contain some wisdom, even if sometimes quirky :) I'm just trying to get at the hidden nugget which is eluding me.

    In this particular case, I see a lot of negatives to the content of the words - you can see realising emptiness as a mother, but that mostly just leads you to attach the general emotional qualities of a mother figure to a concept that is not at all like the object you are comparing it to. Mother figures gain their positive emotional quality through long and complex interaction. So it sounds to me like drawing this comparison is obscuring your own clear vision with an emotional value that doesn't belong there. For a quote from a geshe, that is quite unusual.

    It's not a big deal, just something whose stated-to-be-positive impact is unclear.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator

    You're way overthinking this.
    Either that, or you don't get it.

    Possibly both.
    Ok, one last time....Paternal, maternal, Yin, Yang, firm, soft, expansion, contraction, Masculine, Feminine.... You, your wife.... just different qualities in a positive admirable sense....

    dhammachick
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited September 2016

    But attaching that mixture to emptiness and compassion?

    My viewpoint is just a little different - I attach a lot of value to clarity. But maybe it will make more sense in a few decades. Sometimes it happens :)

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator

    I doubt it. I've been doing this for nearly three of them, and I'm still mostly clueless..... :D

    Bunksdhammachicksilver
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    "Great compassion holds a unique place in Mahayana spiritual
    training. It is said that great compassion as a method for achieving
    full enlightenment is like a father, whereas the wisdom of realising
    emptiness is likened to a mother" - Venerable Geshe Doga, Deveoping Bodhicitta

    I like it!

    It seems like compassion is a result of wisdom, otherwise it's just sentimental nonsense.

    lobsterDavidperson
  • Lonely_TravellerLonely_Traveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    @SpinyNorman Someone once said to me that true compassion is to show someone how to free themselves, anything else is tainted by the sludge of attachment. However sometimes sludge does the job.

    Bunksdhammachick
  • Suiseki7Suiseki7 Pennsylvania, USA Explorer

    In no-mind, thought or action our ego vaporizes. With the big ME out of the way, we can affect true compassion in our relationship and perfect reflection of others. We then see ourselves as them and treat them accordingly. We feel their pain as ourselves because we are vacant.

    I believe the etymology of the word compassion means essentially "with pain" from cum (with) and patiens or some similar. It is related to patient.

    G:) (Gassho with a smile.)

    BunksSteve_B
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator

    @Suiseki7 said: I believe the etymology of the word compassion means essentially "with pain" from cum (with) and patiens or some similar. It is related to patient.

    Not so. It comes from the Latin Com - with, and Passio - suffering. We also have the derivative, 'compatible'.

    lobsterSuiseki7
  • Suiseki7Suiseki7 Pennsylvania, USA Explorer

    So suffering is not pain?

  • Thanks @federica
    So compassion is more akin to empathy?

    In our 'internal parenting' if I can put it like that, both discipline/discernment/wisdom and understanding/insight/heart is balancing us.

    I like to bring the whole family of Buddha qualities, from Granpa Shakyamuni, Granny Tara, Odd Uncle Bodhidharma, Kiddi Sangha and everybodies favourite Naughty Auntie.

    Iz you orphan? Buddhism will adopt you/offer refuge ... <3

    @Lonely_Traveller said:
    @SpinyNorman Someone once said to me that true compassion is to show someone how to free themselves ...

    Very true, don't settle for sludge ... :3

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator

    @Suiseki7 said:
    So suffering is not pain?

    Suffering encapsulates all forms of dis-stress, be it physical, mental, slight, extreme, felt bodily, felt emotionally....not everybody would define suffering as 'pain'.

  • Suiseki7Suiseki7 Pennsylvania, USA Explorer

    Why define anything?

  • Suiseki7Suiseki7 Pennsylvania, USA Explorer

    I prefer to eat the food instead of the menu......

    Steve_BShoshin
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie gal Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Suiseki7 said:
    Why define anything?

    Because it's human nature and we do it anyway......

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator

    @Suiseki7 said:
    Why define anything?

    Because it is necessary for things to be defined in order to be able to non-define them. Of course.
    Why are you defined as @Suiseki7 ? You wouldn't be commenting otherwise, would you?

  • Suiseki7Suiseki7 Pennsylvania, USA Explorer

    The void is emptiness so who is defining what?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator

    @Suiseki7 said:
    The void is emptiness so who is defining what?

    You keep changing your avatar. What are you trying to convey?

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @Suiseki7 said:
    The void is emptiness so who is defining what?

    Well, you just defined the void.

    When I define emptiness I come up with the potential for change.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @David said:> When I define emptiness I come up with the potential for change.

    It is just change.

    Suiseki7
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @David said:> When I define emptiness I come up with the potential for change.

    It is just change.

    I think if it were just change it would just be called change and not emptiness. It would be much more to the point and simpler to understand if that were the case but it doesn't appear to be in my view.

    It's like saying the ability or potential for swimming is the same as swimming.

    For example, for change to happen, first there must be a catalyst or cause but emptiness has no cause just as the potential for change has no cause.

    The difference is subtle but there it is.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @David said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @David said:> When I define emptiness I come up with the potential for change.

    It is just change.

    I think if it were just change it would just be called change and not emptiness. It would be much more to the point and simpler to understand if that were the case but it doesn't appear to be in my view.

    It's like saying the ability or potential for swimming is the same as swimming.

    For example, for change to happen, first there must be a catalyst or cause but emptiness has no cause just as the potential for change has no cause.

    The difference is subtle but there it is.

    How does your view of the potential for change interpret the emptiness of emptiness?

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @David said:> When I define emptiness I come up with the potential for change.

    It is just change.

    I think if it were just change it would just be called change and not emptiness. It would be much more to the point and simpler to understand if that were the case but it doesn't appear to be in my view.

    It's like saying the ability or potential for swimming is the same as swimming.

    For example, for change to happen, first there must be a catalyst or cause but emptiness has no cause just as the potential for change has no cause.

    The difference is subtle but there it is.

    How does your view of the potential for change interpret the emptiness of emptiness?

    My device is warning me about that site so I can't tell what you mean by the emptiness of emptiness.

    On the surface it sounds like a platitude made by and for those that think emptiness is somehow negative. As if emptiness meant without meaning as western psychology suggests with feelings of emptiness.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @David said:

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @David said:> When I define emptiness I come up with the potential for change.

    It is just change.

    I think if it were just change it would just be called change and not emptiness. It would be much more to the point and simpler to understand if that were the case but it doesn't appear to be in my view.

    It's like saying the ability or potential for swimming is the same as swimming.

    For example, for change to happen, first there must be a catalyst or cause but emptiness has no cause just as the potential for change has no cause.

    The difference is subtle but there it is.

    How does your view of the potential for change interpret the emptiness of emptiness?

    My device is warning me about that site so I can't tell what you mean by the emptiness of emptiness.

    On the surface it sounds like a platitude made by and for those that think emptiness is somehow negative. As if emptiness meant without meaning as western psychology suggests with feelings of emptiness.

    Basically it is a way to avoid turning emptiness into a thing, with distinct qualities. It comes from Nagarjuna so it's hardly a platitude though.

    I think its been established that we don't agree on our view of emptiness, so I'll just let it go at that.

  • How does your view of the potential for change interpret the emptiness of emptiness?

    [lobster faints]
    just when I thought there was nothing more ... there is ... nothing less ...

    Long live Nagarjuna - I believe he speaks parseltongue ...

    My kind of snake/naga whisperer ...

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @person said:> Basically it is a way to avoid turning emptiness into a thing, with distinct qualities. It comes from Nagarjuna so it's hardly a platitude though.

    Exactly so. There can be a tendency to make sunyata into a thing, a ground of being or Tao, an absolute, something else to cling to.

    It's worth noting that emptiness of emptiness is also what the Heart Sutra describes. "Form is only emptiness, emptiness only form" means that the aggregates are empty, but also that there is no emptiness apart from the aggregates. In other words emptiness is the quality of experience, rather than a thing. I say "quality of experience" because personal experience is what the aggregates represent.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @person said:

    Basically it is a way to avoid turning emptiness into a thing, with distinct qualities.

    Ah, well no worries because emptiness is not a thing nor does my view turn it into one.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @David said:

    @person said:

    Basically it is a way to avoid turning emptiness into a thing, with distinct qualities.

    Ah, well no worries because emptiness is not a thing nor does my view turn it into one.

    It comes across to me as if you are turning emptiness into a thing, just saying you're not doesn't help. So now that you have an idea of what emptiness of emptiness means can you say how the potential for change has the potential for change?

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @person said:

    Basically it is a way to avoid turning emptiness into a thing, with distinct qualities.

    Ah, well no worries because emptiness is not a thing nor does my view turn it into one.

    It comes across to me as if you are turning emptiness into a thing, just saying you're not doesn't help.

    Help for what? I don't even know how to present emptiness as a thing so you're not really making a lot of sense to me here, sorry.

    So now that you have an idea of what emptiness of emptiness means can you say how the potential for change has the potential for change?

    As soon as you explain how emptiness can have emptiness as (Now I see how it works, lol) that does indeed make emptiness into a thing or "self" if that word pleases.

    Also I'm not sure this is the direction @Bunks was intending for this thread so I'll be suspending any further comment on this derailment until I see another post from him.

    At the moment you're just feeding a banned troll.

    Why don't you start a thread on Nagarjuna if you want to talk about Nagarjuna?

  • GlowGlow Veteran
    edited October 2016

    Emptiness in Buddhism does not mean nothingness (void). Emptiness is tied to the idea that nothing exists in a vacuum, in and of itself, but arises as a result of causes and conditions. Everything inside of you (your organs, your thoughts, your feelings, even your consciousness) came from somewhere or someone or something else. In that sense, emptiness is like a mother because we emerge out of the "womb" of emptiness, a womb (the Universe) without which we would not exist.

    Compassion is like a father in that it is the impulse that initiates and then guards our emotional safety and spiritual development. None of us and none of humanity could have thrived without the compassion of other human beings, and none of us will get anywhere without compassion. It protects us from corrosive qualities of the heart and fosters the development of skillful qualities.

    Davidperson
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @David said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @David said:> When I define emptiness I come up with the potential for change.

    It is just change.

    I think if it were just change it would just be called change and not emptiness. It would be much more to the point and simpler to understand if that were the case but it doesn't appear to be in my view.

    It's like saying the ability or potential for swimming is the same as swimming.

    For example, for change to happen, first there must be a catalyst or cause but emptiness has no cause just as the potential for change has no cause.

    The difference is subtle but there it is.

    Like here it's like you make emptiness something other than change, something separate from it.

    As they say form is emptiness, emptiness is form, form is not other than emptiness, emptiness is not other than form.

    SpinyNorman
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @person said:> As they say form is emptiness, emptiness is form, form is not other than emptiness, emptiness is not other than form.

    Exactly.

    dhammachick
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @David said:> When I define emptiness I come up with the potential for change.

    It is just change.

    I think if it were just change it would just be called change and not emptiness. It would be much more to the point and simpler to understand if that were the case but it doesn't appear to be in my view.

    It's like saying the ability or potential for swimming is the same as swimming.

    For example, for change to happen, first there must be a catalyst or cause but emptiness has no cause just as the potential for change has no cause.

    The difference is subtle but there it is.

    Like here it's like you make emptiness something other than change, something separate from it.

    As they say form is emptiness, emptiness is form, form is not other than emptiness, emptiness is not other than form.

    But it doesn't say emptiness is change or that form is change does it?

    Neither emptiness nor form is change but emptiness/form is subject to change... That's what makes it empty.

    With that, I'm done with your little pissing contest.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @David said:

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @David said:> When I define emptiness I come up with the potential for change.

    It is just change.

    I think if it were just change it would just be called change and not emptiness. It would be much more to the point and simpler to understand if that were the case but it doesn't appear to be in my view.

    It's like saying the ability or potential for swimming is the same as swimming.

    For example, for change to happen, first there must be a catalyst or cause but emptiness has no cause just as the potential for change has no cause.

    The difference is subtle but there it is.

    Like here it's like you make emptiness something other than change, something separate from it.

    As they say form is emptiness, emptiness is form, form is not other than emptiness, emptiness is not other than form.

    But it doesn't say emptiness is change or that form is change does it?

    Neither emptiness nor form is change but emptiness/form is subject to change... That's what makes it empty.

    With that, I'm done with your little pissing contest.

    What exactly is change really? Is it some force of the universe that acts upon solid things causing them to change. Or are things not really things at all but rather a constant flux of ever shifting causes and conditions, which themselves are ever shifting causes and conditions... all the way down.

    David
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator

    I'm getting fed up with these discussions ending in bickering and spats.
    So this is what I'm going to do when I see one or more people being uncivil.

    Have a nice day.

This discussion has been closed.