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Who is it who suffers?

JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

Is it right to say that the one who suffers is the mentally and emotionally constructed "I"? And if the "I" dissolves then there is no one left to suffer?

Also, is it safe to laugh at anyone who is angry with me, knowing it is only their inflamed sense of self that believes it is angry?

Comments

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    Very good question!

    I think there can be suffering without a notion of self - certainly entirely physical forms of suffering. If a man acknowledges he has no self, but is merely a collection of physical and mental parts, and he stubs his toe on a boulder, does that mean his body feels no pain? By analogy the same thing might be said for mental effects, in those areas where he has not abandoned clinging and attachment.

    JaySonpegembaraTigger
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran
    edited January 7

    @JaySon said:

    Also, is it safe to laugh at anyone who is angry with me, knowing it is only their inflamed sense of self that believes it is angry?

    I have experienced that angry people generally dislike being laughed at. Sometimes profoundly. If they lack the insight and serenity to not allow anger to take over their brains, is it safe to assume that they somehow do still have the insight and serenity to not allow violence?

    I would say no, not safe.

    lobster
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    It was a joke. But thanks ;)

    pegembaraTigger
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    Me too.
    And you're welcome.
    (but I am NOT laughing at you)

    Tigger
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    I guess the joke's on me.

    Tigger
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @JaySon said:
    Is it right to say that the one who suffers is the mentally and emotionally constructed "I"? And if the "I" dissolves then there is no one left to suffer?

    Well you could go though the liberation unleashed process and let us know ...
    http://liberationunleashed.com/about/faq/

    JaySon
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    @lobster said:

    @JaySon said:
    Is it right to say that the one who suffers is the mentally and emotionally constructed "I"? And if the "I" dissolves then there is no one left to suffer?

    Well you could go though the liberation unleashed process and let us know ...
    http://liberationunleashed.com/about/faq/

    For now I'll stick with metta, lamrim, and anapanasati. The concentration I've gained from anapanasati I focus single-pointedly on the different flavors of metta generated from metta meditations and lamrim meditations. I want to build a better foundation and take it slow for now.

    person
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited January 7

    @JaySon said:
    Is it right to say that the one who suffers is the mentally and emotionally constructed "I"? And if the "I" dissolves then there is no one left to suffer?

    Sure, but then who will tie your shoes?

    We walk the middle way. The individual sense of self or separation can be seen as a tool we use but we don't stop using it just because we can now see it as such.

    The unique perspective you present makes you useful.

    When Buddha woke up, he got up from the tree and used his seemingly separate self to spread the dharma. He could have just let his body rot but that would be a waste. It was a tool.

    Also, is it safe to laugh at anyone who is angry with me, knowing it is only their inflamed sense of self that believes it is angry?

    Depends on how big they are.

    JaySonlobsterTigger
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    @David said:

    @JaySon said:
    Is it right to say that the one who suffers is the mentally and emotionally constructed "I"? And if the "I" dissolves then there is no one left to suffer?

    Sure, but then who will tie your shoes?

    We walk the middle way. The individual sense of self or separation can be seen as a tool we use but we don't stop using it just because we can now see it as such.

    The unique perspective you present makes you useful.

    When Buddha woke up, he got up from the tree and used his seemingly separate self to spread the dharma. He could have just let his body rot but that would be a waste. It was a tool.

    Interesting point. That's probably why I've heard one modern mystic who claims to be fully awake say that the ego gets integrated, not dissolved.

    Also, is it safe to laugh at anyone who is angry with me, knowing it is only their inflamed sense of self that believes it is angry?

    Depends on how big they are.

    Like no laughing at Dwayne Johnson, for instance.

    DavidTigger
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited January 7

    @JaySon said:

    @David said:

    @JaySon said:
    Is it right to say that the one who suffers is the mentally and emotionally constructed "I"? And if the "I" dissolves then there is no one left to suffer?

    Sure, but then who will tie your shoes?

    We walk the middle way. The individual sense of self or separation can be seen as a tool we use but we don't stop using it just because we can now see it as such.

    The unique perspective you present makes you useful.

    When Buddha woke up, he got up from the tree and used his seemingly separate self to spread the dharma. He could have just let his body rot but that would be a waste. It was a tool.

    Interesting point. That's probably why I've heard one modern mystic who claims to be fully awake say that the ego gets integrated, not dissolved.

    I don't know about being fully awake or anything like that but it would seem to me that when the line between self and other is seen through, we don't disappear or see how we do not exist. We only see how we are more than kin.

    Unique and seemingly infinite aspects of the same process of being.

    Being is not an illusion, separation is. Otherwise compassion is just an ideal that sounds nice instead of a completely logical matter of common sense.

    JaySonlobster
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    @David said:

    Being is not an illusion, separation is. Otherwise compassion is just an ideal that sounds nice instead of a completely logical matter of common sense.

    So we have a mind underneath the defilements that is totally unaffected by them. And the only logical way to live is compassionately. With the nature of things being what they are, we're in good shape.

  • @JaySon said:
    Is it right to say that the one who suffers is the mentally and emotionally constructed "I"? And if the "I" dissolves then there is no one left to suffer?

    Also, is it safe to laugh at anyone who is angry with me, knowing it is only their inflamed sense of self that believes it is angry?

    If craving dissolves both mental suffering and I also disappear but physical pain remains.

    "Seeking but not finding the house builder,
    I hurried through the round of many births:
    Painful is birth ever and again.

    O house builder, you have been seen;
    You shall not build the house again.
    Your rafters have been broken up,
    Your ridgepole is demolished too.

    My mind has now realised the unformed Nibbâna
    And reached the end of every sort of craving."

    JaySonShoshin
  • just_sojust_so Explorer

    @Kerome said:
    I think there can be suffering without a notion of self - certainly entirely physical forms of suffering. If a man...stubs his toe on a boulder, does that mean his body feels no pain?

    Pain and suffering. Two different things.

    @JaySon said:
    I guess the joke's on me.

    Was the second question really a joke?

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    @just_so said:
    Was the second question really a joke?

    Technically it was an illusion.

  • just_sojust_so Explorer

    In that context it makes a lot more sense. Thank you.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited January 8

    @pegembara said:

    @JaySon said:
    Is it right to say that the one who suffers is the mentally and emotionally constructed "I"? And if the "I" dissolves then there is no one left to suffer?

    Also, is it safe to laugh at anyone who is angry with me, knowing it is only their inflamed sense of self that believes it is angry?

    If craving dissolves both mental suffering and I also disappear but physical pain remains.

    "Seeking but not finding the house builder,
    I hurried through the round of many births:
    Painful is birth ever and again.

    O house builder, you have been seen;
    You shall not build the house again.
    Your rafters have been broken up,
    Your ridgepole is demolished too.

    My mind has now realised the unformed Nibbâna
    And reached the end of every sort of craving."

    I think I would have to remember all of the incarnations before I craved the end of being and even then it would be hard to see the wonder and beauty outweighed by negative perspectives of it all.

    The idea of the ending of craving sounds good. I don't think that dictates the end of being so much as developing the ability to let go without throwing.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @David said:

    I don't know about being fully awake or anything like that but it would seem to me that when the line between self and other is seen through, we don't disappear or see how we do not exist. We only see how we are more than kin.

    Unique and seemingly infinite aspects of the same process of being.

    Being is not an illusion, separation is. Otherwise compassion is just an ideal that sounds nice instead of a completely logical matter of common sense.

    That is my understanding too.
    In dharma the sense or illusion of a self is dependent on the aspects of our being, in other words karma, body, influences etc
    But the process of being is not separate from others, even when aligned in non-being awareness. So in a strange way as we become less, we encompass more ... compassion becomes infinite in scope ...

    DavidJaySon
  • just_sojust_so Explorer
    edited January 8

    @JaySon

    The first question is the essence of Buddhism. “I” is constructed by self. Self is constructed by attachment. Attachment is constructed by conditioning. Conditioning is constructed by Speech, Effort, Thought etc. If self is truly eliminated through Right Speech, Right Effort, Right Thought... “I” can no longer be and “the one” who was suffering becomes a “non-returner.” So I think you have that right.

    Regarding the second part, laughing “at” or expressing unwholesome “speech” (ie., disrespectful or angry words) toward someone manages to violate all three divisions of the eightfold path - Ethical Conduct, Mental Discipline and Wisdom. On a karmic level, that is most definitely “unsafe.” If "the one" only laughed on the inside, at least it would be safe from an Ethical Conduct standpoint.

    JaySonpegembara
  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    @JaySon said:
    Is it right to say that the one who suffers is the mentally and emotionally constructed "I"? And if the "I" dissolves then there is no one left to suffer?

    Also, is it safe to laugh at anyone who is angry with me, knowing it is only their inflamed sense of self that believes it is angry?

    This whole issue of "who is it who suffers", and "who is I, if the "I" doesn't exist" is easily resolved if one interprets the teachings not as the "I" not existing (the Buddha, after all, used the pronoun "I", and also referred to himself as The Tathagata), but as the "I" being in a state of constant change and evolution, hopefully for the better with Dharma practice.

    Viewed in this way, we can say that "I" am suffering, but we don't cling to an identity of ourselves as suffering, or as victims, or as self-defeating personalities, or whatever the issue may be. We realize that as we work to develop our Dharma practice, we'll leave the suffering behind, evolving into greater contentedness over time, leaving suffering behind. The "I" is not static; it's the Buddhanature awakening within, and moving toward Buddhahood.

    Stephen Batchelor explains this very well, and says that the point of the teachings is for us not to cling egoically to a self-image, whether negative or positive ("I'm no good! I'm not lovable!" or "I'm so generous, my family and community admire me for my generosity"), as who we perceive ourselves to be can, and usually does, change due to changing circumstances and our own efforts.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @Dakini said:

    @JaySon said:
    Is it right to say that the one who suffers is the mentally and emotionally constructed "I"? And if the "I" dissolves then there is no one left to suffer?

    Also, is it safe to laugh at anyone who is angry with me, knowing it is only their inflamed sense of self that believes it is angry?

    This whole issue of "who is it who suffers", and "who is I, if the "I" doesn't exist" is easily resolved if one interprets the teachings not as the "I" not existing (the Buddha, after all, used the pronoun "I", and also referred to himself as The Tathagata), but as the "I" being in a state of constant change and evolution, hopefully for the better with Dharma practice.

    Viewed in this way, we can say that "I" am suffering, but we don't cling to an identity of ourselves as suffering, or as victims, or as self-defeating personalities, or whatever the issue may be. We realize that as we work to develop our Dharma practice, we'll leave the suffering behind, evolving into greater contentedness over time, leaving suffering behind. The "I" is not static; it's the Buddhanature awakening within, and moving toward Buddhahood.

    Stephen Batchelor explains this very well, and says that the point of the teachings is for us not to cling egoically to a self-image, whether negative or positive ("I'm no good! I'm not lovable!" or "I'm so generous, my family and community admire me for my generosity"), as who we perceive ourselves to be can, and usually does, change due to changing circumstances and our own efforts.

    You're mashing up the conventional self or I and the ultimate self or Buddha nature. The self that changes is the conventional self, the Buddha nature is considered beyond that, something changless.

    The principal subject matter of this treatise is the special theory of Dhatu (fundamental element) of the Absolute (Tathagata-garbha = essence of Buddha)... It is an exposition of the theory of the Essence of Buddhahood (tathagata-garbha), the fundamental element (dhatu) of the Absolute, as existing in all sentient beings. ... This element which had been regarded as an active force (bija) before, is regarded, in this text, as eternal, quiescent and unalterable, as the true essence of every living being and source of all virtuous qualities.'[35]

    And

    Both the Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sūtra and the Ratnagotravibhāga enunciate the idea that the buddha-nature is possessed of four transcendental qualities:
    1. Permanence
    2. Bliss
    3. Self
    4. Purity

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratnagotravibhāga

    Also emptiness isn't just a matter of a real thing that changes. Things are considered empty because they are composed of other things and aren't independent in and of themselves.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Who is it who suffers?

    The "Illusion" (Be it a very persistent one :) )

    JaySon
  • @David said:

    @pegembara said:

    @JaySon said:
    Is it right to say that the one who suffers is the mentally and emotionally constructed "I"? And if the "I" dissolves then there is no one left to suffer?

    Also, is it safe to laugh at anyone who is angry with me, knowing it is only their inflamed sense of self that believes it is angry?

    If craving dissolves both mental suffering and I also disappear but physical pain remains.

    "Seeking but not finding the house builder,
    I hurried through the round of many births:
    Painful is birth ever and again.

    O house builder, you have been seen;
    You shall not build the house again.
    Your rafters have been broken up,
    Your ridgepole is demolished too.

    My mind has now realised the unformed Nibbâna
    And reached the end of every sort of craving."

    I think I would have to remember all of the incarnations before I craved the end of being and even then it would be hard to see the wonder and beauty outweighed by negative perspectives of it all.

    The idea of the ending of craving sounds good. I don't think that dictates the end of being so much as developing the ability to let go without throwing.

    'Kama-tanha' is quite obvious - it is the desire for pleasurable sense experiences. These forms of desire are to be known and understood. The trap is that we tend to think that the Buddha teaches you to get rid of your desires. That is how some people interpret Buddhism. But that's wrong: the Buddha taught us how to look and understand desire so that we do not grasp it! That's not telling us to get rid of desire but to really understand it so that desire can no longer delude us. The desire to get rid of desire is still desire, it is not looking at desire. With that desire you are just grasping a perception that you shouldn't have desires and you have got to get rid of them. But understanding Dependent Origination we see the tanha as Dhamma rather than as self - you are looking at tanha, the desire as that which arises and ceases. That's Dhamma isn't it? I have not found one desire in twenty-two years of careful looking and close observation that arises and keeps arising.

    http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/B - Theravada/Teachers/Ajaan Sumedho/The Way It Is/22-self.htm

    lobsterDavidJaySon
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited January 9

    @pegembara said:

    @David said:

    @pegembara said:

    @JaySon said:
    Is it right to say that the one who suffers is the mentally and emotionally constructed "I"? And if the "I" dissolves then there is no one left to suffer?

    Also, is it safe to laugh at anyone who is angry with me, knowing it is only their inflamed sense of self that believes it is angry?

    If craving dissolves both mental suffering and I also disappear but physical pain remains.

    "Seeking but not finding the house builder,
    I hurried through the round of many births:
    Painful is birth ever and again.

    O house builder, you have been seen;
    You shall not build the house again.
    Your rafters have been broken up,
    Your ridgepole is demolished too.

    My mind has now realised the unformed Nibbâna
    And reached the end of every sort of craving."

    I think I would have to remember all of the incarnations before I craved the end of being and even then it would be hard to see the wonder and beauty outweighed by negative perspectives of it all.

    The idea of the ending of craving sounds good. I don't think that dictates the end of being so much as developing the ability to let go without throwing.

    'Kama-tanha' is quite obvious - it is the desire for pleasurable sense experiences. These forms of desire are to be known and understood. The trap is that we tend to think that the Buddha teaches you to get rid of your desires. That is how some people interpret Buddhism. But that's wrong: the Buddha taught us how to look and understand desire so that we do not grasp it! That's not telling us to get rid of desire but to really understand it so that desire can no longer delude us. The desire to get rid of desire is still desire, it is not looking at desire. With that desire you are just grasping a perception that you shouldn't have desires and you have got to get rid of them. But understanding Dependent Origination we see the tanha as Dhamma rather than as self - you are looking at tanha, the desire as that which arises and ceases. That's Dhamma isn't it? I have not found one desire in twenty-two years of careful looking and close observation that arises and keeps arising.

    http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/B - Theravada/Teachers/Ajaan Sumedho/The Way It Is/22-self.htm

    I seem to see a difference between "desire" and "craving".

    In my mind, saying the Buddha desired our freedom or had the desire to spread the dharma is different than grasping or clinging which is what I equate with the word "crave".

    We could probably even crave desire but I don't see anyone desiring to crave. Like in my understanding, the way The Final Triumph is worded makes it sound (to me) like an aversion to living and a craving for release instead of a desire to overcome suffering.

    Please don't think I am arguing because I am only trying to get a better understanding.

    They way his words are translated sometimes leaves me looking between the lines for the feel rather than taking the chosen words as gospel.

    I'd just like to overcome our dukkha, I don't want us to stop exploring this universe that we are expressions of.

    JaySon
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Great post from @pegembara and question from @David

    This for me is an important understanding:

    @pegembara said:
    I have not found one desire in twenty-two years of careful looking and close observation that arises and keeps arising.

    Whether we are involved in a gradual cessation of craving or a rapid insight/awakening into the nature of arising desires/cravings does not mean we become a dharma vegetable on the far shore. We still stub our toe, because we have not turned into a rainbow. We may change the subtlety of our craving ... perhaps desire less craving :expressionless:

    In other words being karmically human gives us potential insight/experience of the uncraving, unborn, nibanna state BUT that does not make us a figure of light/angel/Pureland Bodhi etc.

    So ... there I was on the far shore ... raft burnt, dancing with the dakinis, when I looked to samsara. In an instant I realised it was time to go back, for I now knew they were Buddhas. OK Jesus you have carpenter skills, how do we build a better raft?

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    I believe craving and attachment are the same.

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    @lobster said:
    _So ... there I was on the far shore ... raft burnt, dancing with the dakinis

    A good backup plan if my wife ever leaves me.

    pegembaraSpinyNorman
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited January 9

    @JaySon said:
    I believe craving and attachment are the same.

    Ho hmm, according to the twelve nidānas, craving (tanhā) causes attachment (upādāna).

    David
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran
    edited January 9

    @Kerome said:
    Hmm, according to the twelve nidānas, craving (tanhā) causes attachment (upādāna).

    Interesting.

    In one of my meditative insights I traced a hindrance back through to its beginnings. I saw that craving was attachment.

    I suppose I had that insight because I didn't really understand the nature of attachment.

    So I'll go with the Dharma answer. Craving causes attachment.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited January 10

    @JaySon said:
    I believe craving and attachment are the same.

    In dependent origination clinging arises in dependence on craving, so I think craving leads to attachment. It's probably a bit chicken and egg though, since you could say that clinging and attachment are like habitual craving. So if for example I develop an attachment to ice-cream I will tend to crave it at regular intervals. ;)

    Note that craving is "tanha" in the Pali, literally "thirst", which suggests quite a strong feeling.

    JaySon
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @person said:t
    You're mashing up the conventional self or I and the ultimate self or Buddha nature. The self that changes is the conventional self, the Buddha nature is considered beyond that, something changless.

    The principal subject matter of this treatise is the special theory of Dhatu (fundamental element) of the Absolute (Tathagata-garbha = essence of Buddha)... It is an exposition of the theory of the Essence of Buddhahood (tathagata-garbha), the fundamental element (dhatu) of the Absolute, as existing in all sentient beings. ... This element which had been regarded as an active force (bija) before, is regarded, in this text, as eternal, quiescent and unalterable, as the true essence of every living being and source of all virtuous qualities.'[35]

    And

    Both the Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sūtra and the Ratnagotravibhāga enunciate the idea that the buddha-nature is possessed of four transcendental qualities:
    1. Permanence
    2. Bliss
    3. Self
    4. Purity

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratnagotravibhāga

    Also emptiness isn't just a matter of a real thing that changes. Things are considered empty because they are composed of other things and aren't independent in and of themselves.

    So is Buddha Nature "exempt" from emptiness? It sounds similar to the unconditioned of the suttas, aka Nibbana.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @person said:t
    You're mashing up the conventional self or I and the ultimate self or Buddha nature. The self that changes is the conventional self, the Buddha nature is considered beyond that, something changless.

    The principal subject matter of this treatise is the special theory of Dhatu (fundamental element) of the Absolute (Tathagata-garbha = essence of Buddha)... It is an exposition of the theory of the Essence of Buddhahood (tathagata-garbha), the fundamental element (dhatu) of the Absolute, as existing in all sentient beings. ... This element which had been regarded as an active force (bija) before, is regarded, in this text, as eternal, quiescent and unalterable, as the true essence of every living being and source of all virtuous qualities.'[35]

    And

    Both the Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sūtra and the Ratnagotravibhāga enunciate the idea that the buddha-nature is possessed of four transcendental qualities:
    1. Permanence
    2. Bliss
    3. Self
    4. Purity

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratnagotravibhāga

    Also emptiness isn't just a matter of a real thing that changes. Things are considered empty because they are composed of other things and aren't independent in and of themselves.

    So is Buddha Nature "exempt" from emptiness? It sounds similar to the unconditioned of the suttas, aka Nibbana.

    It's a debatable topic and I'm really just learning about it, but the gist of the debate is the rangtong v shentong if you want to go deeper. Rangtong sticks with the second turning, prajnamaramita teachings, and says the mind of a Buddha is the same sort of emptiness that everything else is (empty of self). Shentong goes with the third turning, tathagatagharba teachings, and says that the mind of a Buddha is different than the emptiness of the conventional world (empty of other). Like I said though I'm only just learning about it so I could have something wrong there.

    I'm not sure where I stand, mainly @Dakini sticks with the shentong view but was mixing their idea of buddhanature with the conventional self so I was only trying to clear up that confusion.

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    I'm sure we will all know the answer when we attain enlightenment.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited January 10

    @person said:

    You're mashing up the conventional self or I and the ultimate self or Buddha nature. The self that changes is the conventional self, the Buddha nature is considered beyond that, something changless.

    Also emptiness isn't just a matter of a real thing that changes. Things are considered empty because they are composed of other things and aren't independent in and of themselves.

    True, on the first point. But the awakening of Buddhanature would influence the evolution of the self.

    I've never understood emptiness. Are emptiness and impermanence the same thing? When I asked Batchelor about your version of emptiness as it applies to the self, mentioning the standard explanation of deconstructing the self that's used in Tibetan teachings, for example, he said that was an incorrect view. That's not what it's about, he said. The self being empty of inherent nature or permanent nature is about the self being constantly evolving, he said. The teaching is about not becoming attached to a perception of self as having permanent, inherent qualities. It's not about saying there is no "I", or no single quality or aspect of us to identify an "I" with.

    I didn't ask about emptiness as it applies to objects, but I imagine he has a different take on it than the conventional one. I've never understood how emptiness can apply to--another classic example--an onrushing car as we cross the street. If it were empty of inherent nature, why would be make an effort to get out of the way? I have a hard time accepting that the Buddha would teach nonsensical ideas like that. Maybe it's been misinterpreted. There are those who say that the "empty of inherent existence" concept was Nargarjuna's, not the Buddha's.

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

    "Empty of inherent existence" just means it depends on other things to exist as far as I can tell.

    person
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited January 10

    @David said:
    "Empty of inherent existence" just means it depends on other things to exist as far as I can tell.

    Thanks. So maybe the confusion results in part from how it's explained. The car's existence depends on manufacturers, nuts, bolts, gears. Simple. This follows Thich Nhat Hans's concept of "inter-being". But that's not how emptiness is usually explained. An object (or person) gets broken down, and the question is asked: in which component part lies the object's (or person's) thusness? Is it in the motor? The wheels? The transmission? Similarly: in what physical part or intangible quality does David's "Davidness" or identity lie? His name? His personality? His body parts? His face/appearance? His DNA? It's nowhere to be found in any of those.

    I don't find that helpful at all. Just because an object or person is defined by the aggregate of factors, rather than by one component, doesn't mean the thing doesn't exist or have inherent existence.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @Dakini said: I don't find that helpful at all. Just because an object or person is defined by the aggregate of factors, rather than by one component, doesn't mean the thing doesn't exist or have inherent existence.

    Nobody is saying that. I think you misunderstand....
    Of course it exists. It's just that it is a collection of aggregates which as a whole, make up the entity, but when you break them down to their separate parts, really aren't much to crow about.

    Take a chair to bits, it's still a chair, but in bits. Each component depends on the others for its usefulness.
    Nuts and bolts do nothing, unless joined.
    We are not who we are, unless we're all put together.

    personTraveller
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited January 10

    @federica said:

    @Dakini said: I don't find that helpful at all. Just because an object or person is defined by the aggregate of factors, rather than by one component, doesn't mean the thing doesn't exist or have inherent existence.

    Nobody is saying that. I think you misunderstand....
    Of course it exists. It's just that it is a collection of aggregates which as a whole, make up the entity, but when you break them down to their separate parts, really aren't much to crow about.

    Take a chair to bits, it's still a chair, but in bits. Each component depends on the others for its usefulness.
    Nuts and bolts do nothing, unless joined.
    We are not who we are, unless we're all put together.

    Yes, I fail to understand. It goes right over my head. I appreciate your giving the explanation a try.

    So, each component depends on the others to constitute the greater whole. That, I can understand. It goes back to TNH's idea of "inter-being". I can't make the leap from there to: any one of us, or the chair, or the car, doesn't exist inherently. We don't exist, except for the sum of our parts? I can kind of get that.

    How does this advance our Buddhist practice? Because it helps show by analogy, how, as a society, we depend on each other? In order to survive, each of us needs the aggregate society? Couldn't we have understood that without breaking down a chair or a car into its parts? Or is there more to it that I'm missing?

    Thanks again. I feel like the school math student who need remedial work. :blush:

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

    @Dakini said:

    @David said:
    "Empty of inherent existence" just means it depends on other things to exist as far as I can tell.

    Thanks. So maybe the confusion results in part from how it's explained. The car's existence depends on manufacturers, nuts, bolts, gears. Simple. This follows Thich Nhat Hans's concept of "inter-being". But that's not how emptiness is usually explained. An object (or person) gets broken down, and the question is asked: in which component part lies the object's (or person's) thusness? Is it in the motor? The wheels? The transmission? Similarly: in what physical part or intangible quality does David's "Davidness" or identity lie? His name? His personality? His body parts? His face/appearance? His DNA? It's nowhere to be found in any of those.

    This is true. I can only be truly defined by my actions and in action is where I can be found.

    I don't find that helpful at all. Just because an object or person is defined by the aggregate of factors, rather than by one component, doesn't mean the thing doesn't exist or have inherent existence.

    I agree that it doesn't mean we don't exist or that things don't exist as processes.

    Things do not have inherent existence because all things are empty and have always been changing.

    The only thing that stays the same is the fact that everything changes.

  • [Mogharaja:]
    Twice now, O Sakyan,
    I've asked you,
    but you, O One with Eyes,
    haven't answered me.
    "When asked the third time,
    the divine seer answers":
    so I have heard.
    This world, the next world,
    the Brahma world with its devas:
    I don't know how they're viewed
    by the glorious Gotama.

    So to the one who has seen
    to the far extreme,
    I've come with a question:
    One who regards the world in what way
    isn't seen by Death's King?

    [The Buddha:]
    Always mindful, Mogharaja,
    regard the world as
    empty,
    having removed any view
    in terms of self.

    This way
    one is above and beyond death.
    One who regards the world
    in this way
    isn't seen by Death's King.

    personTraveller
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited January 11

    @David said:
    "Empty of inherent existence" just means it depends on other things to exist as far as I can tell.

    Yes, it means that everything we experience arises in dependence on conditions, and without those conditions it will cease, or not arise at all. So essentially emptiness means conditionality.

    lobster
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited January 11

    @Dakini said:

    @David said:
    "Empty of inherent existence" just means it depends on other things to exist as far as I can tell.

    Thanks. So maybe the confusion results in part from how it's explained. The car's existence depends on manufacturers, nuts, bolts, gears. Simple. This follows Thich Nhat Hans's concept of "inter-being". But that's not how emptiness is usually explained. An object (or person) gets broken down, and the question is asked: in which component part lies the object's (or person's) thusness? Is it in the motor? The wheels? The transmission? Similarly: in what physical part or intangible quality does David's "Davidness" or identity lie? His name? His personality? His body parts? His face/appearance? His DNA? It's nowhere to be found in any of those.

    I don't find that helpful at all. Just because an object or person is defined by the aggregate of factors, rather than by one component, doesn't mean the thing doesn't exist or have inherent existence.

    You might find it helpful to explore the distinction between phenomena and noumena, which roughly speaking is the distinction between the characteristics of an object and it's assumed essence. So for example an "apple" has certain characteristics like hardness, roundness, greenness, whatever, and those characteristics define our experience of "apple" and distinguish "apple" from other objects.

    What is being challenged here is the assumption of an essence of "apple" beneath those characteristics. What is being suggested is that "apple" is merely a label for that particular set of characteristics, similarly with "car" and "person".

    lobsterperson
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited January 11

    @Dakini said:> I've never understood how emptiness can apply to--another classic example--an onrushing car as we cross the street. If it were empty of inherent nature, why would be make an effort to get out of the way? I have a hard time accepting that the Buddha would teach nonsensical ideas like that. Maybe it's been misinterpreted. There are those who say that the "empty of inherent existence" concept was Nargarjuna's, not the Buddha's.

    Sunyata ( emptiness ) is really just an elaboration of anatta, which was a central theme in early Buddhism. And as the Heart Sutra explains, emptiness applies to the aggregates of personal experience, so it is about the conditionality of our experience, and not really a metaphysical statement.

    Conditionality is a central theme in the suttas too, for example dependent origination, kamma and the Four Noble Truths.

    This verse from the Phena Sutta looks spookily similar to the Heart Sutra:

    "Form is like a glob of foam;
    feeling, a bubble;
    perception, a mirage;
    fabrications, a banana tree;
    consciousness, a magic trick —
    this has been taught
    by the Kinsman of the Sun.
    However you observe them,
    appropriately examine them,
    they're empty, void
    to whoever sees them
    appropriately."

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.095.than.html

    lobsterperson
  • Very useful insights from @SpinyNorman
    Many thanks <3

    Going back to the original question 'Who is it who suffers?', we begin to understand a processing occurs.
    So for example anger has a cause, which can be next to nothing or very major. How we process it is also dependent on factors such as stress level, time of the month, are we able to overlook, how much compassion is present etc.

    The point of practice is to become aware of the factors and the karmic choices we have limited choice over and those we can indeed empty of conflicted attachment to.

    We can also fill our processing with more beneficial patterns.

    Emptiness is a profound and useful understanding. It has similar cousins in other religions for example fana in Islam, from where we get the Arabic word fanatic ...

    “This entrance into “non-existence” is a return to the original human situation, when we dwelt at peace with God before creation. This is the state that is sometimes called the “annihilation” of the ego’s limitations and the “subsistence” of the true self…One must throw oneself into annihilation, which in fact is the fullness of Being. As Rumi reminds us, “We and our existences are all nonexistences, / but You are absolute Existence, appearing as annihilation”… Dhikr is an alchemy that transmutes perception and awareness into utter joy.”
    (Chiddick, Sufism, 109, 129, 132).
    https://networkologies.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/fana-sufisms-notion-of-self-annihilation-or-why-nirvana-is-samsara-in-mahayana-buddhism/

    personsilver
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited January 12

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Dakini said:

    @David said:
    "Empty of inherent existence" just means it depends on other things to exist as far as I can tell.

    Thanks. So maybe the confusion results in part from how it's explained. The car's existence depends on manufacturers, nuts, bolts, gears. Simple. This follows Thich Nhat Hans's concept of "inter-being". But that's not how emptiness is usually explained. An object (or person) gets broken down, and the question is asked: in which component part lies the object's (or person's) thusness? Is it in the motor? The wheels? The transmission? Similarly: in what physical part or intangible quality does David's "Davidness" or identity lie? His name? His personality? His body parts? His face/appearance? His DNA? It's nowhere to be found in any of those.

    I don't find that helpful at all. Just because an object or person is defined by the aggregate of factors, rather than by one component, doesn't mean the thing doesn't exist or have inherent existence.

    You might find it helpful to explore the distinction between phenomena and noumena, which roughly speaking is the distinction between the characteristics of an object and it's assumed essence. So for example an "apple" has certain characteristics like hardness, roundness, greenness, whatever, and those characteristics define our experience of "apple" and distinguish "apple" from other objects.

    What is being challenged here is the assumption of an essence of "apple" beneath those characteristics. What is being suggested is that "apple" is merely a label for that particular set of characteristics, similarly with "car" and "person".

    The bell is empty - like so.

    person
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