Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Buddhism, Monism and Emtiness

https://meaningness.com/metablog/eckhart-tolle-a-new-earth
Hello, this article has confused me as I always believed Buddhism saw “Buddha Nature” as the “deathless” dimension and “escape from Samsara” so I saw this as similar to Eckhart’s “Consciousness/ Awareness” but I’m now confused, is Buddhism’s Emptiness& Nirvana not another way of seeing The deathless dimension?

Comments

  • adamcrossleyadamcrossley Explorer
    edited April 26

    That’s a very cynical book review. I don’t understand your question though. Would you mind putting it in other words?

    Are you asking about the relationship between Buddhism and “monism”?

  • Yes, as the man who reviewed it also done another piece saying how Eckhart mainly teaches Buddhism, but this is the fundamental error. (He says he is Buddhist) so what I’m asking is Buddhism at all Monistic, as I thought it was I may be mistaken.

  • TsultrimTsultrim Hawaii Veteran

    I would say that Buddhism is monistic and that its one overriding principle is the true nature of mind.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    It seems there are different types/definitions of 'monism'.

    I would say Buddhism is covered by 'Substance Monism'...no?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    B)

    I feel the review gives a useful rebuttal to monism.
    Buddhism is a broad church, some Buddhists are Monists, moanists :p theists and even delusional ... who would have thought ... here are some of my ramblings:

    • Buddha Nature is a quality of all experience/being. It is positively empty but also existent in the context of its dependent expression.
    • The deathless is also the unborn, it is the essential paradox of resonating with something that is No thing ...
    • Nobody escapes in samsara, one might say they escape in Samsara

    With meditation we ideally become increasingly aware of the moment between thoughts. The calm is the first 'fruit'.

    I luvs my cushion. I am so attached to it. Tsk, tsk ...

    Nerida
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    That's a deep and complicated question. I think overall I agree with others that say Buddhism doesn't really have one unified view of how it is.

    My personal preference of philosophical view is the Madhyamika view of emptiness, which isn't monistic.

    I also deeply appreciate schools that take a more experiential view of emptiness, eg. what it is like to experience emptiness and how to accomplish that.

    Snakeskin
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited April 26

    I'm really not sure what Buddhism is from a Western philosophical perspective. But when I used to think about such things a lot more, I started to think that perhaps what we call mind and matter are ultimately groups or structures of events arising from a substance that's neither mental nor material, but in between the two a la neutral monism. As far as this might apply to Buddhism, the idea is that neither mind nor matter has any inherent reality or substance, which in turn means that neither has an intrinsic locality, i.e., they can't be viewed in terms of extended or non-extended, physical or non-physical, finite or infinite, existing non-existing, etc. I see a great deal of similarity between the Buddha and Hume in this regard. Both rejected the idea of mental substance in favour of what Hume called association of ideas and bundle of perceptions, and what the Buddha called heaps (khandha). As Bertrand Russell summerizes Hume's empiricism, "Ideas of unperceived things or occurrences can always be defined in terms of perceived things or occurrences, and therefore, by substituting the definition for the term defined, we can always state that we know empirically without introducing any unperceived things or occurrences." Thus, "all psychological knowledge can be stated without introducing the 'Self'. Further, the 'Self', as defined can be nothing but a bundle of perceptions, not a new simple 'thing'" (History of Western Philosophy, 603). This, I think, is consistent with most Buddhist schools' views of emptiness.

    Snakeskinperson
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    I would say Buddhism is akin to monism but that is to say "oneness" as opposed to "one".

    I see it as interconnectivity with no borders. "One" implies a border, a complete and set "thing" where there can be a "not-one".

    Some people glimpse the deathless and assume we have always been here. Some assume we were never here. Some assume that when conditions allow, a thing will manifest and if not, it will stay hidden.

    Emptiness can be viewed as potential and not everything that exists takes up space.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @Jason I don't know if you were around when @lobster shared this article on the connection between Hume and Buddhism. It's on the longish side but I think most people found it a really engaging, high quality read.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    I think in Buddhism the truth is beyond all or any views.

    Kundo
  • TsultrimTsultrim Hawaii Veteran

    "Thus it is O Son of Noble Family."

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @person said:
    @Jason I don't know if you were around when @lobster shared this article on the connection between Hume and Buddhism. It's on the longish side but I think most people found it a really engaging, high quality read.

    Oops, totally forgot to link the article.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/10/how-david-hume-helped-me-solve-my-midlife-crisis/403195/

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @person said:

    @person said:
    @Jason I don't know if you were around when @lobster shared this article on the connection between Hume and Buddhism. It's on the longish side but I think most people found it a really engaging, high quality read.

    Oops, totally forgot to link the article.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/10/how-david-hume-helped-me-solve-my-midlife-crisis/403195/

    Thanks, I'll take a look when I have the time.

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Explorer

    @WesternBuddhism said:
    [...] so what I’m asking is Buddhism at all Monistic, as I thought it was I may be mistaken.

    Monism. A "one"-ism. A oneness.

    If you see fit, you may want to consider Venerable Jízàng's words, from his text 二諦義 ("Exegesis of Two Truths"), T1854.81c28:

    次說二諦令離二見者。此二諦竝是失。何者。爲著有衆生說第一義。爲著空衆生說世諦。此有無竝是衆生所著。是故皆失也。次說二悟不二。此二諦竝得。何者。因二悟不二。二卽是理教。不二卽是教理。二卽中假。不二卽假中。二卽體用。不二卽用體。
    It is time to speak of two truths made of the difference of two views. These two truths equally are missed. How? To those who grasp at existence, sentient beings, speak the absolute truth. To those who grasp at emptiness, sentient beings, speak the relative truth. In this way through is and is not equally sentient beings are grasping. Consequently all misconceive. It is time to speak of two comprehensions which are not two. These two truths equally attained. How? Because these two comprehensions are not two. Two is the principle's teaching. Not two is the teaching's principle. Two is the middle's designation. Not two is the designation's middle. Two is the essence's function. Not two is the function's essence.

    Function and essence are two terms borrowed from Chinese metaphysics. They are a non-binary pair. Hard is the essence of sharp. Sharp is the essence of hard. Sharpness cannot be separated from the quality of hardness, etc.

    Ven Jízàng utilizes this non-binary to explore relations between the two truths. He speaks of two comprehensions that are not two. Two truths that are not two.

    Why? Because two is the essence's function. One is the function's essence. Myriad phenomena are the essence's functions. Only emptiness is the function's essence.

    That could be construed as a 'sort-of' monism.

    David
  • TsultrimTsultrim Hawaii Veteran

    Why? Because two is the essence's function. One is the function's essence. Myriad phenomena are the essence's functions. Only emptiness is the function's essence.

    If your essence is the same _essence that i'm familiar with, awareness must also be recognized as a nondual (not two) component of emptiness and therefore part of the function's essence.

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Explorer
    edited May 13

    @Tsultrim said:

    Why? Because two is the essence's function. One is the function's essence. Myriad phenomena are the essence's functions. Only emptiness is the function's essence.

    If your essence is the same _essence that i'm familiar with, awareness must also be recognized as a nondual (not two) component of emptiness and therefore part of the function's essence.

    Perhaps. Seems to make sense to me.

    Buddhist teachers seem divided as to if mind is an unconditioned element like nirvāṇa or not. Sometimes you can tell by the words they choose to use.

    In my experience, those who seem to be likely to equate release with the presence of mind generally choose to call it exclusively citta (consider the Thai Forest Tradition here). Those who are likely the equate release with the absence of mind seem to choose to generally call it vijñāna over citta.

    This isn't a hard and fast rule, its just something I've noticed. It might not be an accurate observation.

    Jasonperson
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @Vimalajāti said:

    @Tsultrim said:

    Why? Because two is the essence's function. One is the function's essence. Myriad phenomena are the essence's functions. Only emptiness is the function's essence.

    If your essence is the same _essence that i'm familiar with, awareness must also be recognized as a nondual (not two) component of emptiness and therefore part of the function's essence.

    Perhaps. Seems to make sense to me.

    Buddhist teachers seem divided as to if mind is an unconditioned element like nirvāṇa or not. Sometimes you can tell by the words they choose to use.

    In my experience, those who seem to be likely to equate release with the presence of mind generally call it exclusively citta. Those who are likely the equate release with the absence of mind seem to choose to generally call it vijñāna over citta.

    This isn't a hard and fast rule, its just something I've noticed. It might not be an accurate observation.

    I've found that to be the case as well, except with reference to the term vinnanam anidassanam, which both sides tend to reference but the former more so.

  • TsultrimTsultrim Hawaii Veteran

    @Vimalajāti said:

    @Tsultrim said:

    Why? Because two is the essence's function. One is the function's essence. Myriad phenomena are the essence's functions. Only emptiness is the function's essence.

    If your essence is the same _essence that i'm familiar with, awareness must also be recognized as a nondual (not two) component of emptiness and therefore part of the function's essence.

    Perhaps. Seems to make sense to me.

    Buddhist teachers seem divided as to if mind is an unconditioned element like nirvāṇa or not. Sometimes you can tell by the words they choose to use.

    In my experience, those who seem to be likely to equate release with the presence of mind generally choose to call it exclusively citta (consider the Thai Forest Tradition here). Those who are likely the equate release with the absence of mind seem to choose to generally call it vijñāna over citta.

    This isn't a hard and fast rule, its just something I've noticed. It might not be an accurate observation.

    Well you're from a different tradition than me and i don't use the words you do but its still Buddhism. So....
    The true nature of mind, empty awareness, is without conditions or causes. It's never been born and never dies. Nobody made it and nobody keeps it going. Also nirvana is the experience of that mind and not different from it.
    In my tradition there is no such thing as the absence of mind. In fact everything IS mind.
    Well Vimalajati, the Dharma is hard enough as it is to experience, so i think it's important to try to clarify what we're talking about. Thanks for the post.

    person
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Vimalajāti said:
    In my experience, those who seem to be likely to equate release with the presence of mind generally choose to call it exclusively citta (consider the Thai Forest Tradition here). Those who are likely the equate release with the absence of mind seem to choose to generally call it vijñāna over citta.

    My question would be, why is it necessary for the mind to know this? Does this knowledge help with practice or insight?

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Explorer
    edited May 13

    I just happened to notice that certain teachers seem to prefer certain words when teaching, and that sometimes that seems to correspond to the ways they teach. I wouldn't call it practical or insightful advice, no, my apologies!

  • TsultrimTsultrim Hawaii Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @Vimalajāti said:
    In my experience, those who seem to be likely to equate release with the presence of mind generally choose to call it exclusively citta (consider the Thai Forest Tradition here). Those who are likely the equate release with the absence of mind seem to choose to generally call it vijñāna over citta.

    My question would be, why is it necessary for the mind to know this? Does this knowledge help with practice or insight?

    Yes @ Kerome, a question that when followed to its logical conclusion would have us all in solitary retreat to our certain betterment. But who am i to say, sitting here generating more concept?
    The true nature of mind arises when all concept stops, including concepts such as self, the world's realness and that there is a difference between the two.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Well there is the Abhaya sutra on Access To Insight...

    [1] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

    [2] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

    [3] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.

    [4] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

    [5] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

    [6] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

    When it’s quiet on NewBuddhist I tend to think people are practicing right speech, and are not finding anything factual, true and beneficial to add...

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Explorer
    edited May 14

    There is a horrible typo here, my apologies:

    @Vimalajāti said:
    Hard is the essence of sharp. Sharp is the essence of hard. Sharpness cannot be separated from the quality of hardness, etc.

    It should say "Hard is the essence of sharp. Sharp is a function of hard."

    person
Sign In or Register to comment.