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The truth of reality

24

Comments

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 24

    @DairyLama

    On that we will have to agree to disagree until you can show me a sutta that specifically says emptiness denotes a lack of existence. Not a lack of inherent existence or a lack of independent existence but a complete lack of being.

    Good luck.

    @person

    Again, I am not saying the absolute truth is not empty, I am saying that emptiness does not mean a lack of being.

    This is Buddhism 101 guys.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited January 24

    I am saying that emptiness does not mean a lack of being.

    Being what? What being? O.o

    To put it another way, when not being interwoven ... what thread are we being ...

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 24

    @lobster said:
    Being what? What being? O.o

    I Don't understand the question but I want to say "just this".

    Ah, ok... Then I think it's really the only thread in town. Like there is water and there are the waves.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    Now if a wave could see beyond its own being and declare "I am the water" would that make the ocean self aware?

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited January 24

    @David said:
    What you guys still aren't understanding is that emptiness does not mean a lack of being. I'm not sure how to be more clear on that point.

    What you aren't understanding is saying emptiness means a lack of being doesn't imply non existence. It's a non-affirming negation, it is only meant to negate a point, not affirm the opposite.
    -Things don't truly exist
    -Things don't truly non exist
    -Things don't both exist and non exist
    -Things don't neither exist and non exist

    @David said:
    I am not arguing that the absolute truth is not empty I am arguing that emptiness does not imply a lack of existence but a lack of independent existence. How can the difference be missed?

    Are you sure about that? Because that's what it seems like you're arguing here.

    @David said:
    Nagarjuna was logical and it is simply not logical to claim the absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth. The statement is self defeating because it is a claim of absolute truth in itself. :p

    Existence and non existence are also a duality and therefore dependently arisen and empty. Existence as an interdependent whole is empty and not truly existent from it's own side.

    lobsterDairyLama
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited January 24

    @David said:
    On that we will have to agree to disagree until you can show me a sutta that specifically says emptiness denotes a lack of existence. Not a lack of inherent existence or a lack of independent existence but a complete lack of being.

    I have never argued that emptiness denotes a lack of existence or lack of being ( whatever that means ).

    Your straw-man comments are further evidence that you have completely missed the point of these teachings.

    David
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 24

    @person

    Now we may be getting somewhere. A non-affirming negation would not claim the absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth because that is the opposite. It's a negating affirmation.

    If emptiness does not imply non-existence then the absolute truth being empty does not imply a lack of absolute truth. It implies that the absolute truth is subjectivity and objectivity work together.

    There is no getting around that.

    The truth as implied in the teaching of Two Truths is that they work together. That can be called ultimate truth or absolute truth or whatever you like as they mean the same in english but the middle way is living subjectively knowing the absolute.

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

    @David

    I think I agree with most of your words. I think though that the disagreement is in how you define absolute truth. I think you think of it as a thing rather than a property of the conventional.

    @David said:
    If emptiness does not imply non-existence then the absolute truth being empty does not imply a lack of absolute truth. It implies that the absolute truth is subjectivity and objectivity work together.

    Again I don't really understand how you define subjectivity and objectivity. But I would say that saying they work together still maintains a sense of duality and it would be better to say that since they depend on each other they don't really exist as definable, isolatable entities.

    David
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 24

    @person said:
    @David

    I think I agree with most of your words. I think though that the disagreement is in how you define absolute truth. I think you think of it as a thing rather than a property of the conventional.

    I honestly don't though. I don't consider anything a "thing" really if that makes any sense. If not then it's the way things work more than the things themselves.

    @David said:
    If emptiness does not imply non-existence then the absolute truth being empty does not imply a lack of absolute truth. It implies that the absolute truth is subjectivity and objectivity work together.

    Again I don't really understand how you define subjectivity and objectivity. But I would say that saying they work together still maintains a sense of duality and it would be better to say that since they depend on each other they don't really exist as definable, isolatable entities.

    That is meant to be implied but it's kind of hard to speak of these things without using labels and labels are best agreed on lest they lead to more confusion. The water and waves analogy works for me where the water is not a thing but an amalgamation. The water and the waves are not separate except by way of distinction which is just a function of duality.

    I see duality and self awareness as an illusory tool.

    These discussions are so much better when we remain respectful and are willing to at least try to see from the others perspective.

    We probably agree on more than it seems.

    We say "the" universe but the universe is not a "thing" either. That's why I would say "oneness" instead of "one" because "one" implies a thing where "oneness" only implies interconnectivity.

  • 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
    edited January 24

    Moderator note:

    You can't seem to keep away from each other, or engage without it descending into a tit-for-tat spat.
    You two start bickering again, and I'm just going to shut the thread down.

    Up to you to then approach the thread starter, and apologise.

    Quit bickering and carry on, or carry on bickering, and I'll make it quit for you.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    what is my thinking on ultimate truth?hmm i have two thoughts.life is.that statement helps us,imo,be present.you can substitute the word life with dharma,leading to the statement,dharma is.or it can be said,truth is.the other thought is,the statement ,minimizes grasping.we can be aware of the truth beit conventional or extra-ordinary,and rest in that.my take or opinion anyway.

    is truth more important than happiness?not mutually exlusive.i was happy when i heard dharma.the theme of dharma is middle way a balance of truth and happiness.truth should make us happy and happy in the truth,our dharma.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited January 25

    I think it's interesting how we in meditation look for a thought (or the breath) and are 'in the present' and so forth. And can reach the end analysis that we should be in the 'now'. Like Eckerd Tolle the book about being in the now.

    But if we are mainly concerned with the now that's not how we make plans and so forth. We don't move somewhere else to live we don't think we would enjoy with the logic "oh I (this moment of a stream) won't be there my future mind (of the stream) will be there... so it really doesn't matter".. Thus there seems some continuity between moments. Nonethless it can be refreshing not to agonize and worry about the future. At least not too much. We can tell we are onto something not being enslaved by 'monkey mind' and things. But we still make plans as if a continuity.

    paulyso
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    jeffrey,that's a fair point.making plans is our modern life. my point maybe is be present in thinking,be-ing.life is.that statement can be a verb and a noun ,which implies to us as well.

    Jeffrey
  • Yeah I agree to be present in thinking and to enjoy your experience like mindfully.

    paulyso
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    being present allows us be fully aware what's going on in this life"karmic"situations.it trains our body,as the buddha suggest be aware of the body, to use our faculty for the best possible choice.is being active present i guess.also useing our faculty we can percieve conventional truth.deeper or extraordinary truth or insight takes meditation where the limit of anylitical words breaks down,is my assumption.

    Jeffrey
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Veteran
    edited January 27

    @DairyLama said:

    @Kerome said:
    Thanks for that, of course things like impermanence and annatta are important aspects of reality, and therefore ultimate truth.

    Really? IMO the closest thing we have to "objective truth" is science. The religious and spiritual stuff all seems very subjective to me, it's about how we experience stuff and the meaning we attach to it.

    Impermanence is an objective reality. At the micro level, science tells us, through emperical evidence, we're composed of atoms, all those conditionally held together. At the macro level, science tells us, through emperical evidence, the universe is expanding. The expansion is the residual force of a Big Bang. Before that force dissipates, the earth will have moved beyond the warmth of the sun, grown cold and dead. Eventually, the force of the cosmic blast will run out. Gravity will begin to pull the bodies back toward each other untill they collide and implode, perhaps restarting the cycle. The Buddha didn't hypothesize about atoms or cosmic explosions, but he did teach the underlying principal. Impermanence is subjective and objective reality. And from that both dukkha and anatta logically flow.

    Could you explain what you mean by "reality"? It's a can of worms really. Our human senses and intellect are quite limited, which means we can only ever experience a small subset of what is "out there". Perhaps we can talk in a general way about "human reality", but that would be different to "ant reality" or "space-alien reality" or whatever.

    I couldn't agree more. Funny you should bring up "ant reality". I've reflected on how they must experience the world. It occurred to me that if an ant could experience a human mind then return to the ant world, it would tell the other ants, "Stay away from those humans. It's not just the feet. Those ones are nuckin futs!"

    ShoshinpersonDavid
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 27

    Serendipity is a nifty occurrence. I was looking at my newsletter from the Lions Roar this month and it led me to an article written just a couple of weeks ago on the two truths.

    For those of you unfamiliar with The Lions Roar, they are a magazine full of Buddhist articles and focus mostly on the Mahayana and are a credible source since nobody seems to believe me. It would have saved me some hassle if I had known this was here.

    https://www.lionsroar.com/what-are-the-two-truths/

    Relative Truth

    Relative truth includes all the dualistic phenomena- ourselves, other beings, material objects, thoughts, emotions, concepts-that make up our lives in this world. These are sometimes called maya, or illusion, because we mistakenly believe they are solid, separate, and independent realities. But the problem is not relative truth itself, which is basically good, but our misunderstanding of its nature. That is revealed when we understand….

    Absolute Truth

    Absolute truth is the reality beyond dualism of any kind. It’s also the true nature of relative phenomena. In Mahayana Buddhism, it can be called emptiness or interdependence. Thich Nhat Hanh uses the term “interbeing.” In Vajrayana Buddhism, absolute reality is also referred to as space, complete openness, or primordial purity.
    The two truths are what’s called a provisional teaching in Buddhism-helpful for where we are on our path but not the final truth. The final truth is that there is only one reality, and it unites the relative and absolute. Absolute truth is the true nature of the relative. Relative truth is the manifestation of the absolute.

    -- Bolding is mine to show where the absolute truth is said to be empty.

    I've also linked to another article explaining the same thing in greater detail that was written in 2016.

    https://www.lionsroar.com/two-truths-indivisible-2/

    So yes, the Two truths are not really two but one ontological truth as taught by Nagarjuna and passed on through the various Mahayana schools.

    Sometimes it helps to empty our cup and come at these things with a beginners mind.

    @person you keep saying it sounds like I'm trying to make absolute reality into a "thing" but I don't even know what that means. An ontological truth deals with the nature of being, it is not about making "things".

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @David said:

    Sometimes it helps to empty our cup and come at these things with a beginners mind.

    Did you know that the different sects of TB have different interpretations of the absolute and the relative? Or are you so sure that your interpretation is the correct one that you weren't aware there is disagreement even by life long Buddhist scholars?

    Did you also know that often the Gelug interpretation that @DairyLama and I are arguing from is said to be the proper philosophical, intellectual position and that the Kagyu/Nyigma position is the phenomenological position? I know both HHDL (Gelug) and Dudjom Rinpoche (Nyigma) have said as much.

    "The Madhyamaka of the Prasangika and the Svatantrika is the coarse, Outer Madhyamaka. It should indeed be expressed by those who profess well-informed intelligence during debates with extremist Outsiders, during the composition of great treatises, and while establishing texts which concern supreme reasoning. However, when the subtle, inner Madhyamaka is experientially cultivated, one should meditate on the nature of Yogacara- Madhyamaka." ~ Dudjom Rinpoche

    http://www.khandro.net/doctrine_philo_views.htm

    Are you sure we're the only one's who need to empty their cups?

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 27

    @person, I didn't say you were the only ones did I? Right away I said there were various camps on Nagarjuna.

    You were both implying my understanding wasn't even Buddhist which is quite rude so don't come off defensive here.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited January 27

    @David said:
    You were both implying my understanding wasn't even Buddhist so don't come off defensive here.

    Fair enough, but you are doing the same thing when you keep saying we're promoting nihilism. BTW claims that both sides of the TB disagreement make at each other.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 27

    @person and if I offended you by comparing the view you presented as nihilism I apologize. I was being honest though. If saying the absolute truth is empty so there is no absolute truth isn't nihilism then it's saying the subjective or conventional world is all there is. Unless it's not absolute just by virtue of having to include convention. As I said before unless emptiness implies a lack of existence then the absolute truth being empty would not imply a lack of absolute truth. It would imply the absolute truth is also dependent.

    So if you guys are not presenting a nihilistic view then there is something about your wording I'm not getting and if you think I'm making the absolute or objective truth into a "thing" (whatever that means) then I'm obviously not making myself clear either.

    This is why I personally think it's easier to use a different term for absolute like objective. The way it is sounds like the the subjective truth, the absolute truth and the even more absolute truth and that doesn't make sense. It's like exact same way I feel when I hear the word supernatural.

    I would look at it as the subjective truth, the objective truth and the ultimate truth but using those terms seems to make things worse.

    I'm also starting to think it can be both ontological (relating to the nature of being) and epistemological (relating to knowledge) because it can work from either angle I think.

    I have no idea where any animosity even came from.

    It's just views on the ultimate reality and what they imply. No big deal or anything.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited January 27

    @David said:
    @person and if I offended you by comparing the view you presented as nihilism I apologize. I was being honest though.

    You didn't offend, but you weren't accepting that it is a legitimate view.

    If saying the absolute truth is empty so there is no absolute truth isn't nihilism then it's saying the subjective or conventional world is all there is. Unless it's not absolute just by virtue of having to include convention. As I said before unless emptiness implies a lack of existence then the absolute truth being empty would not imply a lack of absolute truth. It would imply the absolute truth is also dependent.

    This is the same argument we've had about the conventional world and it's objects just on a grander level. It's about the object of negation, when it is said that something is empty and therefore has no true existence, what is being denied is an essence, an isolated, independent thing and not implying nothing. If you're hearing nothing it's because you're thinking the object being negated is existence and not inherent existence.

    This is why I personally think it's easier to use a different term for absolute like objective. The way it is sounds like the the subjective truth, the absolute truth and the even more absolute truth and that doesn't make sense. It's like exact same way I feel when I hear the word supernatural.

    I would look at it as the subjective truth, the objective truth and the ultimate truth but using those terms seems to make things worse.

    Subjective and objective already have important meanings in philosophical discussions, so IMO it complicates the discussion to have to give them different meanings for a particular topic and not get them confused.

    I'm also starting to think it can be both ontological (relating to the nature of being) and epistemological (relating to knowledge) because it can work from either angle I think.

    And phenomenological.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    Just saw this at the edited at the end of your post.

    @David said:
    @person you keep saying it sounds like I'm trying to make absolute reality into a "thing" but I don't even know what that means.

    I think you think that absolute truth is an underlying reality that has some real ontological status.

    An ontological truth deals with the nature of being, it is not about making "things".

    Ontology deals with the nature of being, so a discussion of emptiness is an ontological discussion. When something is said to have an ontological status it is saying that thing has an existence in reality, that it is a real thing. That's what I mean when I say "thing". So it is possible to have an ontological discussion about an imaginary object that has no ontological status.

  • SocairSocair Veteran
    edited January 27

    I personally believe that overdebating or intellectualising or philosophizing actually takes us farther away from just being. Having followed this thread I am certain nobody is out to insult anybody else. I also believe nobody is wrong or flawed in their assertions. But surely we reach a point where the debate ends. We agree...or we agree to disagree...we move on. Chop wood. Eat. Sleep. Ultimately in my view philosophizing about buddhist theory/ concepts doesn't get us closer to enlightenment. Learn how we need to live moment to moment, then put away the books. Over thinking buddhism still amounts to overthinking.

    lobsterpersonShoshin
  • SocairSocair Veteran

    person
  • 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

    pubbe c’aham bhikkhave etarahi ca dukkhan c’eva pannapemi, dukkhassa ca nirodham

    "In the past, monks, and also now, I teach suffering and the cessation of suffering."

    (No 'only' in there, as has been quoted oftentimes, by many. Probably, including me. But this I do believe: 99.99% of the 'suffering' we inwardly feel, is caused by our own failings....)

    Socair
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 27

    @person

    That the absolute truth is the underlying reality is accepted in most Mahayana schools. The link I provided for example states it's the reality beyond dualism of any kind.

    Now people have been having this argument for years so I doubt we will have any better luck coming to an agreement especially since it still seems like we aren't understanding each other. I think we have established that the negation of absolute truth is a nonsensical claim as we agree that emptiness does not imply a lack of existence but a lack of independent existence. If it did imply a complete lack of existence it would indeed be a nihilistic outlook. If it isn't absolute simply by virtue of including the subjective experience then it is still the ultimate truth. So the statement "The absolute truth is there is no absolute truth" is nothing more than a play on words.

    Maybe it would help if you clearly state how you see it all as I have done. Does it make as much sense in a full explanation? No negating this non-affirming that... just in simple plain English can you explain your full understanding of the Two Truths and the Middle Way?

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited January 27

    @David said:
    @person

    That the absolute truth is the underlying reality is accepted in most Mahayana schools. The link I provided for example states it's the reality beyond dualism of any kind.

    Well, I do think there is the unborn, etc. as Buddha said but I don't think that is the ultimate reality in the sense of the two truths. Ultimate and conventional are a duality and are therefore empty and not it.

    I think we have established that the negation of absolute truth is a nonsensical claim as we agree that emptiness does not imply a lack of existence but a lack of independent existence.

    I do not think that has been established. Negating absolute truth isn't negating it altogether, the object being negated is an absolute truth that exists independently, in and of itself. Since absolute truth is the mode by which the conventional exists it is not independent and therefore empty.

    If it did imply a complete lack of existence it would indeed be a nihilistic outlook. If it isn't absolute simply by virtue of including the subjective experience then it is still the ultimate truth. So the statement "The absolute truth is there is no absolute truth" is nothing more than a play on words.

    I think you're interpretation is that there is the conventional world over here and the ultimate over there.

    If there is a hidden world of spirits, or consciousness, or the Force, or whatever then that is also part of the conventional world and not the ultimate one.

    Maybe it would help if you clearly state how you see it all as I have done. Does it make as much sense in a full explanation? No negating this non-affirming that... just in simple plain English can you explain your full understanding of the Two Truths and the Middle Way?

    There is the conventional world of sights, sounds, thoughts, etc. The things we experience, and we ourselves, don't have isolated essences. It is because one thing depends on another, all the way down. I think we're in agreement so far.

    There isn't an ultimate world that gives rise to the conventional, like the raw material of a 3D printer. The ultimate truth is saying that the things in the conventional world seem real but "ultimately" they lack inherent existence.

    Since the ultimate truth is a description of the conventional truth it too is interdependent and therefore empty.

    Here is the bold excerpt you had earlier.

    The two truths are what’s called a provisional teaching in Buddhism-helpful for where we are on our path but not the final truth. The final truth is that there is only one reality, and it unites the relative and absolute. Absolute truth is the true nature of the relative. Relative truth is the manifestation of the absolute.

    Not the final truth... only one reality... Absolute truth is the true nature of the relative.

    When it says relative truth is the manifestation of the absolute, I don't interpret that as saying something like the 3D printer. To me ultimate reality is more like the wetness of water, there isn't something existing called wet (ultimate) that water adds to itself when it is liquid and loses when it is solid. The wetness (conventional truth) comes about because of the state the water molecules are actually in (ultimate truth). Maybe that confuses things, but saying the relative is the manifestation of the absolute says to me that the relative is a result of being interdependent and can only exist because it is empty. The conventional is a manifestation of the characteristic of emptiness, if it wasn't empty it couldn't be.

    EDIT, I forgot to add my view of the middle way.

    My conception is like standing in a room with two doors. The middle way isn't taking one door or the other, it isn't taking both doors or neither door. It is like giving up the whole idea of taking or not taking doors or being a person in a room at all. Then the whole thing, including yourself, simply dissolves into light. Is that right? I don't know, but that's my view.

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

    @Socair said:
    I personally believe that overdebating or intellectualising or philosophizing actually takes us farther away from just being. Having followed this thread I am certain nobody is out to insult anybody else. I also believe nobody is wrong or flawed in their assertions. But surely we reach a point where the debate ends. We agree...or we agree to disagree...we move on. Chop wood. Eat. Sleep. Ultimately in my view philosophizing about buddhist theory/ concepts doesn't get us closer to enlightenment. Learn how we need to live moment to moment, then put away the books. Over thinking buddhism still amounts to overthinking.

    I agree with everything you say... But...

    One, I'm not spending my day thinking or philosophizing about this. While being involved in a debate like this I spend maybe an hour of my day on it, the rest of the time I am chopping wood and carrying water.

    Two, my understanding of the topic and of the other's view grows and I'm assuming bystanders reading it learn from it too.

    I think if there's a problem then it is in attaching to views and making things personal.

    SocairDavid
  • SocairSocair Veteran

    Good point and well made @person . 👍👍

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 27

    @person I'm pretty sure we are saying the same thing. I never implied the absolute truth is a solid entity that spits out conventional pieces, lol. I can't even believe that would be an actual argument.

    And the Middle Way as I said (as I interpret it from Nagarjuna and the Mahayana... I don't claim exclusivity of truth either) is the ultimate truth of the Two Truths. There is the subjective truth, the absolute truth and the ultimate truth which is the two truths are not separate.

    I will try to digest the rest of what you've said but like you, I don't spend the whole day on this, lol.

    Socair
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 27

    It makes it harder when we misrepresent the others view as well. This isn't the first time I have been accused of misrepresenting Buddhism just because of a difference in interpretation and it does make it a bit frustrating having to show how a view is Buddhist.

    It's much easier when we are willing to learn from one another instead of trying to score points.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited January 27

    @David said:
    And the Middle Way as I said is the ultimate truth of the Two Truths. There is the subjective truth, the absolute truth and the ultimate truth which is the two truths are not separate.

    Maybe you weren't communicating that well because this is the first time I remember you saying there is a third truth by making a distinction between absolute and ultimate. So maybe this is what you've meant all along but you've been defining the ultimate truth of the two truths as being synonymous with the unborn, uncreated, unformed, unoriginated.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited January 27

    @David said:
    It makes it harder when we misrepresent the others view as well. This isn't the first time I have been accused of misrepresenting Buddhism just because of a difference in interpretation and it does make it a bit frustrating having to show how a view is Buddhist.

    In the Madhyamika view Nirvana is obtained by realizing and internalizing the two truths, it isn't one of the truths. I think the Yogacara school, which it sounds like you subscribe to, does say ultimate truth is a realm of pure consciousness. It also says true reality is only mind and the conventional world arises out of and appears from the mind. I don't know if you hold that specific view or have some kind of modification of it. If I've misrepresented your view it's because I don't really understand your view and am trying to explain how I see it.

    If you do have a Yogacara view, it is that which I, and Madhyamika, disagree with. I only accept Yogacara as a phenomenological understanding of reality, not ontological.

    I just came across this

    Nāgārjuna's theory of the two truths is fundamentally different from all theories of truth in other Indian philosophies. Hindu philosophers of the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika, Sāṃkya-Yoga, and Mīmāṁsā-Vedānta—all advocate a foundationalism of some kind according to which ultimate reality is taken to be “substantive reality” (drayva) or foundation upon which stands the entire edifice of the conventional ontological structures where the ultimate reality is posited as immutable, fixed, irreducible and independent of any interpretative conventions. That is so, even though the conventional structure that stands upon it constantly changes and transforms.

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/twotruths-india/

    I think this is how I've understood your view, that of some kind of foundationalism, which Yogacara is a member. Nagarjuna's two truths is opposed to that idea.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited January 27

    Yogacara is also based on Madhyamaka and Nagarjuna too. Or probably should say (rather than yogacara) that Kagyu and Nyingma are based on Madhyamaka and Nagarjuna. But there is some difference between those two and Gelug view which is what I believe Person is familiar with presenting.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @Jeffrey said:
    Yogacara is also based on Madhyamaka and Nagarjuna too. Or probably should say (rather than yogacara) that Kagyu and Nyingma are based on Madhyamaka and Nagarjuna. But there is some difference between those two and Gelug view which is what I believe Person is familiar with presenting.

    There is a more classic form of Yogacara, the more modern one that Kagyu and Nyingma follow is some sort of hybrid that I'm not that familiar with. I think the Gelug stops at negating all views of reality while the others then posit positive qualities to Buddha nature or whatever you believe is left.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited January 27

    @person: I'm not sure if Kagyu and Nyingma are homogenous and there could be different views in practitioners or sanghas. The 'hybrid' you refer to is the probably Shentong view and my teacher was taught in that view by her teacher and she is from Kagyu lineage. She translated her teachers instruction on several views of emptiness (sravaka, cittamatra, svatantrika, prasangika, and shentong) into a book Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness. So probably when you/@person are referring to yogacara it could be from cittamatra view (as in the book) you are thinking of which that view was before madymaka. So the shentong view is that hybrid you are thinking of and it is supposed to be a refinement in light of madyamaka view or analysis?

    Indeed there is a big debate in Tibetan Buddhism and you can even find it in all of
    Buddhism perhaps. Like I find Thai forest more similar to how my teacher teaches than some other of Theravada. But in the book (PSoMoE) the views are not taught so much as right or wrong but moreso something to investigate in practice and meditation and draw your own conclusion whatever that might be.

    And I'm not sure how homogenous Kagyu is as I haven't been in different sanghas and am only online in my teachers Sangha so I hear what she teaches and questions asked in her dharma talks (I see at home in videos) but I don't hear what people talk about not during dharma talks like just chatting. So there could be some views, people, sanghas in Kagyu more similar to Gelug I don't know. And I have read some teachings from my teacher's husband who was taught in Dzogchen in the Nyingma lineage so he seems similar to my teacher in the book I have read a bit of. But I don't know how homogenous Nyingma is either. And I have no experience how things are in monastic settings.

    But I think the yogacara you are thinking of ? is like cittamatra view and the hybrid view is shentong.

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

    @Jeffrey said:
    But I think the yogacara you are thinking of ? is like cittamatra view and the hybrid view is shentong.

    Yes, it is also called cittamatra. It is referred to as yogacara though so if your teachers are calling the shentong view yogacara too I don't really know how they differentiate them because the classic cittamatra/yogacara view isn't really held or practiced anymore. Though I have seen it being revived by some modern philosophers.

  • @person I don't think I've heard my teacher mention yogacara. But she has mentioned cittamatra.

  • Here's something that echoes my thoughts that all sorts of teachings are worth having in the world:

    All of the various types of teachings and spiritual paths are related to the different capacities of understanding that different individuals have. There does not exist, from an absolute point of view, any teaching which is more perfect or effective than another. A teaching's value lies solely in the inner awakening which an individual can arrive at through it. If a person benefits from a given teaching, for that person that teaching is the supreme path, because it is suited to his or her nature and capacities.

    ~ Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

    ShoshinpersonlobsterDavid
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    What is your "thinking" on "ultimate truth"?

    "Awareness is fundamentally non-conceptual -before thinking splits experience into subject and object...It is empty and so can contain everything, including 'thought'...It is boundless...And amazingly, it is intrinsically knowing !"

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited January 28

    And cittamatra can be translated as mind only. And I also find that a bit odd to think the world is all thoughts. But it is the cittamatra and not the skhandamatra. Citta is something different from the skhandas. Actually my therapist who is not Buddhist has said that he thinks all sorts of things including physical and plants have vibrations that are beings. I don't exactly believe that or understand his perspective but I can listen to him talk and enjoy hearing and I think he is a very insightful person. My teacher wrote a book about death practices and a lot of what she says is to let go into our relationships or 'heart connections'. Our 'heart nature'. So that sounds a lot different from the teachings that say all of our relationships are just like meeting people in the market and they are impermanent. In fact in my teachers own lineage I think a lot of people say things like that to guard against being attached to relationships and fame and so forth. But my teacher teaches that the nature of the universe also meets us in our refuge. So my refuge is not just me cultivating something but it is also recognizing that the universe is going to say something back to me. I recall Thich Nhat Hanh talking about how he often receives "letters from emptiness" and I wonder if that's what he meant. So for me cittamatra could be "heart only" instead of "mind only". Or it could be an instruction to recognize the heart nature or our heart nature or something. But definitely important to note that citta is not same thing as skhanda.

    With relationships we let go of the part (attachment) that is not meaningful, reliable, satisfying. When we let go of that there is something left that is satisfying remaining. If there was nothing satisfying about our relationships then we would be left with suffering and there wouldn't be enligthenment (is the line of thinking). So there is something meaningful about our heart. We suffer when attached to things that don't matter. When we let go of what doesn't matter we are left with something genuine rather than "it's all meaningless". Nature of mind beyond prapancha as we say.

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

    @Jeffrey said:
    And cittamatra can be translated as mind only. And I also find that a bit odd to think the world is all thoughts. But it is the cittamatra and not the skhandamatra. Citta is something different from the skhandas. Actually my therapist who is not Buddhist has said that he thinks all sorts of things including physical and plants have vibrations that are beings. I don't exactly believe that or understand his perspective but I can listen to him talk and enjoy hearing and I think he is a very insightful person.

    He could mean pansychism, it's a belief that consciousness is a fundamental property of the universe like time or gravity. So like the Higgs-Boson gives all matter mass, some sort of consciousness element gives all things a level of consciousness. For things like rocks or thermostats the level is so low to be insignificant.

    My teacher wrote a book about death practices and a lot of what she says is to let go into our relationships or 'heart connections'. Our 'heart nature'. So that sounds a lot different from the teachings that say all of our relationships are just like meeting people in the market and they are impermanent. In fact in my teachers own lineage I think a lot of people say things like that to guard against being attached to relationships and fame and so forth. But my teacher teaches that the nature of the universe also meets us in our refuge. So my refuge is not just me cultivating something but it is also recognizing that the universe is going to say something back to me. I recall Thich Nhat Hanh talking about how he often receives "letters from emptiness" and I wonder if that's what he meant.

    Sounds like serendipity, I try to take lessons from what the world is reflecting back at me.

    So for me cittamatra could be "heart only" instead of "mind only". Or it could be an instruction to recognize the heart nature or our heart nature or something. But definitely important to note that citta is not same thing as skhanda.

    Nice point, I guess I knew that but have never really noticed or thought about the difference. I'll have to look into it sometime.

    With relationships we let go of the part (attachment) that is not meaningful, reliable, satisfying. When we let go of that there is something left that is satisfying remaining. If there was nothing satisfying about our relationships then we would be left with suffering and there wouldn't be enligthenment (is the line of thinking). So there is something meaningful about our heart. We suffer when attached to things that don't matter. When we let go of what doesn't matter we are left with something genuine rather than "it's all meaningless". Nature of mind beyond prapancha as we say.

    I like that, letting go doesn't leave us hollow and grey, but with some sort of positive quality.

    Jeffreylobster
  • 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

    You know what @Jeffrey ? You're a really nice guy.
    But really nice.

    :)

    lobsterSocair
  • Thanks @federica

  • @Kerome said:
    Musings in the Happiness thread made me wonder about the nature of truth and reality. So I did a little searching, to see if I could find what other people thought of it.

    This article implied that Buddhist truths about suffering were part of the ultimate truth about life and reality, which I’m inclined to believe in.

    https://www.budsas.org/ebud/whatbudbeliev/56.htm

    The truth of inter-being, that Thich Nhat Hanh likes to talk about, is also an aspect of ultimate truth, that we are all inter-related. Perhaps that we are all one is also a related truth.

    Further I found this article from a more Christian perspective,

    https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/2573546

    Which argues that god is the ultimate reality, and that it can be pursued from moral and philosophical standpoints, with certain consensus viewpoints as starting points. Not sure how I feel about that, it seems a somewhat muddled area of thinking.

    What is your thinking on ultimate truth? Is truth more important than happiness?

    Unskillful living means more suffering. Truth means less suffering equals more hapiness.

    personShoshin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    The thing that I have found over the last few days is that a commitment to seeking internal truth is essential to overcoming aversion and delusion. This goes beyond just being honest, but actually seeking out truth and rectifying falsehood. I feel this is essential to developing insight, which is key to making progress.

    It’s less important what you do outside yourself... a little white lie once in a while is not awful, but if you cannot rely on clear, accurate vision inside yourself then you make things very difficult for yourself.

    lobsterSocair
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 29

    @person said:

    @David said:
    And the Middle Way as I said is the ultimate truth of the Two Truths. There is the subjective truth, the absolute truth and the ultimate truth which is the two truths are not separate.

    Maybe you weren't communicating that well because this is the first time I remember you saying there is a third truth by making a distinction between absolute and ultimate. So maybe this is what you've meant all along but you've been defining the ultimate truth of the two truths as being synonymous with the unborn, uncreated, unformed, unoriginated.

    Really? I thought I said it so much I was feeling like a broken record.

    @person said:

    @David said:
    It makes it harder when we misrepresent the others view as well. This isn't the first time I have been accused of misrepresenting Buddhism just because of a difference in interpretation and it does make it a bit frustrating having to show how a view is Buddhist.

    In the Madhyamika view Nirvana is obtained by realizing and internalizing the two truths, it isn't one of the truths. I think the Yogacara school, which it sounds like you subscribe to, does say ultimate truth is a realm of pure consciousness. It also says true reality is only mind and the conventional world arises out of and appears from the mind. I don't know if you hold that specific view or have some kind of modification of it. If I've misrepresented your view it's because I don't really understand your view and am trying to explain how I see it.

    If you do have a Yogacara view, it is that which I, and Madhyamika, disagree with. I only accept Yogacara as a phenomenological understanding of reality, not ontological.

    I just came across this

    Nāgārjuna's theory of the two truths is fundamentally different from all theories of truth in other Indian philosophies. Hindu philosophers of the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika, Sāṃkya-Yoga, and Mīmāṁsā-Vedānta—all advocate a foundationalism of some kind according to which ultimate reality is taken to be “substantive reality” (drayva) or foundation upon which stands the entire edifice of the conventional ontological structures where the ultimate reality is posited as immutable, fixed, irreducible and independent of any interpretative conventions. That is so, even though the conventional structure that stands upon it constantly changes and transforms.

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/twotruths-india/

    I think this is how I've understood your view, that of some kind of foundationalism, which Yogacara is a member. Nagarjuna's two truths is opposed to that idea.

    Nope, that's not how I see it at all. I don't subscribe to yogacara but I wouldn't say I'd oppose it either. I don't think the view would take away from the logic of compassion so I'd have no quarrel with them even as I do disagree. When a view seems to make compassion a nice ideal in spite of the truth instead of the logical position in light of the truth is when I speak up.

    I was not arguing that the absolute truth is not empty, I was arguing against the implication that that posits a lack of absolute truth except by way of puns which are mostly unhelpful in emptiness teachings.

    This is why we need more accurate words for translation. "Absolute" "ultimate" and even "objective" are just too close. We are both coming from a Madhyamika view. That's why I keep on about the emptiness of the absolute truth being the third and actual truth of the Two Truths and not a negation of truth.

    I do not, however imagine some kind of border between any worlds that is not convention.

    Maybe I just talk funny.

    Our discussion here began when I said it was an ontological teaching. I meant it dealt with the nature of reality (not exclusive to experience), not that it is an entity unto itself that we could theoretically put in a box.

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