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The truth of reality

13

Comments

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 29

    @person

    Now please do not take offense to this question as it seems I'm turning your question on you but do you see the unborn as a "thing" or even "place" unto itself?

    In other words do you feel there is a non-conventional border between our experience and the unborn?

    I feel that every single border we could conceive of is only an illusory tool, that the absolute of the Two Truths is the unborn and that there is no true beginning to anything (except by way of convention).

    Edit to add: For myself, going beyond that last sentence is to go from what makes the most sense according to what I have gleaned so far and into the land of conjecture. There are some things that make more sense than others but to cling to one of them is to close myself off to others according to my own understanding.

    To me, the warning to not cling to views is a suggestion to remain agnostic even if I think I have it all wrapped up.

    ShoshinSnakeskin
  • 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

    @David said:
    @person

    Now please do not take offense to this question as it seems I'm turning your question on you but do you see the unborn as a "thing" or even "place" unto itself?

    In other words do you feel there is a non-conventional border between our experience and the unborn?

    I feel that every single border we could conceive of is only an illusory tool, that the absolute of the Two Truths is the unborn and that there is no true beginning to anything (except by way of convention).

    Edit to add: For myself, going beyond that last sentence is to go from what makes the most sense according to what I have gleaned so far and into the land of conjecture. There are some things that make more sense than others but to cling to one of them is to close myself off to others according to my own understanding.

    To me, the warning to not cling to views is a suggestion to remain agnostic even if I think I have it all wrapped up.

    To me, the warning to not cling to views is a suggestion that it's ok to have an opinion, and it's ok to keep it, and give it, but it's essential to be open to alternatives, and to change your mind at any time, after giving it adequate consideration....

    SocairDavidKundoSnakeskin
  • @person said:
    I suppose I see it as a state of mind beyond any kind of conception, beyond ideas of conventional or ultimate, existence or non existence.

    That is my understanding and experience of real truth, truth and Nothing but the Truth, So help me Cod. :3

    The rest is just hot air, wind and words ... empty we might say ... or better yet, not ...

    Socair
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @person

    Thanks for that. The reason I like this forum over the rest is because it doesn't cater to one point of view.

    Snakeskin
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @person said:

    @David said:
    @person

    Now please do not take offense to this question as it seems I'm turning your question on you but do you see the unborn as a "thing" or even "place" unto itself?

    In other words do you feel there is a non-conventional border between our experience and the unborn?

    I feel that every single border we could conceive of is only an illusory tool, that the absolute of the Two Truths is the unborn and that there is no true beginning to anything (except by way of convention).

    Edit to add: For myself, going beyond that last sentence is to go from what makes the most sense according to what I have gleaned so far and into the land of conjecture. There are some things that make more sense than others but to cling to one of them is to close myself off to others according to my own understanding.

    To me, the warning to not cling to views is a suggestion to remain agnostic even if I think I have it all wrapped up.

    I think part of the reason for a negative view of emptiness is that you aren't tempted to define and therefore attach to any view of anything after. To do so only serves as an obstacle to actually realizing such a state. Maybe that is what I am objecting to, trying have a conception of such a thing, to make conjectures about it only takes us farther away.

    I don't see how that makes emptiness negative but aside from that I get what you mean.

    @federica said:

    @David said:
    @person

    Now please do not take offense to this question as it seems I'm turning your question on you but do you see the unborn as a "thing" or even "place" unto itself?

    In other words do you feel there is a non-conventional border between our experience and the unborn?

    I feel that every single border we could conceive of is only an illusory tool, that the absolute of the Two Truths is the unborn and that there is no true beginning to anything (except by way of convention).

    Edit to add: For myself, going beyond that last sentence is to go from what makes the most sense according to what I have gleaned so far and into the land of conjecture. There are some things that make more sense than others but to cling to one of them is to close myself off to others according to my own understanding.

    To me, the warning to not cling to views is a suggestion to remain agnostic even if I think I have it all wrapped up.

    To me, the warning to not cling to views is a suggestion that it's ok to have an opinion, and it's ok to keep it, and give it, but it's essential to be open to alternatives, and to change your mind at any time, after giving it adequate consideration....

    Yeah. For me that's what it's like to be agnostic.

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

    @David said:

    I think part of the reason for a negative view of emptiness is that you aren't tempted to define and therefore attach to any view of anything after. To do so only serves as an obstacle to actually realizing such a state. Maybe that is what I am objecting to, trying have a conception of such a thing, to make conjectures about it only takes us farther away.

    I don't see how that makes emptiness negative but aside from that I get what you mean.

    Negative in the sense of only saying what things are not rather than making a positive assertion. Not in the sense of being bad.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited February 3

    The thing I have come to realise is that truth too is a raft to carry us over the river. It is an important tool to give us insight and create clarity. But there are very few truths that are universal, but those that there are are important axioms to our world.

    For example, take a story. It transforms us, it changes our minds, it makes us something, even if it only contains a few insights into truth. It can alter our hearts, make us laugh or cry.

    personlobsterShoshinDavid
  • @Snakeskin said:
    Impermanence is an objective reality.

    It probably is, but that isn't what the Buddha was concerned with. In the suttas anicca is always described in terms of the aggregates, and the aggregates represent our personal experience. Similarly in the Heart Sutra, sunyata is described in terms of the aggregates.

    Snakeskin
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Veteran
    edited February 5

    @DairyLama said:

    @Snakeskin said:
    Impermanence is an objective reality.

    It probably is, but that isn't what the Buddha was concerned with. In the suttas anicca is always described in terms of the aggregates, and the aggregates represent our personal experience. Similarly in the Heart Sutra, sunyata is described in terms of the aggregates.

    I don't disagree with most of what you said there, but I don't see how it contradicts the statement that "impermanence is an objective reality", that the Buddha was unconcerned with its objectiveness, or that its objectiveness doesn't fit into the five aggregates. The first aggregate is form. It includes the body. The body is an objective reality. It is subject to aging, sickness and death. Each of those are also objective realities that, according to the suttas, should be contemplated often. The last of those appears in the Satipatthana sutta as a contemplation of decomposition. One compares his or her own body to the objective reality of corpses in different stages of decay. These are all teachings in the discourses attributed to the Buddha and all represent the objective reality of impermanence in the physical dimension of matter, the aggregate of form.

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

    I heard a quote yesterday that reminded me of this thread

    When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that is wisdom
    When I look outside and see that I am everything,that is love.
    And between these two, my life turns.
    – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

    lobsterShoshinDavidSocair
  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    Commenting on the Nirvana Sutra, Kosho Yamamoto said: Thus, there comes about the equation of: Buddha Body equals Dharmakaya, which equals eternal body, which equals eternal Buddha, which equals Eternity.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited February 10

    @Snakeskin said:

    @DairyLama said:

    @Snakeskin said:
    Impermanence is an objective reality.

    It probably is, but that isn't what the Buddha was concerned with. In the suttas anicca is always described in terms of the aggregates, and the aggregates represent our personal experience. Similarly in the Heart Sutra, sunyata is described in terms of the aggregates.

    I don't disagree with most of what you said there, but I don't see how it contradicts the statement that "impermanence is an objective reality", that the Buddha was unconcerned with its objectiveness, or that its objectiveness doesn't fit into the five aggregates. The first aggregate is form. It includes the body. The body is an objective reality. It is subject to aging, sickness and death. Each of those are also objective realities that, according to the suttas, should be contemplated often. The last of those appears in the Satipatthana sutta as a contemplation of decomposition. One compares his or her own body to the objective reality of corpses in different stages of decay. These are all teachings in the discourses attributed to the Buddha and all represent the objective reality of impermanence in the physical dimension of matter, the aggregate of form.

    I'm still struggling with the phrase "objective reality" - could you say exactly what you mean by it, practically speaking?

    I think the aggregates could be viewed as "subjective reality", because they are clearly descriptive of our personal reality, or more accurately our world, our experience.

    "The Blessed One said: "And what is the origination of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling..."
    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.044.than.html

    And in the suttas the Buddha repeatedly advised against metaphysical speculation, see DN1 for example: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.01.0.bodh.html
    In other words, it is best not to get bogged down in metaphysical questions about the nature of "reality", ( whatever that is! ) it just becomes a "thicket of views".

    Note that what we mostly experience is derived form, ie sense-impressions derived from the four great elements ( earth, water, wind and fire ). Sights, sounds, sensations, flavours and odours. Along with mental objects, these are the primary subject of insight practice, noticing conditionality and transience for example.
    Actually the four great elements are better understood as properties rather than elements, ie solidity, cohesion/fluidity, motion and heat.

    lobsterSnakeskin
  • @DairyLama said:

    @Snakeskin said:

    @DairyLama said:

    @Snakeskin said:
    Impermanence is an objective reality.

    It probably is, but that isn't what the Buddha was concerned with. In the suttas anicca is always described in terms of the aggregates, and the aggregates represent our personal experience. Similarly in the Heart Sutra, sunyata is described in terms of the aggregates.

    I don't disagree with most of what you said there, but I don't see how it contradicts the statement that "impermanence is an objective reality", that the Buddha was unconcerned with its objectiveness, or that its objectiveness doesn't fit into the five aggregates. The first aggregate is form. It includes the body. The body is an objective reality. It is subject to aging, sickness and death. Each of those are also objective realities that, according to the suttas, should be contemplated often. The last of those appears in the Satipatthana sutta as a contemplation of decomposition. One compares his or her own body to the objective reality of corpses in different stages of decay. These are all teachings in the discourses attributed to the Buddha and all represent the objective reality of impermanence in the physical dimension of matter, the aggregate of form.

    I'm still struggling with the phrase "objective reality" - could you say exactly what you mean by it, practically speaking?

    By objective reality, I mean verifiable by others. If you and I stood together, you could verify, "Yes, Snakeskin, you have a body. That's not just in your head."

    I think the aggregates could be viewed as "subjective reality", because they are clearly descriptive of our personal reality, or more accurately our world, our experience.

    I agree our experience of all the aggregates is subjective. In the first one, however, we personally experience an objective reality. Both realities are marked by the same three characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anatta.

    "The Blessed One said: "And what is the origination of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling..."
    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.044.than.html

    In the Kamma Sutta he claims the eye is old kamma. (I take that as the result of past, volitional actions.)

    And in the suttas the Buddha repeatedly advised against metaphysical speculation, see DN1 for example: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.01.0.bodh.html
    In other words, it is best not to get bogged down in metaphysical questions about the nature of "reality", ( whatever that is! ) it just becomes a "thicket of views".

    The first aggregate is the opposite of metaphysical. Mindfulness of it and of the experience of it isn't speculative but observational. It's by way of this investigative strategy that the Buddha came, via the three knowledges, to make the claim that the eye, for example, is old kamma.

    Note that what we mostly experience is derived form, ie sense-impressions derived from the four great elements ( earth, water, wind and fire ). Sights, sounds, sensations, flavours and odours. Along with mental objects, these are the primary subject of insight practice, noticing conditionality and transience for example.
    Actually the four great elements are better understood as properties rather than elements, ie solidity, cohesion/fluidity, motion and heat.

    I agree and would go further to say everything we experience in samsara is derived, a reflection, a mental construct of an actuality. The eyes aren't lying to us, but we know as scientific fact that they're not telling us the whole truth. Same for the ears, etc. As the Uraga Sutta says "All this is unreal." None of it is as it appears to be, but all of it reflects the actualities of anicca, dukkha and anatta.

    But why would we observe these in insight practice? I think the purpose is to break the spell of conditioned reality, leading to dispassion for it and turning away from it. Why do that? "This is the Noble Truth of the origin of dukkha: It's this craving that leads to repeated becoming... This is the Noble Truth of the cessation of dukkha: It's the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving...." I think the conditioned constructs, becomings, can be stilled, revealing the Unconditioned, Nibbana. This is the escape. From what? "This is the Noble Truth of dukkha: Birth is dukkha; aging is dukkha; death is dukkha... Briefly, the five aggregates subject to clinging are dukkha." Birth, aging and death are objective realities. (I think I'm starting to ramble.)

    Shoshinlobster
  • @Snakeskin said:
    But why would we observe these in insight practice? I think the purpose is to break the spell of conditioned reality, leading to dispassion for it and turning away from it. Why do that? "This is the Noble Truth of the origin of dukkha: It's this craving that leads to repeated becoming... This is the Noble Truth of the cessation of dukkha: It's the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving...." I think the conditioned constructs, becomings, can be stilled, revealing the Unconditioned, Nibbana.

    I don't think the Unconditioned is a "thing". That would be more like revealing Atman/Brahman in Hindu practice, seeing through the aggregates ( personal experience ) to reveal a deeper reality.

    "Unconditioned" is an epithet for Nibbana, and Nibbana is most often described as the cessation of craving, aversion and ignorance. So "unconditioned" seems to be an adjective rather than a noun, ie a state of mind unconditioned by the taints.

    TravellerSnakeskin
  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    For me personally trying to define the uncondioned is like trying to hold running water. It goes beyond all limits, conditions, defintions and labels. For me a Buddha has gone beyond all labels into pure knowing. I'd agree with @DairyLama, defining it is more like an Atman/Brahman thing.

    Snakeskin
  • @Traveller said:
    For me personally trying to define the uncondioned is like trying to hold running water. It goes beyond all limits, conditions, defintions and labels. For me a Buddha has gone beyond all labels into pure knowing. I'd agree with @DairyLama, defining it is more like an Atman/Brahman thing.

    In Buddhism it seems less to do with a "deeper reality", and more to do with insight into the nature of the aggregates, the nature of our experience. Seeing how our experiences are transient, and how they arise in dependent on conditions - anicca, anatta, sunyata and so on. That insight leads to cessation of craving and aversion, wanting and not wanting.

    TravellerSnakeskin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It’s interesting because the internal and the external realities are at odds. Buddhism says we are a collection of aggregates internally, but at the same time we look outside and we are convinced by our senses of seeing, touch and hearing that there is a distinction between inside and outside.

    The lore of the skhandhas agrees with anatta, saying we are not this, we are not that. You look further and further into your internal state, identifying this component and that, but ultimately you do not arrive at the wellspring of the self.

    If you look outside, you see the world of inter-being, where all things have a relationship to eachother, cannot exist independently and on some level are one. That does not mean that purity and skilful means do not exist here, there is definitely such a thing as corruption, something that does not function as its intended whole. However it kind of says we are everything.

    So... we are everything and nothing? To unify the internal and external views seems a hard task B)

    Snakeskin
  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    Well @Kerome, if your into the whole rebirth thing you've been conditoned to think in terms of seperate exestince/sakkaya-ditthi for uncountable lifetimes. I'm not sure its that hard a task though, one just has to keep training oneself to let go. Trying to define it as both everything and nothing is still limiting it in my opinion. In the Pali Canon Suttas like this some up emptiness for me.

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn44/sn44.006.than.html

    Snakeskin
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited February 12

    To be both everything and nothing is really just being no thing in particular. Everything changes with every perception and there is no such thing as nothing.

    I don't see anybody claiming the unconditioned is a thing either. Even just saying "the unconditioned" is applying a label and defining that which won't be defined and so I think we all take that as a given.

    We walk the middle way and so we use labels. If a person really didn't want to have fun with defining this stuff they wouldn't even bother opening the thread.

    Let's be real here.

    Snakeskin
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited February 12

    @Kerome said:
    So... we are everything and nothing? To unify the internal and external views seems a hard task B)

    I think there is just experience, and experiences arise in dependence on conditions. Or you could say there are just phenomena ( dharmas ), and those only arise in dependence on conditions. So we experience sights, sounds, bodily sensations, flavours and odours, and mental objects like thoughts and feelings. Those are what we actually experience, those are the things we can observe and examine. The rest is just clutching at metaphysical straws, grasping at beliefs and opinions, a thicket of views.

    I don't think this is something that can be understood intellectually, it involves looking closely at the nature of experience - phenomena, dharmas, aggregates, whatever. To use science as an analogy, you can theorise all you like, but it is only when you start observing that you can begin to understand what is happening.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    If it cant be undestood intellectually but needs to be seen as the nature of experience, then how do you get past the fact that most of our senses are externally oriented? We have many sources of perception but they all seem to be involved in placing us within our world - sight, the sense of balance, the sense of temperature.

    Very little except the imagination and intuition seem to be useful for exploring the inner world.

  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    For me it can only be understood by what Ajahn Sumedho calls intuitive awareness, that part of the mind that reflects like a mirror whatever is put in front of it and also like a mirror is not disturbed by what it reflects.

    lobsterShoshin
  • @DairyLama said:

    @Snakeskin said:
    But why would we observe these in insight practice? I think the purpose is to break the spell of conditioned reality, leading to dispassion for it and turning away from it. Why do that? "This is the Noble Truth of the origin of dukkha: It's this craving that leads to repeated becoming... This is the Noble Truth of the cessation of dukkha: It's the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving...." I think the conditioned constructs, becomings, can be stilled, revealing the Unconditioned, Nibbana.


    I don't think the Unconditioned is a "thing". That would be more like revealing Atman/Brahman in Hindu practice, seeing through the aggregates ( personal experience ) to reveal a deeper reality.

    "Unconditioned" is an epithet for Nibbana, and Nibbana is most often described as the cessation of craving, aversion and ignorance. So "unconditioned" seems to be an adjective rather than a noun, ie a state of mind unconditioned by the taints.

    To say Nibbana is something other than a state of mind is not the same as concluding it therefore must be a personal or universal soul. But to say Nibbana is not something other than a state of mind might be to say it’s a conditioned phenomena, impermanent, dukkha.

    I think “a state of mind unconditioned by the taints” is both the condition for realizing Nibbana and the fruit of having realized it. In both cases, such a mind may be a conditioned phenomenon, not Nibbana.

    In the first instance, in that moment when there arises a conditioned mind with the taints stilled, the path “has been fully developed.” That forms a condition. As a result of it, in that same moment, dukkha is fully understood, craving completely abandoned and the cessation of dukkha, the reality of Nibbana, realized.

    This moment forms the condition for the second instance of that state of mind. As a result of knowledge and vision, there arises a conditioned state of mind that is the fruit of having realized Nibbana. At the level of arahant, where the faculties are strong enough, the taints are not just stilled or partially eliminated but all are completely uprooted.

    Seeing the truth cracks the foundation of ignorance, causing everything built on it to collapse. But the truth, Nibbana, and those states of mind, fruits of the path and of knowledge and vision, are not, in my humble analysis, the same.

    “Birth is dukkha; aging is dukkha; death is dukkha....”
    “[Nibbana] is the cessation of dukkha [by way of the cessation of its support, craving]...”

    So,

    Nibbana is the cessation of dukkha; and dukkha is birth, aging and death; therefore, Nibbana is the cessation of birth, aging and death.

    Maybe those ancient expositions use those words figuratively in reference to a psychological state. But, if Nibbana is merely a psychological state, then it’s conditioned on the capacity to experience psychological states. Therefore, it could not be called “the Unconditioned”. So, I think these words refer to a psychological state reflecting an actual reality that those ancients also called “the Unborn”, “the Ageless” and “the Deathless”.

    Hence, Nibbana may be something other than the mind that realizes it, something other than a subjective reality brought into existence when someone realizes it. In other words, Nibbana may be an objective reality, “to be personally experienced by the wise.”

    TravellerDavidperson
  • @Kerome said:
    It’s interesting because the internal and the external realities are at odds. Buddhism says we are a collection of aggregates internally, but at the same time we look outside and we are convinced by our senses of seeing, touch and hearing that there is a distinction between inside and outside.

    The lore of the skhandhas agrees with anatta, saying we are not this, we are not that. You look further and further into your internal state, identifying this component and that, but ultimately you do not arrive at the wellspring of the self.

    If you look outside, you see the world of inter-being, where all things have a relationship to eachother, cannot exist independently and on some level are one. That does not mean that purity and skilful means do not exist here, there is definitely such a thing as corruption, something that does not function as its intended whole. However it kind of says we are everything.

    So... we are everything and nothing? To unify the internal and external views seems a hard task B)

    I've been making the exact opposite point. The internal and external realities are not at odds; they're the same. As I'm not a student of TNH, I don't see inter-being. I see impersonal phenomenon, inside and out. Consciousness arises here. It's an impersonal phenomenon, just like the rest of the conditioned cosmos. It's not separate. It's the same.

    TravellerDavidKeromeperson
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Kerome
    If it cant be undestood intellectually but needs to be seen as the nature of experience, then how do you get past the fact that most of our senses are externally oriented? We have many sources of perception but they all seem to be involved in placing us within our world - sight, the sense of balance, the sense of temperature.

    Very little except the imagination and intuition seem to be useful for exploring the inner world.

    @Kerome you may find this of interest....

    Taken from Lorig: Ways of Knowing

    The Seven Ways of Knowing Voidness
    The seven ways of knowing describe the process of gaining non-conceptual cognition of voidness. It is very useful to know these stages so as to be able to gauge how we progress.

    First, as ordinary beings, we have distorted cognition of voidness (emptiness) accompanied by unawareness. We are totally unaware of it. Our cognition of everything is distorted with respect to the mode of existence of things – we cognize everything as if it were self-established. Then we have distorted cognition of it with the unawareness of knowing it incorrectly and possibly also with a distorted antagonistic attitude about it. We imagine that it refers to nothingness and is a nihilist assertion. In order to go further, we need an open mind, not a hostile antagonistic one.
    Then we listen to a talk on voidness. If we’re looking at our cell phone while the teacher is explaining, our hearing about voidness will be indeterminate. We won’t be able to remember a word that was said. If our minds were lost in thought, we had only auditory seemingly bare cognition of the words, but again we won’t remember them because we were not paying attention.

    But if we actually heard the words with valid auditory bare cognition and are certain about what we heard, then after phases of auditory subsequent and indeterminate bare cognition and then a tiny moment of mental bare cognition of the sound of the word “voidness,” we then conceptually cognize voidness (we think “voidness”) through the audio category of the sound of the word “voidness.” But either we do not also cognize it through a meaning category (we still have no idea what it means), or we conceptually cognize it through an incorrect meaning category (we have an incorrect idea of what it means and so our conceptual cognition is invalid).

    We may then have indecisive wavering about whether or not voidness is true. First, this wavering will be inclined toward not accepting it as true, then perhaps evenly balanced, but eventually it will be tilted toward accepting it as correct. During this stage, we would validly know that in order to gain certainty about what voidness means, we will need to rely on further cognition. We will need to learn more and think more about it. When we understand, at least superficially, what voidness means, we can conceptually think about voidness with indecisive wavering through both an audio category and a correct meaning category.

    Next, we would think about voidness with presumption – we presume it is true, but we need to become truly convinced of that. Note, we could also presume that an incorrect meaning of voidness is correct. That would be a distorted conceptual cognition. To become fully convinced of the correct meaning of voidness, we need to conclude that everything lacks self-established existence based on a valid line of reasoning. But even if we know the valid line of reasoning for that, if we are not convinced or don’t really understand the reasoning, we still are only presuming that voidness is true. With valid inferential cognition of voidness, we understand the line of reasoning and are convinced that it proves that voidness is correct.

    Now, when we meditate conceptually on voidness, we initially have valid inferential cognition of it when our cognition is fresh, and then subsequent inferential cognition and, at the end, indeterminate inferential cognition. But our meditation will only be these first two phases of inferential cognition so long as we are focusing on voidness through its correct meaning category and do so with certainty. If our attention wanders or we only are focusing on the words through audio categories, but without any meaning category, we do not apprehend voidness with our meditation. When we gain a joined state of shamatha and vipashyana focused on voidness, our conceptual meditation on voidness will have only valid inferential cognition and subsequent inferential cognition.

    According to the Prasangika classification scheme, whether with or without a joined state of shamatha and vipashyana, our subsequent inferential cognition of voidness would be conceptual straightforward cognition of voidness. When we no longer need to go through the line of reasoning at all order to generate correct conceptual cognition of voidness, even our first moment of conceptual cognition of voidness would be conceptual straightforward cognition of it.

    When we finally attain non-conceptual cognition of voidness, Sautrantika would classify this as yogic bare cognition of voidness (although, of course, Sautrantika does not assert voidness). Prasangika would classify it as non-conceptual yogic straightforward cognition.

    Throughout all of this, if we are able to remember that we were meditating on voidness, Sautrantika would explain it as the work of the valid and subsequent bare cognition of reflexive awareness that accompanied our cognition. Prasangika would explain that when we apprehended voidness with inferential cognition or conceptual or non-conceptual straightforward cognition, we implicitly apprehended that the cognition was occurring and that it was valid. In either case, when we recall meditating on voidness, this is with deceptive, conceptual seemingly bare cognition through the meaning category “meditation on voidness.”

    Thus, if we know what stage our present understanding of voidness is at and know what stages need to follow in order to reach non-conceptual cognition of it, we become confident of the graded path.


    The nutshell version :)

    "Transient Alas; Are all component things
    Subject are they to birth and then decay
    Having gained birth; To death the life flux swings
    Bliss truly dawns when unrest dies away!"

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

    To reiterate ....
    From a sense of self point of view my personal happiness is more important...
    From an ultimate truth perspective (if there is such a thing, known to the sense of a self ) Ultimate Truth tops my ignorant sense of self from which happiness is based on an illusion.......Be it a very persistent illusion:)

    However in saying this ..Tis said that Ignorance 'is' Bliss ,,,,be it short term :)

    TravellerSnakeskinlobsterDavid
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited February 13

    @Snakeskin said:
    I think “a state of mind unconditioned by the taints” is both the condition for realizing Nibbana and the fruit of having realized it. In both cases, such a mind may be a conditioned phenomenon, not Nibbana.
    Hence, Nibbana may be something other than the mind that realizes it, something other than a subjective reality brought into existence when someone realizes it. In other words, Nibbana may be an objective reality, “to be personally experienced by the wise.”

    Yes, that could be the case, and some interpret Nibbana as a transcendent reality, "a sphere that one touches". I think the suttas are rather ambiguous actually. In some passages Nibbana sounds like something "out there", in other passages it sounds more like a state of mind. Though looking at the suttas as a whole, I do think "unconditioned" is an adjective rather than a noun. I think there has been a tendency to reify it, and make it into a "thing", a noun - it's an appealing idea, but I'm not sure the suttas support it. In any case, I think you need a mind to experience Nibbana!

    Snakeskin
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited February 13

    @Snakeskin said:> I've been making the exact opposite point. The internal and external realities are not at odds; they're the same. As I'm not a student of TNH, I don't see inter-being. I see impersonal phenomenon, inside and out. Consciousness arises here. It's an impersonal phenomenon, just like the rest of the conditioned cosmos. It's not separate. It's the same.

    I tend to agree. I still don't really get TNH's "interbeing" thing, it sounds quite intellectual to me, more like a belief than a realisation. It also seems an odd way to interpret the Heart Sutra, which actually describes the emptiness of the skandhas ( aggregates ), ie the emptiness of the phenomena we personally experience.

    lobster
  • As a general observation, I think it's useful to distinguish between "spiritual" experiences and the assumptions we make about them. As an example, I used to do "silent worship" with the Quakers. They would tend to associate inner stillness with the presence of God, but I wouldn't - because our beliefs about God were different.

    So feeling we are "one with everything" doesn't necessarily mean we are literally one with everything. Spiritual experiences don't necessarily reveal metaphysical truths, it is all subject to interpretation and therefore quite subjective.

    Snakeskinlobster
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited February 13

    @Kerome said:
    If it cant be undestood intellectually but needs to be seen as the nature of experience, then how do you get past the fact that most of our senses are externally oriented? We have many sources of perception but they all seem to be involved in placing us within our world - sight, the sense of balance, the sense of temperature.
    Very little except the imagination and intuition seem to be useful for exploring the inner world.

    You can apply the same approach to all the sense bases, both "internal" and "external" - observing closely, noticing, understanding what is happening, how we react to various stimuli.
    Sights and sounds can be viewed in the same way as thoughts and feelings - they are all phenomena that we experience, they are all dependent arising and transient.

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

    I suppose I'm kind of a somethingist. I tend to place some sort of metaphysical quality on Nirvana. But I'm also of the opinion that whether Nirvana is metaphysical or psychological you get there the same way. Your beliefs about what it is, I don't think, have any bearing on attaining it. I think it's all about letting go of views and taints. So I guess a metaphysical view says the psychological experience of freedom is the door and the psychological view says the experience, the door, is it. Either way all any of us have to do is step into the door.

    SnakeskinDavidDairyLamaKerome
  • Somethingist… haha.

    If everything blinked out of existence, there would remain only a vacuum of infinite space. If consciousness arose, it would know only infinite space. But if it became aware of consciousness, then it could differentiate the two. If the consciousness had memory, it could differentiate the points between the knowledge of space and the knowledge of consciousness. It could thereby reveal something else, something that would have always been there, paradoxically hidden in the vacuum. Time. The thing/no-thingness of Nibbana might be compared to that. Time.

    DavidlobsterKerome
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited February 13

    @Snakeskin said:
    Somethingist… haha.

    If everything blinked out of existence, there would remain only a vacuum of infinite space. If consciousness arose, it would know only infinite space. But if it became aware of consciousness, then it could differentiate the two. If the consciousness had memory, it could differentiate the points between the knowledge of space and the knowledge of consciousness. It could thereby reveal something else, something that would have always been there, paradoxically hidden in the vacuum. Time. The thing/no-thingness of Nibbana might be compared to that. Time.

    2 things come to mind when reading this.

    I don't know if there would be time without distance between points.

    And

    Horror vacui - Infinite space is still something as space itself has properties that manifest as potential/virtual particles that get pulled out of space, take up space for a little bit and then get replaced before they can go back... nature abhors a vacuum.

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

    @Snakeskin said:
    Somethingist… haha.

    It's an actual identified ideology called ietsism.

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

    Snakeskin
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    I don't know much about truth or reality, but I do find myself being drawn towards the likes of Spinoza and Shankara these days. In particular, I find myself pondering their monisitc/non-dual approach, seeing it as potentially hinting at truth, which I intuitively feel to be a unity. But this POV does veer away from most forms of Buddhism by taking a theistic and/or pantheistic overtone. At any rate, it seems to me that Shankara's Brahman is very similar to Spinoza's God. Shankara, for example, says of Brahman, "There exists nothing that is not Brahman. If any object other than Brahman appears to exist, it is unreal like the mirage," while Spinoza defines God as "a being absolutely infinite, that is, a substance consisting of infinite attributes, each of which expresses eternal and infinite essence." Basically, each seems to conceive of the absolute as the true, indivisible substance of reality, a substance Shankara characterizes as being "non-dual, infinite, eternal and one" and Spinoza defines as being "that which is in itself and is conceived through itself." In contrast, the phenomenal world that we experience and perceive as a conglomeration of arising and ceasing is but a mode or modification in the appearance of this singular, infinite reality that "exists by the mere necessity of its own nature." Unlike the absolute, this appearance is maya, illusory, empty of true existence: "Like bubbles in the water, the worlds rise, exist and dissolve in the Supreme Self, which is the material cause and the prop of everything." For Shankara, everything is Brahman. For Spinoza, all is God. And for both, truth is one.

    lobsterfedericaSocairSnakeskin
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited February 14

    @person said:
    I suppose I'm kind of a somethingist. I tend to place some sort of metaphysical quality on Nirvana. But I'm also of the opinion that whether Nirvana is metaphysical or psychological you get there the same way. Your beliefs about what it is, I don't think, have any bearing on attaining it. I think it's all about letting go of views and taints. So I guess a metaphysical view says the psychological experience of freedom is the door and the psychological view says the experience, the door, is it. Either way all any of us have to do is step into the door.

    I think that's a sensible approach, and attaching to views can be a hindrance. I find the "somethingist" ( Ietsist ) view more appealing, it sounds more sexy than just thinking of Nirvana as a different state of mind, or whatever. But to me Ietsim also feels a bit needy - like we need there to be something else ( God, Brahman, an absolute, a transcendent reality, whatever ).

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

    @DairyLama said:

    @person said:
    I suppose I'm kind of a somethingist. I tend to place some sort of metaphysical quality on Nirvana. But I'm also of the opinion that whether Nirvana is metaphysical or psychological you get there the same way. Your beliefs about what it is, I don't think, have any bearing on attaining it. I think it's all about letting go of views and taints. So I guess a metaphysical view says the psychological experience of freedom is the door and the psychological view says the experience, the door, is it. Either way all any of us have to do is step into the door.

    I think that's a sensible approach, and attaching to views can be a hindrance. I find the "somethingist" ( Ietsist ) view more appealing, it sounds more sexy than just thinking of Nirvana as a different state of mind, or whatever. But to me Ietsim also feels a bit needy - like we need there to be something else ( God, Brahman, an absolute, a transcendent reality, whatever ).

    Needing the world to be any particular way is needy, which includes physicalism. Not needing it to be any particular way is not needy. I think it's more about the attitude towards the view than the view itself.

    Snakeskin
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    It's also good to remember that presenting a view for consideration is not the same as claiming said view is correct above all others.

    TravellerSnakeskin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited February 15

    The truth of reality

    ...Is that one/the self (more often than not) lives a lie of convenience, by trying to bend reality to one's own will ....And when it doesn't happen, it is the self who gets bent out of shape ...If the truth be told ;)

    lobsterTravellerSocairSnakeskin
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited February 15

    @person said:

    @DairyLama said:

    @person said:
    I suppose I'm kind of a somethingist. I tend to place some sort of metaphysical quality on Nirvana. But I'm also of the opinion that whether Nirvana is metaphysical or psychological you get there the same way. Your beliefs about what it is, I don't think, have any bearing on attaining it. I think it's all about letting go of views and taints. So I guess a metaphysical view says the psychological experience of freedom is the door and the psychological view says the experience, the door, is it. Either way all any of us have to do is step into the door.

    I think that's a sensible approach, and attaching to views can be a hindrance. I find the "somethingist" ( Ietsist ) view more appealing, it sounds more sexy than just thinking of Nirvana as a different state of mind, or whatever. But to me Ietsim also feels a bit needy - like we need there to be something else ( God, Brahman, an absolute, a transcendent reality, whatever ).

    Needing the world to be any particular way is needy, which includes physicalism. Not needing it to be any particular way is not needy. I think it's more about the attitude towards the view than the view itself.

    It seems that religious belief often involves adding an element of "supernatural" to the natural world - God, Brahman, "ultimate reality", etc. I've talked to a lot of religious/spiritual types about their beliefs over the years, and gained the impression that many of them were seeking comfort rather than truth - or at least both comfort and truth. I mean the comfort of believing in something bigger, even when there isn't much evidence for it. Clutching at metaphysical straws IMO. The truth can be very uncomfortable of course.

    TravellerSocair
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran
    edited February 15

    @DairyLama said:

    @person said:

    @DairyLama said:

    @person said:
    I suppose I'm kind of a somethingist. I tend to place some sort of metaphysical quality on Nirvana. But I'm also of the opinion that whether Nirvana is metaphysical or psychological you get there the same way. Your beliefs about what it is, I don't think, have any bearing on attaining it. I think it's all about letting go of views and taints. So I guess a metaphysical view says the psychological experience of freedom is the door and the psychological view says the experience, the door, is it. Either way all any of us have to do is step into the door.

    I think that's a sensible approach, and attaching to views can be a hindrance. I find the "somethingist" ( Ietsist ) view more appealing, it sounds more sexy than just thinking of Nirvana as a different state of mind, or whatever. But to me Ietsim also feels a bit needy - like we need there to be something else ( God, Brahman, an absolute, a transcendent reality, whatever ).

    Needing the world to be any particular way is needy, which includes physicalism. Not needing it to be any particular way is not needy. I think it's more about the attitude towards the view than the view itself.

    It seems that religious belief often involves adding an element of "supernatural" to the natural world - God, Brahman, "ultimate reality", etc. I've talked to a lot of religious/spiritual types about their beliefs over the years, and gained the impression that many of them were seeking comfort rather than truth - or at least both comfort and truth. I mean the comfort of believing in something bigger, even when there isn't much evidence for it.

    As in my previous post I think there is more than one attitude towards the unknown, just having a bias towards one metaphysical view or another doesn't necessarily make someone a fearful and irrational. I imagine someone who has led an unethical life would be comforted with a view of physicalism since once they died none of their actions or unhappiness would remain.

    Clutching at metaphysical straws IMO.

    Having said that, I think you did manage to pin me down pretty well. I'm definitely a clutcher, mostly because I'm afraid and need the comfort.

    The truth can be very uncomfortable of course.

    It can, what is the uncomfortable truth here that we're so certain of?

    DavidSnakeskin
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    I don't think the truth is that scary considering nobody can really say what it is without claiming exclusivity of truth.

    The fear comes from not knowing but not knowing is also very freeing if we can admit it.

    personSnakeskin
  • 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

    Stupidity is knowing The Truth but adhering to the lies, because everyone else does.

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @person said:
    I suppose I'm kind of a somethingist. I tend to place some sort of metaphysical quality on Nirvana.

    I kind of tend towards the same explanation but it has some pretty scary implications. The other view I like is the one that it’s an expression of what is in your head.

    @Snakeskin said:
    Somethingist… haha.

    Time. The thing/no-thingness of Nibbana might be compared to that. Time.

    It reminds me of what’s on Osho’s tombstone, “Never born. Never died. Only visited this earth between...”

    Snakeskin
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited February 15

    @person said:

    As in my previous post I think there is more than one attitude towards the unknown, just having a bias towards one metaphysical view or another doesn't necessarily make someone a fearful and irrational. I imagine someone who has led an unethical life would be comforted with a view of physicalism since once they died none of their actions or unhappiness would remain.

    Yeah, I would echo that sentiment. Believing in "nothing" seem just as much as a comfort as believing in God depending on the person.

    I feel pretty much anything makes more sense than nothing. YMMV

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

    @David said:

    @person said:

    As in my previous post I think there is more than one attitude towards the unknown, just having a bias towards one metaphysical view or another doesn't necessarily make someone a fearful and irrational. I imagine someone who has led an unethical life would be comforted with a view of physicalism since once they died none of their actions or unhappiness would remain.

    Yeah, I would echo that sentiment. Believing in "nothing" seem just as much as a comfort as believing in God depending on the person.

    I feel pretty much anything makes more sense than nothing. YMMV

    Well, I didn't say nothing, I said physicalism. You can be a physicalist and still believe in cause and effect, compassion, wisdom, etc.

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

    @DairyLama said:
    It seems that religious belief often involves adding an element of "supernatural" to the natural world - God, Brahman, "ultimate reality", etc. I've talked to a lot of religious/spiritual types about their beliefs over the years, and gained the impression that many of them were seeking comfort rather than truth - or at least both comfort and truth. I mean the comfort of believing in something bigger, even when there isn't much evidence for it. Clutching at metaphysical straws IMO. The truth can be very uncomfortable of course.

    @person said:
    Having said that, I think you did manage to pin me down pretty well. I'm definitely a clutcher, mostly because I'm afraid and need the comfort.

    Apologies for the snark. I object because I think in your comment you bundle my views up with every other religious view, stamp it with the word clutching, and then in a round about way call it cowardly.

    Snakeskin
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited February 15

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @person said:

    As in my previous post I think there is more than one attitude towards the unknown, just having a bias towards one metaphysical view or another doesn't necessarily make someone a fearful and irrational. I imagine someone who has led an unethical life would be comforted with a view of physicalism since once they died none of their actions or unhappiness would remain.

    Yeah, I would echo that sentiment. Believing in "nothing" seem just as much as a comfort as believing in God depending on the person.

    I feel pretty much anything makes more sense than nothing. YMMV

    Well, I didn't say nothing, I said physicalism. You can be a physicalist and still believe in cause and effect, compassion, wisdom, etc.

    I meant nothing aside from the physical world which is physicalism, not nihilism, yes.

    Nihilism would add that nothing means anything or has any real existence.

    For example, equating emptiness with nonexistence is nihilism.

  • @DairyLama said:
    It seems that religious belief often involves adding an element of "supernatural" to the natural world - God, Brahman, "ultimate reality", etc. I've talked to a lot of religious/spiritual types about their beliefs over the years, and gained the impression that many of them were seeking comfort rather than truth - or at least both comfort and truth. I mean the comfort of believing in something bigger, even when there isn't much evidence for it. Clutching at metaphysical straws IMO. The truth can be very uncomfortable of course.

    ...

    @person said:
    As in my previous post I think there is more than one attitude towards the unknown, just having a bias towards one metaphysical view or another doesn't necessarily make someone a fearful and irrational. I imagine someone who has led an unethical life would be comforted with a view of physicalism since once they died none of their actions or unhappiness would remain.

    @David said:
    Yeah, I would echo that sentiment. Believing in "nothing" seem just as much as a comfort as believing in God depending on the person.

    I feel pretty much anything makes more sense than nothing. YMMV

    I had a secular upbringing. In meditation I frequently find comfort in annihilation. The comfort doesn’t come from quieted fears of afterlife retribution but from harmony with the strongest belief in me. We’re born. We die. After clinical death, there’s a period, I’m convinced, of consciousness, but it fades. Then poof. What was is no more and doesn’t reappear elsewhere.

    The early Buddhist text explicitly classify this as wrong view. There’s an intellectual trick to remedy that. An annihilationist view is only annihilationist because it presupposes a self. Banish that illusion and no self remains to be annihilated. But that reduces my practice to little more than the application of Buddhist meditation techniques to clearly perceive and experientially confirm what I already believe.

    I think that is still wrong view.

    “One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no contemplatives or brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view.”1

    I’ve never had to grapple with gods, souls, universal justice or metaphysical stuff until Buddhism. If I don’t grasp at metaphysical straws, then what I’m doing isn’t Buddhism. Instead, I’m just meditatively running out the clock on what I believe is a pointless existence. On the other hand, if I’m discerning that as wrong view, then “this is one’s right view” and what I’m doing is Buddhism.

    Going straight to the Four Noble Truths as right view puts me, personally, right back where I started: existence is pointless; come to terms with it; and let go. If that’s what those old text are saying, then I’m ahead of the curve. I don’t think that’s the case. I think those old text make it very explicit that that’s not what they’re saying.

    “And what is right view? Right view, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions [of becoming]; there is right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

    “And what is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are contemplatives & brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.

    “And what is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening, the path factor of right view in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

    “One makes an effort for the abandoning of wrong view & for entering into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view.”1

    personKerome
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited February 15

    I could probably find comfort in annihation also truth be told. I just don't find it makes sense to me personally except in the conventional sense.

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