Perspective

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Re: Perspective

Postby Adamantine » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:09 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:I just had a flashback to the Bergman movie "Fanny and Alexander", which portrays two households: one which embraces life and love in all its joy and sorrow, and the other, the Bishop's household, that exemplifies self- and other-loathing, coldness, "seriousness", and violence, all under the banner of "piety" and religion.
I'm sure that the film makes valid points when aimed at a Christian Bishop. Conflating traditions is the mistake of your proposed image in the OP.


and having a rosy picture of asian religious institutions is an orientalist fantasy.


Certainly there are issues with any institutions made up mostly of samsaric human beings who are still befuddled by dualistic appearances. This goes for ones composed of humans who may label themselves as Buddhists and wear robes, and those composed of any other identifying groups.

But to critique one on the basis of a critique of the other is an over-generalized simplification. And you have not been critiquing the institutions associated with Buddhadharma so far on this thread but have been attempting a critique of crucial insights of the Tathagata himself.
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Re: Perspective

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:19 pm

བདེ་བ་ཡེ་གྲོལ་ཆོས་ཉིད་ཕྱམ་དུ་གྲོལ།
སྡུག་བསྔལ་ཡེ་གྲོལ་གཞི་མཉམ་ཡངས་པར་གྲོལ།

happiness perfectly liberated, in the vault of dharmata liberated.
suffering perfectly liberated, expansive evenness of the Ground liberated.

Longchenpa - chos dbyings mdzod chapter 12
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
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Re: Perspective

Postby Adamantine » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:43 pm

If you want to talk in Longchenpa quotes, here's one for you:

A LACK OF MINDFULNESS

There are six circumstances in which you are not mindful of the nature of the path to liberation:

If you are distracted by sense objects, you are not mindful of devotion.

If you chase after things like a starving beggar after food, you are not mindful of the Three Jewels.

If you are of ignoble character and impulsive, you are not mindful of your samaya.

If you shut your eyes and close your heart, you are not mindful of suffering.

If you crave possessions and seek gain, you are not mindful of what is positive.

If you harbor anger and malice, you are not mindful of your altruistic motivation.

If you get caught up in meaningless concerns, you are not mindful of lower realms of rebirth.

It is because of these six failings that you have wandered for so long.

~from The Precious Treasury of Pith Instructions, as translated by Richard Barron

I realize the list is of 7 failings, I wonder if that's Longchenpa testing our mindfulness. :tongue:
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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Perspective

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:46 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:བདེ་བ་ཡེ་གྲོལ་ཆོས་ཉིད་ཕྱམ་དུ་གྲོལ།
སྡུག་བསྔལ་ཡེ་གྲོལ་གཞི་མཉམ་ཡངས་པར་གྲོལ།

happiness perfectly liberated, in the vault of dharmata liberated.
suffering perfectly liberated, expansive evenness of the Ground liberated.

Longchenpa - chos dbyings mdzod chapter 12


No, it is as follows:

Bliss, having always been liberated,* is liberated as ubiquitous dharmatā.
Suffering, having always been liberated, is liberated as the vast uniform basis.

*"Ye grol" is a a contraction of "ye nas grol" and shows a past tense construction, i.e. "having always been"

These are nice sentiments, but in truth they don't express anything different than standard Mahāyāna. The first line shows the result, the second, the cause.
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Re: Perspective

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:05 pm

Malcolm wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:བདེ་བ་ཡེ་གྲོལ་ཆོས་ཉིད་ཕྱམ་དུ་གྲོལ།
སྡུག་བསྔལ་ཡེ་གྲོལ་གཞི་མཉམ་ཡངས་པར་གྲོལ།

happiness perfectly liberated, in the vault of dharmata liberated.
suffering perfectly liberated, expansive evenness of the Ground liberated.

Longchenpa - chos dbyings mdzod chapter 12


No, it is as follows:

Bliss, having always been liberated,* is liberated as ubiquitous dharmatā.
Suffering, having always been liberated, is liberated as the vast uniform basis.

*"Ye grol" is a a contraction of "ye nas grol" and shows a past tense construction, i.e. "having always been"



I know that, but "ye" can also by extension mean "perfectly", since that which has always been liberated is perfectly liberated, and I felt it makes more sense to leave time out of it, since at that level there is no time. Anyway, its poetry theres always more than one way to translate it. I also like "vault" for "phyam" since it plays on the image of roof supports. I see no difference between my "expansive evenness of the Ground" and your "vast uniform basis".

These are nice sentiments, but in truth they don't express anything different than standard Mahāyāna.


If Mahayana is based on the Prajnaparamita Sutras, then I wouldn't expect otherwise, since they express pure Dzogchen view.

The first line shows the result, the second, the cause.


that is clearly not the case. the whole passage lists many phenomena that are "ye grol" and there is clearly no cause and effect implied between them.
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Re: Perspective

Postby monktastic » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:07 pm

Adamantine wrote:Sure, but the varying Hindu versions of union with God are not the same as Buddha's awakening, regardless of their claim that Shakyamuni was an avatar of Vishnu.


Yes, the Hindus claim that the realizations are (experientially) the same, and the Buddhists claim they're not. Which one is right is a favorite topic of debate around these parts, but I'm not getting into it here. I was responding to gad rgyangs' statement that all religions claim to have unique access to the truth. Having been raised with vedanta myself, I can tell you that I basically never heard that from any teacher or student I met; instead, they suggested quite the opposite.
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One will understand it in due course.

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Re: Perspective

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:16 pm

monktastic wrote:I was responding to gad rgyangs' statement that all religions claim to have unique access to the truth. Having been raised with vedanta myself, I can tell you that I basically never heard that from any teacher or student I met; instead, they suggested quite the opposite.


:thumbsup:
glad to hear it!
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Re: Perspective

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:20 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:I know that, but "ye" can also by extension mean "perfectly", since that which has always been liberated is perfectly liberated, and I felt it makes more sense to leave time out of it, since at that level there is no time.


In fact the verse is showing a contrast, that is why "bliss, having always been liberated," etc.

Anyway, its poetry theres always more than one way to translate it.


It's didactic verse, it is not poetry in any sense whatsoever.

I also like "vault" for "phyam" since it plays on the image of roof supports. I see no difference between my "expansive evenness of the Ground" and your "vast uniform basis".


The term gzhi translates "sthana", which bears no meaning of "ground" at all. Phyam here just mean ubiquitous, in my opinion.

that is clearly not the case. the whole passage lists many phenomena that are "ye grol" and there is clearly no cause and effect implied between them.


When bliss and suffering are contrasted, there is a link. Anyway, you are free to disagree, but when I read those lines I have a very different take on them that do you.

I guess my point is "So what?" My rejoinder to that is "What is the use of primordial Buddhahood if even your coarse obscurations have not been reduced." Some people seem to think that obscurations are not a problem once you become a Dzogchen practitioner. The more realistic Dzogchen perspective is found in The String of Pearls

As such, the three realms are
the five aggregates, the five sense organs,
the five limbs, the five functional organs,
the five objects, the five afflictions,
the five thoughts, the five minds, the five concepts,
the apprehended objects and apprehending subjects established as samsara [… ]
Caught in the aggregates, sense gates and the sense elements,
the apprehended object and apprehending subject,
samara itself persists for a long while.
One is placed in the dungeon of name and matter
in the castle of the three realms,
tortured with the barbs of ignorance and so on,
oppressed by the thick darkness of samsara,
attached to the salty taste of desire,
bound by the neck with the noose of confusion,
burned with the hot fire of hatred,
head covered with pride,
setting a rendezvous with the mistress of jealousy,
surrounded by the army of enmity...
tied by the neck with the noose of subject and object, [29b]
stuck in the mud of successive traces
and handcuffed with the ripening of karma.
Having been joined with the ripening of karma,
one takes bodies good and bad,
one after another like a water wheel,
born into each individual class.
Having crossed at the ford of self-grasping,
one sinks into the ocean of suffering
and one is caught by the heart on the hook of the three lowers realms.
One is bound by oneself; the afflictions are the enemy.
The body of a hell being appears as fire or water.
Pretas are frightened and intimidated.
There is a fog-like appearance for animals.
The aggregates, sense gates and sense elements
of humans appear as the five elements,
and also happiness, suffering and indifference.
They appear as armor and weapons to asuras
and desirable qualities for devas.
Such dualistic appearances,
for example, are like a quickly moving wheel
spinning continuously for a long while.
As such, diverse appearances
are like seeing a snake from a rope;
that [rope] is not [a snake] but is apprehended as a [snake];
forming as both the outer universe and inhabitants.
If that is investigated, it is a rope.
The universe and inhabitants have always been empty,
the ultimate endowed with the form of the relative.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Perspective

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:49 pm

Malcolm wrote:The term gzhi translates "sthana", which bears no meaning of "ground" at all.


first of all, its not a translation from Sanskrit, its written in Tibetan.

second of all, the tshig mdzod chen mo gives, as the definition of "gzhi," first:

ས་ཆ་དང་གནས་ཡུལ། (ground)

and second:

རྩ་བ (root or basis)

which is why it is translated as either in various Dzogchen translations.
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Re: Perspective

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:58 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The term gzhi translates "sthana", which bears no meaning of "ground" at all.


first of all, its not a translation from Sanskrit, its written in Tibetan.

second of all, the tshig mdzod chen mo gives, as the definition of "gzhi," first:

ས་ཆ་དང་གནས་ཡུལ། (ground)

and second:

རྩ་བ (root or basis)

which is why it is translated as either in various Dzogchen translations.


I'll take your Alak Kankar and raise you a Khyentse. Khyentse Wangpo clearly defines gzhi as sthana.

gzhi does not mean ས་ཆ་དང་གནས་ཡུལ in a Dzogchen context.

All Tibetan Vajrayāna traditions, apart from Bon, assume an Indian source for their terminology.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Perspective

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:40 pm

Malcolm wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The term gzhi translates "sthana", which bears no meaning of "ground" at all.


first of all, its not a translation from Sanskrit, its written in Tibetan.

second of all, the tshig mdzod chen mo gives, as the definition of "gzhi," first:

ས་ཆ་དང་གནས་ཡུལ། (ground)

and second:

རྩ་བ (root or basis)

which is why it is translated as either in various Dzogchen translations.


I'll take your Alak Kankar and raise you a Khyentse. Khyentse Wangpo clearly defines gzhi as sthana.

gzhi does not mean ས་ཆ་དང་གནས་ཡུལ in a Dzogchen context.

All Tibetan Vajrayāna traditions, apart from Bon, assume an Indian source for their terminology.


"The Base, or Zhi in Tibetan, is the term used to denote the fundamental ground of existence, both at the universal level and at the level of the individual"
-ChNNR, "The Crystal and the Way of Light" pg 89

and besides, one of the meaning of sthāna is simply "place"
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Re: Perspective

Postby Malcolm » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:03 am

gad rgyangs wrote:
"The Base, or Zhi in Tibetan, is the term used to denote the fundamental ground of existence, both at the universal level and at the level of the individual"
-ChNNR, "The Crystal and the Way of Light" pg 89

and besides, one of the meaning of sthāna is simply "place"


But it does not mean "ground".

You do realize that whole book was based on an edited transcript of a translation from Italian into English influenced by John Reynolds who was very active in the community then, correct? As you know quite well, these days, when referring the gzhi, ChNN uses the term "base" or "primordial state".

Personally, I don't care. But as far as I am concerned translating gzhi as ground is less accurate. That is my professional opinion.
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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Perspective

Postby gad rgyangs » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:31 am

Malcolm wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
"The Base, or Zhi in Tibetan, is the term used to denote the fundamental ground of existence, both at the universal level and at the level of the individual"
-ChNNR, "The Crystal and the Way of Light" pg 89

and besides, one of the meaning of sthāna is simply "place"


But it does not mean "ground".

You do realize that whole book was based on an edited transcript of a translation from Italian into English influenced by John Reynolds who was very active in the community then, correct? As you know quite well, these days, when referring the gzhi, ChNN uses the term "base" or "primordial state".

Personally, I don't care. But as far as I am concerned translating gzhi as ground is less accurate. That is my professional opinion.


fair enough, point taken.
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Re: Perspective

Postby Malcolm » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:06 am

gad rgyangs wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
"The Base, or Zhi in Tibetan, is the term used to denote the fundamental ground of existence, both at the universal level and at the level of the individual"
-ChNNR, "The Crystal and the Way of Light" pg 89

and besides, one of the meaning of sthāna is simply "place"


But it does not mean "ground".

You do realize that whole book was based on an edited transcript of a translation from Italian into English influenced by John Reynolds who was very active in the community then, correct? As you know quite well, these days, when referring the gzhi, ChNN uses the term "base" or "primordial state".

Personally, I don't care. But as far as I am concerned translating gzhi as ground is less accurate. That is my professional opinion.


fair enough, point taken.



BTW, are you going to HHST Kalacakra in April? If so, maybe I will see you there.
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Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Perspective

Postby gad rgyangs » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:21 am

Malcolm wrote:BTW, are you going to HHST Kalacakra in April? If so, maybe I will see you there.


gonna be in the Japans then, poking around in Kyoto.
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Re: Perspective

Postby Adamantine » Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:15 am

monktastic wrote:
Adamantine wrote:Sure, but the varying Hindu versions of union with God are not the same as Buddha's awakening, regardless of their claim that Shakyamuni was an avatar of Vishnu.


Yes, the Hindus claim that the realizations are (experientially) the same, and the Buddhists claim they're not. Which one is right is a favorite topic of debate around these parts, but I'm not getting into it here. I was responding to gad rgyangs' statement that all religions claim to have unique access to the truth. Having been raised with vedanta myself, I can tell you that I basically never heard that from any teacher or student I met; instead, they suggested quite the opposite.


Well, the widely held account of Shakyamuni being an "avatar of Vishnu" is an example of how competition through assimilation takes place. For instance, a calculating capitalist making a personal fortune off of selling Che Guevara Tshirts that are manufactured in South American sweatshops. If the widely held account was indeed taken seriously than you'd expect all Vaishnavites to have completely and utterly abolished the caste system, and followed the Buddha's system. But the conditional is that most accounts in the various Puranas of the Buddha establish him there merely to define him as having incarnated in order to delude either demons or mankind away from the Vedic dharma. For example one account holds that he was merely there to delude the demons by pacifying them through his extreme stance of non-violence, or similarly to confuse them in other ways, in order to stealthily aid the Devas of whom they were sworn enemies.

According to the Indologist Wendy Doniger, the Buddha avatar which occurs in different versions in various Puranas represents an attempt by orthodox Brahminism to slander the Buddhists by identifying them with the demons. And similarly the scholar Helmuth von Glasenapp attributed these developments to a Hindu desire to absorb Buddhism in a peaceful manner, both to win Buddhists to Vaishnavism and also to account for the fact that such a significant heresy could exist in India.

And while I also was raised in a somewhat eclectic Hindu context, the only conflating of Hinduism with Buddhism was done largely out of a total lack of experience with what actually constituted Buddhdharma. So I consider your experience of hearing the realizations amounted to as being equivalent as yet another form of competition through assimilation: Oh, well their realization is not different from ours, no need to explore that path. . . we have everything you need right here!

However, you can of course believe whatever you like. I know modern Vedanta scholars that debate with Buddhist scholars, so I don't quite see how they could truly be considered equivalent by either party.
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Re: Perspective

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:28 am

I have a personal strake in this because of the fact I'm a Buddhist convert from a Christian cultural background. Actually the years I have devoted to Buddhist meditation have made me much more sensitive to many facets of the Christian heritage I left. I don't intend to return to it but I have great affinity with many of the Christian mystics and some Christian philosophers and am reading a current theological book (sounds like an oxymoron to most people) which I am ejoying a lot.

But none of this makes me question my basic commitment to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Actually I don't see any conflict. I think you have to make a decision and stick with it. Besides if you actualize the Bodhisattva path to any degree, then you will also keep the Christian commandments of 'universal compassion' (they don't use that terminology, but it is what it amounts to.)

So I do see the religions as having their own unique perspectives and approaches, but I happen to think that overall the Buddhist is the best of all, even if I don't think it is 'the only path'. (It's a curious fact that I am the only Buddhist in my extended family, and that the topic hardly ever comes up.)
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Re: Perspective

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:39 am

Malcolm wrote:I guess my point is "So what?" My rejoinder to that is "What is the use of primordial Buddhahood if even your coarse obscurations have not been reduced." Some people seem to think that obscurations are not a problem once you become a Dzogchen practitioner...

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