Early Buddhism and Mahayana

General forum on Mahayana.

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Koji » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:44 pm

Astus wrote:
Koji wrote:Let's look at conceptual appearances. Upon what, specifically, do these "dependent appearances" depend?


The six senses depend on mentality-materiality, mentality-materiality depends on consciousness, consciousness depends on formations. In short, interdependence, and not dependence on an ultimate ground/base/substance as some believe.


So illusion depends upon illusion which in turn depends upon illusion, insofar as there is no underlying essence or substance. This reminds of something Stephen Hawking said who told it at the begining of his book A Brief History of Time.

At the end of the speech an elderly lady stood up and said,

"What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise."

The scientist then smugly asked,

"What is the tortoise standing on?"

"You're very clever, young man, very clever", said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down!"


It's illusion all the way down.
User avatar
Koji
 
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:26 am

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:57 pm

Astus wrote:The substantiation of mind as an independent awareness goes against the general meaning of dependent origination and postulates an ultimate self.


I don't accept that explanation. I found the source for that argument, it was from the Dalai Lama's statement on reincarnation:

For those who remember their past lives, rebirth is a clear experience. However, most ordinary beings forget their past lives as they go through the process of death, intermediate state and rebirth. As past and future rebirths are slightly obscure to them, we need to use evidence-based logic to prove past and future rebirths to them.
 




There are many different logical arguments given in the words of the Buddha and subsequent commentaries to prove the existence of past and future lives. In brief, they come down to four points: the logic that things are preceded by things of a similar type, the logic that things are preceded by a substantial cause, the logic that the mind has gained familiarity with things in the past, and the logic of having gained experience of things in the past.





Ultimately all these arguments are based on the idea that the nature of the mind, its clarity and awareness, must have clarity and awareness as its substantial cause. It cannot have any other entity such as an inanimate object as its substantial cause. This is self-evident. Through logical analysis we infer that a new stream of clarity and awareness cannot come about without causes or from unrelated causes. While we observe that mind cannot be produced in a laboratory, we also infer that nothing can eliminate the continuity of subtle clarity and awareness.

 .




Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
User avatar
Wayfarer
 
Posts: 1934
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby anjali » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:35 pm

smcj wrote:I gotta stop reading this thread. It's driving me nuts!

:rolling:
All things are unworthy of clinging to (sabbe dhammā nâla abhinivesāyā). --Shakyamuni Buddha
If there is clinging, you do not have the view. --Drakpa Gyaltsen
anjali
 
Posts: 409
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:33 pm

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby futerko » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:49 am

Koji wrote:
Astus wrote:
Koji wrote:Let's look at conceptual appearances. Upon what, specifically, do these "dependent appearances" depend?


The six senses depend on mentality-materiality, mentality-materiality depends on consciousness, consciousness depends on formations. In short, interdependence, and not dependence on an ultimate ground/base/substance as some believe.


So illusion depends upon illusion which in turn depends upon illusion, insofar as there is no underlying essence or substance.

...

It's illusion all the way down.


Well put, and also what I was trying to say. Where does dharmakaya fit into this causal chain of illusions?
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Koji » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:26 am

futerko wrote:
Well put, and also what I was trying to say. Where does dharmakaya fit into this causal chain of illusions?


We dare not go here. If you can burn this book for saying this (wink...wink...):

"This Mind includes in itself all states of being of the phenomenal world and the trancendental world. On that basis of this Mind, the meaning of the Mahâyâna may be unfolded" (Hakeda, trans., The Awakening of Faith, p. 35).


I would say that the modern interpretation of Buddhism rises or falls on its ability to keep selling us turtles.
User avatar
Koji
 
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:26 am

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby muni » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:29 am

Self-knowing/all-knowing are concepts but the meaning behind contains no I since no conceptual mind is staining. The Awaken Master guides.

The book from which I posted a part:
http://www.amazon.com/Maitreyas-Disting ... 1559392150
There is only nature and all is nature. Any discrimination is ones’ own delusion.
muni
 
Posts: 3048
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Astus » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:51 am

Koji wrote:It's illusion all the way down.


Infinite regression occurs when you posit a ground, and when asked what that ground stands on you claim there is another ground. I don't say there is a ground. The orbit of the Earth is influenced both by the Sun and other planets, not to mention its own mass and other factors. That's interdependence. Proposing a ground without cause is just a turtle flying in space (like Great A'Tuin).
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4203
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Astus » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:20 am

jeeprs wrote:
Astus wrote:I don't accept that explanation. I found the source for that argument, it was from the Dalai Lama's statement on reincarnation:


Similar causes produce similar results (samanantara-pratyaya), from a previous mental dharma a new mental dharma comes. This is a generally established factor in Buddhist teachings on causality and karma. From that it does not come that there is some ultimate substance that is maintained from moment to moment, or an independent consciousness persisting through time. It actually confirms the momentariness of mind and the concept of mind-stream.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4203
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby futerko » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:42 pm

Astus wrote:
Koji wrote:It's illusion all the way down.


Infinite regression occurs when you posit a ground, and when asked what that ground stands on you claim there is another ground. I don't say there is a ground. The orbit of the Earth is influenced both by the Sun and other planets, not to mention its own mass and other factors. That's interdependence. Proposing a ground without cause is just a turtle flying in space (like Great A'Tuin).


There seems to me to be a marked difference between claiming that the basis is empty/illusory and simply denying it altogether. What you’re calling interdependence here looks basically like a list of effects without any substantive cause, but still treating the objects as if they were substantial and actual.

There seem to be two basic ways to treat this; either as actual causes and effects, which would require some kind of exceptional causal event (such as the big bang, or and act of creation), or to see the effects themselves as symptomatic of the illusory nature of the ground of Being.

In other words, despite denying “another ground”, you still seem to be relying on a transcendent ontology.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Matt J » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:28 pm

This reminds me of a different joke:

An engineer takes his car out for a ride in the old country. His car breaks down and he goes to a farmer for help. The farmer, having never seen a car, says "Where's the horse?"

The engineer explains how the car works. He opens the engine and shows the farmer the starter, the fuel pump, and all the parts of the car.

"And that's how a car works," the engineer says.

"I understand all of that," the farmer says, "But where's the horse?"

Koji wrote:
At the end of the speech an elderly lady stood up and said,

"What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise."

The scientist then smugly asked,

"What is the tortoise standing on?"

"You're very clever, young man, very clever", said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down!"


It's illusion all the way down.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/
User avatar
Matt J
 
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Astus » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:55 pm

futerko wrote:There seems to me to be a marked difference between claiming that the basis is empty/illusory and simply denying it altogether. What you’re calling interdependence here looks basically like a list of effects without any substantive cause, but still treating the objects as if they were substantial and actual.

There seem to be two basic ways to treat this; either as actual causes and effects, which would require some kind of exceptional causal event (such as the big bang, or and act of creation), or to see the effects themselves as symptomatic of the illusory nature of the ground of Being.

In other words, despite denying “another ground”, you still seem to be relying on a transcendent ontology.


An illusory basis is that there seems to be one but there is not. And that is true for those who believe in an ultimate ground/self, for them there appears to be such a thing while in fact there is not. What I say is that there are causes and effects. There is no cause without effect, and there is no cause that was not caused by another cause. A ground would be an effect without cause.

Why the need for an exceptional causal event? Do you assume that once there was nothing?

What transcendent ontology do you mean?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4203
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby futerko » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:40 pm

Astus wrote:
futerko wrote:There seems to me to be a marked difference between claiming that the basis is empty/illusory and simply denying it altogether. What you’re calling interdependence here looks basically like a list of effects without any substantive cause, but still treating the objects as if they were substantial and actual.

There seem to be two basic ways to treat this; either as actual causes and effects, which would require some kind of exceptional causal event (such as the big bang, or and act of creation), or to see the effects themselves as symptomatic of the illusory nature of the ground of Being.

In other words, despite denying “another ground”, you still seem to be relying on a transcendent ontology.


An illusory basis is that there seems to be one but there is not. And that is true for those who believe in an ultimate ground/self, for them there appears to be such a thing while in fact there is not. What I say is that there are causes and effects. There is no cause without effect, and there is no cause that was not caused by another cause. A ground would be an effect without cause.

Why the need for an exceptional causal event? Do you assume that once there was nothing?

What transcendent ontology do you mean?


Take the example of the sun. It is a series of processes producing the effects of radiation, heat, light, gravity, fusion, neutrinos etc. but the object is never self-identical, it can never achieve 100% Being, so the idea of a truly existing object is actually imputed from its partial effects - the same goes for all objects.

Therefore there is no direct causal link between the thing called the sun and the thing called the earth, but rather there are effects of effects, interacting with other effects.

A transcendental ontology would basically view all its elements as whole with one exception (the exception which proves the rule), and as whole elements must be inert, then it is the exception which transcends the limitations of existence, and which would be required to animate all the other elements. So you are right to say that the transcendent element is a fallacy which sustains the myth of some kind of complete Being within such a schema, but the idea of causality in Buddhism suggests an alternative "failure of the universal".

The idea of a flat ontology says that there is no element which is excluded, however the completion of universal fails due to its effects only ever being partial. In regard to the sun for example, we feel the heat from the sun on our skin and see the light from the sun with our eyes, but it is only via imputation that we make the connection between eye-consciousness and body-consciousness and construct a whole self in relation to a complete object.

In reading causality as the direct interaction between objects, as if those objects were whole and fully self-identical, you are remaining within the transcendental schema. In fact, if we take seriously the idea that there are no self-identical objects, then we are only ever witnessing the effects of effect of effects, which as you say, represents a ground as an effect without a cause.
Last edited by futerko on Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Matt J » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:42 pm

Both of these ways have problems, in my mind. If you posit actual causes and effects (or no cause and effect), you run into the problems that Nagarjuna highlights. If you posit a ground of being, then you have several other issues:

1. The ground of being is independent, as I view what Koji and others have presented. But this runs into the dualism problem: if things are separate, how do they interact? And if they interact, how is it independent?

2. The ground of being is empty and not independent. In that case, in what way is it a ground of being?

futerko wrote:There seem to be two basic ways to treat this; either as actual causes and effects, which would require some kind of exceptional causal event (such as the big bang, or and act of creation), or to see the effects themselves as symptomatic of the illusory nature of the ground of Being.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/
User avatar
Matt J
 
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Koji » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:48 pm

Astus wrote:
Koji wrote:It's illusion all the way down.


Infinite regression occurs when you posit a ground, and when asked what that ground stands on you claim there is another ground. I don't say there is a ground. The orbit of the Earth is influenced both by the Sun and other planets, not to mention its own mass and other factors. That's interdependence. Proposing a ground without cause is just a turtle flying in space (like Great A'Tuin).


What we are discussing is the bad infinite: the continual transcending of a limit that constantly reestablishes the limit. In truth, the 12 ayatanas cannot be derived from themselves, that is, they cannot establish themselves. In truth, they do not exist as we imagine they exist. They lack true reality. They are fictions, in other words, but useful for discussing Buddhism. :smile:
User avatar
Koji
 
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:26 am

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby futerko » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:51 pm

Matt J wrote:2. The ground of being is empty and not independent. In that case, in what way is it a ground of being?


As partial. If it were ever complete then there would be no potentiality, no change, just stagnation.

Basically these are two ways to conceive of the failure to be able to grasp totality. One of which aims at remaining open while the other aims at closing the loop - that is really the fundamental difference.

Edit: to answer Koji - two different formulas for a "bad infinity".
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby futerko » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:03 pm

To express it differently. What I am claiming is that there is no such thing as "the conditioned", only that which is falsely imputed to be so.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby daverupa » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:32 pm

futerko wrote:To express it differently. What I am claiming is that there is no such thing as "the conditioned", only that which is falsely imputed to be so.


Bewildering, since

SN 36.8 wrote:"If a monk is thus mindful and clearly comprehending, ardent, earnest and resolute, and a pleasant feeling arises in him, he knows: 'Now a pleasant feeling has arisen in me. It is conditioned, not unconditioned. Conditioned by what? Even by this sense-impression it is conditioned. And this sense-impression, indeed, is impermanent, compounded, dependently arisen. But if this pleasant feeling that has arisen is conditioned by a sense-impression which is impermanent, compounded, and dependently arisen, how could such a pleasant feeling be permanent?'

"In regard to both sense-impression and the pleasant feeling, he dwells contemplating impermanence, dwells contemplating evanescence, dwells contemplating detachment, dwells contemplating cessation, dwells contemplating relinquishment. And in him who thus dwells, the underlying tendency to lust in regard to sense-impressions and pleasant feeling vanishes.


Unless you mean that there is no THING which is called "THE conditioned", but surely you must agree that conditionality obtains.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 314
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:52 am

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby futerko » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:36 pm

daverupa wrote:
futerko wrote:To express it differently. What I am claiming is that there is no such thing as "the conditioned", only that which is falsely imputed to be so.


Bewildering, since

SN 36.8 wrote:"If a monk is thus mindful and clearly comprehending, ardent, earnest and resolute, and a pleasant feeling arises in him, he knows: 'Now a pleasant feeling has arisen in me. It is conditioned, not unconditioned. Conditioned by what? Even by this sense-impression it is conditioned. And this sense-impression, indeed, is impermanent, compounded, dependently arisen. But if this pleasant feeling that has arisen is conditioned by a sense-impression which is impermanent, compounded, and dependently arisen, how could such a pleasant feeling be permanent?'

"In regard to both sense-impression and the pleasant feeling, he dwells contemplating impermanence, dwells contemplating evanescence, dwells contemplating detachment, dwells contemplating cessation, dwells contemplating relinquishment. And in him who thus dwells, the underlying tendency to lust in regard to sense-impressions and pleasant feeling vanishes.


Unless you mean that there is no THING which is called "THE conditioned", but surely you must agree that conditionality obtains.


Isn't the issue here also about the designation of a discrete existent? Notice the use of the noun, "a pleasant feeling" to describe a dynamic process.
Is the property of being "conditioned" an inherent characteristic of the dynamic flow of information in which nothing permanent may be found, or is it produced by ignorance, defined as the misattribution of permanence to that which is impermanent?

There seem to be two possible implications for this passage.
The first would be to remove oneself from all sensory impressions and place oneself in a state of sensory deprivation in order to remove all temporary stimuli and seek after a transcendent permanence in total and utter isolation.
The second would be to avoid wrestling with the flow of sensory information and allow it to continue without paying it too much heed.
Indeed, one may find both approaches within various practices.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby daverupa » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:00 am

futerko wrote:Isn't the issue here also about the designation of a discrete existent?


To be honest with you, I thought it was about zeroing in on an understanding of which Mahayana texts are in alignment with such Nikaya texts as these, and which are not. I may have misunderstood the OP, however.

I am reminded of a quote by Kierkegaard:

In general, all that is needed to make the question simple and easy is the exercise of a certain dietetic circumspection, the renunciation of every learned interpolation or subordinate consideration, which in a trice might degenerate into a century-long parenthesis.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 314
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:52 am

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby futerko » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:18 am

daverupa wrote:
futerko wrote:Isn't the issue here also about the designation of a discrete existent?


To be honest with you, I thought it was about zeroing in on an understanding of which Mahayana texts are in alignment with such Nikaya texts as these, and which are not. I may have misunderstood the OP, however.

I am reminded of a quote by Kierkegaard:

In general, all that is needed to make the question simple and easy is the exercise of a certain dietetic circumspection, the renunciation of every learned interpolation or subordinate consideration, which in a trice might degenerate into a century-long parenthesis.


Well, the idea of authenticity does seem central to such considerations, and it would be a shame to see Buddhism take the path of many other institutions by prioritizing the dead letter over a living tradition. Surely any question of interpretation (of understanding and alignment) is predicated on our current understanding?
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

PreviousNext

Return to Mahāyāna Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 12 guests

>