asunthatneversets wrote:It gets a little more in-depth than just seeing that "things" are only dependent on constituent qualities (such as a tree is dependent on branches, leaves, space etc..). There's different "tiers" or levels of the emptiness investigation and it's application to reality. In seeing that nothing inherently exists separate from causes and conditions the study actually has to descend to the most fundamental of levels in order to have a profound effect, otherwise it merely stays on the level of conceptualization(which is all well and good, but there's "deeper" realizations to be had).
Forgive me if this is inappropriate, it feels awkward saying "Hi A Sun That Never Sets". Let me know what works best.
Thanks so much for your interesting discussion of emptiness. It reminds me of page 4 in the book I'm reading, "Essentials of Mahamudra",
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche wrote:It is important to know why we practice meditation. There are two main types of meditation: analytical meditation and placement meditation. The Madhyamaka school has given us extensive, clear explanations of how external things or phenomena are actually emptiness. In analytical meditation we meditate on these reasons and arguments; however it is very difficult to actually meditate on the emptiness of phenomena. In the tantric, or Vajrayana, tradition of Tibet, rather than meditating on the nature of external phenomena, we meditate on mind itself. The technique of mahamudra meditation is essential and unique to the Vajrayana tradition.
Your post is sort of like analytical meditation on steroids. I find this very helpful. Even sitting outdoors, looking at a tree, becoming aware of its branches, its bark, imagining its roots reaching into the ground, and going further, the rings in its trunk for every year, the wood cells, on and on and on. It relaxes me and does alter my perception of this wonderful "tree" in front of me. Is this an analytical meditation? It sure ain't shamata.
I tried to follow your exposition but, in all honesty, I get lost. You sound like someone who is quite knowledgeable on the original arguments surrounding Nagarjuna's life and legacy. From my modern naive perspective, I like Ken McLeod's definition of "mind" as the entire package of internal experience (feelings, thoughts, sense of self, aggregates) so some of your presentation, contrasting "mind" with "thought" and so on does not compute. Nevertheless, I attempt the exercise, I deconstruct my poor tree upward and downward into infinite graphs of bigger and smaller dependencies. At this point my poor tree is so empty you could spit. (Ph-tooeey.) Then I think you ask what my project itself is dependent on (this is an exercise in dependent origination) and you conclude that my project ("things depend on concepts and concepts depend on things?") depends on the tree it is deconstructing? Not really. If I were to continue this exercise, I might say my conceptual project depends on my interest in Buddhism which leads us to basic personality, disposition, genetics, random selection and things that may not have been popular in Nagarjuna's day.
So you lost me, friend!