Inherent deja vu all over again

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cloudburst
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby cloudburst » Wed Dec 14, 2016 7:57 pm

conebeckham wrote:When you "find the nonfinding," as a result of analysis, you rest in that nonfinding, Tsongkhapafan. Rather than taking a concept or "image" as an object, the result of our analysis is a state of mind or an "awareness" not dependent an an object.


Howdy Cone.

I think the difficulty in this discussion is that I suspect there is equivocation going on. We say 'you need to rely on conceptual object', you all say 'you dont!'

my point is that resting in the nonfinding is exactly what we do, but that resting is not a direct realization of the ultimate, If it were, you would be on the path of seeing. There's no getting around the fact that if you are on the 'Highest Dharma' stage of the path of application or below, you are meditating on the ultimate indirectly.

We call that object a 'generic image. It is a conceptual insight. If it were not, you would be an arya.
IF you are meditating on the ultimate AND you are not an arya, there is conceptuality.

I sometimes fear that when you all hear us saying 'meditate conceptually,' you understand us to be talking about 'thinking.' Generic image may sound like we are picturing emptiness or somesuch.

What we are actually doing is resting in non-finding.

conebeckham wrote:When neither entities nor nonentities are present before the mind,
since at that time there is no other aspect, it is without an object, totally peaceful.



This is an aryas meditation, is it not? If you are meditating without an object, totally peaceful... you are not on the path of accumulation meditating on emptiness... you are not on the path of application meditating on emptiness...... so either you are an arya, or you are meditating incorrectly.

I would say it would certainly experientially feel for a sincere practitioner meditating on emptiness that they were 'without an object, totally peaceful,' but in fact there would still be subtle conceptuality functioning.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby Bakmoon » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:06 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:The path to a non-conceptual realisation of emptiness is the path of conceptuality; there's no other path other than to abandon conceptual minds and this is not a spiritual path.

This is correct. All Madhyamakas agree on this, but the question is how does one jump from conceptuality to non-conceptuality. Outside of Gelug, it is understood that rational analysis itself is the way to do this rather than the use of a conceptual image, and once analysis has been successfully done, one is prepared to rest in that state non-conceptually.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby conebeckham » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:11 pm

Karma_Yeshe wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:Most definitely.

The path to realising emptiness directly is clearly explained - first we need to attain tranquil abiding through training in the nine levels of concentration called the nine mental abidings. Then we meditate on a generic image of emptiness until we develop a special suppleness induced by wisdom called superior seeing. At this point we become a Yogi and we then meditate on a generic image of emptiness with a concentration that is the union of tranquil abiding and superior seeing. Gradually, the generic image of emptiness fades as our meditation functions to eradicate all dualistic appearance. Finally, the generic image of emptiness disappears completely and we are left with a direct non-conceptual realisation of emptiness. This is how to attain the Path of Seeing.


To me this sounds like a valid approach to realise emptiness.

Of course there are arguments against such a step-by-step approach as there are other approaches, but I really don't see why we should continue this debate, which is already hundreds of years old, with such force. I am quite sure that neither Tsongkhapafan nor Malcom nor Cone will change their respective views after this discussion. And the arguments of both sides have also been repeated over and over on this site again and again. :coffee:


The "Non-Geluk" approach via Madhyamaka is also a step-by-step approach, using the various analytical methods and "proofs" or techniques. The "Non-Geluk" approach also works with conceptual consciousness.

Tsongkhapafan has made some assertions, as have I, and also as has Malcolm. My focus now concerns this "generic image" and Tsongkhapa's assertion that it is mandatory for realizing emptiness. In his presentation, one uses the conjoined tranquil abiding/superior seeing mind and places it on the generic image, and, based on this presentation, that image gradually fades as dualistic appearances are eradicated. If I am understanding this correctly, then.....the point is to meditate, in a state of peaceful insight (conjoined Shinay/Lhatong) until the concept fades. I am merely suggesting that it is possible to meditate, in a state of peaceful insight, without the need for a constructed generic image. This is not equivalent to a "stopping of mind" or "blocking concepts,"etc. There is a method of "Vipassana without Object."
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."

May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby cloudburst » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:13 pm

Malcolm wrote:One cannot abandon concepts through conceptuality. It simply isn't possible.


One doesn't abandon concepts through conceptuality, one abandons them through analysis.


Malcolm wrote:Buddha says nowhere that one should meditate on a conceptual view of emptiness.


King of Concentrations sutra

If you analytically discriminate the lack of self in phenomena
and if you cultivate that precise analysis in meditation,
This will cause you to reach the goal, the attainment of Nirvana.
There is no peace through any other means.


It is not to be taken seriously that one should analyse in the depth that is recommended by in the extensive treatises of Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti etc, meditate concptually on the paths of acccumulation and application, and then drop the object of meditation in order to enter the path of seeing. If that were the path, one should simply still the concepts in mind right at the beginning, like we do in a yoga class I sometimes go to.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby Vasana » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:42 pm

Bakmoon wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:The path to a non-conceptual realisation of emptiness is the path of conceptuality; there's no other path other than to abandon conceptual minds and this is not a spiritual path.

This is correct. All Madhyamakas agree on this, but the question is how does one jump from conceptuality to non-conceptuality. Outside of Gelug, it is understood that rational analysis itself is the way to do this rather than the use of a conceptual image, and once analysis has been successfully done, one is prepared to rest in that state non-conceptually.


Candrakırti’s Entrance into Centrism says:

Ordinary beings are bound by conceptions.
Nonconceptual yogins will find release.
Hence, the learned state that the result of analysis
Is that conceptions are at peace.


Tsongkhapafan, this 'generic image' you speak of is still a dualistic reference point that needs to be abandoned. If physical entities are empty, what need is there to mention that the thoughts aprehending emptiness are also empty since they are also fabricated entites. If the 'generic image' is used as a temporary stepping stone for abandoning the reification of phenomena as having self-nature, i don't see the problem, but if it is as you have said, that the path culminates in the union of tranquility and supreme insight / shine & lhagtong , then any conventional reference point at this point is an obscuration of the direct-cognition that results from this union. How can there remain any concpetual reference point of a 'generic image' in a state that is by definition, the non-conceptual union of emptiness and clarity,free of aprehender, aprehended and any notions of 'this is' and 'this is not'?

Here are some quotes lifted from Center of the Sunlit Sky: Madhyamaka in the Kagyu Tradition by Karl Brunnholzl. Some of the quotes are directly from the Buddha and Nagarjuna and seem to contradict the insistence on clinging to any 'generic image' of emptiness.

---

The Sutra Requested by Ocean of Intelligent Insight states:

Do not mentally engage in phenomena.
Completely abandon doing anything further.
Realize all phenomena As equality in true reality.
What is taught is the application of mindfulness
Without mindfulness or something to be mentally engaged.


The Prajñaparamita Sutra in Eight Thousand Lines :
This meditation on the perfection of knowledge means not meditating on any phenomenon.


The Sutra Requested by Kaysapa says:
Kaysapa, as emptiness means to emerge from all views,
I declare that those who have views about this very emptiness are incurable.


Nagarjuna’s Sixty Stanzas on Reasoning states:
Those whose minds are not moved,
Not even by a flicker of a thought about “complete voidness,”
Have crossed the horrifying ocean of existence
That is agitated by the snakes of the afflictions.


His Commentary on the Mind of Enlightenment says:

"So-called entities are conceptions.
Lack of conceptions is emptiness.
Wherever conceptions appear, How could there be emptiness?
The emptiness that is called
“nonarising,” “Emptiness,” and “identitylessness”
Is what inferior beings meditate on.
It is not the meditation on the [actual emptiness].
What has the characteristic of the stream
Of positive and negative thoughts being cut off
The Buddhas taught to be emptiness.
The other [emptinesses] they did not declare to be emptiness."
Last edited by Vasana on Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:43 pm

cloudburst wrote:What we are actually doing is resting in non-finding.


Two thumbs up! :twothumbsup:

It's not a nihilistic meditation - you're looking for what appears to be there (inherently existent body, self, etc.) but through thorough analysis, you don't find it. This non-finding is emptiness, equivalent to the non-existence of the inherently existent body, self, etc. that we normally see. We then rest in that non-finding, which is wisdom.

Through resting, the conception of inherent existence reduces and the wisdom realising ultimate truth increases. Eventually, through concentration, wisdom and familiarity, emptiness will be seen directly (non-conceptually) and you will become an Arya.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:50 pm

Vasana wrote:
Bakmoon wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:The path to a non-conceptual realisation of emptiness is the path of conceptuality; there's no other path other than to abandon conceptual minds and this is not a spiritual path.

This is correct. All Madhyamakas agree on this, but the question is how does one jump from conceptuality to non-conceptuality. Outside of Gelug, it is understood that rational analysis itself is the way to do this rather than the use of a conceptual image, and once analysis has been successfully done, one is prepared to rest in that state non-conceptually.


Candrakırti’s Entrance into Centrism says:

Ordinary beings are bound by conceptions.
Nonconceptual yogins will find release.
Hence, the learned state that the result of analysis
Is that conceptions are at peace.


Tsongkhapafan, this 'generic image' you speak of is still a dualistic reference point that needs to be abandoned. If physical entities are empty, what need is there to mention that the thoughts aprehending emptiness are also empty since they are also fabricated entites. If the 'generic image' is used as a temporary stepping stone for abandoning the reification of phenomena as having self-nature, i don't see the problem, but if it is as you have said, that the path culminates in the union of tranquility and supreme insight / shine-lhagtong , then any conventional reference point at this point is an obscuration of the direct-cognition that results from this union.

<snip>



Hi Vasana, I agree. The generic image of emptiness is an object of abandonment. Why do we need it in the first place? Because according to the Gelugpa system it isn't possible to attain a direct realisation of emptiness without meditating on it. It is just a stepping stone that gradually abandons obscurations to gaining a direct realisation. Any conceptual realisation of emptiness doesn't have the power to abandon even intellectually formed delusions, let alone innate delusions. The aim is to reach the Path of Seeing and to progress to the Path of No More Learning by deepening our experience of a direct perceiver of emptiness. In this way, we traverse the ten bodhisattva grounds.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby Vasana » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:56 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
cloudburst wrote:What we are actually doing is resting in non-finding.


Two thumbs up! :twothumbsup:

It's not a nihilistic meditation - you're looking for what appears to be there (inherently existent body, self, etc.) but through thorough analysis, you don't find it. This non-finding is emptiness, equivalent to the non-existence of the inherently existent body, self, etc. that we normally see. We then rest in that non-finding, which is wisdom.

Through resting, the conception of inherent existence reduces and the wisdom realising ultimate truth increases. Eventually, through concentration, wisdom and familiarity, emptiness will be seen directly (non-conceptually) and you will become an Arya.



The trouble is that the mind then makes an object out of that very non-finding and so subtley reinforces attachment to an aprehending subject. Even the abscence of a reference point can quickly become a reference point.

'The Sutra of the Arrival in Lanka:

By relying on mere mind, One does not imagine outer objects.
By resting in the observed object of suchness,
One should go beyond mere mind too.
Going beyond mere mind,
One must even go beyond the nonappearance
[of apprehender and apprehended
].
The yogic practitioner who rests in nonappearance
Sees the great vehicle.
This spontaneously present, peaceful resting Is completely purified through aspiration prayers.
Genuine identityless wisdom
Sees by way of nonappearance."
Last edited by Vasana on Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby BuddhaFollower » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:10 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:Because according to the Gelugpa system it isn't possible to attain a direct realisation of emptiness without meditating on it.


Meditation is sutrayana.

Gelugs have tantric teachings, aka tummo.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby Vasana » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:14 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Vasana wrote:
Bakmoon wrote:This is correct. All Madhyamakas agree on this, but the question is how does one jump from conceptuality to non-conceptuality. Outside of Gelug, it is understood that rational analysis itself is the way to do this rather than the use of a conceptual image, and once analysis has been successfully done, one is prepared to rest in that state non-conceptually.


Candrakırti’s Entrance into Centrism says:

Ordinary beings are bound by conceptions.
Nonconceptual yogins will find release.
Hence, the learned state that the result of analysis
Is that conceptions are at peace.


Tsongkhapafan, this 'generic image' you speak of is still a dualistic reference point that needs to be abandoned. If physical entities are empty, what need is there to mention that the thoughts aprehending emptiness are also empty since they are also fabricated entites. If the 'generic image' is used as a temporary stepping stone for abandoning the reification of phenomena as having self-nature, i don't see the problem, but if it is as you have said, that the path culminates in the union of tranquility and supreme insight / shine-lhagtong , then any conventional reference point at this point is an obscuration of the direct-cognition that results from this union.

<snip>



Hi Vasana, I agree. The generic image of emptiness is an object of abandonment. Why do we need it in the first place? Because according to the Gelugpa system it isn't possible to attain a direct realisation of emptiness without meditating on it. It is just a stepping stone that gradually abandons obscurations to gaining a direct realisation. Any conceptual realisation of emptiness doesn't have the power to abandon even intellectually formed delusions, let alone innate delusions. The aim is to reach the Path of Seeing and to progress to the Path of No More Learning by deepening our experience of a direct perceiver of emptiness. In this way, we traverse the ten bodhisattva grounds.



Well, even Mipham Rinpoche reccomends refined analysis as a stepping-stone for enabling shamatha and then lhagtong so i'm not sure it's unique to the Gelugpa system. All Madyamikas utilize concepts ,conventions only to help us see their shortcomings and role in gen-erating samsara. If the 'gen-eric image' is to be abandoned, then surely the key-point to take home is that the differences between the schools must become somewhat obsolete at this point in one's actual practice since the union of tranquility and insight is where the 'real' emphasis is placed. But then again, i don't pretend to be able to contextualize all of the subtle points of contention and the various methods characteristic of the different schools.

"Therefore, as a preliminary training
For the mahāyāna path of both sūtra and mantra,
Breaking through the shell of confusion surrounding the conditioned,
This path of precise investigation is excellent indeed.
First, through the power of fine analysis,
One destroys the marks of rising afflictions.
Then through confidence in the emptiness of the aggregates,
One lets go of desires and hopes based on the three realms,
And eventually, by progressing in stages, all conceptual notions
Are pacified completely within the state of emptiness.
Not wishing for any antidotes or further relinquishing,
One is freed entirely from attachment and clinging to extremes.
With the purest compassion beyond attachment,
One courses through existence without the slightest fear,
Like a bird soaring through absolute space,
And attains the level of a supreme bodhisattva.
Based on the texts of noble masters, I have here explained
The important points of the paths of the three vehicles,
Which provide a training in mental investigation,
As a preliminary to the paths of śamatha and vipaśyanā.
The more familiar you become with this practice
Of thorough training in investigative meditation,
The more the afflictions will diminish,
And the subtler the kleśas will become.
This will make it easier to practise śamatha,
And just like gold that is treated in fire
So it becomes malleable and ready to craft,
Mind will be refined once it is freed from attachment.


http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/mipham/wheel-analysis-and-meditation#fn:1
"If you think that buddhas and sentient beings are indivisible, you should honor and serve sentient beings to the same degree as you would the buddhas. Do you do that?" ~ Shri Singha

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:08 pm

Vasana wrote:
Well, even Mipham Rinpoche reccomends refined analysis as a stepping-stone for enabling shamatha and then lhagtong so i'm not sure it's unique to the Gelugpa system. All Madyamikas utilize concepts ,conventions only to help us see their shortcomings and role in gen-erating samsara. If the 'gen-eric image' is to be abandoned, then surely the key-point to take home is that the differences between the schools must become somewhat obsolete at this point in one's actual practice since the union of tranquility and insight is where the 'real' emphasis is placed. But then again, i don't pretend to be able to contextualize all of the subtle points of contention and the various methods characteristic of the different schools.

"Therefore, as a preliminary training
For the mahāyāna path of both sūtra and mantra,
Breaking through the shell of confusion surrounding the conditioned,
This path of precise investigation is excellent indeed.
First, through the power of fine analysis,
One destroys the marks of rising afflictions.
Then through confidence in the emptiness of the aggregates,
One lets go of desires and hopes based on the three realms,
And eventually, by progressing in stages, all conceptual notions
Are pacified completely within the state of emptiness.
Not wishing for any antidotes or further relinquishing,
One is freed entirely from attachment and clinging to extremes.
With the purest compassion beyond attachment,
One courses through existence without the slightest fear,
Like a bird soaring through absolute space,
And attains the level of a supreme bodhisattva.
Based on the texts of noble masters, I have here explained
The important points of the paths of the three vehicles,
Which provide a training in mental investigation,
As a preliminary to the paths of śamatha and vipaśyanā.
The more familiar you become with this practice
Of thorough training in investigative meditation,
The more the afflictions will diminish,
And the subtler the kleśas will become.
This will make it easier to practise śamatha,
And just like gold that is treated in fire
So it becomes malleable and ready to craft,
Mind will be refined once it is freed from attachment.


http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/mipham/wheel-analysis-and-meditation#fn:1


Great, so we're in agreement that a union of tranquil abiding and superior seeing is necessary.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby conebeckham » Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:51 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Great, so we're in agreement that a union of tranquil abiding and superior seeing is necessary.


No one ever disputed this.

the question is: What is the object to mind, while in single-pointed concentration combined with insight?

Or, we could ask, more directly, what is "insight?"
Vipassana is a bit of a slippery term, depending on who you talk to. Samatha is fairly easily understood, I think.

Some define Vipassana as an "Awareness" of whatever occurs. I don't think that's adequate; I think true vipassana by definition implies more than "mindfulness" or "awareness." Some define it as "direct seeing," which implies an experiental, non-conceptual dimension. In the Kagyu tradition, at least, the practice we call Sutra Vipassana is a sort of back-and-forth between analytical exploration (conceptual by nature) and direct observation of the "state of nonfinding."

Maybe we need to define what we all mean by "superior insight?"
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."

May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:33 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Maybe we need to define what we all mean by "superior insight?"


Yes, good point. The nature of superior seeing is wisdom. Just as tranquil abiding is a special and superior kind of concentration, so superior seeing is a superior wisdom arising in dependence upon tranquil abiding. When we have attained tranquil abiding our concentration cannot be disturbed by conceptual thoughts. It is unshakeable, like a huge mountain that cannot be moved by the wind. With such stable concentration we can investigate our observed object more thoroughly. Through the power of repeated investigation we shall eventually gain a superior knowledge or insight into the nature of our object of meditation. This wisdom of investigation induces a special suppleness. Wisdom that is qualified by such suppleness is superior seeing.

The object of superior seeing is emptiness.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby Karma_Yeshe » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:24 am

conebeckham wrote:The "Non-Geluk" approach via Madhyamaka is also a step-by-step approach, using the various analytical methods and "proofs" or techniques. The "Non-Geluk" approach also works with conceptual consciousness.


There is a much more direct approach to realise emptiness in Ati-Yoga. (But since the 5th Dalai Lama was a great Dzogchen Master, I am not sure, if you count Ati-Yoga as "Non-Geluk" :mrgreen:)

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby Kenneth Chan » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:30 am

Ayu wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:The relentless criticism of Tsongkhapa's views on DW gets a bit wearing after a while. It's also overly intellectual.

I've not seen a single person post any useful meditations on emptiness or any practical information that would lead to a realisation of emptiness. Je Tsongkhapa's teachings are full of such useful and practical explanations and they work. Those who study and practise these teachings know how to destroy self-grasping ignorance but here Nagarjuna is treated as philosophy that can in no way solve human problems. It's just a football that's kicked around for intellectual enjoyment; that's pretty sad and not what Buddha's teachings were intended for.

Follow whatever view you wish to follow but endlessly arguing about them here is pointless. Does anyone have anything practical to say?

:good: I have to agree.

The Lamrim of Tsongkhapa has to be meditated from the beginning to the end. Especially the last chapter about emptiness cannot be grasped intellectually. Debate is only for to support the meditation, but it cannot get the matter on it's own. The recommended procedure for learning is "Hearing (study), reflecting (e.g. by debate) and meditating." It is not right to leave out one of these three.

And there cannot be something like "Tsongkhapa's emptiness", because emptiness is simply emptiness. Tsongkhapas explanations are a measure for learning, not a map of solid phenomena. He didn't explain everything in one sentence, he instead gave the students the chance to understand it in meditation by themselves.

My apologies. I was not aware that this entire thread even existed until now! That’s my own fault but I am a totally new member of this Dharma Wheel forum, so I don’t really know my way around.

I would really like to take us back to this point raised by Tsongkhapafan and Ayu, which, I believe, is actually the most important point of all. I do not think that anyone would disagree with this following statement (only I am surprised that no one has explicitly stated it here on this thread): The purpose of attaining the wisdom realizing emptiness is to combine it with bodhicitta, which is the great compassion to attain enlightenment in order to save all sentient beings from suffering. This, to me, is really the crucial point.

All the intellectual nuances really do not matter as long as one can realize the emptiness of the “I” or the self, and combine this realization with bodhicitta. This combination of wisdom and compassion is potent. It breaks down all the barriers between “self and others” and leads to a state of spontaneous compassion that naturally wants to free all sentient beings from suffering. Thus the realisation of emptiness strengthens our bodhicitta.

If I remember correctly, it was Lama Yeshe who described this state of realization as having a sense of “spaciousness” and I believe His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, said something that is very similar. I believe that this state—of a combination between wisdom and compassion—is a state of bliss coupled with a sense of spaciousness, where all the barriers between “self and others” have disappeared.

This means that the really crucial point in the realization of emptiness is actually the realization that the “I” (or the self) is empty of inherent existence. Even the purpose of realizing that all phenomena are empty of inherent existence is to deepen the realization that the “I” is actually empty of inherent existence.

It also means that the really effective way to realize emptiness is to actually transform our mind into the state of bodhicitta. If we do not develop this great compassion, our mind will have all sorts of impediments to actually realising that the self is empty of inherent existence. Things like pride, jealousy, greed, hatred, etc. all strengthen this sense of a real self. So we need to get rid of these attitudes as much as possible. As long as we keep reinforcing this sense of an inherently existing “I” (because of these negative attitudes) we are really reinforcing barriers to an actual realization that all things are empty of inherent existence.

The need to combine wisdom and compassion is also the main reason why conventional truth is so crucial in Madhyamika philosophy. Let me quote from the book “Relative Truth, Ultimate Truth” by Geshe Tashi Tsering:

“Understanding conventional truth enables the practitioner to develop the method side—compassion, concentration, and ethics—whereas understanding the ultimate truth leads to the wisdom side—emptiness. These realizations will, in turn, result in the two Buddha bodies, the truth body and the form body.

People who want to be free from suffering need to cultivate an understanding of reality, the wisdom of ultimate truth, while developing the method side of the practice, which entails a thorough understanding of conventional truth. There is no other way.”

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Anders
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby Anders » Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:04 am

Crazywisdom wrote:The other big causal theory from then was that the result is complete within the cause, like a tree is complete within the seed. Alchemy had this idea and it persisted all over the world. They also thought of The All caused all. Buddha and Nagarjuna also refuted this false notion. It is helpful to read these old texts that assert these rejected causation theories. You can get a very living picture of what Buddhists had to contend with and why and from whom.


Malcolm wrote:
Crazywisdom wrote:The other big causal theory from then was that the result is complete within the cause...


Yes, this is Saṃkhya, arising from self...


Can you unpack this a bit for me? At a glance, this sounds a lot like the Indra's Net presentation as found in the Avatamsaka Sutra (although that actual simile is never explained in the sutra)...

How would such a theory manifest practically in terms of how things are understood to arise?
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Tsongkhapafan
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:24 am

Karma_Yeshe wrote:
conebeckham wrote:The "Non-Geluk" approach via Madhyamaka is also a step-by-step approach, using the various analytical methods and "proofs" or techniques. The "Non-Geluk" approach also works with conceptual consciousness.


There is a much more direct approach to realise emptiness in Ati-Yoga. (But since the 5th Dalai Lama was a great Dzogchen Master, I am not sure, if you count Ati-Yoga as "Non-Geluk" :mrgreen:)


Dzogchen is not a natural part of Je Tsongkhapa's tradition and was not taught by him; it's something that some people decided to practice. Highest Yoga Tantra and a special close lineage of Mahamudra teachings are Gelug practices.

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Tsongkhapafan
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:46 am

Anders wrote:
Crazywisdom wrote:The other big causal theory from then was that the result is complete within the cause, like a tree is complete within the seed. Alchemy had this idea and it persisted all over the world. They also thought of The All caused all. Buddha and Nagarjuna also refuted this false notion. It is helpful to read these old texts that assert these rejected causation theories. You can get a very living picture of what Buddhists had to contend with and why and from whom.


Malcolm wrote:
Crazywisdom wrote:The other big causal theory from then was that the result is complete within the cause...


Yes, this is Saṃkhya, arising from self...


Can you unpack this a bit for me? At a glance, this sounds a lot like the Indra's Net presentation as found in the Avatamsaka Sutra (although that actual simile is never explained in the sutra)...

How would such a theory manifest practically in terms of how things are understood to arise?


Production from self is one of the four extremes of production refuted by the reasoning of Vajra Fragments - production from self, production from other, production from both self and other and production without a cause.

In Guide to the Middle Way, Chandrakirti says:

There is no point in it arising from itself.
Moreover, it is not reasonable that what has been produced is produced again.

If you assert that what is already produced is produced again,
Then the production of sprouts and so forth is not found here,
And seeds will continue to be produced until the end of time.
How can it destroy that?


Chandrakirti argues that if an effect exists within its cause, production would be pointless because, as cause and effect are the same nature, it would be as if the cause is producing itself again. If cause and effect are inherently the same, they must be identical in all respects so arising from self is therefore unnecessary and pointless. In any case, everyone knows that when an effect is produced it is different from its cause; this is entirely the point of production, that something new and different is produced from the process. Also, if the effect exists at the same time as the cause, what would be the point in producing it as it already exists?

He goes on to further assert that the consequences of such a view is that a seed would reproduce itself endlessly and sprouts would never be produced.

Furthermore, if the seed and the sprout are the same entity, the sprout would have to destroy the seed in order for the sprout to be produced which would be tantamount to destroying itself. What thing destroys itself?

For these and other reasons, the Samkhya view of production from self is refuted.

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conebeckham
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby conebeckham » Thu Dec 15, 2016 4:46 pm

Karma_Yeshe wrote:
conebeckham wrote:The "Non-Geluk" approach via Madhyamaka is also a step-by-step approach, using the various analytical methods and "proofs" or techniques. The "Non-Geluk" approach also works with conceptual consciousness.


There is a much more direct approach to realise emptiness in Ati-Yoga. (But since the 5th Dalai Lama was a great Dzogchen Master, I am not sure, if you count Ati-Yoga as "Non-Geluk" :mrgreen:)

Lol. It's not part of the standard Geluk curriculum, of that we can be sure. And our Mahamudra traditions also have a much more direct approach, which I've hinted at, but it's tangential to this topic
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."

May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.

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conebeckham
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Postby conebeckham » Thu Dec 15, 2016 6:06 pm

Kenneth Chan wrote:
I would really like to take us back to this point raised by Tsongkhapafan and Ayu, which, I believe, is actually the most important point of all. I do not think that anyone would disagree with this following statement (only I am surprised that no one has explicitly stated it here on this thread): The purpose of attaining the wisdom realizing emptiness is to combine it with bodhicitta, which is the great compassion to attain enlightenment in order to save all sentient beings from suffering. This, to me, is really the crucial point.

{SNIP}

This means that the really crucial point in the realization of emptiness is actually the realization that the “I” (or the self) is empty of inherent existence. Even the purpose of realizing that all phenomena are empty of inherent existence is to deepen the realization that the “I” is actually empty of inherent existence.

It also means that the really effective way to realize emptiness is to actually transform our mind into the state of bodhicitta. If we do not develop this great compassion, our mind will have all sorts of impediments to actually realising that the self is empty of inherent existence. Things like pride, jealousy, greed, hatred, etc. all strengthen this sense of a real self. So we need to get rid of these attitudes as much as possible. As long as we keep reinforcing this sense of an inherently existing “I” (because of these negative attitudes) we are really reinforcing barriers to an actual realization that all things are empty of inherent existence.

The need to combine wisdom and compassion is also the main reason why conventional truth is so crucial in Madhyamika philosophy. Let me quote from the book “Relative Truth, Ultimate Truth” by Geshe Tashi Tsering:

“Understanding conventional truth enables the practitioner to develop the method side—compassion, concentration, and ethics—whereas understanding the ultimate truth leads to the wisdom side—emptiness. These realizations will, in turn, result in the two Buddha bodies, the truth body and the form body.

People who want to be free from suffering need to cultivate an understanding of reality, the wisdom of ultimate truth, while developing the method side of the practice, which entails a thorough understanding of conventional truth. There is no other way.”


When emptiness and lack of self are seen at a deep conceptual level, it is said that true compassion naturally arises. When one eventually has direct nonconceptual experience of emptiness, and is an Arya,the ultimate true compassion, "Compassion Free From Reference Points," is naturally present. Practicing compassion, cultivating the mind of compassion, and performing acts of compassion, are fine things, and primary sources of accumulating merit. As you point out, these practices can also help mitigate self-attachment, to some degree. But they can also, paradoxically, increase a subtle sense of self-importance. But Perfect Compassion is said to arise spontaneously with realization. In the traditions of Mahamudra and Dzogchen, compassion is the very nature of awareness, when realized. But that's another tangent. Here's a song from Milarepa:


An Authentic Portrait of the Middle Way

From the standpoint of the truth that’s ultimate
Besides no blocks, there are not even buddhas
No meditator and no meditated
No paths and levels travelled and no signs
And no fruition bodies and no wisdom
And, therefore, there is no nirvana there
Just designations using names and statements
All animate, inanimate—the three realms
Unborn and nonexistent from the outset
No base to rest on, do not coexist2
There is no karmic act, no maturation
So, even the name,”samsara,” does not exist


That’s the way these are in the final picture
But, oh, if sentient beings did not exist
What would the buddhas of three times all come from
Since fruition with no cause—impossible!


So, the standpoint of the truth that’s relative
Is samsara’s wheel, nirvana past all grief
It all exists, that is the Sage’s teaching
Then, what exists appearing to be things
And their non-existence, pure being, emptiness
Are essentially inseparable, one taste
And, therefore, there is neither self-awareness
Nor awareness of what’s other anywhere
All of this, a union vast and spacious
And all those skilled in realizing this
Do not see consciousness, they see the wisdom
Do not see sentient beings, they see buddhas
Don’t see phenomena, they see pure being
And out of this compassion just emerges
Retention, powers, fearlessness and all
The qualities embodied by a buddha
Just come as if you had a wishing jewel
This is what I, the yogi, have realized.

Under the guidance of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, translated and arranged by Jim Scott, Binowo, Poland, October 4, 1997, Tibetan page 482. Translation copyright 2012, Jim Scott

from http://www.ktgrinpoche.org/songs/authen ... middle-way
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."

May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.


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