Pointing Out through Appearances

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6706
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Astus » Fri Nov 13, 2015 11:13 am

1. Whatever thing or being we perceive are concepts, mental fabrications.
2. There is no thinker behind concepts, no creator of ideas.
3. While there is no thinker, thoughts come and go on their own.
4. As thoughts come and go on their own, there is nothing to attain or release.

"Now all objective appearances are like water and waves, all are apparitions of the mind and in reality are unestablished. By realizing this, one recognizes all appearances as the mind. By analyzing the essence of the mind in terms of going, staying, and arising, it turns out not to be established as anything. So, like horses and elephants in a dream, it is unestablished in reality. By realizing this, one recognizes that the mind is empty. From the state of emptiness, clarity, and limpidity in unceasing great joy, it spontaneously arises as manifold appearances, like the moon's reflections in water. By realizing this, one recognizes emptiness as spontaneous presence. Thus, from simple spontaneous presence arising and release occur spontaneously, without wavering from immutable great bliss that is clear, empty, spontaneous, and free of elaboration, like a snake that unravels its own knots. By ascertaining this, one recognizes spontaneous presence as self-liberating."

(Wangchuk Dorje: Pointing Out the Dharmakaya, quoted in Spacious Path to Freedom, p 120-121)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3514
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Nov 13, 2015 11:55 am

I am very interested in 'mind-only', but I find these teachings pretty hard to interpret on face value. If you are injured or hurt, that has consequences beyond the purely conceptual, doens't it? How is that 'a mental fabrication'? Same could be said for all manner of experiences, especially painful or injurious ones; we have to deal with the reality of such things. How can they be regarded as mental fabrications?

I can see how it applies to many of the things that people assume are real, or to things that we attribute importance to. I get that, but I can't see how it applies to the raw truth of experience as such.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6706
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Astus » Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:10 pm

Wayfarer wrote:I am very interested in 'mind-only', but I find these teachings pretty hard to interpret on face value. If you are injured or hurt, that has consequences beyond the purely conceptual, doens't it? How is that 'a mental fabrication'?
That area is covered under the topic of "attachment to body", right from the early teachings, as in Satipatthana for instance. It starts with the concept there there is such a thing as a "body", and goes up to "my body is injured". Consider the difference between seeing a stranger hurt, seeing a family member hurt, and feeling your toe hurt. Or the difference between a falling vase and the falling of your favourite vase from grandma.
Same could be said for all manner of experiences, especially painful or injurious ones; we have to deal with the reality of such things. How can they be regarded as mental fabrications?
There are a number of teachings on handling pain, e.g.: SN 36.4 and SN 36.6. That is, when a sensory impression occurs, it is first of all experienced by the mind. Then it is judged and identified by the mind. Following that one associates the perception with a number of other concepts, thus integrating it in one's general view of oneself and the world. After that intention arises about what to do, and that is followed by action. So, even if one were to say that the initial point of bodily impression is not a mental fabrication, following that they all are.
I can see how it applies to many of the things that people assume are real, or to things that we attribute importance to. I get that, but I can't see how it applies to the raw truth of experience as such.
What is the raw truth of experience? Is is important? Is it personal?
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Lazy_eye
Posts: 496
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:32 am
Location: Laurel, MD
Contact:

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Lazy_eye » Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:40 pm

I'm wondering how this works on an interpersonal level. I mean, yes, ultimately it's all concepts and fabrications, but practically speaking there are other people and it seems important to interact on a human level. How do we cultivate the "mind-only" perspective while not losing sight of other people's needs, concerns, presence and humanity?

A. Why do you never listen? It's like talking to the wall. Can't we ever have a conversation?
B. She's just a fabrication, just a fabrication, just a fabrication...


To draw an analogy, it could be argued that the corporate world practices a sort of pseudo-sunyata, in which people are just fabrications that come and go. In a sense a large corporation is free of attachment -- at least to its personnel. They are just "human resources," I.e. a concept. I realize the analogy is faulty as the underlying goals are different (profitability vs. liberation); still, I wonder if there's a danger here.

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25401
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Malcolm » Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:13 pm

Wayfarer wrote: I can see how it applies to many of the things that people assume are real, or to things that we attribute importance to. I get that, but I can't see how it applies to the raw truth of experience as such.
The raw experience i.e. the appearances of your senses, including the appearance of your body and its pleasures and pains, is just the activation of traces.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25401
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Malcolm » Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:15 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:I'm wondering how this works on an interpersonal level. I mean, yes, ultimately it's all concepts and fabrications, but practically speaking there are other people and it seems important to interact on a human level. How do we cultivate the "mind-only" perspective while not losing sight of other people's needs, concerns, presence and humanity?
Mind-only refers only to the container universe, including bodies; it does not mean that other's minds are only your mind. Relatively speaking, i.e. false relative truth, there are still outer appearances, etc. True relative truth is that all these external appearances are just activated traces in the mind. Ultimate truth is that even mind is not established as truly existent and real.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
Lazy_eye
Posts: 496
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:32 am
Location: Laurel, MD
Contact:

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Lazy_eye » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:33 pm

Malcolm wrote: Mind-only refers only to the container universe, including bodies; it does not mean that other's minds are only your mind. Relatively speaking, i.e. false relative truth, there are still outer appearances, etc. True relative truth is that all these external appearances are just activated traces in the mind. Ultimate truth is that even mind is not established as truly existent and real.
Okay -- sorry to be thick-headed here -- how does this apply to daily interactions with others? Acquaintances, friends, relatives, significant others, etc? These are statements indicating how things are, but what do we do with this knowledge when we interact?

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25401
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Malcolm » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:42 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
Malcolm wrote: Mind-only refers only to the container universe, including bodies; it does not mean that other's minds are only your mind. Relatively speaking, i.e. false relative truth, there are still outer appearances, etc. True relative truth is that all these external appearances are just activated traces in the mind. Ultimate truth is that even mind is not established as truly existent and real.
Okay -- sorry to be thick-headed here -- how does this apply to daily interactions with others? Acquaintances, friends, relatives, significant others, etc? These are statements indicating how things are, but what do we do with this knowledge when we interact?
This knowledge is meant to cut attachment to appearances as being real. If we understand that all our appearances and so on are merely the activation of karmic traces in the mind and have no reality at all apart from being our common and personal mental projections, then it is assumed our clinging to these appearances will be lessened.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6706
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Astus » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:56 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Okay -- sorry to be thick-headed here -- how does this apply to daily interactions with others? Acquaintances, friends, relatives, significant others, etc? These are statements indicating how things are, but what do we do with this knowledge when we interact?
One usual source of suffering is interpreting others' actions as being personally addressed towards oneself. Instead of that one should recognise how one's own reactions, feelings and thoughts originate not from others but one's own mind. Thus the reason to be moved - conceptually and emotionally - by others is cut off, that way eliminating afflictions. It also prevents falling for stereotypes, assumptions and categorisations that one readily projects on people. Ultimately it shows the futility of relying on expectations and opens up one's mind to changing situations, at the same time giving insight into how people's minds function, where their suffering comes from, and hence compassion towards them becomes natural. So, it is not really that there is something in particular to do, but one should fully understand the meaning of the teaching in one's experience, then the effects manifest.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Thomas Amundsen
Posts: 1684
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:50 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Fri Nov 13, 2015 9:11 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:I'm wondering how this works on an interpersonal level. I mean, yes, ultimately it's all concepts and fabrications, but practically speaking there are other people and it seems important to interact on a human level. How do we cultivate the "mind-only" perspective while not losing sight of other people's needs, concerns, presence and humanity?
Mind-only refers only to the container universe, including bodies; it does not mean that other's minds are only your mind. Relatively speaking, i.e. false relative truth, there are still outer appearances, etc. True relative truth is that all these external appearances are just activated traces in the mind. Ultimate truth is that even mind is not established as truly existent and real.
:good:

User avatar
florin
Posts: 902
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:05 pm

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by florin » Fri Nov 13, 2015 9:49 pm

Astus wrote:1. Whatever thing or being we perceive are concepts, mental fabrications.
I would think that for the purpose of establishing the truth of this point one would have to be able to distinguish between an appearing object and an apprehended object because conflating the two can lead to various errors and deviations such as saying that the outer objects are created by mind, etc...
"Bow down to me for I thirst for an infinite ocean of blood, since the innumerable torrents of floods at kalpa's end that terrify all world systems do not even wet the tip of my tongue"

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3514
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Nov 13, 2015 9:57 pm

Malcolm wrote:This knowledge is meant to cut attachment to appearances as being real.
Right - whereas for 'modern thought', only appearances are real.
Lazy_Eye wrote:To draw an analogy, it could be argued that the corporate world practices a sort of pseudo-sunyata, in which people are just fabrications that come and go. In a sense a large corporation is free of attachment -- at least to its personnel. They are just "human resources," I.e. a concept. I realize the analogy is faulty as the underlying goals are different (profitability vs. liberation); still, I wonder if there's a danger here.
I think that, in the context of Buddhist practice, that is where bodhicitta is crucial. Bodhicitta after all is compassion for all sentient beings (even whilst aware that ultimately there are no beings!) I think without that dimension of bodhicitta, then it is easy to read such ideas nihilistically. (See excellent talk Lama Yeshe on Bodhicitta.)

:anjali:
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25401
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Malcolm » Fri Nov 13, 2015 10:46 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Malcolm wrote:This knowledge is meant to cut attachment to appearances as being real.
Right - whereas for 'modern thought', only appearances are real.
What does that have to do with the question?
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3514
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Nov 13, 2015 11:05 pm

Because it highlights the difference between what a lot of people would take for granted about the reality of things, from the proposition that 'Whatever thing or being we perceive are concepts, mental fabrications.' I know, I also post on Philosophy Forum, and if you posted that line of argument, it would either be ignored or ridiculed, whereas I'm starting to understand how it could be true.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6706
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Astus » Fri Nov 13, 2015 11:15 pm

florin wrote: I would think that for the purpose of establishing the truth of this point one would have to be able to distinguish between an appearing object and an apprehended object because conflating the two can lead to various errors and deviations such as saying that the outer objects are created by mind, etc...
Whatever can be called an appearance is an experience. Experience can exist only within consciousness, as besides consciousness there is no awareness of anything, otherwise we would be experiencing things unconsciously. It is indeed a deviation to say that outer objects are created by the mind, since there are no objects outside the mind anywhere.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25401
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Malcolm » Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:40 am

Wayfarer wrote:Because it highlights the difference between what a lot of people would take for granted about the reality of things, from the proposition that 'Whatever thing or being we perceive are concepts, mental fabrications.' I know, I also post on Philosophy Forum, and if you posted that line of argument, it would either be ignored or ridiculed, whereas I'm starting to understand how it could be true.
I see. Well, given that I was raised by a philosopher, you might want to drop the name "Berkeley" to those guys.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3514
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:53 am

Quite right! Actually I picked up a copy of a really interesting but dense book by Jay Garfield, Empty Words: Buddhist Philosophy and Cross-Cultural Interpretation, which has a lot of these ideas. It's starting to come together for me. I don't see any major contradiction between some of those 'idealist' elements in Western philosophy and the mind-only approach, except the latter is firmly grounded in meditation and not just conceptual analysis. But it does help to join the dots, so to speak. Which in one of the reasons I am very grateful to Dharmawheel Forum and its learned contributors.

:namaste:
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

krodha
Posts: 2170
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:30 pm

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by krodha » Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:30 am

Wayfarer wrote:I also post on Philosophy Forum, and if you posted that line of argument, it would either be ignored or ridiculed, whereas I'm starting to understand how it could be true.
/r/philosophy on Reddit is like that too, very caged in realist and materialist thinking.

pothigai
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 5:26 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by pothigai » Sat Nov 14, 2015 7:18 am

Astus wrote:
florin wrote: I would think that for the purpose of establishing the truth of this point one would have to be able to distinguish between an appearing object and an apprehended object because conflating the two can lead to various errors and deviations such as saying that the outer objects are created by mind, etc...
Whatever can be called an appearance is an experience. Experience can exist only within consciousness, as besides consciousness there is no awareness of anything, otherwise we would be experiencing things unconsciously. It is indeed a deviation to say that outer objects are created by the mind, since there are no objects outside the mind anywhere.
What do you mean by 'consciousness' or 'mind'? They seem to have a meaning equivalent to 'experience' or 'appearance' in this context.
ہستی اپنی حباب کی سی ہے
یہ نمائش سراب کی سی ہے

hasti apni habaab ki si hai
yeh numaaish saraab ki si hai

Like a bubble is your existence
This display is like an illusion

- Mir Taqi Mir (1725-1810)

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25401
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Pointing Out through Appearances

Post by Malcolm » Sat Nov 14, 2015 4:13 pm

Wayfarer wrote:Quite right! Actually I picked up a copy of a really interesting but dense book by Jay Garfield, Empty Words: Buddhist Philosophy and Cross-Cultural Interpretation, which has a lot of these ideas. It's starting to come together for me. I don't see any major contradiction between some of those 'idealist' elements in Western philosophy and the mind-only approach, except the latter is firmly grounded in meditation and not just conceptual analysis. But it does help to join the dots, so to speak. Which in one of the reasons I am very grateful to Dharmawheel Forum and its learned contributors.

:namaste:
Jay is in the same philosophy department as my father [Smith College].
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests