Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

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Supramundane
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Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Supramundane » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:31 am

I read a short note on karma that states there is a 'non aggregate self ' or a self beyond the 5 aggegates to explain the concept of karmic rebirth.

"The Buddha, however, postulates transcendent consciousness or Buddha consciousness beyond the aggregates. He does not limit the analysis to impermanent properties. The non-aggregate being is a Buddha who has achieved detachment from the aggregates... This “individual stream of consciousness” describes a “self” or “soul” beyond the aggregates. When awakened this is a Buddha."

 But i don't think this is accurate in the context of Mahayana buddhism. If there were a non-aggregate self, the Buddha would have said so clearly and succinctly, right? 

This leads me to believe that the notion of not-self and karma must be resolved in a different manner. Perhaps they are not linked at all, as karma is only present in samsara and in nirvana it is not present at all: the questions of self and karma are thus two separate discussions. 

We are aggregates in continual flux; therefore, every moment we are reborn. The past is an ilusion. The future is naught but a dream. The sense of there being a 'story' or continuity is an illusion of our minds. Thus, there is no life in-itself or death in-itself. So how can there be a distinct in-itself rebirth? Every second is a rebirth in this context. 

Or is this interpretation too radical and minimalist?

There is another feasible interpretation i read: 

"In the video below, you will see a social experiment which proves how most people are just sheep. A group of people in a doctor's waiting room, all but one are what we will call actors as part of this social experiment, with one woman being the "subject," and we see how a person is literally programmed into following the actions of others without even understanding why and despite those actions making absolutely no logical sense.

A "beep" is heard, all the actors stand up and then sit back down, then another "beep," they stand and sit... by the third "beep" the woman who is the subject of this social experiment, stands up along with the rest of the group without being told to and without knowing why. 

The scariest part of this whole thing is even after the room empties of all the actors, the woman, already programmed.... still stands up at the sound of the beep."


This shows how there is a type of meta-will or consciousness that dictates our behavior that lives on beyond the individual..... is this a more accurate conception of rebirth?

Or are both totally off base?

Thanks in advance for your kind comments. This forum is really a great sounding board and a great resource!!!

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Vasana
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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Vasana » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:07 am

There are various sutras that touch upon this seeming paradox.
As long as there are causes and supporting conditions, corresponding fruits will occur. Karma doesn't ripen on a self, but it does ripen on and as the stream of consciousness that mistakenly grasps at self-nature. Even though there are ultimately no sentient beings, the 12 links of dependent origination continue ceaselessly in the manner of an illusion until interrupted by wisdom. When you dream at night, no transmigration into your dream body has occured and the hapiness or suffering yo experience has not been caused by any truly existing dream content. Through not knowing the illusory to be illusory, illusions are experienced as real.

Salistamba Sutra

Therein, there is nothing whatsoever that transmigrates from this world to another world. There is (only) the appearance of the fruit of karma, because of the non-deficiency of causes and conditions. It is, monks, like the reflectIon of a face seen in a well-polished mirror. No face transmIgrates into the mirror, but there is the appearance of a face because of the non-deficiency of causes and conditions. Thus there is nothing departed from this world, nor arisen elsewhere. There is (only) the appearance of the fruit of karma, because of the non-deficiency of causes and condItIons.

It is, (monks)* like the moon-disk which wanders 4,000 leagues above, and yet again the moon’s reflection is seen in a small pool of water. It does not depart from its station (in the sky)* above and transmigrate into the small pool of water, but there is the appearance of the moon-disk, because of the non-deficiency of causes and conditions. Thus, there is nothing departed from this world, nor arisen elsewhere. (Thereis (only) the appearance of the fruit of “karma, because of the non-deficiency of causes and eonditions)”

Just as when there is fuel as a condition, fire burns, (and) if fuel is deficient, it does not burn; even so does the consciousness-seed, born of karma-defilements, cause the sprout of name-and-form to develop here and therein the entrances of arising, through rebirth in a mother’s womb, in (relation to) things (which are) not governed, not “mine”, not possessed, (not opposed,)’ like space, of the nature of the marks of illusion, due to the non-deficiency of causes and conditions. Thus is the conditional relation in subjective conditioned arising to be seen.

http://xuanfa.net/buddha-dharma/tripita ... mba-sutra/
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Grigoris » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:17 am

Supramundane wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:31 am
I read a short note on karma that states there is a 'non aggregate self ' or a self beyond the 5 aggegates to explain the concept of karmic rebirth.

"The Buddha, however, postulates transcendent consciousness or Buddha consciousness beyond the aggregates. He does not limit the analysis to impermanent properties. The non-aggregate being is a Buddha who has achieved detachment from the aggregates... This “individual stream of consciousness” describes a “self” or “soul” beyond the aggregates. When awakened this is a Buddha."

 But i don't think this is accurate in the context of Mahayana buddhism. If there were a non-aggregate self, the Buddha would have said so clearly and succinctly, right? 

This leads me to believe that the notion of not-self and karma must be resolved in a different manner. Perhaps they are not linked at all, as karma is only present in samsara and in nirvana it is not present at all: the questions of self and karma are thus two separate discussions. 

We are aggregates in continual flux; therefore, every moment we are reborn. The past is an ilusion. The future is naught but a dream. The sense of there being a 'story' or continuity is an illusion of our minds. Thus, there is no life in-itself or death in-itself. So how can there be a distinct in-itself rebirth? Every second is a rebirth in this context. 

Or is this interpretation too radical and minimalist?

There is another feasible interpretation i read: 

"In the video below, you will see a social experiment which proves how most people are just sheep. A group of people in a doctor's waiting room, all but one are what we will call actors as part of this social experiment, with one woman being the "subject," and we see how a person is literally programmed into following the actions of others without even understanding why and despite those actions making absolutely no logical sense.

A "beep" is heard, all the actors stand up and then sit back down, then another "beep," they stand and sit... by the third "beep" the woman who is the subject of this social experiment, stands up along with the rest of the group without being told to and without knowing why. 

The scariest part of this whole thing is even after the room empties of all the actors, the woman, already programmed.... still stands up at the sound of the beep."


This shows how there is a type of meta-will or consciousness that dictates our behavior that lives on beyond the individual..... is this a more accurate conception of rebirth?

Or are both totally off base?

Thanks in advance for your kind comments. This forum is really a great sounding board and a great resource!!!
Where and who are the quotes from?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Supramundane » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:39 am

http://visitunderthetree.com/philosophi ... t-paradox/


The experiment is well known and there are several variants. There is a famous one with monkeys as well.

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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Grigoris » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:47 am

Supramundane wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:39 am
http://visitunderthetree.com/philosophi ... t-paradox/


The experiment is well known and there are several variants. There is a famous one with monkeys as well.
First of all: the book is a work of fiction. Secondly the author is a perrenialist trying to mix Buddhism and Christianity. He is confused, not Buddhism.

There is no paradox between the functioning of karma and anatta/anatman. The self exists conventionally/relatively and karma works at the conventional/relative level. Ultimately both lack inherent existence.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Malcolm » Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:54 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:31 am
I read a short note on karma that states there is a 'non aggregate self ' or a self beyond the 5 aggegates to explain the concept of karmic rebirth.

"The Buddha, however, postulates transcendent consciousness or Buddha consciousness beyond the aggregates. He does not limit the analysis to impermanent properties. The non-aggregate being is a Buddha who has achieved detachment from the aggregates... This “individual stream of consciousness” describes a “self” or “soul” beyond the aggregates. When awakened this is a Buddha."

 But i don't think this is accurate in the context of Mahayana buddhism. If there were a non-aggregate self, the Buddha would have said so clearly and succinctly, right? 
This is just the Pudgalavadin heresy poking its head up.

In short, there is no self that is all the aggregates, one of the aggregates, or separate from the aggregates. "Self" is just a label we apply to the aggregates of a person, but it is nothing other than a designation and does not signify anything real.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Supramundane » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:24 am

Vasana wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:07 am
There are various sutras that touch upon this seeming paradox.
As long as there are causes and supporting conditions, corresponding fruits will occur. Karma doesn't ripen on a self, but it does ripen on and as the stream of consciousness that mistakenly grasps at self-nature. Even though there are ultimately no sentient beings, the 12 links of dependent origination continue ceaselessly in the manner of an illusion until interrupted by wisdom. When you dream at night, no transmigration into your dream body has occured and the hapiness or suffering yo experience has not been caused by any truly existing dream content. Through not knowing the illusory to be illusory, illusions are experienced as real.

Salistamba Sutra

Therein, there is nothing whatsoever that transmigrates from this world to another world. There is (only) the appearance of the fruit of karma, because of the non-deficiency of causes and conditions. It is, monks, like the reflectIon of a face seen in a well-polished mirror. No face transmIgrates into the mirror, but there is the appearance of a face because of the non-deficiency of causes and conditions. Thus there is nothing departed from this world, nor arisen elsewhere. There is (only) the appearance of the fruit of karma, because of the non-deficiency of causes and condItIons.

It is, (monks)* like the moon-disk which wanders 4,000 leagues above, and yet again the moon’s reflection is seen in a small pool of water. It does not depart from its station (in the sky)* above and transmigrate into the small pool of water, but there is the appearance of the moon-disk, because of the non-deficiency of causes and conditions. Thus, there is nothing departed from this world, nor arisen elsewhere. (Thereis (only) the appearance of the fruit of “karma, because of the non-deficiency of causes and eonditions)”

Just as when there is fuel as a condition, fire burns, (and) if fuel is deficient, it does not burn; even so does the consciousness-seed, born of karma-defilements, cause the sprout of name-and-form to develop here and therein the entrances of arising, through rebirth in a mother’s womb, in (relation to) things (which are) not governed, not “mine”, not possessed, (not opposed,)’ like space, of the nature of the marks of illusion, due to the non-deficiency of causes and conditions. Thus is the conditional relation in subjective conditioned arising to be seen.

http://xuanfa.net/buddha-dharma/tripita ... mba-sutra/

This a great find! Thanks so much. It is good to see an exact quote from a sutra. I am still a bit puzzled as to the meaning, however. It is the fundamental issues that i have not yet grasped.

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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Supramundane » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:25 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:54 pm
Supramundane wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:31 am
I read a short note on karma that states there is a 'non aggregate self ' or a self beyond the 5 aggegates to explain the concept of karmic rebirth.

"The Buddha, however, postulates transcendent consciousness or Buddha consciousness beyond the aggregates. He does not limit the analysis to impermanent properties. The non-aggregate being is a Buddha who has achieved detachment from the aggregates... This “individual stream of consciousness” describes a “self” or “soul” beyond the aggregates. When awakened this is a Buddha."

 But i don't think this is accurate in the context of Mahayana buddhism. If there were a non-aggregate self, the Buddha would have said so clearly and succinctly, right? 
This is just the Pudgalavadin heresy poking its head up.

In short, there is no self that is all the aggregates, one of the aggregates, or separate from the aggregates. "Self" is just a label we apply to the aggregates of a person, but it is nothing other than a designation and does not signify anything real.
Hi Malcolm, may i ask, is the rebirth real then? Or is it too just a label?

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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Vasana » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:55 pm

Another text related to this topic you might find helpful.

Shantideva - Way of the Bodhisattva, The wisdom chapter.



4. REJECTION OF ARGUMENTS CONCERNING IDENTITYLESSNESS

Question: (70) If the self were not permanent, the relation between the action and its effect, i.e. the doer of the action coming to experience the results of the actions committed, would not be maintained. This is so because the doer would perish as soon as the action was committed and would not exist at the time when it came to experience the effects (of his action). Therefore whose action would that be (to experience)?

Answer: (71) The basis for the causal action—the aggregates of this life—and the basis for the ripening effect—the aggregates of the future life—are distinct states of being. And since in both these states it is established both for you, because you accept a permanent self, and for us, because we accept identitylessness, that the self neither commits the action nor experiences the effect, is it not meaningless to argue on this point?

Objection: But what about actions whose fruits will be experienced in this life? They do not have different bases (aggregates) upon which the causal action is committed and the result is experienced.

Answer: Nevertheless, in the (same) moment (72) it is impossible to see the aggregates of someone committing a causal action being subject to the experience of its result; just as a father and his son cannot be born at the same time.

Objection: But it says in one scripture.
ʺHow will someone else experience the results of the actions one commits? O monks, the actions you commit and accumulate will not ripen on such things as the external earth element, but upon (your future) aggregates grasped (by consciousness).”

Thus, does not your assertion contradict this statement that the doer of the action must experience its results himself?

Answer: This statement is to be interpreted as follows: while actually considering the same continuity (of the individual, the Buddha) taught that the doer of the action is the experiencer of the result in order to prevent people denying the law of karmic cause and effect. Actually this is not so because a permanent self is non‐existent.

Question: But why is there no permanent self?

Answer: (73) Neither the mind of the past nor the mind of the future are the self because they are non‐existent; one has ceased and the other has not yet been produced.

Question: But isnʹt the mind of the present (moment), which has been produced but has not yet ceased, the self?

Answer: (If this were the case), then in the next moment, when it had perished, it would no longer be the s e l f . With this reasoning all five aggregates are rejected as being the self. (74) For example, when the trunk of a plantain tree is split into parts there is no essence found at all. Likewise, when analytically searched for with reasoning, a truly existent self cannot be found (among the aggregates).

Question: (75) If there were no sentient beings, towards whom could compassion be developed?

Answer: Although sentient beings do not truly exist, deceptively one should develop compassion for those imputed (as sentient beings) by the confused mind which has promised to practise the (Bodhisattva) way of life in order to lead them to the goal of liberation.

Question: (76) But if sentient beings do not exist, who will obtain the results of developing compassion?

Answer: Although ultimately it is true (that there are no truly existent sentient beings, compassion or results), deceptively, from the point of view of a mind confused about phenomena, we accept the existence of merely apparent results arising from merely apparent compassion developed towards merely apparent sentient beings.

Objection: Since compassion is both a subjective state to which things appear in a false way and a mind confused about phenomena, surely it is equally fit to be rejected as is confusion about the self.

Answer: In order to completely pacify suffering one need not and cannot reject compassion. Therefore one should not reject this merely apparent confusion about the results. But (77) the confusion about the self should be rejected because it increases such things as self‐importance which are causes for suffering.

Objection: But there are no means to reject this confusion.

Answer: There are because the supreme remedy for it is meditation upon identitylessness.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Malcolm » Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:48 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:25 am
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:54 pm
Supramundane wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:31 am
I read a short note on karma that states there is a 'non aggregate self ' or a self beyond the 5 aggegates to explain the concept of karmic rebirth.

"The Buddha, however, postulates transcendent consciousness or Buddha consciousness beyond the aggregates. He does not limit the analysis to impermanent properties. The non-aggregate being is a Buddha who has achieved detachment from the aggregates... This “individual stream of consciousness” describes a “self” or “soul” beyond the aggregates. When awakened this is a Buddha."

 But i don't think this is accurate in the context of Mahayana buddhism. If there were a non-aggregate self, the Buddha would have said so clearly and succinctly, right? 
This is just the Pudgalavadin heresy poking its head up.

In short, there is no self that is all the aggregates, one of the aggregates, or separate from the aggregates. "Self" is just a label we apply to the aggregates of a person, but it is nothing other than a designation and does not signify anything real.
Hi Malcolm, may i ask, is the rebirth real then? Or is it too just a label?
Nāḡārjuna's Verses on Dependent Origination state that while the aggregates are serially connected between this world and the next, nothing transfers from this world to the next:

Empty phenomena are produced
only from empty phenomena.
Phenomena are without a self and not of a self.
Though the aggregates are connected in a series,
the wise understand that nothing transfers.



This verse eliminates eternalism.

The following verse eliminates annihilationism:

Someone conceiving annihilation,
even for extremely subtle existents,
is not wise,
and will never see the meaning of "arisen from conditions."
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Supramundane » Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:47 am

Thanks Malcolm. I really appreciated your middle way response. It points to the answer, I think. I would like to dwell on Karma and rebirth longer. I have the conception ---perhaps a misconception--- that Buddhists stay away from this concept, either because they assume it is simply dogma that must be accepted or because they do not understand how in a worldview without a self ‘something’ can be reborn or because they assume it was an existing belief at the time of Gautama and he simply appropriated it. However, I don’t think any of the foregoing is true.

To complicate things, there is no sutra exclusively on Karma as far as I can see: the info seems to be scattered through various texts and is never consolidated. I am starting to think it may be a key part of Buddhism, at least, a key part in forming my overall understanding of Buddhism.

The Diamond Sutra has some references to karma, as it sets out how we can overcome the fear of birth and death. A diamond itself is a composite of various materials and conditions coming together. The diamond was created in a sense by the earth itself and vice versa(!). Without gravity, specific elements, pressure, a certain geology, it couldn’t have developed into what we now term a diamond. We ourselves are aggregates that coincide. The five skandhas are reborn every moment of time/space. yet that they lack any permanence/essence. All is empty, as in the quote on empty phenomena you provided, Malcolm.

So there is no “I” to be reborn. We are temporary structures that learn, experience and then fade away only to be reborn. We can realize our Buddha nature or we can stay on to lead others to the truth. (So in a way it is one’s own decision that determines whether or not one will be reborn, if you see what I mean?!)

The whole question of Karma/self is not yet clear for me. The usual metaphors of seeds, candles, waves, clouds etc. are helpful, but do not tell the whole story. There are still some pieces missing in the puzzle, at least for me.

I finish with a good quote I found that is food for thought for those ---like me--- who are still trying to unravel this mystery:


“Just as if there were a roofed house or a roofed hall having windows
on the north, the south, or the east. When the sun rises, and a ray has
entered by way of the window, where does it land?”
“On the western wall, lord.”
“And if there is no western wall, where does it land?”
“On the ground, lord.”
“And if there is no ground, where does it land?”
“On the water, lord.”
“And if there is no water, where does it land?”
“It does not land, lord.”
“In the same way, where there is no passion for the nutriment of
physical food … contact … intellectual intention … consciousness, where
there is no delight, no craving, then consciousness does not land there or
grow. Where consciousness does not land or grow, name-&-form does not
alight. Where name-&-form does not alight, there is no growth of
fabrications. Where there is no growth of fabrications, there is no
production of renewed becoming in the future. Where there is no
production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth,
aging, & death. That, I tell you, has no sorrow, affliction, or despair.” —
SN 12:64

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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by smcj » Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:18 am

I understand Karma and reincarnation to say that there is continuity.

No-self says that there is no consistency.

I don’t see those two ideas as being mutually exclusive.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by fuki » Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:53 pm

If I observe a thought arising it is momentary and arises due to conditions, a thought can condition the next thought but ofcourse its not the same thought (otherwise it couldnt arise) so there's no "thought-thingy" which stays the same nor does it have an essence or substance transmigrating, just insubstantial breezes. I don't see the paradox, what arises is already devoid of self, so where should the notion of not-self (or self) come from, unless such notions where conditioned by reading a book about not self and thoughts become a string called thinking and one believes theres something called a "thinker" with any substantial past, present, or future.

I enjoy the irony of the whole thing :lol:
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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Malcolm » Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:50 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:47 am

To complicate things, there is no sutra exclusively on Karma as far as I can see: the info seems to be scattered through various texts and is never consolidated. I am starting to think it may be a key part of Buddhism, at least, a key part in forming my overall understanding of Buddhism.

Oh, this is not true at all. Here are some sutras in the Tibetan canon:

karma-vibhaṅga
karma-vibhaṅga-nāma-dharmagrantha
karma-vibhaṅga
karma-śataka
karma-prajñapti

Not translated yet, but some Pali equivalents are:

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nymo.html
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .wlsh.html
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nymo.html

The Diamond Sutra has some references to karma, as it sets out how we can overcome the fear of birth and death. A diamond itself is a composite of various materials and conditions coming together. The diamond was created in a sense by the earth itself and vice versa(!). Without gravity, specific elements, pressure, a certain geology, it couldn’t have developed into what we now term a diamond. We ourselves are aggregates that coincide. The five skandhas are reborn every moment of time/space. yet that they lack any permanence/essence. All is empty, as in the quote on empty phenomena you provided, Malcolm.
You should should understand that the title Vajracchedika means "Diamond cutter," i.e. it is a reference the perfection of wisdom which cuts through even the hardest things.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Malcolm
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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Malcolm » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:07 pm

fuki wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:53 pm
so where should the notion of not-self (or self) come from, unless such notions where conditioned by reading a book about not self and thoughts become a string called thinking and one believes theres something called a "thinker" with any substantial past, present, or future.
"I, me, and mine" are the connate ignorance. That connate ignorance does not depend on reading a book, or some implanted belief, or some condition other than the mere fact of being a sentient being.

It is the basic mistaken we make which contradicts dependent origination. Even if we have an intellectual understanding of dependent origination, this is not sufficient to eradicate this connate ignorance. There is only one way to chip away at that connate ignorance, and that is through realizing the emptiness of self and the emptiness of phenomena. There isn't really any other way.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:40 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:47 am

To complicate things, there is no sutra exclusively on Karma as far as I can see: the info seems to be scattered through various texts and is never consolidated.
Here is another sutra on karma and fruits of karma:

http://cttbusa.org/cause_effect/cause_and_effect.htm
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Vasana
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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Vasana » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:50 pm

So there was a sutra on this very topic that I remember someone else sharing on here a while back and I couldn't for the life of me remember it's name, url or any sentences to help search for it. Luckily I printed out a copy in the past and have just found it again. I believe this sutra gets in to specifics of this topic (alaya, karma, the bardo, rebirth etc] in a much more detailed way.

Below is a just a very breif excerpt so follow the link for the whole thing:

http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra18.html
  • 大乘顯識經
    Mahāyāna Sūtra of Consciousness Revealed
    Translated from Sanskrit into Chinese in the Tang Dynasty
    by
    The Tripiṭaka Master Divākara from India


    [...]Worthy Protector, having been praised by the Buddha and Ānanda, joined his palms reverently and bowed down at the feet of the Buddha. He implored the Buddha, “Please pity, accept, and protect all sentient beings. I request permission to ask a few questions.”
    The Buddha told Worthy Protector, “You have my permission. You may ask me about your doubts. I will explicate them to you.”
    Worthy Protector said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, although sentient beings know that there is consciousness, it is like a jewel kept in a box, unrevealed and unknowable. World-Honored One, I do not know the form of this consciousness, nor the reason that it is called consciousness. When a person dies, his hands and feet may convulse, and the look of his eyes changes uncontrollably. As one’s faculties perish, the four domains—earth, water, fire, and wind—disperse. Where does one’s consciousness go after it has left the current body? What is its essence? What is its form? How does it assume the next body after leaving this body? After this body is abandoned, how does consciousness carry one’s faculties in order to accept the next requital, which can be a body of any kind? World-Honored One, how does a sentient being grow new faculties after the expiration of this body? Why does one accumulate meritorious karma in this life, only to receive its requital in the next life: The current body does meritorious karma, and the next body will eat [the karmic fruit]? How does one’s consciousness nourish one’s body and keep it alive? How do consciousness and faculties develop according to one’s body?”

    The Buddha said, “Very good! Very good! Worthy Protector, these are good questions. Hearken! Hearken! Ponder this well. I will explain to you.”
    Worthy Protector said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, affirmatively I accept Your teachings.”
    The Buddha told Worthy Protector, “The process and transference of [ālaya] consciousness are like the wind, which is formless, shapeless, and unidentifiable. However, the wind can activate myriad things and display myriad conditions, whether making loud sounds as it shakes the forest or breaks off branches, or causing pleasure or pain as it touches with cold or hot the bodies of sentient beings. The wind does not have hands, feet, face, or shape. Nor does it have various colors, such as black, white, red, or yellow. Worthy Protector, the same is true for the domain of consciousness. It is formless, shapeless, not revealed by light. However, through causes and conditions, it can manifest various kinds of functions. Know that the dharma realms of sensory reception and perception are also formless and shapeless. Through causes and conditions, various functions manifest.

    “Worthy Protector, after the death of a sentient being, the dharma realms of sensory reception and perception and the domain of [ālaya] consciousness abandon the body. The way [ālaya] consciousness carries the dharma realms of sensory reception and perception to accept another body is like a gust of wind sweeping across wonderful flowers. The flowers stay put, but their fragrance will flow far. The wind in essence does not grasp the fragrance of the flowers. Fragrance and the wind in essence are both formless and shapeless. However, without the power of the wind, fragrance will not travel far. Worthy Protector, after a person’s death, his [ālaya] consciousness carries the dharma realms of sensory reception and perception to the next rebirth, which is conditioned upon his parents entrusted by his [ālaya] consciousness. In this way the dharma realms of sensory reception and perception accompany [ālaya] consciousness. Because of the quality of the flowers, one’s nose can detect their scent. Because of one’s olfactory power, one smells fragrance, a sense object. The wind touches the flowers because of its power. Because of the power of the wind, fragrance can flow far. Likewise, from consciousness, sensory reception arises; from sensory reception, perception arises; and by perception, mental objects are differentiated. Then one knows good and evil.

    [...]“As an analogy, a seed is planted in the ground, but fruits appear at the top of the tree. The seed does not go from branch to branch to reach the tree top, nor does anyone place the seed on a branch. One cannot find the seed by cutting open the tree trunk. Even if the tree is chopped down, one still cannot find the seed. The seed cannot be found as the tree is formed and its roots firm. Thus good and evil karmas depend on the body, but cannot be found in the body. As an analogy, the seed is the cause of the flower, but inside the seed there is no flower. The flower is the cause of the fruit, but inside the flower there is no fruit. As the flower and the fruit grow, neither growth shows its cause. Likewise, because of the body there is karma, and because of karma there is the body. When the flower falls at maturity, the fruit with its seed will appear; when the body expires at maturity, the karmic seed will leave it. As the seed is the cause of flowers and fruits, likewise is the body the cause of good and evil karmas. Karma has no shape, no appearance of maturity, like the shadow of one’s body, with neither mass nor obstruction. The shadow is not held by or fastened to a person, but it moves along with the person. Never has anyone seen the shadow coming out of his body. Likewise, there are body and karma, but karma cannot be seen as something attached to the body. Yet, without the body, there cannot be karma.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:14 pm

Yes Vasana, that is a good one; the same sutra was also included in Chang's old Treasury of Mahayana Sutras, pp 223ff.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by Supramundane » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:16 am

Malcolm, Nicholas, Vasana, thanks so much for the links and i'm glad i was wrong! Give me time to assimilate all the info and then i will chime in again.
many thanks once again

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Re: Two solutions for karma and not-self paradox

Post by fuki » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:40 am

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:07 pm
fuki wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:53 pm
so where should the notion of not-self (or self) come from, unless such notions where conditioned by reading a book about not self and thoughts become a string called thinking and one believes theres something called a "thinker" with any substantial past, present, or future.
"I, me, and mine" are the connate ignorance. That connate ignorance does not depend on reading a book, or some implanted belief, or some condition other than the mere fact of being a sentient being.

It is the basic mistaken we make which contradicts dependent origination. Even if we have an intellectual understanding of dependent origination, this is not sufficient to eradicate this connate ignorance. There is only one way to chip away at that connate ignorance, and that is through realizing the emptiness of self and the emptiness of phenomena. There isn't really any other way.
Thanks.

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