What is Dualism truly?

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Tenma
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What is Dualism truly?

Post by Tenma »

So, I've begun studying for psychology now and have so far encountered in a textbook over different ideas such as the mind-brain problem followed by conflicting Buddhist ideas with these(though I'm pretty sure I have a very wrong view, so someone here answer please).

What is dualism exactly? What is monism? What is the dharmic view of these things? Does it take a determinant view or what? Is thought, a non-materialistic thing, truly controlling the brain, are they one and the same, is thought and mind different, or what?

Thanks!
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Wayfarer
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Wayfarer »

You will get many different answers to such a broad question, but the way I would answer it, is to understand it through the history of ideas. It’s with the philosophy of Descartes that modern Western dualism really started, as he divided ‘being’ into ‘res cogitans’ (thinking subject) and ‘res extensa’ (material substance.) This is where the whole problem of ‘how does the mind affect the body’ really started.

Prior to Descartes, it never would have been thought of this way; the mind was not conceived of as existing separate to the body (although to really understand all the subtleties takes a fair amount of study.) And since Descartes’ time, this philosophy has lead to the general rejection of there being such a thing as ‘res cogitans’ at all. This is one of the main sources of scientific materialism - that everything can be understood in terms of physicality and the movements of bodies. The Cartesian idea of mind was criticised as being ‘a ghost in a machine’.

Indian philosophy is very different to Western (although actually there is no word precisely meaning ‘philosophy’, the nearest is ‘darśana’ which is derived from ‘seeing a sage or deity’.) Samkhya dualism is similar in some ways to Cartesian dualism in that it believes beings comprise two elements, purusha and prakriti, which can be interpreted as consciousness and matter, respectively. But Samhkya is culturally very different to Cartesian philosophy for the obvious reason that it developed in a different culture; again, it takes some reading to get an appreciation of the details.

Monism is the intuition that ‘all is One’. Some elements of both Western and Eastern religions are monistic - the Vedanta teaches that all being originates with or emanates from Brahman, who is one without a second. But there are also dualist schools of Vedanta (even though Advaita, non-dual, is for some reason best known in the West.)

The Buddha never taught that ‘all is One’. Actually I think he would ask, one what? The Buddha never encouraged speculation as to what things ultimately are, his whole teaching is based on very careful observation of what exactly is the case, and on understanding conditioned origination, ‘this being, that becomes, this ceasing, that ceases.’ Non-dualism in Buddhism is not depicted terms of ‘one-ness’ but of ‘not-two’, or of overcoming the delusion of ‘self and other’. You see that understanding clearly manifested in the Bodhicaryāvatāra in the teaching of ‘exchanging self and other’.

I think in the Buddhist understanding, generally, dualism of any form always is rooted in some idea of ‘self’ and of ‘me and mine’, even if that is projected outwards to some imagined supreme being. So overcoming or seeing through that sense of ‘otherness’ is the way of realising the non-dual (advaya) nature. It is simple but also very hard to realise as ‘self cherishing’ is deeply innate for all of us, it is human nature. But understanding its conditioned origin is the way of seeing beyond it.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi
tatpurusa
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by tatpurusa »

You can get very complicated and elaborate answers but actually it is quite straightforward and simple.
Dualism is like trying to make a catalogue of the waves of an ocean using their coordinates of shape and point of time.
Good luck with that - the situation will change even before you begin.
Monism is negating the existence of the waves altogether.
Non-dualism i Buddhism is actually also non-monism. It is neither this nor that.
It is the simultaneity of infinite potentiality within the only reality of emptiness.

tp.
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Sherab
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Sherab »

Wayfarer wrote: Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:27 pm I think in the Buddhist understanding, generally, dualism of any form always is rooted in some idea of ‘self’ and of ‘me and mine’, even if that is projected outwards to some imagined supreme being. So overcoming or seeing through that sense of ‘otherness’ is the way of realising the non-dual (advaya) nature. It is simple but also very hard to realise as ‘self cherishing’ is deeply innate for all of us, it is human nature. But understanding its conditioned origin is the way of seeing beyond it.
My problem with this approach is that non-dualism in Buddhism is simply the elimination of the sense of self and other even if the actual reality has two components: individuals and a physical environment. If so, then it would imply that non-dualism in Buddhism is but a deluding oneself regarding the actual reality.
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Crazywisdom »

Tenma wrote: Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:32 pm So, I've begun studying for psychology now and have so far encountered in a textbook over different ideas such as the mind-brain problem followed by conflicting Buddhist ideas with these(though I'm pretty sure I have a very wrong view, so someone here answer please).

What is dualism exactly? What is monism? What is the dharmic view of these things? Does it take a determinant view or what? Is thought, a non-materialistic thing, truly controlling the brain, are they one and the same, is thought and mind different, or what?

Thanks!
Subject/object dichotomy
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Grigoris »

Sherab wrote: Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:47 am...even if the actual reality has two components: individuals and a physical environment.
Who is deluding themselves about "actual reality"? :shrug:
"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
Tenma
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Tenma »

Grigoris wrote: Wed Dec 26, 2018 8:21 pm
Sherab wrote: Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:47 am...even if the actual reality has two components: individuals and a physical environment.
Who is deluding themselves about "actual reality"? :shrug:
Is there really anything deluding anything? I thought the self was a delusion that didn't really exist...
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Sherab
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Sherab »

Grigoris wrote: Wed Dec 26, 2018 8:21 pm
Sherab wrote: Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:47 am...even if the actual reality has two components: individuals and a physical environment.
Who is deluding themselves about "actual reality"? :shrug:
You misunderstood. "Even if" does not imply "is" but "supposing".
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Wayfarer »

Tenma wrote: I thought the self was a delusion that didn't really exist...
'I thought', eh? :smile:

There is no use thinking 'the self is a delusion', because until we really see through that delusion then it's a reality for us. In other words, it's not much use entertaining such an idea as a theory, when in practice the self is very real to us. Really seeing through that *is* the practice, but seeing through it doesn't appear as a concept. It appears as being less self-centred.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Crazywisdom wrote: Subject/object dichotomy
+1
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
stevie
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by stevie »

From my perspective dualism is based on conventional ordinary language and thus ordinary conceptuality. E.g. conventional ordinary language only knows 'is' vs 'isn't' or 'exists' vs 'does not exist' and ordinary conceptuality takes those dichotomies to be true although they are empty of truth. This ordinary language/conceptuality related view of dualism is fully compatible with Nagarjuna's approach and since it includes all conceptual dichotomies it does also include all instances of labelling ('something is X' vs 'something is non-X') as well as the subject vs object dichotomy.
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Seeker12 »

Sherab wrote: Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:47 am
Wayfarer wrote: Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:27 pm I think in the Buddhist understanding, generally, dualism of any form always is rooted in some idea of ‘self’ and of ‘me and mine’, even if that is projected outwards to some imagined supreme being. So overcoming or seeing through that sense of ‘otherness’ is the way of realising the non-dual (advaya) nature. It is simple but also very hard to realise as ‘self cherishing’ is deeply innate for all of us, it is human nature. But understanding its conditioned origin is the way of seeing beyond it.
My problem with this approach is that non-dualism in Buddhism is simply the elimination of the sense of self and other even if the actual reality has two components: individuals and a physical environment. If so, then it would imply that non-dualism in Buddhism is but a deluding oneself regarding the actual reality.
I think a reasonable way to think of it is dream.

In a dream, you may dream that you are a prince in a palace, surrounded by courtesans, enjoying the sensual pleasures. Or a beggar in the streets, sick from leprosy.

On the level of appearance, this all appears.

But ultimately, it is all simply dream stuff. The prince/beggar is dream-stuff, the identification, the palace, the street, the inner aspects - all of it.

One who fully pierces through to the nature of dream while dreaming is no longer bound by a belief in any false dualism. As such, Nagarjuna writes,

The naive imagine cessation
As the annihilation of an originated being;
While the wise understood it
As like the ceasing of a magical illusion.
Much though he recites the sacred texts, but acts not accordingly, that heedless man is like a cowherd who only counts the cows of others — he does not partake of the blessings of the holy life.

Little though he recites the sacred texts, but puts the Teaching into practice, forsaking lust, hatred, and delusion, with true wisdom and emancipated mind, clinging to nothing of this or any other world — he indeed partakes of the blessings of a holy life.
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Bundokji »

One of the possible answers can be found in your question: "what is dualism truly".

According to your question, there is a gap between the word "dualism" and "what it corresponds to in reality" and that the answer to the question would close the gap. If this gap is closed between the word and its meaning, the future becomes more predictable hence we know how to act. The word, which begins as an unknown, is given a meaning which becomes the past, and the function of the word becomes creating the conditions to find the same meaning in the future.

The above is one way of understanding the first noble truth. There is a self, in which the meaning of the word implies independence, experiences sickness, old age and death.

All in my opinion.
The cleverest defenders of faith are its greatest enemies: for their subtleties engender doubt and stimulate the mind. -- Will Durant
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

What is dualism exactly?
This then leads to the question “what is non-dualism exactly?”
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Crazywisdom »

smcj wrote: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:52 pm
What is dualism exactly?
This then leads to the question “what is non-dualism exactly?”
There isn’t. It’s a name of someone for whom duality no longer carries any weight.
Vajra fangs deliver vajra venom to your Mara body.
Tenma
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Tenma »

smcj wrote: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:52 pm
What is dualism exactly?
This then leads to the question “what is non-dualism exactly?”
IDK. That's what I'm trying to find out :jumping:
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明安 Myoan
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by 明安 Myoan »

Skillful use of appearances to benefit unawakened beings, coaxing them towards buddhahood, without forgetting the illusory nature of appearances and thus not falling back into confusion oneself :shrug:
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Monlam Tharchin wrote: Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:43 pm Skillful use of appearances to benefit unawakened beings, coaxing them towards buddhahood, without forgetting the illusory nature of appearances and thus not falling back into confusion oneself :shrug:
My understanding is such is the continual expression of the non-dual Nature as per the last chapter of the Uttaratantra.

So yes, I’ll buy that. That’s the salient point—although it’s not real popular here on DW.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Dan74 »

Wayfarer wrote: Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:27 pm You will get many different answers to such a broad question, but the way I would answer it, is to understand it through the history of ideas. It’s with the philosophy of Descartes that modern Western dualism really started, as he divided ‘being’ into ‘res cogitans’ (thinking subject) and ‘res extensa’ (material substance.) This is where the whole problem of ‘how does the mind affect the body’ really started.

Prior to Descartes, it never would have been thought of this way; the mind was not conceived of as existing separate to the body (although to really understand all the subtleties takes a fair amount of study.) And since Descartes’ time, this philosophy has lead to the general rejection of there being such a thing as ‘res cogitans’ at all. This is one of the main sources of scientific materialism - that everything can be understood in terms of physicality and the movements of bodies. The Cartesian idea of mind was criticised as being ‘a ghost in a machine’.

Indian philosophy is very different to Western (although actually there is no word precisely meaning ‘philosophy’, the nearest is ‘darśana’ which is derived from ‘seeing a sage or deity’.) Samkhya dualism is similar in some ways to Cartesian dualism in that it believes beings comprise two elements, purusha and prakriti, which can be interpreted as consciousness and matter, respectively. But Samhkya is culturally very different to Cartesian philosophy for the obvious reason that it developed in a different culture; again, it takes some reading to get an appreciation of the details.

Monism is the intuition that ‘all is One’. Some elements of both Western and Eastern religions are monistic - the Vedanta teaches that all being originates with or emanates from Brahman, who is one without a second. But there are also dualist schools of Vedanta (even though Advaita, non-dual, is for some reason best known in the West.)

The Buddha never taught that ‘all is One’. Actually I think he would ask, one what? The Buddha never encouraged speculation as to what things ultimately are, his whole teaching is based on very careful observation of what exactly is the case, and on understanding conditioned origination, ‘this being, that becomes, this ceasing, that ceases.’ Non-dualism in Buddhism is not depicted terms of ‘one-ness’ but of ‘not-two’, or of overcoming the delusion of ‘self and other’. You see that understanding clearly manifested in the Bodhicaryāvatāra in the teaching of ‘exchanging self and other’.

I think in the Buddhist understanding, generally, dualism of any form always is rooted in some idea of ‘self’ and of ‘me and mine’, even if that is projected outwards to some imagined supreme being. So overcoming or seeing through that sense of ‘otherness’ is the way of realising the non-dual (advaya) nature. It is simple but also very hard to realise as ‘self cherishing’ is deeply innate for all of us, it is human nature. But understanding its conditioned origin is the way of seeing beyond it.
Very nice summary. I appreciated reading it, W.
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Re: What is Dualism truly?

Post by Grigoris »

I do believe the question has been answered.
"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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