The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

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boda
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The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by boda » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:58 am

In the stoner topic Queequeg wrote:
Queequeg wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:29 am
You do realize, this is a Buddhist website. You know, anatman, sunyata. The search for meaning is impossible.
The premise: emptiness

The warrant: desire for meaning

The inference:

The claim: the search for meaning is impossible


Whether this is an ironically or intentionally meaningless argument I can’t tell.

Anyone care to fill in the blanks?

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Queequeg
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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Queequeg » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:53 am

It ends with the premise. In fact its over before the premise.

Provisional meaning is possible. But it's, you know, provisional.

Have you been buzzing around here all this time and missed the whole Madhyamika thing?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

boda
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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by boda » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:16 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:53 am
It ends with the premise. In fact its over before the premise.
No, you’ve made a distinct claim. You can either support the claim with a reasonable argument or we can dismiss it as nonsense.
Provisional meaning is possible. But it's, you know, provisional.
By this reasoning everything is impossible, including the cessation of suffering, which would make the practice of Buddhism meaningless.
Have you been buzzing around here all this time and missed the whole Madhyamika thing?
Lol, indeed. Do you believe this place expresses the meaning well?

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:21 pm

boda wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:16 pm
By this reasoning everything is impossible, including the cessation of suffering, which would make the practice of Buddhism meaningless.
Suffering is an illusion, so is it's cessation. ;)
"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: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by aflatun » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:38 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:53 am
It ends with the premise. In fact its over before the premise.

Provisional meaning is possible. But it's, you know, provisional.

Have you been buzzing around here all this time and missed the whole Madhyamika thing?
Just to make sure I'm understanding you correctly: Are you saying the Madhyamaka rejection of existence/non-existence includes a rejection of meaning? Also, what do we mean by meaning here?

:heart:
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by boda » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:54 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:21 pm
boda wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:16 pm
By this reasoning everything is impossible, including the cessation of suffering, which would make the practice of Buddhism meaningless.
Suffering is an illusion, so is it's cessation. ;)
Then why reinforce the illusion by practicing Buddhism?

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by SunWuKong » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:38 am

aflatun wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:38 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:53 am
It ends with the premise. In fact its over before the premise.

Provisional meaning is possible. But it's, you know, provisional.

Have you been buzzing around here all this time and missed the whole Madhyamika thing?
Just to make sure I'm understanding you correctly: Are you saying the Madhyamaka rejection of existence/non-existence includes a rejection of meaning? Also, what do we mean by meaning here?

:heart:
Meaning in the sense of logical explanation. Or mean in the sense of profound and sublime? I guess it depends on where you find meaning.!
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Wayfarer » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:41 am

Queequeg wrote: The search for meaning is impossible.
I really don't get that either. There is a sense in which the Buddha gestures towards 'that which is beyond words', for example, the legend of Mahakasyapa and the flower.

But at the same time, the 'recorded sayings of the Buddha' are voluminous and exact and they have quite a precise meaning. So I think to say that 'the search for meaning is impossible' is a nihilistic statement, if taken on face value.

I think the problem to be avoided is the idea that meaning has to be anchored in some proposed absolute. The relationship between 'is' and is not' in the Madhyamika is dialectical in nature. And dialectic informs an understanding which cannot by its very nature be reduced to or expressed in definite propositions. So in practice, different things are true at different levels, which is why the Buddha taught at the level appropriate to specific audiences. That might entail that 'meaning' is expressed in somewhat fluid or dynamic terms rather than being fixed, but it doesn't mean that the 'search for meaning' is impossible.
Meditating is learning to love nothing.

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by PuerAzaelis » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:46 am

I don’t get the confusion at Queequeg’s statement. From the side of purity, improper knowledge is not the obscuration, knowledge is obscuration. Supporting the ultimate perspective “with reasoning” is exactly what Nagarjuna showed in MMK can’t be done. I have absolutely no idea who I am, that’s the ultimate truth. If I said I know, I’d be in delusion.
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by boda » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:08 am

PuerAzaelis wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:46 am
I don’t get the confusion at Queequeg’s statement. From the side of purity, improper knowledge is not the obscuration, knowledge is obscuration. Supporting the ultimate perspective “with reasoning” is exactly what Nagarjuna showed in MMK can’t be done. I have absolutely no idea who I am, that’s the ultimate truth. If I said I know, I’d be in delusion.
If Q’s statement is clear to you then please explain how emptiness relates to the search for meaning being impossible.

Meaning doesn’t need to be static or absolute to be sought and found.

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Queequeg » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:52 am

You can look for meaning. Knock yourself out.

As I understand Dharma, seeking meaning is another iteration of grasping. The only meaning that will be found will be tentative and hopelessly unstable. Any search for meaning that conceives an end in stability is bound to end in frustration.

What I mean by impossible is that seeking something meaning is more or less chasing mirages. If that's understood, then dream the impossible.

There are philosophies that are founded on this perpetual grasping. Existentialism is one. Surfing samsara.

Dharma as I understand exposes this perpetual instability. In it's place is an endeavor to liberate from that perpetual cycle.

That's probably misstated, but it's more or less what I meant.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Wayfarer » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:00 am

You can look for meaning. Knock yourself out.
That statement is meaningful.

See? Wasn’t difficult.
Meditating is learning to love nothing.

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by boda » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:25 am

Yes, well done. :smile:

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Grigoris » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:27 am

boda wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:54 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:21 pm
boda wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:16 pm
By this reasoning everything is impossible, including the cessation of suffering, which would make the practice of Buddhism meaningless.
Suffering is an illusion, so is it's cessation. ;)
Then why reinforce the illusion by practicing Buddhism?
Ever heard of "back-burning"?
"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: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by DGA » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:56 pm

hi boda

I’m interested in the question you posed but I’m still not clear on what you mean by meaning.

Would you please clarify?

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by boda » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:10 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:27 am
boda wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:54 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:21 pm
Suffering is an illusion, so is it's cessation. ;)
Then why reinforce the illusion by practicing Buddhism?
Ever heard of "back-burning"?
Of course, I've had back issues my whole adult life. I went to a chiropractor religiously for well over a decade. A few years ago I visited a physical therapist for a shoulder injury and, noticing the condition of my lower back in his general examination, he recommended some daily moves, which was basically the McKenzie Method. Around the same time, our insurance plan changed and my chiropractor was no longer covered by the new plan. So I stopped going and focused on a daily practice of the new method, plus some yoga moves. The McKenzie method is a lot like yoga, specifically, the lower back stretch is similar to cobra. After about a year I was in much better condition than I ever was under the care of a chiropractor. Today I practically have no back issues, but I do need to continue the daily practice.

Chiropractic treatment did help, no question, but one visit to a physical therapist and self-treatment has proved to be vastly superior.

Anyway, what were we talking about?
DGA wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:56 pm
I’m interested in the question you posed but I’m still not clear on what you mean by meaning.

Would you please clarify?
Oh yes, we were talking about meaning.

You guys are familiar with the Sisyphus myth, yes? The dude who's condemned to rolling a rock up a hill for all eternity. Can you imagine a more pointless activity? Who in that circumstance would not wish for a more fulfilling occupation?

What Sisyphus desires, and what I would argue we all desire, is what I'm talking about

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Grigoris » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:49 am

boda wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:10 am
Of course, I've had back issues my whole adult life. I went to a chiropractor religiously for well over a decade. A few years ago I visited a physical therapist for a shoulder injury and, noticing the condition of my lower back in his general examination, he recommended some daily moves, which was basically the McKenzie Method. Around the same time, our insurance plan changed and my chiropractor was no longer covered by the new plan. So I stopped going and focused on a daily practice of the new method, plus some yoga moves. The McKenzie method is a lot like yoga, specifically, the lower back stretch is similar to cobra. After about a year I was in much better condition than I ever was under the care of a chiropractor. Today I practically have no back issues, but I do need to continue the daily practice.

Chiropractic treatment did help, no question, but one visit to a physical therapist and self-treatment has proved to be vastly superior.

Anyway, what were we talking about?
Sigh...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlled_burn
"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: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:12 am

One way I interpret the OP, is that ‘meaning’ isn’t scripted. We’re not handed a role to play, like in the olden days when everyone was born into an hereditary occupation. We have to figure out our own role and decide to play it. It means we have a high degree of freedom, but sometimes freedom is itself a burden. (That is the message of Eric Fromm’s book, Fear of Freedom.)

Existentialism is one of the philosophies that addresses this idea. ‘Existence before essence’ was one of Sartre’s aphorisms, meaning that how we act determines what we are - rather than vice versa, which was traditionally assumed. But now, he says, we literally create ourselves by what we do.

The resonance there with the idea of karma is plain. But at the same time, Buddhism doesn’t necessarily share the other assumptions of European existentialism. Having not been based on belief in God in the first place, ‘the death of God’ isn’t an issue for Buddhists. But as its moral code wasn’t dependent on there being a God in the first place, so too His purported ‘death’ doesn’t necessarily result in the moral vacuum that much existentialism assumes. So I think the Buddhist attitude is simultaneously ‘so what?’ But also ‘business as usual’. We’re not handed meaning on a plate, but to be engaged in the practice is intrinsically meaningful.
Meditating is learning to love nothing.

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Simon E. » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:30 am

The Dharma is not about giving 'meaning' to life..that is an idea from the western intellectual tradition.

The Dharma is as natural as breathing swimming eating and shitting. We make it unnatural by jabbering on about it. Particularly by jabbering on about 'meaning'..which is living life with a permanent conceptual condom between us and reality.

To equate the Dharma with an imbuing of 'meaning' is just a sign of fearfulness. It enables an illusion of control.
If you use the word 'mind' without defining your terms I will ask you politely for a definition. :smile:
This is not to be awkward. But it's really not self-explanatory.

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by weitsicht » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:36 pm

boda wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:58 am
Whether this is an ironically or intentionally meaningless argument I can’t tell.

Anyone care to fill in the blanks?
In the meaninglessness lies the Point

Maybe the Picture of the turning wheel helps you: Looking onto the wheel, it turns. Sitting at its spoke and it turns (and you with it). There is only one Point where nothing turns: the axis. Find your axis and everything will be self-evident. Look for your axis and ego's Patterns will make you get lost.
This axis always has been there.
And as Jigme Lingpa said: be what knows the arising.
Embrace paradoxy fully and you'll see

In Germany we have this beautiful picture book - it just came into my mind - by Wolf Erlbruch "Die fürchterlichen Fünf"
Five guys finding themselves ugly and despicable. Then they identify their personal strengths, they decide to start a Joint Business. Lots of activity but then no-one follows their Invitation. Finally they just enjoy themselves and everything turns out well.
That book is supposed to be for Kids from Age 4 but it works beautifully for adults. Erlbruch is quite renowned for secretly addressing the adults actually.
Ho! All the possible appearances and existences of samsara and nirvana have the same source, yet two paths and two results arise as the magical display of awareness and unawareness.
HO NANG SRI KHOR DAE THAMCHE KUN ZHI CHIG LAM NYI DRAE BU NYI RIG DANG MA RIG CHOM THRUL TE

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