The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Casual conversation between friends. Anything goes (almost).
Post Reply
User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 1814
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:22 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:54 pm
Coëmgenu wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:04 pm
Simon E. wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:42 am
'Samsara and life are not the same thing' ...

Wrong in so many ways on so many levels its actually funny. Oh boy. :lol:
But they are different. They are also completely the same. And they say Buddhism is "scientific". :sage:
Well, Buddhadharma, as 'science' doesn't bear too much examination, does it.
That is not to disparage Dharma btw..nor science.
Is Samsara the field in which anatta, anicca and dukkha arise? Or are they Samsara?
Saṃsāra is a "field"? Is nirvāṇa a "field"?

Don't mess with me. I'm an expert Buddhism-er. Any perceived-as-postivist statements you make will be refuted and used against you.

:meditate: :spy:
如無為、如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

Simon E.
Posts: 5637
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Simon E. » Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:28 pm

Touche.. :smile:
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

Jesse
Posts: 1729
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 6:54 am
Location: Virginia, USA

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Jesse » Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:16 pm

fuki wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:04 pm
“It is a double perspective: one understands both the conventional and ultimate without being attached to either one. This is because one sees how meaning exists by virtue of a relative opposite: meaninglessness. In the absence of meaning, there is no substantial non-meaning to cling to either. One stands nowhere like empty space. This transcended perspective is where the path of language is cut away, and actually leads to a very active bodhisattva path rather than nihilism if properly achieved. Affirmation of a negative is as problematic as affirmation of a positive. Both are views, and all views are to be abandoned.”
~Shakya Indrajala

“All meanings in samsara are just like a dream. They have no true inherent existence and arise only as the display of pure awareness. When one fails to understand appearances as merely the display of pure awareness and identifies them as arising from self, i.e. self-identifies with them, then they become the experience of samsara.”
~Yangthang Rinpoche

:popcorn:

eschewing the intricacies of emptiness when someone misunderstands the concept from the get-go is probably the best course of action. Considering a majority of people do not actually understand them anyways.

But especially relevant when people find themselves put off to certain ideas due to not being ready for them.

:popcorn:
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

User avatar
fuki
Posts: 210
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:51 pm
Location: Netherlands

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by fuki » Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:28 pm

Jesse wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:16 pm
eschewing the intricacies of emptiness when someone misunderstands the concept from the get-go is probably the best course of action. Considering a majority of people do not actually understand them anyways.

But especially relevant when people find themselves put off to certain ideas due to not being ready for them.

:popcorn:
Are you talking in general or about ppl/situations specific on DW?
Sorry I didn't read this whole thread just shared the quotes, so I don't understand the context of your post.
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen nederland.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

Jesse
Posts: 1729
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 6:54 am
Location: Virginia, USA

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Jesse » Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:38 pm

fuki wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:28 pm
Jesse wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:16 pm
eschewing the intricacies of emptiness when someone misunderstands the concept from the get-go is probably the best course of action. Considering a majority of people do not actually understand them anyways.

But especially relevant when people find themselves put off to certain ideas due to not being ready for them.

:popcorn:
Are you talking in general or about ppl/situations specific on DW?
Sorry I didn't read this whole thread just shared the quotes, so I don't understand the context of your post.
Re-read the previous page of the thread. When someone is put off to emptiness, and or Buddhism for certain reasons, it's usually best not to get into the intricacies of emptiness at all, it usually only confounds peoples confusion, but it may also worsen the situation.

We were talking about "Meaning", and the implications the dharma has for such a concept, particularly people who are attached to ideas of life meaning, life's ultimate meaning, etc. Most people come to the dharma specifically because of such concepts, and ideas. It's what most drives most "Seekers", and people who practice spiritually/religiously. People mainly look for two things, Meaning, and Truth. Very few people are willing/ready to let go of such ideas.

Does it seem like a good idea to tell such a person that life is meaningless before they have even begun to fully understand the 4 noble truths?

Even for extremely experienced people, it can be a struggle to shift from seeking for meaning to practicing to relinquish attachments to such ideas.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

User avatar
fuki
Posts: 210
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:51 pm
Location: Netherlands

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by fuki » Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:50 pm

Jesse wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:38 pm

Does it seem like a good idea to tell such a person that life is meaningless before they have even begun to fully understand the 4 noble truths?

Even for extremely experienced people, it can be a struggle to shift from seeking for meaning to practicing to relinquish attachments to such ideas.

I've read it and I understand your point, well let me say that 'emptiness' is full of service,
for those who think life has meaning, no meaning, or neither.
The wind does not discriminate it does not blow for anyone in particular but for the entire manifestation.
Apologies if the quotes are misinterpretated by folks and enhances any emotional conflicts or existential crisis.
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen nederland.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

smcj
Posts: 5859
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by smcj » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:12 pm

Don't mess with me. I'm an expert Buddhism-er. Any perceived-as-postivist statements you make will be refuted and used against you.
Thrangu R. "Buddha Nature: Ten Teachings on the Uttara Tantra Shastra" tr. Eric Pema Kunsang
p.61:
The third point, fruition, possesses four transcendent qualities:
1. Perfect purity
2. Perfect identity
3. Perfect bliss
4. Perfect permanence
Just sayin'
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

boda
Posts: 1930
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:40 pm

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by boda » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:40 am

Jesse wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:38 pm
Even for extremely experienced people, it can be a struggle to shift from seeking for meaning to practicing to relinquish attachments to such ideas.
The topic has never been about this. Even newbies know that grasping BAD!
Jesse wrote:Does it seem like a good idea to tell such a person that life is meaningless before they have even begun to fully understand the 4 noble truths?
A curious question for someone who just claimed:
Jesse wrote:I think it's pretty important to distinguish between Samsara, and life. They are not the same thing.

boda
Posts: 1930
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:40 pm

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by boda » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:04 am

Sherab wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:29 am
boda wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:17 pm
Sherab wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:50 am
If life has meaning, then it would be meaningless to seek liberation from cyclic existence aka life.
Can you explain why?
My argument is based on the relationship between the purpose of the Dharma and the purpose of life.
You neglect to define what "the purpose of life" is. In the absence of that definition, perhaps it is best to understand that your argument is based on the difference between religious and secular life.
If that [secular] suffering is purposeful or has meaning, then why would you want to be liberated from that suffering?
This is an easy question to answer. People don't like to suffer and would rather like to be free of it.
In brief, the meaning/purpose of Dharma and the meaning/purpose of [secular] life are mutually exclusive. If one is meaningful/purposeful, the other must be meaningless/purposeless.
I've heard it said that a benefit of practice is the reduction or elimination of such polarized dualisms.
If you don't buy either Jesse's explanation or my explanation, then we will just have to agree to disagree.
I seriously doubt that you buy your own explination. You are claiming that secular life is meaningless for you and there's nothing that you value in it. This is an extraordinary claim. Are you sure it's true?

User avatar
Wayfarer
Global Moderator
Posts: 4228
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:07 am

Sherab wrote:If you don't buy either Jesse's explanation or my explanation, then we will just have to agree to disagree.
I’m with Jesse on this one.

I think a lot of people in this discussion seem to think that ‘the idea of the meaning of life’ is somehow non-Buddhist. Perhaps the reason it’s thought of as being non-Buddhist, is because talking of ‘the meaning of life’ seems like the kind of thing a Christian would do. For instance, there’s a well-known book by a Christian evangelical called The Purpose-Drive Life. So I think such ideas are associated in many people’s minds with Christian attitudes. Or am I reading it wrongly?

On the other hand - the term ‘emptiness’ can often sound like an idea from existentialism. Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus wrote volumes about adjusting to a world in which there is no purpose - the ‘purpose’ having been revealed as a ruse of organised religion. But their ‘emptiness’ is nothing like śūnyatā. It is more the aftermath of the ‘death of God’. Sartre used the expression ‘the god-shaped hole in the heart’ of Western civilisation.

I don’t think Buddhism fits into either category, either Christian or existentialist. As Buddhism was never predicated on there being a God, the ‘death of God’ is not relevant. So the existentialist view is also not necessarily relevant.

Also I wonder if the question as to whether ‘life has a purpose’ was ever really articulated in traditional Buddhist narratives. It’s not until you reflect on the question that you can really ask it. And I think asking that question is very characteristic of modern and post-modern thinking. I can’t ever recall a passage from the Buddhist texts or commentaries where the question ‘what is life all about, anyway?’, or ‘what does it all mean?’ is explicitly asked. I think it might be regarded as a pretty indolent question by many traditional Buddhist teachers. But not because life or the teaching is or isn’t meaningful - more, because it was just not the kind of question which used to be entertained. It was simply understood that the business of Buddhism was getting on with the teaching and practicing of it.

There is a vow in Mahāyāna against ‘teaching emptiness to the unqualified’ (one of the Bodhisattva vows). I think one of the reasons for this is that if the understanding of śūnyatā is grasped incorrectly, then it can result in forming a nihilistic view - the idea that nothing really matters at all - which is of course remote from the meaning of the teaching. Also it is a very subtle and profound teaching and people need to be properly prepared to receive it. But even so, I don’t equate the teaching of śūnyatā with the idea that life or the universe is or isn’t meaningful. What śūnyatā means is the absence of intrinsic reality in things. But when the bodhisattva ‘sees things as they truly are’ they are not seeing everything as devoid of meaning - only of things being no longer ‘objects of grasping’.

Of course might be mistaken, but that is how I interpret the issue.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

muni
Posts: 4532
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by muni » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:45 am

The wind does not discriminate it does not blow for anyone in particular but for the entire manifestation.
Ah!
Apologies if the quotes are misinterpretated by folks and enhances any emotional conflicts or existential crisis.
Reminds me on something.
You are not bound by perceiving,
But by clinging
So cut your clinging, Naropa!
http://www.prajnaparamita.nl/en/texts/mahamudra/
:meditate:

User avatar
Sherab
Posts: 1223
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:28 am

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Sherab » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:52 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:07 am
I think a lot of people in this discussion seem to think that ‘the idea of the meaning of life’ is somehow non-Buddhist. Perhaps the reason it’s thought of as being non-Buddhist, is because talking of ‘the meaning of life’ seems like the kind of thing a Christian would do.
You might be correct. A Christian would hold the view that God created man. It would then be reasonable to then ask for what reason did God create man? The standard Christian reply would be that man was created to worship God. That would be the purpose of a man's life for a Christian. The Christian would then argue that not believing in God would leave the life of a man purposeless. The non-believer or atheist would often counter and say that the purpose of life is what you make of it while you are living because there is nothing at the end of life. For a Buddhist however, the end of one life is but the beginning of another. This would go on ad infinitum unless the man is liberated from the cycle of life. The question for a Buddhist then is what is the purpose of going through an infinite cycle of lives? My answer is nothing. There is no purpose for going through an infinite cycle of lives. Any purpose that you give to one life ends with that life. I suppose people could live with that if suffering does not come into the picture. But once suffering is a permanent fixture in any life, no true meaning can be given to any life except when that life is lived for the liberation of oneself from the endless cycle of lives, or for the liberation of oneself and others from the endless cycle of lives.

User avatar
fuki
Posts: 210
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:51 pm
Location: Netherlands

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by fuki » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:57 am

Sherab wrote: You might be correct. A Christian would hold the view that God created man. It would then be reasonable to then ask for what reason did God create man? The standard Christian reply would be that man was created to worship God. That would be the purpose of a man's life for a Christian. The Christian would then argue that not believing in God would leave the life of a man purposeless. The non-believer or atheist would often counter and say that the purpose of life is what you make of it while you are living because there is nothing at the end of life. For a Buddhist however, the end of one life is but the beginning of another. This would go on ad infinitum unless the man is liberated from the cycle of life. The question for a Buddhist then is what is the purpose of going through an infinite cycle of lives? My answer is nothing. There is no purpose for going through an infinite cycle of lives. Any purpose that you give to one life ends with that life. I suppose people could live with that if suffering does not come into the picture. But once suffering is a permanent fixture in any life, no true meaning can be given to any life except when that life is lived for the liberation of oneself from the endless cycle of lives, or for the liberation of oneself and others from the endless cycle of lives.
Beyond our personal daydreams there is no other religion :smile:
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen nederland.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

User avatar
Wayfarer
Global Moderator
Posts: 4228
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:35 am

Sherab wrote:once suffering is a permanent fixture in any life, no true meaning can be given to any life except when that life is lived for the liberation of oneself from the endless cycle of lives, or for the liberation of oneself and others from the endless cycle of lives.
I quite agree. But that is not the same as saying that there is no meaning to be sought after.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

Jeff H
Posts: 891
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:56 pm
Location: Vermont, USA

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Jeff H » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:37 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:35 am
Sherab wrote:once suffering is a permanent fixture in any life, no true meaning can be given to any life except when that life is lived for the liberation of oneself from the endless cycle of lives, or for the liberation of oneself and others from the endless cycle of lives.
I quite agree. But that is not the same as saying that there is no meaning to be sought after.
Precisely. And that is why the Buddhist-imputed concept of meaning is taught as a temporary raft to be released once the other shore is reached. It's an expedient to supersede mundane meaningfulness and meaninglessness, both of which perpetuate suffering.

Going back to Sisyphus, the cause of his suffering was perpetually meaningless endeavor imposed as a punishment; one wishes for meaning. That is manifest suffering, but Buddha taught that getting what one wishes for is changing suffering; a temporary respite inevitably resulting in manifest suffering. The cycle itself is pervasive suffering, and the conventional meaning of Buddhism is to dispel pervasive suffering in a state where "meaning" has no meaning.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

Jesse
Posts: 1729
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 6:54 am
Location: Virginia, USA

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Jesse » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:27 pm

boda wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:40 am
Jesse wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:38 pm
Even for extremely experienced people, it can be a struggle to shift from seeking for meaning to practicing to relinquish attachments to such ideas.
The topic has never been about this. Even newbies know that grasping BAD!
Jesse wrote:Does it seem like a good idea to tell such a person that life is meaningless before they have even begun to fully understand the 4 noble truths?
A curious question for someone who just claimed:
Jesse wrote:I think it's pretty important to distinguish between Samsara and life. They are not the same thing.
I distinctly remember someone was having trouble reconciling the idea of meaning, with the reality of emptiness.

In fact, life is not the same as samsara. One can have the experiences of both ignorance, and Bodhi in the same life, even on the same day. I never recall mentioning from which point of view I was speaking, but it's always easy to assume things.

There's nothing to gain or lose, especially by posting here. :rolling:
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

boda
Posts: 1930
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:40 pm

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by boda » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:56 pm

Jesse wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:27 pm
boda wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:40 am
Jesse wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:38 pm
Even for extremely experienced people, it can be a struggle to shift from seeking for meaning to practicing to relinquish attachments to such ideas.
The topic has never been about this. Even newbies know that grasping BAD!
Jesse wrote:Does it seem like a good idea to tell such a person that life is meaningless before they have even begun to fully understand the 4 noble truths?
A curious question for someone who just claimed:
Jesse wrote:I think it's pretty important to distinguish between Samsara and life. They are not the same thing.
I distinctly remember someone was having trouble reconciling the idea of meaning, with the reality of emptiness.
Emptiness is meaningful, at least it is to me. I don't see what there is to reconcile.

boda
Posts: 1930
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:40 pm

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by boda » Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:16 pm

Jeff H wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:37 pm
the Buddhist-imputed concept of meaning is taught as a temporary raft to be released once the other shore is reached. It's an expedient to supersede mundane meaningfulness and meaninglessness, both of which perpetuate suffering.
If one type of meaning perpetuates suffering and another type ends it, this means that 'meaning' is not the cause of perpetuation or extinguishment. It simply means that the different types have different goals, basically secular or religious, respectively. Religious meaning is somehow not meaningful, and when any secular goal is attained its associated meaning is likewise discarded like the metaphorical superfluous raft.

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 6478
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Queequeg » Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:40 pm

boda wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:56 pm
Emptiness is meaningful, at least it is to me. I don't see what there is to reconcile.
Please explain that. How do you find emptiness meaningful?
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

Jeff H
Posts: 891
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:56 pm
Location: Vermont, USA

Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Jeff H » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:51 pm

boda wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:16 pm
Jeff H wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:37 pm
the Buddhist-imputed concept of meaning is taught as a temporary raft to be released once the other shore is reached. It's an expedient to supersede mundane meaningfulness and meaninglessness, both of which perpetuate suffering.
If one type of meaning perpetuates suffering and another type ends it, this means that 'meaning' is not the cause of perpetuation or extinguishment. It simply means that the different types have different goals, basically secular or religious, respectively. Religious meaning is somehow not meaningful, and when any secular goal is attained its associated meaning is likewise discarded like the metaphorical superfluous raft.
Yes, it is about intention and goals; but it's not about generalized "religious" versus "secular" efforts. Shantideva makes a similar distinction when he talks about using anger to vanquish defiled anger.
In chapter 4 Shantideva wrote:43. This shall be my all-consuming passion.
Filled with rancor I will wage my war!
Defilement of this kind will halt defilement
And for this reason it shall not be spurned.
And again with regard to pride:
In chapter 7 Shantideva wrote:59. Those who uphold pride to vanquish pride, the enemy,
Are truly proud, victorious, and brave.
And they who stem the increase of that evil pride,
Perfect, according to their wish, the fruit of victory for beings.
We are conventional beings so the only weapons we have are conventional. We use Buddha's teachings to show us how to use them and where to direct our intentions in order to make "weapons", and convention itself, meaningless.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

Post Reply

Return to “Lounge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Monlam Tharchin, Norwegian, Tenma and 41 guests