The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

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Queequeg
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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Queequeg » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:18 pm

Been in and out of this thread so pardon if I've missed something.

Isn't samsara due to the fact that we mistakenly project subjective significance on to something that is empty of any significance? The more elaborate senses of meaning derive from the more elaborate notions of self and their complement, the projected objectivity. Objects arise because we distinguish them from ourselves. Objects are defined by notions of self, and vice versa in perfect complement.

Isn't the rupture of self and other the well spring of what we call meaning, in its simplest?

Meaning, then, is a way to understand the rupture that at coarser levels exhibits as suffering.
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

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by boda » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:37 pm

Jeff H wrote:
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 not 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.
I edited my previous post, incidentally, adding the word ‘not’, highlighted in bold.

I’m not sure why you’re bringing intention into this. Are you suggesting that Buddhist ‘use’ meaning intentionally?

Regarding the religious vs secular dichotomy, I was attempting to interpret your use of the term ‘mundane meaning’. What else could it mean in this context but non-religious (secular).
Shantideva makes a similar distinction when he talks about using anger to vanquish defiled anger.
Do we really have a choice in what we value and find meaningful? I believe that we can develop ourselves in particular ways, but this takes time and effort.
... convention itself, meaningless.
Conventions depend on meaning, don’t they?

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by fuki » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:43 pm

It's in the nature of mind to create subject/object where there is none, its only when we take the phenomenal center we imagine to be, which rides on the bus to go from A to B as something substantial or graspable that errors come into existence, like birth and death, being, not being, becoming, a past and a history, daydreams! It's sufficient to stop pretending it is otherwise and return (one's attention) to awareness, whether dreaming, asleep or awake. Whatever the analysis it is what a dream makes of a dream.
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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by boda » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:33 pm

Queequeg wrote:
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?
The concept obviously has meaning. I can imagine Sisyphus not feeling a lack of meaning if he realized it, to express it by way of contextual example.

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Queequeg » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:06 am

boda wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:33 pm
Queequeg wrote:
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?
The concept obviously has meaning. I can imagine Sisyphus not feeling a lack of meaning if he realized it, to express it by way of contextual example.
Not obvious. I might be completely wrong, but, to determine that anything has meaning, it would first need to be identified as an object... the quality of emptiness is the lack of object-ness. Am I missing something?
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

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Malcolm
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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Malcolm » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:24 am

fuki wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:43 pm
It's in the nature of mind to create subject/object where there is none, its only when we take the phenomenal center we imagine to be, which rides on the bus to go from A to B as something substantial or graspable that errors come into existence, like birth and death, being, not being, becoming, a past and a history, daydreams! It's sufficient to stop pretending it is otherwise and return (one's attention) to awareness,
There is no point in returning one's attention to something transient and ephemeral like awareness, unless it is to observe that it is empty and dependently originated.
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: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:35 am

QQ wrote: the quality of emptiness is the lack of object-ness. Am I missing something?
Not lack of ‘object-ness’ - absence of own-being, svabhava. Nothing is ‘self-originated’ i.e. existing from its own side. But if I throw a rock through your window, it will still break, and that will definitely mean something, like it not being able to keep the rain out.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Malcolm » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:54 am

boda wrote:
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


The topic has never been about this. Even newbies know that grasping BAD!



A curious question for someone who just claimed:

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.
Personally, I am glad life has no meaning -- it would be completely depressing if it did.
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: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Malcolm » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:55 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:35 am
QQ wrote: the quality of emptiness is the lack of object-ness. Am I missing something?
Not lack of ‘object-ness’ - absence of own-being, svabhava. Nothing is ‘self-originated’ i.e. existing from its own side. But if I throw a rock through your window, it will still break, and that will definitely mean something, like it not being able to keep the rain out.
Only if it happens to be raining, but I personally would be more worried about mosquitos, etc.
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: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Malcolm » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:23 am

Queequeg wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:18 pm
Isn't samsara due to the fact that we mistakenly project subjective significance on to something that is empty of any significance?
Samsara is the experience of suffering caused by karma that is motivated by affliction, that's all. When all those afflictions cease entirely due to insight, one becomes one of three kinds of buddhas: arhat, pratyekabuddhas, or samyaksambuddha, At that point, one is completely freed of birth, and that is the sole point of awakening. The innate grasping at a truly-existing self is the root of the three poisons. That innate grasping at a truly-existing self is a very subtle delusion. But it is the basic delusion that informs all of our cognitive choices and discriminations. The only thing that has meaning is the correct recognition of this deluded, innate grasping at a truly-existing self so that this delusion can be extirpated from one's continuum. We are not even projecting something on to another thing, such as imputing a self upon the aggregates. The innate grasping at a truly-existing self needs no object of imputation to be imputed. It is naturally imputed as the mere thought, 'me' or 'I.'
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: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by MiphamFan » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:47 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:23 am
We are not even projecting something on to another thing, such as imputing a self upon the aggregates. The innate grasping at a truly-existing self needs no object of imputation to be imputed. It is naturally imputed as the mere thought, 'me' or 'I.'
Can you recommend any texts that go into this? I've been thinking about this for a while but am not sure where this "I" comes from.

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:34 am

Malcolm wrote:Personally, I am glad life has no meaning -- it would be completely depressing if it did.

I would have thought that one of the terrible events in this weeks news - the latest mass school shooting - is terrible because of what it means. And it’s also terrible because the perpertrator apparently didn’t really grasp the meaning of what he was doing - otherwise he wouldn’t have done it.

Likewise, it is said of psychopaths, that they act as they do because the suffering of others doesn’t mean anything to them. They don’t see why they shouldn’t kill or inflict pain, because the suffering of others means nothing to them.

Where I’m at a loss in this thread, is that I would have thought Buddhists would not even contemplate such evil actions, because they know what the meaning of ‘karma’, and of ‘suffering’, is.

The only way I can rationalise it is that I think what is being rejected is the idea of ‘meaning’ in the sense of life being thought of as having a script with a definite meaning. If that is what is being rejected as ‘meaning’, then sure, I agree. Otherwise, I don’t understand the postings in this thread at all. Someone please straighten me out on this.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by fuki » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:32 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:34 am
I would have thought that one of the terrible events in this weeks news - the latest mass school shooting - is terrible because of what it means. And it’s also terrible because the perpertrator apparently didn’t really grasp the meaning of what he was doing - otherwise he wouldn’t have done it.

Likewise, it is said of psychopaths, that they act as they do because the suffering of others doesn’t mean anything to them. They don’t see why they shouldn’t kill or inflict pain, because the suffering of others means nothing to them.
Depends on the angle, it means the world to them, because they blame "the world" for their suffering they rejoice in the notion others shall suffer too, if the joy or pain of others would have no meaning to them they wouldnt care to act upon good or evil acts towards them.
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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by fuki » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:18 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:24 am
There is no point in returning one's attention to something transient and ephemeral like awareness, unless it is to observe that it is empty and dependently originated.
Quite the nitpick again Malcolm trying to seperate sunlight from the sun again, you cognize awareness depending on how it makes sense to your conscious efforts in the comfort zone of a literalist. Not from true awareness as Lin Chi put it; "focus on the one that does not move".

Not everything posted is food for analysis and philosophy.
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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Queequeg » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:57 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:35 am
QQ wrote: the quality of emptiness is the lack of object-ness. Am I missing something?
Not lack of ‘object-ness’ - absence of own-being, svabhava. Nothing is ‘self-originated’ i.e. existing from its own side. But if I throw a rock through your window, it will still break, and that will definitely mean something, like it not being able to keep the rain out.
There's a misunderstanding here... Object-ness was my inartful way of emphasizing that dharmas arise due to the distinction of self (subject), ie. Subject-object dichotomy. Not object as physical phenomena (rupa).
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

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Malcolm
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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Malcolm » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:02 pm

fuki wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:18 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:24 am
There is no point in returning one's attention to something transient and ephemeral like awareness, unless it is to observe that it is empty and dependently originated.
Quite the nitpick again Malcolm trying to seperate sunlight from the sun again, you cognize awareness depending on how it makes sense to your conscious efforts in the comfort zone of a literalist. Not from true awareness as Lin Chi put it; "focus on the one that does not move".

Not everything posted is food for analysis and philosophy.
Awareness is mental factor, conditioned and dependent. I have no idea what you mean by ‘true awareness.’ Does such a thing exist? How?
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: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by fuki » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:25 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:02 pm
Does such a thing exist? How?
Since it is not permanent you already know the answer to that one.
Awareness is mental factor, conditioned and dependent. I have no idea what you mean by ‘true awareness.’
From the Vajra Heart Essence (Nying thig) section of Dzogchen, Longchenpa writes:

“This awareness- Buddha Nature- is enmeshed in the physical body, and so the term “an embodied being” is used: Its is enmeshed in the net of ordinary mind- The eight avenues of consciousness- and so the term “ordinary being” is used; it is overlaid with karma and habit patterns, and the term “an obscured being” is used; its obscured by what is by nature a state of non-recognition, and so the term “a benighted being” is used….Thus, primordial basic space as naturally occurring timeless awareness- Buddha Nature, completely permeates the body.”
“Timeless Awareness is awareness free of elaboration, which in essence is beyond these levels. Awareness abides as the aspect that is aware under any and all circumstances, and so occurs naturally, without transition or change. For this reason, it should be understood to be ultimately abiding Suchness.”

“Therefore, the description of the fruition as “freedom in the immediacy of the Ground of Being” is meant to refer to the nature of basic space, beyond transition or change. It is impossible to actually become free in that immediacy, because it is impossible for the Ground of Being to ever have become distorted.”

“The second method is to identify the unconfused nature of phenomena by letting confusion settle in the natural state. This method is based on the fact that the essence of being is such that it has never known confusion, and so is uncontaminated by anything that could cause non-recognition. At present, this essence does not abide as a state of confusion, and so is devoid of any basis for karma and afflictive states. Subsequently, it cannot possibly become confused, and so any extremes of positive versus negative action have been eliminated. Given that the nature of being is indivisible, in awareness the ground of samsara is identical to that of nirvana, so confusion is innately pure.

Being can be characterized as that which cannot be subject to confusion…

The Pearl Garland Tantra of Dzogchen Nying Thig States:

“Enlightened Mind is free of all vacillation, but it not like some inanimate thing. It is conscious and aware, exhibiting an illuminating quality. It incinerates all concepts, for it is timeless awareness itself, consuming like fire. It is analogous to space itself. It is empty yet lucid, as well as aware.”

The Great Garuda Tantra of Dzogchen Nying Thig states:

“Timeless Awareness, not manifest yet free of being a void, is not reified, not relinquished, and not corrupted, but is the Natural State.”

The Natural Freedom of Awareness (Rigpa) Tantra of Dzogchen states:

“In essence, true Awareness is not an awareness that entails plans or actions. Reification is the very cause of going astray, so the path does not entail refuting or proving anything. Awareness is not in any way dependent.”

Lonchenpa writes:

“Buddhahood- the discovery of the Dharmakaya- is nothing other than the uncontrived and unadulterated essence of Awareness becoming evident. And because awareness is present in everyone without transition or change, I advise you to rest in the spontaneous presence of your uncontrived Awareness”

The Perfect Dynamic Energy of the Lion Tantra of Dzogchen Nying Thig states:

“Since Self-Knowing Awareness is timelessly unchanging, I am not obscured by either virtue or harm. Given that this Awareness occurs naturally, without causes or conditions, there is no need for structured spiritual practice”.

Is this enough? I could also quote some Zen, or Advaita, or pseudo-zen-advaita-sickness for you :tongue:
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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Jesse » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:41 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:34 am
Malcolm wrote:Personally, I am glad life has no meaning -- it would be completely depressing if it did.

I would have thought that one of the terrible events in this weeks news - the latest mass school shooting - is terrible because of what it means. And it’s also terrible because the perpertrator apparently didn’t really grasp the meaning of what he was doing - otherwise he wouldn’t have done it.

Likewise, it is said of psychopaths, that they act as they do because the suffering of others doesn’t mean anything to them. They don’t see why they shouldn’t kill or inflict pain, because the suffering of others means nothing to them.

Where I’m at a loss in this thread, is that I would have thought Buddhists would not even contemplate such evil actions, because they know what the meaning of ‘karma’, and of ‘suffering’, is.

The only way I can rationalise it is that I think what is being rejected is the idea of ‘meaning’ in the sense of life being thought of as having a script with a definite meaning. If that is what is being rejected as ‘meaning’, then sure, I agree. Otherwise, I don’t understand the postings in this thread at all. Someone please straighten me out on this.

I at the least, only mean life has no inherent meaning, in the same way, that we have no inherent existence. Also that It has no great, and grand purpose, etc.

Most people tend to ask questions like: Why do we exist? What is the point of existing? To have a point or meaning would imply, or at least lend credence to the theory that we were created, or that there is some will behind our being-- Rather than it being an arisen phenomena, which most Buddhists would agree that it is. While life lacks an inherent purpose; that does not mean life can not be 'purposeful'. (Filled with purpose).

Many people find purpose, or meaning in practicing the Dharma, Some people find meaning in freeing captive animals, other in helping other human beings, some in their work, and others find no meaning in living at all. (Personal meaning)

As pointed out; when used as in; "What is the most important thing about life", you could ask 1000 people, and get 1000 different answers.

I think a lot of the confusion here, and most places is a lack of defined terminology. A lot of screaming past each other over a lack of clear concise word usage/terminology.

Meaning can imply a great number of things: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/meaning?s=t

Also, I would also point out that a majority, if not all mass shooters are spree killers and not psychopaths. The psychology is totally different, and it's not that they lack empathy, it's more that they feel entirely justified usually due to their own suffering; which blinds them, and they commit some horrible atrocities as a result.)

Sociopaths tend to be a lot more... thoughtful in their killing. (when they do--- not all or even most sociopaths/psychopaths kill) They are not acting on a single-minded emotional impulse (entirely), but are usually extraordinarily premeditated in their methods, they normally are quite annoying to catch for police/FBI etc. While spree shooters tend to act out of a single intense emotional response, anger/revenge/a feeling of justification/maybe even apathy; and they always end up either being caught or committing suicide after the spree is over.

The difference is that it's generally understood that socio/psychopaths have quite a unique psychology, while spree shooters tend to be more or less normal people; (obviously with some lesser issues, and major personality issues); but psychology wise they are more or less normal people. They have simply careened off the edge of sanity in a very dangerous direction.

In the end, though, there tends to not be any sort of common denominator that makes spree killers have a 'single' profile, nor a single disease like psychopathy, or sociopathy as a cause. They can literally be anyone under the right circumstances, and conditions.

*Note: It looks like the (FBI) has updated definitions since I last read about the topic, in an attempt to further differentiate types of killers. There are now (generally) 3 types: serial, spree, and mass killers.

The definition that used to belong to spree killers, are now labeled under "mass killers", and spree killers have taken on a new definition.
Last edited by Jesse on Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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

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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by fuki » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:57 pm

Jesse wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:41 pm

In the end, though, there tends to not be any sort of common denominator that makes spree killers have a 'single' profile, nor a single disease like psychopathy, or sociopathy as a cause. They can literally be anyone under the right circumstances, and conditions.
Yes it is not a black and white, there are a myriad of conditions/causes in each being depending on the individual as to why/how one commits acts of good or evil, having spend studying my own evil tendencies (in thought only) which was completely opposite to my heart/nature for years as well as studying the 'psychology' (the tip of the iceberg) in others, their really is no single profille, or cause to be pointed out. But the TOS of the forum obstruct me from speaking from personal experience on this matter, I agree it can literally be anyone under the right cirumstances and conditions. Even in those who had "nothing but good" in them, there are "evil" seeds lying dormant waiting to be watered in anyone that has not realized Buddhahood. Hence we should seek to understand our 'own' minds fully and never pass judgment on others.
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Re: The Unbearable Lightness of Anatman

Post by Jeff H » Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:48 pm

So, boda, there are several separate discussions going on in this thread, but to address your comments about my point of view:
boda wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:37 pm
I’m not sure why you’re bringing intention into this. Are you suggesting that Buddhist ‘use’ meaning intentionally?
I’m saying intention makes a difference in the meaning of an action.
boda wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:37 pm
Regarding the religious vs secular dichotomy, I was attempting to interpret your use of the term ‘mundane meaning’. What else could it mean in this context but non-religious (secular).
Mundane meaning is used to reify conventional phenomena; Transcendent meaning is used to obviate conventional phenomena.
boda wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:37 pm
Shantideva makes a similar distinction when he talks about using anger to vanquish defiled anger.
Do we really have a choice in what we value and find meaningful? I believe that we can develop ourselves in particular ways, but this takes time and effort.
Yes. The purpose of Buddhadharma is to break our prior, damaging, reactive interactions. On the Sutrayana path we do it by creating new, more harmonious causes. On the Vajrayana path we do it by circumventing causes and knowing what we actually see. In both cases we first change what the world means to us then transcend meaning.
boda wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:37 pm
... convention itself, meaningless.
Conventions depend on meaning, don’t they?
Quite so. That’s the point: unlike ultimate truth, relative truth (also called “truth for an obscuring mind” because it isn’t true) requires meanings to be imputed on conventional phenomena.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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