Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

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CedarTree
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Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by CedarTree » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:53 am

Imagine I am sitting at Gyobutsuji Zen Monastery in America, or Wat Pah Nanachat (Ajahn Chah Monastery) in Thailand, or Panditãrãma (Sayadaw U Pandita-Mahasi Sayadaw Center) in Burma, or at some 3-year silent retreat in the tradition of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu or Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

A lot drops off (Anatta), Nonduality is experienced, with wisdom one awakens (Nirvana).

There is a dynamic with multiplicity (Individuals), Emptiness, Awareness, Etc.

How is awakening related to the individual?

This is to be open to all traditions and view points. There may be members with not as much formal knowledge as others that yet have diamond tidbits of wisdom.

Let us be encouraging and delve into what each other presents with a lot of respect so this discussion can draw out important understandings and content.
Don't hold out on practice!

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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by Losal Samten » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:03 am

CedarTree wrote:A lot drops off (Anatta), Nonduality is experienced, with wisdom one awakens (Nirvana).

How is awakening related to the individual?
Hinayana:
Arhat = Sees that there is no self within the skandhas (not that the skandhas are non-arisen)
Pratyekabuddha = Sees there is no self within the skandhas and that the material skandha is non-arisen (but the mental skandhas are still seen as truly existent)

Mahayana:
Bodhisattva = Directly perceives all phenomena as non-arisen within their equipoise
Buddha = Directly perceives all phenomena as non-arisen with no distinction between equipoise and post-equipoise
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by CedarTree » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:31 am

Losal Samten wrote:
CedarTree wrote:A lot drops off (Anatta), Nonduality is experienced, with wisdom one awakens (Nirvana).

How is awakening related to the individual?
Hinayana:
Arhat = Sees that there is no self within the skandhas (not that the skandhas are non-arisen)
Pratyekabuddha = Sees there is no self within the skandhas and that the material skandha is non-arisen (but the mental skandhas are still seen as truly existent)

Mahayana:
Bodhisattva = Directly perceives all phenomena as non-arisen within their equipoise
Buddha = Directly perceives all phenomena as non-arisen with no distinction between equipoise and post-equipoise
Detail how you understand "non-arisen" and "equipoise"

& Thank you Losal Samten for contributing :anjali:
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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by aflatun » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:30 am

Losal Samten wrote:
CedarTree wrote:A lot drops off (Anatta), Nonduality is experienced, with wisdom one awakens (Nirvana).

How is awakening related to the individual?
Hinayana:
Arhat = Sees that there is no self within the skandhas (not that the skandhas are non-arisen)
Pratyekabuddha = Sees there is no self within the skandhas and that the material skandha is non-arisen (but the mental skandhas are still seen as truly existent)
Interesting, where does that particular distinction with respect to the rupa aggregate between Arhat and Patyekabuddha come from? Can you recommend a source for me to check out?

Thanks in advance!
"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: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by Queequeg » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:59 am

As I understand, individuality is neutralized at some point on the enlightenment path, prior to annuttara samyaksambodhi...

Anatta - the self is completely understood to be without intrinsic reality.

Emptiness - realization that there were never any dharmas anyway.

Non-duality describes both of those realizations.

Nirvana - a name for the state of one who has crossed.

Individuality - a convenient and useful convention that animates this bag of meat, bone and gristle to avoid being eaten by a sabre toothed tiger.
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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by CedarTree » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:04 am

Queequeg wrote:As I understand, individuality is neutralized at some point on the enlightenment path, prior to annuttara samyaksambodhi...

Anatta - the self is completely understood to be without intrinsic reality.

Emptiness - realization that there were never any dharmas anyway.

Non-duality describes both of those realizations.

Nirvana - a name for the state of one who has crossed.

Individuality - a convenient and useful convention that animates this bag of meat, bone and gristle to avoid being eaten by a sabre toothed tiger.
Q and others, I think there is more to individuality than that or at least that "convention" and it's interaction with intention, karma, ignorance, reality, is something to really understand in a profound way.

That is what my topic is getting at.
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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by Queequeg » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:36 am

Well, if you have a specific answer in mind then why be all coy about it?
CedarTree wrote: This is to be open to all traditions and view points. There may be members with not as much formal knowledge as others that yet have diamond tidbits of wisdom.

Let us be encouraging and delve into what each other presents with a lot of respect so this discussion can draw out important understandings and content.
Individuality
1The quality or character of a particular person or thing that distinguishes them from others of the same kind, especially when strongly marked.
‘clothes with real style and individuality’...
1.1individualities Individual characteristics.
‘individualities and personal tastes had been sacrificed in a common urge’...
2Separate existence.
‘anything but individuality, anything but aloneness’
-Oxford Dictionary

Definition 1 fails with anatta, as well in the face of emptiness. The marks are empty, without self. They can't add up to self except in the conventional sense, and that's not individuality but rather something more subtle.

Definition 1.1 likewise.

Definition 2 fails because it would require the suspension of pratityasamutpada.

The best I can surmise you are trying to refer to True Self in the Mahaparinirvana sense.
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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by CedarTree » Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:02 am

Queequeg wrote:Well, if you have a specific answer in mind then why be all coy about it?
CedarTree wrote: This is to be open to all traditions and view points. There may be members with not as much formal knowledge as others that yet have diamond tidbits of wisdom.

Let us be encouraging and delve into what each other presents with a lot of respect so this discussion can draw out important understandings and content.
Individuality
1The quality or character of a particular person or thing that distinguishes them from others of the same kind, especially when strongly marked.
‘clothes with real style and individuality’...
1.1individualities Individual characteristics.
‘individualities and personal tastes had been sacrificed in a common urge’...
2Separate existence.
‘anything but individuality, anything but aloneness’
-Oxford Dictionary

Definition 1 fails with anatta, as well in the face of emptiness. The marks are empty, without self. They can't add up to self except in the conventional sense, and that's not individuality but rather something more subtle.

Definition 1.1 likewise.

Definition 2 fails because it would require the suspension of pratityasamutpada.

The best I can surmise you are trying to refer to True Self in the Mahaparinirvana sense.
Not trying to be coy about it lol I just think there is more there.

Not in that sense either, the True Self as referenced in that Sutra isn't really what I am talking about.

That is why I brought it up ;) Maybe someone can articulate more and draw out more information around this area of understanding.

(P.s. Q it's hard to always understand tone on reading, if you took my reply as combative against you just scratch that view point. I love you lol :heart: )
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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by CedarTree » Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:04 am

Maybe something around the individual aliveness that seems in some sense to have specificity around individual, for instance my awareness isn't your awareness. That is really rough but something along the lines of what I am getting at although I am interested in others see it outside of that framework as well.
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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by Losal Samten » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:15 am

aflatun wrote:
Losal Samten wrote:Hinayana:
Arhat = Sees that there is no self within the skandhas (not that the skandhas are non-arisen)
Pratyekabuddha = Sees there is no self within the skandhas and that the material skandha is non-arisen (but the mental skandhas are still seen as truly existent)
Interesting, where does that particular distinction with respect to the rupa aggregate between Arhat and Patyekabuddha come from? Can you recommend a source for me to check out?

Thanks in advance!
Gorampa's Distinguishing the Views talks about it somewhat, pp.119-121, Chodung Karmo trans.:
  • [the sravaka path] does not take the lack of true existence of the skandhas as its main mode of realisation. Instead, it takes the lack of true existence of the individual as its principal mode of realisation. Likewise the 'unobstructable path' of the path of seeing of pratyekas can discard the apprehension of 'true existence' which apprehends external phenomena as truly existent, because it takes the lack of true existence of external phenomena as its principal mode of realisation.

    [...]

    The selflessness of the individual is the main object to be realised by sravakas, and the lack of true existence of external phenomena is the main object to be realised by pratyekas, whereas the freedom from all the dualistic elaborations is the main object to be realised by Mahayana adepts.
Interestingly, which I failed to notice on my first reading, was that he also says that Cittamatrins do not assert any differences with regard to the realisation of sravakas and pratyekabuddhas.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by Dan74 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:32 am

I'm probably getting the intent of your question wrong, CedarTree, but my understanding is that the karmic momentum doesn't just disappear completely. So you love for music and sketching, and walks in the woods, to use a hypothetical, don't suddenly go away upon realisation. Although they may not be the top priority for a while.

Awakening is dispelling of the fundamental delusion, not a clean wipe of all personality. So a lot does change fundamentally with awakening, or a lot of change is set in motion, depending on the 'hows' of the awakening experience (some are sudden and very profound but most seem to be sudden but followed by gradual change). Even after awakening much of the smaller delusion can persist, let alone many small likes and dislikes. As far I can tell.

_/|\_

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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:49 am

There is not 'no-one to whom karma accrues' until there really is 'no-one to whom karma accrues'. Put another way, there will always be experiences as long as there is someone to have experiences. Nirodha is cessation - nobody there to experience. Isn't that why meditative absorption is a state where there is no consciousness of self and other?
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by Queequeg » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:04 pm

CedarTree wrote:
(P.s. Q it's hard to always understand tone on reading, if you took my reply as combative against you just scratch that view point. I love you lol :heart: )
No, and I hope the same. I meant it in the sense, stop teasing us and spit it out, man!
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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by Queequeg » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:55 pm

In Zhiyi's Gradual Path, he describes a series of 25 meditations as 'remedies' for the biases prevalent in each consciousness. The 25 is based on the 25 realms from hell up to the heavens of neither-thought-nor-no-thought. What intrigued me is that the cure for the bias of the heaven of neither-thought-nor-no-thought is contemplation of self. I have not been able to find further commentary on this in English and have not had the time to look at the Chinese and try to decipher it.

On Zhiyi, he also posits a threefold truth - the two truths plus the middle way which he equates with Buddha nature. In the threefold formulation the bias in favor of emptiness over the conditioned you find in some interpretations is rejected and then related to Buddha-nature, but with the three being one and three and both and neither.

I think this relates to your question in the sense that this approach affirms, denies, affirms and denies, and neither affirms nor denies individuality. The way I take it is, our sense of individuality has some basis, but not in a solid and immutable way. The terms I think about it is

I am a particular nexus point in time and space that is dependently originated with the dharmadhatu. This nexus point is unique in the dharmadhatu. It is a unique vantage point. This is the truth of the conditioned.

The dependently originated nature of that nexus reveals it's lack of inherent essence - the truth of emptiness.

And yet, that nexus is indestructible, irreducible, and a particular arrangement of the dharmadhatu. If that nexus is marked by delusion, the dharmadhatu is organized as samsara. If delusion is eradicated, it is 'organized' as Buddhahood.

There's a stab at the question. Don't hold me too it.
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-Henry Miller

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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by aflatun » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:24 pm

Losal Samten wrote:
aflatun wrote:
Losal Samten wrote:Hinayana:
Arhat = Sees that there is no self within the skandhas (not that the skandhas are non-arisen)
Pratyekabuddha = Sees there is no self within the skandhas and that the material skandha is non-arisen (but the mental skandhas are still seen as truly existent)
Interesting, where does that particular distinction with respect to the rupa aggregate between Arhat and Patyekabuddha come from? Can you recommend a source for me to check out?

Thanks in advance!
Gorampa's Distinguishing the Views talks about it somewhat, pp.119-121, Chodung Karmo trans.:
  • [the sravaka path] does not take the lack of true existence of the skandhas as its main mode of realisation. Instead, it takes the lack of true existence of the individual as its principal mode of realisation. Likewise the 'unobstructable path' of the path of seeing of pratyekas can discard the apprehension of 'true existence' which apprehends external phenomena as truly existent, because it takes the lack of true existence of external phenomena as its principal mode of realisation.

    [...]

    The selflessness of the individual is the main object to be realised by sravakas, and the lack of true existence of external phenomena is the main object to be realised by pratyekas, whereas the freedom from all the dualistic elaborations is the main object to be realised by Mahayana adepts.
Interestingly, which I failed to notice on my first reading, was that he also says that Cittamatrins do not assert any differences with regard to the realisation of sravakas and pratyekabuddhas.
Really interesting, thank you for the quote and the reference! I have had this translation of Distinguishing the Views on my to do list for far too long :toilet:
"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: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by Matt J » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:34 pm

Where the whole project goes offline, in my mind, is the first word--- imagine. What we are doing here is leaving the certainty of direct experience, and entering into the world of thought to create imaginary worlds and to compare them. Once we are creating imaginary worlds, we can create them however we like.

Personally, I think the comparisons of views that you find within Tibetan Buddhism isn't so much a statement of how things are in the Buddhist world, but a guide to our own personal experience to help us avoid the pitfalls of mistaken views.
CedarTree wrote:Imagine I am sitting at Gyobutsuji Zen Monastery in America, or Wat Pah Nanachat (Ajahn Chah Monastery) in Thailand, or Panditãrãma (Sayadaw U Pandita-Mahasi Sayadaw Center) in Burma, or at some 3-year silent retreat in the tradition of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu or Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by Anonymous X » Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:07 am

Matt J wrote:Where the whole project goes offline, in my mind, is the first word--- imagine. What we are doing here is leaving the certainty of direct experience, and entering into the world of thought to create imaginary worlds and to compare them. Once we are creating imaginary worlds, we can create them however we like.

Personally, I think the comparisons of views that you find within Tibetan Buddhism isn't so much a statement of how things are in the Buddhist world, but a guide to our own personal experience to help us avoid the pitfalls of mistaken views.
It seems to me there is no avoiding the pitfalls of mistaken views as our whole state IS a mistaken view that the Buddha and other teachers try to point out to us. Even your direct experience is not direct. It is always colored by a view. But this is to be discovered in one's contemplation if one is truly honest with oneself.

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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by Mkoll » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:04 am

I think your question's answer can only be understood by you once you become awakened to a certain extent because these terms and the meanings you've attached to them are unique to you. Conversing about it here may help move you in that direction, but I highly doubt you'll reach a satisfactory understanding through conversation alone.
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Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by Bakmoon » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:46 pm

CedarTree wrote:How is awakening related to the individual?
I'm not sure if I understand the question. Could you clarify?

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Re: Individuality, Nonduality, Anatta, Nirvana

Post by aflatun » Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:57 pm

Bakmoon wrote:
CedarTree wrote:How is awakening related to the individual?
I'm not sure if I understand the question. Could you clarify?
Yeah ditto! Are you asking whether individuality is compatible with awakening? Does an arya remain an individual, etc?
"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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