seeker242 wrote:Although, if you define "understanding" as mere intellectual understanding, I don't think that's good enough.
What understanding is enough? I think the stages of learning, understanding and applying are still valid here.
I think the stages of learning, understanding and applying are still valid at the point before "the mistake won't happen again". But after that point, when there is no more potential for mistakes, I would say those things are probably no longer necessary.
As far as what understanding is enough, I don't know! But Bodhidharma probably does. But then again, it seems he was never big on the whole understanding thing. Always been fond of this passage from the wake up sermon:
If you use your mind to study reality, you won’t understand either your mind or reality. If you study reality without using your mind, you’ll understand both. Those who don’t understand, don’t understand understanding. And those who understand, understand not understanding. People capable of true vision know that the mind is empty. They transcend both understanding and not understanding. The absence of both understanding and not understanding is true understanding. Seen with true vision, form isn’t simply form, because form depends on mind. And mind isn’t simply mind, because mind depends on form. Mind and form create and negate each other. That which exists exists in relation to that which doesn’t exist. And that which doesn’t exist doesn’t exist in relation to that which exists. This is true vision. By means of such vision nothing is seen and nothing is not seen. Such vision reaches throughout the ten directions without seeing: because nothing is seen; because not seeing is seen; because seeing isn’t seeing. What mortals see are delusions. True vision is detached from seeing. The mind and the world are opposites, and vision arises where they meet. When your mind doesn’t stir inside, the world doesn’t arise outside. When the world and the mind are both transparent, this is true vision. And such understanding is true understanding.
To see nothing is to perceive the Way, and to understand nothing is to know the Dharma, because seeing is neither seeing nor not seeing and because understanding is neither understanding nor not understanding. Seeing without seeing is true vision. Understanding without understanding is true understanding.
True vision isn’t just seeing seeing. It’s also seeing not seeing. And true understanding isn’t just understanding understanding. It’s also understanding not understanding. If you understand anything, you don’t understand. Only when you understand nothing is it true understanding. Understanding is neither understanding nor not understanding.
As far as the OP: "If you see thoughts don't truly exist you are no longer a Buddhist, you are actually a Buddha". I don't think that is any different than what the heart sutra says when it says "avalokiteshvara depends on Prajnaparamita and perceives that all 5 Skandha are empty". I don't see the OP statement as a negation of thoughts, but rather simply a non-affirmation of their existence. A non-affirmation quite different from a negation. With simply a non-affirmation, rather than a negation, there can be a middle, so to speak, that is neither affirming or denying either existence or non-existence. "Thoughts don't truly exist" IMO is really just another way of saying "thoughts are emptiness". Seems to me that emptiness can't have existence or non-existence applied to it, because if it could, it would no longer be emptiness.
As far as what understanding is enough, for there to be no more potential for mistakes, I guess you could say at the point where one actually fully realizes that "all 5 Skandha are empty". But, that is really not a very good explanation because it still leaves open the question "Well, what does 'all 5 Skandha are empty' actually mean?" Personally, I don't think that question is adequately answered with words, language, conceptual or intellectual thinking. It's understood via "Prajnaparamita". But, that is really not a very good explanation either because it still leaves open the question "Well, what does 'Prajnaparamita' really mean? And then you could go on to explain what it means, but that won't work either because you would still have the same question about that
explanation. These explanations could go on ad-infinitum, but they still won't ever reach the real truth of the matter IMO.