No External Objects

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
User avatar
conebeckham
Posts: 4635
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: No External Objects

Post by conebeckham » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:31 pm

smcj wrote:
On the level of convention, there are valid, and invalid, appearances.
[smcj edit]
On the level of Truth, Emptiness, there is no need to differentiate between these objects of negation, as they are all mere appearances to mind.
That's the crux of the matter. If there is nothing other than "mere appearance" then hologram of a horse is as much an entity as an actual horse. Or rather, the horse is as much a non-entity as the hologram.
On the conventional level there is inexorability of Cause and Effect. On the conventional level, the causes and conditions for the unicorn do not exist--therefore, there is no "form" that appears as a unicorn. Of course the mind can "conceive" of one, as an idea. Currently there is also no convincing cause and effect for the hologram of the horse, though there may be in the future, eh? There is, most definitely, cause and effect for the beast known as Equus Ferus Caballus. That beast is ultimately a mere appearance, as are we.

All things are equality in the Vast Expanse of Dharmata. The horse is as much a non-entity as the hologram. However, mere appearances differ according to the laws of conditioned phenomena, and therefore the appearance of the hologram of a horse, and the appearance of the living, breathing, Equus Ferus Caballus, are two different appearances, and not equivalent on the level of convention.

As Guru Rinpoche said, "My view is vast as the sky, but my respect for cause and effect is as fine as grains of sand."
Last edited by conebeckham on Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

User avatar
conebeckham
Posts: 4635
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: No External Objects

Post by conebeckham » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:32 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Malcolm wrote:A buddha could not be harmed by the bullet in the chamber.
The Buddha was harmed by a rockslide caused by Devadatta.
The Buddha was never harmed. It just may have looked that way.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3518
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: No External Objects

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:32 pm

If there is no higher or lower, how can there be levels at all?
The Buddha was never harmed. It just may have looked that way.
You might google the term 'docetism'. It is generally associated with Christianity, but there are also Buddhist forms.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
conebeckham
Posts: 4635
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: No External Objects

Post by conebeckham » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:34 pm

In truth, there are no levels.

As Malcolm once famously said, "It's turtles all the way down....."
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3518
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: No External Objects

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:39 pm

Right, and if Malcolm says it.....

I have explained my views above, and I haven't seen anything I consider a rebuttal. Meanwhile, duty calls, I will be back later.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
conebeckham
Posts: 4635
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: No External Objects

Post by conebeckham » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:40 pm

Wayfarer wrote:If there is no higher or lower, how can there be levels at all?
The Buddha was never harmed. It just may have looked that way.
You might google the term 'docetism'. It is generally associated with Christianity, but there are also Buddhist forms.
As I understand the term, it's a theory that Jesus Christ was illusory, and not at all flesh and blood. This differs from the perspective of Buddhism as I intepret it, fundamentally. Mahayana Buddhists, most of us at least, do not assert the "nonexistence" of a flesh-and-blood Buddha on the level of the seeming.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

MiphamFan
Posts: 745
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:46 am

Re: No External Objects

Post by MiphamFan » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:41 pm

Your revolver example is completely irrelevant and does not demonstrate any existence.

If I were beheaded by ISIS, the sword, my head, the beheader do not exist ultimately either.

User avatar
conebeckham
Posts: 4635
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: No External Objects

Post by conebeckham » Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:01 am

Wayfarer wrote:Right, and if Malcolm says it.....

I have explained my views above, and I haven't seen anything I consider a rebuttal. Meanwhile, duty calls, I will be back later.
Malcolm is credentialed, I can assure you, though my main reason for quoting him was for the humor value. As for your views, you may hold them if you wish, but they do not correspond with Madhyamaka.

Put as delicately as I can, your views are merely conceptual constructs. They are the efforts of conceptual mind to assign qualifiers, existential postulates of some sort or other, because of your conditioning. We are all alike in that regard. Madhyamaka is the method to use one's intellect, one's own conceptual mind, to dismantle one's conditioning. It's not really about the bullet, as it is about the ineffable nature of our experience of the "seemingly real outside of us."
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3518
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: No External Objects

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Nov 25, 2015 1:20 am

Conceptual constructs are essential for communicating and working, as I'm sure you're aware. Provided you understand them as conceptual constructions then there's no problem with them.
Conebeckham wrote:On the conventional level there is inexorability of Cause and Effect.
How can there be a conventional level if there is nothing higher or lower?

There is paramarthasatya, ultimate truth, and conventional truth, samvritisatya. From the viewpoint of the ultimate truth, there is no ultimate distinction but from the viewpoint of conventional truth, there is. 'First, there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is', as the koan puts it. But within that understanding, 'ultimate truth' is higher truth. I don't understand the point of denying it. What of the ten Bhumis, and the 7 Dhyanas? Why are they depicted in terms of 'ascent'?
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

Herbie
Posts: 597
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:10 pm

Re: No External Objects

Post by Herbie » Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:04 am

Matt J wrote:In his commentary to Distinguishing Dharma and Dharmata, Ju Mipham says:

What are being called "outer objects observed in common" are not referents existing as something extrinsic to[/i ] or other than consciousness, because they are only apparently experienced as common by a variety of beings whose mindstreams are not identical. But this is what proves that they are nothing other than differing perceptions of differing mindstreams.

-- From Distinguishing Phenomenon and Pure Being, trans. Jim Scott, page 99.

Ju Mipham also spends a whole chapter of the Beacon of Certainty going into this question. Interestingly, Mipham says the Distinguishing Dharma and Dharmata text takes a Cittamatra approach to Dharma, and a Madhyamaka approach to Dharmata.

I've been considering some of Ju Mipham's arguments, and I was wondering if anyone had any more insights or resources on this topic. Mipham is awesome, but his discussion on this issue is rather terse.

Also, I'm curious about how the other schools approach it.

Thanks!

I am curious why you have chosen the title "No External Objects" because nothing what you are saying in your OP supports the validity of this title.

i think there is a lack of differentiating between "there is no evidence for" and "there is evidence against", i.e. both are confused. "no evidence for" can never substitute "evidence against". Whatever you claim, you need evidence for your claim. And there cannot be any evidence against external objects althought there cannot be any evidence for external objects either. However there can be evidence against the subjective perception of objects.

User avatar
conebeckham
Posts: 4635
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: No External Objects

Post by conebeckham » Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:08 am

There is only wisdom and delusion. Conventional truth is delusion. Paths and Bhumis are conventional designations relating to the degrees of abandonment of delusion, but all such designations are seeming.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

Herbie
Posts: 597
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:10 pm

Re: No External Objects

Post by Herbie » Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:12 am

conebeckham wrote:There is only wisdom and delusion. Conventional truth is delusion.
I'd say there is rationality or there isn't.

User avatar
smcj
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: No External Objects

Post by smcj » Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:25 am

But within that understanding, 'ultimate truth' is higher truth. I don't understand the point of denying it.
Though it seems self-contradictory, the highest views do not see things in terms of high and low. The transcendent (or primordial) is also immanent.
What of the ten Bhumis, and the 7 Dhyanas? Why are they depicted in terms of 'ascent'?
From where I stand (or sit) all those are higher than my present position. If I ever get there I anticipate that I will retroactively see that those 'higher truths' were present all along the way.

In the story of Asanga, he practiced intensively for 12 years at the end of which Maritreya appeared. Assanga asked Maitreya where he had been all those 12 years to which Maitreya replied, "I've been here all along. You just haven't been able to see me." I think it will be something like that, probably a handful of lifetimes from now.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

Herbie
Posts: 597
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:10 pm

Re: No External Objects

Post by Herbie » Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:33 am

smcj wrote: I think it will be something like that, probably a handful of lifetimes from now.
I think it can be in this lifetime. Only lack of self confidence is a hindrance. ;)

tingdzin
Posts: 931
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:19 am

Re: No External Objects

Post by tingdzin » Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:05 am

Well, I wouldn't say "ONLY lack of self-confidence". I know a lot of people with all the self-confidence in the world, but who are nevertheless (and in some cases precisely BECAUSE of this self-confidence) probably going to be stuck where they are for a long time. :D

User avatar
smcj
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: No External Objects

Post by smcj » Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:23 am

I think it can be in this lifetime.
By all accounts it definitely can. However frustratingly it seems to be the case where if you practice "for this life" you do not get the results, but if you practice with the perspective of multiple lives it can happen in this life. It seems to have something to do with attachments to this life.

Now ain't that a kick in the butt?
tingdzin wrote:Well, I wouldn't say "ONLY lack of self-confidence". I know a lot of people with all the self-confidence in the world, but who are nevertheless (and in some cases precisely BECAUSE of this self-confidence) probably going to be stuck where they are for a long time. :D
Yep.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25471
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: No External Objects

Post by Malcolm » Wed Nov 25, 2015 5:04 am

smcj wrote:
I think it can be in this lifetime.
By all accounts it definitely can. However frustratingly it seems to be the case where if you practice "for this life" you do not get the results, but if you practice with the perspective of multiple lives it can happen in this life. It seems to have something to do with attachments to this life.

Now ain't that a kick in the butt?
tingdzin wrote:Well, I wouldn't say "ONLY lack of self-confidence". I know a lot of people with all the self-confidence in the world, but who are nevertheless (and in some cases precisely BECAUSE of this self-confidence) probably going to be stuck where they are for a long time. :D
Yep.
IN general, people who practice only for this life get "faster" results.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
smcj
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: No External Objects

Post by smcj » Wed Nov 25, 2015 5:13 am

Malcolm wrote: IN general, people who practice only for this life get "faster" results.
I take it you've given up on regularly meditating on the '4 thought that turn the mind from samsara'.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25471
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: No External Objects

Post by Malcolm » Wed Nov 25, 2015 5:25 am

smcj wrote:
Malcolm wrote: IN general, people who practice only for this life get "faster" results.
I take it you've given up on regularly meditating on the '4 thought that turn the mind from samsara'.
"faster" is in scare quotes for a reason...
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
Matt J
Posts: 636
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: No External Objects

Post by Matt J » Wed Nov 25, 2015 5:41 pm

Let me modify this example with a counter: if I am dreaming about playing Russian roulette, and there are five empty chambers, and one contains a dream bullet, does that establish the reality of the dream? No--- even if I shoot my dream self in the dream head and die. So it is clearly in our experience to have non-existent things appear to us, behave consistently, and follow established patterns. But none of this means any of it is is real or really established.

I think the confusion is in saying, well, if it doesn't exist, then it is nothing. But as the dream example shows, this is not the case at all. There is plenty of color, sound, and sensation in dreams. Gedun Chophel points out in the quote above that thinking that worrying about people becoming nihilists in the face of experience is pointless. We see and touch things, so of course there's not nothing.

In a sense, there has been a modern discussion similar to this on wave-particle duality in quantum physics. Is it a particle, or a wave? Really, it is neither a particle NOR a wave--- but it sometimes appears as a particle, and it sometimes appears as a wave. It is something else that is beyond what we know. GC actually talks about this, also. He says we trap ourselves with two options: either it exists, or it doesn't. But this is only what we have decided is the case, and is not actually the case at all.

Actually, GC brings this down to earth pretty well.
Wayfarer wrote:Speaking about 'the real vase' and 'the real table' is an exercise in scholastic reasoning. Here we're using examples like 'table' and 'vase' to draw out the implications of certain philosophical views.

If you were playing Russian roulette - not that anyone should! - then you have a revolver with one bullet in six chambers. So in five chambers, no bullet exists; in one chamber, it does exist. Pull the trigger on that chamber, you die; pull it on the others, you don't. So is the bullet in the sixth chamber 'not truly existent'?

I think the 'realisation of emptiness' is actually a state of being, in which you're aware of the interdependent nature of everything. That is the 'antidote to clinging' in my opinion. And what 'clinging' is, is the belief that the phenomenal realm, the domain of sense, is the only reality, which is worldliness.
[snip]
So there's no way to understand this if there are not degrees of reality. That means, there are states and beings that are of higher and lower orders. And this has been completely lost from 'modern' culture. So from the 'modern' point of view, things either exist or they don't. So there is no way, against the 'modern' cultural framework, to translate or understand that idea of something not being 'truly existent' - the vase either exists or it doesn't. And that's why Madhyamika can easily be construed nihilistically - it has nothing to do with the original intent of Madhyamika, but with the nature of the audience!
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: narhwal90, practitioner and 41 guests