Enlightenment success rate

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Anonymous X » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:14 pm

Astus wrote:
Wayfarer wrote:This is your interpretive problem in a nutshell. Because you think any reference to a transcendent reality is 'like Atman' or 'substantialist', then you reject them, the consequence being that ultimately nothing is real. That is what 'nihilism' means - it is literally the assertion that nothing exists, or nothing is real.
Let's try to be more specific and concrete. All possible experiences can be categorised as the six sensory areas: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, thinking. So, anything that can ever occur happens only within these six. It can be easily confirmed - both logically and experientially - that all experiences are impermanent and conditioned. To propose something beyond experiences, something permanent and unconditioned, means that that something cannot be experienced, it has no connection to neither bodily nor mental phenomena, therefore it does not and cannot exist, and even if it did it would be irrelevant and useless.
Zongmi categorizes 8 consciousnesses as follows:“the seventh consciousness (the consciousness of intellection that is always accompanied by the depravities of self-ignorance, self-view, self-pride, and self-love) takes the seeing part of the storehouse consciousness as its objective support. The eighth, the storehouse consciousness, takes as its objective supports the organ body, the karmic seeds, and the external world. Outside these eight consciousnesses there are no real dharmas.”

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Anonymous X » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:44 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Astus wrote:[
Wayfarer wrote:When I challenged you on that point, you said, sure, many Buddhists texts say that nothing is real. But they don't.

Could you show those teachings that don't?
The first passage you quoted in response to my question was from the Diamond Sutra - 'the world is like a lightning flash, a dewdrop'. But that doesn't mean 'nothing is real'. It means, the Tathagata sees through illusions - the sutra means 'cutting through illusions'. But the reality of the world is not being called into question, it's the attachment to it, the taking it to be something that it is not, namely, substantial, satisfying, and 'mine', which it is not. It is unreal, from the understanding of the Tathagata. But to say that 'empty' simply means 'non-existent', is another matter. It's not simply non-existent, but it is something the Tathagata sees through.
Wayfarer, perhaps your definition of real is not what the Buddha intended. Zongmi explains “The true mind/Knowing is called by various names such as buddha nature, buddha-in-embryo, mind ground, and so forth. From beginningless time, thought of the unreal (wangxiang = abhūta-vikalpa) forms a screen over the true mind/ Knowing so that, never self-realized, it sinks into the suffering sea of the rebirth process. The buddhas, feeling sadness at this, appear in the world to say that all the dharmas are devoid of substantial reality and to show openly that this true mind is identical to all the buddhas. ”

You have to move past the words into real insight. Without this 'seeing', we can't possibly understand what is 'unreal'. If we substract 'unreal' are we left with real? Real what? There is only Thusness. Shall we attempt to analyze Thusness?

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:06 am

Astus wrote:Are you saying there is a "domain of realisation" beyond the six areas of experience?
If there were not, then why wouldn't everyone who hears, sees, and has normal sense-perception, already have realised Nirvāṇa? Is there no difference between those who have realised it, and those who have not? If there is a difference, what is that difference? What do the Noble Ones see, that the puthujjana do not see? Is what the Noble Ones see an object of sense perception?
It is not existent--even the Victorious Ones do not see it.
It is not nonexistent--it is the basis of all samsara and nirvana.
That is not a matter of asserting that objects don't exist

The way I understand it, is that realisation pertains to those who 'realise the truth of the teaching'. And the truth of the teaching is not an object of sense, but understanding of emptiness, Śūnyatā. So that is why it is 'transcendental wisdom' - because it goes beyond the domain of sensory perception. ('Gone beyond'). If it didn't 'go beyond' then Buddhists would simply be empiricists.
Astus wrote:The six realms are not degrees of reality but places of birth that come from ignorance.
But you also know that the way that a bodhisattva and a hell-being sees things, are entirely different. That is often quoted here on this forum: the bodhisattva sees a 'glass of water' as ambrosial nectar and the hell-being sees it as boiling pus (or something revolting). That corresponds with what I am calling 'degrees of reality', as it is an hierarchy. We might say that the Buddha has gone beyond matters of perspective - the 'view of no view' - but we don't generally see from that 'no-perspective' ourselves (speaking for myself, anyway), so I think it's disingenuous to write and speak as if we do. Certainly, we all aim for that understanding, but we're not there yet. So saying that the objects of ordinary experience are merely non-existent, doesn't reflect that perspective, in my view.

I asked before - what is the difference between real medicine, and fake medicine? The two bottles look identical, the substance in them looks identical, yet one cures illness and the other doesn't. Yet both, like anything else, can be said to be 'empty of own-being'. So how does saying that they are non-existent, apply or help, in respect of our situation in the world? There is still relative and conventional truth, it can't simply be all swept aside. I don't think that is what 'realising emptiness' means.
AnonymousX wrote: Zongmi explains “The true mind/Knowing is called by various names such as buddha nature, buddha-in-embryo, mind ground, and so forth. From beginningless time, thought of the unreal (wangxiang = abhūta-vikalpa) forms a screen over the true mind/ Knowing so that, never self-realized, it sinks into the suffering sea of the rebirth process. The buddhas, feeling sadness at this, appear in the world to say that all the dharmas are devoid of substantial reality and to show openly that this true mind is identical to all the buddhas. ”
Kindly explain to me where what I have written here diverges from this understanding.

incidentally here is Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche's glossary entry on 'experience and realisation':

Image

from his 'Mind at Ease'.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Anonymous X » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:24 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Astus wrote:Are you saying there is a "domain of realisation" beyond the six areas of experience?
If there were not, then why wouldn't everyone who hears, sees, and has normal sense-perception, already have realised Nirvāṇa? Is there no difference between those who have realised it, and those who have not? If there is a difference, what is that difference? What do the Noble Ones see, that the puthujjana do not see? Is what the Noble Ones see an object of sense perception?
It is not existent--even the Victorious Ones do not see it.
It is not nonexistent--it is the basis of all samsara and nirvana.
That is not a matter of asserting that objects don't exist

The way I understand it, is that realisation pertains to those who 'realise the truth of the teaching'. And the truth of the teaching is not an object of sense, but understanding of emptiness, Śūnyatā. So that is why it is 'transcendental wisdom' - because it goes beyond the domain of sensory perception. ('Gone beyond'). If it didn't 'go beyond' then Buddhists would simply be empiricists.
Astus wrote:The six realms are not degrees of reality but places of birth that come from ignorance.
But you also know that the way that a bodhisattva and a hell-being sees things, are entirely different. That is often quoted here on this forum: the bodhisattva sees a 'glass of water' as ambrosial nectar and the hell-being sees it as boiling pus (or something revolting). That corresponds with what I am calling 'degrees of reality', as it is an hierarchy. We might say that the Buddha has gone beyond matters of perspective - the 'view of no view' - but we don't generally see from that 'no-perspective' ourselves (speaking for myself, anyway), so I think it's disingenuous to write and speak as if we do. Certainly, we all aim for that understanding, but we're not there yet. So saying that the objects of ordinary experience are merely non-existent, doesn't reflect that perspective, in my view.

I asked before - what is the difference between real medicine, and fake medicine? The two bottles look identical, the substance in them looks identical, yet one cures illness and the other doesn't. Yet both, like anything else, can be said to be 'empty of own-being'. So how does saying that they are non-existent, apply or help, in respect of our situation in the world? There is still relative and conventional truth, it can't simply be all swept aside. I don't think that is what 'realising emptiness' means.
AnonymousX wrote: Zongmi explains “The true mind/Knowing is called by various names such as buddha nature, buddha-in-embryo, mind ground, and so forth. From beginningless time, thought of the unreal (wangxiang = abhūta-vikalpa) forms a screen over the true mind/ Knowing so that, never self-realized, it sinks into the suffering sea of the rebirth process. The buddhas, feeling sadness at this, appear in the world to say that all the dharmas are devoid of substantial reality and to show openly that this true mind is identical to all the buddhas. ”
Kindly explain to me where what I have written here diverges from this understanding.
What you are not getting, imo, is that you think you have to realize something and then you will be a Buddha. And, this realization is somehow in another realm or dimension rather than the here and now. The full acceptance of what appears IS Buddhanature. As my quote points out, thought of the unreal screens what is already the case, True Mind/Knowing. This only makes sense when you see that grasping, trying to know, to understand, to become something, is what keeps the mind's natural state from shining through. These are the thoughts of the unreal. Recognition of this principle is what Zongmi is pointing out and stops the discursive mind and its struggle. Sometimes we get lost in the words of teachings trying to isolate characteristics of awakened view like emptiness, buddhanature, etc. They are just words, ideation. Behind these clouds, the sun is shining.

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by muni » Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:49 am

Guru Rinpoche said you are not going to awaken by cultivated, fabricated, indicated, explained… dharma. This is eventually to realize as practice. Then you can say there is no practice. :smile:
Once was there told that due to the dreamlike nature of confusion, there is the need for awaking tools being of same nature as the dreamlike nature, to make it possible the confusion to recognize and wake up by recognisable tools. How can Compassionate Nature reject these tools and leave all variety of suffering confusion bathing in a variety of dreamlike nature? Help!

Also whatever fabricated dharma, is a pointing finger, is not other.

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Astus » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:53 am

Wayfarer wrote:If there were not, then why wouldn't everyone who hears, sees, and has normal sense-perception, already have realised Nirvāṇa? Is there no difference between those who have realised it, and those who have not? If there is a difference, what is that difference? What do the Noble Ones see, that the puthujjana do not see? Is what the Noble Ones see an object of sense perception?
The difference is whether one clings to appearances or not. It is the difference between "my car has been stolen" and "a car has been stolen", where in the former case one is moved by various thoughts and emotions, but not in the latter case.
That is not a matter of asserting that objects don't exist
Asserting and negating are both imprisoning views. The reason one is taught to see that appearances are empty is to eliminate the false object of attachment.
The way I understand it, is that realisation pertains to those who 'realise the truth of the teaching'. And the truth of the teaching is not an object of sense, but understanding of emptiness, Śūnyatā. So that is why it is 'transcendental wisdom' - because it goes beyond the domain of sensory perception. ('Gone beyond'). If it didn't 'go beyond' then Buddhists would simply be empiricists.
Emptiness is simply that the six sensory objects are unestablished, without essence, ungraspable. Experiences are already empty as they are, so it is not that there is something new to gain, but the mistake of imagining a self is what needs to be removed.

"The self-notion itself does not have the identity of a self, nor does the (selfish being's) deforming habit; their natures are different.
Apart from these two there is no other (self), so it arises only as an error; liberation is therefore the termination of a mere error."

(Mahayanasutralamkara 6.2, in The Universal Vehicle Discourse Literature, p 50)
But you also know that the way that a bodhisattva and a hell-being sees things, are entirely different. That is often quoted here on this forum: the bodhisattva sees a 'glass of water' as ambrosial nectar and the hell-being sees it as boiling pus (or something revolting).
That difference in the perception of water you mention is between hell dwellers and gods. Being a bodhisattva is not a matter of birth or perception.
Certainly, we all aim for that understanding, but we're not there yet. So saying that the objects of ordinary experience are merely non-existent, doesn't reflect that perspective, in my view.
The point of the teaching is not to just give a description of one's erroneous views but to direct one to the correct view, and that correct view is that appearances are empty and unreal.
So how does saying that they are non-existent, apply or help, in respect of our situation in the world? There is still relative and conventional truth, it can't simply be all swept aside. I don't think that is what 'realising emptiness' means.
Emptiness cures the dissatisfaction caused by hope and fear that come from mistaking appearances as substantial. It is not the denial of appearances or of causality.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by smcj » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:20 am

Astus wrote:Emptiness cures the dissatisfaction caused by hope and fear that come from mistaking appearances as substantial. It is not the denial of appearances or of causality.
That seems like an exceptionally astute and pithy way to say an oft expressed idea.
:good:
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:51 am

:namaste:
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by cky » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:13 pm

Good one indeed! :applause:

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:57 pm

Actually I have some more questions about this thread. I am not trying to be argumentative for it's own sake.
Astus wrote:Let's try to be more specific and concrete. All possible experiences can be categorised as the six sensory areas: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, thinking. So, anything that can ever occur happens only within these six....

What is taught by the Buddha and all his descendants is that suffering is the product of clinging that comes from the ignorance about the six types of experiences being impermanent and conditioned. Therefore, any teaching that postulates a doctrine contrary to that is merely propagating ignorance.
If 'ignorance' gives rise to suffering, and ignorance is caused by clinging, is 'understanding the nature of ignorance' a sensory experience? I don't see how it could be. Seeing through or gaining insight into the cause of ignorance is not itself an experience - it's a realisation, although such realisations do sometimes trigger experiences (as per the excerpt from Traleg Kyabgon).
Astus wrote:If you accept that things are empty of inherent existence, that means you accept that they are not real. If you say that things do have inherent existence, that means you claim that chairs, tables, illnesses, accidents, etc. are independent, eternal phenomena. Besides either having or not having inherent existence there is no third option.
So, here you're saying 'things are either real or they're not', right? 'There is no third option'. Yes, tables and chairs are dependently arisen. But they serve a purpose and have an identity, even if they are not 'ultimately real'. They are not eternal or independent, but they're also not non-existent. They're neither completely real nor simply non-existent. That is what I take the 'middle way' understanding to be.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Anonymous X » Sun Jun 04, 2017 4:49 am

Wayfarer wrote:Actually I have some more questions about this thread. I am not trying to be argumentative for it's own sake.
Astus wrote:Let's try to be more specific and concrete. All possible experiences can be categorised as the six sensory areas: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, thinking. So, anything that can ever occur happens only within these six....

What is taught by the Buddha and all his descendants is that suffering is the product of clinging that comes from the ignorance about the six types of experiences being impermanent and conditioned. Therefore, any teaching that postulates a doctrine contrary to that is merely propagating ignorance.
If 'ignorance' gives rise to suffering, and ignorance is caused by clinging, is 'understanding the nature of ignorance' a sensory experience? I don't see how it could be. Seeing through or gaining insight into the cause of ignorance is not itself an experience - it's a realisation, although such realisations do sometimes trigger experiences (as per the excerpt from Traleg Kyabgon).
Astus wrote:If you accept that things are empty of inherent existence, that means you accept that they are not real. If you say that things do have inherent existence, that means you claim that chairs, tables, illnesses, accidents, etc. are independent, eternal phenomena. Besides either having or not having inherent existence there is no third option.
So, here you're saying 'things are either real or they're not', right? 'There is no third option'. Yes, tables and chairs are dependently arisen. But they serve a purpose and have an identity, even if they are not 'ultimately real'. They are not eternal or independent, but they're also not non-existent. They're neither completely real nor simply non-existent. That is what I take the 'middle way' understanding to be.
It's good to be more specific when trying to understand 'ignorance'. Ignorance, or believing that there is a self attached to your experiences. The self clings, but on further investigation, this self is seen to be insubstantial, empty, more thinking. It is your own mind seeing the falseness of its view. The insight is also felt physically as it releases energy in the body that has been restrained due to this false identification of a self. You feel it experientially. Why wouldn't you? There is nothing 'real' to hang on to. This is your thinking trying to sort and create another object to cling to. The underlying problem is this sense of self and its attachment. Don't you feel it in your gut?

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Tuybachau » Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:50 am

Anonymous X wrote: It's good to be more specific when trying to understand 'ignorance'. Ignorance, or believing that there is a self attached to your experiences. The self clings, but on further investigation, this self is seen to be insubstantial, empty, more thinking. It is your own mind seeing the falseness of its view. The insight is also felt physically as it releases energy in the body that has been restrained due to this false identification of a self. You feel it experientially. Why wouldn't you? There is nothing 'real' to hang on to. This is your thinking trying to sort and create another object to cling to. The underlying problem is this sense of self and its attachment. Don't you feel it in your gut?
- There is no ignorance and there is no ending of ignorance.
- (Each moment of) Mind/Citta/Vijñāna is nobody's possession. It is itself false, impermanent, insubstantial. Therefore seeking any of the states of mind/citta/vijñāna (which seeing either falseness or trueness of views) is ignorant.
- Physical states are impermanent and insubstantial. Seeking any of them (which releases energy) is ignorant.
- Feelings, senses are impermanent and insubstantial. Trying to rid of any of them is ignorant. Trying to seek any of them is ignorant.

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Anonymous X » Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:54 am

Tuybachau wrote:
Anonymous X wrote: It's good to be more specific when trying to understand 'ignorance'. Ignorance, or believing that there is a self attached to your experiences. The self clings, but on further investigation, this self is seen to be insubstantial, empty, more thinking. It is your own mind seeing the falseness of its view. The insight is also felt physically as it releases energy in the body that has been restrained due to this false identification of a self. You feel it experientially. Why wouldn't you? There is nothing 'real' to hang on to. This is your thinking trying to sort and create another object to cling to. The underlying problem is this sense of self and its attachment. Don't you feel it in your gut?
- There is no ignorance and there is no ending of ignorance.
- (Each moment of) Mind/Citta/Vijñāna is nobody's possession. It is itself false, impermanent, insubstantial. Therefore seeking any of the states of mind/citta/vijñāna (which seeing either falseness or trueness of views) is ignorant.
- Physical states are impermanent and insubstantial. Seeking any of them (which releases energy) is ignorant.
- Feelings, senses are impermanent and insubstantial. Trying to rid of any of them is ignorant. Trying to seek any of them is ignorant.
If that is your actual state, congratulations. If not......well

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Tuybachau » Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:58 am

Anonymous X wrote:
Tuybachau wrote:
Anonymous X wrote: It's good to be more specific when trying to understand 'ignorance'. Ignorance, or believing that there is a self attached to your experiences. The self clings, but on further investigation, this self is seen to be insubstantial, empty, more thinking. It is your own mind seeing the falseness of its view. The insight is also felt physically as it releases energy in the body that has been restrained due to this false identification of a self. You feel it experientially. Why wouldn't you? There is nothing 'real' to hang on to. This is your thinking trying to sort and create another object to cling to. The underlying problem is this sense of self and its attachment. Don't you feel it in your gut?
- There is no ignorance and there is no ending of ignorance.
- (Each moment of) Mind/Citta/Vijñāna is nobody's possession. It is itself false, impermanent, insubstantial. Therefore seeking any of the states of mind/citta/vijñāna (which seeing either falseness or trueness of views) is ignorant.
- Physical states are impermanent and insubstantial. Seeking any of them (which releases energy) is ignorant.
- Feelings, senses are impermanent and insubstantial. Trying to rid of any of them is ignorant. Trying to seek any of them is ignorant.
If that is your actual state, congratulations. If not......well
Do not seek any sate, do not tell others to do so

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Astus » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:49 am

Wayfarer wrote:If 'ignorance' gives rise to suffering, and ignorance is caused by clinging
The order is: ignorance -> clinging -> suffering.
is 'understanding the nature of ignorance' a sensory experience?
Understanding ignorance is like understanding anything else, it is a mental process, thoughts. It's like the story of riding a boat on a foggy lake and seeing another boat coming towards you. You shout at the other boat to avoid you, but when it gets next to you it turns out to be an empty boat without anyone controlling it. Similarly, one can be upset about all sorts of things, but when it becomes clear that there is no person doing it, who can one be angry at? One can make a difference between learning that boats go without handlers and seeing empty boats with one's own eyes. That is the difference between learning the five aggregates to be empty and actually perceiving it to be true. What perception means in this case is not finding a self anywhere.

"In the same way, a monk investigates form, however far form may go. He investigates feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness, however far consciousness may go. As he is investigating form... feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness, however far consciousness may go, any thoughts of 'me' or 'mine' or 'I am' do not occur to him."
(Vina Sutta)
I don't see how it could be.
First one assumes that there is a self who perceives and does things, that is ignorance. Then one reviews that assumption in theory and in actual experience (experience means phenomena of the six sensory domains). That way one can confirm that such assumption of a self is unfounded and false. Or as Rangjung Dorje put it:

"Looking again and again at the mind that can not be looked at,
One sees clearly just as it is the truth of not seeing.
Resolving any doubt as to how it is or is not,
May we recognize our unconfused nature by ourselves."

(The Aspirational Prayer for Mahamudra)
Seeing through or gaining insight into the cause of ignorance is not itself an experience - it's a realisation, although such realisations do sometimes trigger experiences (as per the excerpt from Traleg Kyabgon).
That kind of difference between experience and realisation is important to know, but there the word "experience" carries a meaning different from how I used it. Here experience stands for temporary meditative phenomena, like bliss, clarity, and thoughtlessness, while realisation stands for the personal confirmation that all experiences are impermanent and empty. Realisation is enduring because it removes the cause of suffering, that is, it is discovering that our conception of a self is unfounded. But as a mental process realisation is a temporary phenomenal event just like everything else.
Yes, tables and chairs are dependently arisen. But they serve a purpose and have an identity, even if they are not 'ultimately real'. They are not eternal or independent, but they're also not non-existent. They're neither completely real nor simply non-existent. That is what I take the 'middle way' understanding to be.
When it is accepted that an object is dependent, it means it does not exist on its own. Not existing on its own means that there is no object that is dependent. So whatever object and its relations one may consider, it's all a conceptual fabrication and nothing more, a product of fiction. Again, that is not saying that there are no appearances at all, it is about understanding how appearances actually are. And the only reason for that understanding is to eliminate ignorance.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Dharma Flower » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:18 am

In looking at the ultimate future, no matter how many rebirths it takes, the enlightenment success rate is 100%. The Lotus Sutra said so. Case closed.

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:37 pm

Astus wrote: Realisation is enduring because it removes the cause of suffering, that is, it is discovering that our conception of a self is unfounded. But as a mental process realisation is a temporary phenomenal event just like everything else.
Nevertheless, the Buddha doesn't fall back from the state of realisation. In that sense, it is not a temporary state, is it?
Astus wrote:When it is accepted that an object is dependent, it means it does not exist on its own. Not existing on its own means that there is no object that is dependent. So whatever object and its relations one may consider, it's all a conceptual fabrication and nothing more, a product of fiction.
The problem I am having with this point is that, in any encyclopedia entry on Buddhism, the 'two extreme views' are given as 'the object really exists' ('eternalism') or 'the object does not exist' ('nihilism'). So to say that objects don't exist, seems to me to be the 'extreme' of nihilism. Perhaps I am not understanding it correctly.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Astus » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:57 pm

Wayfarer wrote:Nevertheless, the Buddha doesn't fall back from the state of realisation. In that sense, it is not a temporary state, is it?
When the cause, ignorance, is gone, then clinging does not occur again, because the cause does not occur any more. It is not a state one stays in.
The problem I am having with this point is that, in any encyclopedia entry on Buddhism, the 'two extreme views' are given as 'the object really exists' ('eternalism') or 'the object does not exist' ('nihilism'). So to say that objects don't exist, seems to me to be the 'extreme' of nihilism. Perhaps I am not understanding it correctly.
The two extreme views are sassatavada and ucchedavada, that is: eternalism and annihilationism. The definitions from the Brahmajala Sutta:

"There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are eternalists, and who on four grounds proclaim the self and the world to be eternal."
"There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are annihilationists and who on seven grounds proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being."

As for how it becomes the extremes of existence and non-existence, Nagarjuna explains:

“It exists” is an eternalist view; “It does not exist” is an annihilationist idea.
Therefore the wise one should not have recourse to either existence or nonexistence.
For whatever exists by its intrinsic nature does not become nonexistent; eternalism then follows.
“It does not exist now [but] it existed previously”—from this, annihilation follows.

(MMK 15.10-11, tr Siderits)

There isn't actually a view that says "nothing exists", since even saying it contradicts it. Rather, it's probably best illustrated with the teaching on rebirth, where some believe that there is an eternal soul, and some believe that with death everything is over - these are the extreme views of existence and non-existence, better put as eternalism and annihilationism (not nihilism).

"If the existent is unestablished, then the nonexistent (abhāva) too is not established.
For people proclaim the nonexistent to be the alteration of the existent."

(MMK 15.5, tr Siderits)

"In fact, people say that what is the alteration of a thing is "non-existence"; however, the very thing does not exist. If it does not exist, of what would there be non-existence? Without non-existence, how do you say its antithesis, existence [of a thing], is possible?"
(Buddhapalita: Mulamadhyamakavrtti, 15.5, tr Akira Saito, p 202)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

Anonymous X
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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Anonymous X » Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:10 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Astus wrote: Realisation is enduring because it removes the cause of suffering, that is, it is discovering that our conception of a self is unfounded. But as a mental process realisation is a temporary phenomenal event just like everything else.
Nevertheless, the Buddha doesn't fall back from the state of realisation. In that sense, it is not a temporary state, is it?
Astus wrote:When it is accepted that an object is dependent, it means it does not exist on its own. Not existing on its own means that there is no object that is dependent. So whatever object and its relations one may consider, it's all a conceptual fabrication and nothing more, a product of fiction.
The problem I am having with this point is that, in any encyclopedia entry on Buddhism, the 'two extreme views' are given as 'the object really exists' ('eternalism') or 'the object does not exist' ('nihilism'). So to say that objects don't exist, seems to me to be the 'extreme' of nihilism. Perhaps I am not understanding it correctly.
Astus, Realization is a mental process? Perhaps you can explain this to us.

Wayfarer, you are still trying to pigeon-hole realization. It is not a state of mind that is either temporary or abiding. From the point of view of our conditioned mind, we can only explain things with dualistic terms. It is the only thing that mind can understand. This is all habit energy that keeps the wheel in motion. Wanting to know, wanting to understand, is just a continuation of the belief in self. It's a tough one to get around, but our attachment to that idea is stronger than super-glue.

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Astus
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Re: Enlightenment success rate

Post by Astus » Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:46 pm

Anonymous X wrote:Realization is a mental process? Perhaps you can explain this to us.
It is a mental process, as it is about confirming in personal experience the truth of the Dharma. To stay with Nagarjuna:

"Through the elimination of karma and affliction there is nirvana.
Karma and affliction come from conceptual thought.
These come from mental fabrication.
Fabrication ceases through emptiness."

(MMK 18.5, in Ocean of Reasoning, p 377)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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