Mind-streams: Separate?

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Queequeg
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Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:37 am

Astus wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:12 am
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:28 pm
My point is, the onion or plantain tree as a metaphor leaves something to be desired.
Is your objection that "it assumes characteristics to peel back, suggestive of a process replete with all manner of concepts - one utilizes concepts to remove concepts... in practice it would seem this would just lead to infinite regression."? If so, let me answer to the below point.
This is using a process of analysis which I suggested above leads to an infinite regression. If done meticulously. Why? Because there is always a remainder.
The quoted example of sticks burned by their fire is quite universal in Mahayana. Let me give here Tsongkhapa's (The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path, vol 3, p 344-345) more extensive response to the objection.

Objection: Since analytical discrimination of the meaning of selflessness is conceptual, it is contradictory that it should produce the nonconceptual sublime wisdom. This is because there must be harmony between an effect and its cause.
Reply: The Bhagavan himself spoke about this using an example. The Kasyapa Chapter Sutra (Kasyapa-parivarta-sutra) says:
Kasyapa, it is thus. For example, two trees are dragged against each other by the wind and from that a fire starts, burning the two trees. In the same way, Kasyapa, if you have correct analytical discrimination, the power of a noble being's wisdom will emerge. With its emergence, correct analytical discrimination will itself be burned up.
This means that the wisdom of a noble being emerges from analytical discrimination. Kamalasila's second Stages of Meditation says:
Thus, yogis analyze with wisdom and when they definitely do not apprehend the essence of any thing ultimately, they enter into the nonconceptual concentration. They know that all phenomena lack essence. There are some whose meditation does not involve the use of wisdom to investigate the essence of things; they only cultivate the sheer and complete elimination of mental activity. Their conceptions never end and they never know the absence of essence because they lack the light of wisdom. Thus, when the fire which is a precise understanding of reality arises from correct analytical discrimination, then - as in the case of the fire from the friction of two sticks rubbed together - the wood of conceptual thought is burned up. This is what the Bhagavan said.
Otherwise, since it would be impossible for an uncontaminated path to arise from a contaminated path, an ordinary being could not attain the state of a noble being because of the dissimilarity between the cause and the effect. In the same way, it is evident that there are limitless cases of dissimilar causes and effects, such as the production of a green seedling from a gray seed, the production of smoke from fire, and the production of a male child from a woman. A noble being's nonconceptual sublime wisdom is perceptual knowledge of the meaning of selflessness - the emptiness of the object of the conception of the two selves. In order to develop that sort of wisdom at a higher stage, your meditation must now precisely analyze the object of the conception of self and realize that it does not exist. Therefore, although this is conceptual, it is a cause which is very conducive to the nonconceptual sublime wisdom. As previously cited, the King of Concentrations Sutra says:
If you analytically discriminate the lack of self in phenomena
And if you cultivate that precise analysis in meditation,
This will cause you to reach the goal, the attainment of nirvana.
There is no peace through any other cause.

Therefore, Kamalasila's third Stages of Meditation says,
Even though it has a conceptual nature, its nature is one of proper mental activity. Therefore, because it engenders the nonconceptual sublime wisdom, those who seek the sublime wisdom should rely upon it.
In practice, one takes the analysis to the limits of one's experience, but if you're completely honest, there is always a remainder, and so one can't be sure all analysis has been exhausted; we can only extend to the limits of our analysis.
There are very clear boundaries given in Buddhism, commonly in the format of the five aggregates and six sensory areas (see the Loka Suttas at SN 35.82 and 12.44).

"Subhuti: How does perfect wisdom instruct the Tathagatas in this world, and what is it that the Tathagatas call ‘world’?
The Lord: The five skandhas have by the Tathagata have declared as ‘world’ [loka]. Which five? Form, feeling, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness."

(PP8K, 12.2, tr Conze)

A larger list of "all things" is found in the abhidharma works.
The whole point of the metaphor suggests that the mistake that the nexus is a self is unsupported.
One relevant issue here is whether that nexus is real or not. If there is a network of things, one could just call that one's true nature, one's self, like one can call the conglomeration of parts one's body.
There is something more in the analytical approach that is not mentioned. It's the Buddha's teaching of the selflessness of dharmas. That bridges the chasm between analytical consideration and real wisdom. When the Buddha's teaching is heard, then our analysis is not primary exploration but rather evaluation and confirmation of the Buddha's teaching. When we have analyzed enough that the Buddha's word is true, we leap the chasm and enter the Buddha wisdom through faith.

Otherwise, actual exploration itself will not end. At some point a leap is necessary to dispose of the remainder.
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:38 am

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:32 am
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:28 pm
Right. So, the nexus of causes and conditions does not amount to a self. The whole point of the metaphor suggests that the mistake that the nexus is a self is unsupported.

In the final analysis, its just a metaphor. Just like the onion/plantain tree.
What do you find when you dissect the factors compromising the nexus?
Dependent origination and emptiness, I believe.
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Astus » Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:14 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:37 am
There is something more in the analytical approach that is not mentioned. It's the Buddha's teaching of the selflessness of dharmas.
The insubstantiality of appearances is covered within analysis.
That bridges the chasm between analytical consideration and real wisdom. When the Buddha's teaching is heard, then our analysis is not primary exploration but rather evaluation and confirmation of the Buddha's teaching. When we have analyzed enough that the Buddha's word is true, we leap the chasm and enter the Buddha wisdom through faith.
If the end result is not direct perception, then it is not wisdom one achieves. Accepting the teaching because one trusts it is OK, but it's not enough for eliminating 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: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Snowbear » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:17 pm

Queequeg wrote:When we have analyzed enough that the Buddha's word is true, we leap the chasm and enter the Buddha wisdom through faith.
I wouldn't say ruminating about it is "analysis."
Last edited by Snowbear on Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:20 pm

Astus wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:14 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:37 am
There is something more in the analytical approach that is not mentioned. It's the Buddha's teaching of the selflessness of dharmas.
The insubstantiality of appearances is covered within analysis.
That bridges the chasm between analytical consideration and real wisdom. When the Buddha's teaching is heard, then our analysis is not primary exploration but rather evaluation and confirmation of the Buddha's teaching. When we have analyzed enough that the Buddha's word is true, we leap the chasm and enter the Buddha wisdom through faith.
If the end result is not direct perception, then it is not wisdom one achieves. Accepting the teaching because one trusts it is OK, but it's not enough for eliminating ignorance.
Agreed, except not just ok, essential. Without the Buddha pointing out the nature of reality, one is left incessantly searching, like the nihilist tsong khapa refers to.
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Matt J » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:22 pm

Why give primacy to the body? Why can’t the body be instantiated in the mind?

I mean for example the accounts given by Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche in Myriad Worlds.
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:56 pm
Matt J wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:54 pm
But minds are formless—- how can they be instantiated in anything? Plus in Buddhist creation stories, bodies arise in minds, not the other way around.
If minds cannot be instantiated in bodies, how can there be rebirth?

As to you second remark, I am not sure what you mean. Citation helpful.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

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Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Malcolm » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:40 pm

Matt J wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:22 pm
Why give primacy to the body? Why can’t the body be instantiated in the mind?

I mean for example the accounts given by Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche in Myriad Worlds.
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:56 pm
Matt J wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:54 pm
But minds are formless—- how can they be instantiated in anything? Plus in Buddhist creation stories, bodies arise in minds, not the other way around.
If minds cannot be instantiated in bodies, how can there be rebirth?

As to you second remark, I am not sure what you mean. Citation helpful.
Well, in Dzogchen texts for example, it is pretty clear the body is a vessel for the mind, something which is appropriated based on karma.
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: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Astus » Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:29 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:20 pm
Astus wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:14 pm
Accepting the teaching because one trusts it is OK, but it's not enough for eliminating ignorance.
Agreed, except not just ok, essential.
There are faith followers and there are dharma followers.

"What is a person who follows trust (sraddhanusarin)? It is he who, having acquired the equipment and having weak faculties, applies himself to the comprehension of the Truth while recalling the instruction given by others.
What is a person who follows the teaching (dharmanusarin)? It is he who, having acquired the equipment and having sharp faculties, applies himself to the comprehension of the Truth, by himself recalling the teaching dominated by the Truth."

(Abhidharmasamuccaya, p 202-203, tr Boin-Webb)
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: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Varis » Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:31 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:15 pm
do viruses have minds?
Buddhists disagreed with the Jain idea of nigodas didn't they? Did they accept their existence and deny their sentience, or deny their existence all together? Considering the Mahavira was probably a contemporary of the Buddha and they would have taught in the same area, it seems hard to believe that he never heard of the concept of nigodas; yet he never stated such beings even exist, let alone have sentience.

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Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by clyde » Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:50 am

I apologize for my confusion but if “a mind is instantiated in a body”, are there minds without living bodies and/or living bodies without minds?
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:16 pm

clyde wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:50 am
I apologize for my confusion but if “a mind is instantiated in a body”, are there minds without living bodies and/or living bodies without minds?
According to Sarvastivada and most of Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna, formless realm beings have no material body. Dzogchen dissents from this view.
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: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by clyde » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:57 pm

Thank you. However, I'm more interested in your view and about this realm.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:30 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:38 am
Dependent origination and emptiness, I believe.
Dependent Origination describes how things are empty, you cannot find Dependent Origination.

Emptiness (in a Buddhist sense) is just the absence of fundamental existence. By saying you find emptiness, you reify the absence of a fundamental existence into a phenomenon. One can find that something is empty of an essential characteristic, but they cannot find emptiness.

That said: you have just shown the validity of the plantain and onion examples. ;)
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:32 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:16 pm
According to Sarvastivada and most of Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna, formless realm beings have no material body. Dzogchen dissents from this view.
So the Arupadhatu is suddenly a Rupadhatu?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:11 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:32 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:16 pm
According to Sarvastivada and most of Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna, formless realm beings have no material body. Dzogchen dissents from this view.
So the Arupadhatu is suddenly a Rupadhatu?
In Dzogchen, formless is taken to mean extremely subtle form.
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: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:16 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:30 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:38 am
Dependent origination and emptiness, I believe.
Dependent Origination describes how things are empty, you cannot find Dependent Origination.

Emptiness (in a Buddhist sense) is just the absence of fundamental existence. By saying you find emptiness, you reify the absence of a fundamental existence into a phenomenon. One can find that something is empty of an essential characteristic, but they cannot find emptiness.

That said: you have just shown the validity of the plantain and onion examples. ;)
The problem with the plantain/onion metaphor is, as I pointed out above, it points to an absence of anything at all. It sets up a dichotomy between "something" and "nothing".

The nexus point precisely illustrates:
Dependent Origination describes how things are empty
All the factors that define the nexus point don't actually substantiate the nexus point. The nexus point is only implied, but can't actually be grasped no matter how closely you examine it, though it can be located. I think that is a pretty good representation of how dharmas appear - they are a convergence of causes and conditions that don't actually add up to something solid. This also balances the error of thinking that emptiness = nothing.

In any event, its offered as a means. No compulsion to accept it.
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:02 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:16 pm
The problem with the plantain/onion metaphor is, as I pointed out above, it points to an absence of anything at all. It sets up a dichotomy between "something" and "nothing".
That is the dichotomy we find with the Two Truths approach too.
All the factors that define the nexus point don't actually substantiate the nexus point. The nexus point is only implied, but can't actually be grasped no matter how closely you examine it, though it can be located.
How can you locate something that does not exist?
I think that is a pretty good representation of how dharmas appear - they are a convergence of causes and conditions that don't actually add up to something solid. This also balances the error of thinking that emptiness = nothing.
One can come to this conclusion if they view the Two Truths as if they are in opposition, rather than as complementary.

I think that is why an understanding of the Prajnaparamita Sutra is so important.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:30 pm

Astus wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:29 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:20 pm
Astus wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:14 pm
Accepting the teaching because one trusts it is OK, but it's not enough for eliminating ignorance.
Agreed, except not just ok, essential.
There are faith followers and there are dharma followers.

"What is a person who follows trust (sraddhanusarin)? It is he who, having acquired the equipment and having weak faculties, applies himself to the comprehension of the Truth while recalling the instruction given by others.
What is a person who follows the teaching (dharmanusarin)? It is he who, having acquired the equipment and having sharp faculties, applies himself to the comprehension of the Truth, by himself recalling the teaching dominated by the Truth."

(Abhidharmasamuccaya, p 202-203, tr Boin-Webb)
We can exchange quotes on this all week. The faith that I'm talking about is different than the one you are referring to.

You're talking about faith as a substitute for discernment. I'm referring to faith as the necessary disposition to even begin the path. If there is no faith, then one will not even hear the teaching. There has to be a disposition where one accepts what one hears is true, at least tentatively, without knowing whether it actually is true. All of us, without exception, started that way. We did not know Dharma before we heard it, but we listened with a modicum, at least, of faith, and thereby internalized it enough to take is seriously.
Question: Why do sutras begin with the word "thus"?

Answer: Only those who have faith can enter the great ocean of Dharma, and only those who have wisdom can cross it. The meaning of "thus" is this faith. If a person has pure faith in his mind, then such a person can enter the Dharma; if there is not faith, then such a person cannot enter the Dharma. A nonbeliever will say, "Such a thing is not thus," for that is the characteristic of non-belief, while a believer will say, "Such a thing is thus." For example, cowhide that has not yet been softened cannot be folded; a nonbeliever is just like that. But cowhide that has already been softened can be put to any use; a believer is just like that.

Furthermore, a sutra states:

Faith is like [a person's] hands. It is like a person's hands that can gather up treasure freely upon entering a treasure mountain. Having faith is also like this, in that one can enter the Dharma-treasure mountain that contains non outflow faculties, strengths, factors of awakening, path, and meditative concentration, and gather them up freely. The absence of faith is like having no hand. A person without hands who enters a treasure mountain cannot gather anything. The absence of faith is also like this: one enters the Dharma-treasure mountain but obtains nothing at all.

The Buddha said:

If people have faith, then they can enter my great Dharma ocean and can attain the fruits of sramana, and shaving their heads and donning monastic robes will not have been in vain. If there is no faith, then such people cannot enter my Dharma ocean, and just as a withered tree bears no flowers or fruit, they will not attain the fruits of sramana. Although they may have shaved their heads and donned monastic robes, and though they have read various sutras and can question and answer, they gain absolutely nothing from the Dharma.

Therefore, "thus" appears at the beginning of the Buddha's teaching because it is indicative of faith.

Furthermore, the Dharma is deeply profound, in that only a Buddha can understand it. Nevertheless, if on has not yet achieved Buddhahood, a person with faith can enter the Dharma because of the power of that faith. Thus, the Brahma Heaven King implored the Buddha to make the first turning of the Dharma wheel, posing his request to the Buddha in verse:

Earlier, appearing in the Continent of Jambudvipa,
Were many kinds of impure teaachings;
Please open the gate of ambrosia
And teach the path of purity!


The Buddha answered in verse:

My Dharma is exceptionally rare
And can put an end to all fetters;
With minds that attach to the three realms,
Such people are unable to understand it.


The Brahma Heave King said to the Buddha:

Great Virtuous One, worldly wisdom can be superior, middle, or lower, and those good and upright people can easily attain liberation. But if such eople do not hear the Dharma, they will fall into terrible difficulties, like lotus flowers in the water: some are emerging, some are budding, and some are yet to emerge from the water. If they do not receive sunlight, they cannot bloom. The Buddha is also like this, for the Buddha has great loving-kindness and compassion for sentient beings; therefore, he teaches the Dharma.

The Buddha recalled how all Buddhas' Dharma of the three time periods, the past, future, and present, was taught for the sake of liberating sentient beings, and he knew that he should do the same. Having reflected thus, he accepted the request of heavenly beings like the Brahma Heaven King to teach the Dharma. At that time, the World Honored One answered in verse:

I will now ope the gate of ambrosia,
And those with faith will obtain joy.
I teach the wonderful Dharma to human beings;
I do not teach it to annoy them.


In this verse, the Buddha did not say that the giver obtains joy, nor did he say that those who hear much, and those with morality, patience, diligence, meditative concentration, or wisdom will obtain joy; he only spoke of the faithful. The Buddha's intention is thus: the foremost prfound and wonderful Dharma is immeasurable, innumerable, and inconceivable; it is immovable, independent, and without attachment, for there is nothing to be obtained. Only the all-wise are able to understand it. This is why the power of faith comes first in the Dharma, for one can enter the Dharma with the power of faith. It is not giving, morality, meditative concentration, wisdom and so on that makes it possible to first enter the Dharma. It is as the verse states:

Worldly people's minds are changeable.
They are fond of meritorious effect
But care not for the meritorious cause.
They seek existence but not cessation
They have previously listened to teachings of deviant views
And their minds attach more deeply
As for this deeply profound teaching of mine,
How can it be understood without faith?


Thus, Devadatta's great disciple Kokalika and other fell into the lower realms because of their lack of faith in the Dharma. These men lacked faith and sought after the Dharma through their own intellect and could not obtain it. Why is that? Because the Dharma is deeply profound. It is as stated in the Brahm Heaven King's verse instructing Kokalika:

Trying to measure the immeasurable Dharma
Is what the wise do not try to do.
Trying to measure the immeasurable Dharma
Will simply lead to this person's downfall!


Furthermore, another meaning of "thus": if a person has a wholesome and sincere faith, such a person can listen to the Dharma. If a person lacks this characteristic, then he will not understand. It is just as the verse states:

A person listening intently, as if thirsty for drink,
Wholeheartedly penetrating the words' meanings,
Hearing the Dharma with joyful elation:
The Dharma should be taught to a person like this.
-The Great Perfection of Wisdom Treatise (Dazhidu lun)
-Nagarjuna
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Queequeg
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Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:48 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:02 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:16 pm
The problem with the plantain/onion metaphor is, as I pointed out above, it points to an absence of anything at all. It sets up a dichotomy between "something" and "nothing".
That is the dichotomy we find with the Two Truths approach too...
In some Two Truths approaches, especially ones that that privilege emptiness and think emptiness actually negates dependently originated phenomena... but this might be an idiosyncratic view.
I think that is a pretty good representation of how dharmas appear - they are a convergence of causes and conditions that don't actually add up to something solid. This also balances the error of thinking that emptiness = nothing.
One can come to this conclusion if they view the Two Truths as if they are in opposition, rather than as complementary.
Just to be clear - are you suggesting the view emptiness = nothing arises because people fail to understand the two truths as complimentary?

If so, buy a round for the house on me - we agree on something!
All the factors that define the nexus point don't actually substantiate the nexus point. The nexus point is only implied, but can't actually be grasped no matter how closely you examine it, though it can be located.
How can you locate something that does not exist?
Like in geometry, take the origin, the place where the x, y and z axes intersect. We can locate the intersection with precise certainty, but it has no dimensions at all. Its not nothing, because its there, and yet, we can search for its substance, take an infinitely powerful microscope and the origin will always appear too small to actually see. The x, y, and z axes actually have no dimension, either, so their intersection could have no dimension. Yet, the axes can be located, and the origin can be located. Dharmas are like that.
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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

User avatar
Sherab
Posts: 1215
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:28 am

Re: Mind-streams: Separate?

Post by Sherab » Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:48 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:28 pm
We're not quite connecting here. My point is, the onion or plantain tree as a metaphor leaves something to be desired.
Astus wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:41 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:27 pm
it suggests that it is possible to peel the layers back and get to some "zero".
In a way it is possible, and that is the standard analysis performed in vipasyana.

"when they are broken into subtle particles and the nature of the parts of these subtle particles is individually examined, no definite identity can be found."
(Bhavanakrama, in Stages of Meditation, p 129)
This is using a process of analysis which I suggested above leads to an infinite regression. If done meticulously. Why? Because there is always a remainder. In practice, one takes the analysis to the limits of one's experience, but if you're completely honest, there is always a remainder, and so one can't be sure all analysis has been exhausted; we can only extend to the limits of our analysis. Only a Buddha could analyze everything to confirm that nothing remains at the end of the analysis. But here we have a conundrum... seeking Buddhahood by analyzing to the point that nothing can be found, but only a Buddha can analyze that far.

I'm prone to miscalculation, though, and I don't think I've come close to exhausting the limit of my experience. I'm intuiting.
I think that when you do the suggested process of analysis with a dualistic mind (where there is always a subject and object, something here and something there), you would come to a point where you cannot see any supporting layer for any phenomenon. To proceed further, the conceptual/dualistic mind has to be let go. (This is the leap that has to be made.) Whatever is perceived then is the true reality. Whatever is perceived then cannot be said to be a phenomenon as understood by a dualistic mind and cannot be described to a dualistic mind since no dualistic mind has ever experienced it.
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:28 pm
Right. Two points cannot occupy the same coordinate. Otherwise they would be the same coordinate.

Two points can, however, relate to each other; each does not exist in a vacuum. But more to the point: beings interact. The terms of that interaction may be completely veiled in delusion to those beings.
Two points cannot occupy the same coordinate in one frame of reference but could map together into another frame of reference. For example, longitudes on a flat map could be shown as infinitely parallel lines, but on a sphere, the longitudes all meet at the poles. In other words, an infinite number of points can be mapped into a single point. The move from a dualistic mind to a non-dualistic mind mentioned above might also be some form of mapping process. This is all speculative of course. I brought this out to illustrate that we should not rule out the seemingly impossible.

Are minds separate? I think we can safely say that dualistic minds are separate but we cannot say the same of a non-dualistic mind. I think that a non-dualistic mind cannot be shoe-horned into one or many.

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