Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

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MatthewAngby
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Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by MatthewAngby » Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:08 am

I still think that there is no objective reality, but whenever I think of karma and it’s results, I get baffled.
If there is no objective reality , then does that mean that killing people with evil intentions doesn’t always create the cause to be born in hell ?

Is the mind a self? Mind is eternal but impermenant in thoughts and concepts , so does that mean the mind is a self?

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Grigoris
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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:19 am

MatthewAngby wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:08 am
I still think that there is no objective reality, but whenever I think of karma and it’s results, I get baffled.
If there is no objective reality , then does that mean that killing people with evil intentions doesn’t always create the cause to be born in hell ?
No it doesn't always. It depends on motivation and other factors.

Yes, karma is empty ie Dependently Arisen. That means it exists, relatively speaking.
Is the mind a self? Mind is eternal but impermenant in thoughts and concepts , so does that mean the mind is a self?
No, not is not a self. It is one of the skandha which we mistakenly identify as a self, but it is not a self.
"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

MatthewAngby
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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by MatthewAngby » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:46 am

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:19 am
MatthewAngby wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:08 am
I still think that there is no objective reality, but whenever I think of karma and it’s results, I get baffled.
If there is no objective reality , then does that mean that killing people with evil intentions doesn’t always create the cause to be born in hell ?
No it doesn't always. It depends on motivation and other factors.

Yes, karma is empty ie Dependently Arisen. That means it exists, relatively speaking.
Is the mind a self? Mind is eternal but impermenant in thoughts and concepts , so does that mean the mind is a self?
No, not is not a self. It is one of the skandha which we mistakenly identify as a self, but it is not a self.
So the mind is not eternal ? And if mind has been with us for beginless time ( correct me if I am wrong ) , how come it is not a self? Can you explain to me further ?

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Grigoris
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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:55 am

MatthewAngby wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:46 am
So the mind is not eternal ? And if mind has been with us for begingless time ( correct me if I am wrong ) , how come it is not a self? Can you explain to me further ?
Why would the fact that mind stretches back to infinity necessarily mean it is our "self"?
"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

MatthewAngby
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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by MatthewAngby » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:09 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:55 am
MatthewAngby wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:46 am
So the mind is not eternal ? And if mind has been with us for begingless time ( correct me if I am wrong ) , how come it is not a self? Can you explain to me further ?
Why would the fact that mind stretches back to infinity necessarily mean it is our "self"?
But if everything is from the mind , then doesn’t that mean that ... oh my god. So mind is not us, but from it springs the concept of me , him, sexy girl , angry lion and samsara ? Am I getting what you’re saying ..?

Seeker12
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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by Seeker12 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:47 pm

Food for thought from Longchenpa (from 'Finding Rest in the Nature of Mind'):

Those who scorn the law of karmic cause and fruit
Are students of the nihilist view outside the Dharma.
They rely on the thought that all is void;
They fall in the extreme of nothingness
And go from higher to lower states.
They have embarked on an evil path
And from the evil destinies will have no freedom,
Casting happy states of being far away.

”The law of karmic cause and fruit,
Compassion and the gathering of merit -
All this is but provisional teaching fit for children:
Enlightenment will not be gained thereby.
Great yogis should remain without intentional action.
They should meditate upon reality that is like space.
Such is the definitive instruction.”
The view of those who speak like this
Of all views is the most nihilist:
They have embraced the lowest of all paths.
How strange is this!
They want a fruit but have annulled its cause.

If reality is but a space-like void,
What need is there to meditate?
And if it is not so, then even if one meditates
Such efforts are to no avail.
If meditation on mere voidness leads to liberation,
Even those with minds completely blank
Attain enlightenment!
But since those people have asserted meditation,
Cause and its result they thus establish!
Throw far away such faulty paths as these!

The true, authentic path asserts
The arising in dependence of both cause and fruit,
The natural union of skillful means and wisdom.
Through the causality of nonexistent but appearing acts,
Through meditation on the nonexistent but appearing path,
The fruit is gained, appearing and yet nonexistent;
And for the sake of nonexistent but appearing beings,
Enlightened acts, appearing and yet nonexistent, manifest.
Such is pure causality’s profound interdependence.
This is the essential pith
Of all the Sutra texts whose meaning is definitive
And indeed of all the tantras.
Through the joining of the two accumulations,
The generation and completion stages,
Perfect buddhahood is swiftly gained.

Thus all the causal processes
Whereby samsara is contrived should be abandoned,
And all acts that are the cause of liberation
Should be earnestly performed.
High position in samsara
And the final excellence of buddhahood
Will speedily be gained.
Therein is nothing to remove
And thereto not the slightest thing to add.
The perfect truth viewed perfectly
And perfectly beheld is liberation.

Uttaratantra

kausalya
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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by kausalya » Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:54 pm

If I may say, karma is empty on the receiving end. This means we should be ready/willing to receive whatever people give to us (think of it like offerings) and transform it into medicine for ourselves and others. The boy who gave the Buddha a handful of dirt exemplified this principle.

As for the karma we create, "no act is karma-free". We must be mindful of the state of our heart and treat people accordingly. If we start going around thinking we can do anything because appearances are just in the mind & life is illusory, we're going to get a very big surprise. Bodhichitta is the key to ensuring we never have to worry about what we do.

The mind is THE self. We share the same space without realizing it. We're connected & we don't even know how. Whether it's eternal or not doesn't matter; we just do what we can for each other, whenever we can.

Any work we do toward liberating ourselves also liberates others...
"Open sky does not abide, nor do sentient beings."

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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by Jeff H » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:28 pm

You might want to think of it in terms of impermanence: nothing lasts for two moments; duration is an illusion.

The mind “appears yet does not exist*” in this moment. In the next moment it is a different mind which “appears yet does not exist”. The latter mind is the dependent result of the former one’s causality. Two different mental moments with a causal link.

From the succession of those links, and the similarity between the effects and their causes, we assume duration of a “thing” and imagine that thing to be a “self”. This is our experience of life and its effects feel “real” to us for as long as it takes to assemble the causes to go beyond that experience.


* As Seeker12 quoted Longchenpa above.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by Virgo » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:16 pm

The OP asked
Is the mind the self?
And it was replied:
kausalya wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:54 pm

The mind is THE self.
Unfortunately, this is a non- Buddhist view.

Kevin...

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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by kausalya » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:46 pm

Virgo wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:16 pm
The OP asked
Is the mind the self?
And it was replied:
kausalya wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:54 pm

The mind is THE self.
Unfortunately, this is a non- Buddhist view.

Kevin...
FWIW, I was responding to the wording in the thread title: "a self".

Words are a limitation. Simply referring to the mind as Buddha's mind. All there is is mind... no separation between self/other. Totally impersonal, yet surrounding and including every person, enlightened and non-enlightened.

This is just a reminder that what we take to be the small self—all of it—doesn't belong to us, and our attachment to it is a form of bondage. When we let go is when we learn how big the world is.
"Open sky does not abide, nor do sentient beings."

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Grigoris
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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:31 pm

kausalya wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:46 pm
FWIW, I was responding to the wording in the thread title: "a self".

Words are a limitation. Simply referring to the mind as Buddha's mind. All there is is mind... no separation between self/other. Totally impersonal, yet surrounding and including every person, enlightened and non-enlightened.

This is just a reminder that what we take to be the small self—all of it—doesn't belong to us, and our attachment to it is a form of bondage. When we let go is when we learn how big the world is.
Regardless of your motivation, saying that "the mind is THE self" is not a Buddhist doctrine, not by a long shot. Not in any school of Buddhism.
"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

kausalya
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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by kausalya » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:33 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:31 pm
kausalya wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:46 pm
FWIW, I was responding to the wording in the thread title: "a self".

Words are a limitation. Simply referring to the mind as Buddha's mind. All there is is mind... no separation between self/other. Totally impersonal, yet surrounding and including every person, enlightened and non-enlightened.

This is just a reminder that what we take to be the small self—all of it—doesn't belong to us, and our attachment to it is a form of bondage. When we let go is when we learn how big the world is.
Regardless of you motivation, saying that "the mind is THE self" is not a Buddhist doctrine, not by a long shot. Not in any school of Buddhism.
Poor turn of phrase requiring explanation, which I provided. Be careful, also, not to neglect the areas where Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism are practiced without contradiction.

Words are just words. We can't control whether or not someone is in the correct frame of mind to receive them properly, but some of us howl at the moon regardless and hope for the best.

** Again, we mistake the mind, and what arises to it, as the self, when it is not. There is no self, but people need to be directed to this in a way that doesn't provoke fear (or nihilism).
"Open sky does not abide, nor do sentient beings."

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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:46 pm

kausalya wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:33 pm
Words are just words.
No they are not. Words have meanings and convey meaning. The meaning conveyed by words can be wrong or right.
"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

kausalya
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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by kausalya » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:53 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:46 pm
kausalya wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:33 pm
Words are just words.
No they are not. Words have meanings and convey meaning. The meaning conveyed by words can be wrong or right.
Both of us are putting strings of letters together in the best way we know how to communicate what's in our hearts, but there are so many points of failure even when we're doing our best that neither of us can say one is wrong or the other is right. To say otherwise is to grasp for something solid in a world that is not.

We relate to words differently, and use them instinctively. One's motivation entirely directs the words that are chosen, & there's no guarantee they will be received in the manner they were composed to be read.

We're just doing what we're doing, and hopefully meeting in the middle after a sufficient back-and-forth.
"Open sky does not abide, nor do sentient beings."

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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:12 pm

kausalya wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:53 pm
...but there are so many points of failure even when we're doing our best that neither of us can say one is wrong or the other is right.
Yes we can.

In numerous Sutta the Buddha berated people for misrepresenting and misconstruing his teachings, going as far as to call people fools.

In closing: It is not letters and words that create wrong meaning, it is ignorance which is responsible for that.
"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

kausalya
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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by kausalya » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:29 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:12 pm
kausalya wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:53 pm
...but there are so many points of failure even when we're doing our best that neither of us can say one is wrong or the other is right.
Yes we can.

In numerous Sutta the Buddha berated people for misrepresenting and misconstruing his teachings, going as far as to call people fools.

In closing: It is not letters and words that create wrong meaning, it is ignorance which is responsible for that.
You can correct my wording, but you can't legitimately say I meant something I didn't mean. Hence my attempts at clarification, which I hope made my point clear.

Is there an issue with what I said after the fact?
"Open sky does not abide, nor do sentient beings."

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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by Virgo » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:40 pm

kausalya wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:29 pm

Is there an issue with what I said after the fact?
Which citta or caitasika is "the self" or "a self"?

Kevin...

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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by kausalya » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:46 pm

Virgo wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:40 pm
kausalya wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:29 pm

Is there an issue with what I said after the fact?
Which citta or caitasika is "the self" or "a self"?

Kevin...
Listen... lol.

I'm hardly the best with words, but my best approximation of what I was trying to accomplish was to get Matthew to consider that notions of self are an obscuration/limitation of mind. The "self," false as it is, is included in mind. Discursive thoughts are the Dharmakaya.

Rather than go down a nihilistic road, I thought it better to identify him with the immaculate purity of Buddha-mind. Then perhaps he will see that such things can be released with no damage to himself.
"Open sky does not abide, nor do sentient beings."

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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by Virgo » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:22 pm

kausalya wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:46 pm


Listen... lol.
I really don't have time for this.

Kevin...

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Re: Is karma empty? Is the mind a self?

Post by kausalya » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:40 pm

Virgo wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:22 pm
kausalya wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:46 pm


Listen... lol.
I really don't have time for this.

Kevin...
Please accept my apologies. You've been very patient, clearly. Not your fault I have a mischievous streak.

Yet, because "not-self" is so often misunderstood, I sought to put it in different words for Matthew's sake. I can see that's backfired.
"Open sky does not abide, nor do sentient beings."

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