No end to samsara?

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Temicco
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No end to samsara?

Post by Temicco » Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:19 pm

There is a text in Pakmo Drupa's records (zhus lan nyi shu pa) that says the following:
'khor ba la thogs ma yod dam med zhus pas/ 'khor ba la thog med cing gting mtha' med gsung/ khams gsum phyi btsan dang gang zag sgo gtsan gnyis ka la 'khor ba'i nang du ma 'khrul ba de yin bya ba gang yang med gsung/ 'on kyang gang zag sgo btsan la lhan cig skyes pa de ngos zin cing sangs rgyas pa'i dus ni yod do/
Which seems to be saying:
When asked whether samsara has a beginning or not: "It's said that samsara is beginningless and endless. In the general teachings of the three realms and the particular teachings of the individual, it's said that there is absolutuely nobody in samsara who becomes unconfused. However, in the particular teachings of the individual, when one recognizes the innate, there is the time of Buddhahood..."
Am I reading this properly? If so, what is this a reference to? I have not yet encountered the idea that samsara is endless.
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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by Aryjna » Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:27 pm

How can it be beginningless without being endless. I don't think there is anything unusual in saying that samsara is endless.

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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by Temicco » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:42 pm

Aryjna wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:27 pm
How can it be beginningless without being endless. I don't think there is anything unusual in saying that samsara is endless.
I don't see how that follows. So long as it is conditioned, which it's said to be, then it can have an end.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by Aryjna » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:55 pm

Temicco wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:42 pm
Aryjna wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:27 pm
How can it be beginningless without being endless. I don't think there is anything unusual in saying that samsara is endless.
I don't see how that follows. So long as it is conditioned, which it's said to be, then it can have an end.
Samsara is not a single entity that can be said to have a beginning and an end. I don't think I've ever heard of samsara being described as having an end. As the quote above says, there is buddhahood for one who recognizes, but there is no fixed number of beings swimming around in samsara diminishing over time as more and more attain buddhahood.

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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by Temicco » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:14 pm

Aryjna wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:55 pm
Temicco wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:42 pm
Aryjna wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:27 pm
How can it be beginningless without being endless. I don't think there is anything unusual in saying that samsara is endless.
I don't see how that follows. So long as it is conditioned, which it's said to be, then it can have an end.
Samsara is not a single entity that can be said to have a beginning and an end. I don't think I've ever heard of samsara being described as having an end. As the quote above says, there is buddhahood for one who recognizes, but there is no fixed number of beings swimming around in samsara diminishing over time as more and more attain buddhahood.
Sure, but the number of sentient beings is a separate matter.

Samsara is typically said to end when a being attains Buddhahood.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

"Right now if students are in fact truly genuine, source teachers can contact their potential and activate it with a single word or phrase, or a single act or scene."
-Yuanwu Keqin

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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by Aryjna » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:21 pm

Temicco wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:14 pm
Aryjna wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:55 pm
Temicco wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:42 pm


I don't see how that follows. So long as it is conditioned, which it's said to be, then it can have an end.
Samsara is not a single entity that can be said to have a beginning and an end. I don't think I've ever heard of samsara being described as having an end. As the quote above says, there is buddhahood for one who recognizes, but there is no fixed number of beings swimming around in samsara diminishing over time as more and more attain buddhahood.
Sure, but the number of sentient beings is a separate matter.

Samsara is typically said to end when a being attains Buddhahood.
It 'ends' for the one who is becoming a buddha, not in general. As far as I understand, the quote says that for the individual there is buddhahood, but there is no end for samsara in general.

This sutra is related:
http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra14.html
Then Śāriputra the Wise asked the Buddha, “World-Honored One, what is meant by ‘the one realm,’ which caused You to say, ‘Because foolish ordinary beings neither know nor see the one realm in accord with true reality, they entertain extremely evil, enormously wrong views in their minds, saying that the realm of sentient beings increases or that the realm of sentient beings decreases.’
[...]
Śāriputra, this profound meaning is the highest truth [paramārtha], and the highest truth is the realm of sentient beings. The realm of sentient beings is the Tathāgata store [tathāgata-garbha], and the Tathāgata store is the dharma body [dharma-kāya].
[...]
“Śāriputra, when this dharma body, fettered by endless afflictions more numerous than the sands of the Ganges, for ages without a beginning follows the world, drifts along with [its ocean] waves, and shuttles between birth and death, it is called a sentient being.
“Śāriputra, when this dharma body, tired of the suffering of repeated birth and death in the world, abandons all desires and pursuits, and trains to attain bodhi by practicing the ten pāramitās and going through the 84,000 Dharma Doors [dharma-paryāya],[11] it is called a Bodhisattva.
“Furthermore, Śāriputra, when this dharma body has passed all suffering in the world and left behind the fetters and filth of all one’s afflictions, it reveals its purity and abides in pure dharma nature [dharmatā] on the opposite shore,[12] arriving on the ground that all sentient beings wish for. Because it has achieved the unsurpassed understanding of all states of realization, is free from all hindrances[13] and obstructions, and has acquired the power of freedom in the midst of all dharmas, it is called a Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha. Therefore, Śāriputra, not apart from the realm of sentient beings is the dharma body; not apart from the dharma body is the realm of sentient beings. The realm of sentient beings is the dharma body; the dharma body is the realm of sentient beings. Śāriputra, these two dharmas with different names have the same meaning.

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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by Temicco » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:33 pm

Aryjna wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:21 pm
Temicco wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:14 pm
Aryjna wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:55 pm

Samsara is not a single entity that can be said to have a beginning and an end. I don't think I've ever heard of samsara being described as having an end. As the quote above says, there is buddhahood for one who recognizes, but there is no fixed number of beings swimming around in samsara diminishing over time as more and more attain buddhahood.
Sure, but the number of sentient beings is a separate matter.

Samsara is typically said to end when a being attains Buddhahood.
It 'ends' for the one who is becoming a buddha, not in general. As far as I understand, the quote says that for the individual there is buddhahood, but there is no end for samsara in general.
Sure, but the quote seems to treat Buddhahood separately from the idea of the end of samsara -- it says that even in the particular teachings of the individual, there is nobody who becomes unconfused. This is what confuses me.
This sutra is related:
http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra14.html
Then Śāriputra the Wise asked the Buddha, “World-Honored One, what is meant by ‘the one realm,’ which caused You to say, ‘Because foolish ordinary beings neither know nor see the one realm in accord with true reality, they entertain extremely evil, enormously wrong views in their minds, saying that the realm of sentient beings increases or that the realm of sentient beings decreases.’
[...]
Śāriputra, this profound meaning is the highest truth [paramārtha], and the highest truth is the realm of sentient beings. The realm of sentient beings is the Tathāgata store [tathāgata-garbha], and the Tathāgata store is the dharma body [dharma-kāya].
[...]
“Śāriputra, when this dharma body, fettered by endless afflictions more numerous than the sands of the Ganges, for ages without a beginning follows the world, drifts along with [its ocean] waves, and shuttles between birth and death, it is called a sentient being.
“Śāriputra, when this dharma body, tired of the suffering of repeated birth and death in the world, abandons all desires and pursuits, and trains to attain bodhi by practicing the ten pāramitās and going through the 84,000 Dharma Doors [dharma-paryāya],[11] it is called a Bodhisattva.
“Furthermore, Śāriputra, when this dharma body has passed all suffering in the world and left behind the fetters and filth of all one’s afflictions, it reveals its purity and abides in pure dharma nature [dharmatā] on the opposite shore,[12] arriving on the ground that all sentient beings wish for. Because it has achieved the unsurpassed understanding of all states of realization, is free from all hindrances[13] and obstructions, and has acquired the power of freedom in the midst of all dharmas, it is called a Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha. Therefore, Śāriputra, not apart from the realm of sentient beings is the dharma body; not apart from the dharma body is the realm of sentient beings. The realm of sentient beings is the dharma body; the dharma body is the realm of sentient beings. Śāriputra, these two dharmas with different names have the same meaning.
[/quote]

Again, the main point of this sutra is not talking about whether samsara ends. Samsara isn't a term for the realm of sentient beings. It's a term for the afflicted mode of certain minds, which is said quite clearly to end in this sutra.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

"Right now if students are in fact truly genuine, source teachers can contact their potential and activate it with a single word or phrase, or a single act or scene."
-Yuanwu Keqin

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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by Aryjna » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:53 pm

Temicco wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:33 pm
Aryjna wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:21 pm
Temicco wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:14 pm


Sure, but the number of sentient beings is a separate matter.

Samsara is typically said to end when a being attains Buddhahood.
It 'ends' for the one who is becoming a buddha, not in general. As far as I understand, the quote says that for the individual there is buddhahood, but there is no end for samsara in general.
Sure, but the quote seems to treat Buddhahood separately from the idea of the end of samsara -- it says that even in the particular teachings of the individual, there is nobody who becomes unconfused. This is what confuses me.
This sutra is related:
http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra14.html
Then Śāriputra the Wise asked the Buddha, “World-Honored One, what is meant by ‘the one realm,’ which caused You to say, ‘Because foolish ordinary beings neither know nor see the one realm in accord with true reality, they entertain extremely evil, enormously wrong views in their minds, saying that the realm of sentient beings increases or that the realm of sentient beings decreases.’
[...]
Śāriputra, this profound meaning is the highest truth [paramārtha], and the highest truth is the realm of sentient beings. The realm of sentient beings is the Tathāgata store [tathāgata-garbha], and the Tathāgata store is the dharma body [dharma-kāya].
[...]
“Śāriputra, when this dharma body, fettered by endless afflictions more numerous than the sands of the Ganges, for ages without a beginning follows the world, drifts along with [its ocean] waves, and shuttles between birth and death, it is called a sentient being.
“Śāriputra, when this dharma body, tired of the suffering of repeated birth and death in the world, abandons all desires and pursuits, and trains to attain bodhi by practicing the ten pāramitās and going through the 84,000 Dharma Doors [dharma-paryāya],[11] it is called a Bodhisattva.
“Furthermore, Śāriputra, when this dharma body has passed all suffering in the world and left behind the fetters and filth of all one’s afflictions, it reveals its purity and abides in pure dharma nature [dharmatā] on the opposite shore,[12] arriving on the ground that all sentient beings wish for. Because it has achieved the unsurpassed understanding of all states of realization, is free from all hindrances[13] and obstructions, and has acquired the power of freedom in the midst of all dharmas, it is called a Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha. Therefore, Śāriputra, not apart from the realm of sentient beings is the dharma body; not apart from the dharma body is the realm of sentient beings. The realm of sentient beings is the dharma body; the dharma body is the realm of sentient beings. Śāriputra, these two dharmas with different names have the same meaning.
Again, the main point of this sutra is not talking about whether samsara ends. Samsara isn't a term for the realm of sentient beings. It's a term for the afflicted mode of certain minds, which is said quite clearly to end in this sutra.
A sentient being has an afflicted mind, this is the definition of sentient being. So there cannot be a sentient being without samsara. So in a way samsara is a term for the realm of sentient beings.

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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by Temicco » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:05 pm

Aryjna wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:53 pm
Temicco wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:33 pm
Aryjna wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:21 pm


It 'ends' for the one who is becoming a buddha, not in general. As far as I understand, the quote says that for the individual there is buddhahood, but there is no end for samsara in general.
Sure, but the quote seems to treat Buddhahood separately from the idea of the end of samsara -- it says that even in the particular teachings of the individual, there is nobody who becomes unconfused. This is what confuses me.
Again, the main point of this sutra is not talking about whether samsara ends. Samsara isn't a term for the realm of sentient beings. It's a term for the afflicted mode of certain minds, which is said quite clearly to end in this sutra.
A sentient being has an afflicted mind, this is the definition of sentient being. So there cannot be a sentient being without samsara. So in a way samsara is a term for the realm of sentient beings.
Not really. Affliction has an end, and that is typically called the end of samsara as well, because it is the end of an individual's samsara. So, in that sense, I don't get Pakmo Drupa's point.

(None of this is to say that the realm of sentient beings can end.)
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

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-Yuanwu Keqin

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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by florin » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:07 pm

I guess the question is, how can a "self" become unconfused ?
Last edited by florin on Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by Aryjna » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:09 pm

Temicco wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:05 pm
Temicco wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:33 pm


Sure, but the quote seems to treat Buddhahood separately from the idea of the end of samsara -- it says that even in the particular teachings of the individual, there is nobody who becomes unconfused. This is what confuses me.

Not really. Affliction has an end, and that is typically called the end of samsara as well, because it is the end of an individual's samsara. So, in that sense, I don't get Pakmo Drupa's point.

(None of this is to say that the realm of sentient beings can end.)
He says that there is no one that becomes unconfused because all beings are already buddhas ultimately (this is the way it seems to me at least). As for the end of an individual's samsara, I always understood samsara to refer to all sentient beings, not an individual's samsara.

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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by Temicco » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:17 pm

florin wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:07 pm
I guess the question is how can a "self" become unconfused ?
Really, the question is just, what rationale is there behind the idea that samsara doesn't end?

Clearly people become unconfused. As for individual samsara, that is how it is framed in basically every tradition. There are many teachings that discuss how certain practices etc. will end samsara and bring about Buddhahood.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

"Right now if students are in fact truly genuine, source teachers can contact their potential and activate it with a single word or phrase, or a single act or scene."
-Yuanwu Keqin

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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by kirtu » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:00 pm

Temicco wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:17 pm
Really, the question is just, what rationale is there behind the idea that samsara doesn't end?

Clearly people become unconfused. As for individual samsara, that is how it is framed in basically every tradition. There are many teachings that discuss how certain practices etc. will end samsara and bring about Buddhahood.
There will always be deluded beings because there are an infinite number of beings some of which will not attain enlightenment.

Kirt
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"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by Temicco » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:45 pm

kirtu wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:00 pm
Temicco wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:17 pm
Really, the question is just, what rationale is there behind the idea that samsara doesn't end?

Clearly people become unconfused. As for individual samsara, that is how it is framed in basically every tradition. There are many teachings that discuss how certain practices etc. will end samsara and bring about Buddhahood.
There will always be deluded beings because there are an infinite number of beings some of which will not attain enlightenment.

Kirt
Yes, but the matter at hand is whether samsara can end for individuals, whether individuals can become unconfused -- PD seems to be saying this isn't possible.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

"Right now if students are in fact truly genuine, source teachers can contact their potential and activate it with a single word or phrase, or a single act or scene."
-Yuanwu Keqin

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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by kirtu » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:58 pm

Temicco wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:45 pm
Yes, but the matter at hand is whether samsara can end for individuals, whether individuals can become unconfused -- PD seems to be saying this isn't possible.
You need more of the text and a teaching on the text. If a Khenpo said that then I would ask if Phakmodrupa was referring in some sense to the view that beings ultimately are not confused so in this sense they never become unconfused (essentially a Dzogchen view but not uniquely so - while the Dzogchen teachings are in Drikung for example I wouldn't know whether or not Phakmodrupa might have raised something like this in his teaching [Dzogchen per se historically entered Drikung later with Rinchen Phuntsog ]).

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

Temicco
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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by Temicco » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:09 pm

kirtu wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:58 pm
Temicco wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:45 pm
Yes, but the matter at hand is whether samsara can end for individuals, whether individuals can become unconfused -- PD seems to be saying this isn't possible.
You need more of the text and a teaching on the text. If a Khenpo said that then I would ask if Phakmodrupa was referring in some sense to the view that beings ultimately are not confused so in this sense they never become unconfused (essentially a Dzogchen view but not uniquely so - while the Dzogchen teachings are in Drikung for example I wouldn't know whether or not Phakmodrupa might have raised something like this in his teaching [Dzogchen per se historically entered Drikung later with Rinchen Phuntsog ]).

Kirt
Fair. I'm mainy interested in a historical perspective, so I'll look around in his other writings and see if he addresses the topic in more detail somewhere.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

"Right now if students are in fact truly genuine, source teachers can contact their potential and activate it with a single word or phrase, or a single act or scene."
-Yuanwu Keqin

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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:27 am

"endless" is the keyword here.
It doesn't refer to linear time.
As long as you are in pain, with a toothache for example, the pain is limitless.
But as soon as the pain stops, that awful "hell realm of having a toothache", if you want to call it that, is empty.
You aren't dwelling there any more. The karma that caused it is exhausted.
"beginingless"and "endless" mean limitless.
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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by DGA » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:54 am

If sentient beings are numberless, then samsara is endless

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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:10 am

There is a saying I learned here on this forum:


'Samsara has no beginning, but it has an end. Nirvana has a beginning, but it has no end'.


:namaste:
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Re: No end to samsara?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:20 pm

DGA wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:54 am
If sentient beings are numberless, then samsara is endless
Winter is numberless, but it ends.
The reason why winter is numberless, is that ultimately, the concept of numbers doesn't apply, because it's a season.
So, it's absurd.
You can say winter has a certain number of days, but then you are simply talking about days.
You can say winter has numerical temperatures, but then you are merely referring to a thermometer.
You can say that winter has an uncountable number of snow flakes, but that's talking about weather.

Likewise, you can describe sentient beings as this or that, just as one describes winter,
having this characteristic or that quality, but that's all relative.
We can say that sentient beings are infinite, yet upon closer examination,
not a single one of them has inherent existence.
From the perspective of samsaric existence, we conceptualize things that way.
But from the perspective of an enlightened being who sees things as they truly are,
beginning and end are, in a sense, absurd.

Similarly, darkness is infinite
until someone turns on the lights.
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