What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

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Dgj
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What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Dgj »

If no arising nor ceasing occur then the twelve links are meaningless, reduced to nonsense.
With ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be...

with the cessation of birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.
Ditto for the four truths.
The noble truth of suffering,
the noble truth of the arising of suffering,
the noble truth of the cessation of suffering,
the noble truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering

Dependent origination must be flatly incorrect: it states arising and cessation do occur.

Ditto for the four truths.

So, if the core goals and functioning of Buddhism are nonsense, why not just forget the whole thing?

I think Buddhism is extremely important and should be practiced! I'm just looking for clarification.
Don't assume my words are correct. Do your research.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by SonamTashi »

Dgj wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 12:43 am If no arising nor ceasing occur then the twelve links are meaningless, reduced to nonsense.
With ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be...

with the cessation of birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.
Ditto for the four truths.
The noble truth of suffering,
the noble truth of the arising of suffering,
the noble truth of the cessation of suffering,
the noble truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering

Dependent origination must be flatly incorrect: it states arising and cessation do occur.

Ditto for the four truths.

So, if the core goals and functioning of Buddhism are nonsense, why not just forget the whole thing?

I think Buddhism is extremely important and should be practiced! I'm just looking for clarification.
From the perspective of ignorance they do occur. Sentient beings are under the sway of of delusion and are thus subject to the appearance of borth, death, and the appearances of samsara. That is why the goal of Buddhism is to clear away ignorance.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Wayfarer »

Recall the 'simile of the raft'. In case you don't know it, you can find it here. The analogy is given of the Buddha's teaching being a raft used to cross to the other shore, that other shore being a metaphor for Nirvāṇa. But on reaching the other shore, goes the instruction, what do you do with the raft? Carry it with you?
'How useful this raft has been to me! For it was in dependence on this raft that, making an effort with my hands & feet, I have crossed over to safety on the further shore. Why don't I, having hoisted it on my head or carrying it on my back, go wherever I like?' What do you think, monks: Would the man, in doing that, be doing what should be done with the raft?"

"No, lord."

"And what should the man do in order to be doing what should be done with the raft? There is the case where the man, having crossed over, would think, 'How useful this raft has been to me! For it was in dependence on this raft that, making an effort with my hands & feet, I have crossed over to safety on the further shore. Why don't I, having dragged it on dry land or sinking it in the water, go wherever I like?' In doing this, he would be doing what should be done with the raft. In the same way, monks, I have taught the Dhamma compared to a raft, for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of holding onto. Understanding the Dhamma as taught compared to a raft, you should let go even of Dhammas, to say nothing of non-Dhammas."
This is where Buddhism diverges from many other religions, who make their scriptures - the Bible, say - into an absolute truth in itself. But just because dhamma should be 'let go of', this is so only when the river is crossed; if you 'forget the whole thing', or not make use of the raft, without having crossed the river, then you're still bound to Saṃsāra. So the advice is - make use of the opportunity when in a situation where you can benefit from it because the chance may not come again for a long time.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by LastLegend »

Dgj wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 12:43 am If no arising nor ceasing occur then the twelve links are meaningless, reduced to nonsense.
This no arising ceasing refers to the actual experience of emptiness or Wisdom because it itself is not any thing to be ceased or arising.
Dependent origination must be flatly incorrect: it states arising and cessation do occur.
Yes it does like our body will stop functioning one day. But it’s beyond our comprehension why there are many worlds and realms and sentient beings. It’s said to be a product of consciousness but to discuss details, no.
Make personal vows.

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by conebeckham »

get out of your head, and look at what is in front of you.

If you see arising and ceasing, you need to practice the Dharma.

Your thought comes. Your thought goes. You are different than you were yesterday, yes or no?
If yes, practice the Dharma.


If no--what exactly is not different? Examine well.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
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"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

This question arose, then it ceased arising.
Therefore, arising and cessation occur.

But what exactly is arising and ceasing?
That’s what you need to consider.
Is it phenomena?
No, because phenomena is just interconnected events.
Nothing possesses any intrinsic “self” essence
Yet we mistakenly imagine everything does.
But that’s precisely the point of practice.
As soon as we say that “things” arise and cease,
or say that they lack “Arising and ceasing”
we are asserting “things”,
and then merely attempting to describe them.
That’s the fatal error, right from the start.
When there’s no arising or cessation,
There’s nothing that either arises and ceases
or doesn’t arise and cease.
Arising and cessation is the habit of the mind.
That’s the reason for practicing Buddhism,
So we don’t start off with erroneous assumptions.
.
.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by SteRo »

Dgj wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 12:43 am If no arising nor ceasing occur then the twelve links are meaningless, reduced to nonsense.

...

So, if the core goals and functioning of Buddhism are nonsense, why not just forget the whole thing?

I think Buddhism is extremely important and should be practiced! I'm just looking for clarification.
See where your idea of "classical pure Madhyamaka" has brought you? You fall prey to extreme views because the idea of "classical pure Madhyamaka" has been an extreme view.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Grigoris »

SteRo wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 5:14 amSee where your idea of "classical pure Madhyamaka" has brought you? You fall prey to extreme views because the idea of "classical pure Madhyamaka" has been an extreme view.
Madhyamaka cannot be an extreme view. A misunderstanding of Madhyamaka can lead to an extreme view.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »


Dependent origination must be flatly incorrect: it states arising and cessation do occur.
My understanding is that’s why Tsongkhapa’s Madhyamaka allows for Dependent Origination to have a provisional status. So Gelugpas avoid this problem.
Ditto for the four truths.
If you’re okay with suffering then you’re not going to practice much.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Vasana »

"Intellectual understanding is like a patch, it will fall off"

There's a huge difference between an inferential understanding that things are unborn and the actual veridical/ direct perception of that knowledge as it occurs momentarily and uninterruptedly within the flow of your senses and mental perceptions.

If you still experience grasping, attachment and aversion (dukkha), then the inferential understanding (anumāna ) that things are unborn hasn't ripened into the direct/ valid cognitions (pratyakṣa) and wisdoms that can interfere with the 12 links.

Actually experiencing just one thought, emotion or a sense perception as unborn takes a lot of practice and a good teacher to direct you. Even then, that recognition, although one step above an intellectual understanding, is still transient and needs familiarization to gain certainty and then stabilization. Hence the need to practice.
  • The Sword of Wisdom
    For Thoroughly Ascertaining Reality

    by Mipham Rinpoche

    7. How things appear or how they ultimately abide,
    Can be known through perceiving their nature directly,
    Or it can be inferred unerringly based on
    Something else which is clearly apparent.

    18. Direct perception itself is of four kinds:
    Unmistaken sensory, mental, self-awareness
    And yogic; all of which are non-conceptual,
    Since their objects appear with specific characteristics.

    19. Without these direct perceptions
    There would be no evidence and hence no inference,
    And any perception of things arising from causes
    And then ceasing would become impossible.

    20. If that were the case, how could we ever
    Understand them to be empty and so on?
    Without relying upon the conventional,
    There can be no realization of the ultimate.[5]

    21. Cognitions brought about by the five senses
    Clearly experience their own objects.
    Without this direct sensory perception,
    Like blind folk, we would fail to see.

    22. Mental direct perception arises from the faculty of mind,
    And clearly determines both outer and inner objects.
    Without it, there would be no aspect of consciousness
    Capable of perceiving all types of phenomena.

    23. Yogic direct perception is the culmination of meditation
    Practised properly and according to the instructions.
    It clearly experiences its own objects, and without it
    There would be no vision of objects beyond the ordinary.

    24. Just as this direct experience can eliminate
    Misperceptions about outer forms and the like,
    This is also how it is within the mind itself,
    If there were some other knower, there would be no end to them.

    25. A mind that is cognizant and aware
    Naturally knows its objects, but at the same time
    Is also aware of itself, without relying upon something else,
    And this is what is termed ‘self-awareness’.

    26. Any experience of the other direct perceptions
    Is only determined to be actual direct perception
    By means of self-awareness; without this
    There would be no way of establishing it.

    27. The root of inference lies in direct perception,
    And direct perception is determined by self-awareness.
    It all comes down to the experience of an undeluded mind;
    There are no other means of establishment beyond this.

    28. Therefore, it is based on direct perceptions,
    Which are non-conceptual and undeluded,
    That misperceptions of apparent phenomena
    Can be decisively eliminated.

https://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-ma ... -of-wisdom
  • 'Pramana (Skt. pramāṇa; Tib. ཚད་མ་, tsema, Wyl. tshad ma) is a Sanskrit term, the primary meaning and most common translation of which is 'valid cognition'
https://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Pramana
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by seeker242 »

Dgj wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 12:43 am What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?
What kind of question is that? What possible reason? Suffering of course.
Dependent origination must be flatly incorrect: it states arising and cessation do occur.
No it doesn't. It says nothing about what is ultimately true regarding arisings. It simply states how misunderstanding leads to suffering. The functioning of dependent origination is entirely based on misunderstanding. "No arising nor ceasing" is entirely based on wisdom. They are two completely different things. Dependent origination is simply what happens when one mistakenly believes arising and cessation do occur, it is not a declaration that they actually do occur. Mistakenly believing that arising and cessation do occur, does not make them actually occur.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Grigoris »

Two truths:

Ultimately, arising and ceasing (the Four Noble Truths, etc...) do not occur. Upon examination neither the process of arising nor the arisen phenomena have any stable or self generating essence. They are empty and dependently arisen.

But it is exactly because they are empty and dependently, arisen that they have a relative existence.

It is exactly because they do not occur ultimately, that they occur relatively.

That is what we practice for: To overcome the relative and to realise the ultimate.
"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."
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by avatamsaka3 »

If no arising nor ceasing occur then the twelve links are meaningless, reduced to nonsense.
Not exactly. There are two levels of apprehension, as other people have pointed out. Read Chapter 26 of Nagarjuna's root text. It answers your question in detail. Here's what Garfield says in his commentary:
Human existence and experience are indeed governed by the twelve links of dependent origination. But since they are essentially dependent, they are essentially empty and, hence, are impermanent and subject to change. The twelve links provide an anatomy and an etiology of suffering.
But if someone were to achieve a state of "non-action" (apprehension of reality at the ultimate level) as described in Nagarjuna's text, then you would be right. There would be no reason to study the dharma since they would already "have" all of it.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by haha »

If no arising nor ceasing occur then the twelve links are meaningless, reduced to nonsense.
Dependent origination must be flatly incorrect: it states arising and cessation do occur.
Does the above statement follow its own rule? If it follows, then this statement itself is meaningless, reduced to nonsense. Dependent origination is not flatly incorrect, but the above statement might have missed some points and meanings from Dependent origination and 4NTs. The above statement is nothing but the conflating the two dharmas; this view may arise because of unable to grasp the meaning of conditioned and unconditioned phenomena (i.e. for my case). There is the unconditioned dharma that is why one can escape from the conditioned dharma. Arising and cessation do occur that is why one can escape from arising and cessation. There is suffering that is why there is the cessation of suffering.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by tobes »

Dgj wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 12:43 am If no arising nor ceasing occur then the twelve links are meaningless, reduced to nonsense.
With ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be...

with the cessation of birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.
Ditto for the four truths.
The noble truth of suffering,
the noble truth of the arising of suffering,
the noble truth of the cessation of suffering,
the noble truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering

Dependent origination must be flatly incorrect: it states arising and cessation do occur.

Ditto for the four truths.

So, if the core goals and functioning of Buddhism are nonsense, why not just forget the whole thing?

I think Buddhism is extremely important and should be practiced! I'm just looking for clarification.
Nagarjuna responds to this exact critique in The Vig and chapter 24 of the MMK, which coincidentally, I have just been promoting on other threads.

So, it is a good question to ask, a very good sign that you are thinking seriously about these most important topics.

But: there is a very good answer. In short, if the 12 links and four noble truths were not empty, they could not exist and be true; the reality and truth of emptiness means that dukhah is not 'static and immutable'; it depends upon causes to persist, and when those causes cease, it ceases.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Dgj »

tobes wrote: Tue May 05, 2020 7:10 am
Dgj wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 12:43 am If no arising nor ceasing occur then the twelve links are meaningless, reduced to nonsense.
With ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be...

with the cessation of birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.
Ditto for the four truths.
The noble truth of suffering,
the noble truth of the arising of suffering,
the noble truth of the cessation of suffering,
the noble truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering

Dependent origination must be flatly incorrect: it states arising and cessation do occur.

Ditto for the four truths.

So, if the core goals and functioning of Buddhism are nonsense, why not just forget the whole thing?

I think Buddhism is extremely important and should be practiced! I'm just looking for clarification.
Nagarjuna responds to this exact critique in The Vig and chapter 24 of the MMK, which coincidentally, I have just been promoting on other threads.

So, it is a good question to ask, a very good sign that you are thinking seriously about these most important topics.

But: there is a very good answer. In short, if the 12 links and four noble truths were not empty, they could not exist and be true; the reality and truth of emptiness means that dukhah is not 'static and immutable'; it depends upon causes to persist, and when those causes cease, it ceases.
This makes sense but it also confirms that cessation takes place. This seems to be confirmed by Nagarjuna himself and Jay Garfield:
23. If suffering had an essence,

Its cessation would not exist.

So if an essence is posited,

One denies cessation.

Similarly, the third noble truth is the truth of cessation. But inher-
ently existent things cannot cease. Empty ones can. Nagarjuna’s
analysis thus explains the third truth; the reifier contradicts it.

24. If the path had an essence,

Cultivation would not be appropriate.

If this path is indeed cultivated,

It cannot have an essence.

25. If suffering, arising, and
Ceasing are nonexistent,

By what path could one seek
To obtain the cessation of suffering?

The fourth truth is the truth of the path. Again, the path only
makes sense, and cultivation of the path is only possible, if suffer-
ing is impermanent and alleviable and if the nature of mind is
empty and hence malleable. The path, after all, is a path from
suffering and to awakening. If the former cannot cease and the
latter does not depend on cultivation, the path is nonexistent. But
it is the analysis in terms of emptiness that makes this coherent. An
analysis on which either the phenomena were inherently existent
or on which emptiness was and the phenomena were therefore
nonexistent would make nonsense of the Four Noble Truths.
MKK 24.23-25 Jay Garfield
But how can it be both that cessation does not occur and that suffering can cease and so the path has a function?
Don't assume my words are correct. Do your research.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Dgj »

avatamsaka3 wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 6:45 pm
If no arising nor ceasing occur then the twelve links are meaningless, reduced to nonsense.
Not exactly. There are two levels of apprehension, as other people have pointed out. Read Chapter 26 of Nagarjuna's root text. It answers your question in detail. Here's what Garfield says in his commentary:
Human existence and experience are indeed governed by the twelve links of dependent origination. But since they are essentially dependent, they are essentially empty and, hence, are impermanent and subject to change. The twelve links provide an anatomy and an etiology of suffering.
But if someone were to achieve a state of "non-action" (apprehension of reality at the ultimate level) as described in Nagarjuna's text, then you would be right. There would be no reason to study the dharma since they would already "have" all of it.
Please elaborate. Cessation does occur in one level of apprehension?
Don't assume my words are correct. Do your research.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Dgj »

Grigoris wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 1:46 pm Two truths:

Ultimately, arising and ceasing (the Four Noble Truths, etc...) do not occur. Upon examination neither the process of arising nor the arisen phenomena have any stable or self generating essence. They are empty and dependently arisen.

But it is exactly because they are empty and dependently, arisen that they have a relative existence.

It is exactly because they do not occur ultimately, that they occur relatively.

That is what we practice for: To overcome the relative and to realise the ultimate.
So ceasing does occur conventionally? Is this the solution?
Don't assume my words are correct. Do your research.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Grigoris »

Dgj wrote: Tue May 05, 2020 9:46 pmSo ceasing does occur conventionally? Is this the solution?
Ceasing, Arising, The 8 worldly dharmas, the Four Noble Truths, suffering (dukkha), Nirvana, etc...

They all occur conventionally.
"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."
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by tobes »

Dgj wrote: Tue May 05, 2020 9:42 pm
tobes wrote: Tue May 05, 2020 7:10 am
Dgj wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 12:43 am If no arising nor ceasing occur then the twelve links are meaningless, reduced to nonsense.



Ditto for the four truths.




Dependent origination must be flatly incorrect: it states arising and cessation do occur.

Ditto for the four truths.

So, if the core goals and functioning of Buddhism are nonsense, why not just forget the whole thing?

I think Buddhism is extremely important and should be practiced! I'm just looking for clarification.
Nagarjuna responds to this exact critique in The Vig and chapter 24 of the MMK, which coincidentally, I have just been promoting on other threads.

So, it is a good question to ask, a very good sign that you are thinking seriously about these most important topics.

But: there is a very good answer. In short, if the 12 links and four noble truths were not empty, they could not exist and be true; the reality and truth of emptiness means that dukhah is not 'static and immutable'; it depends upon causes to persist, and when those causes cease, it ceases.
This makes sense but it also confirms that cessation takes place. This seems to be confirmed by Nagarjuna himself and Jay Garfield:
23. If suffering had an essence,

Its cessation would not exist.

So if an essence is posited,

One denies cessation.

Similarly, the third noble truth is the truth of cessation. But inher-
ently existent things cannot cease. Empty ones can. Nagarjuna’s
analysis thus explains the third truth; the reifier contradicts it.

24. If the path had an essence,

Cultivation would not be appropriate.

If this path is indeed cultivated,

It cannot have an essence.

25. If suffering, arising, and
Ceasing are nonexistent,

By what path could one seek
To obtain the cessation of suffering?

The fourth truth is the truth of the path. Again, the path only
makes sense, and cultivation of the path is only possible, if suffer-
ing is impermanent and alleviable and if the nature of mind is
empty and hence malleable. The path, after all, is a path from
suffering and to awakening. If the former cannot cease and the
latter does not depend on cultivation, the path is nonexistent. But
it is the analysis in terms of emptiness that makes this coherent. An
analysis on which either the phenomena were inherently existent
or on which emptiness was and the phenomena were therefore
nonexistent would make nonsense of the Four Noble Truths.
MKK 24.23-25 Jay Garfield
But how can it be both that cessation does not occur and that suffering can cease and so the path has a function?
Because the path does not have an essence, one can transform from A to B. If it had an essence, one would remain always A.

V25 is the framing of Nagarjuna's response to the opponents critique, one who thinks that the assertion that the 4NT's are empty, implies that they do not exist, and therefore that Nagarjuna is contradicting the Buddha.

Nagarjuna is saying: because they are empty, they exist conventionally as dependently arising. Conventionally, cessation can happen, if and only if, it is empty and dependently arisen.
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