Nihilistic view

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Wayfarer
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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by Wayfarer » Fri May 22, 2020 10:30 pm

Not everything is impermanent. The flux of phenomena are impermanent. If everything was impermanent then the Buddha's teaching would not have lasting validity.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by Grigoris » Fri May 22, 2020 11:01 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 4:00 pm
Don't you think the process of verification necessitates an unchanging essence?
You obviously do. So what is this "unchanging essence? Where is it to be found? What is it's shape, colour, smell, texture, sound and taste?

Is it separate to impermanent phenomena? If so how does it interact with them? Is it compounded? How does it arise? Why are we not aware of it? How do we become aware of it?

AND, last but not least:

A reference from the Buddha's teachings about it?
"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: Nihilistic view

Post by Bundokji » Sat May 23, 2020 12:14 am

Grigoris wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:01 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 4:00 pm
Don't you think the process of verification necessitates an unchanging essence?
You obviously do. So what is this "unchanging essence? Where is it to be found? What is it's shape, colour, smell, texture, sound and taste?

Is it separate to impermanent phenomena? If so how does it interact with them? Is it compounded? How does it arise? Why are we not aware of it? How do we become aware of it?

AND, last but not least:

A reference from the Buddha's teachings about it?
Dependent on an ontological mindset, rooted in existence and non-existence such questions arises. I did not use ontological language, but asked whether the process of verification "necessitates" an unchanging essence. Why do you think an unchanging essence can only be known through an ontological approach?

When the Buddha likened his teachings to a raft, how does that affects the truth of the teachings? An ontological mindset would either reduce them to a mere fabrications or to ultimate truth.

How do you know that touching a hot iron rod would hurt? would arguing about the specific temperature, the size of the rod, its color or where it came from change anything?

Why the existence or non-existence of an unchanging essence matter anyway? Is it not because of its effects, not because of its specifics?

So, whether we call it delusion, a conceptual generalization or anything else is of no great importance. It can be framed as Credo, ergo sum (i believe, therefore i exist).
The cleverest defenders of faith are its greatest enemies: for their subtleties engender doubt and stimulate the mind. -- Will Durant

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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by Wayfarer » Sat May 23, 2020 12:28 am

What is 'essence'? It's basically a term from Aristotle -'esse' being 'that which defines what something is'. Esse is 'essential nature', which confers the identity of the thing. You can take away 'accidents' - color, size, etc - and still retain essence, but if the essence is taken away, then you have nothing left.

Buddhist philosophy doesn't think in those terms, it doesn't argue along those lines. That doesn't mean that either Aristotle is wrong, or that Buddhism is, but that they're different domains of discourse which start from different assumptions or frames of reference.

I think if you go back to the early Buddhist texts, the analysis of 'impermanence' (anicca) is always accompanied by dukkha and anatta. So "all phenomena", and therefore all phenomenal experience - these are not divided in Buddhism - are 'marked' by the three characteristics (the 'three marks' or laksana.)

There is a verse in which the Buddha says that these phenomena comprise 'the All':
"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
Sabba Sutta

Some interpretations say that, on this basis, the Buddha was close to an early form of positivism i.e., declared that only what can be verified in experience is real. I think David Kalupahana's interpretation is along these lines.

But what this overlooks, is that, having declared 'the All', the Buddha then declares that 'the All' is 'to be abandoned':
"Monks, I will teach you the All as a phenomenon to be abandoned. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "And which All is a phenomenon to be abandoned? The eye is to be abandoned. [1] Forms are to be abandoned. Consciousness at the eye is to be abandoned. Contact at the eye is to be abandoned. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is to be abandoned.
Pahayana Sutta (excerpt).

So, does that mean there is nothing beyond 'the All?' This question is put by the character Kottihita:
Then Ven. Maha Kotthita went to Ven. Sariputta and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Sariputta, "With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection] is it the case that there is anything else?"

[Sariputta:] "Don't say that, my friend."
Kothitta Sutta (excerpt)

The Sutta concludes with this statement from Sariputta, which in my mind is the crux of the entire analysis:
[Sariputta:] "The question, 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection] is it the case that there is anything else?' objectifies non-objectification.
Thanisarro's footnote on this passage is:
the root of the classifications and perceptions of objectification is the thought, "I am the thinker." This thought forms the motivation for the questions that Ven. Maha Kotthita is presenting here: the sense of "I am the thinker" can either fear or desire annihilation in the course of Unbinding. Both concerns get in the way of the abandoning of clinging, which is essential for the attainment of Unbinding, which is why the questions should not be asked.
(Alltransations from Access to Insight).

So - this process of 'objectification' is key to understanding. The 'discursive mind' can only proceed in terms of what can be objectified. That process of objectification in turn rests on the mental framework (vikalpa) of subject and object, self and other. But usually, we assume that or take if for granted. That is what has to be unravelled, seen through, transcended, etc.That is by no means an easy undertaking in the least, it is the task of meditative understanding to see through those processes. It's relatively easy to describe verbally if enough study is done, but it's supremely difficult to realise in practice.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by LastLegend » Sat May 23, 2020 12:34 am

To Bundokji:

You can call it anything. However, if not know recognizing (not enlightenment yet: one more step difficult or easy but to me it’s difficult) it first, we will be much more confused by skandhas. Enlightenment will be more difficult.

It’s not expressible itself but when describing it or Buddha teaching it, we fail here 😄.

“This is the story of the Flower Sermon, and today, I most wanted to share it with you:

One day, Śākyamuni Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) transmits direct prajñā (wisdom) to the disciple Mahākāśyapa.

In the original Sino-Japanese, the story is called nengemishō 拈花微笑, which means literally “pick up flower, subtle smile”.

And, I happen to like this title quite a lot.

In the story, Śākyamuni gives a wordless sermon to his disciples by gently holding up a most beautiful pure white flower.

No one in the audience understands except for Mahākāśyapa, who smiles.

Within Zen, this story communicates the ineffable nature of tathātā (suchness) and Mahākāśyapa’s smile signifies the direct transmission of wisdom without words.”

https://mindfullymusing.com/2013/07/07/ ... sgCz-Rq3YW
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.

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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by Grigoris » Sat May 23, 2020 9:20 am

Bundokji wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 12:14 am
Dependent on an ontological mindset, rooted in existence and non-existence such questions arises. I did not use ontological language, but asked whether the process of verification "necessitates" an unchanging essence. Why do you think an unchanging essence can only be known through an ontological approach?

When the Buddha likened his teachings to a raft, how does that affects the truth of the teachings? An ontological mindset would either reduce them to a mere fabrications or to ultimate truth.

How do you know that touching a hot iron rod would hurt? would arguing about the specific temperature, the size of the rod, its color or where it came from change anything?

Why the existence or non-existence of an unchanging essence matter anyway? Is it not because of its effects, not because of its specifics?

So, whether we call it delusion, a conceptual generalization or anything else is of no great importance. It can be framed as Credo, ergo sum (i believe, therefore i exist).
Sounds good, but it doesn't answer any of my questions, nor does it actually clarify anything.
"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: Nihilistic view

Post by SteRo » Sat May 23, 2020 10:19 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 12:28 am
...
There is a verse in which the Buddha says that these phenomena comprise 'the All':
"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
Sabba Sutta

...the Buddha then declares that 'the All' is 'to be abandoned': ...

So, does that mean there is nothing beyond 'the All?'
it merely reveals that his teaching about "the All" comes under one of its own categories, namely "intellect & ideas" or - as others translate it - "mind and mind-objects".

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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by Bundokji » Sat May 23, 2020 10:58 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 9:20 am
Sounds good, but it doesn't answer any of my questions, nor does it actually clarify anything.
[/quote]

Negation is the shadow of existence. Assuming that for something to exist it has to be defined is akin to assuming a beginning to construct a theory. about its existence

Unless you believe that your questions have some unchanging essence, what is that my reply did not answer?
The cleverest defenders of faith are its greatest enemies: for their subtleties engender doubt and stimulate the mind. -- Will Durant

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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by Grigoris » Sat May 23, 2020 1:04 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:58 am
Negation is the shadow of existence. Assuming that for something to exist it has to be defined is akin to assuming a beginning to construct a theory. about its existence

Unless you believe that your questions have some unchanging essence, what is that my reply did not answer?
I am convinced you are either an AI bot trying to play it spiritual, or you get your answers from here.
Last edited by Grigoris on Sat May 23, 2020 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"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

Bundokji
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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by Bundokji » Sat May 23, 2020 1:23 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:04 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:58 am
Negation is the shadow of existence. Assuming that for something to exist it has to be defined is akin to assuming a beginning to construct a theory. about its existence

Unless you believe that your questions have some unchanging essence, what is that my reply did not answer?
I am convinced you are either a AI bot trying to play it spiritual, or you get your answers from here.
I consider your conviction about the AI bot not necessarily a bad thing except that i don't see anything spiritual either in confirming or denying the self.
The cleverest defenders of faith are its greatest enemies: for their subtleties engender doubt and stimulate the mind. -- Will Durant

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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by Grigoris » Sat May 23, 2020 1:54 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:23 pm
...except that i don't see anything spiritual either in confirming or denying the self.
Good for you!

Anatman is one of the four defining characteristics (Four Dharma Seals) of a Dharma.

Any body of teaching that does not include Anatman cannot be Dharma.

So somebody out there obviously considers the discussion of whether there is a self or not, of vital spiritual significance.
"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

White Sakura
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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by White Sakura » Sat May 23, 2020 4:30 pm

SteRo wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 5:05 am
White Sakura wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:17 pm
I also wonder about the comparisons: Appearances are like moon reflection in water, like a mirage, like an echo, a dream, a magican´s show...
I just learned here in the forum that his comparisons come from the Buddha Shakyamuni. But cannot this be called a nihilistic view?
No because these are similes, not equations.
White Sakura wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:17 pm
Since the water displayed by a mirage is actually not there. The thirsty person going there in the desert will be 100 percent disappointed, there is not a single drop of water. It just isn´t there...
That would be taking the simile erroneously as an equation which then entails negation. The Buddha did not say that conventional phenomena are truly a mirage but "like a mirrage" hinted at the non-grasping mode of perception that corresponds with non-accessible reality.

who else agrees to this view of SteRo?

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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by LastLegend » Sat May 23, 2020 4:35 pm

White Sakura wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:30 pm
SteRo wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 5:05 am
White Sakura wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:17 pm
I also wonder about the comparisons: Appearances are like moon reflection in water, like a mirage, like an echo, a dream, a magican´s show...
I just learned here in the forum that his comparisons come from the Buddha Shakyamuni. But cannot this be called a nihilistic view?
No because these are similes, not equations.
White Sakura wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:17 pm
Since the water displayed by a mirage is actually not there. The thirsty person going there in the desert will be 100 percent disappointed, there is not a single drop of water. It just isn´t there...
That would be taking the simile erroneously as an equation which then entails negation. The Buddha did not say that conventional phenomena are truly a mirage but "like a mirrage" hinted at the non-grasping mode of perception that corresponds with non-accessible reality.

who else agrees to this view of SteRo?
A big problem we have here is if not this view it’s the other. If it’s a mirage, then there is a view there is nothing. :lol: When these are remedies pointing to Wisdom.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.

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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by Bundokji » Sat May 23, 2020 5:19 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:54 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:23 pm
...except that i don't see anything spiritual either in confirming or denying the self.
Good for you!

Anatman is one of the four defining characteristics (Four Dharma Seals) of a Dharma.

Any body of teaching that does not include Anatman cannot be Dharma.

So somebody out there obviously considers the discussion of whether there is a self or not, of vital spiritual significance.
Is anatman a denial of the self?
Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"

When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

"Then is there no self?"

A second time, the Blessed One was silent.

Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left.

Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "Why, lord, did the Blessed One not answer when asked a question by Vacchagotta the wanderer?"

"Ananda, if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"

"No, lord."

"And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"
The funny thing is that i encountered interpretations of the Ananda sutta that the nature of the "spiritual realization" is that there was no self to begin with, which is another self-fulfilling interpretation.
The cleverest defenders of faith are its greatest enemies: for their subtleties engender doubt and stimulate the mind. -- Will Durant

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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by LastLegend » Sat May 23, 2020 5:30 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:19 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:54 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:23 pm
...except that i don't see anything spiritual either in confirming or denying the self.
Good for you!

Anatman is one of the four defining characteristics (Four Dharma Seals) of a Dharma.

Any body of teaching that does not include Anatman cannot be Dharma.

So somebody out there obviously considers the discussion of whether there is a self or not, of vital spiritual significance.
Is anatman a denial of the self?
Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"

When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

"Then is there no self?"

A second time, the Blessed One was silent.

Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left.

Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "Why, lord, did the Blessed One not answer when asked a question by Vacchagotta the wanderer?"

"Ananda, if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"

"No, lord."

"And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"
The funny thing is that i encountered interpretations of the Ananda sutta that the nature of the "spiritual realization" is that there was no self to begin with, which is another self-fulfilling interpretation.
This doubt is bad.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.

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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by Bundokji » Sat May 23, 2020 5:42 pm

LastLegend wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:30 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:19 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:54 pm
Good for you!

Anatman is one of the four defining characteristics (Four Dharma Seals) of a Dharma.

Any body of teaching that does not include Anatman cannot be Dharma.

So somebody out there obviously considers the discussion of whether there is a self or not, of vital spiritual significance.
Is anatman a denial of the self?
Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"

When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

"Then is there no self?"

A second time, the Blessed One was silent.

Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left.

Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "Why, lord, did the Blessed One not answer when asked a question by Vacchagotta the wanderer?"

"Ananda, if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"

"No, lord."

"And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"
The funny thing is that i encountered interpretations of the Ananda sutta that the nature of the "spiritual realization" is that there was no self to begin with, which is another self-fulfilling interpretation.
This doubt is bad.
Doubting a certain interpretation is not heretical. There is no meaningful difference between "there is no self to begin with" and what the Buddha described about Vacchagotta "'Does the self I used to have now not exist?"
The cleverest defenders of faith are its greatest enemies: for their subtleties engender doubt and stimulate the mind. -- Will Durant

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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by Grigoris » Sat May 23, 2020 5:56 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:19 pm
Is anatman a denial of the self?
What is your definition of "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

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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by Grigoris » Sat May 23, 2020 5:57 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:42 pm
Doubting a certain interpretation is not heretical. There is no meaningful difference between "there is no self to begin with" and what the Buddha described about Vacchagotta "'Does the self I used to have now not exist?"
This has gone beyond doubt and into delusion and purposeful misinterpretation.
"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

Bundokji
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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by Bundokji » Sat May 23, 2020 6:01 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:56 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:19 pm
Is anatman a denial of the self?
What is your definition of "self"?
The meaning of the self usually depends on context.
The cleverest defenders of faith are its greatest enemies: for their subtleties engender doubt and stimulate the mind. -- Will Durant

Bundokji
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Re: Nihilistic view

Post by Bundokji » Sat May 23, 2020 6:01 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:57 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:42 pm
Doubting a certain interpretation is not heretical. There is no meaningful difference between "there is no self to begin with" and what the Buddha described about Vacchagotta "'Does the self I used to have now not exist?"
This has gone beyond doubt and into delusion and purposeful misinterpretation.
How so?
The cleverest defenders of faith are its greatest enemies: for their subtleties engender doubt and stimulate the mind. -- Will Durant

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