No self (and no non-self)

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
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Malcolm
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by Malcolm » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:06 pm

rachmiel wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:05 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:23 pm
But this is quite a different use than what you originally advanced: self, no self, both, and neither.
Yes. I'm learning.
Anyway, it really should be:

8. Everything is true, false,
both true and false,
and neither true nor false.
This is Lord Buddha’s teaching.
When you say "it really should be" do you mean you have access to Nagarjuna's original text (in Pali? Sanskrit?) and you have the expertise to say, with certainty, that the "true and false" translation is more accurate than Garfield's?
Yes.

sarvaṁ tathyaṁ na vā tathyaṁ tathyaṁ cātathyam eva ca
naivātathyaṁ naiva tathyam etad buddhānuśāsanaṁ|

Tathya means "true."
Last edited by Malcolm on Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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Rick
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by Rick » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:09 pm

A bit of a tangent:

If the "actual ultimate" (as opposed to "approximate ultimate") truth is unfathomable, inconceivable, inexpressible, etc. ... how can one know it is not just a fairy tale?
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Malcolm
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by Malcolm » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:11 pm

rachmiel wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:09 pm
A bit of a tangent:

If the "actual ultimate" (as opposed to "approximate ultimate") truth is unfathomable, inconceivable, inexpressible, etc. ... how can one know it is not just a fairy tale?
The actual ultimate truth is a direct perception which is inexpressible since there is no entity within it that can be discussed in conventional terms.

It is approximated by Shantideva:
When neither an entity nor a nonentity remain before the mind,
since there is no other alternative, the mind is pacified.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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Rick
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by Rick » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:27 pm

Malcolm wrote:
rachMiel wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Anyway, it really should be:

8. Everything is true, false,
both true and false,
and neither true nor false.
This is Lord Buddha’s teaching.
When you say "it really should be" do you mean you have access to Nagarjuna's original text (in Pali? Sanskrit?) and you have the expertise to say, with certainty, that the "true and false" translation is more accurate than Garfield's?
Yes.

sarvaṁ tathyaṁ na vā tathyaṁ tathyaṁ cātathyam eva ca
naivātathyaṁ naiva tathyam etad buddhānuśāsanaṁ|

Tathya means "true."
On this page (the first answer especially) they say tathya means fact and satya means truth. Based on that and on the following quote from the linked page I can see why Garfield chose real/unreal instead of true/false:

"Etymologically, Satya has its roots in the sanskrit root 'sat' meaning the essence of. It also forms the basis of sattva, which is equivalent of existence or reality. Tathya has the equivalent base in tattva which means matter."
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Rick
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by Rick » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:34 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:11 pm
rachmiel wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:09 pm
If the "actual ultimate" (as opposed to "approximate ultimate") truth is unfathomable, inconceivable, inexpressible, etc. ... how can one know it is not just a fairy tale?
The actual ultimate truth is a direct perception which is inexpressible since there is no entity within it that can be discussed in conventional terms.
How can it be established that one has had a true (rather than false) direct perception of actual ultimate truth?

The human mind is brilliantly imaginative and wish-fulfilling ... and sneaky! It's certainly up to the task of fooling itself into believing that it has experienced Truth, particularly if encouraged by a supportive community/teacher. So I assume there is some kind of "test" that can be given to determine (with reasonable accuracy) whether or not someone has in fact had a direct perception of the actual ultimate truth or is just engaging in wishful thinking?
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Vasana
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by Vasana » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:40 pm

Rachimel, the older thread you made on 'peeling the onion' had posts that touched on that. Like Malcolm already said, it's a direct perception which is not analytical or conceptual.

'The ultimate is not the sphere of cognition.' Shantideva.

It's a fairytale /onion layer / inferential cognition until it's a direct 'yogic' valid cognition. You use mental analysis until even the very mind engaging in analysis has the rug pulled up from underneath it's feet. 'The Center of the Sunlit Sky' by Karl Brunnholzl covers everything from how the understanding is refined intellectually to the way in which insight is arrived at directly in meditation.
"The changing cycle of joy and sorrow, like the changing seasons –
As a time of suffering will surely come around to me,
May I truly practice the sublime teachings."
- Dudjom Rinpoche

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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by Rick » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:49 pm

If such a direct experience cannot be verified or measured in any kind of "objective" way ... all one has to go on is the word of the experiencer. This must be very tricky. A clever (and dishonest) person could learn the vibe of how enlightened people talk and act and imitate it ... and there would be no way to prove he/she was authentic or not. He/she could then go on to become a teacher ... and all manner of mischief could flow from that. No?
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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tomschwarz
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by tomschwarz » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:50 pm

rachmiel wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:27 pm
...all you're really "left with" is ... things as they are
Thats right. That is all they are getting at. The mantra of no self and no non self and no conceptusl and no non conceptual, they are just trying to get us to meditate. Wich is after all one third of buddhism.
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA

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conebeckham
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by conebeckham » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:51 pm

rachmiel wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:49 pm
If such a direct experience cannot be verified or measured in any kind of "objective" way ... all one has to go on is the word of the experiencer. This must be very tricky. A clever (and dishonest) person could learn the vibe of how enlightened people talk and act and imitate it ... and there would be no way to prove he/she was authentic or not. He/she could then go on to become a teacher ... and all manner of mischief could flow from that. No?
Yes. Obviously. But in the long run, we shall know them by their fruits, so to speak....
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"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."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Vasana
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by Vasana » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:57 pm

rachmiel wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:34 pm

How can it be established that one has had a true (rather than false) direct perception of actual ultimate truth?
This is a good and important question to be asking. There seems to be a lot more written about that in Vajrayana and paths of self-liberation but I don't know how they traditionally clarify this in strictly MMK and sutric-Mahayana approaches. Indirectly, as Cone mentioned, you'll know the fruit of valid practice but even calm abiding can diminish emotions and bring about experiences of non-conceptuality. Generally speaking, the tendency to grasp at entities should weaken and exhaust it's self along with any attachment and aversion since [with direct perception] there are no longer any locatable entities/objects to elicit those dualistic emotions in the first place.
Last edited by Vasana on Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"The changing cycle of joy and sorrow, like the changing seasons –
As a time of suffering will surely come around to me,
May I truly practice the sublime teachings."
- Dudjom Rinpoche

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Rick
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by Rick » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:01 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:51 pm
rachmiel wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:49 pm
If such a direct experience cannot be verified or measured in any kind of "objective" way ... all one has to go on is the word of the experiencer. This must be very tricky. A clever (and dishonest) person could learn the vibe of how enlightened people talk and act and imitate it ... and there would be no way to prove he/she was authentic or not. He/she could then go on to become a teacher ... and all manner of mischief could flow from that. No?
Yes. Obviously. But in the long run, we shall know them by their fruits, so to speak....
Yes ... and perhaps the "direct experiencer of actual ultimate truth" will know her/his direct experience was authentic by observing these fruits: kindness, compassion, peace, equanimity, what arises in mind, what mind does with these arisings (grasp at? avert from? leave alone?), what "self" feels like, what actions are taken, etc.
Last edited by Rick on Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Rick
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by Rick » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:13 pm

Vasana wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:57 pm
rachmiel wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:34 pm

How can it be established that one has had a true (rather than false) direct perception of actual ultimate truth?
This is a good and important question to be asking. There seems to be a lot more written about that in Vajrayana but I don't know how they traditionally clarify this in strictly MMK and sutric-Mahayana approaches. Usually, your teacher would be able to help you come to certainty and there are many texts which point out the potential pitfalls to watch out for to know if it's valid. Indirectly, the tendency to grasp at entities should weaken and exhaust it's self so naturally any attachment and aversion also becomes exhausted since there are no longer any isolatable entities/objects to be found to elicit those dualistic emotions in the first place.
Alex Trisoglio, in the Madhyamaka course, said that to get an accurate sense of one's realization of emptiness it can be useful to turn to the four pairs of samsaric dharmas:

Hope for happiness and fear of suffering
Hope for fame and fear of insignificance
Hope for praise and fear of blame
Hope for gain and fear of loss

The more you prefer the first item in the pair over the second, the less your current realization of emptiness. For example, if you strongly prefer happiness to suffering, you've still got a ways to go to put your emptiness knowledge into practice. If otoh you don't prefer happiness to suffering, rather see/experience both as empty arisings ... your emptiness juju is going strong.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Vasana
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by Vasana » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:27 pm

Yep, our preoccupation with the 8 worldly dharmas is the real litmus test for where we're at overall.

With that being said, It is possible to come to certainty about yogic-direct-perceptions long before a person is completely and permanently free of the 8 worldly dharmas. A shift from invalid to valid-perception is rarely a permanent one for anyone other than the highest percentile of practitioners so it's possible to have a direct perception but still later return to the default 8 worldy dharmas when that direct-perception has subsided. Again though, I don't really know how they speak about the experiential unfolding in MMK so it might be spoken of differently.

Advice Revealing How Our Faults Become Clear

by Nyala Pema Dündul

Namo guru!

I prostrate to the accomplished vidyādhara guru—
Bless me so that my mind’s five poisons are brought onto the path!

Whether the darkness of delusion has been eliminated
Is clear whenever we lie down to sleep at night.

Whether the flames of anger have been extinguished
Is clear whenever we’re struck by words of abuse.

Whether the mountain of arrogance has been levelled
Is clear whenever we’re honoured by those of lesser learning.

Whether the lake of desire has dried up and disappeared
Is clear whenever we spend time with a beautiful girl.

Whether the tornado of envy has been brought to an end
Is clear whenever our rivals gain the upper hand.

Whether the tight knot of stinginess has been loosened
Is clear whenever we gain some material wealth.

Whether the flower of discipline has blossomed
Is clear whenever we’re in the midst of common folk.

Whether we have donned the armour of patience
Is clear whenever adversity strikes all of a sudden.

Whether the steed of diligence has developed to its finest
Is clear whenever we set about accomplishing some virtuous deed.

Whether the fortress of meditation has been secured
Is clear whenever serious illness befalls us.

And whether the sword of wisdom has been sharpened
Is clear whenever the destructive emotions arise and unfold.

This teaching on how our faults become clear, Was composed by the old beggar called Dündul, In response to requests from many students. Through the merit of this may all beings become entirely devoid of faults!


http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-mas ... -on-faults
"The changing cycle of joy and sorrow, like the changing seasons –
As a time of suffering will surely come around to me,
May I truly practice the sublime teachings."
- Dudjom Rinpoche

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Malcolm
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by Malcolm » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:53 pm

rachmiel wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:27 pm
Malcolm wrote:
rachMiel wrote:
When you say "it really should be" do you mean you have access to Nagarjuna's original text (in Pali? Sanskrit?) and you have the expertise to say, with certainty, that the "true and false" translation is more accurate than Garfield's?
Yes.

sarvaṁ tathyaṁ na vā tathyaṁ tathyaṁ cātathyam eva ca
naivātathyaṁ naiva tathyam etad buddhānuśāsanaṁ|

Tathya means "true."
On this page (the first answer especially) they say tathya means fact and satya means truth. Based on that and on the following quote from the linked page I can see why Garfield chose real/unreal instead of true/false:

"Etymologically, Satya has its roots in the sanskrit root 'sat' meaning the essence of. It also forms the basis of sattva, which is equivalent of existence or reality. Tathya has the equivalent base in tattva which means matter."
He was translating from Tibetan. Even so when looking at traditional Indian commentaries true and false are the correct readings.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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Rick
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by Rick » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:14 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:53 pm
rachmiel wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:27 pm
[On this page (the first answer especially) they say tathya means fact and satya means truth. Based on that and on the following quote from the linked page I can see why Garfield chose real/unreal instead of true/false:

"Etymologically, Satya has its roots in the sanskrit root 'sat' meaning the essence of. It also forms the basis of sattva, which is equivalent of existence or reality. Tathya has the equivalent base in tattva which means matter."
He was translating from Tibetan. Even so when looking at traditional Indian commentaries true and false are the correct readings.
Okay, many thanks. :-)
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

Anonymous X
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Re: No self (and no non-self)

Post by Anonymous X » Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:25 am

rachmiel wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:49 pm
If such a direct experience cannot be verified or measured in any kind of "objective" way ... all one has to go on is the word of the experiencer. This must be very tricky. A clever (and dishonest) person could learn the vibe of how enlightened people talk and act and imitate it ... and there would be no way to prove he/she was authentic or not. He/she could then go on to become a teacher ... and all manner of mischief could flow from that. No?
Why not just return to the source of these teachings, the Buddha, and the way he spoke about The Three Marks, or Characteristics Of Existence or Tilakkhana? This is what Dan74 linked to in his post. It seems much easier to understand as such:

All conditioned phenomena are impermanent..........
All conditioned phenomena are dukkha...........
All things are non-self..........

Aniccata:impermanence instability, and inconstancy; the condition of arising, deteriorating, and disintegrating.

Dukkhata: state of dukkha; the condition of oppression by birth and decay; inherent stress; resistance and conflict within an object due to alteration of its determinant factors, preventing it from remaining as it is; the internal imperfection of things, which prevents true satisfaction for someone whose desires are influenced by craving (tanha), and causes suffering for a person subject to clinging (upadana).

Anattata: the condition of non-self; the condition of things being void of a real abiding self that owns or controls phenomenon. Everything is nonself or not-self.

These 3 characteristics lead the way to wisdom when contemplated. Using mindfulness as described in the satipatthana sutta as a practice, is a direct way to enter these 3 truths of existence as being constant and stable and not trying to grasp mental concepts as being ultimately satisfying. These 3 are self evident when examined. They don't require measurement or verification. Since experiencer is another word for self, no one yet has produced a self to show the world.

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