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Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:32 am
by Matt J
How about this from Lama Shang (trans. Peter Alan Roberts):
In brief, to think that things "are" is the root of attachment to everything.

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:09 am
by Sherab
To me, emptiness, in a nutshell, is illusion. Nothing in the realm of phenomena is real. Every phenomenon, be it matter or be it a deluded mind, is an illusion. Even a pure phenomenon is an illusion. And finally, even emptiness itself is an illusion but only to the enlightened mind.

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:59 am
by muni
Not to identify with all what can be known.
Not to be an owner of knowledges.
( dual, subject-object)

“To remain what knowns" ( nondual awareness, which is inexpressible); then clarity is as emptiness is.
When all solidness and all hardness and all separations, opinions, assertions, divisions, ideations, as clinging,......... is absent.


*Guru Rinpoche* And maybe this is necessary to practice emptiness?

"Don’t investigate the root of things,
Investigate the root of Mind!
Once the mind’s root has been found,
You’ll know one thing, yet all is thereby freed.
But if the root of Mind you fail to find,
You will know everything but nothing
understand.

A hundred things may be explained,
a thousand told,
But one thing only should you grasp.
Know one thing and everything is freed-
Remain within your inner nature,
your awareness!" http://keithdowman.net/dzogchen/dudjom- ... unsel.html

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:50 am
by Anonymous X
Sherab wrote:To me, emptiness, in a nutshell, is illusion. Nothing in the realm of phenomena is real. Every phenomenon, be it matter or be it a deluded mind, is an illusion. Even a pure phenomenon is an illusion. And finally, even emptiness itself is an illusion but only to the enlightened mind.
I'm afraid that any attempt at defining emptiness is going to fall far short of the mark. Just look at the volumes of works that have come down the ages commenting on its view. After all, Madhyamaka is ultimately about shattering our most basic view, ME.

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:59 pm
by Rick
Yes! By "definition" no definition of (or tagline about) emptiness can suffice.

Still, an accurate/right understanding about what qualified teachers who talk about emptiness are pointing to is important, right?

Also, for me, short instructions really help set my sights in the right direction ... even if that direction is "no direction."

I don't think having a short instruction in mind when practicing is helpful for everyone. (84,000 paths!) But it is for me ... and I'd guess at least some of my brethren and sistren out there in DWland?

:namaste:

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:03 pm
by Rick
krodha wrote:You either realize emptiness or you don't. "Practicing" consists of cultivating that insight through extended periods of equipoise after initial realization.

Which means you can't really say there is any "practice" related to emptiness unless you've had that realization to begin with.
Gotcha. Makes sense. If you don't get it, and you attempt to practice it ... you'll be practicing samatha/vipassana at best, self-delusion at worst.

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:10 pm
by Sherab
Anonymous X wrote:
Sherab wrote:To me, emptiness, in a nutshell, is illusion. Nothing in the realm of phenomena is real. Every phenomenon, be it matter or be it a deluded mind, is an illusion. Even a pure phenomenon is an illusion. And finally, even emptiness itself is an illusion but only to the enlightened mind.
I'm afraid that any attempt at defining emptiness is going to fall far short of the mark. Just look at the volumes of works that have come down the ages commenting on its view. After all, Madhyamaka is ultimately about shattering our most basic view, ME.
Unfortunately, I have seen that being used as an excuse to be intellectually lazy, or to shut down a discussion. Or perhaps, it is just me. I find it uncomfortable not to have a sense of direction or to drop all probing and questioning just because someone says it is pointless.

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:13 pm
by Rick
Matt J wrote:How about this from Lama Shang (trans. Peter Alan Roberts):
In brief, to think that things "are" is the root of attachment to everything.
Nice, thanks.

But one thing confuses me a bit. HHtDL said something like "Things exist, but we misunderstand how they exist." Which seems to go against what Lama Shang said. I'm guessing the (apparent) difference is due to their different traditions: Tshalpa Kagyu and Gelug. Yes?

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:16 pm
by Rick
muni wrote:...
Muni, thanks. All good! :namaste:

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:29 pm
by White Lotus
Emptiness has to be seen in order to be known. It can only be seen through practice. First of all endeavour to see the 'sameness' of all things. You will only see sameness if you see and feel what you see at the same time. How does what you see actually feel. Feeling what you see is Prajna/wisdom. It takes practice. You'll get it. :smile:

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:00 pm
by monktastic
I am fond of the characterization (from Rob Burbea) that there is no way that things "actually are." Saying that there is such a way, but that it is beyond our imagination, still leaves a ledge for the mind to hang on to.

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:12 pm
by Anonymous X
Sherab wrote:
Anonymous X wrote:
Sherab wrote:To me, emptiness, in a nutshell, is illusion. Nothing in the realm of phenomena is real. Every phenomenon, be it matter or be it a deluded mind, is an illusion. Even a pure phenomenon is an illusion. And finally, even emptiness itself is an illusion but only to the enlightened mind.
I'm afraid that any attempt at defining emptiness is going to fall far short of the mark. Just look at the volumes of works that have come down the ages commenting on its view. After all, Madhyamaka is ultimately about shattering our most basic view, ME.
Unfortunately, I have seen that being used as an excuse to be intellectually lazy, or to shut down a discussion. Or perhaps, it is just me. I find it uncomfortable not to have a sense of direction or to drop all probing and questioning just because someone says it is pointless.
One can still have a discussion, but a lot of the useless questioning stops. You still have to ask yourself who is uncomfortable and who is the questioner.

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:49 pm
by dzogchungpa
Seems are not what they thing.

A bit on the poetic side I admit, but I think it has a certain ring to it. :smile:

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:12 am
by Sherab
Anonymous X wrote:
Sherab wrote:
Anonymous X wrote: I'm afraid that any attempt at defining emptiness is going to fall far short of the mark. Just look at the volumes of works that have come down the ages commenting on its view. After all, Madhyamaka is ultimately about shattering our most basic view, ME.
Unfortunately, I have seen that being used as an excuse to be intellectually lazy, or to shut down a discussion. Or perhaps, it is just me. I find it uncomfortable not to have a sense of direction or to drop all probing and questioning just because someone says it is pointless.
One can still have a discussion, but a lot of the useless questioning stops. You still have to ask yourself who is uncomfortable and who is the questioner.
"Useless questioning" - this is a presumption. There is no way anyone can know if a question is really useless since we are not omniscience.

In my own experience, many a times I thought I have really have a firm grip on the meaning of emptiness. Fortunately, I did not stop probing. Each time, as I probe further, I find that my previous understanding was flawed or coarse. Now, I dare not even think that I will ever have a complete understanding of emptiness until such time that I attained omniscience. I find useless questioning rather useful really.

When I first started exploring the Dharma, I was sceptical when I read that the Dharma can be understood at various levels. My useless question was why can't it be and why wasn't it explained thoroughly in the first place? Now, I no longer think that way.

First, what can be explained is limited by available terms and understanding at that particular point in time or history. For example, certain terms and understanding made available by modern science were not available in the past.

Second, what one understands at any point in time depends on what one has explored and understood previously. If one stops exploring, one capacity to understand stops progressing. It also makes it difficult for one who has explore less and understood less to understand someone who has explored and understood more. For example, sometimes when I make a statement to see if my guru will agree with me, he chose to remain silent. I usually then would get the feeling that I have not understood enough. That is a signal to me to explore further. At other times, I would make a statement of my understanding and he would readily agree.

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:32 am
by Bakmoon
rachmiel wrote:
Matt J wrote:How about this from Lama Shang (trans. Peter Alan Roberts):
In brief, to think that things "are" is the root of attachment to everything.
Nice, thanks.

But one thing confuses me a bit. HHtDL said something like "Things exist, but we misunderstand how they exist." Which seems to go against what Lama Shang said. I'm guessing the (apparent) difference is due to their different traditions: Tshalpa Kagyu and Gelug. Yes?
Correct, it's a difference in tradition. The Gelug school teaches that phenomena are nonexistent on the ultimate level, but exist conventionally, and this conventional existence is regarded as being essential in avoiding the extreme of Nihilism. In fact, the Gelug tradition has a unique way of understanding the four extremes. In Gelug Madhyamaka, it is explained that the meaning of being free of the four extremes is that phenomena are free from the extreme of existence because they do not exist ultimately, and are free of the extreme of nonexistence because they exist conventionally, and the other two are simply impossible anyways.

Outside of the Gelug school they don't break down the four extremes by the two truths like that, and simply make the general statement that phenomena are free from the extremes of existence, non-existence, both, and neither. Some take issue with the idea of conventional existence all together, while others don't.

It is important to note however, that the conventional existence taught by the Gelug school is radically different than the ordinary way sentient beings take things to be real. In Gelug Madhyamaka, to say things exist conventionally means that they exist only as a mere designation from the perspective of a particular observer. Conventionally, a cup exists in the sense that from my perspective, I can look at it and based on its parts I can validly refer to it as a cup. But there isn't anything at all there from the side of the cup, it is only an appearance.

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:56 am
by seeker242
rachmiel wrote:And what’s a good short instruction to bring yourself back to emptiness in practice?
Drink a cup of tea, do the laundry, etc, etc.

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:09 am
by TharpaChodron
I confess I've always had a hard time with the term "emptiness." In Buddhism it's not meant in a nihilistic way. And i wonder how and if compassion is not the nature of emptiness? Emptiness is really full...full of life, change, etc. There is nothing empty about existence, except perhaps it's empty of a solid sense of permanency and solidity. And pondering that is what it means to practice meditation on emptiness to me.

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:05 am
by Anonymous X
Sherab wrote:
Anonymous X wrote:
Sherab wrote: Unfortunately, I have seen that being used as an excuse to be intellectually lazy, or to shut down a discussion. Or perhaps, it is just me. I find it uncomfortable not to have a sense of direction or to drop all probing and questioning just because someone says it is pointless.
One can still have a discussion, but a lot of the useless questioning stops. You still have to ask yourself who is uncomfortable and who is the questioner.
"Useless questioning" - this is a presumption. There is no way anyone can know if a question is really useless since we are not omniscience.

In my own experience, many a times I thought I have really have a firm grip on the meaning of emptiness. Fortunately, I did not stop probing. Each time, as I probe further, I find that my previous understanding was flawed or coarse. Now, I dare not even think that I will ever have a complete understanding of emptiness until such time that I attained omniscience. I find useless questioning rather useful really.

When I first started exploring the Dharma, I was sceptical when I read that the Dharma can be understood at various levels. My useless question was why can't it be and why wasn't it explained thoroughly in the first place? Now, I no longer think that way.

First, what can be explained is limited by available terms and understanding at that particular point in time or history. For example, certain terms and understanding made available by modern science were not available in the past.

Second, what one understands at any point in time depends on what one has explored and understood previously. If one stops exploring, one capacity to understand stops progressing. It also makes it difficult for one who has explore less and understood less to understand someone who has explored and understood more. For example, sometimes when I make a statement to see if my guru will agree with me, he chose to remain silent. I usually then would get the feeling that I have not understood enough. That is a signal to me to explore further. At other times, I would make a statement of my understanding and he would readily agree.
All you really know is your conditioned thinking. Apart from that, what is left?

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:11 am
by Anonymous X
TharpaChodron wrote:I confess I've always had a hard time with the term "emptiness." In Buddhism it's not meant in a nihilistic way. And i wonder how and if compassion is not the nature of emptiness? Emptiness is really full...full of life, change, etc. There is nothing empty about existence, except perhaps it's empty of a solid sense of permanency and solidity. And pondering that is what it means to practice meditation on emptiness to me.
It isn't something to be captured in thought. In a sense, it is unknowable. What is emptiness? What is fullness? What is unity? The words cannot create certainty.

Re: Emptiness nutshells

Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:23 am
by Sherab
Anonymous X wrote: All you really know is your conditioned thinking. Apart from that, what is left?
Different strokes for different folks.