Existence

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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Rick
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Re: Existence

Post by Rick » Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:30 pm

stevie wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:08 am
From my perspective 'resonanace' may be conducive when it come to words and concepts because 'resonance' and attraction that caused interest in philosophical views always for me has been the prerequite to investigate deeper, to analyze critically. However in my experience I would lose all the help Madhyamaka provided to me if I understood Madhyamaka to be a descriptive philosophy. Because the question then should arise: well, what does it describe? And the answer to this question from my perspective and for me could only be: a given (!!) reality. And thus I would again have been deceived by my ignorance since what was originally taught to liberate from all views and concomitant truth habits would have been turned into just another view and its concomitant truth habits again.
Aha, gotcha. Makes sense.

I look at pretty much every utterance, spoken or written, as a story. Advaita tells the story of the self as ground. Buddhism tells the story of the self as misunderstanding. Whitehead tells the story of self as process. Madhyamaka is unique in that it reveals the story-hood, the fiction of all these stories.

But, for me, Madhyamaka is also a story. Subtle, paradigm-shaking, smart ... but still a story. And that's why I'm comfortable comparing it with other stories.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Vasana
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Re: Existence

Post by Vasana » Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:37 pm

Rick wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:30 pm
stevie wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:08 am
From my perspective 'resonanace' may be conducive when it come to words and concepts because 'resonance' and attraction that caused interest in philosophical views always for me has been the prerequite to investigate deeper, to analyze critically. However in my experience I would lose all the help Madhyamaka provided to me if I understood Madhyamaka to be a descriptive philosophy. Because the question then should arise: well, what does it describe? And the answer to this question from my perspective and for me could only be: a given (!!) reality. And thus I would again have been deceived by my ignorance since what was originally taught to liberate from all views and concomitant truth habits would have been turned into just another view and its concomitant truth habits again.
Aha, gotcha. Makes sense.

I look at pretty much every utterance, spoken or written, as a story. Advaita tells the story of the self as ground. Buddhism tells the story of the self as misunderstanding. Whitehead tells the story of self as process. Madhyamaka is unique in that it reveals the story-hood, the fiction of all these stories.

But, for me, Madhyamaka is also a story. Subtle, paradigm-shaking, smart ... but still a story. And that's why I'm comfortable comparing it with other stories.
If Madhyamaka is a story then you should know by now that it's only purpose is to realize the non-cocneptual wisdom beyond stories! If it reveals the [emptiness of] story-hood as you say, then in practice, the story of 'madhyamaka as 'revealing the emptiness of story-hood' shouldn't be lingering either!

"With enough heat, ice will turn into steam. Likewise, with the heat of practice, conceptually understanding the nature of reality will turn into the non-conceptual direct experience of it. ~ Chamtrul Rinpoche

'Ordinary beings are bound by conceptions. Non-conceptual yogins will find release. Hence, the learned state that the result of analysis is that conceptions are at peace.' ~ Chandrakirti

'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Rick
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Re: Existence

Post by Rick » Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:51 pm

Vasana wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:37 pm
If Madhyamaka is a story then you should know by now that it's only purpose is to realize the non-cocneptual wisdom beyond stories! If it reveals the [emptiness of] story-hood as you say, then in practice, the story of 'madhyamaka as 'revealing the emptiness of story-hood' shouldn't be lingering either!
I understand, Vasana, and it makes sense to me.

I guess I'm very fond of <attached to> the various rafts I have spent time on, and that I am not ready (willing or able) to let them go.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

stevie
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Re: Existence

Post by stevie » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:17 pm

Rick wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:30 pm
But, for me, Madhyamaka is also a story. Subtle, paradigm-shaking, smart ... but still a story. And that's why I'm comfortable comparing it with other stories.
I'd agree insofar as since Madhyamaka is based on conceptuality it may be compared to all other products of conceptuality ... but - from my perspective - only at first glance. Why only at first glance? Because I have experienced that if I consequently apply (practice) 'my' Madhyamaka then this only reveals the fundamental deceptiveness 'my' Madhyamaka and all my other conceptual fabrications are based on. And I really appreciate this disenchantment and I am trying to mindfully keep it up.

I have written " 'my' Madhyamaka " since I have learned that there are numerous interpretations of 'Madhyamaka' and every individual may have an individual understanding of 'Madhyamaka' depending on individual conditionings, depending on the kind of teachings heared, and depending on the kind of texts studied and the kind of practices done.

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Re: Existence

Post by Rick » Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:41 am

stevie wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:17 pm
... if I consequently apply (practice) 'my' Madhyamaka then this only reveals the fundamental deceptiveness 'my' Madhyamaka and all my other conceptual fabrications are based on. And I really appreciate this disenchantment and I am trying to mindfully keep it up.
If this moves you towards peace and happiness and away from suffering that's fantastic! :twothumbsup:
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

stevie
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Re: Existence

Post by stevie » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:06 am

Rick wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:41 am
stevie wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:17 pm
... if I consequently apply (practice) 'my' Madhyamaka then this only reveals the fundamental deceptiveness 'my' Madhyamaka and all my other conceptual fabrications are based on. And I really appreciate this disenchantment and I am trying to mindfully keep it up.
If this moves you towards peace and happiness and away from suffering that's fantastic! :twothumbsup:
I've always found 'happiness' to belong the the sphere or ordinary expectations. So maybe I'd prefer the concepts 'peace (of mind)' and 'ease'. But yes, to the degree that ignorant engagement with cognitive contents decreases, periods of peace of mind and ease seem to increase. That is maybe why past and present teachers have called and still are calling the imputation of truth to cognitive contents 'afflictive ignorance'.

muni
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Re: Existence

Post by muni » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:20 am

it is only the fabrication of mind and so 'this' and 'that' are simply delusions also. dreams also. only the play of mind.
Yes, this :smile: , White Lotus, Tom. Even "believing" in whatever, is also play, keeps the thinking mind playing, without seeing the believing-thinking as merely play as well. I mean there is still a "holding on, a belief in a fabrication". And so the dichotomy of subject-object.
the nature of reality may depend upon how we perceive things.
"You are nothing and therefore everything" for example is seeing when no duality by misperception is. How confusion and so grasping-clinging arises, causing suffering rolling.
But if, through fundamental misperception of reality, the individual enters into the confusion of dualism, primordial consciousness, which is in fact the source of all manifestation (even of dualistic consciousness and, in fact, of all phenomena), itself becomes obscured. The individual’s deluded mind then mistakes the manifestations of its own pure, innate primordial awareness for an external reality existing separately from itself, which it endlessly, and ultimately unsuccessfully, attempts to manipulate, trying in vain to bring an end to the continual underlying sense of dissatisfaction and unease which is the inevitable experience of the obscuration of pure awareness.
in my opinion 'this' is an adequate experience of awareness. the word awareness is more abstract than 'this', but the two words point towards the same basic thing which is original or ordinary mind.

please be simple Muni in your answers, if possible. why are you not satisfied with the word ''this''. is It because you think it does not reach the perfection of the word ''awareness''?
How can a word not satisfy other than by dependency on consciousness what experiences it as this or that and gives it then apprehended characteristics, just like by all apprehensions-phenomena ?
What brings AH!, blows mind from its chair, can differ because is dependent. For me awareness helps because it gives a click as a calling clock when mind turns in dreaming. Hey!
But "nondual awareness or equipoise", is not apprehended, is without aware of "something", without subject-object dichotomy, is without any support of any word, it needs no any and there is no any rejection neither.
if there is reality for the one who sees it, then would the word ''this'' be relevant?


It would be ok I guess to point to. While no any need actually, because nothing to add. :namaste:
*Om Mani Peme Hung*

muni
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Re: Existence

Post by muni » Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:07 pm

''emptiness is not empty'', it is warm and compassionate
:bow:
*Om Mani Peme Hung*

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Rick
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Re: Existence

Post by Rick » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:20 pm

stevie wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:06 am
... to the degree that ignorant engagement with cognitive contents decreases, periods of peace of mind and ease seem to increase.
That's the beauty of emptiness teachings and practice.

There's loss involved too, as with any new way of viewing and being in the world. That's why I like to keep one foot in the conventional world and one in the empty world. I wanna have it all, the full human experience.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

stevie
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Re: Existence

Post by stevie » Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:29 pm

Rick wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:20 pm
There's loss involved too, as with any new way of viewing and being in the world. That's why I like to keep one foot in the conventional world and one in the empty world. I wanna have it all, the full human experience.
That's the view of the perishing aggregates as true 'I', 'my', 'mine'.

According to buddhism that view is overcome first before emptiness of phenomena is realized. It is realized by Sravakas and the Mahayana followers are not in agreement whether the Sravakas do also realize the emptiness of phenomena. But of course they are in agreement that sucessful Mahayana practitioners realize both kinds of emptiness.
Anyway since you cherish cognition of 'I', 'my', 'mine' you also cherish cognition of phenomena and the pleasure these may temporarily provide or the thoughts about these phenomena and the pleasures, that are cognized to be potentially yours. Without these pleasures and concomitant feelings/emotions life would appear meaningless to the 'I' that makes itself felt as if being true.

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Vasana
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Re: Existence

Post by Vasana » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:05 pm

Rick wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:20 pm
stevie wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:06 am
... to the degree that ignorant engagement with cognitive contents decreases, periods of peace of mind and ease seem to increase.
That's the beauty of emptiness teachings and practice.

There's loss involved too, as with any new way of viewing and being in the world. That's why I like to keep one foot in the conventional world and one in the empty world. I wanna have it all, the full human experience.
At least you're honest about it. This is exactly the dilemma or balancing act that many of us Buddhists face (or try not to face) - practcing the dharma while symultaneously getting caught up in the preoccupations of worldly Dharmas. Usually it just shows that our attachment, aversion and ignorance are stronger than our discernment of the true causes and cessations of suffering. This is why even if our practice or study is on emptiness we need to remind ourselves of dependent origination and the 4 thoughts regularly enough to actually get a stable footing.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Rick
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Re: Existence

Post by Rick » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:04 pm

stevie wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:29 pm
Anyway since you cherish cognition of 'I', 'my', 'mine' you also cherish cognition of phenomena and the pleasure these may temporarily provide or the thoughts about these phenomena and the pleasures, that are cognized to be potentially yours. Without these pleasures and concomitant feelings/emotions life would appear meaningless to the 'I' that makes itself felt as if being true.
I don't know about meaningless, but without pleasures and feelings life would be very drab indeed for me, lacking in color and vitality and passion.

Please understand that I'm sharing, but not trying to promote my view ... that would be inappropriate on a Buddhist forum!
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

stevie
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Re: Existence

Post by stevie » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:06 pm

Rick wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:04 pm
I don't know about meaningless, but without pleasures and feelings life would be very drab indeed for me, lacking in color and vitality and passion.

Please understand that I'm sharing, but not trying to promote my view ... that would be inappropriate on a Buddhist forum!
No problem. I am not even sharing my view but I am expressing what I deem appropriate to be expressed in a buddhist forum that I visited because of its being buddhist. If there is resonance then fine, if not then that may resonate in the future.
at least you have visited this buddhist forum ... so who knows ... seeds may already have been sown ... some seeds never turn into seedlings and other seeds take time ... let it be this life or any life to follow (which again is appropriate to say in a buddhist forum and may cause resonance in some but not in others).
Although conceptuality is deceptive it still may be effective and cause unexpected benefit. Who knows?

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Rick
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Re: Existence

Post by Rick » Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:30 am

I am not even sharing my view but I am expressing what I deem appropriate to be expressed in a buddhist forum that I visited because of its being buddhist.
Which is an appropriate attitude for a ... Buddhist forum! Personally, I really enjoy hearing people's takes, sharing stories around the campfire.

I like the idea of seeds taking root in a garden.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Vasana
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Re: Existence

Post by Vasana » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:37 am

Rick wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:04 pm
stevie wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:29 pm
Anyway since you cherish cognition of 'I', 'my', 'mine' you also cherish cognition of phenomena and the pleasure these may temporarily provide or the thoughts about these phenomena and the pleasures, that are cognized to be potentially yours. Without these pleasures and concomitant feelings/emotions life would appear meaningless to the 'I' that makes itself felt as if being true.
I don't know about meaningless, but without pleasures and feelings life would be very drab indeed for me, lacking in color and vitality and passion.

Please understand that I'm sharing, but not trying to promote my view ... that would be inappropriate on a Buddhist forum!
This is a common misconception about Buddhism that there are no feelings or pleasures or passions. They're just related to more skilfully and with greater wisdom and compassion depending on which strand you follow.

If anything I think realization would entail an even wider spectrum of pleasure and feeling than what we're used to.

On a side but not so side note:

'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Existence

Post by Thundering Cloud » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:08 am

Rick wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:30 am
Per Buddhism, what does "to exist" mean? Can this be answered (satisfactorily) without reference to the two truths? If so, please do. :namaste:
This is a good question. I think I can answer according to my understanding in a way that specifically squares with the phenomenon of quantum entanglement. I apologize in advance to anyone whom I may be repeating here, I have not read through all of the replies! ^^ But I don't often see entanglement and Buddhism connected quite this explicitly, and the question of existence has fascinated me since childhood.

Like all concepts, "to exist" is nebulous and impossible to pin down upon close inspection. For example, we could try "To exist means to be something that can potentially be experienced / encountered / measured." Seems fair, right? Except wait… we can split hairs, there. Are you familiar with Cosmology (from Physics) ? Due to the rate of cosmic expansion increasing, galaxies far beyond the edge of our observable universe must be redshifting into oblivion, forever unreachable by us and forever unseen by us as well. Let's assume, for sake of argument, that the physics and math and inferences they draw are correct. Do those galaxies out there, that can never bee seen or experienced by us, exist per the definition attempted above? Hrmmm. Clearly, we need to try a little harder… it may be tempting to try, "To exist means to be something that can potentially be experienced / encountered / measured by someone somewhere.", but that definition divorces the fact of whether something exists or not entirely from direct experience. It would then be, in very real physical terms, nothing more than intellectual philosophizing to say whether something exists or doesn't. Akin to disagreeing on specifically where, on the electromagnetic spectrum, green becomes blue. See the problem? So let's try once again… maybe "To exist means to be something that can potentially be experienced / encountered / measured or inferred through that experience." Hmmm… well, once upon a time, the planets were understood to move around the Earth in these cute Spirograph patterns called "epicycles", and numerous forces causing them to move about so strangely could be inferred. More recently than that, a universal law of gravitation was inferred, Newton's well-known inverse square law, which is not only wrong in the sense that it lacks detail but wrong on the basic assumptions about reality — the basic inferences, if you will — that it was based on. In that sense it was not only wrong but uncorrectable, it had to be tossed out wholesale.

At some point, it begins to seem reasonable to consider existence in terms of quantifiable degrees; maybe to say some things exist moreso than others. That's a good sign that the mental construct of "existence" is starting to crack. ^_^

With regard to physical existence: in a nutshell, reality — being defined for each being as their own sphere of experiences — projects outward from each of us according to our karma. What we think of as the extant physical world is the residue of those projections converging. Where they have not converged — such as upon the spin of a particle which has been absolutely precluded from all possible determination or inference — physical "existence" is quite literally not defined. This is why quantum entanglement is a real, measurable phenomenon. To think that there is a deterministic external reality that just "exists" and generates our experiences of it makes the entanglement phenomenon both philosophically and mathematically inexplicable; precisely what happens when one gets tangled up in the trappings of wrong ideas, not unlike those crazy things they once thought must move the planets around in those funny patterns.

Does any of that help at all? :namaste:

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Re: Existence

Post by stevie » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:07 am

Hi Thundering Cloud,

thanks for redirecting my attention back to the OP.

Hi all,

after the recent excursion to Madhyamaka in this thread and looking again at the words of the OP what strikes me is the expression of the OP: 'what does "to exist" mean?'

The way this question is expressed directs my attention spontaneously to philosophical thought exclusively, to the sphere of conceptuality exlusively, and this is maybe exactly the intention of this question.
However after having talked and thought about Madhyamaka recently in this thread and my experience with it and my conclusion that Madhyamaka only, i.e. exclusively reveals the fundamental deceptiveness of conceptuality to restrict the discussion of 'to exist' to the sphere of conceptuality/philosophy doesn't appear adequate anymore.
Therefore I think that the original question should be amended by a second question:

What is the experiential correlate of 'to exist' (once one has found a satisfactory meaning of it)?

Why this question? Because although Madhyamaka as an analytical philosophy that deals with 'existence' or 'true existence' may appear very intellectual and sometimes even may appear artificially sophisticated this question actually is what Madhyamaka is about.

That means whatever meaning qua definition of 'to exist' one will find satisfactory for oneself if one cannot find an experiential correlate of 'to exist' (by means of introspection) this meaning of 'to exist' is totally useless and will be merely a conceptual distraction from the intended purpose of Madhyamaka analytical philosophy.

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Rick
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Re: Existence

Post by Rick » Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:34 pm

Vasana wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:37 am
This is a common misconception about Buddhism that there are no feelings or pleasures or passions. They're just related to more skilfully and with greater wisdom and compassion depending on which strand you follow.

If anything I think realization would entail an even wider spectrum of pleasure and feeling than what we're used to.
Pleasure is inextricably linked to pain and good feelings to bad feelings. You can't have positive valence without negative valence.

If this is true <is it?> then an end to suffering would mean an end to pleasure/feeling ... or at least what we experience now as pleasure and feeling.

What say yas, Vasana et alia?
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Rick
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Re: Existence

Post by Rick » Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:58 pm

Thundering Cloud wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:08 am
"To exist means to be something that can potentially be experienced / encountered / measured by someone somewhere.",
This squares largely with the view I arrived at (somewhere earlier in the thread):

existent = capable of being awared
but that definition divorces the fact of whether something exists or not entirely from direct experience.
Though this definition might be divorced from *my* direct experience, it relies on the direct experience of the awarer.
It would then be, in very real physical terms, nothing more than intellectual philosophizing to say whether something exists or doesn't.
I don't see a way around this. Do you?
That's a good sign that the mental construct of "existence" is starting to crack.
This is also the view I arrived at: that 'existent' is a conceptual construct. And this seems to jibe with the emptiness view that things cannot be said to either exist or not-exist (or both, or neither).

One of the offshoots of this that really interests me is the question of whether 'existent' is a predicate. I think-feel it is, but compelling arguments exist for both sides.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Rick
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Re: Existence

Post by Rick » Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:06 pm

stevie wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:07 am
What is the experiential correlate of 'to exist' (once one has found a satisfactory meaning of it)?
Staying with

existent = aware-able

the awarer <who/what-ever that might be> is the experiencer ... i.e. the experiential correlate is in the mind-body of the awarer.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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