three doors to liberation

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Aemilius
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three doors to liberation

Postby Aemilius » Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:28 am

Shunyata; emptiness
Animittata; signlessness
Apranihitata; wishlessness

Among these Shunyata is most famous & well known, but now we turn our attention to Animittata or Signlessness. The source of yogachara is the meditation instructions on Signlessness. This means that a Sign is Dependent nature, paratantra; on it mind imagines all kinds of things, this is Imaginary nature, parikalpita; absence of signs is Truly Established nature; Parinishpanna; and it is also the door to liberation called Signlessness, animittata. Hence it is natural that the important cittamatra/yogachara sutra named Lankavatara speaks a lot about Signlessness.

Meditation instructions concerning Apranihitata or Wishlessness are the source of Mahamudra school and Mahamudra lineage, it is like an ultimate passivity, not changing or altering anything that appears, and so on. Thus there is also fear and dread toward the state of wishlessness, you have to make dozens of good wishes, dedication prayers and aspirations after a short meditation on wishlessness! Apranihitata has also been called directionlessness.

These three doors have caused the arising of different lineages and different schools of meditation instructions. They are a natural development that has arisen from the oral instructions of Bhagavan Shakyamuni.
svaha

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mudra
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Re: three doors to liberation

Postby mudra » Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:49 am

In commentaries on the Heart Sutra that I received there is also reference to these three doors.

However I don't recall there being reference to Yogacara specifically, in fact it was presented more from a Madyamaka pov overall. Interesting, thanks.

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Re: three doors to liberation

Postby meiji1 » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:36 am

I think my understanding is off. What does 'signlessness' refer to? The best I can guess is 'empty of appearance' but shouldn't that just fall under emptiness?

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Huifeng
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Re: three doors to liberation

Postby Huifeng » Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:59 am

meiji1 wrote:I think my understanding is off. What does 'signlessness' refer to? The best I can guess is 'empty of appearance' but shouldn't that just fall under emptiness?


There are a couple of distinctly different interpretations:

And early one was that of not having any "mental impressions" (nimitta) in the mind of the meditator (subject side).
Later, when nimitta became synonymous with laksana, ie. objective characteristic, and the state of nirvana was considered to be without characteristics, this came to mean a direct contact with the "signless" meaning nirvana itself.
Later still, continuing that signless meant without objective signs, and the notion that all phenomena are without object signs, it was to know that all phenomena are signless.

These are a couple of, but not all of, the interpretations of the signless.

~~ Huifeng

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kirtu
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Re: three doors to liberation

Postby kirtu » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:31 am

Huifeng wrote:These are a couple of, but not all of, the interpretations of the signless.


And wishlessness?

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Huifeng
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Re: three doors to liberation

Postby Huifeng » Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:44 am

kirtu wrote:
Huifeng wrote:These are a couple of, but not all of, the interpretations of the signless.


And wishlessness?

Kirt


Well, that's actually even more interesting.

The earliest formulations have emptiness (sunyata), signless (animitta) and nothingness (akimcanya)!
But, even some fairly early sutras of the various schools started using intentionless (apranihita) instead of nothingness.
One can easily track them through a range of early sutras, into the various early sectarian sastras.
And, while some schools went emptiness, signless and intentionless, other swapped the order of the last two, emptiness, intentionless and signless.

However, the basic interpretation of intentionless was to have no inclination towards any phenomena, again a subjective stance.
Slightly later, it was considered that this state of absence of intentionality was a characteristic of phenomena themselves, or rather, that the lacked the characteristic of intentionality.

A lot of subjective stance move to objective stances, mainly under the influence of Abhidharma and competition from other systems in India towards ontology and metaphysics. At least, that's my take on it.

It is also fairly common to link the three by indicating that whatever is empty is devoid of signs, and therefore one cannot have intentions towards signless phenomena.

~~ Huifeng

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Aemilius
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Re: three doors to liberation

Postby Aemilius » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:10 am

I understand intentionlessness to be a state of the subject, primarily. Of the early sutras for ex An 11.17, Dasama sutta, is an interesting Mahamudra -type of discourse, it says that dhyanas are willed and fabricated, which sounds like a normal mahamudra discourse, one should get beyond them to a state that is unfabricated, unwilled, !
svaha

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Huifeng
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Re: three doors to liberation

Postby Huifeng » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:10 pm

Aemilius wrote:I understand intentionlessness to be a state of the subject, primarily. Of the early sutras for ex An 11.17, Dasama sutta, is an interesting Mahamudra -type of discourse, it says that dhyanas are willed and fabricated, which sounds like a normal mahamudra discourse, one should get beyond them to a state that is unfabricated, unwilled, !


Yeah, that's the basic position, as seen in the Nikayas / Agamas, such as the AN which you cite. :smile:

~~ Huifeng

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Re: three doors to liberation

Postby ground » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:08 am

Aemilius wrote:Shunyata; emptiness
Animittata; signlessness
Apranihitata; wishlessness


Fully understanding dhammas as neither related to "I" (wrong identity view), nor related to "mine" (wrong view of appropriation) nor related to a "self" (wrong philosophical view) is called "emptiness".

Fully understanding dhammas as not remaining even a single instant is called "signlessness".

Fully understanding volitional formations directed towards dhammas as being merely dukkha is called "wishlessness".


Kind regards

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: three doors to liberation

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:24 pm

Yönten Gyamtso clarifies the three doors:

“It is said that three approaches to ultimate reality are implicit in all phenomena.
They are known as the three doors of perfect liberation (mam thar sgo
gsum
) and are: emptiness, absence of (truly existing) attributes, and absence
of expectancy.

“1. Emptiness is defined as the ‘absence of reference' or ‘unfindability, in
other words, the absence of inherent existence. Phenomena, from form to
omniscience, are totally devoid of even the slightest degree of intrinsic being.
Their true status lies outside the range of discursive cognition, and consequently
it is precisely mental construction that veils it. Phenomena, the objects
of thought, appear only as long as thoughts occur (namely, the ordinary
mind and its mental factors). For in themselves, phenomena are without true
existence, not only on the ultimate level but even on the conventional level.

“2. Absence of attributes or featurelessness is defined as ‘pacification' or
‘subsiding.’ Phenomena arise in interdependence as the natural display of
emptiness. Thus, from the very outset, conceptual ascriptions like existent or
nonexistent, good or bad, and definitions in terms of productive causes and
conditions (beneficial or otherwise) cannot properly be applied to them. To
divide the phenomenal field into self and other, clean and unclean, and so on,
is the very antithesis of the absence of attributes. For the truth is that, within
the nature o f emptiness, the dharmadhatu, the domain of nonconceptual
primordial wisdom, phenomena do not exist in this way.

“3. Absence of expectancy is defined as ‘absence of suffering and ignorance.’
The phenomena included within the categories of true sufferings and
true origins (‘true sufferings' means the universe and its inhabitants, and their
‘true origins' means karma and defilement born of ignorance) have never
existed [as such]. Therefore they are no different from ‘nirvana,' the state
beyond suffering. As the Way of the Bodhisattva (9:103) says:

Something such as this does not exist, not even slightly.
Beings by their nature are beyond the reach of suffering.
A man should not judge a man, for he harms himself very quickly, that man who judges a man. Only I or someone like me can assess a man.

Buddha in the Surangamasamadhi Sutra

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: three doors to liberation

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:30 pm

He continues:

“The antithesis of this is our tendency to consider samsara and nirvana as
distinct realities, and to imagine that nirvana is a goal to be attained— whereas
in the nature of the mind itself, there is no distinguishing between samsara
and nirvana. As the Introduction to the Middle Way (6:208—9) affirms:

The character of emptiness
Is absence of a real, existent referent.

The absence of all attributes is peace.
And third, (the absence of expectancy) has been defined as
nonexistence
Of all suffering and ignorance.

“The three doors of perfect liberation are also associated with the ground,
path, and result. Emptiness refers to the ground because it lies beyond the
extreme ontological positions of existence and nonexistence. Absence of attributes
refers to the path because, even at the present moment, phenomena are
without real existence. Absence of expectancy refers to the result, because no
hope or reliance is placed in the future. The Introduction to the Middle Way (6:216)
says:

The present instant does not stay;
The past and future have no being.
Because these three cannot be pointed out,
They are referred to as the unobservable.
[YG III, 517:6-520:1]


From Treasury of Precious Qualities, vol. 2:431-2 - also in volume 1, Appx. 10
A man should not judge a man, for he harms himself very quickly, that man who judges a man. Only I or someone like me can assess a man.

Buddha in the Surangamasamadhi Sutra

Anonymous X
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Re: three doors to liberation

Postby Anonymous X » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:46 am

All good teachings! :good:


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