NonSum
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 07:14 pm
@vajrasattva,
Hello,
I find the altruistic 'bodisattva' element, found in most of Mayahana Buddhism, to be contradictory to, and a corruption of, essential Buddhist philosophy. I believe that some segments of Buddhism tend to agree with this opinion. For example:

Diamond Sutra: "There are no sentient beings to be freed and there is no selfhood that can begin the practice of seeking to attain total enlightenment."

And also from the Diamond Sutra:
"Everyone who seeks total enlightenment should discard not only conceptions of their own selfhood, other selves, living beings, and a universal self, but they should also discard all notions of the non-existence of such conceptions."

Any thoughts on this?
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 07:58 pm
@NonSum,
NonSum;90761 wrote:
Diamond Sutra: "There are no sentient beings to be freed and there is no selfhood that can begin the practice of seeking to attain total enlightenment."

And also from the Diamond Sutra:
"Everyone who seeks total enlightenment should discard not only conceptions of their own selfhood, other selves, living beings, and a universal self, but they should also discard all notions of the non-existence of such conceptions."

Any thoughts on this?


The Diamond Sutra is one of my favorites. For the most part the Buddha is breaking down how we view our reality. The way we view others or ourselves is as a substantial entity but this is not accurate. People like to believe that they exist for ever, either life after life or as a disembodied mind somewhere. The Buddha is pointing out that this is not the case. The true self is in a constant state of flux and never remains the same thing from one moment to the next. So how can you call it substantial if it is constantly changing? It is the illusion created by memory where the idea of sentient beings arise.

EDIT: True self should just be self. I wasn't trying to use the Buddhist term of true self. I really was talking about the self but in terms of it being misunderstood. So I said the true self, the one that people ignore or dismiss. In this case the reality of the self being in a constant state of change.

Ignorance is arising, where a being believes itself to be a real substantial entity. It ceases and arises again but never the same being.
0 Replies
 
NonSum
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 09:19 am
@vajrasattva,
Hi Krumple,
K: The way we view others or ourselves is as a substantial entity but this is not accurate. People like to believe that they exist for ever, either life after life or as a disembodied mind somewhere. The Buddha is pointing out that this is not the case.

NS: I agree with you on this point totally.

K: The true self is in a constant state of flux and never remains the same thing from one moment to the next.

NS: I disagree with you on this point totally.
How can a self be a "True Self" if it, "is in a constant state of flux"?
The constant flux of dharmas (things) is often given as one of the reasons why the illusory self/world has no independent existence. Also, the True Self (Nirvana, Unborn, 'R'eality, whatever name you wish to use) is not a "thing," whether compounded or simple, that is amendable to change. In order for anything to change it must have qualities and attributes of some sort, but True Reality is described as attributeless, and undifferentiated, which makes it impossible to differentiate from any previous state of differences.

"Not dependent on anything else, calm, unimpeded by discursive ideas, indiscriminate, undifferentiated, those are the marks of true reality." (Candrakirti, Prasannapada XVIII)

But, tell me Krumple, what is your take regarding this 'Boddhisattva' nonsense?
vajrasattva
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 11:21 am
@vajrasattva,
If there is no self. And you outside of yourself (within another being), knowing that there is no self within yourself, see that you yourself as another being, are deluded by thinking that there is a self and are so suffering. The natural reaction is to feel pity (compassion) for yourself in your own ignorance even though you are not within yourself due to the lack of self. This is the root of altruism within buddhism. The bodhisattva is not fully enlightened and as such still grasps at the self within others even though he is aware of the lack of self within himself.

The true self is not inherently existent as well but things are empty not totaly nonexistent. This is true in the fact that all things are impermanant and transient. But within the existence that we posses (regardless of its impermanace) there is a way in which we connect to the divine. Via Truth, Compassion, Love, Faith, Wisdom, etc. The goal of buddhism is to realize that connection and exploit it to find the truth and so the end of suffring. This connection is the true self. And we are impermanant and transient but the connections to the truth are far more lasting and substantial then us ourselves. Hence the practice of buddhsim is mostly aimed at self exploration. When one is an incarnate one IS or the connection to the divine found within ones impermanant self. When one is a reincarnate one has become one with the connection to the divine within the self through practice.
0 Replies
 
NonSum
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 06:18 pm
@vajrasattva,
Hi
Vajra: The natural reaction is to feel pity (compassion) for yourself in your own ignorance even though you are not within yourself due to the lack of self. This is the root of altruism within buddhism.
The bodhisattva is not fully enlightened and as such still grasps at the self within others even though he is aware of the lack of self within himself.

NS: So, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that the bodhisattva doctrine is a result of “ignorance” (avidya), and the lack of enlightened wisdom (prajna). I’d have to agree with you.

V: there is a way in which we connect to the divine. Via Truth, Compassion, Love, Faith, Wisdom, etc.

NS: All these ‘qualities’ that you name are empty illusory mind objects (i.e untruth), according to the better schools and sutras of Buddhism. Surely, untruth cannot take you out from illusion, and into Truth.

“Nirvana is where one understands that everything is merely that which is seen in one's own mind only; there is no outside existents or non-existents.”

V: The goal of buddhism is to realize that connection and exploit it to find the truth and so the end of suffring.

NS: I know of no Buddhist text that uses the word, “connection.” That word indicates multiplicity, for how could I ‘connect’ something to itself?

There is a good reason why The Reality is also called ‘Self.’ Because the true essence of each of us, including Gautama Sakyamuni’s essence, is that single Reality. This essential Self, found well beyond our mental imaginings of an individual self, is already ‘enlightened,’ and it is the one Self of all.

“Dwell having Self for island, Self for refuge and having no other refuge.” (Samyutta-nikaya)

“In each being there exists the element of the Tathagata, but people do not look through to that. The Element is without beginning in time, it is the common foundation of all dharmas.” (Patnagotravbhaga)

V: When one is a reincarnate one has become one with the connection to the divine within the self through practice.

NS: “Incarnate, reincarnate,” these are all illusory forms that we should never mistake ourselves for. We are always the Reality, and what is not that Reality is necessarily the unreal. Why would anyone ever deliberately take themselves for the unreal?

Many, perhaps most, Buddhists consider “practice” as what is essential for obtaining Buddhahood. But, practice almost killed Gautama. It was only when he gave up on the person (jiva) Gautama’s efforts to seize enlightenment for himself, that he realized his essential Self. Any trust in the false self’s efforts, only establishes you more deeply in your faith in illusion.

“Those who practice meditation seeking things on the outside are all imbeciles. In whatever environment you find yourself you cannot be
changed.” (Lin-chi)

“By means of that same essence by which one is born and lives and dies, by means of that one gains the highest bliss. (‘Saraha’, Dohakosha)
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 06:23 pm
@vajrasattva,
I like Buddhism, I dont know much about it but what I've read seems pretty spiritual, made sense.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 08:21 pm
@Caroline,
And that is all that matters - making sense.

If you enjoy what you have read thus far, read some more. I started with a little pamphlet, now I have a neat little collection of Buddhist material going in my library. It is certainly an interesting and unique tradition.
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 08:35 pm
@vajrasattva,
Thank you DT I will, could you make a recommendation please?
0 Replies
 
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 09:33 pm
@vajrasattva,
Buddhism makes a lot of sense to me also.

I spent some time reading about it a while back, but dismissed it at the time, as I thought that it was a bit nihilistic, or perhaps a selfish philosophy where one is only concerned about his own enlightenment and nothing else. Also I thought that the whole 'detachment' thing goes against individuality.

Now I've realized that this was the wrong interpretation, so I'm reading up more on the subject. It seems that much of western 'popular buddhism' is an incorrect take on Buddha's teachings. Many of these westernized buddhist philosophies attempt to use buddhist philosophy and practice to further the ego's desires, which goes against the true practice.

I'm starting to go through the book, "In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon" by Bhikku Bodhi, which is supposed to be a decent text. Also a local theravadan buddhist temple is offering free introductory meditation classes, so I might give that a shot. Anyway, I find this thread quite interesting and hope to keep reading any buddhist insights that you all might have.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 10:09 pm
@Pangloss,
From my little collection:

Buddha - Karen Armstrong
Inner Revolution - Robert Thurman
Make Your Mind an Ocean/Becoming Your Own Therapist - Lama Yesha
The Tibetan Book of the Dead - traditional
Living Buddha, Living Christ - Thich Nhat Hahn

For a westerner, I also recommend Thoreau's Walden as he incorporates many Buddhist and eastern ideas into the work, as well as Hesse's classic Siddhartha - for the Hesse book, I strongly recommend the Barnes and Noble edition because the notes are done by Robert Thurman, the preeminent western scholar on Buddhism (who also has the distinction, among many others, of being the first westerner ordained as a Buddhist monk).
0 Replies
 
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 10:18 pm
@vajrasattva,
There's quite an extensive lecture on Buddhism by Thurman, on google video.

Part 1:

Robert Thurman on Buddhism part 1 of 2
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 10:20 pm
@Pangloss,
Oh, yes! Absolutely! I do recommend that series, and any other lectures you can find by the man. He is our leading guy on Buddhism. Can't beat him.

As an interesting aside, he married Tim Leary's first wife.

But, yeah, anything Thurman is grade-A. Understanding, thorough... you just can't beat his work.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 11:00 pm
@NonSum,
NonSum;90888 wrote:
Hi Krumple,
K: The way we view others or ourselves is as a substantial entity but this is not accurate. People like to believe that they exist for ever, either life after life or as a disembodied mind somewhere. The Buddha is pointing out that this is not the case.

NS: I agree with you on this point totally.


Oh someone who actually agrees with me. Strange.

NonSum;90888 wrote:

K: The true self is in a constant state of flux and never remains the same thing from one moment to the next.

NS: I disagree with you on this point totally.
How can a self be a "True Self" if it, "is in a constant state of flux"?


Thank you for pointing this out. When I wrote "true self" I didn't mean the bodhi mind or the enlightened mind. What I meant was to point out that the self is mistakenly viewed. I was pointing to the reality of the self that is misunderstood. I should have wrote it differently. Perhaps I should have just said, "the self" is in a constant state of flux.

NonSum;90888 wrote:

But, tell me Krumple, what is your take regarding this 'Boddhisattva' nonsense?


I am not sure what you are asking me. Nonsense or non-sense? I am not exactly clear on in which form of this you are expressing.

I assume you mean the Bodhisattva mind? That there is no ignorance? No end to ignorance? No eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind? It is an interesting contrast, from the Diamond Sutra the Buddha points out that the nature of sight never ages, never ceases, never changes. It is only the eye that ages but the nature of sight is confused with the characteristic of the eye. But if you could repair the eye then your sight would also change, or if you were born blind if you could repair the eye or optic nerve then your sight would be restored. However; the Buddha points out that even if you can not see, the nature of sight is present. Not only is it present, but it is always present.

Those who don't like that comment, should look at it as potential. The potential for sight is always present.

If the nature of sight is always present then it is not bound by the body to exist. ONLY the body makes the nature of contact present. So if you have no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind then you are completely released from contact. If there is no contact then there is no attachment, no emotion, no fear, no animosity, no confusion, no ignorance.

People don't like when I talk about this. It is easy to object to and it is contrary to what we WANT it to be. I didn't say it, it was already there. It goes against the grain, perhaps that is why I like it.

The Buddha was a rebel, a rebel towards the ego.
0 Replies
 
NonSum
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 07:33 am
@vajrasattva,
Hi Krumple,
I suspect that we agree on a great deal of this Buddhist stuff. Have you done much reading in Buddhism's ugly child, i.e. Zen?

K: Perhaps I should have just said, "the self" is in a constant state of flux.

NS: Yes, that would have been far better. I lean towards the 's'elf - 'S'elf convention, when trying to clarify between the illusory and the real. Buddhism, and Hinduism, also use: ''mind & Mind."

K: Nonsense or non-sense? I am not exactly clear on in which form of this you are expressing.

NS: I meant the doctrine/ideology that, as Ramana Maharishi put it: (paraphrasing) 'What, am I to say from a dream that I won't wake up until all these other dream people around me are first awakened?'

K: Those who don't like that comment, should look at it as potential. The potential for sight is always present.

Ns: If I correctly understand "sight" is here being used as an analogy for Self, which is certainly "always present," then "potential" is absurd. What would someone be before this 'potential' was realized, 'a Selfless Self'? There is a good reason why this Self is also called, "original essence, or fundamental nature."

"Because all sentient beings have a fundamental nature, it supports
their own bodies; this real nature has never been born, never dies,
has no form or shape, is permanent and unchanging--this is called
fundamental inherent nature. Since this inherent nature is the
same as that of all Buddhas, it is called Buddha nature." (Daikaku's Treatise on Meditation)

K: If there is no contact then there is no attachment, no emotion, no fear, no animosity, no confusion, no ignorance.

NS: It is the mind that creates: thoughts, emotions, attachments, confusion, and physical bodies (which are no more than thoughts). We disembody most every night, but then the mind simply calls up another dream world, with another 'dream you person' to become attached to its self and its world. The dreams never end. But, what the Self-realized come to know is that, only the mind conceives, and perceives, dreams. And, fortunately, you are Not a mind, or a creature of the mind. You are a Self; a thoroughly awakened from all dreams, Self.

K: People don't like when I talk about this. It is easy to object to and it is contrary to what we WANT it to be. I didn't say it, it was already there. It goes against the grain, perhaps that is why I like it.

NS: I like it when you talk about this, and take your understanding to be top notch. It does go against the 'common' grain, but then it is the uncommonly grained who commonly seek after, and find their way out of the land of sticky dreams.
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 07:57 am
@NonSum,
NonSum;91245 wrote:
Hi Krumple,
I suspect that we agree on a great deal of this Buddhist stuff. Have you done much reading in Buddhism's ugly child, i.e. Zen?


Yes, I have read the Shobogenzo about a dozen times. I always feel that while I am reading it, Dogen is laughing at me, insulting me the entire time. I read the words and sense the wisdom but it's like something blocking the actual insight into the core of his meaning. Like Dogen put it all together for just one final joke. A sort of catch me if you can work of poetry and clever word play. I know there is Dharma in it, I sense it, but I get the feeling that it is only bait for Dogen's next insult.

For example he spends some time on the proper etiquette of a renounciant which seems so particular and almost shy of over compulsive disorder but then finishes up by saying it is not important. He goes into great detail of how one properly uses the poop stick then says it is unimportant. It leaves you wondering if you missed his message then goes onto the next topic.

Zen has a requirement, you must have a vast understanding of Buddhism and you must have access to incredible intellect. If you lack either one, you will fail to understand Dogen. I fail.

EDIT: To be fair to Dogen, I should say I have respect for him as a Buddhist philosopher. I encourage everyone to read the shobogenzo and I leave with, if your eyes don't start spinning back into your head after the first paragraph, you might just have what it takes to understand Dogen.
0 Replies
 
vajrasattva
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 11:33 am
@vajrasattva,
Ok To say that the entire world is only illusion is not a buddhist teaching. The term illusion is a concept used to free the mind of attachment to the transient world and so reduce sufferning. Because you take the rock to be an illusion is not going to stop the rock from beating your head bloody. Your bloody head may be impermanant and transient and so and illusion because you will heal or die and rot. But that is not going to change the fact that your head is now bloody from geting beaten with a rock.

To believe that the world is all NOTHING but an illusion of your mind is to live in ignorance of the world itself. Why? because your mind is impermanant and transient as the world is. The rock that beat your head bloody has been around much longer then your impermant illusory mind.

The term Ultimate Reality is uesd to describe the ultimate state of things (impermanat, transient, selfless, and changing). Truth is far less transient then the rock that beats your head bloody. Because the truth that a rock will beat your head bloody as been around much longer then that rock that beats your head bloody has held its form.

The fact that a compassionate person is needed to fix your bloody head has been around much longer then the person that will fix your bloody head has been alive. And will be arorund much longer then your bloody head will be bloody or even a head.

Hence the value of things like truth and compasion as less illusory and a path to enlightenment. It is a univesal truth that rocks can beat the heads of humans bloody. And that compassionate people can and do nurture the wounded. So due to that fact we can find truth as the ultimate in a situation where you get beaten with a rock and compassion as the ultimate in the situation where your head gets fixed by a doctor.

So if we look to truth and compassion we will find their presence in many situations. And as such can use them to find enligtenment in any siuation even one where you've beem beaten bloody with a rock.
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 12:06 pm
@vajrasattva,
vajrasattva;91311 wrote:


So if we look to truth and compassion we will find their presence in many situations. And as such can use them to find enligtenment in any siuation even one where you've beem beaten bloody with a rock.

Thank you V. I couldn't have put I better myself!
0 Replies
 
NonSum
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 01:32 pm
@vajrasattva,
Vajra: Ok To say that the entire world is only illusion is not a buddhist teaching.

NS: Of course it is! I can name several Buddhist schools that say as much. There is even the "Mind Only School" which holds that all dharmas are nothing more than deluded thoughts.

V: The term illusion is a concept used to free the mind of attachment to the transient world and so reduce sufferning.

NS: So, now "illusion" has reappeared into Buddhism, but now it is merely a useful tool. Tell me, how useful is a conceptual tool if it is not taken as valid?

V: The rock that beat your head bloody has been around much longer then your impermant illusory mind.

NS: No it hasn't. I can dream most any night of a world full of ancient rocks, and brand new heads meeting them. Can't you? This is what "mind only" means, i.e. dreams. The Buddhist concept of 'co-dependent arising' is all about duality, and how no one thing stands on its own, but rely upon its conceptual opposite. 'Anatma doctrine' refutes that any independent being, with or without a bloody head, has a real self capable of suffering. You should look more closely to what Buddhism is teaching if you wish to get at its essential message. Listen to Hui-neng (6th Patriarch)

"Realize that all things are not produced, the mind, too, is like an
illusion and, without a single speck of dust, is at all time pure."

"If within and without you are not deluded then you are apart from
duality. If on the outside you are deluded you attach to form; if
on the inside you are deluded you attach to emptiness. If within
form you are apart from form and within emptiness you are separated from emptiness, then within and without you are not deluded."
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 01:55 pm
@vajrasattva,
Nonsum I cannot read your posts unless you learn how to quote properly, I have asked you twice now, please, it's makes it very difficult for me to moderate. unless i can read them properly, I would appreciate it.
Thanks awfully.
0 Replies
 
vajrasattva
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 01:56 pm
@vajrasattva,
There is no duality there can not be this is not something i have intelectualized it is somthing that my being just knows. The rock is real. It is also and illusion why because all things are non dual.

Now Because the self is an illusion no self exists but because illusion and untimate reality (samasara and nirvana) are one and the same the illusion is reality. Hence the illusion of the rock made the illusion of your death by the reality of your bloody head.

There is no mind and there is no rock and there is no death because there is no you. And all of these concepts are truely real in every sense because of the fact that all the universe and every phenomena in it is non-dual illusory-ultimate reality. So you can argue with me that the rock is unreal or you can accept that your bloody head is bilss and pain which do you choose.
 

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