Nagarjuna

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Dan74 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:16 am

Oh man (I mean Venerable), non-duality... that was some thread!

E.g. (paraphrase from memory):

Poster 1: So have you had this non-dual experience since you seem to know so much about it?
Poster 2: Are you stupid or what?

hmmm....

:focus: (to the hijacked topic)

Just came across this:
The Mirror of Zen by Master So Sahn wrote:Lacking faith in one's capacity for enlightenment [orig: "own nature"] is the sickness of those attached to scriptural authority, whereas pride is the disease of those who practice only meditation. People who are attached to sutras and scriptural teaching of words can lack faith in the living, mysterious experience of meditation that leads to a sudden insight. They are usually too caught up in the expedient means of words and speech, attached to the stubborn habit of distinguishing between "true" and "not true". Believing only what is written in holy texts they are conceptually mesmerized by the treasures of others, instead of digging inside to discover the priceless gems of their own, lying deep within. As a result, such people retrogress spiritually of their own accord.

Meditation students, on the other hand, often lack proper faith in the sutras, and so disregard the scriptural teachings on gradual cultivation and harmful mind-habits. They are not ashamed even when these defilements and karmic habits arise in their mind. Foolishly proud of their so-called "dharma" long before their practice can be said to have truly matured, their speech can be seen as pure arrogance.

Therefore those who practice correctly must not lack confidence in their capacity for enlightenment, not should they give in to pride.


Hmmm.....

_/|\_

PS Hi Blackbird :hello:
I didn't mean that post as an attack on you, or your OP. It was just some attempt to explore the usefulness or otherwise of such an approach. When you say you follow Theravada and want to pick up useful things it sounds perfectly reasonable. And yet the few truly inspiring practitioner whom I've met took their wisdom where they found it without bothering about the labels and distinctions. This path is about liberation, isn't it? Not really about sects and concepts (though they are not entirely without use!). Anyway, see the quote above, maybe it'll make more sense... I type a lot of words and they just sit on the screen lazily and do nothing for noone...
Last edited by Dan74 on Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
_/|\_
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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby BlackBird » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:16 am

Thank you all for your responses
:reading:
:anjali:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby BlackBird » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:32 am

Hi Dan.

You raise some good points, no doubt.

The analogy I like to use with regards to Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana is that they are like Easter eggs.
You might have one Easter egg with orange tin foil, another with green tin foil, and perhaps yet another with purple tin foil.

The wrapping might be different, but when we compare the actual practice, it's remarkably similar.

It just so happens that I am eyeing up the Easter egg with orange tin foil, and sometimes I like to see how the green tin foil correlates with the orange.

:group:

Sorry anyway.

Goodness forbid someone has an opinion of things that conflicts with my own view. Or should that be my self view :stirthepot:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:11 pm

It seems to me that the mahayana is more like a Russian doll...joke... :smile:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Aloka » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:20 pm

If anyone is interested in reading a Tibetan Buddhist commentary on the key verses of each chapter of Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika I suggest "The Sun of Wisdom" by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso.

Kind regards,

Aloka
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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Dan74 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:21 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:It seems to me that the mahayana is more like a Russian doll...joke... :smile:


...with the smallest doll missing! When you peel all the layers off, it's just emptiness!

:lol:

_/|\_
_/|\_
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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Aloka » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:26 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Sanghamitta wrote:It seems to me that the mahayana is more like a Russian doll...joke... :smile:


...with the smallest doll missing! When you peel all the layers off, it's just emptiness!

:lol:

_/|\_



Emptiness here, emptiness there, is emptiness sickness reaching everywhere?? :rolleye:


_/\_
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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Dan74 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:32 pm

Emptiness sickness? :broke:

Just some harmless fun, Friend!

_/|\_

PS (That's more than) Enough chatter from me, though!
_/|\_
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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Aloka » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:42 pm

Dan74 wrote:Emptiness sickness? :broke:

Just some harmless fun, Friend!

_/|\_

PS (That's more than) Enough chatter from me, though!



Hi Dan,

Don't take me seriously, having heard people mention "emptiness sickness" on another forum in the past, I was just making a joke! No offense intended ! :D

_/\_ Aloka

.
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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:46 pm

Where would we be without the endless vigilance of the Buddhist Ecumenicists.. :D
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:44 pm

Dan74 wrote:Emptiness sickness?

One might add "Nagarjuna Sickness," which is a very common side effect of studying Nagarjuna. It is using the Nagarjunian methodology to beat up all other positions and assuming that that is somehow real wisdom.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:02 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:Where would we be without the endless vigilance of the Buddhist Ecumenicists..

Damdifino what you mean by this. As I said, Nagarjuna is not necessary, contrary to what some of his followers might say, for the Theravadin to attain full awakening, nor does the Nagarjunian critique fall upon the Theravadin position without distorting the Theravadin position, contrary to what some of his followers might say.

On the other hand, if one is interested in looking at what Nagarjuna has to say there is no reason not to read what he has to say. It is not a bad thing for a Theravadin to have some familiarity of the Mahayana.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Kare » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:23 pm

tiltbillings wrote:It is not a bad thing for a Theravadin to have some familiarity of the Mahayana.


I agree. And in that connection I would like to recommend Vasubandhu, especially his Madhyantavibhaga. The first chapter of this work is analyzed in Kochumuttom, "A Buddhist Doctrine of Experience". Although Vasubandhu often is counted as one of the establishers of the "Mind-only-school", the Madhyantavibhaga presents a view on reality which for the most part is quite in line with Theravada, although one might say that he develops some themes a bit further than what the Pali texts did. Anyway, he is definitely worthwhile to read. A few years ago I translated the entire Madhyantavibhaga into Norwegian. This was published with an analysis and commentary of the text, that I wrote in cooperation with a Zen practicioner (Svein Myreng). It was a brave act of the publisher to accept this book ... I do not think he has sold many copies ... :shrug:
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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Jechbi » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:38 pm

tiltbillings wrote:It is not a bad thing for a Theravadin to have some familiarity of the Mahayana.

Sure, as long as we don't forget the limitations of having "some familiarity." We all have a tendancy to bring our own predilections and perspectives to discussions like this.
"Formerly, bhikkhus, there was a certain king in this very Savatthi. And that king addressed a man: 'Come now, my good man, bring together all those persons in Savatthi who have been blind from birth.'

"'Yes, your majesty,' that man replied, and after detaining all the blind people in Savatthi, he approached the king and said, 'All the blind people in Savatthi have been brought together, your majesty.'

"'Now, my man, show the blind people an elephant.'

"'Very well, your majesty,' the man replied to the king, and he presented an elephant to the blind people, saying, 'This, blind people, is an elephant.'

"To some of the blind people he presented the head of the elephant, saying, 'This is an elephant.' To some he presented an ear of the elephant, saying, 'This is an elephant.' To some he presented a tusk... the trunk... the body... the foot... the hindquarters... the tail... the tuft at the end of the tail, saying, 'This is an elephant.'

"Then, bhikkhus, the man, having shown the elephant to the blind people, went to the king and said, 'The blind people have been shown the elephant, your majesty. Do now what you think is suitable.' Then the king approached those blind people and said, 'Have you been shown the elephant?'

"'Yes, your majesty, we have been shown the elephant.'

"'Tell me, blind people, what is an elephant like?'

"Those blind people who had been shown the head of the elephant replied, 'An elephant, your majesty, is just like a water jar.' Those blind people who had been shown the ear of the elephant replied. "An elephant, your majesty, is just like a winnowing basket.' Those blind people who had been shown the tusk of the elephant replied, 'An elephant, your majesty, is just like a plowshare.' Those blind people who had been shown the trunk replied, 'An elephant, your majesty, is just like a plow pole.' Those blind people who had been shown the body replied, 'An elephant, your majesty, is just like a storeroom.' Those blind people who had been shown the foot replied, 'An elephant, your majesty, is just like a post.' Those blind people who had been shown the hindquarters replied, 'An elephant, your majesty, is just like a mortar.' Those blind people who had been shown the tail replied, 'An elephant, your majesty, is just like a pestle.' Those blind people who had been shown the tuft at the end of the tail replied, 'An elephant, your majesty, is just like a broom.'

"Saying 'An elephant is like this, an elephant is not like that! An elephant is not like this, an elephant is like that!' they fought each other with their fists. And the king was delighted (with the spectacle).

"Even so, bhikkhus, are those wanderers of various sects blind, unseeing... saying, "Dhamma is like this!... Dhamma is like that!'"

Then, on realizing its significance, the Lord uttered on that occasion this inspired utterance:

Some recluses and brahmans, so called,
Are deeply attached to their own views;
People who only see one side of things
Engage in quarrels and disputes.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:48 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Emptiness sickness?

One might add "Nagarjuna Sickness," which is a very common side effect of studying Nagarjuna. It is using the Nagarjunian methodology to beat up all other positions and assuming that that is somehow real wisdom.


One might add "Nagarjuna Sickness Projection sickness". It is when one habitually projects Nagarjuna sickness onto practitioners who see great value in Nagarjuna's analysis.

Hopefully nobody here has either.


Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:54 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Sanghamitta wrote:Where would we be without the endless vigilance of the Buddhist Ecumenicists..

Damdifino what you mean by this. As I said, Nagarjuna is not necessary, contrary to what some of his followers might say, for the Theravadin to attain full awakening, nor does the Nagarjunian critique fall upon the Theravadin position without distorting the Theravadin position, contrary to what some of his followers might say.

On the other hand, if one is interested in looking at what Nagarjuna has to say there is no reason not to read what he has to say. It is not a bad thing for a Theravadin to have some familiarity of the Mahayana.

My tongue was firmly in my cheek Tiltbillings.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:48 pm

The article Tilt quoted above is interesting, in that it argues that Nagarjuna's argument follows logically from the Pali Suttas:
The fact that both samsara and nirvana in terms of emptiness does not make them identical in terms of dependent arising.

In conclusion, Nargajuna’s famous identification of samsara and nirvana and his defending the emptiness of svabhava of all dharmas, and his equating emptiness and dependent arising are not revolutionary innovations but orthodox philosophical moves entailed by the early teachings of Buddhism.

I've always ignored the non-duality ideas, since a literal "samsara=nirvana" appears to be inconsistent with the early suttas and totally opposed to the expositions in the Theravada Abhidhamma and Commentary. However, as I understand the article, it suggests a weakening from equality to "samsara shares some characteristics with nirvana", which removes the fundamental objections about the equality. However, since this is way outside what I even imagine I understand, I would welcome further clarification from my knowledgeable friends here.

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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:07 pm

Hi Dan,
Dan74 wrote:When you say you follow Theravada and want to pick up useful things it sounds perfectly reasonable. And yet the few truly inspiring practitioner whom I've met took their wisdom where they found it without bothering about the labels and distinctions.

The truly inspiring practitioners I know personally happen, due to my circumstances, to be Theravada Bhikkhus. Certainly they "took wisdom where they found it" in the forests of SE Asia, aspects of everyday life, and other sources...

The niggling feeling that I have with statements along the lines of "took their wisdom where they found it" is that there is a subtext that those who use a particular school (not necessarily a Theravada school!) as an anchor for their practise (and hence test other sources against that) are missing out on something. I don't see that. And I don't see it in your quote from the Zen master above.

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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:13 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Emptiness sickness?

One might add "Nagarjuna Sickness," which is a very common side effect of studying Nagarjuna. It is using the Nagarjunian methodology to beat up all other positions and assuming that that is somehow real wisdom.


One might add "Nagarjuna Sickness Projection sickness". It is when one habitually projects Nagarjuna sickness onto practitioners who see great value in Nagarjuna's analysis.

"Nagarjuna Sickness Projection sickness" is not a problem. Someone who understands and uses Nagarjuna's methodology appropriately as way of trying to cultivate wisdom is not going to go around trying to beat the crap out of other systems just because they think they can, because they think they have the truly true truth.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Nagarjuna

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:14 pm

Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:It is not a bad thing for a Theravadin to have some familiarity of the Mahayana.

Sure, as long as we don't forget the limitations of having "some familiarity." We all have a tendancy to bring our own predilections and perspectives to discussions like this

Your point is?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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