Nondualism

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Re: Nondualism

Postby ground » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:15 am

Hi Mike

mikenz66 wrote:Hi TMingyur,
I'm having a little difficulty following your post (probably my fault), ...

I guess the reason is my linguistic incapability.

mikenz66 wrote:but is your argument similar to how it is explained in the quote by Gethin that I posted above?
See: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5208#p80888

Maybe. At least I am following a Nagarjuna oriented teaching lineage.

Kind regards
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Re: Nondualism

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:34 am

tiltbillings wrote:And so we have niocely illustrated here the confusion that goes with the notion of non-duality.

Precisely, layers of gothic complexity to camouflage a variety of experience, or more likely an idea of an experience, that is not found in the Canon but is much loved by those who long to disappear up their own verbosity. Sending wordy rocket trails into the sky that dazzle and sparkle and then fizzle into nothing very much. Wheres the Dhamma ? The ordinary, unshowy, day by day walking along the 8FP ?
Does anyone seriously consider that any of that is aided by prolonged exercises in semantics ?
The parsing and reduction of life into little bite size nibbles of philosophical self regard as we shout" look ma no ( Buddhist ) hands " ?
I would give a lot to have seen Ajahn Chahs reaction to this thread...
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Re: Nondualism

Postby Shonin » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:17 am

I agree that 'Nondualism' can be a confusing term as it has several different meanings. Literally it means 'not two' and refers to that which goes beyond the dualism of subject and object.

This is a dominant theme in Advaita Vedanta, where it may be interpreted or expressed in terms of monistic metaphysics ('merging with Brahman'), although I don't know enough about it to confirm this.

In Buddhism it refers to the absence of identification with phenomena as 'me'/'mine'/'my self' or 'not me'/'not mine'/'not my self'. The subconscious ontology with which we divide experience into 'me' and - that which it is defined in opposition to - 'the objective, external world', is suspended.

    All schools of Buddhism teach No-Self (Pali anatta, Sanskrit anatman). Non-Self in Buddhism is the Non-Duality of Subject and Object, which is very explicitly stated by the Buddha in verses such as “In seeing, there is just seeing. No seer and nothing seen. In hearing, there is just hearing. No hearer and nothing heard.” (Bahiya Sutta, Udana 1.10). Non-Duality in Buddhism does not constitute merging with a supreme Brahman, but realising that the duality of a self/subject/agent/watcher/doer in relation to the object/world is an illusion.

Here is that sutta quotation more fully:

"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."
- Bahiya Sutta, Udana 1.10


Further reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nondualism
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Re: Nondualism

Postby MattJ » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:55 pm

I like Shonin's definition above. I think of non-duality as going beyond distinctions and discrimination. Another way to put it is that all distinctions and discriminations are empty.

Classic dualities include:

Mind and Matter
Mind and Body
Subject and Object
Me and You

Upon investigation, these dualities break down--- i.e. are found to lack permanence and self.

I would also suggest that the word vinnana, from the Sanskrit vijnana, is a splitting form of knowing (as opposed to prajna). This is the third link on the chain of dependent origination.

One classic Mahayana criticism of the straw-man so-called "Hinayana" school (not to be confused with Theravada in my mind) is that they do not apply no-self to all things. I.e., you simply break things down into atomic "dhammas" and stop there.
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Re: Nondualism

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:09 pm

Interesting MattJ. I am not altogether sure that it was your intention but I think you have in fact demonstrated admirably the difference between the Mahayana and Theravada views on the issue .
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Re: Nondualism

Postby Nyana » Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:11 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hmmm, you're just confusing me even more now. You seem to post extensively with what to me look like non-dual arguments against standard Theravada interpretations of the Dhamma.

Hi Mike,

I don't post much for the most part, as there isn't much need to elaborate further on what other members have already adequately stated. The few threads where I have replied pertain to issues where I feel that I can offer another perspective (still within the historical Pāḷi dhamma and contemporary Theravāda fold).

mikenz66 wrote:If I've completely misunderstood your entire argument, that's OK since I never felt I grasped it very well in the first place...

Pretty simple really: the three N's:

1. Not wavering (i.e. the development of sīla)
2. Non-distraction (i.e. the development of samādhi)
3. Not grasping (i.e. the development of paññā)

Ajahn Chah explains the development of the latter two quite nicely in the following:

    If the breath is coarse, we know that it's coarse, if it's subtle we know that it's subtle. As it becomes increasingly fine we keep following it, while simultaneously awakening the mind. Eventually the breath disappears altogether and all that remains is the feeling of wakefulness. This is called meeting the Buddha. We have that clear wakefulness that is called "Buddho," the one who knows, the one who is awake, the radiant one. It is meeting and dwelling with the Buddha, with knowledge and clarity. For it was only the historical flesh-and-blood Buddha that entered parinibbana; the true Buddha, the Buddha that is clear radiant knowing, we can still experience and attain today, and when we do so the heart is one.

    So let go, put everything down, everything except the knowing. Don't be fooled if visions or sounds arise in your mind during meditation. Put them all down. Don't take hold of anything at all. Just stay with this non-dual awareness. Don't worry about the past or the future, just be still and you will reach the place where there's no advancing, no retreating and no stopping, where there's nothing to grasp at or cling to. Why? Because there's no self, no "me" or "mine." It's all gone. The Buddha taught us to be emptied of everything in this way, not to carry anything with us. To know, and having known, let go.

    Realizing the Dhamma, the path to freedom from the round of birth and death, is a job that we all have to do alone.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Nondualism

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:48 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hmmm, you're just confusing me even more now. You seem to post extensively with what to me look like non-dual arguments against standard Theravada interpretations of the Dhamma.

Hi Mike,

I don't post much for the most part, as there isn't much need to elaborate further on what other members have already adequately stated. The few threads where I have replied pertain to issues where I feel that I can offer another perspective (still within the historical Pāḷi dhamma and contemporary Theravāda fold).

Yes, and you have argued extensively against the classical Theravada "conventional"/"ultimate" distinction, as I pointed out the links above.

I have no interest in rehashing the arguments for or against that particular approach. But in making sense out of where it fits in the general milieu of competing interpretations of the Dhamma it seems to me that it is closely related to the non-dual interpretations of Nagarjuna, etc.

However, as I said, I may misunderstand all of if.

:anjali:
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Re: Nondualism

Postby Nyana » Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:09 am

mikenz66 wrote:Yes, and you have argued extensively against the classical Theravada "conventional"/"ultimate" distinction, as I pointed out the links above.

Everything I've said on the matter is based entirely on the teachings of the Pāḷi dhamma and contemporary Theravāda teachers.

mikenz66 wrote:I have no interest in rehashing the arguments for or against that particular approach. But in making sense out of where it fits in the general milieu of competing interpretations of the Dhamma it seems to me that it is closely related to the non-dual interpretations of Nagarjuna, etc.

Personally, I don't find either the realist inclinations of the classical Theravāda or the dialectical bent of Nāgārjuna to be of much value, or in keeping with the soteriological teachings of the Pāḷi dhammavinaya.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Nondualism

Postby PeterB » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:43 am

Whereas Geoff I find that the realist inclinations of the Classical Theravada are vital to my attempted practice of the Buddha's Dhamma.

:anjali:
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Re: Nondualism

Postby Nyana » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:12 am

PeterB wrote:Whereas Geoff I find that the realistic inclinations of the Classical Theravada are vital to my attempted practice of the Buddha's Dhamma.

Hi Peter,

That was "realist," not "realistic." And was in reference to the commentarial conflation of epistemology and ontology with regard to nibbāna. Ven. Ñāṇananda:

    More often than otherwise, commentarial interpretations of Nibbāna leave room for some subtle craving for existence, bhavataṇhā.... It conjures up a place where there is no sun and no moon, a place that is not a place. Such confounding trends have crept in probably due to the very depth of this Dhamma.

But each to their own.

All the best,

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Re: Nondualism

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:28 am

Greetings,

Ñāṇa wrote:That was "realist," not "realistic." And was in reference to the commentarial conflation of epistemology and ontology with regard to nibbāna. Ven. Ñāṇananda:

More often than otherwise, commentarial interpretations of Nibbāna leave room for some subtle craving for existence, bhavataṇhā.... It conjures up a place where there is no sun and no moon, a place that is not a place. Such confounding trends have crept in probably due to the very depth of this Dhamma.


Worth considering alongside...

SN 12.15: Kaccayanagotta Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Dwelling at Savatthi... Then Ven. Kaccayana Gotta approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Lord, 'Right view, right view,' it is said. To what extent is there right view?"

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.

"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.
From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

More important than dualism vs non-dualism, imo.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Nondualism

Postby PeterB » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:47 am

Geoff I have amended mine to what I originally wrote before it was ( without my noticing ) altered by spellcheck which clearly did not care for the grammar. And yes, chacun a son gout.
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Re: Nondualism

Postby PeterB » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:49 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Ñāṇa wrote:That was "realist," not "realistic." And was in reference to the commentarial conflation of epistemology and ontology with regard to nibbāna. Ven. Ñāṇananda:

More often than otherwise, commentarial interpretations of Nibbāna leave room for some subtle craving for existence, bhavataṇhā.... It conjures up a place where there is no sun and no moon, a place that is not a place. Such confounding trends have crept in probably due to the very depth of this Dhamma.


Worth considering alongside...

SN 12.15: Kaccayanagotta Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Dwelling at Savatthi... Then Ven. Kaccayana Gotta approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Lord, 'Right view, right view,' it is said. To what extent is there right view?"

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.

"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.
From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

More important than dualism vs non-dualism, imo.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Infinitely.
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Re: Nondualism

Postby MattJ » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:56 pm

It seems that my initial impressions were correct: there is no contradiction between Pali and non-dual Buddhism.
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Re: Nondualism

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:09 pm

MattJ wrote:It seems that my initial impressions were correct: there is no contradiction between Pali and non-dual Buddhism.
Huh? First of all we seem to have here no clue as to what non-dual Buddhism even is. Did you see above a carefully worked out definition of "non-dual Buddhism?" I certainly did not, but then may be I missed it. Sometime things just get missed. So, if you would be so kind as point out which msg above defines "non-dual Buddhism" and shows that it is the same as what we find in the suttas, I would appreciate it.
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Re: Nondualism

Postby 5heaps » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:52 pm

MattJ wrote:I like Shonin's definition above. I think of non-duality as going beyond distinctions and discrimination. Another way to put it is that all distinctions and discriminations are empty.

Classic dualities include:

Mind and Matter
Mind and Body
Subject and Object
Me and You

Upon investigation, these dualities break down--- i.e. are found to lack permanence and self.

none of those things are dualities :) duality doesn't refer to a relationship between multiple entites that seem to be on the opposite ends of a spectrum.
it refers to when 1 entity causes and inspires mistaken extremes in the mind of a person hindered by ignorance.

so for example: subject and object will always be 2 things - you can only have a subject when you have an object etc. it doesnt mean its a duality just because they are multiple entities. the duality is that the subject-object relationship sets up the 2 extremes of existence and nonexistence in our minds.

the nonduality is not that the subject and object merge (ie. the collapse of multiple entities into 1 entity). nonduality (for a nonbuddha or nonarhat) is the temporary cessation of ignorance and the temporary cessation of the appearance of the 2 extremes in objects. furthermore your mind is basically shut down due to the absence of ignorance which runs samsara (ie. you) and because you are absorbed in the absence of the 2 extremes being true, no impure discrimination of subject and object can occur. same explanation for "me and you", "mind and matter" or any other objects that you might pair together (for example monkeys and lava bubbles -totally nondual according to a correct state of mind ie. a mind not stuck in the 2 extremes)
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