"Nothing exists", or (how) does it?

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Re: "Nothing exists", or (how) does it?

Postby kannada » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:18 pm

Hi Anna,
What is (nama(h))?

Namah (or Nama) means 'Naming' or more simply 'nouns'.

That's again one of the things I can't warp my mind around.

A tree does exist, whether I assert that it is or not, right?


There's nothing complicated to understand.

'It' cannot be un-named, for naming 'it' establishes existence for a select set of processes (tree) among the multitude of processes that we assert to be existing as 'things'.

Obviously the tree does not assert its existence - you do (or anyone so naming it). 'Tree' is a name for the seemingly infinite processes that gave rise to 'it'. There is no 'tree' if there were no sunlight to give it life, nor air, nor earth, nor water, nor its genetic predispositions (in brief - skandhas). The sum total of which we call 'tree'.

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Re: "Nothing exists", or (how) does it?

Postby Annapurna » Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:15 pm

Hi, Kannada, I really don't mean to give you a hard time, but ....*sigh*


'It' cannot be un-named, for naming 'it' establishes existence for a select set of processes (tree) among the multitude of processes that we assert to be existing as 'things'.


Actually, I can call it Micky mouse, if I like, right? That doesn't make it a Micky mouse though. So naming a tree doesn't establish it, it already lived before we named it tree.

So, existence is independant of an object perceiving, naming or describing it.

Lol, Kannada, I hope I make sense?

Obviously the tree does not assert its existence - you do (or anyone so naming it).


MMM....I think it 'asserts' it's existence by simply 'being'. I could call it anything, but it would stay what it is.

Tree' is a name for the seemingly infinite processes that gave rise to 'it'. There is no 'tree' if there were no sunlight to give it life, nor air, nor earth, nor water, nor its genetic predispositions (in brief - skandhas). The sum total of which we call 'tree'.


Agree. Only I would call that "conditions", based on which life is possible.

Are we talking about the same with different words? :hug:
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Re: "Nothing exists", or (how) does it?

Postby Anicca » Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:53 pm

Annapurna wrote:So, existence is independant of an object perceiving, naming or describing it.


Howdy Annapurna!

Please excuse the intrusion - but this could be key to Right View - as i understand it both modern physics and Buddhism view the relationship of observer and the observed as a dependent one. In other words, the observer shapes the existence of the observed - no more independance - only dependence.

i'll leave others to argue it but this is my understanding of reality.

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Re: "Nothing exists", or (how) does it?

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:06 pm

PeterB wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:What exactely do you mean by activity (operation of the khandhas)? Do you have any example?

The rupa rupas, the citta cittas, etc etc
I dont know what happens after that stops. Unlike all the Zen Buddhists in the world I am not a Buddha.. :lol:

hmmm... guess I'm still unable to understand what you mean by "activity (operation of the khandhas).
In my eyes the rupa rupas are activities of the rupa rupas and the citta cittas are activities of the citta cittas, none of these are activities of the khandhas. But I think it's probably not that important to clear it. Speech is in itself so misleading. :anjali:
thank you anyway :D
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

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Re: "Nothing exists", or (how) does it?

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:24 pm

What if "nothing exists" means, that the things we suggest from the senses don't exist? We deduce existence of things from the information coming through the senses. I give you an example what I mean. I assume that when you're reading this post you are sitting in front of some kind of screen. So let's take that screen as our object of examination.

Now take a look at your screen. What really exists is a visible form from which we deduce the existence of a thing we call "screen". But what we see is just light, colour and form. Neither one of these characteristics actually is the screen!

Now touch the screen. What really exists is the feeling of the touch. It might be solid or what ever. But this feeling actually is not the screen!

Now lick the screen with your tongue. There will be a certain taste. But that taste actually is not the screen!

Now take a smell at your screen. There will probably be a certain smell. But that smell actually is not the screen!

Now close your eyes and listen to the screen. There might be a sound maybe not. But whatever you hear actually is not the screen!

Now bring the screen to your mind. Whatever arises in the mind as an imagination of the screen actually is not the screen!

So where shall there be that screen we assume (as an object apart from the senses) in front of us? We know nothing about the screen we suppose to exist in fornt of us apart from the perceptions we made above. Such a screen doesn't exist. It doesn't exist in the way that there is an object apart from the senses. We just deduce a real existing object we call "screen" existing "behind" or "through" those senseimpressions. But in fact such a screen is not perceived at all. What really is perceived is just the consciousness or feeling arising because of the meeting of the senses and their corresponding counterpart. Here "perception", "consciousness" and "feeling" are conjoined.
MN43 Mahavedalla Sutta wrote:"Feeling, perception, & consciousness are conjoined, friend, not disjoined. It is not possible, having separated them one from another, to delineate the difference among them. For what one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, that one cognizes. Therefore these qualities are conjoined, not disjoined, and it is not possible, having separated them one from another, to delineate the difference among them."


In the end we don't know nothing about the objects we assume to exist deduced from what our senses are presenting. Because those invented objects do not exist. That is a delusion. We just fabricate objects out of our perception which aren't really present. We make more come into existence as there really is, namely such things like the "screen" in front of us, which actually doesn't exist at all. There certainly is matter (rupa) which appears (nama) in one way or the other but there is no independent object "behind" that process. The screen in front of us is nothing but a particular experience of namarupa. A dependent origination.

That's how I see it...
best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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Re: "Nothing exists", or (how) does it?

Postby Nibbida » Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:12 pm

This emphasis on emptiness/reality is a specialty of Mahayana, even though it is grounded in the Pali Canon.

An excellent book that I just read on this is Contemplating Reality by Andy Karr. It's very clear and accessible.
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Re: "Nothing exists", or (how) does it?

Postby kannada » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:54 am

Hi Anna,

We seem to be stuck on the word 'existence'.

As I understand it you are saying that things always exist and that names are superimposed on those existing things and that we are independent of those things.

My point is that things are a product of mind and that naming asserts their identity (id-entity). Prior to naming there are no things, and non-existent 'things' cannot have separate existence (whether they be you, I or the tree). This is how I use the word 'existence'. In Buddhist parlance prior to assertion = the unconditioned, post assertion = the conditioned.

In order to demonstrate my point you are invited to look around you without creating names (thinking or asserting) and allow the senses (seeing, hearing etc) to function unimpeded by definition... Where are the 'things'?

Prior to assertion (naming) the eyes see but no names are attributed for the defining process has yet to act and define the objects with which we interact.

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