zen non duality and theravada

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zen non duality and theravada

Postby alan... » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:36 am

is the idea of non duality as the ultimate reality/nirvana found in theravada more or less or is it completely foreign?
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby ground » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:21 am

It may be found implicitly, not explicitly. :sage:
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby Dan74 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:53 am

alan... wrote:is the idea of non duality as the ultimate reality/nirvana found in theravada more or less or is it completely foreign?


Zen is more along the lines of "not two, not one." Non-duality too often is a view, a position.
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:09 pm

This is the answer:
“If everything returns to the one, where does the one return to?”
Have fun.

EDIT: I got that phrasing of the koan from http://www.plumvillage.org/letters-from ... -koan.html
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:26 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:This is the answer:
“If everything returns to the one, where does the one return to?”


The everything.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:41 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:This is the answer:
“If everything returns to the one, where does the one return to?”


The everything.

Sort of. Maybe. Not really a good way to state it imo tho.
Its not a question meant to be answered as a mere riddle or trick of language.
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby IanAnd » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:23 pm

alan... wrote:is the idea of non duality as the ultimate reality/nirvana found in theravada more or less or is it completely foreign?

Perhaps this essay will help.

Dhamma and Non-duality

Bhikkhu Bodhi: "The teaching of the Buddha as found in the Pali canon does not endorse a philosophy of non-dualism of any variety, nor, I would add, can a non-dualistic perspective be found lying implicit within the Buddha's discourses."
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby Coyote » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:54 pm

"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby Coyote » Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:28 am

tiltbillings wrote:
That is horrible.


It's not my cup of tea either, but I posted it for the benefit of the OP, so that he could see that there are teachers holding other positions.
Also, It looks like a talk aimed at a very specific group of people - perhaps even non-buddhists.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:29 am

Thanks. That is to the point.
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: zen non duality and theravada

Postby alan... » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:38 am

IanAnd wrote:
alan... wrote:is the idea of non duality as the ultimate reality/nirvana found in theravada more or less or is it completely foreign?

Perhaps this essay will help.

Dhamma and Non-duality

Bhikkhu Bodhi: "The teaching of the Buddha as found in the Pali canon does not endorse a philosophy of non-dualism of any variety, nor, I would add, can a non-dualistic perspective be found lying implicit within the Buddha's discourses."


read it before i made this thread, don't agree entirely. on the parts where he talks about zen stating good and bad are the same and how that doesn't fit with theravada i wholly agree. and on the zen idea that meditation is pointless because of non duality (ie: if you meditate to become what you already are you chase it away) i find that to be totally absurd. someone with a ton of mental stress and distractions has little hope to see their own true nature if they don't learn to sit and look inward. imagine taking an alcoholic gambling addict who has just quit those vices and trying to teach them the dharma without meditation as a way to clean out all the terrible mental habits they have. or even worse, the zen idea that trying anything is redundant because we are already buddhas! imagine taking this alcoholic gambling addict who is currently gambling and drinking and trying to teach them the dharma! as opposed to someone who quits all bad habits, becomes moral, and then learns meditation, and THEN you teach them the dharma! much easier.

however all in all, i don't see much room in reality itself for duality, duality comes from the "I". without some illusion of "self" there would be no duality. that being said, i can't really make heads or tails out of it in the pali canon. there are definitely suttas that sound like this type of thing. like the bahiya sutta for example, sounds very zen. the idea that only what is happening is happening, only the seen, heard, etc. thinking this way we have non duality. or so i think. who knows?
Last edited by alan... on Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby alan... » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:53 am

Coyote wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
That is horrible.


It's not my cup of tea either, but I posted it for the benefit of the OP, so that he could see that there are teachers holding other positions.
Also, It looks like a talk aimed at a very specific group of people - perhaps even non-buddhists.


why is it horrible?
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby alan... » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:17 am

okay here's how i see it:

if you realize there is no self then you are no more different than a floating rock in space is to the universe. a rock floating in space is seen as just another part of the universe unless there is a sentient being to look and label it and decide it's an individual thing. only sentient entities are seen as things with "self", so if one realizes no self, they lose identity and become non dual ideas just like a rock in space with no sentient observer.

or from another perspective:

our bodies consist of a bunch of organs and microscopic cells that all work together yet we consider ourselves only one entity or "self". so we see our bodies as a single non dual entity when considered only in relation to itself, it is one thing. imagine if each organ was sentient, we would consider ourselves many selves and our bodies would be very dual. the same is true for everything, we see one galaxy we live in and then even bigger, one universe, and so on until we have to just give up and say everything is contained within ever expanding infinity. without the illusion of "I" there is no logical reason to consider anything as more than one, and since we can't define the universe in even that sense, non duality becomes just non, an ineffable idea that cannot be posited in any language other than direct dhamma realization.

i also consider imaging a universe with zero sentient beings. there would be no duality at all! it would just be one big thing. only by imagining a separate self can we create a non dual reality.

this sutta just makes things worse lol! but i see some correlation between some zen ideas and theravada.

i don't know that there are any zen teachings not in the tipitaka in some way or another.
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby ground » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:12 am

From the perspective of intuitive affirmation of self all appears as self. So every view that is fabricated is just this. Apply the instructions given to Bahiya. If that is not feasible then apply the standard. What else may be said? :sage:
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby alan... » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:27 am

ground wrote:From the perspective of intuitive affirmation of self all appears as self. So every view that is fabricated is just this. Apply the instructions given to Bahiya. If that is not feasible then apply the standard. What else may be said? :sage:


i'm not sure what you're trying to say exactly. also, what is "the standard"?
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby pegembara » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:54 pm

Zen master Dae Kwang was giving a speech.

Halfway through, the thunder started to sound.. Someone asked a question, he said "can you hear the thunder?" *thunder claps* "that is it! that is the answer from Buddha (laughter)" And five more questions came - what is enlightened person, who can become enlightened, how to practice and become enlightened, all dharmas return to one one returns to what?, etc.

And his answer to each question was, "did you hear the thunder?"

Then it started to rain, it got so loud that he stopped speaking and we just sat there. The rain itself becomes the dharma talk... so everyone sat there in meditation... the zen master sat very still. Just the sound of dripping rain filling the whole universe... the sound enjoying and hearing itself... that's Buddha, clear and blissful.

Then after 20 minutes he began to speak. He said you don't need to remember anything I said... the rain is the best dharma talk. So the talk ended, 15 minutes early.


" Non duality means to stay with whatever arises so that there is no subject and no object. "
Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

'In the seen will be merely what is seen; in the heard will be merely what is heard; in the sensed will be merely what is sensed; in the cognized will be merely what is cognized.'
Bahiya Sutta
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby alan... » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:44 pm

pegembara wrote:Zen master Dae Kwang was giving a speech.

Halfway through, the thunder started to sound.. Someone asked a question, he said "can you hear the thunder?" *thunder claps* "that is it! that is the answer from Buddha (laughter)" And five more questions came - what is enlightened person, who can become enlightened, how to practice and become enlightened, all dharmas return to one one returns to what?, etc.

And his answer to each question was, "did you hear the thunder?"

Then it started to rain, it got so loud that he stopped speaking and we just sat there. The rain itself becomes the dharma talk... so everyone sat there in meditation... the zen master sat very still. Just the sound of dripping rain filling the whole universe... the sound enjoying and hearing itself... that's Buddha, clear and blissful.

Then after 20 minutes he began to speak. He said you don't need to remember anything I said... the rain is the best dharma talk. So the talk ended, 15 minutes early.


" Non duality means to stay with whatever arises so that there is no subject and no object. "
Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

'In the seen will be merely what is seen; in the heard will be merely what is heard; in the sensed will be merely what is sensed; in the cognized will be merely what is cognized.'
Bahiya Sutta


this is a really good talk. i dig it.
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Re: zen non duality and theravada

Postby alan... » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:44 pm

i think the whole non duality thing is definitely a true idea but i think it can get in the way in the early stages of practice. trying to wrap your head around it and listening to ideas about how one should not waste time meditating and should not practice at all because of the non dual nature of reality is really dangerous. in the end i'm sure consciousness naturally understands and remains in non duality, hence the cessation of suffering. i find the ideas and teachings of non duality to be very important as long as they are not seen as reason to fail to practice the eight fold path.

being mindful and meditating is cultivating a mind that leads to non duality. skipping these steps is putting the carriage before the horse. it is a philosophical argument that cannot be beaten that because everything is non dual we are at once enlightened and also deluded, but this is just an idea. to really get there we must practice the whole path.

or so i think... and so did the buddha teach. and so on.
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