Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

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Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:00 pm

I seem to sense an emphasis on the negative in alot of buddhism. The emphasis on voidness and impermanence and things passing away. I dont see much about the arising of things. To me it seems pretty miraculous that the universe, consciousness, mind, whatever you want to call the world, arises spontaneously, it all its fullness, out of "nothing" every instant. I suppose to see the arising is also to see the passing, but does it seem to anyone else that there is an emphasis on the negative?
"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: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby kirk5a » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:05 pm

I think because we are already fixated upon (clinging to) all the arisings. So the passing, ceasing, requires emphasis.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:23 pm

Greetings Morlock,

My understanding is that "arising" in the context of the Dhamma doesn't refer to all those wonderfully exciting things in the universe, but specifically to the arising of sankharas (i.e. formed/conditioned experience)

Sankharas can be rooted in either wholesome or unwholesome mindstates, and invariably, the experienced result of sankharas will be commensurate with the nature of the mindstate in question. That is kamma in action.

To me personally, there's not too much emphasis on passing away, other than to see and know that there is passing away, of each and every sankhara. Thus you can know sankharas to be both impermanent and not-self. Seeing this, it can be seen that sankharas are unsatisfactory as security from suffering, whenever one calls this wisdom of anicca and anatta to mind.

So there's two (not-mutually exclusive) ways forward as I see it... go straight to trying to quell the arising of sankharas by following the Buddhist N8P as your exclusive focus in life and charge at it hardcore (dedicating your livelihood to satipatthana & jhana practices for example), or learn to make each and every sankhara positive by training the mind to generate sankharas based exclusively on wholesome states, which will make one's existence heavenly. Yet, even that heavenly existence will not be perfect either, and there will be a further yearning for a happiness and bliss that is independent of the generation of wholesome sankharas... namely the bliss of nibbana, which being asankhata is unformed, unconditioned, and thus is independent of arising/cessation (aka birth/death). Thus, the orientation of the mind will shift from the generation of wholesome sankharas, to the non-generation of sankharas.

I hope that post did not focus on the negative. :D

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:40 pm

Maybe there is a third way. Just to see the process as what it is (including the conceptual nature of wholesome and unwholesome) and live in it.
"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: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:43 pm

Greetings,

m0rl0ck wrote:Maybe there is a third way. Just to see the process as what it is (including the conceptual nature of wholesome and unwholesome) and live in it.

Is this third way you venture forth one that involves Right Effort?

SN 45.8 wrote:"And what, monks, is right effort?

[i] "There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

[ii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.

[iii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

[iv] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort."

It is only with the Noble Eightfold Path (not a Noble Onefold Path nor a Noble Sevenfold Path) that nobility is possible.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:52 pm

And of course there is "transcendental dependent arising":
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=11701

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:14 am

mikenz66 wrote:And of course there is "transcendental dependent arising":
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=11701

:anjali:
Mike


Ty, interesting thread :)
"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: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby xabir » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:28 am

m0rl0ck wrote:I seem to sense an emphasis on the negative in alot of buddhism. The emphasis on voidness and impermanence and things passing away. I dont see much about the arising of things. To me it seems pretty miraculous that the universe, consciousness, mind, whatever you want to call the world, arises spontaneously, it all its fullness, out of "nothing" every instant. I suppose to see the arising is also to see the passing, but does it seem to anyone else that there is an emphasis on the negative?
The stress, at least in original Buddhism, seems to be on dispassion, and the insight into impermanence (passing away), stress, and not-self leads to dispassion which leads to release:

"And what, lord, is the cause, what the requisite condition, for the defilement of beings? How are beings defiled with cause, with requisite condition?"

"Mahali, if form were exclusively stressful — followed by stress, infused with stress and not infused with pleasure — beings would not be infatuated with form. But because form is also pleasurable — followed by pleasure, infused with pleasure and not infused with stress — beings are infatuated with form. Through infatuation, they are captivated. Through captivation, they are defiled. This is the cause, this the requisite condition, for the defilement of beings. And this is how beings are defiled with cause, with requisite condition.

"If feeling were exclusively stressful...

"If perception were exclusively stressful...

"If fabrications were exclusively stressful...

"If consciousness were exclusively stressful — followed by stress, infused with stress and not infused with pleasure — beings would not be infatuated with consciousness. But because consciousness is also pleasurable — followed by pleasure, infused with pleasure and not infused with stress — beings are infatuated with consciousness. Through infatuation, they are captivated. Through captivation, they are defiled. This is the cause, this the requisite condition, for the defilement of beings. And this is how beings are defiled with cause, with requisite condition."

"And what, lord, is the cause, what the requisite condition, for the purification of beings? How are beings purified with cause, with requisite condition?"

"Mahali, if form were exclusively pleasurable — followed by pleasure, infused with pleasure and not infused with stress — beings would not be disenchanted with form. But because form is also stressful — followed by stress, infused with stress and not infused with pleasure — beings are disenchanted with form. Through disenchantment, they grow dispassionate. Through dispassion, they are purified. This is the cause, this the requisite condition, for the purification of beings. And this is how beings are purified with cause, with requisite condition.
....(same goes for the other aggregates)


Mahali Sutta: To Mahali - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby xabir » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:32 am

Arising and passing needs to be seen as a whole... without arising, there is no passing. Not seeing the passing away of phenomena, we become stuck and infatuated on them, delusioned, feeling like there is an I and certain things deemed as 'lasting' which can be 'owned'.

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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby manas » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:10 am

sent.as.a.pm.
:anjali:
Last edited by manas on Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby ground » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:58 am

m0rl0ck wrote:I seem to sense an emphasis on the negative in alot of buddhism.

Just watch the voidness and passing away of this sense and the voidness and passing away of the sense of "buddhism". Then, can you see that actually there is nothing? If not then it is due to the immediate arising (again) of something (else). :sage:

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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby pegembara » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:23 am

If there is only arising and no passing away, this would render the Dhamma false. All beings want only the arising and are unable or unwilling to accept its opposite.

The way people think is that having been born, they don't want to die. Is that correct? It's like pouring water into a glass but not wanting it to fill up. If you keep pouring the water, you can't expect it not to be full. But people think like this: they are born but don't want to die. Is that correct thinking? Consider it. If people are born but never die, will that bring happiness? If no one who comes into the world dies, things will be a lot worse. If no one ever dies, we will probably all end up eating excrement! Where would we all stay? It's like pouring water into the glass without ceasing yet still not wanting it to be full. We really ought to think things through. We are born but don't want to die. If we really don't want to die, we should realize the deathless (amatadhamma), as the Buddha taught. Do you know what amatadhamma means?

It is the deathless - though you die, if you have wisdom it is as if you don't die. Not dying, not being born. That's where things can be finished. Being born and wishing for happiness and enjoyment without dying is not the correct way at all. But that's what people want, so there is no end of suffering for them. The practitioner of Dhamma does not suffer. Well, practitioners such as ordinary monks still suffer, because they haven't yet fulfilled the path of practice. They haven't realized amatadhamma, so they still suffer. They are still subject to death.

Amatadhamma is the deathless. Born of the womb, can we avoid death? Apart from realizing that there is no real self, there is no way to avoid death. ''I'' don't die; sankhāras undergo transformation, following their nature.

If you were to violate the law of the land and be sentenced to death, you would certainly be most distressed. Meditation on death is recollecting that death is going to take us and that it could be very soon. But you don't think about it, so you feel you are living comfortably. If you do think about it, it will cause you to have devotion to the practice of Dhamma. So the Buddha taught us to practice the recollection of death regularly. Those who don't recollect it live with fear. They don't know themselves. But if you do recollect and are aware of yourself, it will lead you to want to practise Dhamma seriously and escape from this danger.

If you are aware of this death sentence, you will want to find a solution. Generally, people don't like to hear such talk. Doesn't that mean they are far from the true Dhamma? The Buddha urged us to recollect death, but people get upset by such talk. That's the kamma of beings. They do have some knowledge of this fact, but the knowledge isn't yet clear.

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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby Dennenappelmoes » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:50 pm

There is no negativity in Buddhism. If you experience any, it is negativity in yourself that Buddhism managed to point out to you. :anjali:

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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby m0rl0ck » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:19 pm

Dennenappelmoes wrote:There is no negativity in Buddhism. If you experience any, it is negativity in yourself that Buddhism managed to point out to you. :anjali:



That seems rather ad hominem of you. Ty nonetheless :)
"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: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby Dennenappelmoes » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:00 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
Dennenappelmoes wrote:There is no negativity in Buddhism. If you experience any, it is negativity in yourself that Buddhism managed to point out to you. :anjali:



That seems rather ad hominem of you. Ty nonetheless :)


Again, that's just your own projection :sage: No I'm sorry, it wasn't meant like that :embarassed: I know full well how Buddhism sometimes makes claims that feel inconvenient or uncomfortable. When not explained within the context of a positive, upbeat dhamma talk, points like these can have a rather depressing and counter productive effect. For example, I like Bikkhu Yuttadhammo's talks alot because he is so analytic and precise, but his dry, clinical approach can sometimes cause me to unnecessarily lose some spirit. Not his fault, I just need to obtain a higher degree of wisdom in order to not have that happen. So, I was speaking from my personal experience rather than criticizing anyone else :toilet:

I like to slap myself in the face with said realisation from time to time, so I just thought I should throw it at you as well :twisted:
:anjali:

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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:45 pm

mikenz66 wrote:And of course there is "transcendental dependent arising":
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=11701

:anjali:
Mike

Hi Mike,

I read that thread and I don't know if this is the right place to bring this up. That thread was closed. I have always been interested in the Canki sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.095x.than.html which has a sequence of positive conditions which give rise to a final discovery of Truth. It is a sequence of twelve dependent conditions which starts with conviction in a teacher and ends with striving which gives rise to "final attainment of the truth". I see this as another example of "transcendental dependent arising" or to put it another way, the conditional arising of a true refuge.

That makes it sort of on topic anyway.

May all be well

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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 01, 2013 12:48 am

Hi Prasadachitta,

That's an excellent point, and a good example of a positive sutta.

:anjali:
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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby 5heaps » Wed May 01, 2013 12:48 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:To me it seems pretty miraculous that the universe, consciousness, mind, whatever you want to call the world, arises spontaneously, it all its fullness, out of "nothing" every instant. I suppose to see the arising is also to see the passing, but does it seem to anyone else that there is an emphasis on the negative?

no, but then i have good teachers. only bad teachers teach the truth of suffering and the truth of the causes of suffering, without knowing how these enable the other 2 truths.

when one realizes subtle impermanence this does nothing but induce lucidity and certainty about the future, because there is explicit knowledge that your future depends on mental causes and conditions which you can accumulate, and nothing else.
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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed May 01, 2013 1:48 pm

kirk5a wrote:I think because we are already fixated upon (clinging to) all the arisings. So the passing, ceasing, requires emphasis.


Yes, I think that's a good way of putting it, hence the focus on anicca in the teachings.
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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Postby nem » Fri May 10, 2013 4:04 am

m0rl0ck wrote:I seem to sense an emphasis on the negative in alot of buddhism. The emphasis on voidness and impermanence and things passing away.... does it seem to anyone else that there is an emphasis on the negative?


I suggest the book "I give you my life" by Ayya Khema. There are concrete real life examples in her life story, of the three marks of existence. For this reason, after surviving the holocaust, 2 marriages and 2 children, living and travelling the world as a nomad in both poverty and riches, she saw the relevance of the concept of the voidness of all that, took ordination, and spend the rest of her life in the robes back in in Germany, the same place she had to flee for her life as an adolescent. Really, after all the luck, tragedy, love, adventure and knowing the world, she realized it was all the same arising and passing without any self going anywhere.

I'm not sure whether voidness is positive or negative. Without the arising, there is no possibility of passing away. That is nibbana in my understanding, where you do not sense arising as positive and ceasing as negative. It just IS. For example, I recently had a tremendous love in my life who I would instantly die for, and saw her walk away cold and I cannot get her back no matter how hard that I try, I could die today and probably she does not care because She emotionally insulated herself from the possibility of being with me because she has some professional goals in the world that she cannot achieve if she is with me, and she only sees the world in terms of goals and what she can be or do. Needless to say, she doesn't subscribe to the Buddha's idea of no-self, and is very determined that she has a self that needs to accomplish something and won't be held back by anyone else, or care about the consqeuences. If I die today, she would probably not care because she moved on toward the big goal and has that nice idea that if we try hard enough, if we throw away everything except the goal, we can achieve anything!!!!!!!! But lacking skillful means or clear comprehension. I tried to explain to her, that when she arrive to the goal, then what's the next goal? It's never enough, if we chase one thing and get that, we need to chase another thing. So she couldn't understand the emptiness of her professional goals, and I tried to take my own advice and accept the emptiness of chasing her. Because once I achieved marriage with her, it would probably be unsatisfactory too, even though I passed through hell to get there. :jumping:

These experiences, I am trying to not see the passing away of this love phenomenon or any other mental object as negative. If I did, I'd have already killed myself a long time ago, because I actually had divorced, with children in the house, to marry this lost woman who is in most aspects amazing except her irritating professional goals, and then she walked away as if I do not exist, leaving "me" totally alone in the world. But I took the high ground of the Buddha, realizing there is no negative and positive and any idea like that is delusion. It merely teaches me, that the next time that I think that I love a woman, I have to remember the emptiness of that, it's not satisfactory to cling to, impermanent and there is no me to engage in this delusion. If I feel love for another woman someday, I will sense the love arising and remember this experience and what it is, delusion of permanence, and at the same moment the love arises, I have to accept that idea that it could leave the next moment because it's dhukka and annica. Delusion that there is some me, who is loving and being loved. I was lucky to have been burned and survived, but now I can see I was setting myself up from the start to be burned by clinging to these ideas that it was something else, and having such a positive idea of arising. The arising and falling are the same thing, when it comes, we have to know that it's already gone. So, using my example, sometimes we have something great like love, but it's dead when it arises because it's based on conditions, it's impermanent, and the person giving it is impermanent and unstable. We can't base our happiness, in "happy arising things" like love or possessions or people liking us. Because they can fall away in an instant, leaving you with only a WTF??!!, chronic paralyzing depression, and nothing else. Not worth the time, better to focus on the Buddha and what he did.

Now days, I recite the 5 recollections every morning to remember this. They are mainly about the "negative aspects", ceasing, but teach us to accept that, sometimes life just sucks, and if it doesn't suck now, prepare for the idea of it sucking and don't be surprised, because all the good and bad is going to balance out, it can't stay good forever, and we can't be crushed or surprised by it :

“I am of the nature to decay” [doing this every day and we can see it over a few years]
“I am of the nature to get sick” [I get sick sometimes, this is obvious]
“I am of the nature to die” [100% chance of that!]
“All that is mine, beloved and dear to me, will one day leave me” [I know this all too well]
“I am the owner of my kamma, heir to my kamma, abide supported by my kamma, if I do good I receive good, if I do bad I receive bad” [Also, demonstrated in my personal life]


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