"Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:12 pm

Cafael Dust wrote:Tilt:

There is no such thing as Buddhism, there are just sounds that are perceived as sounding like 'Buddhism' and 'Buddha', people sitting cross legged on the floor and so on, even these can be broken down and shown to be empty, even concepts like 'sound', so how can something that is intrinsically empty of self nature, of essence, make claims of being the only path to enlightenment? How can Buddhists say on one hand 'there is no path' and on the other 'this is the only path'. It's ridiculous.


please don't confuse ultimate with conventional reality.
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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby seanpdx » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:13 pm

Cafael Dust wrote:Tilt:

There is no such thing as Buddhism, there are just sounds that are perceived as sounding like 'Buddhism' and 'Buddha', people sitting cross legged on the floor and so on, even these can be broken down and shown to be empty, even concepts like 'sound', so how can something that is intrinsically empty of self nature, of essence, make claims of being the only path to enlightenment? How can Buddhists say on one hand 'there is no path' and on the other 'this is the only path'. It's ridiculous.


Ugh. The ability to break down a chariot into constituent parts does not render its existence "empty".
The Buddha was not interested in ontology. Neither should buddhists be... at least from the perspective of buddhism.
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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:15 pm

Cafael Dust wrote:Yes it does go nowhere. That's the whole point.


If that was the point enlightenment would be very easy, no?

"Going nowhere" and "going somewhere" are equally empty.

In which case, as our Theravadin friends are pointing out to you, how can you say that "all paths up the mountain go to the same place"?
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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:18 pm

Cafael Dust wrote:How can Buddhists say on one hand 'there is no path' and on the other 'this is the only path'. It's ridiculous.


The same way that someone can say on the one hand we are all "going nowhere" and on the other that "all paths ascend the same mountain".

If this trick were as easy to solve as you think it is, we would all be magicians by now.
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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby yuuki » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:22 pm

Sorry if this is off-topic. I feel compelled to respond to the idea of emptiness, and the general attitude of its discussion.

I think emptiness falls into the class of ideas that are (intentionally?) confusing enough to sound "deep" and therefore to be lumped in with Buddhism.

I never see the Buddha take a position on metaphysical matters like this. If you read the suttas do you seriously think that the same Buddha would say something to substantiate "In terms of not-self and emptiness, I'm unshakeable. Except that they're empty too..." ?

There may be a place for apparent paradox somewhere far along the path, but what about the targets that are perfectly reasonable, not confusing in the slightest, and within reach right now? How many here have perfected the brahmaviharas? How many people here have perfected the paramis? Why are people drawn to questions that lead nowhere, questions that were specifically rejected by the Buddha in the traditional form (answering neither true, nor false, nor both, nor neither) when there are so many real, skillful qualities yet to be developed?

Does it seem like someone accomplished in viriya (effort) would talk about nothingness? Does it seem like a monk exercising the four exertions ("There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for ... [the four exertions] ...") at the same time thinks that all paths are empty?

To me the Theravada tradition is a sanctuary within Buddhism where things are allowed to make sense, where meaningful work is allowed to be done, and where we're allowed to take real reality as the working hypothetical basis for our practices.
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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Ben » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:17 pm

Hi Cafael
Cafael Dust wrote:If these things are true, there must indeed be many ways up the mountain, because all ways are empty.

The idea that there were 'many ways up the mountain' is not new and was something that the Buddha categorically refuted.

Bhikkhus, this is the direct path* for the purification of beings, for the surmounting of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and grief, for the attainment of the true way, for the realization of Nibbana - namely, the four foundations of mindfulness.
What are the four? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. He abides contemplating feelings as feelings, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. He abides contemplating mind as mind, ardent, fully aware and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. He abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put awaay covetousness and grief for the world.

* The Pali reads Ekayano ayam bhikkhave maggo and virtually all translators understand this as a statement upholding satipatthana as an exclusive path. Thus Ven Soma renders it: "This is the only way, O Bhikkhus", and Ven Nyanaponika: "This is the sole way, monks" Nm however points out that ekayana maggo a MN12.37-42 has the unambiguous contextual meaning of "a path that goes in one way only," and so he renders the phrase in this passage to. The expression used here, "the direct path," is an attempt to preserve this meaning in a more streamlined phrasing. MA explains ekayana magga
as a single path, not a divided path; a way that has to be walked by oneself alone.
-- MN10, Satipatthana Sutta


As the Bodhisatta, Gotama practiced the various spiritual paths on offer in Northern India (MN 12) and had attained the seventh and eighth jhanas under the tutelage of Alara Kalama and Ramaputra.

Thus Alara Kalama, my teacher, placed me, his pupil, on an equal footing with himself and awarded me the highest honour. But it occured to me, 'This Dhamma does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana, but only to reappearance in the base of nothingness. Not being satisfied with that Dhamma, disappointed with it, I left...
Thus Uddaka Ramaputta, my companion in the holy life, placed me in a position of a teacher and accorded me the highest honour...'This Dhamma does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana, but only to reappearance in the base of nothingness. Not being satisfied with that Dhamma, disappointed with it, I left...
-- MN26

Having found these attainments to be deficient, Gotama set out on his own and rediscovered the Dhamma and became a Sammasambuddha, fully enlightened by his own efforts. Apart from the attainment and teachings of previous Buddhas, Gotama's attainment and teaching is unique to the world. No other teacher has ever provided a path, that when practiced, that leads one from dukkha to bodhi.
metta

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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:35 pm

Cafael Dust wrote:Tilt:

There is no such thing as Buddhism, there are just sounds that are perceived as sounding like 'Buddhism' and 'Buddha', people sitting cross legged on the floor and so on, even these can be broken down and shown to be empty, even concepts like 'sound', so how can something that is intrinsically empty of self nature, of essence, make claims of being the only path to enlightenment? How can Buddhists say on one hand 'there is no path' and on the other 'this is the only path'. It's ridiculous.

Ah, well, then there is no such thing as really killing someone; it is all empty. There is no such things rape; it is all empty, have no greater or lesser value as motivation and as an action than compassion and love - that is, following your line of thought. It would seem you have no idea what emptiness is either as a teaching or as an experience. You have made the classic emptiness blunder.
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.

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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby acinteyyo » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:43 pm

As far as I know "emptiness" (suññatā) refers exclusively to "not being or containing a self" with respect to anattā.
Which doesn't mean this or that path is equally appropriate to attain enlightenment because of their "emptiness", it means neither this nor that is a self! Neither this nor that is mine, I am not this nor that!
More general: everyone has to see that everything is void of him or her! This or that is void of my-self!
SN35.85 wrote:"Empty is the world ... because it is empty of a self and anything belonging to a self"

It does not mean the world is empty because it is empty of every content, substance or meaning!
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: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Ben » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:51 pm

Nice post acinteyyo!
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Cafael Dust » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:56 pm

Manapa:

please don't confuse ultimate with conventional reality.


You could say that conventionally speaking, Buddhism just happens to be the only path, despite being empty and lacking a special essence, in the same way that America just happens to have the only Superbowl, though America lacks an essence which specially qualifies it to have a Superbowl, but I would ask 'how on earth can you know that?' and you would probably answer 'because it says so in the scriptures' and I would at that point roll my eyes and ask 'but doesn't it say that in all the other religions' holy books?'

Ben: so what is the difference that makes Buddha's path exclusive? And what of Zen, based as it is on the flower sermon and just-sitting? Are its practitioners of a simple way only at the 7th or 8th Jhanas? I have never found anything in the Buddhist path that appears to me unique, I have only found better presentation than most other paths. It seems that Buddha said that the seventh Jhana led to a long life in bliss, but afterwards samsara continued. What is the difference between his path and the path of the seventh Jhana? In my experience meditation doesn't 'stop' at any place, there is no volition in it, it just happens.

You have definitely got my ear though :smile: .

yuuki:

To me the Theravada tradition is a sanctuary within Buddhism where things are allowed to make sense, where meaningful work is allowed to be done, and where we're allowed to take real reality as the working hypothetical basis for our practices.


To hide inside a box in a burning house.

Karma Dondrup Tashi:

The same way that someone can say on the one hand we are all "going nowhere" and on the other that "all paths ascend the same mountain".


Samsara goes nowhere, ego goes nowhere, desire, logic, thought, ignorance, hatred, fear... all go nowhere. All paths that follow nibbana lead up the mountain. But you need to get a grasp on nibbana that is more than conceptual, one that is as deep and familiar as a lover's touch. You have to recognise that nibbana is not a kind of happiness, it is the foundation for all happiness, all the joy you have ever experienced, and when understood as the ground of being it has an inexorable effect on that being, dragging one up the mountain through gullies and thickets and snow, scraping the ego across rocks, slicking it over glaciers and casting it down ravines to trawl it back ragged up along the path, with no care except for the journey at hand. That is practice. That is what lies before us.

If that was the point enlightenment would be very easy, no?

"Going nowhere" and "going somewhere" are equally empty.


I see enlightenment as very easy. It's so easy, you couldn't stop it if you wanted to.
Last edited by Cafael Dust on Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:58 pm

:anjali: :bow: :anjali: :bow: :anjali: :bow: :anjali: :bow: :anjali:
wish there was a Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu emoticon for all these posts.

Image
Last edited by Cittasanto on Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Cafael Dust » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:59 pm

Tilt:

Ah, well, then there is no such thing as really killing someone; it is all empty. There is no such things rape; it is all empty, have no greater or lesser value as motivation and as an action than compassion and love - that is, following your line of thought. It would seem you have no idea what emptiness is either as a teaching or as an experience. You have made the classic emptiness blunder.


I don't think you understand what I'm talking about. Compassion and love arise naturally when one realises emptiness.

People don't love because they've intellectually examined the idea and consider it to be 'of value'. Lines of thought have nothing to do with it.
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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:00 pm

Cafael Dust wrote:
I see enlightenment as very easy. It's so easy, you couldn't stop it if you wanted to.

So, are you enlightened?
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: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:01 pm

Cafael Dust wrote:Tilt:

Ah, well, then there is no such thing as really killing someone; it is all empty. There is no such things rape; it is all empty, have no greater or lesser value as motivation and as an action than compassion and love - that is, following your line of thought. It would seem you have no idea what emptiness is either as a teaching or as an experience. You have made the classic emptiness blunder.


I don't think you understand what I'm talking about. Compassion and love arise naturally when one realises emptiness.

People don't love because they've intellectually examined the idea and consider it to be 'of value'. Lines of thought have nothing to do with it.

So, Compassion and love are not empty?
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: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Cafael Dust » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:06 pm

Everything is love. You can't apply emptiness to the ground of being; it's the most actual ultimate truth there is.

Conceptually, yes, love is empty, if you're talking about shades or motivations of love, intellectualising it in any way.
Last edited by Cafael Dust on Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby Cafael Dust » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:11 pm

Tilt:

Are you enlightened?


I have an unusual perspective in that I was much further along the Jhanas for a long period previously, then slipped back into ignorance after drinking alcohol, which I have since given up, and I'm making the journey again. It's an unusual perspective because I have direct knowledge of levels of attainment that I am not wise or skillful enough to really be talking about. Apologies for that.

So, no, not enlightened but worth listening to or at least not dismissing all the same, with the usual critical eye applied to any speakers' words.
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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:18 pm

Cafael Dust wrote:Everything is love. You can't apply emptiness to the ground of being; it's the most actual ultimate truth there is.

Conceptually, yes, love is empty, if you're talking about shades or motivations of love, intellectualising it in any way.

"the ground of being." You have stopped talking about Buddhism here. Is enlightment empty?
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: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby seanpdx » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:22 pm

Cafael Dust wrote:Tilt:

Are you enlightened?


I have an unusual perspective in that I was much further along the Jhanas for a long period previously, then slipped back into ignorance after drinking alcohol, which I have since given up, and I'm making the journey again. It's an unusual perspective because I have direct knowledge of levels of attainment that I am not wise or skillful enough to really be talking about. Apologies for that.

So, no, not enlightened but worth listening to or at least not dismissing all the same, with the usual critical eye applied to any speakers' words.


Can't speak for anyone else, but I prefer listening to people who've made it to the top of the mountain. Just cause you bought a map don't mean you can find yer way.
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Re: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:22 pm

Cafael Dust wrote:
So, no, not enlightened but worth listening to or at least not dismissing all the same, with the usual critical eye applied to any speakers' words.

I have listened. You are obviously sincere and mean well, and my critical eye tells me, however, that you are mushing up a lot of ideas - sort of make-it-up-as-you-go-along that really ends up having little to do with the Buddha's teachings.
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: "Luminous mind" was Question Regarding God and Agnosticism?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:23 pm

seanpdx wrote:
Cafael Dust wrote:Tilt:

Are you enlightened?


I have an unusual perspective in that I was much further along the Jhanas for a long period previously, then slipped back into ignorance after drinking alcohol, which I have since given up, and I'm making the journey again. It's an unusual perspective because I have direct knowledge of levels of attainment that I am not wise or skillful enough to really be talking about. Apologies for that.

So, no, not enlightened but worth listening to or at least not dismissing all the same, with the usual critical eye applied to any speakers' words.


Can't speak for anyone else, but I prefer listening to people who've made it to the top of the mountain. Just cause you bought a map don't mean you can find yer way.

There is always the garden path.
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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