Illusion and Emptiness

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby smokey » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:22 pm

I will quote WikiPedia:

"The teaching on the emptiness of all phenomena is a core basis of Buddhist philosophy and has implications for epistemology and phenomenology. It also constitutes a metaphysical critique of Greek philosophical realism, Abrahamic monotheism and Hindu concept of atman. Moreover, contrary to widely misconceived equation to the doctrine of nihilism, grasping the doctrine of sunyata is seen as a step to liberation. Unlike nihilism, emptiness maintains the Buddha's purpose.

Śūnyatā signifies that everything one encounters in life is empty of absolute identity, permanence, or an in-dwelling 'self'. This is because everything is inter-related and mutually dependent - never wholly self-sufficient or independent. All things are in a state of constant flux where energy and information are forever flowing throughout the natural world giving rise to and themselves undergoing major transformations with the passage of time.

This teaching does not connote nihilism. In the English language the word emptiness suggests the absence of spiritual meaning or a personal feeling of alienation, but in Buddhism the realization of the emptiness of phenomena, at basic level, enables one to realise that the things which ultimately have no independent substance cannot be subject to any irreconcilable conflicts or antagonisms. Ultimately, true realisation of the doctrine can bring liberation from the limitations of form in the cycle of uncontrolled rebirth.

Rawson states that: "[o]ne potent metaphor for the Void, often used in Tibetan art, is the sky. As the sky is the emptiness that offers clouds to our perception, so the Void is the 'space' in which objects appear to us in response to our attachments and longings."[4] The Japanese use of the Chinese character signifying Shunyata is also used to connote sky or air."
User avatar
smokey
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:01 pm
Location: Budaševo, Croatia

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby 5heaps » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:47 am

tiltbillings wrote:Do you know anything about Theravada?

I understand it to be a system emphasizing meditation in order to deeply observe impermanence (more specifically, the constant change of things which undermines the natural cognition of things as being enduring).
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
5heaps
 
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:58 am

5heaps wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Do you know anything about Theravada?

I understand it to be a system emphasizing meditation in order to deeply observe impermanence (more specifically, the constant change of things which undermines the natural cognition of things as being enduring).


So does this comment of yours refer to Theravada?: The negation here would be external physical form because such form derives from itself (its own substance, its own nature). According to emptiness, the reality of physical objects which appear to us is that they are devoid of such a self.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19159
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: Paradise

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby 5heaps » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:
5heaps wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Do you know anything about Theravada?

I understand it to be a system emphasizing meditation in order to deeply observe impermanence (more specifically, the constant change of things which undermines the natural cognition of things as being enduring).


So does this comment of yours refer to Theravada?: The negation here would be external physical form because such form derives from itself (its own substance, its own nature). According to emptiness, the reality of physical objects which appear to us is that they are devoid of such a self.

No, that's the whole point. Here there are 2 different types of 'emptiness'. The first is an emptiness of being able to endure through an own nature. The second is an emptiness of truly existing through an own nature.

With the first you cognize the utter absence of an enduring person through having observed and analyzed your heaps extremely well. Persons are devoid of an own nature and it's understood that one's heaps and all compounded in objects in general are equally void.

In addition to cognizing this the second emptiness also establishes that physical objects in general are devoid of truly existing, because they depend upon their respective sense consciousnesses in order to be established. The Buddhists-that-assert-true-existence would at this point critically point out the apparent paradox of being both dependent in order to be established whilst equally being devoid of enduring through an own nature. After all, what exactly is empty of an enduring own nature if you are dependent?
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
5heaps
 
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby Anders » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:44 am

tiltbillings wrote:
5heaps wrote:
ashtanga wrote:I dont see (in my limited experience) that Theravada has any analytical meditation process on Emptiness...or am I off the mark?

For non-mahayana it is utterly nihilistic to say that, an apple for example, does not come from its own side.

Of course it comes from its own side! It is made up of fundamental particles (ie. ultimates).

Of course for the Theravada those "fundamental particle" are not self existing things and "exist" dependent upon conditions.


How can it be called fundamental or ultimate then, if that is the case?
User avatar
Anders
 
Posts: 97
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:52 pm

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:49 am

Anders Honore wrote:How can it be called fundamental or ultimate then, if that is the case?
Why must we assume a Mahayana definition is the arbiter of what is what?
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19159
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: Paradise

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby Anders » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:00 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Anders Honore wrote:How can it be called fundamental or ultimate then, if that is the case?
Why must we assume a Mahayana definition is the arbiter of what is what?


Sigh, this is like feeding biscuits to a parrot.

Anyone familiar with the philosophical implications of the words 'fundamental' or 'ultimate particles' would logically ask such a question, as it rather starkly implies indivisibility and indivisibility implies phenomena that are not composite, composite being a fundamental aspect of anything dependedly originated. The arbiter here is plain logic.

Seriously, there is a whole world of physicists, metaphysicists, and philosophers of science who have asked these questions outside the shell world of madhyamika vs sarvastivada.

This was in fact why I asked, as a point of genuine curiosity, how does the Theravadin abidhamma reconcile what seems to be counterintuitive - that fundamental particles can be dependedly originated?
User avatar
Anders
 
Posts: 97
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:52 pm

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:49 pm

Anders Honore wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Anders Honore wrote:How can it be called fundamental or ultimate then, if that is the case?
Why must we assume a Mahayana definition is the arbiter of what is what?


Sigh, this is like feeding biscuits to a parrot.
A childish comment.

This was in fact why I asked, as a point of genuine curiosity, how does the Theravadin abidhamma reconcile what seems to be counterintuitive - that fundamental particles can be dependedly originated?
I’ll be happy to give you a reading list.

It is important to understand that Buddhism (here meaning Theravada) is not doing science. It is not commenting on the nature of the “external” world. It is dealing with what is experienced. A “fundamental particle” of experience is hardly an unchanging, unconditioned thing. It is a way of talking about the flow of experience that our senses can give us which we can call this or that.

Ven Nyanamoli in a footnote in his PATH OF PURIFICATION, pages 317-8, states: "In the Pitakas the word sabhaava seems to appear only once...," it appears several times in Milindapanha, and it is used quite a bit in the PoP and it commentaries. He states it often roughly corresponds to dhaatu, element and to lakkhana, characteristic. An interesting passage from the PoP reads:

"On the contrary, before their rise [the bases, aayatana] they had no individual essence [sabhaava], and after their fall their individual essence are completely dissolved. And they occur without mastery [being exercisable over them] since they exist in dependence on conditions and in between the past and the future." Page 551 XV 15.

Piatigorsky (In his study of the Pitaka Abhidhamma texts, THE BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT, p 182) puts it: “From the point of view of consciousness, it can be said that, when consciousness is conscious of one’s mind, thought, or consciousness directed to their objects, then it is ‘being conscious of’ that may be named ‘a state of consciousness’ or a dharma.”

Piatigorsky (THE BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT, p 146) explains: “the meaning of each abhidhammic term [dhamma] consists (or is the sum) of all its positional meanings and of all positional meanings of its connotations.”

Nyanaponika quotes a sub-commentary to an Abhidhamma text: "There is no other thing than the quality borne by it." (na ca dhaariyamma-sabhaavaa an~n~o dhammo naama atthi). Abhidhamma Studies, page 40. Which is to say: We simpy cannot say that 'a dharma is... (a predicate follows)', because a dharma, in fact, 'is' no thing, yet [it is] a term denoting (not being) a certain relation or type of relation to thought, consciousness or mind. That is, dharma is not a concept in the accepted terminological sense of the latter, but a purely relational notion. -- Piatigorsky, THE BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT, page 181.

Nyanaponika ABHIDHAMMA STUDIES, page 41 BPS; page 42 Wisdom wrote:By arranging the mental factors in relational groups a subordinate synthetical element has been introduced into the mainly analytical Dhammasangani. By so doing, the danger inherent in purely analytical methods is avoided. This danger consists in erroneously taking for genuine separate entities the “parts” resulting from analysis, instead of restricting their use to sound practical method with the purpose of classifying and dissolving composite events wrongly conceived as unities. Up to the present time it has been a regular occurrence in the history of physics, metaphysics, and psychology that when the “whole” has been successfully dissolved by analysis, the resultant “parts” themselves come in turn to be regarded as little “wholes.”


Prof. Dr. Y. Karunadasa, THE DHAMMA THEORY, page 9 http://www.zeh-verlag.de/download/dhammatheory.pdf wrote:In the Pali tradition it is only for the sake of definition and description that each dhamma is postulated as if it were a separate entity; but in reality it is by no means a solitary phenomenon having an existence of its own. . . . If this Abhidhammic view of existence, as seen from its doctrine of dhammas, cannot be interpreted as a radical pluralism, neither can it be interpreted as an out-and-out monism. For what are called dhammas -- the component factors of the universe, both within us and outside us -- are not fractions of an absolute unity but a multiplicity of co-ordinate factors. They are not reducible to, nor do they emerge from, a single reality, the fundamental postulate of monistic metaphysics. If they are to be interpreted as phenomena, this should be done with the proviso that they are phenomena with no corresponding noumena, no hidden underlying ground. For they are not manifestations of some mysterious metaphysical substratum, but processes taking place due to the interplay of a multitude of conditions.


Harvey, in his excellent INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM, characterizes the Theravadin position, page 87: wrote: "'They are dhammas because they uphold their own nature [sabhaava]. They are dhammas because they are upheld by conditions or they are upheld according to their own nature' (Asl.39). Here 'own-nature' would mean characteristic nature, which is not something inherent in a dhamma as a separate ultimate reality, but arise due to the supporting conditions both of other dhammas and previous occurrences of that dhamma. This is of significance as it makes the Mahayana critique of the Sarvastivadin's notion of own-nature largely irrelevant to the Theravada."


A.K. Warder, in INDIAN BUDDHISM, page 323, discussing the Pali Abhidhamma commentarial literature wrote: "The most significant new idea in the commentaries is the definition of a 'principle' or element (dharma): dharmas are what have (or 'hold', 'maintain', dhr. is the nearest equivalent in the language to the English 'have') their own own-nature (svabhaava). It is added that they naturally have this through conditions."


Dhammas are "ultimate things" only as a way of talking about aspects of the relational flow of experience, not in terms of describing static realities. In other words, dhammas are empty of self.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19159
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: Paradise

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:17 pm

Hi Anders,
Anders Honore wrote:This was in fact why I asked, as a point of genuine curiosity, how does the Theravadin abidhamma reconcile what seems to be counterintuitive - that fundamental particles can be dependedly originated?

Doesn't seem so counterintuitive to me. "Fundamental" particles in physics (photons, electrons, etc) arise and disappear according to conditions (e.g. turning on your light switch creates photons, which get absorbed by matter, such as in your retina...).

I don't see any problem with dhammas (citta, etc) being "fundamental" in the sense of being "indivisible", but also "conditioned": arising and ceasing. Just because something is "indivisible" in some sense doesn't mean it lasts.

Metta
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10112
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby 5heaps » Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:46 am

Anders Honore wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
5heaps wrote:For non-mahayana it is utterly nihilistic to say that, an apple for example, does not come from its own side.

Of course it comes from its own side! It is made up of fundamental particles (ie. ultimates).

Of course for the Theravada those "fundamental particle" are not self existing things and "exist" dependent upon conditions.


How can it be called fundamental or ultimate then, if that is the case?

They are fundamental because they have individual defining characteristic marks, ie. findable true existence, regardless of the fact that they do not endure in some impossible way.

Furthermore they are fundamental (ultimate) in the sense that when you analyze partless particles and partless moments of consciousness the cognition of them is not eliminated, whereas when you analyze a chair or a table simply focusing on their parts cancels the cognition of the chair and the table. In this way chairs and tables are deceptive truths. Furthermore, chairs and tables obstruct their ultimate truths, namely the physical ultimates they are comprised of.
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
5heaps
 
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:09 am

5heaps wrote:They are fundamental because they have individual defining characteristic marks, ie. findable true existence, regardless of the fact that they do not endure in some impossible way.

Furthermore they are fundamental (ultimate) in the sense that when you analyze partless particles and partless moments of consciousness the cognition of them is not eliminated, whereas when you analyze a chair or a table simply focusing on their parts cancels the cognition of the chair and the table. In this way chairs and tables are deceptive truths. Furthermore, chairs and tables obstruct their ultimate truths, namely the physical ultimates they are comprised of.

You are using technical jargon here that is not necessarily familiar to Theravadins:

findable true existence

partless particles

partless moments of consciousness

deceptive truths

physical ultimates

I cannot agree or disagree with this statement until you give clearly stated definitions of these terms.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19159
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: Paradise

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby 5heaps » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:10 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Harvey, in his excellent INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM, characterizes the Theravadin position, page 87: wrote: "'They are dhammas because they uphold their own nature [sabhaava]. They are dhammas because they are upheld by conditions or they are upheld according to their own nature' (Asl.39). Here 'own-nature' would mean characteristic nature, which is not something inherent in a dhamma as a separate ultimate reality, but arise due to the supporting conditions both of other dhammas and previous occurrences of that dhamma. This is of significance as it makes the Mahayana critique of the Sarvastivadin's notion of own-nature largely irrelevant to the Theravada."

"not something inherent in a dhamma as a separate ultimate reality" just means that things "arise due to the supporting conditions both of other dhammas and previous occurrences of that dhamma", which mahayana emptiness has no problem with. What mahayana has a problem with is the very notion of "characteristic nature".

To a Theravadain (etc), saying that a thing is devoid of upholding its own characteristic nature (as a dependent arising) is simple unequivocated nihilism.
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
5heaps
 
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:17 am

5heaps wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Harvey, in his excellent INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM, characterizes the Theravadin position, page 87: wrote: "'They are dhammas because they uphold their own nature [sabhaava]. They are dhammas because they are upheld by conditions or they are upheld according to their own nature' (Asl.39). Here 'own-nature' would mean characteristic nature, which is not something inherent in a dhamma as a separate ultimate reality, but arise due to the supporting conditions both of other dhammas and previous occurrences of that dhamma. This is of significance as it makes the Mahayana critique of the Sarvastivadin's notion of own-nature largely irrelevant to the Theravada."

"not something inherent in a dhamma as a separate ultimate reality" just means that things "arise due to the supporting conditions both of other dhammas and previous occurrences of that dhamma", which mahayana emptiness has no problem with. What mahayana has a problem with is the very notion of "characteristic nature".
Why?

To a Theravadain (etc), saying that a thing is devoid of upholding its own characteristic nature (as a dependent arising) is simple unequivocated nihilism.
This sentence makes no sense. Please rephrase it.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19159
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: Paradise

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby 5heaps » Sun Jan 10, 2010 8:53 am

tiltbillings wrote:
5heaps wrote:"not something inherent in a dhamma as a separate ultimate reality" just means that things "arise due to the supporting conditions both of other dhammas and previous occurrences of that dhamma", which mahayana emptiness has no problem with. What mahayana has a problem with is the very notion of "characteristic nature".
Why?

Because as Arya Nagarjuna argues, asserting characteristic natures creates ridiculous implications, which illustrates a further voidness of an impossible manner of existence much in the same way that an enduring own essence did. An example of this further illustration is analyzing one's hand in order to try and find the hand. One of the ridiculous implications this debunks is the innate notion that there is a standalone independently appearing hand (the object that the word 'hand' refers to) which is the object of engagement by humans, dogs, cats, cattle, titans etc alike. But, this is very subtle and needs to be properly understood after years of training under a qualified teacher.

Listen to this, it presents both of these flavors of dependent arising very nicely: http://www.dharmafriendship.org/audio/a ... 0624am.mp3

To a Theravadain (etc), saying that a thing is devoid of upholding its own characteristic nature (as a dependent arising) is simple unequivocated nihilism.
This sentence makes no sense. Please rephrase it.

Dhammas uphold their own nature because they uphold a characteristic nature. To say there is no such thing as a characteristic nature is to deny dhammas altogether. So it would seem that mahayana emptiness is actually nihilism, because that's exactly what they deny.

The punchline however is that although they deny such characteristic natures entirely it does not mean that they deny commonsense objects and characteristics such as the ones we are continuously experiencing all around us. This is because their actual mode of existence (emptiness) actually manages to establish commonsense objects whilst uniquely maintaining the position of being completely free of bad views (ie. even a slight logical, empirical, observable etc contradiction or fault).
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
5heaps
 
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:03 am

5heaps, You did not address this msgs. Please do:
tiltbillings wrote:
5heaps wrote:They are fundamental because they have individual defining characteristic marks, ie. findable true existence, regardless of the fact that they do not endure in some impossible way.

Furthermore they are fundamental (ultimate) in the sense that when you analyze partless particles and partless moments of consciousness the cognition of them is not eliminated, whereas when you analyze a chair or a table simply focusing on their parts cancels the cognition of the chair and the table. In this way chairs and tables are deceptive truths. Furthermore, chairs and tables obstruct their ultimate truths, namely the physical ultimates they are comprised of.

You are using technical jargon here that is not necessarily familiar to Theravadins:

findable true existence

partless particles

partless moments of consciousness

deceptive truths

physical ultimates

I cannot agree or disagree with this statement until you give clearly stated definitions of these terms.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19159
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: Paradise

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:30 am

tiltbillings wrote:
5heaps wrote:not something inherent in a dhamma as a separate ultimate reality" just means that things "arise due to the supporting conditions both of other dhammas and previous occurrences of that dhamma", which mahayana emptiness has no problem with. What mahayana has a problem with is the very notion of "characteristic nature".
Why?
5heaps wrote:Because as Arya Nagarjuna argues, asserting characteristic natures creates ridiculous implications, which illustrates a further voidness of an impossible manner of existence much in the same way that an enduring own essence did.
You show no evidence that the Theravada is talking about “characteristic natures” the same way Nagarjuna is using it. Also, you have told us what Nagarjuna asserts, but you have done so without presenting a carefully reasoned argument. As it stands, so far, what you have said is mere, unsupported assertion. And also, keep in mind Nagarjuna is not recognized as an authority within the Theravada, so what he says carries no weight. You will need to make your argument from a basis that the Theravada recognizes, which is consistent with traditional Buddhist debating standards.

An example of this further illustration is analyzing one's hand in order to try and find the hand. One of the ridiculous implications this debunks is the innate notion that there is a standalone independently appearing hand (the object that the word 'hand' refers to) which is the object of engagement by humans, dogs, cats, cattle, titans etc alike. But, this is very subtle and needs to be properly understood after years of training under a qualified teacher.
The Theravada, as has been carefully pointed out, does not ever assert “that there is a standalone independently appearing hand.”

Listen to this, it presents both of these flavors of dependent arising very nicely: http://www.dharmafriendship.org/audio/a ... 0624am.mp3
If you are trying to make a point here, you need to make the point.

Dhammas uphold their own nature because they uphold a characteristic nature. To say there is no such thing as a characteristic nature is to deny dhammas altogether. So it would seem that mahayana emptiness is actually nihilism, because that's exactly what they deny.
Read the Heart Sutra lately? What is the nature of characteristic nature according the Theravada?

The punchline however is that although they deny such characteristic natures entirely it does not mean that they deny commonsense objects and characteristics such as the ones we are continuously experiencing all around us.
You are not being clear here at all. Again, you seem to reading a prasanghika critique as being applicable to the Theravada without establishing that the Theravada even uses the terminology the same way the the Madhyamaka does. You seem to assume that it does, but assumption is not enough.

This is because their actual mode of existence (emptiness) actually manages to establish commonsense objects whilst uniquely maintaining the position of being completely free of bad views (ie. even a slight logical, empirical, observable etc contradiction or fault).
So you assert, but this statement actually makes no sense as written.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19159
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: Paradise

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:12 pm

mikenz66 wrote:I don't see any problem with dhammas (citta, etc) being "fundamental" in the sense of being "indivisible", but also "conditioned": arising and ceasing. Just because something is "indivisible" in some sense doesn't mean it lasts.

Metta
Mike


Hi Mike,

I dont really want to get technical about this but I would like to simply point out that I think this is one of the points Nagarjuna is disputing in the Mulamadhyamakakarika. The way I read it he shows how asserting indivisibility implies some sort of persistence. He does this without in any way negating the usefulness of discerning apparently indivisible moments of experience. I personally feel there is not a need to put forth a notion of inadvisability and I dont think there is a case to be made that the Buddha of the Pali cannon made any such assertion. I could be wrong.

Metta

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
User avatar
Prasadachitta
 
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:52 am
Location: San Francisco (The Mission) Ca USA

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:10 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I don't see any problem with dhammas (citta, etc) being "fundamental" in the sense of being "indivisible", but also "conditioned": arising and ceasing. Just because something is "indivisible" in some sense doesn't mean it lasts.

Metta
Mike


Hi Mike,

I dont really want to get technical about this but I would like to simply point out that I think this is one of the points Nagarjuna is disputing in the Mulamadhyamakakarika. The way I read it he shows how asserting indivisibility implies some sort of persistence. He does this without in any way negating the usefulness of discerning apparently indivisible moments of experience. I personally feel there is not a need to put forth a notion of inadvisability and I dont think there is a case to be made that the Buddha of the Pali cannon made any such assertion. I could be wrong.

Metta

Gabe

The question is whether or not is it really reasonable to talk about the Theravadin notion of dhamma, as spelled out in the Abhidhamma Pitaka, as being indivisible, partless particles? From what I posted several msgs above, it would seem not.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19159
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: Paradise

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:37 am

Hi Tilt,

You And I do not disagree. Because I have a certain amount of reverence for and confidence in the Sangha generally, I tend to take it for granted that the teachings of Abhidhamma are for the purpose of diminishing and ending suffering and not for establishing philosophical arguments. This conclusion does not arise out of intense study even though I do enjoy a good Dhamma book from time to time. :smile:

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
User avatar
Prasadachitta
 
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:52 am
Location: San Francisco (The Mission) Ca USA

Re: Illusion and Emptiness

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:27 am

gabrielbranbury wrote:Hi Tilt,

You And I do not disagree. Because I have a certain amount of reverence for and confidence in the Sangha generally, I tend to take it for granted that the teachings of Abhidhamma are for the purpose of diminishing and ending suffering and not for establishing philosophical arguments. This conclusion does not arise out of intense study even though I do enjoy a good Dhamma book from time to time. Gabe
not for establishing philosophical arguments On the other hand it is worthwhile having some idea of what the teachings are actually saying, and it is worthwhile to respond to a gross misrepresentation of the Theravada idea of dhammas we are seeing in 5heap's msgs. The Mahayana/Madhyamaka critique of the ideas of dharmas as being ultimate partless particles with findable true existence does not really address what is found in the Theravadin texts.

The various Tibetan scholastic tenet systems developed by the various schools of Tibetan Buddhism serves a didactic purpose for those schools, but it is not a solid basis for understanding any extinct or extant school of Buddhism outside the one putting forth the tenet sustem.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19159
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: Paradise

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alex123, Sam Vara, Yahoo [Bot] and 12 guests