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Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness - Dhamma Wheel

Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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adosa
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Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby adosa » Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:12 pm

Hi all,

Can somebody point me to any schools (or teachers within Theravada) that emphasize the contemplation of emptiness without all the usual trappings of the Mayahanist schools (i.e. Bodhisattva vows, the second and third turnings of the Dharma Wheel)? I ask because this resonates strongly with my practice as it accords with science and thus my mind is less obstructed by doubt, etc. In addition, I've had about enough focus on dukkha for the time being. So I'm looking for some guidance on this subject from a teacher who has practiced this contemplation.



Thanks,


adosa :smile:
Last edited by adosa on Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183

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bodom
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby bodom » Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:53 pm

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu though he preferred the translation 'voidness'. I highly recommend his talks contained in the book Heartwood from the Bodhi Tree.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Aloka
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby Aloka » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:44 pm

.

Hi adosa.

You can read what the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu had to say about emptiness in 'Heart Wood of the Bo Tree' here:





Ven Ajahn Sumedho (Thai Forest Tradition) mentions abiding in emptiness here:




Kind wishes,

Aloka

.

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ground
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby ground » Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:21 pm


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Aloka
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby Aloka » Sun Mar 07, 2010 4:36 pm

.


The previously mentioned Kaccayanagotta sutta SN 12.15 is mentioned by Nagarjuna in the Mulamadhyamakakarika.

A sutta I enjoy reading is Phena Sutta- Foam - SN 22.15

Excerpt:

"Form is like a glob of foam;
feeling, a bubble;
perception, a mirage;
fabrications, a banana tree;
consciousness, a magic trick —
this has been taught
by the Kinsman of the Sun.
However you observe them,
appropriately examine them,
they're empty, void
to whoever sees them
appropriately."




There are a number of suttas which mention emptiness. However, I'm going off topic from the OP #1, sorry !


:anjali:

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adosa
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby adosa » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:59 am

Thanks all for the reads.

Much obliged.


adosa :smile:
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183

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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:31 am

Pretty much all the early Buddhist schools featured sunnata / sunyata as an important part of their teachings.

In particular, the Sarvastivadins (before they were actually known as such) referred to themselves as the "sunyavadins" when they argued against the Pudgalavadins' theory of the "pudgala". They feature sunyata as one of the sixteen aspects of the four noble truths (four each). Along with anatman, these two were the only aspects that were applicable to all four truths. (The others like anitya being not applicable to the truth of cessation for instance.) It also featured heavily in their three samadhis system. They also have a few sutras that use "sunyata" as synonymous with dependent origination, such as the "mahasunyata-paryaya" and "paramartha-sunyata-paryaya". Neither of these sutras are found in Pali. However, they played an important role for several others schools, it seems. (eg. Sautrantika, and the *Satyasiddhi.)

Whenever the Mahasamghika sutras use "sunyata", it is often part of a set like this: The four immeasurables, loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity; then the three samadhis, emptiness, nothingness and the signless. (This latter form of the three samadhis may be older than the form emptiness, intentionless, signless.) There are suggestions that in fact the four immeasurables are used as the samatha basis for entrance into the three samadhis. ie. cultivate loving kindness up to deep dhyana, then turn to contemplation of not self. This pattern is similar to the sutra on Purification of Almsfood, and the Sunakkhata sutta. (From memory!)

The *Satyasiddhi Sastra also heavily features sunyata. However, it has more of a Mahasamghika turn to it. It is used not just as "empty of self", but a generic "empty of ..." So, they used it a lot as a synonym for nirodha / nirvana, the absence of (empty of) defilements, and / or absence of deluded conceptualization.

Whatever the case, I am not sure what you mean by "trappings" of Mahayana. If you like the idea, just use the idea. No need to take other parts like the bodhisattva-theory or whatever. They can work independently, so to speak.

In recent decades, scholars like Warder and Kalupahana have argued that Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamaka Karika is based on the Agamas, and not necessarily Mahayana at all. Actually, Yinshun already said this decades before that! It's entire content is consistent with readings of the Agamas, though not necessarily the Theravada interpretation. But after all, the Theravada was just one school. Other schools had their own take. In particular, Nagarjuna's association of sunyata with dependent origination and the middle way is perfectly in accord with those Sautrantika sutras mentioned above. Perhaps the Theravadins lost these texts at some point. Hard to say.

You'll just have to look beyond the usual stuff that is found in Pali sources, and possibly beyond Sanskrit sources, too.

Full disclosure: My PhD is on sunyata in the Prajnaparamita, following it's development through early and mainstream Nikayan Buddhism.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

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retrofuturist
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:39 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:57 am


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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby Sekha » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:12 am

Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

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tiltbillings
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:20 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:24 am

Greetings bhante,

Not sure if this is of any use or interest, but I read this once and it seemed interesting enough...

Proto-Maadhyamika in the Paali canon
By Luis O. Gomez
Philosophy East and West
26:2 April 1976
p. 137-165

http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/gomez.htm

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Aloka
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby Aloka » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:18 pm


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adosa
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby adosa » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:32 am

"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183

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Goofaholix
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:02 am


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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:43 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

Paññāsikhara
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:46 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

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retrofuturist
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:50 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

Paññāsikhara
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:04 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

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tiltbillings
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Re: Question on Schools of Buddhism and emptiness

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:25 am



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