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Re: [dsg] The White Radiant Mind

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  • Robert Epstein
    ... Dear Howard, I think that s a good correction, and I agree with it. Thanks. It makes the sense of the statement easier to understand in fact. I agree
    Message 1 of 88 , Dec 31, 2001
      --- upasaka@... wrote:
      > Hi, Rob and Suan -
      >
      > In a message dated 12/31/01 2:44:28 AM Eastern Standard Time,
      > epsteinrob@... writes:
      >
      >
      > > Dear Suan,
      > > Thank you so much for the translation!
      > > I am quite excited, especially after taking a first look...
      > >
      > > I will only make two preliminary comments tonight, and will then study
      > > further.
      > > Thanks again!
      > >
      > > comments below:
      > >
      > > --- abhidhammika <abhidhammika@...> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Dear Dhamma Friends
      > > >
      > > > As some of you might remember, I posted Parinibbana Subcommentary
      > > > (Part Two) awhile ago. In response, Robert Epstein and Upasaka Howard
      > > > posted reply messages that seem to support a kind of consciousness
      > > > surviving in parinibbaana after the death of an Arahant. Both of them
      > > > also cited an Anguttra statement of the Buddha containing the
      > > > description of the mind as being luminous in support of their
      > > > survivalist view.
      > >
      > > Just want to mention, in my own defense, that the idea that there may be
      > > some form
      > > of awareness in parinibbana is not *necessarily* a survivalist view. If by
      > > survivalist, you mean that an entity or identifiable being remains, as
      > > would be
      > > dependent on one or more of the five kandhas, then this is not what I have
      > > in
      > > mind. The awareness which I have in mind would be undifferentiated,
      > > unformed and
      > > unindividuated. While one can argue that even such a primordial,
      > > unformative
      > > awareness is a violation of one's reading of the definition of parinibbana,
      > > I
      > > don't think you can as easily accuse it of constituting an *entity* which
      > > survives
      > > the extinction of the kandhas.
      > >
      > > In both my view, and I believe Howard's, if there is any awareness that
      > > survives
      > > extinction of the kandhas, it would in fact *not* be an entity or being of
      > > any
      > > kind.
      > ---------------------------------------------------------------
      > Howard:
      > Certainly not. In fact, even now, while there is awareness, there is
      > no entity or being which is agent for it. Awareness, consciousness, or
      > discernment is an impersonal event/function/operation. The thing is, normal
      > discrnment is the discernment of a flow of sense objects, and the sequential
      > nature makes it temporal. But the consciousness of nibbana (without
      > remainder) is a consciousness of absence of objects (and without any defiling
      > sense of subject either) and is timeless, and it is, thus, so radically
      > DIFFERENT from anything we have experienced as to be literally unimaginable
      > and incomparable for the worldling. But the idea that (the state of)
      > parinibbana is literally *nothing* in every possible sense strikes me as at
      > best very silly. It makes the goal of Buddhism no different from the goal of
      > a suicidal materialist! (How would it differ?)
      > -----------------------------------------------------------
      >
      > What it would be has been discussed to some extent, but I will not go into>
      > >
      > > it now.
      > > You are right, Suan, however, that to me the implication is that the
      > > 'luminous
      > > mind' suggests the possibility of this primordial pre-existent awareness
      > > which is
      > > then defiled by the concept of separate self-hood or entity, as well as
      > > other
      > > delusions which fetter it and cause suffering.
      > >
      > > [snip]
      > >
      > > > SUTTAM STATEMENT AND TRANSLATION
      > > >
      > > > 49. "Pabhassaramidam, Bhikkhave, cittam. Ta�ca kho aagantukehi
      > > > upakkilesehi upakkilitthanti."
      > > >
      > > > "Monks, this mind is radiant. And, that very mind is tarnished by
      > > > guest blots."
      > >
      > > This translation is quite revelatory on its face, and should cause everyone
      > > who
      > > has been interested in this sutta to pause and take a deep breath.
      > > According to
      > > your translation, Suan, the phrase 'that very mind' implies that the same
      > > citta
      > > that is radiant is the one that is tarnished by blots or defilements that
      > > don't
      > > belong there [my interpretation of 'guest' if that is a correct
      > > interpretation].
      > >
      > > I understand that this is not the interpretation of the commentaries, but
      > > just
      > > taking the Sutta on its own for a moment, it seems that the 'guest' status
      > > of the
      > > 'blots' suggests that it is not the natural state of the citta to be thus
      > > blotted
      > > or defiled.
      > >
      > -----------------------------------------------------------------
      > Howard:
      > I agree except for your use of 'citta'. Certainly it is not the
      > mindstate which is pure which is also defiled. I do believe that when the
      > Buddha says "mind" here, he is speaking conventionally - as he usually does.
      > He is talking about mental function in general, and is pointing out that it
      > is not inherent that it should be defiled, but that defilements are
      > adventitious (guests).

      Dear Howard,
      I think that's a good correction, and I agree with it. Thanks. It makes the
      sense of the statement easier to understand in fact.

      I agree with the rest of what you have said here as well.

      Robert

      PS. Happy New Year!

      ==================

      If defilement were inherent, liberation would be an
      > unattainable goal.
      > ----------------------------------------------------------------
      >
      > >
      > > It is hard for me to see how the commentary's interpretation makes use of
      > > the fact
      > > that the phrase 'that very mind' seems to especially emphasize the fact
      > > that
      > > Buddha is referring to one and the same mind, not two different ones. It
      > > doesn't
      > > seem on the face of it that such a statement would refer to the complex
      > > relationship of the bhavanga cittas being indirectly defiled by the javana
      > > cittas
      > > that arise at a different time. The statement appears to be much more
      > > simple than
      > > this, but I am very much looking forward to your subcommentary.
      > ----------------------------------------------------------
      > Howard:
      > I certainly agree with this assessment.
      > ----------------------------------------------------------
      >
      > >
      > > I don't know if you plan to translate the full stanza of the original
      > > sutta, but
      > > if it were possible it would be great to see the whole verse.
      > >
      > > In any case, I thank you for this effort, which is already quite
      > > provocative.
      > >
      > > Best,
      > > Robert Ep.
      > >
      > ==============================
      > With metta,
      > Howard
      >
      > /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
      > in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
      > phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >


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    • Robert Epstein
      ... Anders, I don t know if you re still around here, but that is a good distinction. Thanks. Robert Ep. __________________________________________________ Do
      Message 88 of 88 , Feb 14, 2002
        --- anders_honore <anders.honore@...> wrote:
        > --- In dhammastudygroup@y..., Robert Epstein <epsteinrob@Y...> wrote:
        > >
        > > --- anders_honore <anders.honore@g...> wrote:
        > >
        > > > I am not saying to avoid it. Indeed, I will say that such a
        > > > perception is extremely skilful. But it is perception
        > nonetheless,
        > > > and thus only 'partial emptiness'.
        > >
        > > Well, Anders, we're pretty close on this. But still have a
        > familiar problem with
        > > eliminating samsara in order to have a pure experience of
        > emptiness, nibbana, or
        > > other enlightened qualities. If you say that emptiness is 'full'
        > or 'partial'
        > > depending on whether phenomena arise or not,
        >
        > I am not talking about the seeing of emptiness in dependence on the
        > absence of phenomena or not, but in dependence on the absence of
        > ignorance.

        Anders,
        I don't know if you're still around here, but that is a good distinction. Thanks.

        Robert Ep.



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