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Re: [dsg] (Sukin) - and everyone else...

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  • Sukinder
    Hi Tony, Ken H, ... I thought that this might happen. As I said, I have not been reading all the posts, in fact I must have read only two of your posts
    Message 1 of 158 , Feb 12, 2013
      Hi Tony, Ken H,

      > I feel like I am labouring a point and seem to be repeating the same
      > explanation repeatedly. This must be irritating for you all.

      I thought that this might happen. As I said, I have not been reading all
      the posts, in fact I must have read only two of your posts including
      other threads. So I did anticipate that the points I raised have already
      been addressed. Sorry about that. But please do continue expressing your
      understandings and I'm sure no one here is bored or irritated.

      I just hope that you don't get bored with me. ;-)


      > I will set out my stall as it were below in my reply to Sukin and I
      > will gracefully back away. Understanding of the Madhyamika Prasangika
      > view is an extremely difficult one to understand and took me many
      > years for it to click! I have found it to be utterly watertight in
      > terms of being irrefutable. I will of course still read all of your
      > posts with interest, but having seen the Ox I need to concentrate on
      > catching it now :-)

      And the Ox is not "now"? Is it not there when you respond to posts? :-)


      > S: After the experience of visible object by seeing consciousness,
      > there is thinking about the object. Many processes of this results in
      > say, thinking about a red rose. This red rose is an example of a
      > concept which is the object of the thinking process and therefore not
      > a reality. The visible object which was the object of seeing
      > consciousness however, is a reality, not a concept, since seeing,
      > unlike thinking, experiences a physical reality. You on the other hand
      > are saying that even the visible object is unreal. And not only, but
      > also all experiences and their objects are not real.
      > T: Just because something isn't 'real' doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
      > Its the mode of its existence that is illusory and contrary to the way
      > it appears.

      I was struggling to understand the above, perhaps because in my simple
      thinking, I've always equated "real" with "existing". So I had to go
      look at some of your older posts when I came upon this conversation
      between you and Ken H:


      KH: Excuse me for interrupting, but I don't think that was the answer
      Tony needed to hear. I am sure it is perfectly valid with regard to
      concepts, but Tony's problem (if I may call it that) is that he thinks
      dhammas have no existence outside the mind. In other words, he sees them
      as concepts. The Buddha has clearly said that dhammas do exist (see
      Useful Posts under "Exists & does not Exist, Emptiness").

      TH: I am indeed saying that. Can you explain how anything can 'exist'
      without a mind to apprehend it? To state otherwise is illogical. I think
      this is fundamental philosophy. You don't know what you don't know. <end

      So you appear to be saying that since anything is known only by mind,
      they do not have an existence other than how the mind experiences it.
      And as Ken H suggested, this applies not only to concepts, but also to
      what he and I consider realities.

      First, you have not responded to my query and I would really like you
      to. Namely, what distinguishes concepts such as "red rose" which is the
      object of the thinking process and say, "sound" which you consider as
      existing only in the mind but is not the object of the thinking process.
      Also, could you break sound down to parts as you do a red rose?

      Second, your reason for considering an object as existing only in the
      mind just because only mind can experience it does not sound valid to
      me. To say that only mind can know or experience anything is a statement
      about the nature of mind and not that which is being experienced. To say
      that sound can only be experienced by hearing, is saying that hearing is
      a unique kind of experience, which has sound as its object. It does not
      imply that sound exists only when there is hearing. So the tree in the
      forest makes sound regardless of whether anyone hears it or not. But you
      are saying that it does not, right?


      > To take your example of the Rose, when you see 'the rose' there is an
      > appearance to your mind of a rose. This is fine, the 'appearance' to
      > your mind is a legitimate cognition based upon all the suitable causes
      > and conditions arising for you to experience 'rose' in your
      > consciousness. You can smell the rose, feel the rose, admire the
      > colour of the rose...etc. However, if you go looking for the thing
      > that possesses all of these qualities you will never ever find it.
      > This is called the 'object possessor' or 'part possessor'. Try this:
      > Take the stem away from the rose,
      > Take the thorns away from the rose,
      > Take the buds away from the rose.....
      > ....note all these things are being taken away from 'the rose' and we
      > still have yet to be left with this rose we keep talking about....

      I wouldn't think to analyze this way. To me a rose is concept, so are
      all the parts like stem, thorns, buds etc., being that they can only
      ever be the object of thinking. Concepts are not real and therefore
      non-existent, different from visible object, perception, applied
      thought, attention, seeing and so on. The latter are the realities
      without which there would not be the experience of "red rose". They are
      what constitute the "world" as referred to by the Buddha in the Loka Sutta:


      "Insofar as it disintegrates,[2] monk, it is called the 'world.' Now
      what disintegrates? The eye disintegrates. Forms disintegrate.
      Consciousness at the eye disintegrates. Contact at the eye
      disintegrates. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on
      contact at the eye --- experienced as pleasure, pain or
      neither-pleasure-nor-pain --- that too disintegrates.


      "Insofar as it disintegrates, it is called the 'world.'"<end quote>


      So it appears that the Buddha did make the reality vs. concept
      distinction by pointing out quite clearly, the nature of reality. Note
      that in the above "eye" is included, and as I hope you will agree, eye
      itself is never the object of experience, but is only the physical base,
      one of the Five Aggregates.


      > Take the petals away from the rose....etc..etc...
      > Are you left with the rose? You have taken away all of the parts that
      > belong to the rose....so where now is the rose that had petals on it?
      > You can never find it because it was only an appearance to your mind
      > in dependence upon all of the parts described. As is ALL phenomena
      > including the formless type :)

      So please describe how you would analyse say, feeling or tasting?


      > You may say that the pile of thorns and petals is the rose. Try
      > putting that pile in a vase and see what it looks like....not a rose
      > that's for sure! :) The collection is not the thing. It is a
      > collection of parts of a rose. Not a rose.

      In the case of hearing experiencing sound, the coming together of the
      different phenomena does not add up to a another kind of phenomena. So I
      don't think the above example and kind of analyses applies.


      > The rose that appears to your mind is the conventional existence of
      > the rose. The unfindability of the rose is its ultimate nature, its
      > lack of inherent existence, its Emptiness.

      So it appears that your Emptiness is not the same as my understanding of
      Anatta. My anatta applies to realities, and is not because these
      realities rise together with other realities, but rather that the
      characteristic is inherent in each one of them, as are anicca and
      dukkha. So to me a rose is not anatta, nor are its parts, and the reason
      for this is simply that it does not exist to begin with.


      > Put them all back together and magically a rose re-appears to our mind!
      > Pick any object or phenomena like sight, sound (sound is a really good
      > way of identifying Emptiness).

      As I said, the former is the object of consciousness which thinks, the
      latter exists regardless of whether there is or not any experience.
      However when it is experienced, it is not by thinking, but directly by

      I wait for your response to my query from the last message. But note
      this also, that while thinking depends on memory of past experience,
      seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling do not.


      > The Ultimate Nature of ALL phenoemena is its Emptiness of its Inherent
      > Existence.
      So far it sounds illogical, this conclusion. But maybe you can try to
      put your understanding in a different way....



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Robert E
      Hi Sarah. ... I continue to think this is a very zen approach to Dhamma - I think if you called it zen you d probably convert a bunch of Mahayanists, as it
      Message 158 of 158 , Apr 27, 2013
        Hi Sarah.

        --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "sarah" <sarahprocterabbott@...> wrote:

        > S: Better to just talk about realities, paramattha dhammas that can be understood now. I think this is more productive than discussions about formal meditation.
        > This morning at breakfast, another swimmer started asking me about retreats and meditation because of stress issues. I just started talking about 'now', about seeing now, hearing now, 'meditation' now, even in the noisy cafe. Otherwise, there's always a thinking about another time, another place, never any understanding or awareness now. She appreciated it!

        I continue to think this is a very "zen" approach to Dhamma - I think if you called it "zen" you'd probably convert a bunch of Mahayanists, as it is very appealing, and I agree really is the heart of becoming aware, which can only happen at this moment now.

        A favorite quote of mine is sort of analogous in its simplicity, from the avant-garde saxaphonist/bass clarinetist Eric Dolphy, now deceased: "Music, after it's over, it's gone in the air - you can never capture it again."

        Rob E.

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