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15181[Meditation Society of America] Re: Meditation Advice

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  • dan330033
    Jan 24, 2007
      Hi Marc -

      Thanks for your response.

      Yes, it really wouldn't make much sense to take a website as some kind
      of final authority on what is so.

      And, in the same way, it wouldn't make sense to take your remarks or
      my remarks as the authority for what is so.

      Thus, the Buddha advised to find out for oneself what is so.

      A resource on the internet can be taken as nothing more than a
      resource on the internet.

      Including our remarks, here, of course. ;-)

      The conventional life in which we encounter beings who appear to us to
      be suffering, isn't appearing separately from the one to whom it appears.

      Which means, that if I understand you to be suffering, I can't divorce
      my own suffering from my perception of you. How else can I perceive
      your suffering, if I have no experience of suffering?

      In the realm of conventional truth, I can offer help to you. In
      helping you, though, I am helping myself.

      With regard to the aconventional truth, there is no separable you or
      me to be getting or giving help.

      These two truths are not-two.

      This can be said in a simple way, but that doesn't mean it is easy to
      understand.

      Thanks for clarifying the points that you clarified.

      I appreciate that you took the time to share your views on emptiness
      and inherent existence with us. Those are important points.


      -- Dan



      --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, Marc Moss
      <jellybean0729@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > Dear Dan,
      >
      > Thank you for the link. I caution practitioners that will read
      something like the descriptions listed within this link to be very
      careful in understanding the implication that "nothing exists". This
      contradicts the teachings of Lord Buddha, Je Tsongkhapa, Nagarjuna,
      Chandrakirti and other masters that instruct the fine line between
      eternalism and nihilism.
      >
      > True, things do not exist in an ultimate sense. There is no
      findable lasting essence to phenomena. BUT, that doesn't change the
      fact that suffering is still experienced, that false views still bring
      about results from causes that made them seemingly manifest. It's not
      that things do NOT exist, but that they do not exist INHERENTLY; from
      their own side, coming AT us, independently from a perceiving
      consciousness.
      >
      > This is where words fail so much to give the correct rendering of
      the situation. Even when one becomes an Arya on the Path of Seeing,
      they do not cease to see the deceptive side of reality. They can still
      get hit by a bus on the corner, they can still feel pain when they
      stub they're toe...after coming down out of the direct perception of
      emptiness. In that moment, which is the Path of Seeing, there is no
      conceptualization of an "I", a "self", an object or expressions of the
      sense faculties. After that experience on the first level of the form
      realm, they come out of that meditation and are now on the path of
      familarization, or sGom pa'i lam, some call the path of meditation.
      This latter interpretation of the tibetan term is confusing for many,
      for when is it a path of meditation? Isn't every meditation practice I
      do the "path of meditation?" No, meditations on the path of
      preparation are dealing with certain points of the Lam pa'i Rim pa,
      the graduated steps of the path
      > to enlightenment. The Path of "meditation" should be translated as
      the path of familiarity, since the term sGom means familiarity, which
      is what meditation is giving us with our object.
      >
      > With what are we becoming more familiar? We are familiarizing
      ourselves with the knowledge in postmeditation from the path of
      seeing. In the path of seeing, we see emptiness directly; we are
      looking into the dharmakaya itself. we are seeing the mind of a
      Buddha. There is no difference between the dharmakaya of a buddha and
      the dharmakaya of ourselves...both are empty of any inherently
      existent quality.
      >
      > Inherent existence is another tough term. The sad thing about the
      translations that are coming to the West from the authentic lineages
      is that they have become the folly of philosophers who typically like
      language that distances their intellectual expressions from those of
      the common man. Yet, in the Buddha's own Sangha, there was a monk that
      couldn't remember the simplest of phrases, the simplest of prayers.
      But the Buddha, with omniscience, saw into the monk's mind and new
      that there was a simple practice that he COULD remember...he asked the
      monk to be responsible for sweeping out the gompa everyday and as he
      did to repeat Duru pang, Drima pang...clear the dust, clear the
      defilements. And that monk gained enlightenment.
      >
      > Thoughts are the most subtle form of all phenomena. A thought
      becomes a seed that gets planted into the consciousness and manifests
      as it grows from all the ripening conditions necessary become
      available to it. Speech is first found in thought, action is first
      found in thought. And as things have NO inherently existent nature,
      they manifest in their various forms in our consciousness. It is the
      most difficult part of our practice to understand that that terrible
      thing that is appearing before us IS dharmakaya expression, working
      precisely the way the mechanism should work. You thought it, it became
      manifest. You have a low self-esteem and things seem to be bringing
      you down, why are you upset?? That's what you've asked for!
      >
      > Remember that of the Two Truths, we are almost always experiencing
      kun rdzob ldenpa, samvritisattya. This has been translated as
      'conventional truth', which is again another wonderful rendering from
      our philosophical giants that seem only intent on helping the highest
      of intellects, forgetting that we must help all beings...the greatest
      common denominator would be to put it into simplest language that all
      can comprehend in words. The base of these two words (kun rdzob, and
      samvriti in snskt) mean "fake" or "artificial". Fake truth?? What does
      that mean? It can't be a truth, can it? When weighed against the
      Ultimate Truth, it must mean that fake truth isn't the final truth.
      There can only really be ONE truth. You can't be a man AND a woman at
      the same time. You cannot be two contradictory things at the same
      time, they would cancel each other out. An electron and an
      antielectron cannot coexist. So, can we really have TWO Truths?
      >
      > Here, the convention of language is giving us an indication for
      investigation. We look at this computer screen and can agree that it
      isn't permanent, it is a changing thing. Therefore, we can see on the
      surface that the computer is not emerging as an Ultimate thing...it
      willl cease. The forces that have brought these molecules together
      have made them appear at this moment as a computer. BUT, that would be
      to assume that those things are all happening OUT THERE...coming at me
      and that's the only way they can be.
      >
      > Now, the Ultimate nature of the computer is emptiness, which is
      the NEGATIVE of form. The Heart Sutra says: gzugs stong pao,
      stongpanyid gzugs so. Form is empty, emptiness is form. There have
      been translations that say "form is emptiness..." This is incorrect.
      sTong pa means empty. Nyid means "ness" or "hood". Form is not
      emptiness, that is a characteristic of phenomena. Emptiness is the
      characteristic and form is not THAT characteristic, but HAS that
      characteristic. That's why the next part of the Heart Sutra says sTong
      pa Nyid gZugs so...Emptiness is form. For that characteristic to
      exist, there must be 'form", or matter or some "thing" being
      perceived. So, as we look at the computer, we can recognize that
      because it is a changing, dependent, and non-self-standing thing, it
      must be empty, a characteristic, of inherent existence.
      >
      > See, if this computer had any essence to it that was permanent,
      our typing on it could do nothing to change it. It has no flexibility
      without emptiness. If it is independent, we could have no contact with
      it. If it were self-standing, it wouldn't need to be plugged into the
      wall to work. It would work independent of a power source that
      couldn't really effect it's permanent nature anyway. So, you can see
      the viewpoint of emptiness at work from the Lower Buddhist
      Philosophical venues at work here. But, that still hasn't changed our
      suffering nature. As long as we thing about that non-inherently
      existent "computer" out there, we're still dealing with a "thing"
      infront of us, not appearingly so, but materially so.
      >
      > This does not deny that that computer is there, emptiness is HOW
      it is there. It appears to be infront of you because your eye is
      experiencing a form, your touch is sensing something solid, your ear
      is hearing the typing of your fingers or some pretty song you have in
      another window (hopefully a mantra recitation), your nose can smell
      the coffee or tea next to your mouse, etc. These are all working to
      organize the data that your mind has conditioned to experience...to
      make "real". And for all intents and purposes, it is real. It
      functions and it will do what you want it to do as long as the karmic
      seeds for that to happen continue to ripen for you. When those seeds
      run out, you have either turned off the computer, walked into the
      other room, had a power outage, or died. That's it. Your perceptions
      at this moment are aligned to this experience but if they were better
      (from better karmic seeds) you could have a secretary reading this
      letter to you, or be a tantric angel
      > enjoying a paradise. But, you are having karmic seeds ripen as a
      human. You are having karmic seeds ripen to see all the things you see
      as seemingly real...as seeming to exist from their own side, but they
      do not. This is the only meaning of "not exist" as explained in the
      weblink that you gave.
      >
      > If you can understand that, the reading of the information in the
      Mahamudra link will be more helpful. You would be much better to
      receive teachings on the Mahamudra directly from a qualified lama,
      spiritual teacher. There is so much more power in the organic process
      of receiving the teachings from the lama directly. I know this
      intuitively; many more blessings have come to my practice and journey
      since I took vows from my Holy Lama, and he then led me to the
      beautiful and precious teacher that gave me my Bodhisattva Vows. To
      them both I am endebted eternally.
      >
      > Now, I'm going to try to use an analogy to make this point a bit
      stronger...and I do apologize if it fails, but it is my own and no one
      else's so I'll take full responsibility for any misinformation or
      mistakes from it...but I think it's pretty damned close. This is ONLY
      an analogy based upon Pranagika-Madhyamikan ideals, so keep in mind
      it's got a little ways to go before it's spot-on, but it will help
      those that struggle with emptiness get to here, I hope:
      >
      > Let us think of our consciousness as a radio, receiving and
      transmitting signals. As you know, in America we use hertz below two
      hundred, but in europe they don't use anything below 1,000 (I might be
      off on this one, but I know they are a lot more cognizant to
      infrasound than Americans). Your consciousness is currently tuned into
      receive other "human" transmissions, and can also pick up faint traces
      of animal transmissions. You can see them, you can hear them, you can
      sort of understand them (animals, and not always the case with humans)
      , taste them (if you're into licking total strangers), anything
      involved with the sense data that your own little radio consciousness
      can detect. Now, there are these other beings around you, angels
      (dakinis) or spirits, or "gods"...or buddhas. We haven't done anything
      to change the wiring in our "radios" to receive that information. We
      don't believe those "signals" exist because we don't pick them up on
      our radios, so we deny them. We
      > believe that we can refine and retune our radios and might work on
      that in yoga classes, meditation or study. But, we only see the
      picture getting a bit more clear for our fellow human and even animal
      signals. We haven't changed or shifted our "channels" to tune-in to
      higher frequencies...and that's what our spiritual practice is about.
      >
      > The problem with our misunderstanding emptiness is that, from the
      analogy above, all of the experiences we have are "signals". They are
      coming at us and disappear the next instant. Much like listening to a
      real radio, if you missed what the DJ said, you can't really rewind
      him, you just missed what he said and that's that. So it is with all
      of our signals. As long as our perceptions, or receptors aren't
      shifting to receive higher "frequencies", we're gonna lose a great
      opportunity. We will die and be cast wherever karmic winds through us.
      Our minds are scattered now, why wouldn't they be scattered at death?
      >
      > The problem with the above analogy is simply this (Lower
      Madhyamika): we're still seeing the data "out there", and not
      simultaneously expressed in the consciousness- the same karmic seed is
      producing all the things that you are now and all the things that you
      experience now. There is no separate substance. You're organizing that
      data into what you make of it now, only to dodge or embrace it. But,
      even the data is without inherent existence...it is all Dharmakaya
      expression.
      >
      > I hope that this may help. May this and the link help you on your
      path and may all your precious lamas, all your protectors, and the
      wisdom of the Holy Dharmakaya itself leave enough "popcorn" to keep
      leading you out of the "woods of samsara".
      >
      > Sonam Tsering
      >
      >
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      >
      > As long as space remains, as long as living beings remain, until
      then - may I too remain to dispel the sufferings of the world. -
      Master Shantideva
      >
      >
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      >
      > ---------------------------------
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