As I understand it it's not so much that it does or does not exist, it's more about that the object is more than the mere object. Mr. Hanh uses the illustration of a table. The table is really at a molecular level just atoms orbiting around. If you squeezed them all together they'd just be a tiny fraction of the table's original size, and look nothing like the table. As well the table isn't just its molecules. It is sun, air, earth, the people who made the table, the people who made the tools that made the table, etc. ad infinitum. If you take any of the non-table elements away from the table it would no longer exist. I thought about this, how someone would argue that the table would still be built, by a different tool or person or tree, but it would not be the same table at all. The table we are talking about is what it is based off its unique configuration of non-table elements. Any other table made in its place would be a completely different table even if it looked the same. So if the table's existance depends on changable elements, then it is not real in Buddhist thought, because, to paraphrase, "It is only real if it never changes."
Anyhow that will either clarify or confuse, I hope for the former not the latter
Thanks everyone for all your posts! @ the poster talking about leaving one's faith... I have already said it but I will repeat, I ran into a dead-end with my faith. Maybe there are branches off the Christian tree I could follow, like Chistian Mysticsm. But in the end it comes down to the fact that I don't believe the Bible is accurate and I want nothing to do with a God that consigns people to Heaven or Hell. A God that basically gives me free will then punishes me for using it and not following His chosen faith. Such a narrow-minded entity to my mind could not be God, could not be someone who conceptualized the designs of this planet and all the life on it, as well as the rest of Creation. Too many people project into the Astral Planes and bring back similar reports that are nothing like the afterlife described by the Bible for me to keep those old beliefs. Too many questions... Here;s another... In the Bible there is an uncrossable gulf between Heaven and Hell. Yet in Job what do we see? Satan has come before God, crossing an uncrossable gulf, to basically get God's permission to persecute Job, for not good reason at all, and God grants it! Yeah, that kind of God is no God for me. But I mean no offense to any Christians or returning Christians here. If this faith is what draws you go for it. As for me I will test the Magical, Buddhist, Taoist and Yogic paths for now, drawing from each whatever it is I need to learn to become more aware of what is real, I.E. what is unchanging in Creation. So I guess that'll make me what, a former Christian Mystical Shaman Taoist/Buddhist/Yogic Magician? Maybe I have to invent a catchy label for myself, since everyone loves labels so much...