Simple_Jack

"Nondual" In Buddhadharma

Recommended Posts

Dvayaṃnissito kho'yaṃ kaccaana loko yebhuyyena atthita–ceva natthita–ca
Kaaccana, this world abides in duality, normally abiding in ‘is’ and ‘is not’. ~ Buddha

 

Emptiness is the abandoning of wrong views itself.

 

But there are only two wrong views i.e. "is" and "is not"....

 

"Is" leads to the view of eternalism. "Is not" leads to the view of annihilation.

Nāgārjuna states:

‘Is’ is holding to permanence,
‘Is not’ is an annihilationist view.
Because of that, is and is not
are not made into a basis by the wise.

 

- Loppon Namdrol

 

This thread contains a series of posts by Loppon Namdrol differentiating the meaning of advaya and its use in buddhadharma. Loppon Namdrol aka. Malcolm is knowledgeable in the translation of Sanskrit and Tibetan terminology.

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=5370&start=80

 

There is no actual state or condition that is free from duality. If one should think that there is, one will have not understood one single thing about Buddha Dharma.

Because people think there is a real state free from dualistic extremes, they fall into the pit of eternalism and grasping, never even recognizing emptiness correctly, let alone realizing it, and hampering their understanding of dependent origination.

Thinking there is such a thing as a real state of non-duality is precisely the Advaita Vedanta, Trika and so on.

 

The term non-dual (gnyis med, or advaya) is used frequently in Buddhist texts. The term non-duality (gnyis med nyid, advaita) is virtually never used, showing up only one time in the entire Kengyur, in a single passage in the Kalacakra tantra (hooray for a text searchable Tibetan canon!); and nineteen times in the Tengyur, the translations of Indian commentaries.

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=3193&start=60

 

Emptiness is one of three doors of liberation; non-duality is not. The other two being lack of aspiration and the signless.

There is no philosophy of non-dualism in Buddhism. This is wholly the invention of western scholars. For example, Madhyamaka rarely uses the term "non-dual".

When it is used in Yogacara, it is meant to describe lack of a real subject and object in perception (vijñaptimatra), and hence the absence of existence and non-existence in those imagined phenomena as well.

It does not get used at all in the Nikaya schools.

I think westerners are over-invested in this word.

But a word that is frequently brought up, over and over again, is anutpāda, non-origination, non-arising. This word is much more important for we Buddhists.

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=4461&start=40

 

Here, when we say non-conceptual, we do not mean a mind in which there is an absence of thought.

When consciousness is freed from signs and characteristics, this is called the realization of emptiness. An non-conceptual mind may still indeed be trapped by signs and characteristics. Thus, the Bodhicittavivarana states:


Abiding in the mind without objects
has the characteristic of space;
that meditation of space is
held to be the meditation of emptiness.

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=4898

 

"Non-dual" in Dzogchen is no different than non-dual in Madhyamaka - it means that the categories of being and non-being are cognitive errors.

Also in Dzogchen practice one does not seek to avoid discursive thoughts. One seeks to recognize their actual state....

 

"Non-dual" i.e. gnyis med/advaya means the absence of the duality of being and non-being.

In Yogacara, it can mean absence of subject and object, but the reason for this is that ultimately there is an absence of being and non-being.

Even when we talk about the inseparability of original purity and natural formation, kadag and lhundrup, this inseparability is actually predicated on the non-duality that I mentioned above. When we talk about freedom from the four extremes, the eight extremes and so on, it is all, in the end predicated on the absence of being and non-being. That absence of being and non-being is the essence of what the term "non-dual" means in Buddhist texts.

It is not a translation or terminology issue, it is just a basic fact of Buddhist view...
.

 

Whatever is asti is satya (true), whatever is nasti as mithya (false), so at base, it really is about freedom from asti (being) and nasti (non-being).

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=4898&start=20

 

In general, whenever we say that something is inseperable or non-dual with emptiness, whether we are talking ka dag, dharmakāya, etc. we are talking abot the fact that at basis, there is no being and or non-being upon which all of this clarity, appearance, path, yoga, three kaȳas, you name it, etc., can be based.

And often enough translators decide to translate dbyer med as non-dual, even though dbyer med is asaṁbhedaḥ, inseparable.

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=77&t=13757&start=120

 

"Nondual" in Dzogchen does not mean everything is the same in the one without a second (Brahman, Advaita Vedanta); it means that ontic pairs such as existence and non-existence cannot be found. What nondual really means in Dzogchen is that everything is in a state of liberation from the beginning, not the absence of diversity with respect to this and that thing.

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=5370

 

There is a difference between an absence of duality (Madhyamaka, and so on) and so called "non-duality"....

 

The first refers to an absence of extremes. The second is advocating a philosophical position.

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=3193&start=60

 

One can argue from the point of view of emptiness. One cannot argue from the point of view of non-duality and remain a Buddhist.

 

Advaya-patita means "not broken into two parts", better to say, "...all phenomena are not divided into two, though they are not divided into two, they are not, however single".

 

Better translation of the title would be the dharma discourse on entering the absence of dualism.

But the absence of dualism here is the dualism of "exists" and "does not exist".

Also the absence of the tā particle in Buddhist renderings of the term advaya is significant, even though usually over looked. "Tā" bears the meaning it "ity" in English, for example, reality. Non-duality means literally, "a state of being in which there is no dualism".

Emptiness is nondual, but it is not a nonduality.

 

The amount of trouble this simple word causes is incalculable -- the mistranslation of advaya as non-duality is responsible for huge misunderstandings....

 

The nice thing about śūnyatā is that you can stated that it is ultimate reality without committing oneself to an ontological position. Hence the tā suffix.


Three gates of liberation are a little different: śūnya, alakṣana, apranidhana, empty, without characteristics, without aspiration.

They are not states, they are entries. Emptiness is the bhutatā, the actual nature of the things. Also emptiness has no nature, since it is free from extremes.

This is the beauty of Madhyamaka. You can assert emptiness as a nature, and no one can fault you. If you assert non-duality as a nature you have already committed an epistemological blunder.

As Nagarjuna really said:

If I had a position, I would be at fault.
Since I alone have no position, I alone am free from fault.

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=3193&start=80

 

Phenomena are free of duality, since they originate in dependence. That absence of duality also has a correlate in direct experience -- see Kaccaayanagotto Sutta i.e. "Everything exists,' this is one extreme [view]; 'nothing exists,' this is the other extreme. Avoiding both extremes the Tathaagata teaches a doctrine of the middle".


The middle way view is by necessity a non-dual view, avoiding these extremes of dualism. That is also emptiness; emptiness cures the views of existence and non-existence -- that can be correlated in one's personal experience....

 

It is the same, now attached, now detached; now full, now empty; now exists, now does not exist; these are all dualities.

When the basis for attachment has ceased, also the basis for detachment has ceased: detachment is also trapped in dualism....

 

...Non-attachment is remedial. It contains the seeds of its own defeat.

If you have attachment, then you need non-attachment. It is better to cut these things at the root, rather than the leaf.

The root is wrong views of existence and non-existence. That is dualism as defined by the Buddha. The absence of duality is when one's has no wrong views concerning "it is" and "it is not".

Every other dualistic pair stems from these two.

 

Finally, from the Ch'an/Zen side of things, by Ven. Huifeng of Fo Guang University:

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=5370&start=60

 

Since the position of Zen has been brought into the discussion (albeit in a rather clumsy manner), it is worth pointing out how the phrase "advaya" appears in Chinese. It appears almost always as 不二, which is again just "not two", a very clear translation of "advaya". If one wished to express "advaita" (or similar abstracted sense), then one would probably use 非二性 (Xuanzang style translation). However, while 不二 appears thousands of times throughout the Chinese canon, including the Chan (--> Zen) works, the latter term or variants, only appear once or twice from what can be found scanning the entire canon digitally.

So, the Chinese - and I'd warrant the Japanese too - most likely had a clear notion of "advaya" as "not two". Whether or not this is held out in English translations of the Chinese or Japanese works, however, is another matter. But considering that of Chan or Zen practitioners, only a tiny minority use English, one would want to avoid gross over generalizations.

Edited by Simple_Jack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While you were posting this, I was reading this:

 

http://books.google.com/books?id=r_kHcG0tspgC&pg=PA3#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

She quotes T.R.V. Murti as saying

"A distinction must ... be made between the advaya of the Madyamika and the advaita of the Vedanta although in the end it may turn out to be one of emphasis or approach.
Advaya is knowledge free from the duality of the extremes (antas or drstis) of 'Is' and 'Is not', Being and Becoming etc. It is knowledge freed of conceptual distinctions.
Advaita is knowledge of a differenceless entity -- Brahman (pure being) ..."

 

And comments:

 

"As noted in the above discussion, there is, however, a crucial difference: the 'essence' or ontology that the Advaitin and the Buddhist are referring to. The Advaitin 'essence' is the all-pervading universal substratum of brahman: permanent, unchanging, and indivisible. The Buddhist, on the other hand, is referring to the 'essenceless' essence of no substantializing ontology."

 

The question of whether these different viewpoints actually lead to different realizations is a whole other issue. I have never seen a dialectical argument answer this question to my satisfaction. Only the descriptions of the experiences of people who have experienced both and found them different convinced me that they are indeed different. It's one of those "extraordinary in the three worlds and the three times" things about this time and place that anyone with an internet connection can find such things without leaving their own home. That, and Dzogchen webcasts, and other similar things.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Yup, already aware of that. Even Buddha acknowledged there was very little difference between his doctrine and non-Buddhist doctrines with one exception here:

 

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.011.ntbb.html

 

12. "Though certain recluses and brahmans claim to propound the full understanding of all kinds of clinging... they describe the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, and clinging to rules and observances without describing the full understanding of clinging to a doctrine of self. They do not understand one instance... therefore they describe only the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, and clinging to rules and observances without describing the full understanding of clinging to a doctrine of self."

Edited by Simple_Jack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<snip>

 

The question of whether these different viewpoints actually lead to different realizations is a whole other issue. I have never seen a dialectical argument answer this question to my satisfaction. Only the descriptions of the experiences of people who have experienced both and found them different convinced me that they are indeed different.

 

<snip>

 

It's really easy to answer this: -

 

 

<snip>..... there cannot be two - or more - non-dualities

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gatito, I'm not surprised that your obsessed with Brahman - the real question is why do you want to try to impose your Brahman on everyone else? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why don't you just post a bibliography instead of all this cutting and pasting?

I'm not suprised that you're obsessed with suffering - the real question is why do you want to try to impose your suffering on everyone else? :)

 

and your response:-

 

Gatito, I'm not surprised that your obsessed with Brahman - the real question is why do you want to try to impose your Brahman on everyone else? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I admit of my extreme prejudice towards eternalist doctrines such as Vedanta. Now it's your turn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

I admit of my extreme prejudice towards eternalist doctrines such as Vedanta. Now it's your turn.

 

Now, why are you unable to admit to your own hypocrisy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Advaita Vedanta is just a plaigarism of Buddhadharma.

 

Read The Method of Early Advaita Vedānta by Michael Comans.

 

And for Simple_Jack:

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=8318&p=102251#p102251

Wow, that is one awesome post. 100% respect for Malcolm there. I was on E-Sangha when it blew up and I've witnessed some evil sectarian stuff on line over the years.

 

I never thought that I would ever read anything like that from him but I completely agree with him on all points there.

 

Gone right up in my respect. Still trying to take it all in....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup, just another case of extreme prejudice shown towards Buddhism, by the eternalists of TTB's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, that is one awesome post. 100% respect for Malcolm there. I was on E-Sangha when it blew up and I've witnessed some evil sectarian stuff on line over the years.

 

I never thought that I would ever read anything like that from him but I completely agree with him on all points there.

 

Gone right up in my respect. Still trying to take it all in....

 

OMG....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites