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You're welcome and I thank you for your forbearance. Of course, it really isn't for you--- I am sure that you have thoroughly vetted your views with your teacher(s) before publicly proliferating them. But there are people on the forum who are interested in Buddhism but have not yet engaged in a teacher, or do not wish to. In addition, many members here seem eager to find evidence that Buddhism teaches a permanent, true, soul. In addition, copying the words of teachers I admire is always an education for me. 

 

3 hours ago, C T said:

Thank you for the detailed reply. 

👍😊

 

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To expand on your extensive refutation of Sunyata being a provisional teaching, this little excerpt's taken from the book Nagarjunian Disputations. The author/scholar presents an interesting suggestion that might be worth contemplating on. He said, "In order to teach the sunyata of all dharmas, the Buddha had to use the misleading concepts of ordinary discourse. When dealing with people who believed in existence, he had no choice but to use the term "non existence", which ignorant people might take to refer to some peculiar entity (I suggest here the author's referencing how both existence and non-existence are prone to being reified). But the Buddha's teachings about Sunyata were just a provisional teaching (neyartha), a mere figure of speech (prajnapti). It would be as foolish to conclude from the Buddha's unavoidable use of ordinary discourse that Sunyata is a thing as it would be to conclude from the expression "the non existence of x" that the non existence of x is itself a thing."

 

The author's assertion is based on his understanding of Chandrakirti's commentary (below) related to the cessation of views.

 

Chadrakirti: "The cessation of views is not itself a thing. We will not even speak with those who have such an obstinate attachment to being as to make Sunyata itself a thing. It is as if one were to say to someone, "I have no wares to sell you", and the other were to reply, "Give me those non existent wares". How would such a one be able to grasp that non existence (panyabhava)?" 

 


 

Quote

 

Nagarjuna's inference on the futility of dependency on conceptual premises, other than as provisional expedients: 

 

Since all factors of existence are in the nature of Emptiness (sunya), why assert the finite, the infinite, both finite and Infinite, and neither finite nor infinite?

 

Why assert the identity, difference, permanence, impermanence, both permanence and impermanence, or neither permanence nor impermanence?

 

All acquisitions [i.e., grasping] as well as play of concepts [i.e., symbolic representation] are basically in the nature of cessation and quiescence. Any factor of experience with regards to anyone at any place was never taught by the Buddha. 

 

 

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Well, I don't really want to push an argument with other Buddhists. So rather that pursue the argument, I want to tell a story. 

 

The whole self/no-self issue has been at the core of my spiritual journey. When I started as a Buddhist, I spend quite a lot of time at Bhante Gunaratana's retreat center. They have a giant wooden Buddha with a sly smile of his face in their meditation hall. One of my early teachers said "the purpose of the Buddha's teaching is to trick the mind out of the mind" and "there is no subject knowing an object, or an object known by a subject. There is only knowing." I did not know what he meant, but I was sure that the teachings on anatta (anatman) were false. They had to be false, right? I mean, what could be more obvious than our own existence? Cogito ergo sum. Or more precisely, ego sum. He also said there comes a time when you develop complete faith in the Buddha's teaching. It is one of the fetters in Theravada. But I had doubts. 

 

But every time I tried to find the self, I felt haunted by the sly smile of the Buddha. And I searched high and wide to get to the bottom of this issue. Since having a self was so obvious, why did the Buddha deny it? And why make it so central to his teaching? 

 

I sat with, studied, harangued, and harassed any number of lamas, roshis, acharyas, khenpos, bhikkhus and spiritual friends. I saw red robes, brown robes, black robes, and plain Western clothes. I sat many retreats and practiced. I investigated koans. I just sat. I took many teachings and read many books. Here and there, I would find a glimmer of self--- the tathagatagarbha perhaps, a strange Zen statement, an occasional monk. There are Buddhists who don't want to take their anatman maximum strength, and try to find a compromise. But when I talked to teachers I really trusted, they all said the same thing: THERE IS NO SELF. 

 

Finally, I stopped looking for a self, or for a no self. Rather, I relaxed and followed the teachers instructions. Instead of looking for answers, I asked questions. Instead of questioning teachings, I applied them. 

 

And what I found: THERE IS NO SELF!

 

YOU WERE RIGHT YOU STUPID OLD BUDDHA!

 

 So when you say there is a self, or that the mind is real and so on, you might as well tell me I have two heads. While I am very far from Buddhahood, or even the first bhumi, I have no doubt about what the Buddha taught. I can look as see the truth whenever I want. In addition, I have complete faith in what my teachers have taught me. Finally, I have confidence in the lineage. 

 

 

On 8/1/2019 at 6:31 AM, C T said:

To expand on your extensive refutation of Sunyata being a provisional teaching, this little excerpt's taken from the book Nagarjunian Disputations. The author/scholar presents an interesting suggestion that might be worth contemplating on.

 

 

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There is no fixed, separate self as a unit, but there is a selfing process that develops as part of growing up due to the self reflective nature of the thinking mind. 

 

This can be seen by noting one's experience moment by moment or just noticing the insistence of the thoughts claiming one to be 'someone'. This 'one' means the body unit. 

 

My experience so far. 

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5 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

Well, I don't really want to push an argument with other Buddhists. So rather that pursue the argument, I want to tell a story. 

 

The whole self/no-self issue has been at the core of my spiritual journey. When I started as a Buddhist, I spend quite a lot of time at Bhante Gunaratana's retreat center. They have a giant wooden Buddha with a sly smile of his face in their meditation hall. One of my early teachers said "the purpose of the Buddha's teaching is to trick the mind out of the mind" and "there is no subject knowing an object, or an object known by a subject. There is only knowing." I did not know what he meant, but I was sure that the teachings on anatta (anatman) were false. They had to be false, right? I mean, what could be more obvious than our own existence? Cogito ergo sum. Or more precisely, ego sum. He also said there comes a time when you develop complete faith in the Buddha's teaching. It is one of the fetters in Theravada. But I had doubts. 

 

But every time I tried to find the self, I felt haunted by the sly smile of the Buddha. And I searched high and wide to get to the bottom of this issue. Since having a self was so obvious, why did the Buddha deny it? And why make it so central to his teaching? 

 

I sat with, studied, harangued, and harassed any number of lamas, roshis, acharyas, khenpos, bhikkhus and spiritual friends. I saw red robes, brown robes, black robes, and plain Western clothes. I sat many retreats and practiced. I investigated koans. I just sat. I took many teachings and read many books. Here and there, I would find a glimmer of self--- the tathagatagarbha perhaps, a strange Zen statement, an occasional monk. There are Buddhists who don't want to take their anatman maximum strength, and try to find a compromise. But when I talked to teachers I really trusted, they all said the same thing: THERE IS NO SELF. 

 

Finally, I stopped looking for a self, or for a no self. Rather, I relaxed and followed the teachers instructions. Instead of looking for answers, I asked questions. Instead of questioning teachings, I applied them. 

 

And what I found: THERE IS NO SELF!

 

YOU WERE RIGHT YOU STUPID OLD BUDDHA!

 

 So when you say there is a self, or that the mind is real and so on, you might as well tell me I have two heads. While I am very far from Buddhahood, or even the first bhumi, I have no doubt about what the Buddha taught. I can look as see the truth whenever I want. In addition, I have complete faith in what my teachers have taught me. Finally, I have confidence in the lineage. 

 

 

 

 

Wonderful story :wub:  thank you!! 

 

Perhaps somewhere along our discussion, an error in understanding manifested. 

I thought the contention was around the question whether the teachings on emptiness were provisional, or not. 

And per my limited understanding, all teachings are provisional. They are rafts for traversing mental terrains. 

But the truth of emptiness is final. Are we on the same page here? 

 

Eventually, progressing authentically on a path (any path) demands the shedding of all such expedients. 

If not, what began as supports to insight, thru clinging, will turn into obstacles and crutches. 

I think we both can agree that at some point, as one makes enough crossings from one shore to the next, and the next, 

the fascination with the craft wanes. Perhaps only then will one truly grasp the import of Dharma's functional purpose, 

not as a support for the determination of which view or tradition is right and which is rubbish,

but solely as a guide, a manual for this project called life. 

 

As regards to your claim that I asserted the reality of mind, I think thats another misunderstanding. 

Its my fault the confusion arose, and I apologise. I did not mean for the remark to sound solipsistic. 

When I said all is mind is a finality, it was a reference to Gautama's teaching, "All experiences are 

preceded by mind, having mind as their master, created by mind."

(Pali: Manopubbaṅgamā dhammā manoseṭṭhā manomayā.

 

Lama Yeshe's expansion on the teaching: 

"When you look at the outside world you have a very strong impression of its substantiality. You probably don’t realize that that strong impression is merely your own mind’s interpretation of what it sees. You think that the strong, solid reality really exists outside, and perhaps, when you look within, you feel empty. This is also a misconception: the strong impression that the world appears to truly exist outside of you is actually projected by your own mind. Everything you experience—feelings, sensations, shapes and colors—comes from your mind. 

 

Instead of misinterpreting whatever you experience in life through wrong conceptions, realize that it’s not outer reality, but only mind.

 

If you can understand what I’m explaining here, you’ll see that indeed, satellites and so forth do come from the mind, and that without mind, there is not a single manifest material existence in the entire sense world. What exists without mind? Look at all the stuff you find in supermarkets: so many names, so many foods, so many different things. First people made it all up—this name, that name, this, this, this—so then, this, that, this, this and this all appear to you. If all these thousands of supermarket items as well as jets, rockets and satellites are manifestations of mind, what then does not come from mind?

 

If you check into how your mind expresses itself, your various views and feelings, your imagination, you will realize that all your emotions, the way you live your life, the way you relate to others, all come from your own mind. If you don’t understand how your mind works, you’re going to continue having negative experiences like anger and depression. Why do I call a depressed mind negative? Because a depressed mind doesn’t understand how it works. A mind without understanding is negative. A negative mind brings you down because all its reactions are polluted. A mind with understanding functions clearly."

 

 

 

 

No, you definitely do not have two heads. :D

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Posted (edited)
On 7/28/2019 at 2:50 PM, Jeff said:

 

 Tau Malichi’s “Gnosis of a Cosmic Christ”.  He is one of the few people out there writing books that knows what he is talking about.

 

 

Thanks for the tip Jeff. I have been reading this for a few days now. It is really first class.

Edited by rocala
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Posted (edited)
On 7/27/2019 at 5:21 PM, SirPhillipJFry said:

Where do you find teachers? Do you have to become Buddhist or is anyone allowed to enter the practice without renouncing their faith say Muslim or Christian. 

 

It's very easy to find teachers, (especially bad ones, lol!) :lol:

 

Traditional teachers always prefer that their students don't mix religions and practices. Take your time to decide which path is right for you.

Edited by BluLotus

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