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Thread: "contemplating emptiness" video

  1. #21
    "Some people think that Voidness or Sunyata discussed by Nagarjuna is purely a Mahayana teaching. It is based on the idea of Anatta or non-self, on the Paticcasamuppada or the Dependent Origination, found in the original Theravada Pali texts. Once Ananda asked the Buddha, "People say the word Sunya. What is Sunya?" The Buddha replied, "Ananda, there is no self, nor anything pertaining to self in this world. Therefore, the world is empty." This idea was taken by Nagarjuna when he wrote his remarkable book, "Madhyamika Karika". Besides the idea of Sunyata is the concept of the store-consciousness in Mahayana Buddhism which has its seed in the Theravada texts. The Mahayanists have developed it into a deep psychology and philosophy."

    This is an extract from the essay Theravada - Mahayana Buddhism by ven. Dr. W. Rahula -

    http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma3/theramaya.html

    I hope this goes some way to explain that non-self (Anatta) can be equated with the notion of emptiness (Sunya)

    Both the Mahayana school and the Theravada school are recognized as being Buddhist. Because Nagarjuna went on to discuss things outside of the Pali Canon does not mean he was not a great Buddhist philosopher.

  2. #22
    I found this essay (The Jay Garfield who's mentioned by the author, is the translator of my copy of the Mulamadhyamakakarika and wrote a commentary with the book):

    Nagarjuna: Master of Paradox, Mystic or Perpetrator of Fallacies?

    by Richard P. Hayes


    1 Introductory remarks

    In a chapter entitled “Nagarjuna and the Limits of Thought,” Jay Garfield and Graham Priest make the following observation about Nagarjuna.. . ." his influence in the Mahayana Buddhist world is not only unparalleled in that tradition but exceeds in that tradition the influence of any single Western philosopher. The degree towhich he is taken seriously by so many eminent Indian, Chinese, Tibetan, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese philosophers, and lately by so manyWestern philosophers, alone justifies attention to his corpus. Even were he not such a titanic figure historically, the depth and beauty of his thought and the austere beauty of his philosophical poetry would justify that attention.While Nagarjuna may perplex and often infuriate, and while his texts may initially defy exegesis, anyone who spends any time with Nagarjuna’s thought inevitably develops a deep respect for this master philosopher."

    (Garfield & Priest, 2002, p. 86)


    At least one of these claims the last one is false, for it is a universal proposition that can be falsified by citing a counterexample. I can cite myself as a counterexample to the proposition that “anyone who spends any time with Nagarjuna’s thought inevitably develops a deep respect for this master philosopher.” Although I have worked with Nagarjuna’s texts off and on for more than thirty years, I am afraid I have not yet developed a deep respect for his thought, nor do I regard him as a masterful philosopher.

    Indeed, I could go on to say that, perhaps because of some profound insensitivity on my part I see very little of either depth or beauty or philosophical poetry in Nagarjuna’s work, nor can I claim to be either perplexed or infuriated by it. To make matters worse, I still have not changed my mind about Nagarjuna’s
    influence since I wrote the following in 1994:
    
    "Nagarjuna’s writings had relatively little effect on the course of subsequent Indian Buddhist philosophy....

    Continued:http://www.unm.edu/~rhayes/nagarjuna_smith.pdf

  3. #23
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by londonerabroad View Post
    Once Ananda asked the Buddha, "People say the word Sunya. What is Sunya?" The Buddha replied, "Ananda, there is no self, nor anything pertaining to self in this world. Therefore, the world is empty."-.
    Unlike Dependent Origination, Emptiness is a teaching not for beginners. This is why DO and Emptiness should never be equated.

    DO explains the play of ignorance whilst emptiness explains egolessness.

    I would suggest to be very careful with the Pali sutta about ' the world is empty'. It was Ananda that broadly & heedlessly said 'the world is empty' rather than the Buddha. Buddha replied the world is empty because the 24 aspects of sense contact (6 x sense organ, sense object, sense consciousness & sense contact) are empty. If the meditator sees with clear discernment each of the 24 aspects of sense contact then they will realise directly (unlike Ananda) that the world is empty.

    For example, in MN 43, it is explained emptiness is the liberated state of mind free from regarding anything as "self" or "pertaining to self". In MN 151, Buddha says of Sariputta: "His mind dwells in the dwelling of the Great Man, namely, sunnata vihara (emptiness)".

    I suggest Buddha was very careful to equate emptiness with an actualised state of realisation (rather than speak of emptiness as a broad description of reality so people could indulge heedlessly in the world under the nihilistic belief it is empty).

    All things are certainly empty but Buddha took great care with emptiness. Emptiness is not for beginners but DO is.

    Quote Originally Posted by londonerabroad View Post
    This idea was taken by Nagarjuna when he wrote his remarkable book, "Madhyamika Karika".
    My understanding is Nagarjuna was inspired by the Kaccayanagotta Sutta

    Quote Originally Posted by londonerabroad View Post
    Besides the idea of Sunyata is the concept of the store-consciousness in Mahayana Buddhism which has its seed in the Theravada texts. The Mahayanists have developed it into a deep psychology and philosophy."

    This is an extract from the essay Theravada - Mahayana Buddhism by ven. Dr. W. Rahula -.
    Dr. W. Rahula is not the Buddha. Dr. W. Rahula has many wrong views, such as supporting the alien notion of store-consciousness. Some of Rahula's famous wrong views, are the following:

    Here it should be clearly understood that dukkha and the five aggregates are not two different things; the five aggregates themselves are dukkha.

    Second Noble Truth corresponding to the philosophical side of the First Noble Truth. Here we must have some idea about the theory of karma and rebirth.

    Will, volition, desire, thirst to exist, to continue, to become more and more, is a tremendous force that moves whole world lives, whole existences, that even moves the whole world. According to Buddhism, this force does not stop with the non-functioning of the body, which is death; but it continues manifesting itself in another form, producing re-existence which is called rebirth.

    Similarly a man dies here and reborn elsewhere is neither the same person, nor another.

    Paticca-samuppada 'Conditioned Genesis', consisting of twelve factors: This is how life arises, exists and continues.

    What [I Imagine] the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula
    Quote Originally Posted by londonerabroad View Post
    "I hope this goes some way to explain that non-self (Anatta) can be equated with the notion of emptiness (Sunya)"
    There is no problem that non-self (Anatta) can be equated with the notion of emptiness . For example, I have used these two notions synonymously throughout this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by londonerabroad View Post
    Both the Mahayana school and the Theravada school are recognized as being Buddhist. Because Nagarjuna went on to discuss things outside of the Pali Canon does not mean he was not a great Buddhist philosopher.
    Nagarjuna went on to discuss things outside of reality. Thus, they are not Buddhist.

    For example, Nagarjuna equated emptiness with DO but Nibbana is emptiness but Nibbana is not DO. Thus Nagarjuna was very wrong here.

    For example, Nagarjuna said there are no causes & not effects because an "effect" is the cause of the perception of "cause" therefore an effect is a cause & a cause is an effect thus there are really no cause & no effects because they are both one & the same.

    However, in the reality of meditation (rather than in the thought gymnastics of philosophy), causes are things that arise which result in an effect arising afterwards. In meditation, the mind does not think: "Hey, this effect is really a cause because...blah...blah...blah". In meditation the mind sees things arising dependent upon the arising of other things thus the mind sees causes & effects.

    Nagarjuna also probably influenced the view that labels & concepts are relative truth thus ultimate truth is the state free from concepts. Again, this is alien to Buddhism because if Nibbana was non-conceptuality then each time the Buddha spoke a sermon his mind would depart from Nibbana.

    In short, there are many imaginings of Nagarjuna that are alien & heretical to Buddhism but the most misrepresentative is that of sunnata equated with dependent origination.

    As I explained, Nibbana is Sunnata. But Nibbana is the Unconditioned. Thus, Nibbana cannot be Dependently Originated. Thus, Sunnata cannot equal Dependent Origination because Sunnata is not Dependent Originated.

    Links of DO, can be sunnata, just as Nibbana is sunnata, just as a human being is a mammal & a dog is also a mammal.

    But, for other reasons, a human being is not a dog, just as, for other reason, sunnata is not dependently originated.

    In short, sunnata can be seen in dependent origination but dependent origination cannot be seen in sunnata.

    Dependent origination is a former & lesser insight. Sunnata is a later & greater insight.

    Last edited by Element; 11 Jan 13 at 03:35.

  4. #24
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka-D View Post
    Nagarjuna: Master of Paradox, Mystic or Perpetrator of Fallacies?

    by Richard P. Hayes
    In my opinion, Nagarjuna is similar to the Theravadin Katukurunde Nanananda. Their works attract those attracted to intellectual wordiness.

    Just as Katukurunde Nanananda heretically believes Buddha taught about the "origination of things" (rather than the origination of suffering), Nagarjuna also seems very much concerned about the origin of things.

    The doctrines of Nagarjuna & Katukurunde Nanananda appear to inevitably lead to the notion of Nibbana as "Oneness" or "Consciousness without Feature" (rather than Nibbana as the destruction of craving & attachment), which is merely Advaita Vedanta.

    "Consciousness without Feature" is found twice in the Pali as an appropriate reply to Brahma but Katukurunde Nanananda & others, with minds longing for & beguiled by non-conceptuality, believe this advice to Brahma is Nibbana.

    As already mentioned, if Nibbana is non-conceptuality & Patanjali's pure consciousness then Buddha departed from Nibbana each time he spoke.


  5. #25
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    I'm something of a novice to all this. The Sanga I attend is in the Tibetan tradition, but I've read a fair amount in the other schools. One thing I have found is that no school has a monopoly in overly wordy obscurity, and an the same time, all schools have their share of writings that illuminate their subjects with great clarity and grace.

  6. #26
    Forums Member SeeknShinjin's Avatar
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    I found a free translation of Nargarjuna's The Fundamental wisdom of the middle way, in reading it it seems he does know what the Buddha was saying in his teachig of D.O. as it states in Chapter 26 of his writing:

    Chapter 26: The Twelve-Link Chain of Interdependent Arising*

    1. Out of the mystery of [I] ignorance, there arise the three kinds of action (physical, verbal, and mental), which give rise to [II] the impulsion to continue existing [through rebirth]
    2. The disposition to continue existing [to be reborn again and again] gives rise to [III] consciousness, from which there emerge [IV] mind and body.
    3. With mind and body, come [V] the six senses . . . , which result in [VI] contact [with objects of sensation...
    4. From contact, [VII] feelings [of pleasure and pain] come forth.
    5. From feelings, comes [VIII] craving [for more pleasure and less pain]. From craving, come [IX] grasping and clinging...
    6. From grasping and clinging, [X] he who grasps and clings emerges...
    7. He who grasps and clings . . . grasps and clings [i.e., strives for pleasure, for continued existence, etc.] and so arrives once more at [XI] rebirth, from which there inevitably follow aging and dying, sorrow and weeping, misery and grief.
    8. Together with confusion and despair, all these woes arise as a consequence of birth and rebirth. Thus, [XII] the entire mass of suffering comes to pass.
    9. The force that fuels the continuation of samsara is the impulsion to continue existing, which arises from ignorance. Therefore, the wise do not strive for continued existence. The ignorant so strive, but the wise are not ignorant.
    10. With the cessation of ignorance, the impulsion to continue existing will not arise. The cessation of ignorance results from meditation and wisdom.(1)
    11. With the cessation of ignorance, the chain is broken. The entire mass of suffering ceases

    Note: 1) The ignorance to be overcome is that which consists in the belief that the phenomenal world (including the empirical self or ego) is independent, permanent, and therefore real; the wisdom to be acquired shows that the world of phenomena is empty of essence (i.e., it is dependent, ever-changing, and thus unreal).

    It seems he knew Buddha D.O. teaching was about the clingy mind, and in the other chapters he is describing the dependent arising of 'things'. It also states in other notes that part of this writing was a defence from someone who refuted his teaching.

    Here is a link from the free translation: http://www.bergen.edu/phr/121/NagarjunaGC.pdf

  7. #27
    That looks quite different to my Garfield translation.

    There's another version from a Tibetan Buddhist site with the verses in Tibetan script and an English translation by Stephen Batchelor (he used to be a translator) - which is also different to mine.

    http://rywiki.tsadra.org/index.php/M...rom_the_Centre

    Chapter 26 is here

    1. In order to become again, those obscured by ignorance are moved into destinies by actions which are impelled [by] the three kinds of formative impulses

    2. Consciousness conditioned by formative impulses enters into destinies. When consciousness has entered, name and form develop.

    3. When name and form develop, the six senses emerge. In dependence upon the six senses, impact actually occurs.


    continued at the link for ch 26 above.


    To show the difference , here's my Garfield translation for those 3 verses of Ch 26:

    1. Wrapped in the darkness of ignorance,
    One performs the three kind of actions
    Which as dispositions impel one
    To continue to future existences.


    2. Having dispositions as its conditions,
    Consciousness enters transmigration.
    Once consciousness has enteres transmigration,
    Name and form come to be.


    3.Once name and form come to be,
    The six sense spheres come into being.
    Depending on the six sense spheres,
    Contact comes into being.

  8. #28
    Forums Member SeeknShinjin's Avatar
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    Ohh ok well I will pick up a copy of the Garfield translation and read, I also see there are other translations aswell.

    Aloka, would you agree, what is said in Ch. 26 of the translations, he has an understanding of Buddhas teaching of Dependent Origination, which shows the falsity of a permanent Self.

    The Buddhas teaching of D.O. is different from Emptiness. Where as D.O. pertains to the human mind that clings, and the teaching of emptiness means empty of something.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Gassho, SS
    Last edited by SeeknShinjin; 11 Jan 13 at 02:11.

  9. #29
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeeknShinjin View Post
    Chapter 26: The Twelve-Link Chain of Interdependent Arising*

    1. Out of the mystery of [I] ignorance, there arise the three kinds of action (physical, verbal, and mental), which give rise to [II] the impulsion to continue existing [through rebirth]
    2. The disposition to continue existing [to be reborn again and again] gives rise to [III] consciousness, from which there emerge [IV] mind and body.
    3. With mind and body, come [V] the six senses . . . , which result in [VI] contact [with objects of sensation...
    4. From contact, [VII] feelings [of pleasure and pain] come forth.
    5. From feelings, comes [VIII] craving [for more pleasure and less pain]. From craving, come [IX] grasping and clinging...
    6. From grasping and clinging, [X] he who grasps and clings emerges...
    7. He who grasps and clings . . . grasps and clings [i.e., strives for pleasure, for continued existence, etc.] and so arrives once more at [XI] rebirth, from which there inevitably follow aging and dying, sorrow and weeping, misery and grief.
    8. Together with confusion and despair, all these woes arise as a consequence of birth and rebirth. Thus, [XII] the entire mass of suffering comes to pass.
    9. The force that fuels the continuation of samsara is the impulsion to continue existing, which arises from ignorance. Therefore, the wise do not strive for continued existence. The ignorant so strive, but the wise are not ignorant.
    10. With the cessation of ignorance, the impulsion to continue existing will not arise. The cessation of ignorance results from meditation and wisdom.(1)
    11. With the cessation of ignorance, the chain is broken. The entire mass of suffering ceases

    Here is a link from the free translation: http://www.bergen.edu/phr/121/NagarjunaGC.pdf
    hi SS

    This seems to be describing reincarnation, which Buddha was not describing.

    Buddha described how ignorance & its associated impulses stimulate consciousness to become absorbed in sense objects, as follows:

    Should consciousness, when standing, stand attached to (a physical) form, supported by form (as its object), landing on form, watered with delight, it would exhibit growth, increase & proliferation.

    Should consciousness, when standing, stand attached to feeling, supported by feeling (as its object), landing on feeling, watered with delight, it would exhibit growth, increase & proliferation.

    etc, etc, etc

    If a monk abandons passion for the property of consciousness, then owing to the abandonment of passion, the support is cut off and there is no landing of consciousness. Consciousness, thus not having landed, not increasing, not concocted, is released. Owing to its release, it is steady. Owing to its steadiness, it is contented. Owing to its contentment, it is not agitated. Not agitated, he (the monk) is totally unbound (Nirvana) right within.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....053.than.html
    With birth, Buddha taught birth is the mental birth of 'beings' & 'beings' are the solidification of attachment & identification, as follows:

    And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of [showing becoming of] aggregates & acquisition [taking possession] of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....002.than.html
    Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for form, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'

    Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for feeling... perception... fabrications...

    Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for consciousness, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....002.than.html
    Then when the objects that produce 'being' age-&-die, the mind experiences suffering, as follows:

    He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness. He is seized with the idea that 'I am consciousness' or 'Consciousness is mine.' As he is seized with these ideas, his consciousness changes & alters, and he falls into sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress & despair over its change & alteration.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....001.than.html
    the mind made manufactured 'being' also ages-&-dies, as follows:

    "Now what is aging and death? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called aging. Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death.
    what ages & dies is the 'being' described below:

    Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for form, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'

    Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for feeling... perception... fabrications...

    Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for consciousness, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....002.than.html
    thus, in D.O., Buddha was simply explaining the arising of suffering due to loss, which is ultimately conditioned by ignorance of inevitable impermanence.

    that is all

    but over history, philosophers & superstitious monks & scholar manufacturer all manner of ideas about DO.

    Last edited by Element; 11 Jan 13 at 04:26.

  10. #30
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka-D View Post
    Chapter 26 is here

    1. In order to become again, those obscured by ignorance are moved into destinies by actions which are impelled [by] the three kinds of formative impulses

    2. Consciousness conditioned by formative impulses enters into destinies. When consciousness has entered, name and form develop.

    3. When name and form develop, the six senses emerge. In dependence upon the six senses, impact actually occurs.


    continued at the link for ch 26 above.


    To show the difference , here's my Garfield translation for those 3 verses of Ch 26:

    1. Wrapped in the darkness of ignorance,
    One performs the three kind of actions
    Which as dispositions impel one
    To continue to future existences.


    2. Having dispositions as its conditions,
    Consciousness enters transmigration.
    Once consciousness has enteres transmigration,
    Name and form come to be.


    3.Once name and form come to be,
    The six sense spheres come into being.
    Depending on the six sense spheres,
    Contact comes into being.
    the vast diversity of these translations shows how Dhamma is like Chinese whispers occuring throughout history & how many of these translations have no tangible meaning


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