OrthodoxChristianity.net
October 02, 2014, 12:33:22 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1 2 »  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Mahayana and Nirvana  (Read 1305 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Ansgar
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: More than an inquirer, less than a catechumen
Jurisdiction: Exarchate of orthodox churches of russian tradition in western Europe
Posts: 2,980


Keep your mind in hell and do not despair


« on: April 17, 2013, 05:50:03 AM »

We are studying Buddhism in religous studies and today we talked about the teachings of the Mahayana School, concerning Nirvana, especially the teachings about Buddha-nature and the idea that Samsara and Nirvana is essentially the same thing, just experienced in different ways. We used the Ratnagotravibhāga as a source. At some point I asked my teacher, that if Nirvana is a state of mind and requires the destruction of ones "self", then what is it that enters Nirvana? If there is no soul and no self, how can one be in Nirvana?

I know that my description is pretty simplistic, but i'm affraid to mess up my post if I try to go into too much detail. I just wanted to ask if there is some of the knowledgeable posters who could expand on the subject a little. My teachers responce was that it was a paradox, but I wanted to hear what you guys think.     
Logged

Do not be cast down over the struggle - the Lord loves a brave warrior. The Lord loves the soul that is valiant.

-St Silouan the athonite
Fabio Leite
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 3,162



WWW
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2013, 07:54:54 AM »

I think we are not the best source for this kind of subtle budhist questions. Maybe a good research on the topic, or a talking to people in a Budhist forum could be good.

I particularly feel more affinity for Chan Budhism and Taoism of all the non-Christian Eastern Religions. In fact, the Dao te King was one of the first religious books to "make sense" to me. Smiley

Just to connect the subject with Orthodoxy, here are some interesting links:

The Non-Christian Religions - Part 2
In this episode, Fr. Andrew explores Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, Sikhism, Wicca, Neo-paganism, Modern Gnosticism, and Scientology
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodoxyheterodoxy/the_non-christian_religions_-_part_2

Witness of Converts to Orthodoxy from Budhism or related-experiences
http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/category/latest-stories/non-theists/buddhists/
Logged

Many Energies, Three Persons, Two Natures, One God.
Fabio Leite
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 3,162



WWW
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2013, 08:14:54 AM »

You can have a look here:

Quote
Mahayana sutras began to be compiled from the first century BCE. They form the basis of the various Mahayana schools, and survive predominantly in primary translations in Chinese and Tibetan of original texts in Sanskrit. From the Chinese and Tibetan texts, secondary translations were also made into Mongolian, Korean, Japanese and Sogdian.

Unlike the Pali Canon, there is no definitive Mahayana canon as such. Nevertheless the major printed or manuscript collections, published through the ages and preserved in Chinese and Tibetan, each contain parallel translations of the majority of known Mahayana sutra. The Chinese also wrote several indigenous sutras and included them into their Mahayana canon.

Mahayana Buddhists believe that the Mahayana sutras, with the possible exception of those with an explicitly Chinese provenance, are an authentic account of teachings given during the Buddha's lifetime. However, Theravada Buddhists believe them to be later inventions of monks striving to change the original teachings of Buddha, and consider the Mahayana sutras apocryphal.

While scholars agree that the Mahayana scriptures were composed from the first century CE onwards, with some of them having their roots in other scriptures, composed in the first century BCE, some Mahayana Buddhists believe that the Mahayana sutras were written down at the time of the Buddha and stored secretly for 500 years, uncovered when people were ready for these "higher teachings."

http://dharmanet.org/lcsutrasmahayana.htm
Logged

Many Energies, Three Persons, Two Natures, One God.
Ansgar
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: More than an inquirer, less than a catechumen
Jurisdiction: Exarchate of orthodox churches of russian tradition in western Europe
Posts: 2,980


Keep your mind in hell and do not despair


« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2013, 08:55:55 AM »

I think we are not the best source for this kind of subtle budhist questions. Maybe a good research on the topic, or a talking to people in a Budhist forum could be good.

I particularly feel more affinity for Chan Budhism and Taoism of all the non-Christian Eastern Religions. In fact, the Dao te King was one of the first religious books to "make sense" to me. Smiley

Just to connect the subject with Orthodoxy, here are some interesting links:

The Non-Christian Religions - Part 2
In this episode, Fr. Andrew explores Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, Sikhism, Wicca, Neo-paganism, Modern Gnosticism, and Scientology
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodoxyheterodoxy/the_non-christian_religions_-_part_2

Witness of Converts to Orthodoxy from Budhism or related-experiences
http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/category/latest-stories/non-theists/buddhists/

I just know that some of the posters here have been very knowledgeable about buddhism in the past. If I remember correctly, there are also a some of the folks here who are former buddhists.
Logged

Do not be cast down over the struggle - the Lord loves a brave warrior. The Lord loves the soul that is valiant.

-St Silouan the athonite
Ansgar
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: More than an inquirer, less than a catechumen
Jurisdiction: Exarchate of orthodox churches of russian tradition in western Europe
Posts: 2,980


Keep your mind in hell and do not despair


« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2013, 08:56:11 AM »

You can have a look here:

Quote
Mahayana sutras began to be compiled from the first century BCE. They form the basis of the various Mahayana schools, and survive predominantly in primary translations in Chinese and Tibetan of original texts in Sanskrit. From the Chinese and Tibetan texts, secondary translations were also made into Mongolian, Korean, Japanese and Sogdian.

Unlike the Pali Canon, there is no definitive Mahayana canon as such. Nevertheless the major printed or manuscript collections, published through the ages and preserved in Chinese and Tibetan, each contain parallel translations of the majority of known Mahayana sutra. The Chinese also wrote several indigenous sutras and included them into their Mahayana canon.

Mahayana Buddhists believe that the Mahayana sutras, with the possible exception of those with an explicitly Chinese provenance, are an authentic account of teachings given during the Buddha's lifetime. However, Theravada Buddhists believe them to be later inventions of monks striving to change the original teachings of Buddha, and consider the Mahayana sutras apocryphal.

While scholars agree that the Mahayana scriptures were composed from the first century CE onwards, with some of them having their roots in other scriptures, composed in the first century BCE, some Mahayana Buddhists believe that the Mahayana sutras were written down at the time of the Buddha and stored secretly for 500 years, uncovered when people were ready for these "higher teachings."

http://dharmanet.org/lcsutrasmahayana.htm

Thank you  Smiley
Logged

Do not be cast down over the struggle - the Lord loves a brave warrior. The Lord loves the soul that is valiant.

-St Silouan the athonite
Iconodule
Uranopolitan
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA (Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania)
Posts: 7,014


"My god is greater."


« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2013, 08:57:38 AM »

We are studying Buddhism in religous studies and today we talked about the teachings of the Mahayana School, concerning Nirvana, especially the teachings about Buddha-nature and the idea that Samsara and Nirvana is essentially the same thing, just experienced in different ways. We used the Ratnagotravibhāga as a source. At some point I asked my teacher, that if Nirvana is a state of mind and requires the destruction of ones "self", then what is it that enters Nirvana? If there is no soul and no self, how can one be in Nirvana?

Based on what I remember (or should I say, Thus have I heard...)

Nirvana and samsara are the same because they are different experiences of the same world, same phenomena, pervaded by emptiness. This is related to the "two truths" doctrine which recognizes the ultimate truth (emptiness) and the provisional truth (phenomena) as inseparable. The recognition of emptiness does not annihilate the provisional reality of phenomena- in fact, it is emptiness (lack of self, impermanence, dependent origination, etc.) which allows phenomena to arise at all. In other words, without the flux and unreality of phenomena, nothing could happen. Since attaining enlightenment is a realization of emptiness, therefore, nirvana does not take one away from the phenomenal world.

Regarding one who attains nirvana (a Buddha), there is no eternal soul or self but this does not annihilate the consciousness and provisional reality of a person who attains nirvana. And even after the Buddha's body dies and disintegrates, the fundamental principles of what a Buddha is and what allows all beings to become Buddhas remain eternally the same. The phrases "Buddha nature" or "Dharmakaya" are used to express this underlying reality. I have seen some Madhyamaka philosophers say that the term "Buddha nature" is still a provisional expression to help people who are still attached to the concept of an eternal self- in other words, it is really a sugar-coat on the pill of emptiness (shunyata).  

A further extrapolation of emptiness is the interpenetration of phenomena- because all phenomena are essentially empty, each phenomenon contains the principles of all others. In Fazang's Treatise on the Golden Lion he makes the famous assertion that every hair of a golden lion contains infinite golden lions. This concept is the basis of some of the most surreal writings in Chinese and Japanese Buddhism.
Logged

"A riddle or the cricket's cry
Is to doubt a fit reply." - William Blake
Ansgar
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: More than an inquirer, less than a catechumen
Jurisdiction: Exarchate of orthodox churches of russian tradition in western Europe
Posts: 2,980


Keep your mind in hell and do not despair


« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 09:10:58 AM »

We are studying Buddhism in religous studies and today we talked about the teachings of the Mahayana School, concerning Nirvana, especially the teachings about Buddha-nature and the idea that Samsara and Nirvana is essentially the same thing, just experienced in different ways. We used the Ratnagotravibhāga as a source. At some point I asked my teacher, that if Nirvana is a state of mind and requires the destruction of ones "self", then what is it that enters Nirvana? If there is no soul and no self, how can one be in Nirvana?

Based on what I remember (or should I say, Thus have I heard...)

Nirvana and samsara are the same because they are different experiences of the same world, same phenomena, pervaded by emptiness. This is related to the "two truths" doctrine which recognizes the ultimate truth (emptiness) and the provisional truth (phenomena) as inseparable. The recognition of emptiness does not annihilate the provisional reality of phenomena- in fact, it is emptiness (lack of self, impermanence, dependent origination, etc.) which allows phenomena to arise at all. In other words, without the flux and unreality of phenomena, nothing could happen. Since attaining enlightenment is a realization of emptiness, therefore, nirvana does not take one away from the phenomenal world.

Regarding one who attains nirvana (a Buddha), there is no eternal soul or self but this does not annihilate the consciousness and provisional reality of a person who attains nirvana. And even after the Buddha's body dies and disintegrates, the fundamental principles of what a Buddha is and what allows all beings to become Buddhas remain eternally the same. The phrases "Buddha nature" or "Dharmakaya" are used to express this underlying reality. I have seen some Madhyamaka philosophers say that the term "Buddha nature" is still a provisional expression to help people who are still attached to the concept of an eternal self- in other words, it is really a sugar-coat on the pill of emptiness (shunyata).  

A further extrapolation of emptiness is the interpenetration of phenomena- because all phenomena are essentially empty, each phenomenon contains the principles of all others. In Fazang's Treatise on the Golden Lion he makes the famous assertion that every hair of a golden lion contains infinite golden lions. This concept is the basis of some of the most surreal writings in Chinese and Japanese Buddhism.


Thank you.  Smiley

Your explanation is much easier to understand.
Logged

Do not be cast down over the struggle - the Lord loves a brave warrior. The Lord loves the soul that is valiant.

-St Silouan the athonite
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 09:12:10 AM »

A further extrapolation of emptiness is the interpenetration of phenomena- because all phenomena are essentially empty, each phenomenon contains the principles of all others. In Fazang's Treatise on the Golden Lion he makes the famous assertion that every hair of a golden lion contains infinite golden lions. This concept is the basis of some of the most surreal writings in Chinese and Japanese Buddhism.

Hasn't some Chinese version of Fr. Romanidis claimed the discovery of DNA for Buddhism yet?  laugh

Sounds a bit like Anaxagoras.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 09:16:20 AM by Romaios » Logged
Iconodule
Uranopolitan
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA (Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania)
Posts: 7,014


"My god is greater."


« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2013, 09:15:52 AM »

I particularly feel more affinity for Chan Budhism and Taoism of all the non-Christian Eastern Religions. In fact, the Dao te King was one of the first religious books to "make sense" to me. Smiley

There is no essential difference between Chan Buddhism and orthodox Mahayana Buddhism. A lot of popular presentations of Chan have connected it to Daoism because of A) its affinity for nature, and nature-based art and poetry, and B) its skepticism about language and conventional thinking. A) is really just a common trait of Chinese culture- it can be found just as strongly among the Confucians, for instance. B) comes out of Indian Buddhist sources, such as the Lankavatara Sutra which is highly prized in the Chan tradition.

The Daodejing is a very popular book and has been throughout the ages because it is so darn vague and people have found ways to interpret it to mean almost anything. My favorite has to be Hanfeizi's use of the Daodejing to support his harsh legalist political theory. I know one Daoist scholar (Russell Kirkland) argues that the Daodejing was edited, way back in the 3rd century, with a deliberate eye to clearing it of "cultural baggage" and making it appealing to the largest number of people (China was split into warring states). So western admirers of the Daodejing are falling for a very effective 2000 year old marketing scheme.

If you really want to get a substantial taste of Daoist philosophy, I strongly recommend the Book of Zhuangzi (or Chuang Tzu) which is a lot of fun to read and, in my opinion, has a lot more literary and philosophical merit than the Daodejing.

Re: Fr. Stephen Damick's presentation, he is trying hard but he greatly oversimplifies.
Logged

"A riddle or the cricket's cry
Is to doubt a fit reply." - William Blake
Iconodule
Uranopolitan
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA (Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania)
Posts: 7,014


"My god is greater."


« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2013, 09:17:54 AM »

A further extrapolation of emptiness is the interpenetration of phenomena- because all phenomena are essentially empty, each phenomenon contains the principles of all others. In Fazang's Treatise on the Golden Lion he makes the famous assertion that every hair of a golden lion contains infinite golden lions. This concept is the basis of some of the most surreal writings in Chinese and Japanese Buddhism.

Hasn't some Chinese version of Fr. Romanidis claimed the discovery of DNA for Buddhism yet?  laugh

Sounds a bit like Anaxagoras.

I've actually found some interesting (not exact) parallels in St. Maximus the Confessor and St. Dionysius the Areopagite. Maybe I'll write a little article about it some time....
Logged

"A riddle or the cricket's cry
Is to doubt a fit reply." - William Blake
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2013, 09:43:21 AM »

The Daodejing is a very popular book and has been throughout the ages because it is so darn vague and people have found ways to interpret it to mean almost anything. My favorite has to be Hanfeizi's use of the Daodejing to support his harsh legalist political theory. I know one Daoist scholar (Russell Kirkland) argues that the Daodejing was edited, way back in the 3rd century, with a deliberate eye to clearing it of "cultural baggage" and making it appealing to the largest number of people (China was split into warring states). So western admirers of the Daodejing are falling for a very effective 2000 year old marketing scheme.

So much for Christ the Eternal Dao!
Logged
orthonorm
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Sola Gratia
Jurisdiction: Outside
Posts: 16,506



« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2013, 09:51:37 AM »

The Daodejing is a very popular book and has been throughout the ages because it is so darn vague and people have found ways to interpret it to mean almost anything. My favorite has to be Hanfeizi's use of the Daodejing to support his harsh legalist political theory. I know one Daoist scholar (Russell Kirkland) argues that the Daodejing was edited, way back in the 3rd century, with a deliberate eye to clearing it of "cultural baggage" and making it appealing to the largest number of people (China was split into warring states). So western admirers of the Daodejing are falling for a very effective 2000 year old marketing scheme.

So much for Christ the Eternal Dao!

Garbage. Even I know that.
Logged

Ignorance is not a lack, but a passion.
orthonorm
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Sola Gratia
Jurisdiction: Outside
Posts: 16,506



« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2013, 09:53:07 AM »

Iconodule, it's nice to have people who know stuff.
Logged

Ignorance is not a lack, but a passion.
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2013, 10:30:04 AM »

Iconodule, it's nice to have people who know stuff.

Beware of the ortho-traps!  Wink

I wholeheartedly agree, nevertheless. 


 
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 10:53:11 AM by Romaios » Logged
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2013, 10:31:13 AM »

The Daodejing is a very popular book and has been throughout the ages because it is so darn vague and people have found ways to interpret it to mean almost anything. My favorite has to be Hanfeizi's use of the Daodejing to support his harsh legalist political theory. I know one Daoist scholar (Russell Kirkland) argues that the Daodejing was edited, way back in the 3rd century, with a deliberate eye to clearing it of "cultural baggage" and making it appealing to the largest number of people (China was split into warring states). So western admirers of the Daodejing are falling for a very effective 2000 year old marketing scheme.

So much for Christ the Eternal Dao!

Garbage. Even I know that.

If only St. Paul had had a Chinese disciple!
Logged
stavros_388
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: +
Posts: 1,241



« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2013, 11:28:34 AM »

We are studying Buddhism in religous studies and today we talked about the teachings of the Mahayana School, concerning Nirvana, especially the teachings about Buddha-nature and the idea that Samsara and Nirvana is essentially the same thing, just experienced in different ways. We used the Ratnagotravibhāga as a source. At some point I asked my teacher, that if Nirvana is a state of mind and requires the destruction of ones "self", then what is it that enters Nirvana? If there is no soul and no self, how can one be in Nirvana?

I know that my description is pretty simplistic, but i'm affraid to mess up my post if I try to go into too much detail. I just wanted to ask if there is some of the knowledgeable posters who could expand on the subject a little. My teachers responce was that it was a paradox, but I wanted to hear what you guys think.     

My (simplified) understanding: There is nothing that enters or is "in" Nirvana. When one loosens all that binds oneself to suffering (greed, anger, delusion, etc.) and sees through the false ideas that constitute the sense of "self", one sees what has always been and will ever be: the Unbound and Uncreated: Nirvana.

It reminds me of a book cover on a Korean Zen book I saw when I lived in Korea: "No River to Cross". Or "The further one travels, the less one knows" (Lao Tzu), or "Emptiness is Form, Form is Emptiness" (from Zen), or I AM THAT (Advaita Vendanta). Or even, "Before Abraham was, I AM."
Logged

"The kingdom of heaven is virtuous life, just as the torment of hell is passionate habits." - St. Gregory of Sinai

"Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him." - Thomas Merton
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2013, 12:23:57 PM »

Nirvana and samsara are the same because they are different experiences of the same world, same phenomena, pervaded by emptiness.

This reminds me of St. Isaac the Syrian's teaching that Heaven and the fire of the Gehenna are one and the same love of God, only people experience it differently. The fundamental difference being that between "emptiness" and "the love of God".

IIRC Martin Buber has some interesting speculation about "face" (panim) being a plurale tantum in Hebrew. So God (as well those he made in his image) doesn't have one face, but many "faces" - one for each person he encounters or even different faces for our different states.     
Logged
NicholasMyra
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian/Greek
Posts: 5,926


Avowed denominationalist


« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2013, 12:29:59 PM »

The Daodejing is a very popular book and has been throughout the ages because it is so darn vague and people have found ways to interpret it to mean almost anything.
A lot of it is just basic wisdom literature.
Logged

Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2013, 12:32:16 PM »

The Daodejing is a very popular book and has been throughout the ages because it is so darn vague and people have found ways to interpret it to mean almost anything.
A lot of it is just basic wisdom literature.

Just like most of "Solomon's" Proverbs, critics would say.
Logged
NicholasMyra
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian/Greek
Posts: 5,926


Avowed denominationalist


« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2013, 12:44:28 PM »

The Daodejing is a very popular book and has been throughout the ages because it is so darn vague and people have found ways to interpret it to mean almost anything.
A lot of it is just basic wisdom literature.

Just like most of "Solomon's" Proverbs, critics would say.
I never said I didn't like me some wisdom literature.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 12:44:47 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2013, 12:49:03 PM »

Mr. Brueggemann on "garbage":

Quote from: Walter Brueggemann, Texts under negotiation: The Bible and postmodern imagination
Rereading happens only when one discovers that too much has been lost, and the parts that have been systematically preserved and incorporated are not adequate materials out of which to live a life of faith. As a result, one must go back into the material in order to find out what else is there. In a like way, modernity has run its course, and we are having now to reenter exactly those texts so long denied as embarrassing. It is now clear that a managed, self-sufficient, scientific, technological, rationalistic ordering of reality cannot sustain humanness. The brooding underneath must be taken seriously. My urging is that with the biblical text, the church and its ministry are peculiarly positioned to take on that revoicing and reprocessing, which at the same time subverts and retrieves.

The Bible is the compost pile that provides material for new life. I do not use this figure as an irreverent metaphor to suggest that the Bible is “garbage.” Rather, I use it to suggest that the Bible itself is not the actual place of new growth. Our present life, when we undertake new growth, is often inadequate, arid, or even barren. It needs to be enriched, and for that enrichment, we go back to the deposits of old growth that have been discarded, but that continue to ferment and may contain resources for a way to new life. The Bible consists in biodegradable material that will be willingly cast off, but it can be retrieved. As is often the case with such compost, it contains seeds of its own. It sprouts and grows more than and other than we had in mind. I take this metaphor as an alternative to the notion that the Bible is a guide for the gardener. I think not. Its only guidance is that this material is dangerously generative and that the life it can produce is limited by what is in the deposit. More than that, it does not tell us about the specificity of our life.

I'm not implying that mixing "compost" from different sources is a good idea. They might contain alien seeds. But sometimes certain hybrids can be useful.   
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 12:51:25 PM by Romaios » Logged
orthonorm
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Sola Gratia
Jurisdiction: Outside
Posts: 16,506



« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2013, 12:59:31 PM »

Mr. Brueggemann on "garbage":

Quote from: Walter Brueggemann, Texts under negotiation: The Bible and postmodern imagination
Rereading happens only when one discovers that too much has been lost, and the parts that have been systematically preserved and incorporated are not adequate materials out of which to live a life of faith. As a result, one must go back into the material in order to find out what else is there. In a like way, modernity has run its course, and we are having now to reenter exactly those texts so long denied as embarrassing. It is now clear that a managed, self-sufficient, scientific, technological, rationalistic ordering of reality cannot sustain humanness. The brooding underneath must be taken seriously. My urging is that with the biblical text, the church and its ministry are peculiarly positioned to take on that revoicing and reprocessing, which at the same time subverts and retrieves.

The Bible is the compost pile that provides material for new life. I do not use this figure as an irreverent metaphor to suggest that the Bible is “garbage.” Rather, I use it to suggest that the Bible itself is not the actual place of new growth. Our present life, when we undertake new growth, is often inadequate, arid, or even barren. It needs to be enriched, and for that enrichment, we go back to the deposits of old growth that have been discarded, but that continue to ferment and may contain resources for a way to new life. The Bible consists in biodegradable material that will be willingly cast off, but it can be retrieved. As is often the case with such compost, it contains seeds of its own. It sprouts and grows more than and other than we had in mind. I take this metaphor as an alternative to the notion that the Bible is a guide for the gardener. I think not. Its only guidance is that this material is dangerously generative and that the life it can produce is limited by what is in the deposit. More than that, it does not tell us about the specificity of our life.

I'm not implying that mixing "compost" from different sources is a good idea. They might contain alien seeds. But sometimes certain hybrids can be useful.   

Are you quoting him just because I mentioned him recently? I've had dinner with Walter and I don't think he composted any of it.
Logged

Ignorance is not a lack, but a passion.
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2013, 01:03:46 PM »

Are you quoting him just because I mentioned him recently? I've had dinner with Walter and I don't think he composted any of it.

I'm quoting him because I enjoy his writing and I happened to be reading this book of his.

I don't know whether he's an accomplished gardener or not.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 01:04:05 PM by Romaios » Logged
orthonorm
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Sola Gratia
Jurisdiction: Outside
Posts: 16,506



« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2013, 01:09:00 PM »

Are you quoting him just because I mentioned him recently? I've had dinner with Walter and I don't think he composted any of it.

I'm quoting him because I enjoy his writing and I happened to be reading this book of his.

I don't know whether he's an accomplished gardener or not.


You realize such statements ruin my sense of being the center of the cosmos.
Logged

Ignorance is not a lack, but a passion.
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2013, 01:17:24 PM »

My Daode Jing is a 11x11 cm booklet, bound in sackcloth. It is a Dutch translation by a Benedictine monk who signs Teun Tjé (his name is [An]Ton). It has tiny Bible references (on the side of every page) and beautiful miniature illustrations by a contemporary Chinese artist who "happened" to visit his Abbey. Brother Ton was the gatekeeper. He'd always be memorizing ideograms from his Chinese dictionary while "on duty". A great lover of Wisdom...        
Logged
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2013, 01:20:46 PM »

You realize such statements ruin my sense of being the center of the cosmos.

There's room there for both you and your friend Walter!  laugh
Logged
Fabio Leite
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 3,162



WWW
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2013, 01:22:16 PM »

So western admirers of the Daodejing are falling for a very effective 2000 year old marketing scheme.

If you really want to get a substantial taste of Daoist philosophy, I strongly recommend the Book of Zhuangzi (or Chuang Tzu) which is a lot of fun to read and, in my opinion, has a lot more literary and philosophical merit than the Daodejing.

Re: Fr. Stephen Damick's presentation, he is trying hard but he greatly oversimplifies.

Is it this one? http://terebess.hu/english/chuangtzu.html#1

I think historiography that projects modern practices into the past is most of the time wrong. Specially the ones who think that 20th century propaganda and disinformation were as  widespread in the past, a kind of historiographic gnosticism that says "every important thing was a kind of deception, and until we, the enlightened were born, the world was filled with candid ignorants". I don't buy that in Christianity, I don't buy that in other religions as well. If the Dao was purged of cultural influences in a time of warfare, I'm more likely to think the wise of the time knew what they did to make the message clearer in a time local differences were being obstacles.
Logged

Many Energies, Three Persons, Two Natures, One God.
Iconodule
Uranopolitan
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA (Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania)
Posts: 7,014


"My god is greater."


« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2013, 01:34:47 PM »

So western admirers of the Daodejing are falling for a very effective 2000 year old marketing scheme.

If you really want to get a substantial taste of Daoist philosophy, I strongly recommend the Book of Zhuangzi (or Chuang Tzu) which is a lot of fun to read and, in my opinion, has a lot more literary and philosophical merit than the Daodejing.

Re: Fr. Stephen Damick's presentation, he is trying hard but he greatly oversimplifies.

Is it this one? http://terebess.hu/english/chuangtzu.html#1

Yup. "Within the Northern Darkness there is a fish and his name is K'un..."

This is probably my favorite opening to any book ever.

Quote
historiographic gnosticism

*Yawn*

Quote
If the Dao was purged of cultural influences in a time of warfare, I'm more likely to think the wise of the time knew what they did to make the message clearer in a time local differences were being obstacles.

But the message is not all that clear. Hence the divergent schools of thought that have laid claim to the Daodejing. The religious current called "Daoism" itself is as varied as "Hinduism."
Logged

"A riddle or the cricket's cry
Is to doubt a fit reply." - William Blake
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2013, 02:34:00 PM »

Quote from: Daode Jing 27
Zo is de wijze er steeds op uit de mensen te redden en zijn er geen verloren mensen. Hij is erop uit dingen te redden en zo zijn er geen verloren zaken. Diet heet: naar twee kanten uitstralen. [verloren: Lucas 15]

Daroom is een goed mens een leraar voor een slecht; een slecht mens is leerstof voor een goed mens. Zijn leraar niet waarderen, zijn leerstof niet liefhebben: geen weldenkendheid, maar eigendunk. Van kapitaal belang!


From the Dutch of Teun Tjé:

The wise man is always out to save/rescue people and there are no lost people [for him]. He is out to save things and so there are no lost things [for him]. This means: to shine out in two sides (look in all places?). ["lost": see Luke 15]

Therefore a good man is a teacher for a bad one; a bad man is learning material for a good man. Not to value one's teacher, not to love/like one's learning material: no prudence, but recklessness/idiocy. Of capital importance!

Various English versions. I've never seen two translations of the Daode Jing that resemble each other!       
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 02:51:52 PM by Romaios » Logged
orthonorm
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Sola Gratia
Jurisdiction: Outside
Posts: 16,506



« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2013, 06:01:31 PM »

Quote from: Daode Jing 27
Zo is de wijze er steeds op uit de mensen te redden en zijn er geen verloren mensen. Hij is erop uit dingen te redden en zo zijn er geen verloren zaken. Diet heet: naar twee kanten uitstralen. [verloren: Lucas 15]

Daroom is een goed mens een leraar voor een slecht; een slecht mens is leerstof voor een goed mens. Zijn leraar niet waarderen, zijn leerstof niet liefhebben: geen weldenkendheid, maar eigendunk. Van kapitaal belang!


From the Dutch of Teun Tjé:

The wise man is always out to save/rescue people and there are no lost people [for him]. He is out to save things and so there are no lost things [for him]. This means: to shine out in two sides (look in all places?). ["lost": see Luke 15]

Therefore a good man is a teacher for a bad one; a bad man is learning material for a good man. Not to value one's teacher, not to love/like one's learning material: no prudence, but recklessness/idiocy. Of capital importance!

Various English versions. I've never seen two translations of the Daode Jing that resemble each other!       

The Tao Te Ching that is the Tao Te Ching is not the true Tao Te Ching.
Logged

Ignorance is not a lack, but a passion.
NicholasMyra
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian/Greek
Posts: 5,926


Avowed denominationalist


« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2013, 08:42:51 PM »

The Tao Te Ching that is the Tao Te Ching is not the true Tao Te Ching.
The "authentic" Taoism (I mean authentic from a hipster perspective, I.E. the traditional stuff you'd find in the backwoods) usually involves ingesting various carcinogens and neurotoxins.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 08:43:05 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
Ansgar
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: More than an inquirer, less than a catechumen
Jurisdiction: Exarchate of orthodox churches of russian tradition in western Europe
Posts: 2,980


Keep your mind in hell and do not despair


« Reply #31 on: April 18, 2013, 03:33:39 AM »

Quote
Regarding one who attains nirvana (a Buddha), there is no eternal soul or self but this does not annihilate the consciousness and provisional reality of a person who attains nirvana.

Iconodule, I didn't think about it yesterday, but isn't the conciousness one of the five skandhas?
Logged

Do not be cast down over the struggle - the Lord loves a brave warrior. The Lord loves the soul that is valiant.

-St Silouan the athonite
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #32 on: April 18, 2013, 06:36:18 AM »

The Tao Te Ching that is the Tao Te Ching is not the true Tao Te Ching.

A famous Augustinian koan:

Quote from: St. Augustine, Sermo 52, 16 (PL 38, 360)
Quid ergo dicamus, fratres, de Deo? Si enim quod vis dicere, si cepisti, non est Deus: si comprehendere potuisti, aliud pro Deo comprehendisti. Si quasi comprehendere potuisti, cogitatione tua te decepisti. Hoc ergo non est, si comprehendisti: si autem hoc est, non comprehendisti. Quid ergo vis loqui, quod comprehendere non potuisti?

What shall we say, brothers, about God? For if you comprehended what you wish to say, it is not God: if you could comprehend it, you grasped at something else in stead of God. If you could almost comprehend it, you were deceived by your own thinking. Therefore God is not it, if you comprehended: if he is it, then you did not comprehend. So why would you utter what you could not comprehend?

« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 06:38:16 AM by Romaios » Logged
Iconodule
Uranopolitan
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA (Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania)
Posts: 7,014


"My god is greater."


« Reply #33 on: April 18, 2013, 07:17:50 AM »

The Tao Te Ching that is the Tao Te Ching is not the true Tao Te Ching.
The "authentic" Taoism (I mean authentic from a hipster perspective, I.E. the traditional stuff you'd find in the backwoods) usually involves ingesting various carcinogens and neurotoxins.

It could involve that. It could also involve rubbing dog pee in your eyes to see ghosts (true family story) and then perhaps hacking yourself with a sword to exorcise them. Re: carcinogens, it seems dangerous forms of alchemy are not really in wide use anymore. Nowadays most Daoist alchemy is a combination of "internal alchemy" (mostly meditation) with some calisthenics (e.g. Taijiquan or qigong) or benign herbalism. Most people's experiences with Daoism though are related to magic and various ceremonies. My mom thought of Daoism as a very morbid religion because she usually only saw the priests at funerals or exorcisms.
Logged

"A riddle or the cricket's cry
Is to doubt a fit reply." - William Blake
Iconodule
Uranopolitan
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA (Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania)
Posts: 7,014


"My god is greater."


« Reply #34 on: April 18, 2013, 07:47:33 AM »

Quote
Regarding one who attains nirvana (a Buddha), there is no eternal soul or self but this does not annihilate the consciousness and provisional reality of a person who attains nirvana.

Iconodule, I didn't think about it yesterday, but isn't the conciousness one of the five skandhas?

Yes. There was some controversy though about the alaya or storehouse consciousness and whether this constituted an idea of eternal self. This problem was approached in different ways by different schools.
Logged

"A riddle or the cricket's cry
Is to doubt a fit reply." - William Blake
Ansgar
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: More than an inquirer, less than a catechumen
Jurisdiction: Exarchate of orthodox churches of russian tradition in western Europe
Posts: 2,980


Keep your mind in hell and do not despair


« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2013, 07:54:48 AM »

Quote
Regarding one who attains nirvana (a Buddha), there is no eternal soul or self but this does not annihilate the consciousness and provisional reality of a person who attains nirvana.

Iconodule, I didn't think about it yesterday, but isn't the conciousness one of the five skandhas?

Yes. There was some controversy though about the alaya or storehouse consciousness and whether this constituted an idea of eternal self. This problem was approached in different ways by different schools.

Okay, thank you.  Smiley
Logged

Do not be cast down over the struggle - the Lord loves a brave warrior. The Lord loves the soul that is valiant.

-St Silouan the athonite
Jetavan
Argumentum ad australopithecum
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Science to the Fourth Power
Jurisdiction: Ohayo Gozaimasu
Posts: 6,580


Barlaam and Josaphat


WWW
« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2013, 12:46:49 PM »

Quote
Regarding one who attains nirvana (a Buddha), there is no eternal soul or self but this does not annihilate the consciousness and provisional reality of a person who attains nirvana.

Iconodule, I didn't think about it yesterday, but isn't the consciousness one of the five skandhas?
The consciousness (vijñāna) that is one of the five skandhas manifests in six ways (as eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, and mind-consciousness).

Both Theravāda and Mahāyāna would agree that when Siddhārtha realized nirvāṇa under the bodhi-tree, that Siddhārtha's skandhas, his body and mental structures, did not cease to exist. In Theravāda, this is 'nirvāṇa-with-remainder'.

I'm not not sure about the details of various Mahāyāna perspectives on the Buddha's post-death state, but in Theravāda, the death of the Buddha was his entrance into parinirvāṇa ('nirvāṇa-without-remainder'), where the Buddha was freed from being bound to body or mental structures. Parinirvāṇa means the cessation of all five skandhas, including all six types of consciousness (vijñāna): eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, and mind-consciousness.

However, in Theravāda (and in Mahāyāna), parinirvāṇa is not a total annihilation of awareness or "consciousness" altogether. (If it were, parinirvāṇa would be no different than the lack of afterlife posited by materialists and physicalists). Awareness is still present, if only because there is "awareness" of parinirvāṇa. In Theravāda, this "awareness" is known as citta, or the heart. When the citta is purified of ignorance, nirvāṇa (freedom from bondage) is realized. When the citta is contaminated by ignorance, craving arises, producing bondage.

Some have argued that the Mahāyāna or Yogācāra idea of ālaya-vijñāna corresponds to the Theravāda citta.

Some may argue that this purified citta is the "true self", the "atman", but a Theravādin would argue that words like "self" and "atman" simply encourage the self-grasping, craving, and ignorance that produce further dissatisfaction, suffering, and bondage.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 01:06:15 PM by Jetavan » Logged

If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
orthonorm
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Sola Gratia
Jurisdiction: Outside
Posts: 16,506



« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2013, 01:18:20 PM »

Quote
Regarding one who attains nirvana (a Buddha), there is no eternal soul or self but this does not annihilate the consciousness and provisional reality of a person who attains nirvana.

Iconodule, I didn't think about it yesterday, but isn't the consciousness one of the five skandhas?
The consciousness (vijñāna) that is one of the five skandhas manifests in six ways (as eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, and mind-consciousness).

Both Theravāda and Mahāyāna would agree that when Siddhārtha realized nirvāṇa under the bodhi-tree, that Siddhārtha's skandhas, his body and mental structures, did not cease to exist. In Theravāda, this is 'nirvāṇa-with-remainder'.

I'm not not sure about the details of various Mahāyāna perspectives on the Buddha's post-death state, but in Theravāda, the death of the Buddha was his entrance into parinirvāṇa ('nirvāṇa-without-remainder'), where the Buddha was freed from being bound to body or mental structures. Parinirvāṇa means the cessation of all five skandhas, including all six types of consciousness (vijñāna): eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, and mind-consciousness.

However, in Theravāda (and in Mahāyāna), parinirvāṇa is not a total annihilation of awareness or "consciousness" altogether. (If it were, parinirvāṇa would be no different than the lack of afterlife posited by materialists and physicalists). Awareness is still present, if only because there is "awareness" of parinirvāṇa. In Theravāda, this "awareness" is known as citta, or the heart. When the citta is purified of ignorance, nirvāṇa (freedom from bondage) is realized. When the citta is contaminated by ignorance, craving arises, producing bondage.

Some have argued that the Mahāyāna or Yogācāra idea of ālaya-vijñāna corresponds to the Theravāda citta.

Some may argue that this purified citta is the "true self", the "atman", but a Theravādin would argue that words like "self" and "atman" simply encourage the self-grasping, craving, and ignorance that produce further dissatisfaction, suffering, and bondage.

Again, nice to have people who know things. Thank you.
Logged

Ignorance is not a lack, but a passion.
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #38 on: April 18, 2013, 01:24:41 PM »

Again, nice to have people who know things. Thank you.

+1  Smiley
Logged
WPM
Revolutionary Writer
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,442



« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2013, 02:13:07 PM »

"Thinking with my consciousness makes it difficult to put in words" ...
Logged
stavros_388
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: +
Posts: 1,241



« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2013, 03:25:57 PM »

At some point I asked my teacher, that if Nirvana is a state of mind and requires the destruction of ones "self", then what is it that enters Nirvana? If there is no soul and no self, how can one be in Nirvana?

I just happened upon the following, from the introduction to The Zen Teaching of Huang Po on The Transmission of Mind:

"Zen followers (who have much in common with mystics of other faiths) do not use the term 'God', being wary of its dualistic and anthropomorphic implications. They prefer to talk of 'the Absolute' or 'the One Mind', for which they employ many synonyms according to the aspect to be emphasized in relation to something infinite. Thus, the word 'Buddha' is used as a synonym for the Absolute as well as in the sense of Gautama, the Enlightened One, for it is held that the two are identical. A Buddha's Enlightenment denotes an intuitive realization of his unity with the Absolute from which, after the death of his body, nothing remains to divide him even in appearance. Of the Absolute nothing whatever can be postulated; to say that it exists excludes non-existence; to say that it does not exist excludes existence. Furthermore, Zen followers hold that the Absolute, or union with the Absolute, is not something to be attained; one does not ENTER Nirvana, for entrance to a place one has never left is impossible. The experience commonly called 'entering Nirvana' is, in fact, an intuitive realization of that Self-nature which is the true Nature of all things."
Logged

"The kingdom of heaven is virtuous life, just as the torment of hell is passionate habits." - St. Gregory of Sinai

"Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him." - Thomas Merton
Ansgar
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: More than an inquirer, less than a catechumen
Jurisdiction: Exarchate of orthodox churches of russian tradition in western Europe
Posts: 2,980


Keep your mind in hell and do not despair


« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2013, 03:31:12 PM »

At some point I asked my teacher, that if Nirvana is a state of mind and requires the destruction of ones "self", then what is it that enters Nirvana? If there is no soul and no self, how can one be in Nirvana?

I just happened upon the following, from the introduction to The Zen Teaching of Huang Po on The Transmission of Mind:

"Zen followers (who have much in common with mystics of other faiths) do not use the term 'God', being wary of its dualistic and anthropomorphic implications. They prefer to talk of 'the Absolute' or 'the One Mind', for which they employ many synonyms according to the aspect to be emphasized in relation to something infinite. Thus, the word 'Buddha' is used as a synonym for the Absolute as well as in the sense of Gautama, the Enlightened One, for it is held that the two are identical. A Buddha's Enlightenment denotes an intuitive realization of his unity with the Absolute from which, after the death of his body, nothing remains to divide him even in appearance. Of the Absolute nothing whatever can be postulated; to say that it exists excludes non-existence; to say that it does not exist excludes existence. Furthermore, Zen followers hold that the Absolute, or union with the Absolute, is not something to be attained; one does not ENTER Nirvana, for entrance to a place one has never left is impossible. The experience commonly called 'entering Nirvana' is, in fact, an intuitive realization of that Self-nature which is the true Nature of all things."

Interesting.
Logged

Do not be cast down over the struggle - the Lord loves a brave warrior. The Lord loves the soul that is valiant.

-St Silouan the athonite
Iconodule
Uranopolitan
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA (Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania)
Posts: 7,014


"My god is greater."


« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2013, 03:34:29 PM »

At some point I asked my teacher, that if Nirvana is a state of mind and requires the destruction of ones "self", then what is it that enters Nirvana? If there is no soul and no self, how can one be in Nirvana?

I just happened upon the following, from the introduction to The Zen Teaching of Huang Po on The Transmission of Mind:

"Zen followers (who have much in common with mystics of other faiths) do not use the term 'God', being wary of its dualistic and anthropomorphic implications. They prefer to talk of 'the Absolute' or 'the One Mind', for which they employ many synonyms according to the aspect to be emphasized in relation to something infinite. Thus, the word 'Buddha' is used as a synonym for the Absolute as well as in the sense of Gautama, the Enlightened One, for it is held that the two are identical. A Buddha's Enlightenment denotes an intuitive realization of his unity with the Absolute from which, after the death of his body, nothing remains to divide him even in appearance. Of the Absolute nothing whatever can be postulated; to say that it exists excludes non-existence; to say that it does not exist excludes existence. Furthermore, Zen followers hold that the Absolute, or union with the Absolute, is not something to be attained; one does not ENTER Nirvana, for entrance to a place one has never left is impossible. The experience commonly called 'entering Nirvana' is, in fact, an intuitive realization of that Self-nature which is the true Nature of all things."

Thanks for this. I would just note that these ideas are general to Yogacara and Tathagatagarbha strains of Buddhist metaphysics, and not exclusive to Zen. A lot of ideas which get passed off as "Zen teaching" are really mainstream Mahayana thinking.
Logged

"A riddle or the cricket's cry
Is to doubt a fit reply." - William Blake
asanga
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Bauddha
Posts: 9


« Reply #43 on: April 27, 2013, 06:12:12 PM »

We are studying Buddhism in religous studies and today we talked about the teachings of the Mahayana School, concerning Nirvana, especially the teachings about Buddha-nature and the idea that Samsara and Nirvana is essentially the same thing, just experienced in different ways. We used the Ratnagotravibhāga as a source. At some point I asked my teacher, that if Nirvana is a state of mind and requires the destruction of ones "self", then what is it that enters Nirvana? If there is no soul and no self, how can one be in Nirvana?

I know that my description is pretty simplistic, but i'm affraid to mess up my post if I try to go into too much detail. I just wanted to ask if there is some of the knowledgeable posters who could expand on the subject a little. My teachers responce was that it was a paradox, but I wanted to hear what you guys think.     

Hello, I'm a Buddhist who's been lurking here on-and-off for a few years (mostly interested in liturgy). There are a number of posters on this board who represent Buddhist views accurately and fairly (far more accurately than you would find Orthodox theology represented on Buddhist fora), & Iconodule has given a good summary of a Madhyamaka interpretation of the equivalence of samsara and nirvana. You asked specifically about the Ratnagotravibhāga, though, and that text explains it in quite different terms.

The RGV stresses that suchness (tathatā, although the text more commonly uses the synonyms dhātu "the element", dharmakāya, & tathāgatagarbha "the womb of the thus-gone") is the same for ordinary beings, bodhisattvas on the path, and buddhas. Karma and the afflictions (i.e. samsara) are "adventitious" ("Happening or carried on according to chance rather than design or inherent nature", Sanskrit āgantuka) stains on suchness. In reality, suchness is pure by nature and replete with all the uncreated qualities of a buddha. Thus, while it may seem to ordinary beings that at Awakening suchness is transformed by destroying karma & the afflictions and giving rise to the qualities of a buddha in their place, in fact nothing is destroyed and nothing created.

I'll translate a few passages from the root verses and Asanga's commentary to illustrate this point. Unfortunately scholastic Sanskrit is impossible to translate elegantly, but hopefully this will be a little more readable than Takasaki's translation (the only one freely available online). First, from Asanga's commentary on verse I.12, about the Truth of Cessation:

Quote
tatra nirodhasatyasya kathamadvayatā nirvikalpatā ca veditavyā / yathoktaṃ bhagavatā / śivo 'yaṃ śāriputra dharmakāyo 'dvayadharmāvikalpadharmā / tatra dvayamucyate karma kleśāṃśca / vikalpa ucyate karmakleśasamudayaheturayoniśomanasikāraḥ / tatprakṛtinirodhaprativedhād dvayavikalpāsamudācārayogena yo duḥkhasyātyantamanutpāda idamucyate duḥkhanirodhasatyam / na khalu kasyaciddharmasya vināśādduḥkhanirodhasatyaṃ paridīpitam / yathoktam / anutpādānirodhe mañjuśrīścittamanovijñānāni na pravartante / yatra cittamanovijñānāni na pravartante tatra na kaścitparikalpo yena parikalpenāyoniśomanasikuryāt / sa yoniśomanasikārapra yukto 'vidyāṃ na samutthāpayati / yaccāvidyāsamutthānaṃ tad dvādaśānāṃ bhavāṅgānāmasamutthānam / sājātiriti vistaraḥ / yathoktam / na khalu bhagavan dharmavināśo duḥkhanirodhaḥ / duḥkhanirodhanāmnā bhagavannanādikāliko 'kṛto 'jāto 'nutpanno 'kṣayaḥ kṣayāpagataḥ nityo dhruvaḥ śivaḥ śāśvataḥ prakṛtipariśuddhaḥ sarvakleśakośavinirmukto gaṅgāvālikāvyativṛttairavinirbhāgairacintyairbuddhadharmaiḥ samanvāgatastathāgatadharmakāyo deśitaḥ / ayameva ca bhagavaṃstathāgatadharmakāyo 'vinirmuktakleśakośastathāgatagarbhaḥ sūcyate / iti sarvavistareṇa yathāsūtrameva duḥkhanirodhasatyavyavasthānamanugantavyam /

How should the non-duality and non-conceptuality of the Truth of Cessation be understood? As the Blessed One said [in the Anūnatvāpūrṇatvanirdeśa-sūtra]: "This gracious dharmakāya, oh Śāriputra, is neither dual nor conceptual.  "Dual" here means karma and afflictions. "Conceptual"  means the faulty mental engagement [ayoniśomanasikāra] which is the cause for the arising of karma and afflictions. By means of not applying oneself to the dual and conceptual, through realizing that cessation is their nature, there is the complete non-arising of suffering. This is called "The Truth of the Cessation of Suffering". In no way is it called the "Truth of the Cessation of Suffering"  because of the destruction of any phenomenon whatsoever.

As it is said: "Oh Mañjuśrī, when there is neither arising nor cessation, no mind, intellect, or consciousness occurs. Where no mind, intellect, or consciousness occurs, there is no false imagination by which faulty mental engagement could take place.  One who practices correct mental engagement does not give rise to ignorance. Non-arising of ignorance also means the non-arising of the twelve links of existence. That is called "the unborn", and so on.

As it is said [in the Śrīmālādevī-sūtra]: "Oh Blessed One, the Cessation of Suffering is certainly not the destruction of phenomena.  By the name of "the Cessation of Suffering",  oh Blessed One, we teach the dharmakāya of the Thus-gone. It is beginningless, uncreated, unborn, not arisen, not destroyed, free from destruction, permanent, stable, gracious, eternal, by nature pure, free of the covering of all afflictions, endowed with the inconceivable, inseparable qualities of a buddha far exceeding in number the grains of sand in the Ganges. This very dharmakāya, oh Blessed One,  when it is not freed from the covering of the afflictions, is called the matrix of the Thus-Gone.

Next, perhaps the 2 most famous verses from the RGV, together with Asanga's commentary:

Quote
āpaneyamataḥ kiṃcidupaneyaṃ na kiṃcana /
draṣṭavyaṃ bhūtato bhūtaṃ bhūtadarśī vimucyate // 154 //
śūnya āgantukairdhātuḥ savinirbhāgalakṣaṇaiḥ /
aśūnyo 'nuttarairdharmairavinirbhāgalakṣaṇaiḥ // 155 //

kim anena paridīpitam / yato na kiṃcid apaneyam asty ataḥ prakṛtipariśuddhāt tathāgatadhātoḥ saṃkleśanimittam āgantukamalaśūnyatāprakṛtitvād asya / nāpy atra kiṃcid upaneyam asti vyavadānanimittam avinirbhāgaśuddhadharmaprakṛtitvāt / tata ucyate / śūnyas tathāgatagarbho vinirbhāgair muktajñaiḥ sarvakleśakośaiḥ / aśūnyo gaṅgānadīvālikāvyativṛttair avinirbhāgair amuktajñair acintyair buddhadharmair iti /

Nothing to be removed from it, nothing to be added:
the seer of reality is liberated by seeing reality as it really should be seen. v. 154

The element is empty of adventitious, separable things;
it is not empty of unsurpassed, inseparable qualities. v. 155

What is taught by these verses? That there is no factor of affliction whatsoever that needs to be removed from the naturally pure element of the thus-gone (tathāgata-dhātu), because it is by nature empty of adventitious stains. Nor is there any factor of purification whatsoever that needs to be added, because it is by nature endowed with inseparable pure qualities. Therefore it is said [in the Śrīmālādevī]: "The tathāgatarabha is empty of the coverings of all afflictions, which are separable and differentiable from it. It is not empty of the inconceivable qualities of a buddha, far exceeding in number the grains of sand in the Ganges, which are inseparable and undifferentiable from it.
Logged
asanga
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Bauddha
Posts: 9


« Reply #44 on: April 27, 2013, 06:23:45 PM »

However, in Theravāda (and in Mahāyāna), parinirvāṇa is not a total annihilation of awareness or "consciousness" altogether. (If it were, parinirvāṇa would be no different than the lack of afterlife posited by materialists and physicalists). Awareness is still present, if only because there is "awareness" of parinirvāṇa. In Theravāda, this "awareness" is known as citta, or the heart. When the citta is purified of ignorance, nirvāṇa (freedom from bondage) is realized. When the citta is contaminated by ignorance, craving arises, producing bondage.

In Theravāda abhidhamma, citta is a synomym of viññāna, not a separate awareness which continues in anupādisesa-nibbāna (nirvana without remainder). The heart is hadayavatthu, the physical support for mind-consciousness, just as the eyes are the physical support for visual-consciousness. It is classified as part of the aggregate of form, and also doesn't continue after parinibbāna.

What happens to a buddha after death is a question the Buddha refused to answer: it's the subject of 4 of the 10 "unexplained dharmas". He explains why the question "what happens to a Buddha after death?" is unanswerable through the example of an extinguished fire in the Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta, and justifies not answering the unexplained dharmas in general with the parable of the poisoned arrow in the Cula-Malunkyovada-Sutta.

Still, Theravāda doctrine clearly doesn't consider nibbāna to be annihilation. The Deathless (accuta, amata) is a very common synonym for nibbāna, and the Nibbāna-sutta famously declares it to be "not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned", which according to the logic of Buddhist metaphysics means that it is permanent and unchanging. It is also strikingly similar to the description of the dharmakāya from the Śrīmālādevī-sūtra quoted in Asanga's commentary on the RGV.

Quote
Some have argued that the Mahāyāna or Yogācāra idea of ālaya-vijñāna corresponds to the Theravāda citta.

The ālaya-vijñāna is often compared to the Theravāda bhavaṅga-citta, but it's not an exact correspondence.
Logged
Tags:
Pages: 1 2 »  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.173 seconds with 73 queries.