Stories of The Mad Yogi – 4Posted: July 8, 2012 Filed under: Buddhism, humour, mindfulness, Theravada Buddhism, Zen Buddhism | Tags: Emptiness, mad, samsara, story, Sunyata, the universe, yogi Leave a comment
A lottery ticket blew into my flowerpot. Not a crisp packet, or a newspaper. Two lines of numbers for Wednesday’s draw.
“Do not be fooled by the universe!” I told my students. “It will only let you down! A sign from the Universe that I should use the wealth wisely? No, a sign of sunyata, the worthless, the clothing of samsara. Ignore it and the universe will be yours.”
Confident was I in my practise of Sunyata.
Anyway, there was was only one right number in both lines.
Emptiness, Selflessness and The Two PathsPosted: June 24, 2012 Filed under: Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism | Tags: Cittamatrin, Emptiness, Existence, Madhamika, mahayana, Method, Profound, Selflessness 1 Comment
Nothing, that which is worthless. It is sunyata. It is empty of worth, meaning. All grasped at and craved phenomena are sunyata, worthless.
The soul, self, I, is not permanent because its bases are impermanent. Vaibashika.
All persons and objects lack self or selfhood. Where self here means actual, outstanding self, independent of all around it; part of the world, but existing in a different individual causation continuum. Spawned or PRODUCED from a previous continuum or creator (who can be human).
This self has to be shown to be dependent on parts and causes and conditions. Thus not independent continua but part of one, illusory-like appearance continuum of continuous, spontaneous causes and created moment to moment. Hence the Prasangika view on subtle impermanence. Not distinguishable from one moment to another, but a play, or sea, of continuous causes. Thus Buddhahood ‘writes’ this script from the nature of the spontaneous now. This is buddhahood, the Tathagata that ‘writes’ or ‘produces’ all things. Not a person, not a god, but a potential of all. More than a person, a deity – a whole, (definitive). Now, we arrive at the Shentong (and the Tantra) from the Prasangika in a natural progression.
If something exists it exists as a part of the great continuum (all causes, all existence, the play of buddhanature) or as independent nature. This latter is denied by the Prasangika as false. The former is realised as conventional nature.
This existence (profound path) does not differ in any way from the Mahayana (method path) realised experience. Thus Tsongkhapa’s view that there should be a union of the two schools may be seen as an indistinguishability of result, method from profundity.
Now, in both, the ultimate is the creative buddha potential. Dharmakaya, Dharmadhatu and Tathagarbha are seen as synonyms from this realised point of view. The conventional is the manifest appearance of cause, karma, joy, or dependence-related mind and cause.
These cannot be separated anymore than the motion of water can be separated from water or the play of light through that water can be separated from its motion.
This does not include archetypes, the idea that forms already exist in some way that can affect the play of manifestation. For the nature of buddhanature is ultimately unknowable in that it cannot be described and exists as a base for the mind; a base that cannot be separated, or distinguished, from the play of appearances itself.
Absorbtion of the self into the ultimate tathagarbha is the gone, the tathagata. The existence of the body in the play, the wisdom, is the nirmanakaya – the gone; gone into the immediate being of existing. The joy arising is the sambhogakaya, the union of self and existence. The all, the whole, all three is the svabhavikakaya (the entire nature, buddhahood).
The Mahayana (method) arrives at this through merit, purity and blessings. The profound arrives at this through the contemplation above. In the first, it is the mind seeing non-existence in the play of form. In the second it is the realisation of seeing the space of existence. Therefore by concentrating on the conditional the Mahayana method finds the delightful existence of non-existence, dependent-related mind phenomena. And the profound, by concentrating on the non-existence, the emptiness of space or things, – uttermost selflessness of the most subtle, finds its glorious existence of nonindependent-related phenomena, the play of existence. That which it looked at, the ultimate, is the buddhanature, and is not found separate from the play of existence. Thus the madhyamaka prasangika dwells finally in existence and the Mahayana Cittamatra first finds the ultimate, the emptiness of wisdom, in phenomena; phenomena utterly non-independent of the mind, and finally dwells in the tathagarbha, the union of the divine.
Sunyata – The Abandonment of AllPosted: February 26, 2012 Filed under: Buddhism, meditation, Tibetan Buddhism | Tags: all things, Emptiness, Meditation, nature, phenomena, Sunyata, Voidness 1 Comment
Sunyata, emptiness or voidness, is the nature of that which has been abandoned. By realising sunya, the lack of worth of everything, the renunciate begins to examine the nature of those same things that he or she has abandoned to see if they too lack anything worth pursuing. This begins the process of analysis common to many approaches to Buddhism.
Indeed, understanding sunya as the approach to sunyata reveals directly why there are two stages or mental factors associated with this process (Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Understanding the Mind, chapter: the four changeable mental factors). On the path of very subtle renunciation we use investigation to determine if any object is worth following. Then entering the path of sunyata we use analysis to examine the very nature of that same phenomenon.
Thus, meditation on the results of your analysis leads you to gain a direct realisation of the nature of phenomena. The nature of the very phenomena you have discarded in your investigation rescues you from the danger of despondency that you might experience otherwise through the result of your investigation. Now sunyata becomes a joyful thing and surprisingly its first realisation is called ‘The Joyful’!
Sunya – The WorthlessPosted: February 23, 2012 Filed under: Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism | Tags: Emptiness, Sunyata, Voidness 1 Comment
Sunya, according to Edward Conze, means worthless as in ‘this tissue has no value to me, it is worthless’.
To quote Bodhidharma “all things are empty, and there is nothing desirable or to be sought after”, and to quote Edward Conze, “Things are empty in the sense that they are unsubstantial and unsatisfactory”.
This ‘unsatisfactoryness’ I associate with duhkha or contaminated suffering in Buddha’s original teaching. This is the second of three signs or four seals within Buddhism that mark a person as being a buddhist. This sign states that all phenomena or dharma are unsatisfactory or marked with suffering. ‘Unsubstantial’ I interpret as to be ‘unable to fulfil desire’, and relate it to a difficult concept in emptiness – the phrase held by all schools that phenomena are not self-supporting or substantially existent. I will look at all these words over the next few posts.
Bodhidharma then is saying not that things are void like space, but empty of meaning or worth. That there is nothing in samsara, or life as we know it, that is worth pursuing; it cannot fulfill your desires which are the desires for happiness or satisfaction. This is very important and explains the whole of Buddha’s position.
The Three Doors To LiberationPosted: February 23, 2012 Filed under: Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism | Tags: Buddhism, Doors, Emptiness, Liberation, Sunyata Leave a comment
I was reading Edward Conze’s Buddhist Thought in India Page 59 onwards and came to this conclusion. First I understand both Signlessness (animitta) and Wishlessness (apranihita), the second and third doors of liberation; and I will write or teach on these in the future. Indeed, I realised Signlessness was my very own path. So what about Sunyata, the first of the doors to liberation? Sunyata, emptiness or voidness, has always given me a problem since it seems to lead to nothingness. Yet, it is the principle, or only, method in the tradition in which I have studied and practised – The New Kadampa or Gelug Tradition. So what is Sunyata? Over the next few posts I will examine and explain these different doors to Liberation and especially where I think Sunyata comes from