Monday, July 15, 2013

How Luminosity, Clarity And Clear Light Relate To Emptiness

Robert Dominik:
From Garma C.C. Chang's "The Buddhist Teaching of Totality. The Philosophy of Hwa Yen Buddhism.": One day Empress Wu asked Fa Tsang the following question: Reverend Master, I understand that man's knowledge is acquired through two approaches: one is by experience, the direct approach,and the other by inference, the indirect approach. I also understand that the first five consciousnesses and the Alaya only take the direct approach; whereas, the mind, or the sixth consciousness, can take both. Therefore, the findings of the conscious mind are not always trustworthy. The superiority and reliability of direct experience over indirect inference is taught in many scriptures. You have explained the Hwa Yen Doctrine to me with great clarity and ingenuity; sometimes I can almost 'See the vast Dharmadhatu in my mind's eye, and touch a few spots here and there in the great Totality. But all this, I realize, is merely indirect conjecture or guesswork. One cannot really understand Totality in an immediate sense before reaching Enlightenment. With your genius, however, I wonder whether you can give me a demonstration that will reveal the mystery of the Dharmadhatuincluding such wonders as the "all in one" and the "one in all," the simultaneous arising of all realms, the interpenetration and containment of all dharmas, the Non-Obstruction of space and time, and the like? After taking thought for a while, Fa Tsang said, "I shall try, your Majesty. The demonstration will ·be prepared very soon."

A few days later Fa Tsang came to the Empress and said, "Your Majesty, I am now ready. Please come with me to a place where the demonstration will be given." He then led the Empress into a room lined with mirrors. On the ceiling and floor, on all four walls, and even in the four corners of the room were fixed huge mirrors-all facing one another. Then Fa Tsang produced an image of Buddha and ·placed it in the center of the room with a burning torch beside it. "Oh, how fantastic! How marvelous!" cried the Empress as she gazed at this aweinspiring panorama of infinite interreflections. Slowly and calmly Fa Tsang addressed her: Your Majesty, this is a demonstration of Totality in the Dharmadhatu. In each and every mirror within this room you will find the reflections of all the other mirrors with the Buddha's image in
them. And in each and every reflection of any mirror you will find all the reflections of all the other mirrors, together with the specific Buddha image in each, without omission or misplacement. The prihciple of interpenetration and containment is clearly shown by this demonstration. Right here we see an example of one in all and all in one-the mystery of realm embracing realm ad infinitum is thus revealed. The principle of the simultaneous arising -of different realms is so obvious here that no explanation is necessary. These infinite reflections of different realms now simultaneously arise without the slightest effort; they just naturally do so in a perfectly harmonious way. . . . As for the principle of the non-obstruction of space, it can be demonstrated in this manner . . . (saying which, he took a crystal ball from his sleeve and placed it in the palm of his hand) . Your Majesty, now we see all the mirrors and their reflections within this small crystal ball. Here we have an example of the small containing the large as well as of the large containing the small. This is a demonstration of the non-obstruction of "sizes," or space. As for the non-obstruction of times, the past entering the future and the future entering the past cannot be shown in this demonstration, because this is, after all, a static one, lacking the dynamic quality of the temporal elements. A demonstration of the non-obstruction of times, and of time and space, is indeed difficult to arrange by ordinary means. One must reach a different level to be capable of witnessing a "demonstration" such as that. But in any case, your Majesty, I hope this simple demonstration has served its purpose to your satisfaction.
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Soh, Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, Albert Hong and 12 others like this.

Albert Hong:
Sunday at 7:44pm via mobile · Like · 6

Jackson Peterson: This is perfectly the holographic nature of the universe and all reality. That's exactly how its experienced here at times.
Yesterday at 8:36am via mobile · Like · 2

Jackson Peterson: Great picture Albert Hong!
Yesterday at 8:37am via mobile · Like

Robert Dominik: Holographic nature of the universe is only a model sugessted in physics that isn't sufficient to describe how reality works (and it is the way things work that no model ever will be). Still it is quite useful for the purpose of communication and I also like to share such knowledge with people who may not be rady for studying buddhism themselves and practising but could use a little interesting information about the miraculous universe 
11 hours ago · Like · 1

Robert Dominik: Book is only a book and certainly experiental insight is of more value than speculations and descriptions but when I was reading this book some time ago I found a valuable excerpt that may be useful when talking with people about the Universe (when I was younger I was thinking about the problems mentioned here in numbers 2 and 3). Here it is: 

Garma C.C. Chang's "The Buddhist Teaching of Totality. The Philosophy of Hwa Yen Buddhism.":

"(...)we have found that the Totality and Non-Obstruction of Buddhahood are expressed in these terms:

1. That a universe can be infinitely vast or small depending on the scale of measurement, or the position from which a measurement is made.

2. That the "larger" universes include the "smaller" ones as a solar system contains its planets, or a planet contains its atoms. This system of higher realms embracing the lower ones is pictured in a structure extending ad infinitum in both directions to the infinitely large or the infinitely small. This is called in the Hwa Yen vocabulary the view of realms-embracing-realms.

3. That a "small" universe, (such as an atom) not only contains the infinite "lesser" universes within itself, but also contains the infinite "larger" universes (such as the solar system), thus establishing the genuine Totality of Non-Obstruction.

4. That "time" has lost its meaning as merely a concept for measuring the flow of events in the past, present, and future. It has now become an element of Totality which actualizes the total interpenetration and containment of all the events of past, present, and future in the eternal present.

5. Upon the grand stage of the infinite Dharmadhatu, countless various dramas of religion are being enacted in numerous dimensions of space/time throughout eternity.
10 hours ago · Like · 5

Soh: Thusness: Is your experience beingness or maha suchness? (comments: on the term 'maha suchness' see Then in the most ordinary and mundane activities, every action is fully exerted.

Me: Yes, it is like universe activity... not drop of water dissolved into static beingness but oceanic activity in which drop and ocean is seamlessly arising.

Thusness: No sense of beingness anymore... that is good. Rather it is this maha suchness of total exertion in this immediate moment... yet empty. Mature this experience. Feel this maha suchness... until it becomes as natural as breathing.

Now you know the difference? Tell me the difference between anatta and this experience and what is exactly obscuring the smooth progress to this insight and experience?

Me: The dualistic agent may be gone but maha requires the replacement of inherent view with D.O. so that when you see this, you see that... you see everything as entirely seamless self-arising activity. Not just this but how this arise without self, this is, that is.

Thusness: Well said. First you must be left with only manifestation. Solely that. Then into the general [principle of] D.O. Before that, there is this mini sense of activity but will not be thorough. But you must make this a continuous practice and keep integrating the view of general D.O. to replace dualistic and inherent framework. Till even this view is also forgotten.

p.s. Yesterday a dream of clarity arose in conjunction with Thusness's visions and meditative experiences (due to karmic links this is not the first time it happened) regarding a drop of water placed in an ocean, upon hearing this phrase in the dream there was an immediate shift where dream dawns as non-dual clear light (without the dream dissolving into formless clear light) which is free from subject/object duality, boundless/oceanic, vividly intense, blissful and exhilarating.
7 hours ago · Edited · Like · 2

Soh: I like this thread on Hua Yen... will be posting to my blog. Thanks for sharing.
8 hours ago · Like · 4

Jackson Peterson: I have found as transparent openness, the entire field is without obstruction, shimmering luminosity without possibility of reification and with no borders dividing this or that. The vividness of experience is its nature without an observer. The vividness of experience with an observer is also its nature. Nothing needs correcting. Empty as it already is, its left however it is. Reified and seemingly solid, its left as its own emptiness, just as it is. Meddling with what is, is also what it is!
6 hours ago via mobile · Like

Soh: The nature of experience is fundamentally empty of any self or observer to begin with. There never has been a self, never is, never will be. The deluded sense of an observer however arises due to afflictive dependent origination with ignorance and karmic tendencies as cause. Wisdom of twofold emptiness actualized liberates such ignorance, no other means or effort actually works. (just like no amount of trying to force out the irrational fear of monster actually works - one only needs to turn on the lights and see there isn't any)

Even trying to "let things be as they are" remains a delusion if there is still the sense of an "I" that is "letting things be".
6 hours ago · Edited · Like · 2

Soh: The nature is emptiness, emptiness means empty of self, emptiness of self is twofold. Luminosity is the essence, and all expressions is self-luminous. That luminosity or self-luminous expression is empty by nature, empty of being a subjective perceiver or having objective existence. (p.s. i'm not using Dzogchen terms here, as there are some differences in terminologies the way I use it)
6 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Soh, exactly. However nothing obstructs this Clear Light Knowing, whatever the condition, its always known just as it is. There is no entity that needs rescuing through a better view or seeing "two-fold emptiness". Two fold emptiness is a description not a cause. Realizing two-fold emptiness releases the intellect from its samsaric journey, but it then enjoys a liberated condition. Its still a "mind" state. i think this is what John is working you through. This is not one's essential nature of pure knowing, the nature of all experience. This pure nature is never conditioned nor bound. It requires only recognizing itself as this pure knowing in your current condition. Your pointing to a method using mind to release mind. I am pointing to a method that points to that which needs no releasing. In this case we use the essence of mind to recognize the essence of mind, the mind then dissolves upon recognition of the "knowing", without working with minds contents at all. We don't have to remove the clouds to discover the sky. By focusing on the clear space of the sky, we discover the sky immediately. Just how its seen here... 
6 hours ago via mobile · Like

Soh: Nobody said anything obstructs clear light knowing. I'm saying it is not correct to say that " The vividness of experience with an observer is also its nature." 

Vividness of experience is empty of observer by nature, there never has been an observer, ever.
6 hours ago · Like · 1

Robert Dominik: I like this thread on Hua Yen... will be posting to my blog. Thanks for sharing. <- You're welcome. I recommend the book - it is full of such nice excerpts. Pity though because one day my backpack along with my friend's copy of the book was stolen (due to my lack of mindfulness that day) but I am planning to buy it in a few days. To be honest before coming across the book I had no idea of Hwa Yen. It uses some new terminology, and slightly different concepts and tools than other schools - though its still certainly Mahayana ^^
6 hours ago · Edited · Like · 2

Soh: "Your pointing to a method using mind to release mind."

No, first of all if by mind you mean concepts, then obviously it is not. Twofold emptiness is realized as a non-conceptual wisdom and awakening, as the nature of that luminosity. It has nothing to do with mind/concepts/intellect.

On the other hand, I've realized luminosity way before realizing emptiness. Realizing luminosity does not liberate fundamental ignorance that is why it is not a complete realization.
6 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: Soh, you cannot realize luminosity before emptiness -- in sutrayāna they are synonyms.
6 hours ago · Like · 2

Jackson Peterson: There is no "fundamental ignorance" as there is "no one" that is ignorant. The knowing has no ignorance at any time. What I mean Soh, is what you are advising is excellent! But I am saying one can penetrate directly without addressing the issues of two-fold emptiness. The natural knowing is not lacking some insight. It never strayed into samsara. You really don't get this?
6 hours ago via mobile · Like

Jackson Peterson: Oh my god! I agree with Malcolm!
6 hours ago via mobile · Like

Soh: Malcolm Smith: Very little is spoken about 'luminosity' in sutras like the Prajnaparamita class (other than one vague statement as you know) and I am not sure of how it is defined there. 

What I mean by luminosity is the knowing, aware aspect of mind, there is only a pure presence/knowingness - it can manifest as a formless sense of existence or it can also manifest as non-dual sensory experience. This luminosity is not only spoken in Buddhist sutras but also in described in various religions including the upanishads which describes the atman-brahman as self-luminous. 

This luminous, knowing aspect can be realized without penetrating its empty nature - not in the sense of formlessness, but empty of any self entity. This is why knowingness can be reified in a wrong way such as what happens in Advaita and certain forms of Shentong.
5 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: Hi Soh, you are talking about citta-ābhāsvarāḥ
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: i.e. monks, the mind is luminous and afflctions roll in; monks the mind is luminous and afflctions roll out.
5 hours ago · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: the luminosity of citta
5 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: Soh, they then didn't know actual "luminosity". Knowing real Clear Light is knowing its empty nature, that's because the luminosity is itself Wisdom. That wisdom IS the luminosity, yeshe.
5 hours ago via mobile · Like

Malcolm Smith: which really means purity
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: jax, he is not talking about citta prakriti prabhāsvara
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: i.e. the the original nature of luminosity of the mind
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: he is talking about the notion of the mind being inherently free from afflctions
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: that is how citta-ābhāsvarāḥ is used in the Pali canon and so on
5 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: Malcolm Smith, he is saying that one can realize or recognize the "luminosity" without realizing emptiness. They are inseparable in time or experience.
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Malcolm Smith: I dont think he intends that
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: he is talking about something else
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: he is talking about clarity, not luminosity
5 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: I thought he said that? No? Soh?
5 hours ago via mobile · Like

Malcolm Smith: he said luminosity, but he means clarity gsal ba, not 'od gsal
5 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: O'dsal is luminosity no?
5 hours ago via mobile · Like

Malcolm Smith: yes, but that is not what he is talking about
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: he is talking about clarity
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: cognizance
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: he is saying that clarity can be recognized without emptiness being realized and that can lead to reification that happens in Advaita, Vedanta in general as well as in gzhan stong
5 hours ago · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: I also agree with him on that point
5 hours ago · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: it is easy to recognize clarity and mistake it for being uiltimate
5 hours ago · Like · 3

Soh: Thanks Malcolm for the clarification. Are there different usage of the term luminosity?

e.g. Lama Tony Duff seems to describe prabhåsvara as similar to what you call "clarity". 

"Luminosity or illumination, Skt. prabhåsvara, Tib. ’od gsal ba: The core of mind has two aspects: an emptiness factor and a knowing factor. The Buddha and many Indian religious teachers used “luminosity” as a metaphor for the knowing quality of the core of mind. If in English we would say “Mind has a knowing quality”, the teachers of ancient India would say, “Mind has an illuminative quality; it is like a source of light which illuminates what it knows”.

This term been translated as “clear light” but that is a mistake that comes from not understanding the etymology of the word. It does not refer to a light that has the quality of clearness (something that makes no sense, actually!) but to the illuminative property which is the nature of the empty mind.

Note also that in both Sanskrit and Tibetan Buddhist litera- ture, this term is frequently abbreviated just to Skt. “vara” and Tib. “gsal ba” with no change of meaning. Unfortu- nately, this has been thought to be another word and it has then been translated with “clarity”, when in fact it is just this term in abbreviation."
5 hours ago · Edited · Like

Malcolm Smith: Hi Soh, I already addressed the errors that Duff makes in his Sanskrit here, if you recall.
5 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: For example, "vara" means a boundary, it is not a short cut for prabhāsvara, etc.
5 hours ago · Like

Soh: Thank you.

Can this clarity be free of subject/object dualism and yet held to be substantial and true existence?
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: This clarity has the quality of svasamvedana (rang gyis rig pa, not the same as rang gi rig pa i.e. one's vidyā), it is self-knowing and so yes, it can be free of subject object dualism. However, as a quality of citta, since the citta is momentary, so is it.
5 hours ago · Like · 4

Soh: Just to confirm: luminosity, the original nature of luminosity of the mind, citta prakriti prabhāsvara, is synonymous with emptiness free of extremes, yes?
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: Yes.
5 hours ago · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: For example, the 8000 line PP [prajñāpāramitā] sutra states: "Because the emptiness of the conditioned is naturally luminous, it is pure and totally lacks fundamental afflictions."
5 hours ago · Like · 2

Malcolm Smith: To be more precise, prakriti prabhāsvara is a synonym of emptiness
5 hours ago · Like · 2

Malcolm Smith: For example, it also says ""Because the earth element is naturally luminous, it is pure and totally lacks fundamental afflictions."
5 hours ago · Like · 2

Soh: In a previous thread, you said that Dzogchen does not agree with Gelug's characterization of clear light as momentary, is that right?
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: The Gelugpa make a distinction between ultimate clear light and the mind of clear light, claiming that the latter is a very subtle momentary mind that forms the basis for the continuum of the person.
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: What Mipham disagrees with is the idea that the Gelug mind of clear light, which is momentary, has the same meaning as rigpa.
5 hours ago · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Ok... makes sense all around... We don't have the "I am" in Dzogchen, and I guess Soh is saying that the realization of I Am is realization of Luminosity, but it can be reified as a Self or self. Yes? And also yes sal ba is the clear aspect of sem or alaya.
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: there is a term in Dzogchen called "gnyug ma seems", meaning fundamental mind, which is a syonym of bodhicitta. Because of this, some Gelug influenced Nyingmapas tried to equate the Gelug doctrine with Dzogchen. But gnyug ma sems is completely unconditioned, like bodhicitta.
5 hours ago · Like · 2

Piotr Ludwiński: "I AM" we speak about is pure formless consciousness without cognizer/cognized split that is then reified as mirror dual with phenomena or then one with phenomena. When mirror error is seen through sound is no less "I AM" than that pure formless consciousness and experience is without center.
5 hours ago · Edited · Like

Soh: Is ultimate clear light, fundamental mind, bodhicitta unchanging/non-momentary? What is its characteristics?
5 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: correct. Ultimate clear light, gnyug ma sems, bodhicitta are unchanging and permanent.
5 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1

Soh: And what are its characteristics? The Hindus speak of Atman-Brahman as changeless, etc, how is it different from ultimate clear light?
5 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: Ultimate clear light is emptiness
5 hours ago · Like · 5

Soh: Thanks for the clarifications  Very much appreciated...
5 hours ago · Edited · Like

Soh: More qns... is ultimate clear light, fundamental mind and bodhicitta equivalent to rigpa?

Also, is rigpa a state of resting in "total beingness" or is the knowledge actualized as spontaneous self-arising activity?
4 hours ago · Edited · Like

Malcolm Smith: RIg pa is knowledge of one's primordial state, the inseparable clarity and emptiness
4 hours ago · Like · 2

Jackson Peterson: Malcolm Smith, makes good sense. Now I understand what you meant about the Gelugpa view, but the Dalai Lama is not using "Mind of Clear Light" as that "momentary" mind in his book "Dzogchen", but as a "permanent" Fundamental Mind. Is that a unique Dzogchen view in Gelugpa from the Fifth Dalai Lama?
3 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: The Great Fifth's Dzogchen is perfect. There is no fault with it. But the problem with HHDL's book is that he is very much trying to explain Dzogchen to Gelugpas without distinguishing the Gelug view of clear light mind with the notion of 'od gsal gi sems, "luminous mind", etc. in Dzogchen. So when he says that the mind of clear light and rigpa are the same, Gelugs will hear that their presentation of the mind of clear light will agree with Dzogchen, and it does not.
3 hours ago · Edited · Like

Malcolm Smith: See the Great Fifth was an important Rime Master [Like HHDL], and practiced deeply Lamdre as well as Dzogchen, writing seminal and important commentaries in both lineages. If he had a short coming, it was his distaste for Kagyu, and he dismissed Ganden/Kagyu Mahamudra and criticized the First Panchen Lama for being too interested in Kagyu matters.
3 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: Wow, these guys lived such "soap opera drama" lives! Thanks!
3 hours ago · Like

Robert Dominik: If he had a short coming, it was his distaste for Kagyu, and he dismissed Ganden/Kagyu Mahamudra and criticized the First Panchen Lama for being too interested in Kagyu matters. <- Could you explain in short why was he distasteful for Kagyu?
2 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: Sure, when he was a young man, his government was involved in a major war for control of tibet with supporters of the Karma Kagyu.
2 hours ago · Like · 1

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland: Clarity means cognizance; vividness; "brightness"; knowingness.
Luminosity is synonymous with two-fold emptiness aka. freedom from extremes.

Rigpa means knowledge of one's beginingless state, inseparable clarity and emptiness. And this is synonymous with clarity and luminosity?

So a space metaphor (clarity – a clearing in the woods) is used for cognizance and a light metaphor (luminosity – the shine or glow of a lamp) is used for two-fold emptiness?

To me this seems backwards. Cognizance seems like sourceless glow and emptiness seems like seamless space. What is the rationale for switching the terms?

Also, Clear Light and Wisdom is luminosity? If so, why distinguish?

In all of this, the chief point seems to be distinguishing the base from the all-base. What is the base?

Malcolm wrote:
> You cannot realize luminosity before emptiness -- in sutrayāna they are synonyms.

But you, representing Dzogchen, said several times that luminosity is synonymous with emptiness. What gives?

This is my current understanding. Please pick apart any and all that doesn't align — that would be very helpful!

Seems like there's three "levels":

— cognizance/clarity (I AM)
— emptiness + cognizance/clarity (Mahayana teachings)
— Luminosity/Clear Light (capital letters, hehe) (Dzogchen + Mahamudra)
May 21 at 4:03pm · Edited · Like

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland: Alternatively clarity can be a metaphor of penetration ("seeing through"), as in translucency. Still, the terms seems mixed.
May 21 at 4:01pm · Edited · Like

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland: Btw, what a terrific thread this is! Hwa Yen, Thusness and some thorough clarifications by Malcolm! Thank you all 
May 21 at 4:16pm · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Clarity has two words in Tibetan:
Sal wa refers to a clarity within the mind: sem. Like a clear state of mind. Then there is o'd sal meaning "Clear Light" or the Clarity of Rigpa. This Clear Light in Dzogchen is permanent. It is emptiness. Emptiness is cognitive Knowing at the level of Rigpa wisdom, or Self-Arising Wisdom Known as "rang jyung yeshe". Emptiness is never "empty", rather emptiness is always luminous cognition called O'dsal or Clear Light. When we investigate the nature of emptiness we always find aware Clarity. When we investigate aware Clarity, we find its nature to be empty.
May 22 at 5:23am via mobile · Like · 1

Soh: Malcolm and I think you have confused gsal ba with 'od gsal.
May 22 at 7:18am · Like

Soh: "So a space metaphor (clarity – a clearing in the woods) is used for cognizance" -- no, actually, its like what Kyle said
May 22 at 10:59am · Edited · Like

Soh: "
— emptiness + cognizance/clarity (Mahayana teachings)
— Luminosity/Clear Light (capital letters, hehe) (Dzogchen + Mahamudra)"

As Malcolm said,
luminosity = emptiness
clear light - it depends on whether it is ultimate clear light (emptiness) or the clarity aspect

In Dzogchen, rigpa is also the knowledge of the inseparability of clarity and emptiness.

Your other points should be better answered by Malcolm.. I'm not good with terminologies.
May 22 at 11:02am · Edited · Like · 2

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland: Yes, I think our conversation clarified it for me. And yes, space makes more sense to me to be used for emptiness and not clarity, which was one of the reasons why I was confused.

Sourceless glow/shine and seamless, unobstructed space, inseparable!
May 22 at 12:03pm via mobile · Edited · Like

Jackson Peterson: The main thing is that emptiness is intelligent, aware, cognizant.
May 22 at 3:49pm via mobile · Like

Malcolm Smith: Jax, the main point is that nature of the mind is inseparable clarity and emptiness.

Sent from my iPad
May 23 at 5:58am via  · Like · 2

Soh: hi malcolm, sad to say jax has left this group.

Me: hi jackson, i noticed that for some reason you left the group, just like you to know that your presence, sharing and discussions are appreciated even if we may not agree on every point and you're welcome to join back any time you like to.

Jax: Thank you Soh, and please share your wonderful posts on my groups! The Dharma Wheel discussion group is not my cup of tea. I have no problem with you at all! 
May 23 at 6:01am · Like · 1

Piotr Ludwiński: "share your wonderful posts on my groups!" I may be wrong but it seems like he was refuted too much and too effectively here. Maybe he needs group to be focused on his vision and view for it be his cup of tea lol. He left us already not long ago, probably will come back after few days, haha.
May 23 at 6:05am · Like · 1

Albert Hong: He does have a group. It's called Transparent Being.
May 23 at 6:39am · Like

Soh: And 'Dzogchen Discussions'
May 23 at 6:40am · Like

Stephen Metcalf: It was good to have him here. The contrast of opinions brought out clearer and more in depth answers. This will be missed.
May 23 at 8:07am · Like · 6

Piotr Ludwiński: Don't worry, I think he will come back sooner or later lol.
May 23 at 8:11am · Like

Stephen Metcalf: Who knows ? Sometimes the comments get a bit insulting. Almost like school boys. He is earnest and even though you disagree with him he is courageous for sticking to his views.
May 23 at 8:17am · Edited · Like · 1

Piotr Ludwiński: I remember that Jax called many of us morons and potatoes by the way. What we discuss here mostly is views, no one is saying he is unrealized intellectualist (like he often accused other people who did not agree with his views). No one is accusing him with lack of sincerity and courage.
May 23 at 8:23am · Edited · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: Mixing up different concepts that are used in different context in various buddhist schools is simply confusing... Complete spiritual technologies like Dzogchen/Mahamudra teachings do not need "corrections" which are done in a way that is creating space for substantialistic misinterpretation of them etc.. If these corrections make Dzogchen/Mahamudra teachings look like something that "even" pali cannon effectively refutes... then I presume it does not lead to accumulation of too much merit... I suppose that is the reason why he is sometimes very strongly refuted. If I am wrong with this view, I will be happy to be refuted by Malcolm or Kyle.
May 23 at 8:31am · Edited · Like

Stephen Metcalf: On a very light and non-disrespectful note, his comment about potatoes might be relevant given your profile pic . To continue, I did not mean to imply that he did not partake in the insults also as he did. I just think that it is interesting how pretty much everyone here that comments regularly [ except Soh !! ] slips into the reactionary. If you are very clear on your truth, why would this reactionary back and forth need to even occur?
May 23 at 8:44am · Like · 2

Piotr Ludwiński: That is why his presence and these discussions were helpful; to realize that patience is not listed as paramita without reason.
May 23 at 8:46am · Like · 1

Albert Hong: Stephen Metcalf

I wonder that myself.

When I read comments I get a distaste in my being. Kind of gut reaction of unease.

And there are two things I can interpret. This is my shadow being projected outwards to a post/poster.

Or it is something else, another way to interpret and feel the underlying purpose, intention and meaning behind the post.

Maybe there isn't really a good reason or justification or any absolute way or interpretation.

But I do see that some posts bring that up in me. And its my problem, buts its very, very odd. Should I trust my distrust? Or should I just be airy, fairy and agreeably?

Guess it depends. Maybe its style? I don't like abstract expressionism, no matter how much I do it, learn about it or just gawk at it. I don't enjoy or like it. But I do enjoy surrealism. 

Bias! Dualistic thinking! But hey maybe that's just how forums and this world works?

Whatever it is, it is pregnant for inquiry.
May 23 at 9:00am · Like · 3

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: Stephen: "If you are very clear on your truth, why would this reactionary back and forth need to even occur?"
Do not forget that Jax pretends to be (and actes as) a teacher, he writes books and has students. Therefore it is a necessity to be reactionary to erroneous allegations of Jax. Hevput himself in the position of the knower who teaches others ... he is the one who creates that situation. But a true teacher wil not be bothered by our reactions, he would show where we are wrong and why he is right. Unfortunately I think all that is, also, a question of business ...
May 23 at 9:22am · Like

Stephen Metcalf: Serge, I respectfully disagree. Not with everything you say but your overview. The most potent revelations occur when we share about OUR part of the equation.
May 23 at 9:28am · Like

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: If you speak of harsh words, of course I agree with you ... not on being immediately reactif to everything he says, when it's wrong ... it's the result of his teacher position. Also it's a long story with Jax ...
May 23 at 9:34am · Like

Steven Monaco: A wordless expression sighs as my Heart smiles at these games... and the points missed under all the words argued. None of this touches a heart that needs words to mean more than holding an open space.
May 23 at 1:25pm · Like

Albert Hong: Steven Monaco

The ongoing wow we call our lives 
May 23 at 4:10pm via mobile · Like · 1

Robert Dominik: Albert Hong : I wonder that myself.

When I read comments I get a distaste in my being. Kind of gut reaction of unease.
<- Even when insight into anatta starts to enter one's experience... there are still so many impurities, propensities and habits. Realising that there is no self does not equal to complete abandoning of the self. There may be still some clinging, some subtle arrogance or satisfaction "Yeah... I HAVE REALISED emptiness" (Trungpa made a comment about such thing xd). So even when people see the wrongness of the views they still might become agitated about people expressing such wrong views. This is the simple, primitive "OH NOEZ SOMEONE IS WRONGZ ON DA INTERNET!!!111" That is a sad truth but also what motivates to further practice 

And let's not forget - understanding the right view does not mean that people don't have their opinions and some knowlegde regarding "not so ultimate" subjects 
May 23 at 11:50pm · Edited · Like · 2

Robert Dominik: I once have heard a joke from a pal of mine: 

Two Zen masters are in a train. There are other passengers who are very curious and keep looking at them because these Two masters have traditional clothings on them. The masters are very silent - the whole journey they are silent and do not even engage in a slightest conversation between themselves.

Finally someone asks Zen masters: "Why so silent?"
One of the Zen masters replies: "I know everything. He knows everything. Why talk about anything?"
May 23 at 11:48pm · Edited · Like · 2

Kyle Dixon: Damn Steven Monaco left too? Jackson Peterson a.k.a. Jerry Maguire...

Jerry Maguire (2/8) Movie CLIP - Who's Coming With Me? (1996) HD
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Friday at 12:09am · Like · 1 · Remove Preview

Robert Dominik: I don't understand why leave the group. He could have just stopped posting.
Friday at 12:21am · Edited · Like

Kyle Dixon: He's quite fond of Jax, which is fine, but Jax left so I suppose he saw no reason to stay in the group.
Friday at 12:21am · Like

Magnus Tigerschiöld: Very sensitive guy Jax, I just open my mouth he either kicks me or run away in anger, a very emotional response. I am not that bad am I?
Friday at 5:48am · Like

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: You're not Magnus, much less that I could be ...
Friday at 6:24am · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: He might just be intimidated because your last name is tiger shield  but no I think you're right, his own personality causes him to perceive you in a certain way... because I think you're great!
Friday at 6:28am via mobile · Like · 1

Albert Hong: Robert Dominik

You hit it on the nail. Thanks for the mirror!
Friday at 7:17am via mobile · Like · 1

Robert Dominik: Here's another excerpt from the book about Hwa Yen I've just posted it in the Emptiness group so might as well post it here 

This is from "Concise Prajnaparamita Sutra". Many of you may know this but if someone doesn't... here it is: 

"Subhuti said, "0 Kausika, a Bodhisattva who aspires to the glorious vehicle should abide in the Prajiiaparamita with the teaching of Emptiness. He should not abide in form, in feeling, conception, impulses or consciousness; he should not abide in form that is transient or eternal . ... He should not abide in the fruit of arhatship ... not even in Buddha's Dharmas. In this manner he should benefit and deliver infinite sentient beings."

Whereupon Sariputra thought, "Where then should a Bodhisattva abide?"

Subhuti, knowing his thought said to him, "What do you think, Sariputra? Where does Tathagata abide?"

Sariputra said, "Tathagata abides nowhere. This no-abiding mind itself is the Tathagata. Tathagata does not abide in conditioned things, nor in the unconditioned. The Tathagata who abides in all dharmas is neither abiding nor non-abiding. Just so, a Bodhisattva should also rest [his mind] in this manner."

At that time in the assembly many gods thought, "Even the languages and letters of the Yaksha demons are intelligible, but what Subhuti has just said is unintelligible."

Knowing their thoughts, Subhuti addressed the gods, "In that, there is no speech no demonstration and no hearing."

The gods thought, "What Subhuti intended to do was to make the doctrine easier for us to understand, but what he has done is to make the doctrine more subtle, profound, and obscure."

Reading their thoughts, Subhuti said to the gods, "If a devotee wants to attain the state of Stream-Winner, Once-Returner, No-Returner or Arhat he should not depart from this deep insight .... "

The gods thought, "Who can understand and agree with what Subuiti has just said?"

Subhuti knew their thought and said, "I say sentient beings are like dreams and magical delusion. Stream-Winners ... Arhats are also like dreams and magical delusions."

The gods said, "Subhiiti, are you saying that the Buddha's Dharmas are also like dreams and magical delusions?"

Subhuti said, "Yes, I say Buddha's Dharmas are like dreams and magical delusions. I say Nirvana is also like a dream and a magical delusion."

The gods said, "0 Subhuti, are you really saying that even Nirvana is like a dream and a magical delusion?"

Subhuti said, "0 dear gods, if there were something that was more superior even than Nirvana, I would still say that it is like a dream and a magical delusion. 0 dear gods, there is not the slightest difference between Nirvana and dreams and magical delusions."
June 3, 2013 at 1:00am • Unlike • 3

Ed Cooper: hi. just bought jacksons book. are u guys saying he has nothing to teach? im going to give it a read but feel unsettled reading this thread.
June 3, 2013 at 9:16am • Like

Kyle Dixon: I plead the 5th!
June 3, 2013 at 9:24am • Like

Robert Dominik: Haven't read any of his works but I'll give my two cents... Give it a try but be aware of the issues that were brought up here Even if Jax is wrong then he might have some good points and use nice examples to deconstruct some of the mind games - just do not take his every word as the sacred, holy truth but compare it with experience and some high quality texts about emptiness + If you do read it you might come back here and ask questions 
June 3, 2013 at 9:36am • Like • 1

Ed Cooper: cheers. what are the main issues here?
June 3, 2013 at 9:46am • Like
Kyle Dixon: The overall issue is that he essentially has a great view when it comes to Advaita Vedanta and the like. Except he marries his affinity for traditions Iike Dzogchen, with his Vedantic/Trika influenced view, which results in a misguided and convoluted presentation of Dzogchen/Mahamudra etc. Couple that with an unparalleled conviction of infallibility, and you end up with a conflation and misinterpretation of various traditions being presented as an accurate and valid teaching.
June 3, 2013 at 10:28am • Unlike • 2

Soh: Hi Ed, a friend told me he likes Jackson's book cos it's very personal. I'm looking forward to reading it as well. Even though we (I and Jax) don't necessarily agree on every point and he may not be representing the traditions (e.g. Dzogchen) accurately, it still interests me to read someone else's genuine account of his path, practice and experience.
June 3, 2013 at 3:41pm • Like • 3

Ed Cooper: Great stuff Ok im going to give it a read and see what I think! - personally I like the idea of anything that tries to extract a teaching from its cultural context and then cross references if it with other wisdom traditions - to try and find some sort of unified perennial philosophy type thing. My instinct is the that the stuff that is specific to a particular tradition is most likely false and generic ideas that can be seen across the board (in some degree) are 'true' - for example most traditions value silence as useful in practice, but those that specify particular colours of light, going up or down various nostrils are more likely to be cultural and not pointers to something universal (which is what interests me) - do you think this sounds reasonable?? - I would have thought the truth is accesible to all people in all times, therefore if you can strip away the cultural expression and get to the truth, it should have been showing up all over the place?!
June 3, 2013 at 6:58pm • Like

Robert Dominik: Certainly some traditions, rituals, ceremonial robes and such may not of importance But it's the insight and the state of mind that is achieved true practice that is important wouldn't you agree? And the differences in opinions between Jax and many people revolve also around insight and such things ^^ I also was very much into cross cultural teachings etc. Certainly we can take some teachings and insights out of context but we have to be careful if we do not distort the real sense. // + if someone likes to takes thing out of context then fine but he shouldn't be trying to (mis)represent the traditions. So a person can say that his message is not about the traditions (altough it was inspired by some pratctises) and that's fine. The problem begins when someone says that various traditions point to things they don't. I'm not talking about Jax at the moment - just saying in general. // Truth is accesible to all people. But not so many people have arrived at the truth. If it was so easy the we would be already living in enlightened societies.
June 3, 2013 at 7:12pm • Like • 1

Kyle Dixon: The differences aren't superficial, aesthetic or cultural, but have to do with the very position which caused Buddhism to diverge from the Hindu view in the first place. The traditions I mentioned (Dzogchen and Mahamudra), ultimately accord with the same principles shared in most all of the buddhadharma, so presenting them as Vedantic/Trika themed, is a gross misinterpretation and deviation. It's essentially Neo-Advaita dressed in Dharma drag.
June 3, 2013 at 7:28pm • Unlike • 3

Soh: Ed Cooper, I agree with Kyle Dixon there. The differences are not merely superficial. The experiential realizations differ.



Awakening to Reality: Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment
I understand very little of what Thusness has said. The path that Thusness descr...See More
June 3, 2013 at 7:49pm • Like • 3 • Remove Preview

Greg Goode: Ed Cooper, I also agree with Kyle and Soh here, though for somewhat different reasons. Perennialism is not accepted by all traditions. In fact, more recently, it has come to be seen as an outgrowth of Orientalism and Western cultural imperialism, where one (usually one's own) religious philosophy imposes its interpretations on the religions and wisdom teachings of different countries, cultures, eras, etc. It tells other religions what their teachings "really" mean, as opposed to their own interpretations of themselves. Swami Vivekananda was a big perennialist, and saw his own religion, Vedanta, as the truth of all other religions. I studied for a while in their school, and that is their message. 

For an alternative approach, here are some other sources (I'm including 4 links here, not just the one that fb displays!) 

God is Not One

Deep Religious Pluralism

Religious Pluralism and the Modern World


God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter
Stephen Prothero, the New York Times bestselling author of Religious Literacy, m...See More
June 4, 2013 at 12:15am • Unlike • 1 • Remove Preview

Greg Goode: In other words, why must it either be "same" or "different"?
June 4, 2013 at 12:25am • Like • 1

Ed Cooper: Thanks folks, I can see I have a bit or of reading to do! In the mean time, maybe someone could just give me a pointer how my perspective might be incorrect: Just to clarify, my intuitive sense is that what lies at the heart for all these traditions is essentially beyond description - for example in these 7 stages it isnt 'reality' that changes but the view develops and become more sophisticated - or less, depending on how you look at it. As human beings, our similarities seem more striking than our differences, hands, feet, brains etc - So it just seems natural to me that this non-conceptual experience of reality is accessible to all and universal. However as soon as this experience condenses into form via words an concepts it takes on a limited/partial/cultural aspect. So we have lots of different fingers and only one moon. IS the suggestion here that there are many different moons?! - This just doesn't feel right to me, maybe someone could give me sense of how that might work?! - Greg I can appreciate how looking at a tradition through this perennial lens would naturally distort the teachings, especially by the standards of the more conservative adherents to that system. Im sure there are some that would have and still might, burn me at the stake for suggesting that the chirstian god might be the same as the allah, krishna, zeus etc etc - or that the buddhist idea of emptiness is pointing to the same thing as the tao etc - No im sure there are some passionate arguments why these things are actually all very different, but for myself that just seems unlikely, unless of course you stick to a really literal understanding of those traditions? - Im guess people dont agree, but if you could give me a clue how to see where this outlook falls down, that would be great! Greg I thought your point of view was that Emptiness teachings and Awareness teachings, were both useful as pointers but that it isnt a case that one trumps the other, or that either represents The Truth, this gave me the idea that you felt worked as different pointers but same moon? This idea of the same moon is what I meant by perennial philosophy - however that may not help as Perrenialism sounds like quite a specific thing/expression about which I couldn't claim to have any understanding!
June 4, 2013 at 1:13am • Like

Soh: Ed Cooper, Awareness teachings and Emptiness teachings don't point to the same thing. 

As Malcolm said: "there is a mind, it has a nature of clarity and emptiness. It is one thing that has two natures, like water is limpid and wet. one thing, two aspects"

Other religions generally lead to realization of clarity (aka Awareness) but sees it as substantially existent, true Self, changeless, independent, etc. 

While Buddhism leads to the empty nature of clarity, of everything. We don't deny clarity, we simply realize the empty nature... so the nature of mind is described as the inseparability of clarity and emptiness.

From the perspective of Advaita, the substantialist view they teach is correct and others are incomplete/wrong/etc. From the Buddhist perspective, the non-substantialist view is correct and the substantialist view is incomplete/wrong/etc.
June 4, 2013 at 1:19am • Like • 3

Greg Goode: Ed, I like both teachings, but you don't see me making moon comparisons! Here's another way to look at it. Two different teachings are saying stuff that really sounds like pointing in some way about ultimate reality. And you, as a person looking into the teachings, attempt to adjudicate the sameness or adequacy of these pointings. 

The question would be, where do you stand, and from what vantage point to you assess these two approaches? If you adjudicate from inside either one, then of course that will be the answer. But if you don't do that, then where can you stand in the process that is not already implicated in its own view of some sort?
June 4, 2013 at 1:26am • Like

Ed Cooper: Yeah I sort of see what you mean! But all I can say is that most systems have a trend towards those who are really conservative in there understanding of there system, it my way or you going to hell - sort of thing, and then there are those that take a broader approach and look for wider trends across world traditions, with an aim to distinguishing the partial from the universal - the wider you look the better chance you have of understanding what is common to all - even if they practiced mediation in another galaxy - I think it would help, as long as i didnt over identify with the 'earth based traditions!' But I guess like science it seems the best way to asses an approach would be from the outside, as identification with that form is bound to skew the results!
June 4, 2013 at 1:37am • Like

Greg Goode: Ed, this is a really good point. There are lots of things to say in this... One thing is that perennialism assumes that the conservatives in the traditions are wrong and that the esotericists are "closer to the perennial truth of things, which is usually best described by [ fill in the blank ] teaching."

I agree, the non-conservatives you mention actually do take a broader approach. But it is not necessarily a substantialist, philosophically perennialist approach. Like the Dalai Lama - he does lots of outreach, but he isn't a perennialist. What he is most concerned to do is inspire folks t try to get along more harmoniously with others so that we don't make each other suffer. I think that is a wonderful goal. But those interfaith talks don't necessarily mean that the individual teachings have the same metaphysical basis underlying the doctrines. One could look at what they are doing in reaching out to each other as an ethical or social or heart-based endeavor. Again, I think that is wonderful. But that seems a very far cry from telling each other, "Your teachings don't mean what your traditionalists say they mean. Instead, they mean this [ ... fill in the blanks ...]."
June 4, 2013 at 1:54am • Unlike • 1

Malcolm Smith: Truths, such as the two truths, are at base _subjective_ cognitions; with ultimate truth being the object of a correct cognition and the relative truth the object of an incorrect cognition. The controversy lies more in the realm of what a correct cognition constitutes than anything else.
June 4, 2013 at 1:59am • Like • 1

Malcolm Smith: When it comes to comparing systems, it is a bit useless. The principles underlying the Upanishads, underlying Samkhya, Jainism, Buddhism, Dzogchen, etc., are all somewhat different. They all do share a common feature however i.e. from what are we being liberated? In all cases, that from which we are being liberated are kleshas, which cause actions, which lead to suffering and rebirth in samsara. All of these practice streams, if you will, share the view of rebirth -- and this is non-negotiable -- for without the principle of rebirth in samsara, all of these practice streams become redundant and meaningless.
June 4, 2013 at 2:07am • Unlike • 2

Greg Goode: There are many, many, many Westerners who adopt these systems but not the rebirth parts...
June 4, 2013 at 2:12am • Like

Malcolm Smith: They are not adopting these systems, they are ruining them
June 4, 2013 at 2:18am • Like • 2

Malcolm Smith: Such people are lokayatis, charvakas.
June 4, 2013 at 2:19am • Like • 1
Malcolm Smith: They are merely "spiritual" hedonists.
June 4, 2013 at 2:19am • Unlike • 2

Malcolm Smith: There may be some relaxation they can gain, a sense of well being, but not realization.
June 4, 2013 at 2:20am • Like • 2

Robert Dominik: for without the principle of rebirth in samsara, all of these practice streams become redundant and meaningless. <- not neccessarily. I mean that even if there was no rebirth then still compassionate beings would aspire for lessening the suffering of other beings. But in the end I agree with you - it is hard to practice certain practices while denying the basis underlaying them. The problem is that people are often very confused and do not understand how the principle of rebirth works. Especially some westerners that in reality have no idea of buddhism tend to think that there is some inherently existent soul that incarnates during different lifetimes because they haven't heard even such simple concepts as skandhas ^^
June 4, 2013 at 2:21am • Like

Magnus Tigerschiöld: It is like they are watching the moon, thinking it is made of cheese because it so yellow...
June 4, 2013 at 12:22am • Like

Malcolm Smith: There is no need for any of these systems in absence of rebirth.
June 4, 2013 at 12:22am • Like

Malcolm Smith: Compassion is not something that belongs to so called spritual traditions
June 4, 2013 at 12:22am • Unlike • 1

Malcolm Smith: even though spiritual traditions like to imagine somehow they own compassion
June 4, 2013 at 12:23am • Like

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: If they were not rebirth ... why should I give a sh.?
June 4, 2013 at 12:24am • Like

Malcolm Smith: Also of course, in absence of rebirth, everyone achieves nirvana at death
June 4, 2013 at 12:24am • Like • 1

Magnus Tigerschiöld: or oblivion, which most people cherish so much
June 4, 2013 at 12:25am • Like

Robert Dominik: Also of course, in absence of rebirth, everyone achieves nirvana at death <- sometime ago I heard a criticism of buddhism from a guy who said that there is no sense in aiming for Nirvana because its just atheistic anihilation. And some people don't like that idea and they would instead prefer being reborn again (even paying the price of suffering but hoping for better rebirths that will make up for it) xD
June 4, 2013 at 12:26am • Like

Greg Goode: Most of the folks I know who cherry-pick from the traditions like that tend to privilege scientific materialism as their master philosophy. The spiritual teachings get pasted on over that. So they are mostly interested in the momentary psychological, therapeutic benefits they can get from the teachings.
June 4, 2013 at 12:27am • Like • 1

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: If most of the folks I knew were materialistic ... I would change of place (lol)
June 4, 2013 at 12:29am • Like

Robert Dominik: Sometimes its just the egotic urge to be seen and view oneself as a spiritual person that practices various practices and knows many schools of thought. So yeah - the reasons for this cherry-picking can be even more primitive ^^
June 4, 2013 at 12:29am • Like • 2

Greg Goode: "Nightstand Buddhists"

What is a Nightstand Buddhist?
Brief and Straightforward Guide: What is a Nightstand Buddhist?
June 4, 2013 at 12:30am • Like • 1 • Remove Preview

Magnus Tigerschiöld: Robert Dominik "atheistic annihilation" have nothing to do with Buddhism except as complete misunderstanding by westerners.
June 4, 2013 at 12:32am • Like

Robert Dominik: About perennialism... we can say thanks to theosophy 
June 4, 2013 at 12:32am • Like • 1

Malcolm Smith: My comments sound more grim than I intended -- while it is true that I don't hold out that much respect for scientific materialism aka physicalism, it is better people who adhere to such beliefs do something (like yoga, vipassana, etc.) then do nothing.
June 4, 2013 at 12:33am • Unlike • 6

Robert Dominik: Didn't say it has anything to do Magnus. But Malcolm suggested that lack of rebirth (as in materialistic atheism... but there are some atheists who are not following any tradition who do believe in rebirth but let's put them aside) means automatical Ni...See More
June 4, 2013 at 12:37am • Like

Robert Dominik: Let us remember that many sceintific materialists are born because of great satisfaction with traditional religion and its dark side: stakes, crusades, Inquisition, extremists, religious wars. Even people calling themselves (not neccessarily being) bud...See More
June 4, 2013 at 12:41am • Like

Robert Dominik: It is especially easy for the kids in the west to turn to scientific materialism after dissatisfaction with contemporary religion. But I'm talking now only from my experience because I had such a moment in my life during late mid school and early high school.
June 4, 2013 at 12:42am • Like

Ed Cooper: Ok - I think im getting a flavour of where people art coming from now. If you dont believe in rebirth your a spiritual hedonist diluting the traditions?! - if I dont believe in rebirth whats the point?! - The fact is some westerner adopt these teachin...See More

Bloom's Taxonomy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bloom's Taxonomy is a classification of learning objectives within education pro...See More
June 4, 2013 at 1:24am • Like • Remove Preview

Robert Dominik: if I dont believe in rebirth whats the point?! <- It depends on how do you understand rebirth.
June 4, 2013 at 1:26am • Like
Robert Dominik: If you dont believe in rebirth your a spiritual hedonist diluting the traditions?! <- Geeeez I knew that the comments from above would trigger such a reaction 
June 4, 2013 at 1:28am • Like

Robert Dominik: Saying that all traditions are the same is like saying that all the models of how our solar system works are the same. Now think about heliocentric and geocentric model It's true that since movement is relative one could argue that the Sun revolves around the Earth (not the other way around) but... simply heliocentric way of looking at how our solar system works is more pragmatical ^^
June 4, 2013 at 1:30am • Like • 1

Robert Dominik: But real PR0s know that heliocentric model is still flawed because the Sun is in fact moving because our Galaxy rotates. Then other galaxies are moving and the cosmos is inflating 
June 4, 2013 at 1:31am • Like • 1

Robert Dominik: So what I'm getting at is that we are all trying to describe how does the Universe work. But some systems are more practical and more useful than others ^^
June 4, 2013 at 1:32am • Like

Robert Dominik: So we have two different approaches. One says that all traditions and religions are entirely different. It is not true because there are some similiraties - the clarity aspect, the need for compassion found in many systems etc. The other says that ever...See More
June 4, 2013 at 1:36am • Like

Robert Dominik: Or another metaphor for you Ed Cooper. Spiritual traditions are like cars. The mechanisms might be simillar - most have 4 wheels, engine, driving wheel etc. But tell me wouldn't you see any difference between Bugatti Veyron and Toyota Prius? XD And let us remember - there are cars which can go crosscountry and reach some places that other cars cannot Hope I've been helpful and my comments were of use to you 
June 4, 2013 at 1:39am • Like
Ed Cooper: Ha! buddhism - you make it sound like its one system! - find me two buddhist that are in complete agreement about theory and practice!? seriously! - my sense is that its just not like that.
June 4, 2013 at 1:41am • Like

Ed Cooper: yeah Robert but if i wanted to know what a generic car was I might compare the two to get a sense of what is fundemental to a car and what is specific to a model!
June 4, 2013 at 1:44am • Like

Robert Dominik: Yeah - you're right. There is buddhism and then there is buddhism ^^ // But please do remember that there are people who are trying to apply emptiness teachings out of the buddhist context (stripping away ceremonies and things that may appear useless to some people).
June 4, 2013 at 1:46am • Like

Robert Dominik: All traditions have single purpose - that is stripping away all the concepts and useless intellectual mind games to be left only with what is true. That's true for most of the traditions.
June 4, 2013 at 1:49am • Like

Robert Dominik: But I think that most of the traditions do not reach the end of this road of deconstructing concepts. Most of them like Advaita Vedanta are still left with some concepts and reifications at the end of the road. I would argue that only Buddhist schools (and not all of them) reach this goal of transcending all concepts, meanings and perspectives.
June 4, 2013 at 1:51am • Like • 1

Robert Dominik: But some concepts are so, so very subtle... Many people reach states of mind where they are free of most of the concepts but are left with some very subtle notions. They cannot see them in similar manner that people who are completely ignorant of spiri...See More
June 4, 2013 at 1:54am • Like

Dhruval Patel: Ed Cooper Of course the conservative traditions are models of reality not reality. 

However models can be functional or dysfunctional to various degrees.

The problem with post-modernist views is that although there is sort of a conceptual emptiness, too often it goes to the extreme of denying the functional importance of concepts altogether.

So from that viewpoint it can seem quite elitist and uncouth to insist on a particular model or have high standards for spiritual realization. 

But consider that the function of these models is to lead practitioners to a realization that can completely eradicate suffering.

The concern is that sometimes in the attempts to assuage very human needs for acceptance and belonging, the concepts gets diluted to the extent where they are no longer functional in eradicating suffering completely.
June 4, 2013 at 1:54am • Like • 1

Ed Cooper: 'stripping away ceremonies and things that may appear useless to some people'- that sounds like insolent talk of a lokayatis or dare i say it a charvakas (spits on ground) 
June 4, 2013 at 1:55am • Like

Robert Dominik: But please note that many of us in this group have studied different schools outside of buddhism so when they are saying that buddhism points to something different... it's not just opinions based on no experiental knowledge 
June 4, 2013 at 1:55am • Like

Robert Dominik: that sounds like insolent talk of a lokayatis or dare i say it a charvakas (spits on ground) <- You would like Chogyam Trungpa He was a holder of two famous buddhist lineages (of Tibetan Buddhism) Kagyu and Nyingma He had very liberal approach to...See More
June 4, 2013 at 2:01am • Like

Ed Cooper: Thanks Dhurval - yes good to keep an eye on the prize. Although I think that an abiility to cross reference a teaching, and understand it outside of its traditional context actually strengthens what is of value while removing what isnt. - Sure the conservative would say the stricter and pure'r the better. Which would be great if I lived a few centuries ago in tibet but I dont.
June 4, 2013 at 2:03am • Like

Robert Dominik: You have a point. But who is skilled enough to decide which things are worth removing and which are of value? You? Me? Please remember that Buddhist masters are not some lunatics who aren't aware of that problem 
June 4, 2013 at 2:07am • Like

Robert Dominik: And I say that many of those masters are quite into advanced technologies and aren't rejecting modern culture. So comparing modern buddhism to Tibet from centuries ago is doing baseless harm. For example modern technologies (like internet webcasts) are applied by some masters in order to do transmissions of some practices and teachings. Doesn't sound like medieval Tibet 
June 4, 2013 at 2:09am • Like

Ed Cooper: doing baseless harm No I was just saying you couldnt do as much cross referencing a while back in Tibet, you just turn up to the monastery and do what your told! - still I guess you had your different schools, but I dont know how keen they were on shopping around between them?
June 4, 2013 at 2:15am • Like

Dhruval Patel: It is wonderful to distill the value of the teachings and present it in different ways to make them more accessible so they can benefit more people.

However in attempts to distill that of value people often end up misunderstanding the teachings and diluting their value. 

Further in thinking that they have successfully distilled value from the tradition, they end up confusing and misleading a lot of people.

Two common examples of confusion about buddhist teachings in spiritual circles: 
1) that No-self is pointing to no little 'me' but yes True Self.
2) Or that Emptiness is just the flip side of Oneness.

These are common confusions, very easy to make. Unless someone point them out very clearly. And can become quite a big hindrance to realizing No-self or Emptiness.

Then again I might not have been exposed to any of these teachings and subsequently befitted from them at all if someone hadn't made an attempt to distill the value and present them in accordance with a more contemporary context and scientific world view.

So I see your point as well. Maybe there is room for both sorts in this world.
June 4, 2013 at 3:14am • Like • 1

Greg Goode: Dhruval,I like your last sentence. Earlier on, you list (1) and (2). Could you cite or quote examples?
June 4, 2013 at 3:21am • Like

Dhruval Patel: Greg Goode, 

For #2 eg. Ken Wilber often lumps Mahayana and Adivaita style non-duality together. And uses the terminology interchangeably. Here is something I found on google that has citations...

For #1 I can't find a clear citation, but I do see a lot of New Age gurus eg Tolle, in the New Earth reinterpret Buddhist teachings through the lens of Self-realizaiton. And this then leads to confusion.
The Atman Fiasco
The Atman Project( 1 ) is the central Wilber's book, the fount ( with the possib...See More
June 4, 2013 at 4:45am • Like • 1 • Remove Preview

Robert Dominik: you just turn up to the monastery and do what your told! <- why go to a monastery if you just want to do whatever you like? ^^ 

But srsly from what I know it is not exactly like that. Sure there are many approved techniques and teachings + many things that cannot be done in any other way (because then the practice would missed the point). So things aren't so rigid. Working with circumstances, being in the present and accomodating to the situation are very important throughout various schools.

Also in some monasteries (not in all - remember that there are monasteries which are really like factories/plants of enlightened beings and there are also places in which people just pray and do some rituals + recite teachings they do not really grasp the meaning of <- there are different buddhist monasteries) there is room for some liberties or variations. For example teachers accomodate their teaching to the capacity and understanding of their students. 

It all differs between various schools. Some lower vehicles prefer path of renunciation - abiding vows, doing everything according to rules and precepts and avoiding behaviour regarded as unskillful. Zen for example was often about a little bit of originality and freestyle (but not only - Zazen, Zazen, Zazen :P) - masters slapping students, teachers going to jail only to help people there by spreading dharma message etc. Tantra prefers transformation - not avoiding some actions but transforming them for the purpose of insight and purification. And then there is Dzogchen where people have to be responsible for themselves with their actions - though they have a set of teachings and practices (which are efficient and sufficient :P) and achieve the goal through the means of self-liberation. So Buddhism varies from a school to school. But the basics are very important - among them anatta which is characteristic to buddhism. That's why we are so insinstent on regarding buddhism as not exactly the same as let's say Taoism. Because of Anatta which is quite specific and very profound. But let us remember that many schools argue about topic connected to anatta. For example Yogacara does not agree with various other schools 
June 4, 2013 at 4:55am • Like

Greg Goode: Dhruval, Ah, yes, Wilber. Good example of (2), and probably has traces of (1) too....
June 4, 2013 at 5:07am • Like
Malcolm Smith: Non-duality has two versions in Buddhism: version 1) taught in Yogacara is that emptiness is the absence of subject and object. version 2) Taught in Madhyamaka: emptiness is the absence of ontological pairs such existence/non-existence; permanence/annihilation, arising/ceasing and so on. Both schemes are attempts at working out what the Buddha meant by dependent origination.
June 4, 2013 at 6:41am • Unlike • 5

Lindsay Funk: Dhruval says: " a lot of New Age gurus eg Tolle, in the New Earth reinterpret Buddhist teachings through the lens of Self-realizaiton."

Tolle spent time contextualizing his realization with Ajaan Sumedho. Tolle, Sumedho and most of the Thai Forest tradition (for example) have initerpretations that most here would label essentialist.
June 4, 2013 at 6:56am • Like

Malcolm Smith: Theravada, from a general Mahāyāna perspective has a strongly realist streak in it, like all the Nikaya schools.
June 4, 2013 at 6:58am • Unlike • 2

Soh: I'm not sure if Sumedho is essentialist in the Tolle sense (i.e. treats Awareness as substantial)? Haven't looked into his works, but I do agree that many masters from Thai Forest Tradition teachings are close to Advaita.
June 4, 2013 at 1:00pm • Like

Anjin Bodhisattva:

Fa-Tsang Mirror House at Tsogyelgar
The mirror house at Tsogyelgar was envisioned by Traktung Rinpoche after the one...See More
June 4, 2013 at 6:32pm • Unlike • 3 • Remove Preview