Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Causes And Conditions: Inferred Or Directly Experienced?

Hi Kyle Dixon, if someone hits a bell and sound arise vividly, however only sound is heard... do you ignore the cause and conditions that give rise to this moment of arising sound? In direct experience where only sound arise, should causes and conditions be ignored? Are causes and conditions only inferred or directly experienced? 

Also, is ignorance experienced?
Like ·  · Unfollow Post · Sunday at 10:00am near Brisbane, Queensland
Seen by 55
Piotr Ludwiński, Joel Agee and Dannon Flynn like this.

Din Robinson: causes and conditions are simply more beliefs, more projections about this so called "reality"
Sunday at 10:11am · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Great question... They certainly could be inferred. You hear a child screaming in total terror. Its your child. Do you just remain in the pure oneness of the sound or is being aware inclusive of the implications. Can immediate implications be separated from the sound or is it all one piece of fabric?
Sunday at 10:17am via mobile · Like

John Ahn: Din Robinson...what? Cause and effect is not a belief. Even if it was you are in no position to state such things, because your life is definitely ruled by causes and conditions. If you truly discarded this notion, you wouldn't function properly. So stop bullshitting yourself.
Sunday at 10:20am · Like · 1

John Ahn: Soh this is a really good question.
Sunday at 10:21am · Like · 1

Albert Hong: "Until our pure presence is a constant, until we attain fearless confidence, we must attend to karmic causality, vows and samayas, accumulation of merit, abstention from vice, and so forth. As Padmasambhava famously said, quoted in The Chronicles of Padmasambhava, which were revealed by Orgyen Lingpa, My view is higher than the sky; My karma is finer than barley flour. Pay attention to karmically effected events with the same care we reserve for protection of the eyes. But at the same time, such events should not be seen as real and true. Quoted in The Samye Chronicles, Padmasambhava again says, Maharaj! In my tantra it is the view that leads; but don’t let your conduct bend toward the view. If you do let it stray, you take the black demonic sophistic view that may justify any wicked action by “emptiness.” But on the other hand, don’t let the view tend toward conduct because if you do, trapped by notions of concrete materialism and specific attributes, the occasion for liberation will never arise. Due to his misconception of karmic cause and effect, Tarpa Nakpo was born in hell and then reborn as Rudra. For further details of this story, browse through the tantra The Discourse of the General Assembly. Tarpa Nakpo’s fate was determined by his contempt for karmic repercussion in his confusion about the causal process. As Jowoje Atisha said in The Lamp of the Path, Until concepts are exhausted, there is karma; Believe in the repercussions of karma."
-Tulku Pema Rigtsal

Sunday at 12:03pm via mobile · Like · 5

Jeff Applewhite: @OP It is not possible to separate this imo. The thought will occur or it won't but cannot be controlled, only believed or not.
Sunday at 12:22pm · Like

Szymon Wójcik: Albert Hong, great qoute, thanks for that 
Sunday at 2:11pm · Like

Tommy McNally: I look forward to Kyle's response to this one, but I've been rolling the idea over since I saw this post earlier. For me, to use your example, the sound of a bell appears to contain its own causes and conditions so it doesn't seem possible to truly separate them. It seems to be more about breaking down the fabrications which shape perception, giving rise to the experience as consisting of individual 'frames'. Something I've been looking at is how turning attention on this level of experience makes things open up in this infinite, fractal 'space'-like (but completely undifferentiated in terms of foreground/background or dimensionality, if that makes sense) way; frames within frames within frames in a mathematical "strange loop"; a flipping around of causality or something. Interesting stuff.
Sunday at 4:22pm · Like · 2

Steven Monaco: Great exercise to metabolize. IMHO... As transparency to the original state is metabolized... I sense there is a breakdown of what we see as normal time and space. Reactivity is tuned without effort into a response in a sea of knowingness and basic trust. Action emerges without thought as the fabric responds appropriately. I would have to say in that timelessness, to separate inferred from experienced is word play. Appropriate, attuned response is what is... Then what is next...continues in thoughtless Life'ing nansecond to nanosecond
Yesterday at 7:13am · Like · 1

StepVhen Stark: Some causes and conditions are directly experienced. There could be no sudden experience of the bell without the existence of suddenness, you directly experience that suddenness which is a part and cause of the tone of the bell. There is a change in air pressure that is a cause of the sound that may be directly experienced or not depending on the intensity of the sound of the bell. 

To draw a line between direct experiences and causes is to create a self vs other set-up.

Is there ignorance there? Yes. There is always ignorance, sometimes that is seen other times it's not but it is always there.
Yesterday at 7:19am · Like

StepVhen Stark: The idea that everything beyond direct experience is a belief , itself has causes, conditions and parts. 
If everything beyond direct experience truly were a belief then direct experience would not exist. But it does. 
The notion that everything beyond direct experience is a belief is dependent upon there being some form of indirect experience. 
The notion that everything beyond direct experience is a belief means that direct experience exists independently. 
The idea that direct experience exists independently, is ignorance itself.
Yesterday at 7:22am · Like

StepVhen Stark: To ignore the causes and conditions of a sound is to ignore the sound itself.
Yesterday at 7:23am · Like

Kyle Dixon: I suppose the question of whether giving credence to causes and conditions is appropriate or not would be dependent upon the circumstances. Of course it's important to he mindful of causes and conditions in one's relative experience, for example if a fire alarm goes off etc. there are tremendous implications associated with a sound of that nature. However in the context of practicing the dharma, I would say the way sounds and phenomena should be related to takes on a very different face. 

I know the other day in John's 'karmic momentum' thread I mentioned that phenomena governed by mind accord with the law of cause and effect, and that experience divested of the mind's grasping reveals spontaneity. I gather this thread is to elaborate further on that line of logic and it's an interesting topic. In more immediate traditions this is a common theme; the reconciliation of immanence and distinction between samsara and nirvana and how that serves to suggest a simultaneous or gradual path. 

To address the question as to whether causes and conditions should be ignored (or if they're present at all) in direct experience it's probably important to first define what 'causes and conditions' mean in relation to phenomena when exploring the implications of samsaric experience (samsaric meaning: governed by mind, ignorance, delusion etc.). Relatively we say phenomena arise as the result of action, for example, a bell rings due to being struck in a manner that allows for a vibration, thus creating a resonant frequency that travels through the air and contacts the ear drum which in turn sends a signal to the brain etc. So we can deduce a rather lengthy line of causality that eventually results in the arising of a sound. However, as you inquired, is that form of cause and condition present in the immediate experience of the ringing sound? Of course we would have to relatively say yes if that procession is logically inferred, but is that process explicitly apparent, part and parcel in the direct perceiving of the sound itself? No it is not. 

The real question is whether or not that type of relative definition (being attributed to 'cause and condition') is even relevant to the issue that the dharma is attempting to resolve. Is that line of causal action what 'cause and condition' is truly attempting to address? I would have to say no. 

We know that all phenomena which fall under the category of 'conditioned' - meaning they accord with one or more of the four extremes (existence, nonexistence, both, neither) - originate dependently. We know this is so because there is no such thing as phenomena which doesn't arise dependent upon causes and conditions, per Nagarjuna. If we look at the very first link in the chain of dependent origination, we find ignorance (avidyā) and as Nagarjuna states: 

"When the perfect vidyā sees,
That things come from ignorance as condition,
Nothing will then be objectified,
Either in terms of arising or destruction."
Yesterday at 1:00pm via mobile · Edited · Like · 4

Kyle Dixon: So we can say that the ringing of a bell arises as a result of myriad conditions on the relative level (e.g. vibrations, sound waves etc.), however to penetrate the 'causes and conditions' for that sound in a way that is beneficial, the root cause for it's apparent origination and arising must be understood to be ignorance. 

Ignorance itself is not an entity which is anymore established or valid than the sound is. However ignorance is the proclivity to habitually relate to experience in a way that reifies a subject-object dichotomy and all the subsequent arisings which depend on that dichotomy. It is that tendency to objectify phenomena and grasp which is one of the main issues. In a tradition like Dzogchen for example, that tendency to grasp, cling and hold (dzinpa) is resolved in one's view (tawa) which acts as the foundation for one's practice. That view is hopefully from the perspective of vidyā if one has recognized their basic nature because that view innately severs the ability for dzinpa to proliferate and occur in the first place. If one's vidyā isn't refined or very clear then the meditation is set up precisely how you've suggested in the question you posed; a relaxed and even attentiveness placed in the immediacy which simply allows phenomena to release immediately upon arising. Direct experience is the meeting ground for samsara and nirvana where in truth neither apply, however there may still be unresolved latent tendencies that must be cleared away. Otherwise the view is subtly afflicted:

"Meditation is not foremost, realization is foremost;
If realization is not entered with confidence,
The meditator is merely meditating on a conceptual state,
The seeker is seeking with an afflicted clinging."
- kun tu bzang po che ba la rang gnas pa

The tendencies are an issue because they are precisely the very aspect which is perpetuating dzinpa. In the definitive view of a traditions like Dzogchen etc. there is no dzinpa, meaning no dualistic clinging and therefore no foundation for perpetuation and objectification. Only when that tendency is rectified through authentically recognizing vidyā, does the spontaneous natural formation become apparent. That spontaneity can be tentatively accessed in the direct experience of the present moment but even then, since that foundation for avidyā hasn't been cleared away there are subtle dangers which can arise such as attachment to the moment. And that isn't to suggest an aversion from the moment either, the true face of non-arising is what must be apperceived. Only then is phenomena no longer objectified as originating or ceasing, and only then is the ringing of the bell free from ignorance. 

Is that ignorance present in direct experience? Yes and no, not in the direct experience of the sound, however that doesn't mean that ignorance isn't present latently. As Longchenpa elucidates: 

"General delusion is caused by the stain of vidyā not recognizing the manifest ground, through which vidyā itself becomes polluted with delusion. Though vidyā itself is without the stains of cognition, it becomes endowed with stains, and through its becoming enveloped in the seal of mind, the vidyā of the ever pure essence is polluted by conceptualization. Chained by the sixfold manas, it is covered with the net of the body of partless atoms, and the luminosity becomes latent."
Yesterday at 12:32pm via mobile · Edited · Like · 2

Kyle Dixon: Here Jigme Lingpa discusses direct experience and it's implications in relation to phenomena:

"A slightly different approach is to the modes of awareness is to define the enlightened state as the mode of awareness when it abides in the present moment. In 'The Lion's Roar that Destroys the Deviations of Renunciants Meditating on the Seminal Heart' Jigme Lingpa suggests that the Great Perfection statements identifying discursive thought with dharmakāya (that is, the identification of the samsaric with the nirvanic), which are relatively rare in the Seminal Heart (Longchen Nyingtig) are true only when awareness abides in the present moment:

'Therefore the name dharmakāya cannot be given to discursive thought before the awareness of the present moment is unimpaired and uncorrupted. This alone is the antidote for the agent of meditation, a total penetration not chained by attachment to view.'

There is an implication here of a way to reconcile the contradictions in the relationship between samsaric and nirvanic awareness, which is that, though distinct, they may be identified in the context of awareness abiding in the present moment. For a fuller explanation of this we must again look to Longchenpa, who states the following in the Tsigdön Dzö:

'Because all appearances of the three realms of samsara are at first apprehended from the aspect of the expanse, they remain connected to that aspect. Like reflections, in ultimate truth they remain in the true condition, emptiness. As they manifest in the present moment, the skandhas, elements and so on are connected with the aspect of the kāyas and wisdoms.'

Longchenpa states that all internal and external phenomena as they appear in the present moment, prior to reification and conceptualization, can be identified with the dharmakāya. He suggests that the identification of the nirvanic and the samsaric is always true in the context of the present moment, a context accessible only when, in Jigme Lingpa's words, 'the awareness of the present moment is unimpaired and uncorrupted.' Although Jigme Lingpa was clearly aware of the idea that samsaric and nirvanic opposites can be identified where awareness abides in the present moment, he did not, in the Longchen Nyingtig texts, extend the idea to any kind of hermeneutical purpose."
Yesterday at 12:47pm via mobile · Edited · Like · 2

Jackson Peterson: Oh my god Kyle Dixon! Are you kidding? All this to answer a simple question? Answer from your own clarity and experience not just by engaging in other persons truncated explanations... Please!
Yesterday at 1:01pm via mobile · Like

Kyle Dixon: I had the time at my disposal to write a thorough response this morning... It's nice to sit and contemplate a topic and write sometimes. Since there's no obligation to read it, you don't have to.
Yesterday at 1:22pm via mobile · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Ok... So in less than 100 words, what is your sense regarding Soh's question?
23 hours ago via mobile · Like

Kyle Dixon: If a sound is perceived as arising, it does so as a result of causes and conditions. Those causes and conditions are ignorance. Divested of ignorance, sound neither arises or ceases, it's only sound because it's being objectified. One can rest in direct experience and get some semblance of what a freedom from ignorance is like, however without a definitive knowledge of one's nature, all that can be achieved is a meditation which is subtly afflicted. 

In ignorance, sound arises with explicit grasping. With stability in the present moment, sound arises without explicit grasping but latent grasping is present. In recognition of one's nature, grasping is severed, non-arising is implied. In complete integration, non-arising.

The true face of causes and conditions can't be ignored, since it is ignorance, acceptance or rejection would be merely symptomatic of ignorance itself.
23 hours ago via mobile · Like · 2

Jackson Peterson: Even when sound is not divested of ignorance sound neither arises nor ceases. The phenomena of the sound is a direct presentation or display of the pure Basis. The phenomena of the "implications" is also a direct presentation or display of the Basis. Whatever action one takes regarding the sound and the implication, is the action arising from the Basis. The sound, the implication and the action are equally the play of Samantabhadra, and are self-released in the space of total equanimity. In all cases the correct view is to see all of this as the spontaneous arising of the Basis. To not recognize this is ignorance. The "consciousness" (shes pa) that appears to ignore the implications or not, to recognize the Basis or not, is also the pure display of the Basis. That arising "consciousness" arises with the sound, and is just as pure as the implications. In this purity there is no ignorance to be found, unless of course one ignores the implications...
22 hours ago · Like

Kyle Dixon: The consciousness is not a pure display of the basis. The basis only displays it's appearance, consciousness arises as a result of not recognizing the basis' display to be self-display. Impure phenomena may be rtsal at root but they are not wisdom display, therefore there is no benefit unless recognition occurs.
22 hours ago via mobile · Like

Kyle Dixon: If all phenomena arose from the basis as pure display then Dzogchen would be no different than Advaita Vedanta.
21 hours ago via mobile · Like · 2

Kyle Dixon: Oh, by 'consciousness' you were referring to the shes pa or neutral awareness in the basis which recognizes or not? The term 'consciousness' might not be a good translation for that since 'consciousness' is already attributed to the network of sensory/storehouse consciousnesses which arise in delusion.
21 hours ago via mobile · Like

Soh: Hi Kyle, I agree very much with what you said, well thought and expressed. 

Just a quick comment though, you said "We know that all phenomena which fall under the category of 'conditioned' - meaning they accord with one or more of the four extremes (existence, nonexistence, both, neither) - originate dependently."

However isn't it the case that whatever dependently originates is free from the four extremes?

As Buddha taught:

"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering." - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.015.than.html

The famous quotation by Nagarjuna as well:

Whatever is dependently co-arisen
That is explained to be emptiness.
That, being a dependent designation
Is itself the middle way.
Something that is not dependently arisen,
Such a thing does not exist.
Therefore a non-empty thing
Does not exist.

Kaccayanagotta Sutta: To Kaccayana Gotta (on Right View)
Dwelling at Savatthi... Then Ven. Kaccayana Gotta approached the Blessed One and...
See More
10 hours ago · Edited · Like · 2 · Remove Preview

Soh: Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts and insights as well, much appreciated.
10 hours ago · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: Soh, yes dependent origination is not origination.
9 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: Sorry that wasn't clear, the line of logic I was attempting to use was meant to say that phenomena which appear to be conditioned (and appear to accord with one or more of the four extremes), are in truth dependently originated and are therefore empty, unborn, non-arisen, free from extremes etc. When we mistakenly perceive something which we attribute substantiality (or insubstantiality) to (meaning it has originated and/or ceased), all that is occurring is a misapprehension within the confines of confusion itself. 

"Something that is not dependently arisen,
Such a thing does not exist.
Therefore a non-empty thing
Does not exist."

So that is what I was attempting to say with:
("We know that all phenomena which fall under the category of 'conditioned' - meaning they accord with one or more of the four extremes [existence, nonexistence, both, neither] - originate dependently. We know this is so because there is no such thing as phenomena which doesn't arise dependent upon causes and conditions, per Nagarjuna. If we look at the very first link in the chain of dependent origination, we find ignorance [avidyā] and as Nagarjuna states: 

'When the perfect vidyā sees,
That things come from ignorance as condition,
Nothing will then be objectified,
Either in terms of arising or destruction.'")
April 2 at 2:10pm · Like · 3

Logan Truthe: When phenomena are investigated authentically,
That which brings about arising can not be observed,
Nor is there anything that arises in dependence.
~ Mipham Rinpoche
April 2 at 5:55pm · Like · 1

No comments:

Post a Comment