Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Worldly Life, Dharma, Tao and Samsara

Jackson Peterson
"Those who see worldly life as an obstacle to Dharma see no Dharma in everyday actions; they have not discovered that there are no everyday actions outside of Dharma."

Dogen Zenji (1200 - 1253)
Like · · December 20, 2013 at 6:41pm

    John Ahn, Greg Goode, Elena Nezhinsky and 12 others like this.
    Ram Jayaram what is Dharma?
    December 20, 2013 at 7:45pm · Like
    Jackson Peterson Dharma is the "Dimension of Truth" or the Absolute.
    December 20, 2013 at 8:14pm · Like
    Jackson Peterson It also means the teachings of the Buddha.
    December 20, 2013 at 8:14pm · Like
    Ram Jayaram Then your original posting would read "there are no everyday actions outside of the teachings of the Buddha". Really?
    December 20, 2013 at 8:21pm · Like
    Ram Jayaram As I have mentioned elsewhere, words like dharma, karma, nirvana etc are not clearly defined. E.g. dharma is equated to the Tao (which means the way, i.e. every day life). If dharma = tao, then by definition every day actions can only be the dharma = tao = every day life !
    December 20, 2013 at 8:27pm · Like · 1
    John Tan Yes Ram, Tao is the way. However why is Tao = every day life?
    December 20, 2013 at 8:37pm · Like · 1
    Ram Jayaram dharma, tao and similar terms are used loosely to mean the natural way (of living/doing). To give an example, a lion's dharma/tao is to kill a deer/rabbit/etc for food. Water's dharma/tao is to flow along. Etc etc. If a lion is forced to eat grass, for example, then we are asking it not to follow its dharma.
    December 20, 2013 at 8:46pm · Edited · Like
    John Tan Ic thks. In the case of human, how is one to return to Tao?
    December 20, 2013 at 8:53pm · Like · 1
    Ram Jayaram John Tan - meditate on these words from the classic work Mulamadhyamakarika (discourse on the 'middle way' of the Buddha) by Nagarjuna, a great Buddhist philosopher from India: "There is no difference between samsara (every day life) and nirvana (so called enlghtenment). Not even a subtle distinction exists."
    December 20, 2013 at 9:22pm · Like · 1
    John Tan Thks Ram. There r too much artificialities in us. We have forgotten how to laugh, to cry and to feel in naturalness. So much so that when ask abt ourselves, we r also not so sure abt the naturalness, self-so of ourselves. Lao-Tze said forgo sage(ness) and abandon intellect (绝圣弃智), give up all artificialities, eliminate until none as the way of returning to Tao. Thks again for ur time.
    December 20, 2013 at 9:36pm · Unlike · 7
    Piotr Ludwiński Ram Jayaram - there is no "every day life" in original text. Also, if not put out of context of whole MMK to support one's own misinterpretation (like you are apparently doing)... Nagarjuna does not say nirvana is samsara etc... He says there is no difference between them - which in context of whole MMK means they are empty... Not that they are same thing...
    December 20, 2013 at 10:07pm · Unlike · 7
    Piotr Ludwiński Moreover... emptiness of samsara is one thing, emptiness of nirvana is other... No global "The emptiness"... In case you haven't noticed in buddhadharma "samsara" is not used to describe "Everyday life" which you are trying to assert, but means deluded perspective; clinging to inherent existence of self and phenomena - which still operates to some degree until Buddhahood.
    December 20, 2013 at 10:13pm · Unlike · 8
    Din Robinson Jackson wrote:

    "Dharma is the "Dimension of Truth" or the Absolute."

    this reminds of a quote of Adyashanti:

    "if all there is, is Buddha Mind, where are you going to go to find it?"
    December 20, 2013 at 10:40pm · Like · 2
    Ram Jayaram Piotr Ludwiński - the words in parentheses are my own, to provide clarity. How come you didn't pick the nirvana part also? I used the term 'everyday life' to refer to the so-called unenlightened state that people are supposed to be in until they reach this so-called buddhahood. Perhaps you don't want to accept it, but Nagarjuna IS saying that samsara and nirvana are the same thing. In any case, I go by my own experience, not just by what others have stated.
    December 21, 2013 at 2:12am · Like
    Kyle Dixon There's no distinction or difference between samsara and nirvana from the ultimate standpoint. However unless you have direct knowledge of the emptiness of phenomena - which is what Nāgārjuna is pointing out - then simply adopting that view will prove to be problematic.

    Nāgārjuna is saying that samsara and nirvana are not different because nirvana is nothing more than a thorough and complete knowledge of samsara. Samsara is nothing more than ignorance regarding the nature of phenomena.

    These statements are multi-faceted in their implications. But the ignorance which is samsara is not the lack of ignorance that defines nirvana. Ultimately both are unfounded, but attaching to that notion preemptively and allowing it to negate the praxis itself is nihilism, something that Nāgārjuna and the dharma as a whole warn against vehemently.
    December 21, 2013 at 2:59am · Edited · Unlike · 9
    Ram Jayaram Our minds have a tendency to overcomplicate things when they don't need to be. Gives us something to do, of course
    December 21, 2013 at 3:01am · Like
    Nicholas Mason The distinction between samsara and nirvana is arbitrary and is merely skillful means. If one has the idea that there truly is a problem one is getting in their own way.
    December 21, 2013 at 3:02am · Like
    John Ahn Hey Ram Jayaram, I like what you wrote about the dharma of lions and water, it reminds me of Krishna's teachings of doing ones' duty as well as the varying stories in the mahabarat where each character is trying to follow their own dharma. In that sense what do you think is the dharma of a human being? Is it to eat, sleep, sex, shit, get old, get sick and die?
    December 21, 2013 at 3:12am · Like
    Robert Dominik Nicholas Mason - and how long can you sit in one position without your mind getting in the way and wanting to stop meditating because it's boring/painful?
    December 21, 2013 at 3:14am · Like · 1
    Nicholas Mason Not long. I didn't say there was truly no problem.
    December 21, 2013 at 3:15am · Like
    Robert Dominik Ah. Ok
    December 21, 2013 at 3:15am · Like · 1
    Nicholas Mason Actually the distinction between skillful means and not skillful means is arbitrary as well.
    December 21, 2013 at 3:16am · Like
    Kyle Dixon Samsara is an error. Even the Dzogchen tantras state this. The distinction between ignorance and wisdom is arbitrary, as all dharmas are ultimately non-arisen, however it is only from the standpoint of wisdom that this distinction is truly and intimately known to be arbitrary. From the perspective of your relative condition samsara appears to be very real, and therefore wisdom is something to be recognized and liberation is likewise a cessation to be actualized.

    If one believes there is an inherent problem to be rid of then one is getting in their own way. If one believes there is an inherent absence of a problem and thus is complacently content with literally doing nothing, one is also in their own way.
    December 21, 2013 at 3:17am · Unlike · 10
    Jackson Peterson Samsara is like a day dream consisting of fictional imputations. In this day dream, the mental world's subjects and objects seem inherently existing, independent and believed-in with conviction. Nirvana is the absence of that fictional daydream. The views of both are radically different from each perspective. Also there is no personal suffering in the nirvanic view and suffering is the hallmark of samsaric experience.
    December 21, 2013 at 3:21am · Unlike · 2
    Piotr Ludwiński "but Nagarjuna IS saying that samsara and nirvana are the same thing." where exactly?
    December 21, 2013 at 3:51am · Like
    Piotr Ludwiński "to provide clarity. " if in your vocabulary "clarity" is "my own misinterpretation" then sure.
    December 21, 2013 at 3:52am · Like
    Piotr Ludwiński If you would be interested in MMK instead of seeking confiirmation for view you would notice that Nagarjuna does thoroughly refute idea of "sameness" (and "difference" as well). Hence your position that according to Nagarjuna they are same thing is untenable.
    December 21, 2013 at 3:58am · Edited · Like · 3
    Ram Jayaram Piotr, if you understand Sanskrit, we can discuss the original text in some detail.
    December 21, 2013 at 5:02am · Like
    Kyle Dixon Being that the text has been translated by numerous individuals, understanding Sanskrit is not a necessary prerequisite for having a discussion about the text.
    December 21, 2013 at 5:39am · Like · 3
    Mason Spransy If you are still in a state of suffering, the statement "Samsara is Nirvana" has not been understood.

    If you are uninterested in resolving your state of suffering, there's no need for you to justify yourself with quotes from this or that spiritual master. Just don't practice - no one is saying that you have to.
    December 21, 2013 at 6:53am · Like · 2
    Goose Saver Dogen is hard to penetrate like a tight virgin. If we only see his words, the koan is missed.
    December 21, 2013 at 9:19am · Like · 3
    Ram Jayaram John Ahn, you asked what the dharma of a human being is. Let me answer that with a quote from the western movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: "If you want to shoot, shoot. Don't talk"
    December 22, 2013 at 7:47pm · Like
    Jackson Peterson It's talking too!
    December 22, 2013 at 9:26pm · Like · 1
    John Ahn Hey Ram Jayaram, I don't understand.
    December 23, 2013 at 12:47am · Like
    Ram Jayaram Just be fully focused on what you are doing.. when we are fully immersed in something (music, nature, loved ones, even a conversation) we tend to forget ourselves, i.e. the self disappears (nirvana). You don't feel tired, time drops out, and you make contact with eternity.
    December 23, 2013 at 4:53am · Like
    John Ahn Do you think animals are in nirvana because they all follow their own dharma?
    December 23, 2013 at 5:14am · Like
    John Ahn Also do you live like this 24 7?
    December 23, 2013 at 5:15am · Like
    John Ahn What if there isn't something to immerse oneself into? Do I go back to samsara?
    December 23, 2013 at 5:16am · Like
    Jackson Peterson Actually Ram Jayaram, you are describing the life of a Zen master. The training is similar especially with budo and aesthetic Zen arts. Coordinating this training with zazen samadhi, this indeed is a legitimate path: all of one's life activities are lived "completely" leaving no residue or remainder.
    December 23, 2013 at 5:23am · Like
    Ram Jayaram John Ahn - enjoy both samsara and nirvana... that's life in its totality
    December 23, 2013 at 5:25am · Edited · Like
    Ram Jayaram Jackson Peterson, all of us are zen masters.. nothing special really
    December 23, 2013 at 5:25am · Like
    Jackson Peterson There is "no one" to go back into samsara. Even if so, one would live samsara with total commitment of exertion, then samsara is nirvana.
    December 23, 2013 at 5:26am · Like
    John Ahn Hi Jackson it's also called karma yoga but you probably knew that,
    December 23, 2013 at 5:28am · Like · 1
    Jackson Peterson Oh no Ram Jayaram, without the training and samadhi insights we are just bewildered victims of our own confusion. A Zen master is neither bewildered nor confused.
    December 23, 2013 at 5:29am · Like
    John Ahn Hey Ram so you are telling me you live in bliss and happiness every moment of your awaking moment?
    December 23, 2013 at 5:30am · Like
    Ram Jayaram John Ahn - in the Bhagavad gita, Krishna talks about three ways to liberation: karma yoga, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga
    December 23, 2013 at 5:32am · Like
    Ram Jayaram John Ahn - my suggestion is to take this silly nirvana off its pedestal.. samsara is much more enjoyable
    December 23, 2013 at 5:34am · Like
    Jackson Peterson I describe this phenomena in my book regarding "flow" and living in the "zone". These moments are absent of all self-consciousness and are totally blissful and precise.
    December 23, 2013 at 5:35am · Like
    Ram Jayaram Jackson Peterson - that's the biggest lie around.. no practice needed at all..
    December 23, 2013 at 5:35am · Like
    Ram Jayaram somehow there's this obsession with bliss, nirvana etc etc. This is not that different from the obsession with god, jesus saving etc
    December 23, 2013 at 5:36am · Like
    Jackson Peterson Ram Jayaram, you don't understand "samsara". Samsara requires ignorance regarding ones own actual situation that develops into concepts and stories about self and things that produces unnecessary suffering, violence and lack of enjoyment.
    December 23, 2013 at 5:38am · Like
    Ram Jayaram Jackson Peterson, but everyone goes thru these moments.. it's nothing all that special. No need to give it special names, build an aura around it, etc. Just enjoy life in all its forms
    December 23, 2013 at 5:38am · Like
    Jackson Peterson That's a hollow philosophy and benefits no one...
    December 23, 2013 at 5:39am · Like · 2
    Ram Jayaram Jackson Peterson - words like samsara, nirvana etc have no inherent meaning at all.. people have coined these terms just to keep the masses hankering for something beyond the here and now
    December 23, 2013 at 5:40am · Like
    Jackson Peterson One needs to address the causes that prevent almost everyone from "just enjoying their lives"...
    December 23, 2013 at 5:41am · Like · 1
    Ram Jayaram oh-oh.. do gooders alert!!
    December 23, 2013 at 5:42am · Like
    Jackson Peterson No these words are part of a therapeutic nomenclature that leads to resolution from that dis-ease.
    December 23, 2013 at 5:42am · Like
    Ram Jayaram yep. first you create a problem. then you spend eternity to solve it. well done
    December 23, 2013 at 5:43am · Like
    Jackson Peterson Yes indeed! We need an army of real "do gooders"!
    December 23, 2013 at 5:44am · Like
    Ram Jayaram 'do nothingers' are much more useful for this world
    December 23, 2013 at 5:45am · Like
    Jackson Peterson Your view Ram is just cynical and self-posturing without really grasping the topic at hand. Real teachers are no different than therapists that have methods to help those in stress and suffering.
    December 23, 2013 at 5:46am · Like · 1
    Jackson Peterson Humanity is quite insane in case you haven't noticed..,
    December 23, 2013 at 5:47am · Like · 1
    Ram Jayaram 'physician, heal thyself'
    December 23, 2013 at 5:48am · Like
    Ram Jayaram yep, humanity is insane - and that includes these nirvana seekers also
    December 23, 2013 at 5:48am · Like
    Jackson Peterson Exactly! We start there and then the light spreads spontaneously to whomever is drawn to that Light...
    December 23, 2013 at 5:50am · Like
    Ram Jayaram what right do the nirvana seekers have to cure others? first let them work on themselves
    December 23, 2013 at 5:50am · Like
    Ram Jayaram then they will find all is fine with the world
    December 23, 2013 at 5:51am · Like
    Jackson Peterson Ok.. I am finished! I have had this exact conversation here on FB at least 20 times... So boring!
    December 23, 2013 at 5:51am · Like
    Ram Jayaram
    December 23, 2013 at 5:52am · Like
    Ram Jayaram don't get stressed out.. it's all just chit-chat
    December 23, 2013 at 5:52am · Like
    Ram Jayaram Remember what Dogen says: "there are no everyday actions outside of Dharma"
    December 23, 2013 at 5:53am · Like
    Robert Dominik " 'do nothingers' are much more useful for this world " <- Yeah. The world certainly needs more people watching TV, eating popcorn, consuming stuff, producing waste etc.
    December 23, 2013 at 6:36am · Like · 2
    John Ahn Hey Ram Jayaram, I think you very much devalue spirituality and that is very unfortunate, and underestimate the monumental effects it can have on people. I find that many people who grow up around the "culture" of spirituality often feel this way, because much of the cultural aspects are rituals from the past now without substance, and you see fanatics who use spirituality to funnel their egos. So the cynicism and an undercurrent of disbelief is very understandable.

    But bliss and awareness are not just empty concepts people make up. After all, you are in your own way, finding a way to be blissful, aren't you? By trying to accept regular life as all that is needed for self fulfillment. Yet, there is so much potential for ecstasy, awareness, love, and knowing that is left unexplored due to our entrenchment in self comforts and shallow desires, often we misinterpret Zen teachings of ordinariness to mean to accept these daily comforts as all that is needed. I'm not saying conventional life is bad, I'm saying it's a bit silly to settle for it as all there is. It's really a waste of human life to settle for such small things.
    December 23, 2013 at 7:05am · Edited · Like · 2
    John Ahn Also not everyone goes through moments that could be termed spiritual. I wouldn't say having a good day, or enjoying a nice flower, feeling a bit of tingling in the body, even having a peaceful meditation, are necessarily spiritual moments (experiencing mundane sights through the extraordinary perception that arises after insight into our nature is totally different). To me spiritual moments are unmistakable revelations into our nature, perception, and potential. These moments do not come and go but leave lasting impression on us. Like you jumped on a trampoline and got a glimpse of a whole new world on the other side of the wall. They are truly life changing because it flips the hierarchy of life's values.
    December 23, 2013 at 7:14am · Edited · Like
    Ram Jayaram "It's really a waste of human life to settle for such small things." - 'God of small things' comes to mind..
    December 23, 2013 at 10:57pm · Like

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