Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nagasena, Chariot and Emptiness

Thusness wrote: "In anatta, the view that "things" r empty and non-arising need not arise. At least in my case and practice takes a very different route.
At least in my case.
when contemplating the 2 stanzas, there is no idea what non-arising is abt.
The 2 stanzas in the article i wrote.
But when I read the nagasena chariot analogy, there is an instant recognition that it is referring to that insight and experience of anatta I have.
therefore i told soh there is the experience, the insight and the view ( empty and non-arising)...lol
if one were to pursue from the insight and experience of anatta alone ( in my case), it is sounds kills you, scents kills you.
when the view of empty and non-arising arises, practice takes a different route...that is, "kills you" is dropped...rather the open spaciousness of sounds, whatever arises is directly resolved as illusory and non-arising."
So I searched for the Nagasena's chariot analogy. Here's an excerpt from the text:
King Milinda: How is your reverence known and what is your name, sir?
Nagasena: I am known as Nagasena, great king, and everyone calls me Nagasena. Even though my parents named me Nagasena, the word 'Nagasena' is just a name, a label, a series of sounds, a concept. It is just a name. There is no real person to be apprehended.
King: (addresses everyone) Listen up everyone, Nagasena tells me that he is not a real person. How can I agree to that? (to Nagasena) If no person can be apprehended, then who gives you alms? Who eats and takes medicine? Who meditates and guards morality? Who kills, steals, and rapes? If someone were to kill you, Nagasena, wouldn't that be murder? What is this 'Nagasena'? Are you the hairs on your head?
Nagasena: No, great king.
King: The hair on your body?
Nagasena: No, great king.
King: What about your muscles, bone, brain, organs, or any other part of your physical body? Is this Nagasena?
Nagasena: No, great king.
King: Perhaps it is this whole form, or a combination of this form, feelings, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness?
Nagasena: No, great king.
King: Is it something outside of the combination of things?
Nagasena: No, great king.
King: (to everyone) I can discover no Nagasena at all. Just a sound, but who is the real Nagasena? Everyone, your reverence has told a lie. There is no Nagasena!
Nagasena: Your majesty, I notice that you have been brought up in great comfort. If you walked here under the noon sun, on the sharp rocks and burning sands, then your feet would be hurt and you would be tired. So how did you come, on foot or on a horse?
King: I came on a chariot.
Nagasena: If you came on a chariot, please explain what a chariot is. Is the pole the chariot?
King: No, reverend sir.
Nagasena: Is it the wheels, or the frame, or the yoke, or any of the parts?
King: No, reverend sir.
Nagasena: Is it the combination of the parts? If we laid out the wheels and the frame and the yoke and all the parts, would that be a chariot?
King: No, reverend sir.
Nagasena: Then is it outside of this combination of parts?
King: No, reverend sir.
Nagasena: Then, ask as I do, I can't discover a chariot. Chariot seems to be just a mere sound. Where is this chariot? Your majesty has told a lie!
Greeks: (applaud) How will you get out of this, your Majesty?
King: Nagasena, I have not told a lie. It is in the dependency and interworking of all the parts that you have a chariot. A pile of parts isn't enough. It is when they all work together that you have this conceptual term, sound, and name of a chariot.
Nagasena: Your majesty is exactly right about the chariot. It is just so with me. Nagasena is the working of all the parts of the body and the five skandhas that make me. But in ultimate reality, however, the person still isn't caught.
King: Well played sir. Well played.
Delma McConnell, Tan Jui Horng, Albert Hong and 5 others like this. (Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 4:46am)
Also related:

Source: Emptything

Greg Goode Different types of dependency: several people have given examples, and here's another one.

A table..

1. A table depends on legs, a top, screws and braces (parts)
2. A table depends on being constructed, and trees, and sun and air, and builders (causes and conditions).
3. A table depends on being conceptualized and designated as a table.

This is the subtle one. Let's say you see a leg and a top. Do you see a backrest? No, so you won't call this a chair. The designation goes like this - you see some forms, and make them out as legs and a top. You give those forms the name, label, designation of "table."

This is subtle because the table is not exactly equal to the parts. The table cannot equal the parts, because then, if the parts change, the parts would be different, and so, following the equation, the table would have to change. Another reason the equality cannot hold is that there are many parts and only one table. The table cannot equal the *collection* of parts, because if the parts change, or if a leg gets broken off, or swapped out, then the collection changes. So the table would have to be a different table.

But we really don't want to say that the table would be different just because the parts are different. We want to somehow say that the table can remain relatively stable as the same table, even if the parts change, or get painted, etc.

And at the same time, we cannot find a truly existent, unchanging table behind or within the parts. If we did find such a truly existent table, then we wouldn't need to designate the parts as a table. But we do. It makes no sense that the table would really be a table if no one had ever in history designated anything as a table.

So we allow ourselves to end up saying, in a loose, conventional way, that the table depends on the parts, but is not the parts. It's a table in name only. this kind of naming is the designation-aspect of the dependency.

And this loose, conventional approach to tables and selves and life and all things is the experience of emptiness. It's a free, flexible, sweetly joyful, open-hearted way of life....
June 8 at 8:58am · Edited · Unlike · 8

John Tan And also functionality. A Chariot continues to function even with some of its parts missing. Dependencies based on parts, causes and conditions, relations, functions and imputations.
June 8 at 7:04pm · Unlike · 9
1 liked this (Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 5:12am)
Kyle Dixon
Also, not only coarse parts but also the integral characteristics such as color, shape and so on, tactile contact, visual contact, there is nothing within or apart from these factors.
3 liked this (Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 5:52am)
Greg Goode
Yes, there is *no* element or characteristic that stands on its own in an independent way. It doesn't matter whether we're talking about aggregates, elements or abstractions. Even emptiness is like this.

And we certainly don't have to call it "emptiness," which itself is instructive...
8 liked this (Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 6:03am)
Neony Karby
2 liked this (Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 6:05pm)

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