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Experience, Skandha and Ignorance

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 Tan Jui Horng
March 9

Question: Is Buddhism concerned about anything outside of experience?
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    Collin Wong and Viorica Doina Neacsu like this.
    Tan Jui Horng Would the best answer be: "there's nothing actually outside of experience so that's a false duality already".

    Or is it too simple and neglects certain aspects?
    March 9 at 3:45pm · Like · 1
    Justin Struble It certainly is a presumed dualistic notion, the idea of "something" "outside" experience. Even if that were possible.. for there to be "something" other than or "outside" of experience.. how would that be relevant to beings who know their reality only via experience? If there is something beyond experience or which we cannot experience, of what relevance is it to sentient beings? Is speculation about such a thing useful / beneficial?

    I think sunyata pretty much debunks anything inherently existing anywhere that could be outside or beyond the reach of experience. I also think teachings which describe omniscient buddhahood assert that there is nothing beyond the experience of a fully awakened one. Having realized the true nature of reality, is there anything beyond reach? Anything further beyond that?
    March 9 at 5:19pm · Like · 2
    Tan Jui Horng Thank you very much for your answer Justin!
    March 9 at 5:42pm · Like · 2
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland As the structuring and patterning of experience unravels and comes to cease completely, then we have arrived at something which is outside of experience.

    Experience is not a substance that we can filter through patterns, there is nothing substantial to put into structures. Instead, experience is the structures, the patterns, themselves. So saying "the patterns of experience" does not mean that we have this thing called experience that we then proceed to put into patterns, but rather that the patterns are by definition experience.

    What is there left when the structures have ceased? We can't say that it is any kind of experience because experience is exactly what has ceased, i.e. patterning and structuring. So what's left?

    Here we come to limits of language.

    This is a question raised many times in many ways in the suttas. The two main conclusions are:

    - That by which one could speak of "what is left", that is not there.
    - To inquire into this matter with the question "what is left?" is a blunder, for it papancizes what can not be papancized. The question goes beyond range, beyond scope.

    In this sense, Buddhism never intends about anything else but what is outside of experience: nibbana.

    The Buddha taught the Dhamma. The Dhamma is the mode of experience. He taught his thesis with the purpose of knowing and seeing the nature of experience, and the explicit outcome of that is nirodha. As mentioned in another thread, today we might call the Dhamma "radical empiricism" or "radical phenomenology".
    March 10 at 2:50am · Edited · Like
    Justin Struble nibbana is not outside experience. nibbana is to be experienced by the wise. nibbana is the experience of the unconditioned. buddhism asserts that we can experience the unconditioned. experience != perception.
    March 9 at 10:54pm · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Sure, Justin. These are semantics.

    Btw, I think the popular translation goes: "Nibbana is to be realized by the wise".
    March 9 at 10:57pm · Like
    Justin Struble

    I have heard that on one occasion, when the Blessed One was newly Self-awakened, he was staying at Uruvela on the bank of the Nerañjara River, at the foot of the Goatherd's Banyan Tree. Then, while he was alone and in seclusion, this line of thinking arose in his awareness: "This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. But this generation delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. And if I were to teach the Dhamma and if others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me."

    Just then these verses, unspoken in the past, unheard before, occurred to the Blessed One:
    Enough now with teaching what only with difficulty I reached. This Dhamma is not easily realized by those overcome with aversion & passion. What is abstruse, subtle, deep, hard to see, going against the flow — those delighting in passion, cloaked in the mass of darkness, won't see.

    As the Blessed One reflected thus, his mind inclined to dwelling at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma.

    Then Brahma Sahampati, having known with his own awareness the line of thinking in the Blessed One's awareness, thought: "The world is lost! The world is destroyed! The mind of the Tathagata, the Arahant, the Rightly Self-awakened One inclines to dwelling at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma!" Then, just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm, Brahma Sahampati disappeared from the Brahma-world and reappeared in front of the Blessed One. Arranging his upper robe over one shoulder, he knelt down with his right knee on the ground, saluted the Blessed One with his hands before his heart, and said to him: "Lord, let the Blessed One teach the Dhamma! Let the One-Well-Gone teach the Dhamma! There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma."

    That is what Brahma Sahampati said. Having said that, he further said this:
    In the past there appeared among the Magadhans an impure Dhamma devised by the stained. Throw open the door to the Deathless! Let them hear the Dhamma realized by the Stainless One! Just as one standing on a rocky crag might see people all around below, So, O wise one, with all-around vision, ascend the palace fashioned of the Dhamma. Free from sorrow, behold the people submerged in sorrow, oppressed by birth & aging.
    Rise up, hero, victor in battle! O Teacher, wander without debt in the world. Teach the Dhamma, O Blessed One: There will be those who will understand.

    Then the Blessed One, having understood Brahma's invitation, out of compassion for beings, surveyed the world with the eye of an Awakened One. As he did so, he saw beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace and danger in the other world. Just as in a pond of blue or red or white lotuses, some lotuses — born and growing in the water — might flourish while immersed in the water, without rising up from the water; some might stand at an even level with the water; while some might rise up from the water and stand without being smeared by the water — so too, surveying the world with the eye of an Awakened One, the Blessed One saw beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace and danger in the other world.

    Having seen this, he answered Brahma Sahampati in verse:
    Open are the doors to the Deathless to those with ears. Let them show their conviction. Perceiving trouble, O Brahma, I did not tell people the refined, sublime Dhamma.

    Then Brahma Sahampati, thinking, "The Blessed One has given his consent to teach the Dhamma," bowed down to the Blessed One and, circling him on the right, disappeared right there.
    Ayacana Sutta: The Request
    I have heard that on one occasion, when the Blessed One was newly Self-awakened,... See More
    March 9 at 11:01pm · Like · 2 · Remove Preview
    Justin Struble Stian, if you are saying that realization is something which occurs outside of experience, you are mistaken.
    March 9 at 11:02pm · Like · 1
    Justin Struble
    Nibbana: nibbana
    Nibbana names the transcendent and singularly ineffable freedom that stands as the final goal of all the Buddha's teachings.
    March 9 at 11:12pm · Like · 1 · Remove Preview
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland It puzzles me a little why you seem so intent on projecting your definition of "experience". You can find the definition I'm employing here in my initial comment
    March 9 at 11:15pm · Like
    Justin Struble Now sharing proper translations of suttas is projection. I see. Good day.
    March 9 at 11:17pm · Like
    Stuffs RedTurtle I love that verse Justin, makes me so happy..
    March 9 at 11:21pm · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Maybe I was a little unclear in my last comment, Justin. It was not directed at the articles you linked to, but your comments:

    > nibbana is not outside experience. nibbana is to be experienced by the wise. nibbana is the experience of the unconditioned. buddhism asserts that we can experience the unconditioned. experience != perception.

    > Stian, if you are saying that realization is something which occurs outside of experience, you are mistaken.

    Given these comments, wouldn't you agree that defining the word "experience" is quite important? As such, I defined 'experience' by basically equating it to the effluents. If you saw that, then, instead of thinking that I mean by 'experience' whatever you mean by 'experience', my comment would probably make more sense to you.

    As I said: semantics
    March 10 at 12:39am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland To clarify:

    > Stian, if you are saying that realization is something which occurs outside of experience, you are mistaken.

    This seems to me very similar an accusation as that of nihilism directed towards Gotama. He deflected such criticism by making it clear that the self and the world which ceases were never really there in the first place. The charge of annihilation does not find a footing in his teaching because the teaching rejects both the assertion and the negation of self and other.

    The notion of "experience" is not such a thing that can really have anything else "inside it" or "outside it". Those are just practical ways to convey the point being made. If by your quoted comment you mean to say that "realization occurs inside of experience", and that it is really actually like that, then I think you are mistaken. But if you do not mean that, then why would you see fit to disagree with my comment? That doesn't make much sense to me.
    March 10 at 12:53am · Edited · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland I see another point here. Justin, maybe you thought that my initial comment was meant to oppose your initial comment?

    It was never intended as such—just a different form of expression. I do not see my comment in opposition to yours.
    March 10 at 12:51am · Like
    Justin Struble "Given these comments, wouldn't you agree that defining the word "experience" is quite important? As such, I defined 'experience' by basically equating it to the effluents. If you saw that, then, instead of thinking that I mean by 'experience' whatever you mean by 'experience', my comment would probably make more sense to you."

    you are arbitrarily redefining the term "experience" in a deluded and non-conventional manner. if you wish to refer to the effluents, then you can use precise terms such as the skandhas, effluents, obscurations, fabrications, volitional formations, aggregates, etc... any number of clear terms. instead you insist on attempting to equate this with experience proper, which is a form of wrong view. this shows you lack this knowledge / discernment.

    the fact of the matter is that there is "experience" that is free from ignorance / dukkha .. aka nibbana .. and it is clearly illustrated in this manner throughout the pali suttas. by insisting otherwise, you are perpetuating, and encouraging misunderstanding and wrong views.
    March 10 at 1:22am · Edited · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Phew, quite the accusations there, Justin!

    Yes, I am using the word 'experience' to refer to those things which you listed, particularly the skandhas (which is the same as the aggregates, which you also listed).

    Will you elaborate on what you are referencing by:

    > there is "experience" that is free from ignorance / dukkha .. aka nibbana .. and it is clearly illustrated in this manner throughout the pali suttas

    In an attempt to further clarify your position to me, would you mind answering this following question: Do you agree that the occurrence of awakening precludes the experience of existence?
    March 10 at 1:35am · Edited · Like
    Mardava Christian Palocz Interesting if you could experience emptiness since emptiness is a negation.
    March 10 at 2:22am · Like
    Mardava Christian Palocz In this group there is an over value of experience.
    March 10 at 2:23am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland > Interesting if you could experience [whatever]

    What does this mean? "To experience something"; What does that even mean?
    March 10 at 2:27am · Like
    Mardava Christian Palocz Well I never generalized into "experience whatever" or "something". I am referrimg to emptiness, nirvana, buddhahood etc. Experience is not, according to me, a criteria of truth.
    March 10 at 2:30am · Edited · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland I mean to ask, what does it mean to "experience" anything? What does the word "experience" contribute to comprehension when we say things like, "I'm experiencing pain" or "it is not possible to experience emptiness"?
    March 10 at 2:31am · Edited · Like · 1
    Stuffs RedTurtle It's a good method for meditation! For self inquiry!
    March 10 at 2:32am · Like
    Mardava Christian Palocz I dont think emptiness can be experienced because it is a negation not something that can be experienced nor perceived in any way.
    March 10 at 2:33am · Edited · Like
    Stuffs RedTurtle When people talk of experiencing emptiness they are talking of experiencing the void right?
    In my understanding emptiness is a negation, until it's seen that there is nothing self sustaining,,
    But then, if this life is no more than a dream, it is indeed empty
    March 10 at 2:34am · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Mardava, I think you are spot on with what you are suggesting about emptiness—I have not-experienced this directly for myself. That's not a joke, btw, haha
    March 10 at 2:34am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland I call it "true absence". It's an absence that can not be known.

    Absence (not the "true" kind) is always defined by and in relation with presence—same goes for being-and-non-being.

    For example, I can only know the absence of my wallet from my pocket by it (being) present elsewhere.

    The emptiness that defines Buddhas can never be known (or rather, con-scious) because it is not co-dependent.
    March 10 at 2:40am · Edited · Like · 1
    Mardava Christian Palocz I see it in those line too Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
    March 10 at 2:41am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Emptiness is an overloaded word (there's a cool term for that, but I don't remember it), Stuffs, so it depends on the people who talk!
    March 10 at 2:43am · Like · 1
    Dannon Flynn All experience is the skandhas. When the skandhas are seen to be empty, then experience is seen to be empty. This is the crux... Nirvana is realized within this empty experience.
    March 10 at 4:07am · Edited · Like
    Dannon Flynn Stuffs RedTurtle, I don't know exactly what you mean by "experiencing the void" but my first reaction is to say that no, experiencing emptiness is not experiencing the void.... I like the word "openness" as a translation of sunyata. Everything appears open, without inherent self-nature.... if that is what you mean by void, then okay.
    March 10 at 4:05am · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland I like the formulation "all experience is the skandhas". For me "skandhas" are understood in a very specific sense as "the five categories of clinging/sustenance".
    March 10 at 4:15am · Edited · Like
    Viorica Doina Neacsu Christian, you said "Interesting if you could experience emptiness since emptiness is a negation."
    Emptiness defines the absence of what i thought to be there. For example if you let your car in front of your house and after one hour you go out and don't see the car in the place you know should be, how is that? What's in that place? ... Don't forget that emptiness is refering to our way to see the world... Emptiness can be experienced in many ways, and i would say it's not an experience but a fact, something obvious... Maybe Greg Goode will be so kind to explain more about...
    March 10 at 4:20am · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland With this understanding, the skandhas are nothing but clinging—different names for clinging, distinguished only for practical purposes.

    As such, nibbana as cessation of grasping and clinging is also cessation of the skandhas.

    A different expression given by Sariputra is that the skandhas are, pure and simple, suffering, and nibbana is cessation of suffering.
    March 10 at 4:21am · Like
    Viorica Doina Neacsu Justin Struble, thank you for the links
    March 10 at 4:28am · Like
    Dannon Flynn Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, there is nothing outside of the skandhas. Skandhas are not clinging. It is true that they provide opportunities for clinging. Even the Buddha as he walks and addresses his monks and lives day to day operates through the skandhas, but the difference is that he has realized that the skandhas are empty and does not cling to them as "me" or "mine". See the Heart Sutra.
    March 10 at 4:40am · Edited · Like · 1
    Mardava Christian Palocz Dannon, your definition of emptiness looks or sounds more like space than what I understand as emptiness, when you write you like the word "openness".
    March 10 at 4:42am · Like
    Dannon Flynn Sure, the experience of emptiness points to the emptiness of experience. An experience, not being the actual emptiness teaching itself, is still an experience, and as such has certain qualities that are expressed in communication.
    March 10 at 4:44am · Edited · Like
    Mardava Christian Palocz Viorica, when you say the car is not there is different than saying the car is empty since the car is still there and you can even drive the car. How I understand emptiness is that nothing changes and all changes, as you wish to say it. Just because I know the the car is empty I still can drive it. I am careful in saying it is an experience just to avoid making emptiness into something.
    March 10 at 4:45am · Edited · Like
    Dannon Flynn All these concepts are also empty
    March 10 at 4:45am · Like
    Stuffs RedTurtle I'm not too sure what is meant by the void, but I have heard people talk about being in a realm in meditation where there is no feeling of body or perception, and then the neither perception or non perception..
    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what is meant by this, and over looking something simple
    March 10 at 4:53am · Like · 1
    Dannon Flynn Oh, that is a meditation experience (nirodha). That isn't emptiness (shunyata).
    March 10 at 5:05am · Edited · Like
    Stuffs RedTurtle Oh I see he he
    March 10 at 5:05am · Like
    Albert Hong I think you answered your own question.

    But I'll express how I understand it as of late.

    There are a couple assumption within the expression which in turn formulates the perception of exactly what is proposed.

    Like you say. There is experience and there is something apart from experience.

    To have experience requires there to be an actual thing that is experienced. And to have an actual thing one experiences then one would need two experiences to contrast each other. Just like we need a foreground to have a background and vice versa. There just isn't a free standing, independent foreground. Because in what sense would it be a foreground then? All concepts are relational and require each other to stand. Yet within themselves or as themselves as standalone objects makes absolutely no sense.

    Hence the notion of experience is also invalid in that it actually doesn't refer to any "thing". It's just words, sounds, the luminous expressiveness of this dynamic interpenetrating whole.

    So then there can't be anything apart from experience because there is no experience to begin with.

    If we assume that there is a such thing called experience such as DIRECT experience. You know the sounds, colors, smells, thoughts, etc.

    This is referring to a view that allows one to touch the clarity of luminous expansiveness. Touch sound directly, nakedly, unmediated by concepts of is or isn't, this or that.

    What is found is that there is no- thing there. Not a nothing or even a something. An absence is even pointless to point out. Because its only absent in relationship to what we assumed as present.

    So even the notion of direct experience is redundant, unfound, and contrived.
    March 10 at 6:10am · Like · 2
    Albert Hong So in short to answer yes or no to the question proposes that the question actually is pointing to something valid.

    To dive into it is to assume its validity.

    Buddhism in essence is concerned not with the question but the process of how the question itself sets the perception up in the very instant it is assumed to be true.

    Then we can realize the mechanism of how perception is formulated by concept. We no longer need to rearrange the furniture of our minds aka get a better, newer, shiny concept, but rather just completely see through the whole thing.
    March 10 at 6:14am · Like · 4
    Tan Jui Horng Wow, great answers everyone! Thanks for replying!
    March 10 at 9:36am · Like · 1
    Din Robinson Buddhism is only interested in the getting rid of the need of itself
    March 10 at 10:52am · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Dannon wrote:
    > Skandhas are not clinging.

    What has lead you to this conclusion, Dannon?
    March 10 at 12:34pm · Like
    Dannon Flynn Skandhas are natural. Just like a penis. Thinking with your penis can get you into trouble but cutting it off isn't the answer. Skandhas are not the problem, clinging is the problem.
    Skandhas are just how experience operates. The thing to do is see that they are empty. Then you don't cling to them. Then you see that there is no self in relation to them. Then they become wisdom.
    March 10 at 6:53pm · Edited · Like · 3
    Dannon Flynn And there is nothing beyond the skandhas to be found. Without the skandhas you don't have the emptiness of the skandhas and the form is emptiness and emptiness is form.
    March 10 at 8:52pm · Like · 3
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Do you mean that skandhas are natural in the sense that ignorance and delusion is natural? (Not sarcastic, btw.)

    > Skandhas are not the problem, clinging is the problem.

    In many crucial passages the skandhas are basically equated with clinging/sustenance.

    One very famous expression given (for example in what's known as the Fire Sermon) is that the skandhas are the fuel for greed, hatred and delusion (and the cessation of greed, hatred and delusion is elsewhere equated with nirvana). That's what's meant by the skandhas: fuel. Like different octanes of gas, or like anything that burns by fire—twigs, grass, coal, even rubber.

    The view that the skandhas are some sort of faculties that are used, employed or otherwise apprehended is thoroughly refuted. The "categories of sustenance" (skandhas) are doctrinally employed in the pursuit of disenchantment, dispassion, cessation.

    An abbreviation of the formula in the Heart Sutra could go something like this: the skandhas are empty. In emptiness there are no skandhas.

    Don't miss the second part, there! What it means is that there are no skandhas to be empty:

    > Sariputra, all things are emptiness; they are without defining characteristics; they are not born, they do not cease, they are not defiled, they are not undefiled.

    First one seals a thing with emptiness. Then, as a result of that, the thingness goes away. As the thingness goes away, so does the basis for the sealing of emptiness. So now there is also not emptiness.
    March 10 at 11:41pm · Edited · Like · 1
    David Vardy Experiencing the absence of 'self' what question arises?
    March 11 at 1:00am · Like · 1
    Albert Hong Stian Gudmundsen Høiland

    But you cannot negate the immediacy of this total interpenetration.

    Emptiness is dependent origination.

    You are seeing it as A minus.

    You can also see it as A plus.

    To see how the radiance is unborn is precisely what the teachings of buddha nature point to.

    In fact because things are empty, they are function.
    March 11 at 1:04am · Like · 3
    David Vardy THIS is a world of 'becoming'. What appears to be, isn't as such. What isn't of the 'unborn'?
    March 11 at 1:12am · Like · 1
    Albert Hong Impossible to clean what is not dirty. But to not try is to lack vision.

    Hold both and die into life.
    March 11 at 1:13am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland It makes me cry, Albert, because it is so hard to see. The ending of the world is beautiful, not desolate, but most recoil in terror.

    Dependent origination is pain and suffering. The immediacy of this total interpenetration is a blazing, scorching fire of sorrow and despair.

    Dependent origination is taught as the recipe for dukkha. All its ingredients are constituents of dukkha. Dukkha is a mark of existence, nothing (dependently) conditioned escapes the scope of dukkha.

    This has nothing to do with (ann)nihilism.
    March 11 at 1:13am · Edited · Like
    Viorica Doina Neacsu Oh boy! "Dependent origination is pain and suffering". This is a good One!
    March 11 at 1:16am · Like
    Viorica Doina Neacsu In Buddhist phenomenology and soteriology, the skandhas (Sanskrit) or khandhas (Pa?i), aggregates in English, are the five functions or aspects that constitute the sentient being.[a][b] The Buddha teaches that nothing among them is really "I" or "mine".

    In the Theravada tradition, suffering arises when one identifies with or clings to an aggregate. Suffering is extinguished by relinquishing attachments to aggregates.
    Skandha - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    In Buddhistphenomenology and soteriology, the skandhas (Sanskrit) or khandhas (P... See More
    March 11 at 1:21am · Like · 2 · Remove Preview
    David Vardy At which point 'Sentience' includes the appearance of sentient beings, none of whom are sentient per se.
    March 11 at 1:31am · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland It would be smart to check out notes [a] and [b], which follow on the first sentence you quoted, Viorica.

    Here they are:

    a These are not physical components, but rather an agglomeration or coming together of subliminal inclinations or tendencies.[1]

    b Thanissaro (2002) maintains that, according to the Pali Canon, the Buddha never defined a "person" in terms of the aggregates (Pali: khandha) per se. Thanissaro nevertheless notes that, contrary to what is actually said in the Canon, such a notion is expressed by some modern scholars as if it were pan-Buddhist. Thanissaro further writes: "This understanding of the khandhas isn't confined to scholars. Almost any modern Buddhist meditation teacher would explain the khandhas in a similar way. And it isn't a modern innovation. It was first proposed at the beginning of the common era in the commentaries to the early Buddhist canons — both the Theravadin and the Sarvastivadin, which formed the basis for Mahayana scholasticism." They serve as objects of clinging and bases for a sense of self.[2]
    March 11 at 1:35am · Edited · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland It is not very skillful to express the skandhas as "functions or aspects that constitute the sentient being". This formulation necessarily occurs within a paradigm where the existence of a being has already been assumed.

    As noted in the previous comment:

    > [The skandhas) serve as objects of clinging and bases for a sense of self.

    Much better.
    March 11 at 1:45am · Edited · Like
    Albert Hong Well don't forget that there is dependent origination from the basis of wisdom.

    It actually doesn't have to be suffering.

    And that's the kind of good message of buddhism.

    Suffering and the END to suffering.
    March 11 at 1:50am · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland In the Pali canon, dependent origination starts from ignorance.

    As far as I understand, in Dzogchen, non-afflicted dependent origination is an artifact of higher-level abstractions employed for teaching purposes. It's a different approach, and the principle that non-afflicted DO derives from is the 'lhun grub'-aspect.
    March 11 at 2:00am · Edited · Like
    Albert Hong If the bliss of the buddha is a teaching method, sign me up.
    March 11 at 2:09am · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland What would you call it? "The bliss of the buddha"? What does that mean?
    March 11 at 2:14am · Like
    Albert Hong It means quite simply that there is different structures of reality.

    Reality can be either suffering.

    Or it can blissful.
    March 11 at 2:23am · Like · 2
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland I don't normally see fit to copy-paste a whole sermon, but this seemed especially pertinent

    I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Gaya, at Gaya Head, with 1,000 monks. There he addressed the monks:

    "Monks, the All is aflame. What All is aflame? The eye is aflame. Forms are aflame. Consciousness at the eye is aflame. Contact at the eye is aflame. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eyeexperienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is aflame. Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Aflame, I tell you, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs.

    "The ear is aflame. Sounds are aflame...

    "The nose is aflame. Aromas are aflame...

    "The tongue is aflame. Flavors are aflame...

    "The body is aflame. Tactile sensations are aflame...

    "The intellect is aflame. Ideas are aflame. Consciousness at the intellect is aflame. Contact at the intellect is aflame. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellectexperienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is aflame. Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Aflame, I say, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs.

    "Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with the eye, disenchanted with forms, disenchanted with consciousness at the eye, disenchanted with contact at the eye. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye, experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain: With that, too, he grows disenchanted.

    "He grows disenchanted with the ear...

    "He grows disenchanted with the nose...

    "He grows disenchanted with the tongue...

    "He grows disenchanted with the body...

    "He grows disenchanted with the intellect, disenchanted with ideas, disenchanted with consciousness at the intellect, disenchanted with contact at the intellect. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect, experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain: He grows disenchanted with that too. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"

    That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted at his words. And while this explanation was being given, the hearts of the 1,000 monks, through no clinging (not being sustained), were fully released from fermentation/effluents.
    Adittapariyaya Sutta: The Fire Sermon
    I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Gaya, at Gaya Head, with 1,000 monks. There he addressed the monks:
    March 11 at 2:32am · Edited · Like · 2 · Remove Preview
    Albert Hong Colors, smells, tastes, sensations, thought, sounds.

    The inheritance the buddhas.

    Zero dimension, appearance-emptiness. A radiance from nothing to nothing.

    Ahhhh what bliss this open radiance.
    March 11 at 2:44am · Like
    Albert Hong Personally I prefer splendor over the whole renouncing method.

    But to say one is this and the other that doesn't feel right.

    They both lead to each other.
    March 11 at 2:51am · Like · 2
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Sometimes I see it in terms of the three doors: animitta (signless), apranihita (undirected) and sunyata (emptiness). They correspond well with experience.
    March 11 at 2:56am · Like
    Dannon Flynn skandhas are not the result of ignorance. Clinging to skandhas as srlf is result of ignorance.
    March 11 at 4:54am · Like · 2
    Viorica Doina Neacsu "It would be smart to check out notes [a] and [b], which follow on the first sentence you quoted, Viorica."

    Stian, thank you for your guidance but honest is not my interest to talk about words. I have the feeling that some of us can't see the forest because of the trees... including me, of course!

    I would be more interested to understand why did you wrote
    "Dependent origination is pain and suffering. The immediacy of this total interpenetration is a blazing, scorching fire of sorrow and despair."
    I don't understand why DO is pain for you...
    March 11 at 5:12am · Edited · Like
    Kyle Dixon "[Since] there are no aggregates in nirvana,
    a person cannot possibly be [in nirvana)."
    - Aryadeva

    Candrakirti comments:
    "If there are aggregates in nirvana, there is also a person. At that time, because they exist [i.e. aggregates and persons], in contradiction with sutra there will be a support that turns into nirvana, and samsara cannot be transcended."
    March 11 at 5:52am · Like · 3
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Hey Dannon. It'd be nice if you could address the direct questions in my replies and possibly elaborate a little more than two lines?

    Going by what you have shared so far, I just downright disagree—there are no skandhas independent of (conceiving of) a self, they are not functional entities, but rather names for types of clinging/sustenance. As such, the skandhas are always within the scope of ignorance. Cf. my previous comments here for some reasoning for this.
    March 11 at 6:07am · Edited · Like
    Dannon Flynn I really don't care to get into long philosophical discussions using empty concepts right now. I am trying to limit the amount of time facebook takes, I would rather be meditating (that would be a good bumpersticker). My point is seeing that the skandhas are empty, not that there is anything "outside" of them.
    March 11 at 6:19am · Like · 2
    Dannon Flynn We both are right but I think you are taking the skandhas to be something inherently real to be gotten rid of. But I may be wrong.

    When Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara practised the deep Prajnaparamita, he saw that the five skandhas were empty; thus he overcame all ills and suffering.

    "O Sariputra! Form does not differ from the void, and the void does not differ from the form. Form is the void, and the void is form. The same is true for feelings, conceptions, impulses and consciousness.

    O Sariputra, the characteristics of the void is not created, not annihilated, not impure, not pure, not increasing, not decreasing.

    Therefore, in the void there are no forms and no feelings, conceptions, impulses and no consciousness: there is no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body or mind; there is no form, sound, smell, taste, touch or idea; no eye elements, until we come to no elements of consciousness; no ignorance and also no ending of ignorance, until we come to no old age and death; and no ending of old age and death.

    Also, there is no truth of suffering, of the cause of suffering, of the cessation of suffering or of the path. There is no wisdom, and there is no attainment whatsoever. Because there is nothing to be attained, a Bodhisattva relying on Prajnaparamita has no obstruction in his heart. Because there is no obstruction he has no fear, and he passes far beyond all confused imagination and reaches Ultimate Nirvana.

    All Buddhas in the past, present and future have attained Supreme Enlightenment by relying on the Prajnaparamita. Therefore we know that the Prajnaparamita is the great magic Mantra, the great Mantra of illumination, it is the supreme Mantra, the unequaled Mantra which can truly wipe out all suffering without fail."

    Therefore, he uttered the Prajnaparamita mantra, by saying:

    "Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasemgate Bodhi-svaha!"
    March 11 at 6:22am · Like · 1
    Dannon Flynn The void is not outside of anything.
    March 11 at 6:23am · Like
    Albert Hong
    Dharma Seed - Rob Burbea's Dharma Talks
    March 11 at 6:27am · Like · 1 · Remove Preview
    Viorica Doina Neacsu Rob Burdea hehehe
    March 11 at 6:35am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Viorica, I didn't mean to sound condescending or something like that. The point was made in the quote you commented that the skandhas are "functions of beings", which I disagree with, and my point of disagreement was spelled out in two notes immediately related to the statement you quoted.

    I'm curious why you posted the quote if you are not interested in what was discussed there?
    March 11 at 6:45am · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Viorica wrote:
    > I don't understand why DO is pain for you...

    Look, I have come to disagree deeply with many of the trends that are popular here. This happened after a genuine awakening. I do not expect to be heard, but many times I speak up.

    One of the most notable changes for me is how parts of the Pali canon that made me feel uncertain and uneasy are now much better understood.

    On this group I find there is an atmosphere of fluffy giddiness—a kind of overemphasis on optimism. And that is fine, but to me it's a symptom of not wanting to confront those parts of Gotamas teaching which one might feel uneasy about. Of course, this happens in context.

    Have you read some suttas? Sometimes they are very dark, tinged by samvega, existential dread.

    The first reality of the noble ones is suffering. What does one make of that?

    What about the crucial emphasis on disenchantment, dispassion, cessation? Is it a world-denying teaching?

    Because I emphasize those aspects and there is resistance to it, it's not hard to detect the kind of projections I receive. To make this point I will quote a passage from someone; You'll see that it's right up my street and how it probably confirms your projection of me (that's not directed at anyone in particular ).

    > The moment of fruition, subsequent to the path moment, is the understood experience and results in a turned-around vision of existence. The new understanding recognises every thought, every feeling as stress (dukkha). The most elevated thought, the most sublime feeling still has this quality. Only when there is nothing, is there no stress. There is nothing internal or external that contains the quality of total satisfactoriness.

    Do you know who wrote this?

    Doesn't it sound kinda gloomy?

    It is by a highly revered nun known for her boundless kindness and joyfulness, Ayya Khema.

    If that doesn't make my point, then I'm a little out of ideas for the moment.
    March 11 at 7:09am · Edited · Like · 3 · Remove Preview
    Viorica Doina Neacsu I didn't post a quote but the explanation of the word skandha from wikipedia because i thought maybe you and Dannon have another meaning of the word. For me the meaning is aggregates.
    March 11 at 6:50am · Like · 1
    Viorica Doina Neacsu I am interested in what is dicusssed here and i asked you a question but i didn't receive an answer yet...
    March 11 at 6:51am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland I'm sorry, which question do you mean?
    March 11 at 6:52am · Like · 1
    Viorica Doina Neacsu Oh, now i see your last comment... let me read your answer!
    March 11 at 6:52am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland
    March 11 at 6:52am · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Ayya:

    > Let's take a look at sceptical doubt first. It's that niggling thought in the back of the mind: "There must be an easier way," or "I'm sure I can find happiness somewhere in this wide world." As long as there's doubt that the path of liberation leads out of the world, and the belief is there that satisfaction can be found within the world, there is no chance of noble attainment, because one is looking in the wrong direction. Within this world with its people and things, animals and possessions, scenery and sense contacts, there is nothing to be found other than that which we already know.


    > "I'm sure if I just handled it a little cleverer than I did last time I'll be happy. There are a few things I haven't tried yet." Maybe we haven't flown our own plane yet, or lived in a cave in the Himalayas or sailed around the world, or written that best-selling novel. All of these are splendid things to do in the world except they are a waste of time and energy.
    March 11 at 7:03am · Edited · Like · 1
    Albert Hong Its worth listening to the audio by rob burbea.

    In a large sense this debate has been going on forever and i'm not sure it will ever end.
    March 11 at 7:05am · Like · 3
    Albert Hong I personally see stians point and i also see dannons point.

    Lalaalalalala its all up for debate.
    March 11 at 7:07am · Like · 3
    Viorica Doina Neacsu Yes... thank you for answering Stian...
    I don't perceive in that way DO... for me DO is joy and compassion... Well, i am lucky that long time ago i did "the work" long enough to change the operating system of my mind... I am very clear that all is my projection if i believe my thoughts to be true... Yes, Ayya Khema said the truth but... as long as it is a deep realization (like your breath) that all thoughts and senses and phenomena are empty why bother? I live without past or future, even the present is not there... DO is a way to understand how all of this is functioning, so can't give stress or pain or suffering... What i think about DO can give suffering, but not DO itself... Maybe if you would practice more compassion and kindness instead analytical thinking, maybe that would bring you more joy and love in your heart...
    March 11 at 7:16am · Like · 1
    Stuffs RedTurtle Good point .. Over analyzing can be problematic
    March 11 at 7:18am · Like · 1
    Albert Hong Unless analytical meditation is your path.

    Then with shamatha one can have insights into the whys and hows of the cessation of perception.
    March 11 at 7:20am · Like · 1
    Stuffs RedTurtle Cool..
    March 11 at 7:21am · Like
    Viorica Doina Neacsu A busy mind, even if it's busy with Buddha's teachings, will never find the peace.. The mind is most of the time the obstacle and not the way... Cutting the hair in four doesn't help... well, i talk about myself...
    March 11 at 7:23am · Like
    Viorica Doina Neacsu Analytical meditation is something else... that means focus the mind and not letting the mind to jump all over the place...
    March 11 at 7:25am · Like
    Viorica Doina Neacsu The meaning of life is happiness... if this teachings in one point don't bring joy, peace and an open heart, something is wrong there...
    I read that few from the first Buddha's disciples committed suicide and he changed the teaching, adding the practice of Metta and compassion...
    March 11 at 7:29am · Edited · Like · 2
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland I don't mean to be confrontative, but this demonstrates my point so well: Isn't it interesting how you perceive a lack of joy and love in my heart? That you seem to project lack of compassion and kindness?

    I'm not saying that you shouldn't, or even that it is not thoroughly substantiated, but that's my point:

    I'd take a guess and say that those perceptions find their support in resistance towards what I expressed earlier comment ("dependent origination is pain and suffering").

    But do recall that I also said:

    > The ending of the world is beautiful, not desolate, but most recoil in terror.

    There is immense gratitude and joy in my heart, and it is directly related to the knowing and seeing of basic, all-pervasive suffering.
    March 11 at 7:31am · Edited · Like
    Albert Hong From an outside point of view Stian you sound Nihilistic.

    But from a practitioners point of view it makes complete sense what you are saying.

    The cessation of ignorance is what brings liberation.

    Anything short of that is not Buddhism.

    But we can probably chalk up all the butting of heads haha as merely stylistic differences.
    March 11 at 7:34am · Like · 2
    Viorica Doina Neacsu If you think that is my projection and that makes you happy, i agree
    But was not me writing "dependent origination is pain and suffering" and "The ending of the world is beautiful, not desolate, but most recoil in terror."

    For me the world is beautiful now, how it is is, the ending is now and now and now... no difference...
    March 11 at 7:34am · Edited · Like · 1
    Albert Hong What I guess I am trying to say is that you're speaking a specific language and not many people are going to connect with that language.

    Does that make sense?
    March 11 at 7:36am · Like · 1
    Viorica Doina Neacsu Albert, the cessation of ignorance should bring joy and not pain and suffering... Otherwise, why is Buddhism good for? For more suffering? DO is for more suffering? hmmmm
    March 11 at 7:38am · Edited · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Viorica, in your reply to my message, which you had explicitly requested, and which you prefaced with my name, you ended by saying:

    > Maybe if you would practice more compassion and kindness instead analytical thinking, maybe that would bring you more joy and love in your heart...

    Was that not directed at me?

    If that's the case, then I'd like to respectfully suggest you reconsider how you might word a similar comment in the future!

    I don't mean to sound harsh or anything! I just don't know if maybe you didn't realize how directed your reply seemed to me.

    EDIT: Added some smiley faces
    March 11 at 7:39am · Edited · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Hey Albert. I guess, but I'm unsure about "and not many people are going to connect with that language".

    For me, a lot of this has to do with what's been called "taking refuge"—that confidence in the Buddha and his awakening, the teachings and the community. To me a crucial dimension of that is that I perceive Gotama as a Buddha and the Pali cannon as a teaching. This gives me enormous confidence in the Pali canon, which has been really, really challenging to grapple with.
    March 11 at 7:44am · Edited · Like
    Viorica Doina Neacsu "If that's the case, then I'd like to respectfully suggest you reconsider how you might word a similar comment in the future!"
    What do you mean Stian? What's wrong with my wording? Do you try to control my wording? I don't understand...
    March 11 at 7:49am · Like
    Viorica Doina Neacsu Did my comment offended you? If that happened, i honest apologize, i didn't have that in my mind when i wrote the comment... well, i can't control how you perceive but i can stop commenting
    March 11 at 7:54am · Like
    Stuffs RedTurtle In any event, Stian what you are getting at is everything in worldly existence is sufferring, even down to the minutest cell no?
    I see both points
    March 11 at 7:55am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Albert, to elaborate a little:

    When I was introduced to Buddhism in this life, I devoured every text I could come across, with no discrimination. I might have read 10-20 books a week. Luckily, I got all those books from and similar repositories, so most of the stuff was legit.

    Following that I began to read various translations of suttas. This was very perplexing to me, because the language was so consistently... well... gloomy? I experienced it as incessant denial and negation, very deconstructive. Perplexed and in recoil, I thought that somehow something had gotten lost in translation, both literally and also figuratively concerning deep cultural and historical differences. In retrospect, I see this was an excuse concocted in fear.

    After that I was intent on recovering the original message by relying on contemporary, or at least more modern, minds greater than than my own. This is what, by far, I've spent most of my time studying.

    All the while I was immersed in commentaries from branching traditions, etc. the (sometimes unconscious) intention was always to use the more modern exegesis to enlighten the Pali canon—always this implicit intention to return to the suttas, but with a key to unlock what has puzzled me so much.

    Enter Longchenpa: BOOM!

    As the dust settles (ha!) from initiation into the view, I go back to the suttas, key in hand.

    Fast forward to now: I can no longer tell the difference between what's called "the highest approach" in Tibetan Buddhism and the oldest extant records of Buddhism (sometimes there is very different lingo, sometimes not). It makes me cry sometimes when the Dhamma coincides, unfolds, in my mind—sometimes to the effect of a fruition. The symmetry and underlying consistency makes my knees weak.

    Through all of this there was, sometimes unbeknownst to me, unshakable trust and confidence in the (historically) original teaching. The fruit of that is my current understanding of the Dhamma.
    March 11 at 8:17am · Edited · Like · 3
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland No, don't worry, Viorica. I think we're still having a civilized discussion, do you agree?
    March 11 at 8:04am · Edited · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Hey Stuffs

    It's a little difficult for me to respond to you question, because it seems to me there's a misunderstanding at work, suggested by the phrase "even down to the minutest cell".

    What I'm getting at makes little sense in a materialistic or realist world view (suggested to me by that phrase, but I could be way off here).

    What I'm getting at is how the mind relates to the world. It is not that there is something called suffering and it permeates the physical and mental world as a substance.

    The missing piece of understanding is sometimes expressed as "mind is the forerunner", but without resorting to idealism.
    March 11 at 8:12am · Edited · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Haha, again, that might not have been a very helpful comment. So:

    Stuffs said:
    > Stian what you are getting at is everything in worldly existence is suffering

    March 11 at 8:14am · Edited · Like
    Albert Hong Viorica Doina Neacsu

    I think what Stian Gudmundsen Høiland is saying that the principle teaching of Dependent Origination outline how confusion brings about suffering.
    March 11 at 8:38am · Like
    Stuffs RedTurtle I just mean that even cells are dying, each and every minute, microbes feeding on life, life feeding on life.
    March 11 at 8:57am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Yeah, you're right. But there's a deeper point.

    The activity of the mind and senses; the production of concepts like cells, dying, minute, microbes, life, etc.; the scene on which these ideas act out, which is to say the world-view of internal and external, people and planets, mental and physical, etc.; the mechanisms that maintain this activity, like hearing, remembering, volition, creative thinking, etc..

    All that stuff.

    All that stuff has mind as its forerunner, is mind-made, mere phenomena, display. And on *this* level it is marked by dukkha: all of it.

    Disenchantment sets in because none of that satisfies, yet it keeps the going-'round going 'round. Dispassion sets in because all of it is dukkha and none of it is self. Cessation occurs. Then wisdom lies openly.
    March 11 at 9:24am · Edited · Like · 2
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Albert, yeah. And more than that. I mean, dependent origination is suffering. The stuff that makes it up, the links—that's suffering: Consciousness, name-and-form, the senses, contact, vedana, craving, clinging/sustenance, becoming, birth-sickness-ageing-death.

    All that stuff is dependently originated. It is conditioned. The three marks concern what is conditioned—existence, in a word.

    The stuff that dependently originates, which are the links in dependent origination and everything that depends on them, is dukkha, anatta, anicca.
    March 11 at 9:14am · Edited · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Albert said:
    > What I guess I am trying to say is that you're speaking a specific language and not many people are going to connect with that language.

    I wonder what difference there is between the language that I'm specifically using (which you are referencing here) and the language of the suttas. Often I find myself a little apprehensive about writing replies here, because I'm basically just copy-pasting the most basic of tenets from the canon, almost wholesale.

    Did you find my previous comment ^ a little on the nihilistic side (as you called my specific language)? If so, and with no hard feelings or anything like that (just making a point), have you read any sutta?

    I guess this is why there were turnings
    March 11 at 9:23am · Edited · Like
    Stuffs RedTurtle Contact, yep. Big old baddie, we are addicted to contact
    March 11 at 9:30am · Like · 1
    Albert Hong Stian Gudmundsen Høiland

    Dependent origination can also be applied in many other ways as well.

    For instance we can see how visual consciousness is dependent upon eye sense organ and sense object. This view ends the proliferation of an inherent essence in both the sense object, sense organ and sense consciousness.

    I think it would be wiser to say that based upon the ignorance of inherent existence in both spectrums of self and phenomena equate to suffering.

    And no I have not read the pali suttas.
    March 11 at 10:21am · Like · 1
    Wha Tsin Aname experience of something beyond experience?

    Kind of a ludicrous notion.
    March 11 at 10:28am · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Wha:
    March 11 at 10:41am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Sorry 'bout the link spam. Those are all insanely good, though, and very short.
    March 11 at 10:47am · Like · 1
    Dannon Flynn "Wherein Sorrow is Joy, and Change is Stability, and Selflessness is Self. Seeing first the truth and then the falsity of the Three Characteristics - This is the highest realization."
    March 11 at 5:29pm · Edited · Like
    Wei Yu It seems that Stian, Kyle, and Piotr are of the view that Skandhas are necessarily tainted (correct me if I am not wrong) and completely end upon the end of mental afflictions. As I understand: Skandhas have their cause in ignorance, which is why arahants no longer experience skandhas after their final passing. (Let's not talk about Mahayana understanding about the 'afterlife' of Bodhisattvas and Buddhas for now) However while alive, the skandhas are still manifest due to old karmas even though they no longer make more new ignorance/mental afflictions/defiled karmas arising from three poisons leading to samsaric experience (renewed becoming, i.e. rebirth) etc.

    However, arahants and Tathagatas still has skandhas and dhatus while alive (conventionally speaking of course, as ultimately 'arahant' and all skandhas are empty). At least in the first Nibbana element - Nibbana with remainder. Then there is the second Nibbana which is Nibbana without remainder. Which I provided suttic quotations below for those interested. Note that both Nibbana with remainder, and Nibbana without remainder, are only 'accessible' for one who has completely ended mental effluents, i.e. an arahant (or equivalent).

    To me, what Dannon Flynn said about skandhas being present without clinging as liberation is correct, but corresponds to the first Nirvana element.

    As I wrote to Piotr:

    "arent skandhas exactly grasping in action and described to show grasping does not require solidified unified self as grasper"

    in the suttas, skandhas are not grasping, but objects of grasping.

    As I understand it, the object of clinging and the mental act of clinging are not the same but they are interdependent. just like a clinching hand and an apple.. the apple is not the hand but where the hand clings to the apple, that is the clinging there.

    So its not exactly that skandhas are grasping


    "Friend Visakha, neither is clinging the same thing as the five clinging-aggregates, nor is it something separate. Whatever desire & passion there is with regard to the five clinging-aggregates, that is the clinging there."

    malcolm says arhats and buddhas have skandhas

    " His mind, what else? Surely you are not going to now suggest that arhats lack the five aggregates?"

    " Where did you get the idea that a nirmanakaya buddha does not have skandhas? "

    also its very obvious from the suttas that arahants still have five aggregates, as buddha said, "

    "An arahant should attend in an appropriate way to these five aggregates of clinging as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. Although, for an arahant, there is nothing further to do, and nothing to add to what has been done, still these things -- when developed & pursued -- lead both to a pleasant abiding in the here-&-now and to mindfulness & alertness."

    if arahants do not have aggregates how can they attend to them? as i see it, only the grasping and conceit of I am and mine with regards to aggregates are ceased

    aggregates are not to be equated with grasping

    as an arahant does not have grasping

    also: "The 'meritorious qualities' (gunas) and the bodies and lands of the Tathagatas are comprised in the Skandhas, Ayatanas, and Dhatus, as it is fitting that they should be so comprised; but the Skandhas, etc., may be pure (anasrava) or impure (sasrava). ... It is certain that the qualities, bodies, etc., of the Buddha are comprised in the Dhatus. - Why? Because, according to the texts, all Samskrtas (conditioned dharmas) are comprised in the five Skandhas, all dharmas are comprised in the eighteen Dhatus and the twelve Ayatanas ; there is no nineteenth Dhatu (Vimalakirti). ... Let us therefore conclude that the eighteen Dhatus are found in the body of the Buddha but are absolutely pure (anasrava)." (Ch'eng Wei-Shih Lun, p 787-789, tr. Wei Tat)

    therefore although all five skandhas are ultimately empty, we do not deny conventionally the 'purified skandhas of an arahant and tathagata'


    He quotes Buddhaghosa:

    "Although the aggregates of the arahant who has destroyed the cankers become conditions for clinging in others, when they say, for example, "Our senior uncle the Thera! Our junior uncle the Thera!," the noble paths, fruits, and nibbana are not grasped, misapprehended, or clung to." [ I have simplified this, so it's not an exact quote.]

    Boisvert continues;

    "This implies that, although those who do not generate any more clinging (the arahant) have totally eradicated the biases, they still possess the five clinging-aggregates in the sense that their five aggregates still constitute a ground for clinging in others." [ page 27.]
    Wei Yu
    Wei Yu

    "like Kyle says according to tradition consciousness is always afflicted and denotes "split" and grasping"

    in yogacara onwards it may be defined that way and dualistic consciousness is contrasted with 'wisdom', dont think its defined in that way in the suttas though
    Wei Yu
    Wei Yu

    also there are two elements of nibbana:

    § 44. The Nibbana-element {Iti 2.17; Iti 38} [Alternate translation: Thanissaro)

    This was said by the Lord...

    "Bhikkhus, there are these two Nibbana-elements. What are the two? The Nibbana-element with residue left and the Nibbana-element with no residue left.

    "What, bhikkhus, is the Nibbana-element with residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, the holy life fulfilled, who has done what had to be done, laid down the burden, attained the goal, destroyed the fetters of being, completely released through final knowledge. However, his five sense faculties remain unimpaired, by which he still experiences what is agreeable and disagreeable and feels pleasure and pain. It is the extinction of attachment, hate, and delusion in him that is called the Nibbana-element with residue left.

    "Now what, bhikkhus, is the Nibbana-element with no residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant... completely released through final knowledge. For him, here in this very life, all that is experienced, not being delighted in, will be extinguished. That, bhikkhus, is called the Nibbana-element with no residue left.

    "These, bhikkhus, are the two Nibbana-elements." These two Nibbana-elements were made known By the Seeing One, stable and unattached: One is the element seen here and now With residue, but with the cord of being destroyed; The other, having no residue for the future, Is that wherein all modes of being utterly cease. Having understood the unconditioned state, Released in mind with the cord of being destroyed, They have attained to the Dhamma-essence. Delighting in the destruction (of craving), Those stable ones have abandoned all being.
    Wei Yu
    Wei Yu

    there are two interpretations.. one is that nibbana without remainder is after the passing away of arahant. the other, by ven nyanananda, is that nibbana without element is equated to arahattaphala samadhi

    *without remainder
    March 11 at 7:44pm · Edited · Like · 6
    Wei Yu Stian: "In the Pali canon, dependent origination starts from ignorance.

    As far as I understand, in Dzogchen, non-afflicted dependent origination is an artifact of higher-level abstractions employed for teaching purposes. It's a different approach, and the principle that non-afflicted DO derives from is the 'lhun grub'-aspect."

    Haven't you read the transcendental links of dependent arising in Pali canon?

    Buddha never restricted the general principle of D.O. to the 'afflictive' 12 links

    p.s. if you say that the afflictive 12 links precedes the transcendental links then I see what you mean
    March 11 at 7:52pm · Edited · Like
    David Vardy Living beyond measure is to thought as a hot bed of charcoal is to fat falling off meat grilling on a spit. The faint echo of the fat sizzling is barely noticed and the memory of it only present when required. The meat of course is always available.
    March 11 at 7:54pm · Like · 1
    John Ahn Great discussion..just 2 cents...

    When you understand the teachings from a basis of dualistic experience, Buddhism will sound nihilistic and its goal as annihilationism. Which I believe many traditional hinayana practitioners do. And inevitably, states of total dispassion, non-recognition, and non-experience wherein there are no concepts or contact or even a sense of awareness will be seen as the ultimate goal or the primordial state before the arising of ignorance.

    Actually isnt this quite similar to vedanta entering into non-dual timeless non-being? Anyway the approach is the same..eliminating the maya of the world so to cease it and thereby cease suffering.

    Now I don't know if this is right or wrong. But it is dualistic in many ways. Practice will be catered to seeking refuge in absorption and denying appearance as it is seen to be suffering; trying to return to a pure state of being. I just want to discuss this on a practical in, holding this view..where and how does it lead a practitioner?
    March 14 at 2:57am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Some good points there, Soh. I was gonna bring in the same suttas, actually.

    I'm of the understanding that Nibbana without residue has no requirement at all so at to be only realizable after clinical death, but I would never expect anyone to agree with that without having seen for oneself.

    It is evident to me that the commentators you are quoting from are merely speculating.

    Primarily this is evident from my own experience. Secondarily there is scriptural evidence.

    I find these things are hard to discuss. Even though I know this for myself, I know it without recourse to language—it's not conceptual. This is the only way to know it. It also makes it difficult to discuss.
    March 14 at 3:20am · Like · 1
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Soh wrote:

    > "arent skandhas exactly grasping in action and described to show grasping does not require solidified unified self as grasper"

    > in the suttas, skandhas are not grasping, but objects of grasping.

    > As I understand it, the object of clinging and the mental act of clinging are not the same but they are interdependent. just like a clinching hand and an apple.. the apple is not the hand but where the hand clings to the apple, that is the clinging there.

    > So its not exactly that skandhas are grasping

    This I agree with.
    March 14 at 3:21am · Like
    John Ahn As for the Pali Canon being gloomy...if spirituality is written in a life affirming way, such as, hey! go out and enjoy life! or lets become a better person! they all lead to ego affirming misdirections. Even telling people to be compassionate is a big trap. IMO it is better to write with negative language. But if its taken as a mere perspective, then it also is not so good.

    Spirituality in the ancient contexts has been about destruction, death, and renunciation. Because when we look at it from a certain viewpoint, it is really like that..where everything you thought you were or held valuable is burnt in a pit. Its not best to talk about what comes out of it, because then there are all kinds of imaginations or immediately the mind goes, yeah! I want to become that!..and this whole idea of <becoming> is the biggest hurdle.

    Now the whole thing about dukkha. Hmm..this is really relevant that I chanced upon this thread tonight because annica and dukkha have been hammering me all day lol. Buddha..the biggest party pooper.

    Then I got reminded of the example of drawings on a pond. From the perspective of any perceived image that is consistently disappearing even as it is being drawn, definitely it is suffering. Trying to grasp it is even more suffering. But lets say from the perspective of the shimmering lines swaying here and there..its not drawing anything really, just playing around...and so when those perspective of grasping and construing are dropped and there is merely the play..
    March 14 at 3:24am · Edited · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland I was going to reply point-by-point to your message Soh, but I just don't have the perseverance for that at the moment.

    The quotes from Buddhaghosa and Boisvert somewhat reflect my view: That the skandhas are present in the sense that they are still objects for clinging in others.

    Problem is that there's no arahant to possess the skandhas. If you go through your comment with an eye towards this, you'll see that this discussion is still occurring within the paradigm of property and possession, of which an arahant does not partake anymore. I made this point earlier in this thread.

    A buddha does not have body, speech or mind, and the skandhas are elaborations of these three contexts. I know there is a pervasive idiom in Buddhist of the three kayas that correspond to these three contexts, but this is a conventional implementation, similar to a scale of measurement like Celsius—it's just a reference among other references with no final identity.
    March 14 at 3:32am · Edited · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Hey John. Regarding your first comment:

    It seems to me there are two main points there. One is the issue of cessation—is it a kind of blankness, darkness, nothingness, etc. The other is the issue of duality, especially of abiding states like absorptions, etc.

    The first point will not be resolved until one sees for oneself. Suffice to say it is paradoxical to the ordinary mind and beyond its powers of imagination.

    The second one... Are we under the illusion that there some ways of speaking that are not dualistic? Are there ways of communicating that are not dualistic that we should rather be using? Isn't that dualism right there?

    In the suttas, sometimes the arahants are said to be those who perpetually abide in jhana. Is this dualistic?

    I think there is a perversion in our minds about nondualism.

    Consider dzogchen, which is a tradition that prides itself on being uncompromisingly nondual. Yet how does one implement the teachings there? By abiding in the state of wisdom. Then one "falls out" of that state of wisdom and must find one's way back in. Eventually one can stay there for longer and longer periods of time. Is this dualistic?
    March 14 at 3:47am · Edited · Like
    John Ahn Hey Stian Gudmundsen Høiland I'm not so interested in language...just that there is a difference between trying to enter a pure state vs. recognizing the nature of what arises, not necessarily its mechanism as you often seem to focus on.
    March 14 at 3:49am · Edited · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland That's a good observation, John.

    When you put it like that, you have separated the two, and your phrasing suggests that they stand in contrast. Is that so? Isn't that dualism? How is that reconcilable with the nondual teachings?
    March 14 at 3:50am · Edited · Like
    John Ahn Lol lets not play word games. I think you know what I mean.
    March 14 at 3:51am · Like
    John Ahn But yes, the two approaches are very different. In the former effort is towards entering samadhi, the latter is realization of nature of this very moment.
    March 14 at 3:52am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Yeah, sure. You could call that words games, and I wouldn't disagree with you. But there was a point made: Maybe the difference is just in language.

    EDIT: Right, so you consider them very different. Maybe I don't
    March 14 at 3:57am · Edited · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland It's not difficult to find a shared, common denominator: that would be ignorance. These so-called different approaches both hinge on the ignorance-wisdom dichotomy.
    March 14 at 3:55am · Edited · Like · 1
    John Ahn does every modes of learning.
    March 14 at 3:59am · Like
    John Ahn Like uh, physics class..
    March 14 at 4:00am · Like
    John Ahn Stian don't you think you are drawing too fast conclusions?
    March 14 at 4:02am · Like
    John Ahn As in would you say you have equally focused and understood both approaches?
    March 14 at 4:04am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Many times when I don't soak in the view long enough before replying, I draw conclusion too fast and that is unskillful.

    In my experience, part of the knowledge that arise when seeing the Dhamma is how the Dhamma converges in the Dhamma. One could say that the teachings converge on a singular point (which of course is a problematic expression).
    March 14 at 4:06am · Edited · Like
    John Ahn This isn't really a analytical issue more a practical one. As in as one practice this becomes a definitive issue whether to continue to apply effort and view into remaining or practicing towards a certain state or focusing on realization.
    March 14 at 4:07am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland That is a schema which is very popular with several people on this group. I guess it came from John in his articles on experience, view, realization.

    It's a discrimination which can be helpful, indeed, but there's no actual distinction between experience, view, realization.

    Abiding in a state, practicing towards it, and realization all converge in wisdom. The eightfold path of the noble ones come together in perfect coincidence, and wisdom is a fact in that moment.

    Maybe this sounds too abstract or whatever. In that case I apologize, with the caveat that these words point to something experiential.

    In any case, maybe I'm not quite following you, John
    March 14 at 4:15am · Edited · Like
    John Ahn Lol it's really just a practical you reach a point whether you realize the effort towards a certain state is contrivance. This is where there is recognition that there is a difference between trying to enter samadhi vs realizing the very nature of this very experience
    March 14 at 4:45am · Like
    John Ahn The whole construct of what is ignorance and what is wisdom is therefore really different in the two approaches. The former is one in which the senses and the physical is themselves ignorance. And the latter, just the wrong perspective has distorted phenomena thereby causing suffering...hence the nature of phenomena is said to have always been liberated...or something along those lines. More simply...the former is liberation from phenomena, and the latter is phenomena liberating phenomena...
    March 14 at 4:56am · Like
    John Ahn Mm where is that awesome Malcolm quote that rigpa is the elements and nothing else...
    March 14 at 4:58am · Like
    Justin Chapweske Tan Jui Horng - The OP is a provocative koan.
    March 14 at 8:14am · Like
    Tan Jui Horng lol... I certainly wasn't expecting this...
    March 14 at 9:45am · Like
    Wei Yu John Ahn I think you're referring to this:

    Rigpa is knowledge of the basis which is the five lights which is the five elements in their 'luminous intrinsic purity'

    Also more recently by Malcolm:

    It is simple: the basis has nothing to do with afflicted mind, the one we ordinarily experience.The two statements may be reconciled in the following way.

    The basis is simply a way of talking about the components of the universeearth, water, fire, air, space and consciousness — from the point of view their luminous intrinsic purity. A way of saying this in Tibetan in Dzogchen terms would be ???????????????????????????????????????? (all phenomena are pure and naturally perfect by nature); a gsar ma equivalent presentation might run ????????????????????????????????????????? (all phenomena are pure and luminous by nature).

    The Kalacakra tantra makes a very important point about this, as Tagtshang Lotsawa points out in his survey of the Vimalaprabha:

    Great bliss and empty forms [sunyatabimba, stong gzugs) are shown to exist in the basis with this wisdom element of the basis (gzhi) because Bhagavan Vajsattva Mahasukha explains that all three realms exist in oneself in the commentary of the third verse of this (adhyatma) chapter, and it is established through the citation of the root text and commentary of “wisdom merged into emptiness”.

    What is this wisdom? He again clarifies:

    Bearing the namewisdom”, this consciousness that exists pervading the bodies of all sentient beings is merged into that emptiness which pervades all sentient beings, including the sentient beings of the bardo and the formless realm. This is taught in the commentary as existing through a relative mode.

    In Kalacakra, for example, the wisdom element is considered to be the five elements counted as one. Tatshang again:

    As such, from among the ten elements, the first five are enumerated individually, i.e., the elements of space, air, fire, water and earth. Counting the latter five as one, since they are made into one so called “wisdom element”, these six elements form this womb-born body.

    The fact that points towards the same meaning as the basis in Dzogchen is provided by him here:

    This statement of the root textWisdom is merged into emptiness, uniform taste, unchanging, and permanent” is intended for the mind of the apprehending subject that apprehends the object of the empty form established through the power of meditating on the main (devata). Here, the meaning of uniform taste, unchanging and permanent are though to be “complete in perfection.” Further, the meaning of permanent is said to be freedom from obscurations. That also intends intrinsically lacking obscuration or without the obscurations of movements. Though there is nothing to identify here in inseparable uniform taste, while produced conditionally, the intention is that the apprehended object and the apprehending subject have a single essence, and that a transforming continuum is not possible.

    This is an extremely important point and demonstrates why the body of light is possible through either Dzogchen thögal or the path of the two stages.

    Now, someone might object that it is inappropriate to cite the Kalacakra to clarify points in Dzogchen tantras, but then if this is so, then all great masters from Nubchen on down to Dudjom Rinpoche are at fault for using such tantras as the Mañjusrinamasamgiti to clarify Dzogchen.

    Now, I am just a scholar, sharing with those who are interested my research. For many people it is annoying that I change my opinions, but I only have opinions based on what I know. Since I am not an enlightened person I can only understand what is said in the texts along with my own experience. Therefore, when my learning contradicts my earlier opinions, I change the latter immediately as soon as I have confirmed them mistaken. Such is the only honest path of real scholarship. Since I am not a person who can just accept what is told to me, my path is a bit more brutal and hard than most. But I consider that I am like a goldsmith, and it would be remiss of me not to rigorously test these texts that appear to shine like gold to see if they really are gold, merely gold-plated or fool's gold.


    In the highest Yogacara school, the non-aspectarian school, there is in fact no container universe to reincarnate into since the containers universe is merely a projection of seeds in the alayavijñana.

    Dzogchen does not reject the outer universe in the same. Instead it interprets the pre/non-afflictive states of the five elements as "the five lights". But we can understand that the most subtle form of the five elements exist within consciousness. Wisdom is also just a name for a pre/un-obscured consciousness.

    The basis is not a universal phenomena. though it is discussed in a manner resembling that for convenience. Each person has their own basis. This is why each person experiences delusion and liberation separately and at different times.

    Because the basis seems to be discussed as it it were some universal "pleroma", to borrow a phrase from the Gnostics, this causes some people to go off the deep end and conclude it is some universal phenomena out of which everything arises rather than be a quality shared by everything that arises.
    Awakening to Reality: Dzogchen, Rigpa and Dependent Origination
    Zhi Rigpa does go beyond dependent origination.The teaching of form is emptiness... See More
    March 14 at 11:16am · Edited · Like · 4 · Remove Preview
    John Ahn Yup. Thanks!
    March 14 at 11:40am · Like · 1
    John Callaghan Concern with anything outside the experience is the consequence of a psychological disposition where the perception of individual factors belonging to the experience are expressed from within the experience