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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Reality and Misplaced Hope


Part four of a series. Chandrakirti states from a logical philosophical position that even the smallest duration of time cannot hold what is illusory. So, not even the smallest moment of time has the natural structural capacity to hold what is truly real. Because it has no inherent reality, it is empty of inherent self-sustaining existence and because of that, its appearance is illusory.

The very thing that your hope is placed on to be real and stable and a support of meaning is in fact without that very thing that makes it real to you. Now, I have to state it in another way because it is important. It does not have even the possibility of creating this support because your current view belongs to the human realm perceptual support, in other words the innate view. What you are resting your hopes to understand reality is the illusory innate view that is not meant to support the very thing that you intellectually want it to be. It is not possible for it to be this. This is the perceptual story that is bonded to your essence being to help you be alive in this realm.

Even the inner bases of the outer senses such as the ear of the ear etcetera, are illusory arisals, as they are even more fully hypnotized into the belief taking the transitory to be real. We are talking about the inner eye of the eye, up to consciousness itself. They are all lacking the marks and signs of actual reality. In addition, they are an inferior kind of learning device and should be seen for the poor quality dynamics that they are in comparison to new dynamics being presented. They exist as part of the structure to receive the programming for human manifestation. We do not attempt to directly reprogram inner minds from the outside except by the reproducible foundational concepts. Otherwise we could damage the mind.

We have been fooled beyond the careful balanced innate view needed to participate in the human realm, into thinking that the inner bases will provide something that they are not capable of providing. So, we should not blame our blessing innate view, although in most philosophies and practices, we blame our innate view. Perhaps we should begin to disrespect it carefully because it is not the fault of the innate view. The innate view has allowed us to participate in this human realm for a very long time, but once we began to think that it was going to provide us something that it cannot provide, then we are wrong.

Self-cherishing also has a large role to play in the innate view. Remember that self-cherishing has an important function of self-protection that allows you not just to be here but to continue being here. If you did not have certain kinds of protective self-cherishing, you would not be able to endure the psychological and physical onslaughts. Buddhism helps you reduce and eliminate the harmful aspects of self-cherishing carefully by presenting you with a better option of cherishing others.

If you simply lost self-cherishing, you would be fragile and helpless in the onslaughts of ordinary life. At the first opportunity, you would give up, so part of the correct view discussed earlier needs to be a more realistic sense of self-preservation. This is why mentors feel concern for good eating habits and daily care for someone who is freshly in the correct view.

The dangers of self-cherishing by misusing the ego or other structures inappropriately are extensively covered under other teachings by myself and others. Even the ramifications or secondary effects of self-cherishing have cause you or others to do so many things that you are sorry for later. Now that we are discussing deep subjects here, your responsibilities increase to reduce the poor strategies of self-cherishing and retain the correct perception regarding this important point. To be continued…

Friday, March 20, 2009

Reality and Falling Asleep in Meditation

Third in a series- The practitioner has not yet created new perceptions regarding how things actually exist that can be used without the crutch of the inferior view. Students often say, "I am doing my practice, and boom, I suddenly fall asleep." That is because they not yet hold a organized structure in their perceptual continuum where new knowledge, perceptions and learning can rest and stabilize. So, boom, like that. It is actually very common.

The reason why you receive teachings is to help create new perceptions. Inner teachings arriving to the ordinary mind prepared by knowledge and practice recreate the mind so that someday you might instead say, "Wow, I can now understand something that I could not understand before". The new perception on the outside helps, so when the teaching comes from the inside you connect with it. Otherwise you do not understand, and you are the weakest link of your own inner process, unable to support the knowledge offered.

Sometimes the inner teachings come in the form of bliss or in the form of feelings. If it is intellectual knowledge that you need in order to have a careful outer process and you are not stable in that, you simply fall asleep suddenly. Another reason that you might be falling asleep is because in the very place where this perception is arriving, you are just so full of your own intellectual certainty that you know, that when the correct perception comes, there is no place to put it because you are already full of yourself. And what happens? You fall asleep. However, do not give up. Keep working on meditation and listening carefully to teachings to become more and more capable.

So again, while this is happening on the interior, the practitioner still has not yet created perceptions that can be used without the crutch of the inferior view that continues to take what is transitory and illusory to be real. They might temporarily enter into the stage without foundation, and that is what is being described here. In other words, they fall asleep! They do not have the perceptions yet to support this to remain conscious and the crutch of their ordinary view is useless! The inner teachings are not able to be processed. So, they enter into a lower level state without foundation where a more advanced practitioner would remain quietly alert, and that is all. It is not complicated. Many try to make it into some kind of exciting and exotic Las Vegas circus of philosophy when it is really so very, very simple.

This is not a permanent state but a preparation for another state to arise. Now it is usual to that you do not know if you are awake or not awake. You do not know anything. All you know is that later your will remember that everything that you thought was the support was not there, and therefore we call it empty. Since there are many kinds of empty this state is important because it can happen early in practice and many have experienced this. It is an important state because it shakes your faith in the reality of your world and worldview.

Now Chandrakirti in the exposition of the 20 emptinesses states, “Emptiness of the inner”, in other words, emptiness of the subject, refers to Dharmas or heaps of accumulated manifestations, belonging to the subject. Now, keep in mind the explanations I have just given you. “Since it has no inherent nature, the eye is empty of being an eye. The ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind are the same way”. They are all described in a similar way. “They are not stable, nor forever lasting, nor do they remain for a short time and decay. The eye and the rest that are the six inner ones are things that have no essential nature at all. This is one is meant by emptiness of the inner”.

This is what Chandrakirti is telling us. Now, we go on to what I might have to add. Silly me, I am going to add to what Chandrakirti told us which was plenty good enough, but if was not and you do not understand, let's go on.

We do not need to discuss whether the eyeball or the ear or the sense organs are the processing centers of the senses. We understand that the brain processes incoming data in ways that make it suitable for mental events and constructs to be created. That these fleshy organs and the fleshy organ of the brain are not reliable transmitters of data is already understood by science. They can be damaged easily and can be easily fooled, such as seeing a snake when it is a rope, isn't that so? If there are people who witness a car accident, there can be five people with five different experiences of what happened. The senses can be easily fooled.

The outer and inner organs of perception are in the mind and not in the brain which is not located in the physical body but in an energetic form invisible to human sight. In other words, no matter how you cut open the human body, you cannot find the inner bases of the senses or the actual mind. You only find the fleshy brain. Can you tell where the body end and the mind begin? No, they are connected by a spectrum that includes the manifested physical form.

So, the physical senses are empty of what is perceived as their purpose without the actual inner sense organs of the mind. The inner sense bases are also dependent on another dynamic for even more subtle mind that influences it. This means that events from the inner and outer environment are processed through an inferior filter that is easily polluted, meaning your contaminated senses. To be continued

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Learning Reality


part two of a series
The innate view is part of a perceptual story bonded to a living being such as a human being and connected to a particular subtle inner mind. The innate view, or taking what is transitory and impermanent to be permanent is reinforced by society as well as personal experiences of seeing the world as solid and unchanging. This complex set of instructions is bonded in order to help you to be alive in this perceptual realm. You are only alive here by your perceptions. If you do not have an innate view, you are not here! This continues until the correct view replaces it.

Even the inner bases, the more subtle minds that hold various relationships to human life and inner life are illusory, as they are even more fully hypnotized into taking the transitory to be real, and rightly so! Otherwise, you would not be here. You would not have this wonderful opportunity as a human being unless you were capable of receiving these various cascading effects toward the gross mind while holding the innate view.

To have an innate view does not mean that you are a bad person or that you did something wrong. The innate view is not evil. For the one who is in preparation for transformation it is just not needed anymore because it is time for change to happen in the ordinary mind. To continue using ordinary mind and its structural support, the innate view, is like wearing a very old winter coat that does not keep you warm anymore, the very thing that it was supposed to do. It's also getting threadbare and looks bad.

Beings such as bodhisattvas who emanate into the human realm because they have work to do, uproot the innate view that delivered them here so that they can be begin careful activity to benefit living beings. All beings seeking liberation from the suffering of uncontrolled rebirth and misalignment with reality must also uproot the innate view. We say it is the correct view, but there are transitional correct views for the benefit of bodhisattva trainees. There are trainings in levels of bodhisattva stages that allow for skillful transformation from the initial stage of understanding the nature of human existence to eventually establishing in complete and total Buddhahood. It is definitely a process even after one becomes enlightened.

However, we do not damage the perceptual programming by rigid logical analysis too soon without developing transitional correct views in order to be able to recognize it when it arises. It is not possible to add a correct view of reality mixed with a contaminated view. The transitional correct view must include training in compassion practices, understanding karma and reincarnation, overcoming fear of death and how to rely on virtuous objects such as the Buddha, dharma and sangha. When the great Path of the teachings are intergrated into the mind so seamlessly that there is no difference between the teachings and the mind, that one is considered to be a candidate for higher training such as intense introduction to emptiness.

An analysis such as Chandrakirti's 20 Emptinesses is meant to deliver you where there is no place to rest your innate view. That is why it is called destruction of error. When the innate view is gone carefully with the analysis in deep meditation, without loss of energetic integrity, it is replaced by the correct view. The innate view is dismantled and the correct view arises. If done right, the correct configuration results, called the correct view. The correct view maintains inner connection with reality. The correct view is conventional balanced wisdom awareness arising of the human. It is also the staging location of a transitional view for what happens next in development.

Since even the more fluid inner bases are illusory, they are also fully hypnotized into the transitory as real. This is the evolutionary, intellectual, evolved structure believed to have the highest ability to discover the nature of reality. Different kinds of bases, not just inner sensory bases which emanate the gross outer sense bases such as gross consciousness, but various inner minds are also illusory. They are lacking the marks and signs of reality and are of an inferior kind of learning device that has been the method of the self-referent nature of activity of inner and outer mind. The inner minds should be seen for the poor quality dynamics that they are and begin to rely on authentic bases such as inner acceptable principles. You have been fooled into thinking that there is something there in the mind that will provide something that it is not capable of providing.

Even the inner bases of inner minds lack the very thing that you expect to be the support of your inquiry into the nature of reality. Eventually, all avenues of inquiry are exhausted in this diatribe against your illogic. When the mind releases its grasp correctly there will be an inner practice alive, and an opening of a deeper inner mind. This then signals a readiness to move into a kind of vestibule where there will be a washing of latent impressions and stains of the innate ordinary view. While this is happening in the interior, the practitioner has still not yet created perceptions that can be used without the crutch of the inferior view.
To be continued

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Faith in Logic


When we learn about something complicated we need a scientific method, medical diagrams or business terminology as a matrix to hold new concepts. The study of the nature of reality has used the language of philosophy beginning in early times. So, logical calculations and even mathematical logic are used by the intelligent mind to challenge its profound illogical core that prevents them from experiencing reality. The challenge to the intelligent is to root out the illogic and force it to enter into a new dynamic with the outer and inner mind relationships based on valid methods. Because you are not alive in the way you think you are, it is absolute necessity to deny your view.

In Buddhism, there is a cultivated faith in the Buddha and other great beings such as Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti who admired the Buddha and were later admired and studied by other great masters such as Je Tsongkhapa and others. The faith of these masters combined with the faith of your own teacher toward these extraordinary teachers should create in you trust that these earlier guides were skilled in thwarting the intelligent, ordinary, evolved human being away from destruction by error.

Ordinary human evolutionary development has produced certain excellences, and inventors build upon the work that has been done by others previously. For example; people do not reinvent the computer in order to improve it, they build upon the knowledge of others. They learn standards and baseline operations of technology in order to hone their skills. In other words, they have a certain well-placed faith in what is already accomplished by others. So, pressing the start button becomes an unconscious act of faith in what has already been invented and described. In that way, if you are a software or hardware developer you add your faith to your work by using tools already there.

In a way, evolution or ordinary human intellect has always been bound by how things were always done or how advancement was accomplished. There is even an enhancement of pride involved in setting in motion the usual creative pathways that eventually prevent even the most intelligent people from arriving at radical new higher development, whether that is medicine, technology or philosophy. In the process of learning, people rely on logical truisms that must be used to become accepted as an intelligent, successful human being. However, now many of these accepted truisms are already disrespected as thinking inside the box, or thinking inside the envelope. Now creativity demands new tools when ordinary tools to understand do not work, in other words, thinking outside the envelope. So, you already have something in your culture that disrespects usual, ordinary, intelligent strategies for being able to understand.

Now, we can go back and think about the trust that you should develop by observing the Buddhas self- anarchy who blew up his own ordinary mind with the bomb of special analysis that was based outside the envelope. Nagarjuna blew himself up, and Chandrakirti also blew himself up. Je Tsonkhapa blew himself up. I blew myself up. You might say, “Well, if it worked so well for so many people by blowing themselves up, maybe it is a good idea to try it myself”. All of these intelligent people have been able to overcome the defects of their ordinary, evolved intellectual mind and turn away from their certain destruction by the error of common development which infected them like a virus, that would have destroyed them. That is what I mean by the destruction by error. They would have been destroyed had they not been able to overcome ordinary intelligent mind.

The big problem of evolved intellect and the intelligent application of strategies of the evolved intellect toward understanding the nature of reality is that this strategy does not have the slightest possibility of creating the very support and affirmation which it expects from knowledge of reality. It does not because that exact intellectual, evolved position is intimately related to the human realm perceptual support, in other words, the innate view. This is the innate view that you suffer from, so you cannot rely on that which brings you suffering as a support to understand the nature of reality.

Although most philosophy, and most science say that they are objective, lines of inquiry begins with a strong agenda that they are trying to prove. If they cannot prove it, they let it go, and if they can prove it, it becomes filled out with additional data from their own agenda. Do they want to draw you into a perceptual position, such as the great nihilist, Nietzsche, that is hopeless because nothing exists? Is that what they want you to believe? Well, that is not very nice. To bring additional despair into the world would not be a good agenda.

In order to overcome the conditioning that holds us to suffering we need to understand how we are alive so we can become free. The human innate view is a part of a perceptual story bonded to your essence being to help you be alive in this realm. To be continued..

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Emptiness and Your Aunties Needlepoint


We embark upon an inquiry into the mystery of emptiness and love. In order to reach some conclusions regarding a potential relationship, we need to explore traditional Buddhist meanings of emptiness, although I believe my commentary does diverge into more original thinking than a lot that I read. These insipid commentaries by people who supposedly have studied it do not seem to have that strong a hold on their own idea of emptiness. One unnamed Tibetan lama, after each verse of powerful commentary by Chandrakirti states, "It's empty, Lord Buddha said it's empty, and therefore it's empty." It is a good thing my laptop is valuable, or I might have thrown it out the window.

I have no qualms, no argument, that Lord Buddha Shakyamuni or Nagarjuna did in fact say those things. I truly believe his point was that because we have great faith in the words of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni, and because he said it, it is so, that is that! That was good enough for him, and I hope it's good enough for others, but I think it is not good enough for Western people, so let us look at it again here.

We should make a correct the connection between the annoying dryness of scholars statements and the actual juiciness of the subject. This dryness should not spread any further than the halls of the dry pride of intellectual understanding of the nature of emptiness. Abuse of knowledge should go no further. Let us, instead, learn this philosophy based in bodhichitta, the wish to attain enlightenment so that we can be of benefit to all sentient beings. That is the only way I am actually interested to discuss it.

Nagarjuna, a Buddhist who developed the philosophy called the Middle Way lived approximately 1900 years ago. He did not develop the structure of logical debate which is a non-affirming argument. In other words, not this and not that. This is a very common form of logical analysis already alive in Hindu philosophy before Nagarjuna, but he used it so well that I believe it has become more associated with Buddhism than Hinduism.

His important work in Sanskrit is called the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā is the Fundamental Verses of the Middle Way. So, this discussion is based on Chandrakirti's Entrance to the Middle Way, the clarification of that earlier work by Nagarjuna. Some other books that you might see in your local library that are translations of Nagarjuna might be Seventy Verses on Emptinesses. Another one that I do not recall seeing, but it may be somewhere in some scholarly translation which I would appreciate very much is The End of Disputes, and I like the next one, which is called Pulverising the Categories. It sounds quite violent, and I believe that he intended it to be so. Another is called Sixty Verses on Reasoning. Another is called The Hymn to the Absolute Reality. I am just giving you some titles that may strike you as familiar that you have seen or perhaps you have on your library bookshelves in a kind of reverential position.

A student told me,“ Rinpoche, I realized that I purchased the first book you listed and with great enthusiasm took it home, and at some point I put it on the shelf. One day I took it off, opened it up and looked through it a little bit, then reverently closed the book and touched it to my head, and put it back on the shelf because the blessing was about all I could get from it”.

So, like that, perhaps we are just reviewing your library contents. Another one is Constituents of Dependent Arising. Now, you can see a trend here in Nagarjuna's work; Exposition of the Enlightened Mind. There are a number of works and the fact that Nagarjunas works have been worthy of preserving is a bit like having an estate sale of your great-great auntie's goods. As you and the family are looking through aunties objects one or another family member calls out, "Well, this thing is no use, but this, now this is beautiful. Let's hang onto this," and it is placed on the knick knack shelf in your house. Perhaps another auntie put in on her shelf, and when she passed away and her estate sale came, others saw and exclaimed, "Oh, these things are not my taste or fashion or worth anything, throw them out."

You know, you often see at estate sales, the artistic efforts of elderly ladies. For example, I have watched them making cross stitch or a needle point squares so they can cover up nasty, naked boxes of Kleenex. Some have designs of teddy bears or little flowers or some pretty color, but seems like the rule is, under no circumstances should there be anything in a proper home not covered with plastic needlepoint. These are also artistic creations similar to bird houses out of milk bottles or Coke bottles, and amazing artifacts.

Some might ask, "What makes something worth holding onto beyond sentimental value? What are the qualities of objects that hold value generation after generation after generation? What short list of things are worth preserving for thousands of years?” These precious remnents of antiquity in written form or artistic creations that have survived destruction for a very long time and hold value we wish to continue to hold dear.

But if we never study or struggle to learn Nagarjunas thoughts but put them on our shelves and we hold them as objects of veneration we have preserved them for nothing at all. Or perhaps we thinking that we would not want to wear them out by looking at them, and, like that.