Ideas, emptiness, etc.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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alfa
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Ideas, emptiness, etc.

Post by alfa » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:03 am

Let's say I have a certain idea - that my mind should be silent.
When the mind chatters, I am going to be disturbed because it contradicts my desire for a silent mind.

I have another idea - that people should be nonviolent.
Violence in this world will upset me terribly for the same reason as above. Contradiction.

So the point is: We have certain ideas based on our experiences, the books we've read, the religion we follow. But when life (by life I mean circumstances, other people, other ideas, etc.) contradicts our ideas, it causes pain, disturbance, anger, etc.

So is the real issue here the contradiction between Life and Idea?

Is this why Nagarjuna said all ideas, views, concepts must be abandoned? Once they are gone, we will be empty. And nothing can contradict emptiness.

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cappuccino
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Re: Ideas, emptiness, etc.

Post by cappuccino » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:14 am

The world is empty of people,
there is only nature.
One can glimpse that.
Dhamma is karma & rebirth.

Caodemarte
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Re: Ideas, emptiness, etc.

Post by Caodemarte » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:09 am

alfa wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:03 am
......Is this why Nagarjuna said all ideas, views, concepts must be abandoned? Once they are gone, we will be empty. And nothing can contradict emptiness.
As I understand it, Nagarjuna’s point was to abandon rigidly holding on to any position or concept, including “emptiness” or “abandoning” or “nature,” etc. Trying to make yourself “empty” or “full” for that matter is warned against in Buddhism and is not in Nagarjuna’s thought. Just try to see what is.

pegembara
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Re: Ideas, emptiness, etc.

Post by pegembara » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:47 am

So is the real issue here the contradiction between Life and Idea?
Reality is but when ideas and expectations clash with it, problems are created. There is a saying:
If you don’t have a problem… then don’t worry.

If you have a problem, but you can’t do something about it….then don’t worry.

If you have a problem and you can do something about it …then don’t worry.

The problem is not seeing the way things are or ignorance. Instead one sees things the way we want things to be ie. able to give peace and happiness, subject to our control.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

DooDoot
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Re: Ideas, emptiness, etc.

Post by DooDoot » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:39 am

alfa wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:03 am
it contradicts my desire...

Is this why Nagarjuna said all ideas, views, concepts must be abandoned? Once they are gone, we will be empty.
According to the Pali suttas, the problem is desire (craving/tanha) rather than ideas. If Nagarjuna did actually say all ideas, views, concepts, etc, cause suffering, this seems to not be Buddhism but seems to be an alien foreign ideology. Having the idea that ideas are suffering is most likely a prison because it appears obvious life cannot be lived without expressing concepts/ideas. The Buddha saw through & gave up this common & non-liberative ideology prior to his enlightenment; when he concluded the sphere of nothingness does not lead to liberation. At least according to the Pali suttas, 'emptiness' in original Buddhism does not mean 'empty of ideas & concepts'. Ideas & concepts, without desire, should not create suffering & disturbance. This is why Buddhism offers training in calm speech. A well-practised Buddhist should be able to express any idea, even the most idealistic, without any emotion, craving & attachment. Posting on a forum like this should be training oneself in expressing ideas without attachment.
I am going to be disturbed because it contradicts my desire for a silent mind.

Saengnapha
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Re: Ideas, emptiness, etc.

Post by Saengnapha » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:46 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:39 am
alfa wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:03 am
it contradicts my desire...

Is this why Nagarjuna said all ideas, views, concepts must be abandoned? Once they are gone, we will be empty.
According to the Pali suttas, the problem is desire (craving/tanha) rather than ideas. If Nagarjuna did actually say all ideas, views, concepts, etc, cause suffering, this seems to not be Buddhism but seems to be an alien foreign ideology. Having the idea that ideas are suffering is most likely a prison because it appears obvious life cannot be lived without expressing concepts/ideas. The Buddha saw through & gave up this common & non-liberative ideology prior to his enlightenment; when he concluded the sphere of nothingness does not lead to liberation. At least according to the Pali suttas, 'emptiness' in original Buddhism does not mean 'empty of ideas & concepts'. Ideas & concepts, without desire, should not create suffering & disturbance. This is why Buddhism offers training in calm speech. A well-practised Buddhist should be able to express any idea, even the most idealistic, without any emotion, craving & attachment. Posting on a forum like this should be training oneself in expressing ideas without attachment.
I am going to be disturbed because it contradicts my desire for a silent mind.
Doo Doot,

Just wondering if you have ever read Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika? There is a big difference in the way many posters interpret Nagarjuna and what he was actually saying. I think your response is apropos in this case, but wouldn't throw Nagarjuna out with the bath water. He wasn't a nihilist.

SarathW
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Re: Ideas, emptiness, etc.

Post by SarathW » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:05 am

all ideas, views, concepts must be abandoned?
To me this sounds like the second Jhana in which there is no Vitakka and Vicara.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

binocular
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Re: Ideas, emptiness, etc.

Post by binocular » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:58 am

alfa wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:03 am
So the point is: We have certain ideas based on our experiences, the books we've read, the religion we follow. But when life (by life I mean circumstances, other people, other ideas, etc.) contradicts our ideas, it causes pain, disturbance, anger, etc.

So is the real issue here the contradiction between Life and Idea?
It just goes to show that blaming others isn't all that it's cracked up to be, even when it is used as a strategy to manipulate others.

DooDoot
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Re: Ideas, emptiness, etc.

Post by DooDoot » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:26 pm

SarathW wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:05 am
To me this sounds like the second Jhana in which there is no Vitakka and Vicara.
According to the suttas, it does not appear vitakka & vicara in relation to the 1st jhana mean ordinary thinking. The suttas say the Buddha made his mind "quiet" to reach the 1st jhana.
As I abided thus, diligent, ardent, and resolute, a thought of non-ill will arose in me…a thought of non-cruelty arose in me. I understood thus: ‘This thought of non-cruelty has arisen in me. This does not lead to my own affliction, or to others’ affliction, or to the affliction of both; it aids wisdom, does not cause difficulties, and leads to Nibbāna. If I think and ponder upon this thought even for a night, even for a day, even for a night and day, I see nothing to fear from it. But with excessive thinking and pondering I might tire my body, and when the body is tired, the mind becomes strained, and when the mind is strained, it is far from concentration.’ So I steadied my mind internally, quieted it, brought it to singleness, and concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind should not be strained.

Tireless energy was aroused in me and unremitting mindfulness was established, my body was tranquil and untroubled, my mind concentrated and unified. Quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, I entered upon and abided in the first jhāna

https://suttacentral.net/en/mn19
The suttas say 'speech' ceases in the 1st jhana therefore it seems the type of thinking (vaci sankhara) that creates speech also ceases in the 1st jhana:
For one who has attained the first jhana, speech has ceased.

https://suttacentral.net/en/sn36.11

SarathW
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Re: Ideas, emptiness, etc.

Post by SarathW » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:32 pm

The suttas say 'speech' ceases in the 1st jhana therefore it seems the type of thinking (vaci sankhara) that creates speech also ceases in the 1st jhana:
Good point.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

2600htz
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Re: Ideas, emptiness, etc.

Post by 2600htz » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:18 pm

Hello:

To understand what the Buddha meant by emptiness there is MN-121 (Cula-suññata Sutta: The Lesser Discourse on Emptiness).
It doesn´t mean you are fully empty of experience or thoughts like a blank board, he used the term to talk about jhana, and how in a jhana you don´t have certain things arising, so you are "empty of them".

Regards.

chownah
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Re: Ideas, emptiness, etc.

Post by chownah » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:07 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:26 pm

The suttas say 'speech' ceases in the 1st jhana therefore it seems the type of thinking (vaci sankhara) that creates speech also ceases in the 1st jhana:
For one who has attained the first jhana, speech has ceased.

https://suttacentral.net/en/sn36.11
Does 'vaci sankhara' mean actual external, lip flapping speech? I'm wondering because it seems that I remember that first jhana has directed thought...or is it discoursive thought...or something like that and it seems to me that this kind of thought requires some sort of verbalization which could mean internal speech.
chownah

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