Interpenetrationality

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
davidbrainerd
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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:54 pm

Caodemarte wrote:Similarly you don't want to say that noumena and phenomena can be separated or that the passions are not also Nirvana/Enlightenment/Buddha Nature, etc. (or that there is some kind of monistic soup out there either) if you are a good Mahayanist).
Then there is no point to anything. What gives things meaning is distinction. An apple has a different meaning than a rock due to distinction. If you disagree and say everything is the same, go eat a rock.

So when I read in Mahayana sutras that discrimination between things is unwise and only fools discriminate but the wise do not discriminate for they know everything is all the same (Lankavatura sutra for instance) I'm puzzled because everywhere else people would put it the exact opposite, i.e. the fool is a fool precisely because he doesn't discriminate. When you see the fool breaking his teeth biting into a rock like its an apple, why do you call him a fool? He's only following that greater wisdom, right?

Caodemarte
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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by Caodemarte » Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:20 am

davidbrainerd wrote:
Caodemarte wrote:Similarly you don't want to say that noumena and phenomena can be separated or that the passions are not also Nirvana/Enlightenment/Buddha Nature, etc. (or that there is some kind of monistic soup out there either) if you are a good Mahayanist).
Then there is no point to anything. What gives things meaning is distinction. An apple has a different meaning than a rock due to distinction. If you disagree and say everything is the same, go eat a rock.

So when I read in Mahayana sutras that discrimination between things is unwise and only fools discriminate but the wise do not discriminate for they know everything is all the same (Lankavatura sutra for instance) I'm puzzled because everywhere else people would put it the exact opposite, i.e. the fool is a fool precisely because he doesn't discriminate. When you see the fool breaking his teeth biting into a rock like its an apple, why do you call him a fool? He's only following that greater wisdom, right?
Correct. That is why monistic rock soup is not on the Mahayana menu (apologies to all for that). As I said, monism is an error, although a rarer error than discrimination, in standard Mahayana sutras, commentaries, and texts. Interpenetration, for example, makes no sense if you believe in monism. The summary line that D.T. Suzuki added to his translation of the Lanka that says that the world is not what you imagine it to be (in discrimination); neither is it different catches this.

Discriminating between discrimination and non-discrimination is still discrimination so don't eat a rock! Just let this go and enjoy your apple. Anyway, that is how I understand this POV.

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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by Caodemarte » Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:48 am

Javi wrote:
Caodemarte wrote:

So you're saying there is the extinction of craving and attachment now according to this view? Which is it? Either it is ended, or it still exists in nibbana.


This is a non sequitur, that is, 'it does not follow' that positing causality also posits that everything is contained in everything else. They are two different concepts. Nibbana is not a thing, it's not a metaphysical substance or noumenon. This metaphysical argumentation was said by the Buddha to be unhelpful.
In Mahayana and Theravada Nirvana/Nibbana is not a place or substance as you say, where things exist or not. As I understand both, Awakening to the passion's and our true nature is how they are extinguished.

In this view, if you accept dependent arising for everything or posit that all is caused and affects everything else, that is the very definition of accepting what "contained " or "reflected by" everything else mean here.

Please remember that I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. I do want to clarify what these views are so that we all (myself included) might understand them. I don't want to slip into debates over which view is correct.

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Oct 04, 2016 4:19 am

Javi wrote:
Caodemarte wrote:if you understand the word "extinction" to mean "liberation from" done by seeing through to reality


But that is not what extinction means, extinction, cessation is not anywhere near the same range of meaning as 'seeing through'. In the nibbana of the early texts, there is clearly no greed hatred and delusion.
The context for this is actually traceable to Saṃyuktāgama 296, an early text.
“Whether a Buddha arises in the world, or not, this is the unchangeable nature of dharma, the status of dharma, the element of dharma. The Tathāgata, who has by himself become enlightened of this, who has attained the highest enlightenment, declares it for humankind, teaches it, reveals it, namely: Conditioned by birth, there exist aging-sickness-death-sorrow-affliction-suffering. “All these dharmas are the status of dharma, the standing of dharma, the suchness of dharma; the dharma neither departs from things-as-they-are, nor differs from things-as-they-are; it is the truth, reality, without distortion. Such conformity to conditioned genesis is called the dharmas arisen by causal condition, namely: Ignorance, activities, consciousness, name-and-form, the six sense-spheres, contact, feeling, craving, attachment, becoming, birth, aging-sickness-death-sorrow-affliction-suffering. This is called the dharmas arisen by causal condition.

“The noble disciple who has learned much attains right wisdom regarding both the dharma of arising by causal condition and the dharmas arisen by causal condition, and truly sees. He will not look backwards into time past, saying: ‘Did I exist in the past, or did I not? Of what caste was I in the past? How was I in the past?’ Nor he will look forwards to the coming time: ‘Shall I exist in the future, or shall I not? Of what caste shall I be? How shall I be?’ Nor does he inwardly hesitate thinking: ‘What is this? Why does it exist? Who was this in the past? What will it become in the end? Where do all these beings come from? What will they become when they die?’

“If in a recluse or a brahmin there has arisen bondage to worldly view, namely bondage to self view, to the view that there are beings, views about long life, views about evil and auspicious omens, then these are completely cut off, completely known. They are cut off at the root, like the cut-off stump of a palm tree, never to arise again in the future.

“This is to say, the noble disciple who has learned much attains right wisdom regarding both the dharma of arising by causal condition and the dharmas arisen by causal condition. He truly sees them, he is truly enlightened, truly cultivated, and has truly penetrated the nature of phenomena as they really are.”

When the Buddha had taught this discourse, the monks, having heard what the Buddha had said, were delighted, and put it into practice.
(SA 296, 因緣法, "Causal Law")

More on this after I put up one more quote for context as to what I am addressing in the thread:
Javi wrote:I contend that the Buddha's view is that such metaphysical questions ("is the world one or many? ") are not helpful for the path. This is stated directly in the malunkyaputta sutta. If Chinese Buddhists want to theorize about metaphysics that's fine, but it's not central to what the Buddha taught.
Buddha does not actually forbid metaphysics. Indeed, he would be foolish to, because no one can escape metaphysics and everyone necessarily makes metaphysical claims about the world, whether they would like to or not, and even the Buddha makes very frequent metaphysical statements that illuminate and make-available for us the Buddha's metaphysical principals. Metaphysics establishes the "first principals" through which all is understood and realized. Paṭiccasamuppāda, which is the discourse that often follows the rejecting of heretical metaphysical wrong-views in the Nikaya literature (SN 12.48, SN 12.15, DN 1, and less directly, MN 18) is actually itself a metaphysic. In each of these sutta citations, what is rejected is not metaphysics itself (which would be absurd, IMO), but rather incorrect metaphysics, which are to be replaced by the true and correct metaphysic of paṭiccasamuppāda itself. Paṭiccasamuppāda is the (principal?) metaphysical discourse of the earliest attestations to the manner of the Buddha's Awakening and his Awakened mind, if ever there was one. It is the first principal of operations, itself arisen through the causal conditions stipulated by cattāri ariyasaccāni, the foundational principal of the Buddha's metaphysics, from which can flow, or be understood, the larger process of paṭiccasamuppāda. Without cattāri ariyasaccāni, surely there can be no paṭiccasamuppāda. Without paṭiccasamuppāda, there is no jāti. Without jāti, there is no jarāmaraṇa. Without jarāmaraṇa and jāti, can we really say that the whole process of the establishment of the conditions that necessitate suffering, that establish the reality of cattāri ariyasaccāni, laid out inSN 56.11, among other places, is even valid? Without cattāri ariyasaccāni, there would be no need for the Buddhadharma, because all is liberated, and ignorance is vanquished. The usage of metaphysics as a catch-all term for "abstract theory or talk with no basis in reality" is a bit of a degradation of the term, which rightly refers to "theory or talk that analyzes and acknowledges the principals we operate from, regardless of what they are, right or wrong, to form the basis of any of our conceptions or misconceptions regarding reality, and therefore our knowledge and witnessing of our own experiential processes themselves."

Indeed, to the Buddha, what is unverifiable by us, what is inaccessible to ignorance, with his full penetrating vision of the truth (suchness, "things-as-they-really-are"), to him these things are not metaphysical speculations. These things are fundamentally true enlightened observations about the physical itself, reality itself, physical-and-spiritual reality itself, with no dichotomous misconceptions thereof.
"All these dharmas are the status of dharma, the standing of dharma, the suchness of dharma; the dharma neither departs from things-as-they-are, nor differs from things-as-they-are; it is the truth, reality, without distortion."
And it is through this perspective that we try to systematize, categorize, and analyze the statements of the Buddha, because the Buddha has immediate unparalleled access to what we do not: the complete suchness of Awakening. By systematizing, categorizing, and analyzing the disparate and frequently enigmatic statements of the Buddha, we try to paint, as close to accurately as we can, a picture of the mind of the Buddha himself, in his state of suchness and Awakening. Through this we try to bring ourselves, via insight and calming along with other practices, to this state. To move deeply within the courses of wisdom-perfection, available to us at all times through the inevitable interpenetration of truth, suchness, things-as-they-really-are, through the blinding fires of ignorance.

This may be :offtopic: off topic, but I will be brief, and I think it is always interesting to further explore the world of the Āgamas.

There is a miracle recorded in Saṃyuktāgama Agama 197, the parallel to SN 35.28, the Fire Sermon.
Like this, I heard:
One day, the Buddha dwelt, on his travels, with bhikṣavas at the Gayāsīsa stupa, and one thousand, there were, by that time, on the hill gathered, all of them former tangled-haired Brahmīṇi. At that time, the Bhagavān, for these thousand monks, established to happen three kinds of (miraculous) manifestations for their conversion.

Which three? An omnipresence-impermanence-transformation manifestation, a telepathy manifestation, and a persuasion manifestation. This was the manifestation of omnipresence [that the Buddha caused to happen]:

The Bhagavān, right where he was in that moment, thus manifested the entering into the cessation of sensations meditation, rose into the sky[, walked] toward the east, and performed the four īryāpāṭhās, which he was capable of: he was still, he sat, he lay down, and entered fire-samādhi, issued varieties of fire and light: green, yellow, red, and white, in crystalline form, water and fire appeared both together, among these miraculous occurrences, the lower body issued forth fire, the upper body issued forth water, the upper body issued forth fire, the lower body issued forth water, all-circularly, in all four directions, just like that.
(SA 197, 燃燒, "Burning", my own translation from the Classical Chinese. See here for a professional English translation (which is misleading an awkward IMO, even moreso than my highly awkward translation, it [the professional translation] is more easily readable, but there is a lot that is being left out), see here for the original Chinese, and see here for a better translation of the original Chinese by another nonprofessional)

Regardless as to whether the miracles of the Buddha are supposed to be understood as having actually happened, I am sure that we can all at least agree that the Buddha always had a pedagogical reason in mind behind the decision to demonstrate his attainment. All of the Buddha's actions are actions of compassion, therefore everything is also the spreading of the teaching. So there is always a metaphorical reason for a given display, whether or not it actually happened. This is my own opinion, anyone is free to disagree. The fire can be read here as ignorance, suffering, paṭiccasamuppāda as an experienced self-reifying process. The water is its opposite: extinguished, ceased, tranquil, calm.

"In crystalline form, water and fire appeared both together" ("頗梨色,水火俱現,", "pōlí sè, shuĭ huŏ jū xiàn,", lit, "in crystal form, water [and] fire both-together appear,") This can be read as a statement of interpenetration. The interpenetration of the Buddha, who straddles both worlds, the extinguished and the burning, and communicates from both perspectives through both perspectives for the purpose of saving all from the consuming flames.

Anyways, :focus: that speculative, but hopefully interesting interlude aside, and back to what I was talking about before: Through this [the testament to Awakening which the Buddha propagated] we try to bring ourselves, via insight and calming along with other practices, to this state, hopefully. To move deeply within the courses of wisdom-perfection, available to us at all times through the inevitable interpenetration of truth, suchness, things-as-they-really-are, through the blinding fires of ignorance. To conform our being, bodies, minds, to his, and thus
"truly penetrate the nature of phenomenon as they really are"
and Awaken as the Buddha did, by following his path in remembrance. Or thats the ideal anyways. And I'm only one Mahayanist, I'm sure others would find all sorts of reason to disagree with me. I don't represent the entire tradition obviously.

I just felt that there was perhaps some needed context from another Mahayanist to the critiques here, which I accept as perfectly reasonable critiques, and indeed are good critiques of the doctrine, if sometimes misunderstanding some things about the "first principals" from which many Mahayana doctrines are understood. Maybe this will help to demystify what I will admit sometimes appears like empty metaphysical speculation on Mahayanists' part (Yogacara and Tibetan discourse, for instance, I still cannot get any kind of handle on ATM), since that is something I hear Mahayana discourses and doctrines accused of often in Theravada circles, just as I wrongly hear Theravada accused of reductionist substance dualism, allegedly limiting and lessening the Buddhadharma, on Mahayana boards sometimes.

-------------
tiltbillings wrote:Interpenetrationality. Damdifino what this word is supposed to mean in a practical sense.
If you are asking about my sticking of the compound affix "-ality" on the end of "Interpenetration", it is technically a redundancy, but one that is well attested in the English language, which, like all human generative grammar, is full of redundancies.

Interpenetration+al+ity

-al is understood to be "of or pertaining to; adjectival suffix appended to various words, often nouns, to make an adjective form."

-ity is understood to be "used to form a noun from an adjective; especially, to form the noun referring to the state, property, or quality of conforming to the adjective's description."

So technically "Interpenetrationality" is a redundant coinage, since "Interpenetration" means essentially the same thing. I did it for the sake of abstraction, since I wanted to talk specifically about Zhiyi's interpenetration at a very early stage in Chinese Buddhism, from before Yogacara discourse from India entered into China and revolutionized existing Chinese Buddhism. But this interesting discussion on the subject of Huayan and Yogacara metaphysics, and how they stand up to Theravada-informed critique, is more than interesting enough. I don't feel the need to be a topic-nazi about it. Its a conversation that clearly ought to happen.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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Javi
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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by Javi » Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:14 am

Coëmgenu wrote: The context for this is actually traceable to Saṃyuktāgama 296, an early text.


That text just reaffirms that evil is totally destroyed at awakening, it is "cut off at the root" when one sees with right wisdom.

Buddha does not actually forbid metaphysics.


Correct, he doesn't, he forbids certain metaphysical questions though, including metaphysical questions about the nature of the Tathagata and the infinity and eternity/finitude of the world.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_unanswered_questions

I would not say that paticcasamuppada is a metaphysical theory in the same vein as Hegel, Kant, or Advaita or Nyaya. I see it as more of a skillful way of seeing reality which has the effect of leading to awakening and then is dropped at the end of the goal, like a raft. This is actually a powerful metaphor, the raft one I mean, because if these teachings where some foundational metaphysics, it could not possibly be dropped at the end of the path. Anyone who wants to develop some foundational metaphysical theory out of dependent origination has to square with the Buddha's point blank refusal to answer those questions as unhelpful. Either way, this is already moving in another direction, even if the Buddha had a particular metaphysics in mind (which is always a possibility), there is nothing in the early texts that speak of interpenetration of evil in nibbana.

So there is always a metaphorical reason for a given display, whether or not it actually happened. This is my own opinion, anyone is free to disagree. The fire can be read here as ignorance, suffering, paṭiccasamuppāda as an experienced self-reifying process. The water is its opposite: extinguished, ceased, tranquil, calm.

"In crystalline form, water and fire appeared both together" ("頗梨色,水火俱現,", "pōlí sè, shuĭ huŏ jū xiàn,", lit, "in crystal form, water [and] fire both-together appear,") This can be read as a statement of interpenetration.


You're reading a lot into the text here that is not there - totally stretching and adding context which is simply not in the text itself. There is nothing in the text about these displays being a metaphor for dependent origination. There is nothing in the text about it being a metaphor for interpenetration, it simply says there was a display of fire and water.

Maybe this will help to demystify what I will admit sometimes appears like empty metaphysical speculation on Mahayanists' part (Yogacara and Tibetan discourse, for instance, I still cannot get any kind of handle on ATM), since that is something I hear Mahayana discourses and doctrines accused of often in Theravada circles, just as I wrongly hear Theravada accused of reductionist substance dualism, allegedly limiting and lessening the Buddhadharma, on Mahayana boards sometimes.


What bothers me about this is not really the metaphysical theorizing per se (some I find interesting, like Yogacara or Nagarjuna, others I find problematic, like 'interpenetration' of evil in nibbana). What bothers me is the supercessionist attitudes which basically hold that if you don't believe these doctrines, you have an inferior or 'provisional' view. But I digress, there is enough polemic on both sides.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:14 am

Javi wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote: The context for this is actually traceable to Saṃyuktāgama 296, an early text.


That text just reaffirms that evil is totally destroyed at awakening, it is "cut off at the root" when one sees with right wisdom.
My apologies, I wasn't clear enough in my previous post. I was specifically referring, in the beginning, to the dispute that you had with Caodemarte here
Javi wrote:
Caodemarte wrote:if you understand the word "extinction" to mean "liberation from" done by seeing through to reality


But that is not what extinction means, extinction, cessation is not anywhere near the same range of meaning as 'seeing through'. In the nibbana of the early texts, there is clearly no greed hatred and delusion.

My post was arguing that there is historical precedent for the understanding of Nibbana as "seeing through", not arguing anything in relation to the interpenetration of evil.

Javi wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:"In crystalline form, water and fire appeared both together" ("頗梨色,水火俱現,", "pōlí sè, shuĭ huŏ jū xiàn,", lit, "in crystal form, water [and] fire both-together appear,") This can be read as a statement of interpenetration.


You're reading a lot into the text here that is not there - totally stretching and adding context which is simply not in the text itself. There is nothing in the text about these displays being a metaphor for dependent origination. There is nothing in the text about it being a metaphor for interpenetration, it simply says there was a display of fire and water.
My referencing and subsequent interpretation of the Fire Sermon Āgama is absolutely an innovative interpretation originating with myself, that does not come from the text itself, I full-heartedly agreed with you there, I evidently didn't do a good enough job of caveating myself there, because I tried to make it clear that that was merely my own opinion on the matter, and is certainly an example of applying a certain presumptive and specific hermeneutic to a text, whether that hermeneutic is correct or not.

I wasn't really trying to comment on the discussion that you and Caodemarte were having about the interpenetration of evil, because I am not really familiar with Yogacara, Huayan, or Zhili/Zhanran late-Yogacara-influenced-Tiandai Buddhism. Truth be told, I don't really understand yogacara discourse about "Indra's Net" and whatnot, as interesting as it seems, and as much as I wanted the conversation to continue, if not merely for the sake of seeing supports and critiques of it. If indeed such a thing originates in the Buddha's discourse, it would be interesting to see.

I will write to you a defence of the interpenetration of evil teaching, specifically as it relates to Zhiyi, not to the later Yogacara-influenced Tiantai tradition of later Patriarchs, in competition with and polemics against the Huayan, once I have access to my computer again. I don't like writing long texts on my cell phone. I don't think you will find anything objectionable with Zhiyi's interpenetration once I explain it, but perhaps that is presumptive on my part.

I don't think that my invocation or interpretation of SA 197 is quite as random or unfounded as you say, but I will have to respond to you in a seperate post, perhaps later in the week, since I don't want to type a large post on my cell phone. That being said, I acknowledge that it is certainly a uncommon reading of the story, since most Mahayanists who believe in interpenetration as I do probably don't know that story at all, since the āgamas in general are woefully underrepresented and underrated in Mahayana circles, I wish that weren't the case.

The interpenetration of evil into goodness is only one aspect of the interpenetrational theory of dharma, though. Honestly it is a bit of a famous footnote in Zhiyi's writings. I really doesn't play that big a role in understanding interpenetration from the larger perspective that Zhiyi argues for. Anyways more on that later.
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 05, 2016 4:59 am

Coëmgenu wrote: -------------
tiltbillings wrote:Interpenetrationality. Damdifino what this word is supposed to mean in a practical sense.
If you are asking about my sticking of the compound affix "-ality" on the end of "Interpenetration", it is technically a redundancy, but one that is well attested in the English language, which, like all human generative grammar, is full of redundancies.

Interpenetration+al+ity

-al is understood to be "of or pertaining to; adjectival suffix appended to various words, often nouns, to make an adjective form."

-ity is understood to be "used to form a noun from an adjective; especially, to form the noun referring to the state, property, or quality of conforming to the adjective's description."

So technically "Interpenetrationality" is a redundant coinage, since "Interpenetration" means essentially the same thing. I did it for the sake of abstraction, since I wanted to talk specifically about Zhiyi's interpenetration at a very early stage in Chinese Buddhism, from before Yogacara discourse from India entered into China and revolutionized existing Chinese Buddhism. But this interesting discussion on the subject of Huayan and Yogacara metaphysics, and how they stand up to Theravada-informed critique, is more than interesting enough. I don't feel the need to be a topic-nazi about it. Its a conversation that clearly ought to happen.
Thanks. I was, however, not worried so much about this peculiar permutation of the word; rather, if you be kind enough to humor me and give me a nice practical definition of the concept of interpenetration. It is not something I studied, so ....
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by Javi » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:03 am

I just read a really interesting article about Chinese Buddhism, and gives a historical insight into how Chinese Buddhism became so preoccupied with developing a overarching ontological system.

Buddhism in China: A Historical Survey , Whalen LAI
http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/His ... _China.pdf

There is lots of good stuff in there, like how the first Chinese Buddhists interpreted Buddhism through Daoism and held that souls exist, they reincarnate and the goal is to reach immortality until one monk Mindu, fl 340, began criticizing this idea, because, amazingly, he actually read the suttas! :rofl:

There was a lot of preoccupation with the metaphysics of being and non-being from the start, a discourse which was taken over from Daoism. It was a discourse which was cosmological and ontological which missed the epistemological point of the Madhyamaka. As Lai explains:
the problem of form and emptiness was elevated to a problem of the mundane and the highest truth. An amateurish reading would consider the real to be the mundane truth and the empty to be the highest truth. But since that reading seemed to create a new dualism—between samsara and nirvana—it led to a search for a still higher, nondual truth. We begin to hear of a third truth, and soon of higher and higher unions of two truths.
....
Nagarjuna, however, never taught a third truth. Nor would the Chinese have taught this, if they had realized that the two truths were epistemic, not ontologic—that is, two ways of looking at the world and not two sides, aspects, or levels of some singular reality.
It was Jizang (549–623) of the Sanlun (Three Treatises, Madhyamika) school who exposed that mistake. He reminded the Chinese that the two truths pertained to two modes of discourse; they did not denote principles in reality. Even so, Jizang himself had to fight fire with fire; he had to go along with an opponent’s wrong assumptions in order to expose the fallacy. Jizang even developed a “fourfold two truths” (one more than the standard three), but his goal was not to pile up more ontic unities: he called for an end to fixation on the yin-yang synthesis.
The Chinese did not embark on their quest for a higher “one truth” without a reason. They had gathered from the Nirvana Sutra that the final Buddhist teaching of a universal Buddha-nature constituted the one truth. This suggested to them that there was a “positive truth” above emptiness and the two truths. It was while they were looking for a way to reconcile emptiness and this one truth that they came across Harivarman’s treatise Chengshilun (On Establishing the Real). Harivarman reduced all elements to their finest parts until a virtual nil was reached. Also, among the Four Noble Truths, he considered the third one—about nirvana—the one truth. The other three—describing the nature, the cause, and the way out of the world of suffering—were too mundane to be considered transcendental truths. But using Harivarman’s basically Hinayanist scheme to explicate the Mahayana emptiness of Nagarjuna and the one truth of Buddha-nature turned out to be a mistake, which Jizang, again, would later undo.
The article then goes to talk about the Buddha nature doctrine and how the Chinese Buddhists argued for ages about what it meant and where this thing was located, etc. The hero of the essay, to me at least, is Jizang, a Parthian Madhyamika, who not only criticized the ontological interpretation of Madhyamaka, but also the view that Buddha nature is a soul or self. For Jizang 'properly understood, positive Buddha-nature was none other
than emptiness.' Which is a great prefiguring of Dogen.

Referring to Zhiyi's Tiantai interpenetration view, Lai writes:
In his Fahua xuanyi (The Hidden Meaning of the Dharma Flower), he laid out the final mystery, wisdom, and insight: the telescoping of the limit of reality (3,000 worlds) into a single moment of thought. Scholarly details aside, this says that all realities in time and space crisscross, and all can be made present to the mind at any time. According to this cosmic vision, Buddha must be present at every level of reality, from the highest (nirvana) to the lowest (hell), the top and bottom of the “ten realms.” From that came the Tiantai theory of essential evil. Even Buddha has this evil as an element of his nature. If he did not, he would be unable to manifest himself in the evil paths to help deliver sentient beings trapped there.
[Emphasis mine]

From this we see that this doctrine has various sources, one is the Chinese philosophical tradition, with its obsession about finding about the ontological nature of reality. The other is the Mahayana sutras, especially, Lotus sutra, and also the Mahayana Mahaparanirvana sutra and the Avatamsaka. This historical overview allows us to see that the interpenetration view and the idea that a Buddha contains evil has no basis in the early texts of Buddhism, and indeed, the Buddha did not teach this view. It is a view which developed in China. Because this view developed as a metaphysical interpretation of Mahayana sutras, it would make no sense to seek this doctrine in the Theravada, or in any other early Buddhist school.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:06 am

tiltbillings wrote:Thanks. I was, however, not worried so much about this peculiar permutation of the word; rather, if you be kind enough to humor me and give me a nice practical definition of the concept of interpenetration. It is not something I studied, so ....
Interpenetration, as it relates to soteriology, the most practical IMO application that is possible, is the interpenetration of truth into falsehood, or, awakening into slumber, or, more poetically, water (that which extinguishes fire) into fire (dukkha). It is not a statement, like I have seen it presented as on other threads, that "we are already enlightened". It is a doctrine which arises out of the concept of Buddha-nature. We possess, the "nature" of Awakening, but that does not mean that we are Awakened, or that the nature and potentiality of avidyā is not present within ourselves and not prone to frequent arisings. As I have quoted in the past:
Zhiyi maintains both the identity and the difference between good and evil. The metaphor of a dialogue must necessarily allow for differences in emphasis and focus to coexist with the assertion of the identity of the contents of the dialogue for the two sides- the devil version of the devil-Buddha dialogue differs from the Buddha version, although both sides are completely permeated by both deviltry and buddhahood. (Brook Ziporyn's book)
So, inasmuch as I understand it, from reading Zhiyi and reading about Zhiyi, the original doctrine, untouched by Yogacara Buddhism (as I have said in the past, I have only a vague knowledge of anything Yogacara teaches specifically), it is not a statement that samsara and Nirvana are the same thing. It is possible that the position that samsara and Nirvana are the same thing was adopted later by Zhili and Zhanran, in late Tiantai, due to Yogacara and Huayan influence, but I can't say that with any certainty since I am woefully ignorant of that subject matter. I also can't say with any degree of certainty that late Tiantai or Hauyan teach or do not teach anything identical or similar to the sentiments that "samsara and Nirvana are the same thing". Suffice to say, that sentiment, that IMO heretical reading of interpenetration, contradicts Zhiyi's writings and Zhiyi's notions of interpenetration. Also suffice to say, Zhiyi could have only been very vaguely and peripherally influenced by Indic yogacara discourse, because he lived before we have any evidence of yogacara texts being disseminated in China or translated into Chinese.

Interpenetration is a denial of the notion that Nirvana is somehow an inherently different existing-on-its-own (svabhāva) seperate reality which interacts with the seperate reality of samsara and suffering in a dichotomous relationship, indeed, in a dichotomous binary relationship of complete oppositeness and contradiction. It is a negation of the the notion that "conventional truth" is a seperate pre-existent reality from "ultimate truth", and vice-versa.

To further describe interpenetration in the words of someone more qualified than myself
Here, [this is from an article about the teaching of Fǎzàng, 3rd Patriarch of the Huayan school, so thats the context] the "identity" between appearance and reality [i.e. aflame and extinguished] means not that whatever exists in appearance also exists in reality, that the content of the two is the same, much less that being-appearance means the same as being-reality, as in the Tiantai Three Truths
(Brook Ziporyn, Beyond Oneness and Difference: Li and Coherence in Chinese Buddhist Thought and its Antecedents, p. 266)

The context for the establishment of the notion of interpenetration, was to address a heresy that was gaining ground in early Chinese Buddhism, namely, the notion that the Buddha "Awakens to" a preexistent and seperate reality that exists by virtue of "own-being" (svabhāva) and that the Buddha is "taken into" or "fuses with" this reality and in turn, is thus transformed into a being or formation that is not of this reality at all, truly/foundationally speaking, and exists, along with the postulated pre-existent "Nibbanic reality", in a relationship of binary opposition and fundamental dichotomous oppositeness to our reality. This heretical wrong-view negates the notion of the Buddha's self-awakening. The Buddha of these Buddhists was not truly a self-awakened Buddha, because he awakened to something that pre-existed himself and it was only through the interaction of the Buddha and the pre-existent "Nibbanic realm" that Awakening was able to occur. The postulation of Nibbana-as-existent-other-reality is identical to the postulation of Nibbana as a pre-existent "cause" for Awakening, and is thus not attainable through self-effort.

This "Nibbanic realm" had various different names in early Chinese Buddhism, which were frequently borrowed or imported from other philosophical traditions. Two of these names for the "pre-existent Nibbanic realm" were tiān, or "heaven", from Confucianism, and dào, or "way, nature", from Daoism. Dao, would be described by Daoists in such a way that Buddhists would understand it to have the fundamental quality of svabhāva.
Lǎozǐ wrote:There is a being, wonderful, perfect;
It existed before heaven and earth.
How quiet it is!
How spiritual it is!
It stands alone and it does not change.
It moves around and around, but does not on this account suffer.
All life comes from it.
It wraps everything with its love as in a garment, and yet it claims no honour, it does not demand to be Lord.
I do not know its name, and so I call it Tao, the Way, and I rejoice in its power.
(Dàodéjīng 25)

Similarly, in Confucianism, tiān is existent on its own terms, and does not require earth/conventional reality. Tiān has the fundamental quality of svabhāva. , or "principal, comportment, behaviour" is the medium through which both individuals and collective societies bring themselves into harmony with the preexistent heavens in Confucian thought. The creation of a utopian society on earth (since heaven is already utopian) that is modelled on the perfection of the heavens, guided by the Emperor of Heaven. They sought to create a society where earth (the living and the dead) are brought into total harmony with preexistent svabhāva heaven, a utopian society where living beings enjoy great bountiful prosperity, and the dead are well-sated with extensive performance of ancestor-venerating rights, that is the soteriological goal of Confucianism, if it could be said to have one.

:offtopic:
It is not a solidly historical thing to say, and I don't have a lot of hard evidence to back up my personal suspicious, but I think that the heretical svabhāva school that Zhiyi is actually reacting to may well be the grandchild of the svabhāva heresy that prompted Nāgārjuna to realize the necessity of writing his Mūlamadhyamakakārikā. Certainly, at least, the predominantly Daoist dào-venerating and Confucian tiān-venerating culture of China that Buddhism was coming into contact with was exposing it to new challenges to its orthodoxy. It seems that a svabhāva-centred metaphysic might have been at the centre of some of the old schools that espoused so-called "Hinayana" doctrines. Certainly, many people (mistakenly) accuse Theravada Buddhism as positing a svabhāva-centric theory of dhammas based on the misconception that the Theravada schools must necessarily subscribe to the same heresies that the historical "Hinayana" schools did, which, in turn, is based on the misconception that Theravada is a descendant of the 18 schools Caodemarte spoke of earlier. Certainly I have encountered such misconceptions many times myself, including having held them myself at one point.
:focus:

Here is another quote from a more qualified source of information than myself, on the subject of Zhiyi's polemicizing against heretical adaptions of the Buddhadharma which he saw as fundamentally changing Buddhism in an unfavourable way.

The concept of "three thousand realms in a single thought-moment" (Ch.: yinian sanqian, Ja,: ichinen sanzen) [is] his [Zhiyi's] architectonic vision of the mind and the universe as an interpenetrating whole. The "single thought-moment" refers to the briefest possible instance in the thoughts of ordinary persons that arise from moment to moment, while the "three thousand realms" indicates the totality of existence. As set forth in his meditation treatise Great Calming and Contemplation, the "three thousand realms in a single thought-moment" denotes both an ontological vision of how reality exists and also a mode of contemplation. The basic idea of this intricate vision is that at each moment the mind and the whole of phenomenal reality- subject and object, internal and external, person and environment, matter and mind, delusion and enlightenment- contain one another and interpenetrate.
[...]
The "three thousand realms in a single thought-moment" may be understood as a part of a broader attempt on the part of medieval Chinese Buddhist commentators to make clear the relationship between concrete phenomena (shi) and ultimate truth or principal (li). Many Chinese Buddhist thinkers equated principal with an originally undifferentiated pure mind that, observed through the filter of deluded perception, produces the distinctions of the phenomenal world. This perspective developed especially in the Huayan (Ja.: Kegon, "Flower Garland," named after the scripture on which it was focused, Skt.: Avataṃsakasūtra) and Chan (Ja.: Zen; literally "meditation") traditions. For Zhiyi, however, phenomena do not arise from a pure, abstract, prior principal. "Principle" means that form and mind, subject and object, good and evil, delusion and enlightenment are always nondual and mutually inclusive; this is the true aspect of reality. Zhiyi's notion of principal establishes a firm soteriological equality. Each thought-moment of sentient beings in the nine deluded (or not fully awakened) dharma realms- that is, hell dwellers, hungry ghosts, animals, asuras, humans, gods, śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas- includes the buddha realm, and thus all beings have the capacity to manifest buddhahood. Similarly, even the Buddha retains within himself the potential of the nine deluded states and thus is able to exercise compassion toward all. In its refusal to privilege an abstract mind over concrete realities, Zhiyi's perspective also revalorizes the phenomenal world, now seen not as the product of deluded discrimination but as the very locus of liberation.
(Stephen Teiser, Readings of the Lotus Sūtra, p. 37-38)

(Realms here does not necessarily mean "different dimensions" in the sci-fi sense of the term "dimensions", IMO. The realms are the modes of being resultant from the processes of dependant origination and acquired karma, as well as "realm" of buddha-nature.)

Interpenetration is a "middle way" between the heresy of Nirvana as absolutely other, svabhāva on its own as an alternate preexistent reality, and the heresy of monism, in which Nirvana and samsara are one-and-the-same. Interpenetrating elements to not loose mutual identity. As I quoted before, specifically in reference to the teaching of evil-in-buddhadhātu, in interpenetrative relations
Zhiyi maintains both the identity and the difference between good and evil.
(Brook Ziporyn's book)
...so it stands to reason that interpenetration is non-dual, but not in the same way as say, Advaita Vedanta is alleged to be, and that interpenetration is also not monism, in which all is subsumed into one fundamental nature.

The controversial side of this teaching is when Zhiyi applies it to evil and buddha-nature, and says that evil interpenetrates the buddha-nature, which I will elaborate on in a different post later, since this one is already overlong and I really should be getting to sleep.

Edit: I posted this on a different thread, so if it is not proper to link it to here, I will take it down, but it just occurred to me that this is a lovely closing statement of interpenetration, which is much more grounded in its practical application in regards to practice, also in as much as it "revalorizes the phenomenal world, now seen not as the product of deluded discrimination but as the very locus of liberation" through the contemplation of the flower discourse, the speaker also has highly ecumenical tendencies in regards to inter-religious dialogue.
When you contemplate a flower, like the one in front of us, if you have enough mindfulness and concentration, you can get in touch, deeply, with the flower, and you can recognize that the flower belongs to the realm of the Dharmakaya. In the Christian tradition, we can say that the flower belongs to the kingdom of God. It is a wonder. With the Buddhist's practice, we get the energy of mindfulness and concentration that allows us to get in touch, deeply, with the flower: that wonder of life that is there. And as we know that is belongs to the kingdom of God you know that you are capable of touching the kingdom of God in the here and the now. You are able to touch the Pure Land of the Buddha in the here and the now. With the practice of mindfulness and concentration, the kingdom of God, or the Pure Land of the Buddha, is available in the here and the now.
(Thích Nhất Hạnh, in a Dharma Talk)
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Mon Oct 10, 2016 6:56 pm, edited 5 times in total.
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:35 am

Thanks. Now I need to go find some aspirin.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Oct 18, 2016 2:45 am

I don't have the time to devote the proper care and attention that this subject entails, but I did promise a responce that put into context the controversial statement of Zhiyi, that Buddha has within himself the interpenetrating nature of evil, and I feel bad for not providing it.

The usage of the word "nature" is key here, because the natures are understood as coterminous with their respective "realms" (these realms being not necessarily alternate dimensions or mystical lands, but rather, being "modes of being", like mental "spaces"). Consider this, from what I have quoted above:
Each thought-moment of sentient beings in the nine deluded (or not fully awakened) dharma realms- that is, hell dwellers, hungry ghosts, animals, asuras, humans, gods, śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas- includes the buddha realm, and thus all beings have the capacity to manifest buddhahood.
(Stephen Teiser, Readings of the Lotus Sūtra, p. 37-38)

The realm of Buddha is understood as coterminous with Buddha-nature. And Buddha-nature is understood to be "the capacity to manifest buddhahood". Similarly, "possessing evil-nature" is not "is evil". From the earlier quote by Zhiyi:
Furthermore, a single moment of thought in the mind of a common being possesses the ten realms. They completely possess the nature and characteristics of evil karma, yet the nature and characteristics of evil are the nature and characteristics of virtue. It is due to evil that there is virtue. Apart from evil there is no virtue. Turning over evils, there is virtue supporting them, like inside bamboo there being the nature of fire. It is not yet the object of fire, which is why it exists but does not burn. When meeting with conditions the phenomenon comes to exist, and then it can burn things. Evil as the nature of virtue is not yet an existent phenomenon. When it meets with conditions it become an existent phenomenon, and then there can be a turn to evil. It is like bamboo. Fire is emitted and returns, burning the bamboo. In evil there is virtue. When virtue comes to exist it returns, destroying the evil. This is why that which are the nature and characteristics of evil are the nature and characteristics of virtue.
(from the commentary on the Lotus Sutra, CBETA, T33, no. 1716, p. 743, c25-p. 744, a3-7)

Evil-nature is the potentiality for evil. Zhiyi is merely stressing the humanity of the Buddha. The Buddha is not an automaton, his humanity erased by his awakening. The Buddha still has the capacity for evil. Just as bamboo has combustion-nature as one of its qualities, it does not burn at all times on account of his. Interpenetration is an attempt to avoid deifying the Buddha, thus turning him into some sort of abhideva, which was the tendency of certain heretical modes of Buddhic discourse in Zhiyi's time. The goal of his controversial statement is to emphasis the humanity of the Buddha.

More to the point, some quotes:
Although they practiced all kinds of defects, they became sages. The Way and evil do not obstruct each other. The evils can always be changed: he [the Buddha] is encouraging us to practice concentration and insight within evil. It is not permissible to imply indulge evil and remain forever an ordinary deluded person. The non-obstruction does not mean one should preserve the evil. Or again, what follows after the claim that "the Way does not obstruct evil" shows that although they have attained the Way, there is still some residual evil remaining.
(Zhiyi, Făhuáxuányì 法华玄义, T33.693b., quoted in Brook Ziporyn's Evil and/or/as the Good: Omnicentrism, Intersubjectivity, and Value Padadox in Tiantai Buddhist Thought)

and from the same source, Zhiyi's Făhuáxuányì, from the same subsection:
The Buddha comprehends evil, and so is not tainted by evil. He comprehends evil in the nature, and so he is not tainted by evil in practice.


Particularly on the subject of the first of the last two quote I just offered, the quote about "residual evil", there is an interesting parallel in the Pali literature.
"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.
(Iti 44)

It's almost like Chinese Buddhism wants to argue that there is no abandoning of residue, like the rest of the sutta does not apply, when it says
"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.
(from the same sutta)

It is important to note that this Pali passage has no corresponding Āgama-parallel, and therefore Zhiyi probably never read this text in his life, and never had any opportunity to be exposed to it. That is vital here, since the above passage basically completely denies Zhiyi's thesis about "residual unmanifest evil" and wipes it off the table.

At first I understood this section of the Itivuttaka to be describing the relationship that nibbāna has to parinibbāna, however that is complicated by the fact that the Buddha says that the Nibbana-element-with-no-residue-left is available to a monk "here in this very life", and it is actually a bit ambiguous, IMO, if the monk with Nibbana-element-with-no-residue-left is actually dead or not.

This issue with Zhiyi not seeming to acknowledge the existence of Nibbana-element-with-no-residue-left might have something to do with more profound and foundational differences between Mahayana and Theravada, wherein the first of the two believes that the Buddha did not pass into extinction, and I can't make knowledge claims as to what the latter believes/teaches on the matter. Nibbana-element-with-no-residue-left might be incompatible with the view of a omniprevalent Buddha which permeates everything, which is something that did not occur to me before.
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:16 am

I hope rajitha7 and paul wont mind me pulling their posts here, but I did so because they illustrate a wonderful contrast between the interpenetration of Nirvāṇa, and the non-interpenetration of Nibbana.

If we start here:
Coëmgenu wrote:
paul wrote:Then is the Dhamma an expression of a natural law?
It's not from the Pāli literature, but I am sure there is a nikāya-parellel to this āgama, if there is not I apologize:
“All these dharmas are the status of dharma, the standing of dharma, the suchness of dharma; the dharma neither departs from things-as-they-are, nor differs from things-as-they-are; it is the truth, reality, without distortion."
(SA 296, 因緣法, "Causal Law")
Then we see this responce:
Coëmgenu wrote:
paul wrote:Bikkhu Bodhi (“The Noble Eightfold Path”) while not saying directly that it is harmony with the cosmos, goes this far:
Buddhism, with its non-theistic framework, grounds its ethics, not on the notion of obedience, but on that of harmony. In fact, the commentaries explain the word sila by another word, samadhana, meaning "harmony" or “coordination."

tathatá: 'Suchness', designates the firmly fixed nature (bháva) of all things whatever. The only passage in the Canon where the word occurs in this sense, is found in Kath. 186 (Abhidhamma) (s. Guide, p. 83). On the Maháyana term tathatá, s. Suzuki, Awakening of Faith, p. 53f. (App.).
-Buddhist Dictionary, Nyanatiloka.
I'm still looking to see if there is a Nikāya-parallel to that āgama quote. But on the subject of "things-as-they-are", "natural" law, the nature of dhamma(s), etc, I did find this wonderful document by Nyanaponika Thera, entitled Seeing Things as They Are
Which leads to this responce:
rajitha7 wrote:There are 2 kinds of natures. The phenomenal nature and the deathless nature.

The phenomenal nature is what we are born into. The system of ethics applies here. Ethics are not needed in the ultimate or the deathless state.

This is similar to the "self" argument. Just as the "self", ethics and natural laws only apply in the phenomenal nature.

So unlike others, the Buddhists follow ethics not to win the phenomenal nature. They win the phenomenal nature with Sila (discipline) and Samadhi (Mindful concentration) and Panna (Wisdom) in order to transition into the deathless nature.
We can see the difference between soteriology that features interpenetration and the explanation of soteriology of that is non-interpenetrative, and how that informs discourse about Nibbana, about soteriology.

There are two natures acknowledged by both interpenetrationists and non-interpenetrationists: phenominal (Saṃsāra) and deathless (Nirvāṇa).

Sometimes, controversially and confusingly to many, indeed perhaps objectively confusingly, interpenetrationists can sometimes refer to Saṃsāra and Nirvāṇa as having the same nature, or the same reality, or, more accurately, an interpenetrative relationship. This is because the "deathless state" is believed to be things-as-they-are, devoid of delusion, and as such, the deathless state is the true state of everything. Saṃsāra is arisen due to the absence of the truth, the deathless nature, because it is seen as arisen, fundamentally, from delusion and ignorance. It is only us who build this false reality, this false nature, and because of that, this false nature of the phenominal, lacks independent existence. Nirvāṇa is the true state of things, so it can be said, in light of this, by some who believe in interpenetrationality, that the true nature of Nirvāṇa is Nirvāṇa, and the true nature of Saṃsāra is Nirvāṇa, because Saṃsāra is not truly an existent nature, it is merely delusion, absence of truth/things-as-they-are. This is what interpenetrationist schools refer to as the Pure Land of the Buddha interpenetrating the sahā world. When true things-as-they-are is realized, so too is realized the deathless state. With the abandonment of all delusion, the deathless nature is believed to be witnessed and attained. Delusional/Phenomenal nature is not seen as the same thing as the deathless nature. But delusion is not really seen as an actually existent reality at all: it is the unreality of the phenomenal world, born out of the absence of knowing things-as-they-are.This is all that interpenetration fundamentally argues as a concept in Mahāyāna Buddhism, and it might serve as a clarification as to the relevancy of the Thích Nhất Hạnh quote earlier, and how that relates to interpenetration.

Is there a Theravada responce to this particular explanation/application/definition of interpretation and interpenetrating nature?
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

rajitha7
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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by rajitha7 » Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:15 am

Coëmgenu wrote: - Sometimes, controversially and confusingly to many, indeed perhaps objectively confusingly, interpenetrationists can sometimes refer to Saṃsāra and Nirvāṇa as having the same nature, or the same reality, or, more accurately, an interpenetrative relationship.
- This is because the "deathless state" is believed to be things-as-they-are, devoid of delusion, and as such, the deathless state is the true state of everything. Saṃsāra is arisen due to the absence of the truth, the deathless nature, because it is seen as arisen, fundamentally, from delusion and ignorance.
- It is only us who build this false reality, this false nature, and because of that, this false nature of the phenominal, lacks independent existence.
...
Is there a Theravada responce to this particular explanation/application/definition of interpretation and interpenetrating nature?
Allow me to express my opinion. The 2 natures are NOT interpretive. They are real states of existence.

So what does this mean? I think you imagining a Dr David Banner vs Incredible Hulk type scenario where a normal person turns into a beaming fountain of light perhaps after attaining Nirvāṇa. :) The word "Nibbana" means the same btw in Sanskrit.

The 5 aggregates are like a machine that churns matter, time and space. The fuel it needs to function is our passion for living, have babies build wealth etc.

Once we enter the deathless state the aggregates no longer get any fuel to churn. That is because we no longer have a passion for anything - not even our children and wife. Although we continue to have loving kindness and compassion for them.

What will this look like in real life? Let us imagine a loved one pass away in front of our eyes. We will not shed a single tear. Our mindset comes from the fact the person who just died is an aggregate that was fickle and belongs to no one. We have de-linked any emotional bond we had with them.

Just as we have no desire for others, we do not have a desire for "self" either. If a Samurai turns aggressive and slashes with his sword we will not bat an eyelid. We have become fearless as we do not even have an attachment to ourselves. We can freely let go of anything.

Since the 5 aggregates no longer churn, our death will mark the point where we cease to exist - a complete inhalation. If we hadn't reached the deathless state, death does not mean the end. Parts of our aggregate will keep churning. It will recreate the formation somewhere else thus continue in the Saṃsāra.
Unsurpassed is the Lord’s way of teaching the Dhamma concerning one’s proper moral conduct. One should be honest and faithful, without deception, chatter, hinting or belittling, not always ready to add gain to gain, but with the sense-doors guarded, moderate in food, a promoter of peace, observant, active and strenuous in effort, a meditator, mindful, with proper conversation, steady-going, resolute and sensible, not hankering after sense pleasures, but mindful and prudent. This is the unsurpassed teaching concerning a person’s proper ethical conduct. - Sampasādanīya, Dīgha Nikāya 28

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:12 am

rajitha7 wrote:I think you imagining a Dr David Banner vs Incredible Hulk type scenario where a normal person turns into a beaming fountain of light perhaps after attaining Nirvāṇa.
I think that an interpenetrationalists who believed that one of the qualities of being Awakened was "turning into a beaming fountain of light", or appearing as glowing, or anything similar, would say that we, as deluded creatures, are in no position to see such light until our fermentations have ceased. Such a person would appear completely normal in the delusional way of seeing. That's assuming, though, that "things-as-they-are" includes glowing bodies, which I am skeptical of based on a lack of evidence to back such a position up :)
rajitha7 wrote:The 5 aggregates are like a machine that churns matter, time and space. The fuel it needs to function is our passion for living, have babies build wealth etc.

Once we enter the deathless state the aggregates no longer get any fuel to churn. That is because we no longer have a passion for anything - not even our children and wife. Although we continue to have loving kindness and compassion for them.

What will this look like in real life? Let us imagine a loved one pass away in front of our eyes. We will not shed a single tear. Our mindset comes from the fact the person who just died is an aggregate that was fickle and belongs to no one. We have de-linked any emotional bond we had with them.

Just as we have no desire for others, we do not have a desire for "self" either. If a Samurai turns aggressive and slashes with his sword we will not bat an eyelid. We have become fearless as we do not even have an attachment to ourselves. We can freely let go of anything.

Since the 5 aggregates no longer churn, our death will mark the point where we cease to exist - a complete inhalation. If we hadn't reached the deathless state, death does not mean the end. Parts of our aggregate will keep churning. It will recreate the formation somewhere else thus continue in the Saṃsāra.
Yes, I would agree that a Buddha does not suffer, and would not necessarily cry on account of losing people, etc. But what is the role of compassion in the definition of the deathless state that you bring forward? The Buddha was not motivated to preach the Dharma based on a want to be famous or even the necessity of him doing so, he even seriously considered not bothering to teach the Dharma. It was an act of compassion. Whether or not compassion can be said to be a "quality" of the deathless state, the deathless consistently manifests what appears, to us, to be boundless compassion and loving-kindness. This means that it is might be said that it is innately part of the nature of the deathless to exhibit this property of what appears to be compassion, right?.
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

Caodemarte
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Re: Interpenetrationality

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Nov 05, 2016 1:20 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
rajitha7 wrote:I think you imagining a Dr David Banner vs Incredible Hulk type scenario where a normal person turns into a beaming fountain of light perhaps after attaining Nirvāṇa.
I think that an interpenetrationalists who believed that one of the qualities of being Awakened was "turning into a beaming fountain of light", or appearing as glowing, or anything similar, would say that we, as deluded creatures, are in no position to see such light until our fermentations have ceased. Such a person would appear completely normal in the delusional way of seeing. That's assuming, though, that "things-as-they-are" includes glowing bodies, which I am skeptical of based on a lack of evidence to back such a position up :)
rajitha7 wrote:The 5 aggregates are like a machine that churns matter, time and space. The fuel it needs to function is our passion for living, have babies build wealth etc.

Once we enter the deathless state the aggregates no longer get any fuel to churn. That is because we no longer have a passion for anything - not even our children and wife. Although we continue to have loving kindness and compassion for them.

What will this look like in real life? Let us imagine a loved one pass away in front of our eyes. We will not shed a single tear. Our mindset comes from the fact the person who just died is an aggregate that was fickle and belongs to no one. We have de-linked any emotional bond we had with them.

Just as we have no desire for others, we do not have a desire for "self" either. If a Samurai turns aggressive and slashes with his sword we will not bat an eyelid. We have become fearless as we do not even have an attachment to ourselves. We can freely let go of anything.

Since the 5 aggregates no longer churn, our death will mark the point where we cease to exist - a complete inhalation. If we hadn't reached the deathless state, death does not mean the end. Parts of our aggregate will keep churning. It will recreate the formation somewhere else thus continue in the Saṃsāra.
Yes, I would agree that a Buddha does not suffer, and would not necessarily cry on account of losing people, etc. But what is the role of compassion in the definition of the deathless state that you bring forward? The Buddha was not motivated to preach the Dharma based on a want to be famous or even the necessity of him doing so, he even seriously considered not bothering to teach the Dharma. It was an act of compassion. Whether or not compassion can be said to be a "quality" of the deathless state, the deathless consistently manifests what appears, to us, to be boundless compassion and loving-kindness. This means that it is might be said that it is innately part of the nature of the deathless to exhibit this property of what appears to be compassion, right?.

And yet Buddhists cry. Look at pictures of the Buddha's death. Why are the arhats weeping and showing various emotions? More importantly, why are they pictured this way to teach what? The point of Buddhism is not to become less human, but more. Ending attachment to pain can end suffering, but not suppression of pain or joy. Or so I read the suttas and sutras and so have I heard from every Buddhist teacher I have met or read.

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