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.
(SA 296, 因緣法, "Causal Law")
“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.
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
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
, 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 meta
physical speculations. These things are fundamentally true enlightened observations about the physical
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
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.
(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)
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.
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,"
"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.
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.
-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.