Form is emptiness

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Dinsdale
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Re: Form is emptiness

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:13 am

atipattoh wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:02 am
The text says "色是空,空是色", not "色是空,空是色". The problem with Chinese interpreter is, it is interpreted as 色是空空是色.
Therefore, it should not be directly understood as "form is emptiness".
Is that from the Heart Sutra? And what do you think the correct meaning is here?
Note that the Heart Sutra also says that emptiness is form, which I understand to mean that emptiness is not a "thing", just the nature of the aggregates.
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Re: Form is emptiness

Post by Aloka » Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:45 am

To quote Santikaro in "Early Buddhism and the Heart Sutra" (written in 2006) which I mentioned earlier in the topic:

The Heart Sutra is probably the most widely know and studied of the Mahāyāna sutras thanks to its concise brevity and profundity. It wonderfully recasts core teachings from the Pali suttas within a Mahāyāna frame story involving the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. Mahāyāna students may be shocked to learn that the Dhamma of their beloved Heart Sutra is largely recast Hinayāna, ur, Pali Buddhism. That, however, may very well be the case. Please bear with me.

I will demonstrate the simple facts, without any argument, using a simple method. I will juxtapose the main sections of the Heart Sutra with Pali passages that sometimes say the same things and other times come pretty close.
You can do the rest.

(continues at the link)

http://www.liberationpark.org/study/pdf ... ly_bsm.pdf
:anjali:

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Re: Form is emptiness

Post by samsarictravelling » Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:12 am

Hi ShanYin and everyone,

Form is emptiness is from the Heart Sutra -- the Heart Sutra is a prajnaparamita sutra (Perfect Wisdom sutra) -- and maybe also found in those words, or similar words, in other prajnaparamita sutras.

When I was growing up, I read in a book, or more than one book, that sunyata or emptiness (do I have it correct?) is the doctrine of (Theravada's) anatta in Mahayana Buddhism tradition. I think I read that, not sure. And also, that's if the writer had it correct.

As for my interpretation of prajnaparamita doctrine -- I never had any teacher for it, but just read the prajnaparamita literature -- it was maybe wacky when I found a way of 'abiding in it'. Won't talk about that way, which MIGHT not really be prajnaparamita abiding at all, but just my wacky interpretation. Or who knows, it could have been sort of legitimate?! ALL I KNOW IS MY WAY OF PRAJNAPARAMITA DWELLING/COURSING WAS A MAYBE DANGEROUS, POSSIBLY IMMORAL WAY OF LIVING LIFE (CAN'T REMEMBER FOR SURE). THAT'S ALL I'LL SAY ABOUT IT.

As for the teachings of prajnaparamita -- not my 'prajnaparamita abiding' -- my interpretation of it will be what follows. But a word of caution: it may be heretical teaching according to the Dhamma (what Buddha taught, whatever that was) -- or may not be?! I don't know. BECAUSE MY WAY OF PRAJNAPARAMITA COURSING/DWELLING, AS MENTIONED ABOVE, WAS BASED ON THE BELOW MY INTERPRETATION OF PRAJNAPARAMITA LITERATURE I READ, THEN THAT BELOW MY INTERPRETATION OF PRAJNAPARAMITA TEACHING COULD BE EVIL, IMMORAL, TOO. Here is that prajnaparamita teaching according to my interpretation -- but not all my interpretation I give you, just some, but you must be beware it may already be unskillful, or later may or may not lead to an evil, unskillful way of coursing/dwelling in prajnaparamita, if you learn more of the prajnaparamita teachings and interpret it like I did:

All things are mind constructs (all things are created by the mind). 'Form' is just a word. Even 'prajnaparamita' is just a word. The only thing that exists is Sunyata (Emptiness). But this Sunyata is known by experience, not known by the word 'sunyata'. Everything is just this one Sunyata. All conditional things -- the five skandhas (khandas in Theravada Buddhism) -- are just words, and their essence is Sunyata. All conditioned things are a mirage, dream, and Sunyata is the Reality. All conditioned things are like the waves on the ocean top, while their essence is the ocean water that makes those waves, as well as the whole ocean. Again: ocean water is the essence of the moving waves on the ocean's surface, as well as the rest of the ocean underneath. 'Form is emptiness, emptiness is form' because the essence of form is Sunyata ('form is emptiness'); and Sunyata is the reality, while the form is a mirage, dream ('emptiness is form'). Likewise for the other four skandhas (feeling, perception, mental volitions, consciousness). There are no Four Noble Truths, because they are not really existing, they are a dream. Only Sunyata is the reality. Prajnaparamita is the highest coursing/dwelling of any being. Prajnaparamita is the coursing of (irreversible?) Bodhisattvas, according to prajnaparamita literature.

Excuse me if I am sloppy or wrong (slightly?) in my interpretation of prajnaparamita (Those who know prajnaparamita and Mahayana doctrine well, might see a total error in what I say, or only a slight error, or none at all even? I don't know.)

When retrofuturist talks about his view of anatta, it sounds like prajnaparamita doctrine, that all conditioned things are just mental constructs.

Retrofuturist, please forgive me if I incorrectly, untruthfully, found similarity in your anatta doctrine with (my interpretation of) the prajnaparamita doctrine.

from,
samsarictravelling

Again, please excuse me if I do not reply to any reply to this answer of mine.

*** Addition to (my interpretation of) the prajnaparamita teachings ***:

Some more possible lines from prajnaparamita literature, but are not actually all in the same place in the literature, like shown below packed together:

There is no bodhisattva that courses in prajnaparamita. Why? An enlightenment being (bodhisattva) is a no being. There is not even a perfect wisdom (prajnaparamita). What bodhisattva should I teach prajnaparamita to? A coursing in perfect wisdom (prajnaparamita) is a no coursing.

I just remembered -- if I correctly remember it -- that this prajnaparamita teaching even saw the killing of beings as a no killing -- it did not say to kill beings, but said if you observed the killing of numerous beings, that was a dream still -- because from the standpoint of prajnaparamita, no beings exist, that's if I remember correctly that I read something like that in the prajnaparamita literature.

The below, on the other hand, is from Theravada Buddhism, and is the Theravada teaching on the heretical teaching of denying the doctrine of kamma, as well as the Dhammic belief in the doctrine of kamma, from the Majjhima Nikaya 60:

ii. The Doctrine of Non-Doing

A “Householders, there are some recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘When one acts or makes others act, when one mutilates or makes others mutilate, when one tortures or makes others inflict torture, when one inflicts sorrow or makes others inflict sorrow, when one oppresses or makes others inflict oppression, when one intimidates or makes others inflict intimidation, when one kills living beings, takes what is not given, breaks into houses, plunders wealth, commits burglary, ambushes highways, seduces another’s wife, utters falsehood—no evil is done by the doer. If, with a razor-rimmed wheel, one were to make the living beings on this earth into one mass of flesh, into one heap of flesh, because of this there would be no evil and no outcome of evil. If one were to go along the south bank of the Ganges killing and slaughtering, mutilating and making others mutilate, torturing and making others inflict torture, because of this there would be no evil and no outcome of evil. If one were to go along the north bank of the Ganges giving gifts and making others give gifts, making offerings and making others make offerings, because of this there would be no merit and no outcome of merit. By giving, by taming oneself, by restraint, by speaking truth, there is no merit and no outcome of merit.’

B “Now there are some recluses and brahmins whose doctrine is directly opposed to that of those recluses and brahmins, and they say thus: ‘When one acts or makes others act, when one mutilates or makes others mutilate…utters falsehood—evil is done by the doer. If, with a razor-rimmed wheel, one were to make the living beings on this earth into one mass of flesh, into one heap of flesh, because of this there would be evil and the outcome of evil. If one were to go along the south bank of the Ganges killing and slaughtering, mutilating and making others mutilate, torturing and making others inflict torture, because of this there would be evil and the outcome of evil. If one were to go along the north bank of the Ganges giving gifts and making others give gifts, making offerings and making others make offerings, because of this there would be merit and the outcome of merit. By giving, by taming oneself, by restraint, by speaking truth, there is merit and the outcome of merit.’ What do you think, householders? Don’t these recluses and brahmins hold doctrines directly opposed to each other?”—“Yes, venerable sir.”

A.i “Now, householders, of those recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘When one acts or makes others act…there is no merit and no outcome of merit,’ it is to be expected that they will avoid these three wholesome states, namely, good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct and good mental conduct, and that they will undertake and practise these three unwholesome states, namely, bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, and mental misconduct. Why is that? Because those good recluses and brahmins do not see in unwholesome states the danger, degradation, and defilement, nor do they see in wholesome states the blessing of renunciation, the aspect of cleansing.

A.ii “Since there actually is doing, one who holds the view ‘there is no doing’ has wrong view. Since there actually is doing, one who intends ‘there is no doing’ has wrong intention. Since there actually is doing, one who makes the statement ‘there is no doing’ has wrong speech. Since there actually is doing, one who says ‘there is no doing’ is opposed to those arahants who hold the doctrine that there is doing. Since there actually is doing, one who convinces another ‘there is no doing’ convinces him to accept an untrue Dhamma; and because he convinces another to accept an untrue Dhamma, he praises himself and disparages others. Thus any pure virtue that he formerly had is abandoned and corrupt conduct is substituted. And this wrong view, wrong intention, wrong speech, opposition to noble ones, convincing another to accept an untrue Dhamma, and self-praise and disparagement of others—these several evil unwholesome states thus come into being with wrong view as their condition.

A.iii “About this a wise man considers thus: ‘If there is no doing, then on the dissolution of the body this good person will have made himself safe enough. But if there is doing, then on the dissolution of the body, after death, he will reappear in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hell. Now whether or not the word of those good recluses and brahmins is true, let me assume that there is no doing: still this good person is here and now censured by the wise as an immoral person, one of wrong view who holds the doctrine of non-doing. But on the other hand, if there is doing, then this good person has made an unlucky throw on both counts: since he is censured by the wise here and now, and since on the dissolution of the body, after death, he will reappear in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hell. He has wrongly accepted and undertaken this incontrovertible teaching in such a way that it extends only to one side and excludes the wholesome alternative.’

B.i “Now, householders, of those recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘When one acts or makes others act…there is merit and outcome of merit,’ it is to be expected that they will avoid these three unwholesome states, namely, bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, and mental misconduct, and that they will undertake and practise these three wholesome states, namely, good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, and good mental conduct. Why is that? Because those good recluses and brahmins see in unwholesome states the danger, degradation, and defilement, and they see in wholesome states the blessing of renunciation, the aspect of cleansing.

B.ii “Since there actually is doing, one who holds the view ‘there is doing’ has right view. Since there actually is doing, one who intends ‘there is doing’ has right intention. Since there actually is doing, one who makes the statement ‘there is doing’ has right speech. Since there actually is doing, one who says ‘there is doing’ is not opposed to those arahants who hold the doctrine that there is doing. Since there actually is doing, one who convinces another ‘there is doing’ convinces him to accept true Dhamma; and because he convinces another to accept true Dhamma, he does not praise himself and disparage others. Thus any corrupt conduct that he formerly had is abandoned and pure virtue is substituted. And this right view, right intention, right speech, non-opposition to noble ones, convincing another to accept true Dhamma, and avoidance of self-praise and disparagement of others—these several wholesome states thus come into being with right view as their condition.

B.iii “About this a wise man considers thus: ‘If there is doing, then on the dissolution of the body, after death, this good person will reappear in a happy destination, even in the heavenly world. Now whether or not the word of those good recluses and brahmins is true, let me assume that there is no doing: still this good person is here and now praised by the wise as a virtuous person, one with right view who holds the doctrine of doing. And on the other hand, if there is doing, then this good person has made a lucky throw on both counts: since he is praised by the wise here and now, and since on the dissolution of the body, after death, he will reappear in a happy destination, even in the heavenly world. He has rightly accepted and undertaken this incontrovertible teaching in such a way that it extends to both sides and excludes the unwholesome alternative.’

Source: Majjhima Nikaya 60. https://suttacentral.net/mn60/en/bodhi

from,
samsarictravelling
Last edited by samsarictravelling on Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:50 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Form is emptiness

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:33 am

Greetings,
samsarictravelling wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:12 am
When retrofuturist talks about his view of anatta, it sounds like prajnaparamita doctrine, that all conditioned things are just mental constructs.

Retrofuturist, please forgive me if I incorrectly, untruthfully, found similarity in your anatta doctrine with (my interpretation of) the prajnaparamita doctrine.
Possibly - I've not studied Mahayana doctrine in order to know. Where I differ from some, perhaps, is that I steadfastly insist of taking the suttas on their own merits, and not seeing them translated through later frameworks or vādas, and that includes Theravāda's commentarial and Abhidhammic frameworks too. On a related note, in "The Heretic Sage", ven. Nanananda is quoted as saying...

“I didn’t quote from the Mahāyāna texts in the Nibbāna sermons because there was no need. All that was needed was already found in the Suttas. Teachers like Nāgārjuna brought to light what was already there but was hidden from view. Unfortunately his later followers turned it in to a vāda.”

To wit, schools and traditions often get lost in their own developments. Personally I feel that the Abhidhamma, and its influence on the commentaries, has minimised the Buddha's teachings on emptiness, and I think that's a shame.
Ani Sutta wrote: Staying at Savatthi. "Monks, there once was a time when the Dasarahas had a large drum called 'Summoner.' Whenever Summoner was split, the Dasarahas inserted another peg in it, until the time came when Summoner's original wooden body had disappeared and only a conglomeration of pegs remained.

"In the same way, in the course of the future there will be monks who won't listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. They won't lend ear, won't set their hearts on knowing them, won't regard these teachings as worth grasping or mastering. But they will listen when discourses that are literary works — the works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples — are recited. They will lend ear and set their hearts on knowing them. They will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.

"In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — will come about.

"Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. We will lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.' That's how you should train yourselves."
:buddha1:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: Form is emptiness

Post by Aloka » Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:40 am


Ani Sutta wrote:
Staying at Savatthi. "Monks, there once was a time when the Dasarahas had a large drum called 'Summoner.' Whenever Summoner was split, the Dasarahas inserted another peg in it, until the time came when Summoner's original wooden body had disappeared and only a conglomeration of pegs remained.

"In the same way, in the course of the future there will be monks who won't listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited.
I cried when I first read Ani Sutta!


This is an excerpt from an article "Like Oil and Water" by Ajahn Amaro:


Emptiness

We come now to the quality of emptiness. Firstly, it is of some significance to note that although the adjectival noun suññata (Sanskrit: sunyata), or “emptiness,” is used in the Theravada scriptures, it is far outweighed by its humble cousin, the adjective suñña, “empty.” In later, Northern Buddhist traditions, sunyata took on not only a central position in the teachings on liberation (for example in the Prajña Paramita Sutras, the Heart Sutra, and the Vajra Sutra) and the Middle Way (as in Nagarjuna’s Madhyamaka philosophy, uniting emptiness and causality), but it also took on the attributes of some kind of quasi-mystical substance or realm—not intentionally or doctrinally even, but more through a subtle and unconscious reification. It became something that is a nothing, that then was worshiped and deified as a universal panacea.

This is not to say that all such teachings on emptiness are false or useless—not at all. It is just to say that, like any verbal formulation of Dhamma, if grasped incorrectly they can obstruct rather than aid progress on the path. If the concept of emptiness is understood and used as a skillful means, it is clear that it could not be any kind of thing-in-itself. Any tendency to incline the attitude in that direction would thus be seen as falling wide of the mark.

"If a person were to say that suññata is a material element, his or her friends would die laughing. Some people would say that it is an immaterial or formless element, and here the Noble Ones (ariya) would die laughing. Voidness is neither a material nor an immaterial element, but is a third kind of element that lies beyond the ken of ordinary people. The Buddha called it “quenching element” or “cessation element” (nirodha-dhatu).

The words “material element” (vatthu-dhatu) or “form element” (rupa-dhatu) refer to materiality in visible forms, sounds, odors, tastes, or tactile objects. “Formless element” (arupa-dhatu) refers to the mind and heart, to mental processes, and to the thoughts and experiences that arise in the mind. There is only one kind of element not included in these two categories, an element that is the complete antithesis and annihilation of them all.

Consequently, the Buddha sometimes called it “coolness element” (Nibbana-dhatu), sometimes “quenching element” (nirodha-dhatu), and sometimes “deathless element” (amatadhatu)."

~ Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree


In the Pali scriptures suñña simply means “empty.” It describes the quality of absence—an absence contained within a particular defining form, rather than some kind of absolute value. Every space has its poetics: this personality is empty of self, this glass is empty of water, this room is empty of people—there is a definite voidness in some respects, but it is also shaped by its context. The pair of silences during the opening bars of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony are just silence, but the particular poetry of those silences is shaped by the notes before and after.

Without the glass there would not be any emptiness; without the other musical notes those moments would not be silent—that is to say, the emptiness only exists in relationship to its vessel, whatever that may be: a personality, a glass, a room, a musical phrase. It’s just a way of speaking about form and space using relative language.

Thus from the Theravada point of view, the concept of emptiness is quite prosaic. It lacks the intrinsic mystical quality imputed to it in some of the Northern Buddhist scriptures. However, it becomes more meaningful in terms of liberation as it is almost always used in the context of “empty of self and the property of a self.” If that absence is recognized then the heart is certainly inclining to awakening.

The environment of pure awareness is cultivated through a realization of emptiness; it then embodies that characteristic as a result of its perfection. Radiance is another of the principal qualities that manifests as that knowing is purified.

Bhikkhus, there are these four radiances—what are the four? The radiance of the moon, the radiance of the sun, the radiance of fire, the radiance of wisdom (paññapabha)… Bhikkhus, among these four, the radiance of wisdom is indeed the most excellent.

~ Anguttara Nikaya 4.142

These three attributes—knowing, emptiness, and the radiant mind—weave through each other and are mutually reflective and supportive. In a way, they are like the fluidity, wetness, and coolness of a glass of water: three qualities that are distinct yet inseparable.

Continues at the link

https://www.lionsroar.com/like-oil-and-water/

:anjali:
Last edited by Aloka on Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Form is emptiness

Post by samsarictravelling » Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:23 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:33 am
Greetings,
samsarictravelling wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:12 am
When retrofuturist talks about his view of anatta, it sounds like prajnaparamita doctrine, that all conditioned things are just mental constructs.

Retrofuturist, please forgive me if I incorrectly, untruthfully, found similarity in your anatta doctrine with (my interpretation of) the prajnaparamita doctrine.
Possibly - I've not studied Mahayana doctrine in order to know. Where I differ from some, perhaps, is that I steadfastly insist of taking the suttas on their own merits, and not seeing them translated through later frameworks or vādas, and that includes Theravāda's commentarial and Abhidhammic frameworks too. On a related note, in "The Heretic Sage", ven. Nanananda is quoted as saying...

...
"In the same way, in the course of the future there will be monks who won't listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. They won't lend ear, won't set their hearts on knowing them, won't regard these teachings as worth grasping or mastering. But they will listen when discourses that are literary works — the works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples — are recited. They will lend ear and set their hearts on knowing them. They will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.

"In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — will come about.

"Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. We will lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.' That's how you should train yourselves."
:buddha1:

Metta,
Paul. :)
I just made an addition to my original post on prajnaparamita, which I will repost here in whole, minusing the copy & paste of the Majjhima Nikaya 60 section:

*** Addition to (my interpretation of) the prajnaparamita teachings ***:

Some more possible lines from prajnaparamita literature, but are not actually all in the same place in the literature, like shown below packed together:

There is no bodhisattva that courses in prajnaparamita. Why? An enlightenment being (bodhisattva) is a no being. There is not even a perfect wisdom (prajnaparamita). What bodhisattva should I teach prajnaparamita to? A coursing in perfect wisdom (prajnaparamita) is a no coursing.

I just remembered -- if I correctly remember it -- that this prajnaparamita teaching even saw the killing of beings as a no killing -- it did not say to kill beings, but said if you observed the killing of numerous beings, that was a dream still -- because from the standpoint of prajnaparamita, no beings exist, that's if I remember correctly that I read something like that in the prajnaparamita literature.

The below, on the other hand, is from Theravada Buddhism, and is the Theravada teaching on the heretical teaching of denying the doctrine of kamma, as well as the Dhammic belief in the doctrine of kamma, from the Majjhima Nikaya 60:

...

from,
samsarictravelling

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Re: Form is emptiness

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:59 am

As I see it sunyata is basically a Mahayana development of themes in the suttas. Anatta and sunna are relevant, but I also see a strong connection with iddapaccayatta (conditionality), which is re-expressed as phenomena lacking independent existence, or not existing "from their own side".

There has been a tendency to reify sunyata as a "ground of being" or "ultimate reality", though IMO this idea is contradicted by teachings like "emptiness of emptiness", and the line "Emptiness is only form" in the Heart Sutra.
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Re: Form is emptiness

Post by Sherab » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:35 am

Dinsdale wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:59 am
As I see it sunyata is basically a Mahayana development of themes in the suttas. Anatta and sunna are relevant, but I also see a strong connection with iddapaccayatta (conditionality), which is re-expressed as phenomena lacking independent existence, or not existing "from their own side".

There has been a tendency to reify sunyata as a "ground of being" or "ultimate reality", though IMO this idea is contradicted by teachings like "emptiness of emptiness", and the line "Emptiness is only form" in the Heart Sutra.
It is a mistake to equate "ground of being" with "ultimate reality". Why can't there be an ultimate reality without it being the ground of being?

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Re: Form is emptiness

Post by samsarictravelling » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:47 am

Okay, I'm thinking I hate the prajnaparamita sutras, Mahayana Buddhism, again... :)

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Re: Form is emptiness

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:54 am

Sherab wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:35 am
Dinsdale wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:59 am
As I see it sunyata is basically a Mahayana development of themes in the suttas. Anatta and sunna are relevant, but I also see a strong connection with iddapaccayatta (conditionality), which is re-expressed as phenomena lacking independent existence, or not existing "from their own side".

There has been a tendency to reify sunyata as a "ground of being" or "ultimate reality", though IMO this idea is contradicted by teachings like "emptiness of emptiness", and the line "Emptiness is only form" in the Heart Sutra.
It is a mistake to equate "ground of being" with "ultimate reality". Why can't there be an ultimate reality without it being the ground of being?
I think "reality" would be quite sufficient here. Or "things as they really are".
I'm not a fan of the word "reality" though, I think it's a can of worms.
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Re: Form is emptiness

Post by chownah » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:03 am

From the heart sutra:
Listen, Sariputra, form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Form is not other than emptiness.
Emptiness is not other than form. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, mental
formations, and consciousness.
So, its not form that is "emptiness"....it is also feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness.....its the cinging aggregates that are "emptiness".....in the theravada it is said that the clining aggregats are empty of self.....isn't that right?

So, I went out and actually found and brought a heart sutra quote containing "emptiness".....can someone find and bring a theravada quote which contains "emptiness"?
chownah

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Re: Form is emptiness

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:36 am

chownah wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:03 am
From the heart sutra:
Listen, Sariputra, form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Form is not other than emptiness.
Emptiness is not other than form. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, mental
formations, and consciousness.
So, its not form that is "emptiness"....it is also feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness.....its the cinging aggregates that are "emptiness".....in the theravada it is said that the clining aggregats are empty of self.....isn't that right?

So, I went out and actually found and brought a heart sutra quote containing "emptiness".....can someone find and bring a theravada quote which contains "emptiness"?
chownah
See SN35.85, where the khandhas are sunna, empty of self. This sutta has been referenced previously in the thread.
https://suttacentral.net/sn35.85/en/sujato

And yes, the Heart Sutra describes the emptiness of all five aggregates, among other things.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

form
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Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:23 am

Re: Form is emptiness

Post by form » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:24 am

If heart sutra is not words of the Buddha why is it potrayed as such in the drama? Just like this as I heard in many Mahayana sutra?

atipattoh
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:28 am

Re: Form is emptiness

Post by atipattoh » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:27 am

Dinsdale wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:13 am
Is that from the Heart Sutra? And what do you think the correct meaning is here?
Note that the Heart Sutra also says that emptiness is form, which I understand to mean that emptiness is not a "thing", just the nature of the aggregates.
Yes, Heart Sutra.
色=/=空, rather 色<==>空 (a relation nature) , you got that; "understand to mean that emptiness is not a "thing", just the nature of the aggregates" 👍

From the statement of "note that the Heart Sutra also says that emptiness is form"; it seems you are translating old text directly into English. For chinese old text, it should be expended.
色 -> 色法
空 -> 空性
So, the first pack of 4 , i would read something like this; 色法, 本质(相)是空性的
The 2nd pack of 4; 空性, 是色法的本质(相).
Therefore, 空=/=色, rather 空<==>色, therefore, "<==>" is "相"

If the text were to means 色法是空性, 空性是色法; it would have been "色是空,空是色"; and to beautify it, then would have been 色是空空是色.
But the text says "色即是空,空即是色" .

So, i don't really see it much different from Theravada.
By your statement of "emptiness is form", then it would be odd for ,"空性是色法".
Chownah has put it very well, i don't think i can explain better.

chownah
Posts: 8099
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Re: Form is emptiness

Post by chownah » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:16 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:36 am
chownah wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:03 am
From the heart sutra:
Listen, Sariputra, form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Form is not other than emptiness.
Emptiness is not other than form. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, mental
formations, and consciousness.
So, its not form that is "emptiness"....it is also feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness.....its the cinging aggregates that are "emptiness".....in the theravada it is said that the clining aggregats are empty of self.....isn't that right?

So, I went out and actually found and brought a heart sutra quote containing "emptiness".....can someone find and bring a theravada quote which contains "emptiness"?
chownah
See SN35.85, where the khandhas are sunna, empty of self. This sutta has been referenced previously in the thread.
https://suttacentral.net/sn35.85/en/sujato

And yes, the Heart Sutra describes the emptiness of all five aggregates, among other things.
The sutta you bring I read when you brought it before. It does not contain the word "emptiness". Saying that something is emptiness is not the same as saying that something is empty. The suttas are full of places that talk about things being empty and primarily (there are exceptions) the talk is clearly explained to mean empty of self. There are quite a few suttas which explicitly say this. The only place I have seen the term "emptiness" in a sutta is in one that talks about the emptiness release or somthing like that but even this is explained in term of being empty of self as I remember.

If I remember correctly, there is another sutta which talks about emptiness and I've been trying to find it for quite some time with no success. I'm hoping that the focus here on emptiness might turn it up. In that sutta it talks about a deep meditation experience where layer upon layer of what is present gets dropped until all is gone....at each stage of the process it says something like "the mind is empty of that stuff and only some other stuff remains and so we proceed into emptiness"....it continues until only emptiness remains and I can't remember if even emptiness is dropped which is what finally leads to complete release......my memory on this is not good but maybe someone can get the idea and will remember what sutta that is.
chownah

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