Buddhist Philosophy

Vajradhara

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Namaste all,

i thought that this topic was indepth enough to warrant it's own thread.

please continue this avenue of disscusion here.

Buddhist philosophical views are classified, at least by Tibetan Buddhists in general, into four main categories: Vaibhasika, Sautrantika, Yogachara, and Madhyamika.

1. Vaibhasika has been called "direct realism." It is similar to the first few of the Indian views that see the World of Experience as composed of various physical elements that interact with the components of beings.

2. Sautrantika considers that awareness is merely representational. These first two schools consider that there are two kinds of interactors: Physical aspects, ie. skandhas of which one, rupa comprises the traditional elements, and the Mental aspects including consciousness (vijnana), sensation (vedana) which contributes to pain/pleasure, cognition (sanjna) and the impressions derived from experience (samskara.). The 12 Links of Causality go into this in more detail.

3. Chittamatra/Yogachara sometimes referred to as the Knowledge Way or Vijnanavada. It has also been called Subjective Realism, acknowledging that individual factors including karma contribute to an experience of reality that must be different for every being. It mentions the idea of "Buddha nature." Vasubandha and Asanga finally adopted this position.

4. Madhyamika basically holds that there is no ultimate reality in the sense that something exists apart from the experiencer, but that this does not mean that there is nothing at all. It turns around the definition of Shunyata and therefore has been called Sunyatavada. Nagarjuna and Aryadeva are the main proponents. Chandrakirti expounds upon Nagarjuna.

The Madhyamika view has given rise to two particular schools of thought: Svatantrika and Prasangika, which is the school that i adhere to. According to the Prasangika school, the object of refutation (or negation, gag-cha)* is an extremely subtle object that is ever so slightly more than—a little over and above—what is merely labeled by the mind.

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso Rinpoche in The World of Tibetan Buddhism: An Overview of Its Philosophy and Practice. Boston: Wisdom Pub., 1995. (49-54):

"According to the explanation of the highest Buddhist philosophical school, Madhyamaka-Prasangika, external phenomena are not mere projections or creations of the mind. External phenomena have a distinct nature, which is different from the mind.

The meaning of all phenomena being mere labels or designations is that they exist and acquire their identities by means of our denomination or designation of them. This does not mean that there is no phenomenon apart from the name, imputation, or label, but rather that if we analyze and search objectively for the essence of any phenomenon, it will be un-findable.

Phenomena are unable to withstand such analysis; therefore, they do not exist objectively. Yet, since they exist, there should be some level of existence; therefore, it is only through our own process of labeling or designation that things are said to exist.

Except for the Prasangika school, all the other Buddhist schools of thought identify the existence of phenomena within the basis of designation; therefore, they maintain that there is some kind of objective existence.

Since the lower schools of Buddhist thought all accept that things exist inherently, they assert some kind of objective existence, maintaining that things exist in their own right and from their own side. This is because they identify phenomena within the basis of designation.

For the Prasangikas, if anything exists objectively and is identified within the basis of designation, then that is, in fact, equivalent to saying that it exists autonomously, that it has an independent nature and exists in its own right.

This is a philosophical tenet of the Yogacara school in which external reality is negated, that is, the atomically structured external world is negated. Because the proponents of the Yogacara philosophical system assert that things cannot exist other than as projections of one's own mind, they also maintain that there is no atomically structured external physical reality independent of mind. By analyzing along these lines, Yogacara proponents conclude that there is no atomicly structured external reality.

This conclusion is reached because of not having understood the most subtle level of emptiness as expounded by the Prasangikas. In fact, Yogacarins assert that things have no inherent existence, and that if you analyze something and do not find any essence, then it does not exist at all.

Prasangikas, on the other hand, when confronted with this un-findability of the essence of the object, conclude that this is an indication that objects do not exist inherently, not that they do not exist at all. This is where the difference lies between the two schools."

* Object of Refutation: one possible technique for searching for truth is to employ the process of elimination, and see what is left. Therefore, the principle or topic under consideration may be called the object of refutation which helps keep in our mind the notion that the thing is not to be assumed to exist. It is merely a target, so to speak.

this link has some very good information for the interested reader:
http://www.khandro.net/Bud_philo_Madhyamika.htm
 
Exposition of some concepts, pt 1

Namaste all,

this is a continuation of the previous post. this is a rather academic subject being as it deals with the Abidharma or metaphysics.

According to the listing in the previous post, in the Tibetan tradition, the 4 schools each teach the Three Vehicles of Hearer, Solitary Realizer and Bodhisattva.

The 4 philosophical schools correspond to the Hinyana and Mahayana view Vaibhasika and Sautrantika are Hinyana schools whereas the Chittamatra and Madhyamika correspond with the Mahayana. In this post i shall explain our view of the two Hinayana schools.

According to Vaibhasika and Sautrantika, Hearer and Solitary Realizer Foe Destroyers (Arhan) are lower than a Budda. All three are equally liberated from cyclic existence and all will equally disappear upon death with the severance of their continuum of consciousness and form. However, while they are alive, a Bodhisattva at the effect stage is called a Buddha whereas the others are only called Foe Destroyers - those who have destroyed the foes of the afflictions, mainly desire, hatred, and ignorance - because a Buddha has special knowledge, more subtle clarivoyance, and a distinctive body. A Bodhisattva accumulates merit and wisdom for three countless aeons, thus attaining the greater fruit of Buddhahood. For Vaibhasika and Sautrantika, a person treading the path of Buddhahood is very rare.

Both Hinyana tenet systems present three vehicles which they say are capable of bearing practitioners to their desired fruit. Both present an emptiness that must be understood in order to reach the goal, and both systems this emptiness is the non-substantialiy of persons. They prove that a person is not a self-sufficient entity and does not substantially exist as the controller of mind and body, like a lord over it's subjects. Through realizing and becoming accustomed to this insubstantiality, the afflictions and thereby, all sufferings are said to be destroyed. According to the Hinyana tenet systems the path of wisdom is the same for Hinyanists--Hearers and Solitary Realizers--and for Bodhisattvas. The length of time that practitioners spend amassing meritorious power constitutes the essential difference between the vechiles.

Hearers and Solitary realizers all eventually proceed to the Bodhisattva path. After sometimes spending aeons in solitary trance, they are aroused by Buddhas who make them aware that they have not fulfilled even their own welfare, not to mention the welfare of others. Thus, though there are three vehicles, there is only one final vehicle.

As i said in a previous posting regarding the differences in Buddhist philosophy, the best way to get an understand of the different schools is by understanding their view of emptiness

each school asserts a certain view of selflessness and proceeds from Hinyanaist schools Vaibhasika and Sautrantika to Mahayanist schools Chittamatra, Svatantrika and finally, Pransangika.

Selflessness is divided into two types: of persons and of phenomena. The selfless of persons is also divided into two: coarse and subtle. Vaibhasika and Sautrantika do not assert a selflessness of phenomena because, for them, phenomena truly exist and are other entities from a perceiving consciousness.

With regard to the personal selflessness, all systems present a subtle and coarse view. According to the non-Pransangika systems the coarse is the emptiness of a permanent, partless, independent person. The misconception of such a self is only artificial, not innate -- it is based on the assumption of a non-Buddhist system. In other words, we do not naturally misconceive the person to have the three qualities of permanence, partlessness and independence.

perhaps, this will help show the matter in another way:


Vaibhasika and Sautrantika:

selflessness asserted: selflessness of persons. coarse: lack of being a permanent, partless, independent self. subtle: lack of being a self-sufficient person.

Chittamatra:

selflessness asserted: selflessness of persons. coarse: lack of being a permanent, partless, independent self. subtle: lack of being a self-sufficient person.

selflessness of phenomena: subtle: lack of a difference in entity between subject and object and lack of naturally being a base of a name.

Madhyamika (Savtantrika and Prasangika):

Savtantrika:
selflessness asserted: selflessness of persons. coarse: lack of being a permanent, partless, independent self. subtle: lack of being a self-sufficient person.

selflessness of phenomena: coarse: lack of a difference in entity between subject and object (though this is properly Yogachara)
subtle: lack of being an entity not posited through appearing to a non-defective consciousness.

Prasangika:
selflessness of persons. coarse: lack of being a permanent self-sufficient entity. subtle: lack of inherent existence of persons

selflessness of phenomena: subtle: lack of inherent existence of phenomena other than persons
 
yogachara

"This is a philosophical tenet of the Yogacara school in which external reality is negated, that is, the atomically structured external world is negated. Because the proponents of the Yogacara philosophical system assert that things cannot exist other than as projections of one's own mind, they also maintain that there is no atomically structured external physical reality independent of mind. By analyzing along these lines, Yogacara proponents conclude that there is no atomicly structured external reality.

This conclusion is reached because of not having understood the most subtle level of emptiness as expounded by the Prasangikas. In fact, Yogacarins assert that things have no inherent existence, and that if you analyze something and do not find any essence, then it does not exist at all.

Prasangikas, on the other hand, when confronted with this un-findability of the essence of the object, conclude that this is an indication that objects do not exist inherently, not that they do not exist at all. This is where the difference lies between the two schools."

did you say that something i once said was yogacharic? i dont even remember what it was i wrote but from what i can gather by reading your posts i dont agree to the pov of the yogachara philosophy..

amitabha
 
Despite the fact that I nodded off while reading this thread, it is interesting. I have a question, though. Another thread on this website discusses 'Spiritual Fascism.' In the following quote, the Dali Lama seems to be advocating one school of Buddhism over another. Although he does not come out and say that the Yogacara school is inferior to the Prasangika school, the reader could infer that. Is the Dali Lama practicing spiritual fascism?

Vajradhara said:
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso Rinpoche in The World of Tibetan Buddhism: An Overview of Its Philosophy and Practice. Boston: Wisdom Pub., 1995. (49-54):

"According to the explanation of the highest Buddhist philosophical school, Madhyamaka-Prasangika, external phenomena are not mere projections or creations of the mind. External phenomena have a distinct nature, which is different from the mind.

...

Except for the Prasangika school, all the other Buddhist schools of thought identify the existence of phenomena within the basis of designation; therefore, they maintain that there is some kind of objective existence.

Since the lower schools of Buddhist thought all accept that things exist inherently, they assert some kind of objective existence, maintaining that things exist in their own right and from their own side. This is because they identify phenomena within the basis of designation.

For the Prasangikas, if anything exists objectively and is identified within the basis of designation, then that is, in fact, equivalent to saying that it exists autonomously, that it has an independent nature and exists in its own right.

...Yogacara proponents conclude that there is no atomicly structured external reality.

This conclusion is reached because of not having understood the most subtle level of emptiness as expounded by the Prasangikas. In fact, Yogacarins assert that things have no inherent existence, and that if you analyze something and do not find any essence, then it does not exist at all.

Prasangikas, on the other hand, when confronted with this un-findability of the essence of the object, conclude that this is an indication that objects do not exist inherently, not that they do not exist at all. This is where the difference lies between the two schools."

I suppose I am just agitating, but I wanted to ask anyway.
:D
 
Namaste pathless,

thanks for the post.

eh... the Abidharma is often quite dry... hey.. it could have been worse :)

whilst i certainly cannot speak for anybody other than myself... i would offer this...

from the viewpoint of the Prasangkia school, the other schools are viewed as valid refuges capable of carrying one to the other shore. whether or not they are the final refuges is a rather academic discussion in some very baroque areas of Buddhist philosophy and is probably not of much value here.

another thing to bear in mind... is that, in the Buddhist view, there are multiple life times.. and this has particular bearing upon these issues since, keeping this perspective in mind, it is said that one initially practices at the Hinyana level and when one is a Foe Destroyer, the practice naturally moves into the Bodhisattva vehicle... which may take many, many rebirths.

overall... these things aren't all that important to the practice.. which is why they are in the Abidharma rather than the Sutras.
 
hi all.
i have seen a lot of buddhist philosophy posting and some of them are a good wisdom and some of them will still not acceptable to other religion
and the question is why? before we start answering first of all ask
ourself do we really understand well our religion and also do we really
practice what have been taught or just a kind of gathering information.

wisdom preacher
 
I found it Vaj!

Seems I've been here before...oh yeah, I remember now. :) A bit more seriously, I reread the descriptions, but I ask you to forgive me if I have lost track of specific attributes to particular schools. It is an overwhelming amount of unfamiliar information to take in at once (actually, twice).

I suppose what would apply to our earlier discusson about psychological inclinations and "hard-wiring", would be the attitude towards the appearance of reality in conjunction with the "selflessness" of the individual. Is this correct? And could you possibly elaborate, in layman's terms, on "selflessness?" And how might this relate to memes, or the lack thereof, (or self-canceling memes)?
This sounds like enough to ask for the moment. Gotta go take a final exam, so this has to be kept short for now. Thank you most sincerely for your good-nature and hospitality.
 
juantoo3 said:
I found it Vaj!

Seems I've been here before...oh yeah, I remember now. :) A bit more seriously, I reread the descriptions, but I ask you to forgive me if I have lost track of specific attributes to particular schools. It is an overwhelming amount of unfamiliar information to take in at once (actually, twice).

I suppose what would apply to our earlier discusson about psychological inclinations and "hard-wiring", would be the attitude towards the appearance of reality in conjunction with the "selflessness" of the individual. Is this correct? And could you possibly elaborate, in layman's terms, on "selflessness?" And how might this relate to memes, or the lack thereof, (or self-canceling memes)?
This sounds like enough to ask for the moment. Gotta go take a final exam, so this has to be kept short for now. Thank you most sincerely for your good-nature and hospitality.
Namaste Juan,

thank you for the post.

do you perfer to be called Juan or juantoo?

do not worry overly much about remembering which concepts go with which school and which terms mean what :) far better, in my opinion, to grasp the information than to remember the correct names for things. of course... if one can do both.. well, that's another ball of yarn :)

yes, i think that's a fair statement. selflessness is the analog of the term "emptiness" when we use it, emptiness, in the sense of refering to people, we tend to say "selflessness" as that is something that people conceive of. however, selfless also refers to phenomena as well.

if you don't mind, i've elaborated on selflessness to some degree already, as such, i should like to cut and paste some relevant bits. i'll elaborate on, in my opinion, how it could apply to our conversation after i explain how i understand this concept (my fellow buddhists are laughing at me now :))

in any event, i think that these subjects deserve a thread of their own and i shall start one on them if it does not exist already. then, i'll come back to this thread and link to them for easy reference.

to address the question to some degree... i would say that, rather than the concept of shunyata (emptiness or selflessness), it would be our teaching of Karma and what it is and means that would lead me to the view that our psycho-phisologlical responses are not "hard wired" into our system.

as an aside, i'm a big fan of William Gibson and his novels. they are sci-fi in genre but a great read nonetheless. are you familiar? if not, may i suggest that in some week when you have a little time you read Mona Lisa Overdrive. the term "hard wired" is used in his work ;)

Karma, though inexorable for nearly all beings, is not unchangable, unmutable. though it can be fairly said that karma is basically understood to mean "you reap what you sow" this is only one level of the Buddhist understanding of Karma. in fact, if Karma were not able to be changed there would be no hope of liberation. the Buddha specifically refutes this mistaken conception of Karma.
 
Vajradhara said:
do you perfer to be called Juan or juantoo?
Anything polite will do.

do not worry overly much about remembering which concepts go with which school and which terms mean what :) far better, in my opinion, to grasp the information than to remember the correct names for things.
I'm trying to grasp the concepts. I reserve the right to respectfully disagree, but I am trying my darndest to understand.

if you don't mind, i've elaborated on selflessness to some degree already, as such, i should like to cut and paste some relevant bits. i'll elaborate on, in my opinion, how it could apply to our conversation after i explain how i understand this concept
I look forward to this, as I am without a clue. I suppose this has to do with naming the unnamed, yet how can I follow if I cannot see the path and have no guide?

(my fellow buddhists are laughing at me now :))
And I am certain it is some good-natured humor at my expense. That's OK, I can be a good sport.
I am reminded of a cartoon recently. A little boy was sitting in a restaurant with his mother, and he asked why there was a lemon slice in his water. His mother told him it was to make the experience more enjoyable. He took the lemon out and bit into it, and then made all sorts of funny faces, which had his mother and all the people around him laughing. To which he replied, "just whose experience is being made more enjoyable!?"

in any event, i think that these subjects deserve a thread of their own and i shall start one on them if it does not exist already. then, i'll come back to this thread and link to them for easy reference.
That is fine, if you sincerely feel the need.

to address the question to some degree... i would say that, rather than the concept of shunyata (emptiness or selflessness), it would be our teaching of Karma and what it is and means that would lead me to the view that our psycho-phisologlical responses are not "hard wired" into our system.
I touched on this a little on the other thread. I am not sure that "hard-wired" means "inevitable", or at any rate, perhaps hard-wired is not a fully appropriate term. The constructs inside the mind develop a predisposition and inclination. The resultant outcomes and actions are initiated by these inclinations, but one can "cease and desist" so to speak. Have you ever caught yourself in an action as you thought better of it? It is actually part of the learning process, I would guess, provided we are still receptive to learning in that particular inclination-action. If we are "set in our ways" and comfortable in our inclination-action, then we are swayed without our realizing it. As long as there is "healthy" doubt, there is room for resistance. Cynicism creates its own vortex.

as an aside, i'm a big fan of William Gibson and his novels. they are sci-fi in genre but a great read nonetheless. are you familiar? if not, may i suggest that in some week when you have a little time you read Mona Lisa Overdrive. the term "hard wired" is used in his work ;)
No, I haven't read his work (nor frankly have I heard his name). I will keep an eye out for this.
Are you at all familiar with Richard Bach? The two books of his I very much enjoyed are "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" and "Illusions, the adventures of a reluctant messiah." I have often heard these two works expounded Buddhist principles, but I have not had anyone to explain this deeper for me. A couple of others I have read are the "Tao of Pooh" and the "Te of Piglet." Interesting, but again unfamiliar.

Karma, though inexorable for nearly all beings, is not unchangable, unmutable. though it can be fairly said that karma is basically understood to mean "you reap what you sow" this is only one level of the Buddhist understanding of Karma. in fact, if Karma were not able to be changed there would be no hope of liberation. the Buddha specifically refutes this mistaken conception of Karma.
I think this is equivalent to repentence and forgiveness in the Christian tradition. I'm not certain of the practical application in the Buddhist tradition, but in a properly functioning Christian tradition, it should rightly be extended beyond self into one's actions towards others, including strangers and enemies (within certain parameters of self-protection). This is called "tolerance." This is proper in the spirit of adoption, in which the wild grape is grafted into the vine. However, if the grafted (or any) vine bears improper fruit, it is removed. Humans do not tend this vine; the IS, God, tends the vine, and the choice of graft or pruning is "His." This I would think to be in accord with whether or not one chooses to remain in the flow of the Tao, or to resist the current and attempt another way until they are exhausted and perish.

I do have one question concerning the flow of the Tao. Is it permissable to ride a surfboard and chart my path along the current, instead of leaving to chance the possibility of being dashed on the rocks at the rapids?

Whoa, headrush! Now I know where the guy got the idea for the Silver Surfer! Gnarly, dude!
 
Namaste juan,


thank you for the post.

i'll try to post that material either today or tomorrow. it's a bit lengthy.. especially the bit about Karma as this doctrine does play a pretty big role in our tradition and is widely misunderstood. the bit on Shunyata is not quite as long or in depth... but it should suffice.

no worries.. you don't have to agree with any of the conceptions that we use :) that's quite alright. it would, however, be helpful to know some of the basics of our views to discourse on them.

as an aside.. in response to your other thread (oh... goodness.. that could get complicated) i would hazard to say that i've spent more time in a Chrisitan Seminary than you have at a Buddhist Monastary :) you should not feel bad that you do not know much about my tradition yet, i do not mind explaning when i can.

often i use the term "hard wired" when i'm trying to imply that something is a repeatable, predictable occurance. we could say, for instance, that it is "hard wired" into the system for a human to experience a "fight or flight" response when presented with aggression. i would tend to argue that this isn't the case since there are other options which are available to humans that have developed their mental abilities to some degree.

it's not a very good word and i'm sure that there is something more appropos however, a nod to my sci-fi days is in order sometimes :)

hmm... those books sound familiar. were they written in the 80's or early 90's? if so, i may have read them.. i was a proflic reader of fiction. if it was written afterwards, i probably haven't read it since i've all but stopped reading fiction in all of it's genres. heck, i think i could probably say that i've not read anything other than a science book or a religious text in nearly 10 years.

i have both Tao of Pooh and Te of Piglet. in my opinion the Te of Piglet is a better book than the Tao of Pooh. the problem with both of these books, in my opinion, is that the author presumes a certain knowledge in the reader and doesn't do a good job in presenting this clearly so it sort of confuses the issue. though i do see how those books would be interesting in a passing way.

we're ranging a bit when we get into discussion of the Tao, however, to address the query..

instead of on a surfboard... use this imagery and it may be more useful.. you are a cork floating in the river (Tao). you bob up and down and flow with it's currents. there isn't really a course to chart nor rocks to avoid, as even those rocks are part of the river itself. it is difficult to talk of the Tao.. as the Tao Te Ching says in the first stanza : The Name that can be Named is not the Eternal Name. we are forced to realize that our words are just descriptions and are not the reality that they are purporting to describe, despite how we may feel about the whole thing.

it's time to leave work for today so i'll have to conclude here.

as an aside... i am really enjoying our conversation thus far :)
 
Philosophy according to Buddhists

Dear Vaj:

I am myself honestly at a loss what precisely is philosophy as understood by Western philosophers from the Greek thinkers to the present writers in Western languages on matters assigned in the library to the section called philosophy.

Nonetheless, I seem to know to some extent what Western writers mean by the discipline when they write philosophy, or I can determine when a writing is philosophical and when not.

About Buddhist philosophers of the East from where the religious-philosophical system of Buddhism originated, do you know of any consensus these thinkers/writers have arrived at on the meaning of philosophy for them?

I will be most appreciative for any definitions from them or from their followers in the West, namely, on the Buddhist idea of what philosophy is.

Susma Rio Sep
 
Namaste su,


i've been thinking about this post this afternoon... and after reading is many times... i still have no idea what you are asking of me.

are you wanting for me to provide you a definition of "philosophy"?
 
Kindest Regards, Vajradhara!
Vajradhara said:
especially the bit about Karma as this doctrine does play a pretty big role in our tradition and is widely misunderstood.
I look forward to reading it. Most of what I have heard comes from New Age...um...flakes.

no worries.. you don't have to agree with any of the conceptions that we use :) that's quite alright. it would, however, be helpful to know some of the basics of our views to discourse on them.
Thank you. I do like to understand where another is coming from. Even if I disagree with a total philosophy, I often find gems of wisdom hidden within.

as an aside.. in response to your other thread (oh... goodness.. that could get complicated) i would hazard to say that i've spent more time in a Chrisitan Seminary than you have at a Buddhist Monastary :) you should not feel bad that you do not know much about my tradition yet, i do not mind explaning when i can.
Thanks.

often i use the term "hard wired" when i'm trying to imply that something is a repeatable, predictable occurance. we could say, for instance, that it is "hard wired" into the system for a human to experience a "fight or flight" response when presented with aggression. i would tend to argue that this isn't the case since there are other options which are available to humans that have developed their mental abilities to some degree.
Correct. But "hard-wired" is something of a misnomer in that repeatable and predictable occurances can be changed, often by a moment of awareness on the part of the individual. Habitual behaviors can be undone by a number of means, not the least hypnosis. (Some) Advertising uses subliminal suggestion, not unlike hypnosis. But hypnosis will not work on someone who is; aware it is going on and resists, has no interest anyway, or has a mental block that resists hypnosis "naturally." Not everyone can be hypnotised.

it's not a very good word and i'm sure that there is something more appropos however, a nod to my sci-fi days is in order sometimes :)
I agree, for some of the reasons just mentioned and more.

hmm... those books sound familiar. were they written in the 80's or early 90's? if so, i may have read them.. i was a proflic reader of fiction. if it was written afterwards, i probably haven't read it since i've all but stopped reading fiction in all of it's genres. heck, i think i could probably say that i've not read anything other than a science book or a religious text in nearly 10 years.
JLS and Illusions both came from the '70's. JLS was actually made into a movie that Richard Bach regretted allowing to be made. I agree about texts, I very seldom read "novels" anymore, the last being a reread of "My Side of the Mountain" for a Lit class, the previous some years ago being "Hanta Yo", a story of a couple of generations of Native Americans during the transition from nomadic life to the reservation.

we're ranging a bit when we get into discussion of the Tao, however, to address the query..
I accept that the Tao and Buddhism are distinct, yet if I understand correctly, in many places in Asia the two merge. What I have seen of the Tao makes a great deal of sense to me.

instead of on a surfboard... use this imagery and it may be more useful.. you are a cork floating in the river (Tao). you bob up and down and flow with it's currents. there isn't really a course to chart nor rocks to avoid, as even those rocks are part of the river itself.
Actually, I had heard the cork analogy before, and I have always been uncomforatable with it. I appreciate passivity, but not total passivity. I have watched those who advocated the cork principle stand by helplessly doing nothing when something drastic was happening in their lives, instead of doing something about it. Better, in my mind, to do something wrong than to do nothing at all.

it is difficult to talk of the Tao.. as the Tao Te Ching says in the first stanza : The Name that can be Named is not the Eternal Name. we are forced to realize that our words are just descriptions and are not the reality that they are purporting to describe, despite how we may feel about the whole thing.
I appreciate that. I suspect that is where word imagery comes into play, parables and such. Meditation and contemplation on such thoughts surely also plays a part in furthering understanding. I have been contemplating further on the surfer analogy, and it makes more and more sense to me. If the flow of the Tao were linear, the cork might be sufficient. Surely with the "organic patterns" that influence the flow (supported by Einstein's influences of gravity on the particle/wave principles and the Hindu "Dance of Shiva" of Capra), the flow is not linear. Hence, my position of "riding the wave" as it were, steering my course through it, rather than leaving my life and fate solely to chance and circumstance. Besides, it's more fun! "Captain of my soul and Master of my destiny."

as an aside... i am really enjoying our conversation thus far :)
As am I. Thank you very much for engaging me in this discussion. ;)
 
Kindest Regards, Vajradhara!

Forgive my impatience, please, but a question occured to me while looking at your response to another thread. Since the subject was broached to me as well, I would like to ask (tongue in cheek but with a degree of sincerity) that considering the difference between reincarnation and rebirth, since you ascribe to rebirth, does that make you a "born again" Buddhist? :)
 
juantoo3 said:
Kindest Regards, Vajradhara!

Forgive my impatience, please, but a question occured to me while looking at your response to another thread. Since the subject was broached to me as well, I would like to ask (tongue in cheek but with a degree of sincerity) that considering the difference between reincarnation and rebirth, since you ascribe to rebirth, does that make you a "born again" Buddhist? :)
Namaste Juan,

that's pretty darn funny :)

not entirely inaccurate but funny nonetheless :)
 
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