I always read Kyle Dixon's postings as they are very insightful.
level 1

what are the buddhist arguments against 'necassery' unconditioned reality?

Buddhadharma is nominalistic in nature, which means we consider ultimate truth to be that phenomena ultimately lack an essence. That epistemic insight into the nature of phenomena does not require another ultimate reality, it only requires this apparent reality, either accurately or inaccurately known.

and is Jnana unconditioned reality?

Jñāna is a gnosis or consciousness that accurately knows the nature of phenomena. Jñāna is considered unconditioned in Buddhist teachings, for example the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras state:

The original nature of the mind [ādyacitta or citta dharmatā] is luminosity [prabhāsvara].

The Mahāyāna-mahāparinirvāṇa sūtra states very simply:

Luminosity [prabhāsvara] is gnosis [jñāna].

In Bhavyakīrti's commentary on Aryādeva's Clear Lamp he states:

”Freedom from arising and ceasing" is luminosity [prabhāsvara], because it is unconditioned.

Here we see that luminosity (prabhāsvara) and jñāna synonyms which are terms for the nature of mind.

Jñāna is not an unconditioned reality, but it is a gnosis that is itself unconditioned and knows the unconditioned nature of phenomena, emptiness free from extremes.

I heard there is a Dzogchen creation story based on some literal interpretations based on the text,

This so-called Dzogchen “creation story” is just an explanation regarding the causes of the mind falling into delusion. The process that is described in that “story” did not happen eons ago, it is constantly happening in every moment. Dzogchen teachings provide the means to reverse that afflicted dependent origination that occurs as a result of that described error. In addition, this explanation does not violate infinite regress.

and what are the basic and strongest mahayana/vajrayana arguments against a creator God?

Vasubandhu’s critiques are good. These teachings are based on the mind becoming influenced by affliction and the means to purify the mind, along with the implications that follow both of those “states.”


Blocking people is certainly antithetical to certain systems of buddhadharma.

10 points · 3 days ago

There is collective karma in the sense that if you go to war and condone the killing of enemies, even if you do not kill anyone yourself, by virtue of your participation in war and supporting killing you will incur a karmic debt.

In Tibetan Buddhism there are sort of generational family curses called ye sri, but it is not related to karma and rather is what Tibetans call a gdon or “don.”

7 points · 3 days ago

For the record the Buddha never says there is no self. When asked point blank if there is a self he actually would not even answer.

This is actually a misconception that is spread around the Internet.

3 points · 21 hours ago

It is best not to condition children. Let them flourish with their own interests, and form their own healthy and balanced identity, which is crucial for a “successful” samsaric life. If they express interest in dharma then by all means nurture that interest. If not, nurture their other interests.

Some beings will have the karma for buddhadharma, most will not, the idea as dharma practitioners that our children will somehow be fall into that section of people with karmic inclinations for buddhadharma is probably wishful thinking. Temper your expectations there.

Just aim to raise a happy child and do everything in your power to not add to their afflictions.

5 points · 1 day ago

In Buddhist teachings consciousness is not in the brain, the brain only helps to coordinate the sensory faculties.

krodha commented on
Posted by
Early Buddhism / Sanskrit Commentary
9 points · 2 days ago

To be frank, for a while I’ve been getting a strange, almost cultish vibe from his online followers.

They definitely are a bit too enthusiastic at times.

1 point · 2 days ago

not working from any representational tradition).

This only comes from one specific subsection of one specific tradition. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it does mean you are working from a single representational tradition.

3 points · 3 days ago

Historical vipassana and the vipassana movement are arguably two different definitions of vipassana. The former is an ārya’s clear seeing or insight into the nature of phenomena, and the latter is sort of an iteration of śamatha which uses analysis to various degrees.

krodha commented on
Posted by
8 points · 5 days ago

Living in Samsara sucks

This insight is really what lies at the heart of one’s refuge in the triple gem. Which is to say it is great insight to have.

4 points · 5 days ago

But hey, see you at the bar.

Honestly apart from dipping a finger in wine at tsok so I can have a drop, I’ve never drank alcohol in my life.

13 points · 5 days ago

Alcohol is consumed in many Tibetan Buddhist pūjas. Vajrayāna is not as strict as the śravākayāna. There are many śravākayāna adherents in this subreddit, they will say “it’s never skillful,” but whether or that applies to you depends on the system you practice.

11 points · 5 days ago

No alcohol ever.

There is a fair amount of alcohol at tsok for we who practice Tibetan Buddhism.

No alcohol ever is a śravāka thing.


Which canon? There’s three of them.

8 points · 10 hours ago · edited 9 hours ago

The Buddha is the dharmakāya, the nature of your own mind. The Buddha is idolized and venerated because the three jewels, Buddha, dharma and sangha are the means by which you personally can actualize buddhahood and realize the true meaning of what it means to be a Buddha yourself.

The the prajñāpāramitā exegesis, the Buddha himself states that he is not to be actually idolized as name and form, he says the Buddha is not the rūpakāya, not the personage, not the historical character, the Buddha is the dharmakāya, and the dharmakāya is the nature of your own mind.

How do you actualize the citadel of the dharmakāya? By exhausting the two obscurations. How is that accomplished? By realizing the luminosity of mind and phenomena via the experiential realization of selflessness [anatta].

The Ārya-aṣṭasāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā Sūtra states:

Those who are attached to the tathāgata as a form or a name are childish and have corrupted discerning wisdom [prajñā], the tathāgatas are not to be seen as the rūpakāya; the tathāgatās are to be seen as the dharmakāya.

6 points · 16 hours ago

What is Tibetan Buddhism's views on Amitabah and Pure Land scriptures?

Tibetan traditions have so-called “pure land” teachings as well. Although the root term kṣetras or zhing kham is better translated as “buddhafield” because there are both pure and impure buddhafields. Amitabha or Amitayus is included in many Tibetan teachings.

2 points · 1 day ago

I've noticed that, now that I've started meditating again, I'll have instances where I have a very vivid thought about an old friend I haven't seen or thought about in YEARS, then suddenly, I'll see that same exact person in the same day...one time it happened in a matter of 5 minutes. And This ONLY happens when I'm consistent with dhyana. Any other time, it doesnt happen when I'm in the discursive state. Similar instances happen with other kinds of things.

These synchronicities tend to occur when you are practicing diligently and correctly. I won’t pretend to know why, but happens to me as well.

10 points · 2 days ago

I have not stumbled on any ideas of why the cycle exists, or for what purpose it exists at all.

Sravakayana and Mahayana do not really explain where samsara comes from, only that it has no first cause. In Vajrayana there are explanations regarding how samsara arises, because there are some practices that revolve around reversing that process, and therefore the onset of the process is explained.

2 points · 2 days ago

I probably eat between 20 and 30 eggs a week. Also scrambled eggs in a tortilla with a little cheese... highly recommend.

5 points · 3 days ago

But if one is hell-bent on escaping Samsara, is non-participation i.e. avoiding accumulating karma either positive or negative, the only way?

The prajñā of awakened equipoise burns away negative karma. If you are able to access that equipoise, the more you dwell in it, the more karmic obscurations will be removed.

If you are unable to access awakened equipoise like most people, then you will have to opt for purification practices, confession practices and guarding your conduct.

2 points · 5 days ago

After the Buddha taught the five skandhas are "not-self", "self" still exists but conventionally (i.e., the existence of "self" is conventional truth). But ultimately (i.e. in ultimate truth) after fivefold analysis we cannot identify what is "self". So "no-self" is ultimate truth. Do I currently understand correctly?

Yes that is accurate. There are some other minor nuances, but that is the general accurate understanding.

3 points · 5 days ago

These are technical nuances, but in the end the gist of these teachings does concern purifying consciousness of the afflictions of self and so on, so while the self isn't awareness, I'm not saying your assessment is completely mistaken. It would just need some fine tuning in order to understand in a buddhist context.

In any case, we all have lots to learn, including me, and you're well on your way.

3 points · 5 days ago

the self is pure awareness.

Awareness is just a skandha in Buddhism, the self is an imputation.

1 point · 5 days ago · edited 5 days ago

Buddha ultimately decided not to answer the question or whether or not there is a self.

This is wrong. The Buddha was explicitly clear there is no self to be found in any dharma. His repeated statement sabbe dhamma anatta is a very exact phrase with no nuance in meaning. No dharmas, conditioned or unconditioned, contain, possess or create a self.

It's a common misconception that Buddha said something like "there is no self." What he said are things like the mind and the material world are not the self.

He said the five skandhas do not contain nor produce a self. There is no other basis for a self apart from the skandhas, āyatanas and dhātus. This is very clear.

1 point · 5 days ago

Now, my first question is, how would your mind know which body to inhibit based on your karma (is it somewhat omniscient, because how would it know to inhibit a body that will experience x, y and z because you did 1, 2 and 3 in your previous lives or life)?

It is said the intermediate state being is directed towards their next destination automatically based on the ripening of their karma.

Is the mind some form of energy?

The mind is not an energy, but the mind “rides” a type of energy called vāyu while both embodied and disembodied.

Is it related to consciousness (or different)?

Mind [citta] and consciousness [vijñāna] are essentially synonymous.

What path does the mind take upon death?

The mind goes through an intermediate state. Vijñāna paired with the mahāpranavāyu is sustained in a subtle body.

5 points · 6 days ago

I also came into Buddhism as an atheist - and still am, in the sense that I don't believe in the Biblical God or any other all-powerful creator being. Many Buddhists are.

We all are. One cannot be a legitimate practitioner of buddhadharma if they believe in a higher power.

3 points · 6 days ago

The point is that Thanissaro’s aphophatic interpretation of anatta is completely novel.

7 points · 7 days ago

"Not self" as a gloss is not the issue, you can translate anatta as "not self" that is no problem. It is the assertion that somehow there is a disparity between the meaning of "not self" and "no self" that becomes an issue.

There is only one meaning of anatta. The claimed distinction between the translations of "not self" and "no self" is false.

9 points · 13 days ago

The svabhāva is like the core entity which possesses characteristics. Like a telephone pole possesses the characteristic of being tall, cylindrical, made of wood, brown in color and so on. Perceiving svabhāva is perceiving the telephone pole to be an entity, something that owns these characteristics.

Realizing emptiness is the experiential recognition that there is no entity that possesses these characteristics, there is only the characteristics, and without the entity at the core, those characteristics cease to be characteristics. There is no entity there, no object which sits at a distance or in a location.

Emptiness is indeed the non-existence of svabhāva, but it is not a true non-existence like that mentioned as the second position in the catuskoti tetralemma. It is the realization that there has never at any point been an entity from the very beginning.

Is it non-existence? Sort of, as there is no existent entity to be found, and the entity was always a fallacy. But how can something that never arose in the first place actually lack existence? This is how the freedom from extremes is established.

Crossposted by
2 points · 14 days ago

Kill the Buddha just means don’t even cling to the Buddha. In an esoteric sense could mean don’t cling to awakened equipoise.

7 points · 15 days ago

True but also if you practice enough you can get to a point where the “brightness” of your consciousness increases and for some reason will nourish the eyes in a way so that you can comfortably keep your eyes open for extended periods of time without having to blink, and no dryness occurs.

krodha commented on
Posted by
theravāda/early buddhsim
3 points · 15 days ago

That is a personal issue because it pertains to the mother's own body, and her own life circumstances.

3 points · 15 days ago

I am more curious of experiences from your own meditation practice. If you have realized/ experienced/ glimpsed/ been/ erased all others and left with Atman and Anatta, do you see it as same truth or different tools/ ground of being that work at different stages.

Modern yogins who have actualized both realizations, invariably state that the realization of anatman is a refinement of the oceanic brahman type states that characterize Hindu and Trika systems.

krodha commented on
Posted by
theravāda/early buddhsim
3 points · 15 days ago

though the being inside the womb is no less of a being

No less of a being, but, you have the owner of the womb to take into consideration.

2 points · 15 days ago

The Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra states:

When one who is aware of the correct teachings has judgmental thoughts, the mara of permanence does not make them an obstacle. Finding the differences and refuting the assertions of others is a characteristic of full maturity that cannot be taken away.


The Commentary on the 14 Root Downfalls states:

If, with the intention of identifying and teaching higher and lower views, other precepts are deprecated, this is not transgression, but greatly increases merit.

krodha commented on
Posted by
theravāda/early buddhsim
0 points · 15 days ago

for some reason you are holding the killing of human life in the womb as different as killing of human life outside the womb. at some point there is no difference.

The man murdered on the street is not occupying the womb of another human being.

3 points · 15 days ago · edited 15 days ago

If multiple people have blocked you or are declining to respond to your posts

Monkey_sage blocked me, the only person who has blocked me in 7 years on reddit to my knowledge, they seem to be a very sensitive person and I'm not too worried about it.

or are declining to respond to your posts

Only u/En_Lighten was opting for that today, for what reason I'm not sure. He is usually quite verbose in his contributions to this subreddit.

you must have some inkling that how you communicate here is not appropriate.

My manner of communication is completely acceptable and I've never had any issues whatsoever with moderation etc..

The Dhamma is not something to be argued about

The dharma is debated quite often, as such activities sharpen the prajna of reflection. Debate and discussion are actually used as methods in monastic settings to help refine and clarify the view. It is a totally normal and acceptable activity. Encouraged in fact.

it is not a game in which one proves oneself more knowledgeable than another.

It is in monastic settings. Not a game, but a methodology. Clarifying right view is a cornerstone of these teachings, refuting wrong views is a cornerstone of these teachings. You are in the wrong place if you think otherwise.

There is a severe karma for acting in this way.

Debating doctrine is not classified as akusala.

One who has advanced in the Dhamma, and who has progressed, will have that teaching in the heart, softening them, purifying them, making their words pleasant to the hearing.

Not always. There have been plenty of wrathful type siddhas who were quite rough around the edges.

It is understandable if you are a beginner in the practice


We are creating karma by the way we speak on this forum, and that karma is even weightier when we speak about Dhamma.

I have not violated any of my own samaya, and I don't really appreciate the assertion that I have.

My best wishes to you. May you have peace. May you be well.

Thanks but your concern is unnecessary.

krodha commented on
Posted by
theravāda/early buddhsim

it may be more complex, however laws should exist for the same reason that murder related laws should exist.

Laws banning abortion should exist?

the being here did not exist prior to the actions of the person. few people suggest there should be law to limit intervention at every point. just as there are few people that suggest there should be no intervention at any point. the question in the US is. a. what level of government should this be handled b. at what point does the state have a compelling interest to protect life.

I agree that some sort of legislature banning late term abortion is probably wise, but laws banning all abortion is definitely problematic. And moreover the important point is that as buddhists, even though we find abortion to be unskillful, we should not impose our views on other people in that regard.

I am anti-abortion, but pro-choice, and am against the pro-life movement.

the end of row v wade does not suddenly end abortion

Sure, but it allows predominantly right-wing conservative states to make laws at the state level banning abortion.

so we as buddhists if active in the political process, if we vote, if we take an action to what should guide that action. how should we as buddhists participate if we do at all.

I don't think we should be attempting to condition others when it comes to abortion. It is a personal matter, and should be allowed to be at the mother's discretion.

it seems clear that there is little basis for anything other than advocating for life. all beings are worthy of love and compassion, and unless there is a real direct conflict where the birth would result in death, that we should do what we can to support birth

Yes, again, you can be anti-abortion, but do not need to establish laws to prevent others from making choices they feel are appropriate.

The pro-life movement is about Christian ideological supremacy, these unborn fetuses are just leverage in their agenda.


I cannot respond to your comments in the monkey_sage thread because s/he has me blocked, but Longchenpa was not fencewalking to the degree you seem to insinuate.

Longchenpa is using "self" figuratively, like Bhavya uses it. Longchenpa is not advocating that tathagatagarbha is anything that remotely resembles a self.

Longchenpa actually states, regarding tathagatagarbha:

[Tathagatagarbha] bears no similarity to the self of the Hindu heretics [tirthikas] because these people in their ignorance speak of a "self" that does not actually exist.

2 points · 16 days ago · edited 16 days ago

Now I find myself being able to take on this view better because so far it is verifiable with my meditation experiences. But then I learn about Mahayana and Buddha nature sounds suddenly a bit like Atman.

Buddha nature or tathagatagarbha is sort of a palliative principle for people to approach the idea of emptiness, if the idea of emptiness makes them uncomfortable. Tathagatagarbha is the luminosity, or purity of our consciousness. Why is the dharmata of consciousness luminous or pure? Precisely because it is empty, unconditioned and lacks a self.

Thus tathagatagarbha is this dharmata, or nature of mind that is concealed by obscurations, that you are intended to discover through your buddhist practice. When you have a complete knowledge of tathagatagarbha, totally divorced from concealing obscurations, then that is what is called "dharmakaya."

And according to the suttas the Buddha when asked directly if there is a self or not. He didn’t give a straight answer only saying that this is not a skillful question.

Only in one instance to one certain individual.

Might the no-self be only against ego or permanent soul and not contradictory to something non-dual as Atman?

Anatman completely negates any sort of atman.

There are thinkers that say Atman and anatta are two sides of the same coin and can be compatible.

They would be incorrect.

On the other hand there exists also the opinion that one is more advanced level of realization than the other. And from my experience because I encounter more Buddhists mostly saying that no-self is more advanced than Atman. And that achieving Atman and Brahman while blissful and is a step in the right direction is still not true liberation due to its conditionality and impermanent nature.

Indeed. Because the realization of an atman that is equivalent to brahman and so on, still does not remove the basis for the proliferation of identification.

5 points · 16 days ago

living in a society primarily composed of so-called “Judeo-Christian values” like the US is also supporting those same extremists.

Merely living in a society and instituting laws to control that society based on your religious interests are two completely different things.

10 points · 16 days ago

The problem is that they are unknowingly fortifying the agenda of Christian extremists.

They would do better by being against abortion, and helping to educate others about their views in a pro-choice setting.

Again as Buddhists we have absolutely no business conditioning or influencing others in this way.

12 points · 16 days ago

Being against abortion and being “pro-life” are two different things. The latter is an ideological religious campaign that attempts to conceal itself in the former.

15 points · 16 days ago

we as Buddhists believe in the sacred nature of life. while there are many circumstances that serve as exceptions

We also believe that each and every sentient being is supposed to govern their own conduct. That means that the causal consequences of our own actions, rooted in our own volition, are ours alone.

the rule for which there are exceptions is that all life is valuable and we should limit any knowing and willful destruction.

If you are a practitioner of the buddhadharma then it is your own responsibility to mitigate the destruction of life, in order to guard your own karma. It is not up to us to condition the actions of others.

we would be most skillful to protect life as a primary position.

Yes, for yourself. You should follow that in your own life. You have no business whatsoever telling others how to live their lives or how others should conduct themselves, it is none of your business.

29 points · 16 days ago · edited 16 days ago

“Pro-life” in the context of abortion law, whether you are aware of it or not, is an ideological religious movement that is rooted in Christian fundamentalism. It is a symptom of Christian colonialism and Christian imperialism and we should take every measure to oppose it. If we don’t, these Christians will continue to insidiously institute laws in order to establish their own form of what is equivalent to Sharia law.

4 points · 16 days ago

It is also stated that sentient beings are those that possess perception and consciousness.

Perception is a dormant skandha that is held within the consciousness skandha. The five skandhas are always complete at all times, and are only “dormant” in the case of a fetus because the sensory faculties are still forming. It is like being asleep, your skandhas are still complete while asleep even if perception and consciousness are not in active modes.

22 points · 16 days ago

The words you wrote already 100% align you with them.

No, they do not. I have no right to tell anyone else what to do with their bodies or their pregnancies.

9 points · 16 days ago

It’s a living being - though not sentient (in my opinion) until later in their gestation.

A “sentient being” in Buddhism is any being endowed with a mindstream and the skandhas. The mindstream and the skandhas, some in a dormant form, are all present at the moment of conception according to Buddhist teachings. For this reason “living being” and “sentient being” are synonymous, even if you are defining sentience itself as an activity that occurs later in gestation. The activity of sentience and the status as a sentient being are two different things and the former does not dictate the status of the latter.

64 points · 16 days ago · edited 16 days ago

It seems Buddhists generally have a negative view on abortion. From the moment of conception, it is considered killing, and therefore breaking the precept. Why is this?

According to buddhadharma, conception only occurs because the sperm, egg and consciousness of the intermediate state being are present together in favorable conditions. Consciousness is said to descend into the womb at that time and the mindstream of that being is then present, making the embryo a sentient being. If the pregnancy is terminated, then the consciousness is separated from the body of the fetus, and that is death, which means abortion qualifies as an act of taking life and has the associated karmic consequences for those involved.

Also, while this may be a negative view of abortion, we as Buddhists have zero business aligning with the Christofascist right-wing fundamentalist movement known as “pro-life.”

3 points · 17 days ago

That is along the same lines of his statement that Madhyamaka adherents do not make claims of non-existence, they instead merely refute claims for existing existents.

6 points · 17 days ago · edited 17 days ago

This is a matter of debate between Buddhist schools.

It is not a debate at all. The meaning of anātman is uniform throughout every Buddhist system.

Sunyata could be said to be the sub-stratum of reality, or in Yogacara, citta itself.

Śūnyatā is not defined the way you are describing in Yogācāra.

Some hold the view that there is no reality at all, such a view could be mistaken for annihilationism.

Annihilationism [uccedavāda] in buddhadharma is specifically the view or assertion that a previously existent entity has become non-existent. No one who properly understands śūnyatā or anātman would state such a thing.

8 points · 17 days ago

Because the point is not to renounce a belief in the Vedic concept of Jiva-Atma, but to see that all things are impersonal and transient, and to stop identifying with them.

Transience is still a characteristic of the same ignorance that conceives of a self. The point of anātman is to recognize that the self and allegedly transient phenomena have been unoriginated from the very beginning.

If we perceive transient phenomena then we are still conceiving of an unmoving reference point that transience is measured against, that reference point is the delusional substratum that the self is attributed to. The realization of anātman removes the delusion of a substratum.

3 points · 19 days ago

In tattoo culture, neck and hand tattoos are usually reserved for when you’ve run out of real estate elsewhere.


3 points · 20 days ago

The Buddha never said there is no self.

Yes, he did. Quite frequently.

There is just no reason to deify devas, is the crux of the issue.

2 points · 20 days ago

Devas are just deluded sentient beings like us.

13 points · 20 days ago

If there is no self, if our actions are conditioned by dependent origination, then where does ethical conduct come in?

It is true that ultimately there are no entities, a personal self included, however relatively from the standpoint of our ignorance, a self and other beings do appear. From that standpoint suffering appears very real for us as selves, and other apparent beings also misconceive of a self and suffer. Thus there are these two truths in a way, which ends up being an important aspect of Mahāyāna Buddhism.

True compassion in Buddhism is the acknowledgment and recognition that sentient beings suffer because they are ignorant of the ultimate truth of mind and phenomena.

It is important to uphold conventionally ethical conduct because we should respect other beings, even if those beings are not ultimately real, they do not recognize that, and unless you are dwelling in the awakened equipoise of an ārya, you experience a self and experience other beings, there is no reason to deny that you are experiencing this. Even if āryas in equipoise and Buddhas do not experience such things.

2 points · 21 days ago

There are devas, which is a class of sentient being. They are not really gods. Deva is often glossed as “god” in English translations, but devas are just subtle beings with long lifespans. They are samsaric.

2 points · 21 days ago

It does not depend on what I mean by “god.” There is no such thing in any Buddhist system, by any definition.

There’s no way to know if it was “predatorily produced.” I’m personally not into all the puritan porn bashing.

Ancestor worship is more of a cultural thing.

-2 points · 21 days ago

but surely they don't deny god's existence

Buddhists definitely deny god’s existence. There is no god.

3 points · 22 days ago

Nāma is a term for all mental phenomena pertaining to consciousness and so on, so yes the immaterial aspects of our psychophysical makeup. Citta would be categorized under nāma.

Right, these are issues within the production side of the industry. I can’t really argue against the glaring fact that the production side of porn is a breeding ground for predatory activity. It is surely an occupational hazard. But I was inquiring about the consumption side of it... I’m skeptical of the personal consumption side of it being inherently harmful.

Vasubandhu’s kośa.

2 points · 22 days ago

In Mahāyāna, manas, citta and vijñāna are synonyms. The only distinction is that manas apprehends a past object, vijñāna a present object and citta a future object... but they are all just ways of discussing the vijñāna skandha.

The East Asian trope of putting citta on some sort of pedestal is not shared by Indian or Tibetan Buddhism.

0 points · 23 days ago

I agree but to play devil's advocate I think the consumption of pornography may be harmful

People bandy this narrative around the Internet quite freely but I can’t tell if is really based on anything more than antiquated puritan Judeo-Christian type conditioning.

17 points · 23 days ago

unfortunately, 99% of porn is unethical. id even argue the full 100%


5 points · 24 days ago · edited 24 days ago

The philosophical tradition itself is not technically absolute metaphysical idealism, or the claim that reality is fundamentally mind either. It develops from epistemological concerns first, or claims about what is known and not the content of knowledge. In practice, it is more appropriate to say all that we can know is our mind and not that all that exists is our mind.

Buddhadharma and Yogācāra thought does not feature this phenomena-noumena duality.

For Yogācāra, especially false aspectarian Yogācāra, all apparent phenomenal entities are strictly mental factors and there are no extramental entities or extramental phenomena at all.

Solipsism, another western philosophical notion, is avoided by Yogācāra because the apparent phenomenal universe is a collective construct of countless conventional mindstreams.


4 points · 1 month ago

Even in entertaining your dodge here, the imputation of identity upon illusory aggregates makes it clear that identity is even more so insubstantial.

The Buddha states that awakened beings who are well on their way to liberation acquaint themselves with the truth of selflessness which eliminates the afflictions if I-making and mine-making. These afflictions could not be abandoned if identity was anything other than illusion. Why? Because the opposite of illusion is something concrete and substantial.

But regardless, the Buddha uses “illusion” to describe phenomena frequently. The basis of identity is the skandhas. Identity is not exempt of the same status of the aggregates which cradle it.

4 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

Not by the Buddha.

I’m not sure who told you that. The Buddha states clearly in the Pheṇapiṇḍūpama Sutta SN 22.95:

Form is like a lump of foam; feeling is like a bubble; perception seems like a mirage; choices like a banana tree; and consciousness like a magic trick: so taught the Kinsman of the Sun. However you contemplate them, examining them carefully, they’re void and hollow when you look at them closely. Concerning this body, he of vast wisdom has taught that when three things are given up, you’ll see this form discarded. Vitality, warmth, and consciousness: when they leave the body, it lies there tossed aside, food for others, mindless. Such is this process, this illusion, cooed over by fools. It’s said to be a killer, for no substance is found here.

And Udānavarga 2.18:

He who has perceived that this body is (empty) as a vase, and who knows that all things (dharma) are as an illusion, does thus destroy the chief of Māra's flowers, and will no more be seen by the king of death. He who has perceived that this world is like froth, and who knows that all things are as an illusion, does thus destroy the chief of Māra's flowers, and will no more be seen by the king of death. He who has perceived that this body is like froth, and who knows that all things are as an illusion, does thus destroy the chief of Māra's flowers, and will no more be seen by the king of death.

And SA 265:

Monks, it is just as if a master magician or the disciple of a master magician at a crossroads creates the magical illusion of an elephant troop, a horse troop, a chariot troop, and an infantry troop, and a clear-sighted person carefully examines, attends to, and analyses it. At the time of carefully examining, attending to, and analysing it, he finds that there is nothing in it, nothing stable, nothing substantial, it has no solidity. Why is that? It is because there is nothing solid or substantial in a magical illusion.

And then obviously Śākyamuni is even more liberal with the use of “illusion” in describing the nature of phenomena in the prajñāpāramitā and the Vajrayāna tantras, namely the Guhyasamāja and Kalācākra which are his teachings.

4 points · 1 month ago

Illusion isn't the right word

Illusion is absolutely the right word, and in fact is a word used frequently in teachings on this topic.

1 point · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

"No self" does not mean "non-existent sense of self".

For āryas in equipoise there is absolutely no existent sense of self. Buddhas are in constant equipoise and have no sense of self whatsoever.

For sentient beings who dwell in ignorance, a sense of self is present.

Selfhood is a total delusion, and it obscures the unconditioned and unborn luminosity of mind. It is an affliction to be completely abandoned. Unfortunately it is also a useful tool, but it causes suffering when it is mistaken as real and this error is what the buddhadharma sets out to correct.

I get that you like to spread your taoist syncretic made up view on this subreddit, but you are deceiving people. And you’re incorrect.

The Ārya-laṅkāvatāra-mahāyāna-sūtra states:

Just as when the surface of gold is polished, one sees the gold color, the brilliant shine and the pure surface, in just that way is the sentient being in the aggregates. The supreme ones have always shown the inexhaustible wisdom of the Buddha to be peace, without a person, without the aggregates. The natural luminosity of the mind endowed with the affliction of mind and so on along with [the affliction of] self possesses temporary afflictions from the start, natural luminosity can be purified of the affliction of self, just like a [stained] cloth. Just as the flaws of either cloth or gold can be cleansed because they are [intrinsically] stainless...

5 points · 1 month ago

This topic cannot be understood without understanding that matter is an epiphenomena of mind, according to the buddhadharma. The mindstream is an aggregated, causal series of discrete instances that is inexhaustible. It persists indefinitely. Thus, rebirth is merely the persistence of that continuum of mind that is incessant and the above excerpt from Acarya Malcolm is addressing how the misconception of a self or an entity in general appears to manifest in accordance with that underlying factor of a mindstream.

Malcolm's post is not about how the "I" is a construction, although that is an integral factor. The post is intended to communicate how the delusion of a self arises due to these conditions that are present, how that misconception of a self is extraneous and is lost between lifetimes, and so on.

would you mind explaining how this avoids negating dependent arising? i was of the understanding that by virtue of the mutual dependence between, for example, wholes and parts, they are both void or non-arisen.

This topic can get somewhat detailed but I think an important distinction to make is between what Nagarjuna called dependent existence [parabhava] and dependent origination [pratityasamutpada]. Nowadays, these two principles are often conflated, but if we consult Nagarjuna's writings on this topic, we find that he makes a firm distinction and that distinction is important.

Parabhava, or "dependent existence" as it is sometimes glossed, describes precisely this idea of things depending upon each other and arising in mutual dependence. Nagarjuna actually criticizes this idea and says that this view of existence is merely a guise for svabhava or inherent existence. By virtue of parabhava, the principle of svabhava sort of covertly sneaks into the fold and if it is not recognized, the individual may simply replace the misconception of svabhava with a view of parabhava.

Dependent origination [pratityasamutpada] is not actually things arising in mutual dependence, not necessarily. In dependent origination proper the idea of origination or arising should ideally but understood as being cradled in what these teachings call avidya, or ignorance. In Nagarjuna's Yukisastikakarika he states:

When the perfect gnosis sees that things come from ignorance as condition, nothing will be objectified, either in terms of arising or destruction.

Going on to state:

Since the Buddhas have stated that the world is conditioned by ignorance, why is it not reasonable [to assert] that this world is [a result of] conceptualization? Since it (the world) comes to an end when ignorance ceases; why does it not become clear that it was conjured by ignorance?

As such, phenomena appear to originate due to the presence of ignorance influencing the mindstream, polluting the mindstream, so that things are not seen accurately. Once ignorance is removed from the mindstream, then phenomena are seen to be primordially unoriginated, or non-arisen.

In this way the real meaning of "dependent origination" is that phenomena appear to originate in dependence upon the presence of ignorance. Apparent entities are dependently originated with ignorance. However in actuality there has never really been origination at any point in time, only the misconception of origination.

This correlation is made explicit in quite a few places. Manjusri states:

Whatever is dependently originated does not truly arise.


What originates dependently is unoriginated!


The perfectly enlightened buddhas proclaimed, "What is dependently created is uncreated [non-arisen]."

3 points · 1 month ago

However, he also taught that we should not hold the view 'I have no self', just as we should not hold the view 'I have a self'.

What he advised is to hold views skillfully and to avoid mistaking the view for the end goal.

You already have self-view, you already perceive a self because you are an afflicted sentient being. Now you aim to realize selflessness, and if you don’t you’ll never be liberated.

This half baked indeterminate view you litter this subreddit with will never benefit anyone. Certainly will not benefit you. But that is your karma.

3 points · 1 month ago

You might benefit from revisiting some abhidharma. Imputations are nominal, the self is merely nominal, it is not impermanent or permanent.

3 points · 1 month ago

The truth is the thing is impermanent,

Imputations cannot be impermanent.

3 points · 1 month ago

It's not that there is no you. This is not what the Buddha taught.

Literally what the Buddha taught and the entire import behind the skandhas, āyatanas and dhātus.

4 points · 1 month ago

You are probably done speaking to me

Done speaking? I'm not sure what you mean.

What do you mean by "not substantial"?

Insubstantial would mean apparent but not established as a concrete entity, like an illusion, a mirage, a dream, a reflection, and so on. Buddhadharma lists eight examples to illustrate this.

Do you mean that the phenomena have no other substance besides mind

Phenomena have no substance, and likewise mind has no substantial nature. Some systems such as Mahamudra will sort of use this line of compartmentalization, phenomena are mind, mind is empty, etc., to convey this point. But other systems will simply assert that mind and phenomena are equally empty and are without basis.

that they lack a self-nature and are dependently originated?

Yes, this also. Dependent origination when understood accurately, really means that phenomena appear to originate dependent upon delusion. When delusion is uprooted, the misconception of phenomena is uprooted, as the two are dependent upon one another for their seeming validity.

Similarly, what do you mean by "false appearance of a reality"? If reality is no different from mind, how can it be false?

Because mind is also ultimately empty. Most systems in the buddhadharma are not reductionist in asserting that all is mind. Even many Yogacara adherents have attempted to avoid this reductionist view in the past. It is not considered effective or skillful to engage in reductionism of that nature.

If reality is different from mind, isn't that creating a duality?

Reality is only different from mind in a conventional sense. For instance we would not say the tree or the car are your mind. Ultimately however, trees, cars, and minds cannot be found or established. As such, a conventional status is merely a nominal one.

Or by reality do you mean "external realm," as in a "realm that a self exists in?" Or is that mind also does not exist?

In Yogacara, Vajrayana, Dzogchen and so on, there is an external container universe that manifests based on the collective projection of the infinite sentient beings who, sort of unwittingly participate in that activity. Yet again, this environment is not actually real.

But yes, mind is not exempt from these implications. Which is why in mahamudra, Dzogchen, etc., you will encounter such a strong emphasis being placed on the inseparability of clarity and emptiness.

Internal and external objects, in my understanding, are not real in the sense that no internal or external object exists. What we perceive as external and internal objects is really just mind

This is what western philosophy asserts is the noumena versus phenomena problem. This division is not really part of buddhist thought. According to buddhadharma we would indeed state that there is no internal/external objects in an ultimate sense, because entities endowed with an inherent nature or svabhava, cannot be found or established. And furthermore, if such entities are perceived, they are unable to withstand analysis.

Therefore, objects are neither real nor unreal.

Ultimately yes, phenomena are without characteristics, and as a minor technical point we would not say that phenomena are actually unreal, because what phenomena are there to be unreal? But, for the purposes of eliminating delusion from the mindstream, we as sentient beings do experience phenomena as real, and in order to be liberated, we must realize that phenomena are unreal.

They are not real as objects, they are real as mind. Reality is not real as external reality, reality is real as mind. Do you not agree with this?

I would not agree with that assertion because it is reifying mind.

If reality is not real in any sense, than the mind also cannot be real

Right, the mind is also ultimately illusory. Not something established as real. This is known by awakened aryas.

Dualism implies the existence of separately existing, distinct entities, which Buddhism denies as a possibility.

Buddhadharma denies the validity of ultimately established dualisms. But conventionally, allows for all sorts of divisions, dualities, diversities.

If neither mind or reality is real, than Nirvana/Thusness/Bodhi cannot be real.

Right. Nirvana even as early as the prajnaparamita sutras is stated clearly to be a total illusion, not anything established as real. But this is okay, because nirvana is a species of cessation. Cessations are not something real anyway, and yet they manifest, and have soteriological implications. We see in the sutras, tantras, shastras, over and over that buddhahood is also not established.

If there is no mind, what can be liberated? What can be deluded?

The conventional sentient being is liberated and/or deluded. The conventional mind is either afflicted with delusions and obscurations, or it is freed from said obscurations/delusions. All of this occurs on the level of convention. It does not occur ultimately.

In this way, shouldn't Nirvana, Thusness, Bodhi, Reality and Mind all be synonyms? If not, how does this not create a fundamental dualism?

Dualisms and divisions are laid out conventionally. Again, like stating that the car is not the tree and so on.

And if, fundamentally there is nothing, not even mind, what is the purpose of the Buddhist path?

There is still a conventional continuum present that is either afflicted in the case of sentient beings, or purified in the case of buddhas.

It cannot be to "lead to the realization of emptiness" because there is no mind in which realization can take place.

Again the realization of emptiness occurs on the level of convention, and applies to a conventional mindstream.

We uphold convention, as this is not total nihilism. Yet at the same time convention only goes so far, and the limit of convention is to ensure that we do not err into eternalism/substantialism.

5 points · 2 months ago

The Recognition of Selflessness (Anattasaññā) PART 2

The purpose of correctly engaging in the contemplation of selflessness is stated in AN 7.49 Dutiyasaññā Sutta:

‘The recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, monks, when developed and cultivated, is of great fruit and benefit; it merges with the death-free, has the death-free as its end.’ Thus it was said. In reference to what was it said?

Monks, when a monk’s mind frequently remains acquainted with the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, his mind is rid of “I-making” and “mine-making” with regard to this conscious body and externally with regard to all representations, and has transcended conceit, is at peace, and is well liberated.

If, monks, when a monk’s mind frequently remains acquainted with the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, his mind is not rid of “I-making” and “mine-making” with regard to this conscious body and externally with regard to all representations, and has not transcended conceit, is not at peace, and is not well liberated, then he should know, ‘I have not developed the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, there is no stepwise distinction in me, I have not obtained the strength of development.’ In that way he is fully aware there. But if, monks, when a monk’s mind frequently remains acquainted with the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, his mind is rid of “I-making” and “mine-making” with regard to this conscious body and externally with regard to all representations, and has transcended conceit, is at peace, and is well liberated, then he should know, ‘I have developed the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, there is stepwise distinction in me, I have obtained the strength of development.’ In that way he is fully aware there.

‘The recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, monks, when developed and cultivated, is of great fruit and benefit; it merges with the death-free, has the death-free as its end.’ Thus it was said. And in reference to this it was said.

Here we get to the heart of the matter, which is one of the most subtle aspects of the Buddhadhamma. Simply stated: when ignorance ceases, belief in self simultaneously ceases. And when there is no self to be found, then there is no self to die or take birth. This right here is “death-free.” And it is precisely this that the Buddha is declaring when he says to Mogharāja:

Look at the world and see its emptiness Mogharāja, always mindful,
Eliminating the view of self, one goes beyond death.
One who views the world this way is not seen by the king of death.

When one completely abandons the underlying tendencies which give rise to mistaken apprehensions of a self — any and all notions of “I am” — then there is no self to die. This stilling of the “currents of conceiving” over one’s imagined self, and the resulting peace that is empty of birth, aging, and death, is straightforwardly presented in MN 140 Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta:

‘He has been stilled where the currents of conceiving do not flow. And when the currents of conceiving do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.’ Thus was it said. With reference to what was it said?

Monk, “I am” is a conceiving. “I am this” is a conceiving. “I shall be” is a conceiving. “I shall not be” ... “I shall be possessed of form” ... “I shall be formless” ... “I shall be percipient” ... “I shall be non-percipient” ... “I shall be neither-percipient-nor-non-percipient” is a conceiving. Conceiving is a disease, conceiving is a cancer, conceiving is an arrow. By going beyond all conceiving, monk, he is said to be a sage at peace.

Furthermore, a sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die. He is unagitated, and is free from longing. He has nothing whereby he would be born. Not being born, how could he age? Not aging, how could he die? Not dying, how could he be agitated? Not being agitated, for what will he long?

So it was in reference to this that it was said, ‘He has been stilled where the currents of conceiving do not flow. And when the currents of conceiving do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.’

Truly, “a sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die.” In this way, when ignorance ceases, the entire complex of conditioned arising bound up with dissatisfaction also ceases. When all traces of “I-making” and “mine-making” are abandoned through the fully integrated threefold training of ethical conduct, meditation, and discernment, just this is dispassion (virāga). Just this is cessation (nirodha). Just this is extinguishment (nibbāna). Just this is without outflows (anāsava). Just this is not-born (ajāta), not-become (abhūta), not-made (akata), not-fabricated (asaṅkhata), endless (ananta), indestructible (apalokita), and yes, death-free (amata). It is freedom (mutti).

The Recognition of Selflessness and the Seven Factors of Awakening (Satta Bojjhaṅgā):

Sustained, dedicated practice of the recognition of selflessness will gradually create the optimal conditions for the arising of all seven factors of awakening. SN 46.73 Anatta Sutta (abridged):

Here monks, a monk develops the awakening factor of mindfulness accompanied by the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of dhamma-investigation accompanied by the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of energy accompanied by the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of joy accompanied by the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of tranquility accompanied by the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of meditative composure accompanied by the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of equanimity accompanied by the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go.

It is in this way that the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory is developed and cultivated so that it is of great fruit and benefit. It is in this way that the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory is developed and cultivated so that one of two fruits is to be expected: either final gnosis in this very life or, if there is a residue of clinging, the state of nonreturning. It is in this way that the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory is developed and cultivated so that it leads to great good. It is in this way that the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory is developed and cultivated so that it leads to great security from bondage. It is in this way that the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory is developed and cultivated so that it leads to a great sense of urgency. It is in this way that the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory is developed and cultivated so that it leads to dwelling in great comfort.

5 points · 2 months ago

Anātman should be understood as follows:

The Recognition of Selflessness (Anattasaññā) PART 1

Look at the world and see its emptiness Mogharāja, always mindful,
Eliminating the view of self, one goes beyond death.
One who views the world this way is not seen by the king of death.
— Sutta Nipāta 5.15, Mogharājamāṇavapucchā

The contemplation of selflessness is given in AN 10.60 Girimānanda Sutta:

Now what, Ānanda, is the recognition of selflessness? Here, Ānanda, a monk, gone to the wilderness, to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, discriminates thus: ‘The eye is not-self, forms are not-self; the ear is not-self, sounds are not-self; the nose is not-self, odors are not-self; the tongue is not-self, flavors are not-self; the body is not-self, tactual objects are not-self; the mind is not-self, phenomena are not-self.’ Thus he abides contemplating selflessness with regard to the six internal and external sensory spheres. This, Ānanda, is called the recognition of selflessness.

In practice, we need to be able to recognize this absence of self in our immediate experience: When seeing, there is the coming together of visible form, the eye, and visual consciousness. When hearing, there is the coming together of sound, the ear, and auditory consciousness. When touching, there is the coming together of tactual sensation, the body, and tactile consciousness. When thinking, there is the thought, the mind, and mental consciousness. These processes arise simply through ‘contact.’ When a sense faculty and a sensory object make contact, the corresponding sensory consciousness arises. This entire process occurs through specific conditionality (idappaccayatā). There is no independent, fully autonomous agent or self controlling any of this.

An independent, autonomous self would, by definition, be:

1. permanent
2. satisfactory
3. not prone to dis-ease
4. fully self-determining (be in complete autonomous control of itself)

Thus, what is being negated is a permanent, satisfactory self which is not prone to old age, sickness, and death. As SN 22.59 Pañcavaggiya Sutta (abridged) states:

Monks, form, feeling, recognition, fabrications, and consciousness are not-self. Were form, feeling, recognition, fabrications, or consciousness self, then this form, feeling, recognition, fabrications, and consciousness would not lead to dis-ease.

This criterion of dis-ease is the context for the following statement that:

None can have it of form, feeling, recognition, fabrications, or consciousness: ‘Let my form, feeling, recognition, fabrications, or consciousness be thus, let my form, feeling, recognition, fabrications, or consciousness be not thus.’

By engaging in sustained, dedicated contemplation we find only impermanent processes, conditionally arisen, and not fully self-determining. First we clearly see that all conditioned phenomena of body and mind are impermanent. Next we come to see that whatever is impermanent is unsatisfactory in that it can provide no lasting happiness. Then we realize that all impermanent, unsatisfactory phenomena of body and mind are not-self — they can’t be the basis for a self, which by definition would be permanent and (one would hope) satisfactory. This relationship between the recognition of impermanence, the recognition of unsatisfactoriness, and the recognition of selflessness is illustrated in the following diagram.

With the recognition of selflessness there is an emptying out of both the “subject” and “object” aspects of experience. We come to understand that “I-making” and “mine-making” with regard to the mind and body as well as all external representations is deluded. When the recognition of selflessness is fully developed there is no longer any reification of substantial referents to be experienced in relation to subjective grasping. Whatever is seen is merely the seen (diṭṭhamatta). Whatever is heard or sensed is merely the heard (sutamatta) and merely the sensed (mutamatta). Whatever is known is merely the known (viññātamatta). This is explained in Ud 1.10 Bāhiya Sutta:

"Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."

When there is no self to be found one’s experience becomes very simple, direct, and uncluttered. When seeing, there is the coming together of visible form, the eye, and visual consciousness, that’s all. There is no separate “seer.” The seer is entirely dependent upon the seen. There can be no seer independent of the seen. There is no separate, independent subject or self.

This is also the case for the sensory object. The “seen” is entirely dependent upon the eye faculty and visual consciousness. There can be no object seen independent of the eye faculty and cognition. This is the case for all possible sensory objects. There is no separate, independent sensory object.

The same holds true for sensory consciousness as well. “Seeing” is entirely dependent upon the eye and visible form. There can be no seeing independent of the eye and cognition. This is the case for all possible sensory cognitions. There is no separate, independent sensory consciousness.

It’s important to understand this experientially. Let’s take the straightforward empirical experience of you looking at this screen right now as an example. Conventionally speaking, you could describe the experience as “I see the computer screen.” Another way of describing this is that there’s a “seer” who “sees” the “seen.” But look at the screen: are there really three independent and separate parts to your experience? Or are “seer,” “sees,” and “seen,” just three conceptual labels applied to this experience in which the three parts are entirely interdependent?

The “seer,” “seen,” and “seeing” are all empty and insubstantial. The eye faculty, visible form, and visual consciousness are all interdependent aspects of the same experience. You can’t peel one away and still have a sensory experience — there is no separation. AN 4.24 Kāḷakārāma Sutta:

Thus, monks, the Tathāgata does not conceive an [object] seen when seeing what is to be seen. He does not conceive an unseen. He does not conceive a to-be-seen. He does not conceive a seer.

He does not conceive an [object] heard when hearing what is to be heard. He does not conceive an unheard. He does not conceive a to-be-heard. He does not conceive a hearer.

He does not conceive an [object] sensed when sensing what is to be sensed. He does not conceive an unsensed. He does not conceive a to-be-sensed. He does not conceive a senser.

He does not conceive an [object] known when knowing what is to be known. He does not conceive an unknown. He does not conceive a to-be-known. He does not conceive a knower.

Sensory consciousness can’t be isolated as separate and independent. Nor can any of these other interdependent phenomena. Even the designations that we apply to these various phenomena are entirely conventional, dependent designations. But this doesn’t mean that we should now interpret our experience as being some sort of cosmic oneness or unity consciousness or whatever one may want to call it. That's just another empty, dependent label isn’t it? The whole point of this analysis is to see the emptiness of all referents, and thereby stop constructing and defining a “self.”

3 points · 2 months ago

but it’s not that there is a truly existent thing which is annihilated exactly.

This is sort of a pedantic straw man given that no one claimed this. Nevertheless, the afflictive obscuration is the sense of self that lies at the root of samsara. Samsara will persist as long as a sense of self persists, they are one and the same. The substratum that the internal reference point the self is based upon completely collapses in awakened equipoise. It is a construct of delusion.

5 points · 2 months ago

The sense of self we do need is a dependent, multiple-parted, impermanent one.

Sort of. Buddhas do not have either type of self. They just use conventional language.

3 points · 2 months ago

You don’t have to. Where do people keep getting this “kill the self” or “ego death” stuff from? I’m honestly curious where you got it. Buddhism doesn’t teach that

Buddhism does quite literally teach that. Since your flare is Mahāyāna, the sense of self is what Mahāyāna teachings call the “afflictive obscuration” and it must be exhausted for liberation to occur. Buddhas are free of the two obscurations.

Sure, the self is a conventional truth, but only because it appears consistent when uninvestigated. When scrutinized however, it is seen that the convention is a mere imputation, not a real entity.


5 points · 2 months ago · edited 2 months ago

Still, that does not stop a certain crowd from insisting "there is no self".

How could there be a self? Where is it?

Thanissaro’s novel views on this matter are admittedly an attempt to avoid confusing newcomers. A confused attempt in its own right, in far from humble opinion. As we see fools bandy about this skillful means as if it is law.

It does damage to the understanding of the dharma, and is ultimately indefensible despite all of Thanissaro’s attempts to bolster its appeal. Every instance of this narrative comes directly from him, solely. Other Ajahns have disagreed, as they should. Yet people glom onto such baseless claims, for what reason I can’t rightly discern. Perhaps fear? Who is to know.

10 points · 2 months ago

the buddha explains how taking the aggregates as self is untenable...

And given that there is no other tenable basis for a self, this means the self is only nominal in nature. Aka a mere concept with no actual referent.

10 points · 2 months ago

It’s not accurate. It’s just Thanissaro Bhikku being Thanissaro Bhikku.

krodha commented on
Posted byu/[deleted]
6 points · 2 months ago

No, there are no transpersonal principles in buddhadharma. But this doesn’t mean the personal is ultimately valid. It is a nuanced topic, but when understood correctly the distinctions are clear.

I’m open to discussing if you want.

krodha commented on
Posted byu/[deleted]
5 points · 2 months ago

What about them?

10 points · 2 months ago · edited 2 months ago

I feel that if you understand the meaning of something like Dzogchen, then there is really no difference in being at home or wandering. The external conditions are not really the point.

My advice would be to stay put and find a flexible profession that allows you to do some solitary retreat a few times a year, while still having some financial stability and so on.

krodha commented on
Posted byu/[deleted]
12 points · 2 months ago

Advaita Vedanta is a realist and reductive tradition that posits a truly established, transpersonal, ultimate consciousness. There is nothing like this in Buddhism.

10 points · 2 months ago

Also, Buddha never actually taught a reality of "no self". As this article points out,

That is just nonsense that Thanissaro Bikkhu peddles.

5 points · 2 months ago · edited 2 months ago

If you’ve ever tried mushrooms or DMT for example, the fact that these things are found in nature, and have this sort of symbiotic relationship with consciousness in terms of the profound states they cause, is quite incredible. It amazes me.

22 points · 2 months ago

Psychedelics are medicinal in nature. They cannot harm you if you take them responsibly and properly. Most of them are natural compounds, they come from nature, they are part of the natural order, and their relationship and effect on the consciousness of sentient beings is no coincidence or anomaly. It is your birthright as a sentient being to explore such things, responsibly and with care. They can provide insights into your consciousness, and this world, but they cannot help you with dharma practice.

Dharma requires a state of consciousness unaltered by entheogens. But there is no harm putting aside time to explore entheogens. Just refrain from conflating the altered states of consciousness that entheogens provide with dharma practice.

And that may be true

No need to qualify this statement with “may.” There is no ambiguity.

Yes, yes.

3 points · 2 months ago

For Buddhists, all pain is so-called negative karma ripening in the body. In this way, pain is actually eliminating vast stores of karma that would otherwise land you in a lower rebirth. I once heard a teacher state that even a headache is saving you from lengthy amounts of time in a hell realm. Thus, not to be sadistic, but pain can be seen as a great blessing.

I suffer from sciatica issues myself and the try to relate to my pain in this way.

krodha commented on
Posted byu/[deleted]
6 points · 3 months ago

My good friend has prolonged anxiety attacks that are very similar in nature.

3 points · 3 months ago

Provisional in the sense that one’s sense of self isn’t definitive, sure.

10 points · 3 months ago

A conventional individual because mindstreams are individual.

12 points · 3 months ago

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu:

A monk, without giving up his vows, can perfectly well practice Dzogchen, as can a Catholic priest, a clerk, a workman, and so on, without having to abandon their role in society, because Dzogchen does not change people from the outside.


Dzogchen is not a school or sect, or a religious system. It is simply a state of knowledge which masters have transmitted beyond any limits of sect or monastic tradition.

4 points · 3 months ago

So idk what Buddhists think anymore

Yes, mind is primary in Buddhist teachings.

2 points · 3 months ago

Conventional truth is one of only Two Truths you may hear about. Relative Truth and Absolute Truth. Both truths are valid, and as you pointed out neither one is true independently without validating the other. They can only be true if it is understood they are true at the same time.

Relative “truth” or samvrtisatya is only true in a very specific context. Terms that more accurately gloss “samvrti” are concealing, obscuring, etc., and this is because so-called relative truth is a false cognition, again as defined by Candrakīrti. Relative truth is the scope of reliably apparent deluded cognition. Thus it is not equally true when compared to ultimate truth, and in fact, ultimate truth is nothing more than the realization of the emptiness of that which is allegedly relative. That is the true meaning of the complementary nature of the two truths. Ultimate truth is the lack of essence in so-called relative truth.

here is a contradiction in this example which illustrates my point. The characteristics of the rope are the basis of designation here. This basis of designation is sufficient for the mind to designate the rope as being a snake (object of designation) . And it will continue being a designated as a snake (appearing to possess the qualities of a snake) until that false knowledge is dropped.

The rope is not exempt from the same logic which renders the snake an inaccurate inference. Ergo, the basis of designation does not consist of characteristics that are possessed by an entity called a rope. The basis of designation is just the appearance, colors, shapes, shades, tactile sensation, etc., that alone is the basis of designation. Those alleged characteristics do not belong to a snake or a rope.

If existence of any type were invalid we veer into nihilism and would have no subjective experience

This is simply false. Bhāva nirodha, the cessation of alleged “existence” is a cornerstone of buddhadharma, and is not a nihilistic doctrine. Specifically, because existence [bhāva] carries a specific meaning which should be understood correctly.

This is why Nāgārjuna quips “what sort of existence is not included in inherent existence [svabhāva] and dependent existence [parabhāva]?” He is asking, what alleged type of existence is exempt from being proven a misconception? And then he closes with asserting “those who perceive existence [bhāva], inherent existence [svabhāva], dependent existence [parabhāva] and non-existence [abhāva] have failed to understand the Buddha’s teaching.”

Conventions are empty, actions are empty, and they are still valid because they're the result of causes and conditions.

I have not negated convention. Rather I’ve merely stated that convention consists of unfounded inference. The same goes for existence, it is an unfounded inference, predicated on the perception of svabhāvas, and so on. Buddhas do not perceive existence or existent entities, yet appearance manifests, and they possess gnosis [jñāna], meaning they are not unconscious or inert.

The Generation & Completion stages of most tantric meditative practices are contingent on a direct perception of the emptiness of phenomena (the object of meditation).

No, they are contingent on the example jñāna that is introduced by the teacher. If they were contingent on a yogic direct perception [yogapratyaksa] of emptiness, then said practices would be impossible.

But a clear conceptual grasp of emptiness is merely primer for a direct realization of emptiness.

In common Mahāyāna this is true. In Vajrayāna a conceptual understanding helps, but is not necessary due to the methodology that is employed.

It's important to distinct two key ideas here. "The designated object" is the image of the object you see.

The image is the basis of designation. The “object” is the imputed entity which consists of the basis of designation inaccurately apprehended. The image is not a designated object. The object is a misconception.

The image is purely conceptual

Images are direct perceptions [pratyaksa], which are always non-conceptual.

"The basis of designation" is not a collection of appearances

It is indeed.

The designated object, the image we see, is a mental projection over the basis of designation (changing conditions)

I’m not sure who taught you this but it is incorrect. This phenomena-noumena type dichotomy is completely absent from Buddhist teachings.

when in fact, it is a constantly changing set of conditions. This is impermanence of phenomena in a nutshell.

This is also not quite accurate.

That designation which you hold in your mind certainly does possess those qualities which are then confused and attributed as belonging to the basis of designation, the object itself.

The basis of designation is simply a collection of appearances, rather than the alleged “object itself.” The misconception of an object, or entity, is a byproduct of the imputation attributed to the basis of designation, hence “basis of designation,” the basis for the proliferation of imputation.

The qualities your mind apprehends are true by way of conventional truth.

Perhaps conventionally valid, or conventionally accurate, rather than “true.” No conventions are actually true, given that relative truth is an error in cognition per Candrakīrti and so on. Conventional truth is a misleading title in this way.

That designation is itself is merely a generic idea which possesses all the qualities of a basketball.

This would be akin to seeing a rope lying in a dark room, mistaking it for a snake and then asserting that the false designation of a snake somehow possesses qualities. There must then be an entity which bears qualities and characteristics, but in the absence of an entity one is hard pressed to validate characteristics.

It's existence as a basketball is purely conceptual but it is still existent in a conventional way. How is that possible?

It is not possible, since all conventions are misconceptions. Existence of any sort is ultimately invalid.

I would caution you here. This view of the apparently illusory nature of phenomena is still very much rooted in the misapprehension that phenomena are not empty.

The dharmatā of phenomena is veiled by obscurations, and therefore despite the fact that phenomena are innately empty, there is a disparity present in the mind. From the standpoint of ignorance or avidyā, we do not perceive the emptiness of phenomena. We instead perceive phenomena to be substantial and established. For this reason we will often hear explanations of the nature or prakrti of phenomena being illusory, the eight similies of illusion, for example. These descriptions are offered because failing to recognize emptiness, that illusory nature is obscured.

The question of why matter is solid will only arise when there is still a very deeply held view that phenomena are not empty.

Matter is solid because of cognitive obscurations.

Karma cannot arise on it's own & cause consciousness to generate appearances in a dream.

It can according to Vajrayāna explanations regarding the nature of dreams.

4 points · 3 months ago

The emptiness of phenomena doesn't mean phenomena are non existent, it means the appearance of phenomena is not as it appears. That is to say our mode of perception projects qualities on phenomena which it does not possess from it's own side.

Phenomena do not actually possess any qualities on any alleged side of the equation.

3 points · 3 months ago

Sentient beings just have karmic vision, so we reify everything as substantial, when things actually are not that way.

7 points · 3 months ago

In a sense, yes. Because beings can influence each other’s perceptions. As such, it is like a collective delusion in some ways.

3 points · 3 months ago

I have been reading Thanissiro Bhikku, and according to him Buddha taught to put aside the question whether there is a self or not, but used not-self as a strategy to identify that which causes stress is not me, myself, or mine. see here However, most things I read seemed to pretty confidently suggest that there is no self. Or they stressed that there is no separate, independent self; that things interbe, etc. Now I am wondering if I have misinterpret them somehow, or if there is some conflict about this topic?

Thanissaro’s view on this matter is unique and anomalous.

6 points · 3 months ago

Killing is what Buddhists avoid at all costs. Meat is okay to eat in Buddhist teachings, so long as you don’t kill the sentient being, request or suspect it be killed for you, or if you see it killed.

5 points · 3 months ago

The adibuddha is essentially the first Buddha to emerge in any given eon. In our eon it was Buddha Samantabhadra, in nirmanakāya form as a Buddha called Nangwa Dampa.

Samantabhadra states:

I am the first buddha. I tame the six types of beings through emanations.

krodha commented on
Posted byu/[deleted]
27 points · 3 months ago

On the other hand, I see a lot of people suggesting that supernatural beliefs are required elements of Buddhist practice

“Supernatural” is a misnomer, and moreover is a materialist straw man fallacy. Not to mention a semi-pejorative term wielded by materialists that is rooted in the concept of “superstition.” In actuality, there is no such thing as the supernatural in Buddhist teachings, only subtle aspects of dependent origination [pratītyasamutpāda] that are usually obscured or misunderstood.

8 points · 3 months ago

One of these looks to be nirodha (not sure though).

Both of the first two listed “extinctions” are nirodha. Extinction obtained by knowledge is synonymous with nirvana. Also called analytical cessation (Skt. pratisaṃkhyā-nirodha; Tib. སོ་སོར་བརྟགས་པའི་འགོག་པ་, sosor takpé gokpa, Wyl. so sor brtags pa'i 'gog pa).

2 points · 3 months ago

And ātman in Sanskrit can also mean essence, not just a personal self. I think /u/krodha has some texts he often cites in this respect, maybe he can share something.

Yes, in tathāgatagarbha and some Yogācāra, ātman is generally a synonym for svarūpa or svabhāvatā.

2 points · 3 months ago · edited 3 months ago

Any definite/objective affirmative or negative statement about Reality is based on fixed view, which is Wrong View.

Buddhist dialectics primarily center around the abject negation of what is called svabhāva or inherent existence, via demonstrating that svabhāva is impossible. Even Buddhist systems which pride themselves on omitting views aim to reveal that svabhāva is a fallacy which, as a misconception, lies at the heart of the problem of suffering. This is widespread and buddhadharma does not shy away from making these assertions.

So-called “right view” in these teachings is inextricably related to conquering the misconception that there is a self present in the aggregates, and likewise upending the misconception that there is a svabhāva in phenomenal entities.

From the perspective of some realms, we don’t even have bodies.

Technically there are subtle bodies comprised of subtle elements even in so-called formless realms. There is no such thing as a disembodied mind in Buddhist teachings.

2 points · 3 months ago

Feel free to elaborate.

2 points · 3 months ago

It is the same logic.

3 points · 3 months ago

Nevertheless, that is the actual view of these teachings.

Ju Mipham states:

So called "sentient beings" are merely delusions self-appearing from the dhātu of luminosity.

Such is the nature of all phenomena.

3 points · 3 months ago

Basically I just want the answer to why humans came to be

Essentially, an error in cognition.

7 points · 3 months ago · edited 3 months ago

There’s no such thing as converting people in buddhadharma. Karma dictates whatever system you have interest in, and there will be no alignment with any tradition unless the karmic connection is there.

Lastly, noting that exclusion has higher potential to breed fundamentalism is just a fact, it is not a call to rally people in an attempt to condition others.

4 points · 3 months ago

Exclusion tends to breed dogmatism and fundamentalism is the point.

5 points · 3 months ago

Is it problematic?

The disparity between (i) systems that accept all other systems, and (ii) a system that only accepts itself, often sets the stage for dogmatism... but not always, it just depends on the practitioner.

5 points · 3 months ago

The point is that it is only Theravadins who close themselves off. All other systems integrate one another in context.

12 points · 3 months ago

The eightfold path proper is the śravāka path. Mahāyāna has the six pāramitās, and Vajrayāna has the two stages. They are all somewhat similar.

So there is really no use squabbling over this not-self/no self paradigm

There is use in discussion and “squabbling” if someone is advocating for ātmavāda via a claim that the buddhadharma and anatta specifically is an apophatic exercise which lends to the possibility of some sort of noumenal unconditioned self.

2 points · 4 months ago

The Buddha says ‘There is no self to be found in any PHENOMENA.’ Phenomena being that reality that is accessible through the sense gates, i.e. that reality which is fabricated. Of that which is unfabricated, of a noumenal reality, of Nirvana - the Buddha never said there was no self to be found there.

This is incorrect, and exactly the mistake I’m pointing out that Thanissaro’s adherents fall headlong into. Sabbe dhamma anatta means all dhammas both conditioned and unconditioned are devoid of a self.

The tilakkhaṇa goes:

Sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā
sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā
sabbe dhammā anattā

Which is: all conditioned phenomena are impermanent, all conditioned phenomena are suffering, all phenomena are without a self.

This is very intentional.

The first two lines only address saṅkhārās, or compounded and conditioned phenomena. However the last line changes to say dhamma, and why is that? In Buddhist teachings there are both conditioned and unconditioned dhammas. Therefore this line’s entire purpose is to ensure that the practitioner understands that it is not only saṅkhārās that are selfless, but all phenomena both conditioned and unconditioned. In the Pāli literature there is only one unconditioned dhamma, nibbana. As such the Buddha is stating that not only are all conditioned phenomena devoid of self, but so is nirvana.

This is appropriate because nirvana is not a noumenal principle, but rather it is a species of cessation. The cessation of what? The total cessation of cause for rebirth in the three realms, aka samsara.

7 points · 4 months ago

In Advaita all phenomena reduce down to a single universal nature. Everything is actually only brahman and only brahman has been real the entire time, you just could not see this because of your ignorance.

Buddhadharma on the other hand is non-reductive because emptiness is like the cure to a disease that is no longer needed once the disease is cured. Nāgārjuna’s inquiry addresses this non-reductivity:

If there were some thing subtly not empty, there would be some thing to be empty, but as there is no thing that is not empty, where is there some thing to be empty?

Emptiness is an epistemic insight regarding the nature of phenomenal entities. It means the entity lacks an inherent nature, and therefore said entity cannot actually be found. Once the emptiness of the entity is realized, what entity is there to be empty? In this way emptiness is non-reductive and cancels itself out.

Śantarakṣita‘s Madhyamakālaṃkāra also illustrates this:

Therefore, the tathāgatas have said "All phenomena do not arise" because this conforms with the ultimate. This "ultimate" in reality, is free from all proliferation. Because there is no arising and so on, nonarising and so on isn't possible, because its entity has been negated.

In the same way, emptiness is realizing the unreality of a misconception. When you realize the misconceived entity has been unreal from the very beginning, just that release of ignorance is the realization of emptiness, and after the fact there is no entity to be found, and consequentially, what is there to be empty? How can we have emptiness without an entity to be empty? We cannot. Yet the epistemic insight that emptiness offers has already accomplished the action of liberating the mind from its delusion.

The point is that anātman is not intended to be a sort of apophatic exercise as Thanissaro suggests. Rather it is the lack of a svabhāva or inherent self in the mind. The prevailing issue with Thanissaro’s approach is that you have people who wrongly assert that the Buddha never said there is no self, which is an absurd misconception. The Buddha clearly and routinely says there is no self to be found in any phenomena anywhere.

Now, does this negate the action of “taking out the trash” as you mention, no, because that is a conventional action performed by a conventional self. We as Buddhists, do not negate the validity of conventional activities and entities as these things appear, we simply state that all conventional designations are ultimately only nominal in nature. Nominal, meaning inferential in the sense that the associated imputation suggests the validity of an entity, however if we investigate the basis of said imputation, the entity cannot actually be found because it is merely an abstraction. A useful abstraction, but not actually established or real.

In this way you can be a conventional individual who takes out the trash and performs many activities, but like an image of a tiger in a dream, there is no actual tiger present. The same goes for the appearance of you as a conventional individual taking the trash out, there is not actually an individual there when the imputed self is keenly scrutinized.

It is inaccurate because it is an upāya that only Thanissaro Bikkhu employs, and as expected you cited Thanissaro Bikkhu to substantiate it because no other Buddhist scholar claims this. It is a “Thanissaroism,” if you will. Bhante Sūjato and Bikkhu Bodhi have been critical of Thanissaro’s apophatic rendition of anatta.

8 points · 4 months ago

Advaita Vedanta promulgates an ontological, transpersonal, homogenous, unconditioned and existent ultimate nature. Which means their brahman or purusa is a substantial and reductive. They negate the personal self so that the individual can merge with a larger overarching and monolithic essence which is considered universal and real.

Whereas one's (ultimate) nature in the buddhadharma is epistemic, personal, heterogeneous and free from the extremes of existence and non-existence. This means that one's ultimate nature in buddhadharma is insubstantial and non-reductive. When the mind in Buddhist systems is purified of the fetter of selfhood, the practitioner realizes emptiness and all appearances are known as the illusory display of one’s own mind.

Buddhism differs from Advaita because unlike Advaita, the buddhadharma does not say that there is an established ultimate nature that is completely separate from the so-called relative world. In Buddhism relative and ultimate are two species of cognition related to this apparent world, one that is afflicted and one that is unafflicted. When a Buddhist realizes selflessness [anātman] their dualistic consciousness becomes nondual gnosis [jñāna]. However jñāna is conventionally individual, there is not one single jñāna shared by all beings. In addition, jñāna is not ultimately real.

In many ways the buddhadharma “goes a bit further” than Advaita in its ability to liberate the individual from reference points and referents, even despite the inclusion of conventional individuality, because all conventions are considered to be ultimately, only nominal and not real.

This is inaccurate.

3 points · 4 months ago

according to the buddha in the sutta above, the view "there is no self" is a result of inappropriate attention. it is not what he teaches. according to the buddha, the idea "there is no self" leads, exactly as you have identified for yourself, to annihilationism. it's 'not-self', not 'no self'

Not true. But you post this in every anātman thread.

krodha commented on
Posted byu/[deleted]
5 points · 4 months ago

which specifically sidesteps these types of ontological questions?

Buddhadharma is a fairly glaring negation of true ontology.

In that way, Buddha's teachings could be ontologically the same as Advaita Vedanta but different methodologically.

We reject that pādārthas, aka universals, are real [vāstu]. Whereas Advaita Vedanta is entirely predicated on such a position.

What is your take on viññanam adinassanam in regards to this?

Viññanam adinassanam is just a synonym for a Buddha’s jñāna.

7 points · 4 months ago

From what I can tell, the concept of Atman, as explained in this post at least, seems pretty similar to how citta is explained in the Thai Forest tradition

Yes, which is why some Thai ajahns are accused of erring into eternalism.

3 points · 4 months ago

But how is this stuff possible? What can I read to help me understand this phenomena better? How was the Buddha able to control it? & How can I use this as a means to realize Enlightenment?

The powers are called siddhi and are related to sustained meditation, or “calm abiding,” practice.

Clairvoyance is possible by virtue of dissolving cognitive obscurations. The Buddha, having eliminated all obscurations, had incredible abilities of clairvoyance.

25 points · 4 months ago

Truly being Buddhist means you take refuge in the buddhadharma internally, in your heart and mind, it has nothing to do with external objects like altars or statues.

3 points · 4 months ago · edited 4 months ago

Better to think of rigpa like a spectrum in some ways, but in others there is a clear demarcation between rigpa and marigpa. It is a very nuanced topic, and I think if those nuances are not understood, it is easy to get confused.

5 points · 4 months ago

Can it work similarly in Dzogchen?

Yes the Dzogchen process is essentially the same, with some minor notable differences.

4 points · 4 months ago

This is the issue with the three turnings, which have zero doctrinal basis. There is no evidence for the claim that Vajrayāna is somehow part of the “third turning.” There is no sūtra or tantra which states this. The three turnings are the śravākayāna, prajñāpāramitā and tathāgatagarbha, full stop. Historically, prajñāpāramitā and tathāgatagarbha were inverted in some settings as well, where prajñāpāramitā was the so-called “third turning.”

Vajrayāna is completely separate from the three turning schema, which is why it’s main adepts and luminaries considered various sūtrayāna systems to be definitive, and paid no mind to these alleged turnings.

To add, finding out today, that for all this time you’ve been referring to Vajrayāna when mentioning the third turning is very surprising.

3 points · 4 months ago

And of course Vajrayana in some sense then could be said to be an aspect of the third turning.

Definitely not. The “third turning” is a sūtra classification, referring in its current, popularized version to the tathāgatagarbha sūtras specifically. Vajrayāna has nothing to do with these sūtrayāna categories.

9 points · 4 months ago

Gzhan stong is not monistic. No Buddhist system accepts universals [pādārthas] as valid, not even conventionally.

2 points · 4 months ago

If one accepts the three turnings model as being legitimate,

I don’t, but I know you do.

I think probably the emphasis on this type of rhetoric would be higher in the Prajnaparamita Sutras as a whole than, say, the Mahaparinirvana Sutra or others.

Certainly high in prajñāpāramitā, and even more excessive in Vajrayāna. The tathāgatagarbha sūtras which is all the alleged third turning consists of, also discuss a lack of essences. Nirvana is a cessation, and a cessation of an individual which need attain anything, the cessation of the misconception of an individual who is seeking liberation is liberation itself. That is the meaning of nirvana being non-existent.

2 points · 4 months ago

In the 2nd turning related to the Prajnaparamita Sutras, there is a rhetorical device in which basically there will be statements saying things like, "No suffering, no end of suffering, no attainment..." etc.

Permeates all of Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna really.

76 points · 4 months ago

No, Śākyamuni Buddha was not the first enlightened person, by his own admission he states he simply rediscovered a path that was lost, like a trail in the jungle overgrown with foliage. He said there were many Buddhas before him.

2 points · 4 months ago

Sure, conventionally. Also, we experience our continuum bifurcated into internal and external dimensions or “yings” as they’re called in Tibetan. So long as we dwell in delusion, these yings remain in tact. Thus there is both linguistic/conceptual and experiential precedent for internal and external dimensions. But are these demarcations truly real? No.

1 point · 4 months ago · edited 4 months ago

Again, I think we're hitting a semantic roadblock predicated on my use of the word "real" vis a vis your use of the Pali/Sanskrit. If it helps, I can use "real" vs. "Real" in the sense of conventional vs. ultimate truth.

Ultimate truth is a total lack of anything real, precisely because conventional entities are not real and instead accurate inferences.

nothing is ultimately Real (or, rather, we cannot know if anything is ultimately Real),

You can definitely know that nothing is ultimately real. Knowing that means you are awakened.

but I believe it's imperative that we continue to act as though phenomena are conventionally real.

Things appear concrete and real to deluded beings, yes. But the solidity of relative phenomena is directly proportional to the solidity of one’s delusion. Because it’s all delusion.

I guess I'd love to hear more about your reasoning/motivation

I was originally just pointing out that many teachings advise practitioners to view their experience as dreamlike and not truly real at all. My root teacher stated this often. We have small dreams at night, but this waking reality is also just a big dream.

1 point · 4 months ago · edited 4 months ago

believe this might stem from our own semantic differences about what it means for something to be "real." As I understand it, a phenomena can be real while also being illusory and/or empty.

Emptiness [śūnyatā] and illusion are both the antithesis of real [vāstu].

a flower is real (or we may assume it is real) in that I can feel it, smell it, taste it, etc.

These sensory experiences do not qualify “reality” in what is perceived.

This is to say, we can (and should) live life with the awareness that all phenomena are illusory and empty. However, to live life as if the things around us are non-existent or un-real would a) contribute to suffering and b) simply be unskillful and unhelpful as means of existing in the world.

You aren’t understanding the issue clearly if this is the logic that your rebuttal is predicated upon.

5 points · 4 months ago

Yes, I suppose you are right. Out of curiosity, is “priest” a neologism in Japanese, English-speaking lineages?

2 points · 4 months ago · edited 4 months ago

We don’t really have priests. Priests are effectively, mediatory agents between humans and God in religions which have such a dynamic. Priests are also those authorized to conduct rites and so on, and in that sense those with the authority to teach in Buddhism are something like priests in that regard. But overall, the absence of a higher power in Buddhism undermines the true definition of a priest or priestess.

You undermine your own case with this example and end up contradicting the point you are intending to make. Which is good, actually.


Yes, I agree friend, we should supply the answers to why they are unanswered. They are more sophisticated than the hand waving dismissal I’ve often seen when the questions come up. Deeper treatments of dependent origination and emptiness are in order to respond to these questions.

I don’t know that I’d personally define metaphysics that way, but I will say, in reference to the Sabba sutra, that metaphysics can accommodate the view expounded there :) I think the fear to delve into that conceptual space comes from the assumption that all metaphysics is necessarily about noumena or a substrate that produces appearances. I guess I’m just saying ontological questions will come up and we should know how to answer them with Dharma.

Yes, I agree friend, we should supply the answers to why they are unanswered. They are more sophisticated than the hand waving dismissal I’ve often seen when the questions come up.

The Mahā-prajñāpāramitā-śāstra explains why the fourteen unanswered questions are unanswered:

To reply to the fourteen difficult questions would be to commit a fault. If you ask what type is the size or the physique of a son of a barren woman and an eunuch, that would not deserve an answer, for such a son does not exist.

Yes, they are your children. Anātman is something like an ultimate realization, but we still have our relative lives and the relationships within our relative life. There is no need to relate to ourselves or others any differently than we normally would, apart from trying to be kind and compassionate.

Anātman is something to experientially realize, and when/if you have that realization you will know the real meaning and understand the implications of that in relation to your life. But until then just live your life as you normally would. There is no need to talk differently, no need to dress differently, no need to alter anything external. Enjoy your relationships, and allow yourself to have your usual personality and so on.

Don't utilize your likes and dislikes to determine who to pay attention to, as your preferences are rooted in lust, aversion, and confusion.

This is nonsense. People have karmic connections to certain teachings, and will obviously be attracted to those teachings. There is no other measure for a teaching aspirants will align with. If you have the karma for Mahāyāna then you’ll end up there. Vajrayāna, Theravada, all the same.

You are a śravāka fundamentalist so you have ulterior motives at all times, but it isn’t up to you despite any efforts on your part.

The work is to witness how your mind reacts to this. Whether you do a drug or not doesn’t matter in the end because it’s all within our consciousness and “you” aren’t “the one who does drugs”. Being high just “happened”. You are behind it all, friend.

You are behind it all, friend.

A non-Buddhist view, but okay.

8 points·5 months ago·edited 5 months ago

Rather teachers from Tibetan tradition say that there is too much risk of ending up in heavenly realms so It's rather a waste of time. Is this true?

Samādhi is also cultivated in Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna.

Tibetan traditions just warn about cultivating stillness [gnas pa] in the context of śamatha. If there is an overemphasis on stillness at the expense of movement [gyu ba] and knowing [shes pa], then you can err into formless absorptions [arūpayadhyāna]. Fixation on formless absorption is what Tibetan traditions attempt to avoid. Śamatha should be evenly balanced, stillness-movement-knowing all balanced, and then vipaśyāna will arise.

Also, the dhyānas [jhanas] are important in Tibetan traditions. My teacher has said that there are a lot of Tibetan expositions on cultivating jhana but they just haven’t been translated yet because other topics have taken precedence.

I think it can be both. I practice Zen which seems to believe in sudden enlightenment called Satori which is temporary. A Zen master once said “it may take you 3 seconds it may take you thirty years, I mean that”.

Satori is the beginning of the zen path.

Tibetan Buddhist2 points·5 months ago


What is the Dzogchen/Tibetan Buddhist position on this? As I understand it, Tibetan Zen is sudden, Gelus is gradual all the way through.

5 points·5 months ago·edited 5 months ago

In every Buddhist system the process of attaining liberation involves a series of sudden epiphanies accompanied by instances of equipoise involving yogapratyaksa, or a yogic direct perception of the nature of phenomena, which in the beginning are short, but gradually increase in duration with integration and stability, until that equipoise is eventually unbroken at the time of buddhahood. As such there is a series of sudden instances of awakening that gradually increase in duration until one no longer regresses from that awakened state. This is how it is both sudden and gradual at the same time.

This is true for Śravākayāna, Mahāyāna, including zen/chan, and Vajrayāna, including Dzogchen.

Also, full buddhahood is possible in one single instant, for those with little dust on their mirror from previous lives of practice. However it is said such beings are more rare than stars in the daytime.

A lot of Westerners turn towards Buddhism after being raised in a theistic environment because it is considered to be a rational spiritual path. People are still unpacking a lot of trauma and bias. It’s easy to react to ones religious trauma by picking a new religion that seems to fit ones ideas better and then use that new religion to slam the old one.

12 points·5 months ago·edited 5 months ago

A lot of Westerners turn towards Buddhism after being raised in a theistic environment because it is considered to be a rational spiritual path. People are still unpacking a lot of trauma and bias. It’s easy to react to ones religious trauma by picking a new religion that seems to fit ones ideas better and then use that new religion to slam the old one.

This really portrays those who criticize or critique monotheism as extremely superficial and petty. Which is not an accurate depiction. There are deep and influential issues at play, and troubling histories and patterns. To dismiss all of that and pretend as of naysayers are engaging in mere knee-jerk, immature rebellion of prior religious alignments is absurd.

Even in playing devil’s advocate, if there indeed was a percentage of people who did fall under that category of railing against childhood religion, there are many outspoken critics who are exempt due to being born and raised Buddhist, etc. Some in this very thread.

You’re going to have to try harder than that.


2 points · 4 months ago

Consciousness is indeed like a magical illusion

All dharmas are taught to be illusory.

but phenomena appear nonetheless, and in that sense they are real - as appearances. Not because they have some concrete existence, or that they arise from some underlying reality, and certainly not because they are perceived by any separate existing entity. Yet still, appearances appear. Do you deny that?

This is why illusion is used to illustrate the nature of phenomena. Because illusions appear, but are not real [vāstu].

If one regards these as unreal ("there is not what is given...") right off the bat, there's no point in virtue, wisdom or concentration.

If causality in buddhadharma is understood correctly, then there is no contradiction between illusion and the grasping to illusion through ignorance that involves karmic consequences.

2 points · 4 months ago

I’m just saying even the Pāli suttas state that phenomena are like magical illusion. No Buddhist teachings state that things are truly real. Or even real provisionally.

2 points · 4 months ago

If your ultimate goal is to reduce suffering (which is the ultimate goal of Buddhism), then the best practice is to live as though external phenomena are real.

How do you square this with Buddhist instructions to view all external phenomena as illusory, even inferentially? The answer is, you can’t.

7 points · 4 months ago

One thing you cannot deny is that your own experience is real (well, you can deny it, but that denial would be real as an experience) - And your own suffering is real.

Even the Pāli suttas deny the reality of such things. Telling people these things are “real” is adharma.

7 points · 5 months ago

Essentially, what I mean to say is that there should be a push towards daily practice and away from scholarly discussions

Scholarly discussion is part of daily practice.

23 points · 5 months ago

There are six lōkas, meaning realms or destinations, in samsara. The narāka or “hell” realm is one of them.

Somewhat different than the Christian hell though. Buddhist hell is not actually a literal place, it appears like a literal place to those who experience it, but it is something like an extremely long and negative mental state which involves the projection of a hell environment.

I think of the monks in the local monasteries of my area, and know that if they saw the speech many people were spreading here, they would say they were not following the Buddha's teachings.

Doctrinal polemics in Buddhism have historically been much more vicious. Look at Vasubandhu’s criticisms of monotheism and ātmavāda in general. Calling them “stupid ignorant” people. And laughing at people worshipping a blood thirsty monotheist deity.

Our criticisms and critiques have been pretty tame in comparison.

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And people really belive this? That you're tortured for sextillions of years with enough bad karma? For me, this just casts doubt on Buddhist cosmology as a whole if the Buddha actually taught this.

There are six lōkas, meaning realms or destinations, in samsara. The narāka or “hell” realm is one of them.

Somewhat different than the Christian hell though. Buddhist hell is not actually a literal place, it appears like a literal place to those who experience it, but it is something like an extremely long and negative mental state which involves the projection of a hell environment.

Buddhist hell is not actually a literal place, it appears like a literal place to those who experience it

Correct me if I’m wrong, but you would say this exact same thing about the human realm we’re experiencing now, wouldn’t you, or about the animal realm my dog experiences?

That is, Buddhist hell is no more or less literal than these other ones?

2 points·5 months ago·edited 5 months ago

Correct me if I’m wrong, but you would say this exact same thing about the human realm we’re experiencing now

Conventionally it is accepted that you are a separate and distinct individuals in the human realm. In the hell realm it is just you and the hell guardians (who are likewise unreal, even conventionally), there are no other actual sentient beings. Only wailing and screaming is heard which makes it seem like there are other sentient beings present.

4 points·5 months ago·edited 5 months ago

when i first heard about tantra, i thought sex was only one aspect of it. i’ve tried to do more research and find books about it, but i can only find information about tantric sex.

I would just look up “Vajrayāna.”

The term “tantra” which is apparently a 20th century anachronism as it is, has been broadly co-opted by many new age spiritual fads, with an overemphasis on sex. Sure, the term is used to refer to Vajrayāna in some legitimate settings, and traditionally refers to a classification of texts, medical and esoteric, but overall in researching “tantra” you’re going to find a lot of nonsense. Therefore, just research Vajrayāna.

Essentially, what I mean to say is that there should be a push towards daily practice and away from scholarly discussions

Scholarly discussion is part of daily practice.


2 points · 5 months ago

If there is no self, then what is "it" what gets stuck in the cycle of samsara?

The mindstream. 

krodha commented on

4 points · 5 months ago

of the language, Buddhist teaching is of madhyama, which necessarily means that it is neither theist or atheist.

While true, this is still arguable as to whether madhyama would disqualify Buddhism from being classified as atheist. The middle way, despite the optics, does involve a strong theme of non-affirming negation when it comes to the ultimate truth of all phenomena. As such we can say there are attributes of Buddhism which appear to contradict atheism on the level of conventional truth, but conventional truth is also held to be ultimately unestablished. Madhyama carries certain implications, but wholesale indeterminacy regarding atheism/theism does not really apply.

Buddhadharma is held to be atheist because dependent origination forbids a creator deity, which means there is no creator god. No divine providence. No higher power. Instead these teachings cover how the mind becomes afflicted and how it can be cured of affliction. Sure, conventionally there are aspects taken on inference and testimony, such as karma, rebirth, other unseen sentient beings, but these are also just aspects of dependent origination. Arguably the consequence of dependent origination.

I find this to be an interesting and multi-faceted topic. Buddhism can be a religion, of course, but still it is an atheist dharma, and that is okay. Despite being an atheist dharma we as Buddhists can still have a rich menagerie of religious aspects on the level of convention. It does not need to be black or white in that regard. And I would argue that is the real means by which madhyama is upheld.

3 points · 5 months ago

The mind is expressed as consciousness, and appears as a self when you are afflicted by ignorance. When you are free of ignorance, you are free of selfhood, and the mind is expressed as gnosis.

16 points · 5 months ago

If this is true then nothing would ever arise at all.

In actuality, there is nothing that has ever arisen. We dwell in samsara because we fail to recognize that.

13 points · 5 months ago · edited 5 months ago

It means realizing emptiness and seeing that objects are illusory.

The Jñānaguhyatantra:

If one knows that everything is like an illusion, a dream, lightening, or a cloud, one wil be liberated.

The Eight Examples of Illusion [sgyu ma'i dpe brgyad] actually illustrate a lack of self in objects perfectly:

(i) Dream: like a dream, objects perceived with the five senses are not there, but they appear through delusion.

(ii) Magical illusion: like a magic illusion, things are made to appear due to the temporary coming together of causes and conditions.

(iii) Hallucination or trompe-l'oeil: like a hallucination, things appear, yet there is nothing there.

(iv) Mirage: like a mirage, things appear, but they are not real.

(v) Echo: like an echo, things can be perceived, but there is nothing there, either inside or outside.

(vi) City of gandharvas [etherial spirits]: like a city of gandharvas, there is neither a dwelling nor anyone to dwell.

(vii) Reflection: like a reflection, things appear, but have no reality of their own.

(viii) Apparition: like an apparition, there are different types of appearances, but they are not really there.

5 points · 5 months ago

And I laughed as I mused at what I am going to say to a therapist about this issue. So I didn't go, but OP could hopefully phrase it better than I can below. 'Looking at butts makes my willy feel nice?'

A healthy sexual appetite is normal. What the therapist will help with is trying to identify the root of the addiction. If OP truly suffers from a diagnosable addiction, then the addiction is a symptom of something deeper going on.

4 points · 5 months ago

Addicted. Once I get an urge it feels near impossible to control myself.

Well Buddhism is of course great in many ways and I’m sure it can help you, but have you considered therapy? Or some sort of clinical help such as rehabilitation?

5 points · 5 months ago

You’re actually addicted? Or you’re just very interested in sex and have a high sex drive? Because those are two different things, and sometimes the term “addicted” is used liberally to describe a keen and enthusiastic interest.

Imperative to be clear on this distinction because that clarity will set the stage for two different conversations.

3 points · 5 months ago · edited 5 months ago

I’m not saying anything about the luminosity of the mind, but to believe there is a mind to be free from birth and death is a belief in self.

The mindstream is not a self, it is an aggregated and causal rosary of discrete instances of cognition. Each instance acting as cause and effect of the antecedent and ensuing moments. Delusion occurs when that conventional continuum is mistaken to be a self via the afflictive processes of serial dependent origination. But there is no self nor anything that resembles a self in actuality. We only experience a self because of ignorance [avidyā].

Despite being a conventionally discrete continuum, the mindstream is not an entity, not an identity, and does not produce any entity or identity. Entityhood and identity are byproducts of ignorance [avidyā]. When that ignorance is present, the mind is expressed as vijñāna, when that ignorance is removed, the mind is expressed in its natural state as jñāna.

Regarding the absence of a self in the proliferation of causal conditions related to the skandhas, the Pratītyadsamutpādakarika states:

Empty (insubstantial and essenceless) dharmas (phenomena) are entirely produced from dharmas strictly empty; dharmas without a self and [not] of a self. Words, butter lamps, mirrors, seals, fire crystals, seeds, sourness and echoes. Although the aggregates are serially connected, the wise are to comprehend nothing has transferred.

There is no self involved in any of these processes at any time.

There is no “You” apart from perceptions and the skandhas

Indeed. There is no you apart from the I-making and mine-making that is imputed onto the skandhas, āyatanas and dhātus.

There is no intrinsic, luminous mind which appears to be your belief.

Correct. The luminosity of mind is completely illusory and unreal, yet despite that fact, it appears to awakened āryas and tathāgatas and is described in all Buddhist teachings.

It’s also incredibly, incredibly dishonest to claim this is a Theravadin view. Outright lying.

It is 100% a Theravadin view. Theravada speaks explicitly and clearly about the mind’s luminosity, gnosis, consciousness without surface and the deathless [amaraṇīya] nature that is known to the awakened. To state that these are not integral themes found all throughout Theravadin literature is egregious and completely misrepresents the Pāli Canon.

3 points · 5 months ago

I guess my question is this: can those who are trapped in the Bardo truly visit anywhere, even if it is in our dreams?

Yes, it is possible.

32 points · 5 months ago · edited 5 months ago

Hard stance “pro-life” is a Christian thing.

While we can acknowledge the issues with abortion, we as Buddhists should never be hardline pro-life in the sense of campaigning to prevent and outlaw abortion. Other people’s choices are their own. If it is the fetuses’ karma to be aborted, then it will be aborted.

5 points · 5 months ago

Anatta only means there is no established, underlying, subjective knower of phenomena. No seer of sights, no hearer of sounds, no feeler of tactile sensation, no taster of tastes, no thinker of thought, and so on. The apparent internal reference point that we take to be a knower is a false construct of dependently originated afflictive conditions. The same goes for objects, but the lack of essence in objects is really only emphasized in certain systems.

The Bodhisattvayogacaryācatuḥśatakaṭikā defines anātman:

Ātman is an essence of things that does not depend on others; it is an intrinsic nature. The non-existence of that, is selflessness [anātman].

4 points · 5 months ago

Meditation is generally best with all the sense doors open, including the eyes.

3 points · 5 months ago

In many Buddhist systems the senses are not blocked off at all and one would want to avoid noise cancelling headphones.

12 points · 5 months ago

Lust does not disappear until the higher bhūmis, meaning you have to be quite realized and essentially close to buddhahood.

3 points · 5 months ago

Gandhārva is just a name for the series of skandhas in the intermediate state between lives.

7 points · 5 months ago

I just skimmed the essay which someone else linked above and it seems like when the embryo is considered a sentient being is not at the moment of conception, but later on.

In Mahāyāna abhidharma the sentient being forms at the moment of conception because the consciousness decends into the womb at that moment.

9 points · 5 months ago · edited 5 months ago

Those are not sentient beings according to Buddhism

The source says they are sentient beings. Sentient beinghood begins at the moment of conception in Buddhist teachings, the fact that science allows conception to occur outside the womb in this scenario does not negate that conception occurs.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding how IFV works though. After reading u/animuseternal’s post, conception could feasibly occur when the embryo is implanted but generally a fetus only develops because consciousness has decended into it, so not sure what to make of it.

krodha commented on