André A. Pais wrote:
"Ocean" is a reification of mere "flowing water", fabricating the notion that there is some unified, central or over-ruling entity called Ocean that is manifesting and aware of all the waves.
When we view Awareness like that and then identify with it, we are merely subscribing to the greatest form of narcisism and self-grasping.

All there is is flowing water, or streams of luminous existence, devoid of any central commanding force or even source.
Katie wrote:

hmmm... is this a truth you have "experienced" or simply another "idea"? =) Only if you've been to the source can you truly know what's there and what if anything is commanding or aware .... but I think the fundamental premise (or at least starting point) of any Zen thought is simply knowing that we don't know - open, empty mind.

Andre replied:

I’ve experienced it, yes, fleetingly, though repeatedly.

Besides, as a test if truth, experience is over-rated, imo. Experience is itself highly plastic,
reflecting whatever view we impose on it, consciously or not. I’d say logic is far more bullet￾proof, unless we are willing to settle for illogical views. But, in such case, we are in for a
philosophical freak show. Logic is what separates non-sense from right view – and right view is
arguably the most fundamental element of the Noble 8Fold Path.

Concerning the source you mentioned, I disagree in two ways. First, the idea itself of a source
is highly problematic. What would be the source of such a source? If existence were to have a
source, it would necessarily have to be non-existence – since existence cannot be the source of
itself. But what sense would that make? Moreover, with his “causation tetralemma” (MMK
1:1), Nagarjuna has shown that things cannot arise from themselves or from others. Thus, a
source could never truly give rise to anything in any essential way.

Second, we don’t have to go to the source of things to know its nature. Like I said, we have
logic and reasoning. Moreover, we have direct experience. By drinking one spoon of sea water
I get the taste of the whole ocean. By seeing that the things I experience are devoid of a
source, I realize the sourceless nature of everything.

Imagine we turn on the light. Where is the light coming from? Is it from the switch? The wires?
The electricity? Is it in my eyes? My mind? We realize that the light we see depends on many
factors, being, by itself, unestablished. My mind alone is insufficient for the experience of light
to arise. Electricity alone is not enough either. If any of these conditions is not present, the
experience of light does not arise. Even when all the conditions are present, light arises only
dependently, but, as a truly existing phenomenon, it is non-arisen.

The same with the perfume of a flower. Is it the air? The flower (and what part of it)? The
nose? The mind? It is nothing specific, but arises as an experience when a global network of
conditions interacts in a certain way.

It is like the top card of a house of cards. It is the top card because of the presence of all the
other cards. Besides, what constitutes the “top card” is established only conventionally and
according to certain perspectives. By itself, without the proper context, it is not the top card.
Light and perfume by themselves are not anything specific. They only arise as interpretations
of other things. Perfume is our mind’s interpretation. The air interprets the “perfume” as
something else. A different olfactive instrument could perceive said perfume as “stinky”. Light
is our mind’s interpretation. For space it is mere travelling particles.

So we see that the things we experience are devoid of “a” source; they are the product of
myriad things – the whole interdependent universe, in fact. By tasting the sourceless nature of
our experience, we intuit the sourceless nature of reality itself. By adding logical reasoning into
this view, we start building a robust foundation to our understanding.

For me, the beginner’s mind (don’t know mind) proposed by Zen is a pedagogical step, but
incomplete in itself. It may be a way to start loosening our tight dualistic and essentialist views,
but mere open-mindedness does not suffice. There are always subconscious mental
predispositions operating, so they have to be deconstructed from the inside – concepts
deconstructing other concepts, deeper and deeper.

Zen, being a Mahayana sub-school, inherits the Madhyamaka lineage of reasoning, very much
in line with the Prajnaparamita sutras (two of them very much respect in Zen – the Heart Sutra
and the Diamond Sutra). The Heart Sutra very clearly states the emptiness of all things. No
eyes, no ears, no nose... Why? Because they have no real source. Why? Because existence
itself has no real source at all. All there is, is beginningless dependent origination.

So, as I see it, the right view (of emptiness and dependent origination) should be established
first, as a way to guide all subsequent practices – both of method, by fortifying the other 5
perfections; and of wisdom, by setting the bar to the meditative practices that will culminate
in the direct perception of emptiness.

This is already a rather long reply, but if you have the stamina, check this link:é-a-pais/intrinsic-intelligence/10155755255580225/?ref=bookmarks

Greetings, my dear Katie!

John Tan
John Tan Hi André, nice insight into anatta.

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· Reply · 12 hrs
John Tan
John Tan Hi Andre, by “non-arisen” u mean “anutpada”?:

“Even when all the conditions are present, light arises only
dependently, but, as a truly existing phenomenon, it is non-arisen.”

I think what u meant is:

“Even when all the conditions are present, light arises only
dependently, but NOT as a truly existing phenomenon, it is non-arisen.”

What dependently originates is non-arisen. Truly existing light does not exist both ultimately and conventionally.

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· Reply ·
· 7 hrs · Edited
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu I think Andre means that there is only dependent arising, there is no arising whatsoever of some kind of independent or truly existing phenomena, that is to say phenomena do not arise in an inherent or independent manner. Can you clarify André A. Pais?

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· Reply ·
· 11 hrs · Edited
André A. Pais
André A. Pais Yes, Soh. Exactly that. Conventionally, things arise due to conditions. Thus, ultimately (as inherently existing) they dont actually arise at all.

After all, arising and ceasing is what dependent arisings do. Essences, due to existing by their own power, do not arise nor cease.

I think John 's objection was just a misunderstanding due to the construction of my sentence. His re-statement, as I understand it, is saying exactly the same thing.

Although I realize the issue lies probably at my use of the word BUT. I should've said BECAUSE.

But the point is the same: light arises dependently; as a truly existent it does not arise at all, because there is NO truly existent light.

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· Reply ·
· 3 hrs
John Tan
John Tan Ic André, thks for clarification.
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