In tattoo culture, neck and hand tattoos are usually reserved for when you’ve run out of real estate elsewhere.
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.
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]."
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.
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:
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.”
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.
In a sense, yes. Because beings can influence each other’s perceptions. As such, it is like a collective delusion in some ways.
The eightfold path proper is the śravāka path. Mahāyāna has the six pāramitās, and Vajrayāna has the two stages. They are all somewhat similar.
Can it work similarly in Dzogchen?
Yes the Dzogchen process is essentially the same, with some minor notable differences.
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.
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.