I don't get Buddhism (2)

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Re: I don't get Buddhism (2)

Postby gib » Sun Jun 21, 2020 12:55 am

Dan~ wrote:
and believe only that reality is a projection of our experiences (idealism 101).


The mind is living multi dimensional energy.

Reality is a kind of multi dimensional energy also.

The mind and the world are different configurations of the same basis.


I would think so. Go monism!

Although I've never been a fan of the "energy" picture of mind. Energy as a metaphor, sure, but at best, it's a hippie's best attempt to reduce consciousness to physics.

I think mind is meaning (or information) and so is all of reality--meaning that carries being within it; it tells you something; it tells you what it is, and consequently projects as existence.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism (2)

Postby Chakra Superstar » Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:02 pm

gib wrote:.... The window-to-reality model pictures consciousness as a featureless window through which reality simply passes through unvarnished--essentially, naive realism--whereas the system-of-experiences model pictures consciousness as a collection of experiences (or qualia) working together as a system--your stained glass window being an excellent example--the idea being that regardless of what lies beyond it in any kind of "real world", the system of experiences we are having project reality for us. In one model, reality comes into consciousness. In the other, reality comes out of consciousness.

I've effectively rejected the window-to-reality model of conscious and believe only that reality is a projection of our experiences (idealism 101). Maybe this is why I have so much trouble understanding the light of consciousness.


Mmmm… I think I may have confused you? The stained-glass metaphor was solely to do with the clarity of the mind: it’s ‘stained’ by beliefs (including non-duality beliefs) or it’s clear in its open, naked innocence. Forget about the mind for the moment and ponder this:

When talking about consciousness, there are two main models: The Universe-First and the Consciousness-First models.

The Universe-First model (materialism) says: In the beginning, there was nothing and from that nothing, something appeared (Big Bang universe) then, from that something (aka matter), consciousness appeared. In other words, consciousness comes from matter.

The Consciousness-First model (non-duality) also says: In the beginning there was Nothing (No-thing/the Absolute/Para Brahman) but what came from the Absolute Nothingness was the relative somethingness: aka Consciousness -- which in turn gave birth to (or dreamed up) the dream world we appear to exist in.

In other words, matter -- and everything else in this dream/virtual reality -- is created by Consciousness somewhat similar to how consciousness (little ‘c’) seemingly creates the dreams we have every night.

But these bodies feel real and they feel conscious, right? Yes, but when you’re dreaming at night, your dream body feels real and your dream body feels conscious, but is it? Do the imagined, non-existent dream characters have their own individual consciousness, or does it all come from the one, single source – the dreamer’s consciousness?

This is the Advaita/non-dual Conscious-First model. It states that every 'thing' comes from Consciousness ("non-dual", "all is one"). There's just one source that flows through all the universes whether they be material, energetic or spiritual universes.

“The world is illusion. Brahman alone Is. The world is Brahman.” -- Shankaracharya


(to be continued....)
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Re: I don't get Buddhism (2)

Postby gib » Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:19 am

Chakra Superstar wrote:Mmmm… I think I may have confused you? The stained-glass metaphor was solely to do with the clarity of the mind: it’s ‘stained’ by beliefs (including non-duality beliefs) or it’s clear in its open, naked innocence.


I get it. It just reminded me of my theories of mind. I would describe the stain glass window metaphor as a mix of the window model and the system model. The window model aspect is maintained in the fact that light from the outside still gets through but it has the aspect of the system model in that part of what's getting through (the color) isn't from the outside but artificially added as it passes through. The system model of consciousness takes the artificial aspect and runs all the way with it, saying it's all artificial, that there is no light coming from the outside, that it's all stain glass generating its own light (so more like a television screen than a stain glass).

Actually, I normally wouldn't use the term 'artificial'. I don't actually believe the system model of consciousness generates a 'fake' reality. The light is still real. It's just coming from within, not without. It's more a theory of what consciousness is rather than what reality is.

This is one of the reasons why I'm so curious to know what the experience of enlightenment is like. I want to know if I'd be able to chock it up to just another experience--a very special and unique experience, but not something undeniably more than experience. If so, it could be considered just another system of experiences projecting itself as reality. It would still be a very special experience and perhaps the one we're all seeking. Maybe enlightenment is not so much a "waking up" but a "finding". A finding of that special state of consciousness that finally satisfies our deepest spiritual longings and brings to rest our perpetual psychological struggle with ourselves and the yearning for happiness. After all, we always feel like we know reality now, that we've "woken up" to the truth compared to the ignorance and naivety we used to live in when we were younger. If only I knew then what I know now, we say. Isn't this just the way consciousness is? Doesn't consciousness always project its beliefs and ways of experiencing the world now as raw reality? If the experience of becoming enlightened is like waking from a dream, wouldn't the same be true of the enlightened state we enter into? Wouldn't we say, like we'd say of any other mental state we enter into, now I see reality for what it is? And we might feel that we have arrived at the final resting spot on our journey simply because we are satisfied with where we are, and wish to stay here, and wish to show others the way.

It would still be a wholy worthwhile state to strive for, and not necessarily illusory (if you take my concept of consciousness generating its own light seriously). It would also explain a great deal of cases of seemingly spontaneous enlightenment, or cases of individuals who seem naturally enlightened all the time.

Chakra Superstar wrote:The Universe-First model (materialism) says: In the beginning, there was nothing and from that nothing, something appeared (Big Bang universe) then, from that something (aka matter), consciousness appeared. In other words, consciousness comes from matter.

The Consciousness-First model (non-duality) also says: In the beginning there was Nothing (No-thing/the Absolute/Para Brahman) but what came from the Absolute Nothingness was the relative somethingness: aka Consciousness -- which in turn gave birth to (or dreamed up) the dream world we appear to exist in.

In other words, matter -- and everything else in this dream/virtual reality -- is created by Consciousness somewhat similar to how consciousness (little ‘c’) seemingly creates the dreams we have every night.


Yeah, the consciousness-first view is very much like my system-of-experiences view. In fact, as a panpsychic and idealist, I don't believe there was ever a time when there wasn't consciousness (though there was a time when there was no matter, no physicality). The Eastern idea of "nothingness" or "emptiness" has always entrigued me. It contrasts, from what I understand, with the Western idea of nothingness/emptiness in that it tries to say it's really somethingness but a somethingness that can't be thought of as something. It's like it's not something but not nothing either--it's something inconceivable, something that falls outside all intelligible categories. (which seems like cheating to me).

And you call the something that came out of the Absolute Nothingness relative somethingness. What does 'relative' mean? It is only something relative to the Absolute Nothing?

Chakra Superstar wrote:But these bodies feel real and they feel conscious, right? Yes, but when you’re dreaming at night, your dream body feels real and your dream body feels conscious, but is it? Do the imagined, non-existent dream characters have their own individual consciousness, or does it all come from the one, single source – the dreamer’s consciousness?

This is the Advaita/non-dual Conscious-First model. It states that every 'thing' comes from Consciousness ("non-dual", "all is one"). There's just one source that flows through all the universes whether they be material, energetic or spiritual universes.


I can agree with the "one source" idea, but I've always had a problem with the all-is-illusion idea just because it's projected by consciousness. I think consciousness gives reality to things. Which means you could say things are invented, but invention isn't always synonymous with fake. We regard the dream world as fake only in relation to the real world we wake up to. It's fake only because our consciousness isn't projecting it anymore. But at the time, it could be regarded as real. This jars our ordinary way of thinking about things because it forces us to conceptualize the waking world and the dream world as both real at the same time, but without an adequate concept of "reality" that can accommodate both. This is why I'm a relativist. I find that relativism, with careful use of language, sorts out all the confusion and contradiction. We don't have to say the dream world is real and the waking world is real at the same time, but that relative to what I'm experiencing now, the dream I had last night is fake and the world I see around me now is real. But at the time, the dream world was real for me, and the waking world was, well, it was non-existent for all intents and purposes. And I think absolute reality is fundamentally relative (ironic choice of wording, I realize). That is, there is no such thing as "the" truth--only truth according to someone, or some source, or at the end of the day, experience. This doesn't make truth any less real than Einstein's relativism makes motion unreal. The idea that relativism implies unreality is a misconception. The whole point of relativism is to offer an alternative to saying: this is real but that is not. It is to say: the reality of this or that depends on something (a person, a standard, a frame of reference). But at the end of the day, something has to be real--for me and my theories, it just depends on experience.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism (2)

Postby Ecmandu » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:15 pm

The funniest thing about the Buddha was that he was a hypocrite.

“Non-clinging”, “non-attachment”. Right?

But then he clung and was attached enough to teach the ‘dharma’, and he stated that we NEED! (clinging and attachment) to follow the dharma to break free from suffering, even though we’re attached to the dharma.

The short of it? Buddhism is stupid.

Another thing I hate about Buddhism is that enlightenment is unexplainable...

Actually, every being in existence can understand it:

Zero sum realities are hell reams. You are awake when you understand this. That’s all being awake is. Anyone can have this insight.

The Buddha fucked up. Life moves on.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism (2)

Postby Chakra Superstar » Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:19 pm

gib wrote:Yeah, the consciousness-first view is very much like my system-of-experiences view. In fact, as a panpsychic and idealist, I don't believe there was ever a time when there wasn't consciousness (though there was a time when there was no matter, no physicality). The Eastern idea of "nothingness" or "emptiness" has always entrigued me. It contrasts, from what I understand, with the Western idea of nothingness/emptiness in that it tries to say it's really somethingness but a somethingness that can't be thought of as something. It's like it's not something but not nothing either--it's something inconceivable, something that falls outside all intelligible categories. (which seems like cheating to me).

And you call the something that came out of the Absolute Nothingness relative somethingness. What does 'relative' mean? It is only something relative to the Absolute Nothing?


Re relativity:
We often use words like 'Awareness' and 'Consciousness' as synonyms but when talking about the big picture, we need to be a bit more accurate.

Awareness is Absolute. Awareness is pure; there’s nothing but Awareness. Consciousness is relative. When you’re conscious, you’re conscious of something, so consciousness is relative to that which it is conscious of. So we should use the term 'Awareness' when it's pure (God) and 'Consciousness' when it's in relation to something (God's dream).

From pure Awareness comes Consciousness and from Consciousness comes the dreamtime (time/space) and the 10,000 things.

Re Nothingness:
This world is back-to-front, upside-down and inside-out. Virtually everything we hold to be true in this bizarre world is false and vice versa.

The Western concept of 'nothingness' (little ‘n’) is an abstraction. It’s an empty placeholder that exists in duality but as a space yet to be filled.

In Eastern philosophy 'Nothingness' -- or No-Thingness -- is everything, and everything is nothing. Nothingness is pregnant and bursting with potential. Nothingness is that from which everything arises. Nothingness was before time; it gave birth to time but it, itself, is timeless.

Nothingness appears black, deep and void but both consciousness and light are invisible until they strike something that reflects them. In Nothingness, there are no manifestations, no ‘things’ to reflect off so we don't see things nor do we perceive the effects of Consciousness if it were possible to do so.

"The Tao is an empty vessel; it is used, but never filled.
Oh, unfathomable source of ten thousand things!"

"Oh, hidden deep but ever present!
I do not know from whence it comes.
It is the forefather of the Gods."

"This appears as darkness - darkness within darkness -- the gate to all mystery"
-- The Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu (6th-century BC sage)


Anyway, I'll stop here because I began to ramble and drift all over the place; ironically, Nothing can get pretty deep. Think about black holes... think about the creation of the universe coming from nothing. In essence, according to the Advaita-based philosophies, Nothingness (Para Brahman) is that which gave birth to Awareness/Consciousness (Brahman) and, in turn, gave birth to the universe and the 10,000 things.





Note: 'nothingness' or 'emptiness' as it relates to Enlightenment, is something different. It’s about emptying, detaching from, or not identifying with, the content of Consciousness (thoughts, emotions, beliefs) but identifying with Consciousness itself -- i.e. who You are. Again, the background (Consciousness) is what's Real; the constantly changing thoughts, emotions and beliefs we hold in the foreground of our consciousness are not Real.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism (2)

Postby gib » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:03 pm

Chakra Superstar wrote:Re relativity:
We often use words like 'Awareness' and 'Consciousness' as synonyms but when talking about the big picture, we need to be a bit more accurate.

Awareness is Absolute. Awareness is pure; there’s nothing but Awareness. Consciousness is relative. When you’re conscious, you’re conscious of something, so consciousness is relative to that which it is conscious of. So we should use the term 'Awareness' when it's pure (God) and 'Consciousness' when it's in relation to something (God's dream).

Sure, let's go with that.

From pure Awareness comes Consciousness and from Consciousness comes the dreamtime (time/space) and the 10,000 things.

So the relativity of somethingness is inherited from the relativity of consciousness. Is that right?

Re Nothingness:
This world is back-to-front, upside-down and inside-out. Virtually everything we hold to be true in this bizarre world is false and vice versa.

Okaaay.

The Western concept of 'nothingness' (little ‘n’) is an abstraction. It’s an empty placeholder that exists in duality but as a space yet to be filled.

Yes, it would have to be an abstraction. When we say there is nothing in empty space, we mean there is literally a complete lack of anything filling the emptiness. Nothingness as a concept, therefore, would have to be purely an abstraction. Turns out we're wrong, however--quantum mechanics tells us that the void of space is teaming with virtual particles, energy waves, a frothing quantum foam, and even that space itself is more substance than space, but we regard this as an invisible something rather than change our concept of nothing to be closer to "something".

Still, wouldn't you say even the Eastern idea of nothingness is an abstraction (though maybe not purely)?


In Eastern philosophy 'Nothingness' -- or No-Thingness -- is everything, and everything is nothing. Nothingness is pregnant and bursting with potential. Nothingness is that from which everything arises. Nothingness was before time; it gave birth to time but it, itself, is timeless.

Nothingness appears black, deep and void but both consciousness and light are invisible until they strike something that reflects them. In Nothingness, there are no manifestations, no ‘things’ to reflect off so we don't see things nor do we perceive the effects of Consciousness if it were possible to do so.

Way over my head, but it sounds like the something that isn't a something. And it sounds like quantum physics gets us closer to the Easter idea of nothingness than classical physics.

"The Tao is an empty vessel; it is used, but never filled.
Oh, unfathomable source of ten thousand things!"

"Oh, hidden deep but ever present!
I do not know from whence it comes.
It is the forefather of the Gods."

"This appears as darkness - darkness within darkness -- the gate to all mystery"
-- The Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu (6th-century BC sage)

Anyway, I'll stop here because I began to ramble and drift all over the place; ironically, Nothing can get pretty deep. Think about black holes... think about the creation of the universe coming from nothing. In essence, according to the Advaita-based philosophies, Nothingness (Para Brahman) is that which gave birth to Awareness/Consciousness (Brahman) and, in turn, gave birth to the universe and the 10,000 things.





Note: 'nothingness' or 'emptiness' as it relates to Enlightenment, is something different. It’s about emptying, detaching from, or not identifying with, the content of Consciousness (thoughts, emotions, beliefs) but identifying with Consciousness itself -- i.e. who You are. Again, the background (Consciousness) is what's Real; the constantly changing thoughts, emotions and beliefs we hold in the foreground of our consciousness are not Real.


Question for you, Chakra, and I'd appreciate your honesty: how much would you say you understand this stuff? I would say I don't understand it nearly as much as I potentially could. I mean, when I read these descriptions of nothingness, concepts are conjured up in my mind, but concepts are conjured up for almost anything that one attempts to explain, and that doesn't mean one understands. I can only reconcile the above by supposing that nothingness isn't really nothingness, though it doesn't seem to be somethingness as we traditionally understand it.

Does Eastern thought have a word that matches more the Western idea of nothingness--literally a lack of anything?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism (2)

Postby Ecmandu » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:18 pm

gib wrote:
Chakra Superstar wrote:Re relativity:
We often use words like 'Awareness' and 'Consciousness' as synonyms but when talking about the big picture, we need to be a bit more accurate.

Awareness is Absolute. Awareness is pure; there’s nothing but Awareness. Consciousness is relative. When you’re conscious, you’re conscious of something, so consciousness is relative to that which it is conscious of. So we should use the term 'Awareness' when it's pure (God) and 'Consciousness' when it's in relation to something (God's dream).

Sure, let's go with that.

From pure Awareness comes Consciousness and from Consciousness comes the dreamtime (time/space) and the 10,000 things.

So the relativity of somethingness is inherited from the relativity of consciousness. Is that right?

Re Nothingness:
This world is back-to-front, upside-down and inside-out. Virtually everything we hold to be true in this bizarre world is false and vice versa.

Okaaay.

The Western concept of 'nothingness' (little ‘n’) is an abstraction. It’s an empty placeholder that exists in duality but as a space yet to be filled.

Yes, it would have to be an abstraction. When we say there is nothing in empty space, we mean there is literally a complete lack of anything filling the emptiness. Nothingness as a concept, therefore, would have to be purely an abstraction. Turns out we're wrong, however--quantum mechanics tells us that the void of space is teaming with virtual particles, energy waves, a frothing quantum foam, and even that space itself is more substance than space, but we regard this as an invisible something rather than change our concept of nothing to be closer to "something".

Still, wouldn't you say even the Eastern idea of nothingness is an abstraction (though maybe not purely)?


In Eastern philosophy 'Nothingness' -- or No-Thingness -- is everything, and everything is nothing. Nothingness is pregnant and bursting with potential. Nothingness is that from which everything arises. Nothingness was before time; it gave birth to time but it, itself, is timeless.

Nothingness appears black, deep and void but both consciousness and light are invisible until they strike something that reflects them. In Nothingness, there are no manifestations, no ‘things’ to reflect off so we don't see things nor do we perceive the effects of Consciousness if it were possible to do so.

Way over my head, but it sounds like the something that isn't a something. And it sounds like quantum physics gets us closer to the Easter idea of nothingness than classical physics.

"The Tao is an empty vessel; it is used, but never filled.
Oh, unfathomable source of ten thousand things!"

"Oh, hidden deep but ever present!
I do not know from whence it comes.
It is the forefather of the Gods."

"This appears as darkness - darkness within darkness -- the gate to all mystery"
-- The Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu (6th-century BC sage)

Anyway, I'll stop here because I began to ramble and drift all over the place; ironically, Nothing can get pretty deep. Think about black holes... think about the creation of the universe coming from nothing. In essence, according to the Advaita-based philosophies, Nothingness (Para Brahman) is that which gave birth to Awareness/Consciousness (Brahman) and, in turn, gave birth to the universe and the 10,000 things.





Note: 'nothingness' or 'emptiness' as it relates to Enlightenment, is something different. It’s about emptying, detaching from, or not identifying with, the content of Consciousness (thoughts, emotions, beliefs) but identifying with Consciousness itself -- i.e. who You are. Again, the background (Consciousness) is what's Real; the constantly changing thoughts, emotions and beliefs we hold in the foreground of our consciousness are not Real.


Question for you, Chakra, and I'd appreciate your honesty: how much would you say you understand this stuff? I would say I don't understand it nearly as much as I potentially could. I mean, when I read these descriptions of nothingness, concepts are conjured up in my mind, but concepts are conjured up for almost anything that one attempts to explain, and that doesn't mean one understands. I can only reconcile the above by supposing that nothingness isn't really nothingness, though it doesn't seem to be somethingness as we traditionally understand it.

Does Eastern thought have a word that matches more the Western idea of nothingness--literally a lack of anything?


Actually, the precise word they use is “emptiness”, as in, you are a container that can always take something. This is also a biblical concept, “your cup over-runneth”

In Buddhism, the biblical concept is bad (cup over-running). In the biblical concept, Buddhism is bad (your cup always being empty)
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Re: I don't get Buddhism (2)

Postby Fixed Cross » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:30 pm

The Void, the no-thingness, exists in all serious cosmologies, from Zen to Kabbalah to Odinic Shamanism and more, as the origin of thing-ness.

I wrote 500 words or so on it but only confused the matter, as is natural with this concept.

I once was able to say it somewhat clearly, in kabbalistic terms.

Please.



Any case, it is the direct result of the impossibility for Nothing to exist. "Nothing does not exist". You always get those double ententres if you use the concept Nothing. Because it refers to... nothing.
So No-thingness is what exist directly as a result of the lack of power of Nothing to enforce itself.

It is not therewith a full fledged being, just an infinite potential.
The pure overflowing cup of infinity as I recently called it somewhere. I thought that was good.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism (2)

Postby gib » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:31 am

Fixed Cross wrote:The Void, the no-thingness, exists in all serious cosmologies, from Zen to Kabbalah to Odinic Shamanism and more, as the origin of thing-ness.


Of course. In order to explain thing-ness, you must start with that which came before thing-ness--no-thing-ness. Though it seems most ancient religions, and the surviving modern Eastern religions, have an easier go at this than we do in the West. Based on what I'd been reading here, and other sources I've read in the past, it almost seems it would have been self-evident to these ancient religions, and Eastern religions, that somethingness inevitably comes out of nothingness. It's a hard concept for Westerners to grasp because we think just the opposite. How many times have we heard on this board "you can't get something out of nothing," or "how can something just pop into existence out of nothing"? No doubt, the laws of conservation of mass and energy have a lot to do with this, as well as Newton's laws of motion: things just stay the way they are unless something forces them to change. Somethingness remains somethingness and nothingness remains nothingness. And you can see why: has anyone here actually seen something spontaneously pop out of a void? When you have emptiness, it seems to stay empty until something fills it. But by the same token, this is the crux that baffles the Western mind when it comes to the great questions of existence: how did we get something if it started with nothing?

Just as most ancient religions have this concept of no-thingness, they also almost always have a concept of chaos, and they seem to play the same role. We're usually persuaded by modern scientific thought to contrast existence with nothingness, but the ancients seem to contrast it with chaos. They didn't see the universe as a bunch of somethingness, but as order. And therefore, opposed to it, preceding it, was chaos. Whereas, for us, it seems like nothing can come out of nothingness, anything can come out of chaos--that's more or less part and parcel of chaos--and so is it any surprise that existence was thought to come out of chaos? And is chaos closer to the Eastern concept of nothingness/emptiness?

Fixed Cross wrote:Any case, it is the direct result of the impossibility for Nothing to exist. "Nothing does not exist". You always get those double ententres if you use the concept Nothing. Because it refers to... nothing.


It's easy to slip into thinking of nothingness as a thing because that is the nature of thought. To form a concept of something, anything, is to make it into an object in our minds, if even that which it represents is not a thing. I call this objectification, and it is inevitable if we are to think at all. It doesn't mean we have to trick ourselves into thinking abstract ideas are really literal objects--we can always remember that these are just abstractions--but the form they take in the mind can be deceiving and if we are not careful we will be persuaded that the objectification of our concepts is a real feature of the thing it represents.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism (2)

Postby Berkley Babes » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:23 pm

Because there is no getter
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Re: I don't get Buddhism (2)

Postby Chakra Superstar » Sun Jul 26, 2020 2:02 am

gib wrote:
Chakra Superstar wrote:We often use words like 'Awareness' and 'Consciousness' as synonyms but when talking about the big picture, we need to be a bit more accurate.

From pure Awareness comes Consciousness and from Consciousness comes the dreamtime (time/space) and the 10,000 things.

So the relativity of somethingness is inherited from the relativity of consciousness. Is that right?

Not sure what you mean by the 'relativity of somethingness’.

Awareness and Consciousness are different aspect of the same thing.
Awareness is just pure Awareness – nothing else. It appears as Consciousness when some ‘thing’ rises within pure Awareness.
When something appears, there’s something to be conscious of... there’s the perceived and the perceiver...there's duality.
Where there's Consciousness, there's duality; where there's duality, there's Consciousness.
When that which is perceived vanishes, the imagined perceiver (little 'you') vanishes and only pure Awareness remains.

This is all conceptual stuff so don’t take it too literally. These concepts are not to be believed as Truth; they’re meant to help release us from our current programmed beliefs, and in doing so, help us realize this for ourselves. After all, this is not about anything else, but our Selves. Ultimately, all this knowledge is not about the universe, Awareness, duality, the creation etc. It all about the "I". The universe is a giant mirror and what we're really seeing is our Selves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akE2Sgg8hI8

Hope that clarified what I meant, somewhat? Using language and metaphors often create their own complications. They often introduce hierarchy (space) and time which is problematic when talking about stuff like this.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism (2)

Postby Chakra Superstar » Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:54 am

gib wrote:Question for you, Chakra, and I'd appreciate your honesty: how much would you say you understand this stuff? I would say I don't understand it nearly as much as I potentially could. I mean, when I read these descriptions of nothingness, concepts are conjured up in my mind, but concepts are conjured up for almost anything that one attempts to explain, and that doesn't mean one understands. I can only reconcile the above by supposing that nothingness isn't really nothingness, though it doesn't seem to be somethingness as we traditionally understand it.

I’ve got a pretty good understanding of the overall philosophy if that's what you mean, after all, I spent decades traveling, living in spiritual communes and religious monasteries, sleeping on cold tiled temple floors and tents in winter, working my ass off for years, 7 days a week etc just to get access to books that weren’t available anywhere else. I even spent 3 years learning Sanskrit because a lot of stuff wasn’t in English and, of course, there was lots of meditation involved as well. People have no idea how lucky we are today to have all this knowledge a few clicks away in your own living room. It still blows me away.

Anyway, over time I managed to collate all the stuff and boiled it down enough to be able to understand where most teachers were coming from. The hard part is that many teachers/gurus/literature/translations use the same word for different things or different words for the same thing. It can get enormously confusing. Once I worked that out, I could largely grasp what most teachers were referring to.

Real understanding is understanding all of this is only second-hand conceptual knowledge. Real understanding comes from your own experience.

Somewhere down the track we have to decide if we want to be a cartographer or an adventurer. The cartographer is an expert on, and collector of, maps. The cartographer can tell you anything you need to know about maps while the explorer is happy to get a basic map with enough detail to start the journey and see for him/herself.

“The map is not the territory” as the saying goes. The map has rivers, but it doesn’t have a drop of water. It has mountains, but it is as flat as the sheet of paper it’s printed on. So while maps are useful tools, you won't ‘get’ Buddhism (or any experiential philosophy) by analyzing maps forever. Over-analysis is a trick of the ego. It allows the ego to remain in control while pretending to be interested in a practice that aims to negate the ego/identity. It also allows you to keep all the egoic attachments, beliefs, desires etc while pretending to be on a quest for Truth.

Ultimately, the journey is not about learning more, it's about unlearning the stuff that's blocking us. This info is only about getting you to the next stage and from there, you abandon what you learned and move into another realm further and further inward to your original Self.

This is what I understand. Detailed knowledge of every aspect of a religion or philosophy isn't necessary. Some of the most advanced people I've met have been very simple people, with a simple education and a huge heart. Don't let the intellect take you away from the heart. The heart is the entrance gate and that's not being mushy or poetic. The heart is the shortcut. It melts the ego and allows you to merge into everything around you.

I'm happy to talk about Nothing later on but just for the LOLs. We can't seriously believe we know what Nothing is but when has that stopped us? :)
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Re: I don't get Buddhism (2)

Postby gib » Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:14 pm

Chakra Superstar wrote:Not sure what you mean by the 'relativity of somethingness’.


This started with my questioning what you meant by "relative somethingness". I figured your latest post was answering this question. If somethingness is a projection of consciousness of that something, then it is something relative to that consciousness (you seem to be saying). And in turn, consciousness exists in relation to awareness, which in turn is absolute (right?).

Chakra Superstar wrote:Awareness and Consciousness are different aspect of the same thing.
Awareness is just pure Awareness – nothing else. It appears as Consciousness when some ‘thing’ rises within pure Awareness.
When something appears, there’s something to be conscious of... there’s the perceived and the perceiver...there's duality.
Where there's Consciousness, there's duality; where there's duality, there's Consciousness.
When that which is perceived vanishes, the imagined perceiver (little 'you') vanishes and only pure Awareness remains.


I get it. It's amazing that I just happen to have a whole conceptual toolkit that fits just nicely with these concepts though I don't believe it to be anything close to what the masters understand about Buddhism, consciousness, and enlightenment.

I imagine the perception of a thing simply bears the quality of "otherness"--I think that's the nature of sensory experience--like the perception of a color might bear the quality "red" or the taste of a fruit might bear the quality "sweet". Otherness is just the way we experience objects. But this insinuates an implication--that there is also selfness--something for it to be "other" relative to. It's like experiencing something being "over there" implies an "over here". The alternative is to consider that the other and the self are one and the same, but that the sense of otherness predominates--or in other words, being a self doesn't necessarily always feel like a self.

The idea of pure awareness has always been a challenge for me to wrap my head around. I would think awareness is always awareness of something. I'm at a loss to imagine what pure awareness--without being aware of something--is like. But then again, maybe I'm thinking too much in the first-person. Maybe pure awareness is just what you get when consciousness shuts off--sort of consciousness in a dormant state. Maybe the idea is that it remains as a third-person entity--not something you can be consciously aware of or experience, but is nevertheless there awaiting the next awakening of consciousness.

Chakra Superstar wrote:This is all conceptual stuff so don’t take it too literally. These concepts are not to be believed as Truth; they’re meant to help release us from our current programmed beliefs, and in doing so, help us realize this for ourselves. After all, this is not about anything else, but our Selves. Ultimately, all this knowledge is not about the universe, Awareness, duality, the creation etc. It all about the "I". The universe is a giant mirror and what we're really seeing is our Selves.


I recently saw a youtube video of Jim Carry describing something similar to this. He described himself as a facade, as the universe pretending to be Jim Carry, that what he called himself was really an extension of the universe. In a sense, he's right. We really are just the universe acting out human lives and human characters. But therein lies one of the prickly points I have with Buddhism. I see this as just a perspective. You could look at it as the universe playing the part of gib or Chakra, but you could also look at it as an actual self having emerged from the universe. The one perspective doesn't invalidate the other--like that image of a vase which also looks like two faces--it's not that one's real and the other an illusion--they coexist, though maybe it's difficult to imagine them both at the same time. It's all well and good to lean towards the perspective that one is really the universe, but I don't like how Buddhists take the further step of invalidating the self.

Chakra Superstar wrote:Hope that clarified what I meant, somewhat? Using language and metaphors often create their own complications. They often introduce hierarchy (space) and time which is problematic when talking about stuff like this.


It's certainly appreciated that you're honest about this--and aware of it--it shows a deeper understanding of Buddhism that makes the confusions and inconsistencies within it more tolerable. It makes all the difference in the world if one is allowed to say "It's something like that" rather than "It is that."

Chakra Superstar wrote:I’ve got a pretty good understanding of the overall philosophy if that's what you mean, after all, I spent decades traveling, living in spiritual communes and religious monasteries, sleeping on cold tiled temple floors and tents in winter, working my ass off for years, 7 days a week etc just to get access to books that weren’t available anywhere else. I even spent 3 years learning Sanskrit because a lot of stuff wasn’t in English and, of course, there was lots of meditation involved as well. People have no idea how lucky we are today to have all this knowledge a few clicks away in your own living room. It still blows me away.

Anyway, over time I managed to collate all the stuff and boiled it down enough to be able to understand where most teachers were coming from. The hard part is that many teachers/gurus/literature/translations use the same word for different things or different words for the same thing. It can get enormously confusing. Once I worked that out, I could largely grasp what most teachers were referring to.

I'm starting to get that about the translation of "nothingness" or "emptiness"; they always say it's a poor translation, the original not really meaning what we in the West mean by "nothingness" or "emptiness". Well, why don't they get the right translation, I thought? But I'm guessing we just don't have a word for it, "nothingness" or "emptiness" being the closest we have.

Real understanding is understanding all of this is only second-hand conceptual knowledge. Real understanding comes from your own experience.

Somewhere down the track we have to decide if we want to be a cartographer or an adventurer. The cartographer is an expert on, and collector of, maps. The cartographer can tell you anything you need to know about maps while the explorer is happy to get a basic map with enough detail to start the journey and see for him/herself.

“The map is not the territory” as the saying goes. The map has rivers, but it doesn’t have a drop of water. It has mountains, but it is as flat as the sheet of paper it’s printed on. So while maps are useful tools, you won't ‘get’ Buddhism (or any experiential philosophy) by analyzing maps forever. Over-analysis is a trick of the ego. It allows the ego to remain in control while pretending to be interested in a practice that aims to negate the ego/identity. It also allows you to keep all the egoic attachments, beliefs, desires etc while pretending to be on a quest for Truth.

I don't think I want it that much. You definitely have a calling the likes of which I will never know. I don't even have a calling to be a cartographer. I'm too wrapped up in the affairs of my life to turn my focus elsewhere--and I don't think I want it otherwise--maybe next life.

Ultimately, the journey is not about learning more, it's about unlearning the stuff that's blocking us. This info is only about getting you to the next stage and from there, you abandon what you learned and move into another realm further and further inward to your original Self.

Like Wittgenstein's ladder. I get the idea, but the implications, if you take them to their logical conclusions, are enough, I think, to rock even the learned Buddhist's world. How many learned Buddhists, do you think, would try to explain Buddhism, or the ultimate truth as Buddhism would have it, with words and ideas similar to what you've expressed here, while thinking privately "this is all a load of BS, he has no idea what the truth is... but it will nevertheless help him discover the truth"? Not very many, I would think. I would think most Buddhists, if they offer explanations like the ones you're offering here, actually believe it themselves. Maybe I'm wrong--it's just such a bizarre concept to grasp. The closest concept I can imagine is that of a priest preaching to his congregation about the truth of Jesus Christ and why God wants us to do good in this world, all the while not believing in God or Jesus at all, but knowing he still has to preach to them in order to encourage them to lead moral lives. Yet at the same time, I strangely get it. I get how the Buddhist practice can lead one into a state of mind where the preaching of the Buddhist doctrine is seen more as a kind of "programming" of the mind such as to only have an effect--not to teach the truth--an effect of leading the mind along the same path that got him to where he is now.

This is what I understand. Detailed knowledge of every aspect of a religion or philosophy isn't necessary. Some of the most advanced people I've met have been very simple people, with a simple education and a huge heart. Don't let the intellect take you away from the heart. The heart is the entrance gate and that's not being mushy or poetic. The heart is the shortcut. It melts the ego and allows you to merge into everything around you.

I'm happy to talk about Nothing later on but just for the LOLs. We can't seriously believe we know what Nothing is but when has that stopped us? :)


Ha! Ha! Exactly! We can't know what nothing is because nothing isn't. And if you want to talk about nothing, just don't talk. :D
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Re: I don't get Buddhism (2)

Postby zinnat » Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:11 am

@gib and Chakra

I have been watching you two having conversation thus taking a liberty to add my understanding of the subject.

let us start from the very beginning- nothingness

As the literal meaning of the term indicates, nothingness means nothingness but it is not nothing. There is a subtle difference between the two and that is precisely why it gets confusing.

Nothingness is a quality while nothing is the stage when this quality manifests and takes over completely. To understand this more clearly, let us take one different and simple example. There are two things, sweetness and sweet. Sweetness is a quality while being/becoming sweet is a stage where the quality of sweetness manifests itself and as the result the infected object becomes sweet. The same theory can be applied to nothingness. It means that yes, there exists a quality of nothingness but it has not manifested yet. it other words, we can say that there is something more other than nothingness which is forbidding it from taking over completely, and that is potential of being/becoming something. This potential always remains there, even in nothingness thus it never reaches at the stage of total nothing but remains only at nothingness. This very potential is a root cause of all the existence we see around.

To sum up, nothingness is not nothing but the quality of thingness/ manifesting existence also coexists with this. And, when this thingness quality becomes strong enough to break the shackles of nothingness, existence manifests itself. So, we have two forces coexisting, the quality/potential of not to exist and the other one is the quality to exist. A very important point to understand here is that these two forces are not opposite to each other though they seem so at the first glance.

One is positive force while the other one is neutral force, not a negative one. To understand this let us take our previous example of sweetness again. we all understand that the opposite of sweetness is bitterness not blandness. Nothingness is blandness, not bitterness. Blandness is merely the absence of sweetness, not its opposite. intellectuals often miss this subtlety thus not able to get Buddhism clearly.

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