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Sunday, 14 April, 2024

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Buddhism Madhyamaka


 

Buddhism Madhyamaka

Madhyamaka is a philosophical school within Buddhism that originated in India and is associated with the Mahayana tradition. The term "Madhyamaka" means "middle way" or "middle path," and it refers to the middle ground between extreme views.

The founder of the Madhyamaka school is traditionally considered to be the Indian philosopher Nagarjuna, who lived around the 2nd century CE. Nagarjuna's writings and teachings form the basis of Madhyamaka philosophy. His most famous work is the "Mulamadhyamakakarika" or "Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way."

Central to Madhyamaka philosophy is the concept of "emptiness" or "sunyata." According to Madhyamaka, all phenomena lack inherent or independent existence. They are empty of any fixed or permanent essence. This applies to both external objects and internal mental constructs. Emptiness is not a nihilistic view that denies the existence of things but rather a recognition that all things depend on causes and conditions and are interdependent.

Madhyamaka philosophy also emphasizes the idea of "dependent origination" (pratityasamutpada). It asserts that all phenomena arise dependently and are interconnected. Nothing exists in isolation but is conditioned by a complex web of causes and conditions.

The Madhyamaka school is known for its use of logical reasoning and dialectical arguments to deconstruct conceptual frameworks and expose their inherent contradictions. Nagarjuna employed a method called "prajnaparamita" or "perfection of wisdom" to challenge fixed views and promote a direct realization of emptiness.

Over time, Madhyamaka philosophy spread to various countries, including Tibet, China, and Japan, where it influenced the development of other Buddhist traditions. Different sub-schools and interpretations of Madhyamaka emerged, such as the Prasangika and Svatantrika, each emphasizing certain aspects of the philosophy.

In summary, Madhyamaka is a Buddhist philosophical school that emphasizes the middle way between extremes and explores the concept of emptiness to challenge fixed views and promote a deeper understanding of reality.

 

THE "DIALECTIC" ("RELATIVISTIC") THEORY OF REALITY

Preamble

Sunyata

Sunyata and dharma (phenomenon, phenomena)

Sunyata, the One Reality

Diana

Body

Preamble

"Like the stars, an illusion, like a lamp, a masquerade, dewdrops or a bombshell, a dream, a lightning or a cloud, so we should see what is addicted"

 Sunyata

For Primordial Buddhism Ultimate Reality is Indefinable. It is considered as Emptiness, Infinite, Undefined. Within This "Emptiness", due to ignorance (avidya), error, wrong perception (moha) appears at the cosmic and individual level the becoming (samsara), as a process, as an evolution, as a succession of momentary states (dharma). The dharmas exist as momentary dependent phenomena, as simple phenomena or as causes of objects, that is, they can be determined “this way” or “that way” and yet they are considered real…. Nirvana is realized by erasing the processes of evolution, which are considered “real” …

Thus, Nirvana and Samsara are both considered real and opposites…

For Sunyavada Sunyata (Emptiness) is the Only Reality. Sunyata is not defined, it is as if it does not "exist" (hence it gives the "impression" of the Void). The Sunyata is the Absolute, the Ultimate Reality that does not come under categories of the intellect. In Sunyata, in the Absolute, no determinations, attributes can be attributed. What exists is Sunyata, there is nothing different, whatever appears different, the phenomenon, is also Sunyata. So, Samsara is nothing but an apparent reality. The dharmas are Sunyata, i.e., they cannot be determined (they cannot be used as supports of perception). Dharmas appear but do not last, they are glimpses within the Sunyata, they are not permanently there, so they are not different from the Sunyata Thus "things" themselves are not determinable. Thus, only Sunyata constitutes Reality...Nirvana is realized...Thus Nirvana and Samsara are the same...

So, the Only Reality that exists is Sunyata (Emptiness), there is no different state, there is no Nirvana, there is no existence, samsara, karma, there is no realization, there is nothing, all these are imaginary states. He who perceives Sunyata experiences Reality. Anyone who does not realize this is immersed in a fantasy reality where everything has no real existence. So, what "beings" owe is the realization of Sunyata, the One Reality. As long as they don't realize it, they are in the fantasy. Thus, in Sunyavada the concept of Realization is differentiated. The point is not, as in Theravada, the erasure of the processes of evolution, but the realization that there is only One Reality and that all states of existence are imaginary. Although the Reality is set differently and the concept of realization varies, yet in Sunyavada too there is something to be realized, the realization of Sunyavada, the One Reality. So, between Theravada and Sunyavada there is no difference, there is simply a different description and a different approach to Reality.

Sunyata and dharma (phenomenon, phenomena)

Sunyata constitutes the One Reality. What appears (definable, existent, objective) is only a phenomenon which when analyzed in its determinations (laksana- characteristics, determinations, supports of the intellect) has no reality of its own (svabhava - self - existence, substance, reality) and thus "dissolves" » again in Sunyata.

So, in this sense there is only Sunyata, there is nothing other than Sunyata, some objective reality, self-existent objects, etc. The dharmas that for Theravada were really for Sunyavada are not different from Sunyata. The skandas which for Theravada were considered true for Sunyata are but phenomena woven into Sunyata. Vijnana (the "consciousness" of an individual being) when broken down into its determinations, in its "nature" is only perception, it is a phenomenon whose deepest nature is Sunyata. In the same way, all phenomena, samskaras, imprinted perceptions that feed tendencies, instincts, desires, when analyzed in their function have no reality, they are only perceptions, they are Sunyata. The objects of perception, of sensation, objects, are all phenomena.

Sunyata is the One Reality. All phenomena are only perceptions (and when analyzed in their nature they are illusory), they have no reality, they are Sunyata. Thus, there is no essential distinction between Sunyata and the perception of phenomena (which make up the experience of the phenomenal world). There are three varieties of phenomena, vijnana phenomena, samskara phenomena, and external phenomena. External, objective, phenomena are illusory, they do not constitute an objective, self-existent world, they do not actually exist. Of course, all these phenomena, when they manifest themselves, obey their own laws. So, there is no distinction between Sunyata and phenomena. There is simply perception of Sunyata or perception of phenomena that are not different from Sunyata.

Sunyata, the One Reality

Since only Sunyata is Reality and all phenomena are woven into Sunyata and are not essentially different from Sunyata, they are Sunyata, there is no samsara, no exit from samsara. There is simply perception of Sunyata or perception of phenomena that are also Sunyata, they are the same even if they look "different". Also, the law of karma (of causality, of cause-and-effect connection) only concerns the "virtual" reality.

Only Sunyata is Reality, everything else is only a dream, an illusion.

 Dhyana

Sunyata is the One Reality (in Sunyata all phenomena are woven and are non-different from It). There is perception of Sunyata or perception of phenomena, which is also Sunyata. Bodhi is the perception that Sunyata alone is reality. When phenomena are analyzed and dissolved in Sunyata there is Bodhi. When phenomena are allowed to manifest there is no Bodhi. There are three kinds of phenomena, vijnana phenomena, samskara phenomena, all phenomena of perception.

The Practice that leads to Bodhi is Dhyana. The purpose of Dhyana is to neutralize all phenomena, to dissolve them in Sunyata. Phenomena of perception which are not considered different from Sunyata are rejected anyway as unreal (as mere phenomena). So there remain two types of phenomena. The samskaras, which are mental impressions and must be rejected again and again as they emerge from the depth of being, from instincts, memories, etc. and the vijnana phenomena that structure the perception of a personal existence that must be constantly de-constructed until to dissolve in Sunyata. Then the very perception of Sunyata, which is related to inner mental functions, must be deconstructed. True Sunyata is beyond all these.

Dhyana therefore has Five Ranks (or Seven Ranks, if we take in our view that the rejection of inner mentalism has three stages)

1) BODHI, (Realization, Attainment, Enlightenment).

2) Rejection of Inner Mental Activity... There is no distinction between Sunyata and mental activity, Nirvana and skandas.

a) Sunyata is empty of Sunyata – there is no subject, no object

b) Consciousness itself is Sunyata – underlying object are identified

c) All is Sunyata – subject and object are separated.

3) Rejection, Neutralization, of vijnana (consciousness, view). Even personal redemption in Nirvana must be rejected. Nirvana itself as a personal attainment is illusory.

4) Rejection, Elimination of samskara (intellect). Nothing can be considered a prop or used as a basis for intellectual work.

5) Rejection of samjna (perceptual process). The phenomena of perception, as objective phenomena, are rejected anyway

When we come to the realization of Sunyata then we realize that there is no distinction between Sunyata and phenomena, no distinction

 Bodhi

According to Sunyavada teaching everything is Sunyata, there is nothing other than Sunyata, all phenomena are Sunyata. When we realize it there is Bodhi. Therefore, Bodhi means perception of Reality, the Only Reality that exists, not the attainment of some other state. When we do not perceive Reality (when there is no Bodhi) we are in a dream state, unreal in the last analysis. Ultimately, we either perceive Reality or we don't. When we perceive it, it is as if we awaken to Reality, the Only Reality, the other states are as if they do not exist. So, there is no achievement in the sense that we pass from one real state to another real state.

...

Ελληνικά:

Βουδισμός Μαντυαμάκα

https://www.wholeness.gr/2022/04/blog-post_24.html 


 

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Our Prayer

The Path Within

 

O Cosmos, we stand at the precipice of the Absolute, gazing into the void of the Unknown. We search for a way to transcend the bounds of thought and ego, to experience the essence of our deepest being.

The Buddha, the Masters of the East Upanishads, Orpheus, Jesus – all these wise beings have pointed us towards the Path. But it is not a path that is external, not a journey that can be traversed by the feet. It is a path that lies within, a journey that must be undertaken by the heart and the mind.

We must let go of the external orientations that nurture and educate us, that direct us towards other goals. We must look inward, to the stillness and silence that resides within. We must listen to the whispers of our soul, to the voice that speaks of the Absolute.

Krishnamurti and other modern Sages have shown us that it is possible to experience the Absolute, to transcend the limitations of thought and ego. They have shown us that it is not a mystery, not a miracle, but a possibility that lies within our human nature.

So let us embark on this journey, this Path that few follow. Let us let go of the burdens that weigh us down, the attachments that bind us. Let us embrace the unknown, the uncertainty, the chaos that lies within.

For in the depths of the Absolute, we will find the stillness and peace that we seek. We will find the answers to the questions that have plagued us for centuries. We will find the Truth that lies within.

Let us be brave, let us be bold, let us be fearless. Let us take the step into the void, into the unknown. For it is there that we will find the Absolute, the essence of our being. It is there that we will find our true nature, our true self.

May we be guided on this journey by the wise words of the Sages, by the light of the Absolute that shines within us. May we find the strength and courage to let go of the old, to embrace the new. May we find the peace and stillness that we seek, the Truth that lies within.

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Glimpses of the Absolute

 

Within each of us lies the potential to transcend the limitations of ordinary mind and experience a deeper reality - what some traditions call the Absolute, the Ground of Being, or God. While this state of unity or peak experience has often been considered the domain solely of mystics and saints, the truth is that the capacity dwells dormant in every human soul. It is our essential nature, awaiting discovery through disciplined inner work.

All genuine spiritual paths point to the same destination, though using different languages and methods. At their core, they offer a process of liberation from identification with separate ego and gradual awakening to our intrinsic divine essence. This involves cultivating noble virtues, practicing presence of mind through meditation, and cultivating wisdom through inquiry into the nature of reality and self.

Over time, such disciplines help peel away layers of superficial conditioning to reveal our true blissful and peaceful self - one with the fundamental pure consciousness that underlies all forms. In that state of inward stillness and clarity, the usual boundaries between subject and object fall away. One perceives directly that all is contained within the one infinite life and knows directly one's identity with the eternal. Though ineffable, this realization brings transcendent peace, love, creativity and compassion.

While glimpses of the Absolute may come through grace to anyone at any time, consistent experience depends on committed effort. The seeker must firmly resolve to strip away all that obscures their true nature like the proverbial onion, layer by layer. With patient practice of presence and purification, the trappings of small self dissolve, and one may abide as peaceful, blissful awareness itself - fully awake in every moment to life's deepest meaning. Then daily living becomes worship, and ordinary reality is transfigured by love, joy, wisdom and service. This is the fruit of following the perennial path with heart and will - a taste of our shared spiritual potential.

 

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Quotes

Constantinos’s quotes


"A "Soul" that out of ignorance keeps making mistakes is like a wounded bird with helpless wings that cannot fly high in the sky."— Constantinos Prokopiou

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...

CHAPTER III

 

QUIETING PEOPLE

Neglecting to praise the worthy deters people from emulating them; just as not prizing rare treasures deters a man from becoming a thief; or ignoring the things which awaken desire keeps the heart at rest.

Therefore, the wise ruler does not suggest unnecessary things, but seeks to satisfy the minds of his people. He seeks to allay appetites but strengthen bones. He ever tries by keeping people in ignorance to keep them satisfied and those who have knowledge he restrains from evil. If he, himself, practices restraint then everything is in quietness.

...

Quieting People

Neglecting to praise the worthy:

Neglecting to acknowledge and praise individuals who deserve recognition can discourage others from emulating their positive qualities.

Just as not appreciating rare treasures deters a person from engaging in theft, the absence of recognition can hinder the development of desirable traits in others.

By recognizing and praising the worthy, we can inspire others to strive for excellence.

Ignoring the things that awaken desire:

When we disregard or ignore the things that evoke desire, we can maintain a sense of contentment and inner peace.

By not constantly seeking external stimuli, we can cultivate a state of tranquility within ourselves.

This approach allows us to find satisfaction in what we already have, rather than constantly chasing after new desires.

The wise ruler's approach:

A wise ruler understands the importance of satisfying the minds of the people they govern.

They do not unnecessarily burden their subjects with irrelevant information or demands.

Instead, they focus on allaying appetites and reinforcing the overall well-being of their people.

The wise ruler restrains those with knowledge from engaging in harmful actions and promotes a culture of restraint and tranquility.

The benefits of quietness:

When individuals practice restraint and embrace a state of quietness, harmony and peace prevail.

By prioritizing calmness and self-control, both on an individual and societal level, conflicts can be minimized.

The pursuit of quietness allows for personal growth, contentment, and a more harmonious coexistence.

Embracing quietness

Quieting people involves recognizing the worthy, ignoring unnecessary desires, and fostering a state of tranquility. The wise ruler seeks to satisfy the minds of their people by allaying appetites and promoting restraint. By embracing quietness, individuals can experience personal growth and contribute to a more peaceful society. Remember to appreciate the positive qualities in others, find contentment in the present, and practice self-restraint for a harmonious existence.

 

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Επίσης, επιτρέπεται η αναδημοσίευση υλικού για λόγους προβολής των γεγονότων και δραστηριοτήτων του Ιδρύματος, με την προϋπόθεση ότι θα αναφέρεται η πηγή και δεν θα θίγονται δικαιώματα πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας, δεν θα τροποποιούνται, αλλοιώνονται ή διαγράφονται εμπορικά σήματα.

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