Language & the Dharma

Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 2/20/09 12:30 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 2/20/09 12:30 PM

Language & the Dharma

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

Hello folks.

I wrote a bit of an essay/rant at work today on my lunch break. In it, I speak about issues of language and how language relates to misconceptions about realization, how it relates to realization itself, and I mention a few simple pointers toward understanding rather complex dharma ideas. Give it a look and feel free to comment in any way you like.

I wrote it to Google docs because it's a couple of pages long and didn't want to cram it into 4 forum posts:

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dfz56j47_28cxbsmmdk
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 2/20/09 3:43 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 2/20/09 3:43 PM

RE: Language & the Dharma

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
thanks for writing this clear article.

i've been thinking a lot about the relationship between form and emptiness a lot lately and i've wondered if the sensations that seem to suggest emptiness aren't really emptiness in a way that the sensations that suggest form are not. that is, the assumption 'this is empty' is also clearly form.. yet the overall emptiness lingers. it's just not clear 'what' is empty exactly. in light of this, i find the description of a fruition as being 'pure emptiness' inadequate and perhaps even irrelevant. unless a fruition is actually, in some way i've yet to understand, also form?

ps does it make me a new-age crazy if i were to say that form were a magical place of infinite possibilities?
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Jackson Wilshire, modified 13 Years ago at 2/20/09 5:12 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 2/20/09 5:12 PM

RE: Language & the Dharma

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Hey Trent,

I enjoyed reading your essay. I remember hearing Hokai, Daniel and Vince talk about this issue in a Buddhist Geeks episode called "Lacking Leadership, Lacking Conceptuality." Hokai recounts having seen a video on YouTube where a popular teacher (who he left unnamed) saying in an introduction to Buddhist practice, "In the beginning, nothing needs to be believed and nothing needs to be rejected." Needless to say, he strongly disagreed.

The funniest part of the conversation was when Hokai compared the spiritual person's fear of concepts to "thinking that objects and space will crash in to each other." The point is a good one.

As Daniel said toward the end of the episode, concepts aren't bad. How can they be? They arise and pass like all other phenomena, and thus are empty by definition. I think that your essay elaborated on this point nicely.

Also, in regards to your statement... "How does this relate to 'pure emptiness,' or 'fruition' in MCTB? Think about it like a wall where language stops." I think that's as useful a definition as any, but the experience is still largely indescribable to those who have not experienced a fruition. I used to imagine what they would be like, and needless to say, the real thing was completely different. After living my life completely immersed in language, I had no idea what it would be like for it to suddenly cease.

Thanks for giving us the link!

Jackson
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 2/20/09 8:00 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 2/20/09 8:00 PM

RE: Language & the Dharma

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
i feel like responding to this just for some contrast. for me, i wouldn't say the real thing was so completely different from anything i'd imagined before. i would describe it like everything it could possibly be got ruled out one by one and then it was kind of like 'well duh'. or 'how could i think it was anything else', or 'how come i never noticed that before'.
Trent S H, modified 13 Years ago at 2/22/09 8:27 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 2/22/09 8:27 AM

RE: Language & the Dharma

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Tarin, I think you're on the right track. In context of this write-up, try to think about each piece of linguistic representation as a "form" or as a concept. So "fruition" is a concept, a form, and represented by language. Can the no-experience blink-out of fruition "contain" form? Negative. If you can conceptualize it, give it names, speak of it, it cannot be the no-experience (pure emptiness). Saying that "pure emptiness" is irrelevant is a very relevant thought-- it implies that everything must be form. If everything is form, including the subject (a language representation, thus a form), then you have seen through duality.

What is the subject or awareness? It is also a compounded entity, completely empty, causal and ephemeral. Pay close attention to the actual "sound" of a sound (not the thought-echo), the thought-echo of the sound (representation of the "raw" sound) and the implied space that permeates the investigation. These are key in creating a "subject," but they are all "object."

And although you are a crazy, it's not because you think form contains infinite possibilities ;].

Jackson, interesting, isnt it! I basically ignored fruition for a long time because I had no conceptual framework to work from; I had no idea what it was! And since the damn thing literally is indicative of "nothing," it was hard to infer much without the reference! Makes me marvel how maps originally evolved and how the Buddha and his buddies realized the gravity of all these experiences.

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