cousinbasil wrote:Reminds me of the preacher whose sermon was about God's perfection. He bellowed from the pulpit: "Everything God made is perfect!" Way in the rear of the congregation, a man with a hunched back interrupted loudly, "What about me?" Not missing a beat, the preacher thundered, "Why, you're the most perfect hunchback I've ever seen!"
I think that Jesus's statement pretty much covered my point: "Whoever believes that the All is deficient is himself completely deficient." This appears like a paradox, because he is part of the All and yet he is deficient while the All is not. But in fact we can see clearly that the problem lies in the deficiency of his awareness, his inability to see himself as an inseparable part of the All, which too is the will of the All. The problem is solved if he can broaden his perspective to the All. And see that everything is inevitable, that he is this precise movement of the All.
This funnily reminds me of a passage from Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn:
“I have reached the limits of endurance. My back is to the wall; I can retreat no further. As far as history goes I am dead. If there is something beyond I shall have to bounce back. I have found God, but he is insufficient. I am only spiritually dead. Physically I am alive. Morally I am free. The world which I have departed is a menagerie. The dawn is breaking on a new world, a jungle world in which lean spirits roam with sharp claws. If a am a hyena I am a lean and hungry one: I go forth to fatten myself.”
However, this passage from Dostoevsky's The Possessed speaks it to the point:
"I'm not speaking of an allegory, but of a leaf, only a leaf. The leaf is good. Everything's good.”
“Everything. Man is unhappy because he doesn't know he's happy. It's only that. That's all, that's all! If anyone finds out he'll become happy at once, that minute. That mother-in-law will die; but the baby will remain. It's all good. I discovered it all of a sudden.”
“And if anyone dies of hunger, and if anyone violates a little girl, is that good?”
“Yes! And if anyone blows his brains out for the little girl, that's good too. And if anyone doesn't, that's good too. It's all good, all. It's good for all those who know that it's all good. If they knew that it was good for them, it would be good for them, but as long as they don't know it's good for them, it will be bad for them. That's the whole idea, the whole of it.”
Awareness is the key point.
Like in Math, 2 is an inevitable result of 1+1, everything that is happening is an inevitable result of what happened in the past. Is not perfection an inevitability? The perfect man has the eyes to see the inevitability in all thing happening to him and makes his decisions as inevitable decisions, even more decisive than either/or.
I myself am the boundary of everything else, and everything else except me is the boundary of me.
Me + everything else = everything.
Or, duality = non-duality.
jupiviv wrote: So then the "you" is not an illusion at all, since it never appears as anything but a "breath of nature" etc. And the waking up is not real, because there is nothing else that is not a "breath of nature".
The "you" or the "I" or the "self" is still an 'illusion', by which I mean 'as real as a dream', precisely because everything is a breath of nature. For example, the wind in Vietnam here, and a wind in Australia, they are both breath of Nature. They seem separated, but they are in fact interconnected, in fact One as the atmosphere of the Earth.
Furthermore, this breath of Nature has breathing from beginning-less time. So when exactly did the 'you' come into existence? I am using a very classic argument that I suppose you already know, but let me repeat it nonetheless. There is no definite point in time that determines 'your' birth. Atoms conforms into 'you' and then deconform, always inseparable from the All, like a wind inseparable from the air.
Let not forget that the lifespan of a quark is less than a millionth of a second, so 'you' in second is entirely different from "you" in the next moment.
We have been talking 'you', but in fact we are just talking about 'yours', like 'your' body, 'your' brain, 'your' consciousness, not the 'self' that resides in all these 'yours'. But 'your' consciousness is a process of the All, 'your' arm is part of the All, as everything belongs to the All and not 'you'. So when you broaden and enhance your awareness to become One with the All, instead of limiting it within the boundary of 'your' non-inherently existent body, then 'my' arm is 'your' arm, 'my' movement is 'your' movement, because 'you' are the All.
To conclude, 'you' as a separated entity exists, but not inherently. (point 1. For fortification, see point 3.)
But what about this brain? It is clearly a form, and if it is a form then there are other forms that are not it, and hence beyond it. So clearly this view is mistaken.
You cannot see your brain. Suppose you can see it through an X-ray scanner or something, and there you see a shape, a definite shape. But imagine a giant to whom your brain look like a smooth bean-shaped grain of salt. And another giant to whom a century of our time pass in a second, then your brain is like a tiny drop a water rapidly vapor into think air. The shapes and forms of your brain that they perceive are different from the shape and form you perceive. So which shape, which form is the true shape, true form of your brain? We can broaden the perspective by imaging a giant to whom your brain is as small as a quark.
As we equate the brain with the mind, or consciousness, let us not forget that the mind in this moment is entirely different from the mind in the next moment, like a flame.
I am not supporting solipsism, or nihilism, the view that nothing exists. My view is similar to Nagarjuna, that (contrary to nihilism) there does exist a world of non-inherent selves and appearance (the phenomenal world). The food of you eat is obviously, though not inherently, existent because they are necessary to preserve your visual perception, your construct of shape and form of the world. The lack of them makes your vision blur, your brain works weakly. But, contrary to essentialism, all such phenomenal entities are impermanent, continually changing, interdependent, insubstantial — in other words, "empty" (shunya) of essence.
To conclude, the brain exists, but not inherently. (point 2. For fortification, see point 3.)
If it possesses inherent selfhood then it must also possess inherent non-selfhood for that precise reason. There is no other thing apart from the All, hence its selfhood is caused entirely by itself. But since there is no other thing except the All, its selfhood doesn't really exist, for there is nothing to contrast it with.
This is an interesting point, but we must examine it carefully, logically. Its selfhood is caused by itself means it is self-existent. We agree that it doesn't need a contrast to support this self-existence, this inherent existence, so how is it logical to say it is non-existent?
Inherent existence or inherent selfhood is the same thing. I argue that the view A: "The All's existence/selfhood is inherent" is the only true view. And the view B: "The All's non-existence/non-selfhood is inherent" is false, is nihilism and contradicts A. B negates A, not a logical deduction from A. The argument is as follow:
I.) Let me quote Aristotle on logic: "A statement and its negation cannot both be true at the same time".
Suppose this is true and apply this principle on the existence of things, we have:
I.1) A thing either exists or doesn't exist at all.
To illustrate it in points:
A: "X exists" = "X has existence of some kind".
The negation of A would be:
B: "X doesn't exist at all" = "X's non-existence is inherent."
Either A is true and B is false or A is false and B is true. There is no third case.
If B is true, the process ends there. If A is true, we move to the next step.
If a thing exists, then the case is either:
I.1.1) It exists inherently.
I.1.2) It exists, but not inherently.
To illustrate in points:
C: X's existence is inherent.
The negation of C would be:
D: X's existence is not inherent.
Either C is true and D is false or C is false and D is true. There is no third case.
If C is true, the process end there. For C to be true X must be uncaused and therefore self-existent. If D is true, we move to the next point.
I.1.2.1) [It exists but not inherently] --> (the fact that it exists in some way means its non-existence is not inherent).
To illustrate in points:
Z: X's existence is not inherent because X is caused and dependent (see point 1 and 2), therefore X must also interact and contribute causes. Therefore X's non-existence is not inherent.
II.) Now to quote Nagarjuna's statements:
"To say 'it is' is to grasp for permanence. (E)
To say 'it is not' is to adopt the view of nihilism (F)
Therefore a wiseman doesn't say 'it is' or 'it is not' ".
His use of words caused confusion and make his statements seem to contradict principle of logic, but in fact they are in perfection accordance with logic as illustrated above. And let me paraphrase him:
E: The view "X's existence is inherent" is false because X is not permanent.
F: The view "X's non-existence is inherent" is false because such view is nihilism.
F negates B and therefore makes A true (see I.1). We process, E negates C and therefore makes D true. (see I.1.2)
E and D apply to the existence of thing as impermanet, caused, separated entities.
C applies to the All because the All is permanent, uncaused and therefore inherent.
To conclude, things as separated entities exist, but not inherently. The All exists inherently / The All's existence is inherent. The view that the All's non-existence is inherent / The All is non-existent is nihilism. (point 3. For fortification, see below.)
III.) Before we verify the nature of Nagarjuna's statement we must examine our tools: logic and grammar.
a.) When the adverb "inherently" is put into the wrong place in the sentence, it will cause confusion. To avoid confusion, we must agree on the grammar rule (z): If two sentence are identical except for the position of the abverd (before or after the main verb), they have two different meanings.
-"I really don't know about it" means "I don't know about it at all." or "My ignorance of it is absolute".
-"I don't really know about it" means "I know something about it, but not all about it." or "my knowledge about it is not absolute".
-"X inherently does not exist" (z1) means X doesn't exist at all = X's non-existence is inherent.
-"X does not inherently exist" (z2) means X exists but not inherently = X's existence is not inherent.
b.) Grant this rule (z) as true grammar, we process to examine these four cases to sweep away all grammatical and logical confusion:
A: "X is inherently existent." = "X does exist." = "X inherently does exist." = "X has inherence existence" = "X's existence is inherent."
B: "X is inherently non-existent." = "X does not exist at all." = "X inherently does not exist." (z1) = "X has inherent non-existence." = "X's non-existence is inherent."
C: "X is not inherenly existent." = "X does not exist inherently." = "X does not inherently exist." (z2) = "X has no inherent existence." = "X's existence is not inherent."
D: "X is not inherently non-existen.t" = "X does not not exist inherently."= " X does not inherently not exist." = "X has no inherence non-existence." = "X's non-existence is not inherent."
From the conclusion of I) and II.a), we can see clearly that B is a negation of A. While D is logical deduction from C and therefore affirms C.
c.) With all established knowledge we can be back to examining Nagarjuna's statements:
We have E: "X's existence is not inherent because X is not permanent". The negation of E would be E0: "X's existence is inherent because X is not permanent". But the statement E1: "X's non-existence is not inherent because X is not permanent" is not a negation of E, but rather a logical deduction from E, and affirms E. [ see I.1.2 and I.1.2.1 ]-> If E is true then E0 is false and E1 is true.
Therefore we have H: "The All's existence is inherent because the All is permanent". The negation of H would be H0: "The All's non-existence is inherent because the All is permanent." We have agreed H as true, therefor H0 is false, is nihilism. [ see I.1 and I.1.1 and II ].
That is from a logical perspective. From a visual practical perspective, we are part of the All. We perceive its existence from inside it and not outside it, as a part of it and not separated from it, as the observer that is also the observed. This is different from the inability to perceive a quark without the void surrounding it, because we perceive the quark as an observer separated from the quark. (point 4)
They are also not non-inherent, for that which is said to lack inherent separation and non-separation is itself lacking inherent existence. Since it is not inherently existent, there is no inherent quality that it inherently lacks.
This seems like an abuse of words. While we agree on the point that ["it lacks inherent existence" or "it is not inherently existent)] (A), this does not lead to the conclusion that ["it is also not non-inherent"] (A'), but the logical deduction would lead to the conclusion that ["it also lacks inherent non-existence" or "it is also not inherently non-existent."] (B).
The confusion arises from your twist with the word 'inherent' and wrong step of logic.