Dharma Questions: Miscellany — Part 7

This irregular “Dharma Questions” series deals with “dharma” meaning both the truth of the nature of reality and some Buddhist teachings. Please see this post on the intensions for questioning and not questioning. Amongst other things these questions can be, but not necessarily:

  • thought experiments
  • borderline musings not meant to be answered
  • from laziness of not contemplating or researching them yet

Buddhist Cosmology Series
  1. Questions from Buddhist Cosmology Series:
    • Could Asuras under the ocean, yet not water beings, be due to being below the water table, or could they be in the astral realm (as astral is often related to “water” and/or SEE/SEAing?
    • Could the Northern Continent be Venus?
      • Could polarity — or again, maybe referencing the astral aka distortion planes — help explain the stark contrast of the two versions of the Northern Continent: one being a paradise, the other about yakas taking humans from the southern continent with wrong view and making them slaves?
  2. What does the “Nāga Sutta: The Bull Elephant” — about the Buddha and a Bull Elephant finding peace in a spacious forest — have to do with nagas?
  3. If there are three characteristics of existence, what are the characteristics of non-existence, if any?
  4. What is light and how is it known?
  5. Could and ought various psionic/psychic research (teams) employing different methods and abilities be double-blind tasked to investigate some of the mysteries in the Sutras/suttas? Why or why not?
  6. From whatever place on the wheel of dependent origination can the direction of movement only go one way? Can it go the other way, or be forked? Why or why not?
    • From one place on the wheel can its neighbors be seen and known? How many of its neighbors?
      • For example, from craving can feeling and contact be seen and explored in one direction and at the same time attachment and becoming be seen and explored in the other direction?
  7. If remembering correctly the Buddha said something along the lines of using regular language without being fooled by it; what else, if anything, did the Buddha say about language itself, especially in the context of meditation practice?
  8. In as much detail as possible, where (all) did the lineage of Buddhist nuns continue and where did it die out?
  9. While there seems some shame in (popular) Christianity around original sin, in Buddhism is there (some unskillful) denial of a type of underlying shame in regards to ignorance (being one of the unwholesome roots to the cause of dukkha)? And if so, how ought this shame of ignorance be skillfully addressed without approving of ignorance?
  10. What is the Śāriputra back story for this: ‘Now I consider that we must guard temple property even more closely than our eyes [It is said that Śāriputra] formerly gave his eyes to a Brahman and was greatly retarded [in his progress on the path].’ –from (p.15ish in one version) of Instructions for the Tenzo –Dogen)
  11. Does samphappalāpa support papañca and/or vice versa? If so, how?
    • samphappalāpa: [sampha+palāpa] frivolous talk. It is one of the four verbal akusala·kamma·pathasSamphappalāpa is defined by the Buddha at AN 10.176. Its unpleasant consequences are described at AN 8.40.
    • papañca: mental proliferation, intellectualism, (excessive) mental fabrication, obsessive mental construction. This obstacle often takes the form of excessive mental activity and reflection over matters which do not deserve particular attention.
  12. Could the importance placed on mindfulness of the four main postures — sitting, standing, walking, lying down — be in response to many humans being dumbed down in consciousness and more or less trapped in a physical body?
    • If so, does this kind of play along with, and comply with, how such a seemingly simpleton activity mindfulness of the four postures is? All the while not fighting such a downsized limitation but using mindfulness of the four postures to master awareness while not upsetting the apple cart of those in power who benefit from dumbing down the masses?
  13. What are the origin(s) of Chi/Qi/Life Force energy and when was this first written down? As far as I know, why is there very little mention of how Chi operates and functions in Early Buddhist Texts/Teachings?
  14. Wouldn’t/Couldn’t the Dzogchen practice of prostrations encourage exhaustion leading to sleep and then the later instructions of “just relax” lead to an inclination of lethargy?
  15. With, or without polarity (dynamics) is there any kind of relationship between (various states of) pain and (the highest bliss of) Nibbāna?
    • Further to consider: (how) would this question be answered differently if only merely tasting Nibbāna compared to all the various stages on through to full attainment of Nibbāna?
  16. What are the roots, the causes and conditions of the dukkha of non-becoming (and the same for the dukkha of being and becoming)?
    • (Do these differ from the three (poisons/)roots of greed, ill-will and delusion/ignorance? Why or why not?)
  17. Did beings responsible for (Earth’s) human origins [as put forth in the Aggaññasutta https://suttacentral.net/dn27/en/sujato] realize that a human birth is necessary for Buddhahood? What was/is the karma involved for either realizing this or not?
  18. How do/does Āyatana(s) — “sense base”, “sense-media” or “sense sphere;” (defined internally as “organs”, “gates”, “doors”, “powers” or “roots” — defined externally as “sense objects” or “domains”) — relate to modern “scientific” notions of dimensions as well as the notions of densities and dimensions in some other spiritual teachings?
  19. How does the perceptual process work?
    • How do some seem to have diminished and expanded perceptions?
    • How all can perception be engaged and discarded?
    • What is wise perception?
  20. What are some of what psychologists would consider “triggers” within — and more specifically applying to — Buddhist communities? If any, how ought such tiggers be viewed and addressed?
  21. How might it be skillful and wise to consider extrapolating and applying the four right efforts to not only the present moment but also notions of future and past?
    • Can one, and ought one if one could, remove and prevent probable unskillful states in the future that would likely be in the way of maintaining and generating skillful states?
    • What about generating and maintaining certain skillful states to more expediently remove and prevent (foreseen and/or likely) unskillful future states?
    • How can the four right efforts be applied, perhaps via imagination, to the past as a whole and/or for particular past times and situations/occurrences?
  22. Could there actually be an immediate rebirth with(in) the (so called) (Tibetan) bardo period with such a rebirth being like a sort of temporary being with a short lifespan (and/or a super critical stage of consciousness) before the next more substantial rebirth?
    • By “critical stage of consciousness” I mean: what happens to consciousness after shedding the body?
  23. What are some other potential translations for Satipaṭṭhāna? How about [with “awareness” also swappable for “mindfulness”]:
    • “The Four Foundational Grounds for Establishing Mindfulness”
    • “The Four Establishments For Attending With Mindfulness”
    • “Establishing the Four Foundations for Attending with Mindfulness”
    • “The Four Foundational Ways(/Means/Methods/Modes) for Attending with Mindfulness”
    • “Establishing the Foundational Ways(/Means/Methods/Modes) for Attending with Mindfulness”
    • Establishing the Four Frames of Reference for Attending With Mindfulness
    • “The Four Essentials To Mindfully Attend To(/From)”
    • “The Four Essentials Of Mindfulness”
  24. For the 7th consciousness in Mahayana Buddhism “defiled mental consciousness” or kliṣṭamanovijñāna does not polarity exist for this consciousness as in various gradations of amounts, levels and proficiency in/with/to/of discernment and selfing? Examples: very little defiled mental consciousness and quite a lot. Very little sense of a (defiled) self and quite a lot.
    • If so, and with widespread adoption — especially if mixed into governments — could this potentially become something like an IQ test where those deemed professionals with high levels of mastery over “defiled mental consciousness” become placed in charge of controlling those deemed needing help with “defiled mental consciousness” thus potentially resulting in a dividing, compartmentalizing, and hierarchical control structure that essentially works against emancipation of dukkha / stress / suffering?
      • How would such professionals with mastery be determined? By whom?
      • How does/would this fit in with non-dualism?
  25. Is The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra the same or similar to 7/8th jhana? If not, how?
The Heart 1 of Prajna 3 Paramita Sutra 2

Bodhisattva 5 Avalokiteshvara 6,

while deeply immersed 7 in prajna paramita,

clearly perceived the empty nature 8 of the five skandhas 9,

and transcended all suffering.

Shariputra 10! Form is not different from emptiness,

emptiness is not different from form.

Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.

So it is with feeling, conception, volition, and consciousness.

Shariputra! All dharmas 11 are empty in character;

neither arising nor ceasing 12,

neither impure nor pure,

neither increasing nor decreasing.

Therefore, in emptiness, there is no form;

there is no feeling, conception, volition, or consciousness 13;

no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind;

no form, sound, smell, taste, touch, or dharmas 14;

no realm of vision, and so forth,

up to no realm of mind-consciousness 15;

no ignorance or ending of ignorance, and so forth,

up to no aging and death or ending of aging and death 16.

There is no suffering, no cause, no extinction, no path 17.

There is no wisdom and no attainment 18.

There is nothing to be attained.

By way of prajna paramita 19,

the bodhisattva’s mind is free from hindrances.

With no hindrances, there is no fear 20;

freed from all distortion and delusion,

ultimate nirvana is reached.

By way of prajna paramita,

Buddhas 21 of the past, present, and future

attain anuttara-samyak-sambodhi 22.

Therefore, prajna paramita

is the great powerful mantra,

the great enlightening 23 mantra 24,

the supreme and peerless mantra.

It can remove all suffering.

This is the truth beyond all doubt.

And the prajna paramita mantra is spoken thus:

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha 25

via https://web.archive.org/web/20151009135304/http://middleland.org/teachings/the-heart-of-prajna-paramita-sutra/

Published by josh dippold


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