A new realization

yesemina

Registered Senior Member
Hiya. I have come to a new realization that I thought I'd post here. I was reading a book on Zen Buddhism today, and how a trainee in Buddhism who wondered that if "all human beings are endowed with the Buddha-nature, why is it that one must train oneself so strenuously to realize that Buddha-nature, that is, to attain enlightenment?" The trainee searched for answers to this continuously and finally came to a Zen master who told him, "The Buddhas, precisely because they are Buddhas themselves, no longer think of having or not having the Buddha-nature; only the animallike (that is, the grossly deluded) think in such terms."
I realized that this happens to me quite often. For example, if someone were to call me "smart", I think to myself..."what does that mean?". I realize now that since words are just artificial symbols, assumptions are formed about the meanings of words that have not been directly experienced. Descriptions are made that serve as the definition of the word, and then are assumed; But then to actually experience the description - to be in that mental state, is entirely different. When you are in that mental state, the description or assumption attached to the word now means nothing. As Thomas Nagel said, "For every conscious state there is something that it is like to be in that conscious state."
Once you are in that conscious state, you stop thinking in the terms that are used to describe that conscious state.
 
So To Think

What about self-awareness?

I disagree with you in part. I think that it is the nature of Buddhist/Taoist/generally-eastern enlightenment that causes one to divorce oneself from words and self-critical thoughts. I don't think it's true for conscious states in general. (Just about any other state I can think of allows self-conscious terminology; i.e. "I am angry," "I am wired," "I am tired," etc.)

Also, having only read one short article by Nagel ("What is it like to be a bat?" I think was by him), I'm not sure where he gets this idea of phenominal consciousness from. Why must we assume that "there is something that it is like" to be anything? This seems like very fuzzy philosophy, so to speak.
 
Agreed. I have something similiar. I embrace death, and now I cannot see how I once feared death. Now that I am my current state of conciousness, I have discovered that I do not associate myself with "wrong" or "evil." I just find myself to be me.

Its nice to have someone else who thinks alot.
 
Enlightenment

LaoTzu, ah, I see what you're saying; I suppose it could only pertain to enlightenment. My own personal experience is referring to the sort of thing where someone reading something (let's say philosophy) can be very inspired by it, but to actually read it and understand the workings of the mind of the author who came to these conclusions in the book that you are reading is another story. Or, another example I have experienced personally is say there is someone who does not consider themselves smart and has a sort of presupposed definition of smart (the description of it we use to describe someone who is smart); and then the one who DOES consider themselves smart looks at the presupposition of the word and cannot identify with it any longer because the actual conscious state of BEING smart is different than the presupposition itself.
Another example, I see it as sort of how people end up imitating others; They look at somebody's behaviors and they do not understand what it is that causes that person's behaviors or the actual conscious state that results in the behavior; They just try to imitate the behavior itself by its appearance.
A bit hard for me to explain, but I see how it could only pertain to enlightenment. Thanks for the reply. :D
 
I don't know if you just did this on purpose, but you explained two completely different phenomenon.


"the sort of thing where someone reading something (let's say philosophy) can be very inspired by it, but to actually read it and understand the workings of the mind of the author who came to these conclusions in the book that you are reading is another story"

This is an aspect of language that has been studied since, well, about since linguistics popped up. Even before then we can see discussion in the Socratics of Plato that centre around the fact that we all interput words with personal bias.


"They look at somebody's behaviors and they do not understand what it is that causes that person's behaviors or the actual conscious state that results in the behavior; They just try to imitate the behavior itself by its appearance."

I believe the sociological conclusion to this would be quite different than the one you've reached. When a person immitates, adapts, accomadates or includes an aspect of another person it is generally a sign of simple respect. I see Jimmy gets lots of women. I notice that when he's getting these women he acts a certain way. Because I also would like to get women I either consciously or unconsciously adapt the actions I believe make Jimmy successful. The mindset of Jimmy is of no concern to me when I adapt some behaviour of his.
 
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