Svabhava – the doctrine of no intrinsic nature

There is no intrinsic nature (svabhava) to conditioned phenomena. All conditioned (samskara) and unconditioned (dharma) phenomena are without self (anatman) and are empty (shunyata). All conditioned phenomena are impermanent (anitya) and unsatisfactory (duhkha).

With this as base Buddhism teaches enlightenment (or release) (nirvana) that ends all rebirth (samsara, reincarnation).

13 thoughts on “Svabhava – the doctrine of no intrinsic nature”

  1. Landzek, I’ve experience what I believe to be “enlightenment.” The experience was something that happened perhaps 50 times when it first began to occur for me. The longest event of being inside of the experience lasted four solid days, through attending school and doing everything a “normal” day would be for me at that time. Having had the experience led me to learn how to have it more often, rather than just waiting for my consciousness to shift into the state. (Why I was led to study Alexander Technique – as a way to shift my conscious awareness state.) It happened often enough for me to make various observations about what “made it” happen, what made it end…in a very practical way.
    Because of these experiences, I have practical, first hand experience that “enlightenment” is possible. It’s rare evidently, because most people don’t have the experience very often – and I’ve never been able to “STAY” in a state of “enlightenment.” It always ended…but it did return. When it returned, it seemed to affect others who could “catch” the state from me, as you’d “catch a cold” LOL. Western terms for it were “a state of grace” or “peak experience,” or “flow state.” But it wasn’t a matter of “belief” for this enlightened state to happen for me…because it was a total surprise for me that it was possible the first time it did happen to me. For me, it wasn’t connected to any culture or practice the first 50 times it happened.
    I believe it did happen for me because I had shut myself down in denial over grieving. As I had opened up after that period of grief was ended to make friends with someone who was, essentially, my “first friend” (who happened to not be my lover.) I think because I had been shut off, that I opened ALL the way up, and so I got to experience “enlightenment.” Perhaps it was like being “in love,” but there was no sexual element or connection to a particular person as there is when you are “in love”?
    Anyway, what I want to say is – just because you haven’t experienced something yet doesn’t mean it can’t ever exist for you. (However, this state does seem to have a physical prerequisite, for me.)

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  2. Iii seems you are confusing non-existence with impermanence. Things exist and change; that is impermanence. The critique by Buddhism is that non-existent “things” (the concepts, abstractions, absolutes in the mind, the atemporal ideas) a without self (without intrinsic nature). Things of the mind are perceived as permanent and satisfactory insofar as being non-existent things.


  3. But for sure, we need things to believe in. It doesn’t make them bad just because we have to believe in them. But often it means they’re not true by the sheer fact that I would have to believe in it. 😄


  4. Or, actually you were using conditioned and unconditioned. Not permanent and impermanence but still, I would point to the Buddhist doctrine as an example of one of the routes. It is true given a certain type of thinking about things. But it is ultimately based in a particular way of viewing what is going on. Because how do we discern what is conditioned in unconditioned. And I really want to know if you’ve ever met anyone who is in lightened. Lol. It is a fantasy. Something that A person has faith in. To get them through life. There’s no such thing as enlightenment. Enlightenment is the realization of ones being and thus they are removed from the eternal reincarnating back into life . I could very easily say that very truthfully speaking that is what has happened to me. Has it happen to you? And how would you know if it happened to you and how would you know if it happened or didn’t happen to me?

    I think they’re nice things to believe in. But I don’t think that they really say anything about truth. I think they say things about how reality is conditioned.

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  5. But I was being a little bit silly. In my comment. But I would also point to one of the problems with Buddhism is that it posit something that we don’t live ever. If there is impermanence then why do I even save money in a bank account or try to.? How is my house standing up year after year if it is impermanent?


  6. I like that. It’s similar to that there is truth that we find in reality. And then there’s a truth that is true despite reality.


  7. Responsibility does not necessarily have to do with ethics. Mass burger must be truthfully all right, because it happens quite frequently. It is true. It happens. It’s not good or bad. What is good or bad is ethical. Again two routes. Do you think that there’s some sort of ethical thing that happens in the universe without human beings? Is the planet Jupiter ethical or unethical?


  8. One is true as fact. The other could only be true as statement.

    If all is true then mass murder is alright. Remember responsibility and ethics?


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