Author Topic: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika  (Read 10299 times)

Offline Samadhi

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A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« on: June 11, 2011, 07:26:38 am »
So, we have the huge Prasangika reading of Mulamadhyamakakariak done by Tsongkhapa (800pgs)....  has anyone attempted at Kagyu equivalent?

This is as close as I can find: The Center of the Sunlit Sky: Madhyamaka in Kagyu Tradition

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1559392185/ref=ox_sc_act_title_4?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Im a MA student studying philosophy and one of my papers is on Madhyamaka.  There is tons of stuff on Prasangika... of which I thought was a pretty solid argument, but being a Kagyupa myself, feel I need to resolve this in some way.  Im still not 100% on the distinction.  Currently my focus has been directed to these ideas, of which I am unsure how closely these ideas run.  That is, the first three on the list seem to run very closely to one another.  I am not established enough in my foundations to make any real comparisons yet... but seem to be circling the problem's I will be working with.

1. Prasangika vs Svantantrika
2. Within Prasangika- Tsongkhapa and Gorampa's  debate over 2 truths as 1 truth
3. Prasangika(Rangtong?) vs Shentong
4. Establishing Prasangika/Shentong as compatible with Pali Sutras
« Last Edit: June 11, 2011, 08:07:31 am by Samadhi »

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2011, 09:46:11 am »
"Center of Sunlit Sky" is a large book. I have not read it.

For a synopsis of the subject matter (100 pages) that is the definitive Karma Kagyu presentation try:
"Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness" by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche.
Translated by Hookam. Prajna Editions (New Zealand). copyright 2001

He has a chart on P.8 where he breaks down "Madhymaka".
Madhyamaka=Rangtong(Svatantrika+Prasangika) + Shentong(Yogacara)

So all three are "Madhymaka". However there is some confusion because Shentong is more accurately the Yogacara/Madhymaka synthesis. There is a stand-alone Yogacara that I believe is the same as the Cittamatra. Confusing...

The translator Hookam has her own PhD. thesis in print on the Rangtong(Prasangika) vs. Shentong(Yogacara) distinction called:
"The Buddha Within"
I don't have the book in front of me to give the publisher, etc.

The Shentong/Yogacara view has as its main text Asanga’s “Uttara Tantra Sastra”.
It is available in translation as:
“The Changeless Nature” translated by Ken & Katia Holmes.
Karma Drubgyud Darjay Ling (Karma Samye Ling Tibetan Centre)

I don't know about reconciling these views with the Pali Canon. I personally don't think you can.
***
However I think that the Karma Kagyu position is that a proper understanding of Rangtong(Prasangika) is necessary before approaching Shentong(Yogacara).
« Last Edit: June 11, 2011, 09:54:55 am by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline Samadhi

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2011, 10:59:25 am »
Ah!  You have answered some of my questions exactly!!

Im gonna get all of those titles you suggested.  

These specific distinctions are fascinating.  Im currently reading some articles (65 of them published from year 2000 forward) discussing all of this, but they are mostly western and many are non-practicing.  Needless to say there is some aggravation reading a western, non-practicing account of this all.  My patience is tested more by reading horrible accounts and syntheses than anything I encounter in daily life.  (probably a result of my insecurity with some of the very fine points).  I mean... I know I have tons of time to come to terms with this all (Im 24 years old and only been practicing under a master for 6 months or so- Lama Dudjom Dorjee of KTC Dallas)

Now, let me ask, do you think there is a better way to go about this other than- reading articles, books, and keeping my lama abreast of this all- ?    Do you think a Shentong reading of Mulamadhyamakakarika is possible (in the vein of Tsongkhapas Ocean of Reasoning)?



On a somewhat more personal note, SantaMonicaCJ, what is your background?  You seem to have a very very solid foundation in this all!   Im sure, since youve been responding to many of my posts, you have watched as my project has begun to narrow....  I truly appreciate your guidance in doing this.  Although I have a professorial board and a lama the discussion that takes place here has been very very helpful!
« Last Edit: June 11, 2011, 11:02:56 am by Samadhi »

Offline Samadhi

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2011, 12:31:44 pm »
Oh.... this might interest you:


shoot.... how does one attach a pdf.   I have an interesting article titled : "Emptiness in the Pali Suttas and the Question of Nagarjuna's Orthodoxy"

Offline Sunya

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2011, 12:50:01 pm »
Oh.... this might interest you:


shoot.... how does one attach a pdf.   I have an interesting article titled : "Emptiness in the Pali Suttas and the Question of Nagarjuna's Orthodoxy"

You might try clicking on "Additional Options" under the text box when posting a reply, or exchange private messages and email addresses. If you received the pdf of the above article from a journal subscription through a library database like I did, it might be advisable to share the document in private.

Offline francis

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2011, 04:55:29 pm »
Oh.... this might interest you:
shoot.... how does one attach a pdf.   I have an interesting article titled : "Emptiness in the Pali Suttas and the Question of Nagarjuna's Orthodoxy"

That article looks good.  Try linking to the original web site if possible or copy the web address from the google search view.  Possibly post the abstract.

:)
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2011, 10:49:54 pm »
Quote
...been practicing under a master for 6 months or so- Lama Dudjom Dorjee of KTC Dallas)
I think I've met LDD. Didn't he used to be at the Santa Cruz (Ca.) KTC? I left Santa Cruz before he got there, but I met him when I returned for a visit. He wouldn’t remember me though.

Quote
Now, let me ask, do you think there is a better way to go about this other than- reading articles, books, and keeping my lama abreast of this all- ?
Are you writing a thesis, studying for your own enjoyment, or wanting to get beyond philosophy and learn to meditate?

Quote
Do you think a Shentong reading of Mulamadhyamakakarika is possible (in the vein of Tsongkhapas Ocean of Reasoning)?
It might be possible but it is a stretch. I am unfamiliar with that text, but in general Nargajuna is not normally associated with Shentong. However I just ordered a book from Amazon that Yeshe mentioned elsewhere called "In Praise of Dharmadhatu" that Yeshe cited as a Nargarjuna/Shentong type of text.

Quote
On a somewhat more personal note, SantaMonicaCJ, what is your background?  You seem to have a very very solid foundation in this all!   Im sure, since youve been responding to many of my posts, you have watched as my project has begun to narrow....  I truly appreciate your guidance in doing this.  Although I have a professorial board and a lama the discussion that takes place here has been very very helpful!
You should know that for the Karma Kagyu position almost every contemporary writer you read leads back to either Thrangu R. or Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatson R. as their living authoritative source. That goes for Hookam, Dr. Reginald Ray, Brunnholzl (I think), Holmes--everybody.

Along those lines I think I should also recommend:
“The Uttara Tantra: A Treatise on Buddha Nature” (Sri Satguru Publications) which is Thrangu R.’s commentary on “The Changeless Nature”. The Changeless Nature is a somewhat obscure text. It must have been a poem or something in Sanskrit. It needs some help to be understandable.
***
Also here at FreeSangha we have a Jonangpa practitioner named Tashi Nyima. You've probably read some of his posts. I think he's on retreat right now, but later he may be able to suggest some additional readings. His sect is exclusively Shentong, whereas Kagyu is about a 70/30 mix. He would know of Tibetan authors that are a bit later.
***
Personally I lived at the Santa Cruz KTC for a time in the '70s. Back then there were very few Kagyu lamas around so we invited lamas from all the sects. I got a wonderfully ecumenical exposure as a young man as a result. My practice is Kagyu but I've had one very influential lama from the Gelug tradition and another from the Nyingma.

I now live in L.A. but started paying dues again in S.C. recently, as well as paying dues at Lama Norlha's monastery in upstate New York. If the new Kalu R. comes to L.A. this fall I will break down and actually help with the visit.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2011, 11:03:40 pm by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline White Lotus

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2011, 07:11:14 am »
please excuse my ignorance, but is there any difference between the words 'mind' and 'emptiness'... no. so i am trying to see what the difference between shentong and rantong is. to me it seems that there is no difference. now, i dont know the argument here nor its subtleties. perhaps i am being too simplistic, but in experience it seems to me that 'mind' and 'emptiness' are one and the same thing. if this is the case why couldnt yogacara appreciate the Mulamadhyamakakarika, perhaps it would have nothing new to add to what has already been said.

 :curtain:

Tom.

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2011, 09:47:01 am »
please excuse my ignorance, but is there any difference between the words 'mind' and 'emptiness'... no. so i am trying to see what the difference between shentong and rantong is. to me it seems that there is no difference. now, i dont know the argument here nor its subtleties. perhaps i am being too simplistic, but in experience it seems to me that 'mind' and 'emptiness' are one and the same thing. if this is the case why couldnt yogacara appreciate the Mulamadhyamakakarika, perhaps it would have nothing new to add to what has already been said.
Prasangika (Rangtong) is the school of 'self-emptiness'. They look at all manifest phenomena, that is anything that can be taken as an object of consciousness or conceptualized, and say that it is impossible to find a permanent essence or 'self' to any of it.

Yogacara (Shentong) is the school of 'other-emptiness'. They say that Buddha Nature, a.k.a. Wisdom Mind (or any of a number of other synonyms) can never be taken as an object of consciousness or conceptualized, and therefore is not negated by Prasangika reasoning. Therefore it can be said to be the only thing that has absolute and true existence. It is empty of anything other than its own pure valid existence. It is Real--Ultimate Truth.

Or, to use slightly different terms, Prasangika (Rangtong) calls its view the 'non-affirming negation'. In other words they discredit all logically possible views on how things abide and do not posit any position or view of their own. What they are very specifically not affirming is the idea of a Reality beyond their analysis, which is exactly what the Shentong adherents posit.

Clear?
« Last Edit: June 12, 2011, 10:03:48 am by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline Samadhi

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2011, 12:16:56 pm »
"In Praise of Dharmadatu" is on my bookshelf and will be used for my thesis... Im reading "Gelug/Kagyu Mahamudra" right now, and "In Praise of DD" is next.   I was anticipating this text as how Id find Shentong in Nagarjuna through the Third Karmapa's commentary.

To answer a few of your questions... yes, this is for a thesis.  I do have a developing meditation practice by using my limited knowledge and experience with mahamudra, chenrezig puja, and ngondro thankfully shown to me by my master.  I have been very fortunate that my academic studies are akin with my spiritual practices.  So, this project is all encompassing for me... it permeates school, enjoyment, and spiritual ends.

Yes, Lama D Dorjee was originally in California:

http://www.kagyu.org/kagyulineage/teachers/tea20.php


Attached is the file... its from a research database, so I believe is widely available.... if Im breaking any rules, please, someone chime in!  (I had to post it in 2 posts and delete the references to make it fit nicely)
« Last Edit: June 12, 2011, 12:28:25 pm by Samadhi »

Offline Samadhi

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2011, 12:27:01 pm »
2nd part of article

Yeshe

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2011, 12:47:20 pm »
Tashi Nyma's Blog on Zhentong:

http://greatmiddleway.wordpress.com/zhentong-other-emptiness/

Yes, he is away on retreat for a while - about a month I think. ;)

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2011, 01:48:58 pm »
Quote
I'm reading "Gelug/Kagyu Mahamudra" right now
Who is that by? I don't know it. Presumably it is Sutrayana Mahamudra, right?

Attached is the file... its from a research database, so I believe is widely available.... if Im breaking any rules, please, someone chime in!  (I had to post it in 2 posts and delete the references to make it fit nicely)
Wow. OK, well you're going to get into this area a whole lot deeper than I even imagined doing.

My knee-jerk reaction is that I didn't know Nargajuna ever referenced a Pali Sutra. That would be a nice reference to see.

I kinda liked the bit about the experience of the Buddha after his enlightenment and before his death. What was it like to experience egolessness and walk around interacting with people? But I wasn't totally comfortable with the author's use of terms, specifically "samsara".

Good luck. Like I said you're digging way way deeper into this than I ever imagined doing. Hope you find gold! :jinsyx:
« Last Edit: June 12, 2011, 01:57:21 pm by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline Samadhi

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2011, 02:37:41 pm »
Gelug/Kagyu MM: By HH Dalai Lama and Alex Berzin

http://www.amazon.com/Gelug-Kagyu-Tradition-Mahamudra/dp/1559390727/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1307914610&sr=8-1

I imagine it is a sutrayana view....  like Essentials of MM or MM: Moonlight.... dont know yet!

Thank you for your help, my brother. (and everyone else :) )
 :namaste:
« Last Edit: June 12, 2011, 02:40:43 pm by Samadhi »

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2011, 02:50:59 pm »
Gelug/Kagyu MM: By HH Dalai Lama and Alex Berzin

http://www.amazon.com/Gelug-Kagyu-Tradition-Mahamudra/dp/1559390727/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1307914610&sr=8-1

I imagine it is a sutrayana view....  like Essentials of MM or MM: Moonlight.... dont know yet!

Thank you for your help, my brother. (and everyone else :) )
 :namaste:

The Amazon link lets you see the table of contents. Seems to be mostly Sutrayana, but it touches on everything. Not only Tantric Mahamudra, but Dzogchen, Bon Dzogchen(!), Shangpa Kagyu Mahamudra--the whole works! There's a couple entries that seem like they would pertain to my practice (no, I'm not practicing Mahamudra), so I'm going back to Amazon now to see if I can get inside the book and read those few pages...

Thanks for the link! :jinsyx:
« Last Edit: June 12, 2011, 03:02:15 pm by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

 


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