Author Topic: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika  (Read 10307 times)

Offline White Lotus

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2011, 07:14:25 am »
it is in the nature of a diamond to have many facets. i would have thought that both the rantong and shentong views could be held by someone at any given time. i am of the belief that if you seek a particular understanding, then that is what you find. a self fulfilling prophecy.

since i have no view on the matter that i am attached to i am happy to say either that buddha nature is uniquely existing or that it isnt. if i have emptiness of view i will attach to neither of these. if i seek one or the other, then that is what i will find. i have direct experience of own nature, but tend to see it as very very difficult to describe. it seems that shentong and rantong are trying to understand or analyse that which is beyond analysis.

i would have thought that following these arguments would consume much mental energy, and in the end be fruitless.

things are just as they are. this reality to some seems very real, to others it is like a dream and insubstantial. buddha nature can be seen as 'something' or as 'nothing', this is just falling into views. take it as it is. buildings, cars and pedestrians, just as they are, just so.

best wishes, Tom.

Offline Samadhi

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2011, 01:38:41 pm »
Thank you Tom, but Im in the field of academics and scholarship, so looking very closely at these arguments (every facet of your diamond example) is in the nature of this kind of work, Im sure you understand.

In other news:

It seems Im getting closer and closer to honing in on the very specifics.

Now Im in the midst of this comparing these:

Tsongkhapa VS Gorampa VS Dolpo

So... getting deeper.
 :namaste:

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2011, 02:57:03 pm »
This thread and related activities (Amazon's suggestions) precipitated me buying;
Maitreya's Distinguishing Phenomena and Pure Being by Asanga/Maitreya.

I am now more confused than before. First off I obviously do not understand the difference between true Yogacara (a.k.a. Cittamtra or "Mind Only School") and the Yogacara/Madhyamaka synthesis (Shentong).

So for now I get to be confused until I figure out what it is I don't understand...


it is in the nature of a diamond to have many facets. i would have thought that both the rantong and shentong views could be held by someone at any given time. i am of the belief that if you seek a particular understanding, then that is what you find. a self fulfilling prophecy.
Many teachers do hold both views and will teach one or the other depending on the needs of the student. Some even say a deep understanding of one is the same as the other regardless of apparent differences. So no need to make a big fuss over the issue, as you seem to have also concluded.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2011, 03:08:03 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 #18 on: June 20, 2011, 03:18:18 pm »
Distinguishing Phenomena and Being is a wonderful little book.  Dense.  Quite. 

I really enjoy getting in over my my head, philosophically speaking.... because once out of the woods the clearing is that much more clear.... (for myself at least).  I always try to finish a "reading session" with some purification and mahamudra.... after all, it seems with this kind of philosophical work we are merely trying to catch our "knowledge" up with our "intuition" that we gain from our practice. (if that is at all possible)

Im sure it can be dangerous if pushed quite extremely, but I think we are generally in the safe zone if we can return to our master for clarification, keep gaining merit from alturistic acts, and keep within the main schools (Im best versed in prasangika, so that seems to be my safety net I fall back to if I get a bit sketched out).  This may be some naivity on my part and if so, someone please reach their hand out and cyber-smack me. :)

Lets keep it up! 
 :grouphug:

I know we can come to terms with all of this if we keep checking in with each other and with our masters.
 :jinsyx:
« Last Edit: June 20, 2011, 03:23:44 pm by Samadhi »

Offline Samadhi

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2011, 02:17:01 pm »
For those who are interested, Ive just worked through these two books and they are incredible:

Jamgon Kongtrol Lodro Taye's Treasury of Wisdom 6.3

http://www.amazon.com/Treasury-Knowledge-Book-Part-Frameworks/dp/1559392770/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317935691&sr=1-1


Khenchen Trangu Rinpoche's brief commentary on Jamgon Kongtrol Lodro Taye's Treasury of Wisdom  - Book 6.3

http://www.amazon.com/Shentong-Rangtong-Two-Views-Emptiness/dp/1931571171/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317935670&sr=8-1-fkmr1

 
Khenchen Trangu Rinpoche's book is more practice based while Kongtrul's is more academic.  I highly recommend both of them.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2011, 02:54:39 pm by Samadhi »

Offline Lgyatso

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2011, 10:31:17 am »
Hello,
I would quite agree with everything said in this thread. A couple of points to clarify 1:Shentongpa according to Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatso Rinpoche accept completely Prasangika analytical polemic (reasoning) as correct as to conventional Truth. But Shentong uses the five treatises of Maitreya* to establish an understanding, at least a theoretical understanding of ultimate Truth. That is Tathagatagharba, The Clear Light Nature Of Mind, Dharmata, Dharmadhatu....etc. Whereas Rangtongpa purists say their argument implies nothing at all can be asserted about Ultimate Truth. Which is of course technically correct since ultimate Truth is completely beyond conceptualization. Nonetheless a theoretical understanding is useful in developing Maha Ati or Mahamudra practice. Rangtong view is best for analysis, Shentong view is best for meditative practice.
Incidently I don't think any school ever identified itself as Chittamatrin, I think this name was given to Yogacharya by Prasangika advocates. Similar to the name Hinayana given by the Mahayanists.
Shentong says the first turning of the wheel refuted a self of beings, the second turning refuted a true existence of phenomena, and the third turning refuted nihilism as the ultimate nature.
If I recall..
In Sakya a great debate was held between Gorampa(Rangtong) and Sakya Chokden (Shentong). The Sakya Tridzin was unable to decide who had won so he slept on it. Mahakala appeared in a dream to him and indicated that Rangtong should be the official view of the Sakya.

Please carry on!

*from http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Five_Treatises_of_Maitreya

    1. The Ornament of Clear Realization (Skt. Abhisamayalankara, Abhisamayālaṃkāra; Tib. མངོན་པར་རྟོགས་པའི་རྒྱན་, ngönpar tokpé gyen, Wyl. mngon par rtogs pa'i rgyan).
        འཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པའི་མན་ངག་གི་བསྟན་བཅོས་མངོན་པར་རྟོགས་པའི་རྒྱན་, shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa'i man ngag gi bstan bcos mngon par rtogs pa'i rgyan

    2. The Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras (Skt. Mahayanasutralankara, Māhayānasūtrālaṃkāra; Tib. ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་མདོ་སྡེ་རྒྱན་, tekpa chenpö do de gyen, Wyl. theg pa chen po'i mdo sde rgyan).
        ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོ་མདོ་སྡེའི་རྒྱན་, theg pa chen po mdo sde'i rgyan, mahayana sutralamkara karika

    3. Distinguishing the Middle from the Extremes (Skt. Madhyantavibhaga, Madhyāntavibhāga; Tib. དབུས་དང་མཐའ་རྣམ་པར་འབྱེད་པ་, ü dang ta nampar jepa, Wyl. dbus dang mtha' rnam par 'byed pa).
        དབུ་དང་མཐའ་རྣམ་པར་འབྱེད་པ་, dbu dang mtha' rnam par 'byed pa, madhyanta vibhanga

    4. Distinguishing Dharma and Dharmata (Skt. Dharma-dharmata-vibhaga, Dharma-dharmatā-vibhāga; Tib. ཆོས་དང་ཆོས་ཉིད་རྣམ་པར་འབྱེད་པ་, chö dang chönyi nampar jepa, Wyl. chos dang chos nyid rnam par 'byed pa) is very brief and direct in its presentation and is included within the class of oral instructions.
        ཆོས་དང་ཆོས་ཉིད་རྣམ་པར་འབྱེད་པ་, chos dang chos nyid rnam par 'byed pa, dharma dharmata vibhanga

    5. The Sublime Continuum (Skt. Uttaratantra Shastra, Uttaratantra Śāstra; Tib. རྒྱུད་བླ་མ་, gyü lama, Wyl. rgyud bla ma).
        ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོ་རྒྱུད་བླ་མའི་བསྟན་བཅོས་, theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos, mahayana uttara tantara sastra


 :r4wheel:

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2011, 11:45:34 am »
Rangtong view is best for analysis, Shentong view is best for meditative practice.
There is a Mahamudra tradition that is Sutrayana/Paramitayana based that relies on Rangtong perspective. However it does seem that Shentong makes more sense in a deity yoga context--at least it does to me!
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 Lgyatso

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2011, 01:10:28 am »
Sure :anjali:
Kagyu claims Gampopa was able to teach Mahamudra based solely on Sutrayana. Though I'm not sure there is any on going lineage almost everyone practices the two stages. Being a Kadampa monk Gampopa probably was philosophically Rang Tongpa, though Shentong claims Santarakshita as a Shentongpa so a Sutra based Mahamudra could conceivably rely on Shentong. When dividing Mahamudra into Sutric based, Vajrayana based, and Essence Based... and since Luminosity is mentioned in the Samadhi Raja and other Sutras as well as Nagarjuna's In Praise of the Dharmadhatu. When one is actually ready to practice effortlessly, resting in the natural "mind." Having long regarded mind as Clear Light Nature or Empty would probably be equally effective. I think when KTGR made the statement of the superiority of Shentong for meditative purposes he was speaking in the very general sense. I think if it can be taught based solely on essence certainly it could be taught based on Sutra. Essence I believe means just looking at the nature of mind without a previous training in the two stages, the method of no-method.

LG

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2011, 09:21:49 am »
Kagyu claims Gampopa was able to teach Mahamudra based solely on Sutrayana. Though I'm not sure there is any on going lineage almost everyone practices the two stages.
I think the Gelugpas still do it. I'm not sure about that though.

Quote
Being a Kadampa monk Gampopa probably was philosophically Rang Tongpa
I don't think that the Rangtong/Shentong distinction had formalized by the time of Gompopa, but the first chapter in his seminal work of "Jewel Ornament of Liberation" is on Buddha Nature. Plus Mila was purely tantric, so my assumption was that he tended towards what we would now call Shentong.

*****

On a different note, I'm reading "In Praise of Dharmadhatu" by Nagarjuna. Brunnholzl the translator mentions in his introduction (p.68) that the idea of mind being luminous and only obscured by adventitious stains are already found several times in the Pali canon. He quotes the Anguttara Nikaya to support this.

This throws all the ideas of the teachings on Buddha Nature as having come from Asanga and Vasabhandu out the window. It was there all along! So who is it that is making this whole song and dance about "the three turning of the wheel of Dharma"? WTF?

« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 09:24:35 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 #24 on: October 19, 2011, 11:58:49 am »
Those who are in need of the first wheel to be turned do not realize the first wheel is congruent with the 2nd and 3rd.   Once must walk before he can run.  Unless he can just lift off the ground and fly, but thats probably more vajra/3rd turning . :)
« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 12:03:14 pm by Samadhi »

Offline Lgyatso

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2011, 01:55:46 pm »
"I don't think that the Rangtong/Shentong distinction had formalized by the time of Gompopa, but the first chapter in his seminal work of "Jewel Ornament of Liberation" is on Buddha Nature. Plus Mila was purely tantric, so my assumption was that he tended towards what we would now call Shentong."

According to both Rangtongpa H. H. Dalai Lama (Tantra in Tibet) and Shentongpa Kyabje Kalu Rimpoche I (Vajrayana of Tibet), there is no difference in the philosophical views of Mahayana and Vajrayana. The only distinction between them is one of method.
Rangtongpas may talk about Buddha Nature. The acceptance of Maitreyas teachings as authentic  Buddha Dharma has never been an issue between them. The issue boils down to proximate and definitive. Rangtong holds that teachings on Emptiness are definitive. While Shentong holds that teachings on Buddha Nature are definitive. Thinking that Rangtong is Sutric and Shentong is Tantric would be a mistake.
Milarepa was staunchly anti-theoretical 'I have the ear whispered (practice) instructions of the Dakinis, I need nothing more' (paraphrased). He would never have taught Gampopa a word of philosophy. Whatever philosophical teaching Gampopa received were via Atishas lineage before he met Milarepa. (I think) It's in the Prajna or Buddhahood Chapter of Jewel Ornament when referring to what Prajna when perfected correctly "Apprehends." Gampopa says something like: the whole (theoretical) description (of it) is so contrary and confusing  not even a Tathagata could clear it up. So he was definitely method oriented by that point.

Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen (1292–1361) is credited with defining Shentong as a view, though various teachers are retroactively assigned as Shentong by modern Shentong scholars.

"Those who are in need of the first wheel to be turned do not realize the first wheel is congruent with the 2nd and 3rd.   Once must walk before he can run.  Unless he can just lift off the ground and fly, but thats probably more vajra/3rd turning ."

I have thought each Yana was the natural evolution of it's predecessor. Maybe the most capable students were the first students they got by with the simplest teachings. Then came the more complex Compassion/Emptiness teaching. Until we get to us knuckleheads to whom only the powerful Vajrayana can penetrate.

Lgyatso

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2011, 09:46:31 pm »
Rangtong holds that teachings on Emptiness are definitive. While Shentong holds that teachings on Buddha Nature are definitive.
The fact remains that Gompopa started his "Jewel Ornament" with a chapter on Buddha Nature, preceding chapters on the 4 thoughts, Refuge, and Bodhicitta. I take that as an indication he held the teachings on Buddha Nature to be definitive. I would tend to believe that he was what we would retroactively call a "Shentongpa".

I believe that Atisha's Kadam school was Nagarjuna oriented, as are their Dharma heirs the Gelugpas today.

Dudjom R. was often heard to say that Prasangika was approached by logic, and Great Madhyamaka (what he called Shentong) was approached by faith. So the assessment that both views are equally tantrically oriented is/was not universally held, although HHDL and the late Kalu R. certainly are excellent authorities on the subject.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 09:55:12 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 #27 on: October 21, 2011, 10:50:35 pm »
"Those who are in need of the first wheel to be turned do not realize the first wheel is congruent with the 2nd and 3rd.   Once must walk before he can run.  Unless he can just lift off the ground and fly, but thats probably more vajra/3rd turning ."

I have thought each Yana was the natural evolution of it's predecessor. Maybe the most capable students were the first students they got by with the simplest teachings. Then came the more complex Compassion/Emptiness teaching. Until we get to us knuckleheads to whom only the powerful Vajrayana can penetrate.

Lgyatso

Haha!  I really like what you mean!  I agree.  I did just read this tonight

From the chapter "General Introduction" in Uttaratantra Shastra
commentary by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

'The subject matter of the first turning is... four noble truths...The teachings of the first were aimed at individuals who did not have the sharpest intelligence....   Everything in this turning was phrased in terms of something tangible and in terms of conventional reality.'

So, there is that.  It works both ways I think!  I can see how capable (as you say above) and 'not sharpest intelligence' might really mean something similar.  Closer to non-conceptual lifestyle, not bogged down with philosophizing, something like that?
« Last Edit: October 21, 2011, 11:04:40 pm by Samadhi »

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #28 on: October 22, 2011, 01:26:50 pm »
...The teachings of the first were aimed at individuals who did not have the sharpest intelligence....   Everything in this turning was phrased in terms of something tangible and in terms of conventional reality.'
OK, so maybe I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed...

I've been trying to read "In Praise of Dharmadhatu" with commentary by IIIrd Karmapa, tr. K. Brunnholzl. I totally didn't understand ANY of what the Karmapa was talking about. On every page there were maybe two or three sentences I could understand. It was completely over my head.

Plus, then I was reading some Gompopa on a completely different subject, and he talks about "a person of limited awareness sees it like such...", and that's the way I see that subject! Strike two!

But you know what? I don't care anymore! :flag: I'm quite happy with my level of understanding and my practice. :) So what does it matter beyond that? :twocents:
« Last Edit: October 22, 2011, 01:30:54 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 #29 on: October 22, 2011, 03:24:39 pm »
I agree.

But, I imagine that reading maitreya's texts (and various commentaries) first, then In Praise of DD would be a better pedagogical move in my opinion. Esp since In Praise of DD is Nagarjuna and 3rd Karmapa a solid foundation in rangtong and shentong would probably help alot.

In Praise of Dharmadhatu goes before Luminous Heart.  Read them together, if you read them at all.

 


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