Author Topic: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika  (Read 10429 times)

Offline santamonicacj

  • Member
  • Posts: 2268
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #30 on: October 22, 2011, 07:33:03 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.
I've read "Uttaratantrashastra", "Progressive Stages of Emptiness" by Khenpo Tultrim Gryatso, "The Buddha Within" by Hookam (which was hard enough), and a commentary by Thrangu R. I can't remember the name of. Still couldn't get through Mikyo Dorje's (VIIIth Karmapa's) piece on "Dharmadhatu as Disposition and Tathagata Heart" starting on p. 83.

However when Brunnholzl comments on the text I can more or less understand that. The totally dumbed-down gist of what I get out of it so far is that the ideas of Dharmadhatu and Buddha Nature come very close to Brahman and Atman, only they are still Buddhist because they are not "reified". So then I had to look up "reify":

re·i·fy vt
to think of or treat something abstract as if it existed as a real and tangible object.



OK, so now what does that mean? I thought that Buddha Nature, Dharmadhatu, Dharmakaya--whatever, were all non-manifest, so I'm not thinking of them as "tangible", yet they are purported to be real. So if I think of something as non-manifest yet real, am I reifying it?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2011, 07:35:06 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 catmoon

  • Member
  • Posts: 1599
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #31 on: October 23, 2011, 11:22:38 pm »

However when Brunnholzl comments on the text I can more or less understand that. The totally dumbed-down gist of what I get out of it so far is that the ideas of Dharmadhatu and Buddha Nature come very close to Brahman and Atman, only they are still Buddhist because they are not "reified". So then I had to look up "reify":

re·i·fy vt
to think of or treat something abstract as if it existed as a real and tangible object.



OK, so now what does that mean? I thought that Buddha Nature, Dharmadhatu, Dharmakaya--whatever, were all non-manifest, so I'm not thinking of them as "tangible", yet they are purported to be real. So if I think of something as non-manifest yet real, am I reifying it?

Well, yes, but you have to keep one eye one the way you are trying to think about them. If you are thinking about them conventionally, reification is standard practice, but if you want an ultimate view, you'll have to leave behind concepts like real and unreal.

Also, when you say non-manifest but real, what are you talking about? Unicorns do not manifest, but it would be a serious error to classify them as real.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline Samadhi

  • Member
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #32 on: October 24, 2011, 06:39:13 am »
I think the difference between an affirming negation and a non-affirming negation are conventionalities in language/ontology.

To reify emptiness would be to attach notions of conventionality upon emptiness, such as eternalism, which is a critique Shentong thinks does not apply to their reading (because the nature of emptiness/bliss is non-conceptual.)  I feel the heart of the debate is to classify/describe what is left over after inherent existence has been negated, that is, how can we conceptualize the ultimate?  Rangtong/Shentong seem to hold that it cannot be conceptualized, but if we must pin a label upon them for discussion's sake then non-affirming negation/ affirming negation are good possible terms, albeit both deferring and differing as to what they point toward (with their respective terms), but agreeing that it cannot be conceptualized.

It seems that within suchness one can become afflicted with delusion or be freed from delusion.  If it is delusion that pulls us down (in terms of karma) and then emptiness is used as medicine to cure the illness of samsara then the opposing traits that are in the medicine:  wisdom vs ignorance; patience vs anger; generosity vs desire;  love vs hate; etc... (albeit conceptual designations that do, nonetheless have karmic effects) are traits that suchness can exhibit.  If suchness can exhibit all of these traits, then the ones opposite from those which keep us attached (which include emptiness, love, compassion) is the buddha nature behind the delusive stains.

Sacred view as a cause!!!!!!!???????
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 07:00:49 am by Samadhi »

Offline santamonicacj

  • Member
  • Posts: 2268
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #33 on: October 26, 2011, 07:47:25 am »
I feel the heart of the debate is to classify/describe what is left over after inherent existence has been negated, that is, how can we conceptualize the ultimate?
Good point. I think that's right too.

Also, when you say non-manifest but real, what are you talking about? Unicorns do not manifest, but it would be a serious error to classify them as real.
Currently in Karma Kagyu tradition Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso R. is the go-to guy for teachings on Shentong. Most of the western writers that talk about the subject from the Kagyu perspective get their information from him. Here's a quote from his own book on the subject:

"This non-onceptual Wisdom Mind is not the object of the conceptualizing process and so is not negated by Madhymaka reasoning. Therefore, it can be said to be the only thing  that has absolute and true existence."           (formatting mine)
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 07:52:32 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 Lgyatso

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #34 on: October 26, 2011, 09:14:18 am »
"Closer to non-conceptual lifestyle, not bogged down with philosophizing, something like that?"

Yes yes! you got my meaning exactly...smarter isn't automatically better. I've been attending teachings of H. H. Dalai Lama he hardly misses a chance to say " different religions are like different medicines, you must take the one that cures your particular illness." So of course we could extend that to Yanas, or Lineages or Tab Lam vs Thar Lam or some combination. In short we need to find what actually makes us "well" i.e. what works for us, and that may take some doing. Sufi/Gurdjieff teacher Robert De Ropp said "the very first challenge the student faces is to find the right teacher."

Lgyatso

Offline Lgyatso

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #35 on: October 26, 2011, 09:58:59 am »
This is only nominally on subject here but I have a question:
Why doesn't "non-inherent existence" contravene the fourth limb of the Madhyamaka Tetralemma. That is: a mode of existence/non-existence that is neither true existence nor true non-existence. It seems like a qualified or partial existence would be exactly what this limb was meant to refute. I think this may have been one of Gorampa's issues with Tsongkhapa though no doubt more technically stated.  hmmm? anyone?

Lgyatso

Also off topic if you have never seen this  http://www.shenpen-osel.org/
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 10:01:10 am by Lgyatso, Reason: add URL »

Offline Samadhi

  • Member
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #36 on: October 26, 2011, 10:27:37 am »
Are you saying:
Not truly existent and not truly non-existent?

From 3rd Karmapa Mahamudra Aspiration prayer: (which would have been shentong, I believe.  I think there are still more acute interpretations of shentong and Im not sure where this prayer would fall, but that is a little past where I am at in my research currently)

"It is not existent--even the Victorious Ones do not see it.
     It is not nonexistent--it is the basis of all samsara and nirvana. "

I think you are right in positing that this may be Gorampa's issue.  I think another issue may be that conventional truth is not a truth perse, but rather a deluded stain of ultimate truth.  Therefore there is only one truth.  I also anticipate that Gorampa may say 'suchness' cannot be given a truth value, because it is non-conceptual.....

Im about to read Two Truths Debate (Gorampa on Tsonghkapa) Final Exposition (Tsongkhapa on Dolpopa) and Freedom From Extremes (Gorampa on Tsongkhapa and Dolpopa), so Ill get back to everyone with my findings.   
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 10:34:31 am by Samadhi »

Offline santamonicacj

  • Member
  • Posts: 2268
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #37 on: October 26, 2011, 02:23:05 pm »
Im about to read Two Truths Debate (Gorampa on Tsonghkapa) Final Exposition (Tsongkhapa on Dolpopa) and Freedom From Extremes (Gorampa on Tsongkhapa and Dolpopa), so Ill get back to everyone with my findings.

I have a bad habit of recommending books I have not read, so instead I will merely mention that Thrangu R. has a Shentong/Rangtong book out.

http://www.amazon.com/Shentong-Rangtong-Two-Views-Emptiness/dp/1931571171/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319664203&sr=1-2

Since this thread is in the Kagyu section I feel that it is appropriate.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 02:24:36 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 santamonicacj

  • Member
  • Posts: 2268
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #38 on: October 26, 2011, 02:34:00 pm »
This is only nominally on subject here but I have a question:
Why doesn't "non-inherent existence" contravene the fourth limb of the Madhyamaka Tetralemma. That is: a mode of existence/non-existence that is neither true existence nor true non-existence. It seems like a qualified or partial existence would be exactly what this limb was meant to refute.
I think that the question revolves around the usage of the term "inherent existence", or "inherent self-existence". What is being sought or questioned is the nature of the essence of phenomena. At least within the Gelug presentation phenomena are allowed a conventional/interdependent "truth" or validity. Otherwise the Tetralemma's  2nd limb is violated, that of non-existence.

However I have heard that Chandrakirti did not take that view.
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

  • Member
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #39 on: October 26, 2011, 05:41:41 pm »
I have a bad habit of recommending books I have not read, so instead I will merely mention that Thrangu R. has a Shentong/Rangtong book out.

http://www.amazon.com/Shentong-Rangtong-Two-Views-Emptiness/dp/1931571171/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319664203&sr=1-2

Since this thread is in the Kagyu section I feel that it is appropriate.



Hahahahaha, I agree.  The one review of that book is mine :)

Offline catmoon

  • Member
  • Posts: 1599
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #40 on: October 26, 2011, 09:01:29 pm »
Currently in Karma Kagyu tradition Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso R. is the go-to guy for teachings on Shentong. Most of the western writers that talk about the subject from the Kagyu perspective get their information from him. Here's a quote from his own book on the subject:

"This non-onceptual Wisdom Mind is not the object of the conceptualizing process and so is not negated by Madhymaka reasoning. Therefore, it can be said to be the only thing  that has absolute and true existence."           (formatting mine)

Wow, that is radically at odds with any Tibetan philosophy I am aware of. If true, it would mean there is an aspect of self that eternal and unchanging... a soul in fact.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline Samadhi

  • Member
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #41 on: October 27, 2011, 07:07:24 am »
No, I dont think so.  That is basically shentong, no?  The "absolute/true existence" is beyond conceptual fabrications and is not dependently arisen.  It is empty and is left as suchness, which contains buddha nature, which is an affirming negation, which is still non-conceptual.

Beings in samsara with conceptual structures built into our world view makes using words like "absolute" dangerous and have to be prefaced with the standard shentong preamble about the 3 natures/naturelessnesses and madhyamaka.   
« Last Edit: October 27, 2011, 07:19:31 am by Samadhi »

Offline Lgyatso

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #42 on: October 27, 2011, 09:56:29 am »
the Madhyamaka Tetralemma the conclusion of Prasangika logical analysis as I understand it.....

It can not be asserted that:
Phenomena is existent
Phenomena is nonexistent
Phenomena is a combination of existent and nonexistent
Phenomena is an exclusion of existent and nonexistent (some other mode or form)

Since existent and nonexistent are absolute values (here) asserting a qualified form of existence, that being in this case "non-inherent" existence, would then exclude absolute existence and absolute non-existence. The fourth limb of the Tetralemma would be violated by asserting a form outside these two. Non affirming negative means... by refuting non-inherent existence using this fourth limb it is not meant that things are nonexistent is being asserted (second limb). If that were the case (as an affirming negative) then refuting existence (the first limb) would be the same as asserting non-existence. And the entire Tetralemma would be logically unsound.


Therefore non-inherent existence can not be asserted either.

I think this is the prasangika purist criticism of Gelug.
Their point being that nothing whatsoever can be asserted concerning the final nature of phenomena 'cause form is emptiness etc. So Emptiness has to be arrived as a direct experience.



Lgyatso :D

« Last Edit: October 27, 2011, 10:12:46 am by Lgyatso, Reason: clarity »

Offline Samadhi

  • Member
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #43 on: October 27, 2011, 11:07:20 am »
 :pray:

Offline santamonicacj

  • Member
  • Posts: 2268
    • View Profile
Re: A Kagyu Reading of Mulamadhyamakarika
« Reply #44 on: October 28, 2011, 02:09:17 pm »
Wow, that is radically at odds with any Tibetan philosophy I am aware of. If true, it would mean there is an aspect of self that eternal and unchanging... a soul in fact.
Looks really close to that to me also. There are some fine points I'm still digesting though.

It occurs to me that the whole Rangtong/Shentong thing could be like relativity and quantum physics. I'm told that both relativity and quantum physics are valid theories but they don't "fit" together very well. I don't understand the anything about why they are not compatible, but maybe this part of Buddhist philosophy is like that--maybe? :shrug:
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.

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal