Author Topic: Please can the method behing Madhyamaka be explained in simple terms.  (Read 14448 times)

Offline White Lotus

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Re: Please can the method behing Madhyamaka be explained in simple terms.
« Reply #195 on: July 29, 2011, 08:02:13 am »
Gosh Ben, i havent got long on the internet, will try to address your points!

first of all i must mention that i find the lankevatara sutra corresponds to my own experience, therefore i think it is authentic... at the moment! whether or not you call it mind only school, doesnt matter. it does say that emptiness is one expression for enlightenment.

an example of its emphasis on emptiness is the following: "As things are there is no universal mind, no noble wisdom and no ultimate reality... for the wise all things are wiped away, even the imageless ceases to exist."

this is very much my experience. in some zen schools there is an emphasis on suchness, and this can be understood as being things as they are, but to me i just cannot see that the mountain is a mountain, the computer is a computer. to me these things are emptiness, therefore i find the teaching of suchness difficult.

the Buddha said regarding rejecting logic is that the problem lies with those who rely on 'logic alone' without experience
yes, but prajna tends not to be logical, and certainly isnt the simplest explanation.

since all things are dependently arisen, dependent origination is a synonym of emptiness.
if by a synonym you mean 'identical', i agree.

a thing could be said to be that which is experienced or known emptiness can be seen, but not known. it is beyond knowing, saying anything about it is ridiculously difficult, exept that it is all things and not a single thing at the same time.

thus because they neither have self nature nor any form of inherent nature, but arise dependent upon causes and conditions, they are empty of inherent existence. since they are empty they can be said not to exist, but since we see them they can be said to exist. but this seeing is dreamlike, not real. we are all dreamers, but most of us think that we are awake.

in Yogacara the reason for emptiness is also dependent origination i would say that dependent origination is not the reason for emptiness. i would say that it is the result of emptiness and is emptiness. dependent origination is an expression of emptiness at the root of all things. it points towards emptiness. as you know.

i understand dependence, however understanding dependence is not the same as seeing emptiness of all things. dependence does not require prajna, seeing is prajna.

Dependent origination as illusory is a claim that would be hard to sustain, since it's true - though it all depends on what you mean by illusory. it cant be sustained through logic, it can only be seen as it truly is. empty. what i mean by illusory is that this reality is synonmymous with the dream state. it is not substantial. it can be said not to exist as reality, but it can be said to exist as a dream. And we all know that dreams are Maya like.

dependent origination is quite the illusion. the Mahaparinirvanah says that (paraphrase) ''when arising and cessation stop there is great stillness''. this arising and cessation are the activity of dependent origination, but when things are no longer seen as real, what is arisen, what ceases? emptiness arises, emptiness, ceases, emptiness is just empty. it it is not even that. it is not.

i dont see dependent origination. i dont see anything and yet am typing at this computer. its not real.

allowing for them to avoid positing a truly existent mind, or self. there is no mind. is this position Yogacara or Madhyamaka? only emptiness. its magical, totally productive and from this 'no', arise the 10,000 forms and existences, none of which truly exists!

why is it original? original nature is original since it is emptiness, the state of deep sleep, and waking, only emptiness is orginal. as you say timeless, its always been so. just emptiness.

Right, it is all appearance and experience, no substantial inherent nature. yes. not even nothing, nor nothingness.

So the answer is neither yes, nor no, nor both yes and no, nor neither. the answer is whatever you want it to be... every answer is empty. freedom comes before emptiness is understood.
the tetralemma is the phenomenal, emptiness is the fundamental. they are both one and the same.

best wishes, Tom.

ps thanks Ben for an interesting discussion. tc.










Offline Ben Yuan

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Re: Please can the method behing Madhyamaka be explained in simple terms.
« Reply #196 on: August 01, 2011, 02:09:07 pm »
Tom,

Thanks for the reply.

Certainly in calling the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra a text of the Yogācāra school I mean not to call it inauthentic in regards to what it claims to be, after all, that which is well spoken is the word of the Buddha, and that which leads to cessation is well spoken.

To save time, all in all the perspective you bring the perspective I am bringing to this discussion remind me of what Ādi Śaṅkara said about comparisons and analogies. All the words used to describe Śūnyatā are analogies, not the actual thing, a finger pointing at the moon.

"Whenever two things are compared, they are so with reference to a particular point. Equality of the two can never be demonstrated."

Thus, be it clear that I am talking in terms of comparison. The words used to describe emptiness in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā, Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā and the works of Nāgārjuna are not emptiness itself - that is to be experienced.

Though I do not agree with many points you have made, and would question the reasoning behind your frequent incomprehensibility, I believe we can agree on these points.

Best Wishes
 :namaste:

Offline White Lotus

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Re: Please can the method behing Madhyamaka be explained in simple terms.
« Reply #197 on: August 04, 2011, 06:43:10 am »
All the words used to describe Śūnyatā are analogies, not the actual thing, a finger pointing at the moon.

yes, Ben, the word emptiness is not emptiness, the word form is not form, the word mind is not mind. we only see and taste these things. they all have the same taste.

to see the emptiness of things is simple... you see it right now as you look at your screen (mind/seeing is emptiness). when you look within the sensation is the same as when you look without. what you see right now is emptiness... you may not recognise it, but emptiness is perception of the within and the without.
if you are looking for something that feels like emptiness you wont find it... this is since normal awareness is though empty, non empty like.
just see your seeing now. that is it.



i say that this un-namable quality is emptiness since in it there is not a thing to describe, it cant even be said to exist, and yet it is the appearance all things.

prajna wisdom seeing is a matter of understanding the ordinary perception or ordinary mind right in front of you. all things are this mind.

my arguments are futile and not worth the time to read, however if you genuinely see the world in front of you you are seeing emptiness. form is emptiness. mind is emptiness, mind is buddha.

in zen i see different nameings of the fundamental/emptiness.
it is called suchness by those who say it is beyond language and designation, you can only taste it, but not describe it in words.
it is called Mind by some, the Self by others,
for me i like to call it emptiness, since i find that emptiness is logically the root of form. the root of form is Mind or emptiness.
i call the fundamental emptiness, however emptiness is not emptiness. there is no emptiness. and yet this not thing is pregnant and active as the 10,000 forms of reality. its not a thing, its everything.

i am speculating about emptiness, however, it is the tasting of emptiness that gives me some authority to speak about it. though we speculate about emptiness, is it not better just to see and taste it for oneself.

The words used to describe emptiness in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā, Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā and the works of Nāgārjuna are not emptiness itself - that is to be experienced.
these words are emptiness itself. everything is emptiness, but i know what you mean, when you look at these words you do not see emptiness, however i do.

would question the reasoning behind your frequent incomprehensibility if you mean paradox, well, that is known these days as ''contradictory certitude'' and is a post modern approach towards logic, that defies the old aristotelian approach of the law of non contradiction and just happens to occur in Zen, because it is only possible to explain in terms of paradox.

im sorry! i know it must give you a head ache, all this contradiction, but its the only way i can explain my experience. why not forget about all these words and just see emptiness for yourself. then i wont be wasting your time with my lexical gymnastics.

"Whenever two things are compared, they are so with reference to a particular point. Equality of the two can never be demonstrated." the two wings of a bird are both needed to fly, and both objects compared are empty. what you seek is what you find... ''can never be demonstrated'' has been sought and found, now it is time to look for ''can be demonstrated''. then neither can nor cant, or both... whatever you want. all these positions are nothing but emptiness... and i am worried that i am wasting your time. im sorry if i am. i respect you and recognise your profound insight, its just that i speak from prajna and not logic.

best wishes and respects Ben, Tom.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 06:53:02 am by White Lotus »

Offline White Lotus

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Re: Please can the method behing Madhyamaka be explained in simple terms.
« Reply #198 on: August 08, 2011, 08:28:55 am »
Earlier on in this thread there was talk about the tetralemma. the four propositions.

it occured to me today that people are limited to usually any one of the four. either being nor non being (either or), both being and non being (both), neither being nor non being (neither nor). or none of these things (none).

if any one of these four positions is taken then there is an attachment to a particular approach. if for example we say that there is a fundamental reality we are attached to 'is', if we say there isnt we are are attached to 'isnt', we are attached to either or. if we say there is no being (neither) nor non being, we are attached to neither nor or.

all of these positions are empty and so are real at the same time, its just that different people will see different elements of the tetralemma as true at any given time. infact all positions are true (empty) and false (empty) at the same time.

i raise this point because i have seen that in buddhist posts there is an attachment to the statement ''neither being, nor non being''. if ''neither being nor non being'' is asserted that is no different from asserting ''either being or non being''. they are just relative positions in the tetralemma and related.

whatever we say is empty, whatever we say is relevant (empty). one cannot get away from emptiness. if we are silent that can be seen as the (non) affirmation of neither nor. to say that the fundamental is beyond any kind of assertion, is to make an 'is' assertion. 'is', isnt, both, neither is still within the tetralemma.

can one ever get away from the tetralemma? it would seem not. it can be said that all truth is, isnt, both, neither true. based on our experiences we make assumptions, but all of these assumptions are within the tetralemma and 'are' empty. is, are... is still an assertion and so attached to a position.

is it possible to say anything that goes beyond a relative assertion, is it possible to avoid an attachment to any kind of assertion in the tetralemma. i expect not. even silence is a relative position (perhaps a 'no' position). it asserts the impossiblity of expressing the fundamental. and yet it can be asserted that even this sentence is the fundamental.

why do we get hung up on phrases such as being, non being, existence and non existence. taking a position may be no different from not taking a position.

to say that all is emptiness is an assertion that does not detract from the reality of things, though they may seem dreamlike, they are empty and therefore real. since emptiness is reality.

best wishes, Tom.  :twocents:

ps Ben, your avatar is auspicious, the red robe worn by your avatar is indicative of enlightenment. as you probably know, red is the colour of enlightenment in China. a portent?... perhaps. i hope so. tc.

Offline Amitabha

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Re: Please can the method behing Madhyamaka be explained in simple terms.
« Reply #199 on: August 11, 2011, 11:01:46 pm »
Madhyamaka is one of other sastra that relates the experience of middle-path in the Tripitaka. It is from Buddhists who had attained the level of buddhahood that may not necessarily the supreme level same as Gotama buddha. However, their experience on insight of middle-path provided their illustration in the form of sastra. Sastra is a much more explicit and simple revelation of the sutra in the form of discussing the sutra - called wisdom.
Love is felt everywhere like magic in the air; Unity can only be manifested by the binary. Unity itself and the idea of unity are already dual.

 


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