Author Topic: Zhentong  (Read 6552 times)

Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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Zhentong
« on: June 23, 2013, 11:41:24 pm »
This thread is for discussing Zhentong in general,along with all the other teachings associated with it.

Mountain doctrine from Dolpopa.
Qouting from (Maiteyas sublime continuum of the Great Vehicle)
Speaks of the meaning of being empty and non empty of its own entity.

This naturally pure basic constituent of a one gone thus,ultimate truth,thusness,has no previously existent flaws of afflictions to be removed because freedom from all adventitoius defilments from the start is its nature,
And similarly it does not have the least factor of qualities of purification to be set up because the noumenon of the ultimate qualities of the powers and so forth spontaneously established from the start and indivisible is its nature

Having directly viewed reality devoid of the two extremes, the element of attributes,thusness with correct wisdom knowing the ultimate
And having gradually developed pristine wisdom directly seeing the real noumenon just as it is,release from adventitious defilements that are to be abandoned is attained.
The basic constituent, matrix of one gone thus, is empty of adventitious defilements,compounded conventional phenomena suitable to be abandoned
Which have the character of being separable from the noumenon, whereby one sees that it is free from the extreme of existance.
The element of attributes is not empty of the unsurpassed ultimate infinite Buddha qualities of the powers and so forth
Which have the character of not being separable from the noumenon, whereby it is also free from the extreme of non existence.

Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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Re: Zhentong
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2013, 11:55:41 pm »
 :r4wheel:View on Non Duality :r4wheel:

Not existent, and also not non existent,and moreover the thoight of all the statements in a great many stainless texts of the middle way,of being devoid of the extremes of existence and non exisejce is that:
 :r4wheel: Since all dependently arisen conventionalities do not really exist, when one realises this, one does not fall to an extreme of existence and is released from the extreme of  superimposition.
 :r4wheel: Since the ultimate nonmenon that is beyond dependent arising is never non existent, when one realises this, one does not fall to an extreme of non existance and is realeased from the extreme of deprecation.





Offline songhill

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Re: Zhentong
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2013, 06:57:00 am »
Namu!

You've probably read Hookham's book, The Buddha Within which is all about the Shentong interpretation of the Ratnagotravibhaga. It's on Scrib free: S. K. Hookham - The Buddha Within

Shentong (T. gzhan-stong) which refers to ultimate reality being empty of existence and non-existence both and neither, comes from Indian tathagatagarbha thought; which is associated especially with the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages. It's alternative is, of course Rangtong (empty of own essence) which leans towards nihilism. With Rangtong, there is no possibility of achieving the shinning forth of Buddha Mind nor nondual experience.

I am beginning to think that the whole problem in the Shentong vs Rangtong debate stems from a misreading of Nagarjuna and his real position (yes, he did make a knowledge claim otherwise he would be a skeptic which the Buddha called eel-wigglers). I have mentioned it before on this forum, that it's not a good idea to just jump into Nagarjuna without understanding emptiness in the early canon (nikaya/agama).

Beginners (not all, of course) have the terrible habit of misreading the notion of emptiness (shunya) which is why they should not take it up until they've studied how it is used in the Nikayas. The defunct E-Sangha liked to gnaw on the bone of emptiness such that anything positive in Buddhism, for example, the gnosis of pure Mind, had to be refitted so it could go enter the Rangtong black hole.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 07:59:41 am by songhill »

Offline reef

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Re: Zhentong
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2013, 08:22:26 am »
shentong/rangtong/zentong ? anything like yingtong ? ....tiddle eye po :P
sorry coudn't resist ..i just love the goonies x interesting post btw thank you
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Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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Re: Zhentong
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2013, 10:39:30 am »
Namu!

You've probably read Hookham's book, The Buddha Within which is all about the Shentong interpretation of the Ratnagotravibhaga. It's on Scrib free: S. K. Hookham - The Buddha Within

Shentong (T. gzhan-stong) which refers to ultimate reality being empty of existence and non-existence both and neither, comes from Indian tathagatagarbha thought; which is associated especially with the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages. It's alternative is, of course Rangtong (empty of own essence) which leans towards nihilism. With Rangtong, there is no possibility of achieving the shinning forth of Buddha Mind nor nondual experience.

I am beginning to think that the whole problem in the Shentong vs Rangtong debate stems from a misreading of Nagarjuna and his real position (yes, he did make a knowledge claim otherwise he would be a skeptic which the Buddha called eel-wigglers). I have mentioned it before on this forum, that it's not a good idea to just jump into Nagarjuna without understanding emptiness in the early canon (nikaya/agama).

Beginners (not all, of course) have the terrible habit of misreading the notion of emptiness (shunya) which is why they should not take it up until they've studied how it is used in the Nikayas. The defunct E-Sangha liked to gnaw on the bone of emptiness such that anything positive in Buddhism, for example, the gnosis of pure Mind, had to be refitted so it could go enter the Rangtong black hole.


yes I loved her book I did disagree with the chapter on "no shentong without a proper understanding or rangtong"
that chapter really wasn't realivant whatsoever.

i'm looking for a FREE PDF of Dolpopas mountain doctrine so I can post a link here so anyone can read it.If you find it or a web page that has the entire book post it on here for me.
(I LOVE Dolpopa,3/4 of his writing is quotes from the sutras and 1/4th is his commentary, he really shows you where his views are founded. and makes sure the reader knows that this isn't what he made up.I personally cant stand commenaries that are 90% opionion with no evidence to back it up.

Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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Re: Zhentong
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2013, 10:41:29 am »
shentong/rangtong/zentong ? anything like yingtong ? ....tiddle eye po :P
sorry coudn't resist ..i just love the goonies x interesting post btw thank you
Sent from my GT-I8160 using Tapatalk 2

is there anything about Zhentong you have a question about?or are interested in?

Offline reef

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Re: Zhentong
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2013, 12:34:25 pm »
im actually going to research it and will get back to you shortly for some answers if ok ...thanks for asking ^-^

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Offline songhill

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Re: Zhentong
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2013, 12:49:00 pm »
I think by and large, the debate between Shengtong and Rangtong rests on a significant mal-interpretation of Nāgārjuna’s Shunyavada thought. Did N make as a knowledge claim that, (1) dependently originated entities are without svabhâva (true nature or essence), and (2), is ultimate truth or reality beyond conceptions and inexpressible (all of which are conditioned)? I think a strong case can be made that N made both claims.

So where does this leave Rangtong? It sort of leaves it positing, in almost a round about way, a black hole of meaninglessness. This black hole amounts so saying: Everything is like a dream, a reflection. But the Buddha never said this much less N who, in fact, said:

Quote
Those who assert dependent entities / to be neither real nor false. / like the moon in the water, / are not carried away by views. (YS 45)

The key term is "dependent entities" which are composed like a clay pot or a rope made from munja grass. By analogy, the clay and munja grass are real; what is constructed or made from them is not real or nishsvabhâva. Likewise our mundane world is unreal lacking svabhâva. But this is not to say there is no svabhâva or that there is no true unconditioned reality. N says:

Quote
That which is of the nature of coming and going, arising and perishing, in its conditioned (mundane) nature is itself Nirana in its unconditioned (ultimate) nature. ~ MK, XXV: 9

There is a limit to conditionality. It is the Buddha's awakening which is unconditioned and ineffable; which is beyond the pale of existence (bhava) and non-existence (abhava). The problem with Rangtong, it goes too far. It makes a black hole positing universal negation (sarva-abhâvât).

Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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Re: Zhentong
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2013, 12:27:16 pm »
Hey Songhill

I've never read Nāgārjuna’s Shunyavada thought so i wouldn't know anything about possible misinterpretation.

Offline songhill

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Re: Zhentong
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2013, 01:00:11 pm »
Hey Songhill

I've never read Nāgārjuna’s Shunyavada thought so i wouldn't know anything about possible misinterpretation.


Something you might be interested in is Lamotte's translation of N's Maha-prajnaparamita-shastra. It's on Scribd at: Maha-prajnaparamita-sastra-Vol-1-by-Nagarjuna

There are five volumes to download. It has more of a Mahayana flavor than his other shorter works. Here are some passages.


Quote
The true nature (tathatâ), the nature of phenomena (dharmatâ), the summit of existence (bhûtakoti), do not exist from the mundane point of view, but they do exist from the absolute point of view.  In the same way, individuals exist from the mundane point of view, but do not exist from the absolute point of view. ~ Maha-prajnaparamita-shastra Lamotte

Mental discursiveness is not the Path, Non-discursiveness is the seal of the Dharma (dharmamudrâ).  ~ Maha-prajnaparamita-shastra Lamotte

Like the moon reflected in water, like the water of a mirage, Like attainments in a dream, death and birth are like that.
The person who wants to really secure them
Is a fool whom the arayas ridicule. ~ Maha-prajnaparamita-shastra Lamotte

People who understand the meaning (artha) of the Buddhist doctrine and know the designation (prajñapti) say that the âtman exists. People who do not understand the meaning of the Buddhist doctrine and do not know the designation say that the âtman does not exist. ~ T. 1509, vol XXV, 253c ~ Maha-prajnaparamita-shastra Lamotte


Some scholars don't believe N composed this Shastra; others believe he did. The Chinese, like Chih-i studied the Shastra. There are a lot of useful gems in it.

Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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Re: Zhentong
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2013, 01:08:47 pm »
yea i did see a discussion on it by a Chinese guy and a Tibetan once.
I remember one didn't want to accept it as his writing......
the other was using it mercilessly.

I generally went from Theravada to 3rd turning Tathagatagarbha
I kinda skipped the entire 2nd tuning(I studied the diamond sutra though)

but that is realitively small part of the entire sutra it comes from.

Offline songhill

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Re: Zhentong
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2013, 04:10:03 pm »
By the way, Nagarjuna never used the term "Mâdhyamika" and, in addition, refers to "the proponets of emptiness" (shunyatâvâdin). This is according to David Burton (Emptiness Appraised: A Critical Study of Nagarjuna's Philosophy, p. 6). N's main claims is that 'emptiness"means that entities lack svabhâva insofar as entities are dependently originated (nirvana is not dependently originated). Svabhâva, meaning roughly 'own-nature', is a techinal term that is never used by the Buddha in the early canon although in the commentarial literature (Pali) it is used, which in Pali is sabhâva. According to N,

Quote
"That is really svabhâva which is not brought about by anything else, unproduced (akritrimah), that which is not dependent on, not relative to any thing other than itself, non-contigent, unconditioned (nirapeksah paratra ca)" (MK XV: 2).

It might be true that N paves the way for Mind-only/Tathagatagarbha which is a full-blow essence or substance theory suggesting that all dependently originated things are based (prat-îtya) on [something else, thus not themselves] i.e., the substance of pure and absolute Mind. Personally, I go with this. This is really what the Lankavatara Sutra is all about.

Quote
35. The world is the same as a dream, and so are the multiplicities of things in it; [the
wise] see property, touch, death, a world-teacher, and work as of the same nature.
36. This mind is the source of the triple world; when the mind goes astray there appears this world and that; (269) recognising the world as such, as it is non-existent, [a
wise man] does not discriminate a world.
37. The ignorant because of their stupidity see [an objective world] as taking its rise
and disappearing, but he who has transcendental knowledge sees it neither rising nor disappearing.

Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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Re: Zhentong
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2013, 09:07:37 am »
Good stuff I'm going to post a Zhentong teaching based on the 5 aggregates when  I get a chance also.

feel free anyone to add any Zhentong teachings you like or ask any questions related to the topic.

Offline songhill

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Re: Zhentong
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2013, 09:44:47 am »
Good stuff I'm going to post a Zhentong teaching based on the 5 aggregates when  I get a chance also.

feel free anyone to add any Zhentong teachings you like or ask any questions related to the topic.

In my own mind, to be fair to both, I always see Rangtong as positing "all things are empty of own-nature (svabhâva), whereas for Shentong it's, the absolute is empty of conditionality. The main problem with Rangtong, it's emptiness without positive implication which, in a nutshell, is nihilism. Shengtong, on the other hand can agree that conditioned or composed things are empty of own-nature. But this doesn't preclude the unconditioned or the same, the absolute which, in this case, would be empty of conditionality. Shentong has it right. Rangtong falls into nihilism.

Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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Re: Zhentong
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2013, 12:01:27 pm »
Hey I havent found the quotes yet.

But it has to do with saying the 5 aggregates which are not the Self however are purified and used as the Nirmikaya body.

This kinda caused me to cock my eye,cause I thought the 5 aggregates were from mara.
But at the same time it did make sense cause the Buddhas manifested Body essential does contain the 5 aggregates while it is in the samsaric plane.

(ill track down the actual quote when I get a chance)

 


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