The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:45 am

It depends on how you assert that emptiness is realised. According to Je Tsongkhapa's teaching, you have to begin with a generic image of emptiness which depends upon holding a correct conceptual understanding of emptiness. If you hold an incorrect conceptual understanding of emptiness, it cannot be realised. That is why it is so important to study well, contemplate and meditate correctly. If the intellectual or conceptual view of emptiness didn't matter, why did Je Tsongkhapa emphasise the importance of gaining a correct understanding?

I know there are people who believe that a direct transmission of experience of emptiness or enlightenment can be given, but this is denied by the Gelugpa school as far as I know. We can, through receiving the blessings of our Spiritual Guide, develop experiences and those are in a sense the transmission of our Guru's experience but those are also gradual and depend upon other factors such as imprints from previous teachings and meditations.
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:35 pm

Sherab wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote: why the variation in intellectual output?


It is very simple really: people, when in post-equipoise, resume intellectual analysis of emptiness. One could say that the only persons in whom the equipoise view and the post-equipoise view are "identical" are fully awakened buddhas since in fact they are never not in a state of equipoise.

Post-equipoise, there is a resumption of intellectual analysis of emptiness. However, wouldn't post-equipoise intellectual analysis of emptiness be informed by the experience of equipoise? If yes, then variation in intellectual output would imply variation in the equipoise experienced. That would mean differences in the experiences of the third and fourth empowerment.

If not, is there then no memory of the experience of equipoise?


Actually, the way I understand is that one's post equipoise view will be characterized by one's remaining knowledge obscuration. Supposing that Nāgārjuna, Āsanga and Candra for example were all bodhisattvas on the stages, their differences in views could be accounted for merely by this fact alone.

When we apply this to Tibetans, the same rule would apply. Of course, there is no way the realization of anyone can be validated by ordinary persons such as ourselves...
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:36 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
I know there are people who believe that a direct transmission of experience of emptiness or enlightenment can be given...


Not to sidetrack the discussion, but this is not exactly what direct introduction means.
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby Sherab » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:58 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote:Post-equipoise, there is a resumption of intellectual analysis of emptiness. However, wouldn't post-equipoise intellectual analysis of emptiness be informed by the experience of equipoise? If yes, then variation in intellectual output would imply variation in the equipoise experienced. That would mean differences in the experiences of the third and fourth empowerment.

If not, is there then no memory of the experience of equipoise?


Actually, the way I understand is that one's post equipoise view will be characterized by one's remaining knowledge obscuration. Supposing that Nāgārjuna, Āsanga and Candra for example were all bodhisattvas on the stages, their differences in views could be accounted for merely by this fact alone.

When we apply this to Tibetans, the same rule would apply. Of course, there is no way the realization of anyone can be validated by ordinary persons such as ourselves...

This would mean that while in equipoise, there are varying amount of remaining knowledge obscuration and that remaining knowledge obscuration which can vary from person to person, then characterize each person's post equipoise view. I suppose I can buy this argument.
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby rob h » Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:31 pm

Was reading the wikipedia entry on Yogacara again and was reminded of the need for academic sources.

Apparently Ju Mipham said that the ultimate view in both schools is the same, and that each path leads to the same ultimate state of abiding. This as far as I can tell is from Speech of Delight: Mipham's Commentary of Shantarakshita's Ornament of the Middle Way. It apparently caused controversy in Tibet too so maybe that's one of the reasons? (this is just going from Ju Mipham's wiki page though, no idea of how much controversy it actually caused or not, that comment has no source.)

Dan Lusthaus has this on a page for Xuanzang :

Xuanzang spent many years studying with India's most illustrious Buddhist teachers, visiting holy sites, and debating various advocates of Buddhist and non-Buddhist doctrines, defeating all of them and gaining a reputation as a fierce debater. After one series of debates with two Madhymakans (followers of Nāgārjuna's teachings), he composed in Sanskrit a three-thousand verse treatise on "The Non-difference of Madhyamaka and Yogācāra" which is no longer extant. After promising śīlabhadra, his mentor at Nālandā University (the central seat of Buddhist learning at that time), to introduce Dignāga's logic to China, he returned in 645 with over six hundred Sanskrit texts.


http://www.acmuller.net/yogacara/thinke ... io-uni.htm

So I'd guess Xuanzang brought this up elsewhere as well.

This is also related,

The combination of Yogācāra with the Ratnagotravibhāga yields the key Tibetan distinction between ‘void-of-oneself’ (rang stong) and ‘void-of-what-is-other’ (gzhan stong) that has inspired enormous debates in Tibetan Mādhyamika up to the present day. In brief, the fundamental gZhan-stong-pa ideas go like this for a Jo-nang-pa: the Absolute, pariniṣpannasvabhāva, whose existence enables us to avoid the nihilistic view that everything is just a complete illusion, is only void of the imagined and dependent natures: it is void of what is other than it, but is not void of itself. The imagined and dependent natures, on the other hand, are nonexistent and are void of themselves. This key stance is then fleshed out to include most of the other major currents in Indian Mādhyamika, Yogācāra, Tathāgatagarbha and even Tantric systems: for example, Nāgārjuna’s arguments in the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā show only that conventional truths (saṃvṛtisatya) are void of themselves; the Absolute is an existent, truly established gnosis (ye shes); as in Yogācāra thought, this gnosis admits of no distinction between subject (grāhaka) and object (grāhya) and is suchness (tathatā) and the bhūtakoṭi (‘limit of the real’); it is identifiable with the Buddha-nature spoken of in the Ratnagotravibhāga; Tantric principles such as the union of voidness and bliss (bde stong zung ’jug) are said to be inexplicable without this version of voidness.


http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/F003SECT1

Not sure if the bit in bold is right or not?
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby conebeckham » Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:41 pm

I think that is a correct interpretation of Nagarjuna' s view, via Dolpopa's Shentong, yes. Wisdom exists ultimately, but cannot really be conceptualized or "accessed" by the conceptual mind.
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby rob h » Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:48 pm

conebeckham wrote:I think that is a correct interpretation of Nagarjuna' s view, via Dolpopa's Shentong, yes. Wisdom exists ultimately, but cannot really be conceptualized or "accessed" by the conceptual mind.


Thanks. So if this is also true, (which I'm still unsure of, there's a lot of conflicting ideas when trying to research yogacara.) then they might not be very different after all :

Yogācāra focused on the mind and distinguished eight types of consciousness: five sensory consciousnesses; an empirical organizer of sensory data (mano-vijñāna); a self-absorbed, appropriative consciousness (manas); and the eighth, a warehouse consciousness (ālaya-vijñāna) that retained the karmic impressions of past experiences and coloured new experiences on the basis of that previous conditioning. The eighth consciousness was also the fundamental consciousness. Each individual is constituted by the karmic stream of one’s own ālaya-vijñāna, that is, one’s karmic conditioning. Since, like a stream, the ālaya-vijñāna is reconfigured each moment in response to constantly changing conditions, it is not a permanent self, although, being nothing more than a sequential chain of causes and effects, it provides sufficient stability for an individual to maintain a sense of continuity. According to classical Yogācāra texts, the mind (that is, ālaya-vijñāna and the mental events associated with it) is the problem, and enlightenment results from bringing this consciousness to an end, replacing it with the Great Mirror Cognition (ādarśa-jñāna); instead of discriminating consciousness, one has direct immediate cognition of things just as they are, as impartially and comprehensively as a mirror. This type of enlightenment occurs during the eighth stage according to the Dilun and other texts.


http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/G002SECT4

The rest of that article is a decent read too if you're not already aware of what's being said.
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby conebeckham » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:00 pm

I'm not sure about the statement that the Alayavijnana is the "fundamental consciousness." That may be one interpretation of Yogacara, I don't know.

From the view of Dolpopa, as I understand it, the Alayavijnana is what we might call an Obscured Dharmakaya, in a sense. So I guess one could say it is fundamental, in one sense, though it undergoes a change of state. It is by recognizing and purifying/removing/destroying the contents of the Alayavijnana that one "manifests" the Primordial Wisdom nature. I also don't think there is an "Alayavijnana" that is separate from it's contents.

Using the analogy of a warehouse, it's not the case that the Alayavijnana is like the warehouse--floor, walls, roof--and the habitual tendencies and traces are "products" stored there. But this is my own understanding, and I have no citations to provide for any of these conjectures.
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby rob h » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:36 pm

conebeckham wrote:I'm not sure about the statement that the Alayavijnana is the "fundamental consciousness." That may be one interpretation of Yogacara, I don't know.

From the view of Dolpopa, as I understand it, the Alayavijnana is what we might call an Obscured Dharmakaya, in a sense. So I guess one could say it is fundamental, in one sense, though it undergoes a change of state. It is by recognizing and purifying/removing/destroying the contents of the Alayavijnana that one "manifests" the Primordial Wisdom nature. I also don't think there is an "Alayavijnana" that is separate from it's contents.

Using the analogy of a warehouse, it's not the case that the Alayavijnana is like the warehouse--floor, walls, roof--and the habitual tendencies and traces are "products" stored there. But this is my own understanding, and I have no citations to provide for any of these conjectures.



Not really sure about the alayavijnana either to be honest. I consider it to be pretty much 'beyond range', although I'll try and get intuitions from time to time when meditating. The main focus personally is the manas and the vasanas (habitual tendencies, habit imprints, etc.) because I can actually work with them and meditate on them at the same time as I'm meditating sensitive to the mind. Being as used to the Lankavatara when thinking of the alaya hasn't helped either, as it's becoming clearer that the Tathagatagarbha influence seems to have kind of distored things from what they originally were.

I think Malcolm mentioned the bhavanga in another thread as something that was the inspiration for the alayavijnana and I'd agree. Was thinking the same thing not so long back when looking at a summary of the Abhidharma, and it seems to be the same type of thing but with some added concepts and so on. From what I remember the bhavanga functions between death and rebirth, and also when we're asleep, unconscious, etc, so the Yogacara concept has got a decent more added to it if that's the case.
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby conebeckham » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:39 pm

As an aside, following my post above, you may be interested in the book "Luminous Heart" which covers the differences between Dolpopa's views and those of Karmapa Rangjung Dorje.

In essence, Karmapa indicates that the "change of state" occurs when the consciousnesses transform into the wisdoms--in other words, the actual nature of consciousness is wisdom. Dolpopa distinguishes between consciousness and wisdom. Rangjung Dorje distinguishes between Madhyamika and Yogacara, by the way, though he finds them to be complementary. Dolpopa actually calls all Madhayamika figures,-- Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, etc--., as well as those associated with Yogacara-Asanga, Vasubandu, Maitreyanatha,-"Great Madhyamika" exponents. However, both figures felt all of these masters were in agreement on the Ultimate view.

What would that be? Well......
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:24 pm

Wisdom cannot be self-existent. It's a mental factor. It's an aspect of consciousness and it also depends upon its object.
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby smcj » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:35 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:Wisdom cannot be self-existent. It's a mental factor. It's an aspect of consciousness and it also depends upon its object.

What is your idea of what constitutes "Dharmakaya"?
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby conebeckham » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:53 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:Wisdom cannot be self-existent. It's a mental factor. It's an aspect of consciousness and it also depends upon its object.


According to your particular lineage's interpretation, this is true.

According to Sahaja Mahamudra, and Dzogchen, this is most certainly not true.

And not true for Dolpopa, as well, obviously.
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:45 am

smcj wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:Wisdom cannot be self-existent. It's a mental factor. It's an aspect of consciousness and it also depends upon its object.

What is your idea of what constitutes "Dharmakaya"?


Buddha possesses four bodies, two of which constitute the Truth Body or Dharmakaya. The Wisdom Truth Body is Buddha's omniscient mind which is a functioning thing and a conventional truth and the Nature Truth Body which is the emptiness of Buddha's mind and which is the ultimate true cessation. These, of course, are not two separate things but one entity, but they can be conceptually distinguished: one object with two names. Milarepa said:

You should know that all appearances are the nature of mind
And that mind is the nature of emptiness.

When the mind and its emptiness are completely freed from the two obstructions of delusions and their imprints, it becomes the Dharmakaya.
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby Anders » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:30 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:According to Je Tsongkhapa's teaching, you have to begin with a generic image of emptiness which depends upon holding a correct conceptual understanding of emptiness. If you hold an incorrect conceptual understanding of emptiness, it cannot be realised.


So tsongkhapa is the origin of the Tibetan notion that awakening is dependent on correctly assembling an intellectual jigsaw puzzle?

I never saw this in Chinese madhyamaka and it leaves me shaking my head. Emptiness defies intellectual understanding anyway. Sure, you need Right View, but this goes no further than whatever practical appromixation will allows correct practise of non-abiding and letting go of views. Whatever other misunderstandings we may harbour are just not very relevant. They are all views and as such, whether correct or incorrect, to be let go.
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:50 pm

Anders wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:According to Je Tsongkhapa's teaching, you have to begin with a generic image of emptiness which depends upon holding a correct conceptual understanding of emptiness. If you hold an incorrect conceptual understanding of emptiness, it cannot be realised.


So tsongkhapa is the origin of the Tibetan notion that awakening is dependent on correctly assembling an intellectual jigsaw puzzle?


I don't think so, I doubt it.

Regarding views, if there is no correct view, there is no object of meditation and if there is no correct object of meditation, we cannot gain inner experience that pacifies delusions. All problems are caused by wrong view, so I can't agree with your dismissal of correct views which are the only antidote.
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby smcj » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:23 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:Regarding views, if there is no correct view, there is no object of meditation and if there is no correct object of meditation, we cannot gain inner experience that pacifies delusions. All problems are caused by wrong view, so I can't agree with your dismissal of correct views which are the only antidote.

As I have posted elsewhere, my understanding is that right view, specifically Prasangika view, is appropriate for, and utilized in, sutra Mahamudra. The intellectual deconstruction dovetails nicely with the meditation instruction. If you find 'something' while looking at your mind in sutra Mahamudra practice you need to go further…

But from what I've heard that does not apply to tantric Mahamudra and deity practice. Once the presence of the deity supersedes your own (i.e. "divine pride"), then the process of dissolving the visualization into emptiness needs no intellectual support or orientation. Since the visualization is already a blend of appearance/emptiness, dissolving it takes you straight to the correct experience of emptiness. I haven't gotten to that level of practice yet so I haven't had the detailed instructions, but that is what I've been led to believe. I'm also not sure how the issue is specifically handled in the Gelug tradition.
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby Malcolm » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:33 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Anders wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:According to Je Tsongkhapa's teaching, you have to begin with a generic image of emptiness which depends upon holding a correct conceptual understanding of emptiness. If you hold an incorrect conceptual understanding of emptiness, it cannot be realised.


So tsongkhapa is the origin of the Tibetan notion that awakening is dependent on correctly assembling an intellectual jigsaw puzzle?


I don't think so, I doubt it.

Regarding views, if there is no correct view, there is no object of meditation and if there is no correct object of meditation, we cannot gain inner experience that pacifies delusions. All problems are caused by wrong view, so I can't agree with your dismissal of correct views which are the only antidote.


Correct view in Vajrayāna arises from the empowerment. This is the reason why in Lamdre, for example, one meditates the view only _after_ having received the cause empowerment where it is introduced in the section of the ālaya cause continuum (tantra) among the three tantras (cause, path and result).

Despite this, of course one also meditates a sutrayāna view using śamatha and vipaśyāna (supplemented by citations from the Mahāsiddhas) at the time of the vision of experience teachings from among the three visions (impure, experiential and pure). Frankly, despite polemics between Sakya and Kagyu over the issue of sutra mahāmudra, meditating the view here is not so different than sutra mahāmudra save only the name.
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby smcj » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:48 pm

Correct view in Vajrayāna arises from the empowerment. This is the reason why in Lamdre, for example, one meditates the view only _after_ having received the cause empowerment where it is introduced in the section of the ālaya cause continuum (tantra) among the three tantras (cause, path and result).

Despite this, of course one also meditates a sutrayāna view using śamatha and vipaśyāna (supplemented by citations from the Mahāsiddhas) at the time of the vision of experience teachings from among the three visions (impure, experiential and pure). Frankly, despite polemics between Sakya and Kagyu over the issue of sutra mahāmudra, meditating the view here is not so different than sutra mahāmudra save only the name.

Um, my reading level is basically lower division undergraduate. I don't really understand this, and I'd like to. So let me break it down into what I do and don't understand:
Correct view in Vajrayāna arises from the empowerment.

Ok, got it.
This is the reason why in Lamdre, for example, one meditates the view only _after_ having received the cause empowerment where it is introduced in the section of the ālaya cause continuum (tantra) among the three tantras (cause, path and result).

What I get is that in the Sakya the intellectual view is introduced/utilized at some point in tantric practice.
Despite this, of course one also meditates a sutrayāna view using śamatha and vipaśyāna (supplemented by citations from the Mahāsiddhas) at the time of the vision of experience teachings from among the three visions (impure, experiential and pure).

The first part of the sentence seems to agree with my prior post about sutra Mahamudra. The second part of the sentence starting with what I underlined I think indicates that intellectual view is incorporated into deity practice--at least in the Sakya.
Frankly, despite polemics between Sakya and Kagyu over the issue of sutra mahāmudra, meditating the view here is not so different than sutra mahāmudra save only the name.

I think I get that you are disagreeing with my post about tantric Mahamudra not needing a view--at least in Sakya.

Right?
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Re: The Idea of Madhyamaka and Yogacara as Equally Correct

Postby rob h » Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:23 pm

conebeckham wrote:As an aside, following my post above, you may be interested in the book "Luminous Heart" which covers the differences between Dolpopa's views and those of Karmapa Rangjung Dorje.

In essence, Karmapa indicates that the "change of state" occurs when the consciousnesses transform into the wisdoms--in other words, the actual nature of consciousness is wisdom. Dolpopa distinguishes between consciousness and wisdom. Rangjung Dorje distinguishes between Madhyamika and Yogacara, by the way, though he finds them to be complementary. Dolpopa actually calls all Madhayamika figures,-- Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, etc--., as well as those associated with Yogacara-Asanga, Vasubandu, Maitreyanatha,-"Great Madhyamika" exponents. However, both figures felt all of these masters were in agreement on the Ultimate view.

What would that be? Well......


Have got a good few other books to get first, but will make sure to keep a note of it because I think what Dolpopa said/taught is worth researching into. Am also interested in the Jonang school and Shentong as well so it should be worth getting, cheers!

Have just checked and the book description says :

The Third Karmapa's view is more accurately described as one in which the two categories of rangtong and shentong are not regarded as mutually exclusive but are combined in a creative synthesis.


Have not heard that before. Might get the book sooner than I would've done now. Will let you know what I think of it if/when I eventually get it, and thanks again.
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