conebeckham wrote:Some may say it's merely semantic...but I don't think Nagarjuna or Chandrakirti explicitly make a distinction between your two "existences," ultimate and mere.
Surely they do. Often it is implicit, but it is also made explicit in many places as well.
conebeckham wrote:As I understand things, at the level of no analysis, things appear.
conebeckham wrote:the minute we begin analysis, though, existence, in any form, goes out the window.
This is one way of saying it, although in order for this point of view to square, we need to understand that "existence, in any form" means existence as defined as something that is more than just mere appearance to mind. Because the older schools do not differentiate between existence and existence by nature, then they say "nothing exists in any way." Buddha says it on occasion, as do Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti.
There is another way to present it, in which existence is defined as that which is known by mind, and so we can say that things DO exist, just not by essence.
They are mere appearances, and these lack any nature of their own. You can also find many quotations from the founders that support this interpretation. Sometimes they qualify, sometimes not, but when you carefully analyze the context, the fact is that it is existence characterized by some essence that is refuted.
When we do it this way, we achieve an unusual clarity of explanatory power. For example, we can see so clearly that Madhyamikas have no view in a specialized way, in other words, they have no view involving essential existence, and this makes sense of the constant assertions they make, as well as their repeated championing of views, etc.
conebeckham wrote: "Appearance of things" does not, however, and to deny that it does, is to ignore the convention of ordinary people, which Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti explicitly do NOT do.
conebeckham wrote:What you're saying, with regard to an "emptiness which does exist," is that this "emptiness" is a relative truth, or, in your words, a "mere existence."
not at all. Emptiness is ultimate truth, not relative. Just becasue something exists does not mean it is relative, otherwise ultimate truth would not exist. if that were the case, as Chandrakirti says, what would be the point of Bodhisattva's practicing the path and enduring countless hardships?
conebeckham wrote:This leads to the "generic image" of emptiness which the Gelukpas claim is a necessary aspect of the path--I think? But when Nagarjuna and Chandra talk about "appearance," and that which conventionally is agreed upon by ordinary people, I don't think they would include this "generic image" of emptiness, which is a conceptual construct--I don't think this "emptiness" appears to ordinary people.
conventional truth doesn't mean simply what appears to ordinary people, it means what appears to conventionally valid minds. Otherwise, all kinds of things would be conventional truths just becasue ordinary people agree.
conebeckham wrote:It's this "generic image" which I don't think you'll find anywhere in Indian Madhyamika. If the aim of Madhyamika is to exahust conceptualization, what use to create a "generic image," which is a conceptualization, and which is far removed from the experience of ordinary persons? It would seem to be more conceptual proliferation, and not less.....?
The problem here is..... you cannot realize emptiness directly at this point, otherwise you would simply become an arya, you can only do so with a conceptual mind. If you abandon that inferential cognizer, and you are not knowing emptiness directly, what is the relationship between your mind and emptiness?
So although it is not direct, an inferential or conceptual mind must be used initially to realize emptiness.
conebeckham wrote:Thanks for the discussion!
a genuine pleasure, let's keep it going.