What was Hashang's position, really?

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What was Hashang's position, really?

Postby Jikan » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:00 pm

Concerning the famous debate between Hashang Mahayana (Moheyan) and Kamalasila at Samye:

Some sources (the mainstream or institutional Tibetan ones) hold that Hashang lost, and "Hashang's view" became an epithet for an unacceptable view in Tibetan scholarly discourse.

Other sources (mostly Chinese from what I have gathered) have argued that Hashang indeed won, and that his view is not only good Dharma, but superior to Kamalasila's position.

Hm.

All of this I have gathered from second or third or fourth-hand sources. I'd like to know if there are any primary-source accounts of this exchange that would let us separate the generalizations that are attributed to both parties from their actual views. Or if there are any Tibetan teachers who have reason to second-guess the straightforward rejection of Hashang's position.

I'm asking because in Sky Dancer, Keith Dowman suggests that perhaps Dzogchen is closer to Hashang's view than the institutionalized gradual approach... I'm curious to find out if this is only one man's opinion, or if there's more to it than that. Thanks.
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Re: What was Hashang's position, really?

Postby ngodrup » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:36 pm

It has been said that Chogyam Trungpa was also a hashang lineage-holder.
Perhaps this refers to his friendship with Suzuki Roshi, or it may
mean that some form of hashang still exists as a distinct lineage
in eastern Tibet.
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Re: What was Hashang's position, really?

Postby uan » Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:11 pm

Jikan wrote:Concerning the famous debate between Hashang Mahayana (Moheyan) and Kamalasila at Samye:

Some sources (the mainstream or institutional Tibetan ones) hold that Hashang lost, and "Hashang's view" became an epithet for an unacceptable view in Tibetan scholarly discourse.

Other sources (mostly Chinese from what I have gathered) have argued that Hashang indeed won, and that his view is not only good Dharma, but superior to Kamalasila's position.

Hm.

All of this I have gathered from second or third or fourth-hand sources. I'd like to know if there are any primary-source accounts of this exchange that would let us separate the generalizations that are attributed to both parties from their actual views. Or if there are any Tibetan teachers who have reason to second-guess the straightforward rejection of Hashang's position.

I'm asking because in Sky Dancer, Keith Dowman suggests that perhaps Dzogchen is closer to Hashang's view than the institutionalized gradual approach... I'm curious to find out if this is only one man's opinion, or if there's more to it than that. Thanks.


Here's an interesting article that appears to shed light on some of your questions http://earlytibet.com/about/hashang-mahayana/

From the same website: http://earlytibet.com/category/zen/

This gives some additional background on what the source documents might be, the biases associated with them etc. It goes to the old saying that "history is written by the winners". There's always an agenda with any piece of history - you can see that evident in many things today. Often the agenda is about something contemporary to the author and he/she is using an event in the past to make their point. An example might be "The Greatest Generation" and looking at WWII as "the good war". After Vietnam (brought to us by that same greatest generation, just grown up a bit), there was a need to look at wars as something good - so we could have noble and righteous ones, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Another, less controversial example, might be A Team of Rivals, looking at the political landscape Lincoln was working with as a lesson for politicians today (which is as fractious).
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Re: What was Hashang's position, really?

Postby Jikan » Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:34 pm

Thanks for the leads, uan!
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Re: What was Hashang's position, really?

Postby monktastic » Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:02 am

Wow, incredible! Especially this quote from Jigme Lingpa:

During the debate, Kamalaśīla asked what was the cause of saṃsāra by the symbolic action of whirling his staff around his head. [Hashang] answered that it was the apprehender and apprehended by the symbolic action of shaking his robe out twice. It is undeniable that such a teacher was of the sharpest faculties. If the non-recollection and non-mentation entail the offense of rejecting the wisdom of differentiating analysis, then the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras of the Conqueror also entail this fault. Therefore, what the view of Hashang actually was can be known by a perfect buddha, and no one else.


If Jigme Lingpa and Longchenpa held Hashang in such high regard, he probably can't be totally wrong :)
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: What was Hashang's position, really?

Postby Heruka » Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:06 am

Jikan wrote:Keith Dowman suggests that perhaps Dzogchen is closer to Hashang's view than the institutionalized gradual approach... I'm curious to find out if this is only one man's opinion, or if there's more to it than that. Thanks.


pepole will always find "more to it than that"

what im saying is forget dzogchen/hashang/dowman/non approach/creeping approach/sutra/tantra.

what was the teacher shakyamunis position with four noble truths etc?

did the buddha shakyamuni have a position?

does a fixed position release liberation?
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Re: What was Hashang's position, really?

Postby Heruka » Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:13 am

monktastic wrote:
If Jigme Lingpa and Longchenpa held Hashang in such high regard, he probably can't be totally wrong :)


poor,

standing on the shoulders of others leads to others knowledge, not ones own.

your liberation, not jigme lingpas no?

not the same conditions at all.
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Re: What was Hashang's position, really?

Postby tingdzin » Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:32 am

As Van Schaik's (limited) bibliography points out, modern scholars have spent oceans of ink in discussing the Ho shang controversy it is doubtful whether we can really know what the monk in question really knew, or meant in his explications. It is also doubtful that the Chinese that he communicated in could adequately be translated into the Tibetan of that time, or whether indeed Chinese Buddhist terminology translated into Sanskrit or Tibetan ever means exactly the same thing as the authors meant. What we can know is that the surviving accounts of the "debate" reflect vested interests. It is certainly unwise to dismiss Ho shang as a historical aberration, whose "defeat" in the debate forever established an orthodox Indian position in Tibetan Buddhism.
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Re: What was Hashang's position, really?

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:03 am

There's a relevant blog at http://earlytibet.com/. If you search on Samye there are quite a few articles on it. But I think it is really one of those 'lost in the mists of time' questions - perhaps as befits the subject matter.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: What was Hashang's position, really?

Postby Greg » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:58 pm

There are some interesting remarks on the Samye debate vis a vis Dzogchen in the Higgins dissertation that just came out (pgs 226-227)

During the early period of the Tibetan assimilation of Buddhism, the confrontation between such conflicting approaches to awakening had reached something of a climax in the so-called bSam yas debate, as we previously noted in examining early Tibetan debates over nonconceptuality. Our focus in the present context is confined to the question of how rNying rna path hermeneutics positioned itself in relation to the two poles of the controversy. In this regard, one must at the outset take note of the general disinclination on the part of early rDzogs chen commentators on the controversy such as gNubs Sangs rgyas ye shes to take either side of the sudden/gradual polarity . This is hardly suprising given that the categories of gradual and sudden were not primarily employed in rDzogs chen works to demarcate religious traditions but to distinguish swifter (more immediate) and slower (more mediated) methods of propounding and/or realizing a given teaching in line with the differing capacities of individuals or of a single individual as he or she progresses along the path. In other words, whether a given teaching was taught and practiced in a step-by-step or all-at once fashion depended on the capacities of the aspirant to realize the teaching directly and the capacities of the teacher to facilitate such realization.

In light of these considerations, it is not surprising that when the 'sudden' and 'gradual' rubrics were used to define schools of Buddhism, the early rDzogs chen author were inclined to view them as caricatural one-sided positions that fail to capture the complexity of the Buddhist path or the human beings who pursue it. Recall that gNubs Sangs rgyas ye shes went so far as to declare in his 1 0th c . bSam gtan mig sgron that both the gradualist Mahayanist path and simultaneist Chinese path represent deviations (gol sa) from the more inclusive rDzogs chen perspective.565 His relatively low evaluation of both gradualist and subitist approaches in contrast to the allegedly superior Vajrayana and rDzogs chen systems is reflected in his aforementioned hierarchy of the Buddhist traditions prevalent in Tibet during his time (late 9th to early 10th c .) .
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