Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby Tom » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:17 am

I don't want to derail this thread, so just some quick responses.

First, I think that part of the source of this misunderstanding is a conflation between conceptual and intellectual minds. Maybe I misunderstand what you mean by intellectual mind. However, it is certain that for Gelugpas a conceptual understanding of emptiness is vital and this is arrived at through intellectual analysis. To conclude that for Gelugpas intellectual views are irrelevant because no object can withstand analysis is to misunderstand the Gelug approach.

smcj wrote:Developing the correct intellectual view of emptiness is Sutrayana practice.

and for Tsongkhapa the intellectual/conceptual understanding of emptiness that results from this practice along with some understanding of bodhicitta is the minimum necessary prerequisite for initiation into tantric practice.

smcj wrote:Specifically the Gelugpas go to great lengths to intellectually disprove the four possible logical scenarios for how something can abide.


However, to negate existence yet also not assert nonexistence or vice versa steps outside the scope of logic and is unacceptable to Tsongkhapa

Of course, when you analyse an object by way of the four extremes of production, or one or many, then the object is not found. However, this analysis for Gelugpas does not exclude the conventional existence of the object. Moreover, and here is the relevant distinction for this discussion, for Gelugpas it is okay to say that such an analysis "finds" (རྙེད་) emptiness - of course this emptiness cannot withstand analysis itself - and this is why Gelugs can say things like emptiness is an ultimate truth but exists conventionally, and attribute it qualities such as being permanent, and give definitions such as emptiness/ultimate truth is that object found by a valid cognizer analysing the ultimate...

smcj wrote:There is no wiggle room for the mind other than to see that the intellect is inadequate to the task. The intellect has checkmated itself! That's the whole point.


The point for the Gelugpas is that the intellect is up to the task! It is just that nothing exists inherently and so although it is up to the task of establishing inherent existence there is nothing for it to find. For if the intellect was not up to the task then they could not establish emptiness. What such analysis is not up to task for is negating conventional existence!

smcj wrote: The Gelugpas I've come across do not consider Sutrayana and Vajrayana at all the same. In terms of emptiness, it is not as if they take a different position when they do Vajrayana practice, but that since there is no intellectual answer, they proceed non-intellectually..


For Gelugpas Sutrayana and Vajrayana are not the same, but the distinction based on method - not the view of emptiness.

smcj wrote:The Sutra Mahamudra is the "look at your mind" type of thing. If ,when you are looking at your mind you find anything, that's the wrong answer. The Prasanghika view makes it clear that anything you find should be examined for an essence. That is why I say that Sutrayana Prasanghika view is compatible with and supportive of Sutrayana Mahamudra.


For Gelugpas the view arrived at is exactly the same - Prasangika. What is different are the techniques and object analysed.

smcj wrote:Vajrayana practices are activities, actions. Vajrayana completion stage practices (dissolving things into emptiness) do not require intellectual support. But they do require actions.


Gelug teachers instruct practitioners to turn to a conceptual understanding of emptiness even after/at the time of the dissolution until they have achieved a non-conceptual realisation. I will leave it there...
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby smcj » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:54 am

...until they have achieved a non-conceptual realisation.

Exactly.
I will leave it there...

And so will I.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby Malcolm » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:02 am

smcj wrote:The Gelug approach is to logically prove that the way things abide cannot be put into a logical proposition.


Not according to any Gelugpa teaching I have ever read.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby smcj » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:32 am

Malcolm wrote:
smcj wrote:The Gelug approach is to logically prove that the way things abide cannot be put into a logical proposition.

Not according to any Gelugpa teaching I have ever read.

The "non-affirming negation" negates, or disproves, what? It negates/disproves that things:

1. Actually exist.
2. Don't exist.
3. Both exist and don't exist.
4. Neither exist or don't exist.

Those are the four logical possibilities. There are no other logical possibilities. All four have been disproven, negated, rejected. Nothing else is offered as an alternative--ever!.

This is Gelug 101. How do you not see that my statement is the fundamental position of the Gelug school? How can there be any other interpretation? If you think that the Gelug school asserts a logical proposition that explains the way things abide, I'd love to hear it.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby ngodrup » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:44 am

This seems a bit curious to me. Because, generally speaking, after qualifying for tantra--
the Gelug approach to the Vajrayana is that of a unity of sutra and tantra.
Lama Tsongkhapa's main tantric guru was Nyingma, and in addition-- if you look at
the sung bum-- about 70% of his writing is on tantric topics. His view is generally
harmonious with Longchenpa, so much so that quite a few Khenpos assert that
Je Tsongkhapa plagiarized Longchenpa! It appears that subsequent followers
of Tsongkhapa adopted me strident perspectives.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby smcj » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:55 am

ngodrup wrote:Lama Tsongkhapa's main tantric guru was Nyingma...

I'm not 100% on my history, but that doesn't sound right. Lama Tsongkhapa had his students practice the Mahamudra and later translation practices. He got them from the Kagyus I believe. I know of no Nyingma practices in the Gelug school, although there may be some.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby michaelb » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:23 am

smcj wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
smcj wrote:The Gelug approach is to logically prove that the way things abide cannot be put into a logical proposition.

Not according to any Gelugpa teaching I have ever read.

The "non-affirming negation" negates, or disproves, what? It negates/disproves that things:

1. Actually exist.
2. Don't exist.
3. Both exist and don't exist.
4. Neither exist or don't exist.

Sorry for butting in, but I thought Tsongkhapa's specific object of negation was svabhava or rang bzhin. This was his novel understanding of madhyamaka. So, things conventionally exist as they appear and function, but don't inherently exist as they lack svabhava.Your description is more like the freedom from extremes version.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby Tom » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:59 am

smcj wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
smcj wrote:The Gelug approach is to logically prove that the way things abide cannot be put into a logical proposition.

Not according to any Gelugpa teaching I have ever read.

The "non-affirming negation" negates, or disproves, what? It negates/disproves that things:

1. Actually exist.
2. Don't exist.
3. Both exist and don't exist.
4. Neither exist or don't exist.

Those are the four logical possibilities. There are no other logical possibilities. All four have been disproven, negated, rejected. Nothing else is offered as an alternative--ever!.


As I said... to negate existence yet also not assert nonexistence or vice versa steps outside the scope of logic and is unacceptable to Tsongkhapa.

michaelb wrote: things conventionally exist as they appear and function, but don't inherently exist as they lack svabhava.Your description is more like the freedom from extremes version.


I agree
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby Malcolm » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:37 pm

smcj wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
smcj wrote:The Gelug approach is to logically prove that the way things abide cannot be put into a logical proposition.

Not according to any Gelugpa teaching I have ever read.

The "non-affirming negation" negates, or disproves, what? It negates/disproves that things:

1. Actually exist.
2. Don't exist.
3. Both exist and don't exist.
4. Neither exist or don't exist.

Those are the four logical possibilities. There are no other logical possibilities. All four have been disproven, negated, rejected. Nothing else is offered as an alternative--ever!.

This is Gelug 101. How do you not see that my statement is the fundamental position of the Gelug school? How can there be any other interpretation? If you think that the Gelug school asserts a logical proposition that explains the way things abide, I'd love to hear it.


Gelug 101: "does not exist in the ultimate, does not exist in the relative". Tsongkhapa explicitly rejects the analysis of three and four in your list because according to him they are merely double negations.

What you have presented is the non-Gelugpa presentation of freedom from four extremes, which is explicitly rejected by Tsongkhapa in Lamrim Chenmo and elsewhere as being incorrect. Tsongkhapa only rejects inherent existence, the subtle object of negation -- he never advocates rejecting existence, the coarse object of negation.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby Malcolm » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:38 pm

ngodrup wrote:Lama Tsongkhapa's main tantric guru was Nyingma


??? Who was that?
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby Malcolm » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:53 pm

smcj wrote:
ngodrup wrote:Lama Tsongkhapa's main tantric guru was Nyingma...

I'm not 100% on my history, but that doesn't sound right. Lama Tsongkhapa had his students practice the Mahamudra and later translation practices. He got them from the Kagyus I believe. I know of no Nyingma practices in the Gelug school, although there may be some.



Tsongkhapa's main project was to unify the three tantras, Guhyasamaja, Cakrasamvara and Vajrabhairava into a cohesive practice, centered around the exegesis of the Guhyasamaja Tantra as the most important of all these tantras.

Tsongkhapa has not single work in his corpus devoted to Mahāmudra alone.

Gelug Mahāmudra was developed many centuries later by the First Panchen Lama.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby ngodrup » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:57 pm

Lhodrak (aka Drubchen) Namkha Gyaltsen (1326-1401) Mahasiddha and Dzogchen maser.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby smcj » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:58 pm

Gelug 101: "does not exist in the ultimate, does not exist in the relative". Tsongkhapa explicitly rejects the analysis of three and four in your list because according to him they are merely double negations.

What you have presented is the non-Gelugpa presentation of freedom from four extremes, which is explicitly rejected by Tsongkhapa in Lamrim Chenmo and elsewhere as being incorrect. Tsongkhapa only rejects inherent existence, the subtle object of negation -- he never advocates rejecting existence, the coarse object of negation.


Sorry for butting in, but I thought Tsongkhapa's specific object of negation was svabhava or rang bzhin. This was his novel understanding of madhyamaka. So, things conventionally exist as they appear and function, but don't inherently exist as they lack svabhava.Your description is more like the freedom from extremes version.

Yes, I am well aware that Tsongkhapa's spin on this is different than say, Chandrkirti, in terms of how the conventional is seen. Since that is the presentation that I was initially exposed to, and my own karmic inclinations, it is my personal preference in terms of this view.

My statement stands: The Gelug school's academic program is designed to bring the intellectual/conceptual mind to confront its own limitations, on its own terms, by proving logically that there is no logical proposition to explain how things abide. And this is done specifically to best prepare the mind for the practice of Vajrayana (augmented by Paramitayana practice), so that there is least chance of misinterpreting or erroneously practicing the Vajrayana.

To disagree with that statement you would have to take the position of a non-Gelug criticism that says they actually do have a view. Their position is that they do not, that their non-affirming negation is an absence of views.
Last edited by smcj on Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby michaelb » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:17 pm

ngodrup wrote:Lhodrak (aka Drubchen) Namkha Gyaltsen (1326-1401) Mahasiddha and Dzogchen maser.
I thought Tsongkhapa just got Lamrim and Ta Khyung Chak Sum from him. He saw him as Vajrapani in person but didn't pass his dzogchen teachings on to his students. It doesn't seem conclusive how influential he was, but main tantric guru? I don't think so.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby Malcolm » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:46 pm

ngodrup wrote:Lhodrak (aka Drubchen) Namkha Gyaltsen (1326-1401) Mahasiddha and Dzogchen maser.



This was hardly Tsongkhapa's most important guru. Can you name even a single practice passed down in Gelug from this master? This master is mainly significant for Nyingmapas because on the series of questions Lhodrak validates Dzogchen for Tsongkhapa. But Tsongkhapa was not a Dzogchen practitioner.

Arguably, Tsongkhapa's most important Guru would be been Lama Umapa (Kadampa)(, from whom Tsongkhapa received the short lineage of Vajrabhairava, as well as many instructions from Manjushri. Other important masters would have been Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen (Sakya), from whom Tsongkhapa received Cakrasamvara and Rendawa Shonu Lodo (Sakya) from whom he received Guhyasamaja. He also received the transmission of Guhyasamaja and Cakrasamvara as well as Naro Chos drug from Drikung.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby Malcolm » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:51 pm

smcj wrote:To disagree with that statement you would have to take the position of a non-Gelug criticism that says they actually do have a view. Their position is that they do not, that their non-affirming negation is an absence of views.


Not so, the Gelugs assert that Candrakirti does have a view, in contradistinction with the earlier Tibetan presentation of Prasangika which holds that Prasangikas have no views of their own.

SMCJ, with all due respect, you are very confused about what the Gelug point of view actually is. You have completely confused it, utterly, with the view of their opponents.

It is about time you started offering some citations in defense of your novel presentation of Tsongkhapa's views.

The only thing I can imagine is that your Geshe is a renegade with the Gelugpa school, someone who has decided to follow Ganden Chophel's perspective. But Ganden Chophel's views and those of Tsongkhapa are at complete odds with each other.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby smcj » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:09 pm

It is about time you started offering some citations in defense of your novel presentation of Tsongkhapa's views.

I've just moved and downsized my library. The Gelug section took a big hit as I'm not a Gelug student. However I did keep "Teachings on Je Tshongkhapa's Three Principal Aspects of the Path." with a commentary by HHDL.

Tsongkhapa's root text on pg. 43:

Appearaances are infallible dependent arings:
Emptiness is free of assertions
.
A long as these two understating (sic) are seen as separate,
One has not yet realised the intent of the Buddha.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby Malcolm » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:35 pm

smcj wrote:
It is about time you started offering some citations in defense of your novel presentation of Tsongkhapa's views.

I've just moved and downsized my library. The Gelug section took a big hit as I'm not a Gelug student. However I did keep "Teachings on Je Tshongkhapa's Three Principal Aspects of the Path." with a commentary by HHDL.

Tsongkhapa's root text on pg. 43:

Appearaances are infallible dependent arings:
Emptiness is free of assertions
.
A long as these two understating (sic) are seen as separate,
One has not yet realised the intent of the Buddha.



Here is an alternate translation with the comments of Geshe Sonam RInchen:

    "So long as the understanding of appearances As unfailing dependent arising and of emptiness Free from all assertions seem disparate, You still do not comprehend the Subduer's thought."
The understanding of the dependently arising and unfailing way in which causes and conditions produce their effects is a cognition of conventional reality, while the understanding that everything is empty of true existence is a cognition of the ultimate mode in which things exist. The way in which these two understandings apprehend their objects differs. So long as they seem incompatible and your understanding of a thing's dependently arising nature appears to undermine your understanding of its emptiness of true existence and vice versa, you still have not gained insight into what the Buddha intended to reveal nor have you found the correct view of the Middle Way. This is an indication that you must continue to persevere."


Geshe Sonam Rinchen. The Three Principal Aspects of the Path (Kindle Locations 1283-1287). Kindle Edition.

He continues to explain:

In the eleventh verse he mentions emptiness "free from all assertions." In the twelfth verse he refers to an understanding which "destroys through certainty the way the object is perceived." These phrases may be variously interpreted. "The mainstay of misconceptions" is generally viewed as true existence itself." The qualification of emptiness as being "free from all assertions" may be taken to mean that words cannot describe emptiness as it is. It can also refer to emptiness free from any assertions of intrinsic existence. Some early masters in Tibet, who subscribed to the Madhyamika view that everything is empty of inherent existence, found it difficult to posit conventional existence. They contended that since all phenomena are empty, they cannot be specified as this or that, as either existent or non-existent, and that proponents of the Middle Way hold no position, since they propound emptiness free from all assertions.

Geshe Sonam Rinchen. The Three Principal Aspects of the Path (Kindle Locations 1295-1300). Kindle Edition.

Here, Geshe Sonam Rinchen clearly differentiates the view you attribute to the Gelugpas from the actual Gelug view with this statement "Some early masters in Tibet, who subscribed to the Madhyamika view that everything is empty of inherent existence, found it difficult to posit conventional existence. They contended that since all phenomena are empty, they cannot be specified as this or that, as either existent or non-existent, and that proponents of the Middle Way hold no position, since they propound emptiness free from all assertions."

But this statement is not the Gelug view. The Gelug view is that emptiness is the mere absence of true existence i.e. "the understanding that everything is empty of true existence is a cognition of the ultimate mode in which things exist." Further, the Gelugpas claim that not only is this a view, it is the Prasangika view. The Gelugpas never claim that Prasangikas do not have a view. Quite the opposite in fact.

M
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby conebeckham » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:51 pm

Indeed, the main Geluk innovation in their presentation of Madhyamika is the "elucidation" (or "creation," if you disagree) of the "Mere Inherent Existence" as something separable from the "existence" of a given phenomenon.
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Re: Views of Shentong and Dolpopa

Postby conebeckham » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:08 pm

..also, Tsong Khapa and the Gelukpa institution arose as a syncretic combination of many existing Sarma traditions.....although there is much discussion about a "New Kadam" origin, in fact Tsong Khapa ordained as a novice under the 4th Karmapa, and later took full ordination under the Sakya. He studied at a Drikung Kagyu Shedra.

His philosophical studies were also shaped in large part by Sakya exegsis, though his unique innovations differ from the Drikung and Sakya presentations. His lineages of Tantric practice come down from Sakya, Kagyu, and Shangpa roots, primarily. Certainly he collected the existing Kadam lineage transmissions, and stressed Atisha's teachings, and the core of the Kadam lineage, as adjuncts to Sutra study and practice. I'd say he was, in fact, a hugely Non Sectarian character, but one who created an edifice of elaboration unequalled in Tibetan (or even Buddhist) history.
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