Liveliness and Contention

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Liveliness and Contention

Postby viniketa » Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:31 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Honestly I would trade some of the liveliness and contention you see in the Dzogchen forums for the uninspired Gelugpa forum any day. I would rather have the disagreements than have no discussion at all or only promotional threads.


I'm not Gelugpa, but would be happy to be lively and contentious! :rolling:

Perhaps pick a readily available Gelug text and we can discuss?

:namaste:

P.S.: Be careful what you wish for...
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:36 am

Sounds good! I have to translate the last part of a course this weekend, but after classes finish I will try to find an interesting passage on Monday!
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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:37 am

Perhaps from Lama Tzongkhapa's magnum opus, the Lam Rim Chenmo. It is good to discuss the classic, seminal texts of the tradition.
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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby viniketa » Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:29 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Perhaps from Lama Tzongkhapa's magnum opus, the Lam Rim Chenmo. It is good to discuss the classic, seminal texts of the tradition.


If that is your desire. Tsongkhapa was certainly the most skilled logician cum politician after Nāgārjuna.

However, might I suggest a less doctrinal text? You commented in another thread on the Mahamudra tradition in relation to Gelug school, I have recently taken an interest in Mahamudra, and others on the board seem to have an interest. There is an e-book readily available, which wouldn't require you to type, so that others may join the discussion according to their interest:

The Gelug-Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra.

I would be interested in discussing the background of the root text as well as the text and commentaries.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:32 pm

Haha, I was going to ask for help understanding this quote but I understood it after writing it out. Well, I’ll share the quote to get things going.

On page 304 of the third volume of the English translation of the Lam Rim Chen Mo, Lord Tsongkhapa explains how phenomena function although empty by means of the metaphor of a mirror.

“A reflection of a face is undeniably a conjunction of (1) being empty of the eyes, ears, and such that appear therein and (2) being produced in dependence upon a mirror and a face, while disintegrating when certain of these conditions are gone. Likewise, the person lacks even a particle of intrinsic nature, but is the accumulator of karma and experiencer of effects, and is produced in dependence upon earlier karma and afflictions.”

I prefer Lord Nagarjuna simply saying that causes and effects can't exist at the same time and thus all phenomena must be empty to function. Not only is this simpler, it also leads to a better understanding of the interdependence of dependent origination and emptiness. At least it did for me.

What do you guys think?
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby viniketa » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:25 pm

Konchog1 wrote:Haha, I was going to ask for help understanding this quote but I understood it after writing it out. Well, I’ll share the quote to get things going.

On page 304 of the third volume of the English translation of the Lam Rim Chen Mo, Lord Tsongkhapa explains how phenomena function although empty by means of the metaphor of a mirror.


For Tzongkhapa, I'd say this is the more important point from that quote:

“Likewise, the person lacks even a particle of intrinsic nature, but is the accumulator of karma and experiencer of effects, and is produced in dependence upon earlier karma and afflictions.”

:namaste:
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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby catmoon » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:10 am

As I understand it, nothing in Gelug thought precludes the possibility of a reality underlying perception, external to the mind. It would have to be impermanent, empty and dependently originated though. Pretty much unseen too.

Thoughts?
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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby zerwe » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:01 am

Konchog1 wrote:Haha, I was going to ask for help understanding this quote but I understood it after writing it out. Well, I’ll share the quote to get things going.

On page 304 of the third volume of the English translation of the Lam Rim Chen Mo, Lord Tsongkhapa explains how phenomena function although empty by means of the metaphor of a mirror.

“A reflection of a face is undeniably a conjunction of (1) being empty of the eyes, ears, and such that appear therein and (2) being produced in dependence upon a mirror and a face, while disintegrating when certain of these conditions are gone. Likewise, the person lacks even a particle of intrinsic nature, but is the accumulator of karma and experiencer of effects, and is produced in dependence upon earlier karma and afflictions.”

I prefer Lord Nagarjuna simply saying that causes and effects can't exist at the same time and thus all phenomena must be empty to function. Not only is this simpler, it also leads to a better understanding of the interdependence of dependent origination and emptiness. At least it did for me.

What do you guys think?


I think that all analogies and all forms of reasoning are meant to resonate with differing people's capacities.

Personally, just at the intellectual level, it has taken going through many presentations of the same thing,

asking my teacher again and again, and many texts that illustrate the same points over and over again (just in a different fashion) to gain the best understanding I can about a particular point.

In the end they either illustrate (through analogy) that all phenomena appear because they are dependent arisings or

In the case of the Five Great Madhyamaka Logical Arguments, four of the five refute wrong views acquired culturally/intellectually/karmically and then

leave dependent arising as the only explanation for how phenomena appear.

Shaun :namaste:
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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby zerwe » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:06 am

With that said, what I am beginning to understand a little better now is that the real danger lies in

not properly identifying the object of negation, not refuting enough, and refuting too much.

As much as we believe that we carry out the aforementioned procedure properly, we are still miles away from

direct perception.

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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby zerwe » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:13 am

viniketa wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:Haha, I was going to ask for help understanding this quote but I understood it after writing it out. Well, I’ll share the quote to get things going.

On page 304 of the third volume of the English translation of the Lam Rim Chen Mo, Lord Tsongkhapa explains how phenomena function although empty by means of the metaphor of a mirror.


For Tzongkhapa, I'd say this is the more important point from that quote:

“Likewise, the person lacks even a particle of intrinsic nature, but is the accumulator of karma and experiencer of effects, and is produced in dependence upon earlier karma and afflictions.”

:namaste:


So, I might be wrong here, but the point of contention is in how we identify or define the object of negation ( in this case person).

Shaun :namaste:
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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:22 am

What is direct perception exactly?
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby Tom » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:10 am

Konchog1 wrote:Haha, I was going to ask for help understanding this quote but I understood it after writing it out. Well, I’ll share the quote to get things going.

On page 304 of the third volume of the English translation of the Lam Rim Chen Mo, Lord Tsongkhapa explains how phenomena function although empty by means of the metaphor of a mirror.

“A reflection of a face is undeniably a conjunction of (1) being empty of the eyes, ears, and such that appear therein and (2) being produced in dependence upon a mirror and a face, while disintegrating when certain of these conditions are gone. Likewise, the person lacks even a particle of intrinsic nature, but is the accumulator of karma and experiencer of effects, and is produced in dependence upon earlier karma and afflictions.”

I prefer Lord Nagarjuna simply saying that causes and effects can't exist at the same time and thus all phenomena must be empty to function. Not only is this simpler, it also leads to a better understanding of the interdependence of dependent origination and emptiness. At least it did for me.

What do you guys think?


So my two cents...

The above quote is not a straight reading of Nāgārjuna as per an analysis of cause and effects to establish emptiness. This is more about correctly understanding appearances based on that understanding of emptiness - and is Tsongkhapa's specialty.

Tsongkhapa here is identifying three things, (1) that conventionally existent phenomena such as a person exist based partly through appearing to a conventional mind, (2) that these conventional phenomena fall outside the scope of the reasoned knowledge that correctly understand the lack of inherent existence of things, and (3) that this is the case means that while it cannot negate the existence of these conventional phenomena, this reasoned knowledge does show that their appearance to the conventional mind is mistaken. The conclusion is that the person exists, but like a reflection, its appearance and reality don't match. The difference between the example of the reflection and the person is that a conventional mind can understand the reflection as a mistaken appearance but not the mistaken appearance of the person as inherently existent.
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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby viniketa » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:48 am

Wow! Looks like Tsongkhapa is more popular than I would have thought!

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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby viniketa » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:19 am

catmoon wrote:As I understand it, nothing in Gelug thought precludes the possibility of a reality underlying perception, external to the mind. It would have to be impermanent, empty and dependently originated though. Pretty much unseen too.


That would be my understanding, catmoon, about the stance on 'external' dependent existants. I'm not catching your point about "unseen", though, sorry, unless you are talking about "other emptiness". Tsongkhapa, I think, takes more or less a standard Mādhyamika stance, while Khedrup Je was more Prasaṅgika in his views.

zerwe wrote:So, I might be wrong here, but the point of contention is in how we identify or define the object of negation (in this case person).


In the quoted passage, I don't think there is much contention. Tsongkhapa is simply demonstrating how 'a person' is empty but still subject to karmic re-birth. Karmic consequences are sort of Tsongkhapa's 'thing'.

Konchog1 wrote:What is direct perception exactly?


Short answer: It is a type of yogic perception that is "bare" of all preconceptions (conceptual thought). We could spend a long time just on that topic...

Tom wrote:The above quote is not a straight reading of Nāgārjuna as per an analysis of cause and effects to establish emptiness.


I would agree with that, Tom.

Of course, I'll be most interested to learn JKhedrup's thought on all the above.

:namaste:
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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:41 am

I'm glad for your suggestion to start the discussion, and glad that LTK is popular. It only took someone getting the ball rolling!
Lama Tsongkhapa was gifted at using examples to tease out the meaning of the Classic texts. But as you mentioned looking at Nagarjuna- LTK would have been happy! He exhorts people to explore those texts in many of his works, and indeed it is those Indian texts that form the basis of study in the great monasteries.

Tsongkhapa here is identifying three things, (1) that conventionally existent phenomena such as a person exist based partly through appearing to a conventional mind


I agree with this, but the labeling of the object by the mind is another, important part of the equation.That is why we also speak of objects being "merely labeled" Je Rinpoche taught dependent arising as the "King of Reasons", and it is used a a theoretical support for many of his teachings on emptiness.

The Berzin archives is a great resource. He explains Gelug Prasangika in a nutshell here: http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... tence.html

All tenet systems less sophisticated than Prasangika assert that the existence of all validly knowable phenomena is established by the fact that each such phenomenon has an individual defining characteristic mark (rang-gi mtshan-nyid) on its own side that makes it an individual validly knowable item. They also assert that their existence is established by the fact that they can be found as referent "things" (btags-don) corresponding to the names and concepts for them. This manner of establishing their existence is known as "existence established by a self-nature" (rang-bzhin-gyis grub-pa, inherent existence).

Gelug Prasangika asserts that nothing on the side of an object establishes its existence. Therefore, we do not need first to apprehend something on the side of the object that establishes its existence and only then can we validly know it as a validly knowable phenomenon. The only thing we can say that establishes the existence of validly knowable phenomena is merely the fact that they can be validly labeled (btags-tsam). They are the referent objects (btags-chos) of the names and concepts for them, although referent "things" corresponding to names and concepts cannot be found by minds validly scrutinizing (dpyod-pa, analyzing) the superficial truth (kun-rdzob bden-pa, conventional truth, relative truth) or the deepest truth (don-dam bden-pa, ultimate truth) of things.

Names and concepts, however, do not create their referent objects. Nor do referent objects of words and concepts exist independently of the words and concepts for them. Nor do validly knowable objects exist independently of their being validly knowable as the referent objects of the words and concepts for them, although we may validly know them nonconceptually – without relying on words and concepts. If they did exist independently of all valid mental processes, how could we ever know that they exist? There is nothing on the sides of objects that establishes their existence, independently of all valid mental processes, otherwise how could we ever know that they establish their existence?
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
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A straw floats on the surface of water,
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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby Tom » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:25 pm

JKhedrup wrote:I agree with this, but the labeling of the object by the mind is another, important part of the equation.That is why we also speak of objects being "merely labeled" Je Rinpoche taught dependent arising as the "King of Reasons", and it is used a a theoretical support for many of his teachings on emptiness.


That things are merely labelled by mind is not really the point here. For example, emptiness also exists as being merely labelled by mind but emptiness cannot be explained to be illusion-like in the same way as conventional truths.

Also, the analogy here is not being used to give a teaching on perception theory. But, your quote from Berzin is relevant to the question on direct perception and also the one about the possibility of a reality underlying perception. The Gelugpa interpretation of svalakṣaṇa (rang gyi mtshan nyid) most especially Khedrup Je's explanation is quite subtle.
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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby viniketa » Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:13 pm

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but Tsongkhapa is seen to be more as skilled in the application of Mādhyamaka rather than as re-interpreter or extender of Mādhyamaka, while Khedrup Je is seen as an extender of Prasaṅga.

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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:39 pm

This thread is great as it is forcing me to do some research. I have spent most of the last 4 years learning the words and structures of the language rather than the subtleties of the concepts themselves. Part of the reason it was so intimidating to do translation work at Nalanda Monastery when some of the students were near finishing the 5 year basic program and had developed quite refined understandings. (Thank god we had a translator for the advanced courses and I was assigned Lam Rim/Vinaya).
Thanks Tom for mentioning direct perception. In his book "Emptiness" part of his FOBT course, Geshe Tashi at the London FPMT centre mentions this:

The differences between Svatantrika Madhayamaka (bu ma rang rgyud pa) and the Prasangika Madhayamika ( thal 'gyur ba) go beyond the use of syllogisms. Another fundamental difference is the assertion of the veracity of direct perception.

For Bhavaviveka and the Svatantrika Madhyamaka masters... direct perception is a consciousness free from conceptuality and is unmistaken. All direct perceptions, except wrong perceptions (log shes) are non-mistaken (ma 'khrul ba'i shes pa) with regard to the appearing object. All correct direct perceptions perceive that their appearing object has intrinsic or inherent character, which is non mistaken because, for Svatantrika Madhyamaka, all things do have such an intrinsic character.

...For Prasangika Madhyamaka masters like Chandrakirti the view is completely opposite of Svatantrika. No matter how valid the cognition is with regard to the appearing or conceived object, in terms of apprehending the object as having an inherent nature established from its own characteristics, perceptions are all mistaken.

For example, our eye consciousness apprehending the red colour of a flower might well be a valid consciousness in that on one level there is no mistake between the object and how it is apprehended, but it is a mistaken eye consciousness that apprehends the red colour as having an intrinsic character. For a conceptual consciousness realizing the impermanence of the body, that may be a valid inferential congnizer with regard to realizing impermanence, but it is still mistaken in apprehending that the body it is analyzing has an intrinsic character.
(pgs 65-67, Geshe Tashi Tsering)
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby viniketa » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:03 pm

FYI - This thread contains a Bibliographic Guide to TSK's work translated into English.

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... 78&start=0

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Re: Liveliness and Contention

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:36 pm

viniketa wrote:Tsongkhapa, I think, takes more or less a standard Mādhyamika stance, while Khedrup Je was more Prasaṅgika in his views.
Hmm, I don’t know if this is true or false, but in the third english volume of the LRCM, Lord Tsongkhapa spends four chapters on the differences between Svatantrika and Prasangika and concludes on page 274 (page 719 in the original) with “Here. We are followers of the Prasangika system [...] you should accept the Prasangika position as explained above.” Then in the next chapter he presents the Prasangika master Chandrakirti’s Seven Point Fold Chariot exercise and states that it is a “Prasangika procedure”.

Thus, Lord Tsongkhapa considered himself Prasangika. If he was moderate Prasangika compared to Khedrup Je or some such then I don’t know.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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