"the Self is real" according to T. Page

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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:59 pm

Sherab wrote:[
Merely saying that emptiness is defined as unconditioned does not addressed my question, which was how is it possible to have a thing that is both conditioned and unconditioned at the same time. Perhaps, you are saying it is possible as long as it is defined as possible.


"For those whom emptiness is possible, everything is possible, for those whom emptiness is not possible, nothing is possible"


Malcolm wrote:If emptiness is a synonym for dependent arising, that would imply that dependent arising is unconditioned. Or to put is more starkly, it would mean that dependent arising does not arise dependently.


There is no entity "dependent arising", there are only phenomena that arise in dependence. Space, the two cessations and emptiness do not arise at all, so they are by definition phenomena that do not arise in dependence. Of course, this does not mean that they are not relative, for both conditioned and unconditioned phenomena are relative. Since both conditioned and unconditioned phenomena are relative, their relationship is strictly a matter of definition.

As for dependently origination phenomena being unconditioned, the Prajñāpāramita states "Whatever arises in dependence, that in truth does not arise". The argument can be made that even so called dependently originated phenomena are unconditioned in reality, since their production cannot be ascertained at all when subjected to ultimate analysis. Again in this respect there is no contradiction between a conventionally conditioned entity having a conventionally unconditioned nature since in reality both are merely conventions. While the former bears the latter as its nature, in reality neither the former nor the latter can stand up to ultimate analysis. In other words there are no phenomena at all that can stand up to ultimate analysis.


Yes, unconditioned things can be truly existents or false existents that are not dependently arisen. But unconditioned things cannot include false existents that are dependently arisen, don't you agree?


Of course I do not agree: for example, space, an unconditioned phenomena, permeates all conditioned phenomena, and neither obstructs conditioned phenomena nor is obstructed by them. Emptiness, another unconditioned phenomena, likewise permeates all conditioned phenomena, neither obstructing them nor being obstructed by them.


It is precisely because of such contradictions that Garfield and Priest were forced to conclude from their study of Nagarjuna that ultimately there is no ultimate and that dependent arising is all there is.


Jay Garfield is a lovely guy, and an excellent analytical philosopher (he is a professor in the Philosophy Department at Smith college, along with my father (now retired)), however, he is wrong in so far that there isn't even dependent origination in the ultimate analysis.

Again, I don't think that giving a definition as an answer will resolve the logical contradiction that my question raises.


Your question presumes an entity/entity relationship, therefore your very question is flawed. Emptiness is not an entity, neither are phenomena, other than conventionally.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:55 pm

Malcolm wrote:
"For those whom emptiness is possible, everything is possible, for those whom emptiness is not possible, nothing is possible"


Everything can't be possible, because if everything were possible, then it would also be possible for some things not to be possible.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:01 pm

bob wrote: Nor can anyone who has not directly experienced the "Self" ...:


If there were a true 'self' that could be experienced,
and this 'self' were, by definition, infinite,
then the only thing that could experience such a 'self'
would be that self itself.

You can't say "I experience my self"
without admitting that the I being referred to is that self.
Otherwise, I and self would be two separate things
and that would contradict the definition of a true self being infinite.

Thus, if there really were a 'true self', it would be what is already being experienced right now
and seeking it would be pointless, like a dog chasing its own tail
because you would already be there
and in regarding it as something yet unrealized, you would be mistaken.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:38 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
"For those whom emptiness is possible, everything is possible, for those whom emptiness is not possible, nothing is possible"


Everything can't be possible, because if everything were possible, then it would also be possible for some things not to be possible.
.
.
.


Yes, for example, true existents.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby theanarchist » Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:23 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote:Merely saying that emptiness is defined as unconditioned does not addressed my question, which was how is it possible to have a thing that is both conditioned and unconditioned at the same time. Perhaps, you are saying it is possible as long as it is defined as possible.


"For those whom emptiness is possible, everything is possible, for those whom emptiness is not possible, nothing is possible"
[/quote]


Cough cough... Rabbit horns..
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:30 pm

Malcolm wrote: Yes, for example, true existents.

Do you regard space as a true existent?
Hmmmm....come to think of it, do you regard anything at all as a true existent?
Do you assert that "true existent" is an impossibility?
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:42 pm

theanarchist wrote:
Cough cough... Rabbit horns..


Āryāṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitāpañjikāsārottamā:

    All phenomena do not arise,
    that is the non-existence of the inherent existence of all phenomena,
    therefore, that absence of arising is like the horns of a rabbit.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:45 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Malcolm wrote: Yes, for example, true existents.

Do you regard space as a true existent?
Hmmmm....come to think of it, do you regard anything at all as a true existent?
Do you assert that "true existent" is an impossibility?




    Sentient beings are not bound by anything.
    If one recognizes that true existence is inherently nonexistent,
    taints are purified intrinsically,
    like muddy water self-purifying.
    All phenomena are the same in lacking inherent existence.


-- The String of Pearls Tantra
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Tom » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:37 pm

Malcolm wrote:
It is precisely because of such contradictions that Garfield and Priest were forced to conclude from their study of Nagarjuna that ultimately there is no ultimate and that dependent arising is all there is.


Jay Garfield is a lovely guy, and an excellent analytical philosopher (he is a professor in the Philosophy Department at Smith college, along with my father (now retired)), however, he is wrong in so far that there isn't even dependent origination in the ultimate analysis.


Are you suggesting Jay asserts dependent origination from an ultimate stand point? I'm just not sure how you are using ultimate analysis here?

I know Jay quite well and there is no way he would suggest that dependent origination withstands ultimate analysis. It is only because ultimate analysis comes up empty handed that some of the analytical philosophers studying Buddhism have come to the conclusion "the ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth."

Also, while many of these scholars have been influenced by Gelug writers I imagine that they think the standard Gelug approach reifies ultimate truth since it describes emptiness with the characteristics of enduring, and importantly here, existing dependently. Perhaps their attempt to avoid this same problem is to say that there is no ultimate truth and only dependent origination and that now the opposite concern as to whether they are reifying dependent origination is coming up. However, to say that there exists only dependent origination is a long way from saying in the ultimate analysis dependent origination exists.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby smcj » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:47 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
tobes wrote:Smjc - I don't think you're trolling at all. I've been close to a well known Kagyu Rinpoche (now passed) who presented things in a similar way.
I don't believe they are trolling either, I was just presenting the fact that none of the Karma Kagyu teachers I have received teachings from expressed the view of the existence of an undifferentiated consciousness.

I'm not surprised. There's a good chance they've never heard it either.

I remember going to Lama Norlha's monastery in N.Y. some time ago. Khenpo Tsultrim had just left after teaching on the Uttaratantra. The people there were all ordained monks and nuns, could read Tibetan for themselves, and had done at least one 3 year retreat. They were shocked by what they heard from him. Except for Kalu R., who never used the word "Shentong", I don't think any Kagyu lamas had made an issue of it before Khenpo Tsultrim.

And the truth be told, that's not all to the story evidently. Hookam's book is about sutra Shentong. She mentions in it that there is tantric Shentong too. What that is I have a strong suspicion, but I dare you to find a lama that will teach it. I guess there really are still some secrets about "secret Vajrayana".
Last edited by smcj on Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:49 pm

Malcolm wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Malcolm wrote: Yes, for example, true existents.

Do you regard space as a true existent?
Hmmmm....come to think of it, do you regard anything at all as a true existent?
Do you assert that "true existent" is an impossibility?

    Sentient beings are not bound by anything.
    If one recognizes that true existence is inherently nonexistent,
    taints are purified intrinsically,
    like muddy water self-purifying.
    All phenomena are the same in lacking inherent existence.


-- The String of Pearls Tantra


Yes, that is very nice.
but what is your opinion?
Do you think anything arises which is not a composite?
and do you regard space as a phenomenon
or as something that phenomena arise in,
or both?
.
.
.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:02 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Yes, that is very nice.
but what is your opinion?
Do you think anything arises which is not a composite?
and do you regard space as a phenomenon
or as something that phenomena arise in,
or both?
.
.
.


My opinion is stated in the quote.

Space is a phenomena. It is an unconditioned phenomena therefore it does not arise. It is actually merely nonobstruction.

Nothing arises which does not arise from conditions. Nothing exists that does not arise from conditions. Space is in fact a non-existent.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:08 pm

Tom wrote:
Are you suggesting Jay asserts dependent origination from an ultimate stand point? I'm just not sure how you are using ultimate analysis here?




I do not think that is what Jay is saying. Jay and I have a disagreement over what constitutes a "satya". I maintain that as a satya is an object of cognition, what is important is whether the cognition is veridical or non-veridical. But Jay asserts that the object (veridical or non-veridical) is what is important, and thus, he concludes, wrongly in my estimation, that there is no ultimate truth, or as you have stated, that the ultimate is that there is no ultimate truth.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby smcj » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:14 pm

thus, he concludes, wrongly in my estimation, that there is no ultimate truth, or as you have stated, that the ultimate is that there is no ultimate truth.

Lol. :rolling: That's what I thought the "non-affirming negation" meant.
Last edited by smcj on Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby bob » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:15 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
bob wrote: Nor can anyone who has not directly experienced the "Self" ...:

Thus, if there really were a 'true self', it would be what is already being experienced right now
and seeking it would be pointless, like a dog chasing its own tail
because you would already be there
and in regarding it as something yet unrealized, you would be mistaken.


Exactly -- that is why failure to recognize what has always been the reality is called "ignorance", and why effort is required.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:33 pm

smcj wrote:And the truth be told, that's not all to the story evidently. Hookam's book is about sutra Shentong. She mentions in it that there is tantric Shentong too. What that is I have a strong suspicion, but I dare you to find a lama that will teach it.
I don't think I want to. Had enough of the whole "soul" deal during my childhood (Greek Orthodox upbringing, Catholic schooling, Protestant country). Thanks, but no thanks! :smile:
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:44 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
smcj wrote:And the truth be told, that's not all to the story evidently. Hookam's book is about sutra Shentong. She mentions in it that there is tantric Shentong too. What that is I have a strong suspicion, but I dare you to find a lama that will teach it.
I don't think I want to. Had enough of the whole "soul" deal during my childhood (Greek Orthodox upbringing, Catholic schooling, Protestant country). Thanks, but no thanks! :smile:


Apparently, it doesn't matter, because according to Malcolm:

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=9701&start=20

The actual mode of meditation in rang stong and gzhan stong are not different at all. The difference lay primarily in how they conceptualize the view in post-meditation.....The basis in gzhan stong is still emptiness, albeit is an emptiness qualified by the presence of ultimate buddha qualities, where samsaric phenomena are considere extraneous. Why? Because these ultimate qualities are only held to appear to exist in post-equipoise, but their appearance of existence disappear when in equipoise.

The equipoise in both rang stong and gzhan stong is characterized as an equipoise free from extremes. In the case of commoners, this freedom from extremes is arrived through analysis that negate the four extremes in turn. This is necessary even in gshan stong because attachment to the luminosity described by the PP sutras will result in an extreme view, just as grasping to emptiness results in an extreme view.

As I said, the most salient difference between R and S is in their post-equipoise formulation. In terms of how adherents of the so called R and S views actually meditate, there is no ultimate difference.

The pitfall of both approaches is the same -- failure to eradicate all extremes results in the former grasping to non-existence as emptiness, and the latter grasping to existence as emptiness.

The purpose of Madhyamaka analysis is not to come to some imagined "correct" generic image of the ultimate, but rather to exhaust the mind's capacity to reify phenomena according to any extreme so that one's experience of conventional truth upon reaching the path of seeing in post-equipoise is that all phenomena are seen to be illusions, dreams and so on i.e. unreal and yet apparent due to the force of traces.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Tom » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:58 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tom wrote:
Are you suggesting Jay asserts dependent origination from an ultimate stand point? I'm just not sure how you are using ultimate analysis here?




I do not think that is what Jay is saying. Jay and I have a disagreement over what constitutes a "satya". I maintain that as a satya is an object of cognition, what is important is whether the cognition is veridical or non-veridical. But Jay asserts that the object (veridical or non-veridical) is what is important, and thus, he concludes, wrongly in my estimation, that there is no ultimate truth, or as you have stated, that the ultimate is that there is no ultimate truth.


Generalizing, but these are the different interpretations of Candra's MMV 6:23 by Sakya and Gelug respectively. However, to take the Gelug position and then claim there is no ultimate truth is novel.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby dzogchungpa » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:26 pm

Malcolm wrote:I maintain that as a satya is an object of cognition, what is important is whether the cognition is veridical or non-veridical.

Forgive my ignorance, but what does it mean to say that a cognition is veridical?
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby smcj » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:48 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
smcj wrote:And the truth be told, that's not all to the story evidently. Hookam's book is about sutra Shentong. She mentions in it that there is tantric Shentong too. What that is I have a strong suspicion, but I dare you to find a lama that will teach it.
I don't think I want to. Had enough of the whole "soul" deal during my childhood (Greek Orthodox upbringing, Catholic schooling, Protestant country). Thanks, but no thanks! :smile:

I get more of a NeoPlatonist vibe with the threat of morphing into a type of Chinese monism. But then again that's just me.
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