Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

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Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby Dexing » Sun Jul 04, 2010 12:27 am

Many people perceive an apparent contrast between the Madhyamaka and Yogacara schools. In my study and practice I've seen them as in complete agreement.

In the Dhyana lineage of Indian Patriarchs, Nagarjuna appears as the 14th Patriarch, and Vasubandhu appears as the 21st. The main thrust of their teachings is the same, only perhaps the style of instruction differs.

Attaching to their words and teaching styles, I see how one can perceive differences in their doctrines, but I have never seen them as contradicting. They are both quite clear- the most thoroughly explained traditions. Yet some still find ways to make them appear contradictory.

For those who see the two schools as having contrasting doctrines, what are the reasons?

In another thread someone said;

Actually, only according to yogacara, the mind only school, is everything considered mental. Madhyamaka takes this farther stating that everything, including karma, thoughts, even time, has 'no intrinsic, independent reality apart from the causes and conditions from which they arise.' Quoted because that's what's in the article.


What is the difference and how has this been taken further?

"No intrinsic, independent reality apart from the causes and conditions from which they arise".

Yogacara states this too. Those causes and conditions are in fact only the transformations of consciousness. The ignorant impute (illusory) external objects of perception as the real causes and conditions for other (illusory) things to arise, or even for consciousness itself to arise.

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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby sukhamanveti » Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:38 pm

I am no expert on the distinction between the two schools, but I gather that they had many differences, because they debated each other. (Sthiramati and Dharmapala debated Bhavaviveka in writing, for example.) I am sure that Ven. Huifeng could explain the differences in detail.

Here is a summary of how Paul Williams explains the differences in Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations (see especially #3):

1. For Madhyamika, sutras that teach emptiness are texts of definitive meaning. For Yogacara emptiness, as it is taught in Madhyamika, is mere upaya. Yogacara taught that Madhyamika’s emptiness teaching was the second turning of the wheel of dharma, whereas its own teaching is the third and final turning. (For Yogacara, Madhyamika was ontologically nihilistic. For Madhyamika, Yogacara was ontologically absolutist. See below.)

2. Yogacara taught the Three Natures as the final teaching.

3. Yogacara taught that the dependent nature (i.e., the nondual mind, the flow of perceptions without concepts and without subject or object, the distinction between perceiver and perceived) is ultimately existent, as Vasubandhu contends in the Madhyantavibhaga-Bhasya and as Kambala argues in the Alokamala. (It is crucial in this to see that although the perfected nature is the highest of the Three Natures soteriologically, because it must be known for liberation, the dependent nature is the highest ontologically, the most really existent.) Madhyamaka taught that nothing is ultimately existent. Everything exists relatively, relationally, conventionally.

4. For Madhyamika emptiness was properly understood as the absence of inherent existence or intrinsic nature of all phenomena or the ultimate “not-findingness” of any conventional phenomenon under analysis. For Yogacara emptiness was the absence within the dependent nature of the conceptualized nature. (This absence is the perfected nature.) The two schools saw this as a real disagreement rather than a semantic one (see the paragraph immediately above).
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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby Dexing » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:55 pm

sukhamanveti wrote:4. For Madhyamika emptiness was properly understood as the absence of inherent existence or intrinsic nature of all phenomena or the ultimate “not-findingness” of any conventional phenomenon under analysis. For Yogacara emptiness was the absence within the dependent nature of the conceptualized nature. (This absence is the perfected nature.) The two schools saw this as a real disagreement rather than a semantic one (see the paragraph immediately above).


I don't see how they are in disagreement really. Because the "all phenomena" discussed in Madhyamaka appears to refer to that which is known by ordinary beings, not Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

This is of course not in conflict with the Yogacara position, it is just that Yogacara further discusses the question of if "all phenomena known by ordinary beings is empty" then what is real, what is the state known by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas? Hence the progression into the "third-turning". I don't see that any doctrine from Madhyamaka is really relinquished in this process.

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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby sukhamanveti » Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:22 pm

Dexing wrote:I don't see how they are in disagreement really. Because the "all phenomena" discussed in Madhyamaka appears to refer to that which is known by ordinary beings, not Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

This is of course not in conflict with the Yogacara position, it is just that Yogacara further discusses the question of if "all phenomena known by ordinary beings is empty" then what is real, what is the state known by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas? Hence the progression into the "third-turning". I don't see that any doctrine from Madhyamaka is really relinquished in this process.


It wasn't only "phenomena known by ordinary beings" that Madhyamikas subjected to ultimate analysis and found to be empty of intrinsic existence. Beginning with Nagarjuna (MMK XXV), they found that even Nirvana is not ultimately existing.

In Chandrakirti's Supplement to the MMK, his Madhyamakavatara, he rejects the distinctive Yogacara doctrines, including the Yogacara understanding of the Three Natures, which he sees as provisional, subject to interpretation, leading to a higher truth. (He presents an alternative explanation of the Three Natures.) Chandrakirti see emptiness of inherent or intrinsic existence as the definitive teaching ("that which bears the meaning of emptiness is definitive") and nothing outside of its scope. Even emptiness itself is empty of inherent existence, he says. Chandrakirti argues that nothing at all exists ultimately, nothing at all exists absolutely. That is why proponents of Yogacara mistook Chandrakirti as an ontological nihilist, because he would not agree that something existed in the ultimate sense.
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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby Dexing » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:34 am

sukhamanveti wrote:It wasn't only "phenomena known by ordinary beings" that Madhyamikas subjected to ultimate analysis and found to be empty of intrinsic existence. Beginning with Nagarjuna (MMK XXV), they found that even Nirvana is not ultimately existing.


But what we call "Nirvana" is merely a concept known by ordinary beings, and is not the state known by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

So the Heart Sutra says there is no birth and no death (samsara), and also no wisdom and no attainment (nirvana).

But then turns around and says Bodhisattva relying on Prajnaparamita (wisdom) ultimately realize Nirvana (attainment), and likewise all Buddhas of the three times rely on Prajnaparamita to attain Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.

The first instance is talking about how what ordinary beings know is unreal, such as (the concept of) wisdom and attainment, Samsara and Nirvana.

The second instance is then talking about the state realized by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, which is beyond mere thoughts and speech.

Chandrakirti argues that nothing at all exists ultimately, nothing at all exists absolutely. That is why proponents of Yogacara mistook Chandrakirti as an ontological nihilist, because he would not agree that something existed in the ultimate sense.


I don't see that this is opposite to Yogacara, as there is also nothing to exist in such a way. Even the various aspects of Consciousness, which Yogacarins assert to be "real" has no self-sustaining substance of it's own, and is ultimately to be eliminated.

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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby White Lotus » Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:36 pm

:anjali: Noble Dexing... seriously cool thread. shame its not got many posts.
thanks.

best wishes, White Lotus.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby Anders » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:57 am

sukhamanveti wrote:In Chandrakirti's Supplement to the MMK, his Madhyamakavatara, he rejects the distinctive Yogacara doctrines, including the Yogacara understanding of the Three Natures, which he sees as provisional, subject to interpretation, leading to a higher truth. (He presents an alternative explanation of the Three Natures.) Chandrakirti see emptiness of inherent or intrinsic existence as the definitive teaching ("that which bears the meaning of emptiness is definitive") and nothing outside of its scope. Even emptiness itself is empty of inherent existence, he says. Chandrakirti argues that nothing at all exists ultimately, nothing at all exists absolutely. That is why proponents of Yogacara mistook Chandrakirti as an ontological nihilist, because he would not agree that something existed in the ultimate sense.


I think, as this is a generic Mahayana forum, we need some common agreement on sources. Elsewhere, Dexing was quoting Bodhidharma, which is only really relevant if you accept Chan and here you are quoting Chandrakirti, who is only really relevant if you accept certain strands of Tibetan Buddhism. In India, he was marginal and consequently never translated into Chinese.

I think if people are going to cite sources that are peculiar to one's own tradition, rather than broadly accepted Indian sources (Bodhidharma and Chandrakirti are of course both Indian, bout both are significant only in one region), it needs to be done so with a certain level of tentativeness, where it is understood that the name here really means nothing, nor does the consequences of the argument until both parties are satisfied this may be a relevant argument.

Otherwise, we just end up talking past each other.
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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby remm » Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:27 pm

There is also the concept of the "icchantika" whereas Madhyamika would say even the "icchantika" can attain Buddha-hood, Yogacara would say that an "icchantika" has completely been cut off from Buddha-hood.
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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby zerwe » Sat Jul 17, 2010 4:02 am

I think your answer can be found in Shantarakshita's Madhyamakalankara with commentary by Ju Mipham, trans. by the Padmarkara translation group.
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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby Dexing » Sat Jul 17, 2010 5:32 am

remm wrote:There is also the concept of the "icchantika" whereas Madhyamika would say even the "icchantika" can attain Buddha-hood, Yogacara would say that an "icchantika" has completely been cut off from Buddha-hood.


I wouldn't say this is completely accurate. The Lankavatara Sutra, for example, is taken in Yogacara and states:

"Again, Mahamati said; Who, Blessed One, would never enter Nirvana?

The Blessed One replied: Knowing that all things are in Nirvana itself from the very beginning, the Bodhisattva-Icchantika would never enter Nirvana. But those Icchantikas who have forsaken all the stock of merit [finally] do. Those Icchantikas, Mahamati, who have forsaken all the stock of merit might some day be influenced by the power of the Tathagatas and be induced at any moment to foster the stock of merit. Why? Because, Mahamati, no beings are left aside by the Tathagatas. For this reason, Mahamati, it is the Bodhisattva-Icchantika who never enters into Nirvana."


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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby remm » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:02 am

I think the problem lies within the "Wei-Shih" (Fa-hsiang, Vijnaptimatrata) school of the Venerable Hsuan Tsang which revived the notion that the "icchantika" is agotra, basically devoid of the seed of enlightenment or one who has cut off the roots to Buddha-hood.

THE FOUNDING OF THE SCHOOL: TAO-SHENG AND HSIEH LING-YUN'
The Nirvana Sutra, from which the school drew its inspiration, was first translated
by Fa-hsienj, the pilgrim who brought it back from India, and
Buddhabhadra in 416. This shorter and earlier recension already introduced the
idea of "universal Buddha-nature", but as surely it also stated that the icchantika
was destitute of this seed of enlightenment. A later and longer version readmitting
the icchantika into the lot of the enlightenable was rendered, in Liang-chouk,
by Dharmaksema with the help of Tao-lang' in 421, but unfortunately this full
text would not arrive at the southern capital until a decade later, in 430. With
only the Fa-hsien version at hand, it was only natural that the southerners
regarded the exclusion of the icchantika to be the canonical position. For
someone to openly go against the words of the Buddha should, indeed in that
context, be punishable, according to the preceptual code, by banishment from
the community2. That was the fate at first for Tao-sheng who somehow intuited
that one day even the icchantika should be de jure (that is, tang-laim: in the natural course of time) given this seed of enlightenment3. Hui-kuann petitioned
the king for Tao-sheng's removal in 428-429, and Tao-sheng left the capital for
Lu-shan°, only to be vindicated the next year when the full text arrived from the
north.
It is not clear when Tao-sheng first intuited this "enlightenability of the
icchantika," but Hui-kuan's reaction was both sharp and apparently quick, such
that it is advisable to date it close to 428 itself. This is supported by a letter written
by Fan T'aiP to the pair, Hui-kuan and Tao-sheng, circa 426-428, at which time
the two were on speaking terms though already divided over gradual versus
sudden enlightenment4. (This other controversy warranted no expulsion of a
heretic, because the scriptures themselves show no decisive stand, unlike the
explicit exclusion of the icchantika in the then-available Nirvana Sutra.) Because
later in Ch'an (Zen"), the doctrine of sudden enlightenment was predicated upon
the idea of an innate Buddha-nature, it has been assumed that Tao-sheng also
arrived at the subitist position by way of the universality of Buddha-nature.5
However, nowhere in Tao-sheng's surviving writings do we find the formula,
chien-hsing ch'eng-for, "upon seeing one's (Buddha) nature, be [suddenly] enlightened."
That formula first appeared in Pao-liangs who is however judged a
gradualist because of his Ch'eng-shih leanings (see infra). Thus "sudden enlightenment"
and "universal Buddha-nature" were originally two separate
issues, discovered by Tao-sheng independent of one another.
In a separate investigation,6 I discovered that Tao-sheng proposed sudden
enlightenment even before he knew of the Nirvana Sutra. The idea came to him
probably at Lu-shan in the last decade of the fourth century when he was
apprenticed under the Sarvastivadin Sanghadeva and the famous hermit Huiyuant.
Sanghadeva translated the Abhidharmahrdayain 391 and chapter five of
this text specified that "the last act in training"-the vajrasamadhi (diamond
trance)-leading to enlightenment involves a one-step awakening, not any
gradual progression.7 Hui-yiian himself took a cue from this, and in his essay
San-pao-lunu (On Three Modes of Retribution) in 395 already so suggested a
nonkarmic (that is, noncausative) enlightenment.8 This then formed the basis for
the twin theories of Tao-sheng which should be read together, namely, "The
[nirvanic] Good admits no [karmic] retribution" for indeed it is through "sudden
enlightenment that one attains Buddhahood." It is only later that Tao-sheng
further grafted this Hinayana-based argument for sudden enlightenment to
items he learned in his next phase of scholarship under Kumarajiva: the
Emptiness philosophy of Madhyamika and the Ekayana doctrine of the Lotus
Sutra. He and Hui-kuan parted company then over suddenism and gradualism
as related to these two Mahayana doctrines.9 The doctrine of Buddha-nature
was known to both, but was not regarded as having any bearing, pro or con, on
that controversy. The proof lies in Hsieh Ling-yiin's defense of Tao-sheng in his
Pien-tsung-lunv dated 423. Nowhere in this classic defense is Buddha-nature
rallied to the side of suddenism. In fact, the only time it is mentioned was by an
137
opponent in support of the gradualist's cause.10 These facts, however, can only
be documented on a separate occasion.
Although sudden enlightenment was not derived originally from the universality
of Buddha-nature, the two did come together eventually and do represent a
key contribution in the founding days of the school. The argument for suddenism
based on the innateness of Buddha-hood (without as yet accepting the icchantika,
the exception) was first presented, as far as surviving documents go, by Huijui
(alias Seng-juiw)i n his Yii-i-lunx.T his work is not dated but I prefer to put it
after 423. Hui-jui notes:
The (Nirvana) sutra says, "Nirvana is non-extinction; the Buddha does have a
self. All sentient beings have Buddha-nature and will, upon completion of
cultivation, become enlightened." ... Nirvana lasts forever because it corresponds
to the mirroring (chaoy) element in men. The Great Transformation will
not cease and so the true basis [Buddha-nature] has to be. Still there are those
who doubt only the more, settling for gradual enlightenment and criticizing the
true (suddenist) understanding. '
These stubborn ones were compared to the icchantikas. 2 Finally, Tao-sheng
after his vindication and at the invitation of Hui-kuan to contribute a preface to
the southerners-edited text, offered this succinct statement:
The true principle is naturalness itself (chen-li tzu-janZ). Enlightenment is just
being mysteriously in tune to it. What is true permits no variance, so how can
enlightenment permit any change? The unchanging essence is quiescent and
forever mirroring (chao). If a person out of delusion goes counter to it, then
enlightenment indeed appears to lie beyound. If he with effort seeks it out, he
would reverse the delusion and return to the Ultimate. 3
Although the word Buddha-nature is not mentioned (in this or any other
prefaces)'4 and although sudden enlightenment is absent too, the implication is
clear: the direct uncovering of this innate, natural, unchangeable, mirroring
essence has to be sudden and total. For such cutting simplicity, Tao-sheng has
been loved by many, past and present.
The charm of his thesis notwithstanding, it must be judged as reflecting a
certain freedom, even license, in the founding days of the Nirvana school. There
is a certain Neo-Taoist innovation in his reading of the "real" intention of the
text, a meaning he regarded as lying behind the tools (the "rabbit snare") of the
language. Edward Conze well notes how the gradual versus sudden was never
that divisive an issue in India:
In fact, Indian Buddhist had made a distinction between "gradual" and
"sudden" enlightenment, but had regarded the second as the final stage of the
first and nobody had thought of taking sides for one or the other. Tao-sheng now
argues that since the absolute emptiness of Nirvana is absolutely and totally
different from all conditioned things, the enlightenment which mirrors [chao] it
must also be totally different from all mental stages which are directed at other
things. In consequence, enlightenment, if it is to be achieved at all, can be
achieved only in its totality, and not in a gradual or piecemeal fashion.

- Sinitic Speculations on Buddha-Nature: The Nirvāṇa School (420-589)
Author(s): Whalen Lai
Source: Philosophy East and West, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr., 1982), pp. 135-149
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby remm » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:13 am

See page 118ff in Robert E. Buswell, "The Path to Perdition: The Wholesome
Roots and Their Eradication." Pages 107-135 in Paths to Liberation, edited
by Robert E. Buswell and Robert M. Gimello, 1992.
http://books.google.com/books?id=hu0oIf ... &q&f=false
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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby Huifeng » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:18 am

That seemed to have landed Xuanzang in the naughty books of the other buddhists.
He was smart enough to not shout it too loudly from the root-tops, however.

But I'm not sure that all Madhyamakas would have disagreed.
Not all Madhyamakas follow the Saddharmapundarika, for instance, let alone are Tiantai followers.

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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby Dexing » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:26 am

remm wrote:I think the problem lies within the "Wei-Shih" (Fa-hsiang, Vijnaptimatrata) school of the Venerable Hsuan Tsang which revived the notion that the "icchantika" is agotra, basically devoid of the seed of enlightenment or one who has cut off the roots to Buddha-hood.


However, as the Lankavatara Sutra states;

"Again, Mahamati said; Who, Blessed One, would never enter Nirvana?

The Blessed One replied: Knowing that all things are in Nirvana itself from the very beginning, the Bodhisattva-Icchantika would never enter Nirvana. But those Icchantikas who have forsaken all the stock of merit [finally] do. Those Icchantikas, Mahamati, who have forsaken all the stock of merit might some day be influenced by the power of the Tathagatas and be induced at any moment to foster the stock of merit. Why? Because, Mahamati, no beings are left aside by the Tathagatas. For this reason, Mahamati, it is the Bodhisattva-Icchantika who never enters into Nirvana."
.

If you study Ven. Xuanzang's Chengweishilun he actually quotes the Lankavatara Sutra a number of times.

Why would he often quote the Lankavatara Sutra to support his points if he has such fundamental disagreements with it? Would that not be contradictory? How could he hold a Sutra as support that is in opposition to his system? You can't treat something as an authority, but then pick and choose from it.

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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby remm » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:45 am

What about Asanga's view on this?

Asangha's treatment here suggests that there are two types of samucchinnakusalamulas: one who is still endowed with the seeds of wholesome dharmas and thus still has potential to regenerate the kusalamulas, and another who is not. In extreme cases, the latter type no longer retains the capacity to achieve parinivarna and is thus the true icchantika, who is presumably barred forever from enlightenment (though Asanga never states this explicitly). Because the former type continues to be endowed with the seeds of wholeme dharmas, he remains capable of regenerating the kusalamulas, and therefore may ultimately redeem himself. Hence, in the Abhidharmasamuccaya, the term "icchantika" refers to the extreme form of the most servere variety of samucchinnakusalamulas the one who is no longer endowed with the seeds of wholesome dharmas. Asangha's Mahayanasutralamkara also includes a brief discussion of the icchantika status within the gotra scheme. There, icchantikas once again are divided into two types.


In this , the sense is that those who are destitute of the parinirvana-dharma are not part of the gotra [scheme]. In brief, they are of two types: those who are momentarily lacking the parinivarna-dharma and those who are indefinitely so lacking. those who are momentarily lacking the parinirvana-dharma are of four types: [1] he whose evil conduct is absolute; [2] he who is samucchinnakusalamulas; [3] he who lacks the moksabhagiyakusalamulas; [4] he of inferior kusalamulas whose provisions are incomplete. But if they are indefinitely destitute of the parinirvana-dharma, then they are deficient in its cause, for they lack the parinirvana gotra.
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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby Dexing » Sat Jul 17, 2010 5:07 pm

remm wrote:What about Asanga's view on this?

Asangha's treatment here suggests that there are two types of samucchinnakusalamulas: one who is still endowed with the seeds of wholesome dharmas and thus still has potential to regenerate the kusalamulas, and another who is not. In extreme cases, the latter type no longer retains the capacity to achieve parinivarna and is thus the true icchantika, who is presumably barred forever from enlightenment (though Asanga never states this explicitly). Because the former type continues to be endowed with the seeds of wholeme dharmas, he remains capable of regenerating the kusalamulas, and therefore may ultimately redeem himself. Hence, in the Abhidharmasamuccaya, the term "icchantika" refers to the extreme form of the most servere variety of samucchinnakusalamulas the one who is no longer endowed with the seeds of wholesome dharmas.


Here one is still endowed with seeds of wholesome dharmas, and therefore may redeem himself.

While those who are no longer endowed with the seeds of wholesome dharmas cannot redeem themselves. Relying completely on themselves then would mean they are completely cut off from Nirvana forever.

However, as the Lankavatara Sutra explains, they "may one day be influenced by the power of the Tathagatas and be induced at any moment to foster the stock of merit, because no beings are left aside by the Tathagatas".

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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby catmoon » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:05 am

Hrm. this thread looks interesting, but what I really need is a Sankrit- free summary to understand what has been said.
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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby remm » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:43 am

Here one is still endowed with seeds of wholesome dharmas, and therefore may redeem himself.

While those who are no longer endowed with the seeds of wholesome dharmas cannot redeem themselves. Relying completely on themselves then would mean they are completely cut off from Nirvana forever.

However, as the Lankavatara Sutra explains, they "may one day be influenced by the power of the Tathagatas and be induced at any moment to foster the stock of merit, because no beings are left aside by the Tathagatas".


Thank you Dexing. I will look into this topic a bit further. Your explanation has been very helpful, this is actually a topic I was sort of researching in University under the guidance of my professor.
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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby 5heaps » Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:39 am

Dexing wrote:Attaching to their words and teaching styles, I see how one can perceive differences in their doctrines, but I have never seen them as contradicting. They are both quite clear- the most thoroughly explained traditions. Yet some still find ways to make them appear contradictory.

For those who see the two schools as having contrasting doctrines, what are the reasons?

mind-only generally:
accepts storehouse consciousness
accepts reflexive awareness
and says that emptiness of phenomena means just that the subject and external objects arise together from the same karmic seed

most of middle-way on the other hand says that's not what emptiness means at all
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Re: Madhyamaka/Yogacara Confusion

Postby Dexing » Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:41 pm

5heaps wrote:mind-only generally:
accepts storehouse consciousness
accepts reflexive awareness
and says that emptiness of phenomena means just that the subject and external objects arise together from the same karmic seed


Accepts them as what or in what way though? This is the critical issue.

Ālaya and its seeds must be accepted upon scripture and proper reasoning. But that is not to say that it is truly real. It too is abandoned in the state of arhat as anātman is realized.

most of middle-way on the other hand says that's not what emptiness means at all


Maitreya has two verses in the Madyānta-vibhāga concerning Yogācāra doctrine and emptiness in relation to the Middle Way:

FALSE IMAGINATION EXISTS;
THE DUALITY IN IT DOES NOT EXIST.
IN IT, THERE IS ONLY EMPTINESS;
IN THAT, THERE IS ALSO THIS IMAGINATION.

THEREFORE, I DECLARE THAT ALL DHARMAS
ARE NEITHER EMPTY NOR NOT EMPTY,
BECAUSE OF EXISTENCE, NONEXISTENCE, AND EXISTENCE;
THIS CONFORMS TO THE MIDDLE WAY.


False imagination cannot be said to be nonexistent because that would deny that what Ordinary Beings know is delusion and accept all sorts of illusions as true, rather than false.

On the other hand, it cannot be said to be real, of it's own self-sustaining substance. As Ven. Xuangzang argues:

"If something produces something, it is not eternal, what is not eternal is not all-pervading, and what is not all-pervading is not real."

If we admit that false imagination is real, then it must be all-pervading. In that case even Buddhas possess false imagination, which contradicts both scripture and reason.

In this way it is demonstrated that because of existence and nonexistence which are respectively divorced from nonexistence and existence, this conforms to the Middle Way.

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