How real is conventionally real?

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How real is conventionally real?

Postby Jack Dawkins » Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:33 pm

I should probably have said conventionally existent, but that would have spoilt the title...

In a previous thread I posted part of a passage from Mipham's commentary on Chandrakirti's Introduction to the Middle Way (Padmakara Group Translation, p. 197). Here is a fuller version:

If, despite the fact that they have no "entity" conventionally, phenomena are validly established by the force of mental imputation, it follows that Buddhist and non-Buddhist tenets are on a level in being neither correct or incorrect (since there is, in that case, no objective criterion of truth or falsehood), and all distinctions of virtue and vice, cause and effect, good and bad, and the notion of (rational) moral choices would dissolve into chaos. Therefore, the Prasangika tradition does not say that phenomena are validly established by the force of mental imputation. When, on the conventional level, conceptual imputation corresponds to the object, the phenomenon in question is necessarily regarded as validly established (or established through valid cognition). When the imputation does not correspond with the object, the phenomenon is not validly established. But there is absolutely no way to distinguish between "correspondence" and "noncorrespondence" without reference to the relative thing in itself. Given, therefore, that the subject is regarded as valid or invalid according to whether the way of apprehension corresponds to relative phenomena or otherwise, the object itself must be established as valid, or discounted as invalid, according to whether the consciousness is unmistaken or not. If however, relative phenomena are merely the imputations of thought, they have no "entity". It is therefore worth reflecting: How can you speak of valid or invalid cognition at the same time as entertaining the notion of validly or invalidly established objects?

By contrast, what appears to the undamaged sense powers is regarded as conventional, beyond which it is impossible to assert a further validly established conventional reality. If there is no ground of imputation on the conventional level and if things are no more than conceptual imputations, they are like a rabbit's horns, nonexistent. How, therefore, can they be validly established? On the other hand, if there is a ground or basis of imputation, namely, phenomena arising in interdependence, the latter do exist conventionally; they are not mere imputations. Furthermore, if mere conceptual imputation is made equivalent to conventional existence, it absurdly follows that anything can become anything. Poison could become medicine, virtue could become sin, and fire could become water. Thus valid cognition would be the same as invalid cognition. But this is not the case; therefore, mere imputation and relative phenomena are not equivalents, and it must be asserted that on the conventional level, there are objects that appear to the unimpaired senses.

I read this as saying that conventionally existent objects exist objectively – as part of a web of causes and conditions which includes the mind, of course – but not in direct dependence on the mind. This is what is referred to as having "entity". I would like know whether this is an orthodox Madhyamika view (the response to my earlier, shorter post would suggest not, but the issue was not at the heart of that thread). Any comments about this, or suggestions for further reading?
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby BFS » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:08 pm

Hi JD,

from Transcendent Wisdom - by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (published by Snowlion):

" Let us take for example a physical object and examine its shape, color and so on to see if that object is to be found anywhere among those attributes. If we do so, we find nothing that is the object in question. If we take a person as an example, and inspect the individual aggregates that are the bases of designation of a person, we find that none of them is the person. In that way we recognize that the imputed object is not to be found upon investigation.
Then if we contemplate how things appear to the mind, we see that they seem to exist from the side of the object, without dependence upon anything else. But when they are sought analytically, they are not found. They do exist, for they can help or harm us. But when pondering the manner in which they exist, we find no basis for the assumption that they exist from the side of the object. Thus, they exist by the power of subjective convention, by the power of designation.
When pondering the nature of existence, we find that entities are not found upon seeking them analytically. So they exist by means of conventional, conceptual designation. They do undeniably exist. But as long as they do not exist independently, from their own side, they must exist by the power of subjective convention. There is no alternative. An entity exists due to its being designated upon something that is not it."
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby Jack Dawkins » Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:04 pm

Hi,

Another good quote, thanks. I get the impression you feel that the underlined part is incompatible with what Mipham says, is that right?

I'm not sure whether to equate the "power of designation" of the second quote with the "mere imputation" of the first. I wonder whether HH is just saying that there is no objective, principled basis for pointing to a particular conjunction of conditions in an endless web and designating that as a particular object. Instead this can only be done for pragmatic reasons, like "that particular conjunction of conditions might eat me (and while it may be temporary and constantly shifting, it is likely to remain a conjunction that might eat me long enough to do so)". That view would be entirely compatible with the first quote, I think, and seems to fit with the idea of an entity existing "because it is designated upon something it is not". This "something" may be the "ground or basis of imputation" referred to in the first quote. There is a reference to subjective convention in the second quote, but I am not sure whether the subjective element is the designation of a particular conjunction as, say, a lion (which would be compatible with the first quote, I think) or the conjunction / web of conjunctions / basis of imputation itself.

Any further thoughts?
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby BFS » Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:15 am

Hi JD,

Just underlined the part of the quote that seemed to hit the nail on the head, to me.

Another link ( call me Ms. Links haha ) but this is a great one too to check out,
His Holiness gave a really great teaching - The Spirit of Manjushri: ( link to teaching below)

"What exactly are the criteria by which one can determine whether something is existent or not? Here one can discern three criteria. One is an object of consciousness or knowledge that its concept exists. The second is the convention known is not contradicted by another valid cognition. The third criterion used is such a convention is not negated by an ultimate analysis that probes into the real mode of being.

If one takes the example of the horn of a rabbit, one can have a concept of this. One can have an image of it and one can also use terms like rabbit’s horn. Although the concept can exist but one can not say the horn of a rabbit is real, as the perception of the non-existence of a rabbit’s horn will directly contradict the view that a rabbit has a horn. The third criterion is needed because certain philosophical postulates such as the alayavijnana, the store consciousness, and the notion of atman are concepts that are posited as a result of reasoned philosophical thinking. Therefore if these things are real they should be able to withstand ultimate analysis however which is not the case. It is on the basis of these three criteria that one can determine whether something exists or not.

Chandrakirti tried to come up with an understanding of the nature of existence whereby no belief in any kind of inherent existence is posited but at the same time one has the possibility of making a real substantial distinction between a false reality and a real entity. An example is the difference between a dream person and a real person. One must have a way of distinguishing between the two. This is the essence of Chandrakirti’s philosophy where a way of understanding existence is developed which would not involve forcing a belief in some kind of intrinsic reality of things and events.


Within Madhyamika thought one can see that because there is no explicit statement on the part of Nagarjuna as to the question of whether or not the external or physical world possess some kind of objective reality, there is a divergence of opinion. For example one of the earliest commentators on Nagarjuna, Bhavaviveka, has maintained that there is no need to reject the objective reality of the external world. Although one can maintain that all phenomena are in the final analysis empty of independent existence, there is no need to totally reject some degree of objective reality to the external world.

There are other Madhyamika thinkers like Santaraksita and Kamalasila who share many of the doctrines of the Cittamatrin school. Particularly they reject the objective reality of the external world while integrating that kind of insight within the overall Madhyamika position that in the final analysis that both subject and object are devoid of independent existence. There is quite a divergence even amongst the Madhyamika thinkers.

However there is a third line of interpretation of Nagarjuna’s thought represented by people like Buddhapalita, Chandrakirti and Shantideva, the three principal representatives of this line of thought, who depart quite a lot from the Cittamatra school and also from Bhavaviveka’s interpretation as well as Kamalasila’s and Santaraksita’s interpretations. They differ from the Cittamatra School as the Cittamatrins make discrimination between the non-reality of the physical, external world and the true existence of consciousness. Buddhapalita, Chandrakirti and so on reject this. They argue just as the Mind Only school, that when subjecting the notion of the external, physical world as being composed of atomic constituents in terms of the indivisibility and finite nature of the atom to a dissecting analysis that ultimately the very notion of physical reality tends to disappear. Buddhapalita and Chandrakirti argue that one can apply the same kind of deconstructive analysis to even mental events such as consciousness. This is done by subjecting these events to analysis in terms of their constituents, the temporal stages of the continuum of consciousness. When one subjects consciousness to this kind of analysis, one again begins to lose the very notion of what exactly is a mental event. They argue there is no need to discriminate between the external world and the consciousness as far as having inherent existence.

Similarly they differ from people like Bhavaviveka by arguing that he ultimately believes in some kind of intrinsic nature that can be validly established by consciousness. Whereas people like Buddhapalita and Chandrakirti reject this arguing that there is nothing in an ordinary perception that is not tainted by the perception of intrinsic reality. It is only when one attains the non-conceptual, intuitive realization of emptiness that one can gain a state of mind totally free of such contamination or delusion. Therefore Chandrakirti and Buddhapalita argue that just because a form of perception is deceptive does not necessarily mean that it is not valid. One can have a valid cognition of an object but at the same time the perceptual level can have a degree of deception or illusion.

The point Buddhapalita and Chandrakirti are making is that so long as one succumbs to the temptation to seek some sort of objective grounding for our perception, seeking an entity that enjoys an intrinsic reality “out there”, then one is still under the power of grasping, clinging to some type of true existence, some kind of independent existence. Therefore one should be able to have a worldview that is valid within the framework of conventional validity where one does not seek for some kind of ultimate grounding. One can make sense of one’s perceptions at the conventional level where cause and effect or subject and object can be accepted in relational terms."


http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=253&chid=510
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby Sherab » Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:52 am

There are three levels to reality: an imputed level, a dependent level and an ultimate level.

JD opening post was refering to the dependent level. This is the level of appearances. Upon appearances, imputations/labels/designations are then made.
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby Dexing » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:08 am

BFS wrote:Hi JD,

from Transcendent Wisdom - by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (published by Snowlion):

" Let us take for example a physical object and examine its shape, color and so on to see if that object is to be found anywhere among those attributes. If we do so, we find nothing that is the object in question. If we take a person as an example, and inspect the individual aggregates that are the bases of designation of a person, we find that none of them is the person. In that way we recognize that the imputed object is not to be found upon investigation.
Then if we contemplate how things appear to the mind, we see that they seem to exist from the side of the object, without dependence upon anything else. But when they are sought analytically, they are not found. They do exist, for they can help or harm us. But when pondering the manner in which they exist, we find no basis for the assumption that they exist from the side of the object. Thus, they exist by the power of subjective convention, by the power of designation.
When pondering the nature of existence, we find that entities are not found upon seeking them analytically. So they exist by means of conventional, conceptual designation. They do undeniably exist. But as long as they do not exist independently, from their own side, they must exist by the power of subjective convention. There is no alternative. An entity exists due to its being designated upon something that is not it."


Spoken very straightforwardly in Ven. Xuanzang's Chengweishilun, Chapter 7: Consciousness Only, Section 2: "Reasoning", it is stated;

Self and dharmas do not exist; emptiness and consciousness are not nonexistent. These are [respectively] separate from existence and separate from nonexistence, and therefore [our teaching] conforms to the Middle Way.

As a result of this, Maitreya has two verses [in the Madhyānta-vibhāga]:

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.


And in the following section responding to various objections, one is raised;

[Objection:] External objects of form, etc., are clearly present and authenticated [by visual consciousness, etc.]. How can that which is acquired through direct perception be rejected as nonexistent?

[We reply,] when they are authenticated by direct perception, they are not grasped as being external. Afterwards, the discrimination of thought falsely generates a thought of "outside." Therefore directly perceived objects are the transformation of the seen part of the consciousnesses themselves, and for that reason it is said that they exist. When form, etc., grasped by mental consciousness as external and real are falsely judged to exist, it is said that they are nonexistent. Also, objects of form, etc., are not form but resemble form, and they are not external but seem to be external. They are like objects in dreams and cannot be grasped as being real, external objects.


:namaste:
nopalabhyate...
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby BFS » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:50 pm

I want to add one more link to this thread, if I may. It is an interesting Q&A session on emptiness and dependent arising between Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Ven Thubten Chodron. It covers the different meanings of "true existence" ,the two kinds of merely labeled - and more. ( according to their school of thought )

http://www.thubtenchodron.org/GradualPathToEnlightenment/emptiness_and_dependent_arising.html
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby White Lotus » Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:46 pm

How real is conventionally real?


:namaste: Noble JD, forgive me for being cheeky, but there is method to this madness...

How... beyond asking about the obvious and practical, can any question be seriously answered, without a personal approach. of which there are very very many. is there any person in this world who shares exactly the same views as someone else?

real... is not reality beyond designations such as real and false, except when it comes to living daily life for practical reasons. to use the word real we mean 'true', people have always been asking what is 'truth'. has anyone satisfactorily answered this question? how many answers are there to this question? 100? 1 million? 7 billion? surely more than that.

is... is is a word that demands the view that things exist or have being. surely 'is' does not capture the 'reality' of whatever that is. suchness teaches that things are just 'thus', or just 'so'... beyond any kind of explanation or analysis. 'so' does not attempt to explain. it just experiences.

conventionally... is anything conventional? is anything unconventional... such is the nature of mind that if you call something conventional then it is. if you have decided that it is unconventional then it is. what you want is what you look for, what you look for is what you find. what you find is what you believe and so cherish. such is the nature of reason. a donkey that follows a carrot.

?... this is very interesting, it implies a question, or unknowing. quite often when people ask questions they already know their own answer to the question. the cherished notion.

"How real is conventionally real?" if someone could answer this question. and i defy them to, would you understand the answer, and would the answer be of any practical value other than understanding the question.

i think sadly that buddhists get caught up in philosophical knots trying to explain this or that, where really there is no explaining other than that given. that given is of infinite variety and colour. if there is explaining, it is of greatest value when it is kept simple. if a child could not understand the wording of the question, it is not a question worth asking.

scientific analysis should be kept to the designing of kettles, not to brewing a cup of tea... which really is what all this is about.

there will be those who do not like the words "keep it simple", but the greatest scientific theories when understood are all very simple.

"what is real?" why worry, in the words of John Lennon... just let it be.
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: How real is conventionally real?

Postby 5heaps » Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:07 am

Jack Dawkins wrote:
If, despite the fact that they have no "entity" conventionally, phenomena are validly established by the force of mental imputation, it follows that Buddhist and non-Buddhist tenets are on a level in being neither correct or incorrect (since there is, in that case, no objective criterion of truth or falsehood), and all distinctions of virtue and vice, cause and effect, good and bad, and the notion of (rational) moral choices would dissolve into chaos. Therefore, the Prasangika tradition does not say that phenomena are validly established by the force of mental imputation. When, on the conventional level, conceptual imputation corresponds to the object, the phenomenon in question is necessarily regarded as validly established (or established through valid cognition).

i think that sounds like orthodox svatantrika-middleway

geluks who say they are the only true prasangika-middleway say that even conventionally, things are merely imputed, and they dont agree to the above mentioned if then statement. they get out of it by describing the conventional a little differently from the very start
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby kirtu » Sat Jul 31, 2010 4:27 pm

Jack -

How real is conventionally real?

1. It's real enough to be experienced by the senses.
i.e. "If you prick me, do I not bleed?"
2. It's real enough to produce karmic results.
3. It's real enough to be attached to by deluded beings.
4. It's real enough to form a basis for rebirth.

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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby 5heaps » Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:55 am

kirtu wrote:How real is conventionally real?

boo

as Mipham says, if things are simply "established by the force of mental imputation" then we have no platform from which to make discriminations, even about what is good and what is bad.

you could just label good on virtue and i could just label bad, and since that imputation is all there is, thats how virtue would be respectively. therefore, some argue, there MUST be something on the side of the object which makes it good, in conjuction with some form of mental labeling. the genius of Tsongkhapa is that he comes along and explains, step by step, how everything is empty, can only be said to exist in dependence upon mental labeling, and yet virtue is always good.

one of the ancient debates they used to have is about a king. there must be something on the side of the king that makes him a king, otherwise you could label anyone a king and they would be a king.
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby kirtu » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:46 am

5heaps wrote:
kirtu wrote:How real is conventionally real?

boo


boo ?

as Mipham says, if things are simply "established by the force of mental imputation" then we have no platform from which to make discriminations, even about what is good and what is bad.


Just curious - where did Mipham say this? Sounds like part of an anti-Geluk polemic.

However I did not say that things are established simply by the force of mental imputation. So the rest of your post regarding just being able to label anything any way we like is pointless (for example, Anguilimala was led astray by a bad teacher and thought murder was a path to enlightenment but that did not make it so). It's not what I said.

Conventional reality is real enough to:
1. It's real enough to be experienced by the senses.
2. It's real enough to produce karmic results.
3. It's real enough to be attached to by deluded beings.
4. It's real enough to form a basis for rebirth.


This does not mean that we label murder a virtue and peace a negativity and get away with it. Even though karma itself is also empty, until we get to that actual realization all of our thoughts, words and deeds have karmic consequences. Thus conventional reality (or more correctly, our interaction with conventional reality) produces karma. Conventional reality dazzles the senses and in conjunction with the deluded mind causes attachment to arise. Thoroughly believing that the experience of their senses is reality, conventional reality forms a stage upon which beings play role after role, suffering life after suffering life, never realizing that their greatest treasure is their Buddhanature.

Conventional reality is itself a magic show conjured by delusion, but a magic show that people attach to and produce consequences from.

Kirt
Last edited by kirtu on Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby 5heaps » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:13 am

kirtu wrote:boo ?

as in 'bah, why did he say that'

Just curious - where did Mipham say this?

the opening sentence remarks how, 'although things are not ultimately real, just conventionally real, if we say that this conventional existence is mere imputation, then buddhist and non-buddhist tenets alike are equal because there is nothing objective which separates them. same with virtue and vice, cause and effect, etc. therefore, it is ridiculous to say that all objectivity is actually just mere subjectivity - ours personally at that'.

So the rest of your post regarding just being able to label anything any way we like is pointless (for example, Anguilimala was led astray by a bad teacher and thought murder was a path to enlightenment but that did not make it so). It's not what I said.

ok, but isnt the distinction which Mipham is making a brilliant one? if everything is coming from me, then one day doing good will result in a negative effect.. yet we immeditely say this is impossible - but then isnt it that what we're really saying is that theres something in a good action that makes it good/will produce good result?
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby kirtu » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:25 pm

5heaps wrote:[
the opening sentence remarks how, 'although things are not ultimately real, just conventionally real, if we say that this conventional existence is mere imputation, then buddhist and non-buddhist tenets alike are equal because there is nothing objective which separates them. same with virtue and vice, cause and effect, etc. therefore, it is ridiculous to say that all objectivity is actually just mere subjectivity - ours personally at that'.


But where did Mipham say this (what text and where in the text)? Because the context is missing. What is said here is certainly true for the Vaibhasika and Sutantrika POV but does not extend the functionality of relative truth to the Cittamatra or Madhyamika schools.

...but then isnt it that what we're really saying is that theres something in a good action that makes it good/will produce good result?


What makes karma good, bad or neutral .....

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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby catmoon » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:38 am

It's a funny word, this "real".

Is a dream real?

Is an emotion real?

Is a number real?

Are you real?

Is your brother real?

Is a rock real?

What does it mean, really, except "I choose to apply a meaningless designation to this perception"?
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby 5heaps » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:24 pm

kirtu wrote:But where did Mipham say this (what text and where in the text)? Because the context is missing. What is said here is certainly true for the Vaibhasika and Sutantrika POV but does not extend the functionality of relative truth to the Cittamatra or Madhyamika schools.

The context is "Therefore, the Prasangika tradition does not say that phenomena are validly established by the force of mental imputation."

OP says he is quoting this from "Mipham's commentary on Chandrakirti's Introduction to the Middle Way (Padmakara Group Translation, p. 197)"

What makes karma good, bad or neutral .....

According to what what type of result it will produce. How do karmic seeds exist? It's much easier to say that there are defining marks on the sides of objects which makes them what they are based on their causes and conditions.

catmoon wrote:What does it mean, really, except "I choose to apply a meaningless designation to this perception"?

Why is it meaningless? You yourself have given examples of different real things: abstractions like numbers, mental factors like emotions, social conventions like 'brother', physical form like rocks. These are all different to nonexistent things, function differently, and are held by the mind differently. Perhaps the most interesting thing that your mind can hold is constantly thinking something which isn't true but which is conceived to be true.
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:50 pm

5heaps wrote:
kirtu wrote:But where did Mipham say this (what text and where in the text)? Because the context is missing. What is said here is certainly true for the Vaibhasika and Sutantrika POV but does not extend the functionality of relative truth to the Cittamatra or Madhyamika schools.

The context is "Therefore, the Prasangika tradition does not say that phenomena are validly established by the force of mental imputation."

OP says he is quoting this from "Mipham's commentary on Chandrakirti's Introduction to the Middle Way (Padmakara Group Translation, p. 197)"


Unfortunately I think I gave that text away preparing to sell my condo .... oh .... as it turns out I haven't ...

What makes karma good, bad or neutral .....

According to what what type of result it will produce.[/quote]

That's true but ....

How do karmic seeds exist?


This is where the problem begins. Karmic seeds per se are only acknowledged in the Cittamatrin presentation (as far as I know) ....

It's much easier to say that there are defining marks on the sides of objects which makes them what they are based on their causes and conditions.


.... and defining marks on the side of objects are a Vibhasika / Sautantrika presentation.

Furthermore karmic seeds and defining marks are taken as real in the Cittamatrin and Vibhasika / Sautantrika views respectively (esp in the two lower schools as they actually are realist schools). Karmic seeds are purifiable and empty in the Cittamatrin but this points to the problem - how is karma actually created in the Cittamatrin and esp. Madhyamika presentations? Even in the Cittamatrin school there has to be a presentation separate from the realist schools. So this would be something to study in the Abhidharma ....

Why, since ultimately karma is empty of inherent existence, do negative actions even accrue? Actions are real enough to produce results but how is this actually explained in the Cittamatra and Madhyamika systems?

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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby 5heaps » Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:55 am

kirtu wrote:Karmic seeds per se are only acknowledged in the Cittamatrin presentation (as far as I know) ....

Every school does... they just differ on their mode of existence

how is karma actually created in the Cittamatrin and esp. Madhyamika presentations? Even in the Cittamatrin school there has to be a presentation separate from the realist schools.

Mindonly talks about the storehouse consciousness, lower Middleway talks about a subtle type of mental consciousness, higher Middleway talks about the "person". These things impact how a school will present valid cognition, deceptive truth+ultimate truth, etc.

Karmas are just abstractions imputed on the mind which flavor the mind for better or worse

Why, since ultimately karma is empty of inherent existence, do negative actions even accrue?

because they have a cause.. our ignorance which misconceives things as truly and/or inherently existing. Ignorance+emptiness has to do with mode of existence, so as you were saying, it's their emptiness which allows for things to function

Actions are real enough to produce results but how is this actually explained in the Cittamatra and Madhyamika systems?

I think it's explained in detail. I think the higher systems are based on understanding the lower systems very very well. What kind of things have you not seen explained enough in the higher schools?
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby kirtu » Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:04 pm

5heaps wrote:
kirtu wrote:Karmic seeds per se are only acknowledged in the Cittamatrin presentation (as far as I know) ....

Every school does... they just differ on their mode of existence


The Madhyamika schools do not assert karmic seeds .... although the alaya in some form may still be asserted .....

Karmas are just abstractions imputed on the mind which flavor the mind for better or worse


And how ? ..... this is where the realist schools and Cittamatra have an advantage ... karmas have real existence ... murder and anger really are flatly negative in and of itself just like gravity working.

Why, since ultimately karma is empty of inherent existence, do negative actions even accrue?

because they have a cause.. our ignorance which misconceives things as truly and/or inherently existing. Ignorance+emptiness has to do with mode of existence, so as you were saying, it's their emptiness which allows for things to function


How does that function? For example - in the US and other aggressive nations people are taught that killing under certain circumstances is just (it may be necessary for defense in some situations but it is never just). And in some places real cannibalism (and in the US social cannibalism [getting rid of people you think aren't useful for example) is practiced as a virtue (for example Germany 1936-1945 [euthanasia and Holocaust], Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia 1990's, Rwanda, South Africa, Cambodia, Japan 1934-1945, US Slavery and Indian Genocide). While belief itself does not trump reality, why doesn't it? The lower schools have an immediate answer but what is the Madhyamika answer?

Actions are real enough to produce results but how is this actually explained in the Cittamatra and Madhyamika systems?

I think it's explained in detail. I think the higher systems are based on understanding the lower systems very very well. [/quote]

It's explained in detail in the Abhidharma for the Cittamatra but where is it explained in detail in the Madhyamika?

The higher schools are mostly refinements of the lower schools to begin with.

What kind of things have you not seen explained enough in the higher schools?


Since ultimately even karma is empty how does it accrue in the mindstream of a being? This is clear in the Cittamatra and lower systems but not clear in the Madhyamika .... perhaps I fall alseep whenever my lamas explain it ....

Kirt
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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: How real is conventionally real?

Postby 5heaps » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:12 pm

kirtu wrote:The Madhyamika schools do not assert karmic seeds .... although the alaya in some form may still be asserted .....

Middleway schools are full of talk on karma and cause and effect, bag chags (latencies) and sa bon (karmic seeds/potentials/tendencies), etc

And how ? ..... this is where the realist schools and Cittamatra have an advantage ... karmas have real existence ... murder and anger really are flatly negative in and of itself just like gravity working.

They have a severe disadvantage because even if they reach the formless dhyanas, realize selflessness or even gross emptiness they are still having wrong cognitions with regards to each of their modes of existence - which leads to mistakenly conceived objects such as reflexive awareness, findable characteristics, etc. We need to eventually turn to our own tenet texts and explanations of pramana (ie. a Geluk might rely on texts Je Tsongkhapa etc, Jamyang Shaypa, Pabongka, etc)

Since ultimately even karma is empty how does it accrue in the mindstream of a being? This is clear in the Cittamatra and lower systems but not clear in the Madhyamika .... perhaps I fall alseep whenever my lamas explain it ....

it accrues as an abstraction imputed on a mindstream/person, established as existing only through mere mental labelling?


Kedrup Je explains,

"[Question:] Do not the nihilst and the Madhyamikas resemble one another in so far as [they both advocate] the essencelessness of entities?
[Reply:] No, they do not resemble each other, and as his reason [Candrakirti] says that the Lokayatikas [the Materialists] take essencelessness to mean utter nonexistence, whereas the Madhyamikas believe that, although things are essenceless, they conventionally exist.

{...}

..the Bodhicittavivarana says:

Having realized that all phenomena are empty,
We still rely on [the doctrine of] karma and its effects.
Among all amazing things, this is the most amazing.
Among all astonishing things, this is the most astonishing.


The ability to posit the compatibility of [on the one hand] karma with its effects and [on the other] emptiness is a wonderful thing. It is said that because this is so difficult to understand the Conqueror himself, after demonstrating the act of [attaining] buddhahood, [seeing that] reality was so difficult to understand, found it extremely difficult to agree to turn the wheel of the doctrine."
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