Yes. Again, it would seem that DKR's book is paraphrasing excerpt of a Dharmakīrti argument from the Pramāṇaviniścaya in response to a hypothetical question, and probably not a doctrinal position. See Sara McClintock's Omniscience and the Rhetoric of Reason: Santaraksita and Kamalasila on Rationality, Argumentation, and Religious Authority, p. 136-7
No, DKR didn't paraphrasing Dharmakirti argument or something related to it.
We have to see here, that book is the view of Madyamika Prasangika.
Why it is called Prasangika? Sometimes they are called consequeantialist.
In this group, they will not propose anything. They will not propose any view. Their position is if you propose something, I will show your mistaken point in your proposal.
Madyamika Prasangika is very different with Madyamika Svatantrika.
Svatantrika proposed something, propose a view. And that something or view is the truth in the conventional.
Before that we need to talk conventional truth. Conventional truth has 2 type: One is the normal conventional truth (Conventional conventional) and second is the conventional that try to talk about ultimate (conventional ultimate). The ultimate truth itself is unspoken, beyond your intellect. Like the taste of orange. You cannot express the taste of orange with words. If you try, that is already conventional truth.
Svatantrika said that this is vase. They said this vase is empty of inherent existence. But, Svatantrika said that this vase is not empty of vase.
FOr svatantrika, the vase is empty of inherent existence, but it doesn't empty of vase.
Prasangika reject that. Because if you cannot see the vase is empty of vase, then you see characteristics.
People always think that if you say this vase is empty of vase, then it is nihilism. That is not. Because Prasangika already reject the position of nihilism.
Then what do you mean by empty of vase? It means that Prasangika doesn't accept that the photo below has a characteristic called vase.
You need to see here.
If you can see the emptiness of inherent existence. You can say that vase is empty of inherent existence. And that is the position of Svatantrika.
But for Prasangika, besides that vase is empty of inherent existence. They also say that vase is empty of vase. So, in this sense, Prasangika doesn't accept that photo has self and characteristics.
Now, if you say empty of vase, do you mean nihilism. No.
For Prasangika, that photo cannot be said as vase. So, what can you say. You can't say anything. Remember, Prasangika doesn't have any view.
So, what do you mean by empty of vase. Please explain the meaning. This is the meaning:
Prasangika will not accept that is vase. Svatrantika reject that, because for Svatrantika, that is vase, which is empty of self. So, it is quite subtle here.
Which one is the right one? To me, it is Prasangika.
Why? Because you can see there is no inherent existence or self, it like the trace of bird in the sky.
Dashabhumika sutta said this and this is very interesting:
"When a bird flied in the sky, we cannot indicate the traces of his flight
. How can we even talk about it?
Likewise, we cannot express the qualities of bodhisattvas, so how can you even listen?"
So you see here. This can be very subtle.
If you do not see anything, there is no way you can express that.
In the same way, if you really do not see any inherent existence, there is no way you can express that as this or that.
So, Svatrantika has a mistake here. Because although he doesn't see inherent existence, he can still say this is vase. So, there is an obscuration here and that obscuration is characteristics.
Because you have this ability to divide that photo into vase with your concept. And that is wrong. Why? Because again, if you can say that is vase, you are actually saying the tbird fly in the sky has no trace.
You may think that it is not an issue to say that the sky has no trace. But this is a big issue.
Why? Because if something has no trace, you can never even talk about it, not even as traceless.
If you can say traceless, no matter what, you must see something, and that is character. It may not necessarily self, but it is already character.
In Zen, this is very very important.
In Zen, they express this unexpressable with symbol or with sign. They don't use words because once you use word, it is already a mistake. If they use words, it is beyond intellect. Is that vase? No, it is fire. Something like that. That is Koan, beyond your intellect. Because Koan is actually to kill your intellect. Too smart until becoming ignorant.
Kamalasila (Bodhidharma) was ask one time, please tell me about reality. How did he answer that? He took a cloth and cover his mouth. This really shows that he knows that that photo cannot even be expressed as vase.
Prasangika doesn't propose any view.
So, does it mean that Prasangika cannot speak? Actually yes. But they solve it in this way that whatever they say, they always know it is false.
If they say that is vase, they always knows it is false. All conventional truths are false to them.
Now, if you see the photo and if you just say that is not vase, but just appearances, you just make a mistake, and you see character.
Absolultely cannot be said as this or that. Even the statement like mere appearances or mere labels, that is already wrong and it shows you see characteristic.
Clear light, tathagarba in Prasangika are the same. Cannot be said as clear light, or tathagarba, or great seal, or anything.
If you ever say, I see clear light, it is very obvious you just don't know what is clear light. It cannot be spoken, not because it is mysterious.
The traceless of bird is not something mysterious. If you can understand this, you should know why saying clear light is always false.
FOr the sake of communication, we can know actually whether he really knows clear light or not. Because he has no choice for communication. He may know it. But, most of the time, people who say clear light, they just miss the point.