Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

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Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:35 am

I've been thinking about this for a while but I can't figure it out.

My understanding is that Svatantrika criticizes Prasangika by saying that without inherent existence any given collection of aggregates can be labeled as anything.

So a book could be labeled a cat, car, or cloud. Why not? There's no inherent nature.

1. Is this understanding of the criticism correct?
2. What is the Prasangika refutation?

Thank you and Merry Lord Tsongkhapa Day.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

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

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby viniketa » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:27 am

Konchog1 wrote:I've been thinking about this for a while but I can't figure it out.

My understanding is that Svatantrika criticizes Prasangika by saying that without inherent existence any given collection of aggregates can be labeled as anything.

So a book could be labeled a cat, car, or cloud. Why not? There's no inherent nature.

1. Is this understanding of the criticism correct?
2. What is the Prasangika refutation?


1) In essentials, it would seem so. 2) The response began with Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā and carried-on through Tsongkapa and his students. The Prasaṅgika response was the doctrine of Śūnyatā (emptiness ).

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

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:37 pm

There are three levels of analysis - no analysis, slight analysis and thorough analysis.

In no analysis the car is the car.

In slight analysis the inherent nature of the car is negated.

In thorough analysis there is nothing to negate.

The svatantrikas and prasangikas differ in the value or validity of the level of slight analysis. The svatantrikas say that it is valuable since if we proceed into the level of thorough analysis too quickly we tend to become nihilists. Thus the svatantrikas prefer a more gradualist approach. The prasangikas say that it is not valuable since the level of slight analysis reifies the object of negation itself. Thus the prasangikas prefer a more subitist approach.
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:40 pm

By the way I don't think you would find any prasangika who would accept the criticism as stated. We cannot just apply different labels to things. My karma forces me to see the car as a car and the mere act of labeling it as something else won't change my karma.
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby Sonny » Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:26 pm

Hi, you might find this helpful - Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains:

"For something to exist there must not only be the mind conceiving it and the label but also a valid base. You can’t just make up a label and think that therefore the object exists and functions according to the label you gave it. For example, let’s say before they have a baby a couple decides to name it “Tashi.” At that time, there are no aggregates—no body and mind. Remember the lam-rim story about the man who got excited and labeled a child he dreamed of having in the future “Dawa Dragpa”? It’s similar here, where the couple thinks of the name “Tashi.” At that time Tashi doesn’t exist. Why? Because there’s no base. Whether Tashi exists or not mainly depends on the existence of the aggregates, the existence of the base of the label. It depends on whether there is a valid base(4). In this case, since a valid base which could be labeled “Tashi” doesn’t yet exist, Tashi doesn’t exist at that time.

In another scenario, let’s say a baby is born—so the mental and physical aggregates are present—but the name “Tashi” hasn’t been given yet. So at that time, Tashi also doesn’t exist because the parents haven’t labeled “Tashi.” They could label “Peter.” They could label anything. So even though the aggregates are there at that time, Tashi doesn’t exist because the parents haven’t named the child. When does Tashi come into existence? It’s only when there is a valid base. When a valid base is present, then the mind sees that base and makes up the name “Tashi.” After making up the name and labeling it in dependence on the aggregates, then we believe Tashi is there.

Therefore, what Tashi is is nothing. Nothing. Tashi is nothing other than what is merely imputed by mind. That’s all. There’s not the slightest Tashi that exists other than what is merely labeled by mind.

The Tashi or the I appearing to you that you believe is something even slightly more than what is merely labeled by mind is a hallucination. That is the object of negation. Anything that is slightly more than what is merely labeled by mind doesn’t exist at all. It is the object of negation. Therefore what Tashi is in reality is extremely subtle. What Tashi really is is not what you’ve believed up to now. The Tashi you believed existed for so many years is a total hallucination. There’s no such thing. It doesn’t exist. The Tashi that does exist is what is merely labeled by mind. Nothing other than that. So what Tashi is is extremely fine, unbelievably subtle. The borderline of Tashi existing or not existing is extremely subtle. It’s not that Tashi doesn’t exist. Tashi exists but it’s like Tashi doesn’t exist. When you examine, you discover that it’s not that things don’t exist. They exist. There are the aggregates. Then the mind sees those aggregates and makes up the label “Tashi.” Tashi exists by being merely imputed. This is how all phenomena exist and function, including the hells, karma, all the sufferings of samsara, the path, and enlightenment—everything. All phenomena exist by being merely labeled, as in the example of Tashi." Lama Zopa Rinpoche From: http://www.thubtenchodron.org/GradualPa ... ising.html
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby Sonny » Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:47 pm

Another great teaching by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, where he covers the importance of labeling and a valid base,
can be found here:

http://www.bodhicitta.net/emptiness.htm

Short excerpt, ( please check link above for full teaching)
"For things to exist, mere labelling by mind is not enough. There has to be a valid base. Not just any base — a valid base. Therefore, I cannot label my bell "car." This object can receive the label "bell," but not "car" or "airplane." It receives the label "bell' by virtue of the way the valid base functions. Mere labelling by mind is not enough — there has to be a valid base. In the case of a bell, the base has to have a certain shape and perform the function of ringing. This is what validates it. Furthermore, the valid base that is merely labelled "bell" by the mind should not be harmed by another's valid mind. What's a valid mind? A mind that perceives things correctly, that is not under the influence of disease, drugs, mantras or hypnotic spells, which might cause it to see sense objects in an illusory way. Next, the object we claim to exist should not be harmed by a fully enlightened being's mind. A buddha's mind is completely unmistaken, completely purified, free from hallucination. All existent phenomena are the object of the omniscient mind; it sees whatever exists. If the omniscient mind does not see the bell, the bell does not exist. Finally, for the bell that is merely labelled by the mind to exist, it should not receive harm from the wisdom realizing emptiness, ultimate nature. If the bell, which is merely imputed by the mind, is harmed by the wisdom realizing emptiness, it does not exist. Thus, there are three kinds of mind that can harm, or invalidate, the existence of what appears to be, for example, a bell: another person's valid conventional mind; an omniscient mind; and the wisdom realizing emptiness. Now, regarding this valid base, this phenomenon that has the function of ringing and possesses this particular shape, our mind creates the label, "bell." This, then, is the real bell, the bell that we use, the one that is merely imputed by our mind, the valid base that is labelled "bell" by our mind." Lama Zopa
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby lowlydog » Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:17 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:By the way I don't think you would find any prasangika who would accept the criticism as stated. We cannot just apply different labels to things. My karma forces me to see the car as a car and the mere act of labeling it as something else won't change my karma.


Hi KDT,

I agree with your posts, it is very helpful to see a car as a car especially when as a pedestrian crossing the street and one is going to collide with you, it is good to recognise a car as a car and step out of the way.

This is a life threatening situation and we would most likely act in an instinctual way. The Budda's teachings comes into play(for most of us) as soon as the life threatening situation is over. The ego takes over and that internal babbleing starts, that was close he almost ran me over , I could have been killed, what a moron, how dare he do that to me, he should be arrested, there is never a cop around when you actually need one, people should stop driving so quickly, bet he was on his cell phone, how dare people talk on cell phones while driving, etc....... All of this unwatched babbling(labeling) is causing great suffering within the framework of our bodies, the event that could have ended our existence is over, but we go on torturing ourself mentally. This mental labeling of good or bad is the habit pattern of the mind we need to break.

Two ducks fighting in the water there is a great kick up, wings flapping a bunch of quacking and water flying all around it lasts for only a moment(the same amount of time as the car almost hitting you) but when the ducks are finished fighting its over, its done, its already in the past and forgotten and the ducks swim away in perfect peace and harmony. They don't swim away saying that son of a b..... i'll get him later, he better watch out, think you can do that to me and get away with it, etc.......

Can you imagine if nature bahaved the way humans do?

Don't know if this helps Konchog1? :smile:
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby futerko » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:16 pm

viniketa wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:I've been thinking about this for a while but I can't figure it out.

My understanding is that Svatantrika criticizes Prasangika by saying that without inherent existence any given collection of aggregates can be labeled as anything.

So a book could be labeled a cat, car, or cloud. Why not? There's no inherent nature.

1. Is this understanding of the criticism correct?
2. What is the Prasangika refutation?


1) In essentials, it would seem so. 2) The response began with Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā and carried-on through Tsongkapa and his students. The Prasaṅgika response was the doctrine of Śūnyatā (emptiness ).

:namaste:


Could either of you please let us know where we might find this discussed?

Also, I'm not really sure what the contention is here. It seems strange to think that anyone would argue a car is so named because of its "carness", so I can only think the argument is based on the idea that because no two cars are exactly identical it would therefore be impossible to group them together under the same label - in other words the idea that mental categorisation is an arbitrary construction.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby viniketa » Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:46 pm

futerko wrote:Could either of you please let us know where we might find this discussed?

Also, I'm not really sure what the contention is here. It seems strange to think that anyone would argue a car is so named because of its "carness"...


Nevertheless, the essential "carness" of a car was held to be connected to the sound of the word "car" by schools (Buddhist and otherwise) that held to "essentialist" theories...

I don't know exactly what Konchog1 is reading -- I'll let him give his response -- but this is one of the central arguments that runs throughout the development of Buddhist philosophy for a thousand years or so. There have been many iterations and variations of "essentialist" doctrines throughout history.

Reader's Digest version: At its root (pre-dating Buddha) is the central philosophy of the seed syllable, which posits that sound "creates" the world. Fast forward several hundred years and there are many schools of thought that place the "essential" (read self-contained) characteristics of things in the world as central in explaining how & why they exist in the world. Ātman is the "essential" part of humans. Then Buddha and anātman. Then Buddhist schools that wander back toward reifying ātman, including the Sarvāstivāda and its offshoot, the Sautrāntra. Next enter Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā and, a couple of hundred years later, Vasubhandu and the Abhidharmakośa and its bhāṣya (which is where you will find the bulk of the exposition of the Sarvāstivāda and Sautrāntra positions; Vasubandhu is often said to have started-out as a Sautrāntika). Then Dignāga, Candrakīrti (who perfects the doctrine of Prasaṅga), Dharmakirti. Fast forward again to Tibet and Tsongkhapa's mission to permanently disavow the doctrines of the "Hinayana" and his embrace of Prasaṅga as the "highest" form of logic.

Hope this helps.

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

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:48 pm

futerko wrote:Could either of you please let us know where we might find this discussed?

Also, I'm not really sure what the contention is here. It seems strange to think that anyone would argue a car is so named because of its "carness"
It's on Berzin's website. But I can't find the article again. Someone please post a link if you know the article I'm talking about.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

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

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby Tom » Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:23 pm

Konchog1 wrote:I've been thinking about this for a while but I can't figure it out.

My understanding is that Svatantrika criticizes Prasangika by saying that without inherent existence any given collection of aggregates can be labeled as anything.

So a book could be labeled a cat, car, or cloud. Why not? There's no inherent nature.

1. Is this understanding of the criticism correct?
2. What is the Prasangika refutation?

Thank you and Merry Lord Tsongkhapa Day.


This topic is terribly complicated and I think it is mainly because the words prasangika and svātantrika need to be contextualised in order to have a meaningful conversation about them. I have found for me it is much more effective to understand these questions in relation to particular masters, or even better to texts. For example, we can ask what was Bhava’s criticism of Buddhapalita, what was Chandra’s critique of Bhava or what was at stake between Jayananda (I think the first to use the term svātantrika) and Chapa. This is a Gelug forum so the context is probably how did Tsongkhapa differentiate prasangika and svātantrika say in the LRCM or how would a Geshe these days talks about them. Which is going to be very different from an explanation of one of the other Tibetan schools (take for example the difference presentations of selflessness of person vs. phenomena and how this relates to prasangika and svātantrika).

In terms of the current discussion on the car I think that a Gelugpa these days might explain that even though both prasangika and svātantrika would describe the car (1) as not being truly established and also (2) that the car is merely imputed by the mind - but there are huge differences between the two school for example (i) the object of negation, (ii) also what is meant by “merely” imputed and also (iii) the description of the mind that does the imputing.

So then we could examine each of these positions. To take the first, the car as not being truly established, for svātantrika not being established in the way it appears means that the car appears to be one entity and the parts of the car appear to be another entity and many. The car and its parts seem separate when in fact they are not. The car that appears as a different entity to its parts is the object of negation. The car is not truly established since its appearance does not match the way it exists. An example given here is space, the space in the north and the space in the south although the same entity, seem to be separate entities and so are not truly established.

Prasangika agrees, however adds that there is a deeper understanding of the car not being truly established. That although it seems the car jumps out from its parts in fact what is happening is we are labeling it. Also, it seems the car is established from its own side without depending on anything else. And so prasangika uses additional terms such as; emptiness of inherent existence, the emptiness of not being established from its own side, the emptiness of not being established from its own characteristics.

This brings us to another distinction. Again, both schools assert that (2)all phenomena are merely imputed by the mind. However, there is a distinction in both what is meant by "merely" and what is meant by "mind". When prasangika assert all phenomena are merely imputed by the mind when they say “merely” it means that there is merely imputation nothing more - and so this negates inherent existence. Where as when svātantrika assert all phenomena are merely imputed by the mind they are not negating inherent existence only true existence.

To be imputed by mind for svātantrika means that things are imputed through the force of appearing to a non-defective awareness where as for prasangika their unique presentation of dependence is establishment through the power of a designating consciousness. Phenomena depend on thought - in the sense that only if a thought that designates an object exists can the object be posited as existing (conventionally).

So, when svātantrika say things are imputed by mind the mind here refers to a non-defective awareness this means it is not mistaken in regard to the appearance of the object which appears as existing inherently. Svātantrika assert that all phenomena exist by way of their own character conventionally. So while refuting true existence they accept inherent existence. While Prasangika say for something to be inherent it must be truly existent and also say that all minds for an ordinary being is mistaken (although a mind can be valid and mistaken). Prasangika assert that phenomena do not exist by way of their own character even conventionally. Their position is if something exists, it does not exist inherently, it exists as merely imputed by thought - but it is important to note that just because something is imputed it does not necessarily have to exist (not valid and mistaken).

Okay going to stop... sorry did not expect to write so much....probably heaps of mistakes...
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby Tom » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:01 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
So a book could be labeled a cat, car, or cloud. Why not? There's no inherent nature.



So after all that bah..blah.. I realized my answer to your question may not have been obvious. My point was the last one " it is important to note that just because something is imputed it does not necessarily have to exist" that although all conventional minds are mistaken Tsongkhapa makes a distinction between valid mistaken and invalid mistaken. For something to be conventionally valid designation it must be:

1. not undermined by another mind that is conventionally valid (valid and mistaken)
2. not undermined by another mind that is ultimately valid (valid and unmistaken)
3. Accords with worldly convention

Calling a book a car fails this test and so is not conventionally valid designation.

P.S. I think Chandra's explanation in the 6th chapter of entering the middle way is much more simple approach!
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby viniketa » Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:33 pm

Berzin certainly uses cars a lot as an example... I think I found the page:

The Gelug Discussion of the Svatantrika and Prasangika Views

Participant: What did you say? If it can’t be labeled then that means it has inherent existence from its own side?

Participant: If it exists independent of being labeled, then it would have to have its own inherent nature.

Alex: So let us clarify that. If something existed… Let’s clarify that. This can be clarified, that statement. If something could not be labeled—did not exist as what it was, dependent on the label—then… So what makes it what it is? What makes this a table? We call it a table and it performs the function. There are many criteria that it has to satisfy. We couldn’t call it a dog. We could call it a chair. You could call it a dog, but that wouldn’t be a valid label.

Participant: You could call it a dog if you defined the word “dog” differently.

Alex: Yes, you could make up any sound. You could call it a dog—was the comment—if you defined the sound “dog” to mean something that this table could do. But, I mean, there… I don’t want to go into all the detail of this—this you can study later—about what is a valid label and what’s an invalid label. Obviously it has to make sense. It has to be able to function. But if it wasn’t that…

What makes this a table is—well, we call it a table on the basis of its function and its parts, and all that sort of stuff. Then the alternative would be that there’s something independent of that that makes it a table. So what would make it a table—independent of parts, and conditions, and conventions, and words, and functions, and all of that—it would be something inherent, inside the thing, that by its own power, independent of anything else, makes it a table. So then you get into the whole discussion—and I don’t want to go into in detail—but is there some findable, defining characteristic on the side of the table that it has to satisfy and so, in conjunction with mental labeling, that makes it what it is? The Svatantrika say yes. The Prasangika say no. That’s the distinction between those two schools, according to Gelug. Non-Gelug define it differently. According to the Gelugpa school, that’s the difference....

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... ?query=car


Does that look familiar?

:namaste:
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:09 am

Sonny wrote:Therefore, I cannot label my bell "car." This object can receive the label "bell," but not "car" or "airplane." It receives the label "bell' by virtue of the way the valid base functions. Mere labelling by mind is not enough — there has to be a valid base. In the case of a bell, the base has to have a certain shape and perform the function of ringing.

Now, regarding this valid base, this phenomenon that has the function of ringing and possesses this particular shape, our mind creates the label, "bell." This, then, is the real bell, the bell that we use, the one that is merely imputed by our mind, the valid base that is labelled "bell" by our mind."
So function or other valid consciousnesses? Hmm. See below.

viniketa wrote:Reader's Digest version: At its root (pre-dating Buddha) is the central philosophy of the seed syllable, which posits that sound "creates" the world. Fast forward several hundred years and there are many schools of thought that place the "essential" (read self-contained) characteristics of things in the world as central in explaining how & why they exist in the world. Ātman is the "essential" part of humans. Then Buddha and anātman. Then Buddhist schools that wander back toward reifying ātman, including the Sarvāstivāda and its offshoot, the Sautrāntra. Next enter Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā and, a couple of hundred years later, Vasubhandu and the Abhidharmakośa and its bhāṣya (which is where you will find the bulk of the exposition of the Sarvāstivāda and Sautrāntra positions; Vasubandhu is often said to have started-out as a Sautrāntika). Then Dignāga, Candrakīrti (who perfects the doctrine of Prasaṅga), Dharmakirti. Fast forward again to Tibet and Tsongkhapa's mission to permanently disavow the doctrines of the "Hinayana" and his embrace of Prasaṅga as the "highest" form of logic.
Very interesting thank you!

Tom wrote:So after all that bah..blah.. I realized my answer to your question may not have been obvious. My point was the last one " it is important to note that just because something is imputed it does not necessarily have to exist" that although all conventional minds are mistaken Tsongkhapa makes a distinction between valid mistaken and invalid mistaken. For something to be conventionally valid designation it must be:

1. not undermined by another mind that is conventionally valid (valid and mistaken)
2. not undermined by another mind that is ultimately valid (valid and unmistaken)
3. Accords with worldly convention

Calling a book a car fails this test and so is not conventionally valid designation.

P.S. I think Chandra's explanation in the 6th chapter of entering the middle way is much more simple approach!
Lord Tsongkhapa talks about this in the LRCM. I'll reread it.

viniketa wrote:Berzin certainly uses cars a lot as an example... I think I found the page:

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... ?query=car

Does that look familiar?

:namaste:
There we go. thank you. My question was based on this line:

In other words, what the Svatantrikas are saying is that everything exists in terms of mental labeling—exists as what it is, in terms of mental labeling. But in order to insure that that mental labeling is valid, there has to be some inherently existing defining characteristics on the side of the object that makes it what it is—in conjunction with mental labeling.


Also I found this in Geshe Tashi Tsering's Emptiness pg. 86-87:
There is nothing from the snake's side that is inherently "snake" and nothing from the rope's side that is inherently "rope". [The mistaking the rope for a snake exercise] By this time in the argument Svatantrika scholars would be throwing their hands up and demanding to know how anything can then be determined. Surely, then, we can label anything on anything and it will valid. There must be something from the snake's side that determines it is a snake as opposed to a rope. The Prasangika response is a flat "no!," there is nothing. [...] "Valid" and "wrong" consciousnesses are determined by another valid consciousness that analyzes their validity. That's the only difference. From the object's side, whether it is the coiled rope or the reptile, there is nothing existing as a snake objectively or ontologically. It is posited entirely by the conventional consciousness.
So part of the conditions for something to exist relatively is other consciousnesses.

I have to work through Tom's post.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

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

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby Tom » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:25 pm

viniketa wrote:Then Dignāga, Candrakīrti (who perfects the doctrine of Prasaṅga), Dharmakirti. Fast forward again to Tibet and Tsongkhapa's mission to permanently disavow the doctrines of the "Hinayana" and his embrace of Prasaṅga as the "highest" form of logic.


Of course Candrakīrti and Dharmakirti could not have held more opposite positions. I don't understand the second sentence here - could you say a little more on this...
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby Tom » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:28 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
Tom wrote:So after all that bah..blah.. I realized my answer to your question may not have been obvious. My point was the last one " it is important to note that just because something is imputed it does not necessarily have to exist" that although all conventional minds are mistaken Tsongkhapa makes a distinction between valid mistaken and invalid mistaken. For something to be conventionally valid designation it must be:

1. not undermined by another mind that is conventionally valid (valid and mistaken)
2. not undermined by another mind that is ultimately valid (valid and unmistaken)
3. Accords with worldly convention

Calling a book a car fails this test and so is not conventionally valid designation.

P.S. I think Chandra's explanation in the 6th chapter of entering the middle way is much more simple approach!
Lord Tsongkhapa talks about this in the LRCM. I'll reread it.



This model although it starts to be seen 6-7th century is mostly used by Gelugpa's to respond to what they view as an overly enthusiastic prasanga positions and interpretation of Candra.

Now, Tsongkhapa's distinction between the two middle way schools in the LRCM centers on the autonomous vs consequentialist arguments. During Bhaviveka's time logic was all the rage, he was a good logician, and thought that to merely uses consequentialist arguments to prove one's position is insufficient and leaves doubt in the opponents mind. He thought there to be no problem with autonomous arguments from a conventional perspective.

This is not unrelated to what I was saying in the previous post. Autonomous arguments rely on a shared subject (paḳsa) and reason (hetu) (also some say example) between the opponent and proponent. So, a madhyamaka using autonomous argument against an essentialist would have to accept their position of the subject as established by a valid perception in relation to the objects inherent existence.

As, mentioned previously the svātantrika definition of the imputing mind is a non-defective awareness that is not mistaken in regard to the appearance of the object which appears as existing inherently. So the common subject (paḳsa) with the essentialist is no problem for them - of course this is a big problem for prasangika's who do not accept inherent existence even conventionally and who also think that all ordinary minds perceiving conventional phenomena to be mistaken in there perception of inherent existence. It is a big disagreement and some of the implications I have described above. Now, Gelugpa's have an interesting position they reject inherent existence conventionally but also wish to maintain valid cognizers. Candra might object but no doubt Tsongkhapa was more than just a genius!
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby viniketa » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:46 pm

Tom wrote:Of course Candrakīrti and Dharmakirti could not have held more opposite positions. I don't understand the second sentence here - could you say a little more on this...


It may be beneficial to look at the positions of Candrakīrti and Dharmakīrti as orthogonal and complimentary rather than opposite. In the second sentence, I should have said Tsongkhapa's mission to permanently 'disallow' or 'dismiss' the doctrines of the "Hinayana"... rather than "disavow". Hopefully, that clears-up the meaning.

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

Postby Tom » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:01 pm

viniketa wrote:
Tom wrote:Of course Candrakīrti and Dharmakirti could not have held more opposite positions. I don't understand the second sentence here - could you say a little more on this...


It may be beneficial to look at the positions of Candrakīrti and Dharmakīrti as orthogonal and complimentary rather than opposite.


Given this is a Gelug forum I think that is a fair comment. However, much of Dharmakīrti's project was epistemological and Candrakīrti (if read on his own terms) actively rejects such a constructed epistemology and even favors the opposing Nyaya version.

viniketa wrote: In the second sentence, I should have said Tsongkhapa's mission to permanently 'disallow' or 'dismiss' the doctrines of the "Hinayana"... rather than "disavow". Hopefully, that clears-up the meaning.
:namaste:


I was more wondering what you had in mind with "doctrines of the hinayana" - it seemed you had something specific in mind.
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Re: Labeling and inherent nature - Svatantrika vs. Prasangika

Postby viniketa » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:24 pm

Tom wrote:I was more wondering what you had in mind with "doctrines of the hinayana" - it seemed you had something specific in mind.


No specific Hinayana doctrine, no. Tsongkhapa's primary mission was to establish his ("the Gelug") view as the highest teaching as defined by the 'expository' sutras, such as Saṃdhinirmocana, etc. He was a logical and political genius, but not a diplomat the way we would think of that task today. By adopting and adapting the Prasaṅga approach, he was able to portray the Sarvāstivāda/Sautrāntra and other "Hinayana" schools as vastly inferior - not to mention the views of his more contemporary opponents.

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

Postby Tom » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:43 pm

viniketa wrote:
Tom wrote:I was more wondering what you had in mind with "doctrines of the hinayana" - it seemed you had something specific in mind.


No specific Hinayana doctrine, no. Tsongkhapa's primary mission was to establish his ("the Gelug") view as the highest teaching as defined by the 'expository' sutras, such as Saṃdhinirmocana, etc. He was a logical and political genius, but not a diplomat the way we would think of that task today. By adopting and adapting the Prasaṅga approach, he was able to portray the Sarvāstivāda/Sautrāntra and other "Hinayana" schools as vastly inferior - not to mention the views of his more contemporary opponents.

:namaste:


Okay... but there wasn't anyone championing the hinayana doctrine in Tibet at this time- from a mahayana perspective it was already, game, set, and match long ago.

Tsongkhapa's main concerns seems to be with his contemporaries and a correct understanding of mahayana emptiness (also the relationship between sutric and tantirc ethics).
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