Empirical data and sunyata

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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby catmoon » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:11 am

norman wrote:Isn't it referred to as illusion-like, because it's assumed to exist objectively, i.e. without our cognition of it, whereas it's the exact opposite? That is, its illusion-like nature is due to it being an appearance, not something factual. How many times you break an object into pieces you never find anything but surfaces.

A-thing-before-the-appearance-of-the-thing seems to me to be the implied notion of an inherent object (objectively existing) in disguise.



Well, what do we mean when we say something is illusion-like? I take it to mean that it means the object, rather like an illusion, has the property of appearing to exist one way and actually existing a different way. So we have an appearance, which depends on both ourselves and the object. But the object is not as it appears. It appears to be inherently existing, but it isn't. It therefore exists, non-inherently. This means it exists in dependence upon many things, but mind is not one of them. It is the appearance that depends upon the mind, not the object.


The object itself cannot be inherently existent. If it was so, then it would depend solely upon itself for it's continued existence. This state of affairs would lead to an unchanging, eternal object unaffected by any "outside" causes.
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby Sherab » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:06 am

catmoon wrote:
Sherab wrote:Norman, this is what I am trying to say:

When you see a dog, what you see is merely an image of the external dog produced in dependent on the processing done by your eyes and brain. When your friend sees the external dog, he merely sees an image of the external dog produced in dependent on the processing of his eyes and brain. The image of the dog in your mind and the image of the dog in your friend's mind are different.

When your friend focus his sight on something else, the image of the dog disappears from his mind but the external dog does not disappear. As a result, it is still possible for you to see the dog. Supposing a cat now sees the dog. The image of the dog in the cat's mind will be even more different from the image of the dog in a man's mind.

So it is clear that there can be no real dog in anyone's mind.

But does the external dog really exists? Yes, in the sense that it is a dependently arisen phenomenon upon which the image of the dog in your mind is generated. But is this dependently arisen phenomenon call (external) dog has any kind of true existence or true self nature? The answer is no because it is dependently arisen.

The next question then is whether dependent arising itself is a truly existing phenomenon. The answer is no according to Nagarjuna. However, without the phenomenon of dependent arising, there can be no appearances. Without appearances, there can be no cognition/miscognition/labelling/mislabelling of the appearances.


Hi there 5 heaps. Is this the post you were referring me to?

Yes

catmoon wrote:I think I see an error in it. If as you say,
However, without the phenomenon of dependent arising, there can be no appearances.


Then no one would ever be able to see anything. It also contradicts my present experience, which is filled with appearances.

Prior to making this statement, I argued that according to Nagarjuna, there is no truly existing phenomenon called dependent arising. But since all sentient beings experience dependent arising, the only way left for dependent arising to exist is as an illusion and not illusion-like, as a dream and not dream-like.

In other words, in using the terms 'illusion-like' and 'dream-like', one is implicitly assuming that dependent arising as a phenomenon itself, is truly existing.
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby catmoon » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:26 am

Time for some Shantideva.

Ch.9 v3

Of those who assert the two truths, two types of person can be distinguished:
Madhyamika-Prasangika Yogis and proponents of things.
The views held by the proponents of things, who assert that things are truly existent,
Are refuted by the logical reasonings of the Prasangika Yogis.



So this looks very like I stand refuted as a proponent of things. However,

Ch.9 v5

When you proponents of things see things,
You do not recognize their illusion-like character
But assert them to be inherently existent.
This is where we Madhaymika-Prasangikas disagree with you.



Whoa this changes everything. I very much hold that things are not inherently existing, I never assert things are inherently existent and I recognize their illusion-like character. So if Shantideva is talking about Sautantrikas here, I am excluded from that category.


Also it seems clear that in Shantideva's mind at least, the Prasangikas quite carefully refer to things as illusion-like and not as illusions. Correct?


edit: ps it might be a good idea to check the quotes against your version of Shantideva
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby Sherab » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:13 am

http://www.shantideva.net/guide_ch9.htm

Chapter 9 verse 5:
"Ordinary people see and imagine things as real and not illusory. It is in this respect that there is disagreement between the contemplatives and the ordinary people."

I guess it is a matter of who does the translation. Those with Gelugpa's background will translate with Gelugpa's point of view. A good example is Garfield's translation of Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyamakakarika.

The question then is to decide which translation is more accurate. On this issue, I rely on logical reasoning. For me, "inherent existence" leaves unexplained gaps.
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby catmoon » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:45 pm

Sherab wrote:http://www.shantideva.net/guide_ch9.htm

Chapter 9 verse 5:
"Ordinary people see and imagine things as real and not illusory. It is in this respect that there is disagreement between the contemplatives and the ordinary people."

I guess it is a matter of who does the translation. Those with Gelugpa's background will translate with Gelugpa's point of view. A good example is Garfield's translation of Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyamakakarika.

The question then is to decide which translation is more accurate. On this issue, I rely on logical reasoning. For me, "inherent existence" leaves unexplained gaps.


Well I guess that blows the scriptural approach out of the water. Back to the drawing board.

But I did learn something. People do translate according to their views and understandings.

Who did your translation, what sect? Mine comes from the NKT.
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby Sherab » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:37 am

catmoon wrote:Who did your translation, what sect? Mine comes from the NKT.

I have no idea, but I am quite certain that it is not translated by someone with a Gelugpa background.
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby catmoon » Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:16 am

Sherab wrote:
catmoon wrote:Who did your translation, what sect? Mine comes from the NKT.

I have no idea, but I am quite certain that it is not translated by someone with a Gelugpa background.


Yes. I'm starting to think the "illusion-like" terminology may be exclusive to the Gelugpas.

It's funny you know, we do all this logic hacking and wrestling with concepts, but at the end of the day, what keeps me coming back to Gelugpa is the simple fact that the school has produced a Tenzing Gyatso. I have a pretty healthy respect for a number of other Gelugpas as well.

So instead of rigorous logic, when the dust settles my choices are really driven by exemplary practioners.
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby Sherab » Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:09 am

Exemplary practitioners can be found in all traditions, from Theravada to Vajrayana, if we only care to look.
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby catmoon » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:39 am

Sherab wrote:Exemplary practitioners can be found in all traditions, from Theravada to Vajrayana, if we only care to look.



True, Ajahn Chah being a prime example, and TNH and so on.

But the Gelugpas have produced

The Dalai Lama

Thubten Chodron

Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Lama Yeshe Rinpoche

Matthieu Ricard

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Every one of which has impressed me by their outstanding kindness and rationality. Best of all, most of them are alive and teaching.

Ok, I'm biased. Who isn't?
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby Sherab » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:59 am

catmoon wrote:So instead of rigorous logic, when the dust settles my choices are really driven by exemplary practioners.

Sorry Catmoon, I was just nitpicking on your reasoning here. Nothing to do with bias.

What I was implying was that if your choices are really driven by exemplary practitioners, it would not explain why you settle down with the Gelugpas. Why? Because there are exemplary practitioners in the whole range of traditions. In other words, there should be some other reasons why you settle down with Gelug. Perhaps, the exemplary practitioners that resonate most with you happened to be Gelugpas. Perhaps, the exemplary practitioners you've met happened to be mostly Gelugpas, etc., etc.
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby 5heaps » Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:27 pm

catmoon wrote:Yes. I'm starting to think the "illusion-like" terminology may be exclusive to the Gelugpas.
"illusion-like" just means something is deceptive. everyone agrees that ordinary cognition and therefore objects are deceptive, since they are marred by ignorance.

for example in the lowest of abhidharma thought where dependent arising simply means arising in dependence on causes and conditions, dependent arising does not establish that our current perceptions are correct. Jeffrey Hopkins goes into it lucidly if we pay close attention:


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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby Sherab » Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:49 am

5heaps,
I've explained in my earlier posts why "illusion" and not "illusion-like" should be used.
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby 5heaps » Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:07 am

Sherab wrote:I've explained in my earlier posts why "illusion" and not "illusion-like" should be used.
yes but i didnt agree so i thought it better to drop to a more general meaning of the words, since we want to identify various levels of the object to be refuted.

as for why i dont agree, you said "But since all sentient beings experience dependent arising, the only way left for dependent arising to exist is as an illusion". but theres no way i would agree that sentient beings experience dependent arising, even though they are subject to it. this is because it takes astronomical skill to ascertain dependent arising and when this is done, what is cognized is not an illusion, since illusions are nonexistent and nonexistent cannot be validly cognized.
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby Sherab » Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:04 am

5heaps wrote:
Sherab wrote:as for why i dont agree, you said "But since all sentient beings experience dependent arising, the only way left for dependent arising to exist is as an illusion". but theres no way i would agree that sentient beings experience dependent arising, even though they are subject to it. this is because it takes astronomical skill to ascertain dependent arising and when this is done, what is cognized is not an illusion, since illusions are nonexistent and nonexistent cannot be validly cognized.

Unfortunate choice of phrasing on my part, admittedly. Perhaps I should instead have said that sentient beings experience the phenomenon of dependent arising through dependently arisen phenomena.

But phrasing and semantics aside, do you agree that according to Nagarjuna, dependent arising as a phenomenon itself does not exist? Or do you disagree?
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby 5heaps » Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:29 am

Sherab wrote:But phrasing and semantics aside, do you agree that according to Nagarjuna, dependent arising as a phenomenon itself does not exist? Or do you disagree?
i think "does not exist" can refer to nihilism, or it can refer to reality after having negated the object to be negated. for example the person that ignorance sees doesnt exist at all, therefore we can say "persons dont exist", and yet persons do exist.

therefore i think the term is always heavily qualified, whether we do it explicitly or not (ie. 'truly' exists, 'inherently' exists, 'substantially' exists, etc).
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby Sherab » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:37 am

I suppose you disagree with the logic of Nagarjuna then.
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby justsit » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:27 am

Just a quick comment - Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is a lineage holder in the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions. Never been a Gelugpa, afaik.

Thanks,
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby Sherab » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:12 am

justsit wrote:Just a quick comment - Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is a lineage holder in the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions. Never been a Gelugpa, afaik.

Thanks,
:focus:

Matthieu Ricard is not a product of Gelug too, afaik.
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby catmoon » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:54 am

Oho! So that's how the bias works! Anything in a robe is automatically Gelug. Most interesting.
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Re: Empirical data and sunyata

Postby Sherab » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:13 am

Bias works in mysterious ways.
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