futerko wrote:There seems to me to be a marked difference between claiming that the basis is empty/illusory and simply denying it altogether. What you’re calling interdependence here looks basically like a list of effects without any substantive cause, but still treating the objects as if they were substantial and actual.
There seem to be two basic ways to treat this; either as actual causes and effects, which would require some kind of exceptional causal event (such as the big bang, or and act of creation), or to see the effects themselves as symptomatic of the illusory nature of the ground of Being.
In other words, despite denying “another ground”, you still seem to be relying on a transcendent ontology.
An illusory basis is that there seems to be one but there is not. And that is true for those who believe in an ultimate ground/self, for them there appears to be such a thing while in fact there is not. What I say is that there are causes and effects. There is no cause without effect, and there is no cause that was not caused by another cause. A ground would be an effect without cause.
Why the need for an exceptional causal event? Do you assume that once there was nothing?
What transcendent ontology do you mean?
Take the example of the sun. It is a series of processes producing the effects of radiation, heat, light, gravity, fusion, neutrinos etc. but the object is never self-identical, it can never achieve 100% Being, so the idea of a truly existing object is actually imputed from its partial effects - the same goes for all objects.
Therefore there is no direct causal link between the thing called the sun and the thing called the earth, but rather there are effects of effects, interacting with other effects.
A transcendental ontology would basically view all its elements as whole with one exception (the exception which proves the rule), and as whole elements must be inert, then it is the exception which transcends the limitations of existence, and which would be required to animate all the other elements. So you are right to say that the transcendent element is a fallacy which sustains the myth of some kind of complete Being within such a schema, but the idea of causality in Buddhism suggests an alternative "failure of the universal".
The idea of a flat ontology says that there is no element which is excluded, however the completion of universal fails due to its effects only ever being partial. In regard to the sun for example, we feel the heat from the sun on our skin and see the light from the sun with our eyes, but it is only via imputation that we make the connection between eye-consciousness and body-consciousness and construct a whole self in relation to a complete object.
In reading causality as the direct interaction between objects, as if those objects were whole and fully self-identical, you are remaining within the transcendental schema. In fact, if we take seriously the idea that there are no self-identical objects, then we are only ever witnessing the effects of effect of effects, which as you say, represents a ground as an effect without a cause.