Emptiness in Yogacara

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Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:08 pm

As an aside, what the Madhyamakas are trying to explain to the Yogacarin is that they cannot have their cake and eat it too.
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Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby conebeckham » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:44 pm

Cake? What cake? Who said anything about cake...???

Hey Namdrol, Kongtrul makes an interesting statement in his Sheja Dzo, in the chapter about "Cittamatra." He says, "Some Tibetans cite the teachings of the master Vasubhandu as a scriptural [source] for these [Cittamatra views]. This is simply the mistake of those who speak deviously by not distinguishing between [Vasubhandu's] assertion that primordial wisdom is truly existent and [the Cittamatra system's] statement that consciousness is truly existent." (p.191).

My take on what is "asserted as real" by the Yogacaras is the "Perfect Nature," (Parinishpanna)--but this has two aspects:

1. The "Unchanging" which is described as a nonimplicative negation, unconditioned, and which is dharmata. It is empty, in my mind, in the same way Madhyamika asserts the Ultimate truth of self and phenomena are empty. No?

2. The "Unerring" which is reflexive awareness, nonconceptual nondual cognition. This is what is "asserted" as perhaps "not empty." But it's not "mind," in the sense that Madhyamika famously says that consciousness does not exist ultimately. Even The Madhyamakaprajnavatara says:
"Let the Nonconceptual mind remain in its own peace.
Without identifying anything or being distracted,
meditate with clarity, free from characteristics."

Save me some cake, would you?
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Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:14 pm

conebeckham wrote:Cake? What cake? Who said anything about cake...???


Read this, especially the conclusion.

http://wordpress.tsadra.org/?p=1215
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby conebeckham » Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:26 pm

Great article by detective Khenpo Karl....thanks!
So, it appears the Bṛhaṭṭīkā's authorship is questioned...I wonder if that was the source of Kongtrul's comment? There's no footnote or further explanation, unfortunately. I'm not familiar with the vast corpus of texts that are referred to, of course...it's fascinating stuff. Interesting, also, that even in India there were a variety of interpretations.

As an aside, I tend to think of all this ultimately as less about ontology, and more about practice and experience. I always come to the conclusion that conceptual mind cannot directly know reality, much less formulate some sort of framework describing it.
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Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:41 pm

conebeckham wrote: Interesting, also, that even in India there were a variety of interpretations.


Not until quite late. The salient point is that Maitreyanatha, Asanga, and Vasubandhu all use the type 1 presentation which means they all were cittamatrins by gshan stong pa standards.

As an aside, I tend to think of all this ultimately as less about ontology, and more about practice and experience. I always come to the conclusion that conceptual mind cannot directly know reality, much less formulate some sort of framework describing it.


The issue has been, as always, whether post-Yogacara Madhyamakas like Bhavaviveka were justified in their critiques of Maitreyanatha, Asanga, and Vasubandhu.

It is clear that after the attacks of Bhavaviveka and so on on the Yogacara school, that there was a response which involved a) altering the Perfection of Wisdom in 25 and 18 thousand lines with the addition of the Maitreya chapter in order to b) provide justification of the reworking the three nature model.

Basically, we can identify three phases of Yogacara: the sutra period, original commentatator period, and the post-Madhyamaka response period.

What we observe in period two is trenchent attacks by Asanga in particular on the austerity of the perfection of wisdom vision and a concern that it lead to a form of annihilationism.

What we observe in period three is a revamping of Yogacara, recasting the three natures in terms of the two truths.

This latter phase represents a defeat for the Yogacara system in general, since the three natures are completely unnecessary given the presentation of two truths. However, late Yogacarin partisans managed to communicate their ideas to Tibet, and since the time of Dolbupa, centuries of followers of gshan stong have been seriously confused about what the actual teaching of Maitreyanatha, Asanga, and Vasubandhu might have been, especially as this has been conflated with the tathagatagarbha theory.

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby conebeckham » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:35 pm

I'm not sure the "Three Natures" is completely irrelevant, I think it has some value--even if it's "wrong." After all, it takes a mind, even one that doesn't ultimately exist, to even say that things are empty or come to that (non)conclusion! There's some soteriological value to some of these concepts and ideas........But I certainly can't disagree with your assessments about "revisionism," or about the confusion regarding what "early" or "True" Yogacara's positions and doctrines were, given the plethora of late Indian versions, and the Tibetan penchant for logorrhoea.

BTW, speaking of "frameworks of Buddhist philosophy," I bet you love Kongtruls' "Secret Mantra Madhyamaka," the apex of that portion of the Sheja Dzod, eh? :smile:
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Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:55 pm

conebeckham wrote:I'm not sure the "Three Natures" is completely irrelevant, I think it has some value--even if it's "wrong." After all, it takes a mind, even one that doesn't ultimately exist, to even say that things are empty or come to that (non)conclusion! There's some soteriological value to some of these concepts and ideas........But I certainly can't disagree with your assessments about "revisionism," or about the confusion regarding what "early" or "True" Yogacara's positions and doctrines were, given the plethora of late Indian versions, and the Tibetan penchant for logorrhoea.

BTW, speaking of "frameworks of Buddhist philosophy," I bet you love Kongtruls' "Secret Mantra Madhyamaka," the apex of that portion of the Sheja Dzod, eh? :smile:


There is some justification for Dolbupa's position in so-called the three bodhisattva commentaries i.e. on Kalacakra, Hevajra, and Cakrasamvara.

What is clear to me is the rigid typological boundaries in the four tenet systems tend to fall apart when it comes to Vajrayāna, since in Vajrayāna, the view is not an intellectual construct, but rather, an experiential introduction. That being the case, whether one's intellectual view is cittamatra or madhyamaka is not very important since one's practice will be based on the view communicated during the empowerment, not a view arrived at analytically.

However, here we are dicussing emptiness in yogacara, and whether it really is true that they posit non-dual consciousness that substantially exists. I think in face of the evidence it is a little hard to deny that in fact they did so.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby rob h » Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:04 pm

From the Bodhisattvabhumi :

If something is regarded as empty of that which is not present in it, yet that which is then left over is truthfully recognized as being present here, then this is called truthful, unerring penetration of emptiness. For example, a factor that is by nature the designation of visible form, etc., is not present in a thing designated as visible form, etc., as we have called it above. Therefore, this given thing designated as visible form, etc., is empty of the nature of the designation of visible form, etc. So then what is left of this thing designated as visible form, etc? That which forms the basis of the designation of visible form, etc.

Now, if one truthfuly recognizes these two, namely, the present thing in itself and the mere designation of the thing in itself, if the unreal is not attributed and the real is not denied, if nothing is added and nothing taken away, nothing is inserted and nothing eliminated, then true suchness, the inexpressible nature, is truthfully understood. This is called correctly comprehended emptiness, well-discerned through correct insight.


From page 6, [19], here : http://prajnaquest.fr/blog/wp-content/u ... 4%81va.pdf
"A 'position', Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with." - MN 72
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Re: Conventional & Ultimate Truth

Postby rob h » Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:33 pm

Apologies, misread something so have deleted this response.
"A 'position', Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with." - MN 72
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Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby Atanavat » Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:17 am

Malcolm wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Regarding your comments about the internal contradiction in the three natures, my understanding of the Three Natures is that the False Nature is purely imaginary, thus obviously nonexistent, the Dependent nature is empty dependent origination, and the Perfect nature is neither existent nor nonexistent.


And this is a perfectly gzhan stong interpretation.

The way this is parsed in authentic Yogacara texts is that the non-existence of the imagined in the dependent is the perfected nature. Hence the citation above states that the imagination of the false is empty and not empty as well has existence, non-existence, and as well as existence.

The ālayavijñāna is the dependent nature; when the seeds within it are exhausted, there is a transformation in the basis, it's nature as the ālayavijñana ceases, becoming wisdom. Why? The Yogacara designate the ālayavijñāna based upon the storage of seeds. When there are no more seeds, then there is no basis for designation of a container or storage place of seeds. What remains is a non-dual consciousness. That is not longer termed "mind", it is now termed "wisdom".

The sole thing that is refuted by the Yogacara school as being non-existent is duality. Duality does not exist in the imagination of the unreal. But the imagination itself exists. It's emptiness is soley emptiness of the unreal.

For this reason then we can understand their school is a non-dual realism i.e. "everything is not only empty".



Go malcolm ! uncomplicate the complicated and distill :woohoo:
The Dharma of The Buddha is illuminating beyond compare, cold, diamond-hard and so very austere. It will be touched by nothing, but the strictest of reasoning and the deepest of contemplation.
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Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby smcj » Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:28 am

Malcolm wrote:Read this, especially the conclusion.
http://wordpress.tsadra.org/?p=1215" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

All I could get through was the conclusion. :-(

That was humbling.
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Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby hop.pala » Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:34 pm

I'm not sure the "Three Natures" is completely irrelevant, I think it has some value--even if it's "wrong."


I think the two truth from Nagarjuna nothing truer as the Three natures from Vasubandhu.The two is the same from other perspective.The theory of Nagarjuna can be modified to praxis,and the praxis of Vasubanhdu can be modified to theory.When theory and practice" meet",it is up to the understanding.
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Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby Astus » Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:57 pm

Malcolm wrote:we are dicussing emptiness in yogacara, and whether it really is true that they posit non-dual consciousness that substantially exists. I think in face of the evidence it is a little hard to deny that in fact they did so.


"ultimate reality is divorced from existence and divorced from nonexistence by nature" (Cheng Weishi Lun, p 285, tr Cook)

Dependent nature with discrimination is the imagined, without it it is the perfected. However, existence and non-existence are discrimination. Also, among the final verses it says,

"Whenever, regarding the objective realm,
Knowledge is completely devoid of something obtained,
Then it dwells in consciousness only,
Because it is divorced from characteristics of the twofold grasping."

(p 306)

Although in the commentary that Xuanzang accepts as valid it maintains "that the seeing part of this knowledge exists but the seen part does not", although it is still the path of seeing, and the seeing part is required to have suchness as object.

As for the ultimate accomplishment, Yogacara has non-abiding nirvana, so it doesn't look like something that accepts any substantially existent things or minds.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby Malcolm » Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:23 pm

Astus wrote:As for the ultimate accomplishment, Yogacara has non-abiding nirvana, so it doesn't look like something that accepts any substantially existent things or minds.


We will agree to disagree.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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