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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:23 pm 
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How can an object be absent of something it lacks?

The world is not empty of anything, since there is no-thing There to be emptied.
That is what Form is.
Form is void – of (the concept of) form: that is the very voidness it is void of.

If an object is void of the very concept of itself, how can you 'empty' it?

So much for practice!

_____________________________________________________________________

Form itself does not possess the own-being of form, etc. Perfect wisdom does not
possess the mark (of being) ‘perfect wisdom.’ A mark does not possess the
own-being of a mark. The marked does not possess the own-being of being marked,
and own-being does not possess the mark of [being] own-being.

He courses in a sign when he courses in form, etc., or in the sign of form, etc.,
or in the idea that ‘form is a sign,’ or in the production of form, or in the stopping
or destruction of form, or in the idea that ‘form is empty,’ or ‘I course,’ or ‘I am a
Bodhisattva.’ For he actually courses in the idea ‘I am a Bodhisattva’ as a basis.
Or, when it occurs to him ‘he who course thus, courses in perfect wisdom and
develops it,’ – he courses only in a sign. Such a Bodhisattva should be known as
unskilled in means.


- Prajnaparamita in 8000 lines


Last edited by norman on Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:44 pm 
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Nothing need to be made void, we need nothing to add or eliminate in order to stop our clinging.

Form-emptiness in equality. We must not grasp to our concepts about.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:33 pm 
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norman wrote:

If an object is void of the very concept of itself, how can you 'empty' it?




Because form arises, abides and ceases, regardless of how it is conceived. Emptiness is not a verb; it is not something one does to something. It is the way things (*objects*) are.

If the concept of intrinsic existence disappears from an apprehension of an object, then it will be seen in its dependently arising network of (infinitely regressing) causal relations. That is, not as a singular static object, but as a constantly changing process which is intersecting with other constantly changing processes.

:namaste:


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:49 pm 
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Emptiness is a perspective born out of our own ignorance.

We have to emphasis emptiness, because we cling to objects and things, and we mistakenly believe things aren't empty, or that they are enduring and have an intrinsic substance.

:buddha1:

Emptiness is a perspective that unenlightened don't have.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:42 pm 
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tobes wrote:
Because form arises, abides and ceases, regardless of how it is conceived. Emptiness is not a verb; it is not something one does to something. It is the way things (*objects*) are.

If the concept of intrinsic existence disappears from an apprehension of an object, then it will be seen in its dependently arising network of (infinitely regressing) causal relations. That is, not as a singular static object, but as a constantly changing process which is intersecting with other constantly changing processes.

:namaste:


There are no things or objects to be anything whatsoever. Their voidness is not a quality. Voidness is their absence as a concept, which is what they are, i.e. Form. Form is the presence of that non-conceptual absence, which is why they're identical. That is, Form is not an object of perception.

As long as hold on to ”form, etc., or in the sign of form, etc., or in the idea that ‘form is a sign,’ or in the production of form, or in the stopping or destruction of form, or in the idea that ‘form is empty,’” we course only in signs.

What we apprehend as a chair, a bodhisattva or a flower is nothing of the sort – they are symbols or signs. The concept itself of a specific object is in itself its appearance. The mere attempt to rid ourselves of our own concepts, merely affirms those very concepts as having the objective status that we're trying to rid ourselves of. This includes the arisal, abiding and ceasing of form, as well as ”the idea that ‘form is empty.”


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:41 am 
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norman wrote:
tobes wrote:
Because form arises, abides and ceases, regardless of how it is conceived. Emptiness is not a verb; it is not something one does to something. It is the way things (*objects*) are.

If the concept of intrinsic existence disappears from an apprehension of an object, then it will be seen in its dependently arising network of (infinitely regressing) causal relations. That is, not as a singular static object, but as a constantly changing process which is intersecting with other constantly changing processes.

:namaste:


There are no things or objects to be anything whatsoever. Their voidness is not a quality. Voidness is their absence as a concept, which is what they are, i.e. Form. Form is the presence of that non-conceptual absence, which is why they're identical. That is, Form is not an object of perception.

As long as hold on to ”form, etc., or in the sign of form, etc., or in the idea that ‘form is a sign,’ or in the production of form, or in the stopping or destruction of form, or in the idea that ‘form is empty,’” we course only in signs.

What we apprehend as a chair, a bodhisattva or a flower is nothing of the sort – they are symbols or signs. The concept itself of a specific object is in itself its appearance. The mere attempt to rid ourselves of our own concepts, merely affirms those very concepts as having the objective status that we're trying to rid ourselves of. This includes the arisal, abiding and ceasing of form, as well as ”the idea that ‘form is empty.”


What you speak of here is only one side of emptiness: dependent designation/mental imputation.

Nagarjuna's MMK (VII):

Whatever is dependently co-arisen
That is explained to be emptiness
That, being a dependent designation
Is itself the middle way.


But you do not account for the dependent arising of causality.

Next stanza:

Something that is not dependently arisen,
Such a thing does not exist.
Therefore a nonempty thing
Does not exist.


Emptiness of form is both of these things.

Asserting that it is only the absence of concepts leads to idealism, not the middle way.

:namaste:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:29 am 
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norman wrote:
How can an object be absent of something it lacks?

The world is not empty of anything, since there is no-thing There to be emptied.
That is what Form is.
Form is void – of (the concept of) form: that is the very voidness it is void of.

If an object is void of the very concept of itself, how can you 'empty' it?

So much for practice!

As long as one has not experienced "the world is not empty of anything, since there is no-thing to be emptied", one will experience the world as full of non-empty things.

As long as one experiences the world as full of non-empty things, one will need to rely on practice.

When one no longer experiences the world as full of non-empty things, then one can practise the practice of no practice.

Or so it seems to me.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:39 am 
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tobes wrote:
What you speak of here is only one side of emptiness: dependent designation/mental imputation.

Nagarjuna's MMK (VII):

Whatever is dependently co-arisen
That is explained to be emptiness
That, being a dependent designation
Is itself the middle way.


But you do not account for the dependent arising of causality.

Next stanza:

Something that is not dependently arisen,
Such a thing does not exist.
Therefore a nonempty thing
Does not exist.


Emptiness of form is both of these things.

Asserting that it is only the absence of concepts leads to idealism, not the middle way.

Well, form and so on are illusory appearances. (Tantrika) Nāgārjuna's Bodhicittavivaraṇa:

    39. The cognizer perceives the cognizable;
    Without the cognizable there is no cognition;
    Therefore why do you not admit
    That neither object nor subject exists [at all]?

    40. The mind is but a mere name;
    Apart from its name it exists as nothing;
    So view consciousness as a mere name;
    Name too has no intrinsic nature.

    41. Either within or likewise without,
    Or somewhere in between the two,
    The conquerors have never found the mind;
    So the mind has the nature of an illusion.

    42. The distinctions of colors and shapes,
    Or that of object and subject,
    Of male, female and the neuter –
    The mind has no such fixed forms.

    43. In brief the Buddhas have never seen
    Nor will they ever see [such a mind];
    So how can they see it as intrinsic nature
    That which is devoid of intrinsic nature?

    44. “Entity” is a conceptualization;
    Absence of conceptualization is emptiness;
    Where conceptualization occurs,
    How can there be emptiness?

    45. The mind in terms of the perceived and perceiver,
    This the Tathagatas have never seen;
    Where there is the perceived and perceiver,
    There is no enlightenment.

    46. Devoid of characteristics and origination,
    Devoid of substantive reality and transcending speech,
    Space, awakening mind and enlightenment
    Possess the characteristics of non-duality.

    47. Those abiding in the heart of enlightenment,
    Such as the Buddhas, the great beings,
    And all the great compassionate ones
    Always understand emptiness to be like space.

    48. Therefore constantly meditate on this emptiness:
    The basis of all phenomena,
    Tranquil and illusion-like,
    Groundless and destroyer of cyclic existence.

Kamalaśīla's second Bhāvanākrama:

    All phenomena should be understood as lacking an end and a middle, just as the mind does not have an end or a middle. With the knowledge that the mind is without an end or a middle, no identity of the mind is perceived. What is thoroughly realized by the mind, too, is realized as being empty. By realizing that, the very identity, which is established as the aspect of the mind, like the identity of physical form, and so forth, is also ultimately not perceived. In this way, when the person does not ultimately see the identity of all phenomena through wisdom, he will not analyze whether physical form is permanent or impermanent, empty or not empty, contaminated or not contaminated, produced or non-produced, and existent or non-existent. Just as physical form is not examined, similarly feeling, recognition, compositional factors, and consciousness are not examined. When the object does not exist, its characteristics also cannot exist. So how can they be examined?

    In this way, when the person does not firmly apprehend the entity of a thing as ultimately existing, having investigated it with wisdom, the practitioner engages in non-conceptual single-pointed concentration. And thus the identitylessness of all phenomena is realized.

Once this has been understood and integrated there is no need to affirm or negate illusory appearances. The Kāśyapaparivarta Sūtra:

    Kāśyapa, "existence" is one extreme, "non-existence" is the second extreme. Kāśyapa, the middle between these two extremes is called the middle way, the correct understanding of phenomena.

The Samādhirāja Sūtra:

    "Existence" and "non-existence" are both extremes.
    "Purity" and "impurity" are extremes.
    Therefore, abandoning both extremes,
    The wise do not even abide in the middle.

All the best,

Geoff


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:43 am 
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Yeshe D. wrote:
tobes wrote:
What you speak of here is only one side of emptiness: dependent designation/mental imputation.

Nagarjuna's MMK (VII):

Whatever is dependently co-arisen
That is explained to be emptiness
That, being a dependent designation
Is itself the middle way.


But you do not account for the dependent arising of causality.

Next stanza:

Something that is not dependently arisen,
Such a thing does not exist.
Therefore a nonempty thing
Does not exist.


Emptiness of form is both of these things.

Asserting that it is only the absence of concepts leads to idealism, not the middle way.

Well, form and so on are illusory appearances. (Tantrika) Nāgārjuna's Bodhicittavivaraṇa:

    39. The cognizer perceives the cognizable;
    Without the cognizable there is no cognition;
    Therefore why do you not admit
    That neither object nor subject exists [at all]?

    40. The mind is but a mere name;
    Apart from its name it exists as nothing;
    So view consciousness as a mere name;
    Name too has no intrinsic nature.

    41. Either within or likewise without,
    Or somewhere in between the two,
    The conquerors have never found the mind;
    So the mind has the nature of an illusion.

    42. The distinctions of colors and shapes,
    Or that of object and subject,
    Of male, female and the neuter –
    The mind has no such fixed forms.

    43. In brief the Buddhas have never seen
    Nor will they ever see [such a mind];
    So how can they see it as intrinsic nature
    That which is devoid of intrinsic nature?

    44. “Entity” is a conceptualization;
    Absence of conceptualization is emptiness;
    Where conceptualization occurs,
    How can there be emptiness?

    45. The mind in terms of the perceived and perceiver,
    This the Tathagatas have never seen;
    Where there is the perceived and perceiver,
    There is no enlightenment.

    46. Devoid of characteristics and origination,
    Devoid of substantive reality and transcending speech,
    Space, awakening mind and enlightenment
    Possess the characteristics of non-duality.

    47. Those abiding in the heart of enlightenment,
    Such as the Buddhas, the great beings,
    And all the great compassionate ones
    Always understand emptiness to be like space.

    48. Therefore constantly meditate on this emptiness:
    The basis of all phenomena,
    Tranquil and illusion-like,
    Groundless and destroyer of cyclic existence.

Kamalaśīla's second Bhāvanākrama:

    All phenomena should be understood as lacking an end and a middle, just as the mind does not have an end or a middle. With the knowledge that the mind is without an end or a middle, no identity of the mind is perceived. What is thoroughly realized by the mind, too, is realized as being empty. By realizing that, the very identity, which is established as the aspect of the mind, like the identity of physical form, and so forth, is also ultimately not perceived. In this way, when the person does not ultimately see the identity of all phenomena through wisdom, he will not analyze whether physical form is permanent or impermanent, empty or not empty, contaminated or not contaminated, produced or non-produced, and existent or non-existent. Just as physical form is not examined, similarly feeling, recognition, compositional factors, and consciousness are not examined. When the object does not exist, its characteristics also cannot exist. So how can they be examined?

    In this way, when the person does not firmly apprehend the entity of a thing as ultimately existing, having investigated it with wisdom, the practitioner engages in non-conceptual single-pointed concentration. And thus the identitylessness of all phenomena is realized.

Once this has been understood and integrated there is no need to affirm or negate illusory appearances. The Kāśyapaparivarta Sūtra:

    Kāśyapa, "existence" is one extreme, "non-existence" is the second extreme. Kāśyapa, the middle between these two extremes is called the middle way, the correct understanding of phenomena.

The Samādhirāja Sūtra:

    "Existence" and "non-existence" are both extremes.
    "Purity" and "impurity" are extremes.
    Therefore, abandoning both extremes,
    The wise do not even abide in the middle.

All the best,

Geoff


Yes, form is an illusory appearance, precisely between the extremes of existence and non-existence.

But why is it illusory? Because it is reified to have Being (existence) by an erronerous perception, or it is negated completely to be devoid of any existence.

Why can't it have Being?

Because it arises, abides and decays; abiding is logically enmeshed in arising and decaying. Therefore, we cannot posit Being upon an entity. But not imputing Being upon a phenomenal entity simply means that the stage of abiding is never granted the status of existence.

Abiding still occurs.

MMK VII

Since arising, ceasing and abiding
Are not established, there are no compounded things.
If all compounded things are unestablished,
How could the uncompounded be established?

Like a dream, like an illusion,
Like a city of Gandharvas,
So have arising, abiding,
And ceasing being explained.


Dependent arising and the phenomenal world which is dependently arising are themselves empty of inherent existence. Not non-existent. We therefore need to account for the dependent arising of form.

:namaste:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:16 am 
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tobes wrote:
We therefore need to account for the dependent arising of form.

We don't need to establish anything. We only need to eliminate realist and idealist views. Nāgārjuna's Vigrahavyāvartanīvṛtti:

    30. If I apprehended something with the help of perception, etc., then I would either affirm or deny. [But] since that thing does not exist, there is no criticism applicable to me.

    If I apprehended any object with the help of the four pramāṇas, viz., perception, inference, identification and verbal testimony, or with the help of one of these, then only would I either affirm or deny. [But] since I do not even apprehend an object of any kind, I neither affirm nor deny.

tobes wrote:
Yes, form is an illusory appearance, precisely between the extremes of existence and non-existence.

There is no abiding in the middle either. The Samādhirāja Sūtra:

    The wise do not even abide in the middle.

All the best,

Geoff


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:25 am 
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Yeshe D. wrote:
tobes wrote:
We therefore need to account for the dependent arising of form.

We don't need to establish anything. We only need to eliminate realist and idealist views. Nāgārjuna's Vigrahavyāvartanīvṛtti:

    30. If I apprehended something with the help of perception, etc., then I would either affirm or deny. [But] since that thing does not exist, there is no criticism applicable to me.

    If I apprehended any object with the help of the four pramāṇas, viz., perception, inference, identification and verbal testimony, or with the help of one of these, then only would I either affirm or deny. [But] since I do not even apprehend an object of any kind, I neither affirm nor deny.

tobes wrote:
Yes, form is an illusory appearance, precisely between the extremes of existence and non-existence.

There is no abiding in the middle either. The Samādhirāja Sūtra:

    The wise do not even abide in the middle.

All the best,

Geoff


The wise may not abide in the middle, but form does.

Are you asserting that form does not abide?

I suppose that's my point here: When we're talking about emptiness in terms of dependent designation, then all of those verses and points relating to perception, the mind, the wise, the pramanas etc are relevant.....because we are talking about the subjective side of emptiness: mental imputation; the mind which apprehends phenomena to be what it is (or as the case may be, what it is not).

But unless we want to assert that there is only a subjective side, and that there is never form without a mind to apprehend it, then we must acknowledge a metaphysics of form. The Buddha teaches this clearly via the twelve links, and Nagarjuna clearly retains that. The Vig, which you just cited is a prolonged (and unusually affirmative) defence of dependent origination.

Otherwise, it is idealism: no form apart from what is conceived by mind. Certainly some Yogacaran thinkers held this.....although I'm not convinced that Kamalashila, who you mentioned before, holds such a view.

A 300 million year old rock was there before humans, be they ordinary or enlightened, were around to apprehend it. It does not depend upon an apprehension to be what is.

What is it? Form that has arisen due to causes and conditions, and is abiding in dependence upon causes and conditions and will cease when causes and conditions no longer support it.

When we encounter that rock, then, and only then, is dependent designation relevant.

:namaste:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:37 am 
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tobes wrote:
But unless we want to assert that there is only a subjective side, and that there is never form without a mind to apprehend it, then we must acknowledge a metaphysics of form.

We must accept a metaphyics of "something" that is conventionally called "form". But that "something" can neither be validly assigned to the objective nor to the subjective side and to call it "something" is actually invalid too.

Kind regards


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:52 am 
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Tobes,

The trouble seems to be that you are understanding Nāgārjuna's use of Dependent Origination in the classical Hīnayāna sense. This is very common because people's introduction to Buddhist doctrine is through that path before coming to study the Mahāyāna. If not in this life, then certainly in the past, and that doctrine is still imprinted in their minds. The dependent and its support are something quite different in Mahāyāna. Hard to fathom because it is almost anti-conceptual.

I applaud Yeshe's last post. :thumbsup:

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:57 am 
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tobes wrote:
Are you asserting that form does not abide?

I'm not asserting anything. I would, however, reserve the option to refute any realist or idealist propositions regarding form, etc.

tobes wrote:
But unless we want to assert that there is only a subjective side, and that there is never form without a mind to apprehend it, then we must acknowledge a metaphysics of form.

Neither side is established as anything other than conventions.

tobes wrote:
I'm not convinced that Kamalashila, who you mentioned before, holds such a view.

Just like his teacher Śāntarakṣita, Kamalaśīla was a mādhyamika. Their approach is the same as what is found in the Bodhicittavivaraṇa, as stated in the Madhyamakālaṃkāra:

    On the basis of mere mind,
    One should know that external entities do not exist.
    On the basis of the method set forth here,
    One should know that mind is utterly devoid of self.

    Those who hold the reigns of reason
    While riding the chariot of the two approaches,
    Will therefore be adepts of the mahāyāna,
    In accord with both the sense and meaning of the word.

tobes wrote:
A 300 million year old rock was there before humans, be they ordinary or enlightened, were around to apprehend it. It does not depend upon an apprehension to be what is.

What is it? Form that has arisen due to causes and conditions, and is abiding in dependence upon causes and conditions and will cease when causes and conditions no longer support it.

When we encounter that rock, then, and only then, is dependent designation relevant.

This "rock" is neither singular nor multiple. Hence "it" is merely a worldly convention.

All the best,

Geoff


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:14 am 
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Yeshe D. wrote:
Madhyamakālaṃkāra:

    On the basis of mere mind,
    One should know that external entities do not exist.
    On the basis of the method set forth here,
    One should know that mind is utterly devoid of self.

    Those who hold the reigns of reason
    While riding the chariot of the two approaches,
    Will therefore be adepts of the mahāyāna,
    In accord with both the sense and meaning of the word.


:applause:

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:36 am 
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TMingyur wrote:
tobes wrote:
But unless we want to assert that there is only a subjective side, and that there is never form without a mind to apprehend it, then we must acknowledge a metaphysics of form.

We must accept a metaphyics of "something" that is conventionally called "form". But that "something" can neither be validly assigned to the objective nor to the subjective side and to call it "something" is actually invalid too.

Kind regards


Of course, we're using language, all of this is merely conventional.

:namaste:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:47 am 
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Dexing wrote:
Tobes,

The trouble seems to be that you are understanding Nāgārjuna's use of Dependent Origination in the classical Hīnayāna sense. This is very common because people's introduction to Buddhist doctrine is through that path before coming to study the Mahāyāna. If not in this life, then certainly in the past, and that doctrine is still imprinted in their minds. The dependent and its support are something quite different in Mahāyāna. Hard to fathom because it is almost anti-conceptual.

I applaud Yeshe's last post. :thumbsup:


I understand Nagarjuna's use of Dependent Origination only in the sense in which he asserts it:

LIV (Vig) "For if Dependent Origination does not exist, there can be no question of its vision. If there is vision of Dependent Origination, there is no vision of Dharma. For the Lord has said: 'O monks, he who sees the pratityasamudpada sees the Dharma. [And] if one does not see the Dharma, there is no practice of religious life."

LV "If this is so, what defects follows for you who reject Dependent Origination? There is no merit. There is no demerit. Nor do exist the worldly conventions. - Why? - Because all that is dependently originated; how will it be, if there is no dependent origination? Moreover, being endowed with an intrinsic nature, not dependently originated and devoid of a cause, it would be permanent - Why? - Because things that have no cause are permanent. There would thus follow that very non-practice of religious life. And you would contradict your own tenet. - Why?- Because the Lord has taught that all conditioned things are impermanent. They become permanent, because they are [supposed to be] endowed with an intrinsic nature and hence [to be] permanent."

Therefore Nagarjuna is explicitly asserting that all of the core Buddhist teachings are efficacious precisely because they are empty of intrinsic existence and dependently originated. Ethical and soteriological practice is only possible on this basis.

The structure of the MMK is very clearly to establish this efficacy.....not to deny earlier teachings and bring in something radically different.

Because of this, I do not hold that there can be such a thing as a Hinayana. That is actually an offensive term, which is grounded in ideological difference, not philosophical understanding.

:namaste:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:51 am 
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Yeshe D. wrote:
tobes wrote:
But unless we want to assert that there is only a subjective side, and that there is never form without a mind to apprehend it, then we must acknowledge a metaphysics of form.

Neither side is established as anything other than conventions.

Geoff


Yes, if we're talking about form, we're talking about conventional reality. :namaste:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:53 am 
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Yeshe D. wrote:

tobes wrote:
I'm not convinced that Kamalashila, who you mentioned before, holds such a view.

Just like his teacher Śāntarakṣita, Kamalaśīla was a mādhyamika. Their approach is the same as what is found in the Bodhicittavivaraṇa, as stated in the Madhyamakālaṃkāra:

    On the basis of mere mind,
    One should know that external entities do not exist.
    On the basis of the method set forth here,
    One should know that mind is utterly devoid of self.

    Those who hold the reigns of reason
    While riding the chariot of the two approaches,
    Will therefore be adepts of the mahāyāna,
    In accord with both the sense and meaning of the word.

Geoff


Both tend to be classified as Yogacaran-Madhyamakins.

:namaste:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:04 pm 
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Yeshe D. wrote:

tobes wrote:
A 300 million year old rock was there before humans, be they ordinary or enlightened, were around to apprehend it. It does not depend upon an apprehension to be what is.

What is it? Form that has arisen due to causes and conditions, and is abiding in dependence upon causes and conditions and will cease when causes and conditions no longer support it.

When we encounter that rock, then, and only then, is dependent designation relevant.

This "rock" is neither singular nor multiple. Hence "it" is merely a worldly convention.

All the best,

Geoff


Since we're talking about, it is indeed a worldly convention.

But the emptiness of a given rock is more than the linguistic signifiers attributed to it. The pronoun "it" does not express the reality of the given rock, but negating the pronoun does not negate the nature of the rock.

:namaste:


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