the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

General forum on Mahayana.

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby Acchantika » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:04 pm

Namdrol wrote:So, the gzhan stong controversy (with additional input from Vajrayāna exegesis based on a certain way of understand the three bodhisattva commentaries) is about reconciling Madhyamaka with Yogacara.

Personally, I see no need to attempt to reconcile Madhyamaka and Yogacara. Madhyamaka is the pinnacle of sutra explication. But Tibetans did and still seem to need to do so, and they have passed on this need to their students.

But from my perspective, one cannot go beyond freedom from extremes.

N


I appreciate your thorough reply.

It still isn't entirely clear to me what you feel about what I think adinatha is/was hinting at i.e. whether or not the two are simply alternative descriptions of the same principle tailored to various dispositions. Even if the shengtong vs rangtong thing is simply a scholarly invention, I feel this is a valid query with an answer.

If you see Madhyamaka as the pinnacle of sutra explication, how do you view Yogacara? As a simply inferior view?
...
Acchantika
 
Posts: 292
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:04 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby adinatha » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:49 pm

Namdrol wrote:
adinatha wrote:
Sure.


Then yes, from a Madhyamaka perspective, dharmakāya has (these) qualities.

N


Where in the Madhyamaka literature are these qualities discussed?
CAW!
User avatar
adinatha
 
Posts: 886
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:07 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:26 pm

adinatha wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
adinatha wrote:
Sure.


Then yes, from a Madhyamaka perspective, dharmakāya has (these) qualities.

N


Where in the Madhyamaka literature are these qualities discussed?


The qualities of Buddhahood are discussed by Nagārjuna breifly in Ratnavali, Candrakirti has a brief discussion of them in Madhyamakaavatara, Arya Vimuktasena and Haribhadra extensively discusses these in their commentaries on the Abhisamaya-alamkara.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 11738
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:12 pm

A very techincal article on the Indian and Tibetan usages of the Yogacara three natures scheme.

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

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 11738
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby muni » Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:10 am

mudra wrote:Wasn't sure where to post this so if mods find a better place for it, thank you!

I came across this list by D Seyfort Ruegg from his "The Literature of the Madhyamaka School" which enumerates the various early opinions of Western scholars regarding Madhyamaka and Nagarjuna in particular:

"...nihilism, monism, irrationalism, misology, agnosticism, scepticism, criticism, dialectic, mysticism, acosmism, absolutism, relativism, nominalism, and linguistic analysis with therapeutic value."

What a loads of 'ism's!!! Of course today the debate continues, as it has ever since Arya Nagarjuna, as to what the Madhyamaka he set forth actually is. Even amongst practicing Buddhists we debate so much about it, I wonder if non-Buddhist scholars using intellect alone can possibly ever really get it?

Dependence of views.
How is the key for the best door of liberation, the door what never was?
muni
 
Posts: 2872
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby muni » Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:12 am

Namdrol wrote:
mudra wrote:Wasn't sure where to post this so if mods find a better place for it, thank you!

I came across this list by D Seyfort Ruegg from his "The Literature of the Madhyamaka School" which enumerates the various early opinions of Western scholars regarding Madhyamaka and Nagarjuna in particular:

"...nihilism, monism, irrationalism, misology, agnosticism, scepticism, criticism, dialectic, mysticism, acosmism, absolutism, relativism, nominalism, and linguistic analysis with therapeutic value."

What a loads of 'ism's!!! Of course today the debate continues, as it has ever since Arya Nagarjuna, as to what the Madhyamaka he set forth actually is. Even amongst practicing Buddhists we debate so much about it, I wonder if non-Buddhist scholars using intellect alone can possibly ever really get it?



"If I had a position, I would be at fault,
Since I alone have no position, I alone am without fault"

-- Vigrahavyavartani.


:anjali:
muni
 
Posts: 2872
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby adinatha » Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:01 pm

Namdrol wrote:
adinatha wrote:Perhaps one does't need Madhyamaka either. Masters use tools when needed. The complete path can be traversed without ever studying Madhyamaka.


Rarely.

N


Really the Madhyamaka view are shastras based on the Pali suttas. There is source material for almost all Nagarjuna's points in the suttas. The Buddha said not to embrace or reject views, spelled out DO is nonself, etc.
CAW!
User avatar
adinatha
 
Posts: 886
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:07 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:48 pm

adinatha wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
adinatha wrote:Perhaps one does't need Madhyamaka either. Masters use tools when needed. The complete path can be traversed without ever studying Madhyamaka.


Rarely.

N


Really the Madhyamaka view are shastras based on the Pali suttas. There is source material for almost all Nagarjuna's points in the suttas. The Buddha said not to embrace or reject views, spelled out DO is nonself, etc.


The reason Nagarjuna only cites from the Agamas in the MMK is that his audience are non-Mahayanists i.e. the person in the text with whom he is engaging in a dialogue is a non-Mahayanist (many people do not realize that MMK is written in the form of an philosophical dialogue with the opponent's position being set forth as well).

His mangalam, however, is taken right from the PP sutras. Not only this, Nagarjuna came from the hearland of Mahayana, Andhra Pradesh. His praises are clearly Mahayana works. Then there is the Ratnavali, which is a Mahāyāna work for certain, and so on.

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

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 11738
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby tobes » Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:09 am

There is no scholarly consensus about this.

There are good reasons for thinking that the Ratnavali was written quite a bit later than the MMK and the Vig; that it was written either by a different author by the same name, or incorrectly attributed to the 'original' Nagarjuna.

It is, as you say, clearly a Mahayana text. It seems probable that the 'Nagarjuna' who wrote the MMK and the Vig was a Mahasangika.

In any case, we do not know.

But one thing is for sure: there is a narrative about all of this which although clearly speculative, purports to have more coherence than it should.

:anjali:
User avatar
tobes
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 1139
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby Malcolm » Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:35 am

tobes wrote:
There are good reasons for thinking that the Ratnavali was written quite a bit later than the MMK and the Vig...




What reasons are those?



It is, as you say, clearly a Mahayana text. It seems probable that the 'Nagarjuna' who wrote the MMK and the Vig was a Mahasangika.


More likely, a Sammitya monk, given that he provisionally accepts the avipranaśa theory, the one place in the whole of the MMK where he ventures an opinion

But one thing is for sure: there is a narrative about all of this which although clearly speculative, purports to have more coherence than it should.


However, it is undeniable that there is a verse in the PP in 25000 lines that is more or less identical with the mangalam at the beginning of the MMK.

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

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 11738
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby Jnana » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:13 am

tobes wrote:There is no scholarly consensus about this.

There are good reasons for thinking that the Ratnavali was written quite a bit later than the MMK and the Vig; that it was written either by a different author by the same name, or incorrectly attributed to the 'original' Nagarjuna.

It is, as you say, clearly a Mahayana text. It seems probable that the 'Nagarjuna' who wrote the MMK and the Vig was a Mahasangika.

In any case, we do not know.

But one thing is for sure: there is a narrative about all of this which although clearly speculative, purports to have more coherence than it should.

The effort of some academics to re-brand the Nāgārjuna who authored the MMK as a non-mahāyānika is impossible to substantiate and also quite pointless from a practical point of view. Regardless of who specifically authored which texts, Nāgārjuna has been seen as the grandfather of all things Mahāyāna for over 1500 years, and this perception isn't going to change just to satisfy the historical revisionism of a few mādhyamaka inspired Pāli Buddhists. Plus, any Pāli Buddhists who find that mādhyamaka resonates with them can find all the mādhyamaka they need in the Pāli Nikāyas, the Theravāda Paṭisambhidāmagga, and the writings of Ven. Ñāṇananda.

All the best,

Geoff
Jnana
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby tobes » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:01 am

Jnana wrote:
tobes wrote:There is no scholarly consensus about this.

There are good reasons for thinking that the Ratnavali was written quite a bit later than the MMK and the Vig; that it was written either by a different author by the same name, or incorrectly attributed to the 'original' Nagarjuna.

It is, as you say, clearly a Mahayana text. It seems probable that the 'Nagarjuna' who wrote the MMK and the Vig was a Mahasangika.

In any case, we do not know.

But one thing is for sure: there is a narrative about all of this which although clearly speculative, purports to have more coherence than it should.

The effort of some academics to re-brand the Nāgārjuna who authored the MMK as a non-mahāyānika is impossible to substantiate and also quite pointless from a practical point of view. Regardless of who specifically authored which texts, Nāgārjuna has been seen as the grandfather of all things Mahāyāna for over 1500 years, and this perception isn't going to change just to satisfy the historical revisionism of a few mādhyamaka inspired Pāli Buddhists. Plus, any Pāli Buddhists who find that mādhyamaka resonates with them can find all the mādhyamaka they need in the Pāli Nikāyas, the Theravāda Paṭisambhidāmagga, and the writings of Ven. Ñāṇananda.

All the best,

Geoff


My point is a/that Nagarjuna is appropriated in particular ways by all sides; not just Pali oriented academics. And b/ we don't really know who 'Nagarjuna' was, which school he was from and which texts 'he' did or didn't author.

Therefore, no one of any persuasion has any basis for appropriating his work to fit into a particular framework.

I mean, you're quite right that it's impossible to substantiate. So, the question must be left open.

Later Madhyamikans are a different story.

I don't think this changes N's grandfather status in the Mahayana traditions. I don't really see it as an issue if one deals with each text on its merits.

Incidentally, the argument that the Ratnavali is authored by a different person comes from Tillmann I think. I forget his reasons, but it is probably a philological claim. It is odd that bodhicitta is so prevalent in the Ratnavali, but so conspicuously absent from the MMK and Vig.

:anjali:
User avatar
tobes
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 1139
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby mudra » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:59 am

tobes wrote:
Incidentally, the argument that the Ratnavali is authored by a different person comes from Tillmann I think. I forget his reasons, but it is probably a philological claim. It is odd that bodhicitta is so prevalent in the Ratnavali, but so conspicuously absent from the MMK and Vig.

:anjali:


Personally, and I don't really think this is simply an outpouring of blind faith, I don't think that it is odd that MMK and Ratnavali have that difference. The two texts simply serve different purposes. That would hardly be an argument to invalidate Arya Nagarjuna's authorship.
User avatar
mudra
 
Posts: 453
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:55 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby tobes » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:02 am

mudra wrote:
tobes wrote:
Incidentally, the argument that the Ratnavali is authored by a different person comes from Tillmann I think. I forget his reasons, but it is probably a philological claim. It is odd that bodhicitta is so prevalent in the Ratnavali, but so conspicuously absent from the MMK and Vig.

:anjali:


Personally, and I don't really think this is simply an outpouring of blind faith, I don't think that it is odd that MMK and Ratnavali have that difference. The two texts simply serve different purposes. That would hardly be an argument to invalidate Arya Nagarjuna's authorship.


Yes, well that's not the argument which Tillmann makes (I said that it's likely to be a philological claim).....that's my chin stroking without any scholarly consideration. My point is simply that if you consider the assumption that the Ratnavali is later, there is a lot of prima facie support for that in comparing what's going in the texts. Neither 'bodhicitta' nor 'Mahayana' are mentioned anywhere in the MMK and Vig, but they are liberally used in the Ratnavali. Doesn't that strike you as interesting? Of course one could say the two texts simply serve different purposes. May be that simple. Or it may not. Point is, we don't actually know.

I'll chase up Tillmann's article sometime this week.
:anjali:
User avatar
tobes
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 1139
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby mudra » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:09 am

tobes wrote:
mudra wrote:
tobes wrote:
Incidentally, the argument that the Ratnavali is authored by a different person comes from Tillmann I think. I forget his reasons, but it is probably a philological claim. It is odd that bodhicitta is so prevalent in the Ratnavali, but so conspicuously absent from the MMK and Vig.

:anjali:


Personally, and I don't really think this is simply an outpouring of blind faith, I don't think that it is odd that MMK and Ratnavali have that difference. The two texts simply serve different purposes. That would hardly be an argument to invalidate Arya Nagarjuna's authorship.


Yes, well that's not the argument which Tillmann makes (I said that it's likely to be a philological claim).....that's my chin stroking without any scholarly consideration. My point is simply that if you consider the assumption that the Ratnavali is later, there is a lot of prima facie support for that in comparing what's going in the texts. Neither 'bodhicitta' nor 'Mahayana' are mentioned anywhere in the MMK and Vig, but they are liberally used in the Ratnavali. Doesn't that strike you as interesting? Of course one could say the two texts simply serve different purposes. May be that simple. Or it may not. Point is, we don't actually know.

I'll chase up Tillmann's article sometime this week.
:anjali:


Yes I think it is interesting, but then again from the Mahayana perspective the Buddha didn't teach compassion straight away either. In what we "Mahayanists" call the first turning of the wheel, it was basically Four Noble truths, and the basics of sila, samadhi, prajna. Though in no way can compassion or even bodhicitta be considered to be separate from these initial teachings, nor the understanding of Shunyata, these came later. Why I think it is interesting is that clearly a basic understanding of no-self is an initial prerequisite on the path. Nagarjuna seems to stick with the format.
User avatar
mudra
 
Posts: 453
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:55 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby Malcolm » Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:16 pm

tobes wrote:It is odd that bodhicitta is so prevalent in the Ratnavali, but so conspicuously absent from the MMK and Vig.


Not at all. Ratnavali is a path oriented text while MMK and Vig are critical rebuttals.

Walser reviews Tillman Vetter's work, and concludes that Ratnavali is most likely an original Nāgārjuna composition.

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

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 11738
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby tobes » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:22 am

Namdrol wrote:
tobes wrote:It is odd that bodhicitta is so prevalent in the Ratnavali, but so conspicuously absent from the MMK and Vig.


Not at all. Ratnavali is a path oriented text while MMK and Vig are critical rebuttals.

Walser reviews Tillman Vetter's work, and concludes that Ratnavali is most likely an original Nāgārjuna composition.

N


Well, I can't find the Vetter article, and I'm not a philologist, so I couldn't enter into the debate anyway.

But surely you must acknowledge that there is absolutely **no** scholarly consensus about who Nagarjuna was, where he lived, what school he followed, and what works were an 'original composition' attributed to this historical figure. There are many theories, yours/Walser's is quite legitimate.....but no more legitimate than others. And all of them are theories. No one has any real knowledge about this.

:anjali:
User avatar
tobes
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 1139
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:08 pm

tobes wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
tobes wrote:It is odd that bodhicitta is so prevalent in the Ratnavali, but so conspicuously absent from the MMK and Vig.


Not at all. Ratnavali is a path oriented text while MMK and Vig are critical rebuttals.

Walser reviews Tillman Vetter's work, and concludes that Ratnavali is most likely an original Nāgārjuna composition.

N


Well, I can't find the Vetter article, and I'm not a philologist, so I couldn't enter into the debate anyway.

But surely you must acknowledge that there is absolutely **no** scholarly consensus about who Nagarjuna was, where he lived, what school he followed, and what works were an 'original composition' attributed to this historical figure. There are many theories, yours/Walser's is quite legitimate.....but no more legitimate than others. And all of them are theories. No one has any real knowledge about this.

:anjali:


We have attribution and the subject matter of the texts themselves.

For example, we can safely rule out Bodhicittavivarana as a work of Nāgārjuna I since it mentions both Vajrasattva and the ālayavijñāna.

There is good reason to exclude the dharmadhātustava, the trikāyastava and so on as well.

But concerning the Mahāyānavimsika, Ratnavali, Surhllekha, the collection of reasoning, the collection of praises, etc., we can have doubts, but in my opinion we can accept these as valid Nāḡarjuniana.

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

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 11738
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby tobes » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:08 am

Namdrol wrote:

We have attribution and the subject matter of the texts themselves.

For example, we can safely rule out Bodhicittavivarana as a work of Nāgārjuna I since it mentions both Vajrasattva and the ālayavijñāna.

There is good reason to exclude the dharmadhātustava, the trikāyastava and so on as well.

But concerning the Mahāyānavimsika, Ratnavali, Surhllekha, the collection of reasoning, the collection of praises, etc., we can have doubts, but in my opinion we can accept these as valid Nāḡarjuniana.

M


Fair enough.

:anjali:
User avatar
tobes
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 1139
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: the ever-changing Western view of Madhyamaka

Postby Virgo » Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:35 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Basically the rang stong/gzhan stong controversy is bullshit, and so is the prasangika/svatantrika controversy.

If you want to understand Madhyamaka, don't read Tibetan accounts of Madhyamaka dating after the 13th century. And here, it is better still just to rely on Indian masters. The sole exception to this is Khenpa Shenga's treatises, which are just Indian commentaries turned into footnoted annotations of root texts.

N

Keeping the above in mind, what would you recommend in English?

Kevin
User avatar
Virgo
 
Posts: 1414
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:47 am
Location: Globe

PreviousNext

Return to Mahāyāna Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Kim O'Hara and 17 guests

>