Pema Rigdzin wrote:Well TMingyur,
Having read and received oral teachings on the paths and stages and the tenet systems and systems of practice, and having done a great deal of reasoning and contemplation of these teachings, I concluded that there is very good reason to believe in the potential of humans to achieve buddhahood, so my interest in Madhyamaka is in its potential to remove the adventitious stains that prevent the realization of buddhahood. I see plenty of reason to find plausible a buddhahood in which one can benefit all sentient beings.
See you seem to have an idea of "buddhahood" in which you find reasons to believe in. That is fine. I can totally accept this since the term "buddhahood" is the expression of a mere idea not accessible to verification since there is a multitude of individual understandings of what this term means and there is no commonly accepted definition. It is of no use to discuss these kinds of "metaphysical" terms in terms of "this is that" and "this is not this".
If we take it as a logical term expressing the negation of "ordinary" thus meaning "non-ordinary" or perhaps a sub-category of "non-ordinary" expressed as "extraordinary" then okay, then I may agree to call "boodhahood" a synonym for "extraordinary". But this just replaces one indefinite term by another indefinite term and there is no benefit at all.
And when you say "potential to remove the adventitious stains" then we perhaps agree that there is the possibility to remove what is kind of "distortion of thusness". But see, here again: indefinite term "thusness" subject to a multitude of understandings.
Pema Rigdzin wrote:Your interest in Madhyamaka obviously only goes so far as it can enable you to disprove (in your mind, at least) the plausibility of things which, for whatever reason, you're uncomfortable with or cannot accept.
In the sphere of reason there can only be "yes" or "no", affirmation or negation. And the criteria for both, affirmation and negation, have to be identical because otherwise reason is just unreasonable "likes" and "dislikes" in disguise.
"Affirmation" is to be restricted to what is found under analysis.
This analysis can be twofold: investigating into conventional/nominal existence or investigating into real existence.
What is not found under analysis investigating into the truth of "real existence" may then be investigated asking for the truth of conventional/nominal existence. And the result of the latter analysis simply depends on your definition of conventional presuppositions. If scripture is included in "reason" then you may conventionally establish many "metaphysical"-like phenomena. If you are excluding scripture then you have to rely on sense perception and inference. That's all.
Pema Rigdzin wrote:Nevermind that the same Madhyamaka masters you seem to look up to, such as perhaps its founder Nagarjuna, have spoken clearly on enlightened mind (see his "In Praise of the Dharmadhatu," for instance).
Your skepticism or agnosticism is of course your prerogative; regardless, there's no useful or worthwhile common ground for us to continue this conversation since our aims and interests are so different. Take care and best wishes.
I am aware of the variety of texts and sayings of different masters. I am also aware of the bias of masters who expounded wonderful logic in certain contexts but completely discarded logic in other contexts of dialectical expositions.
I am preferring the consequent application of logic and reason and I feel that this does not harm "buddhism" at all but that the contrary is true.