Reasons for Conventional Reality

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Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Astus » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:20 pm

Madhyamaka and other Buddhist thoughts have sophisticated and detailed methods to prove ultimate reality. What about establishing the correct view of conventional reality? Are there lists of arguments? Is it possible to logically argue for the Buddhist view of conventional reality?
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby edearl » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:32 pm

Astus wrote:Madhyamaka and other Buddhist thoughts have sophisticated and detailed methods to prove ultimate reality. What about establishing the correct view of conventional reality? Are there lists of arguments? Is it possible to logically argue for the Buddhist view of conventional reality?


According to http://www.purifymind.com/InterdependenceBudd.htm
In Buddhism, there are thus 2 distinct levels of reality, that of conventional reality, which we are all familiar with in our daily lives, and that of ultimate reality, which has the quality of vacuity. Conventional reality concerns the transformation and change of things in the phenomenal world. These changes are governed by causal laws that are similar to the physical laws discovered by science in Nature. In that sense, the Buddhist view of conventional reality is very much like that of a scientist, with the difference being that, in addition to the physical laws, Buddhism introduces the laws of karma that say that the consequences of our acts, be they positive or negative, will lead unavoidably to our future happiness or suffering. But conventional reality is mere appearance. On a deeper level, phenomena do not have an objective existence. Using poetic language, Buddha often compared reality to mirages, magic illusions or dreams.

Moreover, the same reference says,
According to Buddhism, all the proprieties that we attribute to the phenomenal world are not necessarily intrinsic to the object itself, but are conceived by our mind and filtered through our perceptions. Thus the same reality may appear differently to different intelligences.

As I understand this statement, the reality of a delusional person, who believes they are God, is totally different than Joe the Plumber. If that is true, how would one establish "the correct view of conventional reality?"
HHDL: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Astus » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:02 pm

The correct (i.e. Buddhist) view of conventional reality can be summed up as dependent origination. That includes the general law of causality, the teachings on morality, karma, realms, beings, mundane samadhis, and from a Mahayana POV the dharmas, five aggregates, etc.
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:12 pm

Conventional reality has gross and subtle aspects. The gross nature of conventional truth can be established by valid cognition as explained by Dignaga and Dharmakirti (this is very important) because forms such as our body are objects of valid minds and they perform the functions they appear to possess.

The subtle conventional reality, that is, form being a manifestation of emptiness can also be established by the same reasons that establish emptiness, since they are one nature.

Just as you can establish the ultimate truth of form by using a valid reason, such as "Forms such as our body are empty of inherent existence because they cannot be found upon investigation", you could also say:

"Forms, such as our body, are mere appearances to our mind and cannot be found outside the mind because they cannot be found upon investigation.

This compatibility and harmony between conventional and ultimate truth is Nagarjuna's intention in a nutshell :smile:

It's also expressed by the First Panchen Lama, Losang Chokyi Gyaltsen in Lama Chopa or 'Offering to the Spiritual Guide':

Outer and inner phenomena are like illusions, like dreams,
And like reflections in a clear lake,
For although they appear, they do no truly exist.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Malcolm » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:20 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:Conventional reality has gross and subtle aspects. The gross nature of conventional truth can be established by valid cognition as explained by Dignaga and Dharmakirti (this is very important) because forms such as our body are objects of valid minds and they perform the functions they appear to possess.



No, it can't. All conventional truths are objects of mistaken cognitions, per Candrakirti.


The subtle conventional reality, that is, form being a manifestation of emptiness can also be established by the same reasons that establish emptiness, since they are one nature.


See above.

N
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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
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:26 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:Conventional reality has gross and subtle aspects. The gross nature of conventional truth can be established by valid cognition as explained by Dignaga and Dharmakirti (this is very important) because forms such as our body are objects of valid minds and they perform the functions they appear to possess.



No, it can't. All conventional truths are objects of mistaken cognitions, per Candrakirti.


It's important not to go to an extreme and negate the validity of all conventional truths. Yes, cognitions of conventional truths are mistaken with respect to their mode of existence, but not with regard to their other characteristics, such as their names, their causes, their physical characteristics, their functions and so forth. These are objects of valid cognition and we have valid cognizers with respect to them. There is no contradiction between the teachings of Dharmakirti and Nagarjuna.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Malcolm » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:43 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:Conventional reality has gross and subtle aspects. The gross nature of conventional truth can be established by valid cognition as explained by Dignaga and Dharmakirti (this is very important) because forms such as our body are objects of valid minds and they perform the functions they appear to possess.



No, it can't. All conventional truths are objects of mistaken cognitions, per Candrakirti.


It's important not to go to an extreme and negate the validity of all conventional truths.


Delusion is delusion. Better to recognize it for what it is, rather than making excuses for it and continuing in that way.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
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
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Malcolm » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:44 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:There is no contradiction between the teachings of Dharmakirti and Nagarjuna.


Of course there is: Nagarjuna rejects the whole concept of pramana.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
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
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby edearl » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:50 pm

Are there an Ultimate Buddhist Reality, a Conventional Buddhist Reality and other realities, or are other realities part of Conventional Buddhist Reality?

Do all Buddhist schools teach the same or different Ultimate and Conventional realities?
HHDL: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Malcolm » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:53 pm

edearl wrote:Are there an Ultimate Buddhist Reality, a Conventional Buddhist Reality and other realities, or are other realities part of Conventional Buddhist Reality?

Do all Buddhist schools teach the same or different Ultimate and Conventional realities?


All expressed truths, both relative and ultimate, are part of conventional truth. For this reason, Haribhadra states that the entire path, including the attainment of Buddhahood, is completely illusory -- it is not real in anyway.

The unenumerated ultimate truth is inexpressible.

N
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http://www.bhaisajya.guru
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
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby edearl » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:04 pm

Namdrol wrote:
edearl wrote:Are there an Ultimate Buddhist Reality, a Conventional Buddhist Reality and other realities, or are other realities part of Conventional Buddhist Reality?

Do all Buddhist schools teach the same or different Ultimate and Conventional realities?


All expressed truths, both relative and ultimate, are part of conventional truth. For this reason, Haribhadra states that the entire path, including the attainment of Buddhahood, is completely illusory -- it is not real in anyway.

The unenumerated ultimate truth is inexpressible.

N

Does that mean "the unenumerated ultimate truth is" incomprehensible, or do we lack words and phrases to express it? If it is comprehensible but inexpressible, who can comprehend it?
HHDL: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:21 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Delusion is delusion. Better to recognize it for what it is, rather than making excuses for it and continuing in that way.
dr
N


Delusion is delusion, yes, but it's also no good throwing the baby out with the bathwater, especially if the baby is enlightenment!

Nagarjuna's view is the perfect union of conventional and ultimate truth. Ultimate truth does not negate valid cognition of conventional truth. If you believe it does, how so?
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Malcolm » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:28 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Nagarjuna's view is the perfect union of conventional and ultimate truth.


No. Nagarjuna's view is the following:

"Since the Jina's have declared that nirvana alone is true, what wise person would not understand the rest is false?"

And:

"Neither samsara nor nirvana exist;
instead, nirvana is the thorough knowledge of samsara"
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
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
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby edearl » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:48 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Delusion is delusion. Better to recognize it for what it is, rather than making excuses for it and continuing in that way.
dr
N


Delusion is delusion, yes, but it's also no good throwing the baby out with the bathwater, especially if the baby is enlightenment!

Nagarjuna's view is the perfect union of conventional and ultimate truth. Ultimate truth does not negate valid cognition of conventional truth. If you believe it does, how so?

If one believes in relative realism, one calls a thing reality or delusion, depending on ones personal preference. If one believes in absolute realism, then one's own beliefs (e.g., religion) are real and others are delusion; humanity cannot agree on what is real, and perhaps no two people agree.
HHDL: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Astus » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:51 pm

I think this is going to an unintended direction. My question is if there are arguments to establish correct view on the conventional level. To give an example that is quite an important point here, is to differentiate mind from matter, as that is essential for the system of rebirth, morality and even liberation. Again, I'm looking for arguments to establish correct view of the conventional realm, not anything else.
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Malcolm » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:58 pm

Astus wrote:I think this is going to an unintended direction. My question is if there are arguments to establish correct view on the conventional level.


In Madhyamaka, correct conventional is distinguished by efficiency. If it appears to work, it is correct conventional.

Of course, then there is famous example of a Geshe who challenged milarepa, who responded by banging on space with a stick as if it were a drum; or Candra who bumped into a pillarsince he had his head in a book, and when challenged about reality of the pillar, passed his hand right through it.

Conventional reality is an appearance for the deluded.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
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
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Astus » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:15 pm

Namdrol,

I'm looking for convincing reasons to validate the Buddhist view, obviously for non-Buddhists who want to get a grasp of it. I assume there are reports of how different teachers spread the Dharma among new converts who were not familiar with such concepts as samsara, morality and karma, mostly non-Indians. I'm also curious because Madhyamika, Yogacarin and other teachers went on and on to prove their understanding of ultimate reality, but that is a later step.
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby AdmiralJim » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:08 pm

In the 'Torch of Certainty', it says 'ultimate reality' is not a thing and until we reach enlightement we are merely playing with concepts. Ultimate reality is seeing things as they really are without the dialogue of ego interferring, it is not some esoteric thing it is actually very simple but it is so simple we can't really see it, in this simplicity arises a problem though continually trying to define reality results in us losing the reality of what really is, this is why if we lose the ego we can just rest in the simplicity of what really is instead of our futile attempts to define it.
I go along regulary to a dharma discussion/book group and something hit me like a mallet about what ultimate reality is. All of us at this group read the same books, yet everyone else has their opinion/version about what it actually means, yet we all read the same words. On the other hand if all of us were realised beings this discussion group would be the quietist in history because we would all have 'got' the meaning the first time round without any need for egotistical elaboration.
So when it comes to conventional reality we are really missing the point and are really shutting out our own inner and outer richness, if ultimate reality is allowing us to experience the world more honestly, then becoming buddha is like seeing everything with the eyes of the child, everything is fresh and wonderful. bearing this in mind, why on earth would we want to remain with conventional reality which isnt really reality at all but just our limited idea of it. i would choose the freshness of enlightenment everytime!! :cheers:
I don't know where we are going but it will be nice when we get there
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Paul » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:18 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:It's important not to go to an extreme and negate the validity of all conventional truths.


Delusion is delusion. Better to recognize it for what it is, rather than making excuses for it and continuing in that way.

N



Also Atisha states in Entrance to the Two Realities,

Perceptual and inferential cognition are useless.
It is just for the sake of refuting non-Buddhist opponents
That the learned ones have promoted them
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

-Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Astus » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:38 pm

Paul wrote:It is just for the sake of refuting non-Buddhist opponents
That the learned ones have promoted them


And for this purpose I'd like to see all the many reasons for the validity of the Buddhist view vis-a-vis non-Buddhist views.
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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