Reasons for Conventional Reality

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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Jnana » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:05 am

Acchantika wrote:
Jnana wrote:But for anyone who is intent on maintaining their worldview of scientific materialism, etc., these refutations and proofs probably won't turn their mind towards the dharma anyway.


...because, in my opinion, trying to shatter someone's worldview with proofs and refutations is like trying to convince someone to break the chair they are standing on. You have to convince them to come down first.

Yes, and this type of dialogue takes considerable skill. MN 56 Abhayarājakumārasutta (emphasis added):

    Such speech as the Tathāgata knows to be true and correct but unbeneficial, and which is also unwelcome and disagreeable to others: such speech the Tathāgata does not utter.

    Such speech as the Tathāgata knows to be true, correct, and beneficial, and which is also unwelcome and disagreeable to others: the Tathāgata knows the time to use such speech....

    Why is that? Because the Tathāgata has compassion for beings.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby conebeckham » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:09 am

Two Truths: Ignorant sentient beings perceive "conventional truth," phenomena, and mistakenly elaborate their existence.
Enlightened Ones realize that which cannot be elaborated, what is beyond linguistic elucidation, which we ignorant sentient beings label "absolute truth" due to our need to conceptualize and elaborate. I suppose you could say this is a "view," but it seems to only posit the falsity of the seeming, and the lack of expressibility of the true.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby LastLegend » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:15 am

Can someone name some conventional truths?
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby catmoon » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:24 am

The Shriners and the Legionnaires come to mind.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby LastLegend » Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:55 am

1)Ultimately because of the deluded mind or self (8 consciousnesses and this body or form), there is an external reality.

2)The practical implication of this to correct our false views, thinking, reactions, etc. This might falls under conventional truths in terms of Buddhist teachings as Astus pointed out.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Acchantika » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:22 am

Jnana wrote:
Acchantika wrote:
Jnana wrote:But for anyone who is intent on maintaining their worldview of scientific materialism, etc., these refutations and proofs probably won't turn their mind towards the dharma anyway.


...because, in my opinion, trying to shatter someone's worldview with proofs and refutations is like trying to convince someone to break the chair they are standing on. You have to convince them to come down first.

Yes, and this type of dialogue takes considerable skill. MN 56 Abhayarājakumārasutta (emphasis added):

    Such speech as the Tathāgata knows to be true and correct but unbeneficial, and which is also unwelcome and disagreeable to others: such speech the Tathāgata does not utter.

    Such speech as the Tathāgata knows to be true, correct, and beneficial, and which is also unwelcome and disagreeable to others: the Tathāgata knows the time to use such speech....

    Why is that? Because the Tathāgata has compassion for beings.


Certainly, and I am in no position to judge what means are appropriate. But, personally, if were not for sentient beings describing the basics of Buddhist ontology in a way I could comprehend, I would presumably not be benefitting today. I don't think it is going to be misleading to just say "Dependent Origination" instead of attempting to blow someone's mind with Madhyamaka and inform them that existence doesn't actually exist etc.
...
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Astus » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:17 am

Chapter 17 of MMK is a fine example of conventional reality in the Buddhist interpretation.

The point of arguments are, however, not to debate others but to serve as logical reasons for the Buddhist world view. So if one were to investigate why one should believe in the Buddhist understanding of conventional reality instead of others, there are clear explanations.
"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: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby plwk » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:38 am

Can someone name some conventional truths?

Never stand in the way of oncoming rushing trains, elephants or scorned women... even Nagarjuna knows these right? :tongue:
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby edearl » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:15 pm

Astus wrote:Chapter 17 of MMK is a fine example of conventional reality in the Buddhist interpretation.

The point of arguments are, however, not to debate others but to serve as logical reasons for the Buddhist world view. So if one were to investigate why one should believe in the Buddhist understanding of conventional reality instead of others, there are clear explanations.

That the Buddhist wold view is superior seemed obvious to me, as I began to read about Buddhism. Unfortunately, logical arguments have little affect on people who memorize and emote rather than learn and think; otherwise, the world would be filled with Buddhists and people similar to Buddhists.
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 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:15 pm

edearl wrote:That the Buddhist wold view is superior seemed obvious to me, as I began to read about Buddhism. Unfortunately, logical arguments have little affect on people who memorize and emote rather than learn and think; otherwise, the world would be filled with Buddhists and people similar to Buddhists.


Logical arguments do have an impact, at least among those who value rational thinking. However, I still have to see those arguments to be able to apply them.
"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: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby edearl » Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:49 pm

Astus wrote:
edearl wrote:That the Buddhist wold view is superior seemed obvious to me, as I began to read about Buddhism. Unfortunately, logical arguments have little affect on people who memorize and emote rather than learn and think; otherwise, the world would be filled with Buddhists and people similar to Buddhists.


Logical arguments do have an impact, at least among those who value rational thinking. However, I still have to see those arguments to be able to apply them.

There is nothing wrong with your logic.

I would like to be able to convince those who emote, but have had no success, because they think so differently than I do. A conversation might go like this: They say, "I believe my brother and I communicate telepathically." Whereupon, I say something like, "There is no scientific basis for telepathy, and experiments have not demonstrated it works." Then they say something like, "I don't care. Once my brother was struck by lightening, and I got the feeling something bad had happened. I called him from around the world, and sure enough he had been struck by lightening." Frustrated, I say something like, "IT IS MERELY COINCIDENCE. SCIENCE HAS DISPROVED TELEPATHY." And, they say, "Why are you yelling? I don't care what science says."

I have given up trying. My communication skills are inadequate.
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 conebeckham » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:13 pm

LastLegend wrote:Can someone name some conventional truths?


Sure. "Last Legend." "Cone Beckham." "Dharma Wheel." "Nagarjuna." "Chandrakirti." "My tea cup." "Your tea cup."

Shall I go on?
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:26 pm

conebeckham wrote:There are "Compassion without object" and "Love without Object," according to the teachings I've heard, which are transcendent--i.e., nondelusive.


There is no mind without an object, due to dependent arising, so I can't accept the existence of such entities without further explanation. The implication of accepting that all conventional truths are objects for the deluded is an extreme that denies that validity of virtuous minds, and even Buddhas, who have conventional aspects.

conebeckham wrote:The view that all conventional reality is only appearance for the deluded is not an extreme, it is the majority view amongst all who claim to follow the Madhyamika of Nagarjuna, etc.


Conventional reality is only appearance, that's true, but to say that it's an appearance only for the deluded means that Buddhas do not perceive conventional reality. This is refuted by Tsonghkapa and other authors. Furthermore, due to dependent relationship, ultimate truths cannot stand alone without conventional truths, so if you negate conventional truth you are inferring inherently existent ultimate truth, also impossible. In short, there are many unacceptable consequences to asserting ALL conventional truths to be only objects of a deluded mind.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:30 pm

Namdrol wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
I'm not sure who you mean by "we" (paleface), but the MMK is full of all kinds of views about sunyata, pratityasamutpada, etc


DO prescribed as the end of views in the MMK, not as a view in and of itself.

A view requires an existent or a non-existent. Since MMK shows that neither can be found, upon what could any view be based?

N


This is also an extreme. MMK refutes inherent existence, not existence per se. It also refutes non-existence. Views are based on mere imputation and mere appearances, that's why they exist and function. It's incorrect to assert that the Madhyamikas do not assert any views.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:35 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
two truths is a view.


That's right - it's the compatability of conventional and ultimate truths that Nagarjuna was teaching. This is correct view.

As Je Tsongkhapa says in Three Principal Aspects of the Path:

Moreover, when the extreme of existence is dispelled by appearance
And the extreme of non-existence is dispelled by emptiness
And you know how emptiness is perceived as cause and effect,
You will not be captivated by extreme views.

We're trying to abandon extreme views, not all views. The Four Seals are also correct views.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Astus » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:11 pm

edearl wrote:There is nothing wrong with your logic.

I would like to be able to convince those who emote, but have had no success, because they think so differently than I do. A conversation might go like this: They say, "I believe my brother and I communicate telepathically." Whereupon, I say something like, "There is no scientific basis for telepathy, and experiments have not demonstrated it works." Then they say something like, "I don't care. Once my brother was struck by lightening, and I got the feeling something bad had happened. I called him from around the world, and sure enough he had been struck by lightening." Frustrated, I say something like, "IT IS MERELY COINCIDENCE. SCIENCE HAS DISPROVED TELEPATHY." And, they say, "Why are you yelling? I don't care what science says."

I have given up trying. My communication skills are inadequate.


You think in terms of debating, but all I'm looking for are sensible arguments for the Buddhist view of the world on the conventional level (and not arguments for emptiness, two truths, etc.). Reasons set up systematically to explain the ordinary realm of experience and fundamental teachings on the path of humans and gods (not above).
"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: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Malcolm » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:41 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
I'm not sure who you mean by "we" (paleface), but the MMK is full of all kinds of views about sunyata, pratityasamutpada, etc


DO prescribed as the end of views in the MMK, not as a view in and of itself.

A view requires an existent or a non-existent. Since MMK shows that neither can be found, upon what could any view be based?

N


This is also an extreme. MMK refutes inherent existence, not existence per se. It also refutes non-existence. Views are based on mere imputation and mere appearances, that's why they exist and function. It's incorrect to assert that the Madhyamikas do not assert any views.



MMK refutes both:

"Where is there an existent not included in inherent existence or dependent existence?
If an existent is not established, a non-existent is not established.
Those who perceive existents, non-existents,
inherent existence or dependent existence do not see the truth of the Buddha's teaching."

Madhyamaka therefore do not assert any views. Not asserting a view does not mean "incapable of engaging in conventional discourse", something you gelugpas seem to be afraid of.

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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Malcolm » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:43 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
two truths is a view.


That's right - it's the compatability of conventional and ultimate truths that Nagarjuna was teaching. This is correct view.


The two truths are part of conventional truth, not ultimate truth. Therefore even the two truths are not established. The two truths are objects of mistaken minds.

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 conebeckham » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:06 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
conebeckham wrote:There are "Compassion without object" and "Love without Object," according to the teachings I've heard, which are transcendent--i.e., nondelusive.


There is no mind without an object, due to dependent arising, so I can't accept the existence of such entities without further explanation. The implication of accepting that all conventional truths are objects for the deluded is an extreme that denies that validity of virtuous minds, and even Buddhas, who have conventional aspects.


Minds, as well as objects, are both "conventional truth." Nonreferential love and compassion are beyond conception, not "entities" or "minds" as such.....they are descriptive "qualities" of the Dharmakaya, terms we use as conventions, but not phenomema per se. Buddhas seem to have conventional aspects. In reality, Buddha is beyond phenomena, beyond samsara, yet manifesting in Samsara for the benefit of deluded sentient beings.

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
conebeckham wrote:The view that all conventional reality is only appearance for the deluded is not an extreme, it is the majority view amongst all who claim to follow the Madhyamika of Nagarjuna, etc.


Conventional reality is only appearance, that's true, but to say that it's an appearance only for the deluded means that Buddhas do not perceive conventional reality. This is refuted by Tsonghkapa and other authors. Furthermore, due to dependent relationship, ultimate truths cannot stand alone without conventional truths, so if you negate conventional truth you are inferring inherently existent ultimate truth, also impossible. In short, there are many unacceptable consequences to asserting ALL conventional truths to be only objects of a deluded mind.


First of all, in order to have a discussion about this, you have to be willing to consider that Tsong Khapa's presention is incomplete, or even mistaken, in some regards.

"Ultimate Truths" are actually conventional truths. All concepts, including the schema of the "Two Truths," are presentations of expedient meaning. There is no "Ultimate Truth" to stand alone in the first place. Emptiness of emptiness, you know? If there were an "Ultimate Truth" as a posited thing that permeated or was inseperable from phenomena, dependant origination could not function. Conventional truths are seeming. They are all phenomena, the transitory display of samsara, at all times empty of existence, yet appearing.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby conebeckham » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:48 pm

..and Astus, sorry for derailing the thread. I'm not sure that there are "good" Buddhist arguments for a certain view of conventional reality, as compared to other sorts of arguments. Karma, D.O., these things should appeal to those with a scientific mind, I think.
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