Reasons for Conventional Reality

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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Acchantika » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:03 am

gad rgyangs wrote:
Acchantika wrote:This

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/assertion/

and perhaps this

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-higher-order/

may be helpful to understand the kinds of statements I believe are being referred to.


Ok, according to the first page you link to, it says "An assertion is a speech act in which something is claimed to hold...in an assertion it is asserted that so-and-so"


It continues:

    2.1 Presupposition

    A sentence such as

    (4) Kepler died in misery

    is not true unless the singular term ‘Kepler’ has reference.

If we consider this in terms of your examples, we remember that Nagarjuna spent the previous 23 chapters negating the possibility of a referent.

So taken in context, they cannot be said to be asserting something.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Jnana » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:08 am

gad rgyangs wrote:oops, sorry, but in any case it ain't the Theravada forum...

You don't accept the Pāli Nikāyas as Buddhadharma???
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Astus » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:32 am

Sherab wrote:Here's how I see it:

Buddhist view of conventional reality is the same as the ordinary man's view of conventional reality. It is what is generally accepted by ordinary people. Why? How can there be any other type of conventional reality given the meaning of convention.

Things like the five elements, skandhas etc are conventional reality in the past in India. Given the progress in science, no one who has undergone a "modern" education would really hold that fire is an element or water is an element and so forth. So conventional reality changes with time.

So is there a need to establish a correct view of conventional reality, Buddhist or otherwise? No, conventional reality is what is generally agreed upon i.e. the convention. It is accepted as such without proof. It is accepted as such because it is what is commonly accepted.

What happens if you try to talk to a modern man of science using conventions prevalent at the time of the Buddha, using terms like the five elements as if they are the current convention? The man will probably think that you are caught in a time warp, and rightly so.


Good point, it is conventional without the need to be proved. However, many believe that there is only body (materialism - annihilationism), that there is an eternal soul (eternalism), a creator god (theism), etc., that are contrary to the Buddhist view but could be called conventional. Thus there is correct and incorrect view of conventional reality, and having right or wrong view is karmically important. It is also important in order to make any sense of the path to liberation, since it relies on several concepts of conventional truth.
"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 Sherab » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:05 am

Astus wrote:Good point, it is conventional without the need to be proved. However, many believe that there is only body (materialism - annihilationism), that there is an eternal soul (eternalism), a creator god (theism), etc., that are contrary to the Buddhist view but could be called conventional. Thus there is correct and incorrect view of conventional reality, and having right or wrong view is karmically important. It is also important in order to make any sense of the path to liberation, since it relies on several concepts of conventional truth.


By the very definition of convention, there can be no one conventional truth since different groups of people can hold different conventional truths. Even within each group, there could be different sub-groups that hold different conventional truths.

So what is correct view of conventional reality to one group can be incorrect view of conventional reality to another.

How then can one group win over another group to its own view of conventional reality? One way is through the scientific method. The other is through the use of logical arguments. Neither approach can provide 100% proof but both can provide the comfort of a high probability of correctness of a theory/view. In Buddhism, the approach is through the use of logical arguments. However, for Mahayanists, even conventional reality is deluded, hence the use of the consequence or prasanga method which merely shows the absurdity of an opponents' view of conventional reality without proposing one's own view of conventional reality.

That's how I see it.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Astus » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:45 am

Sherab,

If in your interpretation conventional reality is only defined by agreement between people and nothing else, even causality can't be established, not to mention morality and karma. Those are the very bases of all Buddhist practice without which there can be neither sravakas nor bodhisattvas. Madhyamaka reasoning is great once the fundamental doctrines are clarified, but before that it's pointless to discuss emptiness. So instead of quotes and arguments about Buddhist sophisms one should first of all investigate the crude basics.
"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 zangskar » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:24 am

Interesting question! ( if I understand it right :-) )

Astus wrote:If in your interpretation conventional reality is only defined by agreement between people and nothing else, even causality can't be established, not to mention morality and karma. Those are the very bases of all Buddhist practice without which there can be neither sravakas nor bodhisattvas. Madhyamaka reasoning is great once the fundamental doctrines are clarified, but before that it's pointless to discuss emptiness. So instead of quotes and arguments about Buddhist sophisms one should first of all investigate the crude basics.

Trying to understand what your aim is, is it: how are the conventional truths associated with Buddhism 'proved' or argued for (regardless of the fact that they are ultimately held to be 'wrong')? I.e. what methodology (if any) is used in Buddhist doctrine to arrive at these conventional truths?

Is what you are looking for some explicit, written down philosophy of the conventional? Or is it what one could call the actual and perhaps tacit methodology, that would have to be discovered and elucidated through hermeneutic study of the texts?

It's not that I think I can contribute to the discussion I just want to know if I understand you correctly. :)
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Astus » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:40 am

zangskar wrote:Trying to understand what your aim is, is it: how are the conventional truths associated with Buddhism 'proved' or argued for (regardless of the fact that they are ultimately held to be 'wrong')? I.e. what methodology (if any) is used in Buddhist doctrine to arrive at these conventional truths?

Is what you are looking for some explicit, written down philosophy of the conventional? Or is it what one could call the actual and perhaps tacit methodology, that would have to be discovered and elucidated through hermeneutic study of the texts?


Yes, you understand the question correctly. The second part, not necessarily needed.
"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 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:23 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Madhyamakas do not have views.
N


Ok, lets approach it this way: since Madhyamikas make all sorts of statements about the nature of reality (dependent origination, emptiness, etc), then, for you, a "view" is not a statement about the nature of reality. What is a "view" to you then?


Dependent origination is not a view. It is the pacification of views. Emptiness is not a view, it is the pacification of views. This is stated countless times in Madhyamaka texts.

Where there is no view, there is no proliferation. Where there is no proliferation, there is no view.

view = proliferation.

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 gad rgyangs » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:41 pm

Acchantika wrote:If we consider this in terms of your examples, we remember that Nagarjuna spent the previous 23 chapters negating the possibility of a referent.


...which is, of course, itself a view.
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby gad rgyangs » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:46 pm

Jnana wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:oops, sorry, but in any case it ain't the Theravada forum...

You don't accept the Pāli Nikāyas as Buddhadharma???


1) My point was if someone is going to wade into a Madhyamaka discussion waving a Pali sutta quote portraying the Buddha saying "you shouldn't debate", then I don't see the relevance.

2) If, by "Buddhadharma" you mean "what we take as a corpus of texts reporting the sayings of someone called 'Buddha'", then yes, I consider them as Buddhadharma.
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby gad rgyangs » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:48 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Dependent origination is not a view. It is the pacification of views. Emptiness is not a view, it is the pacification of views. This is stated countless times in Madhyamaka texts.

Where there is no view, there is no proliferation. Where there is no proliferation, there is no view.

view = proliferation.

N


You still haven't defined what you consider a "view" to be. If its not "a statement about the nature of reality/how things are", then what is it? And "proliferation" basically just means "other people's views that you don't agree with", so thats not a definition.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Malcolm » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:06 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Dependent origination is not a view. It is the pacification of views. Emptiness is not a view, it is the pacification of views. This is stated countless times in Madhyamaka texts.

Where there is no view, there is no proliferation. Where there is no proliferation, there is no view.

view = proliferation.

N


You still haven't defined what you consider a "view" to be. If its not "a statement about the nature of reality/how things are", then what is it? And "proliferation" basically just means "other people's views that you don't agree with", so thats not a definition.


A view is a position concerning either existence or non-existence, that is the basis of all views. Madhyamakas do not have views concerning either.

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 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:36 pm

Namdrol wrote:A view is a position concerning either existence or non-existence, that is the basis of all views. Madhyamakas do not have views concerning either.


Should add that it's independent existence and total annihilation. But to say that "there is no self" is not a position of non-existence, i.e. annihilation, and to say that "phenomena are inter-dependent" is not a position of existence, i.e. eternal self-sufficient being.
"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 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:55 pm

Astus wrote:
Namdrol wrote:A view is a position concerning either existence or non-existence, that is the basis of all views. Madhyamakas do not have views concerning either.


Should add that it's independent existence and total annihilation. But to say that "there is no self" is not a position of non-existence, i.e. annihilation, and to say that "phenomena are inter-dependent" is not a position of existence, i.e. eternal self-sufficient being.


As I have pointed out from time immemorial bhāva is included with svabhāva by Nāgārjuna.

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 conebeckham » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:25 pm

Acchantika wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Prasangikas, including the original Madhyamikas--Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, etc.--make no statements, therefore they avoid consequences. Thus, No view.


they "make no statements"????? I see what you mean about being funny! seriously, though, you might want to actually look at a Madhyamaka text sometime instead of just repeating Tibetan knee-jerk responses.


This

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/assertion/

and perhaps this

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-higher-order/

may be helpful to understand the kinds of statements I believe are being referred to.


BINGO!, and, thank you.
For the record, I've looked at Madhyamaka texts. In Tibetan. And in English translation. I don't read Sanskrit.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby conebeckham » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:42 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:BTW starting a sentence with "Prasangikas, including the original Madhyamikas.." is wrong in so many ways...


Historically, it's wrong, certainly, from the POV of Tibetan enumerations, etc.
But there's a point to my "anti-historical grammatical construction." Perhaps you didn't get it.

In my view, Nagarjuna was the original Madhyamika (well, okay, Buddha Sakyamuni, perhaps.....but anyway, from the POV of lineage of "philosophical schools" as understood academically, in both Western and Tibetan realms of academe...) --and also was "A Prasangika," i.e., he was not concerned with making any positive assertions--in fact, his methodology was quite the opposite. That's what a Prasangika does.

In my view, those who call themselves Prasangika Madhyamikas, in large part the Gelukpas, are not, in fact, Prasangikas. Most of those who call themselves "just" Madhyamikas are, in fact, those who use the method of showing consequences.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Acchantika » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:57 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
Acchantika wrote:If we consider this in terms of your examples, we remember that Nagarjuna spent the previous 23 chapters negating the possibility of a referent.


...which is, of course, itself a view.


Negating something does not necessarily equal affirming its absence.
...
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Malcolm » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:04 pm

Acchantika wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
Acchantika wrote:If we consider this in terms of your examples, we remember that Nagarjuna spent the previous 23 chapters negating the possibility of a referent.


...which is, of course, itself a view.


Negating something does not necessarily equal affirming its absence.



Agreed, a negation does not entail possession of a view. According to Rongzom, so called non-affirming negation is used to reject an opponents POV. The affirming negation is used to prove one's own view. According to him, Madhyamalas only use the former and never the latter in reference to reality. He also points out that they accept the consequence that their own position is harmed i.e. they do not maintain a position but purely maintain a critical stance.

But right from the beginning there was rebellion against this, for example, the harsh criticism of Candrakirti found in the colophon of the translation of Ratnakarashanti's Madhyamakalamkara.

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 gad rgyangs » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:08 am

Namdrol wrote:A view is a position concerning either existence or non-existence, that is the basis of all views. Madhyamakas do not have views concerning either.

N


Well right off the bat in 1.1 he is taking a position saying "does not exist", whereas he could have said if he wanted to "is not found", so by this definition MMK is still full of views.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:10 am

Acchantika wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
Acchantika wrote:If we consider this in terms of your examples, we remember that Nagarjuna spent the previous 23 chapters negating the possibility of a referent.


...which is, of course, itself a view.


Negating something does not necessarily equal affirming its absence.


commenting at all on the way in which something does or does not exist is itself a view.
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