Reasons for Conventional Reality

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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Josef » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:44 am

Namdrol wrote:
Old man and the sea?



Big Two Hearted River part one and two are Hemingway's best fishing stories.
Old Man is good but its no Two Hearted.

Consider this thread hijacked!
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Astus » Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:27 pm

Sherab wrote:I don't know about others, but I do try to establish for myself the reasonableness of various aspects of Buddhist teachings (e.g. cause and effect, impermance) and practices (e.g. rationale for yidam visualisation) through logical arguments/reasonings. But these logical arguments/reasonings cannot establish the validity of the teachings or practices.

In addition, the logical arguments/reasonings that I use for myself may not suit others because there are always assumptions upon which an argument/reasoning has to rest upon, and these assumptions may not make sense to or may not be accepted by others.

You may wish to ask yourself, how you yourself come to accept various aspects of Buddhist teachings.


It is possible to say that since ultimately nothing is established, one can come up practically anything and call it illusory conventional reality. However, there is a huge amount of "shared reality" that allows us to think there is a system in all this. In Buddhism the basis of everyday experience is karma, from karma arises the whole universe, and karma is based on the work of the mind. Mind also has its own organised functioning that is explained mainly in abhidharma and yogacara works. Now here is a problem that divides Buddhist thinkers, whether there is an outer reality independent of mind or not. Either case, it is difficult to explain the relationship either between a separate mind and outer things, or between personal and shared reality.

However, saying that nothing is ultimately established is not exactly correct because of dependent origination as the organising law of phenomena. But that is not enough to explain the mind-continuum as separate from the body, thus dependent origination is insufficient to be the basis of the Buddhist view of conventional reality. But perhaps if to this we add the existence of a mind-continuum we could be set.
"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 LastLegend » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:37 pm

I wonder why Buddha did not establish a basis Buddhist view for conventional reality.

Maybe we should not view mind as an entity.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Jnana » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:53 am

LastLegend wrote:I wonder why Buddha did not establish a basis Buddhist view for conventional reality.

He did. It's the first, second, and fourth noble truths: the noble truth of unsatisafactoriness (duḥkha āryasatya), the noble truth of the origin of unsatisfactoriness (duḥkhasamudaya āryasatya), and the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of unsatisfactoriness (duḥkhanirodhagāminī pratipadā āryasatya).
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby LastLegend » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:34 am

You are right.

I was responding to Astus' suggestion.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Virgo » Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:07 am

Good ol' reality. I love it.

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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Sherab » Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:34 am

Astus wrote:It is possible to say that since ultimately nothing is established, one can come up practically anything and call it illusory conventional reality. However, there is a huge amount of "shared reality" that allows us to think there is a system in all this. In Buddhism the basis of everyday experience is karma, from karma arises the whole universe, and karma is based on the work of the mind. Mind also has its own organised functioning that is explained mainly in abhidharma and yogacara works. Now here is a problem that divides Buddhist thinkers, whether there is an outer reality independent of mind or not. Either case, it is difficult to explain the relationship either between a separate mind and outer things, or between personal and shared reality.

However, saying that nothing is ultimately established is not exactly correct because of dependent origination as the organising law of phenomena. But that is not enough to explain the mind-continuum as separate from the body, thus dependent origination is insufficient to be the basis of the Buddhist view of conventional reality. But perhaps if to this we add the existence of a mind-continuum we could be set.

I do have a model in my mind of how the ultimate and the relative hang together, how it is possible for there to be some kind of external reality (the physical environment and the bodies of sentient beings) and for there to be some kind of internal reality (ordinary minds) with the external reality being independent of the internal reality and yet connected and ultimately not different. This model is built up over the years from my attempt to make pieces of ideas from the suttas, the sutras, tantras and dzogchen consistent with one another. To give an example, the model tries to make consistent the ideas of causality, dependent arising and lhundrup. It is still a work-in-progress though. So far I've only attempted to float the model to one person but have met with silence from that person thus far. Not sure if it was a polite silence :roll: :crazy: or a freak-out silence :shock: . :emb:
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby cloudburst » Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:07 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Sure he says he has no views:

gang gis thugs brtse nyer bzung nas/ /lta ba thams cad spang ba'i phyir/ /dam pa'i chos ni ston mdzad pa/ /gau ta ma de la phyag 'tshal lo

"I prostrate to Gotama, who, through his loving mind, taught the sublime Dharma in order to abandon all views".


Agree, Nagarjuna says Buddha taught methods to liberate from all views. I think the call for a definition of "view" is important in this discussion, because of course that must mean something other than "holding any position whatsoever," as Buddha, Nagarjuna, Chandra et al DO consistently hold positions, such as "if you do not attain liberation, you will suffer in Samsara."

There may be an argument that at a certain level of investigation this is not true, but no argument is ever put forth that this is not true conventionally, so conventionally, it IS a position.

Thus is it crucial to understand what is meant by "position," "view," "thesis," etc.
for if you hold that these masters did not have a view in any way, you are far afield indeed
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby wisdom » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:19 am

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?


The correct view in my opinion and based on my limited understanding would be the view in which conventional reality self liberates. Thats the union of appearance and emptiness, which is the Middle Way between eternalism and nihilism.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Malcolm » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:04 pm

Sherab wrote: To give an example, the model tries to make consistent the ideas of causality, dependent arising and lhundrup. It is still a work-in-progress though. So far I've only attempted to float the model to one person but have met with silence from that person thus far. Not sure if it was a polite silence :roll: :crazy: or a freak-out silence :shock: . :emb:


it is simple:

vidyā | avidyā
--- | ...
original purity | emptiness
natural formation | dependent origination
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 zangskar » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:57 pm

Astus, as I was surfing for more books to shell out on I stumbled on this one

Moonshadows: Conventional Truth in Buddhist Philosophy [Paperback]
The Cowherds (Author)
Oxford University Press 2011
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moonshadows-Con ... d_sim_b_10

In case it would be of interest to you

On this title it is possible to get a good look at the book by using the "search inside" function.

Product Description
The doctrine of the two truths - a conventional truth and an ultimate truth - is central to Buddhist metaphysics and epistemology. The two truths (or two realities), the distinction between them, and the relation between them is understood variously in different Buddhist schools; it is of special importance to the Madhyamaka school. One theory is articulated with particular force by Nagarjuna (2nd C CE) who famously claims that the two truths are identical to one another and yet distinct. One of the most influential interpretations of Nagarjuna's difficult doctrine derives from the commentary of Candrakarti (6th C CE). In view of its special soteriological role, much attention has been devoted to explaining the nature of the ultimate truth; less, however, has been paid to understanding the nature of conventional truth, which is often described as "deceptive," "illusion," or "truth for fools." But because of the close relation between the two truths in Madhyamaka, conventional truth also demands analysis. Moonshadows, the product of years of collaboration by ten cowherds engaged in Philosophy and Buddhist Studies, provides this analysis. The book asks, "what is true about conventional truth?" and "what are the implications of an understanding of conventional truth for our lives?" Moonshadows begins with a philosophical exploration of classical Indian and Tibetan texts articulating Candrakati's view, and uses this textual exploration as a basis for a more systematic philosophical consideration of the issues raised by his account.

Review
"Buddhist studies has evolved from offering reports of how Buddhists thought in past ages to contemporary engagement with the various traditions of Buddhism. It is delightful to follow this team of philosophers (each of whom is also a gifted historical scholar) as they grapple with one of the most subtle issues in traditional Asian Buddhism and explore its metaphysical, epistemological and ethical implications."
-- Richard Hayes, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of New Mexico

Amazon review
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for Madhyamikas, 30 Nov 2010
By Edward A. Arnold - Published on Amazon U.S.
This review is from: Moonshadows: Conventional Truth in Buddhist Philosophy (Paperback)
This eponymous collection is a collection by big names (Garfield, Tillemans, Newland) and younger colleagues (Takchoe, Westerhoff, etc) on the nature and importance of conventional truth in Nagarjuna studies specifically following Candrakirti's exegesis. This is an important contribution in that it highlights the practical relevance of Madhyamaka study for everyday transactions with conventional reality. A couple of chapters veer into territory mostly aimed at high level philosophy students, but most have an eye to the knowledgeable student of Buddhist studies. If you know the work of Nagarjuna, Candrakirti and Tsongkhapa, then do not miss this volume, for it unpacks with clarity some of the central issues that have concerned the great minds of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism since Nagarjuna's foundational text.
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Re: Reasons for Conventional Reality

Postby Astus » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:25 am

zangskar wrote:Astus, as I was surfing for more books to shell out on I stumbled on this one

Moonshadows: Conventional Truth in Buddhist Philosophy [Paperback]
The Cowherds (Author)
Oxford University Press 2011
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moonshadows-Con ... d_sim_b_10

In case it would be of interest to you


Thank you, great recommendation!
"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 gad rgyangs » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:19 am

Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
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