Conceptuality in Buddhism

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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Tom » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:51 am

tobes wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
tobes wrote:Otherwise, we're sort of playing this game where we have to pretend that there never was a historical Buddha talking to historical people - replacing that with a more mystical or abstract idea of a buddha who never has an empirical context.
Well that's more or less what happens in the Mahayana isn't it? Shakyamuni was a Buddha in some pure land and appeared on earth to "apparently" become enlightened and "apparently" teach in order to "apparently" liberate? Wasn't that the reason that the tahagatagarbha or pure land "salvation" theories had to be "invented"? The Theravadra ideal seems infinitely "simpler" in this regard: Shakyamuni was a "regular" dude (with some heavy duty positive acts in the past to back him up) that was born, grew up, practiced, gained enlightenment and taught the method of enlightenment to regular dudes that then developed into regular saints.
:namaste:


Right - there's a lot at stake here, soteriologically. And it gets interesting with respect to Nagarjuna, because the difference you're pointing to is fundamentally related to whether there is or is not causal efficacy. So I actually think this is more a very foundational metaphysical issue, as opposed to competing ideals or cosmologies. Later Prasangika interpretations more or less tacitly accept the tathagatagarbha theory - but I don't necessarily think that it's there in Nagarjuna......which means that enlightenment is causally produced, not uncovered.

:anjali:


Can you step through why positing Shakyamuni Buddha as a Nirmanakaya entails a metaphysical position that denies causal efficacy
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby catmoon » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:16 am

Or maybe the uncovering occurs due to causes and conditions.
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby tobes » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:18 am

Tom wrote:
Can you step through why positing Shakyamuni Buddha as a Nirmanakaya entails a metaphysical position that denies causal efficacy


Well, that's not what I'm saying - I don't see any logical connection between the idea of Shakyamuni Buddha as a nirmanakaya and the denial of causal efficacy. What I'm alluding to is the (possible) distinction between Nagarjuna and later Prasangikas on the question of pratityasamudpada - which gets cached out with respect to the status of samvriti-satya. i.e. is dependent origination an illusion or not?
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby tobes » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:27 am

catmoon wrote:Or maybe the uncovering occurs due to causes and conditions.


But in saying that something is uncovered, we are already implicitly asserting a mind. Whether it is awakened due to causes and conditions or spontaneously is quite secondary - the assertion is there and does a great deal of the philosophical work.

Why is that a problem?

Well, it's not.

It just so happens that I don't find such an assertion in Nagarjuna, but I do in Chandrakirti; and it doesn't seem to me to be an insignificant difference.

:anjali:
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:26 pm

Tom wrote:Can you step through why positing Shakyamuni Buddha as a Nirmanakaya entails a metaphysical position that denies causal efficacy
Coz if you have to be a Buddha to be enlightened then how can a non-Buddha, through causes and conditions (like accumulations) become enlightened? Using causal means to give rise to something that has no cause and condition (tathagatagarbha) goes against Nagarjunas basic principles.
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Or words to that effect!
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Tom » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:18 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Tom wrote:Can you step through why positing Shakyamuni Buddha as a Nirmanakaya entails a metaphysical position that denies causal efficacy
Coz if you have to be a Buddha to be enlightened then how can a non-Buddha, through causes and conditions (like accumulations) become enlightened? Using causal means to give rise to something that has no cause and condition (tathagatagarbha) goes against Nagarjunas basic principles.
Image
Or words to that effect!


So you consider Nirmanakya uncaused then.
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:26 pm

Tom wrote:So you consider Nirmanakya uncaused then.
Well it sems that you obviously don't, so what is its cause then?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Tom » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:40 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Tom wrote:So you consider Nirmanakya uncaused then.
Well it sems that you obviously don't, so what is its cause then?


I think that conclusion follows from your reasoning - correct me if I misunderstand you.

This conclusion seems problematic in this context - As I have previously mentioned, Santideva for example, explains the appearance of the Buddha is due to the previous prayers of the Bodhisattva and the disciples situation.

"Just as a wish fulfilling gem, or a wish granting tree satisfies desires, so the image of the Jina is seen, because of his vow and his disciples." (9:35)

but let's not rehash. If I misunderstood your reasoning let me know.
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:19 pm

Tom wrote:"Just as a wish fulfilling gem, or a wish granting tree satisfies desires, so the image of the Jina is seen, because of his vow and his disciples." (9:35)
If a Nirmanakaya is a manifestation of a Buddhas enlightened nature (unconditioned), then how can it arise on dependence on causes and conditions (vows and disciples)? According to Nagajuna this is impossible. It falls into one of the extremes of the tetralema: it's unconditioned and arises based on the unconditioned, it's conditioned and arises based on the unconditioned, its unconditioned and arises due to causes and conditions (conditioned), or it is neither unconditioned nor does it arise on the basis of causes and conditions (conditioned).
Image
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Tom » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:07 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Tom wrote:"Just as a wish fulfilling gem, or a wish granting tree satisfies desires, so the image of the Jina is seen, because of his vow and his disciples." (9:35)
If a Nirmanakaya is a manifestation of a Buddhas enlightened nature (unconditioned), then how can it arise on dependence on causes and conditions (vows and disciples)? According to Nagajuna this is impossible. It falls into one of the extremes of the tetralema: it's unconditioned and arises based on the unconditioned, it's conditioned and arises based on the unconditioned, its unconditioned and arises due to causes and conditions (conditioned), or it is neither unconditioned nor does it arise on the basis of causes and conditions (conditioned).
Image


So I understood you - for you the Nirmanakaya is uncaused.

My thought was that this position is difficult to hold if you consider the Nirminakaya as the appearance to an ordinary mind.
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:20 pm

Tom wrote:So I understood you - for you the Nirmanakaya is uncaused.
Seems, to me, to be uncaused. I am open to other options if you care to explain them.
My thought was that this position is difficult to hold if you consider the Nirminakaya as the appearance to an ordinary mind.
Appearance of a manifestation. Theoretically (and once again, please correct me if I am wrong) for one to sense, there has to be a sense object.

Just to be clear, I am making this s**t up as I go along based on my meager knowledge. Please feel free to prove me wrong.
Image
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:41 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Tom wrote:So I understood you - for you the Nirmanakaya is uncaused.
Seems, to me, to be uncaused. I am open to other options if you care to explain them.
My thought was that this position is difficult to hold if you consider the Nirminakaya as the appearance to an ordinary mind.
Appearance of a manifestation. Theoretically (and once again, please correct me if I am wrong) for one to sense, there has to be a sense object.

Just to be clear, I am making this s**t up as I go along based on my meager knowledge. Please feel free to prove me wrong.
Image



In general Mahāyāna, the dharmakāya comes from the wisdom accumulation while the rūpakāya (both the sambhogakāya and the nirmankāya) arise from the accumulation of merit.

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