yadave wrote:I have a simple explanation for shared reality, you do not.
Sure I do: functionality.
BTW, you seem to think I am trying to convince you Madhyamaka is correct -- I am not -- I am trying to help you understand what Madhyamaka is actually pointing out. Madhyamaka is not necessarily the appropriate POV for all practitioners.
Namdrol wrote:So whatever clinging we have to any impermanent collection whether internal or external in terms of identity is certain to lead to suffering. This is the point of Madhyamaka i.e. to demonstrate that the beleif that attributions of identity onto impermanent collections are anything more than mere conventions is a delusion.
We agree on the internal part, we agree Madhyamaka extends this idea to external stuff, we've (hopefully) seen that I don't accept the latter, the meaning of "clinging to salt" is dubious and bears little relationship to "clinging to self" which, as you point out elsewhere, was Nagarjuna's main target in the first place.
The point was clinging to identity (atman). Atman, as you know, means self, it also means "essence" in Sanskrit, and it s synonym of svabhāva. This will be addressed below.
Namdrol wrote:Of course these conventions work, but they are no more real than the habit of the "I" we attribute to our personal collection of aggregates. The habit of "I" certainly works, but that "I" is not real. The imputation of salt onto a given collection we have chosen to call salt "works" but the "salt" can't be found apart from the imputation we make onto that collection so we can use it effectively.
This flattening of external into internal just doesn't work for me, Namdrol. It looks elegant on the surface but loses too much "reality". And I have a strong suspicion that you and I have just about the same "salt experience."
Of course we do. Conventional truth is called "conventional" (vyavahāra) because it is based on empirically observed functionality shared by common people's ordinary healthy sense perception. What Madhyamaka rejects is that there is an salt atman or svabhāva, and further observes that claims for the existence of salt, or anything else for that matter, quickly become entangled with identity propositions.
Namdrol wrote:Madhyamaka as a whole is an excercise in trying to introduce people to the real meaning of dependent origination i.e. the emptiness of persons and phenomena based in the Buddha's observation that statements about existence and non-existence were at odds with the real meaning of dependent origination.
Since there are no permanent phenomena, claims for the existence and non-existence of phenomena are completely naive on anything other than a conventional level.
"Permanent phenomena" is a straw man imho, a nonexistent used to assert something about existence. Impermanence is measurable, quantifiable, rocks persist longer than thoughts, let's not throw out the baby with the bath.
Yes, and for this reason, in the Majjhima Nikāya, the Buddha quips that if one must choose a self between the body and the mind, it is better to choose the body since it at least lasts for up to 80 years, whereas a thought lasts mere miliseconds.
But permanent phenomena is not such a straw man, since we see in physics a trend to try and prove "self-origination" through the big bang theory and so on.
Namdrol wrote:So you can keep insisting that salt harms snails as much as you like. Since you are making a conventional statement you are not going to get any complaint from me, but if you assert that there is saltiness in salt, for example, you have only two courses -- mire yourself in the myriad contradictions of asserting that there is an essence of salt or simply accede the point that "salt" is a conventional identity proposition that is at best a functional imputation and nothing more than that.
I think we're going in circles, Sir. There are salt molecules. "Essence" is your word, your quagmire, I was just offering something for it to mean wrt salt.
Not really, I am trying to explain to you that Madhyamaka states the self, the identity, the atman of any given phenomena, not merely personal phenomena, is merely an imputed label which derives from the functionality of that phenomena. The absence of identity in external phenomena does not obliterate them, indeed, from a Madhyamaka POV that absence of idenity is all that makes them possible since whatever conditioned phenomena there are must be dependently originated and hence, must lack an intrinsic or unique identity, a "self", an essence, an atman.
We are not asserting, for example that dependent phenomenon are in the class of children of barren women or horns on rabbits or other such total non-existents -- which I suspect is your fear.
Dependent phenomena are free from both existence and non-existence since dependent phenomena are empty of a self or svabhāva, in other words, when a salt molecule ceases, there is no atman of salt that continues, and there is no atman of salt that ceases. When a salt molecule perishes all that has happened is that the causes and conditions for producing salt have ceased. Cessations are absence of causes, and are not caused per se.
If phenomena were to exist, they would not need causes and conditions, and since phenomena appear to be produced from causes and conditions, they are not non-existent either. They are not both existent and non-existent, since this is just a summary of the first extreme, and they are not neither, since this is just a summary of the second.
Therefore, since we cannot say that phenomena fall into one of these four extremes, Nagarjuna states dependent origination is free from eight extremes: in dependent origination there is no ceasing, arising, annihilation, permanence, going, coming, difference or sameness. He praises the Buddha for giving such a teaching because it frees one from ontological doubts i.e. pacifies proliferation.
All I am trying to get you to understand is that emptiness means that when you examine some conventional entity, something that we would say "exists out there in shared reality", there is no underlying reality proping it, apart from being labeled on the basis of functional appearances, such conventional entities cannot be found.