If we acknowledge even conventionally that things has no intrinsic existence (no basis), how can we still say conventionally things exist?
This is like trying to say "This corner has no color. But it is red".
If this corner has no color, you should say there is no red.
Similarly, if we acknowledge even conventionally that things have no intrinsic, we should say things doesn't exist even conventionally.
If we say things don't exist, but on the other side, we say it exist conventionally, we just create unnecessary problem. In daily life, you will confuse.
Dalai Lama in Practising Wisdom said
".... According to Prasangika-Madyamikas, however, since self-existence, or intrinsic existence, is denied EVEN ON THE CONVENTIONAL LEVEL, ......"
The fight between Svatrantika Madyamika and Prasangika Madyamika is on the conventional truth.
According to Svatrantika, conventional truth is divided into 2: (Relative truth, ultimate truth - Geshe Tashi Tsering, page 115)
1. Real conventional truth
2. Unreal conventional truth.
Things such as tables, chairs, books, are real conventional truth. Why this is said real? Because that is how things appear to the consciousness.
Reflection of face, an illusion created by a magician are unreal conventional truth. Why this is said unreal? Because even a worldly consciousness can understand the are unreal.
This is the problem with Svatrantika. The problem is Real conventional truth. According to Svatrantika, there is something called real in conventional truth. There is a SUBTLE existence there. This is where Chandrakirti step in, and kick all these non-sense.
In contrast, Prasangika Madyamika proponents make no such division. For them ALL conventional truth are UNREAL. Why? Because they are all falsity. THERE IS NO ACTUAL TRUTH IN THE NATURE OF CONVENTIONAL TRUTH.
So, if we take an example about tree.
For Svatrantika Madyamika: Yes, this is INDEED tree. Conventionally, this is real
But for Prasangika: Sorry, THIS IS NOT TREE. Although they say this is tree, deep inside their heart they know this not tree. For them, they always say false things in this samsara. Why? Because for them all conventional are false and unreal.
This is the beauty between Conventional and ultimate truth in Prasangika. They support each other. Although they say this is this or this is that, they know exactly all of them are false and unreal.
Prasangika is very different with Nihilist. The difference is very subtle.
We need to know the meaning of lack of inherent existence.
When we say: This table is empty.
Prasangika means: This table is SIMPLY doesn't have essence or inherent existence. They do not deny the UNEXPLAINABLE appearance.
Nihilist means: This table not only doesn't have inherent existence, but it also doesn't have appearance.
This nihilist is crazy. They are like blind. They have eyes to see appearance, but they deny the appearance.
But, if you look into it, Nihilist and Prasangika are actually very close. The distance between them is actually just "1 second" walk.
For normal people, they have a lot of difficulty in understanding emptiness. Why?
Because they use the meaning of emptiness as understood in daily life.
In daily life, if we say things are empty, it means it COMPLETELY BLANK.
This is not the meaning of emptiness in buddhism.
The meaning of emptiness in buddhism just means PLEASE ONLY NEGATE 1 thing, and that thing is INHERENT EXISTENCE.
If we negate more than that, you are already out of track.
So, Prasangika and Nihilism is completely different. Prasangika prefer to use empty-(unexplainable)-appearence.
In terms of conventional truth, for Prasangika everything is FALSE and UNREAL. So, the conventional truth for Prasangika Madyamika ALWAYS negative.
If Prasangika scholar speak to Prasangika scholar, they will say conventionally cannot be express. Or they can say things don't exist even conventionally. But, if in daily life to normal people, you say this table not exist, they will say you are crazy. So they have no choice to say this is exist, but deep inside their heart, they know they are saying bullshit.
If you know the story of Zen Master Bodhidharma with the Chinese King, it is very interesting.
This chinese king has built so many monastery and good deed. He asked Bodhidharma - how big is my merit?
Bodhidharma replied: THERE IS NO MERIT.
This is conventional truth (according to Bodhidharma). However, since he use that conventional truth to the ignorant king, this king got angry, and dismiss this Bodhidharma.
If Bodhidharma use the tactic of Prasangika Madyamika, like saying Yes, there is merit. The king will not kick him out.
However, since Bodhidharma wanted to show the king the true meaning of Buddha dharma, he has no choice to tell the truth of the truth even conventionally by saying there is no merit.
If you think about it, you will think there is a merit. This is wrong.
In reality, indeed there is no merit. You cannot find even a single dot of entity called merit.
Just as you receive merits, which you consider to be truly existent from making offerings to a Buddha, which you also consider to be truly existent, so we receive ILLUSION-LIKE MERITS from making offering to an ILLUSION-LIKE Buddha.
Illusion is never ever real. Similarly, merit is also never ever real.
By using this fancy word called MERIT, ignorance people who grasp things in their mind, we blindly do something good.
THis is in fact a very good trick to make people do good things.
For Buddha, he does things not for the sake of merit, because he knows there is no such thing called merit, he do it naturally.
For normal people, if no merit, sorry, it is better I sleep.
FOr us, by doing good things, we receive merit such as good life free from problem. This good life we called it merit.
But if you think about it deeply, there is no such thing called good life and bad life. When there is no good life and bad life, where is the function of merit?
I am very impressed with this Zen master, in this link when he said this in the first 2 minutes:
"... Actually this joy and this suffering, they are the same..."
This is another talk by young Kalu Rinpoche when he said about offering.
Compassion is not done for the sake of merit.
Merit action is poisonous and deluded.
As long as we still think there is something called merit, or good, or bad, the understanding of emptiness is just words.