Emptiness in Yogacara

A forum for scholastic discussion/debate.

Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby conebeckham » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:34 pm

Some "Yogacaras" don't posit that Mind ultimately exists, I should point out. Or, so say some Tibetan commentators. The standard objection of some Tibetan "Prasangika Madhyamika adherents" often ignores this....
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2458
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Conventional & Ultimate Truth

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:42 pm

conebeckham wrote:Some "Yogacaras" don't posit that Mind ultimately exists, I should point out. Or, so say some Tibetan commentators. The standard objection of some Tibetan "Prasangika Madhyamika adherents" often ignores this....



What they propose is that a mind freed from subject object transforms into wisdom, and if this wisdom does not really exist, liberation is impossible. In order for this wisdom to exist, then the mind out of which wisdom is transformed necessarily must exist. Yogacara thus becomes a non-dual realist system. This is not simply a prasanga disctinction -- this is a universal mahdyamaka charge against the treatises of yogacara.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Conventional & Ultimate Truth

Postby gad rgyangs » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:51 pm

Namdrol wrote:What they propose is that a mind freed from subject object transforms into wisdom, and if this wisdom does not really exist, liberation is impossible. In order for this wisdom to exist, then the mind out of which wisdom is transformed necessarily must exist. Yogacara thus becomes a non-dual realist system. This is not simply a prasanga disctinction -- this is a universal mahdyamaka charge against the treatises of yogacara.

N


"transforms into wisdom" or "is revealed as wisdom"?
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
User avatar
gad rgyangs
 
Posts: 737
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: Conventional & Ultimate Truth

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:08 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
Namdrol wrote:What they propose is that a mind freed from subject object transforms into wisdom, and if this wisdom does not really exist, liberation is impossible. In order for this wisdom to exist, then the mind out of which wisdom is transformed necessarily must exist. Yogacara thus becomes a non-dual realist system. This is not simply a prasanga disctinction -- this is a universal mahdyamaka charge against the treatises of yogacara.

N


"transforms into wisdom" or "is revealed as wisdom"?


Transforms.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Conventional & Ultimate Truth

Postby conebeckham » Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:23 pm

Mahayanasutralamkara, VI. 8:

The mind that is aware that nothing other than mind exists.
Then, it is realized that mind does not exist either.
The intelligent ones are aware that both do not exist
and abide in the Dharmadhatu, in which these are absent.


This would lead to "revealed," rather than transformed, yes?
Though it's true the Yogacara texts are constantly going on about the "fundamental change of state."
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2458
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Conventional & Ultimate Truth

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:01 pm

conebeckham wrote:Mahayanasutralamkara, VI. 8:

The mind that is aware that nothing other than mind exists.
Then, it is realized that mind does not exist either.
The intelligent ones are aware that both do not exist
and abide in the Dharmadhatu, in which these are absent.


This would lead to "revealed," rather than transformed, yes?
Though it's true the Yogacara texts are constantly going on about the "fundamental change of state."


My repsonse to this is the evidence provided in the Madhyāntavibhagatīka:

As it is said:

    "The imagination of the unreal exists,
    duality does not exist in that,
    emptiness exists in this,
    that also exists in that.

Now then, the imagination of the false means the concept of an apprehended object and the apprehending subject. Duality means free from a real apprehended object and an apprehending subject. Emptiness means the imagination of the false being free from a real apprehended object and an apprehending subject. "That also exists in that" means the imagination of the false. As such, that non-existence of something somewhere, that is truly seeing the empty truly just as it is. Whatever remains here, that is understood just as it truly is to exist here. As such, the characteristic of emptiness is demonstrated without mistake.

    Not empty and not not empty,
    in that way is everything explained,
    because of existence, because of non-existence, because of existence,
    that is the middle path.

"It is not empty" means emptiness and the imagination of the false. "It is not not-empty" means duality i.e. the apprehended object and an apprehending subject. 'Everything' means 'the imagination of the false' is the conditioned and 'emptiness' is the unconditioned. 'Explained' means demonstrated. 'Exists' means the imagination of the false. 'Non-existence means duality. 'Existence' means emptiness exists in the imagination of the false, and the imagination of the false exists in that too. "That is the middle path" means everything is not only empty.
Last edited by Malcolm on Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Conventional & Ultimate Truth

Postby conebeckham » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:27 pm

conebeckham wrote:Mahayanasutralamkara, VI. 8:

The mind that is aware that nothing other than mind exists.
Then, it is realized that mind does not exist either.
The intelligent ones are aware that both do not exist
and abide in the Dharmadhatu, in which these are absent.


This would lead to "revealed," rather than transformed, yes?
Though it's true the Yogacara texts are constantly going on about the "fundamental change of state."


And further-
Mahayanasutralamkara, XIII 18-19:

When Murky water becomes clear,
It's transparency does not arise from elsewhere,
But is just its becoming free from pollution.
The same goes for the purity of your own mind.

It is held that mind, which is always naturally luminous,
Is (only) blemished by adventitious flaws.
It is stated that there is no other mind apart from
the naturally luminous mind of dharmata.


In fact, Eighth Karmapa's commentary on the Abhisamayalamkara indicates that it is a mistake to think that, for instance, the Alayavijnana turns into Mirror-like wisdom, as many Mahamudra practitioners do. He says it is "not possible within the sphere of knowable objects that something impure turns into something pure," or vice versa.

Now, regarding the Nonconceptual Wisdom, or the "naturally luminous mind of dharmata," whether one says it is "transformed" (a result) or merely "revealed"--and I vote for "revealed"--it would seem that Yogacara texts posit it's existence. However, from the Mahayanasutralamkara, IX 24-25:

Therefore, Buddhood is said to be
Neither existent nor nonexistent.

Just as with the subsiding of heat in iron
And blurred vision in the eyes,
The mind and wisdom of a Buddha
Are not said to be existent or nonexistent.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2458
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Conventional & Ultimate Truth

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:30 pm

conebeckham wrote:
In fact, Eighth Karmapa's commentary on the Abhisamayalamkara indicates that it is a mistake to think that, for instance, the Alayavijnana turns into Mirror-like wisdom, as many Mahamudra practitioners do. He says it is "not possible within the sphere of knowable objects that something impure turns into something pure," or vice versa.


This nevertheless is the fault of the yogacara school, the inner contradiction of their position that dependent nature must exist since it is what imagines the false. You must read very carefully what Vasubandhu says in the citation above.

The Karmapa's commentary, incidentally, will be based on either Ārya Vimuktisena's commentary Haribhadr's or a combination of both, depending whether he prefers a three kāya scheme following the former, or a four kāya scheme following the latter, so his commentary on that will hardly be relevant here.

We are discussing what Yogacara scholars say about their own texts.
Last edited by Malcolm on Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby conebeckham » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:35 pm

Do we agree that the real question, regarding Yogacara, is not whether Buddhahood is the result of transformation or revalation, but whether Yogacaras posit an absolute existent, such that they are to be considered "realists?"
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2458
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:37 pm

conebeckham wrote:Do we agree that the real question, regarding Yogacara, is not whether Buddhahood is the result of transformation or revalation, but whether Yogacaras posit an absolute existent, such that they are to be considered "realists?"


The two questions are inextricably related. The Tibetan gzhan stong debates have caused the issue to become skewed.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby conebeckham » Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:08 pm

Mahayanasutralamkara, IX. 24:

Therefore,, buddhahood is said to be
Neither existent nor nonexistent.
So, upon such questions about the Buddha,
the principle of being undecidable is held.


Forgetting Shentong positions, of which, by the way, there are a great variety--as I understand it, Dolpopa's does not equal Rangjung Dorje's (who never even used the words "Shentong" or "Rangtong") does not equal Shakya Chogden's does not equal Jamgon Kongtruls'--, the above quote seems to support that the Buddha, the Dharmakaya, is beyond extremes.

Regarding your comments about the internal contradiction in the three natures, my understanding of the Three Natures is that the False Nature is purely imaginary, thus obviously nonexistent, the Dependent nature is empty dependent origination, and the Perfect nature is neither existent nor nonexistent. The False Nature rests upon the Dependent Nature, but the dependent nature is illusory appearance, while the False nature is imputation. We could say that the Dependent Nature is the mere appearance and function, the conventional "reality" of the Madhyamikas. The False Nature is a conceptual elaboration upon Mere Appearance, the Dependent nature. Neither one need be said to "exist" ultimately for this scheme to function.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2458
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:25 pm

conebeckham wrote:Regarding your comments about the internal contradiction in the three natures, my understanding of the Three Natures is that the False Nature is purely imaginary, thus obviously nonexistent, the Dependent nature is empty dependent origination, and the Perfect nature is neither existent nor nonexistent.


And this is a perfectly gzhan stong interpretation.

The way this is parsed in authentic Yogacara texts is that the non-existence of the imagined in the dependent is the perfected nature. Hence the citation above states that the imagination of the false is empty and not empty as well has existence, non-existence, and as well as existence.

The ālayavijñāna is the dependent nature; when the seeds within it are exhausted, there is a transformation in the basis, it's nature as the ālayavijñana ceases, becoming wisdom. Why? The Yogacara designate the ālayavijñāna based upon the storage of seeds. When there are no more seeds, then there is no basis for designation of a container or storage place of seeds. What remains is a non-dual consciousness. That is not longer termed "mind", it is now termed "wisdom".

The sole thing that is refuted by the Yogacara school as being non-existent is duality. Duality does not exist in the imagination of the unreal. But the imagination itself exists. It's emptiness is soley emptiness of the unreal.

For this reason then we can understand their school is a non-dual realism i.e. "everything is not only empty".
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby gad rgyangs » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:17 pm

Namdrol wrote:
The ālayavijñāna is the dependent nature; when the seeds within it are exhausted, there is a transformation in the basis, it's nature as the ālayavijñana ceases, becoming wisdom. Why? The Yogacara designate the ālayavijñāna based upon the storage of seeds. When there are no more seeds, then there is no basis for designation of a container or storage place of seeds. What remains is a non-dual consciousness. That is not longer termed "mind", it is now termed "wisdom".



this still doesn't sound like a transformation, rather the dependent designation "alaya", made on the aggregate of seeds, was never real to begin with, nothing but a prapanca. therefore, it cannot transform into wisdom, since it was parikalpita all along. and, since them "seeds" are no different, the whole paratantra thing was parikalpita from the start.
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
User avatar
gad rgyangs
 
Posts: 737
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby Malcolm » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:41 pm

gad rgyangs wrote: the whole paratantra thing was parikalpita from the start.


This is one reason I find it unrewarding to have this discussion, as most people are incapable of weeding out how gzhan stong pas present the three natures [as you have above] and the way Yogacara scholars in India actually present them.

If, as you suggest, paratantra is parikalpita, then you are asserting that parinispanna is also completely non-existent. Why? Because the yogacara authors very clear explain that the absence parikalpita in paratantra is parinispanna. This bears that consequence that paratantra must exist.

In any event, I did not invent the term āśrayaḥ parivarta. You can blame Yogacarins for that. If you carefully examine their literature, they are indeed asserting that there is a transformation of the kind described. This is especially clear in the Mahāyāna samgraha.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Conventional & Ultimate Truth

Postby Anders » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:10 am

Namdrol wrote:
conebeckham wrote:
In fact, Eighth Karmapa's commentary on the Abhisamayalamkara indicates that it is a mistake to think that, for instance, the Alayavijnana turns into Mirror-like wisdom, as many Mahamudra practitioners do. He says it is "not possible within the sphere of knowable objects that something impure turns into something pure," or vice versa.


This nevertheless is the fault of the yogacara school, the inner contradiction of their position that dependent nature must exist since it is what imagines the false. You must read very carefully what Vasubandhu says in the citation above.

The Karmapa's commentary, incidentally, will be based on either Ārya Vimuktisena's commentary Haribhadr's or a combination of both, depending whether he prefers a three kāya scheme following the former, or a four kāya scheme following the latter, so his commentary on that will hardly be relevant here.

We are discussing what Yogacara scholars say about their own texts.


I freely admit, I am more interested in interpreting Yogacara prescriptively than descriptively. So my point of curiosity in this is: Without regard for what yogacara scholars may be saying about their own texts, is yogacara necessarily realist?

Ie, you say yogacara goofed on the whole transformation thing, but did they have to commit this fallacy to retain the integrity of their system or not? I am thinking of passages like this from the platform sutra:

    Although the sixth and seventh are transformed within the cause, the [first] five and the eighth are transformed on the basis of the result. Only the names are transformed; the [consciousnesses] are not transformed in their essences.)

Which strikes me as a simple solution to the controversy. If it is indeed so, it does make me wonder why the yogacarins were allegedly so vested in not opting for this solution.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
User avatar
Anders
 
Posts: 651
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: Conventional & Ultimate Truth

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:18 am

Anders Honore wrote:
I freely admit, I am more interested in interpreting Yogacara prescriptively than descriptively. So my point of curiosity in this is: Without regard for what yogacara scholars may be saying about their own texts, is yogacara necessarily realist?



Yes, as your citation below shows.

Ie, you say yogacara goofed on the whole transformation thing, but did they have to commit this fallacy to retain the integrity of their system or not? I am thinking of passages like this from the platform sutra:

    Although the sixth and seventh are transformed within the cause, the [first] five and the eighth are transformed on the basis of the result. Only the names are transformed; the [consciousnesses] are not transformed in their essences.)

Which strikes me as a simple solution to the controversy. If it is indeed so, it does make me wonder why the yogacarins were allegedly so vested in not opting for this solution.



This passage means that Yogacarins are cittamatrins.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:28 am

Namdrol wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote: the whole paratantra thing was parikalpita from the start.


This is one reason I find it unrewarding to have this discussion, as most people are incapable of weeding out how gzhan stong pas present the three natures [as you have above] and the way Yogacara scholars in India actually present them.

If, as you suggest, paratantra is parikalpita, then you are asserting that parinispanna is also completely non-existent. Why? Because the yogacara authors very clear explain that the absence parikalpita in paratantra is parinispanna. This bears that consequence that paratantra must exist.



not so fast, Kimosabe. You said:

The Yogacara designate the ālayavijñāna based upon the storage of seeds. When there are no more seeds, then there is no basis for designation of a container or storage place of seeds.


if the alaya is a designation only, then what kind of reality does it have beyond being parikalpita? if the seeds that are the basis of that designation is what is being called paratantra then, when there are "no more seeds", what is left? you said "a non-dual consciousness... now called wisdom" but what is that basis for that designation?
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
User avatar
gad rgyangs
 
Posts: 737
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:08 am

gad rgyangs wrote:
if the alaya is a designation only, then what kind of reality does it have beyond being parikalpita? if the seeds that are the basis of that designation is what is being called paratantra then, when there are "no more seeds", what is left? you said "a non-dual consciousness... now called wisdom" but what is that basis for that designation?


The non-dual consciousness is present from the beginning. This is why Yogacaras use the three own natures.

Paratantra is not parikalpita. Please dont confuse yourself and others by misusing these terms.

"The imagination (parikalpita) of the unreal exists (paratantra),
duality does not exist (parinispanna) in that (paratantra).

Therefore, the basis of the designation for wisdom is paratantra in which the seeds have been removed [as the result of the transformation in the basis]. When the seeds have not been removed, paratantra is termed ālayavijñāna. The other seven consciousnesses are termed parikalpita, they are themselves the seeds which function dualistically.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:07 am

well, yes, thats what they say, but I'll be damned if it makes any sense at all.
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
User avatar
gad rgyangs
 
Posts: 737
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: Emptiness in Yogacara

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:47 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:well, yes, thats what they say, but I'll be damned if it makes any sense at all.



It makes sense: for them, paratantra is like a cloth; when it is dirty it is made dirty through the imagination of the false; but the dirt does not inhere to the cloth, when it is removed, it is perfect.

In reality, it is just an attempt to explain the Buddha's statement here:

[i]"Luminous, monks, is the mind. [paratanta] And it is defiled by incoming defilements." [parikalpita]

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. [paratanta] And it is freed from incoming defilements." [parinispanna]

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Thanissaro mentions that the commentaries mention that this refers to the bhavanga citta, and we know for a fact that the Asanga equates the bhavanga citta with the ālayavijñāna.

For the yogacara, the emptiness of the mind lies in its innate freedom from affliction, this is why in the passage above that I introduced Vasubandhu terms this emptiness "unconditioned" while the imagination of the false is termed "conditioned".
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Next

Return to Academic Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

>