Sherab wrote: ↑Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:16 am
As to your argument quoted above, are you saying that:
(1) It is not possible to gain insights from meditation when the meditator merely follows the meditation instructions from his teacher?
That depends on the instruction -- for example, there is no reason to assume anyone will give rise to vipaśyāna solely on the basis of śamatha instructions.
(2) The so-called village meditators in Tibet were purportedly illiterate ordinary folks were not really illiterate ordinary folks and the stories have not even the tiniest element of truth?
Even the greatest scholar is ordinary if they have not realized the path of seeing. If those stories contain instructions which present the enumerated ultimate, it is possible that such illiterate folks will awaken if they meditate accordingly.
(3) Those who do not comprehend tantric sadhanas should not have any expectation of realization when they are given the sadhanas as a practice commitment? If so, why did the guru bother to give the commitment in the first place?
Insights gained from tantric practice are based in the example wisdom introduced at the time of the third and fourth empowerment, but this example wisdom is conceptual; not nonconceptual— hence the term "word empowerment."
(4) Faith by itself can never be a valid path even if that faith is placed on an enlightened being?
Faith is part of the merit accumulation, so, it is an indirect cause.
(5) If all beings have Buddha nature, that nature cannot be accessed in any other way except through intellectual comprehension? (I am assuming here that by comprehension as regards to mundane people, you are referring to intellectual comprehension and no other form of comprehension. If you are indeed referring to other form of comprehension, then you should have made it clear from the start.)
Tathāgatagarbha cannot be seen by any one other than buddhas. It is clearly taught it is something we are to have faith in. It is not something we can directly perceive.
As to the root of our argument, this is how I see it:
(1) When you say that the ultimate truth is a conventional truth, while you are using conventions in your argument, your argument as I see it, is a statement of ontology. Your statement points to the what ultimate truth actually is. Your statement says that ontology of ultimate truth is the ontology of relative truth. If so, your statement should be amended to "the nature of the ultimate truth is the nature of the relative truth". Here veridical cognition is required to ascertain both the nature of the ultimate truth and the nature of relative/conventional truth.
I am not making an ontological statement, and neither is Nāgārjuna, it is rather a statement of pedagogy.
(2) If by ultimate truth, you are referring to the enumerated ultimate truth (the intellectual understanding of ultimate truth or ultimate truth as a concept. Here non-veridical cognition is all that is required.), then yes, the statement that the ultimate truth is a conventional truth can apply.
I have provided adequate citations that indicate that the only ultimate truth which can be referred to is the enumerated ultimate. The non-enumerated ultimate cannot be put into words.
The questions I have for you then are:
(1) When you make your statement that "the ultimate truth is conventional truth", were you referring to the actual inexpressible ultimate truth or were you referring to the enumerated ultimate truth?
Since I was using words, I was referring the enumerated ultimate. Of course, even the non-enumerated ultimate is merely the direct perception of the emptiness of a given conventional thing.
(2) If you were referring to the enumerated ultimate truth, are you saying that that is the conventional use of the term ultimate truth? That when the label ultimate truth is used, it should always be treated as enumerated ultimate truth unless otherwise stated? If so, any reader should be able to go to any sutras and commentaries and substitute every instance of the label "ultimate truth" with "enumerated ultimate truth" and the sutra or commentary will still make sense?
Anytime you see the ultimate truth expressed in words, it needs to be understood as an example ultimate.
The term "ultimate truth" simply represents a limit of analysis, btw. This is why the ultimate truths of śrāvakas are overthrown by Madhyamaka. Madhyamaka is the only school also which uses no affirming negations but only non-affirming negations.
The main thrust of my point however is that without intellectual comprehension of the example ultimate, the actual ultimate truth cannot be realized. Thus, we have to accept the conventional ultimate as necessary since it is functional in the production of the result, nirvana.