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Jikan wrote:Concerning the famous debate between Hashang Mahayana (Moheyan) and Kamalasila at Samye:
Some sources (the mainstream or institutional Tibetan ones) hold that Hashang lost, and "Hashang's view" became an epithet for an unacceptable view in Tibetan scholarly discourse.
Other sources (mostly Chinese from what I have gathered) have argued that Hashang indeed won, and that his view is not only good Dharma, but superior to Kamalasila's position.
All of this I have gathered from second or third or fourth-hand sources. I'd like to know if there are any primary-source accounts of this exchange that would let us separate the generalizations that are attributed to both parties from their actual views. Or if there are any Tibetan teachers who have reason to second-guess the straightforward rejection of Hashang's position.
I'm asking because in Sky Dancer, Keith Dowman suggests that perhaps Dzogchen is closer to Hashang's view than the institutionalized gradual approach... I'm curious to find out if this is only one man's opinion, or if there's more to it than that. Thanks.
During the debate, Kamalaśīla asked what was the cause of saṃsāra by the symbolic action of whirling his staff around his head. [Hashang] answered that it was the apprehender and apprehended by the symbolic action of shaking his robe out twice. It is undeniable that such a teacher was of the sharpest faculties. If the non-recollection and non-mentation entail the offense of rejecting the wisdom of differentiating analysis, then the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras of the Conqueror also entail this fault. Therefore, what the view of Hashang actually was can be known by a perfect buddha, and no one else.
Jikan wrote:Keith Dowman suggests that perhaps Dzogchen is closer to Hashang's view than the institutionalized gradual approach... I'm curious to find out if this is only one man's opinion, or if there's more to it than that. Thanks.
If Jigme Lingpa and Longchenpa held Hashang in such high regard, he probably can't be totally wrong
During the early period of the Tibetan assimilation of Buddhism, the confrontation between such conflicting approaches to awakening had reached something of a climax in the so-called bSam yas debate, as we previously noted in examining early Tibetan debates over nonconceptuality. Our focus in the present context is confined to the question of how rNying rna path hermeneutics positioned itself in relation to the two poles of the controversy. In this regard, one must at the outset take note of the general disinclination on the part of early rDzogs chen commentators on the controversy such as gNubs Sangs rgyas ye shes to take either side of the sudden/gradual polarity . This is hardly suprising given that the categories of gradual and sudden were not primarily employed in rDzogs chen works to demarcate religious traditions but to distinguish swifter (more immediate) and slower (more mediated) methods of propounding and/or realizing a given teaching in line with the differing capacities of individuals or of a single individual as he or she progresses along the path. In other words, whether a given teaching was taught and practiced in a step-by-step or all-at once fashion depended on the capacities of the aspirant to realize the teaching directly and the capacities of the teacher to facilitate such realization.
In light of these considerations, it is not surprising that when the 'sudden' and 'gradual' rubrics were used to define schools of Buddhism, the early rDzogs chen author were inclined to view them as caricatural one-sided positions that fail to capture the complexity of the Buddhist path or the human beings who pursue it. Recall that gNubs Sangs rgyas ye shes went so far as to declare in his 1 0th c . bSam gtan mig sgron that both the gradualist Mahayanist path and simultaneist Chinese path represent deviations (gol sa) from the more inclusive rDzogs chen perspective.565 His relatively low evaluation of both gradualist and subitist approaches in contrast to the allegedly superior Vajrayana and rDzogs chen systems is reflected in his aforementioned hierarchy of the Buddhist traditions prevalent in Tibet during his time (late 9th to early 10th c .) .