Malcolm wrote: Kenneth Chan wrote:
Since self and inherent existent are synonyms, if there is a valid basis for designating a self there should be a valid designation for designating inherent existence since a self and internet existence are one and the same thing.
Instead Candra rejects all bases of designation of a self, asserting in its place that the imputation of self needs to no basis of designation because it is wholly unreal.
Some people get confused about this point because it is certain that the thought of a self arises in dependence on appearances which are mistakenly designated a self, but in fact there is no valid basis of designation a self. Those who do not understand this point do not understand the profound point of Prasanga.
Malcolm, how did you come to the conclusion that "self and inherent existent are synonyms"? Please explain.
Also, what exactly do you mean by "valid
basis" and "valid
designation"? In terms of the ultimate truth, of course, we can say that there is no valid basis, no valid designation, no basis of designation, etc, etc. Because all things are empty of inherent existence, we can always say no
this and no
that, and no one can dispute it. But what exactly is the point you are trying to make?
The self proposed by ātmanāvadins is permanent, unchanging, and unconditioned, just the way inherent existence is defined.
I think this only means that “self” and “inherent existence” have similar properties. That does not mean that they are synonyms.
As someone mentioned before, Bhavaviveka asserts that consciousness is a suitable conventional basis for designation a self, but Candra rejects this and asserts out there is no suitable basis for designating a self, even conventionally.
Actually I think you may not be putting this properly by saying that “there is no suitable basis for designating a self.” What Chandrakirti is saying is that without the consciousness labelling
the object, there is nothing existing from the object’s own side. In other words, there is
a basis for the designation of a self, but this basis is also empty of inherent existence, in the sense that there is nothing existing from its own side. The self exists purely imputed
by the conventional consciousness.
Svatantrika Madhyamaka explains dependent arising on two levels. Things are dependently arisen because they depend on causes and conditions, and because they depend on their parts. Prasangika Madhyamaka accepts these two levels of dependent arising, but they take it one step further, and say that things are dependently arisen because they also depend
on the conventional consciousness that labels
them. Without this consciousness labelling the thing, there is nothing existing from the thing’s own side. That is what is meant by the “I” existing in mere name only.
Instead Candra says that I-making is a habit which imputes a nonexistent. He also claims this habit is capable of generating karma and experiencing its ripening. The habit of course is a dependently originated phenomena, but the I which it imputes does not exist at all. Likewise, the imputation of inherent existence arises in dependence, but that imputation is a false one, like the imputation of self.
I don’t think that Chandrakirti is saying that “the I which it imputes does not exist at all.” What he is saying is that the existence of the “I” depends purely upon the imputation of the mind that apprehends it. The “I” does not have an intrinsic nature that exists from its own side. But that does not
mean that the “I” is completely nonexistent. It is, however, empty of inherent existence because it depends upon causes and conditions, because it depends upon its aggregates, and
because it depends
upon the imputation of the consciousness that labels it
. That is why the "I" exists in mere name only.
It is, in fact, this understanding that things exist only in dependence upon the imputation by the conventional consciousness that makes Madhyamika philosophy fit so well with quantum mechanics. The collapse of the wave function
, which Heisenberg likens to the transition from the “possible” to the “actual,” only occurs upon the actual measurement or observation by the conscious observer. This means that this process of transition from the “possible” to the “actual” is a process of dependent arising that depends on the mind of the observer.