How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

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Kenneth Chan
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:57 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Bakmoon wrote:His first sentence is a correct presentation of Gelug Madhyamaka. The second one I would take issue with because the conventional sense in which things are not refuted in Gelug Madhyamaka is really not some kind of ontological existence at the level of convention, because this unrefuted 'leftover' is just the designation of 'table', not an actual table. As long as this key point is born in mind, I think it isn't worth arguing over purely semantic issues. However, it is vital that these subtleties in Gelug are properly understood. Je Tsongkhapa's presentation of Madhyamaka is valid IMO, but that doesn't mean that everyone's understanding of it is.

Well, what is the object that bears the designation?

Isn't this like asking again for something that exists from the object's own side? There is nothing that exists from the object's own side. Let me quote from Geshe Tashi Tsering again:
For Prasangika Madhyamaka, the existence of things is completely due to the conventional consciousness. There is nothing - not a tiny bit - from the object's own side. It is purely imputed by the conventional consciousness.

This is, in fact, why Prasangika Madhyamaka fits so well with quantum mechanics. Without the actual observation by the mind of the observer, the transition (in Heisenberg's words) from the "possible" to the "actual" does not occur.

Kenneth Chan
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:12 pm

cloudburst wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Bakmoon wrote:The question is whether or not negating inherent existence is a sufficiently broad negation.

The question also is whether or not asserting that the ultimate is only the negation of inherent existence leaves the consequence of asserting that the ultimate is a nonexistence.

This is not an important question as lack of inherent existence has the same meaning as freedom from extremes.

Exactly. If there is nothing existing from the object's own side, Malcolm, what else are you suggesting needs to be negated?

jmlee369
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby jmlee369 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:06 pm

Kenneth Chan wrote:
Bakmoon wrote:All Madhyamikas, both Gelug and non-Gelug, regard the terms "inherent existence", "true existence", "existence from its own side", and "findability under analysis" as being synonyms, and that includes Malcolm. The issue is not whether or not inherent existence is refuted. We all agree that it is. The question is whether or not negating inherent existence is a sufficiently broad negation.

Glad to hear that. Does that mean then that you agree that this comment below by conebeckham is a misrepresentation of the Gelug interpretation?:
conebeckham wrote:For example, the convention "Table" is not empty of "table" in TsongKhapa's system, but instead, it is empty of "inherent Table." One is then left with a table--which somehow exists or bears ontological meaning.


I'm wading out of my comfort zone here, but conebeckham's presentation is in fact accurate from the Gelug side. When the Gelugpas negate inherent existence, we do not negate the existence of the table, which we assert must be maintained to prevent the extreme of nihilism by over-negation. Unfortunately, I do not have access to my texts to back up my point. My best response as to what remains after negating inherent existence is dependently arising mere existence (something that non-Gelugpas have a big problem with). That is to say, when ordinary people perceive phenomena, we do not see the way in which they actually exist, because our mind's ignorance obscures that reality by positing at an inherent existence. Once we remove that ignorance from our mind, then we see the way those phenomena truly exist, merely labelled dependent arisings. Non-Gelugpas say that once the ignorance is removed, there are no further phenomena to be perceived.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Jeff H » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:53 pm

Reviewing volume 3, chapter 12 of the Great Treastise, here's what I found.

The two truths address different isolates of the same object. Rational analysis only addresses the thing’s ultimate mode of existence. It only searches for the demonstrable essence of a thing. In contrast, relative truth is left to deal with the functionality of dependent arisings. Tsongkhapa says that reason cannot negate the objects of the ordinary world which must be dealt with and overcome by method practices, not wisdom practices. Rational analysis refutes only exactly what it seeks: the essential nature of a thing. It cannot refute the functional aspect that worldly people must still contend with.
In the Great Treatise, v.3,p158-9, Tsongkhapa wrote:Candrakirti’s Explanation of the ‘Middle Way’ Commentary says:
We have endured great hardship in order to overturn worldly conventionalities. Please, you eliminate worldly conventionalities. If the world does not contradict you, then we will join you. However, the world does contradict you.

The statement, ‘We have endured great hardship in order to overturn worldly conventionalities,’ refers to striving at the path in order to purify mistaken subjects, such as visual consciousnesses, and mistaken appearances of objects, such as forms. Hence we do not assert that these are objects that are refuted by reason. Rather, we consider them objects that are negated by the cultivation of the path.
The statement, ‘Please, you eliminate worldly conventionalities,’ answers those Cittamatrins who draw the following parallel: ‘If you Madhyamikas refute substantially existent dependent entities, then we will use reason to refute your conventionalities.’ Candrakirti replies, ‘We can refute the intrinsic existence of dependent entities; if you can use reason to give a similar refutation of conventionalities, then we will go along with you.’ He means that if reason could refute conventionalities, we would want that, as it would render unnecessary the hardships involved in cultivating the path in order to overcome them. Therefore, this passage shows that reason does not refute conventionalities.
Since it does not refute them, Candrakirti says that what is commonly known in the world contradicts any attempt to refute them. Hence, conventional knowledge contradicts any apparently reasonable argument to that effect. We therefore assert that conventional knowledge is more powerful than those arguments. Consequently, when essentialists use rational analysis to refute conventional phenomena such as external objects, reason does not find those conventional phenomena, but it does not contradict them.
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Bakmoon » Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:02 am

conebeckham wrote:
Bakmoon wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Well, what is the object that bears the designation?

'Table' is designated on appearances.

Accepted only at the level of convention, of worldly people, correct? In other words, both the appearance, and the imputed concept, are thoroughly false?

They are false with respect to the question of ontological status, but they are reliable in ways other than that. For example, an imputed table is able to support objects.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:11 am

jmlee369 wrote:
conebeckham wrote:For example, the convention "Table" is not empty of "table" in TsongKhapa's system, but instead, it is empty of "inherent Table." One is then left with a table--which somehow exists or bears ontological meaning.

I'm wading out of my comfort zone here, but conebeckham's presentation is in fact accurate from the Gelug side. When the Gelugpas negate inherent existence, we do not negate the existence of the table, which we assert must be maintained to prevent the extreme of nihilism by over-negation. Unfortunately, I do not have access to my texts to back up my point. My best response as to what remains after negating inherent existence is dependently arising mere existence (something that non-Gelugpas have a big problem with). That is to say, when ordinary people perceive phenomena, we do not see the way in which they actually exist, because our mind's ignorance obscures that reality by positing at an inherent existence. Once we remove that ignorance from our mind, then we see the way those phenomena truly exist, merely labelled dependent arisings. Non-Gelugpas say that once the ignorance is removed, there are no further phenomena to be perceived.

When Gelugpas negate inherent existence, the true existence of the object is negated. The problem is that you appear to be considering this "dependently arising mere existence" to have true existence. "Dependent arising" is not something that exists from its own side; it is also empty of inherent existence and does not have true existence. In other words, this "dependent arising" is not something that, in turn, needs to be negated; it is understood to be something whose true existence is already negated.

Perhaps this passage from my paper ( http://kenneth-chan.com/physics/direct- ... mechanics/ ) may help give a correct sense of what I mean:

What “illusion-like” means is that our reality is what would be suggested by the phrase “an interplay between the elements,” only that we need to also remove the term “the elements” from the phrase. In other words, there is just the “interplay” without any inherently existing elements. To most people, this would be a revolutionary way of thinking, but Madhyamika philosophy is meant to revolutionise our way of thinking, in the same way that quantum mechanics also requires a revolution in our way of thinking.

We normally think of “an interplay” as being an interaction between inherently existing entities, but in Madhyamika philosophy, these interacting entities themselves are also empty of inherent existence. There is thus just the interplay between elements that are themselves also not existing on their own right. That is one sense of the phrase “like an illusion.” It is important to understand Madhyamika philosophy in this manner. (end of quote)

I should also add here that the "interplay" itself is empty of inherent existence, lacks true existence, and does not exist from its own side.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby boda » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:27 am

Kenneth Chan wrote:What “illusion-like” means is that our reality is what would be suggested by the phrase “an interplay between the elements,” only that we need to also remove the term “the elements” from the phrase. In other words, there is just the “interplay” without any inherently existing elements. To most people, this would be a revolutionary way of thinking...

Really? I think most people could understand their bodies as a collection of interplaying organs, or an interplay of cells, chemicals, molecules, atom, quantum particles, etc. Most also understand an interplay of elements is transitory in nature.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:30 am

boda wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:What “illusion-like” means is that our reality is what would be suggested by the phrase “an interplay between the elements,” only that we need to also remove the term “the elements” from the phrase. In other words, there is just the “interplay” without any inherently existing elements. To most people, this would be a revolutionary way of thinking...

Really? I think most people could understand their bodies as a collection of interplaying organs, or an interplay of cells, chemicals, molecules, atom, quantum particles, etc. Most also understand an interplay of elements is transitory in nature.

You are missing the point. It is not the interplay per se that is a revolutionary way of thinking. It is the fact that the "elements" in the interplay do not inherently exist. In fact, it is more like we only have the interplay, with no elements at all.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby jmlee369 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:58 am

Kenneth Chan wrote:
jmlee369 wrote:
conebeckham wrote:For example, the convention "Table" is not empty of "table" in TsongKhapa's system, but instead, it is empty of "inherent Table." One is then left with a table--which somehow exists or bears ontological meaning.

I'm wading out of my comfort zone here, but conebeckham's presentation is in fact accurate from the Gelug side. When the Gelugpas negate inherent existence, we do not negate the existence of the table, which we assert must be maintained to prevent the extreme of nihilism by over-negation. Unfortunately, I do not have access to my texts to back up my point. My best response as to what remains after negating inherent existence is dependently arising mere existence (something that non-Gelugpas have a big problem with). That is to say, when ordinary people perceive phenomena, we do not see the way in which they actually exist, because our mind's ignorance obscures that reality by positing at an inherent existence. Once we remove that ignorance from our mind, then we see the way those phenomena truly exist, merely labelled dependent arisings. Non-Gelugpas say that once the ignorance is removed, there are no further phenomena to be perceived.

When Gelugpas negate inherent existence, the true existence of the object is negated. The problem is that you appear to be considering this "dependently arising mere existence" to have true existence. "Dependent arising" is not something that exists from its own side; it is also empty of inherent existence and does not have true existence. In other words, this "dependent arising" is not something that, in turn, needs to be negated; it is understood to be something whose true existence is already negated.

Perhaps this passage from my paper ( http://kenneth-chan.com/physics/direct- ... mechanics/ ) may help give a correct sense of what I mean:

What “illusion-like” means is that our reality is what would be suggested by the phrase “an interplay between the elements,” only that we need to also remove the term “the elements” from the phrase. In other words, there is just the “interplay” without any inherently existing elements. To most people, this would be a revolutionary way of thinking, but Madhyamika philosophy is meant to revolutionise our way of thinking, in the same way that quantum mechanics also requires a revolution in our way of thinking.

We normally think of “an interplay” as being an interaction between inherently existing entities, but in Madhyamika philosophy, these interacting entities themselves are also empty of inherent existence. There is thus just the interplay between elements that are themselves also not existing on their own right. That is one sense of the phrase “like an illusion.” It is important to understand Madhyamika philosophy in this manner. (end of quote)

I should also add here that the "interplay" itself is empty of inherent existence, lacks true existence, and does not exist from its own side.


When I said that something exists, I really did mean that it simply or merely exists, not that it truly or inherently exists. Gelugpas do assert that something can merely exist without truly existing. This is one of the things non-Gelugs object to.

To draw on one of Malcolm's favourite rebuttals to the Gelug view, he gives the example that in the case of water, since it is perceived as pus by pretas, nectar by gods, and water as humans, it does not exist at an ultimate level. The Gelug view is that while the perception of pus, nectar, and water are false projections of an inherently existing thing in the ignorant mind of ordinary beings, there is a basis on which the notion of inherent existene is being projected. That basis, which is obscured to those of us blinded by ignorance, merely exists, but not in a way that we can comprehend in our ignorance. Once we attain the wisdom of an arya, we will perceive that basis as it really is.

Of course, everyone has to simply take my word that this is the Gelug view, and I welcome any corrections. However, once I can access copies of Tsongkhapa's works, I will provide quotations. Alternatively, you can seek out a geshe and ask them directly regarding this matter (though the language barrier may complicate things). In the meantime, may I suggest Alexander Berzin's (very brief) summary of the differences between the Gelug and non-Gelug traditions regarding 'Prasangika Madhyamaka Concerning Conventional Existence and Voidness'.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:59 am

jmlee369 wrote:When I said that something exists, I really did mean that it simply or merely exists, not that it truly or inherently exists. Gelugpas do assert that something can merely exist without truly existing. This is one of the things non-Gelugs object to.

Here is exactly where the difference between Prasangika Madhyamaka and Svatantrika Madhyamaka becomes crucial. Your description of things sounds like Svatantrika Madhyamaka, but Gelugpas accept Prasangika Madhyamaka as correct. Look at this quote from Geshe Tashi Tsering:
For Bhavaviveka and Svatantrika Madhyamaka, on the ultimate level things are absent of true existence, while on a conventional level, things have intrinsic or inherent nature. For Chandrakirti and Prasangika Madhyamaka, things are absent of true existence on both an ultimate and a conventional level.


The same applies to Malcolm's example that you provide.
jmlee369 wrote:To draw on one of Malcolm's favourite rebuttals to the Gelug view, he gives the example that in the case of water, since it is perceived as pus by pretas, nectar by gods, and water as humans, it does not exist at an ultimate level. The Gelug view is that while the perception of pus, nectar, and water are false projections of an inherently existing thing in the ignorant mind of ordinary beings, there is a basis on which the notion of inherent existence is being projected. That basis, which is obscured to those of us blinded by ignorance, merely exists, but not in a way that we can comprehend in our ignorance. Once we attain the wisdom of an arya, we will perceive that basis as it really is.

Malcolm's example again sounds like Svatantrika Madhyamaka. It is not Prasangika Madhyamaka. Here is Geshe Tashi Tsering again:
for Svatantrika, an object has a certain degree of existence from its own side while at the same time depending on the unmistaken consciousness that apprehends it. When these two come together, an object exists.

For Prasangika Madhyamaka, the existence of things is completely due to the conventional consciousness. There is nothing - not a tiny bit - from the object's own side. It is purely imputed by the conventional consciousness.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby jmlee369 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:42 am

Kenneth Chan wrote:
jmlee369 wrote:When I said that something exists, I really did mean that it simply or merely exists, not that it truly or inherently exists. Gelugpas do assert that something can merely exist without truly existing. This is one of the things non-Gelugs object to.

Here is exactly where the difference between Prasangika Madhyamaka and Svatantrika Madhyamaka becomes crucial. Your description of things sounds like Svatantrika Madhyamaka, but Gelugpas accept Prasangika Madhyamaka as correct. Look at this quote from Geshe Tashi Tsering:
For Bhavaviveka and Svatantrika Madhyamaka, on the ultimate level things are absent of true existence, while on a conventional level, things have intrinsic or inherent nature. For Chandrakirti and Prasangika Madhyamaka, things are absent of true existence on both an ultimate and a conventional level.


The same applies to Malcolm's example that you provide.
jmlee369 wrote:To draw on one of Malcolm's favourite rebuttals to the Gelug view, he gives the example that in the case of water, since it is perceived as pus by pretas, nectar by gods, and water as humans, it does not exist at an ultimate level. The Gelug view is that while the perception of pus, nectar, and water are false projections of an inherently existing thing in the ignorant mind of ordinary beings, there is a basis on which the notion of inherent existence is being projected. That basis, which is obscured to those of us blinded by ignorance, merely exists, but not in a way that we can comprehend in our ignorance. Once we attain the wisdom of an arya, we will perceive that basis as it really is.

Malcolm's example again sounds like Svatantrika Madhyamaka. It is not Prasangika Madhyamaka. Here is Geshe Tashi Tsering again:
for Svatantrika, an object has a certain degree of existence from its own side while at the same time depending on the unmistaken consciousness that apprehends it. When these two come together, an object exists.

For Prasangika Madhyamaka, the existence of things is completely due to the conventional consciousness. There is nothing - not a tiny bit - from the object's own side. It is purely imputed by the conventional consciousness.


My assertion is not that things have inherent existence on a conventional level while being empty on an inherent level. Otherwise, I would have said that things inherently exist/truly exist/exist from their own side conventionally after analysis has negated inherent existence. My apologies if we are talking past each other/I'm missing your point. It's a bit difficult to keep track of variously translated terms without reference to the original Tibetan.

To quote from the Berzin link I posted earlier:
Prasangika asserts that the two truths (bden-gnyis) – superficial truths (kun-rdzob bden-pa, Skt. samvrtisatya; relative truths, conventional truths) and deepest truths (don-dam bden-pa, Skt. paramarthasatya; ultimate truths) – share the same essential nature (ngo-bo gcig), but are different conceptually isolated items (ldog-pa tha-dad). In reference to any validly knowable phenomenon, they refer, respectively, to its mode of appearance (snang-tshul) and its mode of existence (gnas-tshul), namely its voidness. Thus, the two truths are different objects of cognition, cognized with respect to any validly knowable phenomenon. In general, the non-Gelug traditions assert that Madhyamaka differentiates the two truths on the basis of the minds that cognize them: they are two different modes of perceiving (mthong-tshul). Superficial truth is the mode of perceiving of a mind under the influence of murky-mindedness (rmongs-pa, dumbfounded), in other words a mind that is obscured regarding deepest truth. Deepest truth is the mode of perceiving of the deep awareness (ye-shes) of an arya – namely, the deep awareness that nonconceptually cognizes nonduality: inseparable voidness and appearance (snang-stong dbyer-med) and inseparable awareness and voidness (rig-stong dbyer-med). Gelug agrees that the superficial truth of a phenomenon is how it appears to unawareness (ma-rig-pa, ignorance) and deepest truth is how the phenomenon appears to the deep awareness of an arya; but, nevertheles, neither truth invalidates the conventional existence (tha-snyad-du yod-pa) of phenomena, which are merely like an illusion. The non-Gelug traditions assert conventional existence to literally be an illusion.

Emphasis my own.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:38 pm

jmlee369 wrote:When I said that something exists, I really did mean that it simply or merely exists, not that it truly or inherently exists. Gelugpas do assert that something can merely exist without truly existing. This is one of the things non-Gelugs object to.

Let us compare what you wrote with the quote from Geshe Tashi Tsering:
For Prasangika Madhyamaka, the existence of things is completely due to the conventional consciousness. There is nothing - not a tiny bit - from the object's own side. It is purely imputed by the conventional consciousness.

If the Prasangika Madhyamaka view is that nothing exists from the object's own side, what do you mean by "Gelugpas do assert that something can merely exist without truly existing"? And what is this thing that "non-Gelugs object to"? Are you sure you are not misrepresenting the Gelug interpretation?

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Jeff H » Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:43 pm

Kenneth Chan wrote:
jmlee369 wrote:When I said that something exists, I really did mean that it simply or merely exists, not that it truly or inherently exists. Gelugpas do assert that something can merely exist without truly existing. This is one of the things non-Gelugs object to.

Let us compare what you wrote with the quote from Geshe Tashi Tsering:
For Prasangika Madhyamaka, the existence of things is completely due to the conventional consciousness. There is nothing - not a tiny bit - from the object's own side. It is purely imputed by the conventional consciousness.

If the Prasangika Madhyamaka view is that nothing exists from the object's own side, what do you mean by "Gelugpas do assert that something can merely exist without truly existing"? And what is this thing that "non-Gelugs object to"? Are you sure you are not misrepresenting the Gelug interpretation?

I think jmlee369 is exactly right, and so are you. Please see my post here which is a direct quote of Tsongkhapa commenting on a line from Chandrakirti. This is from chapter 12 in the Great Treatise, "Ration Analysis". Reason is only capable of refuting a mental construct, namely inherent existence, and it is only accessible to "tenet holders" and those who intentionally search for a phenomenon's ultimate mode of existence.

That process does not address the conventional functionality that all unenlightened beings are confronted with daily. Conventional functionality is also empty, lacking even the slightest self-nature, but it cannot be counteracted with rational analysis, it requires method practices. This is what is meant by "mere existence".

Svatantrika's assert that in order to correctly label a phenomenon there must be some characteristic from the side of the phenomenon that makes it suitable for a particular label. They say that if the phenomenon of a dog did not possess the qualities of a dog, we could just as well label it a cat. Prasangika rejects that position asserting there is nothing whatsoever from the object's side.
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Minobu » Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:19 pm

Kenneth Chan wrote:When Gelugpas negate inherent existence, the true existence of the object is negated. .


I never heard of this term in any Buddhist text , or quantum theory papers.
the true existence of the object

what exactly is true existence? One needs to be very careful in choosing words to teach someone a Buddhist View.

you do realize Buddhism is a philosophy and Madhyamika is a view .
when the term
inherent existence
is used , it is taught in terms of a teaching , it is used to develop a view.
you are speaking in scientific terms , which brings you to use the term "True existence", quite loosely as I see it.

i use what i glom from quantum physics to enhance my Madhyamika view of life as I dwell in it and more aptly , PRACTICE BUDDHISM in "IT"
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Let us die to make things cheap
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:27 pm


Svatantrika's assert that in order to correctly label a phenomenon there must be some characteristic from the side of the phenomenon that makes it suitable for a particular label.


No one in Indian Madhyamaka makes any such claim.
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Matt J » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:19 am

So then what is the basis for designation of a dog?

Jeff H wrote:Svatantrika's assert that in order to correctly label a phenomenon there must be some characteristic from the side of the phenomenon that makes it suitable for a particular label. They say that if the phenomenon of a dog did not possess the qualities of a dog, we could just as well label it a cat. Prasangika rejects that position asserting there is nothing whatsoever from the object's side.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Kenneth Chan » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:15 am

Jeff H wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:
jmlee369 wrote:When I said that something exists, I really did mean that it simply or merely exists, not that it truly or inherently exists. Gelugpas do assert that something can merely exist without truly existing. This is one of the things non-Gelugs object to.

Let us compare what you wrote with the quote from Geshe Tashi Tsering:
For Prasangika Madhyamaka, the existence of things is completely due to the conventional consciousness. There is nothing - not a tiny bit - from the object's own side. It is purely imputed by the conventional consciousness.

If the Prasangika Madhyamaka view is that nothing exists from the object's own side, what do you mean by "Gelugpas do assert that something can merely exist without truly existing"? And what is this thing that "non-Gelugs object to"? Are you sure you are not misrepresenting the Gelug interpretation?

I think jmlee369 is exactly right, and so are you. Please see my post here which is a direct quote of Tsongkhapa commenting on a line from Chandrakirti. This is from chapter 12 in the Great Treatise, "Ration Analysis". Reason is only capable of refuting a mental construct, namely inherent existence, and it is only accessible to "tenet holders" and those who intentionally search for a phenomenon's ultimate mode of existence.

That process does not address the conventional functionality that all unenlightened beings are confronted with daily. Conventional functionality is also empty, lacking even the slightest self-nature, but it cannot be counteracted with rational analysis, it requires method practices. This is what is meant by "mere existence".

Of course I agree with Lama Tsongkhapa's comment that you posted, although I think perhaps a further commentary on it may be required to avoid any misunderstanding. Perhaps it is the way it is translated, or it may be just another case of the limitations of words and language.

Unfortunately, I still feel that a statement like "Gelugpas do assert that something can merely exist without truly existing" is a misrepresentation of the Gelug position. Again, we may blame this on the limitations of language and the problem of taking words out of context. The words "merely exist" and "truly existing" should not be juxtaposed like that if what they mean are derived from completely different contexts.

The phrase "without truly existing" refers to "without inherent existence" which is derived from ultimate analysis. The words "merely exist" refers to the conventional idea that appearances and functionality can be seen. Their contexts are completely different.

Also, I think calling "inherent existence" a "mental construct" may not be a good idea. It is far more than that. It means true existence actually, although some people complain about the terminology. Geshe Tashi Tsering uses the term, so I hope people will just understand it in the correct sense, while recognising that words and language have serious limitations.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Jeff H » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:45 am

Matt J wrote:So then what is the basis for designation of a dog?

Jeff H wrote:Svatantrika's assert that in order to correctly label a phenomenon there must be some characteristic from the side of the phenomenon that makes it suitable for a particular label. They say that if the phenomenon of a dog did not possess the qualities of a dog, we could just as well label it a cat. Prasangika rejects that position asserting there is nothing whatsoever from the object's side.

If it appears and functions as expected according to the commonly understood meaning of the term "dog", it is designated as a dog. It has nothing to do with self-nature from the side of the phenomenon we are labeling "dog".
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Matt J
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Matt J » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:48 am

If what appears and functions?

Jeff H wrote:If it appears and functions as expected according to the commonly understood meaning of the term "dog", it is designated as a dog. It has nothing to do with self-nature from the side of the phenomenon we are labeling "dog".
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If only there is no picking or choosing
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Jeff H
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Postby Jeff H » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:59 am

Kenneth Chan wrote:
Jeff H wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:Let us compare what you wrote with the quote from Geshe Tashi Tsering:

If the Prasangika Madhyamaka view is that nothing exists from the object's own side, what do you mean by "Gelugpas do assert that something can merely exist without truly existing"? And what is this thing that "non-Gelugs object to"? Are you sure you are not misrepresenting the Gelug interpretation?

I think jmlee369 is exactly right, and so are you. Please see my post here which is a direct quote of Tsongkhapa commenting on a line from Chandrakirti. This is from chapter 12 in the Great Treatise, "Ration Analysis". Reason is only capable of refuting a mental construct, namely inherent existence, and it is only accessible to "tenet holders" and those who intentionally search for a phenomenon's ultimate mode of existence.

That process does not address the conventional functionality that all unenlightened beings are confronted with daily. Conventional functionality is also empty, lacking even the slightest self-nature, but it cannot be counteracted with rational analysis, it requires method practices. This is what is meant by "mere existence".

Of course I agree with Lama Tsongkhapa's comment that you posted, although I think perhaps a further commentary on it may be required to avoid any misunderstanding. Perhaps it is the way it is translated, or it may be just another case of the limitations of words and language.

Unfortunately, I still feel that a statement like "Gelugpas do assert that something can merely exist without truly existing" is a misrepresentation of the Gelug position. Again, we may blame this on the limitations of language and the problem of taking words out of context. The words "merely exist" and "truly existing" should not be juxtaposed like that if what they mean are derived from completely different contexts.

The phrase "without truly existing" refers to "without inherent existence" which is derived from ultimate analysis. The words "merely exist" refers to the conventional idea that appearances and functionality can be seen. Their contexts are completely different.

Also, I think calling "inherent existence" a "mental construct" may not be a good idea. It is far more than that. It means true existence actually, although some people complain about the terminology. Geshe Tashi Tsering uses the term, so I hope people will just understand it in the correct sense, while recognising that words and language have serious limitations.

It is my understanding that, according to Prasangika, truly existent and inherently existent are synonyms. I used the term "mental construct" because in the context of that quote, Tsongkhapa was saying that rational analysis is a mental process that applies to delusions but does not apply to conventionally functional phenomena such as the afflictions.

Within Tsongkhapa's system, it is claimed that Svatantrikas believe conventional phenomena exist truly, because of demonstrating some self-characteristics which provide a suitable basis for designation; But that nothing exists inherently because ultimately even a self-natured phenomenon must have a designating cognizer in order to say it exists.

Whether Svatantrikas actually hold that position is clearly open to question, and I can't say one way or the other. For me the point is that the Gelug system teaches it as an example of the most subtle way that any conscious being might cling to inherent existence.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva


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