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

Post by Kenneth Chan » Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:57 am

Bakmoon wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:
Malcolm wrote: The problem is the claim that Madhyamaka validates any conventional truth presentation, which is the essence of your claim.
Let me state here categorically that that is NOT my claim. Context, context, context. What I am showing is that, at the conventional truth level, interpreting the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics in terms of the Madhyamaka view of reality resolves the inconsistencies, while doing so in terms of an inherently existing mind-matter duality would end up with all sorts of inconsistencies. Essentially, Madhyamika philosophy allows us to include the role of consciousness in quantum physics without ending up in the extremes of either solipsism or materialism. And that solves the problems.
But how does Madhyamaka include the role of consciousness? That's what has my head scratching. You say that it avoids the errors of solipsism and materialism, but I don't see in your paper where you lay out the Madhyamaka alternative. If solipsism says that everything is the production of a single mind and materialism says that mind is derived from matter, what alternative model does Madhyamaka give us on the level of convention that avoids these? It's not enough to say that Madhyamaka says they are both empty of inherent existence, because although it's true that they are empty, that doesn't give a specific explanation on how things work conventionally because emptiness is an ultimate truth, not a conventional truth.
Hi Bakmoon, the sentence is “Madhyamika philosophy allows us to include the role of consciousness in quantum physics …” (not that Madhyamika philosophy directly includes the role of consciousness …).

The solution to the problems of quantum physics is not derived solely from Madhyamika philosophy in isolation from everything else. It is obtained, instead, from the application of Madhyamika philosophy to the interpretation of the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics. So the formulation of quantum mechanics itself plays a big role here.

The role of consciousness in quantum physics is actually a natural consequence of the formulation of quantum mechanics. The role of consciousness does not arise from Madhyamika philosophy per se. It is, instead, a natural consequence of quantum mechanics.

This is because quantum mechanics does not directly provide rules for the behaviour of particles. Instead, it only provides rules concerning the results of measurements by observers. So observers are an intrinsic part of the formulation of quantum mechanics. And, as John von Neumann and Eugene Wigner point out, what differentiates observers from physical particles has to be mind and consciousness.

So the role of consciousness in quantum physics is indicated by the formulation of quantum mechanics itself. If we accept this role of consciousness in interpreting quantum mechanics, everything actually falls into place naturally. Up till this point, Madhyamika philosophy need not be considered.

The problem now is that of having to fit this role of consciousness into the Western philosophical framework of an inherently existing mind-matter duality. If we try to do that, we end up with solipsism. And here is where the problems start.

Since solipsism is totally unacceptable to physicists, they adopt, instead, the stance of materialism. This means that they now have to get rid of the role of the conscious observer in the formulation of quantum mechanics. Physicists have, over an entire century, repeatedly tried to do this by introducing all sorts of additional ad hoc conditions to the formulation, including some bizarre ones like “infinite alternative universes.” But, even then, all the interpretations they have come up with contain conceptual problems and inconsistencies. It basically shows that we actually cannot remove the conscious observer because it is an intrinsic part of the formulation of quantum mechanics.

It is only at this point that Madhyamika philosophy becomes important. If we replace the philosophical framework of an inherently existing mind-matter duality with the Madhyamaka view of reality, we can now include the role of consciousness in quantum mechanics without ending up with solipsism. And that essentially solves the problem.

What is highly significant is that Madhyamika philosophy seems to fit naturally with the formulation of quantum mechanics. There is no need to insert any additional ad hoc conditions in order to make it fit. So if we look at this fact the other way around, we can say that the formulation of quantum mechanics actually indicates that the Madhyamaka view of reality is correct.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Post by Bakmoon » Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:20 am

Kenneth Chan wrote:It is only at this point that Madhyamika philosophy becomes important. If we replace the philosophical framework of an inherently existing mind-matter duality with the Madhyamaka view of reality, we can now include the role of consciousness in quantum mechanics without ending up with solipsism. And that essentially solves the problem.

What is highly significant is that Madhyamika philosophy seems to fit naturally with the formulation of quantum mechanics. There is no need to insert any additional ad hoc conditions in order to make it fit. So if we look at this fact the other way around, we can say that the formulation of quantum mechanics actually indicates that the Madhyamaka view of reality is correct.
But that doesn't make the mind-body problem go away. You've replaced the idea of an inherently existing consciousness and matter with matter and consciousness that are accepted conventionally as illusory dependent arisings, but you still have the problem of trying to account for how mental and physical phenomena can affect each other on the conventional level.

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

Post by Kenneth Chan » Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:08 pm

Bakmoon wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:It is only at this point that Madhyamika philosophy becomes important. If we replace the philosophical framework of an inherently existing mind-matter duality with the Madhyamaka view of reality, we can now include the role of consciousness in quantum mechanics without ending up with solipsism. And that essentially solves the problem.

What is highly significant is that Madhyamika philosophy seems to fit naturally with the formulation of quantum mechanics. There is no need to insert any additional ad hoc conditions in order to make it fit. So if we look at this fact the other way around, we can say that the formulation of quantum mechanics actually indicates that the Madhyamaka view of reality is correct.
But that doesn't make the mind-body problem go away. You've replaced the idea of an inherently existing consciousness and matter with matter and consciousness that are accepted conventionally as illusory dependent arisings, but you still have the problem of trying to account for how mental and physical phenomena can affect each other on the conventional level.
The solution to this so-called "mind-body problem" is actually in the formulation of quantum mechanics when it is interpreted in terms of Madhyamika philosophy. The solution is given in my paper, but to understand this, you will need to learn about the formulation of quantum mechanics, and how it fits into Madhyamaka view of reality. Essentially, the beginning of the explanation of this solution is found in this passage in the beginning of Section 5 of my paper, which I reproduce below.

The key point is that both the formulation of quantum mechanics and Madhyamika philosophy indicate that it is the "experiential events" that make up our "primary reality" (I place all these terms in parenthesis because I would otherwise be accused of treating them as though they are inherently existent, which they are not). If you cannot comprehend my meaning here, I think it is probably best for you to read my paper for the explanation, because, in order to explain it fully here, I will probably have to reproduce large chunks of the paper itself.

Passage from 5.1 The Experiential Event as the Primary Reality:

The key to a direct experiential interpretation of quantum mechanics is to work on the premise that the mathematical formulation actually represents our reality directly. The eigenvalues and their corresponding eigenstates thus represent our direct experience of the object involved in our measurement. Let us call what is represented in quantum mechanics, in the act of measurement, an experiential event. According to the mode of thinking in terms of a mind-matter duality, this experiential event would be called “the encounter between a conscious observer and the object under measurement.”

The difference now is that we no longer consider the mind as a separately existing entity, and we also no longer consider the object as a separately existing entity. We are to consider the experiential event itself as the real entities that the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics actually deals with. Our justification for this approach is that neither the mind, as a separate entity, nor the object, as a separate entity, is actually represented in the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics. What is represented, in terms of the eigenstates and their corresponding eigenvalues are, in fact, the experiential events of the conscious observer experiencing the object.

This view of reality is actually not as strange or as revolutionary as it may seem. It is not even a new viewpoint that I am inventing or introducing, because it is a view of reality that corresponds to the Madhymika philosophy of Buddhism, which has been extant for more than a thousand years. What this means is that the perspective of reality according to Madyamika philosophy actually corresponds very closely to what is being represented by the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics!

In Madhyamika philosophy, particles do not inherently exist on their own right. Particles arise only in dependence upon causes and conditions, in dependence upon their parts, and in dependence upon the mind that apprehends them. This would correspond very well with the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics. The quantum wave function of a particle would correspond to the “causes and conditions” aspect, and the eigenstate and its corresponding eigenvalue would correspond to the experiential event of the mind experiencing the particle. Neither the separate inherently-existing particle, nor the separate inherently-existing mind appears in the mathematical formulation. What does appear is the experiential event, where the conscious experience and the particle appear as a combined reality. These experiential events are what actually make up our reality.

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

Post by Malcolm » Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:18 pm

Kenneth Chan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote: Let me state here categorically that that is NOT my claim. Context, context, context. What I am showing is that, at the conventional truth level, interpreting the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics in terms of the Madhyamaka view of reality...
Madhyamaka does not propose a view of reality, that's the point.
in terms of the Madhyamaka view...
Madhyamaka also does not propose a view. It eliminates views. Take for example Buddhapalita (the actual founder of so called "Prasangika"):
It is not the we [Mādhyamikas] propose nonexistence, we merely remove claims for existing existents.
Some people insist that one needs to append "inherent" to the above formulation, but it is not necessary, in fact.

That is why I keep saying Madhyamaka is indifferent to conventional truth presentations, since they are all inherently flawed cognitions. Conventional truths are dissonant with how phenomena actually exist by nature.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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

Post by Kenneth Chan » Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:37 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:We have already learned, from the theory of relativity, that our science is actually a science of our experience, and not a science of a universe “out there” that exists independent of us as conscious observers.
That is the first statement in your article, but I don't think you grasp how big a statement it is. Albert Einstein, who discovered relativity, would never have agreed with such a statement.

I myself always argue that the notion of 'mind independence' as assumed by scientific realism, is ultimately incoherent, but I'm also mindful of the fact that this is quite a radical thing to say and requires considerable interpretation. Otherwise it can simply amount to outright relativism which undermines any idea of truth whatsoever.
Afraid I missed this comment earlier, so I'll respond to it now. Actually there is a very strong rationale for this first statement in my paper. The reasoning can be found in my article "Why Relativity Exists" (http://kenneth-chan.com/physics/why-relativity-exists/) and it is based on another earlier paper of mine, entitled "Time and Space," which was approved for publication by Prof. Kip S Thorne, who is a world authority on General Relativity.

In all likelihood, Einstein, in his time, would not have agreed to the statement because he did not realise why the speed of light is constant to all moving observers. I actually explained why the speed of light is always constant, and that explanation is based on the fact the our science is actually a science of our experience, and not a science of a universe "out there" that is independent of us as conscious observers.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Post by Jeff H » Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:47 pm

Bakmoon wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:It is only at this point that Madhyamika philosophy becomes important. If we replace the philosophical framework of an inherently existing mind-matter duality with the Madhyamaka view of reality, we can now include the role of consciousness in quantum mechanics without ending up with solipsism. And that essentially solves the problem.

What is highly significant is that Madhyamika philosophy seems to fit naturally with the formulation of quantum mechanics. There is no need to insert any additional ad hoc conditions in order to make it fit. So if we look at this fact the other way around, we can say that the formulation of quantum mechanics actually indicates that the Madhyamaka view of reality is correct.
But that doesn't make the mind-body problem go away. You've replaced the idea of an inherently existing consciousness and matter with matter and consciousness that are accepted conventionally as illusory dependent arisings, but you still have the problem of trying to account for how mental and physical phenomena can affect each other on the conventional level.
This seems to indicate you are expecting a concrete, scientific model to eliminate the mind-body problem. I don’t think this paper is attempting to do that. Its significance is to help shake westerners out of our materialistic fixation.

Western science has now discovered conventional phenomena which demand the inclusion of an observing consciousness. But rather than simply accept that that is what they have found, they are doing backflips to preserve absolute materialism.

Madhyamaka is not an alternate model, it is a gong to wake up physicists. It's a key to accepting that eastern philosophical/scientific/religion is not just subjective conjecture. It actual corresponds to what western science has now encountered experimentally.
Malcolm wrote:Some people insist that one needs to append "inherent" to the above formulation, but it is not necessary, in fact.

That is why I keep saying Madhyamaka is indifferent to conventional truth presentations, since they are all inherently flawed cognitions. Conventional truths are dissonant with how phenomena actually exist by nature.
Quantum mechanics has shown, experimentally, how "conventional truths are dissonant with how phenomena actually exist by nature". Kenneth is saying that since these results correspond with what Buddhists have said for centuries, western science should take note and move forward with fresh eyes instead of stomping their feet and insisting on inherency.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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

Post by Malcolm » Fri Dec 09, 2016 5:00 pm

Jeff H wrote:
Quantum mechanics has shown, experimentally, how "conventional truths are dissonant with how phenomena actually exist by nature". Kenneth is saying that since these results correspond with what Buddhists have said for centuries, western science should take note and move forward with fresh eyes instead of stomping their feet and insisting on inherency.
Inherency has been long abandoned in Western Philosophy, for example, Hume refuted necessary connection, self, and so on in his Inquiry into Human Understanding.

Further, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, which is fundamentally what our friend Kenneth is talking about, is old news.

What I object to, as well as some others, is the reification of Madhyamaka as if it actually proposes how conventional things are supposed to function. There are a variety of theories about this even with Buddhism, which all have their usefulness in different contexts.

The Buddha as well as Nāgārjuna, are entirely silent on the question of external, dependently originated phenomena. Cosmology is the domain of Abhidharma, and that presentation is now necessarily deprecated.

The idea of the absence of inherent existence may be a great discovery for Kenneth personally, but he is not the first person to make such a link between this idea and physics. This is why I recommended that Kenneth check out the work of B. Alan Wallace. Wallace not only has an undergraduate degree in physics, but he is quite expert in Madhyamaka studies. He even offers what he calls "a centrist view of physical science." He offers, usefully, "Physics offers us bodies of experimental evidence which can be consistently interpreted in a variety of ways." He then goes on to explore differences in the ways in which this body of evidence may be understood in different cultures, leading to different conventional formulations of its import.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

Jeff H
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Post by Jeff H » Fri Dec 09, 2016 5:22 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Jeff H wrote:
Quantum mechanics has shown, experimentally, how "conventional truths are dissonant with how phenomena actually exist by nature". Kenneth is saying that since these results correspond with what Buddhists have said for centuries, western science should take note and move forward with fresh eyes instead of stomping their feet and insisting on inherency.
Inherency has been long abandoned in Western Philosophy, for example, Hume refuted necessary connection, self, and so on in his Inquiry into Human Understanding.

Further, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, which is fundamentally what our friend Kenneth is talking about, is old news.

What I object to, as well as some others, is the reification of Madhyamaka as if it actually proposes how conventional things are supposed to function. There are a variety of theories about this even with Buddhism, which all have their usefulness in different contexts.

The Buddha as well as Nāgārjuna, are entirely silent on the question of external, dependently originated phenomena. Cosmology is the domain of Abhidharma, and that presentation is now necessarily deprecated.

The idea of the absence of inherent existence may be a great discovery for Kenneth personally, but he is not the first person to make such a link between this idea and physics. This is why I recommended that Kenneth check out the work of B. Alan Wallace. Wallace not only has an undergraduate degree in physics, but he is quite expert in Madhyamaka studies. He even offers what he calls "a centrist view of physical science." He offers, usefully, "Physics offers us bodies of experimental evidence which can be consistently interpreted in a variety of ways." He then goes on to explore differences in the ways in which this body of evidence may be understood in different cultures, leading to different conventional formulations of its import.
I'll be interested to hear Kenneth's reply. Perhaps I've got it all wrong, but what you say here seems to correspond with what I think I understand about his paper. I certainly agree about the correspondence with Wallace's work, except that I consider this paper less ambitious than what you are referring to.

Rather I think this is one contribution to Wallace's call for western science to devote itself more seriously to investigating and including consciousness within the scientific method.

This paper doesn't ignore the western contributions to denying inherent existence; it addresses, more specifically, the long line of physicists who are insisting on maintaining strict materialism against a growing body of evidence.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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

Post by Malcolm » Fri Dec 09, 2016 5:33 pm

Jeff H wrote:
This paper doesn't ignore the western contributions to denying inherent existence; it addresses, more specifically, the long line of physicists who are insisting on maintaining strict materialism against a growing body of evidence.
It is entirely appropriate that experimental science confines itself to what is observable. This made indeed lead some to take a materialist position, but quite frankly, that is preferable, in my opinion, to the intelligent design folks, whose intelligent designer is rather like the ether than Kenneth mentions in his paper above.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Fri Dec 09, 2016 6:21 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Kenneth Chan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Madhyamaka does not propose a view of reality, that's the point.
in terms of the Madhyamaka view...
Madhyamaka also does not propose a view. It eliminates views. Take for example Buddhapalita (the actual founder of so called "Prasangika"):
It is not the we [Mādhyamikas] propose nonexistence, we merely remove claims for existing existents.
Some people insist that one needs to append "inherent" to the above formulation, but it is not necessary, in fact.

That is why I keep saying Madhyamaka is indifferent to conventional truth presentations, since they are all inherently flawed cognitions. Conventional truths are dissonant with how phenomena actually exist by nature.
Madhyamaka does propose a view of reality, it's the middle way. Things exist as mere appearances, being one nature with their emptiness. The truth is between non-existence and inherent existence. It's also certainly not indifferent to conventional truth since Nagarjuna's view is the union of the two truths.

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

Post by Malcolm » Fri Dec 09, 2016 6:40 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Madhyamaka does propose a view of reality, it's the middle way. Things exist as mere appearances, being one nature with their emptiness. The truth is between non-existence and inherent existence. It's also certainly not indifferent to conventional truth since Nagarjuna's view is the union of the two truths.
No, this is really incorrect. If this were so, why does Nāgārjuna say:
  • Where is there an existence not included in inherent existence and dependent existence?
    If inherent existence and dependent existence are established, existence will be established.
He then goes on to say:
  • Whoever has a view of inherent existence, dependent existence,
    existence, and non-existence has not seen the Buddha's teachings.
Thus when you claim that "the truth is between non-existence and inherent existence," you clearly have not seen the Buddha's teaching.

Further the Buddha states in the Ārya-kāśyapa-parivarta-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra:
  • Kāśyapa, existence is the first extreme; nonexistence is the second extreme; whatever is between those two extremes cannot be discerned, cannot be shown, is not a support, does not appear, cannot be known, and is not present. Kāśyapa, this is how the middle way correctly discerns phenomena.
Last edited by Malcolm on Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

Jeff H
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Post by Jeff H » Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:07 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Madhyamaka does propose a view of reality, it's the middle way. Things exist as mere appearances, being one nature with their emptiness. The truth is between non-existence and inherent existence. It's also certainly not indifferent to conventional truth since Nagarjuna's view is the union of the two truths.
No, this is really incorrect. If this were so, why does Nāgārjuna say:
  • Where is there an existence not included in inherent existence and dependent existence?
    If inherent existence and dependent existence are established, existence will be established.
This is very interesting to me. Certainly Je Tsongkhapa was familiar with this quote from Nagarjuna. Are you saying that Nagarjuna's term "inherent" here and Tsongkhapa's term are the same?
Malcolm wrote:...
Further the Buddha states in the Ārya-kāśyapa-parivarta-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra:
  • Kāśyapa, existence is the first extreme; nonexistence is the second extreme; whatever is between those two extremes cannot be discerned, cannot shown, is not a support, does not appear, cannot be known, and is not present. Kāśyapa, this is how the middle way correctly discerns phenomena.
I know this is a stretch, but this statement reminds me of what Kenneth explains about the interval between conventional measurements in quantum observation (I think it was Heisenberg's point). It is impossible to say anything about an observed electron between observations, not even whether it exists or not. It's like, conventionally we see this phenomenon and that phenomenon, then we try to fill in a continuity (like quantum mechanics predicts probability parameters), but in fact there is nothing that can be discerned and nothing is present.

Am I completely off-base with this?
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Malcolm
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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Post by Malcolm » Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:09 pm

Jeff H wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Madhyamaka does propose a view of reality, it's the middle way. Things exist as mere appearances, being one nature with their emptiness. The truth is between non-existence and inherent existence. It's also certainly not indifferent to conventional truth since Nagarjuna's view is the union of the two truths.
No, this is really incorrect. If this were so, why does Nāgārjuna say:
  • Where is there an existence not included in inherent existence and dependent existence?
    If inherent existence and dependent existence are established, existence will be established.
This is very interesting to me. Certainly Je Tsongkhapa was familiar with this quote from Nagarjuna. Are you saying that Nagarjuna's term "inherent" here and Tsongkhapa's term are the same?
Identical, rang bzhin, svabhāva.
Malcolm wrote:...
Further the Buddha states in the Ārya-kāśyapa-parivarta-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra:
  • Kāśyapa, existence is the first extreme; nonexistence is the second extreme; whatever is between those two extremes cannot be discerned, cannot shown, is not a support, does not appear, cannot be known, and is not present. Kāśyapa, this is how the middle way correctly discerns phenomena.
I know this is a stretch, but this statement reminds me of what Kenneth explains about the interval between conventional measurements in quantum observation (I think it was Heisenberg's point). It is impossible to say anything about an observed electron between observations, not even whether it exists or not. It's like, conventionally we see this phenomenon and that phenomenon, then we try to fill in a continuity (like quantum mechanics predicts probability parameters), but in fact there is nothing that can be discerned and nothing is present.

Am I completely off-base with this?
What the Buddha is saying here is that in the Middle Way, phenomena are inexpressible. All expressions are a deviation.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:39 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Madhyamaka does propose a view of reality, it's the middle way. Things exist as mere appearances, being one nature with their emptiness. The truth is between non-existence and inherent existence. It's also certainly not indifferent to conventional truth since Nagarjuna's view is the union of the two truths.
No, this is really incorrect. If this were so, why does Nāgārjuna say:
  • Where is there an existence not included in inherent existence and dependent existence?
    If inherent existence and dependent existence are established, existence will be established.
He then goes on to say:
  • Whoever has a view of inherent existence, dependent existence,
    existence, and non-existence has not seen the Buddha's teachings.
Thus when you claim that "the truth is between non-existence and inherent existence," you clearly have not seen the Buddha's teaching.
In Offering to the Spiritual Guide, the first Panchen Lama says:
I seek your blessings to realise the meaning of Nagarjuna's intention
That there is no contradiction, only harmony
Between the absence of even an atom of inherent existence in samsara and Nirvana
And the non-deceptive dependent relationship of cause and effect.
This verse is saying that phenomena lack inherent existence but yet dependent-relationship is infallible. That is the Middle Way.

Furthermore, Je Tsongkhapa says:
Moreover, when the extreme of existence is dispelled by appearance
And the extreme of non-existence is dispelled by emptiness
And you know how emptiness is perceived as cause and effect,
You will not be captivated by extreme views.
I'm not clear on the meaning of those quotes from Naagarjuna - we'd have to look at the definitions of the terms that Nagarjuna uses to clearly understand them. The problem with Madhyamaka texts is they require commentary.

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Post by Malcolm » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:13 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote: I'm not clear on the meaning of those quotes from Naagarjuna.
I am, since I have examined in detail the commentaries of Buddhapalita and Candrakīrti with respect to them. What they mean is that anyone who holds at all any view of existence has a wrong view.

The purpose of Madhyamaka is the elimination of all views, its purpose is not to privilege something called "Madhyamaka view" over other views.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:17 pm

Kenneth Chan wrote:The reasoning can be found in my article "Why Relativity Exists" (http://kenneth-chan.com/physics/why-relativity-exists/) and it is based on another earlier paper of mine, entitled "Time and Space," which was approved for publication by Prof. Kip S Thorne, who is a world authority on General Relativity.
Where was it published, if you don't mind my asking?
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

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

Post by Bakmoon » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:28 pm

Malcolm wrote:
  • Where is there an existence not included in inherent existence and dependent existence?
    If inherent existence and dependent existence are established, existence will be established.
I'm having some trouble tracking down this passage. Can anyone here tell me what the chapter and verse in the MMK these are?

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

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:30 pm

All the discussions I read on madhyamika seem to culminate with Malcolm saying that Nāgārjuna says that nothing really exists, yet that somehow this is not nihilistic. I have long since given up on ever trying to understand that.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: How Madhyamika Philosophy Solves the Mystery of Quantum Physics

Post by conebeckham » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:38 pm

Wayfarer wrote:All the discussions I read on madhyamika seem to culminate with Malcolm saying that Nāgārjuna says that nothing really exists, yet that somehow this is not nihilistic. I have long since given up on ever trying to understand that.
It is not nihilistic because saying that no assertion can be made about existence is not equivalent to any assertion about nonexistence.

Madhyamaka serves to point out the impossibility of making any assertion about ontological status of conditioned phenomena. Just because no assertion can be made about the existence of things, it is not logical to conclude that a "nonexistence" is ontological truth.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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

Post by Malcolm » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:39 pm

Bakmoon wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
  • Where is there an existence not included in inherent existence and dependent existence?
    If inherent existence and dependent existence are established, existence will be established.
I'm having some trouble tracking down this passage. Can anyone here tell me what the chapter and verse in the MMK these are?
Chapter 15, verse 6, I think, or thereabouts.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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