Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

A forum for those wishing to discuss Buddhist history and teachings in the Western academic manner, referencing appropriate sources.
User avatar
Stefos
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:51 am

Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by Stefos » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:50 am

Howdy y'all,

So...........I have been contemplating buying a VERY good version of Nagarjuna's seminal text on Sunya and the middle way.
(ANY of your suggestions would help :) )

As I thought about this, I contemplated how in Buddhadharma, Eternalism is eschewed and condemned.

I believe that there is a problem however with my understanding of Sunya and Clarity and the Dharmakaya.

Can someone help me understand that if Cause and Effect or Karma & its Phala exist, Why is Sunya declared by Nagarjuna to be the only real thing or substratum to everything?

In other words, Ontologically put, Emptiness IS Eternalism according to Acharya/Mahasiddha Nagarjuna.

Is my understanding correct?

According to what Ramana Maharshi states, Mahasunya IS the Self, that along with Awareness and Bliss.

I would appreciate your insights

Thank you & Sarva Mangalam,
Stefos.......................TLD (The Lone Dzogchenpa)

Bakmoon
Posts: 746
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:31 am

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by Bakmoon » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:23 am

Stefos wrote:Can someone help me understand that if Cause and Effect or Karma & its Phala exist, Why is Sunya declared by Nagarjuna to be the only real thing or substratum to everything?

In other words, Ontologically put, Emptiness IS Eternalism according to Acharya/Mahasiddha Nagarjuna.

Is my understanding correct?

According to what Ramana Maharshi states, Mahasunya IS the Self, that along with Awareness and Bliss.

I would appreciate your insights

Thank you & Sarva Mangalam,
Stefos.......................TLD (The Lone Dzogchenpa)
Nagarjuna doesn't teach that emptiness is a real entity or substratum. Rather, emptiness is the fact that there isn't a substratum.

User avatar
smcj
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by smcj » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:30 am

Is my understanding correct?
No.
Why is Sunya declared by Nagarjuna to be the only real thing or substratum to everything?
He doesn't, at least not the Nagarjuna you're talking about. In Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka there is no substratum.

There is a (presumably) different Nagarjuna that wrote "Dharmadhatustava" a.k.a "In Praise of Dharmadhatu" which is closer to what you're talking about. Maybe that's why you're getting confused about his position.

Fast forward to Tibet and there are some authors like Dolpopa that have a view they call "empty-of-other" which is Advaita-like. That view is an interpretation of the Buddha Nature teachings from Asanga and Vasabhandu. Although the Buddha Nature teachings are widely accepted, that particular interpretation of them is much more controversial. Or perhaps it would be better if I said "those interpretations". There is a wide variety of "empty-of-other" interpretations. So don't think that everybody signs off on it, or that the matter can even be possibly universally agreed upon.

But again, the main Nagarjuna is much earlier and Indian he isn't one of those authors.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 7449
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:10 am

It's a non-affirming negation, in other words, the analysis is meant ro exhaust reasoning, not make ontological claims.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
smcj
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by smcj » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:28 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:It's a non-affirming negation, in other words, the analysis is meant ro exhaust reasoning, not make ontological claims.
:good:
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

Bakmoon
Posts: 746
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:31 am

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by Bakmoon » Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:55 am

Stefos wrote:So...........I have been contemplating buying a VERY good version of Nagarjuna's seminal text on Sunya and the middle way.
(ANY of your suggestions would help :) )
By the way what book are you getting? I've read several books on Nagarjuna's MMK so I might be able to weigh in.

krodha
Posts: 2170
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:30 pm

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by krodha » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:50 am

As the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra states:

  • Outside of the saṃskṛtas [conditioned dharmas], there are no asaṃskṛta [unconditioned dharmas], and the true nature [bhūtalakṣaṇa] of the saṃskṛta is exactly asaṃskṛta. The saṃskṛtas being empty, etc. the asaṃskṛtas themselves are also empty, for the two things are not different. Besides, some people, hearing about the defects of the saṃskṛtadharmas, become attached [abhiniveśante] to the asaṃskṛtadharmas and, as a result of this attachment, develop fetters.

Going on to say that the person who rejects the saṃskṛtas [conditioned] is attached to the asaṃskṛtas [unconditioned] by attributing to them the characteristics of non-production [anutpāda], and by the very fact of this attachment those asaṃskṛtas are immediately transformed into saṃskṛtas. Which, as I have pointed out before; is equivalent to the act of turning dharmatā (the emptiness of a given entity) into a dharmin by considering it to be a separate, existent, unconditioned, free-standing nature.

It should instead be understood that the very non-arising of conditioned dharmas [saṃskṛtadharmas] is the unconditioned [saṃskṛta] dharmatā. It is an epistemic realization which dispels ignorance by severing the causes and conditions for invalid cognition... not an ontological X that exists on its own (that is what Vedanta teaches).

krodha
Posts: 2170
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:30 pm

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by krodha » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:06 am

smcj wrote:There is a (presumably) different Nagarjuna that wrote "Dharmadhatustava" a.k.a "In Praise of Dharmadhatu" which is closer to what you're talking about.
Although not really, at all.
smcj wrote:Fast forward to Tibet and there are some authors like Dolpopa that have a view they call "empty-of-other" which is Advaita-like.
Again, not really, even according to Dolbupa himself. It's really a stretch even to say it is "Advaita-like."

User avatar
Stefos
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:51 am

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by Stefos » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:30 am

Bakmoon wrote:
Stefos wrote:So...........I have been contemplating buying a VERY good version of Nagarjuna's seminal text on Sunya and the middle way.
(ANY of your suggestions would help :) )
By the way what book are you getting? I've read several books on Nagarjuna's MMK so I might be able to weigh in.
Hi,

I wanted to buy the Mūlamadhyamaka-kārikā (Fundamental Verses of the Middle Way).

This is/was his work on Sunya.

Please help me get a translation that is literal but comprehendable and comprehensive.

Thanks sir/ma'am,
Stefos................TLD (The Lone Dzogchenpa)
Last edited by Stefos on Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Stefos
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:51 am

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by Stefos » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:40 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:It's a non-affirming negation, in other words, the analysis is meant ro exhaust reasoning, not make ontological claims.
Hello Jonathan,

Thank you for posting, I appreciate you.

I have questions however:

Exhausting reason makes sense only in the context of a greater view, as such, sir.

In Dzogchen, we have Emptiness (Sunya), Clarity (Cognitive Clarity) and Bliss.

In Advaita, you have MahaSunya (According to the Sri Devikalottara actually which Ramana Maharshi quoted from), Awareness (Cognitive Clarity) and Bliss. As Ramana Maharshi stated paraphrasingly "Moksha only happens when one is aware, not in a state of unawareness."

A prior poster stated that Emptiness proves there is no substratum.........This doesn't make sense to me.

IF everything is Empty, Then Emptiness IS the substratum of everything and IS Eternal.
We also have Cognitive Clarity and the Bliss aspect of the state of the Dharmakaya.
These 3 are inseparable.

Nothing comes out of nothing..............In the Dzogchen teachings, The Dharmakaya manifested Sound, Light and Rays and then the 5 elements "hardened" per se forming the world.

Therefore How can Buddhadharma not teach Eternalism?

Thank you and E MA HO...indeed
Stefos

krodha
Posts: 2170
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:30 pm

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by krodha » Thu Jun 29, 2017 3:44 am

Stefos wrote:A prior poster stated that Emptiness proves there is no substratum.........This doesn't make sense to me.

IF everything is Empty, Then Emptiness IS the substratum of everything and IS Eternal.
Ask yourself, how can phenomena that never originated in the first place have a substratum?

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25384
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:49 pm

Stefos wrote:Why is Sunya declared by Nagarjuna to be the only real thing or substratum to everything?

Nāgārajuna nowhere states that emptiness is the only real thing. In fact he never states that emptiness is a substratum at all.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
Stefos
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:51 am

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by Stefos » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:21 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Stefos wrote:Why is Sunya declared by Nagarjuna to be the only real thing or substratum to everything?

Nāgārajuna nowhere states that emptiness is the only real thing. In fact he never states that emptiness is a substratum at all.
By "substratum" I mean the original ground, which is the Dharmakaya qualified by Emptiness, Clarity & Bliss.

So, yes, there is a substratum according to that definition I believe sir.

Stefos.............TLD (The Lone Dzogchenpa)

Scratchin' AND Survivin'.........Hangin' in a chow line GOOD TIIIIMES

krodha
Posts: 2170
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:30 pm

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by krodha » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:30 pm

Stefos wrote:By "substratum" I mean the original ground, which is the Dharmakaya qualified by Emptiness, Clarity & Bliss.

So, yes, there is a substratum according to that definition I believe sir.
There is no such definition.

You seem to be conflating the essence, nature and compassion of the so-called "basis", with the inseparability of emptiness and clarity which also defines said nature.

"Bliss" is not part of the equation. And none of these principles imply, suggest nor denote a "substratum" of any kind.

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25384
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:41 pm

Stefos wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Stefos wrote:Why is Sunya declared by Nagarjuna to be the only real thing or substratum to everything?

Nāgārajuna nowhere states that emptiness is the only real thing. In fact he never states that emptiness is a substratum at all.
By "substratum" I mean the original ground, which is the Dharmakaya qualified by Emptiness, Clarity & Bliss.

So, yes, there is a substratum according to that definition I believe sir.
One, you are now conflating Nāgārjuna's point of view, who never heard of "Dzogchen," with Dzogchen teachings.

With respect to the latter, the term "basis" refers to something one has not realized. It does not refer to an entity as such. The thog ma gzhi, the original basis, the mind-essence, is the basis of the recognition or nonrecognition of the nature of one's consciousness. If one reifies this as a substratum, one winds up in Advaita land.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

Bakmoon
Posts: 746
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:31 am

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by Bakmoon » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:37 pm

Stefos wrote:
Bakmoon wrote:
Stefos wrote:So...........I have been contemplating buying a VERY good version of Nagarjuna's seminal text on Sunya and the middle way.
(ANY of your suggestions would help :) )
By the way what book are you getting? I've read several books on Nagarjuna's MMK so I might be able to weigh in.
Hi,

I wanted to buy the Mūlamadhyamaka-kārikā (Fundamental Verses of the Middle Way).

This is/was his work on Sunya.

Please help me get a translation that is literal but comprehendable and comprehensive.

Thanks sir/ma'am,
Stefos................TLD (The Lone Dzogchenpa)
I recommend Mabja Jangchub Tsondru's commentary The Ornament of Reason
IF everything is Empty, Then Emptiness IS the substratum of everything and IS Eternal.
We also have Cognitive Clarity and the Bliss aspect of the state of the Dharmakaya.
These 3 are inseparable.
How does that follow? Emptiness is not a 'thing' that makes up the world around us. Emptiness is just the fact that everything is free from the four extremes of existence, nonexistence, both, and neither.

User avatar
Stefos
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:51 am

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by Stefos » Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:25 am

Malcolm wrote:
Stefos wrote:
Malcolm wrote:

Nāgārajuna nowhere states that emptiness is the only real thing. In fact he never states that emptiness is a substratum at all.
By "substratum" I mean the original ground, which is the Dharmakaya qualified by Emptiness, Clarity & Bliss.

So, yes, there is a substratum according to that definition I believe sir.
One, you are now conflating Nāgārjuna's point of view, who never heard of "Dzogchen," with Dzogchen teachings.

With respect to the latter, the term "basis" refers to something one has not realized. It does not refer to an entity as such. The thog ma gzhi, the original basis, the mind-essence, is the basis of the recognition or nonrecognition of the nature of one's consciousness. If one reifies this as a substratum, one winds up in Advaita land.
Hello Malcolm,

Thanks for your contribution here.

Nagarjuna, was a Mahasiddha, right?

Being a Mahasiddha, the term "Mahamudra" or "Dzogchen" essentially points to and describes the state of all beings,.
THIS is what Sri Nagarjuna had attained...........Fine, he didn't know Dzogchen.

By "recognition or non-recognition of the nature of one's consciousness" do you mean dependent upon if one has received any Introduction, per
se as understood by Dzogchen?

So again to clariy, For me there IS a substratum: Emptiness, Clarity and Bliss

Is this what Sri Nagarjuna taught?

Would reading the above mentioned book: Ornament Of Reason: The Great Commentary To Nagarjuna's Root Of The Middle Way
assist me in understanding the view of emptiness in terms of the Dharmakaya?

Thanks again,
Stefos.....................TLD

krodha
Posts: 2170
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:30 pm

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by krodha » Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:43 am

Stefos wrote:Nagarjuna, was a Mahasiddha, right?
There was more than one Nāgārjuna. There is the Siddha Nāgārjuna and Ārya Nāgārjuna. The latter is the one referenced by Malcolm. Ārya Nāgārjuna would not have encountered Dzogchen teachings.
Stefos wrote:For me there IS a substratum: Emptiness, Clarity and Bliss
Again BLISS IS NOT PART OF THE EQUATION.

In the scheme you are referencing there is emptiness [stong pa nyid], clarity [gsal ba] and their inseparability [dbyer med]. The trio being stong gsal dbyer med.

Emptiness means a substratum is impossible. But you don't seem like you want to listen.
Stefos wrote:Is this what Sri Nagarjuna taught?
Never.

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25384
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by Malcolm » Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:37 pm

Stefos wrote: So again to clariy, For me there IS a substratum: Emptiness, Clarity and Bliss

Is this what Sri Nagarjuna taught?

You are confusing three experiences that cause deviation: bliss, clarity, and emptiness (nonconceptuality) with the basis: essence, nature, and compassion.

Here, emptiness means being in a state free of thoughts. But it is not the emptiness spoken of by Nāgārjuna.

As mentioned before, there were several Nāgārjunas. The first was the founder of the Madhyamaka school. He did not assert that emptiness was a substratum.

Ramana Maharshi is completely irrelevant here.

M
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
Adamantine
Former staff member
Posts: 3716
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:09 am
Location: Space is the Place

Re: Semantics or not..Dharmakaya, Eternalism and the Self of Advaita

Post by Adamantine » Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:55 pm

Stefos, these are common misunderstandings. You're not alone.
Just as in the English language, the same word may have multiple definitions that are quite different, depending on context: so in the long elaborate history of Buddhadharma with it's mutual influences on other Indian systems you'll find many of the same words with varying definitions. As Malcolm points out, even within strict Buddhist contexts the same word may have a variable definition. This is why it's very important to study closely with a qualified Guru and seek clarification about any confusion rather than just relying on textual study alone. It'd be good to be open to many of the good replies you've had here and entertain the idea that you are conflating things based on misunderstanding words and context. Once you do read the MMK you'll probably understand better. Jay Garfield has a good translation with footnotes that relate some of the ideas to more familiar Western philosophical systems for helpful contrast.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests