Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

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boundless
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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by boundless » Sat Aug 25, 2018 3:32 pm

Sherab wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:34 pm
I don't recall the Buddha actually using the Catuṣkoṭi form of analysis himself. I can only recall the Buddha using it only in relation to its use by his opponents.

Would appreciate if someone could provide examples in the Suttas or Sutras where the Buddha himself resorted to Catuṣkoṭi analysis in his teaching?
Greetings Sherab, all,

I do not know if it is relevant for this discussion but apparently, there is IMHO something similar to a partial "Catuṣkoṭi" in the 31 planes of existence.

From the article The Thirty-one Plnaes of Existence in accesstoinsight we have: both the "impercipient beings" (Pali: asaññasatta, Sanskrit: Asaṃjñasattva) and the "sphere of neither perception nor non-perception" (Pali: nevasaññanasaññayatanupaga, Sanskrit: Naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñāyatana). Apparently, the first ones are imperciptient beings and the others are "neither percipient nor impercipient". So, with regards to perception we might have "perception" (A), "non-perception" (B) and "neither perception nor nonperception" (neither A nor B).
Maybe this indicates that being "percipient" and "impercipient" are two possibilities and "neither percipient nor impercipient" is something else.

BTW, the third option ("A and B") always semmed to me as an impossible position to be held, since it appears to be a contradiction.

:anjali:
Last edited by boundless on Sat Aug 25, 2018 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Aug 25, 2018 3:36 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:33 am
I could respond by saying ‘if it’s something, then it’s “eternalism”, if it’s nothing, then it’s “nihilism”.
But, but, what if the "something" just isn't eternal.

After all, we can just "decide" it's not. Can't we?
नस्वातो नापिपरतो नद्वाभ्यां नाप्यहेतुतः उत्पन्ना जातु विद्यन्ते भावाः क्वचन केचन
There absolutely are no things, nowhere and none, that arise anew, neither out of themselves, nor out of non-self, nor out of both, nor at random.
सर्वं तथ्यं न वा तथ्यं तथ्यं चातथ्यम् एव च नैवातथ्यं नैव तथ्यम् एतद् बुद्धानुशासनम्
All is so, or all is not so, both so and not so, neither so nor not so. This is the Buddha's teaching.

一切實非實亦實亦非實
非實非非實是名諸佛法

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Malcolm
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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Malcolm » Sat Aug 25, 2018 4:50 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:49 am
Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 3:45 am
Incidentally, the "Noble Silence" itself is position 4, the eel-wriggler's.

The difference is that the amaravikṣepa has no thesis, and the Buddha, allegedly, has a thesis, which is dependent origination.

That is really the only thing separating the Buddhas and the eel-wrigglers.

Of course, above, when I said, "the Buddha, allegedly, has a thesis," the "a position, Vacchagotta, is something that the Tathāgata has done away with" (severe paraphrase) quote came to mind.

Is "no thesis" itself a thesis?
I presume you’re familiar with the fact that Nāgārjuna says that he maintains no thesis of his own? [Which is the point of ‘the emptiness of emptiness’.] The point of the tetralemma is wholly deconstructive i.e. to show the contradictions in the opponent’s view. But, he says, this can be done without actually advancing a view of one’s own. Or so I understand.
The proposition to which Nāgārjuna was referring was a proposition about inherent existence, svabhāva, in the Vigrahavyavartani.

The passage follows an argument where Nāgārjuna is proving the nonexistence of the inherent existence Nāgārjun's non-Buddhist opponent is proposing.
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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Coëmgenu
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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:20 pm

boundless wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 3:32 pm
BTW, the third option ("A and B") always semmed to me as an impossible position to be held, since it appears to be a contradiction.
Imagine two intersecting constituents that substantially overlap but also have parts that are separate.

Imagine a red line segment and a blue line segment. The two are side by each like so:

rrrrrrrrrr bbbbbbbbbb

The red segment is represented by 10 R's, the blue by 10 B's.

I am going to smash them together so they overlap partially:

rrrrrpppppbbbbb

The overlapping section is both blue and red. I've shown it as P for purple, but I want to stress that the point of this was to illustrate a combination of constituents that simultaneously house a dual and a non-dual presentation, rather than showing two things coming together to create something new. The non-dual presentation is represented by the purple. The dual presentation is the red and blue. In entirety, the two constituents as a whole are both same and different.

Apply this to modalities of being instead of coloured line segments.
नस्वातो नापिपरतो नद्वाभ्यां नाप्यहेतुतः उत्पन्ना जातु विद्यन्ते भावाः क्वचन केचन
There absolutely are no things, nowhere and none, that arise anew, neither out of themselves, nor out of non-self, nor out of both, nor at random.
सर्वं तथ्यं न वा तथ्यं तथ्यं चातथ्यम् एव च नैवातथ्यं नैव तथ्यम् एतद् बुद्धानुशासनम्
All is so, or all is not so, both so and not so, neither so nor not so. This is the Buddha's teaching.

一切實非實亦實亦非實
非實非非實是名諸佛法

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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:29 pm

All that nonsense above the is leftovers from me trying to figure out what tenfold interpenetration is actually supposed to "be".

Two or more interpenetrating dhaatava.h are characteristic by being both identical and different. The above was the only way I could figure it working, before I gave up on 10fold interpenetration since it's really something you are supposed to realize in yogic equipoise, not with pen and paper.
नस्वातो नापिपरतो नद्वाभ्यां नाप्यहेतुतः उत्पन्ना जातु विद्यन्ते भावाः क्वचन केचन
There absolutely are no things, nowhere and none, that arise anew, neither out of themselves, nor out of non-self, nor out of both, nor at random.
सर्वं तथ्यं न वा तथ्यं तथ्यं चातथ्यम् एव च नैवातथ्यं नैव तथ्यम् एतद् बुद्धानुशासनम्
All is so, or all is not so, both so and not so, neither so nor not so. This is the Buddha's teaching.

一切實非實亦實亦非實
非實非非實是名諸佛法

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Malcolm
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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Malcolm » Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:58 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:29 pm
All that nonsense above the is leftovers from me trying to figure out what tenfold interpenetration is actually supposed to "be".
One moment of thought, or so I've been told.
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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Malcolm
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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Malcolm » Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:59 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:29 pm

Two or more interpenetrating dhaatava.h are characteristic by being both identical and different.
No, they would have to be neither the same nor different.
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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Coëmgenu
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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:18 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:59 pm
Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:29 pm

Two or more interpenetrating dhaatava.h are characteristic by being both identical and different.
No, they would have to be neither the same nor different.
Either description is valid IMO. R is not B and B is not R for the ends of the line segments that do not intersect. At the intersection there is no difference between R and B. Representing the area of intersecting congruency as P/purple is a graphical convention. It is both R and B.

So it's really up to the perceiver to decide where the identity of the intersecting dhātavaḥ is measured from. Do we look at the whole and decide that "same" does not apply because of the differentiated ends of the segments? Do we look at the whole and decide that "different" does not apply because of their congruent segments? Do we look at the whole and decide that "not same" does not apply because substantial parts of it are the same? Do we look at the whole and decide that "not different" does not apply because the two segments are different?
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
नस्वातो नापिपरतो नद्वाभ्यां नाप्यहेतुतः उत्पन्ना जातु विद्यन्ते भावाः क्वचन केचन
There absolutely are no things, nowhere and none, that arise anew, neither out of themselves, nor out of non-self, nor out of both, nor at random.
सर्वं तथ्यं न वा तथ्यं तथ्यं चातथ्यम् एव च नैवातथ्यं नैव तथ्यम् एतद् बुद्धानुशासनम्
All is so, or all is not so, both so and not so, neither so nor not so. This is the Buddha's teaching.

一切實非實亦實亦非實
非實非非實是名諸佛法

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:23 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:59 pm
Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:29 pm

Two or more interpenetrating dhaatava.h are characteristic by being both identical and different.
No, they would have to be neither the same nor different.
This is also based on Ziporyn's presentation of Ven Zhiyi, which definitely added to confusion back when I wanted to logic-out the three truths.

Evil and/or/as the Good:

Zhiyi maintains both the identity and the difference between good and evil. The metaphor of a dialogue must necessarily allow for differences in emphasis and focus to coexist with the assertion of the identity of the contents of the dialogue for the two sides- the devil version of the devil-Buddha dialogue differs from the Buddha version, although both sides are completely permeated by both deviltry and buddhahood.
(p. 261)

The above lead a younger me to conclude "both same and different". One of the many issues with that was treating a philosophy book as a dharma book.
नस्वातो नापिपरतो नद्वाभ्यां नाप्यहेतुतः उत्पन्ना जातु विद्यन्ते भावाः क्वचन केचन
There absolutely are no things, nowhere and none, that arise anew, neither out of themselves, nor out of non-self, nor out of both, nor at random.
सर्वं तथ्यं न वा तथ्यं तथ्यं चातथ्यम् एव च नैवातथ्यं नैव तथ्यम् एतद् बुद्धानुशासनम्
All is so, or all is not so, both so and not so, neither so nor not so. This is the Buddha's teaching.

一切實非實亦實亦非實
非實非非實是名諸佛法

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Malcolm
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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Malcolm » Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:32 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:18 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:59 pm
Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:29 pm

Two or more interpenetrating dhaatava.h are characteristic by being both identical and different.
No, they would have to be neither the same nor different.
Either description is valid IMO. R is not B and B is not R for the ends of the line segments that do not intersect. At the intersection there is no difference between R and B. Representing the area of intersecting congruency as P/purple is a graphical convention. It is both R and B.

So it's really up to the perceiver to decide where the identity of the intersecting dhaatava.h is measured from. Do we look at the whole and decide that "same" does not apply because of the differentiated ends of the segments? Do we look at the whole and decide that "different" does not apply because of their congruent segments? Do we look at the whole and decide that "not same" does not apply because substantial parts of it are the same? Do we look at the whole and decide that "not different" does not apply because the two segments are different?
In Buddhist thinking, continuity is only accounted for by the logic of "neither the same nor different." For example, if a seed as utterly different than a sprout, there is no causal relationship between the two; so they cannot be utterly different. Since sprout will not arise if it is the same as the seed, a seed and a sprout cannot be the same.

It doesn't apply to drawings of overlapping red and blue lines.

With respect to Ziporyn, I find his brand of rhetoric tedious and unconvincing.
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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Coëmgenu
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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:39 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:32 pm
With respect to Ziporyn, I find his brand of rhetoric tedious and unconvincing.
You don't like monistic dharma soup? I never would have guessed. :tongue:
नस्वातो नापिपरतो नद्वाभ्यां नाप्यहेतुतः उत्पन्ना जातु विद्यन्ते भावाः क्वचन केचन
There absolutely are no things, nowhere and none, that arise anew, neither out of themselves, nor out of non-self, nor out of both, nor at random.
सर्वं तथ्यं न वा तथ्यं तथ्यं चातथ्यम् एव च नैवातथ्यं नैव तथ्यम् एतद् बुद्धानुशासनम्
All is so, or all is not so, both so and not so, neither so nor not so. This is the Buddha's teaching.

一切實非實亦實亦非實
非實非非實是名諸佛法

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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:22 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:Hence my "is no thesis it's own thesis?"
Trying to tackle this again.

The Tathagatha is 'gone beyond'; and one of the whole class of things 'gone beyond' are indeed theses, views, or opinions. So to the extent that 'a view' amounts to an opinion or a particular perspective, then the Tathagatha is beyond these and indeed so is 'right view'. This is explored in detail in a book called The Notion of Diṭṭhi in Theravada Buddhism, Paul Fuller.

There's obviously a paradoxical element to this idea, in that 'right view' turns out to be not actually 'a view' - although even to say that, sounds surprisingly familiar to any reader of Zen. But in any case, it is fundamental to the 'perspectival' and hence 'dialectical' nature of Buddhist logic - that there are different kinds of truths on different levels, 'mundane' and 'ultimate'. From one perspective, something is the case, that on another level of analysis, turns out not to be so after all.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Sherab » Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:56 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:55 am
Sherab wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:33 am
Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 3:45 am
Incidentally, the "Noble Silence" itself is position 4, the eel-wriggler's.

The difference is that the amaravikṣepa has no thesis, and the Buddha, allegedly, has a thesis, which is dependent origination.

That is really the only thing separating the Buddhas and the eel-wrigglers.

Of course, above, when I said, "the Buddha, allegedly, has a thesis," the "a position, Vacchagotta, is something that the Tathāgata has done away with" (severe paraphrase) quote came to mind.

Is "no thesis" itself a thesis?

---------
---------
---------

I should ask if you are talking about the fourfold or eightfold negations in the above statement. I agree that the eightfold negation is a scholastic excess, but where are the redundancies in the fourfold negation?
The usual Catuṣkoṭi structure:
(a) A
(b) NOT A
(c) A AND NOT A
(d) NOT (A OR NOT A)

Case I
Assume A is identical to NOT NOT A …… (1)
Then X is A and X is not A cover all unique possibilities.
You will have to rewind for me.

The first possibility is affirmation, the second is negation, and the last two are ways of suggesting "something else". Either a combination of 1 & 2 or something else altogether (4).

How are 3 & 4 not unique ways to suggest "something else" than options 1 & 2?
Before you do any negation, you have to be precise as to what is being negated. The three cases that I presented is to delineate all unique possibilities available for negation.

For example, when you wish to negate existence, you first have to define the meaning of existence.

An example would be: A is existing means A is truly existing, where the existence is permanent and unchanging. A is not existing means A comes into existence and then ceases permanently without any subsequent continuation. Here not A is not the same as not not A, so we should substitute not A with B to indicate an annihilistic notion of existence. Then since A and B do not overlap, the unique possibilities of existences are A, B and NOT A and NOT B. After that, you can proceed to negate A by arguing that the existence as defined for A is not in accord with what we observe in reality. You can also negate B by noting that it is not in accord with reality as the cessation of one form of existence is the arising of another form of existence (some form of conservation law here). Then you are left with the third possibility of existence, namely one that is NOT A and NOT B.

This is what the Buddha himself alluded to when he said that avoiding the extremes of existence and none existence I teach a middle that is dependent arising.

There are those who argued that even dependent arising is transcended in the state of enlightenment. To do this, you will have to list out all possibilities of dependent arising and then examine each one by one to see if it can be negated.

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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Sherab » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:14 am

boundless wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 3:32 pm
Sherab wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:34 pm
I don't recall the Buddha actually using the Catuṣkoṭi form of analysis himself. I can only recall the Buddha using it only in relation to its use by his opponents.

Would appreciate if someone could provide examples in the Suttas or Sutras where the Buddha himself resorted to Catuṣkoṭi analysis in his teaching?
Greetings Sherab, all,

I do not know if it is relevant for this discussion but apparently, there is IMHO something similar to a partial "Catuṣkoṭi" in the 31 planes of existence.

From the article The Thirty-one Plnaes of Existence in accesstoinsight we have: both the "impercipient beings" (Pali: asaññasatta, Sanskrit: Asaṃjñasattva) and the "sphere of neither perception nor non-perception" (Pali: nevasaññanasaññayatanupaga, Sanskrit: Naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñāyatana). Apparently, the first ones are imperciptient beings and the others are "neither percipient nor impercipient". So, with regards to perception we might have "perception" (A), "non-perception" (B) and "neither perception nor nonperception" (neither A nor B).
Maybe this indicates that being "percipient" and "impercipient" are two possibilities and "neither percipient nor impercipient" is something else.

BTW, the third option ("A and B") always semmed to me as an impossible position to be held, since it appears to be a contradiction.

:anjali:
Good example.

But it does not mean that the Buddha uses the Catuṣkoṭi for analysis. You may wish to read my latest reply to Coëmgenu regarding my take on the method of negation.

It is possible where neither perception nor non-perception could be of the form A and B where not A is really B, with A and B being mutually exclusive so that there is middle NOT A and NOT B. I don't know.

Perhaps, someone who is able to reach that state of neither perception nor non-perception could define precisely what perception is and what non-perception is.

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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by boundless » Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:21 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:20 pm
boundless wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 3:32 pm
BTW, the third option ("A and B") always semmed to me as an impossible position to be held, since it appears to be a contradiction.
Imagine two intersecting constituents that substantially overlap but also have parts that are separate.

Imagine a red line segment and a blue line segment. The two are side by each like so:

rrrrrrrrrr bbbbbbbbbb

The red segment is represented by 10 R's, the blue by 10 B's.

I am going to smash them together so they overlap partially:

rrrrrpppppbbbbb

The overlapping section is both blue and red. I've shown it as P for purple, but I want to stress that the point of this was to illustrate a combination of constituents that simultaneously house a dual and a non-dual presentation, rather than showing two things coming together to create something new. The non-dual presentation is represented by the purple. The dual presentation is the red and blue. In entirety, the two constituents as a whole are both same and different.

Apply this to modalities of being instead of coloured line segments.
Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:29 pm
All that nonsense above the is leftovers from me trying to figure out what tenfold interpenetration is actually supposed to "be".

Two or more interpenetrating dhaatava.h are characteristic by being both identical and different. The above was the only way I could figure it working, before I gave up on 10fold interpenetration since it's really something you are supposed to realize in yogic equipoise, not with pen and paper.
Good points!

But that is possible only if "blue" and "red" are not mutually exclusive. Now, in the tetralemma we have: "exists" (Pali: hoti, Sanskrit: bhavati), "does not exist", "exists and does not exist", "neither exists nor does not exist". If "exists" and "does not exist" are not mutually exclusive, then the position is possible. Yet, I cannot see how the two propositions can be both true in this case. However, there is still the possibility that, as you say:
The above was the only way I could figure it working, before I gave up on 10fold interpenetration since it's really something you are supposed to realize in yogic equipoise, not with pen and paper.
but in this case, we need to admit that logic here does not apply. This can have, IMO, unfortunate consequences because I find Buddhist analysis very logical. Why? Because I think that one rejects the notion of a "self" (atman) by understanding the implications of such a notion and by veryfing that the implications are falsified in experience. But, of course, the Dharma is said to be "beyond the scope of reasoning" (e.g. MN 72). Anyway, I think that in the case of the tetralemma, it is the realization of "anatman" that leads to the rejection of it (i.e. by realizing that the empirical predictions of the assumption of an existing atman are not met in experience).

Anyway, I do not know if "exists and does not exist" can also mean "it is only partially annihilated" or "it is annihilated only in some respects".

On the other hand, the Buddha IMHO rejected all four propositions because they were nonsensical, rather than wrong. Why? Because all of them assumed that there was a "truly existing entity" that could persist, could be annihilated and so on. So they are unanswerable questions, because the question themselves are wrongly put. The skeptics, on the other hand, suspended the judgment. So, while the skeptics could not take a position because they tried to suspend the judgement (i.e. the Skeptics advocated an agnostic position on this issue), the Buddha rejected all four propositions, because they were all based on a wrong assumption. So, there is a BIG difference between Buddhism and Skepticism with regards to the tetralemma.



Sherab wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:14 am
boundless wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 3:32 pm
Sherab wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:34 pm
I don't recall the Buddha actually using the Catuṣkoṭi form of analysis himself. I can only recall the Buddha using it only in relation to its use by his opponents.

Would appreciate if someone could provide examples in the Suttas or Sutras where the Buddha himself resorted to Catuṣkoṭi analysis in his teaching?
Greetings Sherab, all,

I do not know if it is relevant for this discussion but apparently, there is IMHO something similar to a partial "Catuṣkoṭi" in the 31 planes of existence.

From the article The Thirty-one Plnaes of Existence in accesstoinsight we have: both the "impercipient beings" (Pali: asaññasatta, Sanskrit: Asaṃjñasattva) and the "sphere of neither perception nor non-perception" (Pali: nevasaññanasaññayatanupaga, Sanskrit: Naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñāyatana). Apparently, the first ones are imperciptient beings and the others are "neither percipient nor impercipient". So, with regards to perception we might have "perception" (A), "non-perception" (B) and "neither perception nor nonperception" (neither A nor B).
Maybe this indicates that being "percipient" and "impercipient" are two possibilities and "neither percipient nor impercipient" is something else.

BTW, the third option ("A and B") always semmed to me as an impossible position to be held, since it appears to be a contradiction.

:anjali:
Good example.

But it does not mean that the Buddha uses the Catuṣkoṭi for analysis. You may wish to read my latest reply to Coëmgenu regarding my take on the method of negation.

It is possible where neither perception nor non-perception could be of the form A and B where not A is really B, with A and B being mutually exclusive so that there is middle NOT A and NOT B. I don't know.

Perhaps, someone who is able to reach that state of neither perception nor non-perception could define precisely what perception is and what non-perception is.
I agree. IMHO, this is the case were the B is not "not A". I think that in this case, the "logical space" (the ensemble of possibilities) has three elements. In this case, we have A,B,C. So, "not A" can be either "B" or "C". So, in our case we maybe have "A=perception", "B=non-perception" and "C=neither perception nor non-perception". On the other hand, even in this case (assuming that we indeed are in a situation where "B" and "not A" are not the same), it seems that A, B and C are all mutually exclusive. Hence, we cannot have the state "D=perception and non-perception".

Anyway, I agree with you that we need to clarify what we are negating. Personally, maybe "truly existing" means "enduring", i.e. an entity persisting for some time. If this is the case, then, negating all four propositions of the dilemma means that we deny that there is something that endures even for a very small duration (if we do not do that, then we fall in an annihilationist position because we assume the existence of something that gets destroyed after some time).

Anyway, to be honest I still have to understand what is negated in the tetralemma. For example, if we consider the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta:
Thus I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Benares, in the Deer Park at Isipatana (the Resort of Seers). There he addressed the bhikkhus of the group of five: "Bhikkhus." — "Venerable sir," they replied. The Blessed One said this.

"Bhikkhus, form is not-self. Were form self, then this form would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.' And since form is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.'

"Bhikkhus, feeling is not-self...

"Bhikkhus, perception is not-self...

"Bhikkhus, determinations are not-self...

"Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.'

"Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: is form permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

"Is feeling permanent or impermanent?...

"Is perception permanent or impermanent?...

"Are determinations permanent or impermanent?...

"Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent pleasant or painful?" — "Painful, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

"So, bhikkhus any kind of form whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'

"Any kind of feeling whatever...

"Any kind of perception whatever...

"Any kind of determination whatever...

"Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my self.'
(Ven. Ñanamoli Thera translation)

we have that what is negated is that we can have control over the five aggregates. Since there is no control, there is not also a "truly existing" controller. It is something that we can test in our experience, by seeing if we can control it. So, in this case, if by "self" is meant the (supposed) "controller of the experience" we can verify its absence by contemplating the impossibility to have control on experience. Hence, if there is no controller, the four propositions of the tetralemma are all based on a false assumption of a controller. Hence, they are in fact nonsensical because a concept cannot be said to "exist", "not exist" etc after death. Apparently, according to the Theravada school the rejection of an atman is more than realizing that there is no controller as is explained in this answer by Venerable Yuttadhammo (as it happens, I still do not understand how to test empirically the other characteristics). Also, impermanence (Sanskrit: anitya, Pali: anicca), which implies also the absence of control, is the reason that all conditioned existence is "anatman/anatta" and it cannot be used to explain the fact that the third mark also applies on Nirvana (see another answer of Venerable Yuttadhammo). Anyway, I think that in the Theravada Nirvana (despite not being impermanent) is not considered a self because it has not the characteristics of a supposed self, as explained in the first answer I linked.
So, I think that one needs to understand the assumption of what the assumption of an existing "self" (Pali: atta, Sanskrit: anatman) means and what the assumption implies. Hence, I think that the rejection of the tetralemma is based on an empirical realization that the assumption on which the propositions are based (i.e. the existence of an "atman") is wrong.

On the other hand, I also think that the concept of "emptiness" (shunyata) in Mahayana goes beyond than the above, anatman. In Madhyamaka, unconditioned dharmas are not real and hence, they are of course empty of "inherent existence". I do not know if the realization of impermanence by itself leads to the realization of the absence of "inherent existence", however. Anyway, it seems that "anatman/anatta" and "shunyata" are subtly different, check for example this post.


(I hope to have remained on-topic).

:anjali:

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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by boundless » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:40 pm

Forgot to say that in the precedent message, by Theravada I meant "commentarial Theravada".

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A digression into medieval theology

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:45 am

boundless wrote: I also think that the concept of "emptiness" (śūnyatā) in Mahayana goes beyond than the above, anatman. In Madhyamaka, unconditioned dharmas are not real and hence, they are of course empty of "inherent existence".
At risk of further complicating the thread, I would like to introduce some ideas from a different tradition, namely, early medieval Christian theology. The text below from the SEP entry on Eriugena addresses the notion that there are levels or modes of being. This also relates to the above post about 'the thirty one planes of existence', as here too the author is referring different 'planes of existence'. These were still part of the landscape for Eriugena; they're an aspect of what has been called 'the Great Chain of Being', which was generally to fall out of favour in later Western thought.

Of course the background to Eriugena's thinking is obviously theistic, and so, is very different to the Buddhist analysis in that respect. However, if you're willing to grant that there might be some degree of correspondence between the Christian conception of the divine nature and the Buddhist 'unconditioned' (which I acknowledge is risky) then there are some interesting ideas here.

Eriugena [lists] five ways of interpreting the manner in which things may be said 'to exist' or 'to not exist'.

According to the first mode, 'things accessible to the senses and the mind' are said to exist. [This roughly corresponds to the five skandhas].

Whereas anything which,‘through the excellence of its nature’, transcends our [sensory] faculties [e.g. like angels or celestial beings] are said "not to exist". According to this classification, God, because of his transcendence, is said not to exist. He is ‘nothingness through excellence’ (nihil per excellentiam).

The second mode of being and non-being is seen in the ‘orders and differences of created natures’ , whereby, if one level of nature is said to exist, those orders above or below it are said not to exist:
For an affirmation concerning the lower (order) is a negation concerning the higher, and so too a negation concerning the lower (order) is an affirmation concerning the higher.
According to this mode, the affirmation of man is the negation of angel and vice versa. ...In other words, a particular level may be affirmed to be real by those on a lower or on the same level, but the one above it is thought not to be real in the same way. If humans are thought to exist in a certain way, then angels [or bodhisattvas] do not exist [in the way that physical beings exist].

...when Eriugena calls God ‘nothing’, he means that God transcends all created being, God is nihil per excellentiam (‘nothingness on account of excellence’) or, as he puts it, nihil per infinitatem (‘nothingness on account of infinity’). Matter, on the other hand, is also called ‘nothing’ but it is ‘nothing through privation’ (nihil per privationem). Similarly, created things are called ‘nothing’ because they do not contain in themselves their principles of subsistence [in other words, they lack sva-bhava, 'own-being' - they're 'empty' in a sense close to that intended by the Buddhist analysis]
I know I am drawing a long bow, but it is the Academic forum, and I think there are some interesting convergences.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Sherab » Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:19 am

boundless wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:21 am
It is something that we can test in our experience, by seeing if we can control it. So, in this case, if by "self" is meant the (supposed) "controller of the experience" we can verify its absence by contemplating the impossibility to have control on experience. Hence, if there is no controller, the four propositions of the tetralemma are all based on a false assumption of a controller. Hence, they are in fact nonsensical because a concept cannot be said to "exist", "not exist" etc after death.
Consider the Buddha. Did he have control over his aggregates? If no, why did he state that if Ananda had asked him to remain when he the Buddha had hinted that he would be passing on, he could have done so? If the Buddha had not control over his aggregates, how could he have performed miracles such as sprouting fire from the upper half of his body and water from the lower half of his body? So can we conclude that since apparently the Buddha had control over his aggregates, the Buddha had a self? I am inclined to think not.
boundless wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:21 am
Apparently, according to the Theravada school the rejection of an atman is more than realizing that there is no controller as is explained in this answer by Venerable Yuttadhammo (as it happens, I still do not understand how to test empirically the other characteristics). Also, impermanence (Sanskrit: anitya, Pali: anicca), which implies also the absence of control, is the reason that all conditioned existence is "anatman/anatta" and it cannot be used to explain the fact that the third mark also applies on Nirvana (see another answer of Venerable Yuttadhammo). Anyway, I think that in the Theravada Nirvana (despite not being impermanent) is not considered a self because it has not the characteristics of a supposed self, as explained in the first answer I linked.
So, I think that one needs to understand the assumption of what the assumption of an existing "self" (Pali: atta, Sanskrit: anatman) means and what the assumption implies. Hence, I think that the rejection of the tetralemma is based on an empirical realization that the assumption on which the propositions are based (i.e. the existence of an "atman") is wrong.

On the other hand, I also think that the concept of "emptiness" (shunyata) in Mahayana goes beyond than the above, anatman. In Madhyamaka, unconditioned dharmas are not real and hence, they are of course empty of "inherent existence". I do not know if the realization of impermanence by itself leads to the realization of the absence of "inherent existence", however. Anyway, it seems that "anatman/anatta" and "shunyata" are subtly different, check for example this post.
My own tentative view is that where causality operates, a self cannot be said to exist inherently in any phenomena (phenomenon being defined as that which is subjected to causality.)

I view the Buddha as free from any dependencies because nirvana is said to be unconditioned. Given my definition of a phenomenon, the Buddha then is NOT phenomenon. Does that imply a self exists for the Buddha? I think it was Ven Nanavira Thera who said that there is individuality but not self. I am inclined to agree with him.

As regards emptiness, I always felt as if there is something missing in the more well-known definitions. Maybe one day I can put my finger in it.

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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Aemilius » Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:38 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 6:54 pm
Aemilius wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:26 am
Brahmaja sutta 2.27
'What is the fourth way? Here, an ascetic or Brahmin is dull and stupid. Because of his dullness and stupidity, when he is questioned he resorts to evasive statements and wriggles like an eel: "If you ask me whether there is another world. But I don't say so. And I don't say otherwise. And I don't say it is not, and I don't not say it is not." "Is there no other world?..." "Is there both another world and no other world?..."Is there neither another world nor no other world?..." "Are there spontaneously-born beings?..." "Are there not...?" "Both...? "Neither...?" "Does the Tathagata exist after death? Does he not exist after death? Does he both exist and not exist after death? Does he neither exist nor not exist after death?..." "If I thought so, I would say so...I don't say so...I don't say it is not." This is the fourth case.'[15]
This is position 4, the position of the eel-wrigglers, who have no position themselves, but evade answering questions like the holder of a basket of slippery eels (amaraviksheppa) might disturb it, that their position might seem more profound and subtle, as no one can grasp their "subtleties". Nowadays we might call it "moving the goalposts".
If you remove the derogatory language from it, there is no real difference with the position of "questions being unanswerable" and refusing to say this or that.
The basic premise then is that the "ascetic or Brahmin is dull and stupid".
Here in the DharmaWheel-forum Shakyamuni would be banned for that, banned for attacking the person (ad hominem) and for using insulting language.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
(Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1.)

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Re: Catuṣkoṭi analysis used by the Buddha himself

Post by Grigoris » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:10 am

Aemilius wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:38 am
Here in the DharmaWheel-forum Shakyamuni would be banned for that, banned for attacking the person (ad hominem) and for using insulting language.
No, he would get a formal warning first and possibly a suspension. If he kept it up though... ;)
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
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