Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Malcolm
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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by Malcolm »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:42 pm
IDK, I mean, two of the Tibetan schools tend to in a practical sense de-emphasize philosophy as a part of their identity. Whether this is actually true in practice is another question entirely of course, but I can't see a Kagyupa or Nyingmapa saying that they represent the "Madhayamaka school", can you, have you?
Yes, of course, all Tibetan Buddhist schools claim to be proponents of Prasangika Madhyamaka, including Kagyu and Nyingma.

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Anders
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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by Anders »

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:32 pm
Anders wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:15 pm
I would call that overstating the case then. Heritage does not equal identity.
None of those schools would be recognisable to an Indian madhyamikan as madhyamika. They may embrace its view of emptiness, but their practices, view of the path, additional framework and so forth all distinguish them from madhyamika as it existed as an actual school.
Yes, of course they would be. But if you wish to be closed-minded, that is your prerogative.

I don't need your permission to consider myself and my tradition to be living exponents of the Madhyamaka school. Considering that the largest single body of Madhyamaka literature was composed by Tibetans, I would say it is a pretty fair bet that Tibetan Buddhists are Madhyamaka.
Of course you don't, and yet I retain the right to see it differently.
I see Zen Buddhism as applied madhyamika and a lot of the early Zen masters took huge influence from madhyamika (Dogen in particular). Tiantai basically sees itself as evolved madhyamika. I wouldn't consider any of them madhyamika either, because they likewise uphold teachings that wouldn't really fly in a room of stringent madhyamikans.

There is a huge debt to madhyamika in these schools and certainly it is appropriate to think of madhyamika as an integral contribution and part of said schools. If you want to call yourself madhyamikan, then it's no skin off my nose. But it's not something I'd associate with schools that employ tenets like ekayana, tathagatagarbha, buddhahood in one lifetime and such.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
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As your companion in practice"

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conebeckham
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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by conebeckham »

Anders wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:30 am
Malcolm wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:32 pm
Anders wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:15 pm
I would call that overstating the case then. Heritage does not equal identity.
None of those schools would be recognisable to an Indian madhyamikan as madhyamika. They may embrace its view of emptiness, but their practices, view of the path, additional framework and so forth all distinguish them from madhyamika as it existed as an actual school.
Yes, of course they would be. But if you wish to be closed-minded, that is your prerogative.

I don't need your permission to consider myself and my tradition to be living exponents of the Madhyamaka school. Considering that the largest single body of Madhyamaka literature was composed by Tibetans, I would say it is a pretty fair bet that Tibetan Buddhists are Madhyamaka.
Of course you don't, and yet I retain the right to see it differently.
I see Zen Buddhism as applied madhyamika and a lot of the early Zen masters took huge influence from madhyamika (Dogen in particular). Tiantai basically sees itself as evolved madhyamika. I wouldn't consider any of them madhyamika either, because they likewise uphold teachings that wouldn't really fly in a room of stringent madhyamikans.

There is a huge debt to madhyamika in these schools and certainly it is appropriate to think of madhyamika as an integral contribution and part of said schools. If you want to call yourself madhyamikan, then it's no skin off my nose. But it's not something I'd associate with schools that employ tenets like ekayana, tathagatagarbha, buddhahood in one lifetime and such.
It very much depends, to me, on what one means by "a school."
In Japan, for instance, even talking of the six "schools" during the Nara period doesn't mean there were strict boundaries, etc. between, say, Madhyamaka or Sanron and Vinaya (Ritsu) or Yogacara (Hosso)....people crossed between various topics, and this only increased over time.

I do think it's true, though, that all Tibetan lineages consider Madhyamaka to be the "apex" view, and therefore it's right to characterize all Tibetan lineages as belonging to this "school of thought." But there's no Madhyamaka institution per se, as there was in Japan during ancient times. I don't know if there was such a "school" in the institutional sense in India, either, frankly.
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"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."
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Malcolm
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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by Malcolm »

Anders wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:30 am
But it's not something I'd associate with schools that employ tenets like ekayana, tathagatagarbha, buddhahood in one lifetime and such.
Tathāgatagarbha sūtras existed during the time Nagārjuna was alive, and he never refuted them. Ekayāna sūtras also existed while he was alive, and he never refuted them either. In fact, he defended Mahāyāna as a whole.

Vajrayāna Buddhism came much later, but there is no contradiction between Madhyamaka and Vajrayāna, since all the tantras take Madhyamaka as their view.

So, you are a taking excessively narrow view of who can lay claim to the title, a madhyāmika. I am a madhyāmika.

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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by Virgo »

Malcolm wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:38 pm
Vajrayāna Buddhism came much later, but there is no contradiction between Madhyamaka and Vajrayāna, since all the tantras take Madhyamaka as their view.
In fact this bears on the point in the other thread of various schoold being Madhyamaka schools. Basically, if you are practicing tantra, you are, by default, assuming this view. And particularly if we take an empowerment from a very enlightened master, we can realize this view. Therefore, when we have the bodhicitta intention, we can move forward.

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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by smcj »

Vajrayāna Buddhism came much later...
Oh no you didn’t... :stirthepot:

:rolling:
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

Malcolm
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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by Malcolm »

smcj wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:45 pm
Vajrayāna Buddhism came much later...
Oh no you didn’t... :stirthepot:

:rolling:
Sure, this is non-controversial even from a traditional point of view.

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LastLegend
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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by LastLegend »

Well it’s tricky.

If consciousness is encouraged NOT to be used as in the case of 4 extremes, then that’s Prajnaparamita or Madhyamaka? Unless someone argues on the definition of consciousness, otherwise we can say in order to grasp first distinction must be established between (example) existence and non-existence. That distinction is recognized as consciousness. Since it’s Prajnaparamita (from non-distinguishing nature) everything is clearly distinguished without getting confused? Easy not! Because eons of karma keep pulling us back!
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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by smcj »

I did not understand your post, starting with
If consciousness is encouraged NOT to be used as in the case of 4 extremes, then that’s Prajnaparamita or Madhyamaka?
Want to try again?
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

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LastLegend
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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by LastLegend »

I am on vacation so no.

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LastLegend
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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by LastLegend »

So studying the 4 extremes should help people stop grasping but it does not really because the very problem is grasping is manufactured through distinction. Basically people are playing with skandhas without knowing they are doing that.
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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by rory »

Anders wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:40 am
They were schools, but as living traditions go they are essentially extinct.

Their relevance continues today though, as they provide the buildings blocks for many, if not all, of the modern schools that exist as living traditions today.
Actually the Japanese Hosso (Yogacarya) school, Hosso Shu , exists until this day. The head temples are Yakushi-ji and Kofuku- Ji both were founded early and built in the Chinese style and located in Nara.
Here is a nice article to read about it:
The Hossō sect still exists in Japan to this day, surviving long after it died out in Korea and China
http://www.chinabuddhismencyclopedia.co ... Hoss%C5%8D
Jokei was a very eminent and famous monk of the Hosso school.

It's a very small school but the head just wrote a wonderful book called Living Yogacarya
Tagawa, S. (2009).Muller, C. Ed. Living Yogācāra: An Introduction to Consciousness-Only Buddhism. Wisdom Publications.
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
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Anders
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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by Anders »

Malcolm wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:38 pm
Anders wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:30 am
But it's not something I'd associate with schools that employ tenets like ekayana, tathagatagarbha, buddhahood in one lifetime and such.
Tathāgatagarbha sūtras existed during the time Nagārjuna was alive, and he never refuted them. Ekayāna sūtras also existed while he was alive, and he never refuted them either. In fact, he defended Mahāyāna as a whole.


To reduce madhyamika only to Nagarjuna kinda illustrates my point that these later schools take what they need from madhyamika (Nagarjuna's thesis on emptiness) and happily discard the rest. I should add, I don't see anything wrong with that either. Madhyamika is more than the mulamadhyamakarikas though, same as Dzogchen is more than longchenpa and soto zen is more than Dogen zenji.

The bodhisambhara clearly refutes ekayana in favour of the "seed of bodhi" theory of the prajnaparamita sutras. The "implicit acceptance through silence" argument is frankly unconvincing. That Indian madhyamika has historically rejected tathagatagarbha is surely not controversial.
Vajrayāna Buddhism came much later, but there is no contradiction between Madhyamaka and Vajrayāna, since all the tantras take Madhyamaka as their view.

So, you are a taking excessively narrow view of who can lay claim to the title, a madhyāmika. I am a madhyāmika.
Actually I think the opposite is the case, since you have reduced madhyamika to a narrow segment pertaining only to its view of emptiness and treat the rest as interchangeable. Its practices, methods and wider view of the path are roundly subverted in vajrayana as mere renunciation. And even if Indian madhyamikans might recognise the validity of vajrayana practices, it is far from a given that they would accept the extraordinary claims of buddhahood in one lifetime.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Anders
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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by Anders »

conebeckham wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:16 pm
I do think it's true, though, that all Tibetan lineages consider Madhyamaka to be the "apex" view, and therefore it's right to characterize all Tibetan lineages as belonging to this "school of thought." But there's no Madhyamaka institution per se, as there was in Japan during ancient times. I don't know if there was such a "school" in the institutional sense in India, either, frankly.
My point is that the fact that all these lineages only really take the madhyamikan view of emptiness as apex and ignore/relegate the rest of its practice-tradition is exactly why I don't think they can accurately be called madhyamika, as much as descended/evolved from madhyamika. Madhyamika is/was not just philosophy. To reduce a school only to its view of emptiness is not a proper representation, imo.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by LastLegend »

Anders wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:23 am
conebeckham wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:16 pm
I do think it's true, though, that all Tibetan lineages consider Madhyamaka to be the "apex" view, and therefore it's right to characterize all Tibetan lineages as belonging to this "school of thought." But there's no Madhyamaka institution per se, as there was in Japan during ancient times. I don't know if there was such a "school" in the institutional sense in India, either, frankly.
My point is that the fact that all these lineages only really take the madhyamikan view of emptiness as apex and ignore/relegate the rest of its practice-tradition is exactly why I don't think they can accurately be called madhyamika, as much as descended/evolved from madhyamika. Madhyamika is/was not just philosophy. To reduce a school only to its view of emptiness is not a proper representation, imo.
If it’s not Madhyamaka, then is it Mahaprajnaparamita? Even then what is Mahaprajnaparamita? Is it Zen? If none of it above, what is it? Whether this is a common mind set of East Asians or not, the I was taught is focusing on marrow/nature once it’s recognized and get absorbed into nature . In Zen language it is the Great Death or temporarily cessation of consciousness in order to discern nature completely before consciousness is put back to good use again to do work on the Bodhisattva path. Thus, those Bodhisattvas (Manjushri example) do their work at consciousness (wisdom at this point) since no longer confused by consciousness. The reason why this seems simplified is because views and studies are really hindrance they become tools of construction or fabrication. It seems easy at the same extremely hard!? Why!? It’s all eons of karma while adding more in the form of Dharma doesn’t help. So here we can find the best possible means and whatever means is up to interpretation and instruction. It’s long been known clashes of traditions on this forum and let’s not continue that since it doesn’t help any get there any quicker but rather just self clash.
Last edited by LastLegend on Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by Aemilius »

Anders wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:23 am
conebeckham wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:16 pm
I do think it's true, though, that all Tibetan lineages consider Madhyamaka to be the "apex" view, and therefore it's right to characterize all Tibetan lineages as belonging to this "school of thought." But there's no Madhyamaka institution per se, as there was in Japan during ancient times. I don't know if there was such a "school" in the institutional sense in India, either, frankly.
My point is that the fact that all these lineages only really take the madhyamikan view of emptiness as apex and ignore/relegate the rest of its practice-tradition is exactly why I don't think they can accurately be called madhyamika, as much as descended/evolved from madhyamika. Madhyamika is/was not just philosophy. To reduce a school only to its view of emptiness is not a proper representation, imo.
Nagarjuna was ordained as a Buddhist monk, and before that as a novice monk, and even earlier as an upasaka/layman. This means he had a preceptor and teacher in some lineage and school of Buddhism. What is that school? (Or he had several teachers belonging to more than one schools)
He had also received the bodhisattva ordination in an Indian Mahayana lineage and school. Which one is that?
Nagarjuna is included in the lineage of the Pureland schools of Japan and China, (besides being included in the lineages of Zen and Chan schools).
He did not start a new or separate ordination lineage.
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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by Anders »

Aemilius wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:17 am
He did not start a new or separate ordination lineage.
Following this line of thought would make all modern Mahayana Buddhism effectively reducible to Mulasarvastivada in Tibet, Saicho's bodhisattva ordination in the Japan and Dharmaguptaka in the rest of Asia. I such a simplification does not satisfactorily represent the actual dynamics of modern day Mahayana, any more than claiming that madhyamika should simply be understood as pan-mahayana (even if it is the closest thing to it).
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by Malcolm »

Anders wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:23 am
conebeckham wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:16 pm
I do think it's true, though, that all Tibetan lineages consider Madhyamaka to be the "apex" view, and therefore it's right to characterize all Tibetan lineages as belonging to this "school of thought." But there's no Madhyamaka institution per se, as there was in Japan during ancient times. I don't know if there was such a "school" in the institutional sense in India, either, frankly.
My point is that the fact that all these lineages only really take the madhyamikan view of emptiness as apex and ignore/relegate the rest of its practice-tradition is exactly why I don't think they can accurately be called madhyamika, as much as descended/evolved from madhyamika. Madhyamika is/was not just philosophy. To reduce a school only to its view of emptiness is not a proper representation, imo.
That is also false. We do practice according to Aryadevas 400 and Shantidevas Bodhicarya-avatara, as well as Nagarjunas texts, and many more.

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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by Malcolm »

Anders wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:30 am
Following this line of thought would make all modern Mahayana Buddhism effectively reducible to Mulasarvastivada in Tibet...
All Mahāyānīs in Tibet are Mulasarvāstivādins. For example, I am a Mulasarvāstivādin upāsaka, and in terms of bodhisattva vow ordination, Madhyamaka, which is also the philosophical tradition I follow. Point of fact, there never were separate traditions of Mahāyāna practice in terms of Madhyamaka and Yogacāra, the path is the same for both.

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Re: Are madhyamaka and yogacara considered schools of buddhism?

Post by conebeckham »

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:28 pm
Anders wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:30 am
Following this line of thought would make all modern Mahayana Buddhism effectively reducible to Mulasarvastivada in Tibet...
All Mahāyānīs in Tibet are Mulasarvāstivādins. For example, I am a Mulasarvāstivādin upāsaka, and in terms of bodhisattva vow ordination, Madhyamaka, which is also the philosophical tradition I follow. Point of fact, there never were separate traditions of Mahāyāna practice in terms of Madhyamaka and Yogacāra, the path is the same for both.
Malcolm, I think that is true for Tibetan lineages. It may also be true for precursor "lineages" in India, I am not familiar with the history. But it does seem that in East Asia, though the lines are not clearly drawn, there was some differentiation into "Schools"at some point in history. I admit to very little understanding of East Asian Buddhist history.
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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