There is something more in the analytical approach that is not mentioned. It's the Buddha's teaching of the selflessness of dharmas. That bridges the chasm between analytical consideration and real wisdom. When the Buddha's teaching is heard, then our analysis is not primary exploration but rather evaluation and confirmation of the Buddha's teaching. When we have analyzed enough that the Buddha's word is true, we leap the chasm and enter the Buddha wisdom through faith.Astus wrote: ↑Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:12 amIs your objection that "it assumes characteristics to peel back, suggestive of a process replete with all manner of concepts - one utilizes concepts to remove concepts... in practice it would seem this would just lead to infinite regression."? If so, let me answer to the below point.
The quoted example of sticks burned by their fire is quite universal in Mahayana. Let me give here Tsongkhapa's (The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path, vol 3, p 344-345) more extensive response to the objection.This is using a process of analysis which I suggested above leads to an infinite regression. If done meticulously. Why? Because there is always a remainder.
Objection: Since analytical discrimination of the meaning of selflessness is conceptual, it is contradictory that it should produce the nonconceptual sublime wisdom. This is because there must be harmony between an effect and its cause.
Reply: The Bhagavan himself spoke about this using an example. The Kasyapa Chapter Sutra (Kasyapa-parivarta-sutra) says:
Kasyapa, it is thus. For example, two trees are dragged against each other by the wind and from that a fire starts, burning the two trees. In the same way, Kasyapa, if you have correct analytical discrimination, the power of a noble being's wisdom will emerge. With its emergence, correct analytical discrimination will itself be burned up.
This means that the wisdom of a noble being emerges from analytical discrimination. Kamalasila's second Stages of Meditation says:
Thus, yogis analyze with wisdom and when they definitely do not apprehend the essence of any thing ultimately, they enter into the nonconceptual concentration. They know that all phenomena lack essence. There are some whose meditation does not involve the use of wisdom to investigate the essence of things; they only cultivate the sheer and complete elimination of mental activity. Their conceptions never end and they never know the absence of essence because they lack the light of wisdom. Thus, when the fire which is a precise understanding of reality arises from correct analytical discrimination, then - as in the case of the fire from the friction of two sticks rubbed together - the wood of conceptual thought is burned up. This is what the Bhagavan said.
Otherwise, since it would be impossible for an uncontaminated path to arise from a contaminated path, an ordinary being could not attain the state of a noble being because of the dissimilarity between the cause and the effect. In the same way, it is evident that there are limitless cases of dissimilar causes and effects, such as the production of a green seedling from a gray seed, the production of smoke from fire, and the production of a male child from a woman. A noble being's nonconceptual sublime wisdom is perceptual knowledge of the meaning of selflessness - the emptiness of the object of the conception of the two selves. In order to develop that sort of wisdom at a higher stage, your meditation must now precisely analyze the object of the conception of self and realize that it does not exist. Therefore, although this is conceptual, it is a cause which is very conducive to the nonconceptual sublime wisdom. As previously cited, the King of Concentrations Sutra says:
If you analytically discriminate the lack of self in phenomena
And if you cultivate that precise analysis in meditation,
This will cause you to reach the goal, the attainment of nirvana.
There is no peace through any other cause.
Therefore, Kamalasila's third Stages of Meditation says,
Even though it has a conceptual nature, its nature is one of proper mental activity. Therefore, because it engenders the nonconceptual sublime wisdom, those who seek the sublime wisdom should rely upon it.
There are very clear boundaries given in Buddhism, commonly in the format of the five aggregates and six sensory areas (see the Loka Suttas at SN 35.82 and 12.44).In practice, one takes the analysis to the limits of one's experience, but if you're completely honest, there is always a remainder, and so one can't be sure all analysis has been exhausted; we can only extend to the limits of our analysis.
"Subhuti: How does perfect wisdom instruct the Tathagatas in this world, and what is it that the Tathagatas call ‘world’?
The Lord: The five skandhas have by the Tathagata have declared as ‘world’ [loka]. Which five? Form, feeling, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness."
(PP8K, 12.2, tr Conze)
A larger list of "all things" is found in the abhidharma works.
One relevant issue here is whether that nexus is real or not. If there is a network of things, one could just call that one's true nature, one's self, like one can call the conglomeration of parts one's body.The whole point of the metaphor suggests that the mistake that the nexus is a self is unsupported.
Otherwise, actual exploration itself will not end. At some point a leap is necessary to dispose of the remainder.