Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

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Aemilius
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Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by Aemilius » Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:59 am

Mark Siderits writes in his article Causation and Emptiness in Early Madhyamaka (included in the book Studies in Buddhist Philosophy, Oxford 2016):

"So Nagarjuna's argument appears to to succeed in showing that rupa lacks intrinsic nature. The difficulty is that in MMK 4.7, he seeks to generalize the argument to the case of the four non-material (nama) skandhas. Now each of these may also be said to arise, like rupa, in dependence on causes and conditions. But the causal relation is importantly different in their case. Consciousness, for instance, is said to arise in dependence on sense-object and contact. But no Abhidharmika would want to say that sense-object contact is the material-base cause of consciousness. This is because for five of the six types of consciousness, sense-object contact is thoroughly physical in nature: sense faculty and sense object both belong to rupa skandha, and contact is a relation between the two. And to say that consciousness reductively supervenes on something wholly physical in nature is to embrace physicalism and deny a distinct place for mental in our ontology. The causal dependence that consciousness has on sense-object contact is of a completely different kind than the material-constitution dependence of rupa on the four elements. So when Nagarjuna tries to generalize from the case of rupa to the other skandhas, he seems to be committing just the mistake that Hayes accuses him of."
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.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by Grigoris » Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:47 am

Aemilius wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:59 am
Mark Siderits writes in his article Causation and Emptiness in Early Madhyamaka (included in the book Studies in Buddhist Philosophy, Oxford 2016):

"So Nagarjuna's argument appears to to succeed in showing that rupa lacks intrinsic nature. The difficulty is that in MMK 4.7, he seeks to generalize the argument to the case of the four non-material (nama) skandhas. Now each of these may also be said to arise, like rupa, in dependence on causes and conditions. But the causal relation is importantly different in their case. Consciousness, for instance, is said to arise in dependence on sense-object and contact. But no Abhidharmika would want to say that sense-object contact is the material-base cause of consciousness. This is because for five of the six types of consciousness, sense-object contact is thoroughly physical in nature: sense faculty and sense object both belong to rupa skandha, and contact is a relation between the two. And to say that consciousness reductively supervenes on something wholly physical in nature is to embrace physicalism and deny a distinct place for mental in our ontology. The causal dependence that consciousness has on sense-object contact is of a completely different kind than the material-constitution dependence of rupa on the four elements. So when Nagarjuna tries to generalize from the case of rupa to the other skandhas, he seems to be committing just the mistake that Hayes accuses him of."
First of all, in Abhidhar/mma texts they talk about the "coming together" of the sense object/organ/mind. There is no implication of a linear relationship.

Secondly, the sense object is not purely physical, it is a mental construct too: A snake (for example) exists in our mind well before (or even in the absence of) a physical snake.

Thirdly, for common humans like us, all existence is a mental construct. So it is impossible for us to verify that there is an actual physical universe outside of our perception of it. Abhidhar/mma (and Nagarjuna) describes the human EXPERIENCE of an apparent reality. It seems that Hayes misunderstands this and believes Nagarjuna is describing some type of objective reality beyond human experience.
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"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by Aemilius » Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:25 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:47 am
Aemilius wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:59 am
Mark Siderits writes in his article Causation and Emptiness in Early Madhyamaka (included in the book Studies in Buddhist Philosophy, Oxford 2016):

"So Nagarjuna's argument appears to to succeed in showing that rupa lacks intrinsic nature. The difficulty is that in MMK 4.7, he seeks to generalize the argument to the case of the four non-material (nama) skandhas. Now each of these may also be said to arise, like rupa, in dependence on causes and conditions. But the causal relation is importantly different in their case. Consciousness, for instance, is said to arise in dependence on sense-object and contact. But no Abhidharmika would want to say that sense-object contact is the material-base cause of consciousness. This is because for five of the six types of consciousness, sense-object contact is thoroughly physical in nature: sense faculty and sense object both belong to rupa skandha, and contact is a relation between the two. And to say that consciousness reductively supervenes on something wholly physical in nature is to embrace physicalism and deny a distinct place for mental in our ontology. The causal dependence that consciousness has on sense-object contact is of a completely different kind than the material-constitution dependence of rupa on the four elements. So when Nagarjuna tries to generalize from the case of rupa to the other skandhas, he seems to be committing just the mistake that Hayes accuses him of."
First of all, in Abhidhar/mma texts they talk about the "coming together" of the sense object/organ/mind. There is no implication of a linear relationship.

Secondly, the sense object is not purely physical, it is a mental construct too: A snake (for example) exists in our mind well before (or even in the absence of) a physical snake.
The question is whether consciousness is dependent on the sense organ and the sense object in the same way as form or body is dependent on the elements. Consciousness is not composed of sense organs and sense objects in the same manner as body or form is composed of the elements.

You cannot have a concept or an image of a snake without there first being an actual material snake. The image or concept of a snake depends on the existence of snakes.

In the Abhidharmakosha-bhashyam there are lots of references to dravya or substance.
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.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by SteRo » Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:48 pm

Siderits obviously commits a category error.
Aemilius wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:59 am
Mark Siderits writes in his article Causation and Emptiness in Early Madhyamaka (included in the book Studies in Buddhist Philosophy, Oxford 2016):

"So Nagarjuna's argument appears to to succeed in showing that rupa lacks intrinsic nature. The difficulty is that in MMK 4.7, he seeks to generalize the argument to the case of the four non-material (nama) skandhas. Now each of these may also be said to arise, like rupa, in dependence on causes and conditions. ..."
So far so good.

But then he switches to a completely different system of thought:
Aemilius wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:59 am
"...
But the causal relation is importantly different in their case. Consciousness, for instance, is said to arise in dependence on sense-object and contact. But no Abhidharmika would want to say that ..."
He confuses Abhidharma thought, i.e. Sravaka thought which is realists' thought, and Madhyamaka thought.
The_Large_Sutra_On_Perfect_Wisdom wrote:The Lord: ... But foolish people have settled down in ignorance and craving. They have constructed (dharmas out of their) ignorance and craving, have settled down (in these results of) of ignorance and craving, have become attached to the two extremes, and both extremes they do not know or see. After they have constructed those dharmas which yet do not exist, they have settled down in name-and-form, etc. ....

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by Malcolm » Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:07 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:25 pm

The question is whether consciousness is dependent on the sense organ and the sense object in the same way as form or body is dependent on the elements. Consciousness is not composed of sense organs
Consciousness (manas, vijñāna, citta) is an indriya, or a sense faculty, one of the twenty-two listed in chapter two of the Abhidharmakośabhaṣyaṃ.
and sense objects in the same manner as body or form is composed of the elements.

You cannot have a concept or an image of a snake without there first being an actual material snake. The image or concept of a snake depends on the existence of snakes.

In the Abhidharmakosha-bhashyam there are lots of references to dravya or substance.
For Vasubandhu, consciousness is included among the dravyas. In the Abhidharmakośabhaṣyaṃ model, yes, you must have a real sense object in order to have a sense impression and a sense consciousness.

For Nāgārjuna, however, causation is merely a convention, therefore Richard Hayes' objection does not hold. In other words, Mādhyamikas conventionally accept the notion that a sense consciousness will not arise in absence of the sense organ and sense object, but they do not accept that any of these things are substantially real or exist independently of one another.

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by Grigoris » Sun Mar 29, 2020 5:39 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:25 pm
You cannot have a concept or an image of a snake without there first being an actual material snake. The image or concept of a snake depends on the existence of snakes.
Just like the concept of unicorn pooping rainbows depends on the material existence of unicorns pooping rainbows?
unicorn poop.jpg
unicorn poop.jpg (5.3 KiB) Viewed 631 times
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by haha » Mon Mar 30, 2020 4:28 am

Aemilius wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:59 am
Mark Siderits writes in his article Causation and Emptiness in Early Madhyamaka (included in the book Studies in Buddhist Philosophy, Oxford 2016):

"So Nagarjuna's argument appears to to succeed in showing that rupa lacks intrinsic nature. The difficulty is that in MMK 4.7, he seeks to generalize the argument to the case of the four non-material (nama) skandhas. Now each of these may also be said to arise, like rupa, in dependence on causes and conditions. But the causal relation is importantly different in their case. Consciousness, for instance, is said to arise in dependence on sense-object and contact. But no Abhidharmika would want to say that sense-object contact is the material-base cause of consciousness. This is because for five of the six types of consciousness, sense-object contact is thoroughly physical in nature: sense faculty and sense object both belong to rupa skandha, and contact is a relation between the two. And to say that consciousness reductively supervenes on something wholly physical in nature is to embrace physicalism and deny a distinct place for mental in our ontology. The causal dependence that consciousness has on sense-object contact is of a completely different kind than the material-constitution dependence of rupa on the four elements. So when Nagarjuna tries to generalize from the case of rupa to the other skandhas, he seems to be committing just the mistake that Hayes accuses him of."
I found inconsistency this statement “Nagarjuna tries to generalize from the case of rupa to the other skandhas”, as I have noticed myself reading that stanza (MMK 4. 7) very differently.

Nagarjuna did not present his thesis in that modality and he clearly stated his modality and which he applied to all chapters. So, his accusation (i.e. contact modality) does not apply to Nagarjuna and even his premise about consciousness is not appropriate (based on this commenting person (me) limited observation). So, Nagarjuna's modality even applies to contact (sparsa), not only on remaining four skandhas.

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by Aemilius » Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:16 am

SteRo wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:48 pm
Siderits obviously commits a category error.
Aemilius wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:59 am
Mark Siderits writes in his article Causation and Emptiness in Early Madhyamaka (included in the book Studies in Buddhist Philosophy, Oxford 2016):

"So Nagarjuna's argument appears to to succeed in showing that rupa lacks intrinsic nature. The difficulty is that in MMK 4.7, he seeks to generalize the argument to the case of the four non-material (nama) skandhas. Now each of these may also be said to arise, like rupa, in dependence on causes and conditions. ..."
So far so good.

But then he switches to a completely different system of thought:
Aemilius wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:59 am
"...
But the causal relation is importantly different in their case. Consciousness, for instance, is said to arise in dependence on sense-object and contact. But no Abhidharmika would want to say that ..."
He confuses Abhidharma thought, i.e. Sravaka thought which is realists' thought, and Madhyamaka thought.
The quoted passage is too short apparently. Siderits has said earlier several times that Madhyamaka is a reaction against the Abhidharmikas, and you should read the sentence in this light. I.e. that "even Abhidharmikas would not say that consciousness depends on a material object!" is the intended meaning, as far as I see it.
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.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by SteRo » Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:49 am

Aemilius wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:16 am
SteRo wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:48 pm
Siderits obviously commits a category error.
Aemilius wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:59 am
Mark Siderits writes in his article Causation and Emptiness in Early Madhyamaka (included in the book Studies in Buddhist Philosophy, Oxford 2016):

"So Nagarjuna's argument appears to to succeed in showing that rupa lacks intrinsic nature. The difficulty is that in MMK 4.7, he seeks to generalize the argument to the case of the four non-material (nama) skandhas. Now each of these may also be said to arise, like rupa, in dependence on causes and conditions. ..."
So far so good.

But then he switches to a completely different system of thought:
Aemilius wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:59 am
"...
But the causal relation is importantly different in their case. Consciousness, for instance, is said to arise in dependence on sense-object and contact. But no Abhidharmika would want to say that ..."
He confuses Abhidharma thought, i.e. Sravaka thought which is realists' thought, and Madhyamaka thought.
The quoted passage is too short apparently. Siderits has said earlier several times that Madhyamaka is a reaction against the Abhidharmikas, and you should read the sentence in this light. I.e. that "even Abhidharmikas would not say that consciousness depends on a material object!" is the intended meaning, as far as I see it.
Nevertheless the quote implies that one may rightly assume the ignorance of the sravaka realists to be the basis of Nagarjuna's thought. And that is a categorical error. It seems he has no clue about Nagarjuna's thought. He says "But the causal relation is importantly different in their case." which reveals that he imputes the ignorance of the sravaka realists to Nagarjuna's words, i.e. he himself takes the perspective of a sravaka realist when talking about Nagarjuna's thought.

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by Aemilius » Mon Mar 30, 2020 3:20 pm

According to Buddha consciousness (or the four nonmaterial skandhas) and Rupa are not one and same, they are different in character. They have their own laws. Otherwise he would not have made the distinction of Consciousness (vijñana) and Rupa (form) as two categories of phenomena. But they also depend on each other. "Like two reeds leaning against each other", according to a sravakayana sutra (Digha 14, 15).

In the Dependent origination Nama (name) and Rupa (form) are dependent on the preceding link which is Consciousness (vijñana). This gives a somewhat higher status to consciousness.

MahaPrajñaParamita sastra says:
"Nāmarūpa (नामरूप, “Name-and-form”) refers to the fourth of twelve pratītyasamutpāda (dependent origination) according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter X. Vijñāna produces both the four formless aggregates (arūpiskandha) [perception (saṃjñā), feeling (vedanā), volition (saṃskāra), consciousness (vijñāna)] and form (rūpa) which serves as base them. This is name and form, nāmarūpa. From this nāmarūpa there arise the six sense organs, eye (cakṣus), etc. These are the ṣaḍāyatanas, the six inner bases of consciousness."
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.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by haha » Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:17 am

Sadly, above posted paragraph does not clearly represent what he (Mark Siderits) is talking about in that article.
Aemilius wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:25 pm

You cannot have a concept or an image of a snake without there first being an actual material snake. The image or concept of a snake depends on the existence of snakes.
For the buddhivilasa, I would like to say this. First, one should know what is the purpose of snake-rope analogy is used for Buddhist and non-buddhist logic/debate. It is used for ignorance or to talk about reality/unreality.

In this sense, the above statement may mean,
"You cannot have a concept or an image of ignorance without there first being an actual (material) ignorance. The concept of ignorance depends on (actual) the existence of ignorance."

However, in both systems, this analogy is used to show superimposition and beginninglessness (anaditva) of ignorance. In another word, one cannot pinpoint that when actual prapanca has begun.

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by SteRo » Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:37 am

Aemilius wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 3:20 pm
According to Buddha consciousness (or the four nonmaterial skandhas) and Rupa are not one and same, they are different in character. They have their own laws. Otherwise he would not have made the distinction of Consciousness (vijñana) and Rupa (form) as two categories of phenomena. But they also depend on each other. "Like two reeds leaning against each other", according to a sravakayana sutra (Digha 14, 15).

In the Dependent origination Nama (name) and Rupa (form) are dependent on the preceding link which is Consciousness (vijñana). This gives a somewhat higher status to consciousness.

MahaPrajñaParamita sastra says:
"Nāmarūpa (नामरूप, “Name-and-form”) refers to the fourth of twelve pratītyasamutpāda (dependent origination) according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter X. Vijñāna produces both the four formless aggregates (arūpiskandha) [perception (saṃjñā), feeling (vedanā), volition (saṃskāra), consciousness (vijñāna)] and form (rūpa) which serves as base them. This is name and form, nāmarūpa. From this nāmarūpa there arise the six sense organs, eye (cakṣus), etc. These are the ṣaḍāyatanas, the six inner bases of consciousness."
Your quote from MahaPrajñaParamita sastra is from the chapter that deals with the qualities of Bodhisattvas.
Sūtra [says]: They were skilled in teaching dependent origination (pratītyasamutpannadharmanirdeśakuśalaiḥ).
Śāstra [says]: They are capable of teaching the twelve-membered (dvādaśāṅgapratītyasamutpāda)568 in different ways (nānādharmaparyāyaiḥ) .
That means what you are quoting ("MahaPrajñaParamita sastra says: ...") refers to the teachings skills of Bodhisattvas, i.e. they can teach it that way if the recipient of the teaching is one who needs to receive that teaching that way. But your quote does not state the reality of depending origination at all. That teaching is just a skillful means for appropriate recipients.
So from a Prajnaparamita perspective it would be utterly wrong to take that teaching which is just a skillful means as a basis for arguing or deriving theories from it because that would amount taking the sravaka realist perspective. But a Bodhisattva would teach it that way to one who is of the lineage of the sravakas. Why? Because a Bodhisattva would not think "This person I do not teach because she/he is not of the lineage of the Bodhisattvas, I only teach Bodhisattvas." and a Bodhisattva would not think "I only teach reality" because reality is profound and cannot be conveyed by means of concepts like those applied in the context of dependent origination. But a Bodhisattva would teach what is appropriate for the recipient and what might serve as a skillful means towards the end of dukkha.

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by Grigoris » Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:54 am

haha wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:17 am
However, in both systems, this analogy is used to show superimposition and beginninglessness (anaditva) of ignorance. In another word, one cannot pinpoint that when actual prapanca has begun.
Indeed! People seem to underestimate exactly how much baggage we bring into each lifetime from previous ones.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:25 am

What I under here is the suggestion that Nagarjuna is contradicting himself by asserting both that perception relies on stuff being there for our senses to pick up on, but at the same time asserting that stuff isn’t really there. Am I getting that right?

If so, then I think this gets back to the classic stumbling block many Dharma students run into.
They think the emptiness argument is “the table doesn’t really exist” and this immediately becomes problematic because if the table wasn’t existing, there’s be nothing to deny. There wouldn’t be anything that you could say “doesn’t exist”.
But the emptiness argument isn’t that, “the table doesn’t exist”. Rather, it’s that, “nothing exists that is the table”.
The confusion arises because these two statements sound alike, yet they aren’t.
“Nothing exists that is the table” doesn’t deny the concept, the sensory experience of the table. In that regard, it occurs. However, there is no essential table-ness.
All of samsara occurs. the self occurs. but none of it has any intrinsic existence.
This doesn’t mean that there is absolutely no physical universe as far as we are concerned. It simply means that all we ever experience is our interpretation of essence-less phenomena as having some kind of intrinsic reality, and it doesn’t, and that’s the basis of our ignorance.
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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by Aemilius » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:22 am

haha wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:17 am
Sadly, above posted paragraph does not clearly represent what he (Mark Siderits) is talking about in that article.
Aemilius wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:25 pm

You cannot have a concept or an image of a snake without there first being an actual material snake. The image or concept of a snake depends on the existence of snakes.
For the buddhivilasa, I would like to say this. First, one should know what is the purpose of snake-rope analogy is used for Buddhist and non-buddhist logic/debate. It is used for ignorance or to talk about reality/unreality.

In this sense, the above statement may mean,
"You cannot have a concept or an image of ignorance without there first being an actual (material) ignorance. The concept of ignorance depends on (actual) the existence of ignorance."

However, in both systems, this analogy is used to show superimposition and beginninglessness (anaditva) of ignorance. In another word, one cannot pinpoint that when actual prapanca has begun.
The question here is not about the snake-rope analogy. If we start discussing it, it would be better in another thread. The question is about existents or things in general, like a dog, a house, a car, sun, moon, earth, etc... We have images and concepts of them that are based on the actual existing things. Calling a dog "dog" is knowledge of things and their proper names.
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.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by haha » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:43 am

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:54 am
haha wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:17 am
However, in both systems, this analogy is used to show superimposition and beginninglessness (anaditva) of ignorance. In another word, one cannot pinpoint that when actual prapanca has begun.
Indeed! People seem to underestimate exactly how much baggage we bring into each lifetime from previous ones.
That is why it is not the question about when it started, but about how it started (i.e. pratatyasamutpada).

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by haha » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:55 am

Aemilius wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:22 am

The question here is not about the snake-rope analogy. If we start discussing it, it would be better in another thread. The question is about existents or things in general, like a dog, a house, a car, sun, moon, earth, etc... We have images and concepts of them that are based on the actual existing things. Calling a dog "dog" is knowledge of things and their proper names.
Even Sravaka teaching will cover the matter of existence; there is no need to talk about the emptiness of Nagarjuna (just saying).

Believing in something really existing things like the sun, the moon, a dog, a house, etc. could be regarded as fundamental error. If that is the case, we are talking about which sun. The sun of the morning, or evening. The sun of yesterday or ten days earlier. Or ten years earlier sun. Or ten years later sun. When the nature of impermanent is not known, sentient beings may experience really existing sun.
We have images and concepts of them that are based on the actual existing things.
The image and concepts of that so called actual existing things are nothing but fundamental error of viewing impermanent as permanent. And it could be a misconception to a flow (pravaha) and then regard it as permanent entity.
Calling a dog "dog" is knowledge of things and their proper names.
Here is another opinion my friend. Designation is not the knowledge but just the conventional name to indicate some kind of aggregate (i.e. a collection various aspects imputed as a dog).

haha
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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by haha » Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:22 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:25 am
What I under here is the suggestion that Nagarjuna is contradicting himself by asserting both that perception relies on stuff being there for our senses to pick up on, but at the same time asserting that stuff isn’t really there. Am I getting that right?

If so, then I think this gets back to the classic stumbling block many Dharma students run into.
They think the emptiness argument is “the table doesn’t really exist” and this immediately becomes problematic because if the table wasn’t existing, there’s be nothing to deny. There wouldn’t be anything that you could say “doesn’t exist”.
But the emptiness argument isn’t that, “the table doesn’t exist”. Rather, it’s that, “nothing exists that is the table”.
The confusion arises because these two statements sound alike, yet they aren’t.
“Nothing exists that is the table” doesn’t deny the concept, the sensory experience of the table. In that regard, it occurs. However, there is no essential table-ness.
All of samsara occurs. the self occurs. but none of it has any intrinsic existence.
This doesn’t mean that there is absolutely no physical universe as far as we are concerned. It simply means that all we ever experience is our interpretation of essence-less phenomena as having some kind of intrinsic reality, and it doesn’t, and that’s the basis of our ignorance.
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The self-nature of existents is not evident in the conditions, etc. In the absence of self-nature, other-nature too is not evident.
MMM 1.3
This verse is one argument of above article but it is from different chapter (MMK 15).

Nagarjuna's emptiness is not a thing nor nothing. But it is same to prajnaparamita with different wordings:
The Victorious Ones have announced that emptiness is the relinquishing of all views.
MMK 13.8a translated by David J. Kalupahana
At the end, dependently arising things are like echo, mirage, etc.
:anjali:

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by LastLegend » Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:53 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:25 am
What I under here is the suggestion that Nagarjuna is contradicting himself by asserting both that perception relies on stuff being there for our senses to pick up on, but at the same time asserting that stuff isn’t really there. Am I getting that right?

If so, then I think this gets back to the classic stumbling block many Dharma students run into.
They think the emptiness argument is “the table doesn’t really exist” and this immediately becomes problematic because if the table wasn’t existing, there’s be nothing to deny. There wouldn’t be anything that you could say “doesn’t exist”.
But the emptiness argument isn’t that, “the table doesn’t exist”. Rather, it’s that, “nothing exists that is the table”.
The confusion arises because these two statements sound alike, yet they aren’t.
“Nothing exists that is the table” doesn’t deny the concept, the sensory experience of the table. In that regard, it occurs. However, there is no essential table-ness.
All of samsara occurs. the self occurs. but none of it has any intrinsic existence.
This doesn’t mean that there is absolutely no physical universe as far as we are concerned. It simply means that all we ever experience is our interpretation of essence-less phenomena as having some kind of intrinsic reality, and it doesn’t, and that’s the basis of our ignorance.
.
.
.
Very nice but no. Nagarjuna never said anything.
Make personal vows.

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Re: Causation and emptiness in Madhyamaka

Post by Grigoris » Tue Mar 31, 2020 6:24 pm

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"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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