What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

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avatamsaka3
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by avatamsaka3 » Wed May 06, 2020 12:34 am

So ceasing does occur conventionally? Is this the solution?
Yes.

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by haha » Wed May 06, 2020 10:24 pm

For meaninglessness and flatly incorrectness, here are some remarks from MMK 24:
11a. A wrongly perceived emptiness ruins a person of meager intelligence.

13. Furthermore, if you were generate any obsession with regard to emptiness, the accompanying error is not ours. That [obsession] is not appropriate in the context of the empty.

15. You, attributing your own errors to us, are like one who has mounted his horse and confused about it.

18. We state that whatever is dependent arising, that is emptiness. That is dependent upon convention. That itself is the middle path.

37. For one who contradicts emptiness there would be nothing that ought to be done; activity would be uninitiated and an agent would be non-acting.

40. Whoever perceives dependent arising also perceives suffering, its arising, its ceasing and the path [leading to its ceasing].
Kalupahana, David J. (1996) Mulamadhayamakakarika of Nagarjuna


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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Astus » Thu May 07, 2020 7:38 am

Dgj wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 12:43 am
If no arising nor ceasing occur then the twelve links are meaningless, reduced to nonsense.
It should always be kept in mind that many of the Mahayana ideas developed from or against Sarvastivada doctrine. In this case, the Sarvastivada abhidharma teachings say that production/birth (jati), duration/staying (sthiti), deterioration/death (jara), and impermanence (anityata) are characteristics (laksana) that are dharmas themselves, and dharmas are what have self-existence (svabhava), and it is the Sarvastivadin interpretation - or what its opponents, the Mahayanikas understood the Sarvastivadin teaching to be - that for instance Nagarjuna argues against when saying that arising, duration, etc., do not exist, i.e. not really, not on their own as unique entities.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by LastLegend » Thu May 07, 2020 3:21 pm

Astus wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 7:38 am
Dgj wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 12:43 am
If no arising nor ceasing occur then the twelve links are meaningless, reduced to nonsense.
It should always be kept in mind that many of the Mahayana ideas developed from or against Sarvastivada doctrine. In this case, the Sarvastivada abhidharma teachings say that production/birth (jati), duration/staying (sthiti), deterioration/death (jara), and impermanence (anityata) are characteristics (laksana) that are dharmas themselves, and dharmas are what have self-existence (svabhava), and it is the Sarvastivadin interpretation - or what its opponents, the Mahayanikas understood the Sarvastivadin teaching to be - that for instance Nagarjuna argues against when saying that arising, duration, etc., do not exist, i.e. not really, not on their own as unique entities.
Traces of ignorance (example: being-‘exist’ or ‘do not exist’) at subtlety. The very issue that Nagarjuna wanted us to move beyond. Based on experience, it doesn’t seem like anything is there at all because it’s literally empty and this is where there is fine line between ‘do not exist or nothing exists’ and Wisdom/empty. If losing that ‘clear’ feature/Wisdom, that’s bad emptiness. ‘Clear’ is Wisdom is non-appearance. Just description.
Last edited by LastLegend on Thu May 07, 2020 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Dgj » Thu May 07, 2020 3:21 pm

tobes wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 12:07 am
Dgj wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 9:42 pm
tobes wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 7:10 am


Nagarjuna responds to this exact critique in The Vig and chapter 24 of the MMK, which coincidentally, I have just been promoting on other threads.

So, it is a good question to ask, a very good sign that you are thinking seriously about these most important topics.

But: there is a very good answer. In short, if the 12 links and four noble truths were not empty, they could not exist and be true; the reality and truth of emptiness means that dukhah is not 'static and immutable'; it depends upon causes to persist, and when those causes cease, it ceases.
This makes sense but it also confirms that cessation takes place. This seems to be confirmed by Nagarjuna himself and Jay Garfield:
23. If suffering had an essence,

Its cessation would not exist.

So if an essence is posited,

One denies cessation.

Similarly, the third noble truth is the truth of cessation. But inher-
ently existent things cannot cease. Empty ones can. Nagarjuna’s
analysis thus explains the third truth; the reifier contradicts it.

24. If the path had an essence,

Cultivation would not be appropriate.

If this path is indeed cultivated,

It cannot have an essence.

25. If suffering, arising, and
Ceasing are nonexistent,

By what path could one seek
To obtain the cessation of suffering?

The fourth truth is the truth of the path. Again, the path only
makes sense, and cultivation of the path is only possible, if suffer-
ing is impermanent and alleviable and if the nature of mind is
empty and hence malleable. The path, after all, is a path from
suffering and to awakening. If the former cannot cease and the
latter does not depend on cultivation, the path is nonexistent. But
it is the analysis in terms of emptiness that makes this coherent. An
analysis on which either the phenomena were inherently existent
or on which emptiness was and the phenomena were therefore
nonexistent would make nonsense of the Four Noble Truths.
MKK 24.23-25 Jay Garfield
But how can it be both that cessation does not occur and that suffering can cease and so the path has a function?
Because the path does not have an essence, one can transform from A to B. If it had an essence, one would remain always A.

V25 is the framing of Nagarjuna's response to the opponents critique, one who thinks that the assertion that the 4NT's are empty, implies that they do not exist, and therefore that Nagarjuna is contradicting the Buddha.

Nagarjuna is saying: because they are empty, they exist conventionally as dependently arising. Conventionally, cessation can happen, if and only if, it is empty and dependently arisen.
Okay so Garfield is correct then: things can cease! Perhaps in some ultimate sense they do not, but for all intents and purposes relevant to the path, they do.

Thank you :smile:
Don't assume my words are correct. Do your research.

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Dgj » Thu May 07, 2020 3:27 pm

Astus wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 7:38 am
Dgj wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 12:43 am
If no arising nor ceasing occur then the twelve links are meaningless, reduced to nonsense.
It should always be kept in mind that many of the Mahayana ideas developed from or against Sarvastivada doctrine. In this case, the Sarvastivada abhidharma teachings say that production/birth (jati), duration/staying (sthiti), deterioration/death (jara), and impermanence (anityata) are characteristics (laksana) that are dharmas themselves, and dharmas are what have self-existence (svabhava), and it is the Sarvastivadin interpretation - or what its opponents, the Mahayanikas understood the Sarvastivadin teaching to be - that for instance Nagarjuna argues against when saying that arising, duration, etc., do not exist, i.e. not really, not on their own as unique entities.
Okay! Thanks! So he wasn't saying:

Arising, duration and cessation absolutely never occur in any way, shape, form, nor under any circumstances, ever.

But rather:

Arising, duration and cessation of ultimate entities as incorrectly posited by the Sarvastivadins does not occur.

?
Don't assume my words are correct. Do your research.

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Malcolm » Thu May 07, 2020 3:41 pm

haha wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 10:24 pm
For meaninglessness and flatly incorrectness, here are some remarks from MMK 24:
11a. A wrongly perceived emptiness ruins a person of meager intelligence.

13. Furthermore, if you were generate any obsession with regard to emptiness, the accompanying error is not ours. That [obsession] is not appropriate in the context of the empty.

15. You, attributing your own errors to us, are like one who has mounted his horse and confused about it.

18. We state that whatever is dependent arising, that is emptiness. That is dependent upon convention. That itself is the middle path.

37. For one who contradicts emptiness there would be nothing that ought to be done; activity would be uninitiated and an agent would be non-acting.

40. Whoever perceives dependent arising also perceives suffering, its arising, its ceasing and the path [leading to its ceasing].
Kalupahana, David J. (1996) Mulamadhayamakakarika of Nagarjuna

Oh man, this is really deprecated translation, It is very inaccurate and the translator has a real axe to grind. Better to cite the Sidrits' translation.

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Malcolm » Thu May 07, 2020 3:43 pm

Dgj wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 3:27 pm
Astus wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 7:38 am
Dgj wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 12:43 am
If no arising nor ceasing occur then the twelve links are meaningless, reduced to nonsense.
It should always be kept in mind that many of the Mahayana ideas developed from or against Sarvastivada doctrine. In this case, the Sarvastivada abhidharma teachings say that production/birth (jati), duration/staying (sthiti), deterioration/death (jara), and impermanence (anityata) are characteristics (laksana) that are dharmas themselves, and dharmas are what have self-existence (svabhava), and it is the Sarvastivadin interpretation - or what its opponents, the Mahayanikas understood the Sarvastivadin teaching to be - that for instance Nagarjuna argues against when saying that arising, duration, etc., do not exist, i.e. not really, not on their own as unique entities.
Okay! Thanks! So he wasn't saying:

Arising, duration and cessation absolutely never occur in any way, shape, form, nor under any circumstances, ever.

But rather:

Arising, duration and cessation of ultimate entities as incorrectly posited by the Sarvastivadins does not occur.

?
Arising, duration, and cessation are merely conventions we use to describe the appearance and disappearance of entities; but ultimately, "arising from causes and conditions" cannot be established as being anything other than a convention. For example, the MMK it is said, "Since arising, abiding, and cessation cannot be established, the compounded cannot be established. Since the compounded cannot be established, how can the uncompounded be established?"

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by tobes » Fri May 08, 2020 4:47 am

Dgj wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 3:21 pm
tobes wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 12:07 am
Dgj wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 9:42 pm


This makes sense but it also confirms that cessation takes place. This seems to be confirmed by Nagarjuna himself and Jay Garfield:



But how can it be both that cessation does not occur and that suffering can cease and so the path has a function?
Because the path does not have an essence, one can transform from A to B. If it had an essence, one would remain always A.

V25 is the framing of Nagarjuna's response to the opponents critique, one who thinks that the assertion that the 4NT's are empty, implies that they do not exist, and therefore that Nagarjuna is contradicting the Buddha.

Nagarjuna is saying: because they are empty, they exist conventionally as dependently arising. Conventionally, cessation can happen, if and only if, it is empty and dependently arisen.
Okay so Garfield is correct then: things can cease! Perhaps in some ultimate sense they do not, but for all intents and purposes relevant to the path, they do.

Thank you :smile:
I think that he is correct on this point; but I like Tsong Khapa's presentation of N (which Garfield's interpretation is thoroughly grounded in). Generally it could be a good idea to read Garfield with Siderits - the bits that a different are well worth thinking on.

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Wayfarer » Fri May 08, 2020 6:56 am

Astus wrote:It should always be kept in mind that many of the Mahayana ideas developed from or against Sarvastivada doctrine.
I think as a general point, the Madhyamaka in particular is a dialectic. There's a very elusive point about dialectical philosophy, which is that it's not positing that 'X is the case' or 'X is not the case'. Rather it's a dialog between different standpoints which are mutually opposed to each other, but through the dialectical exploration of which another perspective becomes evident, but one which can't be stated outright.

In Nāgārjuna's philosophy many terms need to be interpreted in light of the dialectic which is framed in response to what is being asserted by Nāgārjuna's various antagonists. This includes abhidharmikas, sankhya, vedanta, and other schools, all of whom maintain various theses about 'what truly is'. As is well known, Nāgārjuna employs the logical device of Catuṣkoṭi to demonstrate the inherent contradictions of each of these theses without (he says) advancing any thesis of his own. So that's the context in which discussion of arising and ceasing is undertaken, if I understand it correctly.
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by LastLegend » Fri May 08, 2020 1:24 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 6:56 am
Astus wrote:It should always be kept in mind that many of the Mahayana ideas developed from or against Sarvastivada doctrine.
I think as a general point, the Madhyamaka in particular is a dialectic. There's a very elusive point about dialectical philosophy, which is that it's not positing that 'X is the case' or 'X is not the case'. Rather it's a dialog between different standpoints which are mutually opposed to each other, but through the dialectical exploration of which another perspective becomes evident, but one which can't be stated outright.

In Nāgārjuna's philosophy many terms need to be interpreted in light of the dialectic which is framed in response to what is being asserted by Nāgārjuna's various antagonists. This includes abhidharmikas, sankhya, vedanta, and other schools, all of whom maintain various theses about 'what truly is'. As is well known, Nāgārjuna employs the logical device of Catuṣkoṭi to demonstrate the inherent contradictions of each of these theses without (he says) advancing any thesis of his own. So that's the context in which discussion of arising and ceasing is undertaken, if I understand it correctly.
So the main purpose of Madhyamaka is a response towards antagonists and not pointing towards non-dual wisdom?
Make personal vows.

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Grigoris » Fri May 08, 2020 2:46 pm

LastLegend wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 1:24 pm
So the main purpose of Madhyamaka is a response towards antagonists and not pointing towards non-dual wisdom?
It points to non-dual wisdom by destroying the arguments of dualists.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Astus » Fri May 08, 2020 3:27 pm

Dgj wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 3:27 pm
Arising, duration and cessation of ultimate entities as incorrectly posited by the Sarvastivadins does not occur.
"Just as cessation is imputed
On the disintegration of an arisen entity;
So too the sublime ones accept
Cessation that is illusion-like."

(Sixyt Stanzas of Reasoning, v 7)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by LastLegend » Fri May 08, 2020 3:55 pm

Astus wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 3:27 pm
Dgj wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 3:27 pm
Arising, duration and cessation of ultimate entities as incorrectly posited by the Sarvastivadins does not occur.
"Just as cessation is imputed
On the disintegration of an arisen entity;
So too the sublime ones accept
Cessation that is illusion-like."

(Sixyt Stanzas of Reasoning, v 7)
And because of that, awakened beings can help sentient beings without being stuck with helper and helped or suffering and Nirvana.
Make personal vows.

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Malcolm » Fri May 08, 2020 5:14 pm

LastLegend wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 1:24 pm

So the main purpose of Madhyamaka is a response towards antagonists and not pointing towards non-dual wisdom?
Nāgārjuna's purpose to clarify the Buddha's central teaching: dependent origination.

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by haha » Sat May 09, 2020 6:12 am

Malcolm wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 3:41 pm
Oh man, this is really deprecated translation, It is very inaccurate and the translator has a real axe to grind. Better to cite the Sidrits' translation.
Thanks for the suggestion. However, person’s choice would depend on availability, economy, timing, approachability, convenience, etc.



LastLegend wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 1:24 pm
So the main purpose of Madhyamaka is a response towards antagonists and not pointing towards non-dual wisdom?
65. But when one, by seeing correctly, has understood that things (bhava) are empty (sunya) one is not infatuated (mudha). That is the cessation of ignorance (avidyanirodha). Thereupon the twelve members (dvadasanga) stop.

72. One with faith (sraddhavat) trying to seek the truth (tattva), one who considers this principle (naya) logically (yuktya) [and] relies [upon] a supportless norm (dharma) overcomes existence (bhava) and non-existence (abhava) [and becomes] calm (Santa).

73. When one understands ' this is a result of that', the nets of bad views (kudristijala) all vanish. Then one unsullied (alipta) obtains Nirvana* by abandoning desire (raga), delusion (moha) and hatred (dvesa).
*apratisthita nirvana

Lindtner, Christian. Nagarjuniana, Studies in the Writings and Philosophy of Nagarjuna The Septuagint on Emptiness
Indeed, Nagarjun’s modality of reasoning (i.e. different kind of bhavana) leads to yathabhuta knowledge as well as nisvabhava knowledge or nisprapanca knowledge. So, it definitely leads to non-dual wisdom (i.e. whatever you meant by it), right now right here in this very life. If one has been clinging to characteristics, self-nature or other-nature, existence, etc., then Nagarjuna’s middle way will shake the ground or even break the ground. If one does not have any position, one can make the lion roar.

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by LastLegend » Sat May 09, 2020 12:10 pm

haha wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 6:12 am
Malcolm wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 3:41 pm
Oh man, this is really deprecated translation, It is very inaccurate and the translator has a real axe to grind. Better to cite the Sidrits' translation.
Thanks for the suggestion. However, person’s choice would depend on availability, economy, timing, approachability, convenience, etc.



LastLegend wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 1:24 pm
So the main purpose of Madhyamaka is a response towards antagonists and not pointing towards non-dual wisdom?
65. But when one, by seeing correctly, has understood that things (bhava) are empty (sunya) one is not infatuated (mudha). That is the cessation of ignorance (avidyanirodha). Thereupon the twelve members (dvadasanga) stop.

72. One with faith (sraddhavat) trying to seek the truth (tattva), one who considers this principle (naya) logically (yuktya) [and] relies [upon] a supportless norm (dharma) overcomes existence (bhava) and non-existence (abhava) [and becomes] calm (Santa).

73. When one understands ' this is a result of that', the nets of bad views (kudristijala) all vanish. Then one unsullied (alipta) obtains Nirvana* by abandoning desire (raga), delusion (moha) and hatred (dvesa).
*apratisthita nirvana

Lindtner, Christian. Nagarjuniana, Studies in the Writings and Philosophy of Nagarjuna The Septuagint on Emptiness
Indeed, Nagarjun’s modality of reasoning (i.e. different kind of bhavana) leads to yathabhuta knowledge as well as nisvabhava knowledge or nisprapanca knowledge. So, it definitely leads to non-dual wisdom (i.e. whatever you meant by it), right now right here in this very life. If one has been clinging to characteristics, self-nature or other-nature, existence, etc., then Nagarjuna’s middle way will shake the ground or even break the ground. If one does not have any position, one can make the lion roar.
Well by non-dual Wisdom it means Mahaprajna which is empty and is our nature.
Make personal vows.

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Dgj » Sun May 10, 2020 3:45 pm

tobes wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 4:47 am
Dgj wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 3:21 pm
tobes wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 12:07 am


Because the path does not have an essence, one can transform from A to B. If it had an essence, one would remain always A.

V25 is the framing of Nagarjuna's response to the opponents critique, one who thinks that the assertion that the 4NT's are empty, implies that they do not exist, and therefore that Nagarjuna is contradicting the Buddha.

Nagarjuna is saying: because they are empty, they exist conventionally as dependently arising. Conventionally, cessation can happen, if and only if, it is empty and dependently arisen.
Okay so Garfield is correct then: things can cease! Perhaps in some ultimate sense they do not, but for all intents and purposes relevant to the path, they do.

Thank you :smile:
I think that he is correct on this point; but I like Tsong Khapa's presentation of N (which Garfield's interpretation is thoroughly grounded in). Generally it could be a good idea to read Garfield with Siderits - the bits that a different are well worth thinking on.
Thank you. I found Siderits too vague and open ended.
Don't assume my words are correct. Do your research.

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Dgj » Sun May 10, 2020 3:48 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 6:56 am
Astus wrote:It should always be kept in mind that many of the Mahayana ideas developed from or against Sarvastivada doctrine.
I think as a general point, the Madhyamaka in particular is a dialectic. There's a very elusive point about dialectical philosophy, which is that it's not positing that 'X is the case' or 'X is not the case'. Rather it's a dialog between different standpoints which are mutually opposed to each other, but through the dialectical exploration of which another perspective becomes evident, but one which can't be stated outright.

In Nāgārjuna's philosophy many terms need to be interpreted in light of the dialectic which is framed in response to what is being asserted by Nāgārjuna's various antagonists. This includes abhidharmikas, sankhya, vedanta, and other schools, all of whom maintain various theses about 'what truly is'. As is well known, Nāgārjuna employs the logical device of Catuṣkoṭi to demonstrate the inherent contradictions of each of these theses without (he says) advancing any thesis of his own. So that's the context in which discussion of arising and ceasing is undertaken, if If I understand it correctly.
Thank you. Something worthy of consideration!
Don't assume my words are correct. Do your research.

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Re: What possible reason could there be to study or practice Buddhism if arising and ceasing do not occur?

Post by Dgj » Sun May 10, 2020 3:52 pm

Astus wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 3:27 pm
Dgj wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 3:27 pm
Arising, duration and cessation of ultimate entities as incorrectly posited by the Sarvastivadins does not occur.
"Just as cessation is imputed
On the disintegration of an arisen entity;
So too the sublime ones accept
Cessation that is illusion-like."

(Sixyt Stanzas of Reasoning, v 7)
Hmmm. "Cessation that is illusion-like".

Typically things are either illusions, or not. Illusion-like would usually be applied to something that seems like an illusion, but isn't. If it were an illusion, it would just be called an illusion.

So the sublime ones accept cessation that actually is, but is like an illusion?

Further, the very phrase is stating that entities do disintegrate. So it seems fair to say that Nagarjuna held that entities disintegrate, at the very least?

From there, that he held that this disintegration can be called "illusion-like" cessation?
Don't assume my words are correct. Do your research.

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