Karma Dorje wrote:
Here is why there is disagreement. Madhyamika thought rejects ontology as incoherent.
Conventional reality, with the appropriate caveats understood, is not absolutely rejected. It lacks inherent existence, but it is conventionally or provisionally existent. It is dependently originated and hence is imputed to exist.
In conventional reality the sun rises and sets, and this does not stop unless some vast earth shattering cosmological event were to occur.
You're really just trying to support a baseless position. You're trying to prove that a mythological account in a hagiography really did occur and to believe in it is a mark of faith for those select few with the right conditions to practice your tradition.
You can project your models of "laws of physics" all you like, but they have nothing to do with anything absolutely or essentially real. In denying that conventional reality has any ontological verity I have some good company, Shakyamuni most famously gives the eight examples of illusion, but Rongzom sums the Vajrayana approach quite succinctly,
First of all, the laws of physics apply in the real world we're living in. They might not be as absolute as classical physics suggests, but for us ordinary beings they do apply. If you jump off a cliff it doesn't matter how much faith you have in supermundane abilities and beings, gravity will pull you down and you will be injured if not killed.
Again, if you want to talk about the absence of inherent existence in perceived phenomena, then we cannot make any assertions about anything really
existing or occurring at all. That renders this discussion unnecessary. So there is no need to bring in Madhyamaka thought here. We're talking about conventional reality here.
I would rather appear silly and misguided to ordinary beings than to my teachers or the exemplars of our tradition.
Knock yourself out.
From your point of view, we must reject such assertions in the vajrayana that humans when they achieve siddhi can fly through the air unaided, because of your belief in some foundational "laws of physics".
You don't have to outright reject all such stories. You just need to say, "Well I've not seen anyone flying around outside of an aeroplane, so we'll just have to accept the story as a story and not take it beyond that."
In some texts you find people saying that fantastical tales are a kind of expedient means of getting people to practice and tame their own minds. That I think often applies in these fantastical accounts of past masters.
If you want to prove the laws of physics wrong, you'll have to demonstrate you can fly around on your own. Until such time you're talking about crows teeth and rabbit horns. Such things are not observed.
On the contrary, you are asserting that it is impossible and I am keeping the possibility open because I see no reason to be definitive about it.
Have you ever witnessed someone halting the orbit of the earth around the sun? Have you managed to do this yourself?
If one believes that all of space and time appear as a magical display within the sky of the enlightened nature, that the sun could stop in its tracks is not particularly hard for me to accept.
In conventional reality, which is what I've been talking about all this time, there are well documented laws concerning the movement of the earth around the sun (assuming heliocentrism again). At a deeper more subtle level such laws dissolve of course, but for we ordinary beings and the world we live in, those laws apply.
You use "laws of physics" as a bludgeon, but what does it really mean?
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You know ... the observed rules by which the material part of reality operates. You can mathematically predict the outcome in many cases.
Not so very long ago, we thought the world was flat.
Speak for yourself. Plenty of ancients in the Hellenic and Indic worlds knew the earth was spherical.
Try launching a Mars mission using Euclidian geometry.
Well, even in Ptolemic astronomy the sun is still expected to rise and set without stopping. In its time it worked reasonably well for navigation and calenders. You could get an approximate estimate of where celestial bodies would be. However, things got updated as new knowledge was obtained and people moved on.
Laws of physics is ultimately a cipher for our current collective understanding and that is all.
Oh come on. If you jumped off a cliff in the 2nd century CE it was anticipated you'd fall to the ground just as it is now. We can explain the mechanics behind the fall in greater detail than ancient Roman thinkers could, but nevertheless people understood that there are clearly aspects of material reality with strict rules involved.
What does it mean "provisionally established"? To say that something is a mere convention means that it is *not* established-- it is merely agreed to nominally, for the sake of conversation.
Provisionally established = prajñapti-sat (btags pa las yod pa).
Everything in conventional reality is provisionally established, but it is empty of inherent existence and is only nominally real by virtue of an imputed existence. That doesn't mean however you get to dismiss laws concerning the material universe. Conventional beings are subject to conventional laws (like karma and gravity).
Conventional reality is delusion.
Sure, but if you jump off a cliff you will die. The delusion is quite real for us ordinary beings. If a yogi has a vision of the sun being halted that is one thing, but for the rest of us ordinary beings the sun rises and sets as it always does. If you wanted to really prove people back then witnessed the sun halting, you'd have to show me historical accounts of at least several people witnessing the sun halting in its tracks (Chinese history texts are a good start because they recorded major astronomical anomalies). However, I'm confident you won't find any such accounts of the sun all of a sudden stopping in the sky.
Vajrayana simply can not be revised in accordance with the wishes of intellectuals.
I'm not really saying that. I'm simply saying that you're pushing a baseless view about someone in the past actually literally stopping the sun in its tracks.
Spare me your outraged populism. If people do not accept the foundational premises of a system, they can't enter into it.
So, accepting that a human infant was really conceived from a lotus flower is absolutely foundational to doing Vajrayana?
What you're really getting at is a kind of emotionally charged unrealistic perspective of the world often found among religious people. I think moreover you're pushing a kind of elitism where you applaud yourself for having had the right causes and conditions to enter the Vajrayana path, and then display immediate dismissal to anyone lacking the same level of faith in fantastical stories. This is not healthy and moreover it is dangerous. It is cultish thinking to aggressively defend blatantly fantastical stories as literal truth, and then dismiss anyone who doubts you as lacking the same appropriate qualifications as you yourself indirectly profess to have.