The limit of compounded phenomena

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anjali
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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by anjali » Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:41 pm

Malcolm wrote:Vasubandhu's analysis ends at mind. Candra's ends at the impossibility of establishing even mind.

But it not the case that any Buddhist analysis of particles is carried out ad infinitum
I think a logician could easily infer that the classic analysis of particles leads to the view that forms are, in theory, infinitely decomposable. Although, perhaps knowing that is not particularly useful from a Buddhist perspective. One of the functions of these kinds of analyses is to give up clinging and end suffering. One certainly doesn't need to actually carry out an analysis of forms and particles ad infinitum for that, even if one in principle could.

Of course the necessity for all this formal analysis is easily side-stepped by seeing the emptiness of mind and then seeing appearances as mind.
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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by avatamsaka3 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:17 am

I think a logician could easily infer that the classic analysis of particles leads to the view that forms are, in theory, infinitely decomposable. Although, perhaps knowing that is not particularly useful from a Buddhist perspective.
So they are infinitely decomposable according to the theory that denies the existence of a partless particle, but there is some kind of limit on how far down we can decompose a substance, stopping at subtle particles. Is the limit imposed by tradition, or is there some kind of knowledge limit, or something else?

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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by Malcolm » Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:31 pm

dolphin_color wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:17 am
I think a logician could easily infer that the classic analysis of particles leads to the view that forms are, in theory, infinitely decomposable. Although, perhaps knowing that is not particularly useful from a Buddhist perspective.
So they are infinitely decomposable according to the theory that denies the existence of a partless particle, but there is some kind of limit on how far down we can decompose a substance, stopping at subtle particles. Is the limit imposed by tradition, or is there some kind of knowledge limit, or something else?
The limit is what whatever the limit of analysis is available plus the negation of inherent existence.

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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by avatamsaka3 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:23 pm

I get the negation of inherent existence part, but what determines the "the limit of analysis" conventionally?

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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by Malcolm » Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:53 pm

dolphin_color wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:23 pm
I get the negation of inherent existence part, but what determines the "the limit of analysis" conventionally?
The limit of analysis happens when there is nothing further to analyze. For example, showing that the proposition of partless particles is incoherent.

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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by avatamsaka3 » Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:08 am

partless particles is incoherent
And if this is so, at least in theory, my understanding is there should be no limit to the level of analysis.

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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:50 am

It means that if you keep reducing (“cutting in half”) phenomena, eventually you reach a point where everything is indistinguishable from everything else.
Like dust.
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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by Malcolm » Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:54 am

dolphin_color wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:08 am
partless particles is incoherent
And if this is so, at least in theory, my understanding is there should be no limit to the level of analysis.
There is no point in analyzing incoherence beyond the fact this or that premise about reality is incoherent.

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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by avatamsaka3 » Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:56 am

Alright, let me back up. Are there any texts you can recommend that deal with the topic of the (knowable / actual) limit to the reduction of phenomena? I'd guess the Abhidharmakośa or one of its commentaries.

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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by Grigoris » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:49 am

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:39 pm
There is a limit to how far you can decompose a particle. The point is that Madhyamaka and Yogacara reject the limit proposed by Sautrantika, i.e. partless particles. The point which I mentioned holds true: when the particle one is decomposing ceases to be perceived through analysis, that perceived absence is the emptiness of that particle.
Which is like saying that the atmosphere around us is empty of phenomena, because we cannot perceive them, which technically is not correct.

But emptiness ultimately refers to the fact that phenomena arise on the basis of causes and conditions. If we posit that there is a limit to their existence, then you have something arising from (absolutely) nothing. That contradicts Nagarjuna's teachings.

It is one thing to say that we cannot PERCEIVE the causes and conditions beyond a certain point and another to say that there ARE no causes and conditions beyond a certain point.
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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by Ayu » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:12 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:49 am
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:39 pm
There is a limit to how far you can decompose a particle. The point is that Madhyamaka and Yogacara reject the limit proposed by Sautrantika, i.e. partless particles. The point which I mentioned holds true: when the particle one is decomposing ceases to be perceived through analysis, that perceived absence is the emptiness of that particle.
Which is like saying that the atmosphere around us is empty of phenomena, because we cannot perceive them, which technically is not correct.

But emptiness ultimately refers to the fact that phenomena arise on the basis of causes and conditions. If we posit that there is a limit to their existence, then you have something arising from (absolutely) nothing. That contradicts Nagarjuna's teachings.

It is one thing to say that we cannot PERCEIVE the causes and conditions beyond a certain point and another to say that there ARE no causes and conditions beyond a certain point.
Somebody necroed this thread. Malcolm's quote here is from 2014.
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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:30 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:18 pm
I am currently watching a series of video teachings by Khenpo Sherab Sangpo on the Heart Sutra. At the end of the following video he states that physical phenomena, due to the fact that they are compounded, have a limit beyond which point they cannot be reduced, as there is nothing after that.

That seems weird to me. I thought that the idea was that there was an infinite regression, not a defined end point, to reduction. Not some sort of basic particle, but neither a complete absence. I thought this was the case since something cannot arise from nothing.
Actually, there is no contradiction. But it’s two “opposite ways of saying the same thing.
If you keep reducing phenomena, such as a table, you will reach a point where there is nothing left to reduce. This doesn’t mean you hit a dead end, or a starting point to everything. It means you don’t have any more “phenomena” in which you can look to find any essential “tableness”. So, you are correct. Something cannot arise from nothing, and that is precisely the point. No table had in fact arisen.
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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:35 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:30 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:18 pm
I am currently watching a series of video teachings by Khenpo Sherab Sangpo on the Heart Sutra. At the end of the following video he states that physical phenomena, due to the fact that they are compounded, have a limit beyond which point they cannot be reduced, as there is nothing after that.

That seems weird to me. I thought that the idea was that there was an infinite regression, not a defined end point, to reduction. Not some sort of basic particle, but neither a complete absence. I thought this was the case since something cannot arise from nothing.
Actually, there is no contradiction. But it’s two “opposite ways of saying the same thing.
If you keep reducing phenomena, such as a bird’s nest, you will reach a point where there is nothing left to reduce. This doesn’t mean you hit a dead end, or a starting point to everything. It means you don’t have any more “phenomena” in which you can look to find any essential “nest-ness”. if you take a bird’s nest apart, pretty soon you don’t have a nest to take apart. You just have a pile of twigs and grass. After that, you aren’t dissecting a next. After that, you are dissecting twigs and grass.
So, you are correct. Something cannot arise from nothing, and that is precisely the point. No table had in fact arisen.
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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:36 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:18 pm
I am currently watching a series of video teachings by Khenpo Sherab Sangpo on the Heart Sutra. At the end of the following video he states that physical phenomena, due to the fact that they are compounded, have a limit beyond which point they cannot be reduced, as there is nothing after that.

That seems weird to me. I thought that the idea was that there was an infinite regression, not a defined end point, to reduction. Not some sort of basic particle, but neither a complete absence. I thought this was the case since something cannot arise from nothing.
Actually, there is no contradiction. But it’s two “opposite ways of saying the same thing.
If you keep reducing phenomena, such as a bird’s nest, you will reach a point where there is nothing left to reduce. This doesn’t mean you hit a dead end, or a starting point to everything. It means you don’t have any more “phenomena” in which you can look to find any essential “nest-ness”. if you take a bird’s nest apart, pretty soon you don’t have a nest to take apart. You just have a pile of twigs and grass. After that, you aren’t dissecting a nest. After that, you are dissecting twigs and grass. Yes, these are layers of perception. Each level of perception has its limits.
So, you are correct. Something cannot arise from nothing, and that is precisely the point. No table had in fact arisen.
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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by Malcolm » Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:08 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:49 am
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:39 pm
There is a limit to how far you can decompose a particle. The point is that Madhyamaka and Yogacara reject the limit proposed by Sautrantika, i.e. partless particles. The point which I mentioned holds true: when the particle one is decomposing ceases to be perceived through analysis, that perceived absence is the emptiness of that particle.
Which is like saying that the atmosphere around us is empty of phenomena, because we cannot perceive them, which technically is not correct.

But emptiness ultimately refers to the fact that phenomena arise on the basis of causes and conditions. If we posit that there is a limit to their existence, then you have something arising from (absolutely) nothing. That contradicts Nagarjuna's teachings.

It is one thing to say that we cannot PERCEIVE the causes and conditions beyond a certain point and another to say that there ARE no causes and conditions beyond a certain point.
"Arising from conditions" is simply a convention. The whole first chapter of the MMK is a proof that "arising from conditions" is not real, that it is merely a convention.

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Re: The limit of compounded phenomena

Post by Aemilius » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:30 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:18 pm
I am currently watching a series of video teachings by Khenpo Sherab Sangpo on the Heart Sutra. At the end of the following video he states that physical phenomena, due to the fact that they are compounded, have a limit beyond which point they cannot be reduced, as there is nothing after that.

That seems weird to me. I thought that the idea was that there was an infinite regression, not a defined end point, to reduction. Not some sort of basic particle, but neither a complete absence. I thought this was the case since something cannot arise from nothing.

I am interested to hear peoples opinions and especially to see some scriptural quotes that verify/contradict this.

Thank you!
He has probably heard that in physics there is the Planck's length, which is the smallest measure of length you can get. He just doesn't know why that is so. Planck's length is said to be similar to the speed of light, which is the limit of speed. Planck's length can be proven to follow mathematically from the speed of light. There are more theoretical explanations for it, if you are interested, but they are difficult.
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