Refuting nihilism

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Refuting nihilism

Postby Katharina108 » Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:27 pm

What reasoning is used to refute nihilism? What translated texts can I read to educate myself about this?

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Re: Refuting nihilism

Postby zerwe » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:18 pm

You might look into the Five (sometimes referred to as four) Great Madhyamaka Reasonings.
These reasonings and many more are employed in the 6th Chapter of Chandrakirti's Madhyamakvatara, as well as, other texts.
The topic is probably more accessible if you investigate modern commentaries that address these lines of reasoning
and then go from there.
Shaun :anjali:

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Re: Refuting nihilism

Postby madhusudan » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:02 pm

Additionally, Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation has a chapter which deals with the two extremes of eternalism and nihilism. Chapter 17 is entitled Wisdom Awareness, and the specific refutation of nihilism is found in section 5 B, C & D.

Funnily enough, I am in the midst of that chapter now. Gampopa supports his writing with many examples from sutras and quotes. Here is one that I like for it's simplicity and directness:

Saraha says, "Grasping existence is like cattle. Grasping nonexistence is even more stupid."

I highly recommend this text. In my novice opinion, it encompasses the entire Mahayana path. Of course, for a complete breakdown and analysis of any single point there may be better sources. Like you, I need to gain deeper understanding of this point, and am looking for recommended reading. So, I thank the poster above and any future posts in this thread.

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Re: Refuting nihilism

Postby Jesse » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:07 pm

Something I heard in an alan watts video.

If we assume a few things:

1. The only thing that really differentiates us from another being are our memories (basically)
2. When you die you lose your memories
3. New beings are being born all the time

Through practice, you can find a whole lot of things we aren't, once you do you'll realize that personal identity is just an illusion, and yet there is still existence. Thing's pop in and out of existence based on the presence of other things, causes and conditions, yet none of the things that come into existence, exist in their own right.

So you can't really say anything exists, yet thing's do exist, in an illusory manner.

It's impossible for me to put it into any words better than that, hope it helps.
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein

"When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"
-Eleanor Roosevelt

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Re: Refuting nihilism

Postby zerwe » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:09 pm

Here is a translation of Mipham's mkhas 'jug: ... -arguments" onclick=";return false;

Keep in mind all of this and my previous suggestions are an elaboration/explanation
based on Nagarjuna's root text (MMK)

Dzongsar Khyentse Rimpoche also has a useful commentary of Chandrakirti's Madhyamakavatara
that is easily found on the web.

There are many many resources too many to list. With a little digging and maybe the help of a qualified teacher you should be able to find resolution to your questions.

Shaun :namaste:

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Re: Refuting nihilism

Postby tlee » Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:53 am

If it is independent then it must truly exist.
If it is dependent then it cannot truly exist.

Both of the above extreme views of independent existence and nihilism are immature doctrines that do not consider dependent existence a possibility. Because of this disregard for other possible modes of existence, a wrong conclusion about reality is based on the observation that 1) things appear and 2) things appear only in dependence on supporting factors.

I can't remember any particular texts off the top of my head right now.

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Re: Refuting nihilism

Postby LastLegend » Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:06 pm

If things are present now, what makes them stop to be present in the future? There is cause and effect.

Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

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Re: Refuting nihilism

Postby devadatta » Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:33 pm

Katharina108 wrote:What reasoning is used to refute nihilism?

Absolute nihilism cannot be refuted.

The pure nihilist doesn't even acknowledge you, let alone accept the validity of your dialectical approach.

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Re: Refuting nihilism

Postby Grigoris » Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:01 pm

Try the following trick: the next time a nihilist tries to tell you nothing exists, pinch them really hard.

When they react to the pinch ask them: "If nothing exists, who is reacting to what?"

Used that one a Dharma brother that was mistakenly falling into nihilism, worked wonders! ;)
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

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Re: Refuting nihilism

Postby Hieros Gamos » Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:29 pm

Katharina108 wrote:What reasoning is used to refute nihilism?

"I do not know".

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