Choosing Yogacara over Madhyamaka

Forum for discussion of Tibetan Buddhism. Questions specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
Boomerang
Posts: 537
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:34 am

Choosing Yogacara over Madhyamaka

Post by Boomerang » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:33 pm

If a person feels like the Yogacara view makes sense to them, is it okay for them to hold that view and not try to deconstruct it with Madhyamaka? Does believing in Yogacara create obstacles on the path to Buddhahood?
Last edited by Boomerang on Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"All the suffering of the lower realms, whatever difficulty and unhappiness we may experience as human beings, as well as every other possible suffering of the three realms of existence, have their origin in cherishing ourselves more than others."

Seeker12
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 5:54 pm

Re: Choosing Yogacara over Madhyamaka

Post by Seeker12 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:38 pm

I don't think the two are incompatible. It's just that if you consider mind to be truly established as an entity, this is a flaw.

There is a treatise by Shantarakshita on basically the union of the two chariots of yogacara and madhyamaka with a commentary by Mipham Rinpoche. It has different names, but the one I have is called "Speech of Delight" and I would recommend it for those inclined.

Generally, I think, yogacara is about fully explaining the conventional, and madhyamaka is about fully delineating the conventional and the ultimate. Both are necessary. The only problem between the two is if the mind is considered to be real - madhyamaka goes further and points out that the 'mind' is also not an established entity.

Yogacara can be very useful.
Therein is nothing to remove
And thereto not the slightest thing to add.
The perfect truth viewed perfectly
And perfectly beheld is liberation.

Uttaratantra

User avatar
Losal Samten
Posts: 1447
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:05 pm

Re: Choosing Yogacara over Madhyamaka

Post by Losal Samten » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:42 pm

Madhyamikas say that Yogacarins holding on to an ontologically existent mind precludes their realisation of emptiness. So unless it's the trisvabhava system that's drawing you in, there's no reason why you can't hold the Madhyamaka-Yogacara view a la Shantarakshita and get the best of both worlds. As Mipham says, Prasanga is the lion of Madhyamaka, and Madhyamaka-Yogacara is the two-headed lion of Madhyamaka and Pramana.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨོཾ་ཧ་ནུ་པྷ་ཤ་བྷ་ར་ཧེ་ཡེ་སྭཱ་ཧཱ།།
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

krodha
Posts: 2416
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:30 pm

Re: Choosing Yogacara over Madhyamaka

Post by krodha » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:43 pm

The Hevajra tantra says one should employ Madhyamaka in the wake of learning about Yogācāra to ensure no misconceptions of substantialism form or remain.

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 8225
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Choosing Yogacara over Madhyamaka

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:45 pm

I don't conceive of them as incompatible, just different levels of understanding, I'm not sure "choosing" one over the other is even appropriate.

One of my teachers has said that for the person who is primarily focused on meditation, basic familiarity with Yogacara is important.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
conebeckham
Posts: 4908
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Choosing Yogacara over Madhyamaka

Post by conebeckham » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:54 pm

If you approach Yogacara as a phenomenology, not as a sort of idealistic philosophy or an ontological statement, you'll find it quite useful in understanding mind and experience. But for the absolute word on Buddhist Ontology, (or lack thereof!), I think Madhyamaka is the key. I don't think these two necessarily need to be seen as contradictory in the end.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

User avatar
passel
Posts: 480
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:30 am

Re: Choosing Yogacara over Madhyamaka

Post by passel » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:41 pm

Somebody I read once (Dudjom Rinpoche? Jamgon Kongtrul?) said that Madhyamaka is best for refining the thinking mind and winning debates, Yogacara is best for retreat practice.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

krodha
Posts: 2416
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:30 pm

Re: Choosing Yogacara over Madhyamaka

Post by krodha » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:27 pm

krodha wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:43 pm
The Hevajra tantra says one should employ Madhyamaka in the wake of learning about Yogācāra to ensure no misconceptions of substantialism form or remain.
Also worth noting, the implications of this (post Yogācāra application of Madhyamaka) is that Madhyamaka is capable of refining Yogācāra. Which means in terms of the hierarchical structure of sūtrayāna, the tantras are treating Yogācāra as a provisional view.

Better to synthesize both views, but in the end take Madhyamaka's non-affirming and non-reductive negation to be king. If you want an example of a proper Yogācāra-Madhyamaka synthesis, look to Dzogchen.

zerwe
Posts: 251
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:25 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Choosing Yogacara over Madhyamaka

Post by zerwe » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:46 pm

Boomerang wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:33 pm
If a person feels like the Yogacara view makes sense to them, is it okay for them to hold that view and not try to deconstruct it with Madhyamaka? Does believing in Yogacara create obstacles on the path to Buddhahood?
I would like to humbly add a few things and please correct me if I am wrong.

1) Another title for the Shantarakshita text/translation that discusses the synthesis of these two views is
Adornment for The Middle Way and I think that I may return to it one day as I found it useful.

2) The presentation of Tenet systems, that I have become familiar with, supports the notion that particular
elements of each system are important building blocks for understanding what are considered, for lack of better term,
"higher" systems of understanding.

3) Also, from what I understand we don't hold a view unless we have realization of that particular view. We might say that, through our intellectual understanding, we aspire to be proponents of a particular view or Tenet system.

Shaun :namaste:

Seeker12
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 5:54 pm

Re: Choosing Yogacara over Madhyamaka

Post by Seeker12 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:00 pm

As food for thought for anyone interested, Guifeng Zongmi, a Chan/Huayen teacher from ~800 AD, said,

"Buddha's teaching itself goes from shallow to profound. In outline there are five classes: 1. The teachings of human and heavenly beings. 2. The Small Vehicle's (Hinayana) teaching. 3. The Great Vehicle's (Mahayana) teaching of Dharma characteristics (dharmalaksana). 4. The Great Vehicle's teaching of destroying characteristics. 5. The One Vehicle's (Ekayana) teaching of manifesting Nature."

The 3rd here is the yogacara, basically, of establishing characteristics and the 4th is the madhyamaka of destroying characteristics.

Yogacara can take one quite far and perhaps encompasses the whole of the relative, which would include the appearances up to the 10th Bhumi, I think, but if the mind is considered to be real then there is still an aspect of being bound there and at some point this becomes an issue.

Madhyamaka then basically destroys the idea of phenomenal existence in general, which would include any idea or conception of the mind itself.

But that is not simple annihilation and utter nothingness, which leads to the 5th.

I expect that this might not be accepted around here but I thought to share it anyway.
Therein is nothing to remove
And thereto not the slightest thing to add.
The perfect truth viewed perfectly
And perfectly beheld is liberation.

Uttaratantra

Post Reply

Return to “Tibetan Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Aspiring.Monk, heart, javier.espinoza.t, Nemo, Norwegian, passel, Wsong0000, xabir and 88 guests