Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:21 pm

TYVM to all.

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:27 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:48 am
... Have you read "Beacon of Certainty?"
BTW, yes, but several years ago now, and it was way beyond me. After reading Anyen Rinpoche's book I am going to try again.

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by conebeckham » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:30 pm

Yeah, not an easy read...but very good.
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")

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tobes
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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by tobes » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:10 am

I've signed in for the first time in 3 or 4 years for this post, so, you know, I might respond on this thread, but then I sign out again.....

1. It's hard to do Tibetan Madhyamaka without sectarianism, but please try.

2. I personally find both Mipham's and Tsong Khapa's interpretation very inspiring and helpful, but in different ways. In both cases, it is important to meditate on their analysis, rather than just proceeding rationally. Whatever one observes should be grounded in the phenomenology of practice; otherwise it is just so much prapanca. There's enough of that already, through the ages and in our own age.

3. The big point of difference - and what Mipham critiques Tsong Khapa for - is principally in dwelling (i.e. meditating) on the act of negation. i.e. Gelugpa's distinguish the two truths as dependent arising/emptiness, and then meditate on the emptiness of the conventional object, which is its lack of svabhava. Mipham is saying: in so doing, you miss the coalescing reality of emptiness/appearance. i.e you split emptiness and appearance, and thus miss the actual reality of them both. Hence, the notion of 'contriving.'

4. I think the critique is useful, but it is also the case that unless one performs analytical meditations to apprehend emptiness, and engages in some kind of act of negation (i.e. which disrupts ordinary apprehensions of reality), one will also be contriving. i.e. one will simply take ordinary reality at face value. The thing that is challenging about Mipham is the method question of arriving at his view, namely, how do you come to see phenomenal things as the coalescing of appearance and emptiness? Well, you probably need to be introduced to the nature of mind etc - the context of Dzogchen becomes relevant for this method question.

5. One final point about Tsong Khapa - perhaps an answer to the question of how do Gelugs respond to the critique - is that one needs to understand the Gelug approach as a phenomenological process rather than a purely conceptual one. i.e. point A is ordinary apprehension, point B is the act of negating that apprehension via meditating on the object's lack of svabhava. If one stops there, then there is surely something contrived taking place. However, there is also a point C: what follows from moving through that meditative process. And in my opinion, this leads us to precisely the same terrain that Mipham articulates as the coalescing of emptiness and appearance.

In short: so much ado about method.

:anjali:

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:12 am

Hi Tobes - Good to see you posting again. :hi:
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:37 am

tobes wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:10 am
I've signed in for the first time in 3 or 4 years for this post, so, you know, I might respond on this thread, but then I sign out again.....

1. It's hard to do Tibetan Madhyamaka without sectarianism, but please try.
Agreed, everyone should try.
3. The big point of difference - and what Mipham critiques Tsong Khapa for - is principally in dwelling (i.e. meditating) on the act of negation. i.e. Gelugpa's distinguish the two truths as dependent arising/emptiness, and then meditate on the emptiness of the conventional object, which is its lack of svabhava. Mipham is saying: in so doing, you miss the coalescing reality of emptiness/appearance. i.e you split emptiness and appearance, and thus miss the actual reality of them both. Hence, the notion of 'contriving.'
If the analysis ended there, Mipham would be right, but it's not the whole story. Tsongkhapa says that first we need to realise emptiness and then we can realise subtle conventional truth - 'emptiness is form' - as it says in the Heart Sutra. Form is nothing other than the emptiness of form appearing as form. Form and emptiness are the same nature for the omniscient wisdom of a Buddha.
4. I think the critique is useful, but it is also the case that unless one performs analytical meditations to apprehend emptiness, and engages in some kind of act of negation (i.e. which disrupts ordinary apprehensions of reality), one will also be contriving. i.e. one will simply take ordinary reality at face value. The thing that is challenging about Mipham is the method question of arriving at his view, namely, how do you come to see phenomenal things as the coalescing of appearance and emptiness? Well, you probably need to be introduced to the nature of mind etc - the context of Dzogchen becomes relevant for this method question.
I agree, the first step is to realise ultimate truth and then the second step is to realise that appearance is a manifestation of emptiness and that appearance and emptiness are the same entity. In the Gelugpa school this is made very clear from the uncommon Mahamudra instructions and Tantric meditations of the Ganden oral lineage.
5. One final point about Tsong Khapa - perhaps an answer to the question of how do Gelugs respond to the critique - is that one needs to understand the Gelug approach as a phenomenological process rather than a purely conceptual one. i.e. point A is ordinary apprehension, point B is the act of negating that apprehension via meditating on the object's lack of svabhava. If one stops there, then there is surely something contrived taking place. However, there is also a point C: what follows from moving through that meditative process. And in my opinion, this leads us to precisely the same terrain that Mipham articulates as the coalescing of emptiness and appearance.
Agreed, methods exist in Lama Tsongkhapa's teachings for realising the union of appearance and emptiness. If Mipham's criticism is that Tsongkhapa's teachings lack methods to realise this union, this is incorrect and if his assertion is that this union is to be realised, Mipham and Tsongkhapa have no disagreement.

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Jeff H » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:54 pm

tobes wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:10 am
I've signed in for the first time in 3 or 4 years for this post, so, you know, I might respond on this thread, but then I sign out again.....
...
In short: so much ado about method.

:anjali:
Thanks so much for adding this balanced perspective. :meditate:
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by conebeckham » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:32 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:37 am
tobes wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:10 am
I've signed in for the first time in 3 or 4 years for this post, so, you know, I might respond on this thread, but then I sign out again.....

1. It's hard to do Tibetan Madhyamaka without sectarianism, but please try.
Agreed, everyone should try.
For me, it's not about "sectarianism" --it's about meaning and interpretation. I've studied the Geluk presentation with a Gelukpa geshe, as I've mentioned elsewhere, and I found it to be useful. Useful, but not authoritative. But I will just add the proviso that all the intellectual analysis will get you to the proverbial cliff, but you must practice the jump and not merely look over, so to speak. On this, we all agree. Analytical Meditation is a tool.
TsongKhapaFan wrote:
Tobes wrote: 3. The big point of difference - and what Mipham critiques Tsong Khapa for - is principally in dwelling (i.e. meditating) on the act of negation. i.e. Gelugpa's distinguish the two truths as dependent arising/emptiness, and then meditate on the emptiness of the conventional object, which is its lack of svabhava. Mipham is saying: in so doing, you miss the coalescing reality of emptiness/appearance. i.e you split emptiness and appearance, and thus miss the actual reality of them both. Hence, the notion of 'contriving.'
If the analysis ended there, Mipham would be right, but it's not the whole story. Tsongkhapa says that first we need to realise emptiness and then we can realise subtle conventional truth - 'emptiness is form' - as it says in the Heart Sutra. Form is nothing other than the emptiness of form appearing as form. Form and emptiness are the same nature for the omniscient wisdom of a Buddha.
I disagree. The "object" to be realized is the absolute object, which is the Emptiness of Phenomena. There is no bifurcation into two realizations or two objects. This is completely outside the realm of Nagarjuna, Candrakirti, and the Buddha.

There is no emptiness apart from form, and that is the point! This is why a "generic image" of emptiness is ultimately a further contrivance, and also why the novel object of negation Gelukpas call "Inherent Existence" is a divergence.

TsongKhapaFan" wrote:
Tobes wrote: 4. I think the critique is useful, but it is also the case that unless one performs analytical meditations to apprehend emptiness, and engages in some kind of act of negation (i.e. which disrupts ordinary apprehensions of reality), one will also be contriving. i.e. one will simply take ordinary reality at face value. The thing that is challenging about Mipham is the method question of arriving at his view, namely, how do you come to see phenomenal things as the coalescing of appearance and emptiness? Well, you probably need to be introduced to the nature of mind etc - the context of Dzogchen becomes relevant for this method question.
I agree, the first step is to realise ultimate truth and then the second step is to realise that appearance is a manifestation of emptiness and that appearance and emptiness are the same entity. In the Gelugpa school this is made very clear from the uncommon Mahamudra instructions and Tantric meditations of the Ganden oral lineage.
Appearances and emptiness are primordially identical, and there is no arising or manifestation whatsoever, in fact.
I don't know the Ganden's Oral lineage tradition, but the Third Karmapa makes this clear in his Aspiration of Mahamudra:
All phenomena are illlusory display of mind,
Mind is no mind, mind's nature is empty of any identity,
Empty, Immediate and unimpeded, minds' nature appears as anything whatsoever.
By examining well, may doubts about the ground be discerned and cut through.

Appearances which have never existed naturally manifest and are confused as objects,
Bare Awareness is confused as a self, due to ignorance,
Through the power of dualistic fixation beings continue to wander in samsara.
May ignorance, the root of confusion, be discerned and cut.
In this way, correct view regarding Appearances, emptiness, and awareness are explained. In Dzogchen, priority is placed on Bare Awareness, pointed out by the qualified Guru. Appearances and Emptiness are also part of the instructions. In Mahamudra traditions I am aware of, Appearances, or thoughts, and Mind Inseparable is a "first step," though movement and stillness of mind are also potential doors by which realization can occur.
TsongKhapaFan wrote:
Tobes wrote: 5. One final point about Tsong Khapa - perhaps an answer to the question of how do Gelugs respond to the critique - is that one needs to understand the Gelug approach as a phenomenological process rather than a purely conceptual one. i.e. point A is ordinary apprehension, point B is the act of negating that apprehension via meditating on the object's lack of svabhava. If one stops there, then there is surely something contrived taking place. However, there is also a point C: what follows from moving through that meditative process. And in my opinion, this leads us to precisely the same terrain that Mipham articulates as the coalescing of emptiness and appearance.
Agreed, methods exist in Lama Tsongkhapa's teachings for realising the union of appearance and emptiness. If Mipham's criticism is that Tsongkhapa's teachings lack methods to realise this union, this is incorrect and if his assertion is that this union is to be realised, Mipham and Tsongkhapa have no disagreement.
That's not really Mipham's criticism, as I think should be clear from the thread itself. Perhaps it's merely the limits of conceptual mind and linguistic representation, but many others have critiqued the Geluk presentation and yet have great respect and admiration for TsongKhapa. I cannot comment on the methods of practice, knowing only a mere thimbleful of his methods and explication.
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")

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:54 am

conebeckham wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:32 pm
Analytical Meditation is a tool.
Yes, but it's the principal method for realising emptiness (or any object of Buddhadharma for that matter)
I disagree. The "object" to be realized is the absolute object, which is the Emptiness of Phenomena. There is no bifurcation into two realizations or two objects. This is completely outside the realm of Nagarjuna, Candrakirti, and the Buddha.

There is no emptiness apart from form, and that is the point! This is why a "generic image" of emptiness is ultimately a further contrivance, and also why the novel object of negation Gelukpas call "Inherent Existence" is a divergence.
Firstly, no object is absolute because everything exists in dependent relationship. There are not two objects - appearance and emptiness are one object with two names and for this reason there is no emptiness apart from form. A generic image of emptiness is not a contrivance but the way of realising it. In the Heart Sutra Avalokiteshvara says:
Shariputra, whatever Son or Daughter of the lineage wishes to engage in the practice of the profound perfection of wisdom should look perfectly like this: subsequently looking perfectly and correctly also at the five aggregates being empty of inherent existence.
'Subsequently' here refers to a subsequent valid cognizer realising a generic image of emptiness on the path of preparation. Without this realisation it is utterly impossible to gain a direct realisation of emptiness and attain the path of seeing.

Furthermore, inherent existence is not a divergence either but the actual object of negation of emptiness. Dualistic appearance or the appearance of inherent existence is appearance and emptiness appearing as two and self-grasping ignorance is the mind grasping at this. This self-grasping is the main obstacle to liberation and dualistic appearance is the main obstacle to attaining enlightenment.

Appearances and emptiness are primordially identical, and there is no arising or manifestation whatsoever, in fact.
I don't know the Ganden's Oral lineage tradition, but the Third Karmapa makes this clear in his Aspiration of Mahamudra:

]All phenomena are illlusory display of mind,
Mind is no mind, mind's nature is empty of any identity,
Empty, Immediate and unimpeded, minds' nature appears as anything whatsoever.
By examining well, may doubts about the ground be discerned and cut through.

Appearances which have never existed naturally manifest and are confused as objects,
Bare Awareness is confused as a self, due to ignorance,
Through the power of dualistic fixation beings continue to wander in samsara.
May ignorance, the root of confusion, be discerned and cut.

In this way, correct view regarding Appearances, emptiness, and awareness are explained. In Dzogchen, priority is placed on Bare Awareness, pointed out by the qualified Guru. Appearances and Emptiness are also part of the instructions. In Mahamudra traditions I am aware of, Appearances, or thoughts, and Mind Inseparable is a "first step," though movement and stillness of mind are also potential doors by which realization can occur.
Appearances and emptinesses are not identical because if they were, they would share the same generic image. Appearances and emptinesses are one nature, like the sky and the blue of the sky, but sky and blue are not identical. Similarly, appearances and emptiness are one object with two names but they are nominally distinct.

There is arising and manifestation conventionally. These are known by the valid cognizers of ordinary beings.

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by conebeckham » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:10 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:54 am
conebeckham wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:32 pm
Analytical Meditation is a tool.
Yes, but it's the principal method for realising emptiness (or any object of Buddhadharma for that matter)
For you and/or your lineage, perhaps. There are other methods which do not rely on analytical meditation.
TsongKhapaFan" wrote:
conebeckham wrote: I disagree. The "object" to be realized is the absolute object, which is the Emptiness of Phenomena. There is no bifurcation into two realizations or two objects. This is completely outside the realm of Nagarjuna, Candrakirti, and the Buddha.

There is no emptiness apart from form, and that is the point! This is why a "generic image" of emptiness is ultimately a further contrivance, and also why the novel object of negation Gelukpas call "Inherent Existence" is a divergence.
Firstly, no object is absolute because everything exists in dependent relationship. There are not two objects - appearance and emptiness are one object with two names and for this reason there is no emptiness apart from form. A generic image of emptiness is not a contrivance but the way of realising it. In the Heart Sutra Avalokiteshvara says:
Shariputra, whatever Son or Daughter of the lineage wishes to engage in the practice of the profound perfection of wisdom should look perfectly like this: subsequently looking perfectly and correctly also at the five aggregates being empty of inherent existence.
'Subsequently' here refers to a subsequent valid cognizer realising a generic image of emptiness on the path of preparation. Without this realisation it is utterly impossible to gain a direct realisation of emptiness and attain the path of seeing.

Furthermore, inherent existence is not a divergence either but the actual object of negation of emptiness. Dualistic appearance or the appearance of inherent existence is appearance and emptiness appearing as two and self-grasping ignorance is the mind grasping at this. This self-grasping is the main obstacle to liberation and dualistic appearance is the main obstacle to attaining enlightenment.
Well, emptiness is of course not even an object, much less an "absolute one." My words were meant to point to the "object of Madhyamaka analysis," which is the recognition of emptiness/appearance inseparable, as you note--but the primacy here is on emptiness, as that is the truth which is obscure for sentient beings, and which is "uncovered" or "realized" via the methods.

However, a "generic image of emptiness" is not a true "emptiness" but an object of mind, and therefore a contrivance. Your quote from the Heart Sutra does not support a "generic image," it merely points toward the emptiness of the aggregates, and the wisdom which recognizes this. "Looking perfectly and correctly" does not imply any "object" or "generic image" whatsoever."Subsequently" merely means that, based on the power of previously arisen wisdom, one likewise sees all phenomena possess the same lack of existence.
TsongKhapafan wrote:
Appearances and emptinesses are not identical because if they were, they would share the same generic image. Appearances and emptinesses are one nature, like the sky and the blue of the sky, but sky and blue are not identical. Similarly, appearances and emptiness are one object with two names but they are nominally distinct.

There is arising and manifestation conventionally. These are known by the valid cognizers of ordinary beings.
I have no disagreement with conventional appearances of arising, manifestation, and destruction or dissolution. I also have no quarrel with nominally distinct appearance and emptiness. Generic Images are all of the realm of convention and conception.
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")

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:24 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:10 pm
For you and/or your lineage, perhaps. There are other methods which do not rely on analytical meditation.
Fair enough.
Well, emptiness is of course not even an object, much less an "absolute one." My words were meant to point to the "object of Madhyamaka analysis," which is the recognition of emptiness/appearance inseparable, as you note--but the primacy here is on emptiness, as that is the truth which is obscure for sentient beings, and which is "uncovered" or "realized" via the methods.

However, a "generic image of emptiness" is not a true "emptiness" but an object of mind, and therefore a contrivance. Your quote from the Heart Sutra does not support a "generic image," it merely points toward the emptiness of the aggregates, and the wisdom which recognizes this. "Looking perfectly and correctly" does not imply any "object" or "generic image" whatsoever."Subsequently" merely means that, based on the power of previously arisen wisdom, one likewise sees all phenomena possess the same lack of existence.
Emptiness is an object. Whatever exists is an object of a valid mind, otherwise it doesn't exist at all. Because objects depend upon mind and mind upon objects, they are mutually dependent and empty.

A generic image of emptiness is true emptiness. It's not a direct realisation but it is an object through which emptiness can be realised and thus should not be dismissed. For example, we realise table through the generic image of table because it's the appearing object of a conceptual mind realising table.

My quote does support a realisation of the generic image of emptiness; it depends on the commentary you receive to the words. As you know, the words and therefore the meaning does not exist from its own side. Perhaps you have received a different commentary.
I have no disagreement with conventional appearances of arising, manifestation, and destruction or dissolution. I also have no quarrel with nominally distinct appearance and emptiness. Generic Images are all of the realm of convention and conception.
Great! Generic images are the realm of convention and conception, which are necessary for realising emptiness as I explained in a previous post.

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by conebeckham » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:45 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:24 pm
conebeckham wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:10 pm
For you and/or your lineage, perhaps. There are other methods which do not rely on analytical meditation.
Fair enough.
Well, emptiness is of course not even an object, much less an "absolute one." My words were meant to point to the "object of Madhyamaka analysis," which is the recognition of emptiness/appearance inseparable, as you note--but the primacy here is on emptiness, as that is the truth which is obscure for sentient beings, and which is "uncovered" or "realized" via the methods.

However, a "generic image of emptiness" is not a true "emptiness" but an object of mind, and therefore a contrivance. Your quote from the Heart Sutra does not support a "generic image," it merely points toward the emptiness of the aggregates, and the wisdom which recognizes this. "Looking perfectly and correctly" does not imply any "object" or "generic image" whatsoever."Subsequently" merely means that, based on the power of previously arisen wisdom, one likewise sees all phenomena possess the same lack of existence.
Emptiness is an object. Whatever exists is an object of a valid mind, otherwise it doesn't exist at all. Because objects depend upon mind and mind upon objects, they are mutually dependent and empty.

A generic image of emptiness is true emptiness. It's not a direct realisation but it is an object through which emptiness can be realised and thus should not be dismissed. For example, we realise table through the generic image of table because it's the appearing object of a conceptual mind realising table.

My quote does support a realisation of the generic image of emptiness; it depends on the commentary you receive to the words. As you know, the words and therefore the meaning does not exist from its own side. Perhaps you have received a different commentary.
I have no disagreement with conventional appearances of arising, manifestation, and destruction or dissolution. I also have no quarrel with nominally distinct appearance and emptiness. Generic Images are all of the realm of convention and conception.
Great! Generic images are the realm of convention and conception, which are necessary for realising emptiness as I explained in a previous post.
Whether one clings to the mistaken notion of existing phenomena, or to a mentally contrived generic image of emptiness, all of this is clinging to convention.

Nagarjuna's "Sixty Stanzas" says:
Those whose minds are not moved,
not even by a flicker of a thought about "Complete Voidness,"
Have crossed the horrifying ocean of existence
that is agitated by the snakes of the afflictions.
He also says elsewhere (Commentary on the Mind of Enlightenment):
So-called entities are conceptions.
Lack of conceptions is emptiness.
Wherever conceptions appear,
How could there be emptiness?
And Candrakirti:
Ordinary Beings are bound by conceptions.
Nonconceptual yogins will find release.
Hence, the learned state that the result of analysis
is that conceptions are at peace.
Perceptual valid cognitions cannot have non-implicative negations as their objects. Only conceptual or inferential valid cognitions can take such objects. Further, if, as you have maintained, there are no appearances in equipoise of the Aryas, how can there be any generic image taken as an object in the first place? The question, then, is whether, and how, such a generic image can be left behind or somehow transcended in practice.

As to how one is to approach meditation after analysis, the 8th Karmapa says:

The rays of the insight that has arisen from analysis dispel the darkness
of the obstacles to seeing true reality and thus allow the light of true
reality to clearly shine. . . . Ultimately, there is no entering into the
meditative absorption of cessation. However, when engaging in [this
process on the level of] worldly conventional reality, through its power,
the meditative absorption of cessation free from discursiveness is
entered. Now, when [this insight] enters the meditative absorption of
the cessation of [ordinary] mind and mental events, does it rest in this
meditative absorption by eliminating the superimpositions of [such]
mind and mental events, or does it rest in it without eliminating these
superimpositions? In the first case, in terms of negative determination,
the valid cognition of the supreme knowledge that arises from meditation
would eliminate the superimpositions of mind and mental events.
In terms of positive determination, it would directly appear for this
cognition that these objects—mind and mental events—are unarisen,
which would be realized through personally experienced wisdom.
Therefore, [this scenario] amounts to there being both a cognition and
its object even within this meditative equipoise of cessation, that is,
within emptiness, the nature of phenomena. In this case, entering the
meditative absorption of cessation would be nothing but a name.
As for the second case, some people might be concerned, “If the valid
cognition of the supreme knowledge that arises from meditation does
not eliminate superimpositions, the meditative equipoise of [resting in]
true reality—this meditative absorption of cessation—would not be
unmistaken.” [In fact,] the valid cognition of the supreme knowledge
that arises from meditation indeed eliminates the superimpositions
that are discordant with this meditative absorption of cessation. However,
when it eliminates [these superimpositions], in terms of positive
determination, no direct appearance of mind and mental events not
being established as anything whatsoever (such as them being unarisen)
is brought about within such a cognition. The reason is that, once the
valid cognition of the supreme knowledge that arises from meditation
has eliminated all referential extremes of mind and mental events, it is
absorbed in what is determined—the way in which mind and mental
events are unarisen—in such a way that it is not absorbed in existence,
nonexistence, entity, nonentity, appearance, or nonappearance at all.
When resting in this meditative equipoise of true reality in such a way
of not resting in meditative equipoise, there is no objective appearance
and no subjective cognition that exist as one or different.
(Quoted by Brunnholzl, Center of the Sunlit Sky, PP.319-20, from Mikyo Dorje's "Chariot of the Dakpo Siddhas").

This, I believe, is the method of the original Madhyamakas.
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")

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Tsongkhapafan
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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:15 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:45 pm
Whether one clings to the mistaken notion of existing phenomena, or to a mentally contrived generic image of emptiness, all of this is clinging to convention.
Existence is not a mistaken notion, only inherent existence. The whole point of meditating on a generic image of emptiness is to stop clinging, and this method works well. Eventually the dualistic appearance disappears and emptiness is experienced non-conceptually.
Nagarjuna's "Sixty Stanzas" says:

Those whose minds are not moved,
not even by a flicker of a thought about "Complete Voidness,"
Have crossed the horrifying ocean of existence
that is agitated by the snakes of the afflictions.
The meaning of this verse is that if one's mind does not grasp at emptiness, there is liberation from samsara.
He also says elsewhere (Commentary on the Mind of Enlightenment):
So-called entities are conceptions.
Lack of conceptions is emptiness.
Wherever conceptions appear,
How could there be emptiness?
The meaning of this verse is that if there is a conception of inherent existence, how could there be emptiness? This is because emptiness is lack of inherent existence. It is not negating the value of conceptuality per se and if that is your intended meaning, it's incorrect. Clearly the meaning of the verse is not that a mere lack of conceptions is emptiness as a blank mind would then be the meaning of emptiness. There are many non-conceptual states that are not ultimate truth but merely meditative absorptions.
And Candrakirti:
Ordinary Beings are bound by conceptions.
Nonconceptual yogins will find release.
Hence, the learned state that the result of analysis
is that conceptions are at peace.
The meaning of this verse is that beings who grasp at extremes (the extreme of inherent existence and the extreme of non-existence) are bound to samsara by these conceptions. Yogis who have abandoned the two extremes are liberated. Again, this is not a criticism of conceptual minds per se, just conceptions that grasp at extremes.
Perceptual valid cognitions cannot have non-implicative negations as their objects. Only conceptual or inferential valid cognitions can take such objects. Further, if, as you have maintained, there are no appearances in equipoise of the Aryas, how can there be any generic image taken as an object in the first place? The question, then, is whether, and how, such a generic image can be left behind or somehow transcended in practice.
The generic image of emptiness can be left behind through the process of meditation. Initially one attains tranquil abiding, and then superior seeing, a special mental suppleness induced by wisdom, using emptiness as the object. This marks the beginning of the Mahayana Path of Preparation. Through meditating on emptiness with a union of tranquil abiding and superior seeing, the generic image of emptiness gradually fades until eventually it disappears and the mind realises emptiness non-conceptually. In this system, it is not possible to attain a direct realisation of emptiness except through generating a conceptual experience of emptiness through an inferential cognizer and then meditating as described.
As to how one is to approach meditation after analysis, the 8th Karmapa says:


The rays of the insight that has arisen from analysis dispel the darkness
of the obstacles to seeing true reality and thus allow the light of true
reality to clearly shine. . . . Ultimately, there is no entering into the
meditative absorption of cessation. However, when engaging in [this
process on the level of] worldly conventional reality, through its power,
the meditative absorption of cessation free from discursiveness is
entered. Now, when [this insight] enters the meditative absorption of
the cessation of [ordinary] mind and mental events, does it rest in this
meditative absorption by eliminating the superimpositions of [such]
mind and mental events, or does it rest in it without eliminating these
superimpositions? In the first case, in terms of negative determination,
the valid cognition of the supreme knowledge that arises from meditation
would eliminate the superimpositions of mind and mental events.
In terms of positive determination, it would directly appear for this
cognition that these objects—mind and mental events—are unarisen,
which would be realized through personally experienced wisdom.
Therefore, [this scenario] amounts to there being both a cognition and
its object even within this meditative equipoise of cessation, that is,
within emptiness, the nature of phenomena. In this case, entering the
meditative absorption of cessation would be nothing but a name.
As for the second case, some people might be concerned, “If the valid
cognition of the supreme knowledge that arises from meditation does
not eliminate superimpositions, the meditative equipoise of [resting in]
true reality—this meditative absorption of cessation—would not be
unmistaken.” [In fact,] the valid cognition of the supreme knowledge
that arises from meditation indeed eliminates the superimpositions
that are discordant with this meditative absorption of cessation. However,
when it eliminates [these superimpositions], in terms of positive
determination, no direct appearance of mind and mental events not
being established as anything whatsoever (such as them being unarisen)
is brought about within such a cognition. The reason is that, once the
valid cognition of the supreme knowledge that arises from meditation
has eliminated all referential extremes of mind and mental events, it is
absorbed in what is determined—the way in which mind and mental
events are unarisen—in such a way that it is not absorbed in existence,
nonexistence, entity, nonentity, appearance, or nonappearance at all.
When resting in this meditative equipoise of true reality in such a way
of not resting in meditative equipoise, there is no objective appearance
and no subjective cognition that exist as one or different.
(Quoted by Brunnholzl, Center of the Sunlit Sky, PP.319-20, from Mikyo Dorje's "Chariot of the Dakpo Siddhas").

This, I believe, is the method of the original Madhyamakas.
It is true that in a direct realisation of emptiness, not even the mind that is meditating on emptiness appears. There is no appearance other than emptiness.

I don't understand your method. What do you say that emptiness is? By what analysis do you arrive at an experience of emptiness? If it's merely an absence of conceptuality, this is not emptiness.

PeterC
Posts: 519
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by PeterC » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:32 am

conebeckham wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:10 pm
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:54 am
Analytical Meditation is a tool.
Yes, but it's the principal method for realising emptiness (or any object of Buddhadharma for that matter)
For you and/or your lineage, perhaps. There are other methods which do not rely on analytical meditation.
Not an unimportant point at all. Since we’re talking about Mipham’s views on the subject:
Without need of vast training in hearing and contemplating
The village tantrikas in general who preserve the essence of mind
Using the way of foremost instruction will go with little hardship
To the level of the vidyadharas; it has the power of a profound path.

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tobes
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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by tobes » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:04 am

PeterC wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:32 am
conebeckham wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:10 pm
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:54 am

Yes, but it's the principal method for realising emptiness (or any object of Buddhadharma for that matter)
For you and/or your lineage, perhaps. There are other methods which do not rely on analytical meditation.
Not an unimportant point at all. Since we’re talking about Mipham’s views on the subject:
Without need of vast training in hearing and contemplating
The village tantrikas in general who preserve the essence of mind
Using the way of foremost instruction will go with little hardship
To the level of the vidyadharas; it has the power of a profound path.
In the same breath what is Mipham's treatise but a peerless example of analysis? If one agrees with his arguments and view of Madhyamaka, then one is assenting to the efficacy of analysis.

In any case, when all is said and done, everyone is doing guru-yoga to get there, Gelugs included.

PeterC
Posts: 519
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by PeterC » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:00 am

tobes wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:04 am

In the same breath what is Mipham's treatise but a peerless example of analysis? If one agrees with his arguments and view of Madhyamaka, then one is assenting to the efficacy of analysis.

In any case, when all is said and done, everyone is doing guru-yoga to get there, Gelugs included.
Mipham was a rare polymath who was good at everything. I was highlighting conebeckham’s point that there is a bit of a difference in praxis between the Gelugpas and, well, most non-Gelugpas in how they view the role of analytical meditation.

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tobes
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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by tobes » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:38 am

PeterC wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:00 am
tobes wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:04 am

In the same breath what is Mipham's treatise but a peerless example of analysis? If one agrees with his arguments and view of Madhyamaka, then one is assenting to the efficacy of analysis.

In any case, when all is said and done, everyone is doing guru-yoga to get there, Gelugs included.
Mipham was a rare polymath who was good at everything. I was highlighting conebeckham’s point that there is a bit of a difference in praxis between the Gelugpas and, well, most non-Gelugpas in how they view the role of analytical meditation.
Yes, he certainly was. Extraordinary being. One of the great jewels of 19th century Tibet.

The point I was making was simply that there's a bit of 'having one's cake and eating it too' going on. i.e. relying on someone's highly refined conceptual analysis of emptiness in order to refute the proposition that conceptual analyses of emptiness are useful. This begs some rather obvious questions.

But I suppose I also take your point that there is a bit of difference in praxis, but I'm not sure this really has much to do with interpretations of Madhyamaka - I think that the difference in praxis is caused by the virtually unlimited range of permutations that the Vajrayana brings. So it's not really Gelugs vs everyone else (that I think, is a properly historical-political problem rather than soteriological). It's across the board, across every school, tradition, lineage and subsect.

My own background is more Kagyu than anything else, but the thought that this is some analysis-free path is mistaken. Mahamudra does not even begin without conceptually understanding the ground. And I think Mipham clearly demonstrates this for Dzogchen too - isn't that really what's going on in the Beacon? That's certainly what the translator - is it Pettit? - argues.

PeterC
Posts: 519
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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by PeterC » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:17 am

tobes wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:38 am
PeterC wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:00 am
tobes wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:04 am

In the same breath what is Mipham's treatise but a peerless example of analysis? If one agrees with his arguments and view of Madhyamaka, then one is assenting to the efficacy of analysis.

In any case, when all is said and done, everyone is doing guru-yoga to get there, Gelugs included.
Mipham was a rare polymath who was good at everything. I was highlighting conebeckham’s point that there is a bit of a difference in praxis between the Gelugpas and, well, most non-Gelugpas in how they view the role of analytical meditation.
Yes, he certainly was. Extraordinary being. One of the great jewels of 19th century Tibet.

The point I was making was simply that there's a bit of 'having one's cake and eating it too' going on. i.e. relying on someone's highly refined conceptual analysis of emptiness in order to refute the proposition that conceptual analyses of emptiness are useful. This begs some rather obvious questions.

But I suppose I also take your point that there is a bit of difference in praxis, but I'm not sure this really has much to do with interpretations of Madhyamaka - I think that the difference in praxis is caused by the virtually unlimited range of permutations that the Vajrayana brings. So it's not really Gelugs vs everyone else (that I think, is a properly historical-political problem rather than soteriological). It's across the board, across every school, tradition, lineage and subsect.

My own background is more Kagyu than anything else, but the thought that this is some analysis-free path is mistaken. Mahamudra does not even begin without conceptually understanding the ground. And I think Mipham clearly demonstrates this for Dzogchen too - isn't that really what's going on in the Beacon? That's certainly what the translator - is it Pettit? - argues.

I think you’re right that it was Pettit.

Mipham’s commentary on Chandrakirti was my introduction to madhyamaka, and my main teacher made sure I read all of it before telling me that of course it’s not really necessary to master philosophical arguments in order to achieve the view. At that point I was wondering why he couldn’t have told me that about 400 pages earlier...but it did raise the question, what’s the absolute minimum you need to know of this morass of counter-arguments on rabbits’ horns and the like in order to practice. I don’t know any place where Mipham specifically addresses that and he was probably going for rhetorical effect in those lines from the “old dogs” text. Perhaps if you just read Nagarjuna and stopped there it would be enough.

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tobes
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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by tobes » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:15 am

That's funny PeterC!

I don't think just reading Nagarjuna is much help to anyone, because you really have to understand who he is critiquing to gain any real insight. i.e. The early Madhyamaka project doesn't make a whole lot of sense without Sarvastivadan realism to deconstruct in the first instance. Chandrakirti is even more difficult because there are more Buddhist and non-Buddhist schools who are the target of his arguments. And herein lies the big problem - few people interested in obtaining 'correct view' bother to engage sufficiently with the proponents of 'wrong view.' I include myself here. For example, I've never really invested much time in trying to actually understand the Samkhya philosophy of causation; because I assume the correctness of dependent arising. To some degree, this makes the process of studying Madhyamaka less rational and more dogmatic than one might want to admit; we lean on the authority of the Madhyamaka masters probably more than we do an open ended logical and metaphysical inquiry.

Incidentally, I think that's why, when we get to Tibetan masters, the debates among practitioners can virtually be reduced to the logical form of: My lineage great thinker has out trumped your lineage great thinker. Not always of course, but very often.

So what would be a good way to proceed? Well, I wish the Prajnaparamita texts were studied a lot more, translated better, talked/taught about more, written about more in internet forums....and then, Madhyamaka is utilised to clarify what might otherwise seem enigmatic or paradoxical.

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Bristollad » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:14 am

:good:

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