Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

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conebeckham
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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by conebeckham » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:09 pm

I agree-Mipham was clearly not opposed to analysis. :smile: Nor was Karmapa Mikyo Dorje, or a host of other Kagyu and Nyingma commentators. But it's the ability to recognize the limits of such an approach, and to foster other valid approaches, that constitutes those Kagyu and Nyingma lamas. But that's tangential to this thread.
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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Malcolm
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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:29 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:09 pm
I agree-Mipham was clearly not opposed to analysis. :smile: Nor was Karmapa Mikyo Dorje, or a host of other Kagyu and Nyingma commentators. But it's the ability to recognize the limits of such an approach, and to foster other valid approaches, that constitutes those Kagyu and Nyingma lamas. But that's tangential to this thread.
The difference was explained recently by HHST at Lamdre.

The example wisdom of analysis is the description, "a moon is something round and white, with a cool glow."

The example wisdom of empowerment is showing a moon in the water.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Palzang Jangchub » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:36 pm

Currently discussing the differences and similarities between Svatantrika and Prasangika Madhyamaka, for what it's worth. Not sure who the Rinpoche being translated is, but apparently not HH Dalai Lama right now...

https://www.spreaker.com/user/dalailamaenglish
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"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྩ་བའི་བླ་མ་སྐྱབས་རྗེ་མགར་ཆེན་ཁྲི་སྤྲུལ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ཁྱེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ།།
རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་མཁས་གྲུབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ། ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོཿ

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Lobsang Chojor » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:18 pm

Palzang Jangchub wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:36 pm
Currently discussing the differences and similarities between Svatantrika and Prasangika Madhyamaka, for what it's worth. Not sure who the Rinpoche being translated is, but apparently not HH Dalai Lama right now...

https://www.spreaker.com/user/dalailamaenglish
If that's the teachings in Riga, it is Yanting Rinpoche.
ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Oṃ A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhīḥ

"Morality does not become pure unless darkness is dispelled by the light of wisdom"
  • Aryasura, Paramitasamasa 6.5

PeterC
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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by PeterC » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:29 am

tobes wrote:
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.
Hi Tobes

Here's the issue I struggle with here. In order to practice successfully, does one need to fully understand the Samkhya philosophy of causation? Perhaps one does, because without it one can't properly follow the Madhyamka texts that reject it. Or perhaps one doesn't, because the refutations in those texts are effective whichever flavor of wrong view you happen to hold. Or perhaps it's helpful if you do, because it will make explicit some otherwise invisible wrong views that you implicitly hold without realizing it (most people probably subscribe to some realist, essentialist or nihilist views without knowing which label best fits them). So exactly how many libraries does one need to digest before one can leave these debates behind?

If we're talking about Dzogchen, then the answer is; not many. Classification of practitioners by capacity is based on application, not intelligence. Numerous instructions exist offering the same sentiments as the 'old dogs' text.

If we're talking about the two stages, then also probably not too many. Hagiographies abound of mahasiddhas of low intelligence who by devoted practice achieved realization. A hagiography isn't a biography, but it is trying to communicate how one should practice, so these stories do have value.

If analytical meditation of the gelug variety is a big part of your practice, then you can't escape it. If you are a scholar or wish to enter into dialogue between lineages, you can't escape it either.

Beyond that, I really am not sure. I personally found studying these debates helpful up to a point. But one is never going to reason oneself onto a Bhumi.

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by florin » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:20 am

PeterC wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:29 am

If we're talking about Dzogchen, then the answer is; not many. Classification of practitioners by capacity is based on application, not intelligence. Numerous instructions exist offering the same sentiments as the 'old dogs' text.
But the capacity for dzogchen is dependent, among other things on a reasonably good grasp of emptiness teachings.

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by PeterC » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:14 am

florin wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:20 am
PeterC wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:29 am

If we're talking about Dzogchen, then the answer is; not many. Classification of practitioners by capacity is based on application, not intelligence. Numerous instructions exist offering the same sentiments as the 'old dogs' text.
But the capacity for dzogchen is dependent, among other things on a reasonably good grasp of emptiness teachings.
Yes, but define “reasonably good” in this context...

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florin
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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by florin » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:07 pm

PeterC wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:14 am
florin wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:20 am
PeterC wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:29 am

If we're talking about Dzogchen, then the answer is; not many. Classification of practitioners by capacity is based on application, not intelligence. Numerous instructions exist offering the same sentiments as the 'old dogs' text.
But the capacity for dzogchen is dependent, among other things on a reasonably good grasp of emptiness teachings.
Yes, but define “reasonably good” in this context...
In the context of dzogchen capacity includes understanding of emptiness but here we dont need to go to the same dialectical depths like those involved in systematic study of emptiness do. Here it is sufficient to study and contemplate some condensed versions on the analysis of absence of essence both in phenomena as well as self. And immediately a method of application needs to be used so this analysis is concretely applied.

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Malcolm » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:33 pm

PeterC wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:14 am
florin wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:20 am
PeterC wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:29 am

If we're talking about Dzogchen, then the answer is; not many. Classification of practitioners by capacity is based on application, not intelligence. Numerous instructions exist offering the same sentiments as the 'old dogs' text.
But the capacity for dzogchen is dependent, among other things on a reasonably good grasp of emptiness teachings.
Yes, but define “reasonably good” in this context...
Correct, inferential understanding.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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tobes
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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by tobes » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:52 am

PeterC wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:29 am
tobes wrote:
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.
Hi Tobes

Here's the issue I struggle with here. In order to practice successfully, does one need to fully understand the Samkhya philosophy of causation? Perhaps one does, because without it one can't properly follow the Madhyamka texts that reject it. Or perhaps one doesn't, because the refutations in those texts are effective whichever flavor of wrong view you happen to hold. Or perhaps it's helpful if you do, because it will make explicit some otherwise invisible wrong views that you implicitly hold without realizing it (most people probably subscribe to some realist, essentialist or nihilist views without knowing which label best fits them). So exactly how many libraries does one need to digest before one can leave these debates behind?

If we're talking about Dzogchen, then the answer is; not many. Classification of practitioners by capacity is based on application, not intelligence. Numerous instructions exist offering the same sentiments as the 'old dogs' text.

If we're talking about the two stages, then also probably not too many. Hagiographies abound of mahasiddhas of low intelligence who by devoted practice achieved realization. A hagiography isn't a biography, but it is trying to communicate how one should practice, so these stories do have value.

If analytical meditation of the gelug variety is a big part of your practice, then you can't escape it. If you are a scholar or wish to enter into dialogue between lineages, you can't escape it either.

Beyond that, I really am not sure. I personally found studying these debates helpful up to a point. But one is never going to reason oneself onto a Bhumi.
Hello PeterC,

I think it depends greatly on one's karma and dispositions - in both cases, whether a Dzogchenpa 'sees it' when it is pointed, or not; whether a Gelugpa develops the capacity for genuine reasoning - and deploys that gift to its utter limits - or remains in the dogmatic snare of mere wrote learning.

I think that to understand the middle way sufficiently, one does not need to fully understand the nuances of Samkhya causation. But also, right view is not so easily obtained and some of us are probably too quick to ride the coattails of the mahasiddhas, as a means of avoiding the real labour of truly studying and understanding the Dharma. Madhyamaka can itself so easily become an object of fixation, belief, ideology - so earnest engagement across the Buddhist and non-Buddhist schools is one means of eradicating that (very human) tendency.

You may not be able to reason yourself onto the 1st bhumi, if by reason you mean a kind of mere instrumental rationality. But if we extend the sense and meaning of reason into something like 'the cultivation and development of prajna', then what is its perfection but precisely that?

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:30 am

Actually, it's a metaphysic. OK, that's a word which Buddhists generally don't much like - and indeed it's not metaphysics in the traditional sense of substance, essence and accident. But it's inexorably connected to a way of being, an understanding of the nature of lived reality, and also to radical change in the way things are understood, a meta-cognitive awareness (i.e. metaphysics which requires meta-cognition).

In my experience, most everyone is a naive, or scientific, realist - they have an instinctive acceptance of the scientific world-view, as a picture of how it all fits together. But they don't notice the implicit assumptions in that attitude, and when you try and call them out, then they become very agitated and even hostile.That's how you can tell you're really dealing with a metaphysical issue. Because the madhyamika analysis is also effective for the scientific materialist worldview, the basis of which is that the realm of name and form is self-originated and intrinsically existent. Madhyamika deconstructs that no less surely than Samhkya dualism (although I'm a lot less familiar with the latter than the former).
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

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tobes
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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by tobes » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:48 am

Yes, it is certainly a very subtle metaphysics. But also an epistemology. The sense of 'satya' strays across both domains depending on the context and the particular argument being made. i.e. sometimes it is a statement about (the nature of) reality, sometimes a statement about how one might know or be deceived about knowing reality - that is, what is true/non-deceptive or false/illusory.

As a practitioner, one simply must enter both of those spheres. But then, remaining on the level of metaphysics and epistemology is to utterly fail to comprehend what is being pointed to; that comprehension entails something far more radical + phenomenological. And, kind of, religious, mystical, sublime.

People can miss that about Madhyamaka - you might start off getting your head sawed off by an imperious logician, but you end up with an exploded heart. It's all there in the text! If you study well, your heart explodes....

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by PeterC » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:20 am

tobes wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:52 am
I think it depends greatly on one's karma and dispositions - in both cases, whether a Dzogchenpa 'sees it' when it is pointed, or not; whether a Gelugpa develops the capacity for genuine reasoning - and deploys that gift to its utter limits - or remains in the dogmatic snare of mere wrote learning.
I think you may have the critical point here. The extent to which you need to go down the rabbit hole depends on the extent to which you hold wrong views. The amount of studying needed to reach the correct inferential understanding that Malcolm refers to depends on the extent of your preceding incorrect understanding.

I'm probably in the minority in that most of the practitioners that I count as friends engaged in an excessive amount of study, at least early on. But you are right that way too many people are overly keen to abandon study in favor of a few random quotations taken out of context.

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Re: Mipham: Gelug = Svatantrika Madhyamaka

Post by Jeff H » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:14 pm

tobes wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:52 am
I think it depends greatly on one's karma and dispositions - in both cases, whether a Dzogchenpa 'sees it' when it is pointed, or not; whether a Gelugpa develops the capacity for genuine reasoning - and deploys that gift to its utter limits - or remains in the dogmatic snare of mere wrote learning.

I think that to understand the middle way sufficiently, one does not need to fully understand the nuances of Samkhya causation. But also, right view is not so easily obtained and some of us are probably too quick to ride the coattails of the mahasiddhas, as a means of avoiding the real labour of truly studying and understanding the Dharma. Madhyamaka can itself so easily become an object of fixation, belief, ideology - so earnest engagement across the Buddhist and non-Buddhist schools is one means of eradicating that (very human) tendency.

You may not be able to reason yourself onto the 1st bhumi, if by reason you mean a kind of mere instrumental rationality. But if we extend the sense and meaning of reason into something like 'the cultivation and development of prajna', then what is its perfection but precisely that?
:good: Beautifully expressed! Thank you.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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