Inherent deja vu all over again

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cloudburst
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by cloudburst » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:02 am

Jeff H wrote:
cloudburst wrote:Hi Jeff

if you want to understand the issue in a simple way, you just need to realize that when others say "existence," Gelugs say "inherent existence."
...
I am glad you have posted this here, perhaps we can have a real discussion about some of these issues, but we will have to do so through a lot of background noise. I am intereseted in discussing the object of negation, the svatantrikas/prasangika distinction, conventional or "mere" existence etc. Hopefully I can write more later, you have raised many good issues.
Thanks. This was a helpful post, Cloudburst.
I hope this conversation continues, Jeff. Thank you for sticking with it.

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Malcolm
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Malcolm » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:35 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
What does that mean? What is the meditation that leads to an experience of the freedom from extremes? If you say "things don't exist but they don't not exist" what does that even 'look like'?

It's not a practical object of meditation so this creation is purely intellectual and cannot lead to liberation.
How is meditating on a nonexistence practical?
It's really simple - you take away that which is not true and end up with the truth. By realising that there is no snake on the basis of that rope, your mind mistakenly believing that it exists ceases and you see the truth.
So you are not in fact meditating on the absence of inherent existence? Or are you?
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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Malcolm
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Malcolm » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:37 am

cloudburst wrote:
this is where I think you haven't grasped Je Tsongkhapas interpretative genius. I am happy to go around the merry go round for another dance if people find it helpful, Im just not sure that that is what this thread is about.
I understand Tsongkhapa's point. The point is that such a short cut is fine for bodhisattvas on the stages who have realized emptiness, but not for commoners, who have not. They still need to plod, step by step through the four fold negation until they get it right. Commoner who think negating inherent existence is sufficient wind up with a nihilistic view of the ultimate, thinking that the generic image of a negation is emptiness.
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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Tsongkhapafan
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:47 am

Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
How is meditating on a nonexistence practical?
It's really simple - you take away that which is not true and end up with the truth. By realising that there is no snake on the basis of that rope, your mind mistakenly believing that it exists ceases and you see the truth.
So you are not in fact meditating on the absence of inherent existence? Or are you?
Most definitely! I just used realising that there is no snake on the basis of the rope as an example. I meditate on the absence of an inherently existent body, mind, I and other phenomena until that hallucination disappears. Over time, you come to feel that the things you normally see (inherently existent things) do not exist at all and all phenomena are like dreams, mere appearances to mind.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:53 am

Malcolm wrote:
cloudburst wrote:
this is where I think you haven't grasped Je Tsongkhapas interpretative genius. I am happy to go around the merry go round for another dance if people find it helpful, Im just not sure that that is what this thread is about.
I understand Tsongkhapa's point. The point is that such a short cut is fine for bodhisattvas on the stages who have realized emptiness, but not for commoners, who have not. They still need to plod, step by step through the four fold negation until they get it right. Commoner who think negating inherent existence is sufficient wind up with a nihilistic view of the ultimate, thinking that the generic image of a negation is emptiness.
What does the generic image of the four fold negation look like? Surely it's just an intellectual negation?

Negating inherent existence is not nihilistic because inherent existence has never existed. Realising that you are clinging to something that has never existed and letting go is not nihilistic, it's liberating. When you realise there is no inherently existent I and there never has been, all fears and suffering disappear because these hallucinations were based on the experience of a false self.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:56 am

Wayfarer wrote:If you're dying of illness, and there are two capsules presented to you, one containing the actual medicine, and one containing sugar, then there's a real difference between the two, and which one you take has real consequences. So I don't think you can say that such a difference is non-existent. There are many 'conventional truths' of that nature. They may be 'empty of inherent existence' but on the level of samsaric reality, there are real distinctions between non-ultimately-real things.
I completely agree. To dismiss all conventional appearances by saying they are all false anyway is to miss something important. There is a difference between a horse and a unicorn because I can ride a horse but cannot pet a unicorn. We cannot dismiss the conventional because Nagarjuna's view is the harmonious union of the conventional and the ultimate.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:44 am

conebeckham wrote:
It does not surprise me at all. However, we can certainly say their conventional presentations differ.

<snip>

These come from ktgrinpoche.org and there is a treasure trove of pith instruction there. I hope it is valued.
How do their conventional presentations differ? They are pointing to the same truth.

Yes, it is valued, thank you. I very much admire Milarepa and I have read Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso's books such as Sun of Wisdom and Buddhanature as well as his Dohas.

My question is still how do you get to the object of meditation, equality? In Tsongkhapa's tradition we engage in analytical meditation to reach the object, emptiness, but how is it done in your tradition?

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Malcolm
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Malcolm » Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:33 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote: Over time, you come to feel that the things you normally see (inherently existent things) do not exist at all and all phenomena are like dreams, mere appearances to mind.
One does not need to meditate on the absence of inherent existence existence to come to this "feeling:"
  • Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.
Last edited by Malcolm on Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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Malcolm
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Malcolm » Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:43 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
cloudburst wrote:
this is where I think you haven't grasped Je Tsongkhapas interpretative genius. I am happy to go around the merry go round for another dance if people find it helpful, Im just not sure that that is what this thread is about.
I understand Tsongkhapa's point. The point is that such a short cut is fine for bodhisattvas on the stages who have realized emptiness, but not for commoners, who have not. They still need to plod, step by step through the four fold negation until they get it right. Commoner who think negating inherent existence is sufficient wind up with a nihilistic view of the ultimate, thinking that the generic image of a negation is emptiness.
What does the generic image of the four fold negation look like? Surely it's just an intellectual negation?

Negating inherent existence is not nihilistic because inherent existence has never existed. Realising that you are clinging to something that has never existed and letting go is not nihilistic, it's liberating. When you realise there is no inherently existent I and there never has been, all fears and suffering disappear because these hallucinations were based on the experience of a false self.
Asserting that the ultimate is a mere negation is nihilistic.

The fourfold negation has no generic image, that is the point. The fourfold negation stills all false concepts possible about the relative and the ultimate leaving the mind in a state of freedom from proliferation. Śantideva says in Chapter 9:
  • When neither entities nor nonentities are present before the mind,
    since at that time there is no other aspect, it is without an object, totally peaceful.
M
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: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Malcolm » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:27 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:Nagarjuna's view is the harmonious union of the conventional and the ultimate.
No, it isn't. He proclaims in the Sixty Verses of Reasoning:
  • When the victors have proclaimed that nirvana alone is true,
    at that time, what kind of scholar does not think the rest is false?
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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Tsongkhapafan
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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:42 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:Nagarjuna's view is the harmonious union of the conventional and the ultimate.
No, it isn't. He proclaims in the Sixty Verses of Reasoning:
  • When the victors have proclaimed that nirvana alone is true,
    at that time, what kind of scholar does not think the rest is false?
It's only false for non-Buddhas and Nagarjuna's words are only from the perspective of Sutra.
The real truth is the union of appearance and emptiness.

If you look only from the perspective of emptiness you have no way to reconcile conventional and ultimate truths and your view is contrary to the valid perceptions of worldly people who Buddha would never disagree with.
Last edited by Tsongkhapafan on Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:43 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
I understand Tsongkhapa's point. The point is that such a short cut is fine for bodhisattvas on the stages who have realized emptiness, but not for commoners, who have not. They still need to plod, step by step through the four fold negation until they get it right. Commoner who think negating inherent existence is sufficient wind up with a nihilistic view of the ultimate, thinking that the generic image of a negation is emptiness.
What does the generic image of the four fold negation look like? Surely it's just an intellectual negation?

Negating inherent existence is not nihilistic because inherent existence has never existed. Realising that you are clinging to something that has never existed and letting go is not nihilistic, it's liberating. When you realise there is no inherently existent I and there never has been, all fears and suffering disappear because these hallucinations were based on the experience of a false self.
Asserting that the ultimate is a mere negation is nihilistic.

The fourfold negation has no generic image, that is the point. The fourfold negation stills all false concepts possible about the relative and the ultimate leaving the mind in a state of freedom from proliferation. Śantideva says in Chapter 9:
  • When neither entities nor nonentities are present before the mind,
    since at that time there is no other aspect, it is without an object, totally peaceful.
M
No generic image, no meditation, no realisations.

Anyway, your object is also a negation - it's a negation of extremes and it must also be a mere negation because you claim that Nagarjuna isn't asserting anything, just negating other's views of reality.

Recently you said to me that your view about conventional truth was not nihilistic because you were not asserting anything and therefore there was nothing to negate. My view is not nihilistic with respect to ultimate truth because inherent existence has never existed and therefore its negation is not putting anything out of existence, merely correcting a wrong conception.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by BuddhaFollower » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:22 pm

Malcolm wrote:Asserting that the ultimate is a mere negation is nihilistic.

M

This.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Malcolm » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:22 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:Nagarjuna's view is the harmonious union of the conventional and the ultimate.
No, it isn't. He proclaims in the Sixty Verses of Reasoning:
  • When the victors have proclaimed that nirvana alone is true,
    at that time, what kind of scholar does not think the rest is false?
It's only false for non-Buddhas and Nagarjuna's words are only from the perspective of Sutra.
So, now, you, a Gelugpa, are claiming that the view of sūtra and tantra are not the same?

And your response makes no sense. Nāgārjuna is very clear here that there is only one truth, nirvana. Everything else is false.

If you look only from the perspective of emptiness you have no way to reconcile conventional and ultimate truths and your view is contrary to the valid perceptions of worldly people who Buddha would never disagree with.
There is no need to reconcile them. Relative truth is an appearance to a nonanalytical mind. Ultimate truth is found upon analysis of those appearances. Why? Because as Candra points out, all things bear two natures, one relative (pre-analytical) and one ultimate (post-analytical). This is why, until Buddhahood, there is an equipoise (ultimate truth) and post-equipoise (relative truth) phase of insight meditation. In buddhahood, the mind is completely integrated with ultimate truth, and there is no division into equipoise and post-equipoise. The buddhas have no false cognitions at all.
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: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by conebeckham » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:01 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
I understand Tsongkhapa's point. The point is that such a short cut is fine for bodhisattvas on the stages who have realized emptiness, but not for commoners, who have not. They still need to plod, step by step through the four fold negation until they get it right. Commoner who think negating inherent existence is sufficient wind up with a nihilistic view of the ultimate, thinking that the generic image of a negation is emptiness.
What does the generic image of the four fold negation look like? Surely it's just an intellectual negation?

Negating inherent existence is not nihilistic because inherent existence has never existed. Realising that you are clinging to something that has never existed and letting go is not nihilistic, it's liberating. When you realise there is no inherently existent I and there never has been, all fears and suffering disappear because these hallucinations were based on the experience of a false self.
Asserting that the ultimate is a mere negation is nihilistic.

The fourfold negation has no generic image, that is the point. The fourfold negation stills all false concepts possible about the relative and the ultimate leaving the mind in a state of freedom from proliferation. Śantideva says in Chapter 9:
  • When neither entities nor nonentities are present before the mind,
    since at that time there is no other aspect, it is without an object, totally peaceful.
M
Just to add to this, the stilling of all false concepts is also represented as the "exhaustion of concepts." That's the state. Malcolm's covered everything else I would have said.
Except-
Your Generic Image is an object of conceptual mind. It cannot be the cause of realization.
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: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:04 pm

Malcolm wrote: So, now, you, a Gelugpa, are claiming that the view of sūtra and tantra are not the same?

And your response makes no sense. Nāgārjuna is very clear here that there is only one truth, nirvana. Everything else is false.
The view of emptiness is the same between Sutra and Tantra but the union of the two truths is different.

Great enlightenment or the nirvana of a Buddha is the union of appearance and emptiness, no contradiction.

There is no need to reconcile them. Relative truth is an appearance to a nonanalytical mind. Ultimate truth is found upon analysis of those appearances. Why? Because as Candra points out, all things bear two natures, one relative (pre-analytical) and one ultimate (post-analytical). This is why, until Buddhahood, there is an equipoise (ultimate truth) and post-equipoise (relative truth) phase of insight meditation. In buddhahood, the mind is completely integrated with ultimate truth, and there is no division into equipoise and post-equipoise. The buddhas have no false cognitions at all.
Correct, so Buddhas perceive the union of appearance and emptiness. This is the ultimate reconciling of conventional and ultimate truth.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by DGA » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:05 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:No generic image, no meditation, no realisations.
Did Shakyamuni Buddha rely on a generic image as you have defined it? For that matter, did Lama Tsongkhapa?

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:08 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Just to add to this, the stilling of all false concepts is also represented as the "exhaustion of concepts." That's the state. Malcolm's covered everything else I would have said.
Except-
Your Generic Image is an object of conceptual mind. It cannot be the cause of realization.
There is no realisation without conceptual minds. If you want to abandon all conceptions this is Hashang's view and leads nowhere, except to becoming a stone.

The path to a non-conceptual realisation of emptiness is the path of conceptuality; there's no other path other than to abandon conceptual minds and this is not a spiritual path.

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by BuddhaFollower » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:13 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:The path to a non-conceptual realisation of emptiness is the path of conceptuality; there's no other path other than to abandon conceptual minds and this is not a spiritual path.
Read this thread:
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=4704

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Re: Inherent deja vu all over again

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:17 pm

DGA wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:No generic image, no meditation, no realisations.
Did Shakyamuni Buddha rely on a generic image as you have defined it? For that matter, did Lama Tsongkhapa?
Most definitely.

The path to realising emptiness directly is clearly explained - first we need to attain tranquil abiding through training in the nine levels of concentration called the nine mental abidings. Then we meditate on a generic image of emptiness until we develop a special suppleness induced by wisdom called superior seeing. At this point we become a Yogi and we then meditate on a generic image of emptiness with a concentration that is the union of tranquil abiding and superior seeing. Gradually, the generic image of emptiness fades as our meditation functions to eradicate all dualistic appearance. Finally, the generic image of emptiness disappears completely and we are left with a direct non-conceptual realisation of emptiness. This is how to attain the Path of Seeing.

Elsewhere Malcolm talks about the experience of emptiness being the result of analytic meditation. What meditation? And without a generic image? It's not possible unless you can explain how.

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