Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

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conebeckham
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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by conebeckham » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:10 am

Malcolm wrote:
conebeckham wrote: OK. But am I correct that Tsong Khapa's followers often qualified Nagarjuna and Chandra's word "Existent" with the word "inherent" when it was not explicitly there?

Also, Malcolm, what are the Tibetan terms for this "inherent"? dngos.?
Inherent existence (svabhāva) is either ngo bo nyid (older translations) or rang bzhin (more recent translations).

And yes, followers of Tsongkhapa often patch the word existence (bhāva, dngos po) with "sva", leading to the aforementioned criticism leveled by Gaden Chophel.

Tsong Khapa also uses bden.grub as his "object of negation," correct? Is there a Sanskrit equivalent for this word?
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: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by Malcolm » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:19 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote: All this talk about Madhyamikas having no position is nonsense.
  • If I had a proposition, I would be at fault;
    as I alone have no proposition, I alone am without fault.


I guess Nāgārjuna was just talking a load of nonsense then.

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by michaelb » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:25 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:Of course! The tetralemma is hardly a practical presentation of reality. There are only two states in which things can be, either existent or non-existent.
As Gendun Chophel said, "We proclaim with a great roar such things as if something is not nonexistent it must be existent, if it is not existent, it must be nonexistent, that those two are explicitly contradictory, and that something that is neither of those two is impossible. [...] Statements like “The view that reality [dharmata] is free from the eight extremes of elaboration is great nihilism” are made because nothing can appear to our mind other than existence and nonexistence and because our mind does not recognize anything other than existence and nonexistence. But how can the inability of something to appear to our mind prove that it is impossible and does not exist?
[...] Referring to the middle path as that which is in the center of existence and nonexistence is very clearly set forth by the Buddha himself. For example, in the Kasyapa Chapter (Kasyapaparivarta) there are such statements as “Kasyapa, ‘existence’ is one extreme; ‘nonexistence’ is the second extreme. That which is in the center of those two is the inexpressible and inconceivable middle path.” ”

Is it just me or is Tsongkhapa's take on Madhyamaka uniquely prosaic?

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by conebeckham » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:48 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Ayu wrote: The Prasangika Madhyamaka position is: the conventional phenomena are mere appearances and they "exist" only as that.
That's exactly what I'm saying.
It may be what you're saying, but it is not exactly what Tsong Khapa is saying. He takes great pains to qualify "existence" on the conventional level. Although you can say conventionally-true phenomena are "mere appearances," which is what the rest of us actually say is the intent of Nagarjuna, Candra, etc., Tsong Khapa assigns a certain ontological status to conventionally-true phenomena which most non-Geluk Madhyamikas refute.
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: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by WeiHan » Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:34 am

conebeckham wrote:
It may be what you're saying, but it is not exactly what Tsong Khapa is saying. He takes great pains to qualify "existence" on the conventional level. Although you can say conventionally-true phenomena are "mere appearances," which is what the rest of us actually say is the intent of Nagarjuna, Candra, etc., Tsong Khapa assigns a certain ontological status to conventionally-true phenomena which most non-Geluk Madhyamikas refute.
However, in conclusion, Tsong Khapa still arrives at conventionlly-true phenomena are "mere appearance". His qualification of "existence" to conventionally-true phenomena can be understood as merely expedient.

His presentation has the benefits for those who cannot grasp the idea that phenomena can be both existent and non-existent at the same time. Honestly, it is damn mind twisting and I doubt many people really understand it and if there isn't reasonable way to resolve that, the person is forever stuck at that point or may even rejected madhyamika as nonsense.

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by Ayu » Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:28 am

WeiHan wrote:
conebeckham wrote:
It may be what you're saying, but it is not exactly what Tsong Khapa is saying. He takes great pains to qualify "existence" on the conventional level. Although you can say conventionally-true phenomena are "mere appearances," which is what the rest of us actually say is the intent of Nagarjuna, Candra, etc., Tsong Khapa assigns a certain ontological status to conventionally-true phenomena which most non-Geluk Madhyamikas refute.
However, in conclusion, Tsong Khapa still arrives at conventionlly-true phenomena are "mere appearance". His qualification of "existence" to conventionally-true phenomena can be understood as merely expedient.

His presentation has the benefits for those who cannot grasp the idea that phenomena can be both existent and non-existent at the same time. Honestly, it is damn mind twisting and I doubt many people really understand it and if there isn't reasonable way to resolve that, the person is forever stuck at that point or may even rejected madhyamika as nonsense.
Very good posting. :bow:

IMO Tsongkhapa took the students by the hand, took them from where they are: from grasping at existence. Naming the conventional layer as "Second Truth". And he made them curious about "What does this second truth really mean?" If the student is willing to explore that in meditation , s/he will find out, that the word "truth" is not right.
A "true" thing is unchangeable, and since all things are transient, the second truth is not true in that sense.
This is what one can find out reading Tsongkhapas Lamrim - at least in Lamrim Bring Ba. But he didn't say that bluntly. One has to find it out.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:16 am

Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote: All this talk about Madhyamikas having no position is nonsense.
  • If I had a proposition, I would be at fault;
    as I alone have no proposition, I alone am without fault.


I guess Nāgārjuna was just talking a load of nonsense then.
No, his meaning is - if I had an actual findable position, I would be at fault, but since my position is mere imputation, I alone am without fault.

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:27 am

conebeckham wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Ayu wrote: The Prasangika Madhyamaka position is: the conventional phenomena are mere appearances and they "exist" only as that.
That's exactly what I'm saying.
It may be what you're saying, but it is not exactly what Tsong Khapa is saying. He takes great pains to qualify "existence" on the conventional level. Although you can say conventionally-true phenomena are "mere appearances," which is what the rest of us actually say is the intent of Nagarjuna, Candra, etc., Tsong Khapa assigns a certain ontological status to conventionally-true phenomena which most non-Geluk Madhyamikas refute.
I don't think there's any problem. On the level of appearance, things exist and function and therefore certain conventional cognitions that we have of phenomena are valid. That's all that Tsongkhapa is saying. For example, in a dream if you steal a diamond and someone asks you if you stole it and you say no, you are lying. If you say 'there is no diamond, no stealing and no person stealing so no one stole anything' then you make yourself a laughing stock. Buddha would never argue with the valid cognitions of livings beings. As Chandrakirti says:

[VI.166] Such things as pots, woollen cloth, canvas, armies, forests, rosaries, trees,
Houses, small carts, guest houses, and so forth
Should be realized in just the same way as they are spoken of;
Because the Able One would never argue with the worldly.

These phenomena are existent as mere name. People seem to have a problem with that which I don't understand, it's a denial of existence, conventionality and karma.

It's pointless to say that these things don't exist and they don't not exist, both or neither, this is just abstract philosophy. Clearly things such as pots, woollen cloth and so forth exist because they are objects of valid cognition and Buddha would never argue with the worldly. The question is what is their real nature? What mistake are we making in how we apprehend them at present?
Last edited by Tsongkhapafan on Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:34 am

WeiHan wrote: His presentation has the benefits for those who cannot grasp the idea that phenomena can be both existent and non-existent at the same time. Honestly, it is damn mind twisting and I doubt many people really understand it and if there isn't reasonable way to resolve that, the person is forever stuck at that point or may even rejected madhyamika as nonsense.
Since existence and non-existence are opposites, things cannot be both. It certainly is mind twisting (and incorrect) to believe that such a thing is possible!

Perhaps it would be easier to take a photograph of the son of a childless woman. :smile:

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by WeiHan » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:33 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
WeiHan wrote: His presentation has the benefits for those who cannot grasp the idea that phenomena can be both existent and non-existent at the same time. Honestly, it is damn mind twisting and I doubt many people really understand it and if there isn't reasonable way to resolve that, the person is forever stuck at that point or may even rejected madhyamika as nonsense.
Since existence and non-existence are opposites, things cannot be both. It certainly is mind twisting (and incorrect) to believe that such a thing is possible!

Perhaps it would be easier to take a photograph of the son of a childless woman. :smile:
That I do not agree. Arriving at dependently orginated mere appearance does avoid the paradox. The traditional presentation is aimed at the utmost ultimate right at the beginning while Tsongkahpa chose another route which may be more suitable for some other type of students. Something can be mind twisting does not mean that it is wrong.

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by Malcolm » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:48 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote: All this talk about Madhyamikas having no position is nonsense.
  • If I had a proposition, I would be at fault;
    as I alone have no proposition, I alone am without fault.


I guess Nāgārjuna was just talking a load of nonsense then.
No, his meaning is - if I had an actual findable position, I would be at fault, but since my position is mere imputation, I alone am without fault.
:juggling:

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by WeiHan » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:24 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote: All this talk about Madhyamikas having no position is nonsense.
  • If I had a proposition, I would be at fault;
    as I alone have no proposition, I alone am without fault.


I guess Nāgārjuna was just talking a load of nonsense then.
No, his meaning is - if I had an actual findable position, I would be at fault, but since my position is mere imputation, I alone am without fault.
Madhyamika has no assertion whether it is Nargajuna or Tsongkhapa. Madhyamika only serves to dismantle one's mental contructs which is the basis of ego and ignorance. How can there be any workable assertion when all phenomena is suppose to be beyond mental contruct. If it is as simple as an assertion or theory, why did the Buddha need s 49 years to teach?

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by conebeckham » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:42 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:Conventional phenomena being mere appearances is exactly my position. They have no other kind of existence, but to be a mere appearance to a valid mind is the very meaning of existence. It's pointless to argue anything else as you are denying conventional truth and therefore dependent arising.
So, the "mere appearance to a valid mind," or conventional truth, also includes the two kinds of obscurations, correct?
??
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: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by BuddhaFollower » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:48 pm

TsongkhapaFan,

The position of Madhyamaka and Mahayana in general is that everything is completely equivalent with illusion:
Malcolm wrote: everything, including buddhahood, etc., is completely equivalent to an illusion; not "like an illusion", as some people in Mahāyāna with a poor understanding hedge -- completely equivalent.
Malcolm wrote:Some people, hearing that all phenomena are completely equivalent with illusions freak out. Some people who hear that phenomena are empty, freak out. This is why it is a bohdhisattva downfall to teach emptiness to the immature.
I must also agree with this:
Malcolm wrote: The Gelug misunderstanding of madhyamaka is tragic.

N
Just recognize the conceptualizing mind.

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:39 pm

Just a quick reminder for the content of a thread like this guys:

Try to keep in mind this is the Gelug subforum, and that while philosophical debate is always encouraged, it's likely a good idea to stay away from broad characterizations of opposing schools of thought. Stick to that, and we'll be fine.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:15 pm

WeiHan wrote: Madhyamika has no assertion whether it is Nargajuna or Tsongkhapa. Madhyamika only serves to dismantle one's mental contructs which is the basis of ego and ignorance. How can there be any workable assertion when all phenomena is suppose to be beyond mental contruct. If it is as simple as an assertion or theory, why did the Buddha need s 49 years to teach?
It's not simple and it's not beyond mental construct. I assume you know that Tsongkhapa taught that to realise emptiness directly we first need to generate an inferential cognizer of emptiness, and for a long time we have to meditate on a generic image of emptiness until it fades and becomes a direct realisation that is non-conceptual.

Lack of inherent existence is an assertion. It's a view.

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:21 pm

WeiHan wrote: That I do not agree. Arriving at dependently orginated mere appearance does avoid the paradox. The traditional presentation is aimed at the utmost ultimate right at the beginning while Tsongkahpa chose another route which may be more suitable for some other type of students. Something can be mind twisting does not mean that it is wrong.
Asserting something to exist in two mutually exclusive states is wrong.

Mere appearance to a valid mind exists, it doesn't both exist and not exist, this is philosophical fabrication.
Last edited by Tsongkhapafan on Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:25 pm

BuddhaFollower wrote:TsongkhapaFan,

The position of Madhyamaka and Mahayana in general is that everything is completely equivalent with illusion:
Malcolm wrote: everything, including buddhahood, etc., is completely equivalent to an illusion; not "like an illusion", as some people in Mahāyāna with a poor understanding hedge -- completely equivalent.
Malcolm wrote:Some people, hearing that all phenomena are completely equivalent with illusions freak out. Some people who hear that phenomena are empty, freak out. This is why it is a bohdhisattva downfall to teach emptiness to the immature.
I must also agree with this:
Malcolm wrote: The Gelug misunderstanding of madhyamaka is tragic.

N
That's not true, BuddhaFollower. Shantideva says that phenomena are illusion-like but they are not like illusions in all respects. There are many important differences. Denying the validity of conventional appearances is tragic and a big mistake that Gorampa made.

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by BuddhaFollower » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:08 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote: That's not true, BuddhaFollower. Shantideva says that phenomena are illusion-like but they are not like illusions in all respects.
Malcolm is 100% correct.

There are pages of Madhyamaka quotes in this vein:

"Nagarjuna taught , "bereft of beginning, middle, and end," meaning that the world is free from creation, duration, and destruction."
-Candrakirti


Its the whole point of Madhyamaka as well as the Prajnaparamita Sutras.
Just recognize the conceptualizing mind.

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Re: Gorampa & Tsongkhapa

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:08 pm

BuddhaFollower wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote: That's not true, BuddhaFollower. Shantideva says that phenomena are illusion-like but they are not like illusions in all respects.
Malcolm is 100% correct.

There are pages of Madhyamaka quotes in this vein:

"Nagarjuna taught , "bereft of beginning, middle, and end," meaning that the world is free from creation, duration, and destruction."
-Candrakirti


Its the whole point of Madhyamaka as well as the Prajnaparamita Sutras.
In this vein, but again it's interpretation. The world is free from inherently existent creation, duration and destruction - it's like an illusion, but the world exists in that way. We cannot find creation, duration or destruction when we search with wisdom but they appear to our mind - or are you denying the world?

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