What Tsongkhapa said

Jeff H
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What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Jeff H » Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:10 pm

From the thread, 'How Madhyamika Philosophy..."
jmlee369 wrote:As someone whose practice is rooted in the Gelug tradition, I've tended to avoid discussions about Madhyamaka since I'm not well versed in it, but I think it's worth making a few points after following most (but not all) of this thread.

First, I think it is necessary for people on the Gelug side to actually quote directly from the root text, authoritative Indian commentaries, and the works of Lama Tsongkhapa and show the relations between the three to back up our assertions, especially the reasoning Lama Tsongkhapa used when he strayed from mainstream Tibetan Prasangika Madhyamaka.

Matt J wrote:
jmlee369 wrote:Second, I think it is rather unfair that the non-Gelugpas have someone as learned as Loppon Malcolm, while the Gelugpas don't have a geshe around to defend our view. With all due respect, I can't help but feel that the Gelugpas here have a limited understanding of the Gelug position given very few non-Tibetan/Mongolians have access to the formal training that our lineage is known for.
I think there is a tendency to make these things too complicated. I don't think that Madhyamaka is that complicated--- the core concepts are rather simple. What is difficult is truly absorbing it so that it isn't just an idea but a lived experience.

If one needs a geshe degree to understand the Gelug position, then it would have little relevance to the vast majority of the world. I don't believe it, and I don't think the Gelugs do, either otherwise they wouldn't be teaching it to lay Westerners.

Correct. I do not hold a Geshe degree and I am not “expert” in Tsongkhapa’s way. I am an ordinary practitioner trying to find my way according to Buddha’s instructions. My entire association with Tibetan Buddhism has been by means of the Gelug tradition. My training in that tradition is not insignificant but I cannot match the scholars and long-term practitioners of DW in debate. Nevertheless, I believe I have reason to think that this path has great merit. I am open to the new ideas I read about on DW, especially Dzogchen, but Gelug Prasangika is my ladder. Even if I may be reaching the top step of its utility for me, I see no reason to kick that ladder out from under myself as I explore and reach for another method.

My point in all these threads has been simply this: 1) Tsongkhapa’s teachings are solid, appropriate, and efficacious for a great many people, myself included; and 2) I resent the lengths people on DW go to to undermine the faith that people like us have in this 600-year old system which has served many masters very well and is quite alive today.

It is one thing to point out that a certain school has limits, but in my opinion, the opposition goes far beyond the skillful means of encouraging people to look deeper and reach further. Instead the efforts seem to be aimed at utterly destroying any confidence in Tsongkhapa's teachings. That is why I consider this an important topic.

I’m starting this thread –- in the Gelug sub-forum (mods please don’t move it, it’s our ground) –- to at least try to answer the challenge of jmlee369 and Matt J. I’m beginning to go back over my notes of Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Lam Rim Chenmo course in the hope of mounting a better-supported argument. I hope others will join me.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

Jeff H
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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Jeff H » Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:19 pm

The first point is from LRC (Lam Rim Chenmo) vol. 3, chap. 12, “Rational Analysis”. Here LTK (Lama Tsong Khapa) begins to establish his distinction between intrinsic existence and mere existence. Rational analysis is a process of negation by reason. It is a search for the essence of a thing to establish it in reality. When reason cannot find that essence, it has not thereby refuted the thing.
LTK wrote:When such a line of reasoning analyzes or searches for production and so forth, it does not find a trace of them; they are “unable to withstand analysis.” However, the fact that this line of reasoning does not find them does not entail that it refutes them. Rather reason refutes something that – if it did exist – would have to be established by reason, but which reason does not establish. Conventional consciousnesses establish the production and cessation of forms and such; although forms and such exist, reasoning consciousnesses do not establish them. Therefore, while reason does not find forms and such, how could it refute them? For example, a visual consciousness does not find sounds, but this not refute them. This is similar. [v.3, p.156]

Here we are talking about “objects to be negated by reason”. There is also such a thing as “objects to be negated by the path.” In other words, we do not overcome our delusions by claiming their objects do not exist. We overcome our afflictions and delusions with discipline and method practices. We apply reason and wisdom to negate the root of our delusions, the belief that conventional objects exist from their own side. They do exist and we have to apply strenuous effort to overcome them, but that is method practice. Wisdom practice attacks our underlying assumption that they have self-existent substance. But a thing refuted by reason must be something that never existed at all because reason cannot annihilate an existent thing. Conversely, within samsara, anger, desire, etc. do exist and must be overcome by means of antidotes.

Conventionally, we must use method practices to overcome our karmic experiences, simply because they are real in the sense that they function as suffering. Ultimately, we are not equating the reasoned negation of inherent existence with emptiness. That produces a preliminary concept of emptiness, but emptiness cannot be realized without the unification of method and wisdom.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Virgo » Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:34 pm

Jeff H wrote:Correct. I do not hold a Geshe degree and I am not “expert” in Tsongkhapa’s way. I am an ordinary practitioner trying to find my way according to Buddha’s instructions. My entire association with Tibetan Buddhism has been by means of the Gelug tradition. My training in that tradition is not insignificant but I cannot match the scholars and long-term practitioners of DW in debate.

You don't need to be able to. All you need to do in a real sense is get tantric intitiation and apply it. The scholars have a special type of capacity, like Malcolm has for example. We do not need to be able to match that, we just need to be able to listen to them, and then we become ones with a special capacity of our own - the special capacity to be able to learn when great individuals speak. Not like the people with cork for brains who listen but cannot hear.

Most important is that you apply. You receive the four empowerments and you apply them. You go to a Tibetan doctor and you apply what they tell you. The rubber has to meet the road and that's it.

People like to talk, talk, talk. The ones who should talk are the people who have alerady performed great learning and practice, like Malcolm. Everybody else needs to zip up and apply. Always apply and listen. For example, I don't ask a lot of questions, but I have read over 70 or 80k posts by Malcolm, something like that. I have not met my Guru many times but I do what he actually said when we did meet, and etc.

People need to zip up and apply. Ask questions if you must talk (and I am not talking a bout you specifically at all, I am speakign generally here), don't make statements so much. People need to get their ass in gear, half your life has already gone by. All I see here is babble, babble, babble. Thank goodness I don't actually have to spend time with most of the people here.

Tantra is the key here, people should come away with this and apply it.

Kevin

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:56 pm

Virgo wrote:People need to zip up and apply.

Perhaps you should take your own advice.
The true condition is beyond numbers. If we think in terms of an "individual being" this means that we are limiting, and consequently everything becomes complicated. If we want to understand, then we must not limit. - Chögyal Namkhai Norbu

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Virgo » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:04 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Virgo wrote:People need to zip up and apply.

Perhaps you should take your own advice.

I always have, since my advice is measured with reason.

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Virgo » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:06 pm

And I realize now I did not read Jeff's whole post before replying (something I rarely do) so I will clam if he wants me to.

Kevin

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Jeff H » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:16 pm

Virgo wrote:
Jeff H wrote:Correct. I do not hold a Geshe degree and I am not “expert” in Tsongkhapa’s way. I am an ordinary practitioner trying to find my way according to Buddha’s instructions. My entire association with Tibetan Buddhism has been by means of the Gelug tradition. My training in that tradition is not insignificant but I cannot match the scholars and long-term practitioners of DW in debate.

You don't need to be able to. All you need to do in a real sense is get tantric intitiation and apply it. The scholars have a special type of capacity, like Malcolm has for example. We do not need to be able to match that, we just need to be able to listen to them, and then we become ones with a special capacity of our own - the special capacity to be able to learn when great individuals speak. Not like the people with cork for brains who listen but cannot hear.

Most important is that you apply. You receive the four empowerments and you apply them. You go to a Tibetan doctor and you apply what they tell you. The rubber has to meet the road and that's it.

People like to talk, talk, talk. The ones who should talk are the people who have alerady performed great learning and practice, like Malcolm. Everybody else needs to zip up and apply. Always apply and listen. For example, I don't ask a lot of questions, but I have read over 70 or 80k posts by Malcolm, something like that. I have not met my Guru many times but I do what he actually said when we did meet, and etc.

People need to zip up and apply. Ask questions if you must talk (and I am not talking a bout you specifically at all, I am speakign generally here), don't make statements so much. People need to get their ass in gear, half your life has already gone by. All I see here is babble, babble, babble. Thank goodness I don't actually have to spend time with most of the people here.

Tantra is the key here, people should come away with this and apply it.

Kevin

Thank you, Kevin, I consider this sage advice (please don't "clam" :smile:). I quite agree about Malcolm and a few others on DW. At the same time, I am practicing at a different level and addressing others at my level. I do not have a Tantric commitment yet (although Malcolm is also encouraging me to get one). I am still on the sutra path of lam rim. At this level I believe that LTK's distinction about inherent existence is valid and useful. While I do hold great stock in what Malcolm says, I believe that some of what he and others say can undermine what LTK is offering people like us. I simply think there needs to be some pro-active support of the Gelug tradition on DW. To that end, I think it would be good for me and for this topic, if I reviewed the sources of why I think LTK's position is valid.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby conebeckham » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:58 pm

Lest I be an object of resentment, let me just say a few things here in the Geluk forum.
(Though if others wish to make me an object of resentment, on reflection, I suppose that's okay too.... :smile: )

Put into simple words, I think the difference between TsongKhapa's innovation and what we may call the "mainstream" Madhyamaka of "Freedom from Extremes" is that in the latter presentation, rationality and analytical meditation are tools to exhaust clinging and to short-circuit conceptual elaboration, while TsongKhapa's system allows for a certain "weight" to convention, including conceptual constructions as well as cause and effect, law of karma, etc.--aspects of the path which I believe he felt were being dismissed or at least not given sufficient weight. Whether or not that is the case, I cannot say.

To paraphrase Brunnholzl from memory, he notes the difference to be one of "distinguishing the ontology of the two truths" for Tsong Khapa's system, vs. "distinguishing the ultimate from the pedagogical" for the "Freedom from Extremes" presentation. My memory is imperfect, but this seems to be a good summation.

As I have said before, I entered the gateway of Mahyamaka via TsongKhapa's presentation, and I studied it for a period with a Gelukpa Geshe back in the 1980's. I found it helpful then--revalatory, even!--though my subsequent path has led me in a different direction. It is quite natural to quail at any whiff of "nonexistence," and identifying the "object of negation" in the manner TsongKhapa does allows for an approach which can hone the analytic mind to a sharp edge, IMO. As I and others have noted elsewhere, though, this approach creates it's own set of issues, and I don't want to rehash those here in this thread.
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"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."
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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Virgo » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:32 pm

Jeff H wrote: At the same time, I am practicing at a different level and addressing others at my level. I do not have a Tantric commitment yet (although Malcolm is also encouraging me to get one). I am still on the sutra path of lam rim. At this level I believe that LTK's distinction about inherent existence is valid and useful. While I do hold great stock in what Malcolm says, I believe that some of what he and others say can undermine what LTK is offering people like us. I simply think there needs to be some pro-active support of the Gelug tradition on DW. To that end, I think it would be good for me and for this topic, if I reviewed the sources of why I think LTK's position is valid.

Jeff I fully encourage you to explore and put into practice those teachings. As you do so, please also remember that they can hopefully become a gateway to tantra eventually. It is tantra that ensures your enlightenment if you keep your commitments. The practice of sutra takes aeons, and gives no similar or equivalent assurance. Please apply all authentic Dharma teachings you find helpful. I wish you the best in this. May your learning increase and your path be swift and smooth, free of all impediments!


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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Bakmoon » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:06 pm

Jeff H wrote:My point in all these threads has been simply this: 1) Tsongkhapa’s teachings are solid, appropriate, and efficacious for a great many people, myself included; and 2) I resent the lengths people on DW go to to undermine the faith that people like us have in this 600-year old system which has served many masters very well and is quite alive today.

:good:

Just to be perfectly clear, I believe that the Gelug approach is a valid one, and that the issue of qualifiers and the object of negation are important differences, but they are terminological differences that differ because different systems present things from different perspectives.

Whenever I argue against Gelug positions, I do so not in order to refute them (because I accept them as valid positions) but only because I think certain people might not have deeply understood the full extent as to what Je Tsongkhapa meant, and debate is an excellent way to test their understanding.

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Jeff H » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:50 pm

conebeckham wrote:Lest I be an object of resentment, let me just say a few things here in the Geluk forum.
(Though if others wish to make me an object of resentment, on reflection, I suppose that's okay too.... :smile: )

Put into simple words, I think the difference between TsongKhapa's innovation and what we may call the "mainstream" Madhyamaka of "Freedom from Extremes" is that in the latter presentation, rationality and analytical meditation are tools to exhaust clinging and to short-circuit conceptual elaboration, while TsongKhapa's system allows for a certain "weight" to convention, including conceptual constructions as well as cause and effect, law of karma, etc.--aspects of the path which I believe he felt were being dismissed or at least not given sufficient weight. Whether or not that is the case, I cannot say.

This is my understanding as well.

conebeckham wrote:To paraphrase Brunnholzl from memory, he notes the difference to be one of "distinguishing the ontology of the two truths" for Tsong Khapa's system, vs. "distinguishing the ultimate from the pedagogical" for the "Freedom from Extremes" presentation. My memory is imperfect, but this seems to be a good summation.

I would question the term “ontology” here. I think LTK never posits an ontology of what he calls mere existence. It is simply what is there which all conventional beings experience and grapple with. As in the notes and quote above, he is distinguishing that which we negate by reason from what we negate by method; in the end, all “ontological existence” is negated.

conebeckham wrote:As I have said before, I entered the gateway of Mahyamaka via TsongKhapa's presentation, and I studied it for a period with a Gelukpa Geshe back in the 1980's. I found it helpful then--revalatory, even!--though my subsequent path has led me in a different direction. It is quite natural to quail at any whiff of "nonexistence," and identifying the "object of negation" in the manner TsongKhapa does allows for an approach which can hone the analytic mind to a sharp edge, IMO. As I and others have noted elsewhere, though, this approach creates it's own set of issues, and I don't want to rehash those here in this thread.

In one of the previous two related threads, you also disclosed that LTK’s method was useful for you in the beginning. I counted that as one of the reasons I found those threads “successful” for my purposes. I object to positions that lead beginners like myself to think his method is invalid or harmful to one’s practice. I also object to positions claiming that LTK asserts the only right position.

My practice has not yet gotten to verse 10 of “The Foundation of All Good Qualities” (http://www.lamayeshe.com/article/founda ... -qualities)

Having become a pure vessel by training in the general path,
Please bless me to enter
The holy gateway of the fortunate ones:
The supreme Vajra vehicle.


Maybe I’m stubborn or too timid, but I’m still working on the “pure vessel” bit, using the sutra methodology. I resolved at the beginning of my journey not to rush it but rather to try and get it right. I realize there comes a time when I have to take a substantial step, and that death imposes a certain urgency.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:55 am

I know nothing except that Adzom Drukpa slandered LTK's view until he read the Lam Rim Chen Mo and then stated that LTK's approach is 1. a unique view that is fully compatible with Dzogchen and 2. as it's unique, it was created by a sublime being.

Also that Shabkar recited the Migtsema prayer to LTK and had a vision in which LTK gave him a teaching on the Lam Rim. Years later he had a vision of Padmasambhava. When asking Padmasambhava why it had taken so long to appear in a vision, he replied "I taught you the Lam Rim". Which accords with Phabongkga RInpoche saying that Padmasambhava, Atisha, and Lama Tsongkhapa are the same. Same being, no difference.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Matt J » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:15 am

I think there is value in a discussion like this. For example, in the last round talking about the Gelug position, I would read a post and consider it. Then I was driven to looking at Mipham's commentary on the Chandrakirti, and it was fun doing it. Then I formed some thoughts, and put them out there and got some feedback. It is a form of contemplation, but also importantly, a form of community. Most people, even practicing Buddhists, don't really like to get into this stuff so it's great to find conversations like this. Plus, one's view impacts practice --- how can it be any other way? Every time I revisit Madhyamaka, my understanding deepens a little, doubts subside, thoughts reduce and my practice "improves." In fact, based on the questions I see raised, many issues would be addressed with a basic foundational understanding of the so-called lower yanas.

Virgo wrote:People like to talk, talk, talk. The ones who should talk are the people who have alerady performed great learning and practice, like Malcolm. Everybody else needs to zip up and apply. Always apply and listen. For example, I don't ask a lot of questions, but I have read over 70 or 80k posts by Malcolm, something like that. I have not met my Guru many times but I do what he actually said when we did meet, and etc.

People need to zip up and apply. Ask questions if you must talk (and I am not talking a bout you specifically at all, I am speakign generally here), don't make statements so much. People need to get their ass in gear, half your life has already gone by. All I see here is babble, babble, babble. Thank goodness I don't actually have to spend time with most of the people here.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:22 am

Jeff H wrote:Maybe I’m stubborn or too timid, but I’m still working on the “pure vessel” bit, using the sutra methodology. I resolved at the beginning of my journey not to rush it but rather to try and get it right. I realize there comes a time when I have to take a substantial step, and that death imposes a certain urgency.
Don't let anyone push you. The Je said:

“Initially, you should definitely set aside any of the so-called profound oral instructions of Mantra and so forth and elicit an experience of renunciation and bodhichitta. Develop those and then all your virtues will effortlessly become a cause of liberation and omniscience. Therefore, not being content with meditating in stages on these points is due to having absolutely no understanding of the essential points of the path.”
-Lord Tsongkhapa, quoted in The Essence of the Vast and Profound pg. 375


“Lord of Secrets, the sublime wisdom of omniscience comes from compassion as its root. It comes from Bodhicitta as its cause. It is brought to completion by method.”
-Vairocana’s Great Enlightenment Discourse as quoted in the Lam Rim Chen Mo eng v02 pg. 87 tib pg. 341


The Je also recommended practicing the Tantras in order. So, we should start with Kriya, not Anuttarayoga.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Jeff H » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:14 pm

Thanks, Matt and Konchog. I agree that this debate is useful and I'm glad it's driven me back to the source, the Great Treatise. I also agree that each of us must proceed at our own pace using the methods which are most appropriate for our personal, present development. The important thing is not to be making stuff up or rushing ourselves!!
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Jeff H » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:31 pm

Great Treatise, v.3, chapter 13, “Valid Establishment”

Here LTK discusses the Prasangika assertion that conventionalities are established by valid cognition – even though they have no inherent existence. The section heading is, “You cannot eradicate conventional phenomena by refuting them through investigating whether valid cognition establishes them.”

The first point is about authority with respect to reality (i.e. ultimate reality). Critics claim Chandrakirti said no perceptions or cognitions are valid, but LTK counters with quotes to show he meant they aren’t valid regarding reality. His point is that Chandrakirti can be shown to mean that perception and cognition are not valid in ascertaining ultimate reality, but he cannot be shown to mean they are not valid regarding ordinary functionality. The underlying point is that there is no logical connection between the means to realize reality and the means to perceive and cognize conventional functionality.

The second point involves fundamentally mistaken perception, making conventionalities illusion-like. The critics say that the world understands “valid cognition” to mean non-deceptive consciousness. But since Buddha has said that sensory consciousness (perception), being composite, has a deceptive quality, it cannot be non-deceptive and therefore, cannot be valid cognition.

Here LTK cites Chandrakirti’s critique of Dignaga and Dharmakirti (the logicians). Chandrakirti understands them to mean by non-conceptual consciousness that, a perception is a consciousness that apprehends the intrinsic character of its object directly, without conceptuality, and is therefore unmistaken.
LTK wrote:... the master Candrakirti does not accept even conventionally that anything exists essentially or by way of its intrinsic character. Thus, how could he accept this claim [by the logicians] that the sensory consciousnesses are valid with regard to the intrinsic character of their objects? Therefore, this refutation of the claim that sensory consciousnesses are valid is a refutation of the view that they are valid with regard to the intrinsic character of the five objects. (p.165)

Geshe Tashi Tsering comments on this point: It is extremely important to consider deeply whether these two views are referring to the same thing when they talk about direct perception. Both sides say that direct perception apprehends intrinsic qualities, but the “logicians” say, therefore they are unmistaken because that’s how things are, whereas Prasangikas say, therefore they are mistaken because that is not the way they exist ultimately. But both sides say perception validates existence as ordinary beings experience it.
LTK wrote:[Essentialists] assert that if the sensory consciousnesses are not valid perceptual cognitions of the intrinsic character of the five objects, then there can be no valid cognition of the five objects; if the sensory consciousnesses are valid cognitions of the five objects, then they will be valid cognitions of the intrinsic character of those objects.

Candrakirti’s Commentary on the “Four Hundred Stanzas” says:
It is not reasonable that worldly perception should cancel perception of reality, because worldly perception is valid only for the world, and because the objects it observes have a false and deceptive quality.

Therefore, since Candrakirti is refuting the logician’s position that sensory consciousnesses are valid regarding the intrinsic character of objects, he need not refute the position that they are simply valid cognitions.

Consequently, Candrakirti is not giving a general refutation of the position that there are valid cognitions among conventional consciousnesses. If he were, then it would not be reasonable for him to say, "As the world sees it, a valid cognition is simply a non-deceptive consciousness," because he would have refuted the validity of every sort of conventional consciousness. Also, this would contradict Candrakirti’s Clear Words, where he presents direct, inferential, scriptural, and analogical valid cognitions, saying, “We therefore posit that the world knows objects with four valid cognitions." (p.166-7)

LTK continues with additional quotes from Chandrakirti to support the validity of worldly cognitions and the distinction between accurate and inaccurate conventional consciousnesses. He concludes, “Therefore, you should not consider the impairment of being affected by ignorance as a cause of impairment in this context – even though the object apprehended by ignorance does not exist even conventionally.” (p.168)

There is a third point in this chapter where he begins his analysis of Bhavaviveka, but it's a bit over my head. I need to examine it more closely.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Virgo » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:02 pm

Matt J wrote:I think there is value in a discussion like this. For example, in the last round talking about the Gelug position, I would read a post and consider it. Then I was driven to looking at Mipham's commentary on the Chandrakirti, and it was fun doing it. Then I formed some thoughts, and put them out there and got some feedback. It is a form of contemplation, but also importantly, a form of community. Most people, even practicing Buddhists, don't really like to get into this stuff so it's great to find conversations like this. Plus, one's view impacts practice --- how can it be any other way? Every time I revisit Madhyamaka, my understanding deepens a little, doubts subside, thoughts reduce and my practice "improves." In fact, based on the questions I see raised, many issues would be addressed with a basic foundational understanding of the so-called lower yanas.

Virgo wrote:People like to talk, talk, talk. The ones who should talk are the people who have alerady performed great learning and practice, like Malcolm. Everybody else needs to zip up and apply. Always apply and listen. For example, I don't ask a lot of questions, but I have read over 70 or 80k posts by Malcolm, something like that. I have not met my Guru many times but I do what he actually said when we did meet, and etc.

People need to zip up and apply. Ask questions if you must talk (and I am not talking a bout you specifically at all, I am speakign generally here), don't make statements so much. People need to get their ass in gear, half your life has already gone by. All I see here is babble, babble, babble. Thank goodness I don't actually have to spend time with most of the people here.

Discussion is emenatnly valuable. It is when people are closed doors in discussions, especially when speaking to people who are really very learned in that subject. That's not the right approach, and it happens here frequently. My point is not that people shouldn't discuss, it is that they should discuss and not simply put forth their opinions and then not budge when met with resistence and clear explanations. I see this in the Madhyamaka debates here and in other places. It is disingenious, and I see it as sort of disrespectful to the Buddha's Teachings. We must put our all into considering what is well spoken vs. what is not and we must change our views accordingly, or else what are we but sticks in the mud?

Then, we should also apply what we learned. It doesn't mean we have to be the kind of practitioners that accumulate more mantras than most other or do retreats, it simply means we should apply our practice in a measured, consistent way and we should rely on it and trust it. Also some people are putting too much emphasis on sutra but this is the Gelug forum so I will step back - to each his own and Gelug is a valid path.

Overall my point is that people should really consider what is well spoken when they encounter it.

Kevin

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:31 pm

Konchog1 wrote:I know nothing except that Adzom Drukpa slandered LTK's view...


Where did you read such a fantasy?
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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:59 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:I know nothing except that Adzom Drukpa slandered LTK's view...


Where did you read such a fantasy?

I don't know how reliable this site is and 'slandered' does not seem warranted, but something related is mentioned here:
http://treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Adzom-Drukpa-Pawo-Dorje/8574

Once he was invited by a family called Dungda Chushotsang (dung mda' chu shod tshang) to their home for ritual-prayer for several days during which he had chance in their shrine to read the Lamrim Chenmo by Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa (tsong kha pa blo bzang grags pa, 1357-1419). It seems he had previously felt doubts regarding the Geluk view, as the reading inspired him to recite the migtsema prayer to Tsongkhapa a hundred-thousand times by way of confession of his negative thoughts.


Actually, I just read a little bit about that site and it looks pretty reliable. :smile:
The true condition is beyond numbers. If we think in terms of an "individual being" this means that we are limiting, and consequently everything becomes complicated. If we want to understand, then we must not limit. - Chögyal Namkhai Norbu

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Re: What Tsongkhapa said

Postby Jeff H » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:18 pm

Great Treatise, v.3, chapter 13, “Valid Establishment”, part 2

Regarding the matter of whether things are conventionally established or not, the most essential point to take from LTK is that he, with copious references to Chandrakirti, emphatically denies that what he calls “mere existence” has any intrinsic qualities whatsoever. In chapter 13 he shows how it is possible to establish conventional valid cognition in the complete absence of intrinsic qualities.

In that context, here he makes a point about the most subtle way in which a conscious being might cling to intrinsic existence. He attributes the fault to Bhavaviveka and provides evidence for that accusation in excruciatingly complex detail. However, it is of no concern to me at all whether Bhavaviveka actually held this view or not. The point is that LTK is exposing a very subtle trap that even a great master, as he considers Bhavaviveka to be, could fall into.

The argument, presented on pp.169-173, begins with the premise that Chittamatrins assert that imaginary constructs (imputations) lack intrinsic qualities, whereas contingent (other-powered) entities have intrinsic qualities. (And, again, this position is a Gelug teaching on the tenet systems; I do not know, nor does it matter, if that is factually correct.) The counter argument (attributed to Bhavaviveka) is that the terms and minds that construct the imaginary entities must rely on the intrinsic qualities of the contingent phenomena from which the terms and minds arise. Denying these qualities denies the terms and minds themselves.

As Gelug commentators explain, this position asserts that it is only possible for a cognizer to validly label a thing (i.e. construct it in imagination) based on suitable qualities from the side of the contingent object itself. For LTK, any such intrinsic qualities necessarily imply true existence, which he and Chandrakirti reject.

The Chittamatrin argument about the three natures arises from reading The Sutra Unraveling the Intended Meaning as definitive. Here LTK provides quotes from Chandrakirti indicating that he (Chandrakirti) holds that sutra to be provisional. He goes on to discuss the conflicting positions about how and on what basis imaginary constructs are formed. He sums up his position here:
In v.3, p.173, LTK wrote:Still, it is not impossible for sensory consciousnesses to be valid cognitions that posit objects such as forms, sounds, and so forth conventionally. The reason why those sensory consciousnesses are posited as mistaken is that there is no object that exists by way of intrinsic character such as appears to them. The nonexistence of such an object is established by a reasoning consciousness analyzing whether things exist intrinsically; it is not at all established by conventional valid cognition. Therefore, in terms of conventional consciousnesses, they are not mistaken.

As for consciousnesses that perceive things such as a double moon or a reflection, objects such as those which appear to them – two moons, a reflected face, and the like – do not exist; this is established by conventional valid cognition itself without relying on a reasoning consciousness. Thus, it is appropriate that these wrong sensory consciousnesses and the five valid sensory consciousnesses be differentiated as incorrect conventional consciousnesses and correct conventional consciousnesses.

The chapter concludes with two additional, minor points, further clarifying the distinction between applying relative and ultimate truths. The overall take away is, “Inherent existence” is the purview of rational analysis; “Mere existence” validly applies to the relative, functioning world as experienced by ordinary beings without applying rational analysis. Each is valid from its own perspective.
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