According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Wayfarer » Fri May 11, 2018 12:16 pm

Thus, conventional and ultimate truths do not refer to ideas or perspectives, nor to two levels of reality or truths; they refer to the phenomena themselves.
That strikes me as wrong. It says there are two classes of phenomena, the 'truly existent' and the 'apparently existent'. But all phenomena are only apparently real. What is not apparently real, is also not 'phenomena'.
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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by prsvrnc » Fri May 11, 2018 12:40 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 12:13 pm
Doing a quick web search, your quote seems to come from here:

http://tushita.info/doc/The%20Four%20Te ... ited).docx

From the introduction to the Sautrantika tenets. Oops, no from the intro to the two lower tenet systems.
You're right. I screwed this up by bringing in material from the lower tenet systems. :/ Thanks for helping me clarify that.

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Bristollad » Fri May 11, 2018 2:05 pm

This section from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy seems to touch on why this perspective (two ways of looking at one object) is regarded as incorrect in Gelug but is held to be correct by other Tibetan schools:

While Gelug thus distances itself from the subjective division of the two truths, Nyingma, Kagyü and Sakya attempt to demonstrate the validity of their view by arguing that perspective provides the primary basis for the division of the two truths. Unlike Gelug, non-Gelug schools hold that the two truths do not have any objective basis. Instead they are entirely reducible to the experiences of the deluded minds of ordinary beings and the experiences of the wisdom of exalted being.

According to Gelug, the agent who cognizes the two truths may be one and the same individual. Each agent may have all the requisite cognitive resources that are potentially capable of knowing both truths. Ordinary beings have only conceptual access to ultimate truth, while exalted beings, who are in the process of learning, have direct, but intermittent, access. Awakenened beings, however, invariably have simultaneous access to both truths. The view held by non-Gelug argues for separate cognitive agents corresponding to each of the two truths. Ordinary beings have direct knowledge of conventional truth, but are utterly incapable of knowing ultimate truth. The exalted beings in training directly know ultimate while they are meditative equipoise and conventional truth in post meditative states. Fully awakened buddhas, on the other hand, only have access to ultimate truth. Awakened beings have no access to conventional truth whatsoever from the enlightened perspective, although they may access conventional truth from unenlightened ordinary perspectives.


https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/twotruths-tibet/

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Bristollad » Fri May 11, 2018 2:15 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 12:16 pm
Thus, conventional and ultimate truths do not refer to ideas or perspectives, nor to two levels of reality or truths; they refer to the phenomena themselves.
That strikes me as wrong. It says there are two classes of phenomena, the 'truly existent' and the 'apparently existent'. But all phenomena are only apparently real. What is not apparently real, is also not 'phenomena'.
What are you quoting that says there are truly existent and apparently existent phenomena?

Within Gelug tenets texts, phemomena are divided in various ways: existent and non-existent, permanent and impermanent, valid and invalid, affirming and non-affirming but I've never come across "truly existent and the apparently existent" in relation to Prasangika.

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Queequeg » Fri May 11, 2018 4:41 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 2:05 pm
While Gelug thus distances itself from the subjective division of the two truths, Nyingma, Kagyü and Sakya attempt to demonstrate the validity of their view by arguing that perspective provides the primary basis for the division of the two truths. Unlike Gelug, non-Gelug schools hold that the two truths do not have any objective basis. Instead they are entirely reducible to the experiences of the deluded minds of ordinary beings and the experiences of the wisdom of exalted being.
What does "objective basis" refer to here?

Is it referring to an object as distinguished from a subject?
According to Gelug, the agent who cognizes the two truths may be one and the same individual. Each agent may have all the requisite cognitive resources that are potentially capable of knowing both truths. Ordinary beings have only conceptual access to ultimate truth, while exalted beings, who are in the process of learning, have direct, but intermittent, access. Awakenened beings, however, invariably have simultaneous access to both truths. The view held by non-Gelug argues for separate cognitive agents corresponding to each of the two truths. Ordinary beings have direct knowledge of conventional truth, but are utterly incapable of knowing ultimate truth. The exalted beings in training directly know ultimate while they are meditative equipoise and conventional truth in post meditative states. Fully awakened buddhas, on the other hand, only have access to ultimate truth. Awakened beings have no access to conventional truth whatsoever from the enlightened perspective, although they may access conventional truth from unenlightened ordinary perspectives.
It doesn't seem that way. The difference between Gelug and non-Gelug seems to be that the former proposes that beings may hold two "cognitions" about a dharma (Conventional and Absolute) at the same time, while the other schools propose that these two "cognitions" cannot be held at the same time; that the two "cognitions" are "mind-only". ?

This does not seem to be about "objects" as proposed by the OP, but rather is about the capacity to cognize the two truths.

I'm still not clear, though, what this terse explanation means.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Bristollad » Fri May 11, 2018 5:04 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 4:41 pm
The difference between Gelug and non-Gelug seems to be that the former proposes that beings may hold two "cognitions" about a dharma (Conventional and Absolute) at the same time, while the other schools propose that these two "cognitions" cannot be held at the same time; that the two "cognitions" are "mind-only". ?
Awakenened beings, however, invariably have simultaneous access to both truths.
According to Gelug, fully enlightened Buddhas simultaneously access both truths, no-one else. This Stanford article is quite good in regards to explaining the Gelug position - how accurately it presents the non-Geluk positions I can’t really tell since I’ve only casually browsed rather than studied them.

As per the OP Gelug do not accept that the two truths are two points of view of the same object.
Queequeg wrote:Object is illusory, so how can there really be any views, let alone two or more views of the same object.
Gelug decribe objects as illusion-like rather than illusory; like an illusion their mode of appearance and their mode of abidance are contradictory but there are still objects.

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Queequeg » Fri May 11, 2018 6:15 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 5:04 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 4:41 pm
The difference between Gelug and non-Gelug seems to be that the former proposes that beings may hold two "cognitions" about a dharma (Conventional and Absolute) at the same time, while the other schools propose that these two "cognitions" cannot be held at the same time; that the two "cognitions" are "mind-only". ?
Awakenened beings, however, invariably have simultaneous access to both truths.
According to Gelug, fully enlightened Buddhas simultaneously access both truths, no-one else. This Stanford article is quite good in regards to explaining the Gelug position - how accurately it presents the non-Geluk positions I can’t really tell since I’ve only casually browsed rather than studied them.

As per the OP Gelug do not accept that the two truths are two points of view of the same object.
Queequeg wrote:Object is illusory, so how can there really be any views, let alone two or more views of the same object.
Gelug decribe objects as illusion-like rather than illusory; like an illusion their mode of appearance and their mode of abidance are contradictory but there are still objects.
Thanks, I will look at this more closely. I think I have some questions, but want to review a little more to see if those questions are even on point...
:smile:
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Wayfarer » Sun May 13, 2018 2:44 am

Bristolad wrote:What are you quoting that says there are truly existent and apparently existent phenomena?
It was this passage:

“All Buddhist tenet holders assert that whatever exists must be either a conventional or an ultimate truth, and that there is nothing which is both. Thus, conventional and ultimate truths do not refer to ideas or perspectives, nor to two levels of reality or truths; they refer to the phenomena themselves.
I took that to mean that there are 'conventionally existent phenomena' and also 'ultimately existent phenomena' - although perhaps I'm reading it wrong. But it seemed to say that.
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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Jeff H » Sun May 13, 2018 2:27 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 2:44 am
Bristolad wrote:What are you quoting that says there are truly existent and apparently existent phenomena?
It was this passage:

“All Buddhist tenet holders assert that whatever exists must be either a conventional or an ultimate truth, and that there is nothing which is both. Thus, conventional and ultimate truths do not refer to ideas or perspectives, nor to two levels of reality or truths; they refer to the phenomena themselves.
I took that to mean that there are 'conventionally existent phenomena' and also 'ultimately existent phenomena' - although perhaps I'm reading it wrong. But it seemed to say that.
My understanding is that the “truth” of conventional truth is actually called “truth for a concealer”. It means that what is held to be true conventionally is only apparently true. Namely that the phenomenon in question appears to exist inherently. It is a falsity in the sense that the phenomenon does not actually exist in that way, but rather in relational dependence, devoid of self.

So that passage isn’t positing truly existent phenomena in opposition to apparently existent phenomena. All phenomena are mere appearances, but what is apprehended as conventional truth about a phenomenon is simply not true.

(However, that explanation does begin to sound like a reference to perspective rather than phenomena ... so I anxiously await Bristollad's clarification.)
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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Bristollad » Sun May 13, 2018 8:44 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 2:44 am
Bristolad wrote:What are you quoting that says there are truly existent and apparently existent phenomena?
It was this passage:

“All Buddhist tenet holders assert that whatever exists must be either a conventional or an ultimate truth, and that there is nothing which is both. Thus, conventional and ultimate truths do not refer to ideas or perspectives, nor to two levels of reality or truths; they refer to the phenomena themselves.
I took that to mean that there are 'conventionally existent phenomena' and also 'ultimately existent phenomena' - although perhaps I'm reading it wrong. But it seemed to say that.
Something that is an ultimate truth like the emptiness of the table is not ultimately existent. In the Medium-Length Exposition of the Stages of the Path, Tsongkhapa says:

Therefore, when [an ultimate truth] is analyzed with the reasoning investigating whether it is truly established or not, it is not truly established in the sense of being able to withstand analysis.

From some notes on conventional existence.

"In the Lamrim Chenmo Je Tsongkhapa presents three characteristics that need to be fulfilled for something to exist:
“How does one determine whether something exists conventionally? We hold that something exists conventionally (1) if it is known to a conventional consciousness; (2) if no other conventional valid cognition contradicts its being as it is thus known; and (3) if reason that accurately analyzes reality-that is, analyzes whether something intrinsically exists-does not contradict it. We hold that what fails to meet those criteria does not exist.”(Great Treatise of the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, vol 3, p. 179)
The three criteria are:
  • to be renowned to a conventional consciousness
  • it must not be damaged by a valid cognizer of the conventional
  • it must not be damaged by a valid cognizer analyzing the ultimate (i.e., it must not be damaged by a valid cognizer that realizes emptiness)
If something fulfills these three criteria then it is conventionally existent (i.e., it exists – conventional existence is the only way at all how something could exist at all).
  • The horns of a rabbit do not exist because they do not fulfill the second of these three criteria: they are renowned to a conventional consciousness and cannot be refute by a valid cognizer analyzing the ultimate but they can be refuted by a valid cognizer analyzing the conventional.
  • True existence does not also does not exist: The mind conceiving of true existence is not harmed by the first two criteria but it is harmed by the third criterion: the mind conceiving of true existence would be harmed by a valid cognizer that analyzes the ultimate. Therefore, we cannot say that true existence exists conventionally. (Again, note that conventional existence is the only mode of existence that is possible at all – saying that something “does not exist conventionally” means that it does not exist at all!)."
True existence, truly established, ultimately existent, established by way of its own entity are all synonyms for the Gelugpa presentation of Prasangika. Conventional and ultimate truths are both only conventionally existent.

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by prsvrnc » Mon May 14, 2018 6:28 am

Bristollad wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 2:05 pm
This section from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy seems to touch on why this perspective (two ways of looking at one object) is regarded as incorrect in Gelug but is held to be correct by other Tibetan schools:

While Gelug thus distances itself from the subjective division of the two truths, Nyingma, Kagyü and Sakya attempt to demonstrate the validity of their view by arguing that perspective provides the primary basis for the division of the two truths. Unlike Gelug, non-Gelug schools hold that the two truths do not have any objective basis. Instead they are entirely reducible to the experiences of the deluded minds of ordinary beings and the experiences of the wisdom of exalted being.

According to Gelug, the agent who cognizes the two truths may be one and the same individual. Each agent may have all the requisite cognitive resources that are potentially capable of knowing both truths. Ordinary beings have only conceptual access to ultimate truth, while exalted beings, who are in the process of learning, have direct, but intermittent, access. Awakenened beings, however, invariably have simultaneous access to both truths. The view held by non-Gelug argues for separate cognitive agents corresponding to each of the two truths. Ordinary beings have direct knowledge of conventional truth, but are utterly incapable of knowing ultimate truth. The exalted beings in training directly know ultimate while they are meditative equipoise and conventional truth in post meditative states. Fully awakened buddhas, on the other hand, only have access to ultimate truth. Awakened beings have no access to conventional truth whatsoever from the enlightened perspective, although they may access conventional truth from unenlightened ordinary perspectives.


https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/twotruths-tibet/
Forgive me if I'm a little dense. Does the above refute the idea that the two truths are two different ways of viewing the same object because:

(1) That statement (that two truths = two ways of viewing) amounts to the idea that only awakened beings have the capacity for accessing the ultimate truth whereas according to Geluk, even ordinary beings have a way of accessing it, even if only conceptually? So the two ways can't be sharply delineated based on ways of seeing since ordinary beings don't necessarily have the second (ultimate) way of seeing yet they still can cognize the ultimate (conceptually).

(2) Additionally, if the two truths were two different ways of viewing the object, then it wouldn't be possible to cognize them simultaneously because you can't cognize something with two different WAYS at the same time? Rather a Buddha for example only cognizes objects in one way yet simultaneously cognizes both truths. So clearly the two truths can't be two ways of viewing an object because a Buddha can cognize both at the same time.

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Bristollad » Mon May 14, 2018 7:30 am

prsvrnc wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 6:28 am
(1) That statement (that two truths = two ways of viewing) amounts to the idea that only awakened beings have the capacity for accessing the ultimate truth whereas according to Geluk, even ordinary beings have a way of accessing it, even if only conceptually? So the two ways can't be sharply delineated based on ways of seeing since ordinary beings don't necessarily have the second (ultimate) way of seeing yet they still can cognize the ultimate (conceptually).
Yes, I think that's correct (except emptiness is directly realised by arya beings during meditative equipoise on emptiness for both non-Gelug and Gelug I think) - though whether it was the reason for Tsongkhapa's partictular reading of texts or a consequence of them, I couldn't say.

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Re: According to the Prasangika, what is wrong with statement that the two truths are two ways of looking at one object?

Post by Veritaseaon » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:12 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 8:19 am


In Insight into Emptiness, p234 Khensur Jampa Tegchok explains:
"Each conventional phenomenon - permanent or impermanent - is empty of inherent existence. The conventional phenomenon and its emptiness are one nature; one cannot exist without the other. Furthermore an ultimate nature cannot be posited or identified separate from a conventional nature and vice versa. In other words, a table and the table's emptiness are one nature.
However, they are not the same. They have different names and are different phenomena. The names conventional truth and ultimate truth are different, and a conceptual consciousness understands them to be different. In addition, a conventional truth is not an ultimate truth and vice versa. While a table is empty, it is not emptiness. This is because a table is a conventional truth and the emptiness of the table is an ultimate truth. What is one truth cannot be the other.
Any phenomenon - a conventional truth or an ultimate truth - has both an ultimate nature and a conventional nature. Its conventional nature is that it exists conventionally, by mere name. Its ultimate nature is that is is empty of self-existence."

"an ultimate nature cannot be posited or identified separate from a conventional nature"


"While a table is empty, it is not emptiness. This is because a table is a conventional truth and the emptiness of the table is an ultimate truth."

Maybe we can only look at an object in one way, that is through ultimate analysys, as it's conventional nature is already established.

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