An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

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Coëmgenu
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An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:49 am

I recently posted this on SuttaCentral. I would like to present it here, as that any misconceptions I inadvertently presented to a largely non-Mahāyāna audience might be rectified.

As a general note, since this seems to be a sort-of Mahāyāna-EBT contextualization and comparative thread, I should clarify on what at least I am able to from an informed perspective, with regards to some understandings of “interconnected/interpenetrating” that might be present, or perhaps better clarify some correct presumptions that were being made.

The tradition of Mahāyāna philosophy that I am most familiar with, and highly interested in, is, as Javi already pointed out, us knowing each other online already, the Tiāntāi school of China headed by Ven Zhìyǐ.

The Tiāntāi school of Buddhism is founded on what Ven Zhìyǐ referred to as “the integrated teaching”. Some would later call this “the Tiāntāi synthesis”.

Unlike how Mahāyāna (& Vajrayāna) entered into Tibet, and unlike how Indian Buddhism developed into its late complex stages in India, the entirety of the dispensations of the EBTs, the later sects, & Mahāyāna, all enter into China at more or less the same time, or at least in a very truncated timeframe as compared to the native development of Buddhism in the Indian subcontinent.

As a result, early Chinese Buddhists received these texts in more-or-less a freely distributed jumble, and often without commentarial material. For instance, over on DharmaWheel, Malcolm often says that the Tibetans learned their dharma from the commentaries, and the Chinese from the sūtras. How accurate he is in saying this I cannot say.

“The integrated teaching”, or “the Tiāntāi synthesis”, is, IMO, the logical outcome of how the Chinese inherited the dharma. If Ven Zhìyǐ had not undertook such a project, someone else would have. From the perspective of many here, understandably, they will see it as a pity that Ven Zhìyǐ incorporated some apocryphal (even by Mahāyāna standards) material into this synthesis. From that same perspective, it will be seen as unfortunate that Ven Zhìyǐ placed the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra as the definitive teaching of the Buddhas, rather than the āgamāḥ or something of the like.

As a result, there are some elements of the teaching that can reasonably be traced to earlier Buddhisms, and some that cannot be found explicitly stated in the dispensation to the śrāvakāḥ. For instance, this thread’s language, “Buddha-nature is the universe itself”, or “the universe is Buddha-nature”, is apparently rooted in the way that the thought of the Japanese people expresses itself in language.

National Teacher Enkan Saian in Kangshū Province was an esteemed Master under Baso. He once pointed out to his assembly, “All sentient beings are possessed of Buddha Nature.” Right away, we need to thoroughly examine his words ‘all sentient beings’. All sentient beings have different internal propensities and external conditions, which are the fruits of past karma, so their perspectives are different. This holds true for each and every one of them, be they called ‘ordinary people’, ‘non-Buddhists’, ‘those in the Three Courses’, ‘those in the Five Courses’, or something else. ‘All sentient beings’, as spoken of in the Buddha’s Way in the present instance, means that all who possess a mind filled with craving are ‘sentient beings’, since having a mind is synonymous with being a sentient being. All those whose mind is beyond craving will likewise be sentient beings, since being a sentient being is synonymous with having a mind. Accordingly, all minds are, without exception, sentient beings, and all sentient beings are, without exception, possessed of Buddha Nature. And even grasses, trees, and our very nation are synonymous with Mind, and because they are synonymous with Mind, they are sentient beings, and because they are sentient beings, they are possessed of Buddha Nature.


Or perhaps Ven Dōgen was being very "idiosyncratic" to assert what he asserted, even in the thought-realm of Japanese philosophy. Similar language of ‘this world is the Pure Land of the Buddha’ can also be found in Tiāntāi, and I am sure that a Zen teacher has said something similar in the past. What it means here is that the rock “is mind” (note, only Ven Dōgen AFAIK goes further and asserts the rock’s sentience on account of this) in the sense that it makes up the world that is within the mind. If sentience is understood as Buddha-nature, than the phenomenological realm of the ordinary mind is the Pure Land.

As such, interpenetration is solely one of emptiness, not appearance, from the perspective of the ordinary being, but also the non-Mahāyānist in general. In Tiāntāi, interpenetration is predicated on the relationship between appearance/aspect and emptiness. It is not that all appearances/aspects interpenetrate and are ‘one’, if I may refer back to the quote from Ven Zhìyǐ: “[when the first type of fool hears that ‘all dharmāḥ are empty’] they take it to mean that all dharmāḥ are inseparable from emptiness and that even if one were to traverse the entire universe, everywhere would be the same suchness [i.e. emptiness] as that found here as the suchness of, for example, this vase.” It should lastly be noted that there is a very small occurence of the word “interpenetration” found in all of the writings of Ven Zhìyǐ. “Interpenetration”, as applied here, is frequently a construct of Western academia.

On the subject of "interpenetration", it is 圓融. 圓 is etymologically (semantically technically) related to 圍 "to gird" and 國 "country", but in this sense means "encircling and" or "completely". 融 gets its semantic component from 鬲 “cauldron”. It means to intermix or fuse or melt into, referring to the way that things melt into each other (for instance in a cauldron during smelting specifically). Together 圓融 is "encircling and melted together" or "completely fused".

The main dictionary I consult gives this "interdependence / consumate interfusion / interpenetration", but that is rather vague. 'Consumate interfusion' seems to be a very popular translation for this, but it seems this is the model perhaps for the English 'interpenetration'.

From the more detailed Digital Dictionary of Buddhism we have:

圓融

Pronunciations

Basic Meaning: consummate interfusion

Senses: Perfect interfusion; completely interpenetrated; seen more fully written as 圓滿融通 and 圓融無礙. Said of the ultimate reality as understood in Tiantai 天台 and Huayan 華嚴.

In Huayan, all existences are of themselves perfectly interfused. The absolute in the relative and vice versa; the identity of apparent contraries; perfect harmony among all differences, as in water and waves, affliction and enlightenment, transmigration and nirvāṇa, or life and death, etc.; all are of the same fundamental nature, all are thusness, and thusness is all; waves are one with waves, and water is one with water, and water and wave are one.

In Tiantai, the usage of the term is more in application to the nonobstruction among various approaches to the Buddhist doctrine, and thus we see terms such as perfect interfusion of the three disciplines 圓融三學, perfect interfusion of the three truths 圓融三諦, perfect interfusion of the unmoving 圓融無作 and so forth.
[Charles Muller, Robert Buswell; source(s): Ui, Nakamura, JEBD, Yokoi, Iwanami]

Perfect, complete (Skt. pariniṣpanna, paripūrṇa, pariṇāma). [Charles Muller; source(s): Hirakawa]


I am not sure if it is suggesting that 圓融 is an occasional Chinese translation choice for the Sanskrit pariniṣpanna, paripūrṇa, (et al) or not. Running a scan of the Taishō Tripiṭaka we see that 圓融 is a sparsely occuring word, with most of its instances limited to T09b–10 (the Avataṃsaka-Gaṇḍavyūha volume) & T44b–48 (Sarvasamaya, the sectarian teachings).

The oddball occurrence is in the Śuraṅgamasūtra. The rest are in minor apocryphal texts here and there.

Other than in those texts, the other place that it tends to occur is in commentarial material (like in T44b–48 like I already mentioned). Going down the list we have a bunch of commentaries, including two significant commentaries from the Tiāntāi school: Ven Zhìyǐ's 妙法蓮華經玄義 ('The Subtle Dharma of the Lotus Flower Sutra's Profound Meaning') & Ven Zhànrán's 法華玄義釋籤 ('The Dharma Flower's Profound Meaning Guidebook').

Ven Zhìyǐ uses it to refer to the Three Truths in the twice-above-mentioned commentary: 分別者,但法有 麁妙,若隔歷三諦,麁法也;圓融三諦,妙法也。

Interestingly, 圓融 is not a term in the Lotus Sūtra's material text, the textus receptus, as it were.

Ven Zhìyǐ himself was an East Asian Madhyamaka (a subschool of greater Madhyamaka), and his Buddhist education was generally in that milieu. Regardless of whether the above “works” with Ven Nāgārjuna’s exegeses of the empty, and by that I refer to the Nirvānaparīkṣā of Ven Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā****, looking at the world on terms of the relation between emptiness and appearance/aspect, this is a very fundamentally different philosophical angle than what undergirds Buddhadharma practice as explained and attested to in EBTs, the dispensation (exclusively) to the śrāvakāḥ.

That being said, this, what I present (not necessarily what I am presenting about), is all somewhat surface-level philosophizing, only my own understanding, and perhaps my own misconceptions. You wont find this kind of language or expression in any early Indian Buddhist text. But is it entirely unBuddhist? I do not think so.


****the abovementioned exegesis of the empty:

25:19-20
न संसारस्य निर्वाणात् किं चिद् अस्ति विशेषणं
na saṁsārasya nirvāṇāt kiṁ cid asti viśeṣaṇaṁ
There is nothing whatsoever of samsara distinguishing (it) from nirvana.
न निर्वाणस्य संसारात् किं चिद् अस्ति विशेषणं। १९
na nirvāṇasya saṁsārāt kiṁ cid asti viśeṣaṇaṁ| 19
There is nothing whatsoever of nirvana distinguishing it from samsara.
निर्वाणस्य च या कोटिः।कोटिः। संसरणस्य च
nirvāṇasya ca yā koṭiḥ koṭiḥ
[That which] is the limit which is the limit of nirvana [is the] the limit of samsara;
न तयोर् अन्तरं किंचित् सुसूक्ष्मम् अपि विद्यते। २०
na tayor antaraṁ kiñcit susūkśmam api vidyate| 20
Even a very subtle interval is not found of (between) them.
(Siderits & Katsura translation, [additions mine])
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Queequeg » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:23 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:49 am
I recently posted this on SuttaCentral. I would like to present it here, as that any misconceptions I inadvertently presented to a largely non-Mahāyāna audience might be rectified.
As a general note, since this seems to be a sort-of Mahāyāna-EBT contextualization and comparative thread, I should clarify on what For instance, this thread’s language, “Buddha-nature is the universe itself”, or “the universe is Buddha-nature”, is apparently rooted in the way that the thought of the Japanese people expresses itself in language.
That's not a Japanese language thing. That's basically the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, which for Zhiyi, is an elaboration of the Lotus Sutra. In the five flavors/five periods classification, the Lotus and Mahaparinirvana Sutras are understood to expound the same teaching. The Lotus is more significant because it was taught first.
Or perhaps Ven Dōgen was being very "idiosyncratic" to assert what he asserted, even in the thought-realm of Japanese philosophy. Similar language of ‘this world is the Pure Land of the Buddha’ can also be found in Tiāntāi, and I am sure that a Zen teacher has said something similar in the past. What it means here is that the rock “is mind” (note, only Ven Dōgen AFAIK goes further and asserts the rock’s sentience on account of this) in the sense that it makes up the world that is within the mind. If sentience is understood as Buddha-nature, than the phenomenological realm of the ordinary mind is the Pure Land.
If I may say, I will invoke Zhiyi and point out you're privileging a particular understanding of mind based on the mind we believe sentient beings possess. Remember that Zhiyi can make any dharma the center... so, Mind is Rock. But, Rock is also Mind. Mind appears as Rock, and Rock appears as Mind.

Let that settle in a little. What does it mean that the Mind is Rock? It means the qualities that we attribute to a rock are actually the complete attributes of Mind also, as well as every other dharma, and vice versa, interchangeably infinitely.

All this vanity that you think your mind is so special, so different than the rock... This is the conceit of the constructed mind. There is actually no difference. Everything that you think is mind is actually just the coarse functioning of sensory apparatus, but does not equate to mind, though the sensory apparatus is not separate from mind. And neither is the rock.

We're in a different paradigm with Zhiyi. Everything that you think you know is just more "dreaming". And also recall, Zhiyi was Madhyamikan. He's looking at the ineffable remainder of the sunyata analysis as the Ultimate Truth, quiescence, tranquility.
interpenetration...
Ven Zhìyǐ uses it to refer to the Three Truths
I think the best way to understand interpenetration or however you want to translate it is to compare the Separate Three Truths and the Integrated Three Truths.

In the Separate Truth, we have three possibilities. Each truth is a distinct truth separated by quantum chasms, and we can know each only by changing perspective. Another is, the Ultimate and Conditioned are subsumed into a higher order truth called the Middle. Finally, we have a sort of binary Ultimate or Conditioned, with the Middle being a sort of capacity to toggle between.

In the Integrated Truth, each truth is seamlessly continuous with the others. If you see the ultimate, you also see the conditioned and middle. If you see the middle, you see the ultimate and conditioned. If you see the conditioned, you see the ultimate and middle. If this sounds impossible, you understand why Zhiyi calls this the inconceivable.

For a good explanation of this, see Ng's Tientai and Madhyamika. I will give you a heads up, Ng disagrees with Swanson's interpretation strongly. Ziporyn favors Ng's interpretation.

Ng also equates the middle with Buddha-nature in the Tiantai sense, which means its the salvific function of reality - the ur Buddhism.
Regardless of whether the above “works” with Ven Nāgārjuna’s exegeses of the empty, and by that I refer to the Nirvānaparīkṣā of Ven Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā****,
Ng suggests that Zhiyi might have considered the Mulamadhyamikakarika provisional Mahayana. Zhiyi's views are actually inline with the Tachitulun, and its through that text that Zhiyi views Nagarjuna. No comment on what to read into that.
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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:45 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:23 pm
If I may say, I will invoke Zhiyi and point out you're privileging a particular understanding of mind based on the mind we believe sentient beings possess. Remember that Zhiyi can make any dharma the center... so, Mind is Rock. But, Rock is also Mind. Mind appears as Rock, and Rock appears as Mind.

Let that settle in a little. What does it mean that the Mind is Rock? It means the qualities that we attribute to a rock are actually the complete attributes of Mind also, as well as every other dharma, and vice versa, interchangeably infinitely.

All this vanity that you think your mind is so special, so different than the rock... This is the conceit of the constructed mind. There is actually no difference. Everything that you think is mind is actually just the coarse functioning of sensory apparatus, but does not equate to mind, though the sensory apparatus is not separate from mind. And neither is the rock.
It seems like it is being claimed, that by proclaiming the rock as "sentient", the rock is being proclaimed to have a seperate mindstream of its own. That is where I am confused.
Queequeg wrote:
interpenetration...
Ven Zhìyǐ uses it to refer to the Three Truths
I think the best way to understand interpenetration or however you want to translate it is to compare the Separate Three Truths and the Integrated Three Truths.

In the Separate Truth, we have three possibilities. Each truth is a distinct truth separated by quantum chasms, and we can know each only by changing perspective. Another is, the Ultimate and Conditioned are subsumed into a higher order truth called the Middle. Finally, we have a sort of binary Ultimate or Conditioned, with the Middle being a sort of capacity to toggle between.

In the Integrated Truth, each truth is seamlessly continuous with the others. If you see the ultimate, you also see the conditioned and middle. If you see the middle, you see the ultimate and conditioned. If you see the conditioned, you see the ultimate and middle. If this sounds impossible, you understand why Zhiyi calls this the inconceivable.
The problem, for me, lies in the balancing act between this perspective, and the mutual disparate conventional appearances/aspects which is maintained despite the identical empty nature of all dharmāḥ.

Another user, over on DhammaWheel, where I also posted this, pointed out that I was lacking in exposure to Yogācāra discourse, which is vital for understanding Zen/Ven Dōgen.

To contextualize:
Coëmgenu from DhammaWheel wrote:I am completely lacking in any significant basis of critical exposure to the Yogācāra, only being familiar with it via intersectarian polemics from Tiāntāi (Ven Zhìyǐ had little laudation for Ven Vasubandhu, from the archived personal letter 四念處: "In [Ven] Vasubandhu's theory of consciousness-only, there is only the one consciousness, but it is divided into the discriminating and the undiscriminating forms of consciousness; the discriminating consciousness is what we usually call consciousness, whereas the undiscriminating consciousness is "consciousness appearing to be an object" (sì chén shí / 似塵識). All the physical objects in the universe- vases, clothing, carts, and carriages- are all this undiscriminating form of consciousness.... But since they are all one nature, we can equally say that there are two forms of matter, the discriminating and the undiscriminating.... It is in this sense that the mind and matter are non-dual. Since he [Ven Vasubandhu] is able to say there are these two different forms of consciousness, we can equally say that they are two different forms of matter.... In the Integrated Teaching we can also say that all things are matter only, or sound only, or scent only, or flavour only, or tactile sensation only, or consciousness only. In sum, every dharma inherently mutually possesses all the dharmāḥ comprising dharmadhātu."). That may well be conditioning some of my misunderstanding.

I am working with an understanding of Indra's Net that would be, I am quite sure, rejected by most. Even I myself reject it, but this is likely because of my misunderstanding.

As I currently understand it, Indra's Net and Huáyán thought is in violation of hypostatizing the emptiness of all dharmāḥ. Please note that I do not present this as an accusation of heresy or anything of the like on the part of this concept or this school and its descendants. The misunderstanding is mine, thus, the 'fool' in the following excerpt is me.

When the first type of fool hears that “all dharmāḥ are reducible to the neither defiled nor non-defiled,” they take it to mean that all dharmāḥ are inseparable from emptiness and that even if one were to traverse the entire universe, everywhere would be the same suchness [i.e. emptiness] as that found here as the suchness of, for example, this vase.

-Ven Zhìyǐ, 法華玄義 (The Dharma Flower’s Profound Meaning), Taishō 33.703a, citing the Mahāprajñāpāramitāsūtra Scroll 6, Ch 15, v 0561b20: “故一切法趣[…]”


In short, the suchness of me is not the suchness of the rock. Or, like the above example, the suchness of X dharma is not the suchness of Y vase. And Indra's Net can't really be arguing that, because, as I understand it, that would be quite wrong. Like you said:

DhammaWheel User wrote:This does not make all into one undifferentiated glop


Or to evoke the words of the Pāli Canon:

At Savatthī. Then a brahmin who was a cosmologist approached the Blessed One … and said to him: “How is it, Master Gotama: does all exist?”
“‘All exists’: this, brahmin, is the oldest cosmology.”
“Then, Master Gotama, does all not exist?”
“‘All does not exist’: this, brahmin, is the second cosmology.”
“How is it, Master Gotama: is all a unity?”
“‘All is a unity’: this, brahmin, is the third cosmology.”
“Then, Master Gotama, is all a plurality?”
“‘All is a plurality’: this, brahmin, is the fourth cosmology. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma by the middle[...]"
-SN 12.48, Lokāyatikasutta


But as it is, I can't understand it any other way based on the way that it is presented to me. It is connecting specifically "Indra's Net", how it is explained, to the above 'Dhamma by the middle', in a Mahāyāna or non-Mahāyāna context, that alludes me. In particular, this alludes me somewhat from your explanation:

DhammaWheel User wrote:Individual identity makes this mutual identity possible (here is where Indra’s Net simile as used in Huayen is helpful (the simile Indra’s Net was also widely used in ancient Buddhist and non-Buddhist Indian texts, sometimes with different meanings).


And this probably relates to my potential, nay probable, misunderstandings of Indra's Net.
Followed by:

If I can summarize. Ven Zhìyǐ preserves the integrity of the conventional disparate appearances/aspects of the myriad dharmāḥ/sarvadharmāḥ without contradiction (or despite 'apparent' contradiction) between this and their mutual identical emptiness. It seems like Huáyán & their discourse involving Indra's Net violates this. This is mirrored in Tiāntāi-Huáyán polemics going back to the founding of Huáyán.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Queequeg » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:21 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:45 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:23 pm
If I may say, I will invoke Zhiyi and point out you're privileging a particular understanding of mind based on the mind we believe sentient beings possess. Remember that Zhiyi can make any dharma the center... so, Mind is Rock. But, Rock is also Mind. Mind appears as Rock, and Rock appears as Mind.

Let that settle in a little. What does it mean that the Mind is Rock? It means the qualities that we attribute to a rock are actually the complete attributes of Mind also, as well as every other dharma, and vice versa, interchangeably infinitely.

All this vanity that you think your mind is so special, so different than the rock... This is the conceit of the constructed mind. There is actually no difference. Everything that you think is mind is actually just the coarse functioning of sensory apparatus, but does not equate to mind, though the sensory apparatus is not separate from mind. And neither is the rock.
It seems like it is being claimed, that by proclaiming the rock as "sentient", the rock is being proclaimed to have a seperate mindstream of its own. That is where I am confused.
I might be wrong, but I don't think any claim of mindstream is being made about the rock. From that you can extrapolate out how to view a claim that sentients have mindstream. Zhiyi says straight up in Mohezhikuan he thought Nagarjuna (madhyamika) and Vasubandhu (yogacara) taught expedients.

For Zhiyi, the "quickening agent" is Buddhanature, if any can be identified at all. But it does not precede or follow.

The problem, for me, lies in the balancing act between this perspective, and the mutual disparate conventional appearances/aspects which is maintained despite the identical empty nature of all dharmāḥ.
There's no balancing act. The balancing act is necessary in the separate teaching. In the Perfect teaching, there is nothing to balance. there is no fulcrum. there is no solid ground on which to balance, no orientation toward which you can balance. You're getting stuck on dharmas. Dharmas are conditioned. By definition that means they are empty. Provisionally we can deal in dharmas, without getting hung up in their emptiness or their conditionality, but yet fluently take advantage of these features in saving living beings. You are free, in all the liberating and terrifying ways that freedom implies.

Its really simple.

Also, dharmas are empty, they don't have an empty nature.
In short, the suchness of me is not the suchness of the rock.
Suchness of you is most certainly the suchness of the rock. And in asserting that, the distinct dharmas remain unmolested.

I don't mean to step into your house, but are you complementing all this out with practice? None of this is going to make sense without contemplation.
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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:25 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:21 pm
Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:45 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:23 pm
If I may say, I will invoke Zhiyi and point out you're privileging a particular understanding of mind based on the mind we believe sentient beings possess. Remember that Zhiyi can make any dharma the center... so, Mind is Rock. But, Rock is also Mind. Mind appears as Rock, and Rock appears as Mind.

Let that settle in a little. What does it mean that the Mind is Rock? It means the qualities that we attribute to a rock are actually the complete attributes of Mind also, as well as every other dharma, and vice versa, interchangeably infinitely.

All this vanity that you think your mind is so special, so different than the rock... This is the conceit of the constructed mind. There is actually no difference. Everything that you think is mind is actually just the coarse functioning of sensory apparatus, but does not equate to mind, though the sensory apparatus is not separate from mind. And neither is the rock.
It seems like it is being claimed, that by proclaiming the rock as "sentient", the rock is being proclaimed to have a seperate mindstream of its own. That is where I am confused.
I might be wrong, but I don't think any claim of mindstream is being made about the rock. From that you can extrapolate out how to view a claim that sentients have mindstream. Zhiyi says straight up in Mohezhikuan he thought Nagarjuna (madhyamika) and Vasubandhu (yogacara) taught expedients.

For Zhiyi, the "quickening agent" is Buddhanature, if any can be identified at all. But it does not precede or follow.

The problem, for me, lies in the balancing act between this perspective, and the mutual disparate conventional appearances/aspects which is maintained despite the identical empty nature of all dharmāḥ.
There's no balancing act. The balancing act is necessary in the separate teaching. In the Perfect teaching, there is nothing to balance. there is no fulcrum. there is no solid ground on which to balance, no orientation toward which you can balance. You're getting stuck on dharmas. Dharmas are conditioned. By definition that means they are empty. Provisionally we can deal in dharmas, without getting hung up in their emptiness or their conditionality, but yet fluently take advantage of these features in saving living beings. You are free, in all the liberating and terrifying ways that freedom implies.

Its really simple.

Also, dharmas are empty, they don't have an empty nature.
In short, the suchness of me is not the suchness of the rock.
Suchness of you is most certainly the suchness of the rock. And in asserting that, the distinct dharmas remain unmolested.

I don't mean to step into your house, but are you balancing all this out with practice? None of this is going to make sense without contemplation.
But Ven Zhiyi himself asserts that the suchness of the vase is not the suchness of that which is not the vase. He calls people who think otherwise "fools".
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Queequeg » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:34 pm

That's not quite what Zhiyi says - I assume you're referring to the passage you quoted above?
[when the first type of fool hears that ‘all dharmāḥ are empty’] they take it to mean that all dharmāḥ are inseparable from emptiness and that even if one were to traverse the entire universe, everywhere would be the same suchness [i.e. emptiness] as that found here as the suchness of, for example, this vase.
I'm familiar with that passage but can't place it. Where is this?

What Zhiyi is referring to is people who think that emptiness is a quality, like Red or Curved. Its not the same suchness/emptiness because suchness/emptiness is not a thing. Dharmas themselves are empty. Empty is beyond any conceptualization or anything. We talk about it as a convention. Fools are people who think its something other than a convention.
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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:39 pm

To reinterate. That the "cosmos" is not an uncomplicated "Oneness" is rejected by Tiāntāi. And I have every reasonable reason to think that Zen and Huáyán reject this oversimplication similarly. The Buddha himself rejected it even it his earlier dispensation. It's clear that Indra's Net doesn't mean what I think it means. It is how Indra's Net is not this sort of "Oneness" that escapes me, in literature that describes Indra's Net.

Tiāntāi's interpenetration/consumate interfusion I have no problem with. It makes sense how it is not such a "Oneness". I suppose this is to do with different dharma doors meeting different conditions. But I would like to learn.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:06 am

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:21 pm
Also, dharmas are empty, they don't have an empty nature.
I'm not sure if this point stands up to inquiry in a tradition where we have phrases, predicated on the essential intersection of Nirvānaparīkṣā & Tathāgatagarbha, leading us to such phrases as oṃ śūnyatā jñāna vajra svabhāvātmako 'haṃ, as oṃ svabhāva śuddhāḥ sarvadharmāḥ svabhāva śuddho ‘haṃ. The svabhāvatā here is one and the same with 空性, "empty nature", otherwise synonymous, not different as indicated in the quote above, with "emptiness".
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:27 am

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:34 pm
That's not quite what Zhiyi says - I assume you're referring to the passage you quoted above?
[when the first type of fool hears that ‘all dharmāḥ are empty’] they take it to mean that all dharmāḥ are inseparable from emptiness and that even if one were to traverse the entire universe, everywhere would be the same suchness [i.e. emptiness] as that found here as the suchness of, for example, this vase.
I'm familiar with that passage but can't place it. Where is this?
It is from Ven Zhìyǐ's commentary on the Lotus Sūtra. It lists two types of fools, the one above corresponding to the common teaching, the next corresponding to the seperate teaching, and the last is the non-fool, the person/persective who/that represents the integrated teaching, which is simply a statement of the original statement: "all dharmāḥ are neither defiled nor non-defiled". The integrated teaching and Ven Zhìyǐ quotation of the Mahāprajñāpāramitāsūtra starting at Scroll 6, Ch 15, v 0561b20 (“故一切法趣[…]”) are identical as Ven Zhìyǐ presents them.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Queequeg » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:04 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:06 am
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:21 pm
Also, dharmas are empty, they don't have an empty nature.
I'm not sure if this point stands up to inquiry in a tradition where we have phrases, predicated on the essential intersection of Nirvānaparīkṣā & Tathāgatagarbha, leading us to such phrases as oṃ śūnyatā jñāna vajra svabhāvātmako 'haṃ, as oṃ svabhāva śuddhāḥ sarvadharmāḥ svabhāva śuddho ‘haṃ. The svabhāvatā here is one and the same with 空性, "empty nature", otherwise synonymous, not different as indicated in the quote above, with "emptiness".
TBH, no idea what half of that is supposed to mean. Good luck finding the empty nature of dharmas, though.
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"Language is the liquid that we're all dissolved in.
Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:07 am

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:04 am
Coëmgenu wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:06 am
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:21 pm
Also, dharmas are empty, they don't have an empty nature.
I'm not sure if this point stands up to inquiry in a tradition where we have phrases, predicated on the essential intersection of Nirvānaparīkṣā & Tathāgatagarbha, leading us to such phrases as oṃ śūnyatā jñāna vajra svabhāvātmako 'haṃ, as oṃ svabhāva śuddhāḥ sarvadharmāḥ svabhāva śuddho ‘haṃ. The svabhāvatā here is one and the same with 空性, "empty nature", otherwise synonymous, not different as indicated in the quote above, with "emptiness".
TBH, no idea what half of that is supposed to mean. Good luck finding the empty nature of dharmas, though.
I already think they are empty. It's Huáyán's specific ways that it explains that that I struggle with.

On terms of the "nature" point: look at it this way: -ness = quality/aspect/nature. empty=nothing/lack of something. Empty+ness = Empty nature = lack of a nature.

It's just semantics. Saying dharmāḥ are empty and saying all dharmāḥ have empty nature is the same thing. The svabhāvātmako, svabhāva ātma +ko (self-nature-essence(am)-I), & śuddhāḥ sarvadharmāḥ svabhāva (pure are all dharmāḥ in their essential characteristic) attest to this substantive usage. You can call emptiness a nature.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Queequeg » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:19 am

Can't respond in detail, but we're talking about different things.
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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Queequeg » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:46 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:27 am
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:34 pm
That's not quite what Zhiyi says - I assume you're referring to the passage you quoted above?
[when the first type of fool hears that ‘all dharmāḥ are empty’] they take it to mean that all dharmāḥ are inseparable from emptiness and that even if one were to traverse the entire universe, everywhere would be the same suchness [i.e. emptiness] as that found here as the suchness of, for example, this vase.
I'm familiar with that passage but can't place it. Where is this?
It is from Ven Zhìyǐ's commentary on the Lotus Sūtra. It lists two types of fools, the one above corresponding to the common teaching, the next corresponding to the seperate teaching, and the last is the non-fool, the person/persective who/that represents the integrated teaching, which is simply a statement of the original statement: "all dharmāḥ are neither defiled nor non-defiled". The integrated teaching and Ven Zhìyǐ quotation of the Mahāprajñāpāramitāsūtra starting at Scroll 6, Ch 15, v 0561b20 (“故一切法趣[…]”) are identical as Ven Zhìyǐ presents them.
Do you have the taisho cite?
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

"Language is the liquid that we're all dissolved in.
Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
-Modest Mouse

"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world!"
-The Grateful Dead

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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:50 am

I think it's T33n1716
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:22 am

Not sure if it helps, but a simple search through T1716 for "一切法趣"
  1. 妙法蓮華經玄義 (1716) 0692c10-0693b01: 六自在王性清淨故又云一切法趣眼是趣不過眼尚不可得 [show] (2 matches)
  2. 妙法蓮華經玄義 (1716) 0693b02-0696b08: 此十皆即法界攝一切法一切法趣地獄是趣不過當體即理 [show] (1 match)
  3. 妙法蓮華經玄義 (1716) 0698b19-0705b16: 是空非色滅空無生意也一切法趣色是趣不過無量意也色尚不可得何況有趣有 [show] (9 matches)
  4. 妙法蓮華經玄義 (1716) 0712b22-0713b12: 實二智者體色即空不空一切法趣空不空了色是權智空不 [show] (7 matches)
  5. 妙法蓮華經玄義 (1716) 0713b13-0715b15: 非漏非無漏爲三法四謂一切法趣非漏非無漏對漏無漏爲 [show] (2 matches)
  6. 妙法蓮華經玄義 (1716) 0732b21-0739c09: 以少施與虚空法界等使一切法趣檀檀爲法界大品云菩薩少施超過聲聞辟支佛 [show] (1 match)
  7. 妙法蓮華經玄義 (1716) 0775a05-0779a05: 取方乃是經何者大品云一切法趣色是趣不過此色能詮一 [show] (2 matches)
  8. 妙法蓮華經玄義 (1716) 0787c26-0792c16: 即生死之有是實相之有一切法趣有有即法界出法界外更無法可論生死即涅槃 [show] (2 matches)
  9. 妙法蓮華經玄義 (1716) 0801c01-0805b08: 外者法性即是法界又云一切法趣色是趣不過豈非法界之説而獨言華嚴是法界 [show] (1 match)
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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:53 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:21 pm
Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:45 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:23 pm
If I may say, I will invoke Zhiyi and point out you're privileging a particular understanding of mind based on the mind we believe sentient beings possess. Remember that Zhiyi can make any dharma the center... so, Mind is Rock. But, Rock is also Mind. Mind appears as Rock, and Rock appears as Mind.

Let that settle in a little. What does it mean that the Mind is Rock? It means the qualities that we attribute to a rock are actually the complete attributes of Mind also, as well as every other dharma, and vice versa, interchangeably infinitely.

All this vanity that you think your mind is so special, so different than the rock... This is the conceit of the constructed mind. There is actually no difference. Everything that you think is mind is actually just the coarse functioning of sensory apparatus, but does not equate to mind, though the sensory apparatus is not separate from mind. And neither is the rock.
It seems like it is being claimed, that by proclaiming the rock as "sentient", the rock is being proclaimed to have a seperate mindstream of its own. That is where I am confused.
I might be wrong, but I don't think any claim of mindstream is being made about the rock. From that you can extrapolate out how to view a claim that sentients have mindstream. Zhiyi says straight up in Mohezhikuan he thought Nagarjuna (madhyamika) and Vasubandhu (yogacara) taught expedients.
Regarding the eccentric "rock has a mindstream" reading of Ven Dōgen, in my defence, I think the translation in the OP may be worded poorly.

Consider these two ways of reading the passage:

As the grasses, trees, etc, are synonymous with mind, they are synonymous with (the) sentient being.

and

As the grasses, trees, etc, are synonymous with (your) mind, they are themselves (seperate) sentient beings.

The 's' on the latter instance of 'sentient beings' makes all the difference, conceptually, to the way that I think the passage is most intuitively read by someone who has not read it before.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:54 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:46 am
Coëmgenu wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:27 am
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:34 pm
That's not quite what Zhiyi says - I assume you're referring to the passage you quoted above?



I'm familiar with that passage but can't place it. Where is this?
It is from Ven Zhìyǐ's commentary on the Lotus Sūtra. It lists two types of fools, the one above corresponding to the common teaching, the next corresponding to the seperate teaching, and the last is the non-fool, the person/persective who/that represents the integrated teaching, which is simply a statement of the original statement: "all dharmāḥ are neither defiled nor non-defiled". The integrated teaching and Ven Zhìyǐ quotation of the Mahāprajñāpāramitāsūtra starting at Scroll 6, Ch 15, v 0561b20 (“故一切法趣[…]”) are identical as Ven Zhìyǐ presents them.
Do you have the taisho cite?
Sorry, were you looking for the Ven Zhìyǐ commentary section with the passage or the Mahāprajñāpāramitāsūtra excerpt it is based on?
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:12 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:54 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:46 am
Coëmgenu wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:27 am
It is from Ven Zhìyǐ's commentary on the Lotus Sūtra. It lists two types of fools, the one above corresponding to the common teaching, the next corresponding to the seperate teaching, and the last is the non-fool, the person/persective who/that represents the integrated teaching, which is simply a statement of the original statement: "all dharmāḥ are neither defiled nor non-defiled". The integrated teaching and Ven Zhìyǐ quotation of the Mahāprajñāpāramitāsūtra starting at Scroll 6, Ch 15, v 0561b20 (“故一切法趣[…]”) are identical as Ven Zhìyǐ presents them.
Do you have the taisho cite?
Sorry, were you looking for the Ven Zhìyǐ commentary section with the passage or the Mahāprajñāpāramitāsūtra excerpt it is based on?
Either way, I made an oopsy-daisy. I had that passage copied out and was pasting it here. Somehow I messed up the attribution. It is not from The Dharma Flower's Profound Meaning at all. It is from Mó hē zhǐ guān. Barring the arrival of the new translation, I have to re-search through various fragments with to try to re-find the quotation in its original context where I originally found it after looking up Ziporyn's citation. Ziporyn cites the passage in the PM I sent you.

The fragment I am currently searching: https://open.library.ubc.ca/handle/bits ... %20D65.pdf

If you dare to search with me.

The Chinese is here: http://ntireader.org/taisho/t1911.html

I did find this delightful quote from Ven Zhìyǐ, once again relating to "Oneness" doctrines:

Identity in principle means that each single moment of thought is identical to the ultimate truth of the tathāgatagarbha. It is identical to emptiness because of its suchness, identical to provisionality because of its garbha, and identical to the middle because it is the ultimate truth. It is unthinkable but true that the three wisdoms are fully present in any single thought. As we have explained above, the three truths are a single truth, but also neither three nor one.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Coëmgenu
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Re: An Account of the Tiāntāi Synthesis

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:44 pm

In case anyone is interested in such trivium.

Ven Zhìyǐ's Chinese is worlds different from the Chinese of the Buddhist sūtrāṇi (sutras). This is because, his Chinese is what I would call "properly Chinese Chinese" rather than "Indo-Chinese hybrid Chinese or native Chinese imitating the Indo-Chinese style". As such, it is much more difficult to read!
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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