Huseng wrote:In the case of the pot, it appears inherently existent to the mind,
Dexing wrote:Does it?? I challenge you to find one person in a million who believes there is a pot that exists permanently, possessing its own self-sustaining substance.
Who believes such a ridiculous thing? So why would Mahayana doctrine spend so much time tearing up a strawman argument?
Huseng wrote: You have yet to refute the Madhyamika position that to the unenlightened mind objects and phenomena appear inherently existent.
Jack Dawkins wrote:Whether phenomena appear to so-called ordinary people to be inherently existent is an empirical question. It is not something to be established or refuted by abstract argument.
Anders Honore (referring to the second post above, by Dexing) wrote:This is actually very easy to demonstrate. Find an object, perhaps a pot for the sake of relevance, that is dear to you. Maybe a family heirloom, or your pc or whatever.
Then break it.
You will then quickly have a demonstration of how the mind apprended that object as existing as it now turns to non-existence in the mind, with all the dhukkha that comes with it.
An empirical test! Great, but why/how does this particular test establish that "ordinary people" grasp outer objects as existing inherently?
Clearly, if the person carrying out the test is grasping the object as existing inherently then he hasn't worked out the full consequences of this view, otherwise the intention to break the objects would not arise in him (he would appreciate that this would be impossible). This does rather beg the question of what we mean by grasping an object as inherently existent, because we clearly don't mean grasping it as having all the properties an inherently existent object would have. What properties have to be attributed to the object before the subject can be said to have grasped it as existing inherently?
The example of breaking something of sentimental value (your PC Anders? Really??!) reminds me of one I've come across in another context, involving stabbing a photo of a loved one. It's true that this does feel a bit like stabbing the person. If I had a hundred pictures, I wouldn't want to stab one of them even though I'd still have plenty left, so it is not simply a matter of not being able to use or enjoy something in the future. This could be said to be related to inherent existence, because it can be interpreted as showing that we sometimes confuse the representation of a thing (the photo) with the thing itself (the person). To injure one is to injure the other. The same can perhaps be said for breaking things of sentimental value generally. I suppose it can be argued that this is similar to confusing a mental representation of an outer object with the outer object in itself, and so coming to view the object as existing from its own side. I think this is a bit tenuous though, and not only because in the case of an object of sentimental value the thing represented (a person, a particular event or period in life, or some other source of nostalgia) has already been experienced as separate from its representation (the object), whereas outer objects are never experienced separately from their mental representations. Apparently (I have never asked one) Australian Aborigines object to having their photos taken because they believe that a part of the person's spirit is captured in the image. I don't see that this has much to do with inherent existence of phenomena (inherent existence of "spirits" is another matter, and not the one under discussion). However, it seems to me to be much closer to what is going on in the "sentimental value" experiments.
In short, while this empirical test may be on the right lines, I think it is a bit hasty to say that the proposition is "very easy" to demonstrate by reference to it.