Yeshe D. wrote:
Already given in the analysis of causes and resultant cognitions. As you have indicated, this reasoning alone doesn't refute material causes. It has to be considered alongside the invariable sameness of appearances and mind as the nature of mere lucidity and the reasoning of neither one nor many. If you have access to Ganganatha Jha's English translation of Kamalaśīla's Tattvasaṃgrahapanjika (or better yet, if you can follow the Sanskrit or Tibetan texts), then that is really the best source for examining this particular analysis. The Dharmadharmatāvibhāgavṛtti, the Madhyamākalaṃkāra, the Madhyamālaṃkārapanjika, and Ju Mipham's commentaries on these treatises are also invaluable. From Ju Mipham's commentary on the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga:
Those who cling compulsively to the existence of outer objects claim, “Outer objects exist, because no one can deny that anything composed of atoms, such as mountains and any other object observed in common, exists.” But that is not how it is.
Given what appear to be outer and perceivable in common, such as mountains and so on, as the postulated subject, these are not outer referents discrete from the inner consciousness and existing with a material essence, because they are the inner perceiving awareness itself appearing as the image of this and that outer referent for those whose operative habitual tendencies correspond, just like forms in a dream.
What are being called “outer objects observed in common” are not referents existing as something extrinsic to or other than consciousness, because they are only apparently experienced as common by a variety of beings whose mindstreams are not identical. But this is what proves that they are nothing other than differing perceptions of differing mindstreams.
And how does it prove that? What are claimed to be “factors observed in common” are proposed as providing the proof for the existence of outer referents. But these can only be posited as “outer referents experienced in common” due to a similarity in the character of their appearance from the subjective viewpoint of distinct mindstreams. But that means these appearances are the private impressions of mindstreams which differ among themselves. And that means they could never constitute common experience.
Thus to say, “There are outer objects which are something other than a mere appearance (or impression)” and to say, “Here is one experienced in common” could never be demonstrated logically, since, to do so, one would have to posit the existence of objects other than those which appear to a mind. But it would make no sense to posit an object that could not appear to any mind, since it could not be evaluated through valid cognition.
On subjecting this so-called “common experience” to critical scrutiny, the reason for claiming it to be “common” turns out to be built on the similarity of appearance with respect to mindstreams which themselves differ, so it follows that, even though there is a similarity in the appearance, its underlying cause includes no necessity of a specific outer common referent literally existing, just as corresponding appearances manifest for spectators under the influence of the charms of an illusionist. Similarly, for creatures whose operative habitual tendencies correspond, not only will environments and so on have a similar appearance for as long as the energy of those habitual tendencies has not been exhausted, but, what is more, the specific cause for their appearing to be similar will not be the existence of a referent on the outside. Just as something which one type of being sees as water will be seen as existing under another appearance by others among the six types of beings whose karmic impressions differ, anything perceived should be understood to be neither more nor less than a self-manifestation of the mentality internal to a specific observer.
Okay, thanks Geoff. My Sanskrit is unfortunately very poor!
Again, this demonstrates that one cannot speak of
or establish appearances as existing outside of consciousness, but it does not establish that there cannot be external phenomena.
It is a skeptical argument; the question of external phenomena has to be suspended (or bracketed to use a Husserlian method)....but such skepticism cannot then entail an ontological claim about
external phenomena - that it does or does not exist. In either case, we cannot know. Therefore, I accept the claim that we need to suspend the question, but not the claim that the question is definitively answered
by the Yogacaran position.
The ontological claim that external phenomena do not exist
is based not
on the argument that we only have appearances given to cognition, but on the further premise:
" Similarly, for creatures whose operative habitual tendencies correspond, not only will environments and so on have a similar appearance for as long as the energy of those habitual tendencies has not been exhausted, but, what is more, the specific cause for their appearing to be similar will not be the existence of a referent on the outside. "
That is, all external phenomena arise
from the dispositional tendencies of the mind. The mind is thus the ontological basis for claiming the non-existence of external phenomena.
But this is a distinct argument from the argument that we only have appearances of the object, and not an object itself.
The first argument does not depend upon the second; the second seems to me to be an ontological assumption which does not correlate with the first unless it is simply asserted as an unquestionable truth. If everything hinges on this assumption, what grounds would you give me to accept it?