Tsongkhapafan wrote:The relentless criticism of Tsongkhapa's views on DW gets a bit wearing after a while. It's also overly intellectual.
I've not seen a single person post any useful meditations on emptiness or any practical information that would lead to a realisation of emptiness. Je Tsongkhapa's teachings are full of such useful and practical explanations and they work. Those who study and practise these teachings know how to destroy self-grasping ignorance but here Nagarjuna is treated as philosophy that can in no way solve human problems. It's just a football that's kicked around for intellectual enjoyment; that's pretty sad and not what Buddha's teachings were intended for.
Follow whatever view you wish to follow but endlessly arguing about them here is pointless. Does anyone have anything practical to say?
I have to agree.
The Lamrim of Tsongkhapa has to be meditated from the beginning to the end. Especially the last chapter about emptiness cannot be grasped intellectually. Debate is only for to support the meditation, but it cannot get the matter on it's own. The recommended procedure for learning is "Hearing (study), reflecting (e.g. by debate) and meditating." It is not right to leave out one of these three.
And there cannot be something like "Tsongkhapa's emptiness", because emptiness is simply emptiness. Tsongkhapas explanations are a measure for learning, not a map of solid phenomena. He didn't explain everything in one sentence, he instead gave the students the chance to understand it in meditation by themselves.
My apologies. I was not aware that this entire thread even existed until now! That’s my own fault but I am a totally new member of this Dharma Wheel forum, so I don’t really know my way around.
I would really like to take us back to this point raised by Tsongkhapafan and Ayu, which, I believe, is actually the most important point of all. I do not think that anyone would disagree with this following statement (only I am surprised that no one has explicitly stated it here on this thread): The purpose of attaining the wisdom realizing emptiness is to combine it with bodhicitta, which is the great compassion to attain enlightenment in order to save all sentient beings from suffering. This, to me, is really the crucial point.
All the intellectual nuances really do not matter as long as one can realize the emptiness of the “I” or the self, and combine this realization with bodhicitta. This combination of wisdom and compassion is potent. It breaks down all the barriers between “self and others” and leads to a state of spontaneous compassion that naturally wants to free all sentient beings from suffering. Thus the realisation of emptiness strengthens our bodhicitta.
If I remember correctly, it was Lama Yeshe who described this state of realization as having a sense of “spaciousness” and I believe His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, said something that is very similar. I believe that this state—of a combination between wisdom and compassion—is a state of bliss coupled with a sense of spaciousness, where all the barriers between “self and others” have disappeared.
This means that the really crucial point in the realization of emptiness is actually the realization that the “I” (or the self) is empty of inherent existence. Even the purpose of realizing that all phenomena are empty of inherent existence is to deepen the realization that the “I” is actually empty of inherent existence.
It also means that the really effective way to realize emptiness is to actually transform our mind into the state of bodhicitta. If we do not develop this great compassion, our mind will have all sorts of impediments to actually realising that the self is empty of inherent existence. Things like pride, jealousy, greed, hatred, etc. all strengthen this sense of a real self. So we need to get rid of these attitudes as much as possible. As long as we keep reinforcing this sense of an inherently existing “I” (because of these negative attitudes) we are really reinforcing barriers to an actual realization that all things are empty of inherent existence.
The need to combine wisdom and compassion is also the main reason why conventional truth is so crucial in Madhyamika philosophy. Let me quote from the book “Relative Truth, Ultimate Truth” by Geshe Tashi Tsering:
“Understanding conventional truth enables the practitioner to develop the method side—compassion, concentration, and ethics—whereas understanding the ultimate truth leads to the wisdom side—emptiness. These realizations will, in turn, result in the two Buddha bodies, the truth body and the form body.
People who want to be free from suffering need to cultivate an understanding of reality, the wisdom of ultimate truth, while developing the method side of the practice, which entails a thorough understanding of conventional truth. There is no other way.”