Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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SDC
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby SDC » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:49 pm

Discussion about the DN and propaganda now here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=28634

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SDC
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby SDC » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:09 am

Let us all keep the OP in mind as we go forward as many of us have wandered a bit off topic.

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Mkoll » Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:27 am

:offtopic:

CecilN wrote:Unlike craving, earth element cannot vanish. Its destruction cannot be observed.


SN 35.245 wrote:“When, friend, a bhikkhu understands as they really are the origin and the passing away of the four great elements, in this way his vision is well purified.”


:focus:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

CecilN
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby CecilN » Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:10 am

Mkoll wrote:
CecilN wrote:Unlike craving, earth element cannot vanish. Its destruction cannot be observed.

SN 35.245 wrote:“When, friend, a bhikkhu understands as they really are the origin and the passing away of the four great elements, in this way his vision is well purified.”

Its on-topic because the topic is Nagarjuna's idea about "no inherent existence".

Now, the Pali quoted in SN 35.245, which is a view of a certain monk, is as follows:
“Yato kho, āvuso, bhikkhu pañcannaṃ upādā­nak­khan­dhā­naṃ samudayañca atthaṅgamañca yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti, ettāvatā kho, āvuso, bhikkhuno dassanaṃ suvisuddhaṃ hotī”ti

'Atthaṅgama' refers to a temporary cessation, such as each day & night are subject to atthaṅgama. It does not mean 'nirodha' nor does it mean 'final destruction'. It is found in the vipassana teachings, such as:
There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away (atthaṅgamo). Such is feeling, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is perception, such its origination, such its passing away. Such are fabrications, such their origination, such their passing away. Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' AN 4.41

The Lord Buddha himself ends SN 35.245 as follows:
‘The city’: this is a designation for this body consisting of the four great elements, originating from mother and father, built up out of boiled rice and gruel, subject to impermanence, to being worn and rubbed away, to breaking apart and dispersal.

Nothing in SN 35.235 refers to the four great elements ceasing without remainder or destroyed. Only impermanence, change, decay, deformation, transformation, etc. Basic Pali. :roll:
“And why, bhikkhus, do you call it form? ‘It is deformed,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called form. Deformed by what? Deformed by cold, deformed by heat, deformed by hunger, deformed by thirst, deformed by contact with flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, and serpents. ‘It is deformed,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called form. SN 22.79

Then a certain monk went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: "'The world, the world' it is said. In what respect does the word 'world' apply?

"Insofar as it disintegrates, monk, it is called the 'world.' Now what disintegrates?..The body disintegrates...

SN 35.82

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Mkoll » Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:47 am

Your conception of the elements and your understanding of what the passage is saying is different from mine. I should have expected that and if I had, I wouldn't have responded, knowing how it would turn out.

Also, the "view of a certain monk" you're referring to as at least a stream-enterer.

And the definition of atthaṅgama is annihilation, disappearance (Cone's Pali dictionary).
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby chownah » Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:46 am

CecilN wrote:
chownah wrote:The element of earth is a concept and it can cease without remainder just like the self concept can cease without remainder.

MN 62 does not sound like a "concept".
And what is the earth property? The earth property can be either internal or external. What is the internal earth property?} Anything internal, within oneself, that's hard, solid, & sustained: head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, membranes, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, contents of the stomach, feces, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's hard, solid and sustained [by nutriment]...

Indeed the quote you brought talks about earth as being a property. Properties are concepts...attributes...things that arise and fall based on the arising and falling of perceptions..
chownah

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Bakmoon » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:25 pm

CecilN wrote:
Mkoll wrote:
CecilN wrote:Unlike craving, earth element cannot vanish. Its destruction cannot be observed.

SN 35.245 wrote:“When, friend, a bhikkhu understands as they really are the origin and the passing away of the four great elements, in this way his vision is well purified.”

Its on-topic because the topic is Nagarjuna's idea about "no inherent existence".

Now, the Pali quoted in SN 35.245, which is a view of a certain monk, is as follows:
“Yato kho, āvuso, bhikkhu pañcannaṃ upādā­nak­khan­dhā­naṃ samudayañca atthaṅgamañca yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti, ettāvatā kho, āvuso, bhikkhuno dassanaṃ suvisuddhaṃ hotī”ti

'Atthaṅgama' refers to a temporary cessation, such as each day & night are subject to atthaṅgama. It does not mean 'nirodha' nor does it mean 'final destruction'. It is found in the vipassana teachings, such as:
There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away (atthaṅgamo). Such is feeling, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is perception, such its origination, such its passing away. Such are fabrications, such their origination, such their passing away. Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' AN 4.41

The Lord Buddha himself ends SN 35.245 as follows:
‘The city’: this is a designation for this body consisting of the four great elements, originating from mother and father, built up out of boiled rice and gruel, subject to impermanence, to being worn and rubbed away, to breaking apart and dispersal.

Nothing in SN 35.235 refers to the four great elements ceasing without remainder or destroyed. Only impermanence, change, decay, deformation, transformation, etc. Basic Pali. :roll:
“And why, bhikkhus, do you call it form? ‘It is deformed,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called form. Deformed by what? Deformed by cold, deformed by heat, deformed by hunger, deformed by thirst, deformed by contact with flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, and serpents. ‘It is deformed,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called form. SN 22.79

Then a certain monk went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: "'The world, the world' it is said. In what respect does the word 'world' apply?

"Insofar as it disintegrates, monk, it is called the 'world.' Now what disintegrates?..The body disintegrates...

SN 35.82

It doesn't matter in the slightest whether or not the earth element ceases temporarily or permanently. In either case, the earth element is demonstrated to be impermanent because by definition, permanent things remain the same and do not arise and cease.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby CecilN » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:19 pm

Bakmoon wrote:It doesn't matter in the slightest whether or not the earth element ceases temporarily or permanently. In either case, the earth element is demonstrated to be impermanent because by definition, permanent things remain the same and do not arise and cease.

I agree fully here. However, when Nāgārjunaites use the phrase: "no inherent existence", it sounds different to me than "impermanence". The Buddha taught about impermanence.

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Twilight » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:23 pm

Honestly I do not understand what exactly you guys mean by "inherent". Can somebody explain this to me so I can take part in the discussion too ? Things do exist but they are impermanent. Sounds pretty simple to me. I really don't understand what you mean by "inherent"
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
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Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Coëmgenu » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:38 pm

Twilight wrote:Honestly I do not understand what exactly you guys mean by "inherent". Can somebody explain this to me so I can take part in the discussion too ? This do exist but they are impermanent. Sounds pretty simple to me. I really don't understand what you mean by "inherent"
The way that we talk about existence in English in these conversations that deal with odd questions like "Is a rock arisen due to ignorance?" is in a de facto ontological sense, which, when paired with notions such as "Cars exist independent of a perciever", indicate that "existence" is being framed in a cosmological manner.

Cosmology is refuted via the fourfold negation, in SN 12.48, but it is not refuted on the grounds that reality/cosmos does not exist, or that cosmology "doesn't exist" in any ways, it is refuted because extreme cosmological positions are unrelated to the teaching ("Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathágata teaches the Dhamma via the middle").

Nágárjuna is not a cosmologer. When Madhyamika philosophy negates "inherent existence" they are negating the heretical notion that any reality, real or perceived, is unconditioned, save for Nibbána, views about which, themselves, are conditioned. Arguing against "inherent existence" is arguing that Nibbána and complete perfect realization thereof (samyaksambodhi) is the only thing that is unconditioned. All else lacks "inherency", including form, which is arisen from causal conditions. Note that this does not mean that all form is arisen via dependent origination, it simply means that forms (any forms) are arisen by causal conditions.

Existence is de facto established on metaphysical grounds by statements like "There is, monks, an unborn" (Ud 8.3) as well as numerous other times the Buddha establishes something as existing, and neither Theraváda nor Madhyamika are interested in refuting that.

The notion that anything is uncaused and unconditioned save for Nibbána, like for instance "form", is a very ancient heresy in Buddhist and no contemporary schools of Buddhism (arguably) subscribe to svabháva theories of dharmas other than svabháva of Nibbána.

Yet the Múlamadhyamakakáriká and Nágárjuna's work discrediting the svabháva heresy is still relevant in modern Buddhism because there are still people who claim to be Buddhists who believe that things other than Nibbána are stable, permanent, and unchanging, whether due to reconstructionist arrogance or simply being poorly informed as to the Buddhavacava.

The Múlamadhyamakakáriká is designed to be a litmus test of the alleged permanence of anything other than Nibbána, including most views of/about Nibbána. Everything is denied the status of unconditioned save for Nibbána itself.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:50 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby CecilN » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:56 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:The way that we talk about existence in English in these conversations that deal with odd questions like "Is a rock arisen due to ignorance?"

The answer to this question is "no". Rocks do not arise due to ignorance. Rocks arise due to volcanic eruptions & other geological phenomena. What arises due to ignorance is suffering & other unskilful mental states. :roll:
The four great elements, bhikkhu, are the cause and condition for the manifestation of the form aggregate.

22.82

The Blessed One said, "Monks, ignorance is the leader in the attainment of unskillful qualities, followed by lack of conscience & lack of concern.

SN 45.1

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Coëmgenu » Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:45 am

I'm taking the liberty of quoting you here, Twilight, rather than in the thread "No Creator in Buddhism", where this quote is from, because I think it is relevant to some misconceptions about "inherent existence" that have been voiced in response to the statements that negate "inherent existence", not necessarily because I think or don't think that you hold such misconceptions:
Twilight wrote:The 5 aggregates that constitute what we conventionally call "a being" exist since forever.
No one is disputing that the 5 aggregates exist, or that they constitute what is called a "being". This is a common criticism leveled at teachings that negate "inherent existence", because it is common to see these Buddhist discourses as nihilistic, or negating existence on a metaphysical level.

The aggregates, though beginingless (but not uncaused), are arisen due to causal conditions and are therefore conditioned, and being conditioned they lack "inherent existence", what they have is a dependent existence, dependent on their conditions.

Like Javi said earlier, if a given Buddhist is informed as to the Buddhavacana and does not ascribe unchanging permanence to anything other than Nibbána, then the Múlamadhyamakakáriká is an unnecessary and possibly redundant text, which merely goes over what is already in the Buddhavacana via the suttas and rearranges the material into a new presentation designed to refute unconditioned existences aside from Nibbána, which was a contemporary heresy of Nágárjuna's time, which was not believed by Buddhists before then, hence why the svabháva heresy is not explicitly mentioned or condemned in the Buddhavacana.

However if a given Buddhist subscribes unchanging permanence to anything other than Nibbána than the Múlamadhyamakakáriká is designed to refute their notions.

----------

Basically, the entire text is an essay against hypostatization/reification/objectification of any and all things, including Nibbána. Nibbána is uncaused, yet the conceptual framing of Nibbána as "opposite" of samsara is itself arisen via causal conditions, specifically the causal condition of samsara itself, thus hypostatizations/"mental proliferations" of Nibbána in relation to samsara are conditioned and are not, themselves, Nibbána. This is the context of the saying
There is no distinction whatsoever between saṃsāra and nirvāṇa.
There is no distinction whatsoever between nirvāṇa and saṃsāra.

What is the limit of nirvāṇa, that is the limit of saṃsāra.
There is not even the finest gap to be found between the two.

The views concerning what is beyond cessation, the end of the world, and the eternality of the world are dependent [respectively] on nirvāṇa, the future life, and the past life.
(Mūlamadhyamakakārikā XXV, Nirvānaparīkṣā section)


It is talking about views/hypostatizations of Nibbána. Hypostatizations of Nibbána are identical, it argues, to hypostatizations of samsara, they are both mere hypostatizations. As hypostatizations arisen via causal conditions, they are dependant on Nibbána, the uncaused/unconditioned, but those hypostatizations are themselves not unconditioned, in fact, they are implied, by Nágárjuna, to also be conditioned by pernicious self-view (What will I be in the future? What was my past self?) ("The views concerning what is beyond cessation, the end of the world, and the eternality of the world are dependent [respectively] on nirvāṇa, the future life, and the past life"). Nágárjuna labels such views as samsaric.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
Bhagavā arahaṃ sammasāmbuddho:
Svākkhāto yena bhagavatā dhammo / Supaṭipanno yassa bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho
Tammayaṃ bhagavantaṃ sadhammaṃ sasaṅghaṃ / Imehi sakkārehi yathārahaṃ āropitehi abhipūjayāma.
(Dedication of Offerings)
此等諸法,法住、法空、法如、法爾,法不離如,法不異如,審諦真實、不顛倒。These many dharmāḥ, the residence of these dharmāḥ, the emptiness of these dharmāḥ, these dharmāḥ self-explain, these dharmāḥ are thus, these dharmāḥ do not depart from their self-explaining, these dharmāḥ are not different than their self-explaining, judged as truly real, not delusional. (SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶

CecilN
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby CecilN » Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:16 am

Coëmgenu wrote: it is common to see these Buddhist discourses as nihilistic, or negating existence on a metaphysical level.

The term 'nihilistic' in Buddhism refers to the belief a 'self' ends at 'death' (DN 1; Iti 49) or 'another' causes suffering to 'oneself' (SN 12.17). It is a self-view. Buddha-Dhamma only sounds 'nihilistic' to believers in 'self' (as occurred in MN 22, where non-Buddhists accused the Buddha of being a nihilist).

Coëmgenu wrote:The aggregates, though beginingless (but not uncaused), are arisen due to causal conditions and are therefore conditioned, and being conditioned they lack "inherent existence", what they have is a dependent existence, dependent on their conditions.

MN 38 states there is no arising of consciousness without sense organs & sense organs. SN 22.53 states no arising of consciousness without the other aggregates. SN 22.82 states the cause of consciousness is nama-rupa. So which is "beginningless"? Consciousness or the sense bases? Or nama-rupa? Or four aggregates?

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Coëmgenu » Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:28 am

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote: it is common to see these Buddhist discourses as nihilistic, or negating existence on a metaphysical level.

The term 'nihilistic' in Buddhism refers to the belief a 'self' ends at 'death' (DN 1; Iti 49) or 'another' causes suffering to 'oneself' (SN 12.17). It is a self-view. Buddha-Dhamma only sounds 'nihilistic' to believers in 'self' (as occurred in MN 22, where non-Buddhists accused the Buddha of being a nihilist).
When Buddhism is accused to being nihilistic by non-Buddhists they are making such accusations on the grounds that they believe that Buddhism teaches metaphysical nothingness, ie nothing exists. Nihilism, in the suttas, ucchedaváda, is a self-view arisen concept, but Buddhism is criticized as being nihilistic by thinkers who are not using the Buddhist term "ucchedaváda", they are using nihilism in a Western sense.

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:The aggregates, though beginingless (but not uncaused), are arisen due to causal conditions and are therefore conditioned, and being conditioned they lack "inherent existence", what they have is a dependent existence, dependent on their conditions.

MN 38 states there is no arising of consciousness without sense organs & sense organs. SN 22.53 states no arising of consciousness with the other aggregates. SN 22.82 states the cause of consciousness is nama-rupa. So which is "beginningless"? Consciousness or the sense bases? Or nama-rupa? Or four aggregates?
Samsara is begingingless.
Bhagavā arahaṃ sammasāmbuddho:
Svākkhāto yena bhagavatā dhammo / Supaṭipanno yassa bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho
Tammayaṃ bhagavantaṃ sadhammaṃ sasaṅghaṃ / Imehi sakkārehi yathārahaṃ āropitehi abhipūjayāma.
(Dedication of Offerings)
此等諸法,法住、法空、法如、法爾,法不離如,法不異如,審諦真實、不顛倒。These many dharmāḥ, the residence of these dharmāḥ, the emptiness of these dharmāḥ, these dharmāḥ self-explain, these dharmāḥ are thus, these dharmāḥ do not depart from their self-explaining, these dharmāḥ are not different than their self-explaining, judged as truly real, not delusional. (SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶

CecilN
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby CecilN » Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:34 am

Coëmgenu wrote:When Buddhism is accused to being nihilistic by non-Buddhists they are making such accusations on the grounds that they believe that Buddhism teaches metaphysical nothingness, ie nothing exists. Nihilism, in the suttas, ucchedaváda, is a self-view arisen concept, but Buddhism is criticized as being nihilistic by thinkers who are not using the Buddhist term "ucchedaváda", they are using nihilism in a Western sense.

What is the point of raising non-Buddhist concerns on a Buddhist forum? Is our role here to put on a good public face for non-Buddhists that might be reading so we can convert them unwittingly?

Coëmgenu wrote:Samsara is begingingless.

You did not answer the questions put to you about your view that the aggregates are beginingless. That said, samsara is not "beginningless". It only has no knowable beginning, i.e., its beginning cannot be known.

You seem to be stating samsara is the aggregrates; that the aggregates & samsara are one & the same thing. :shrug:

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Coëmgenu » Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:49 am

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:When Buddhism is accused to being nihilistic by non-Buddhists they are making such accusations on the grounds that they believe that Buddhism teaches metaphysical nothingness, ie nothing exists. Nihilism, in the suttas, ucchedaváda, is a self-view arisen concept, but Buddhism is criticized as being nihilistic by thinkers who are not using the Buddhist term "ucchedaváda", they are using nihilism in a Western sense.

What is the point of raising non-Buddhist concerns on a Buddhist forum? Is our role here to put on a good face for non-Buddhists that might be reading so we can convert them unwittingly?
Non-Buddhists include those who claim to be Buddhist but do not practice Buddhadhamma, of which some posters here who come and go can be classified as. Similarly many Buddhists hold non-Buddhist views regarding the permanence of unchangeability of things that are not Nibbána, and thus are led to frame negations of "inherent existence" as nihilism (Western metaphysical nihilism).

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:Samsara is begingingless.

You did not answer the questions put to you. That said, samsara is not "beginningless". It only has no knowable beginning.
Some Tibetan tantric teachings speculate (by alleged relation from Buddhas) that there was an "original enlightenment/original Nibbána", before causes and conditions of samsara arose, but I've never been convinced of their claims.

To speak of samsara as having a beginning is contrary to most established Buddhavacana that I know at least, I could be wrong, hence it's definition of "beginingless". It has no beginning. Conditionality itself has no beginning. In the Paccayasutta the Buddha explains that the principal (dhátu) of dependent origination is permanent, but he does not say it is unconditioned, nay, it is fixed conditionality itself. How could there be an unconditioned state that pre-exists samsara? How would samsara be arisen by causal condition with no causal condition from which to arise? Samsara cannot have a "beginning" because then one would have to argue that at one point samsara did not exist, that at one point fixed conditionality did not exist, so samsara is "beginingless" by virute of it not having a beginning.
Bhagavā arahaṃ sammasāmbuddho:
Svākkhāto yena bhagavatā dhammo / Supaṭipanno yassa bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho
Tammayaṃ bhagavantaṃ sadhammaṃ sasaṅghaṃ / Imehi sakkārehi yathārahaṃ āropitehi abhipūjayāma.
(Dedication of Offerings)
此等諸法,法住、法空、法如、法爾,法不離如,法不異如,審諦真實、不顛倒。These many dharmāḥ, the residence of these dharmāḥ, the emptiness of these dharmāḥ, these dharmāḥ self-explain, these dharmāḥ are thus, these dharmāḥ do not depart from their self-explaining, these dharmāḥ are not different than their self-explaining, judged as truly real, not delusional. (SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶

CecilN
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby CecilN » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:22 am

Coëmgenu wrote:Some Tibetan tantric teachings speculate (by alleged relation from Buddhas) that there was an "original enlightenment/original Nibbána", before causes and conditions of samsara arose, but I've never been convinced of their claims.

My understanding is this is a Theravada forum.

To speak of samsara as having a beginning is contrary to most established Buddhavacana that I know at least,

You seem to be voicing your own personal opinion cloaked in an appeal to the so-called authority of the masses.... Try to stick to the suttas, please. Thanks

I could be wrong, hence it's definition of "beginingless". It has no beginning. Conditionality itself has no beginning. In the Paccayasutta the Buddha explains that the principal (dhátu) of dependent origination is permanent,

Yes. It is sadhatu or sabhava. You are finally catching on. However, dependent origination is only 'permanent' when suffering occurs. The Paccayasutta is not saying dependent origination is permanent. The Paccayasutta is about lawfulness (niyama) rather than about permanence. The Paccayasutta is saying whenever suffering occurs, it always occurs via the cause & effect (iddappaccayata) of the 12 conditions of dependent origination (rather than in another way).

How could there be an unconditioned state that pre-exists samsara?

Easily. Just as Nibbana pre-exists now, it could pre-exist any time.

Nibbana is not something caused. It pre-exists. The ending of the defilements allows the mind to know the pre-existing Nibbana. That is why it is unconditioned or called the asankata dhatu.

How would samsara be arisen by causal condition with no causal condition from which to arise? Samsara cannot have a "beginning" because then one would have to argue that at one point samsara did not exist, that at one point fixed conditionality did not exist, so samsara is "beginingless" by virtue of it not having a beginning.

No.

1. I explained above why your interpretation of the Paccayasutta was incorrect. Fixed conditionality does not mean permanent conditionality of suffering.

2. AN 10.61 states a first beginning of ignorance cannot be conceived; that there is no prior cause (hetu) to ignorance. AN 10.61, contrary to your view, states: "Ignorance arises without any causal condition (hetu) from which to arise". AN 10.61 does not state ignorance is "beginningless". Unlike the flawed rigid dogma of Nagarjuna, the Buddha did not stick to absolutes such as everything has an identifiable cause (hetu). The famous statement of Assajji to Upatissa (Sariputta) was the Buddha declared only knowable causes. Based on AN 10.61, ignorance is a 1st cause without prior cause/hetu (but it is sustained by nutriment/ahara) that can be extinguished. AN 10.61 states ignorance can end, even though its cause or beginning point is not known.

(AN 10.61:) "A first beginning of ignorance cannot be conceived, (of which it can be said), 'Before that, there was no ignorance and it came to be after that.' Though this is so, monks, yet a specific condition (paccaya) of ignorance can be conceived. Ignorance, too, has its nutriment (ahara) I declare; and it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of ignorance? 'The five hindrances,' should be the answer.

Bakmoon
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Bakmoon » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:36 am

CecilN wrote:
Bakmoon wrote:It doesn't matter in the slightest whether or not the earth element ceases temporarily or permanently. In either case, the earth element is demonstrated to be impermanent because by definition, permanent things remain the same and do not arise and cease.

I agree fully here. However, when Nāgārjunaites use the phrase: "no inherent existence", it sounds different to me than "impermanence". The Buddha taught about impermanence.

I never said they were the same. My point is that you previously made the claim that earth is permanent, and that this is a wrong understanding.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Coëmgenu » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:49 am

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:Some Tibetan tantric teachings speculate (by alleged relation from Buddhas) that there was an "original enlightenment/original Nibbána", before causes and conditions of samsara arose, but I've never been convinced of their claims.

My understanding is this is a Theravada forum.
And this subforum on it is called "Connections to Other Paths". The belief that there is an "original enlightenment/Nibbána" is a Tibetan belief and so I labelled it at such. But how is this relevant to anything? It's not. If a user comes on to this forum popularizing Tibetan beliefs, anyone is free to call those beliefs what they are: Tibetan Buddhism. Users are not banned from mentioning the names of other traditions.

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:To speak of samsara as having a beginning is contrary to most established Buddhavacana that I know at least,

You seem to be voicing your own personal opinion cloaked in an appeal to the so-called authority of the masses.... Try to stick to the suttas, please. Thanks
Accusation of "appeals to authority/the masses" seem to be your favourite unsubstantiated claim to accuse others of. I admit my fallibility clearly in the post in question. It is not an appeal to authority or "the masses" if it is caveated by admission of fallibility.

And I'll stick with the Dhamma, suttas included, thank you.

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:How could there be an unconditioned state that pre-exists samsara?

Easily. Just as Nibbana pre-exists now, it could pre-exist any time.
In theory alone. If you think there was once Nibbána and that it pre-existed samsara, then the onus is on you to try to cobble together a coherent worldview where samsara "starts" out of Nibbána for whatever reason. Good luck.

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:How would samsara be arisen by causal condition with no causal condition from which to arise? Samsara cannot have a "beginning" because then one would have to argue that at one point samsara did not exist, that at one point fixed conditionality did not exist, so samsara is "beginingless" by virtue of it not having a beginning.

No.

1. I explained above why your interpretation of the Paccayasutta was incorrect. Fixed conditionality does not mean permanent conditionality of suffering.
You explained nothing. Everyone knows that the Buddhadhamma is the path to the cessation of suffering, without following that path to completion there is endless becomings/endless fixed conditionality.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Bhagavā arahaṃ sammasāmbuddho:
Svākkhāto yena bhagavatā dhammo / Supaṭipanno yassa bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho
Tammayaṃ bhagavantaṃ sadhammaṃ sasaṅghaṃ / Imehi sakkārehi yathārahaṃ āropitehi abhipūjayāma.
(Dedication of Offerings)
此等諸法,法住、法空、法如、法爾,法不離如,法不異如,審諦真實、不顛倒。These many dharmāḥ, the residence of these dharmāḥ, the emptiness of these dharmāḥ, these dharmāḥ self-explain, these dharmāḥ are thus, these dharmāḥ do not depart from their self-explaining, these dharmāḥ are not different than their self-explaining, judged as truly real, not delusional. (SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶

CecilN
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby CecilN » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:52 am

Bakmoon wrote:I never said they were the same. My point is that you previously made the claim that earth is permanent, and that this is a wrong understanding.

Thank you Bakmoon but possibly there is a miscommunication here. Previously, I recalled making a case for 'sabhava'; in that earth always has a permanent quality of 'earthiness' (hardness; solidity, etc); that it cannot vanish into nothing; say like the illusory 'self' delusion can vanish into nothing. I did not have wrong understanding. No matter how small it is broken down by impermanence, erosion ,decay, etc, earth will always be earth. Thanks. Regards.


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