Prasangika Differences...

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Prasangika Differences...

Postby Beautiful Breath » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:40 pm

Hello all,

What are the main differences between Emptiness as taught by Nargajuna and Shantideva for example, and anatta as taught in classical Theravada?

Are there any differences?

What I see as the main difference is that the Prasangikas for example teach about the illusory nature of reality and its dream-like qualities. Is this an embelishment of 'anatta' or a divergence?

To me the Prasangika stance is pretty water-tight so I have to wonder how and why it would not be embraced.

Thanks,

BB...
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Re: Prasangika Differences...

Postby Beautiful Breath » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:08 pm

Bump...! :zzz:
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Re: Prasangika Differences...

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:02 pm

Beautiful Breath wrote:Hello all,

What are the main differences between Emptiness as taught by Nargajuna and Shantideva for example, and anatta as taught in classical Theravada?

Are there any differences?

What I see as the main difference is that the Prasangikas for example teach about the illusory nature of reality and its dream-like qualities. Is this an embelishment of 'anatta' or a divergence?

To me the Prasangika stance is pretty water-tight so I have to wonder how and why it would not be embraced.

Thanks,

BB...
You may want to give a careful explanation of the Prasangika stance. It is probably not something that most Theravadins are familiar with.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Prasangika Differences...

Postby fivebells » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:33 pm

Thanissaro has an interesting take on this in The Buddhist Religions: An Historical Introduction. (P 96.)

[Nagarjuna's analysis of the emptiness of dharmas for the abandoning of views] is a bravura performance. And, more than any other Buddhist philosopher, modern philosophers still take this performance as a living challenge to their thought. Yet, it is possible to cite precedents in the early canons for even some of Nagarjuna's most radical statements. He himself explicitly cites an early canonical sutra -- the Katayayanvavada (Pali: Kaccayanagotta Sutta, SN XII.15) -- to support his assertion the dependently co-arisen dharmas cannot properly be described as existing or not existing. As for one of his more radical statements of deconstruction -- that the ontological status of nirvana (which cannot be described as existing, not existing, both or neither) is no different from that of samsara: This too occurs in the context of an argument drawn straight from an early sutra (SN XXII.85 in the Pali Canon) discussing the ontological status of a Buddha before and after death [1]. His deconstructive method has numerous canonical precedents and his twofold meaning for emptiness, as a quality of dharmas and as a state of mind, has canonical precedents as well.

But when we compare his two levels of emptiness with the two reported in the early canons, we can see precisely where he has developed them in new directions. Emptiness as a quality of dharmas, in the early canons, means simply that one cannot identify them as one's own self or having anything pertaining to one's own self. For Nagarjuna, it means that they have no self of their own. Emptiness as a mental state, in the early canons, means a mode of perception in which one neither adds anything to nor takes anything away from what is present, noting simply, "There is this." This mode is achieved through a process of intense concentration, coupled with the insight that notes more and more subtle levels of the presence and absence of disturbance (see MN 121). For Nagarjuna, the ultimate level of emptiness is the relinquishing of all views, and it is attained, not with the aid of concentration, but through logical analysis. These two innovations in the meaning and method of emptiness were to prove influential in later centuries.


He goes on to argue that Nagarjuna was not a Mahayanaist, and the Mahayanaist writings conventionally attributed to him could not have been written by him because they are conceptually and chronologically incoherent with his Mula-madhyamaka-karika and what's known of his life history, finishing the chapter with

Whatever Nagarjuna's personal religious aims, his terse and provocative style made his writings a fertile source for a wide variety of conflicting interpretations in later centuries. Still, there is unanimous agreement that he provided an important example in taking the deconstructive tradition of early Buddhist thought -- in which non-Buddhist questions unconducive to Awakening are dismantled -- and turning it on what he regarded as simialr questions that had developed in the Buddhist tradition itself.


[1] The connection Thanissaro is claiming here is not clear to me -- fivebells.
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Re: Prasangika Differences...

Postby Myotai » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:00 pm

So far as I can see Nargajuna does not attribute any inherent existence to anything including the Dhammas. I am new to these comparisons but is it not true to state that this is in contradiction to the Madhyamika view that all phenomena INCLUDING the Dhammas are empty of self.

In terms of a brief description of the Prasangika view, I am not as qualified as others but I would say that it take Not-Self to a greater degree than any other school and in this context further than 'Classical Theravada'. There is nothing anywhere ever that can be reduced to a self not even the Paramathma Dhammas. My understanding is that this is not seen as the case by those who study Theravadin Abhidhamma?

I personally don't see how having understood how one phenomena is 'Empty' how this can possibly NOT be the case for all other phenomena...but I am of course happy to be corrected :thinking:
Last edited by Myotai on Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Prasangika Differences...

Postby robertk » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:41 pm

Myotai wrote:So far as I can see Nargajuna does not attribute and inherent existence to anything including the Dhammas. I am new to these comparisons but is it not true to state that this is in contradiction to the Madhyamika view that all phenomena INCLUDING the Dhammas are empty of self.

In terms of a brief description of the Prasangika view, I am not as qualified as others but I would say that it take Not-Self to a greater degree than any other school and in this context further than 'Classical Theravada'. There is nothing anywhere ever that can be reduced to a self not even the Paramathma Dhammas. My understanding is that this is not seen as the case by those who study Theravadin Abhidhamma?

I personally don't see how having understood how one phenomena is 'Empty' how this can possibly NOT be the case for all other phenomena...but I am of course happy to be corrected :thinking:


In classical Theravada all Dhammas - paramattha dhammas - are utterly not self.
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Re: Prasangika Differences...

Postby Myotai » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:52 pm

robertk wrote:
Myotai wrote:So far as I can see Nargajuna does not attribute and inherent existence to anything including the Dhammas. I am new to these comparisons but is it not true to state that this is in contradiction to the Madhyamika view that all phenomena INCLUDING the Dhammas are empty of self.

In terms of a brief description of the Prasangika view, I am not as qualified as others but I would say that it take Not-Self to a greater degree than any other school and in this context further than 'Classical Theravada'. There is nothing anywhere ever that can be reduced to a self not even the Paramathma Dhammas. My understanding is that this is not seen as the case by those who study Theravadin Abhidhamma?

I personally don't see how having understood how one phenomena is 'Empty' how this can possibly NOT be the case for all other phenomena...but I am of course happy to be corrected :thinking:


In classical Theravada all Dhammas - paramattha dhammas - are utterly not self.


I met Sujin Boriharnwanaket and got the impression from those present that the Prasangika and Classical Theravada were at odds in terms of paramattha dhammas(?)...
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Re: Prasangika Differences...

Postby robertk » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:02 pm

they may well be at odds. what do prasanghika say about paramattha dhammas?
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Re: Prasangika Differences...

Postby Myotai » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:36 pm

robertk wrote:they may well be at odds. what do prasanghika say about paramattha dhammas?



:smile:

Same as they say about ALL other phenomena ... Empty of any inherent existence and subject to the same logic. Utterly un findable as anything other than a conceptual imputation in dependence upon suitable basis of imputation (aggregates) which themselves are empty...ad infinitum
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Re: Prasangika Differences...

Postby daverupa » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:54 pm

Beautiful Breath wrote:To me the Prasangika stance is pretty water-tight so I have to wonder how and why it would not be embraced.


Just off the cuff, one reason might be that the Dhamma doesn't leave unanswered questions for Prasangika to answer. It's Candrakirti's commentarial approach more than anything else, isn't it?

:shrug:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Prasangika Differences...

Postby robertk » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:44 am

Myotai wrote:
robertk wrote:they may well be at odds. what do prasanghika say about paramattha dhammas?



:smile:

Same as they say about ALL other phenomena ... Empty of any inherent existence and subject to the same logic. Utterly un findable as anything other than a conceptual imputation in dependence upon suitable basis of imputation (aggregates) which themselves are empty...ad infinitum

I find it a bit hard to understand what you write above. Are you saying that khandhas(aggregates) like feeling have no existence, that they don't arise or cease?
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Re: Prasangika Differences...

Postby Myotai » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:08 am

I find it a bit hard to understand what you write above. Are you saying that khandhas(aggregates) like feeling have no existence, that they don't arise or cease?


No, on the contrary. That's exactly what I am saying, I am just describing 'how' they exist.

According to the Prasangika school all phenomena (note, without exception) are merely appearances to the mind in dependence upon them having a valid basis of imputation. I.e. a collection of leaves is not a valid basis for the mind to impute 'money'. But a collection of coins is a valid basis to impute money. However, the 'money' is merely a conceptual imputation - it has no existence other than this, anywhere.
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Re: Prasangika Differences...

Postby robertk » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:05 am

Ok, what I am not clear on is how you categorise/distinguish concepts and realities. In Theravada paramattha dhammas arise and then cease instantly, but at the moment they arise they are utterly real, they are conditioned and not self.
Concepts like people are mere terms of designation. So people, human beings, money do not exist at all, they are only concepts.
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Re: Prasangika Differences...

Postby Myotai » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 am

robertk wrote:Concepts like people are mere terms of designation. So people, human beings, money do not exist at all, they are only concepts.


Yep, merely conceptual imputations, that we apportion a name to then believe to be 'real'. They're experienced but illusory by nature. They exist but the nature of their existence is deceptive.
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Re: Prasangika Differences...

Postby Myotai » Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:50 pm

Myotai wrote:
robertk wrote:Concepts like people are mere terms of designation. So people, human beings, money do not exist at all, they are only concepts.


Yep, merely conceptual imputations, that we apportion a name to then believe to be 'real'. They're experienced but illusory by nature. They exist but the nature of their existence is deceptive.



Ask yourself "What is a person?" A person is a name given to a collection of aggregates. 'Person' is neither in the collection or separate from it, existing as mere name. Note EXISTING as mere name, that is its mode of existence.

Prasngikas are not saying people, money, persons do not exist. The do exist but not in the way they appear and not as something separate from conception.
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