Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

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

Postby CecilN » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:14 am

Coëmgenu wrote:Ven Buddhadasa makes good insights, but sometimes he or his commentators seems to be prone to supercessionist rhetoric regarding how these teachings allegedly "replace" the already-existing transmissions of Buddhavacana-interpretation.

You were unable to prove your views were correct, where I was able to make a strong case that Buddhadasa's views accord with the original Pali suttas. Based on my case & your silence on the issue, it would seem what you call the "already-existing transmissions of Buddhavacana-interpretation" have replaced the original teachings of the Buddha. It is your task to prove 'sankhara' are 'volitional formations', consciousness is 're-linking consciousness' and 'birth' is physical birth from a new rebirth.

Ven Buddhadasa gives an explanation that is focused and related to practice in the here-and-now in this life and it is particularly open and inviting to modern scientific peoples who would have otherwise not been open to any Dhamma at all.

The Buddha-Dhamma was explicitly defined by the Lord Buddha as related to practice in the here-and-now. Please refer to MN 38.

I think Ven Buddhadasa's interpretations don't actually contradict normal understandings of rebirth. The two applications of the teaching can exist side-by-side without contradiction or incoherency.

But they do contradict ordinary (not 'normal') speculative theory (not 'understandings') of rebirth. Buddhadasa is referring to a mental rebirth of self-view, which can be known or understood. Where as the ordinary theory can merely speculate about a physical rebirth. The two applications of the teaching cannot exist side-by-side without contradiction or incoherency.

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby chownah » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:33 am

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

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Aloka
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Aloka » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:48 am

Coemgenu wrote: Ven Buddhadasa gives an explanation that is focused and related to practice in the here-and-now in this life and it is particularly open and inviting to modern scientific peoples who would have otherwise not been open to any Dhamma at all.



To see what the Buddha said about practice in the here and now, please read suttas MN131, SN1.10, and AN 6.47.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.131.nana.html

https://suttacentral.net/en/sn1.10

https://suttacentral.net/en/an6.47


:anjali:

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Coëmgenu » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:06 pm

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:Ven Buddhadasa makes good insights, but sometimes he or his commentators seems to be prone to supercessionist rhetoric regarding how these teachings allegedly "replace" the already-existing transmissions of Buddhavacana-interpretation.

You were unable to prove your views were correct, where I was able to make a strong case that Buddhadasa's views accord with the original Pali suttas. Based on my case & your silence on the issue, it would seem what you call the "already-existing transmissions of Buddhavacana-interpretation" have replaced the original teachings of the Buddha. It is your task to prove 'sankhara' are 'volitional formations', consciousness is 're-linking consciousness' and 'birth' is physical birth from a new rebirth.

Ven Buddhadasa gives an explanation that is focused and related to practice in the here-and-now in this life and it is particularly open and inviting to modern scientific peoples who would have otherwise not been open to any Dhamma at all.

The Buddha-Dhamma was explicitly defined by the Lord Buddha as related to practice in the here-and-now. Please refer to MN 38.

I think Ven Buddhadasa's interpretations don't actually contradict normal understandings of rebirth. The two applications of the teaching can exist side-by-side without contradiction or incoherency.

But they do contradict ordinary (not 'normal') speculative theory (not 'understandings') of rebirth. Buddhadasa is referring to a mental rebirth of self-view, which can be known or understood. Where as the ordinary theory can merely speculate about a physical rebirth. The two applications of the teaching cannot exist side-by-side without contradiction or incoherency.
I have no responcibility to prove anything to you regarding Buddhism, I have no such task to engage in further off-topic chatter on this issue. If you want to talk about Nágárjuna and Theraváda please come back more informed about the subject material and not basing your arguments on quickly-scanned wikipedia pages which offer little context.

You are welcome to be a Buddhadasist. Truth be told I am not interested in further conversation with you, especially profoundly off-topic conversation with someone deeply entrenched in fundamentalism toward a particular idiosyncratic interpretation and who is prone to framing things exclusively on terms of conflict, winners and losers. Your post above this one just shows to me we cannot have any sort of communication at all because we are simply too different and have completely different approaches to... basically everything? And will probably never meet on any equal ground on account of this entreanchedness. So I'm throwing in the towel simply because I have no interest in responding to what you just wrote above this post. You haven't established what you have claimed to establish. Maybe start your own "there is no actual rebirth" thread? Just kindly stop side-tracking this one.

I'm not really interested in more unsubstantiated accusations of ad hominems, etc, simply for pointing out that you are critically uninformed on the issues pertinent to this thread.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:46 pm, edited 3 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

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Twilight
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Twilight » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:22 pm

@Cellin: All the suttas in the "Elements" section of SN say the earth element is impermanent. I will quote just one:
“Bhikkhus, the arising, continuation, production, and manifestation of the earth element is the arising of suffering, the continuation of disease, the manifestation of aging-and death. The arising, continuation, production, and manifestation of the water element … the heat element … the air element is the arising of suffering, the continuation of disease, the manifestation of aging-and-death.
“The cessation, subsiding, and passing away of the earth element … the air element is the cessation of suffering, the subsiding of disease, the passing away of aging-and-death.”

“Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘The pleasure and joy that arise in dependence on the earth element: this is the gratification in the earth element. That the earth element is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this is the danger in the earth element. The removal and abandonment of desire and lust for the earth element: this is the escape from the earth element.

@cownah: The earth element is not a mental concept. It refers to the property of solidity that exists in this world. For example the solidity found in a random building in Israel that you have never seen in your life does exist despite Cownah never seen that building himself. Also, the earth element is something that exist and will cease. The self never existed to begin with.

@Aloka: As Mkoll has said, they can be used as a pedagogical tool in that way. But to say Buddha did not teach different realms of existence and did not teach rebirth is another story.

@cogemenu: One who has read the pali canon may or may not interpret it wrong based on hermeneutic lens. One who has not read it but only read famous bhikkhus will be guaranteed to understand it through those bhikkhus hermeneutic lens. He does not even have a chance to understand it without hermeneutic lens. At least the one who read it does have this chance.
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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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Coëmgenu » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:36 pm

Twilight wrote:@cogemenu: One who has read the pali canon may or may not interpret it wrong based on hermeneutic lens. One who has not read it but only read famous bhikkhus will be guaranteed to understand it through those bhikkhus hermeneutic lens. He does not even have a chance to understand it without hermeneutic lens. At least the one who read it does have this chance.
A side-product of the post-Protestant hermeneutic I described earlier is that those who use it do not conceive of themselves as having a hermeneutic interpretive lens at all. Because they conceive of their hermeneutics as "objective, without bias, and just-the-text, as-it-is, without inferences".

You mentioned that by reading the canon, one may have a chance to see the true objective text "without a hermeneutic lens", but I don't think hermeneutics can be escaped so easily. It is my personal suspicion that only the Buddha's are exempt from hermeneutics, but to each their own, thank you for your civility, just because people find themselves momentarily disagreeing on a given issue doesn't mean it can't be done with dispassion.

The abandoning of hermeneutics, which are predicated on biases, preconceptions, views, conceptualizations, intellectual hypostatizations, and in short, on samsara, is part of the path anyways. I wish you well on your continuing journey, as I hope you wish me likewise.

If you are interested in exploring the role of interpretation and hermeneutics in the Pāli scriptures, there is a thread here for it, but it is sorely underdeveloped (on my part at least, some commentators on the thread have some interesting insights) because I suddenly found myself with much less free time after starting it.

:anjali:
-Caoimhghín
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

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SDC
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby SDC » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:09 pm

Bakmoon wrote:
CecilN wrote:Obviously, any element or atom of earth element is impermanent, since it will be subject to erosion. But how far can an atom of earth element be broken down until it ceases without remainder?

What does this question mean? What do you mean by breaking an atom of earth down until it ceases without remainder?


I know Ven. Ñāṇavīra is not everyone's cup of tea, but he had some interesting thoughts on the subject.

In the Kevaddhasutta (Dīgha i,11 <D.i,223>), it is said that the question 'Where do the four mahābhūtā finally cease?' is wrongly asked, and that the question should be 'Where do [the four mahābhūtā] get no footing? Where do nāma and rūpa finally cease?' Matter or substance (rūpa) is essentially inertia or resistance (see Dīgha ii,2 <D.ii,62>---[9]), or as the four mahābhūtā it can be regarded as four kinds of behaviour (i.e. the four primary patterns of inertia—see NĀMA)...

...In itself, purely as inertia or behaviour, matter cannot be said to exist. (Cf. Heidegger, op. cit., p. 212.) And if it cannot be said to exist it cannot be said to cease. Thus the question 'Where do the four mahābhūtā finally cease?' is improper. (The question will have been asked with the notion in mind of an existing general material world common to all. Such a general world could only exist—and cease—if there were a general consciousness common to all. But this is a contradiction, since consciousness and individuality [see SAKKĀYA] are one.) But behaviour can get a footing in existence by being present in some form. As rūpa in nāmarūpa, the four mahābhūtā get a borrowed existence as the behaviour of appearance (just as feeling, perception, and intentions, get a borrowed substance as the appearance of behaviour). And nāmarūpa is the condition for viññāna as viññāna is for nāmarūpa. When viññāna (q.v.) is anidassana it is said to have ceased (since avijjā has ceased). Thus, with cessation of viññāna there is cessation of nāmarūpa, and the four mahābhūtā no longer get a footing in existence. (The passage at Salāyatana Samyutta xix,8 <S.iv,192>, ...bhikkhu catunnam mahābhūtānam samudayañ ca atthagamañ ca yathābhūtam pajānāti, ('...a monk understands as they really are the arising and ceasing of the four great entities') is to be understood in this sense.) - Ven. Ñāṇavīra, Shorter Note on Rūpa


(emphasis added)

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Twilight
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Twilight » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:45 pm

You mentioned that by reading the canon, one may have a chance to see the true objective text "without a hermeneutic lens", but I don't think hermeneutics can be escaped so easily. It is my personal suspicion that only the Buddha's are exempt from hermeneutics, but to each their own, thank you for your civility, just because people find themselves momentarily disagreeing on a given issue doesn't mean it can't be done with dispassion.

The abandoning of hermeneutics, which are predicated on biases, preconceptions, views, conceptualizations, intellectual hypostatizations, and in short, on samsara, is part of the path anyways. I wish you well on your continuing journey, as I hope you wish me likewise.

Thanks for your compliments and I do wish you the same. I also wish you will one day give Buddha a change just like you have gave Nagarjuna and others a chance by reading their books.

About Nanavira:
.In itself, purely as inertia or behaviour, matter cannot be said to exist. (Cf. Heidegger, op. cit., p. 212.) And if it cannot be said to exist it cannot be said to cease.

This claim that form does not exist and the endless speculations about existence that follow are why I consider him a constructivist. He has not read this sutta quoted by me recently:
“Bhikkhus, the arising, continuation, production, and manifestation of the earth element is the arising of suffering, the continuation of disease, the manifestation of aging-and death. The arising, continuation, production, and manifestation of the water element … the heat element … the air element is the arising of suffering, the continuation of disease, the manifestation of aging-and-death.
“The cessation, subsiding, and passing away of the earth element … the air element is the cessation of suffering, the subsiding of disease, the passing away of aging-and-death.”

Buddha has voiced only 2 opinions about existence. Buddha was a realist not a constructivist. If one can find any more opinions except these 2, please provide sutta:
I've never heard Buddha debate weather the earth element is inherently real or not. Honestly I don't even understand too much what "inherently" is supposed to mean. Buddha view about the earth element and everything else is like this:

1) They have no substance, but they do exist.

Form has as much substance in it as consciousness or volition. That is how it should be seen. But it does exist just like consciousness or volition do exist.

2) That who sees their cessation can not say they exist because they cease. Those who see their arising can not say they don't exist because they do arise.


This is not meant to be understood in some constructivist, relativist way. It should be understood pretty simple. Think about it. There is a banana. The banana will disappear at one point and will be no more. Nobody will even remember it. It will be like it never was. So it can not be said that it really exists from this point of view. On the other hand, the banana has arisen and does exist at the moment. So nobody can say the banana does not exist. Things exist but they are impermanent so at one point they cease to exist. Pretty simple and straightforward, no need for endless philosophical debates.


As for the Kevatta sutta, the reason the question was phrased wrongly is because the answer would imply "the four great elements cease without reminder in nibbana" - witch would make nibbana a place or a thing that exists. It would make it a "thing" that has properties, such as the property of the 4 great elements not existing in it.

By asking where they would get no footing, the answer would be "the four great elements get no footing in nibbana" because of the absence of consciousness. When there is no consciousness or anything whatsoever, how could the four great elements or anything else be distinguished ?

It should be noted that this is a strangely worded sutta witch was twisted around by some such as Thanissaro to make a case for eternal consciousness in nibanna, in complete disregard for what is said in innumerable other suttas about nibbana. Also it was translated in a controversial way by Thanissaro (witch is quoted here by Nanavira) no make a case for his eternal consciousness thai forest views about Nibbana.

PS: It should also be noted that this sutta comes from DN, a small 600 page book that was meant for propaganda. The book containing the fundamental doctrine where all is explained in better detail is SN. Things are very clear there. It is very probable that such poetic verses from DN were written not to scare more idealist newcomers away. In any case, it is not in the small and poetic propaganda book for newcomers that one should look for difficult answers. It is in SN where one should look to clarify such questions. Also, DN is known to have possibly been corrupted. But this is unimportant anyway since it was meant for propaganda and not for gaining real knowledge.
Last edited by Twilight on Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

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aflatun
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby aflatun » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:50 pm

SDC wrote:
Bakmoon wrote:
CecilN wrote:Obviously, any element or atom of earth element is impermanent, since it will be subject to erosion. But how far can an atom of earth element be broken down until it ceases without remainder?

What does this question mean? What do you mean by breaking an atom of earth down until it ceases without remainder?


I know Ven. Ñāṇavīra is not everyone's cup of tea, but he had some interesting thoughts on the subject.

In the Kevaddhasutta (Dīgha i,11 <D.i,223>), it is said that the question 'Where do the four mahābhūtā finally cease?' is wrongly asked, and that the question should be 'Where do [the four mahābhūtā] get no footing? Where do nāma and rūpa finally cease?' Matter or substance (rūpa) is essentially inertia or resistance (see Dīgha ii,2 <D.ii,62>---[9]), or as the four mahābhūtā it can be regarded as four kinds of behaviour (i.e. the four primary patterns of inertia—see NĀMA)...

...In itself, purely as inertia or behaviour, matter cannot be said to exist. (Cf. Heidegger, op. cit., p. 212.) And if it cannot be said to exist it cannot be said to cease. Thus the question 'Where do the four mahābhūtā finally cease?' is improper. (The question will have been asked with the notion in mind of an existing general material world common to all. Such a general world could only exist—and cease—if there were a general consciousness common to all. But this is a contradiction, since consciousness and individuality [see SAKKĀYA] are one.) But behaviour can get a footing in existence by being present in some form. As rūpa in nāmarūpa, the four mahābhūtā get a borrowed existence as the behaviour of appearance (just as feeling, perception, and intentions, get a borrowed substance as the appearance of behaviour). And nāmarūpa is the condition for viññāna as viññāna is for nāmarūpa. When viññāna (q.v.) is anidassana it is said to have ceased (since avijjā has ceased). Thus, with cessation of viññāna there is cessation of nāmarūpa, and the four mahābhūtā no longer get a footing in existence. (The passage at Salāyatana Samyutta xix,8 <S.iv,192>, ...bhikkhu catunnam mahābhūtānam samudayañ ca atthagamañ ca yathābhūtam pajānāti, ('...a monk understands as they really are the arising and ceasing of the four great entities') is to be understood in this sense.) - Ven. Ñāṇavīra, Shorter Note on Rūpa


(emphasis added)


This is a wonderful passage, thank you for sharing.

(As far as Ñāṇavīra and one's "cup of tea" I am attracted to his writings, partly because I have a philosophy background/interest, and feel that he has something very deep to convey, however I find his writing style often bordering on incomprehensible and needlessly vague, which often leaves me frustrated and ready to throw in the towel :toilet: Perhaps I should post specific questions in the Modern Interpretations forum when they come up? )

Anyway, a passage comes to mind from some of my current readings:

But in YṢ 34 Nāgārjuna declares he believes the physical-material objective
reality to be dependent on consciousness:

Things spoken of, the great elements and so forth, are enclosed in
consciousness. When this is understood, they dissolve. Indeed, they
are a mistaken construction.


The elements are “checked by” or “enclosed in consciousness” (vijñāne samavarudhyate, rnam par shes su yang dag ’du).They can
be dissolved when this is understood, and hence are not objectively real but depend on consciousness for their being. They are further defined as a mistaken mental construction (mithyā vikalpitam, log pas rnam brtags).

When we realize that Nāgārjuna understood things to rise out of ignorance, we can better understand his intention in describing them as being similar to illusions, dreams, phantoms, cities of gandharvas, and the like. This is a central feature of Nāgārjuna’s thought, which he expresses in diff erent verses and contexts.51 A good example is ŚS 66:

Conditioned things are like a city of gandharvas, an illusion, a phantom,
hairs (seen by a person suffering from a cataract), a bubble in the stream,
a magical display, a dream and a whirling fire-brand.


Eviatar Shulman, Creative Ignorance: Nagarjuna on the Ontological Significance of Consciousness
We approach the Buddha’s teaching with our precast pigeonholes: either it has to be idealism, or it must be realism. If one really wants to call this an ‘ism’, they should be calling it ‘let-go-ism’. One picks up only to make use of and let go.

Ñāṇananda

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SDC
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby SDC » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:54 pm

Twilight wrote:It should be noted that this is a strangely worded sutta witch was twisted around by some such as Thanissaro to make a case for eternal consciousness in nibanna, in complete disregard for what is said in innumerable other suttas about nibbana. Also it was translated in a controversial way by Thanissaro (witch is quoted here by Nanavira) no make a case for his eternal consciousness thai forest views about Nibbana.


Ven. Ñāṇavīra wrote Notes on Dhamma in the early 1960's. Ven. Thanissaro was around 11 years old when it was published. If you are insinuating something else that I am not understanding, my apologies for misunderstanding you.

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aflatun
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby aflatun » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:56 pm

Here's another:

Needless to say, there are many passages in all of Nāgārjuna’s main philosophical texts that suggest that phenomena are similar to illusions, dreams, gandharva cities, and the like. Furthermore, in my personal brand of Māyopamavāda, one more important thing can be said about what it means for reality to be “similar to an illusion”: conventionally speaking, reality is related to, or even nondistinct from, consciousness. Reality is nothing more than ignorant understanding. I have elsewhere discussed numerous verses from the MMK, YṢ and the ŚS that support this understanding.36 Other verses that fit this statement well are RĀ 1.93–9537:

1.93 Earth, water, fire, wind,
long and short, subtle and coarse, virtue and so forth
are taught by the Sage to cease in consciousness.
1.94 In this limitless consciousness that cannot be
taught, the lord of all,
earth, water, fire and wind find no footing.
1.95 Here, long and short, subtle and coarse,
virtue and non-virtue, here name and form as well,
fully cease


These verses resonate with YṢ 34 and are a synopsis of the Buddha’s words in the Kevaddha-sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya. They suggest that material reality is fully dependant on consciousness. Another example would be Lokātitastava 19:

Hence, you have understood that this world arises from
conceptuality (parikalpa). Unreal, unarisen, it is not
destroyed.


Eviatar Shulman, Nāgārjuna the Yogācārin? Vasubandhu the Mādhyamika? on the middle-way between realism and antirealism
Last edited by aflatun on Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
We approach the Buddha’s teaching with our precast pigeonholes: either it has to be idealism, or it must be realism. If one really wants to call this an ‘ism’, they should be calling it ‘let-go-ism’. One picks up only to make use of and let go.

Ñāṇananda

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SDC
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby SDC » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:58 pm

aflatun wrote:(As far as Ñāṇavīra and one's "cup of tea" I am attracted to his writings, partly because I have a philosophy background/interest, and feel that he has something very deep to convey, however I find his writing style often bordering on incomprehensible and needlessly vague, which often leaves me frustrated and ready to throw in the towel :toilet: Perhaps I should post specific questions in the Modern Interpretations forum when they come up? )


Definitely do so. If it makes you feel any better, it took me several passes, over a period of years, before Notes on Dhamma began to gel.

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aflatun
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby aflatun » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:07 pm

SDC wrote:
aflatun wrote:(As far as Ñāṇavīra and one's "cup of tea" I am attracted to his writings, partly because I have a philosophy background/interest, and feel that he has something very deep to convey, however I find his writing style often bordering on incomprehensible and needlessly vague, which often leaves me frustrated and ready to throw in the towel :toilet: Perhaps I should post specific questions in the Modern Interpretations forum when they come up? )


Definitely do so. If it makes you feel any better, it took me several passes, over a period of years, before Notes on Dhamma began to gel.


That does make me feel better, and I will do so my friend!
We approach the Buddha’s teaching with our precast pigeonholes: either it has to be idealism, or it must be realism. If one really wants to call this an ‘ism’, they should be calling it ‘let-go-ism’. One picks up only to make use of and let go.

Ñāṇananda

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Bakmoon » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:24 pm

CecilN wrote:This thread is about Nāgārjuna & I am pointing to what is practical versus creating a dogma. The Buddha practically taught the physical body is impermanent because it is something the mind attaches to as 'self', which creates suffering. But once we enter into dogmatic views such as the element of earth has 'no inherent existence', we come to problems such as proving the element of earth ceases to have the sabhava of 'earthiness'. Earth will always be earthy, just as consciousness will always cognise, just as Nibbana will always be peaceful. These inherent qualities of these things is their 'sabhava' (own nature). The element of earth can only have no inherent existence when it loses its earthiness or ceases without remainder; just as the illusory 'self' concept can cease without remainder. But the element of earth, unlike the hallucinatory self-concept, cannot cease without remainder. The earth element appears to always exist as earth element, regardless of its transformation into food, trees, flesh, sand, dust, atoms, etc.

Madhyamaka most certainly does not deny that phenomena have attributes and can be distinguished by these attributed. Madhyamaka denies the idea though that the qualities or attributes of phenomena form any sort of ontological core or essence of these phenomena. Water is wet, fire is hot, earth is earthy, etc... but wetness is not a substance that pervades water.
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 Coëmgenu » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:54 pm

aflatun wrote:Here's another:

Needless to say, there are many passages in all of Nāgārjuna’s main philosophical texts that suggest that phenomena are similar to illusions, dreams, gandharva cities, and the like. Furthermore, in my personal brand of Māyopamavāda, one more important thing can be said about what it means for reality to be “similar to an illusion”: conventionally speaking, reality is related to, or even nondistinct from, consciousness. Reality is nothing more than ignorant understanding. I have elsewhere discussed numerous verses from the MMK, YṢ and the ŚS that support this understanding.36 Other verses that fit this statement well are RĀ 1.93–9537:

1.93 Earth, water, fire, wind,
long and short, subtle and coarse, virtue and so forth
are taught by the Sage to cease in consciousness.
1.94 In this limitless consciousness that cannot be
taught, the lord of all,
earth, water, fire and wind find no footing.
1.95 Here, long and short, subtle and coarse,
virtue and non-virtue, here name and form as well,
fully cease


These verses resonate with YṢ 34 and are a synopsis of the Buddha’s words in the Kevaddha-sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya. They suggest that material reality is fully dependant on consciousness. Another example would be Lokātitastava 19:

Hence, you have understood that this world arises from
conceptuality (parikalpa). Unreal, unarisen, it is not
destroyed.


Eviatar Shulman, Nāgārjuna the Yogācārin? Vasubandhu the Mādhyamika? on the middle-way between realism and antirealism
When dealing with Nágárjuna, it's important to keep the historical figure, an early Madhyamika writer from South India, and the mythological 1200 year old Tibetan alchemist named Nágárjuna, a mind-only Yogácára theorist, seperate, despite the mythology of Tibetan Buddhism claiming these two figures are one-and-the-same. :spy:

I'm not saying you are necessarily confusing the earlier Nágárjuna and the latter Nágárjuna (often called Áryanágárjuna), but calling Nágárjuna a Yogácárin usually comes from Tibetan mythology.
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

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby aflatun » Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:56 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
aflatun wrote:Here's another:

Needless to say, there are many passages in all of Nāgārjuna’s main philosophical texts that suggest that phenomena are similar to illusions, dreams, gandharva cities, and the like. Furthermore, in my personal brand of Māyopamavāda, one more important thing can be said about what it means for reality to be “similar to an illusion”: conventionally speaking, reality is related to, or even nondistinct from, consciousness. Reality is nothing more than ignorant understanding. I have elsewhere discussed numerous verses from the MMK, YṢ and the ŚS that support this understanding.36 Other verses that fit this statement well are RĀ 1.93–9537:

1.93 Earth, water, fire, wind,
long and short, subtle and coarse, virtue and so forth
are taught by the Sage to cease in consciousness.
1.94 In this limitless consciousness that cannot be
taught, the lord of all,
earth, water, fire and wind find no footing.
1.95 Here, long and short, subtle and coarse,
virtue and non-virtue, here name and form as well,
fully cease


These verses resonate with YṢ 34 and are a synopsis of the Buddha’s words in the Kevaddha-sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya. They suggest that material reality is fully dependant on consciousness. Another example would be Lokātitastava 19:

Hence, you have understood that this world arises from
conceptuality (parikalpa). Unreal, unarisen, it is not
destroyed.


Eviatar Shulman, Nāgārjuna the Yogācārin? Vasubandhu the Mādhyamika? on the middle-way between realism and antirealism
When dealing with Nágárjuna, it's important to keep the historical figure, an early Madhyamika writer from South India, and the mythological 1200 year old Tibetan alchemist named Nágárjuna, a mind-only Yogácára theorist, seperate, despite the mythology of Tibetan Buddhism claiming these two figures are one-and-the-same. :spy:

I'm not saying you are necessarily confusing the earlier Nágárjuna and the latter Nágárjuna (often called Áryanágárjuna), but calling Nágárjuna a Yogácárin usually comes from Tibetan mythology.



Duly noted, however I (and the passage) are referring to the former figure no doubt.

A considerable amount of Shulman's focus is on separating Nagarjuna from his latter commentators (meaning *all* of them) and showing some points of convergence with Vasubandhu. I am no expert in these matters by any stretch of the imagination but I find his interpretations compelling thus far!
We approach the Buddha’s teaching with our precast pigeonholes: either it has to be idealism, or it must be realism. If one really wants to call this an ‘ism’, they should be calling it ‘let-go-ism’. One picks up only to make use of and let go.

Ñāṇananda

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Aloka » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:19 pm

Deleted.
Last edited by Aloka on Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby aflatun » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:33 pm

aflatun wrote:I'm personally a huge fan and find him quite consistent with the views of Ven. Ñāṇananda (also a huge fan :) ) and others, and the Pali Texts.

As an aside I've been reading a great deal by Eviatar Shulman lately and he has an avid interest in Nagarjuna, especially as compared to Yogacara. I'll post some links later if anyone is interested.

Edited to add something from the Heretic Sage (Ñāṇananda):

“I didn’t quote from the Mahāyāna texts in the Nib­bāna ser­mons,” he says, “because there was no need. All that was needed was already found in the Sut­tas. Teach­ers like Nāgār­juna brought to light what was already there but was hid­den from view. Unfor­tu­nately his later fol­low­ers turned it in to a vāda.”

He goes on to quote two of his favourite verses from Ven. Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamād­hya­makakārikā (as usual, from memory):

Śūnyatā sarva-dṛṣtīnaṃ proktā niḥsaranaṃ jinaiḥ,
yeṣāṃ śūnyatā-dṛṣtis tān asād­hyān babhāṣire [MK 13.8]

The Vic­to­ri­ous Ones have declared that empti­ness is the relin­quish­ing of all views. Those who are pos­sessed of the view of empti­ness are said to be incorrigible.

Sarva-dṛṣti-prahāṇāya yaḥ sad­dhar­mam adeśayat,
anukam­pam upādāya taṃ namasyāmi gau­tamaṃ [MK 26.30]

I rev­er­ently bow to Gau­tama who, out of com­pas­sion, has taught the doc­trine in order to relin­quish all views.

Bhante doesn’t bother trans­lat­ing the verses; the ones pro­vided above are by David Kalupahana.

“When I first read the Kārikā I too was doubt­ing Ven. Nāgārjuna’s san­ity” he laughs. “But the work needs to be under­stood in the con­text. He was tak­ing a jab at the Sarvās­tivādins. To be hon­est, even the oth­ers deserve the rebuke, although they now try to get away by using Sarvās­tivāda as an excuse. How skilled Ven. Nāgār­juna must have been, to com­pose those verses so ele­gantly and fill­ing them with so much mean­ing, like the Dhamma­pada verses. It’s quite amaz­ing...If there is no sub­stance in any­thing, what is left is empti­ness. But many peo­ple are afraid of words. Like śūnyatā. They want to pro­tect their four.” With that ‘irrev­er­ent’ com­ment about the four para­mattha dhamma–s of the Abhid­hamma, Bhante Ñāṇananda breaks into amused laughter.


http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... ge,_Part_2


Just bumping my post to ask if anyone is aware of other "Theravada" (loosely speaking) opinions on Nagarjuna or points of convergence besides Nanananda, Nanavira, Kalupahana, and the opinions of posters already seen?

I recall an audio recording of Sujato teaching a bit from Nagarjuna's writings where he offered a positive appraisal of his ideas, I think it may have been one of these:


http://www.dhammanet.org/history-nagarjuna-part-1
We approach the Buddha’s teaching with our precast pigeonholes: either it has to be idealism, or it must be realism. If one really wants to call this an ‘ism’, they should be calling it ‘let-go-ism’. One picks up only to make use of and let go.

Ñāṇananda

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby srivijaya » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:15 pm

CecilN wrote:But how far can an atom of earth element be broken down until it ceases without remainder?


Not saying it's your view but I encountered a similar one many years ago whilst studying the tenet systems. It reminds me of the Vaibhasika school. One which accepts truly existent external objects. The basis being partless particles - the smallest sub-atomic division. Interesting parallels.
:anjali:

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby CecilN » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:19 pm

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]...


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