Coëmgenu wrote:If all this is empty, there is neither origination nor cessation.
This is contrary to Theravada.
Not abandoned, not acquired, not annihilated, not eternal, not ceased, not arisen,
thus is nirvāṇa said to be.
Where? By whom?
Nirvāṇa is not, on the one hand, an existent;
Nāgārjuna uses the term "bhavo". "Bhavo" or "bhava" has different usages. "Bhavo" can mean "self-becoming", as in the following verse:
"The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming: This, friend Visakha, is the origination of self-identification described by the Blessed One. MN 44
Nirvana is certainly not "bhavo" but Nirvana exists in an experiential way; just as the sun or the moon "exist" but are not the "bhavo" of a "self".
if it were, its having the characteristics of old age and death would follow,
for there is no existent devoid of old age and death.
Nirvana is not a self-view. It is only self-view or the view of a 'being' (satta) that is subject to aging & death.
And if nirvāṇa were an existent, nirvāṇa would be conditioned,
This is contrary to Theravada, which states:
There is, bhikkhus, that base where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering
And if nirvāṇa were an existent, how could one say that nirvāṇa is nondependent?
Easily, as the Buddha said it.
For never is there found any existent that is nondependent.
That which when dependent or conditioned comes into and goes out of existence, that, when not conditioned or dependent, is called nirvāṇa.
Nirvana is something "experienced". Nāgārjuna is way off the mark here.
And the teacher taught the abandonment of coming into and going out of existence.
Thus it is correct to call nirvāṇa neither existent nor an absence.
The teacher taught Nirvana is experienced. It is a sense object or ayatana (as quoted above).
If nirvāṇa were both an existent and an absence, then liberation would be an absence and an existent, and that is not correct.
Nirvana is an existent or element (asankhata dhatu per MN 115) but it is not an entity or a self.
It is not to be asserted that the Buddha exists beyond cessation,
nor “does not exist” nor “both exists and does not exist,”
nor “neither exists nor does not exist”
—none of these is to be asserted.
The Buddha does exist but not as a person or self or being. The Buddha is the Dhamma, which exists.
There is no distinction whatsoever between saṃsāra and nirvāṇa.
There is no distinction whatsoever between nirvāṇa and saṃsāra.
There is distinction . Samsara is comprised of ignorance & craving where as nirvana is the absence of ignorance & craving.
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.
Was it beyond nirodha (cessation) is Nirvana (peace). When craving ceases, peace is known; just as when a fire is extinguished (nirodha), coolness (Nirvana) is known & freedom from oppression (vimutti).
All dharmas being empty, what is without end, what has an end?
What is both with and without end, and what is neither without end nor having an end?
Sankharas are impermanent & empty. Non-sankhara is not impermanent but also empty.
This halting of cognizing everything, the halting of hypostatizing, is blissful.
This is wrong. MN 43 states cognising (consciousness) & wisdom are cojoined. MN 12 states there is no end to the Buddha's wisdom (while conscious).
No Dharma whatsoever was ever taught by the Buddha to anyone.
The Buddha taught Dhamma to minds (rather than to persons, selfs or beings).
Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna are in conflict in so many ways. Nāgārjuna is mere intellectual philosophy and does not represent meditative experience. Just hocus pocus.