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 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:01 pm

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


:coffee:
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.

Non-sense. Unproven.

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.
Last edited by CecilN on Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.

CecilN
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby CecilN » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:11 pm

Caodemarte wrote:Is there any Theravada thinker who says Nibbana and samsara are things and have a self?

'Things' ('dhammas') & 'self' ('atta') are not synonymous in Theravāda, as they appear to be in Nāgārjunavāda.

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Aloka
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Aloka » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:22 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
I wonder why Garfield didn't want to call samsara samsara if he is content to call Nirvana Nirvana? It says samsara in the Sanskrit. :shrug:


I've no idea. I have a commentary called " The Sun of Wisdom" by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyampso and his translation is " samsara".

I can't quote any of it though, because its strict copyright - and I'm not particularly interested in Nagarjuna anyway, to be honest.


:alien:

Caodemarte
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Caodemarte » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:45 pm

CecilN wrote:
Caodemarte wrote:Is there any Theravada thinker who says Nibbana and samsara are things and have a self?

'Things' ('dhammas') & 'self' ('atta') are not synonymous in Theravāda, as they appear to be in Nāgārjunavāda.


Ok then: Is there any Theravada thinker who says Nibbana and samsara are things, self-existing independent dhammas? Or anything else for that matter? As I understand, most Theravada commentators say Nibbana cannot be said either to exist or not exist (it transcends both categories) which is right in line with Nagarjuna.

I was under the impression that the atomistic interpretation (there really are such things but they are really tiny) had died out well before either Theravada or Mahayana had coalesced. What Nagarjuna is arguing, as far as I understand, is that interdependent origination logically must apply throughout. Hence everything is empty. This applies to nirvana and samsara which therefore cannot be separated as it applies to apples and oranges. Of course, it would be false to say that apples are oranges so he carefully says apples and oranges are not separate, but not the same just as nirvana and samsara are not two.

P.S.
Remember that all this very definitely comes from meditative experience (or such is cited) in addition to logic. Most importantly of all, it is meant to inspire the reader (or hearer) to similar experience.

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Coëmgenu » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:48 pm

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:So basically you have decided to get angry at me because you disagree with your own misunderstanding of what you think Nāgārjuna posits or does not posit? When did I say that the aggregates don't exist?

I am not angry at you. Please refrain from such projections. Return to the topic.

If Nāgārjuna posits that all things have no inherent existence then Nāgārjuna must posit the aggregates & elements (including the Nibbana element & the element of Dhamma Law) have no inherent existence.
You don't understand what inherent means in this context. Things do not exist on their own on account of their own self-nature. They are dependently originated. That is what is being said when inherency is refuted. Inherency and dependant origination are believed to be antithetical in this context.

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:Perhaps I will make a seperate thread to inquire as to the providence of the fourfold negation array in Theravāda Buddhism.

This is not necessary because it does not apply to all things. For example, this fourfold negation array that negates a Buddha is something after "death" (marana) would also negate the teachings of 're-birth'. This would not make sense & shows the fourhold negation array does not apply to all things. You & Nāgārjuna debated the Lord Buddha and were defeated by the Lord Buddha.
No, I was engaged in one-sided non-debate with someone on the internet who is far too willing to claim he speaks for the Buddha. These are your interpretations of Buddhavacana, not Buddhavacana.

The fourfold negation is what the ultimate issues on this thread are, however it has moved far too off-topic to make it any use to get into the issue here. I am making a seperate thread for the Fourfold Negation in the Pāli Canon.
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 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:00 am

Caodemarte wrote:Is there any Theravada thinker who says Nibbana...are thing..., self-existing independent dhamma...?

Yes, the Buddha.

There might be, Ānanda. There are, Ānanda, these two elements: the conditioned element and the unconditioned element. When he knows and sees these two elements, a bhikkhu can be called skilled in the elements.”

http://www.yellowrobe.com/component/con ... ments.html

There is, bhikkhus, that base (ayatana) 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.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html

CecilN
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby CecilN » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:03 am

Coëmgenu wrote: Things do not exist on their own on account of their own self-nature. They are dependently originated.

Nibbana is not dependently originated, nor are the laws of nature (dhamma-niyama).

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Coëmgenu » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:05 am

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:If all this is empty, there is neither origination nor cessation.

This is contrary to Theravada.
You have to prove such things, not simply say them. :thumbsup:

And in order to do that, you would have to know what emptiness means in a Madhyamika context. Perhaps you do, perhaps you don't, perhaps you are arguing against an opponent to does not hold the positions you think they do.

CecilN wrote:
Not abandoned, not acquired, not annihilated, not eternal, not ceased, not arisen,
thus is nirvāṇa said to be.

Where? By whom?
This is related to the Prajñāpāramitā-teachings and not the Pāli teachings. Nāgārjuna can't be expected to 100% comply with a tradition he was not part of. Nonetheless even broken clocks are right twice daily.

CecilN wrote:
Nirvāṇa is not, on the one hand, an existent;

The language here "existent" is alien to Theravada. This term "existent" cannot be used as a basis of contrast.
Alien to Theravāda or just alien to your Theravāda? Can you illustrate that it is alien to Theravāda and how that would be?

CecilN wrote:
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.
So you are a follower of Ven Buddhadasa? That is quite alright, but you should know that his interpretation of paṭiccasamuppāda is highly idiomatic and controversial.

CecilN wrote:
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
This issue here relates to your adopting of Ven Buddhadasa's idiosyncratic Dhamma-dispensation.

CecilN wrote:
And if nirvāṇa were an existent, how could one say that nirvāṇa is nondependent?

Easily, as the Buddha said it.
You are misunderstanding Nāgārjuna's usage of the word bhāva, which is in the context of svabhāvadhātu.

CecilN wrote:
For never is there found any existent that is nondependent.

Non-sense. Unproven.
Once again misunderstanding svabhāvadhātu.

CecilN wrote:
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.
Your rebuttal to Nāgārjuna's quote doesn't really make a lot of sense. He is calling nirvāṇa unconditioned and independent. That shouldn't be particularly controversial.

CecilN wrote:
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).
Whether or not nirvāṇa can be experienced as a sense object is largely unrelated to whether it is or isn't an existence or an absence.

CecilN wrote:
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.
I think Nāgārjuna would agree that it is not an entity or self, but that is just my own opinion on the matter.

CecilN wrote:
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.
Context, context, context.


CecilN wrote:
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).
So you think that in nirvāṇa there is cognizing and hypostatization?

CecilN wrote:
No Dharma whatsoever was ever taught by the Buddha to anyone.

The Buddha taught Dhamma to minds (rather than to persons, selfs or beings).
This section is a reference to the sort of discourse found in the Parable of the Raft. The Buddha taught the Dhamma so that beings can ultimately let go of it.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:13 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

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Coëmgenu » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:06 am

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote: Things do not exist on their own on account of their own self-nature. They are dependently originated.

Nibbana is not dependently originated, nor are the laws of nature (dhamma-niyama).
Nibbana is not a "thing". I said "things [etc]".
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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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Coëmgenu » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:11 am

Aloka wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:
I wonder why Garfield didn't want to call samsara samsara if he is content to call Nirvana Nirvana? It says samsara in the Sanskrit. :shrug:


I've no idea. I have a commentary called " The Sun of Wisdom" by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyampso and his translation is " samsara".

I can't quote any of it though, because its strict copyright - and I'm not particularly interested in Nagarjuna anyway, to be honest.


:alien:
You can cite a work for educational purposes, if it is copyrighted. You can't profit/make-money off of it, though. I have an educational YouTube channel concerning ethnomusicology and I get DMCA'd on occasion, but they never go through due to those grounds.

Nonetheless you are hardly obligated to laboriously copy words out of a print-book for this... shall we say less than informed discussion.
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 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:26 am

Coëmgenu wrote:And in order to do that, you would have to know what emptiness means in a Madhyamika context.

This is not relevant to the discussion because if the definition is different this shows Theravāda & Nāgārjunavāda are different. The point of this thread is to distinguish between T & N.

Can you illustrate that it is alien to Theravāda and how that would be?

Theravada does not discuss the "bhava" (coming into existence) of all things, such as rocks, trees, etc. As I posted, the "bhava" Theravada is concerned with is the "bhava" of "self-identity" or "birth of beings (satta)".

Buddhadasa... you should know that his interpretation of paṭiccasamuppāda is highly idiomatic and controversial.

Wrong again. Buddhadasa never taught in English "birth" is the "birth of satta (beings)". I challenge you to find a place where Buddhadasa taught this. Birth as the birth of the view of "satta" is what is literally stated in the Pali suttas. Please refer to SN 12.2, SN 23.2 and SN 5.10. Just because you & millions of others cannot literally read the suttas does not mean my reading is wrong.

This issue here relates to your adopting of Ven Buddhadasa's idiosyncratic Dhamma-dispensation.

Wrong again. You did not provide a counter argument based on the suttas. Instead, you made an ad hominem attack on Buddhadasa, who is unrelated to this discussion.

You are misunderstanding Nāgārjuna's usage of the word bhāva, which is in the context of svabhāvadhātu.

Wrong again. You posted Nāgārjuna's Pali, Sanskrit or whatever it is. The word "bhavo" is found numerous times.

tasmān na bhāvo nābhāvo nirvāṇam iti yujyate
bhaved abhāvo bhāvaś ca nirvāṇam ubhayaṃ yadi
bhaved abhāvo bhāvaś ca mokṣas tac ca na yujyate
bhaved abhāvo bhāvaś ca nirvāṇam ubhayaṃ yadi
nānupādāya nirvāṇam upādāyobhayaṃ hi tat
bhaved abhāvo bhāvaś ca nirvāṇam ubhayaṃ katham
asaṃskṛtaṃ hi nirvāṇaṃ bhāvābhāvau ca saṃskṛtau
bhaved abhāvo bhāvaś ca nirvāṇa ubhayaṃ katham
tayor abhāvo hy ekatra prakāśatamasor iva
naivābhāvo naiva bhāvo nirvāṇam iti yāñjan
ā


:alien:

He is calling nirvāṇa unconditioned and independent. That shouldn't be particularly controversial.

Where? Please quote.

Whether or not nirvāṇa can be experienced as a sense object is largely unrelated to whether it is or isn't an existence or an absence.

:rofl: To experience something, that something must exist.

I think Nāgārjuna would agree that it is not an entity or self, but that is just my own opinion on the matter.

Then why did not Nāgārjuna make this clear?

Context, context, context.

Wrong.

So you think that in nirvāṇa there is cognizing and hypostatization?

Of course there is cognising (refer to Iti 44, MN 38, etc). But not hypostatization.
What, bhikkhus, is the Nibbāna-element with residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, the holy life fulfilled, who has done what had to be done, laid down the burden, attained the goal, destroyed the fetters of being, completely released through final knowledge. However, his five sense faculties remain unimpaired, by which he still experiences what is agreeable and disagreeable and feels pleasure and pain. It is the extinction of attachment, hate, and delusion in him that is called the Nibbāna-element with residue left. Iti 44


:alien:

This section is a reference to the sort of discourse found in the Parable of the Raft. The Buddha taught the Dhamma so that beings can ultimately let go of it.

Wrong again. There are no "beings". It is the idea of "beings" that must be let go of.

The Raft is spoken together with the Snake. The True-Dhamma is not to be clung to for the purpose of arguments & disputes. It is not to be clung to but it is to be practised, as taught in the 4th noble truth. The Buddha taught it is craving that is to be let go of (but not the True-Dhamma).
This noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering is to be developed’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light. SN 56.11

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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Coëmgenu » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:44 am

CecilN wrote:
Can you illustrate that it is alien to Theravāda and how that would be?

Theravada does not discuss the "bhava" (coming into existence) of all things, such as rocks, trees, etc. As I posted, the "bhava" Theravada is concerned with is the "bhava" of "self-identity" or "birth of beings (satta)".
Now you are rephrasing your original position. What I responded to was this: "Nirvana is not a self-view. It is only self-view or the view of a 'being' (satta) that is subject to aging & death." You did not say "birth of beings", you said "view of a being".

CecilN wrote:
Buddhadasa... you should know that his interpretation of paṭiccasamuppāda is highly idiomatic and controversial.

Wrong again. Buddhadasa never taught in English "birth" is the "birth of satta (beings)". I challenge you to find a place where Buddhadasa taught this. Birth as the birth of the view of "satta" is what is literally stated in the Pali suttas. Please refer to SN 12.2, SN 23.2 and SN 5.10. Just because you & millions of others cannot literally read the suttas does not mean my reading is wrong.
This is a result of your sudden rephrasing of your initial argument. Now this is devolving into further non-communication because you are rephrasing your positions on the fly.

CecilN wrote:
This issue here relates to your adopting of Ven Buddhadasa's idiosyncratic Dhamma-dispensation.

Wrong again. You did not provide a counter argument based on the suttas. Instead, you made an ad hominem attack on Buddhadasa, who is unrelated to this discussion.
All I said is that he was idiosyncratic and controversial. Hardly an ad hominem, also, it is hardly a controversial statement that Ven Buddhadasa is controversial.

CecilN wrote:
You are misunderstanding Nāgārjuna's usage of the word bhāva, which is in the context of svabhāvadhātu.

Wrong again. You posted Nāgārjuna's Pali, Sanskrit or whatever it is. The word "bhavo" is found numerous times.
Yes it is. Bhavo is a declension of Bhava. And?

CecilN wrote:
He is calling nirvāṇa unconditioned and independent. That shouldn't be particularly controversial.

Where? Please quote.
He says that here "that, when not conditioned or dependent, is called nirvāṇa."

CecilN wrote:
Whether or not nirvāṇa can be experienced as a sense object is largely unrelated to whether it is or isn't an existence or an absence.

:rofl: To experience something, that something must exist.
This is now venturing into "Soul Theories and the Dhamma", which is a seperate thread.

CecilN wrote:
I think Nāgārjuna would agree that it is not an entity or self, but that is just my own opinion on the matter.

Then why did not Nāgārjuna make this clear?
I think that Nāgārjuna is quite clear that Nibbana is not an entity or a self, but I do realize that the age of the text renders it hard to decipher, like most ancient literature.

CecilN wrote:
Context, context, context.

Wrong.
I guess you can ignore vital context if you want to. I'm not the boss of you.

CecilN wrote:
So you think that in nirvāṇa there is cognizing and hypostatization?

Of course there is cognising (refer to Iti 49, MN 38, etc). But not hypostatization.
Is this related to Ven Thanissaro's "unbounded consciousness" teaching?

CecilN wrote:
This section is a reference to the sort of discourse found in the Parable of the Raft. The Buddha taught the Dhamma so that beings can ultimately let go of it.

Wrong. The Raft is spoken together with the Snake. The Dhamma is not to be clung to for the purpose of arguments. It is not to be clung to but it is to be practised, as taught in the 4th noble truth.
Nāgārjuna states that the Buddha did not teach a Dhamma to anything because Nāgārjuna supports orthodox anattā-teachings, and because he argues that the point of the Dhamma is to let go of the Dhamma, thus the essence of the Dhamma is letting go of it (eventually, obviously, not immediately).
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 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:52 am

Coëmgenu wrote:Now you are rephrasing your original position. What I responded to was this: "Nirvana is not a self-view. It is only self-view or the view of a 'being' (satta) that is subject to aging & death." You did not say "birth of beings", you said "view of a being".

The birth & view of "beings" (satta) are one & the same. Refer to SN 22.81, SN 5.10 and SN 23.2.

This is a result of your sudden rephrasing of your initial argument. Now this is devolving into further non-communication because you are rephrasing your positions on the fly.

I did not change any position. I only clarified my post due to the sloppiness of the language of Nagarjuna.

All I said is that he was idiosyncratic and controversial. Hardly an ad hominem, also, it is hardly a controversial statement that Ven Buddhadasa is controversial.

Buddhadasa is right. The majority of the Buddhist world are wrong. If that is controversial, so be it.

Yes it is. Bhavo is a declension of Bhava. And?

Bhavo is self-becoming. Rocks & trees do not generate the view of ego or self.

He says that here "that, when not conditioned or dependent, is called nirvāṇa."

I will have to read this & answer later.

This is now venturing into "Soul Theories and the Dhamma", which is a seperate thread.

It is not & this is the major flaw of Nagarjuna, in that everything that exists, such as rocks, trees, elements, aggregates, Nibbana, etc, are equated with being a self.

Is this related to Ven Thanissaro's "unbounded consciousness" teaching?

Iti 44 is a teaching of the Buddha, where in Nirvana, consciousness remains. It is unrelated to unbounded consciousness.

Nāgārjuna states that the Buddha did not teach a Dhamma to anything because Nāgārjuna supports orthodox anattā-teachings, and because he argues that the point of the Dhamma is to let go of the Dhamma, thus the essence of the Dhamma is letting go of it (eventually, obviously, not immediately).

Nāgārjuna was wrong. MN 22 the Raft is in that context. If Nāgārjuna was a Buddhist, he would have followed the Pali suttas rather than have invented his own philosophy.
Last edited by CecilN on Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

CecilN
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby CecilN » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:01 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
CecilN wrote:
He is calling nirvāṇa unconditioned and independent. That shouldn't be particularly controversial.


Where? Please quote.
He says that here "that, when not conditioned or dependent, is called nirvāṇa."

Nāgārjuna equates Nirvana with samsara, therefore is wrong.

Caodemarte
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Caodemarte » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:05 am

CecilN wrote:
Caodemarte wrote:Is there any Theravada thinker who says Nibbana...are thing..., self-existing independent dhamma...?

Yes, the Buddha.

There might be, Ānanda. There are, Ānanda, these two elements: the conditioned element and the unconditioned element. When he knows and sees these two elements, a bhikkhu can be called skilled in the elements.”

http://www.yellowrobe.com/component/con ... ments.html

There is, bhikkhus, that base (ayatana) 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.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html


I just don't see how the quotes support your claim that the Buddha claimed there are independent self existing things. "No coming, no going" for example can only be understood as Nagarajuna's language is understood. The whole section seems to confirm that Nibbana, and the rest, is not a thing that independently exists. To do otherwise would put you in an untenable philosophical and religious position. From the Questions of King Milinda on down Buddhist thought has been pretty explicit that nothing "exists" independently nor does it not exist. Did they get it all wrong too?

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Coëmgenu » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:10 am

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:Now you are rephrasing your original position. What I responded to was this: "Nirvana is not a self-view. It is only self-view or the view of a 'being' (satta) that is subject to aging & death." You did not say "birth of beings", you said "view of a being".

The birth & view of "beings" (satta) are one & the same. Refer to SN 22.81, SN 5.10 and SN 23.2.
SN 22.81 establishes self-view as cause for birth, but it doesn't say anywhere that they are the same thing:
Here, bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling, who is not a seer of the noble ones and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, who is not a seer of superior persons and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, regards form as self. That regarding, bhikkhus, is a formation. That formation—what is its source, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced? When the uninstructed worldling is contacted by a feeling born of ignorance-contact, craving arises: thence that formation is born.


How SN 5.10 establishes self-view and rebirth are being the exact same thing escapes me, maybe you can elaborate here.

SN 23.2 establishes that beings who lack self-view should not be thought of as beings. This is similar to how the Tathaāgata, who has no pernicious self-view, is not thought of as a "being". It doesn't necessarily relate to self-view and birth being the same thing. That one causes the other is established, but you will have to argue better to convince that they are the same thing.

CecilN wrote:
This is a result of your sudden rephrasing of your initial argument. Now this is devolving into further non-communication because you are rephrasing your positions on the fly.

I did not change any position. I only clarified my post due to the sloppiness of the language of Nagarjuna.
How is your belief that self-view and birth are the exact same thing related to any "sloppiness" on Nāgārjuna's part?

CecilN wrote:
All I said is that he was idiosyncratic and controversial. Hardly an ad hominem, also, it is hardly a controversial statement that Ven Buddhadasa is controversial.

Buddhadasa is right. The majority of the Buddhist world are wrong. If that is controversial, so be it.
Fair enough.

CecilN wrote:
Yes it is. Bhavo is a declension of Bhava. And?

Bhavo is self-becoming. Rocks & trees do not generate the view of ego or self.
How is this related to the discussion? Once again you are confusing Madhyamika and Yogācāra. Madhyamika doesn't really care about the external world of rocks and wind and the sea. Yogācāra claims these things are products of the deluded mind.

CecilN wrote:
I guess you can ignore vital context if you want to. I'm not the boss of you.

You are not even the boss of yourself; in your incoherent ideas.
Point out the incoherency if you want to criticize it. I don't pretend to be a Buddha. I gave you a particular explanation of the context for the line in question, thats all I can do.
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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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Coëmgenu » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:11 am

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:
CecilN wrote:Where? Please quote.
He says that here "that, when not conditioned or dependent, is called nirvāṇa."

Nāgārjuna equates Nirvana with samsara, therefore is wrong.
If Nāgārjuna is right or wrong in asserting or not asserting the similarity or difference between samsara and nirvana (and the context has already been explained for that), it has little bearing on if he is right or wrong about nirvana being unconditioned and independent.
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

Bakmoon
Posts: 618
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Bakmoon » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:18 am

CecilN wrote:
Bakmoon wrote:Why does the earth element need to be inherently existent in order to have sub elements?

Apart from when the mind is in jhanas (which is not ordinary awareness), does the experience of the earth element ever end or cease? Theravada Buddhism is based on insight where as Nagarjuna is based on intellectual inference.

That doesn't prove anything at all. What does the experience of the earth element have anything to do with whether or not the earth element is inherently existent?

CecilN wrote:They are not correct because based on Nagarjuna's key theories (not "insights") about emptiness (sunnata), unconditioned sabhava phenomena such as Nibbana & the Dhamma Niyama (Laws) are dependently originated, which is contrary to Theravada. Nibbana & the Law of Dhamma are Emptiness (Sunnata) but not Dependently Originated. Therefore, Nagarjuna's equating of Emptiness with Dependent Origination is wrong from a Theravada viewpoint.

Where does Nagarjuna say that Nibbana or the Dhamma Niyama arise dependently?
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

Bakmoon
Posts: 618
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Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby Bakmoon » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:20 am

CecilN wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:This is not even vaguely similar to anything that Nágárjuna puts forth. You seem to be trying to criticize Maháyána Yogácára via a bizarre misunderstanding of Nágárjuna. Nágárjuna was not a yogácárin.

If this is so, how do you explain Nágárjuna's statement that Nibbana is the same as samsara? (Please explain in your own words rather than post a link to a 1000 page book). Thanks

If you study Madhyamaka philosophy as a whole, it is very clear that Madhyamaka does not teach that Nibbana is the same as samsara, but rather that because both of them are empty, samsara and Nibbana cannot be distinguished on the ultimate level. In terms of conventional truth it is of course possible to differentiate between different phenomena.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

CecilN
Posts: 210
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:31 am

Re: Theravāda & Nāgārjuna

Postby CecilN » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:23 am

Coëmgenu wrote: SN 22.81 establishes self-view as cause for birth, but it doesn't say anywhere that they are the same thing:
Here, bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling, who is not a seer of the noble ones and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, who is not a seer of superior persons and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, regards form as self. That regarding, bhikkhus, is a formation. That formation—what is its source, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced? When the uninstructed worldling is contacted by a feeling born of ignorance-contact, craving arises: thence that formation is born.

regards/views form as self...That regarding/view is a formation......that formation is born

How SN 5.10 establishes self-view and rebirth are being the exact same thing escapes me, maybe you can elaborate here.

Why now do you assume 'a being'?
Mara, have you grasped a view?
This is a heap of sheer constructions:
Here no being is found.

Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
The word 'chariot' is used,
So, when the aggregates are present,
There's the convention 'a being'.

:alien:

SN 23.2 establishes that beings who lack self-view should not be thought of as beings. This is similar to how the Tathaāgata, who has no pernicious self-view, is not thought of as a "being". It doesn't necessarily relate to self-view and birth being the same thing.

SN 23.2 defines what a "being" (satta) is. This same term "being" (satta) is found in the definition of birth:
"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth. SN 12.2

'Birth' ('jati') reads literally as the birth of the convention or view of a "being" (satta). If not, you would have to provide evidence it refers to physical birth from a woman.

How is your belief that self-view and birth are the exact same thing related to any "sloppiness" on Nāgārjuna's part?

N is using the word "exist" in a sloppy way by equating it with 'self".

Once again you are confusing Madhyamika and Yogācāra. Madhyamika doesn't really care about the external world of rocks and wind and the sea. Yogācāra claims these things are products of the deluded mind.

I am not confusing anything because once you say Nirvana is not-existent, you are also saying rocks & trees are non-existent.

We are attempting to have a discussion in the English language based on translations of Nāgārjuna's "bhavo", "bhava", etc. Theravada or anyone or anything else has never asserted Nirvana is "bhavo" therefore who or what is Nāgārjuna negating?

Nirvana exists but it is not bhavo-existence. There is a difference between mind-craving-created-existence ("becoming") & sensory-existence. Sensory existence is the cognition of five aggregates. Mind-craving-created-existence is the imputing of 'self' & 'persons' & 'beings' upon those five aggregates. Similarly, Nirvana is a sensory existent but not bhavo-existent. Nirvana is sabhava but not paticca-bhavo because there word "bhava" is used in different ways. "Sabhava" does not infer something is a "self". It only infers that something has an intrinsic nature or quality.


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