Conventionally, anything goes. Selves for everyone.No_Mind wrote: ↑Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:09 pmNot an expert but Catuskoti is about the ultimate realityCoëmgenu wrote: ↑Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:43 pmSomething that might interest the OP, since this is Connections to Other Paths:
Śrāvakayāna has two negations of two extremes*.
Bodhisattvayāna has four negations of four extremes*.
*I am 99.999% sure that one can find the fourfold negation in Pāli & Chinese śrāvaka material too, not just the twofold negation, but I cannot find attestation. I will post more if I can find it.
The twofold negation is
1) Existence/Affirmation (i.e. there "is" a self/soul)
2) Nonexistence/Negation (i.e. there is nothing, not "there is no self/soul")
The fourfold negation is
1) Existence/Affirmation (i.e. there is a self/soul, it exists like anything else)
2) Nonexistence/Negation (i.e. there is nothing)
3) Both existence and nonexistence/A mix of affirmation & negation (i.e. there is sort-of nothing and sort-of a self/soul, both at once)
4) Neither existence nor nonexistence/None of the above (i.e. the "self/soul" is "something else", undefined, entirely, and/or is inconceivable)
All of these are negated. We cannot say the self/soul is extant. We cannot say there is nothing. We cannot say the self/soul is both extant and nonextant. We cannot say the self/soul is free from the two extremes of existence and nonexistence (this is negation 4). This is standard Madhyamaka, but it is also found in śrāvaka literature.
I want to focus for a moment specifically on negation 4: neither existence nor non-existence.
This means that "something else" is not an option. "Some other ineffable mode of being" is not an option.
Even "the self/soul is indescribable/non-conceptual" is a violation of negation 4, as that would involve the self being neither simply extant nor simply nonextant.
and a version of it is found in Brahmajala Sutta
I am not speaking of ultimate reality.
For the sake of a point-counter-point, however, in the Mahāyāna:
(Nirvāṇaparīkṣāparivartaḥ Āryanāgārjunasya Mūlamadhyamakakārikā)na saṃsārasya nirvāṇāt kiṃ cid asti viśeṣaṇam | na nirvāṇasya saṃsārāt kiṃ cid asti viśeṣaṇam ||19||
nirvāṇasya ca yā koṭiḥ koṭiḥ saṃsaraṇasya ca | na tayor antaraṃ kiṃ cit susūkṣmam api vidyate || 20||
19. There is no distinction whatsoever between saṃsāra and nirvāṇa. There is no distinction whatsoever between nirvāṇa and saṃsāra.
20. What is the limit of nirvāṇa, that is the limit of saṃsāra. There is not even the finest gap to be found between the two.
The conventional and the ultimate are the same. That is the most radical claim of the Mahāyāna IMO.