Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
zan
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Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by zan »

What parts of this text, the The Mūlamadhyamakakārikā or Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way, by Nagarjuna conflict with the suttas or classical Theravada commentary tradition?
I am just a learner. Keep that in mind when you read my words.

Just to be safe, assume all of my words could be incorrect. Look to an arahant for total accuracy and confirmation.
Caodemarte
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by Caodemarte »

zan wrote: Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:26 pm What parts of this text, the The Mūlamadhyamakakārikā or Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way, by Nagarjuna conflict with the suttas or classical Theravada commentary tradition?
Don't conflict with the suttas in my view and that of countless scholars.
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DooDoot
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by DooDoot »

zan wrote: Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:26 pm What parts of this text, the The Mūlamadhyamakakārikā or Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way, by Nagarjuna conflict with the suttas or classical Theravada commentary tradition?
Many conflicts:

1. Samsara is not Nibbana

2. Dependent Origination does not define Emptiness

3. Dependent Origination does not mean causality or cause & effect

4. A cause is not not a cause because it is an effect

5. An effect is not not an effect because it is a cause

6. Nibbana & ultimate truth is not non-conceptuality

7. Samudaya (arising) does not mean non-inherent existence (atthita)

8. Nirodha (cessation) does not mean non-inherent non-existence (natthita)

9. Sabhava does not mean an inherent self or selfhood

10. The four noble truths are not a 'conventional truth'
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SarathW
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by SarathW »

1. Samsara is not Nibbana
- Did Buddha attain Nibbana after his death?

2. Dependent Origination does not define Emptiness
Reverse Dependent Origination is the emptiness.

3. Dependent Origination does not mean causality or cause & effect
Then what?


4. A cause is not not a cause because it is an effect
Double not?

5. An effect is not not an effect because it is a cause
Do Do

6. Nibbana & ultimate truth is not non-conceptuality
Double negative again!
Do Do

7. Samudaya (arising) does not mean non-inherent existence (atthita)
Can anyone make sense out of this double negative and the affirmation?

8. Nirodha (cessation) does not mean non-inherent non-existence (natthita)
:shrug:
9. Sabhava does not mean an inherent self or selfhood
The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

10. The four noble truths are not a 'conventional truth
The four noble truths are conventional as they are fabrications.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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DooDoot
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by DooDoot »

SarathW wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:32 am 1. Samsara is not Nibbana
- Did Buddha attain Nibbana after his death?
It seems Buddha does not experience "death" (as explained in many suttas). Also, Buddha attained Nibbana at 35 years old and abided in Nibbana for 45 years until Total Nibbana.
2. Dependent Origination does not define Emptiness
Reverse Dependent Origination is the emptiness.
The suttas say everything is empty of self (sunnata).
3. Dependent Origination does not mean causality or cause & effect
Then what?
12 causes leading to sorrow, grief & suffering.
4. A cause is not not a cause because it is an effect
Double not?
I recall Nargajuna taught a cause is not a cause because to be a 'cause' it relies on an effect to define it as a 'cause' therefore the effect is the cause of the cause therefore the effect is really a cause and a cause is really an effect thus both & neither is a cause nor an effect or similar intellectual papanca.

In real meditation where there is no intellectual thinking, effects are experienced to arise from previous conditions or causes. In real meditation, the intellectual thinking does not occur that an effect defines a cause.
5. An effect is not not an effect because it is a cause
Do Do
Per above.
6. Nibbana & ultimate truth is not non-conceptuality
Double negative again!
Do Do
Yes.
7. Samudaya (arising) does not mean non-inherent existence (atthita)
Can anyone make sense out of this double negative and the affirmation?
I did a long topic trying to understand SN 12.15.
8. Nirodha (cessation) does not mean non-inherent non-existence (natthita)
:shrug:
As above.
9. Sabhava does not mean an inherent self or selfhood
The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
And? So? How is "sabba" related to "sabhava"?? :shrug:
10. The four noble truths are not a 'conventional truth
The four noble truths are conventional as they are fabrications.
The above sounds heretical & Mahayana to me. :shock: SN 12.20 says:
SN 12.20 wrote:Whether or not there is the arising of Tathagatas, this property stands — this regularity of the Dhamma, this orderliness of the Dhamma, this this/that conditionality...

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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SarathW
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by SarathW »

DooDoot wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:02 am
SarathW wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:32 am 1. Samsara is not Nibbana
- Did Buddha attain Nibbana after his death?
It seems Buddha does not experience "death" (as explained in many suttas). Also, Buddha attained Nibbana at 35 years old and abided in Nibbana for 45 years until Total Nibbana.
Do you think Buddha is living somewhere?
2. Dependent Origination does not define Emptiness
Reverse Dependent Origination is the emptiness.
The suttas say everything is empty of self (sunnata).
Everything is empty of self only when you do not have the self view.
3. Dependent Origination does not mean causality or cause & effect
Then what?
12 causes leading to sorrow, grief & suffering.
Agree. But Buddha said Sabbe Sankhara Dukkha.
4. A cause is not not a cause because it is an effect
Double not?
I recall Nargajuna taught a cause is not a cause because to be a 'cause' it relies on an effect to define it as a 'cause' therefore the effect is the cause of the cause therefore the effect is really a cause and a cause is really an effect thus both & neither is a cause nor an effect or similar intellectual papanca.


In real meditation where there is no intellectual thinking, effects are experienced to arise from previous conditions or causes. In real meditation, the intellectual thinking does not occur that an effect defines a cause.

I am glad you understand it. :D
5. An effect is not not an effect because it is a cause
Do Do
Per above.
6. Nibbana & ultimate truth is not non-conceptuality
Double negative again!
Do Do
Yes.
7. Samudaya (arising) does not mean non-inherent existence (atthita)
Can anyone make sense out of this double negative and the affirmation?
I did a long topic trying to understand SN 12.15.
8. Nirodha (cessation) does not mean non-inherent non-existence (natthita)
:shrug:
As above.
9. Sabhava does not mean an inherent self or selfhood
The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
And? So? How is "sabba" related to "sabhava"?? :shrug:
Your Pali is better than me. :D
10. The four noble truths are not a 'conventional truth
The four noble truths are conventional as they are fabrications.
The above sounds heretical & Mahayana to me. :shock: SN 12.20 says:

Didn't Buddha say Noble Eightfold Path is a fabrication?
SN 12.20 wrote:Whether or not there is the arising of Tathagatas, this property stands — this regularity of the Dhamma, this orderliness of the Dhamma, this this/that conditionality...

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by SteRo »

zan wrote: Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:26 pm What parts of this text, the The Mūlamadhyamakakārikā or Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way, by Nagarjuna conflict with the suttas or classical Theravada commentary tradition?
As far as the suttas are concerned, the Sri Lankan scholar Kalupahana interprets this work as an elabortion on the Kaccānagotta Sutta, so it might not categorically be in conflict with the suttas.
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ
Dan74
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by Dan74 »

The entire purpose of Mūlamadhyamakakārikā is to help release all clinging to notions rather than to establish any new doctrine. To the extent that people still hold on to views, they will find conflicts.
_/|\_
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DooDoot
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by DooDoot »

SarathW wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:39 amDidn't Buddha say Noble Eightfold Path is a [mental] fabrication?
No. The Buddha said the Noble Eightfold Path is a fabricated thing (saṅkhato). Regardless, this does not appear to change the absolute truth that only the Noble Eightfold Path can completely end suffering.

An example of a conventional truth is "SarathW'. When the name "SarathW" is used, we know it refers to a certain Sri Lankan internet blogger. But there is no absolute unchanging truth to "SarathW'. SN 5.10 says "SarathW' is merely a convention, as follows:
we use the word ‘chariot’.
hoti saddo ratho iti;

So too, when the aggregates are present
Evaṃ khandhesu santesu,

‘a being’ is the convention we use.
hoti sattoti sammuti.

https://suttacentral.net/sn5.10/en/sujato
However, the Four Noble Truths have an absolute truth. Whenever there is craving, attachment & becoming, there will always be dukkha arising. This is an absolute law. Whenever there is no craving, no attachment & no becoming, there will be no dukkha. It is always like this. But "SarathW" is always subject to variation and, ultimately, "SarathW" is merely a name or label.
SteRo wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 7:36 amAs far as the suttas are concerned, the Sri Lankan scholar Kalupahana interprets this work as an elabortion on the Kaccānagotta Sutta, so it might not categorically be in conflict with the suttas.
Why don't you post Kalupahana's interpretations so they can be discussed. Thanks
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by SteRo »

DooDoot wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:36 am
SteRo wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 7:36 amAs far as the suttas are concerned, the Sri Lankan scholar Kalupahana interprets this work as an elabortion on the Kaccānagotta Sutta, so it might not categorically be in conflict with the suttas.
Why don't you post Kalupahana's interpretations so they can be discussed. Thanks
His interpretations are in his translations of and commentaries on the verses of the work from a sutta perspective:

Mulamadhyamakakarika of Nagarjuna: The Philosophy of the Middle Way

I can't post the whole book but those who are interested might buy it or download it from the internet if possible.
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ
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Aloka
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by Aloka »

This essay "Emptiness and Freedom" written by Leigh Brasington a number of years ago discusses Nagarjuna and the suttas,and in particular SN 12.15.

http://enlight.lib.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/ ... 376333.pdf

and here's Jay Garfield's translation (and commentary) of Nagarjuna's "The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way"
(Mulamadhyamakakarika)

http://promienie.net/images/dharma/book ... karika.pdf


:anjali:


.
Caodemarte
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by Caodemarte »

SteRo wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:07 pm
DooDoot wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:36 am
SteRo wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 7:36 amAs far as the suttas are concerned, the Sri Lankan scholar Kalupahana interprets this work as an elabortion on the Kaccānagotta Sutta, so it might not categorically be in conflict with the suttas.
Why don't you post Kalupahana's interpretations so they can be discussed. Thanks
His interpretations are in his translations of and commentaries on the verses of the work from a sutta perspective:

Mulamadhyamakakarika of Nagarjuna: The Philosophy of the Middle Way

I can't post the whole book but those who are interested might buy it or download it from the internet if possible.

I have also previously recommended the old classic “The Central Philosophy of Buddhism: A Study of the Mādhyamika System” by Tiruppattur R. Venkatachala Murti which stresses how Madhyamika is based on the ideas in the suttas, but any good book that fits Nagarjuna into co text would be good. I think it would be very difficult to find any real scholar actually familiar with Nagarjuna and the suttas who would claim there is a conflict. This is distinct from necessarily agreeing with Nagarjuna.
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by DooDoot »

SteRo wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:07 pm I can't post the whole book but those who are interested might buy it or download it from the internet if possible.
Then your posts here are invalid & mere unsubstantiated/proven utterances. Wikipedia provides a sufficient amount of verses, including the following closest to SN 12.15:
अस्तीति शाश्वतग्राहो नास्तीत्युच्चेददर्शनं
astīti śāśvatagrāho nāstītyuccedadarśanaṁ
To say "it is" is to grasp for permanence [eternalism]. To say "it is not" is to adopt the view of nihilism.
तस्माद् अस्तित्वनास्तित्वे नाश्रीयेत विचक्षणः।
tasmād astitvanāstitve nāśrīyeta vicakṣaṇaḥ
Therefore a wise person does not say "exists" or "does not exist".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C5%ABla ... Quotations
My issue with the above interpretation is (unless my mind has a blind-spot) I cannot discern SN 12.15 saying this.

Per DN 1, "eternalism" means "an existing self always/continues to exist"

Per DN 1, "annihilationism" means "an existing self ceases to exist"

If we plug the above definitions into SN 12.15, we get:

1. "When seeing the arising of the world/dependent origination with right wisdom, the notion an existing self ceases to exist does not occur". This appears to imply the view/notion of a temporary self existing does occur/arise.

2. "When seeing the cessation of the world/dependent origination with right wisdom, the notion an existing self always/continues to exist does not occur". This appears to imply the view/notion of a temporary self ceasing to exist does occur.

I doubt the Buddha ever taught about a 'temporary non-inherent self'.

:alien:

I did a very long topic on SN 12.15 and do not claim I understand the language used in it. But I came to the tentative conclusion SN 12.15 was addressing some common philosophies of concrete permanent existence of the world vs views of nothingness. Thus, when plugged into SN 12.15 we get:

1. "When seeing the arising of the world/dependent origination with right wisdom, the notion of nothingness does not occur". :thumbsup:

2. "When seeing the cessation of the world/dependent origination with right wisdom, the notion of concrete permanent existence does not occur". :thumbsup:

I could be wrong but Nargajuna appears to be implying there is a temporary non-inherent self. In other words, I don't agree with Nargajuna that SN 12.15 is explicitly referring to śāśvata (eternalism) & ucceda (annihilationism). The ideas of śāśvata (eternalism) & ucceda (annihilationism) will be eliminated when either seeing arising or cessation. Seeing arising does not exclusively eliminate nihilism and seeing cessation does not exclusively eliminate eternalism. :smile:

:alien:

SN 12.17 appears to show SN 12.15 is not about eternalism & annihilationism.
Kassapa, if one thinks, ‘The one [the self] who acts is the same [self] as the one [the same self] who experiences the result,’ then one asserts with reference to one existing [self] from the beginning: ‘Suffering is created by oneself.’ When one asserts thus, this amounts to eternalism.

But, Kassapa, if one thinks, ‘The one [self] who acts is one, the one who experiences the result is another [a different self],’ then one asserts with reference to one stricken by feeling: ‘Suffering is created by another.’ When one asserts thus, this amounts to annihilationism.

https://suttacentral.net/sn12.17/en/bodhi
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Caodemarte
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by Caodemarte »

DooDoot wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:34 pm .....I did a very long topic on SN 12.15 and do not claim I understand the language used in it. ...I could be wrong but Nargajuna appears to be implying there is a temporary non-inherent self.
:alien: ...
If you do not understand the language in SN 12.15 your speculations that those who can and did are incorrect would not appear strongly based. You are simply wrong about Nargajuna appearing to "imply there is a temporary non-inherent self."
DooDoot wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:34 pm....Wikipedia provides a sufficient amount of verses, including the following closest to SN 12.15:...
I would urge you to move off snippets found on Wikipedia of all things and read the widely available texts cited or other respected texts if interested in this topic. If not, unsubstantiated arguing about the topic would seem a waste of time and simple trolling.
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by DooDoot »

Caodemarte wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:05 pm If you do not understand the language in SN 12.15 your speculations that those who can and did are incorrect would not appear strongly based.
Sorry but Nargajuna obviously did not reflect the language of SN 12.15; nor have I read any decent scholar with a conclusive opinion. SN 12.15 does not explicitly refer to eternalism & annihilationism as Nargajuna does therefore Nargajuna was obviously wrong.
Caodemarte wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:05 pm You are simply wrong about Nargajuna appearing to "imply there is a temporary non-inherent self."
Well, that is the impression i get from his poorly articulated words.
Caodemarte wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:05 pm I would urge you to move off snippets found on Wikipedia of all things and read the widely available texts cited or other respected texts if interested in this topic. If not, unsubstantiated arguing about the topic would seem a waste of time and simple trolling.
It is you that appears engaged in unsubstantiated trolling. I provided a pretty good analysis :thumbsup: . You are welcome to reply to it.

In short, SN 12.15 does not explicitly refer to eternalism & annihilationism as Nargajuna does. It is SN 12.17 that explicitly refers to eternalism & annihilationism and SN 12.17 does not follow the same framework as SN 12.15. SN 12.15 refers to atthita/sabbamatthi (all exists) and natthita/sabbaṃ natthī (nothing exists). The scholars have not universal consensus about these terms and even Ven. Sujato mentioned he wasn't sure how to translate them.
Caodemarte wrote: Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:05 pm I would urge you to move off snippets found on Wikipedia of all things and read the widely available texts cited or other respected texts if interested in this topic. If not, unsubstantiated arguing about the topic would seem a waste of time and simple trolling.
Wikipedia is fine. Below is another verse:
If intrinsic nature does not exist, of what will there be alteration?
If intrinsic nature does exist, of what will there be alteration?
Obviously the above is contrary to what the Buddha taught.

1. The Buddha never taught "intrinsic nature" does not exist.

2. The Buddha taught things are subject to alteration (vipariṇāma, vipariṇāmeti, etc).

It seems Nargajuna 1st mis-defined the term "sabhava" and then attempted to "debunk it".
ātmetya api prajñapitam anātmetyapi deśitam
Although (the term) "self" is caused to be known (of, about), and although (a doctrine or teaching of) "no self" is taught,

buddhair nātmā na cānātmā kaścid ity api deśitaṁ|

No "self" or any "nonself" whatsoever has been taught by the Buddhas.
i
nivṛtam abhidhātavyaṁ nivṛtte cittagocare

The designable is ceased when/where the range of thought is ceased,
It appears by the above Nargajuna believed Nirvana was non-conceptuality. Buddha taught Nirvana was non-craving therefore concepts did not appear to interfere with Buddha's Nirvana.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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