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

Post by SteRo » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:54 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:34 pm
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.
What's your problem?

I merely said
SteRo wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 7:36 am
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.
Anybody who reads Kalupahana's introduction in his book can verify that Kalupahana interprets Nagarjuna's work as an elaboration on the Kaccānagotta Sutta. And he rejects the hypothesis that Nagarjuna was a Mahayanist.

you are free to hold the view that Nagarjuna's work i.e. all the many verses his work consists of are incompatible with sutta. Neverthetless the Sri Lankan scholar Kalupahana takes a different position. Therefore Nagarjuna's work might not categorically be in conflict with the suttas.

When DooDoot says it is in conflict with sutta while Kalupahana says it is based on the Kaccānagotta Sutta those two contradictory assessments obviously are relative and dependent on the assessing person and none of these assessments might be categorically correct.

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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 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:19 pm

.

This is an excerpt from an article written several years ago by Ajahn Amaro, with the title "Between Arhat and Bodhisattva":

The Middle Way

If the difficulties that have arisen over the centuries can be attributed to contentious position-taking, one way to resolve them should be through the practice of non-contention. The Buddha once said that his entire teaching could be summarized as, “Nothing whatsoever should be clung to.” Such a spirit of non-contention and non-clinging approaches the core principle of the middle way. The skillful refusal to pick one particular viewpoint and cling to it reflects right view; it also expresses the effort that is essential to arrive at resolution. The question then arises: how exactly do we find this mysterious middle—the place of non-abiding, the place of non-contention?

“The middle way” can mean a lot of different things. It can even be used by politicians to describe their war plans. In this investigation, the term denotes the fundamental principle that the Buddha realized at his enlightenment. It refers to the insight of awakening that transcends the later categories of Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana.

“The middle way” is an everyday expression. This renders the principle highly accessible; however, it also belies its profundity. In the Buddha’s first discourse, he equated the middle way with the noble eightfold path, thus defining it as a quality that embodies the entire spiritual training.

In this original sense, it was an all-encompassing teaching. Predictably, in later years and in certain regions, it came to be emblematic of one particular school—that based on the Madhayamaka philosophy of Acharya Nagarjuna. That school was distinguished from other groups such as the Chittamatrans, Vaibashikas, and Sautrantikas. Thus, although it began as a universal principle, the meaning of “middle way” shrank somewhat, within this sphere, to become another tribal insignia.

Although the term is not being used here in this narrower sense, it is nevertheless interesting to explore what Nagarjuna’s insight was fuelled by. For it is in this central principle of the middle way—and particularly in the analysis of the feelings of existence and of “self”—that we find the means to harmonize conflicting views.

In a seminal exchange between the Buddha and Maha-Kaccana, the Buddha says:

~ “All exists,” Kaccayana, this is one extreme, “All does not exist,” this is the other extreme. Without veering towards either of these extremes the Tathagata teaches the dhamma by the middle way.
Samyutta Nikaya 12.15

There is a very close connection between this discourse, found in the Pali Canon, and the words of Nagarjuna in his Treatise on the Root of the Middle Way. This latter text is considered a cornerstone of the Mahayana movement, and it has informed the approach of the Northern school for the past 1,800 years. Ironically, it makes no mention of such characteristic Northern elements as bodhisattvas and bodhichitta. Indeed, scholars such as Kalupahana and Warder have pointed out that there’s actually nothing particularly “Mahayana” in what it says.

Nagarjuna mentions the dialogue between Buddha and Maha-Kaccana; further, he writes:

“Existence” is the grasping at permanence; “non-existence” is the view of annihilation. Therefore, the wise do not dwell in existence or non-existence.
Mulamadyamakakarika 14.10

Both teachings point out how to recognize the feeling of self, how to see through it, and, ultimately, how to break free from the tyrant. They both indicate that clinging to the sense of self is what primarily obstructs knowing the middle way.

These teachings point to the fact that, yes, there is the feeling of selfhood, but they also make it clear that the feeling of “I” arises due to causes. These causes are habits rooted in ignorance and fired by craving. There might be the feeling of “I,” yet, like all feelings, it is transparent and empty of substance—merely a pattern of consciousness that arises and ceases.

This teaching is usually taken to be a philosophical description; however, it is most significant as a meditation tool. It helps us to see that questions such as “Do I exist?” or “Do I not exist?” are irrelevant. Instead the perspective shifts to one of cultivating and maintaining a mindful awareness of the feeling of “I” arising and ceasing. This is the essence of vipassana, or insight meditation.

The dissolution of the conceit “I am” was described by the Buddha as “nibbana here and now,” and it cuts to the root of all contention.

https://info-buddhism.com/Between_Arhat ... Amaro.html

:anjali:

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

Post by zan » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:21 pm

What about the core issues people debate on here?

1.) Does this work posit or allow for any kind of eternalism?

2.) Does it posit or allow for a special, immortal consciousness outside the five aggregates?

3.) Does it posit or allow nibbana to be living forever as a conscious experience?

4.) Does it make everyone immortal?

5.) Does it make escaping Samsara impossible by defining Samsara and Nibbana (Nirvana) as one?

6.) Does it posit a monistic, "all is one" view?

7.) Does it use consciousness as a way to invalidate the existence of everything else, declaring everything as imaginary for example, thereby, perhaps inadvertently, reifying consciousness to the nth degree and creating a monistic consciousness soup like the Upanishadic sea of consciousness that encompasses all?

8.) Does it allow for cessation at all? Things absolutely cease in Classical Theravada Abhidhamma and commentary, but from the following it sounds like this is impossible in Madhyamaka " Therefore, in Madhyamaka, phenomena appear to arise and cease, but in an ultimate sense they do not arise or remain as inherently existent phenomena." -Wikipedia

9.) Does it allow for the Mahayana style Buddhas such as Amitabha who are immortal and live in their own pure lands where they help people reach enlightenment after death? Or for the primordial Buddha who has always been and always will be?

10.) Does it posit that the same consciousness transmigrates life to life?
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

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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 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:07 am

SteRo wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:54 am
Anybody who reads Kalupahana's introduction in his book can verify that Kalupahana interprets Nagarjuna's work as an elaboration on the Kaccānagotta Sutta. And he rejects the hypothesis that Nagarjuna was a Mahayanist.
You have provided no evidence you have read Kalupahana's introduction.

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

Post by SteRo » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:51 am

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:07 am
SteRo wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:54 am
Anybody who reads Kalupahana's introduction in his book can verify that Kalupahana interprets Nagarjuna's work as an elaboration on the Kaccānagotta Sutta. And he rejects the hypothesis that Nagarjuna was a Mahayanist.
You have provided no evidence you have read Kalupahana's introduction.
Ok. Although the persons responsible at Amazon also do not provide evidence that they have read Kalupahana's book I will quote their summary here:
This is a completely new translation of Nagarjuna's major work, the Mulamadhyamakakarika, accompanied by a detailed annotation of each of the verses. The annotation identifies the metaphysical theories of the scholastics criticized by Nagarjuna, and traces the source material and the arguments utilized in his refutation back to the early discourses of the Buddha.

The Introduction presents a completely new hypothesisthe nature of the treatise. The work is a grand commentary on the Buddha's "Discourse to Katyayana" (Kaccayanaqotta-sutta). The concluding part of the Introduction compares the teachings of the Buddha and Nagarjuna in regard to epistemology, ontology, ethics and philosophy of language indicating how the latter was making a determined attempt to reconstruct the Buddha's teachings in a very faithful manner, avoiding the substantialist metaphysics of the scholastics.

The book shows that Nagarjuna's ideas are neither original nor are they an advancement from the early Buddhist period. Nagarjuna is not a Mahayanist.
https://www.amazon.com/Nagarjuna-Philos ... 0887061494

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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 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:59 am

.

There appears to be a PDF of the Kalupahana book (including the introduction) at the following link:

https://antilogicalism.files.wordpress. ... karika.pdf


.

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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 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 7:46 am

Aloka wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:59 am
.

There appears to be a PDF of the Kalupahana book (including the introduction) at the following link:

https://antilogicalism.files.wordpress. ... karika.pdf
Very good. Thank you. :)
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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DooDoot
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by DooDoot » Sun Dec 08, 2019 11:45 am

SteRo wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:51 am
Kalupahana's book
I browsed this earlier today and but am now browsing again and make the following notes:

1. Kalupahana says "natthita" refers to the "Materialists"; reacting against the traditional metaphysics. However, to my knowledge, the Buddha never refers to the "Materialists" . The closest we get i think is in DN 2.

2. Kalupahana says dependent origination explains the nature of human personality & the world of experience.

3. Kalupahana incorrectly says the term "sabhava" means "self-nature" and also "substance".

4. Murti suggests Nagarjuna rejected the Buddha's theory of elements with his theory of emptiness.

5. Karika was Nagarjuna explanation of SN 12.15

6. Nagarjuna was a fearless critic of metaphysical views.

7. Kalupahana continues to identify natthita (asat; nastitva) with the Materialists but does not mention this term is found in the opening sentences of the Rig Veda.

8. Kalupahana identifies atthita with a personal universal self (Atman), which the Indian philosophers assert was created by God, (however this topic actually doesn't seem to occur much in the suttas).

9. Kalupahana says the Materialists advocated the annihilation of the human personality after death (and also denied moral responsibility for actions). They propounded a theory of the indestructibility of matter [footnotes his own book as the source of this info. :roll: ].

10. Kalupahana calls "nama-rupa" the "psychophysical personality". It appears Kalupahana thinks D.O. is about reincarnation.

11. Kalupahana appears to say SN 12.15 is related to DN 1, which list the 62 wrong views of atthita and natthita. [Note: I disagree with this because seeing merely arising will negate both views of atthita and natthita].

12. Kalupahana claims "passati" is seeing the arising & ceasing of various phenomena in the world.

13. Kalupahana says SN 12.15 says: "This is my [permanent] self.

14. Kalupahana says right view would not take a stand of This is my [permanent] self but would perceive phenomena in the world arising & ceasing. [This appears problematic because D.O. is much more than mere phenomena arising & ceasing].

15. The ordinary person continues to worry about a permanent eternal substances and god.

16. Sassata (eternalism) is false because it doesn't take into account cessation (nirodha).

17. :popcorn:

18. "Everything does not exist" is also false because it is more than a simple denial of a permanent and eternal substance in man (atman) or in the universe (brahman) but it implies complete discontinuity in phenomena or their annihilation (uccheda); which is wrong in that some aspects of experience like arising (samudaya) cannot be accounted for by such a view.

I will end here on page 13. Point 18 above is not well argued and vague; and uses concepts (such as uccheda poorly).

18. I browsed Nagarjuna's twelvefold formula (dvadasanga) earlier today and it seems too brief & vague but will examine it more thoroughly later. But Kalupahana seems to say it is about reincarnation. I also gained that impression when reading the dvadasanga although it was not conclusive.

19. Kalupahana appears to be clear in his view that D.O is about reincarnation or physical births & deaths. On page 14, Kalupahana engages in lots of tepid papanca that is unconvincing academically.

20. I will resume later from page 27. :reading:
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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dylanj
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Re: Where does the work Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way conflict with Theravada?

Post by dylanj » Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:16 am

Insofar as theravada conflicts with early buddhism by positing abhidhammika realism, diversity/multiplicity of phenomena, elementary particles etc.

It doesn't conflict with early buddhism in any way at all
Born, become, arisen – made, prepared, short-lived
Bonded by decay and death – a nest for sickness, perishable
Produced by seeking nutriment – not fit to take delight in


Departure from this is peaceful – beyond reasoning and enduring
Unborn, unarisen – free from sorrow and stain
Ceasing of all factors of suffering – stilling of all preparations is bliss

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