Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:44 am

Greetings Individual,
Individual wrote:I could go on with this, Retrofuturist, but you wouldn't be interested; you've clearly picked a side and you've stuck with it.
Yes, I clearly take the Sutta and Vinaya Pitakas as the definitive teachings of the Buddha (give or take a few shifting sands, textual corruptions, later compositions etc. that might be identified through cross-pitaka/agama analysis). But then, I happily caveat my posts with this assumption so that people understand the perspective I represent. I've clearly put a stake in the ground here, but I respect that this is not your preferred approach.
Individual wrote:So, if I was forced to pick a view... I'd probably disregard them both, the way you seem to do! :)
There's a difference between "disregard" and "not use" though. Disregard may imply active rejection, whereas I may on occasion review them and try to reconcile them (or see if they are reconcilible) with the aforementioned Pitakas. I wouldn't do so if I thought they were inherently wrong. If they can complement rather than contradict that which I take as authorative, they may add value as "commentaries" (for example, I'd rather read a commentary of SN 12.15 by Nagarjuna than I would one authored by Buddhaghosa, despite me being nominally Theravadin).

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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ground
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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by ground » Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:37 am

Individual wrote:So, if I was forced to pick a view... I'd probably disregard them both, the way you seem to do! :)
I would recommend to pick what is helpful and disregard sectarian views.

Kind regards

Individual
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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by Individual » Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:04 am

Retro, I altered my post. It was a bit too harsh and ignorant. For instance, I changed "wouldn't" to "might not", because I wouldn't venture to speculate on and judge your views when I can just ask you instead.
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Individual,
Individual wrote:I could go on with this, Retrofuturist, but you wouldn't be interested; you've clearly picked a side and you've stuck with it.
Yes, I clearly take the Sutta and Vinaya Pitakas as the definitive teachings of the Buddha (give or take a few shifting sands, textual corruptions, later compositions etc. that might be identified through cross-pitaka/agama analysis). But then, I happily caveat my posts with this assumption so that people understand the perspective I represent. I've clearly put a stake in the ground here, but I respect that this is not your preferred approach.
That's a reasonable view. However, I have to ask: Rather than engaging in lengthy linguistic analysis of texts in the past, wouldn't it be easier to compare any alleged words with the experience of the present? The former can never be completed and is forever uncertain. But the success of the latter is possible here and now, and contrary to what your suttas say it doesn't necessarily take "eons" to accomplish.
retrofuturist wrote:
Individual wrote:So, if I was forced to pick a view... I'd probably disregard them both, the way you seem to do! :)
There's a difference between "disregard" and "not use" though. Disregard may imply active rejection, whereas I may on occasion review them and try to reconcile them (or see if they are reconcilible) with the aforementioned Pitakas. I wouldn't do so if I thought they were inherently wrong. If they can complement rather than contradict that which I take as authorative, they may add value as "commentaries" (for example, I'd rather read a commentary of SN 12.15 by Nagarjuna than I would one authored by Buddhaghosa, despite me being nominally Theravadin).
Why do you reconcile them with the words, though, rather than your experiences, your life, your mind? What's the deal with the obsession over the sutta pitaka?

It's like a caveman who invented fire -- for food, purifying water, warmth, etc..

The smart cavemen used the fire without obsessing over it. (And still do)

The stupid ones were amazed: "THIS FIRE IS HOLY!! WE MUST MAKE MORE OF IT AND USE IT IN ODD, FUNNY WAYS!!" (Like self-immolation and ritual sacrifices to gods)

You've said in the past that the early Theravadin commentators got carried away with their veneration of the Buddha, that they developed their own misconceptions. One could say that's an arrogant statement. How are you different in that same regard? :)
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:22 am

Greetings,
Individual wrote:But the success of the latter is possible here and now, and contrary to what your suttas say it doesn't necessarily take "eons" to accomplish.
That's neither in the Sutta Pitaka, nor the Vinaya Pitaka... that's an invention of later Buddhism.

The rest of your post is increasingly off-topic and as you put it above, "harsh and ignorant" so I'm not responding to it.

:focus:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by ground » Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:29 am

Individual wrote:However, I have to ask: Rather than engaging in lengthy linguistic analysis of texts in the past, wouldn't it be easier to compare any alleged words with the experience of the present? The former can never be completed and is forever uncertain. But the success of the latter is possible here and now, and contrary to what your suttas say it doesn't necessarily take "eons" to accomplish.
The saying "here and now" really seems to have developed into a "all-round argument" suitable for all contexts imaginable.

Comparable to "the ultimate" in Mahayana :tongue:

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PeterB
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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by PeterB » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:24 am

Individual wrote:
PeterB wrote:I think the fact that Nagarjuna is a Mahayanist is ABSOLUTELY the point.
If you regard people as Theravada-"ins" and Mahayana-"ists", thinking and judging in these terms, aren't you basically adopting a form of sakaya-ditthi, which is contrary to the teachings of both schools of thought?

As I see it, Theravadins and Mahayanists are just like Republicans and Democrats.

Wait, that might offend people... Sorry... We're ALL Democrats here (no Republicans here except me).
Another restatement of the Mahayana view ( or at least Mahayana Naif ) which thinks its is radical.

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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by tobes » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:39 am

It depends greatly on how Nagarjuna is interpreted.....and he is interpreted in a number of very distinct ways.

We have been having quite a robust debate about this on the Mahayana Dharma Wheel.

My own position is that I think that it is very clear that he is responding to Sarvastivadan realism, and in that sense, he is clarifying the position of earlier Buddhisms rather than refuting them or presenting a radical break.

As someone pointed out earlier on this thread, the Buddha did not make strong metaphysical assertions about the nature of phenomenal world; this started to occur during the period of Abhidharma scholasticism.

In this respect, I think that Nagarjuna's main intent is to point out that all of the core Buddhist teachings (for example the four noble truths) are premised on the logic of dependent origination. It is only on the basis of dependent origination that a soteriological path leading from samsara to nirvana is possible; that an ethics of kusala cultivation can be established.

So in many respects I think that if one is well grounded in the Pali suttas, a likely response to Nagarjuna would be something like "So? Of course!"

:namaste:
Last edited by tobes on Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:44 am

:twothumbsup:

:goodpost:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by Nyana » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:47 am

tobes wrote:It depends greatly on how Nagarjuna is interpreted.....and he is interpreted in a number of very distinct ways.

We have been having quite a robust debate about this on the Mahayana Dharma Wheel.
The Pāli dhamma is every bit as radical, if not moreso, than anything of importance that Nāgārjuna ever said.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:49 am

Hence, Tobes' final sentence... "So in many respects I think that if one is well grounded in the Pali suttas, a likely response to Nagarjuna would be something like "So? Of course!""

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by Nyana » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:00 am

The reference was to Tobes characterization of "radical" in the context of the discussion on Dharma Wheel. I'm suggesting that both the Pāli dhamma and Nāgārjuna are more "radical" than Tobes interpretation. Certainly, the view presented in the Pāli Tipiṭaka accords with what Nāgār­juna was getting at. Ven. Ñāṇananda:
  • Teach­ers like Nāgār­juna brought to light what was already there [in the Pāli suttas] but was hid­den from view. Unfor­tu­nately his later fol­low­ers turned it in to a vāda....

    When I first read the Kārikā I too was doubt­ing Ven. Nāgārjuna’s san­ity. But the work needs to be under­stood in the con­text. He was tak­ing a jab at the Sarvāstivādins. To be hon­est, even the oth­ers deserve the rebuke, although they now try to get away by using Sarvās­tivāda as an excuse. How skilled Ven. Nāgār­juna must have been, to com­pose those verses so ele­gantly and fill­ing them with so much mean­ing, like the Dhamma­pada verses. It’s quite amazing.
All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:03 am

Ñāṇa wrote:The reference was to Tobes characterization of "radical" in the context of the discussion on Dharma Wheel.
Link, please.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by Nyana » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:07 am

tiltbillings wrote:Link, please.
The discussion is in this thread.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:08 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Link, please.
The discussion is in this thread.

All the best,

Geoff
Thanks.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Nagarjuna as the true interpret of the doctrine?

Post by PeterB » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:23 am

Ñāṇa wrote:The reference was to Tobes characterization of "radical" in the context of the discussion on Dharma Wheel. I'm suggesting that both the Pāli dhamma and Nāgārjuna are more "radical" than Tobes interpretation. Certainly, the view presented in the Pāli Tipiṭaka accords with what Nāgār­juna was getting at. Ven. Ñāṇananda:
  • Teach­ers like Nāgār­juna brought to light what was already there [in the Pāli suttas] but was hid­den from view. Unfor­tu­nately his later fol­low­ers turned it in to a vāda....

    When I first read the Kārikā I too was doubt­ing Ven. Nāgārjuna’s san­ity. But the work needs to be under­stood in the con­text. He was tak­ing a jab at the Sarvāstivādins. To be hon­est, even the oth­ers deserve the rebuke, although they now try to get away by using Sarvās­tivāda as an excuse. How skilled Ven. Nāgār­juna must have been, to com­pose those verses so ele­gantly and fill­ing them with so much mean­ing, like the Dhamma­pada verses. It’s quite amazing.
All the best,

Geoff
We are in your debt ( and Ven Nananada's of course ) once more Geoff.
:anjali:

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