Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

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zan
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Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by zan »

I personally think this is quite unlikely. However I am an orthodox Theravadin and have been looking into Nagarjuna's work and it seems to undercut pretty much everything while using things found in the suttas, particularly dependent origination.

It proves nibbana and samsara are the same thing, which pretty much wrecks most of the dhamma since it is built around the two being different. The suttas even state that they are different many times and in many ways.

But, if his methods are the true and accurate full development of the Pali Canon's dependent origination then seeking nibbana as taught by the Buddha is irrational and pointless and it cancels out, via contradictory logic, the suttas saying nibbana and samsara are different.

A lot of other things go out the window too since he fully negates literally everything.

As an orthodox Theravadin of twenty years this is a disconcerting revelation.

Hopefully the fine folk on here can set this straight for me! I must be missing something! The Theravada elders were wise Arahants and I doubt they would be so easily defeated.

Further, if samsara was nibbana the Buddha would have said so. Likewise if nibbana didn't exist, per the Astahasrika Prajnaparamita where it is said "Even Nirvana I say is like a magical illusion..." (Prajnaparamita texts are associated with the works of Nagarjuna).

Nibbana is said in the suttas to be an unconditioned dhamma and to exist (Ud 8.3). To equate it with samsara, which is conditioned, is to contradict the Buddha.

The Buddha delineated them repeatedly and made it quite clear that nibbana exist and is not samsara. So, starting with at least this point where Nagarjuna contradicts the Buddha, we must have some way to work around his logic, that is, assuming the Buddha of the suttas had superior logic, which surely he did.
I am just a learner. Keep that in mind when you read my words.

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robertk
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Re: Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by robertk »

Doodoot gave a summary and one point was that , according to Nargarjuna, there was nothing that is real, no sabhava.
A rather unlikely 'truth' I would say, and in conflict with Theravada.
char101
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Re: Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by char101 »

Theravada uses the pali tipitaka. Which part of pali tipitaka supports the notion that nibanna is samsara?
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Re: Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,

I would recommend reading "The Heretic Sage"... a short series of interviews with ven. Nanananda. I won't share it here, because it's probably not 100% appropriate to this section, but it's one of the few examples you will find of anyone knowledgeable in Theravada, responding to and reflecting upon the works of Nagarjuna.

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
Srilankaputra
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Re: Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by Srilankaputra »

zan wrote: Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:57 am It proves nibbana and samsara are the same thing,
For those of us who don't want to read Nagarjuna, can you summarise his argument.

Sīlavaṃtaṃ guṇavaṃtaṃ
Puññakkhettaṃ anuttaraṃ
Dullabhena mayā laddhaṃ
Passituṃ vandituṃ varaṃ
Sāriputtādi therānaṃ
āgataṃ paṭipāṭiyā
saddhā sīlaṃ dayāvāsaṃ
Buddha puttaṃ namāmahaṃ
santa100
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Re: Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by santa100 »

zan wrote:The Buddha delineated them repeatedly and made it quite clear that nibbana exist and is not samsara. So, starting with at least this point where Nagarjuna contradicts the Buddha, we must have some way to work around his logic, that is, assuming the Buddha of the suttas had superior logic, which surely he did.
Not sure why you have to find a way to work around Nagarjuna's logic? If a martial art student finds out that the particular style that he's been studying isn't quite the best fit for his strength, power, arm reach, or flexibility, s/he wouldn't find a way to work around it, s/he'd simply find a different style that is more suitable for his shape and size.
daveblack
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Re: Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by daveblack »

zan wrote: Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:57 am I personally think this is quite unlikely. However I am an orthodox Theravadin and have been looking into Nagarjuna's work and it seems to undercut pretty much everything while using things found in the suttas, particularly dependent origination.

It proves nibbana and samsara are the same thing, which pretty much wrecks most of the dhamma since it is built around the two being different. The suttas even state that they are different many times and in many ways.
Mahayana first rejects Individual Liberation as impossible, i.e. you can't get to Nibbana by yourself, and it rejects it dogmatically with no sound reason to do so.

Then it brings in the theory of Corporate Liberation, that all beings must be liberated together or none are. Then it realizes its own mistake: Clearly all beings can't be liberated all at once!

So instead of dropping its initial mistake of rejecting Individual Liberation, it just doubles down on the mistake by claiming that Nirvana and Samsara are one and the same, and thus all beings are already liberated while still in bondage.

This is no proof that Nirvana and Samsara are one and the same. This is only a proof that Mahayana began this illogical chain by rejecting the 3rd noble truth: i.e. that Individual Liberation is possible.
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Idappaccayata
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Re: Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by Idappaccayata »

retrofuturist wrote: Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:32 am Greetings,

I would recommend reading "The Heretic Sage"... a short series of interviews with ven. Nanananda. I won't share it here, because it's probably not 100% appropriate to this section, but it's one of the few examples you will find of anyone knowledgeable in Theravada, responding to and reflecting upon the works of Nagarjuna.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Do you have a good link for this? I can't seem to find one.
A dying man can only rely upon his wisdom, if he developed it. Wisdom is not dependent upon any phenomenon originated upon six senses. It is developed on the basis of the discernment of the same. That’s why when one’s senses start to wither and die, the knowledge of their nature remains unaffected. When there is no wisdom, there will be despair, in the face of death.

- Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero
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Re: Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,

Link to PDF sourced from http://seeingthroughthenet.net/

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Idappaccayata
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Re: Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by Idappaccayata »

retrofuturist wrote: Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:59 am Greetings,

Link to PDF sourced from http://seeingthroughthenet.net/

Metta,
Paul. :)
Thank you!
A dying man can only rely upon his wisdom, if he developed it. Wisdom is not dependent upon any phenomenon originated upon six senses. It is developed on the basis of the discernment of the same. That’s why when one’s senses start to wither and die, the knowledge of their nature remains unaffected. When there is no wisdom, there will be despair, in the face of death.

- Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero
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cappuccino
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Re: Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by cappuccino »

zan wrote: As an orthodox Theravadin of twenty years this is a disconcerting revelation.
there are no revelations other than from the Buddha

:shrug:
zan
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Re: Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by zan »

robertk wrote: Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:04 am Doodoot gave a summary and one point was that , according to Nargarjuna, there was nothing that is real, no sabhava.
A rather unlikely 'truth' I would say, and in conflict with Theravada.
Exactly my point. Thank you. Glad to know I'm not alone in noticing this.

But if he used canonical reasoning, how is he wrong?
Last edited by zan on Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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.
zan
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Re: Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by zan »

retrofuturist wrote: Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:32 am Greetings,

I would recommend reading "The Heretic Sage"... a short series of interviews with ven. Nanananda. I won't share it here, because it's probably not 100% appropriate to this section, but it's one of the few examples you will find of anyone knowledgeable in Theravada, responding to and reflecting upon the works of Nagarjuna.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Thanks! At a cursory glance it seems like the Venerable in the article agrees with Nagarjuna? Am I reading it wrong?
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.
zan
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Re: Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by zan »

daveblack wrote: Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:48 pm
zan wrote: Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:57 am I personally think this is quite unlikely. However I am an orthodox Theravadin and have been looking into Nagarjuna's work and it seems to undercut pretty much everything while using things found in the suttas, particularly dependent origination.

It proves nibbana and samsara are the same thing, which pretty much wrecks most of the dhamma since it is built around the two being different. The suttas even state that they are different many times and in many ways.
Mahayana first rejects Individual Liberation as impossible, i.e. you can't get to Nibbana by yourself, and it rejects it dogmatically with no sound reason to do so.

Then it brings in the theory of Corporate Liberation, that all beings must be liberated together or none are. Then it realizes its own mistake: Clearly all beings can't be liberated all at once!

So instead of dropping its initial mistake of rejecting Individual Liberation, it just doubles down on the mistake by claiming that Nirvana and Samsara are one and the same, and thus all beings are already liberated while still in bondage.

This is no proof that Nirvana and Samsara are one and the same. This is only a proof that Mahayana began this illogical chain by rejecting the 3rd noble truth: i.e. that Individual Liberation is possible.
Excellent points, but how do we get around Nagarjuna's logic when he used reasoning compatible with the Pali Canon (as opposed to Mahayana logic from outside)?
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.
zan
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Re: Is classical Theravada mostly proven false by Nagarjuna?

Post by zan »

santa100 wrote: Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:33 pm
zan wrote:The Buddha delineated them repeatedly and made it quite clear that nibbana exist and is not samsara. So, starting with at least this point where Nagarjuna contradicts the Buddha, we must have some way to work around his logic, that is, assuming the Buddha of the suttas had superior logic, which surely he did.
Not sure why you have to find a way to work around Nagarjuna's logic? If a martial art student finds out that the particular style that he's been studying isn't quite the best fit for his strength, power, arm reach, or flexibility, s/he wouldn't find a way to work around it, s/he'd simply find a different style that is more suitable for his shape and size.
Thank you. Are you suggesting the Mahayana view presented by Nagarjuna is superior to the Theravada one? I disagree and have seen a huge number of reasons why this view is harmful, from inside Mahayana temples; I trained for several years in that tradition over 20 years ago. I never looked into Nagarjuna until now as I was a lot younger then and lazy. I was told to read it but never did.
Last edited by zan on Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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.
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