You mentioned that by reading the canon, one may have a chance to see the true objective text "without a hermeneutic lens", but I don't think hermeneutics can be escaped so easily. It is my personal suspicion that only the Buddha's are exempt from hermeneutics, but to each their own, thank you for your civility, just because people find themselves momentarily disagreeing on a given issue doesn't mean it can't be done with dispassion.
The abandoning of hermeneutics, which are predicated on biases, preconceptions, views, conceptualizations, intellectual hypostatizations, and in short, on samsara, is part of the path anyways. I wish you well on your continuing journey, as I hope you wish me likewise.
Thanks for your compliments and I do wish you the same. I also wish you will one day give Buddha a change just like you have gave Nagarjuna and others a chance by reading their books.
.In itself, purely as inertia or behaviour, matter cannot be said to exist. (Cf. Heidegger, op. cit., p. 212.) And if it cannot be said to exist it cannot be said to cease.
This claim that form does not exist and the endless speculations about existence that follow are why I consider him a constructivist. He has not read this sutta quoted by me recently:
“Bhikkhus, the arising, continuation, production, and manifestation of the earth element is the arising of suffering, the continuation of disease, the manifestation of aging-and death. The arising, continuation, production, and manifestation of the water element … the heat element … the air element is the arising of suffering, the continuation of disease, the manifestation of aging-and-death.
“The cessation, subsiding, and passing away of the earth element … the air element is the cessation of suffering, the subsiding of disease, the passing away of aging-and-death.”
Buddha has voiced only 2 opinions about existence. Buddha was a realist not a constructivist. If one can find any more opinions except these 2, please provide sutta:
I've never heard Buddha debate weather the earth element is inherently real or not. Honestly I don't even understand too much what "inherently" is supposed to mean. Buddha view about the earth element and everything else is like this:
1) They have no substance, but they do exist.
Form has as much substance in it as consciousness or volition. That is how it should be seen. But it does exist just like consciousness or volition do exist.
2) That who sees their cessation can not say they exist because they cease. Those who see their arising can not say they don't exist because they do arise.
This is not meant to be understood in some constructivist, relativist way. It should be understood pretty simple. Think about it. There is a banana. The banana will disappear at one point and will be no more. Nobody will even remember it. It will be like it never was. So it can not be said that it really exists from this point of view. On the other hand, the banana has arisen and does exist at the moment. So nobody can say the banana does not exist. Things exist but they are impermanent so at one point they cease to exist. Pretty simple and straightforward, no need for endless philosophical debates.
As for the Kevatta sutta, the reason the question was phrased wrongly is because the answer would imply "the four great elements cease without reminder in nibbana" - witch would make nibbana a place or a thing that exists. It would make it a "thing" that has properties, such as the property of the 4 great elements not existing in it.
By asking where they would get no footing, the answer would be "the four great elements get no footing in nibbana" because of the absence of consciousness. When there is no consciousness or anything whatsoever, how could the four great elements or anything else be distinguished ?
It should be noted that this is a strangely worded sutta witch was twisted around by some such as Thanissaro to make a case for eternal consciousness in nibanna, in complete disregard for what is said in innumerable other suttas about nibbana. Also it was translated in a controversial way by Thanissaro (witch is quoted here by Nanavira) no make a case for his eternal consciousness thai forest views about Nibbana.
PS: It should also be noted that this sutta comes from DN, a small 600 page book that was meant for propaganda. The book containing the fundamental doctrine where all is explained in better detail is SN. Things are very clear there. It is very probable that such poetic verses from DN were written not to scare more idealist newcomers away. In any case, it is not in the small and poetic propaganda book for newcomers that one should look for difficult answers. It is in SN where one should look to clarify such questions. Also, DN is known to have possibly been corrupted. But this is unimportant anyway since it was meant for propaganda and not for gaining real knowledge.