ADVAITA-L Digest - question?
rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Fri Jun 14 16:43:27 CDT 1996
Thanks to Vidya for his informative post on Buddhism (in reply to my post).
> That's true, but maybe Nagarjuna is against formal logic, and specifically
> against theories (the "isms"). He doesn't hold a view because all views are
> meaningless. As he himself says, "How can you refute me, who doesn't have a
> view to cling onto?".
Isn't that itself a view, I mean "don't have a view to cling to"?
> Ramakrishnan wrote:
> > Here's where gauDapaada disagrees with Nagarjuna. gauDapaada says that no
> > can deny that he exists. This is certainly pratyaksha (self evident). So
> > view that one exists is certainly evident.
> I must read the book by David Kalupahana,"Nagarjuna: the philosophy of the
> middle way" again, to clarify what Nagarjuna means when he uses the
> word "self". If I'm right, by "self", Nagarjuna means,"the seer, hearer" and
> so on. If the "seen" object doesn't exist, how meaningful is a "seer"?
Here you again. How do you know that the seen object does not exist? All you
can say is that the seen object has no reality apart from you, i.e., there is
no way of distinguishing objects seen "outside" and "inside" (waking and
dream). This is the only way we can say "jagat mithya", i.e., ascribing a
special reality to the world, apart from you, is "mithya". A seer is certainly
meaningful, since there must be someone to deny the "seen", otherwise you get
into a contradiction. Can anybody deny that he exists? No, not without getting
into a logical contradiction. Think about it.
> Nagarjuna states,"All this is empty" instead of,"All is empty". This is one
> of the most significant statements in his Karika. The latter is the
> of shUyata, but the former cannot be misconstrued that way.
So is there anything _not_ empty?
> When the Buddha came along, there were many "absolutes" in India. The caste
> system was an "absolute". Nobody could go against it. The Sanskrit language
> was an "absolute": it was considered a "sacred" language. The vedic
> injunctions were an "absolute": all statements in the Vedas were considered
> true. Buddha was essentially against all these "absolutes". For Him, all
I should point out here that gauDapaada also says that what is accepted by the
vedas and what is also deduced by reason is alone correct. Thus, he declares
statements about creation as illustrations for novices.
> As I said, Nagarjuna holds ALL terms to be meaningless. But there is always
> the question: How meaningful then is a negation? Cheng gives an example: in
a> dream, there are two illusory people X and Y. X tries to do something, and Y
> prevents him from doing it. Though the action "preventing him from doing it"
> is itself illusory, but still, it makes sense to use the term "prevent" in
> context of the dream.
I can't follow what you are trying to say :-).
> does help in a way. As Nagarjuna says,"Without using language, the doctrine
> is not taught. Without learning the doctrine, one cannot become
So what is enlightenment according to Nagarjuna? Advaita is quite clear about
what it is.
> I think Zen Buddhism follows mAdhamika quite closely (though it has come
> influence from Taoism and other philosophies too). Most zen masters use
> language as if they didn't know the proper use of words. Cheng gives two
I can give another example:
A man was talking about shunya, and how everything is shunya etc. The Zen
master whacks him on his head with a pipe. The man gets angry and the master
observes, "If every thing is empty, where did the anger come from?".
Clearly, a pointer to "realize" the self.
> But the idea is to break away from formal language. Hence Nagarjuna is often
I don't think so. For a few ripe people enlightenment appear in strange ways.
A person who is almost ready may be awakened by some weird statement, a clap, or
a whack on the head (all from various Zen stories). One can break away from
formal language only when "realized".
The last statement above is according to masters, who I have
faith in, and certainly not by experience. So breaking away from formal
language is quite an impossibility and indulging in such a thing by making
weird statements for any question, serves no purpose other than, maybe some
Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said, "The flag is moving." The other
said, "The wind is moving." The sixth patriarch happened to be passing by. He
told them, "Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving." - The Gateless Gate
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