It is important to discern clearly the "delusionary" from the "illusionary" -- yoga of the two aspects of illusion.
Samsara is delusionary, a display of mistaken perception.
Nirvana is illusionary, a display of perfect purity.
Both samsara and nirvana are illusionary,
Like dreams, like mirages.
And if there is anything that is greater than nirvana,
That too is like a magical illusion.
André A. Pais
But even the sense of "illusoriness" must dissolve finally, for it's still a conceptual stain, it's still trying to pin down a final nature of things, it's still believing that there is a way things "are" and a way they appear.
Suchness is neither real nor illusory.
My 2c! Lol!
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland
This can go on for a bit. For example: But even the sense of the conceptual being a stain, is still trying to pin down a final nature of things, it's still believing that there is a way things "are" and a way they appear. Even trying to pin down a final nature of things being problematic, etc.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland yes this can go on and on as long as there is the single minuest thing. Actually freedom from all elaborations dispels the "delusionary" notions of the conceptual for the purpose of recognizing suchness, it does not deny and should not immobilize one from describing the taste of suchness -- the pure display.
And we can not fall in the trap of trying to see things otherwise then they seem to be. The way they appear is the most comfortable way to deal with life. The 'illusory' as a 'delusory' aspect is a good skillful means to deal with attachments.
André A. Pais
"Things are not as they seem; nor are they otherwise."
This encapsulates the whole thing very neatly, for me. Things are not as they seem, so on a first glimpse they indeed are illusory. And yet, neither are they otherwise, so on a final analysis, they are not illusory either (which should not compel us back into thinking that they are real as they appear). Things simply are devoid of any and all conceptual fabrications (innate or acquired) - be it empty or non-empty, real or unreal, etc.
André A. Pais
Through analysis and meditation.
Tetralemma suffices. Actually, only it is sufficient.
Emptiness as nisprapanca points to the inconceivable nature of phenomena (or the inconceivable fact that they are devoid of any nature, even emptiness). Emptiness as nisvabhava does not point to such inconceivable nature. Actually, as nisvabhava, emptiness is quite conceivable and conceptual, thus its conventional nature.
Anurag Jain it is just a more refined version of dharma seals.
As it is said in the Middle-Length Prajñāpāramitā,
"O Subhūti, phenomena are like dreams, like magical illusions. Even nirvāṇa is like a dream, like a magical illusion. And if there were anything greater than nirvāṇa, that too would be like a dream, like a magical illusion."
André A. Pais
I think the point is that if one thinks that there must be something higher than nirvana (because one is told that even nirvana is empty and an illusory notion dependent on its opposite), then even that higher state must be illusory. The point is, all grasping to ontology is misdirected and deluded. So, whatever one might fancy as existing, that too must be beyond notions (and thus empty of any true existence - or its lack).
André A. Pais
The nirvana that is qualified as illusory is not the actual experience of nirvana beyond reference points. Otherwise, how could it be qualified as illusory? Qualifications do not adhere to empty space.
André A. Pais I have read this many times from you.
Shows that you are not understanding Nirvana.
Or maybe it's to do with nisprapanca vs nisvabhava?
For me nirvana is nisprapanca. Though, since I am not a Buddhist scholar, I cannot comment on whether nisvabhava can be conflated with nisprapanca. My limited knowledge in this says that they can be conflated.
André A. Pais nirvana means understanding the empty nature of all phenomena. And emptiness is also empty. So nirvana is also empty.
Not only nirvana but samsara is also inconceivable and empty at all times but this is understood only when one attains Nirvana. And only then it can be said that Samsara is Nirvana. (Not before) It should be clear that Nirvana and Samsara are not ontological realities but modes of cognition.
John Tan has used the word "illusory", synonymously with the word "empty".
Contemplate on this..
André A. Pais
Yes, nirvana is nisprapanca. And in that sense, it is neither illusory nor non-illusory.
It would be rather unfortunate to proclaim to be in a state beyond reference points and simultaneously as possessing the reference point of being illusory.
André A. Pais
Curiously, a coincidence happened today as I was listening to a talk on Buddha-Nature. The speaker paraphrased the 11th century Nyingma master Rongzompa as saying, "while samsara and nirvana are characterized, it makes sense talking about illusoriness. Yet, from the final perspective, neither samsara nor nirvana have ever had any characteristic whatsoever, so there can't be any talk about illusoriness."
André A. Pais yes and there is actually no dispute about nirvana is nisprapanca in both schools (gelug and non-gelug) as well as both shentong and rangtong madhyamaka. They only disagree on the praxis or path towards it. The fact that it is "nis"-prapanca means it is dependent on the notion "prapanca" and therefore conventional. While we want to express the ease of freedom from all references and the gnosis of suchness in its naturalness free from all artifice, it should not handicap one from accurately and validly expressing nirvana conventionally, and this requires understanding accurately prapanca (proliferation) in terms of svabhava and the relationship of what exactly is meant by "conceptuality".
André A. Pais Similar to no-self of ATR, if the pointing does not result in the direct recognition of suchness (pure appearances) free from apprehender and apprehended or recognition of appearances as one's radiance clarity, then it is not anatta proper. Which is what imo Shentong Madhyamika is trying to emphasize with affirming-negation.
However to me, for a path that is based on reasoning and analysis, negation should be non-implicative because practitioners along the path are always dealing with a dualistic and inherent mind. If there is no dualistic and inherent mind, then there is no need for any path as there is nothing to sever. Hence, affirming-negation imo is less skillful as that would promote rather than sever the habitual tendency which is not the import of the analytical path.
If one wants to talk about the self-arising wisdom, it should not be by way of reasoning and analysis, the padaegogy will have to be radically different. It will probably have to be like dzogchen that takes the result as path. Then emphasis should not be just non-referential ease and space-like emptiness but includes all the magic of clarity's radiance.
I agree John Tan to your reply to André. I think this is what I had meant earlier when we discussed the difference between Madhyamika of Tsongkhapa - Gelug school, and that of Mipham - Nyingma school.
André A. Pais says that he is moving away from the Gelug school towards Nyingma school but I still read more of Gelug like approach in his writings.
And about self arising wisdom, reason and analysis are definitely part of the praxis but the end is the self arising non-conceptual insight.
André A. Pais
Because I perhaps tend focus on the method, not on the fruition. The Gelugpas tend to stress emptiness as lack of nature, while the ngaragpas (non-Gelug) tend to do the same while often pushing further into the transcendence of all ontological extremes and reference points. In this sense, I believe I lean more towards the ngaragpas.
Anyway, my discourse in these "debates" is more sutric than tantric, thus my emphasis on deconstructive analysis, rather than positivistic affirmations of "what's left" after the analysis. On the other hand, outside "debate" I've often written in more celebratory terms.
André A. Pais
I couple of examples, just to make sure you get my point!
Sooner or later we can come to realize, for instance in contemplation or meditation, that we aren't any longer - nor perhaps have we ever been - a corporeal being investigating its physical environment or human condition. Instead, there is just experience unveiling itself, knowingness contemplating and questioning its own nature, mere existence or reality touching and (un)mapping itself, luminous appearances displaying information. As we get to this point, no longer tethered by limiting notions of materiality, solidity and embodiment, things can start opening up, unblocking the way to a type of perception where anything can happen and appear. We are no longer a human being inside a physical world in a substantial universe, and therefore a new whole level of insight is possible.
It's no longer a subject analyzing myriad objects, but a seamless sphere of luminous processing, an unknoting of perception, a release of crystallized categories. It's just an activity of open inquiry moving through and as appearances, an active but gentle flowingness of curiosity. The whole process can become less of a cry for peace and more of a celebration of inquiry itself, the glorification of an ever-deepening wisdom, an upward spiraling love of knowledge.
(this following one actually makes sense in this post:)
If there is no self at all,
How could it be inside the head,
Behind the eyes or in the chest?
Implode notions of in & out,
Internal or external,
Subjective & objective,
Material or mental.
Dissolve into centerlessness;
Into borderless experience.
There is no agent, no observer.
In this very experience
There is actually no experiencer.
Rest in sheer non-dual luminosity.
In mere unestablished appearance.
Having dropped such notions,
Transcend their very absence.
There is neither self
Nor any lack of it.
There is no essence
Nor its emptiness.
There is no center
Since a negation still implies
Its refuted object,
Drop all views.
This dropping goes on.
It goes deeper.
Eyes wide open,
Drop all views
And shatter the universe.
André A. Pais also on the point abt the importance of nisvabhava: both gelug and non-gelug never disagree on that. What that is not agreeable for the non-gelug is the idea that "self-nature" can stand apart from conceptual conventions as what is "inherent" is the whole conceptual convention. One cannot negate "inherent existence" and retain the conventional, that would be creating a rabbit horn to negate. The gelug of course disagree and so to them conceptualities is ok and necessary and the never ending polemics or refinement of views we may call it.
Anurag Jain I think Andre has made his clarifications to u and the abv is the relationship between nisprapanca and nisvabhava.
John Tan thanks for clearing the whole concept of nisvabhava in Gelug and Non-Gelug schools.
Yes. I get the fact that the debate centres around the notion of Gelugs retaining the notion of the conventional self.
I used to have long dialogues with Greg, a couple of years back. Today, I can see that he had a very Gelug orientation while I had a very Nyingma one, so it was difficult at times for us to understand each other
André A. Pais
Nisvabhava is the negation being referred to right at the beginning (that also should be abandoned). It opens the door to spaciousness - that is fully "accomplished" with nisprapanca.
But as John Tan has mentioned, prapanca is mostly based on reification of existence, so nisprapanca is strongly based on nisvabhava (but not limited to it).
John Tan, not exactly in the vein of the above discussions, but re your comment above, how does "causes and conditions" in "everything is dependent on causes and conditions" is not an eternalist statement?
PS - I fully agree with the fact that lack of perception of the miracle in a peace of turd is what makes one project some comprehensible "ultimate reality". Mind sees clearly that the living miracle are not to be understood.
But surely, magickal illusion comes from something, that is the source of illusion but what is beyond human reach and therefore proclaimed non-existing. Humans project their limitations as fundamental structure of reality.
Saying everything is illusion is absurd statement. There must be something real in contrast to illusion. Illusion in relationship to what? If nothings real then nothing is illusion. Dependent origination.
Meaning of dharma is: i just want get rid of suffer and i don't care about gods or ultimate reality if they cannot help me to stop suffering. But that tells us nothing really about existance or non-existance of the source except: god and ultimate reality don't care about our suffering.
This is dharma, this is ultimate, this is truth: The Buddha’s teaching of the Dharma is based on two truths: - a truth of worldly convention - and an ultimate truth. Those who do not understand the distinction drawn between these two truths - do not understand the Buddha’s profound truth. Without a foundation in the conventional truth - the significance of the ultimate cannot be taught. Without understanding the significance of the ultimate, - liberation is not achieved. ~ Nagarjuna Mūlamadhyamakakārika 24:8-10