Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

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zan
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Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by zan »

So, if we extrapolate certain ideas in the Pali Canon to their (hopefully incorrect) logical extreme, we end up at a point where the Buddha has zero authority because some of his own teachings (only at this logical extreme) negate any reason to follow them. We also end up where enlightenment and non enlightenment are the same thing, absolutely nothing whatsoever exists (or everything is imaginary and mind either does exist as the atta, or, paradoxically and self contradictory/self defeating, doesn't exist either), and practice is totally pointless, worse, practice is irrational and probably counterproductive.

I believe that the classical Theravada path is the only correct interpretation of the Pali Canon (I'm flexible on flux and a few other points, but other than that, it's pretty clearly a straightforward detailed explanation of what the Buddha taught).

Therefore, I see the Mahayana ideas that go this route (and only those ideas, not all Mahayana fit this bill) as essentially heterodox extrapolations that negate the Pali Canon entirely by using logic to circumvent it's teachings. This brings into one line of thought the Mahayana and the secular arguments against Buddhism, as both are merely extrapolations that turn the Buddha's teachings against the religion itself and invalidate all of Buddhism.

Basically I've lost faith due to following logic. It happens to be Mahayana, but their logic is self refuting and makes literally all of Buddhism pointless, and logic that disproves the faith is, for all intents and purposes, secular.

I want to get back to my old practice that I've been doing for nearly twenty years now, but that I've come to see as pointless.

The Mahayana have many treatises to ostensibly prove their superiority and disprove classical Theravada (and extremely strangely, all of Buddhism). Are there any such things in the Theravada that do the reverse? Have any authors in history written in defense of orthodox Theravada on this topic?

What advice would any classical Theravada adherents give me to get back on the path?

Treatises or other writings would be great! I'd also appreciate personal posts that defend the classical Theravada position on this topic. Any other advice also would be welcome, but logic to fight logic seems like a straightforward solution.

If you're formulating a rebuttal of the classical position and are about to challenge the classical Theravada position in some way, please read the bottom of this post. Everyone else, the post ends here :smile:

Please and thank you!









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I've no interest in people trying to teach me how Suttanta or Mahayana points are correct and the classical Theravada position is wrong. Further, this type of post that challenges the classical position is not allowed in this sub forum, so please keep these feelings to yourselves.

This site is mostly Suttanta, and Suttanta is generally in agreement with one or more Mahayana points that do not exist in classical Theravada, or that directly refute or seek to disprove a classical Theravada position. Since most users are Suttanta, it seems they don't even realize they are refuting the classical positions. The orthodox, on this site, is considered the heretic. Hence, nearly every classical Theravada post that I make has some Suttanta adherent trying to convince me or others that the classical position is wrong. I can see where this is not always deliberate, as some users probably don't even know that they are not supposed to challenge the classical position in this subforum, and, perhaps more often, do not even know that their position is not the classical position that has defined Theravada for millennia. Nevertheless, this is the one place where classical Theravada is considered correct and authoritative, and where Suttanta or Mahayana or other proselytizing is disallowed, as is challenging the classical position(s). Please respect that.

I've also zero interest in people trying to teach me how Mahayana is the correct understanding and that it never negates or disproves Buddhism (the Heart Sutra alone is nearly impossible to get around on this issue, to say nothing of the mountains of other texts that support this reading). Regardless of the correctness or incorrectness of my assumptions on the Mahayana, I am looking for renewal of faith in classical Theravada and nothing else.
Last edited by zan on Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:34 am, edited 2 times 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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samseva
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Re: Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by samseva »

You could find material and counter-arguments for every Mahāyāna/secular teaching out there, but that probably won't amount to much... Instead, try this, which will likely result in something beneficial:

(Stop studying/reading/thinking about secular/Mahāyāna teachings.)
1. Read/study the Suttas/Tipiṭaka—i.e., the teachings of the Buddha (even learn Pāḷi, to better understand the teachings).
- Don't take everything on blind faith, but also stay open-minded (rebirth, etc.).
2. Put these into practice.
3. Meditate (samatha and vipassāna).
4. Be happy and enjoy the lessoned suffering in your life.

Repeat steps 1-4—especially meditation—until you reach Nibbāna.
Last edited by samseva on Mon Oct 05, 2020 3:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by Ceisiwr »

If you are referring to Nāgārjuna, his logic largely does not apply to Theravāda.

"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
liberation in the Sāsana comes from analysis and synthesis;
the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


IMO Nāgārjuna focused too much on synthesis in order to attack the Sarvāstivādins who were too focused on analysis. The Sarvāstivādins excessive realism due to their focusing on analysis lead to a substance metaphysics. When Nāgārjuna denies "inherent existence" it is this he is attacking. His arguments regarding how arising and ceasing cannot occur if there is inherent existence is referring to substance. If there was a permanent substance then it would not be part of causality and so would not rise or cease. Dhammas are conditioned and so have no substance. Therefore, according to Nāgārjuna, ultimately dhammas do not exist as they have no inherent existence/substance. This emptiness of substance is also what allows us to talk about arising and ceasing, but only conventionally. Its important to remember that all this is a reaction to substance metaphysics.

The problem from a Theravādin point of view is that he makes a leap from denying substance (very good) to denying existence apart from concept, or sabhāva (not so good). That, however, does not necessarily follow. It is possible that something could exist without substance and apart from concept. In Theravāda dhammas are said to exist not because of substance but because of intrinsic essence (sabhāva). For example, the essence of the earth element is hardness. The essence of citta is cognition. These essences can be known apart from concept. When properly practicing satipaṭṭhāna it is possible to know the dhammas apart from concept. Since direct perception = knowledge, it can be known that they exist ad so are ultimate realities.

That, however, is an argument from experience. A more rational argument would centre around what exactly a concept (paññatti) is. Concepts are designations given to something in order to classify it from other things, or are abstract ideas like space, time or causality. Concepts then are labels and ideas applied to sense experience. If concepts are applied, then something is applying them. Since concepts relate to sense experience, it makes sense to look there. To take an ordinary example, I see a green apple on a table. Further investigation would reveal that I am not simply aware of "a green apple" but am aware of its colour, shape and its location in relation to other objects such as the table which, in relation to, I am also aware of its colour, shape and position in space. If I were to lean on the table, hold the apple and eat it I would become aware of many other sensations such as touch, temperature and taste. Such an analysis would then reveal that what I am experiencing is not simply "an apple on the table" but in fact many different qualities, or sense data. The table and apple then are comprised of these bundles of sense data. Being bundles of different qualities, how then do I see a whole out of such a plurality? If something is made of parts yet all I initially see is a whole, something must be organising these parts into a whole which I initially take as a given.

Investigating further it would become apparent that through the eye-door I can become aware of so many instances and shades of the colour green, brown as well as hardness etc through the other sense doors. The mind then, discriminating between these flashes of colour, hardness, temperature and so on must be organising and synthesising them into two separate yet related whole objects which I label as "an apple" and "a table". The concept of "apple" and "table" lead to further constructs such as "there is an apple on this table". I could even go further and construct "there is an apple on my table, so this apple belongs to me" and so on. The key here is that the whole object I am seeing and the name are all constructed by the mind out of sense data. They are concepts. Concepts then do not arise out of nothing, but come to be due to the actions of something. This something is the mind. The mind then, as well as raw sense data, are not concepts for they themselves are the basis of concepts. The mind and raw sense data are not whole objects, since whole objects are constructions. Not being whole parts they must be irreducible. Being irreducible means to have one indivisible thing. Since the parts of the mind and sense data have no substance, as they are conditioned, this one indivisible thing must be its nature or essence for it is by what they fundamentally are that they can be individuated from each other. For the mind there is citta and the constituents of nāma. For rūpa there are the 4 mahābhūtas etc. These are the fundamental and indivisible realties that make concepts possible. If these dhammas were concepts, what constructed those concepts? If the mind and rūpa are constructs what constructed mind and matter? What constructed the construct? You would be left with an infinite regress. Dhammas then are the foundation. These dhammas, however, are not permanent substances but phenomena that come in and out of existence due to conditions. Dhammas then are empty of substance but not sabhāva, for if citta were empty of essence it wouldn't exist. Yet here we are, having this conversation. Being indivisible, it ultimately exists. Citta then exists as with an essence but no substance. Essence therefore = existence, but essence is not the same as substance and so Nāgārjuna's attacks do not apply.

For Nāgārjuna dhammas are only conventionally true. As concepts we can talk of dhammas existing. The question then for Nāgārjuna is, what is constructing these concepts? Either he has to revert to an infinite regress or he has to posit a fundamental reality that exists apart from concept. Either way, it seems his arguments fall.

Regarding secular arguments, I'm not sure what you are referring to?
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Mon Oct 05, 2020 4:46 am, edited 5 times in total.
Saññāvirattassa na santi ganthā,
Paññāvimuttassa na santi mohā;
Saññañca diṭṭhiñca ye aggahesuṃ,
Te ghaṭṭayantā vicaranti loke”ti.


“For one detached from perception, there exist no ties,
for one by wisdom freed, no delusions are there,
but those who have grasped perceptions and views,
they wander the world stirring up strife."


Māgaṇḍiya Sutta
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robertk
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Re: Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by robertk »

Katthavathuppakarana-Atthakatha (by Buddhaghosa) (p3 of Points of contoversy, PTS)

It talks about after the second council (about 100 years after Buddha parinibbana)
Theravada in these quotes are 'Classical Theravada'.
It points out the various schisms happening long ago .
"Ten thousand of the of the Vajjiputtaka bhikkhus[after splitting from the good monks] seeking adherents among themselves, formed a school called the Mahasanghika [these then split several times] Thus from the school of the Mahasanghikas, in the second century only two schools seceded from the Theravada[note that the rightful monks are called Theravada by Buddhaghosa]-Mahimsinsasakas and Vajjiputtakas... [it lists more that split later]..Thus from the Theravada arose these eleven seceding bodies making 12 in all. And these 12 together the six schools of the Mahasanghikas constitute the 18 schools which arose in the second century. Of the eighteen, 17 are to be understood as schismatics, the Theravadan only being non- schismatic.""
"
Here is where we see pattern of the changes..
The commentary continues and cites the Dipavamsa
The Bhikkhus [of the schismatic sects]
settled a doctrine contrary [to the true faith] Altering the original redaction, they made another. they transposed suttas which belonged in one collection to another place;they destroyed the true meaning and the faith in the vinyaa and in the five collections. Those bhikkus who understood neither what had been taught in long expositons...settled a false meaning in connection with spourious speeches of the Buddha. These bhikkhus destroyed a great deal of meaning under the colour of the letter. Rejecting the other texts- that is to say the Pavara, the six sections of the Abhidhamma, the Patisambhidhida, the niddessa and some portions of the Jataka they composed new ones. They changed their appearance, ..forsaking what was original..."
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Re: Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by DNS »

zan wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:19 am Therefore, I see the Mahayana ideas that go this route (and only those ideas, not all Mahayana fit this bill) as essentially heterodox extrapolations that negate the Pali Canon entirely by using logic to circumvent it's teachings. This brings into one line of thought the Mahayana and the secular arguments against Buddhism, as both are merely extrapolations that turn the Buddha's teachings against the religion itself and invalidate all of Buddhism.

Basically I've lost faith due to following logic. It happens to be Mahayana, but their logic is self refuting and makes literally all of Buddhism pointless, and logic that disproves the faith is, for all intents and purposes, secular.
You say that, but you don't say how this is so. What are these Mahayana teachings which negate the Pali Canon and refute Theravada?
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robertk
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Re: Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by robertk »

zan wrote: I am looking for renewal of faith in classical Theravada and nothing else.
here is some more from the Dipavamsa which may help . It lists the great monks at the first council and explains why the name Theravada:
Kassapa was the chief propounder of the Dhutanga pre-
cepts according to the doctrine of the Jina; Ananda was
the first of those learned (in the Suttas), wise Upali was
chief in the Vinaya, — 4. Anuruddha in the (supernatu-
ral) visions, Vangisa in promptly comprehending, Punna
among the preachers of the Dhamma, Kumarakassapa
among the students of various tales, — 5. Kaccana in
establishing distinctions, Kotthita in analytical knowledge.
There were, besides, many other great Theras who were v
original depositaries (of Buddha's doctrine). 6. Jy these />^
and other saintly Theras who had fulfilled their duties,
to the number of five hundred, was the collection of the
Dhamma and of the Vinaya made; because it was col-
lected by the Theras, it is called the doctrine of the Theras
(theravada
). 7. The Bhikkhus composed the collection of
Dhamma and Vinaya by consulting Upali about the Vi-
naya, and by asking the (Thera) called Ananda regarding
the Dhamma. 8. Thera Mahakassapa and the great tea-
cher Anuruddha, Thera Upali of powerful memory, and
the learned Ananda, — 9. as well as many other distin-
guished disciples, who had been praised by the master,
who possessed analytical knowledge, firmness, the six
(supernatural) faculties and the great (magical) powers,
who had attained the mystic trance proceeding from self-
concentration, who had completely mastered the true faith,
— 10. all these five hundred Theras bore in their minds
the nine-fold doctrine of the Jina, having acquired it from
the best of Buddhas. 11. They who had heard and re-
ceived from Bhagavat himself the whole Dhamma and
Vinaya taught by the Buddha, — 12. they who knew the
Dhamma, who knew the Vinaya, who all were acquainted
with the Agamas, who were unconquerable, immovable,
similar to their master, ever worshipful, — 13. they who
had received the perfect doctrine, first (among religions),
from the first (among teachers), who were Theras and
original depositaries (of the Faith), made this first col-
lection. Hence this whole doctrine of the Theras [Theravada] is also
called the first (or primitive) doctrine.
1

|
etasmiin sannipatamhi thero Kassapasavhayo
sattbukappo mab&nago, pathavya n' atthi tdtso, |
arahantanam paiicasatam uccinitvaDa Kassapo
varam varain gahetvana akasi dbammasamgahaip. |
panrnain anukampaya sasanam dighak4likam
aksLsi dbammasamirafaam tinnam msls&nain accaye
sampatte catutthc mkse dutiye vassupanayike. |
Sattapannagubadv&re Mligadhanam Giribbaje
5 sattamasehi nitthasi pathamo saingaho ayam. |
etasmim samgabe bbikkhii agganikkhittakA bahft
sabbe pi p&ramippatta lokanathassa sasane. |
dhutavadanam aggo so Kassapo jinas4sane,
bahussutanam Aiiando, vinaye Upalisavhayo, |
dibbacakkhumhi Anuruddko, Vangiso patibhanav^
Punno ca dhammakatbikanam, vicitrakathi Kumarakassapo,
vibhajjanamhi Kaccano, Kotthiko patisambhida,

anne p^ atthi mah&thera agganikkhittaka hahh. |

tehi c' annehi therehi katakiccehi s^dhuhi

pancasatehi therehi dhamniavinayo ca samgito.

therehi katasaingaho theravado 'ti vuccati. | lo

Up&Iim vlnayam pucchitv& dbammam Anandapanditam

akamsu dhammasamgahain vinayan c&pi kevalain. |

jinassa santike gahit& dhammavinay^ ca te ubho

Up&lithero ca Anando saddhamme p^ramigato |

pariyayadesitafi cslpi atho nippariy^yadesitam

nitatthaD c^ eva neyyattbam dipimsii suttakovida. |

aggassa santike aggam gahetva vakyam tathagatam

agganikkhittaka thera aggam akarnsu samgabaip,

ta8m& hi so theravado aggavado ^ti^viuscati. |

yisuddho apagatadoso theravadanam uttamo

pavattittha cirakalam vassanam dasadha dasa 'ti. | 15

Nikkhante pathame vassasate sampatte dutiye sate
mahabhedo aj^yittha theravadanam uttamo. |


Nobody, may a Sa-
mana come or a Brahmana of great learning, skilled in
disputation and hair-splitting, can subvert it; firm it stands
like Sineru. 20. Neither a deity nor Mara nor Brahma
nor any earthly beings can find in it even the smallest ill-
spoken sentence. 21. Thus the collection of the Dhamma
and of the Vinaya is complete in every part, well arran-
ged and well protected by the omniscience of the Teacher.
22. 23. And those five hundred Theras, chief among whom
was Mahakassapa, as they knew the doubts of the people,
composed the imperishable collection of the Vinaya and of
the Dhamma, which is an incarnation of the Faith like the
highest Buddha, the collection of the Dhamma. 24. The
doctrine of the Theras, which is founded on true reasons,
which is free from heresies, full of true meaning, and
supports the true faith, will exist as long as the Faith
.


25. As long as holy disciples of Buddha's faith exist, all
of them will recognize the first Council of the Dhamma.

26. The five hundred pre-eminent Theras, noble by birth (?),
laid the first firm, original, fundamental base (of the
Faith).

Here ends the Council of Mahakassapa.
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Re: Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by robertk »

There will always be those who oppose the Theravada- it is no surprise that this happens today.

This is about the 3rd council at the time of Asoka
Wise Moggaliputta, the destroyer
of the schismatic doctrines, firmly established the Thera-
vada and held the third Council. 41. Having destroyed
the different (heretical) doctrines and subdued many shame-
less people and restored splendour to the (true) faith, he
proclaimed (the treatise called) Katthavatthu. 42. From
that Moggaliputta, Mahinda, who was the pupil of that
teacher, learnt the true religion. 43. (Moggaliputta) taught
him the five Nikayas and the seven sections (of the Abhi-
dhamma); he the hero, the clever one learnt from his
teacher the two Vibhhangas of the Vinaya, the Parivara,
and the Khandhaka.


44. When the second century and thirty -six years
more had elapsed (since the Buddha's death), again a most
dreadful schism arose in the Theravada. 45^ In the city
of Pataliputta ruled prince Dhammasoka, a great king,
who was a believer in the faith of Buddha. 46. He be-
stowed great gifts on the Sangha, the best and most ex-
cellent of congregations; in one day he expended four
lacs. 47. One he gave in honour of the Cetiyas, another
for the preaching of the Dhamma, one for the require-
ments of the sick, one to the Samgha. 48. Infidels, sixty
thousand in number, seeing this gain and these great
honours, furtively attached themselves (to the Samgha).
49. The Patimokkha ceremonies in the monastery of the
Asokarama were interrupted; a minister who ordered the
Patimokkha ceremonies to be performed, killed (some) of
the Saints. 50. In order to destroy the infidels, many dis-
ciples of Buddha, sixty thousand sons of the Jina assem-
bled. 51. At that convocation the son of Moggaliputta was
the president, a great chief, similar to the Teacher; he
had not his like on earth. 52. The king asked the Thera
about the case of the slaughter of the Saints ; having per-
formed a miracle, he satisfied the desire of the king.
53. Having received the Doctrine from the Thera, the
king destroyed the Bhikkhu emblems of those who had
furtively attached themselves (to the Samgha). 54. The
reckless infidels, performing the Pabbajja rite according to
their own doctrine, injured the faith of the Buddha just
as (men mix) pure gold (with baser metals). 55. They all
were sectarian, opposed to the Theravada; and in order
to annihilate them and to make his own doctrine resplen-
dent, — 56. the Thera set forth the treatise belonging to
the Abhidhamma, which is called Kathavatthu. A similar
punishment, a similar destruction of an opposite doctrine
never occurred. 57. 58. After having promulgated the
treatise called Kathavatthu which belongs to the Abhi-
dhamma
, the presiding Thera, in order to purify his own
doctrine and (to establish) the Faith for a long time, selected one thousand Arahats, choosing the best ones, and
held a Council. 59. In the monastery of the Asokarama
which had been built by king Dhammasoka, this third
convocation was finished in the space of nine months.
=Here ends the Council of the true Faith which
lasted nine months.
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Re: Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by SarathW »

Please read Cula Sunnata sutta and Maha Sunnata Sutta to understand the Theravada teaching on emptiness.
When you practice emptiness, you will not face this problem whether things exist or non-exist.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by robertk »

Later Mahinda, the great pupil of Moggaliputta tissa, went to Sri lanka - that great island which was to become the depository of the Dhamma.
Here is where he instructed some female layfollowers
When the Thera had finished his meal and
removed his hand from the bowl, — 82. (the king) ad-
dressed queen Anula together with the women of the interior apartments: „You know the opportunity, queen;
it is time to pay your respects to them (the Theras)."

83. Queen Anula, surrounded by five hundred girls, bowed
to the Theras and honoured them to her heart's content.

84. Having approached the Theras and saluted them, she
sat down. (Mahinda) preached to them the Dhamma; the
great teacher exposed the fearful Peta stories, — . the
Vimana stories, the Saccasamyuttam. When they had heard
that most excellent (portion of the) Doctrine, princess
Anula and her five hundred attendants, like a wise man (?)
in whose mind faith has arisen, attained the reward of
Sotapatti; this was the first case of the attainment (of a
stage of sanctification which occurred in Lanka).
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Re: Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by SteRo »

zan wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:19 am Basically I've lost faith ...
I want to get back to my old practice ...
This isn't the 'personal experience' section of this forum.

And it isn't the 'connection to other paths' section either ("Mahayana and secular logic ...")
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ
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Re: Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by binocular »

zan wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:19 amBasically I've lost faith due to following logic.
Then you've never had faith; at least not the right kind of faith.
I want to get back to my old practice that I've been doing for nearly twenty years now, but that I've come to see as pointless.
The faith you've had thus far has brought you here. Now you're in a position to start over or something new.

"It's not a bad thing, finding out that you don't have all the answers. That's when you start asking the right questions." Thor (2011)
Any other advice also would be welcome, but logic to fight logic seems like a straightforward solution.
Nah. It's time for some gut feeling. Seriously.



And yes, this topic falls under "Personal experience".
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
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Re: Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by robertk »

zan:
So, if we extrapolate certain ideas in the Pali Canon to their (hopefully incorrect) logical extreme, we end up at a point where the Buddha has zero authority because some of his own teachings (only at this logical extreme) negate any reason to follow them.....We also end up where enlightenment and non enlightenment are the same thing, absolutely nothing whatsoever exists
So this is the wrong way and why discernment is crucial.

I quote something that ven. Dhammanando wrote many years ago:

He translates Mahanama who is commenting on a phrase in the Patisambhidamagga :

[
b]MAHANAMA ON “MATERIALITY IS EMPTY WITH REGARD TO INDIVIDUAL ESSENCE[/b]”
(from the Saddhammappakaasinii, Su––akathaa-va.n.nanaa)

Tattha ‘jaata.m ruupan’ ti paccuppanna.m ruupa.m.

Here [i.e. in the passage he is commenting on] ‘born [or ‘arisen’] materiality’ is the materiality [existing in] the present.

[elsewhere he explains that it refers to materiality at the moment of stasis — thiti — in between arising and dissolution]

FIRST GLOSS

‘Sabhaavena su––an’ ti ettha saya.m bhaavo sabhaavo, sayameva uppaado’ ti attho.

‘Empty regarding individual essence’: here individual essence is ‘essence by itself’; arising just of itself is the meaning.

[Here Mahanama appears to take ’empty regarding sabhaava’ as being denial of a false conception of sabhaava, namely a sabhaava which is its own cause. The 199 dhammas lack such a sabhaava]

SECOND GLOSS

Sato vaa bhaavo sabhaavo, attatoyeva uppaado’ ti attho. Paccayaayattavuttittaa paccaya.m vinaa sayameva bhaavo, attato eva vaa bhaavo etasmi.m natthiiti sabhaavena su––a.m, sayameva bhaavena, attato eva vaa bhaavena su––anti vutta.m hoti.

Or, individual essence is own essence; arising solely by itself. Because of existence in dependence on conditions there is in it no essence by itself or essence of its own, thus it is ’empty regarding individual essence’. What is meant is that it is empty of essence by itself or of its own essence.

[This is simply the corollary to the first gloss, being the denial of a sabhaava that is not dependent on other conditions]

THIRD GLOSS

Atha vaa sakassa bhaavo sabhaavo. Pathaviidhaatuaadiisu hi anekesu ruupaaruupadhammesu ekeko dhammo para.m upaadaaya sako naama. ‘bhaavo’ ti ca dhammapariyaayavacanameta.m. Ekassa ca dhammassa a––o bhaavasan.khaato dhammo natthi, tasmaa sakassa a––ena bhaavena su––a.m, sako a––ena bhaavena su––oti attho. Tena ekassa dhammassa ekasabhaavataa vuttaa hoti.

Or else it is the essence that it itself has; for each single dhamma among the various dhammas beginning with the earth principle is itself, and ‘essence’ is a figurative term for dhamma; and each single dhamma does not have any other dhamma called an ‘essence’, therefore it is empty of any essence other than itself: the meaning is that it itself is empty of another essence. Hence what is meant is that a single dhamma has a single individual essence.

[If I understand this correctly, any given dhamma is empty of the sabhaavas that would characterize other dhammas, but is not empty of whatever makes it what it is. Karuna, for example, is empty of the quality of promoting cruelty but is not empty of the quality of allaying suffering]

FOURTH GLOSS

Atha vaa ‘sabhaavena su––an’ ti su––asabhaaveneva su––a.m. Ki.m vutta.m hoti? Su––asu––ataaya eva su––a.m, na a––aahi pariyaayasu––ataahi su–– anti vutta.m hoti.

Or alternatively ’empty regarding individual essence’ is to be taken as empty through having emptiness as its individual essence. What is meant? What is meant is empty owing to emptiness-as-emptiness and not empty according to some other implicated emptiness.

[‘Emptiness-as-emptiness’ is the first of the 25 emptinesses, described thus: “Eye is empty of self or what belongs to self, or of what is permanent or stable or eternal or not subject to change. Ear…nose…tongue…body…mind is empty of self or what belongs to self, or of what is permanent or stable or eternal or not subject to change.” The reference is to the nature common to all dhammas, as opposed to the specific nature that makes a dhamma whatever it is. ‘Implicated emptiness’ refers to the fact that every dhamma is by its nature empty of any characteristic that would make it something other than what it is. E.g. “Past formations are empty of future and presently arisen formations. Future formations are empty of past formations…etc.”]

WRONG UNDERSTANDING OF “MATERIALITY IS EMPTY WITH REGARD TO INDIVIDUAL
ESSENCE”

Sace pana keci vadeyyu.m “sako bhaavo sabhaavo, tena sabhaavena su–– an” ti. Ki.m vutta.m hoti? Bhaavoti dhammo, so para.m upaadaaya sapadena visesito sabhaavo naama hoti. Dhammassa kassaci avijjamaanattaa “jaata.m ruupa.m sabhaavena su––an” ti ruupassa avijjamaanataa vuttaa hotiiti.

But if someone should say: “Own essence is individual essence; it is empty of that individual essence. What is meant? A dhamma is called an ‘essence’; that [essence] is distinguished by the prefix ‘individual’ in comparison with any other and is thus called ‘individual essence’. Because of the non-existence of any dhamma whatever it is the non-existence of materiality that is expressed by the words ‘born materiality is empty regarding individual essence’.”

[Mahanama does not specify whom he has in mind who might say such a thing. The claim as it stands is not clearly attributable to any Buddhist school that I know of. However, the anonymous author of the ‘Clarifier of the Meanings of Knotty Terms in the Path of Discrimination’ (Patisambhidaamaggamuulaganthipadatthavannanaa) expands on the above, adding the words ‘in the highest sense’ (paramatthato). So if he is right, then the wrong interpretation would appear to be a Mahayanic one, namely, that owing to emptiness of sabhaava, in the highest sense dhammas do not exist]

FIRST REFUTATION

Eva.m sati “jaata.m ruupan” tivacanena virujjhati. Na hi uppaadarahita.m jaata.m naama hoti. Nibbaana–hi uppaadarahita.m, ta.m jaata.m naama na hoti, jaatijaraamara.naani ca uppaadarahitaani jaataani naama na honti. Tenevettha “jaataa jaati sabhaavena su––aa, jaata.m jaraamara.na.m sabhaavena su––an” ti eva.m anuddharitvaa bhavameva avasaana.m katvaa niddi.t.tha.m.

[snip Nyanamoli’s trans. as it doesn’t seem to make any sense. I’ll post a new translation when I have time. Or perhaps someone else would like to have a go at it]

SECOND REFUTATION

Yadi uppaadarahitassaapi “jaatan” tivacana.m yujjeyya, “jaataa jaati, jaata.m jaraamara.nan” ti vattabba.m bhaveyya. Yasmaa uppaadarahitesu jaatijaraamara.nesu “jaatan” tivacana.m na vutta.m, tasmaa “sabhaavena su––a.m avijjamaanan” ti vacana.m avijjamaanassa uppaadarahitattaa “jaatan” tivacanena virujjhati.

[ditto]

THIRD REFUTATION

Avijjamaanassa ca “su––an” tivacana.m he.t.thaa vuttena lokavacanena ca bhagavato vacanena ca –aayasaddaganthavacanena ca virujjhati, anekaahi ca yuttiihi virujjhati, tasmaa ta.m vacana.m kacavaramiva cha.d.ditabba.m.

And the word ’empty’ for what is non-existent contradicts both worldly usage and the Blessed One’s usage above, and also the words of the books of logic and linguistics; and it contradicts many logical arguments. Therefore that assertion should be discarded like rubbish.

“Ya.m, bhikkhave, atthisammata.m loke pa.n.ditaana.m, ahampi ta.m atthiiti vadaami. Ya.m, bhikkhave, natthisammata.m loke pa.n.ditaana.m, ahampi ta.m natthiiti vadaami. Ki–ca, bhikkhave, atthisammata.m loke pa.n.ditaana.m, yamaha.m atthiiti vadaami? Ruupa.m, bhikkhave, anicca.m dukkha.m vipari.naamadhamma.m atthisammata.m loke pa.n.ditaana.m, ahampi ta.m atthiiti vadaamii” tiaadiihi anekehi buddhavacanappamaa.nehi.

In many passages in the Buddha-word such as this: “Bhikkhus, what sages in the world say is not, of that too I say that it is not; what sages in the world say is, of that too I say that it is….Sages in the world say of impermanent, painful and changeable materiality that it is, and I too say of it that it is.”

Anekaahi ca yuttiihi dhammaa sakakkha.ne vijjamaanaa evaati ni.t.thamettha gantabba.m.

And in many logical arguments [it is demonstrable that] dhammas exist in their own moments. Thus should this [abovementioned assertion] be refuted.
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Sam Vara
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Re: Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by Sam Vara »

zan wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:19 am
Basically I've lost faith due to following logic.
Sure. Who told you to follow logic?

Isn't this problem of faith solved by the Kalama Sutta, where the Buddha told people not to rely (among other things) on logic, but to rely on our own experiences? :anjali:
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robertk
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Re: Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by robertk »

Sam Vara wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:12 am
zan wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:19 am
Basically I've lost faith due to following logic.
Sure. Who told you to follow logic?

Isn't this problem of faith solved by the Kalama Sutta, where the Buddha told people not to rely (among other things) on logic, but to rely on our own experiences? :anjali:
It might be that still people can be in error when relying on their own experiences..

The sutta says Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them
binocular
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Re: Mahayana and secular logic has made me largely give up on the path...

Post by binocular »

robertk wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:20 amIt might be that still people can be in error when relying on their own experiences..

The sutta says Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them
Which is why it is so important to be a valuable member of a team with vast resources at their disposal who will come to your rescue even if you're stranded on Mars.
A.k.a. the importance of the sangha, literally and proverbially.
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
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