Meditation - Tibetan Buddhism - What Is The Buddhist View Of The Self? | KIRAN ATMA

Meditation - Tibetan Buddhism - What Is The Buddhist View Of The Self?




    The Self is the Antithesis of Selflessness. 



    All four Buddhist schools consider emptiness to be a 'self-emptiness,' but this does not imply that things are devoid of themselves. 


    • No thing, not even an emptiness, would exist if objects were empty of themselves. 
    • Rather, in the Prasangika paradigm, the term'self-emptiness' refers to an object's absence of intrinsic existence. 
    • The term'self-emptiness' differentiates Buddhist emptiness from theories like Samkhya, which claim that a person is empty of being all of the world's things. 


    This emptiness is known as a 'other-emptiness,' and it may be realized by differentiating one thing from another, such as distinguishing the person (purusha) from the nature (prakrti) that gives birth to all appearances in the Samkhya philosophy. 


    • On the other hand, realizing a'self-emptiness' entails identifying the lack of a false predicate of an object, such as the absence of its own intrinsic existence, rather than separating one entity from another. 


    The things that constitute the foundations of the characteristic of emptiness do not present to the mind when emptiness is directly cognized. 

    As a result, some Tibetans, such as the Jo-nang-bas, misunderstood Buddhist emptiness as a 'other-emptiness.' Self, defined as intrinsic existence, is denied in the Prasangikas' sophisticated doctrine of selflessness. 



    In the Prasangika System, The Hypothetical Synonyms For 'Self' Are: 


    • True establishment (satya-siddhi/bhava, bden par grub pa/ dngos po). 
    • Existence as it is (satya-sat, bden par yodpa). 
    • Existence in its final form (paramartha-siddhij don dam par grub pa). 
    • Existence as [its own] particularity (tattva-siddhide kho na nyid du grub pa). 
    • Existence as a [self-contained] reality (samyak-siddhi, yang dag par grub pa). 
    • Svalakshana-siddhi, ring gi mtshan nyid kyis grub pa). 
    • A significant existence (dravya-sat, rdzas yod). 
    • Existence that is capable of establishing itself (tshugs thub tu grub pa). 
    • Existence from the object's perspective [rather than from the subject's perspective] (svarupa-siddhi, rang ngos nas grub pa). 
    • The presence of a goal (vishaya-siddhij yul gyi steng nas grub pa) # It is able to exist because of its own strength (svairi-siddhi\ rang dbang du grub pa). 
    • In the item to which the designation is applied (prajnaptivishaya-siddhi, btags yul gyi steng nas grub pa). 
    • Gdags gzhi'i steng nas grub pa (gdags gzhi'i steng nas grub pa) svabhava-siddhi, 
    • (rang bzhin gyis grub pa) svabhava-siddhi, (svabhavata-siddhi, ngo bo nyid gyis grub pa). 
    • In a way that covers its foundation of designation (gdags gzhi'i go sa gnon pa I tshul du yod pa). 
    • Gdags gzhi'i ngos nas grub pa) exists from the standpoint of designation. 


    The members of this list are merely 'hypothetical' synonyms because 'synonym' (ekartha) in Buddhist logic implies 'one thing,' therefore all synonyms must exist. 


    • These words for'self' can only be 'hypothetical' synonyms since they relate to non-existents.
    • All of these words are opposites of dependent-arising since the subtle self, which is denied in the Prasangika conception of selflessness, indicates an independent being. 
    • Each elucidates the concept of non-dependence a bit further. 


    'Existing from the side of the basis of designation,' for example, implies that if you looked for the item named, you'd find it among the bases of designation, as their composite, or as the composite of their previous and later moments. 


    • 'Substantially existent' implies that an item exists by its own power rather than via the force of statements. 
    • Existing able to establish itself implies existing in the object's foundation of designation by way of the object's own entity, rather than via the power of words and phrases. 
    • 'Existing via its own power' refers to the object's own unique way of existence. 



    'Establishment via the force of a designating awareness' is the Prasangikas' unique definition of 'dependency.' 


    Phenomena are thought-dependent in the sense that only if the thought that identifies an object exists can that thing be posited as existing (conventionally), and if that idea does not exist, the object's (conventional) existence cannot be postulated. 


    • Nothing exists inherently since this applies to all things. 
    • It's like to a snake being imputationed to a rope. 
    • If a speckled and coiled rope is not clearly visible, the idea 'This is a snake' may emerge. 
    • At the moment, the composite of the rope's components and the pieces themselves could not possibly be construed as a snake; the snake is only conjured up in the mind. 


    Similarly, when the concept " emerges in reliance on the mental and physical aggregates, the composite of the previous and later moments of the aggregates' continuum, or the composite of the aggregates at one time, or the individual aggregates themselves cannot be posited in the least as the I. 


    Furthermore, there is nothing distinct from the aggregates or their composite that can be interpreted as I. 


    As a result, the I is only formed by thinking in reliance on the aggregates, rather than being essentially as it seems. 


    • A person's connection to the six components that make up his or her grounds of imputation or designation—earth, water, fire, wind, space, and consciousness—can be analyzed in the same way. 
    • A person is neither a collection of them, nor is he or she any of them separately, nor is he or she something other than them. 
    • As a result, a person is proven not to exist fundamentally. 

    Only the Prasangika school recognizes all of the aforementioned words as synonyms; non-Prasangika schools do not place the same value on these terms and therefore arrange them differently. 


    • The Chittamatrins, for example, would not claim that dependent phenomena (paratantra) are independent just because they exist intrinsically; "inherent existence" for them simply implies that things have their own way of being. 
    • The Prasangikas, on the other hand, argue that the terms "innate existence" and "own way of being" indicate independence. 
    • Non-Prasangikas further argue that if things were solely named in the sense of being unfindable among their bases of designation, they would cease to exist since the unfindable could not possible be functional. 



    The other schools, according to the Prasangikas, have misunderstood the meaning of 'only designated' or 'only imputed' (prajnapti-matra, btagspa tsam); the Prasangikas claim that although this word implies that the designated object is not its foundation of designation, it does not indicate non-functionality. 


    • What is simply labeled may be functional, much as a lady produced by a magician can captivate an unsuspecting audience, which is a fundamental yet challenging aspect of the Prasangika-Madhyamika system. 
    • It is claimed that when a yogi believes he is advancing in his knowledge of emptiness, he loses ground in his understanding of conventional objects, and that when he thinks he is progressing in his understanding of conventional things, he loses ground in his understanding of emptiness. 
    • It is important to remember that progress in the presentation of emptiness helps in the presentation of conventional things, and progress in the presentation of conventional objects aids in the presentation of emptiness for someone who has discovered the Prasarigika perspective. 


    The Prasangikas escape the extreme of destruction by opposing only intrinsic existence rather than mere existence. 

    • They escape the extreme of permanence by asserting merely nominal existence rather than intrinsic existence. 
    • To put it another way, they explain exactly how things exist and do not exist. 
    • Because things exist imputedly, the absence of even nominal or defined existence would constitute an extreme of annihilation—an extreme of non-being. 
    • Because things do not essentially exist, intrinsic existence would be an extreme of permanence—an extreme of existence. 
    • The extremes are no nominal existence, which means no being at all, and intrinsic existence, which is 'finer' and 'coarser' than the proper presentation. 

    As a result, the two most extreme ideas are that things do not exist fundamentally and that things do not exist by design. 



    Extremes do not exist, but their ideologies do, and they can be dismantled. 


    Many people believe that the Prasangikas have reached a point of nihilism, that they are no different from nihilists who reject the reality of rebirth and so on." 


    • The Prasangikas themselves deny any resemblance, claiming that nonperception of previous and subsequent births is insufficient to determine the emptiness of previous and subsequent births. 
    • To begin, one must first determine what previous and subsequent births are and whether or not they occur. 
    • Then, using logic like the present birth becoming a past birth when the future birth becomes the current birth, one may deduce that past, present, and future births are all interdependent and hence do not exist fundamentally. 
    • The emptiness of births may be determined by recognizing that previous and subsequent births do not exist fundamentally. 
    • It is necessary to identify both the positive subject (births) and the negative predicate (non-inherent existence) since one cannot determine emptiness just by looking at nothing. 

    The Nihilists in question are Dialectician Nihilists, not Meditating Nihilists, since some of the latter achieve meditative clairvoyance and therefore experience a limited number of previous and future lives.


    • Future lives, according to the Dialectician Nihilists, do not exist since no one is observed coming here from a previous life or going from this life to a future existence. 
    • Future lives, according to the Madhyamikas, do not exist intrinsically because they are dependentarisings, or, to put it another way, because they are defined by concepts and ideas. 
    • They do not, however, reject the reality of past and future lives. 
    • Both the Nihilists and the Madhyamikas have quite distinct theses and motives.


    List Of Research Sources


    • Oral teachings of Kensur Lekden. 
    • Annotations by Nga-wang-bel-den