Inherent Existence - at least conventionally

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Posted by Jim ( on August 20, 2000 at 14:17:06:

Beseeching help from Prasangikas - or from anyone else.

Some little while ago in a conversation regarding emptiness as a non-affirming negation, some points were made that I wanted to look into a bit. In the midst of that (tathagatagarbha teachings of ‘luminosity’ and ‘emptiness’ as complementary), have bumped into something else that has me wavering on tenets.

It goes like this:

It is an established Prasangika assertion that inherent existence or intrinsic establishment does not exist, even nominally. It is an utterly impossible condition. This inherent existence is the object of negation of ultimacy analysis. Emptiness is the mere absence, - the non-affirming negation - , of this object, inherent existence.

If the negandum is a nonexistent conventional phenomenon and emptiness is the absence of such, then ultimacy analysis is not needed to negate it - conventional analysis is enough. Put another way, if something does not exist even conventionally, what is the point of analyzing it to ascertain its emptiness? What is there to refute?

The wavering with tenets comes in here. If the negandum (inherent existence) is NOT the same as the basis of negation (conventionally established phenomena), I fear that the above consequence entails. But Prasangika tenets hold that inherent existence does not exist conventionally.

It gets worse. If it is not a conventional phenomenon that is negated by an ultimate analysis, but some mistaken ‘true existence’ instead, the presence of the basis of negation (a conventional phenomenon) to the mind in the midst of ultimacy analysis entails that THAT VERY BASIS TRULY EXISTS - in that it can withstand ultimacy seeking analysis!!!!!



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