Wednesday, February 5, 2020

A sutta using the full tetralemma 23 times -- Bhumija Sutta (MN 126) - 002

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A sutta using the full tetralemma 23 times
(Showing that the tetralemma is an important debate tool for all Mādhyamikas.)

[The Middle Way and the extensive utilisation of the Tetralemma predate Nagarjuna’s teachings, even the Prajnaparamita.

  • “Antecedents of the Catuṣkoṭi have been charted to grammatical structures in the Vedas. The Nasadiya Sukta of the Rigveda (RV 10.129) contains ontological speculation in terms of various logical divisions that were later recast formally as the four circles of catuskoti: "A", "not A", "A and not A", and "not A and not not A".” -- S. Kak (2004). The Architecture of Knowledge. CSC, Delhi.

  • During the time of the Buddha mentioning the MIDDLE WAY (Madhyamaka) and using the TETRALEMMA was very common as shown in the next example (MN126).

  • In the next sutta, MN126 - Bhumija Sutta , the full tetralemma is used 23 times.

  • There is also DN1 - Brahmajāla Sutta that uses the full tetralemma a lot, and many others

  • So there is definitively a lesson about the tetralemma by itself here. Use it, but be careful, or it will turn into poison.

  • Note: Using the concept of the Union of opposites (ex. of the two truths, or of the three worlds — subject, action, object --) is implicitly using the tetralemma.]

Note: The tetralemma is a figure that features prominently in the logic of India. It states that with reference to any a logical proposition X, there are four possibilities: the positive configuration:

  1. X (affirmation / thesis),

  2. ¬ X (negation / antithesis),

  3. X ∧ ¬ X (both thesis & antithesis together),

  4. ¬ (X ∨ ¬ X) (neither thesis nor antithesis).

The negative configuration / the refutation of the four positions:

  1. ¬ (X) (refuting the affirmation / thesis),

  2. ¬ (¬ X) (refuting the negation / antithesis),

  3. ¬ (X ∧ ¬ X) (refuting “both affirmation & negation together” / “both thesis & antithesis together”),

  4. ¬ ( ¬ (X ∨ ¬ X)) (refuting “neither affirmation nor negation” / “neither thesis nor antithesis”).

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From Tipitaka MN 126 - Bhumija Sutta: To Bhumija (a teaching about the tetralemma)

[Comment from the translator: Does the desire for Awakening get in the way of Awakening? According to this discourse, the question of desiring or not desiring is irrelevant as long as one develops the appropriate qualities that constitute the path to Awakening. The discourse is also very clear on the point that there are right and wrong paths of practice: as a geographer might say, not every river flows to the sea.]

[If we generalise this a little bit, this sutta is about the duality having a view / a method / a goal - having made a wish (1), not having a view / a method / a goal (2) - not having made a wish, (or both (3), or neither (4)). Those four extreme positions are irrelevant; it is not about accepting them or rejecting them. But about using appropriate antidotes, adapted skillful means, conventional truths methods & goals (ex. the Noble Eightfold Path) conductive to the desired conventional results / goal: gradually deconditioning our body, speech & mind. The tetralemma is such a tool, a shield, to help us to stay away from all extreme positions about any duality. It could be generalised for groups of more then two apparent opposites: triad / quads / etc.

So, this sutta is also about the danger of misusing the tetralemma, of grasping it.]

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[A. PRINCE JAYASENA’S QUESTION — about some teachers nihilistic grasping at the tetralemma‘s fourfold negation.]

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Sanctuary.

Then, early in the morning, Ven. Bhumija put on his robes and, carrying his bowl & outer robe, went to Prince Jayasena's residence. On arrival, he sat down on a seat made ready. Prince Jayasena went to Ven. Bhumija and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to Ven. Bhumija,

[Proposition: Accepting any of the four extreme views / positions doesn’t lead to liberation.]

"Master Bhumija, there are some brahmans & contemplatives who espouse this teaching, espouse THIS VIEW (OR NO-VIEW): (i.e. Rejecting in absolute terms the four extreme positions about any duality; and grasping at this fourfold rejection; grasping at this VIEW or NO-VIEW; grasping at the tetralemma. Proposing nothing useful / helpful / conductive to the desired results / goal. A form of nihilism, like saying there is no self, or that we should stop all discrimination, conceptualisation, thinking, or that everything is One / that everything can be reduced to just one transcendental ‘thing / idea’. So many false Buddhist memes / extremes.)

  1. [I] 'If one follows the holy life, even when having made a wish (1) [for results], one [having a goal] is incapable of obtaining results. (i.e. rejecting in absolute terms the first extreme position in any duality)

  2. If one follows the holy life even when having made no wish (2), one [not having a goal] is incapable of obtaining results. (i.e. rejecting in absolute terms the second extreme position in any duality)

  3. If one follows the holy life even when both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish, one is incapable of obtaining results. (i.e. rejecting in absolute terms the third extreme position in any duality)

  4. If one follows the holy life even when neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, one is incapable of obtaining results.' (i.e. rejecting in absolute terms the fourth extreme position in any duality)

With regard to that, what does Master Bhumija's teacher say, what is his view, what does he declare?"

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[B.MASTER BHUMIJA’S ANSWER TO PRINCE JAYASENA — The Middle Way: not accepting not rejecting anything in absolute terms, just relatively / conventionally depending on each situations:]

"I haven't heard this face to face with the Blessed One, prince, I haven't received this face to face with the Blessed One, but there is the possibility that the Blessed One would answer in this way: (i.e. Refuting the four extreme positions in any duality as inherently / universally / absolutely / independently of the subject(s) … right causes / conductive (by themselves) to the desired results / goal.)

  1. [II] 'If one follows the holy life INAPPROPRIATELY, even when having made a wish (1) [for results], one is incapable of obtaining results. (i.e. Refuting the first extreme position in any duality as an inherently / universally / absolutely / independently of the subject(s) … right cause / conductive (by itself) to the desired results / goal. It is not about accepting or rejecting this extreme position in absolute terms -- or both or neither. Even if not an absolute cause / truth, it could still be a relative cause / truth.)

  2. If one follows the holy life INAPPROPRIATELY, even when having made no wish (2), one is incapable of obtaining results. (i.e. Refuting the second extreme position in any duality as an inherently / universally / absolutely / independently of the subject(s) … right cause / conductive (by itself) to the desired results / goal. It is not about accepting or rejecting this extreme position in absolute terms -- or both or neither. Even if not an absolute cause / truth, it could still be a relative cause / truth.)

  3. If one follows the holy life INAPPROPRIATELY, even when both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish, one is incapable of obtaining results. (i.e. Refuting the third extreme position in any duality as an inherently / universally / absolutely / independently of the subject(s) … right cause / conductive (by itself) to the desired results / goal. It is not about accepting or rejecting this extreme position in absolute terms -- or both or neither. Even if not an absolute cause / truth, it could still be a relative cause / truth.)

  4. If one follows the holy life INAPPROPRIATELY, even when neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, one is incapable of obtaining results. (i.e. Refuting the fourth extreme position in any duality as an inherently / universally / absolutely / independently of the subject(s) … right cause / conductive (by itself) to the desired results / goal. It is not about accepting or rejecting this extreme position in absolute terms -- or both or neither. Even if not an absolute cause / truth, it could still be a relative cause / truth.)

[But] (i.e. The Middle Way: not accepting not rejecting the four extreme positions about any duality. Using the tetralemma without grasping at it, without thinking it is an inherent / universal / absolute / independent of the subject(s) … truth, method or goal.)

  1. [III] if one follows the holy life APPROPRIATELY, even when having made a wish (1), one is capable of obtaining results. (i.e. Not accepting not rejecting — in absolute terms -- the first extreme position in any duality. Leaving the possibility of being able to use it or any other tool — without grasping -- as an antidote, adapted skillful means (upaya), conventional truth method or goal, in certain situations, if relatively useful / helpful / conductive to the desired results / goal: gradual transcendance / liberation / enlightenment.)

  2. If one follows the holy life APPROPRIATELY, even when having made no wish (2), one is capable of obtaining results. (i.e. Not accepting not rejecting — in absolute terms -- the second extreme position in any duality. Leaving the possibility of being able to use it or any other tool — without grasping -- as an antidote, adapted skillful means (upaya), conventional truth method or goal, in certain situations, if relatively useful / helpful / conductive to the desired results / goal: gradual transcendance / liberation / enlightenment.)

  3. If one follows the holy life APPROPRIATELY, even when both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish, one is capable of obtaining results. (i.e. Not accepting not rejecting — in absolute terms -- the third extreme position in any duality. Leaving the possibility of being able to use it or any other tool — without grasping -- as an antidote, adapted skillful means (upaya), conventional truth method or goal, in certain situations, if relatively useful / helpful / conductive to the desired results / goal: gradual transcendance / liberation / enlightenment.)

  4. If one follows the holy life APPROPRIATELY, even when neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, one is capable of obtaining results.' (i.e. Not accepting not rejecting — in absolute terms -- the fourth extreme position in any duality. Leaving the possibility of being able to use it or any other tool — without grasping -- as an antidote, adapted skillful means (upaya), conventional truth method or goal, in certain situations, if relatively useful / helpful / conductive to the desired results / goal: gradual transcendance / liberation / enlightenment.)

(i.e. It is not because everything is empty of inherent existence (truths, methods, goals; subjects, actions, objects; body, speech, mind; individual, collective, cosmic), that there are no valid useful dependently co-arisen conventional truths, methods & goals — temporary imperfect adapted skillful means -- that could be used; whether one makes a wish, or not, or both, or neither; whether one uses one extreme about any duality, or its opposite, or both together, or neither —. There is NOTHING TO ACCEPT as inherent / universal / absolute / independent of the subject(s), NOTHING TO REJECT IN ABSOLUTE TERMS; not even making a wish / having a goal, or not … The important point is to use a virtuous gradual path — more and more in accord with the true nature of Perceived / Apparent Reality as it is here & now (dharmata) and with the Fruit (enlightenment / buddhahood) -- leading to the gradual transcendence of all illusions / conditioning / karma by directly realising their true nature & dynamic. Only this direct wisdom will liberate us definitively from our karmic cycle.)

I haven't heard this face to face with the Blessed One, I haven't received this face to face with the Blessed One, but there is the possibility that the Blessed One would answer in this way."

"If that is what Master Bhumija's teacher says, if that is his view, if that is what he declares, then yes, Master Bhumija's teacher stands, as it were, having struck all of those many brahmans & contemplatives down by the head." (i.e. He is not convinced. He wants a confirmation from the Buddha.)

Prince Jayasena then served Ven. Bhumija from his own dish of milk rice.

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[C. MASTER BHUMIJA’S ASKING THE BUDDHA FOR CONFIRMATION:]

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Then Ven. Bhumija, after his meal, returning from his alms-round, went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Just now, lord, early in the morning, I put on my robes and, carrying my bowl & outer robe, went to Prince Jayasena's residence. On arrival, I sat down on a seat made ready. Then Prince Jayasena went to me and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with me. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to me,

'Master Bhumija, there are some brahman & contemplatives who espouse this teaching, espouse this view:

  1. [IV] "If one follows the holy life even when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, one is incapable of obtaining results."

With regard to that, what does Master Bhumija's teacher say, what is his view, what does he declare?'

"When this was said, I replied to Prince Jayasena,

'I haven't heard this face to face with the Blessed One, prince, I haven't received this face to face with the Blessed One, but there is the possibility that the Blessed One would answer in this way:

"If one follows the holy life inappropriately,

  1. [V] even when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, one is incapable of obtaining results.

[But] if one follows the holy life appropriately, 

  1. [VI] even when having made a wish (1)...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, one is capable of obtaining results."

(i.e. It is not because everything is empty of inherent existence (truths, methods, goals; subjects, actions, objects; body, speech, mind; individual, collective, cosmic), that there are no valid useful dependently co-arisen conventional truths, methods & goals — temporary imperfect adapted skillful means -- that could be used; whether one makes a wish, or not, or both, or neither; whether one uses one extreme about any duality, or its opposite, or both together, or neither —. There is NOTHING TO ACCEPT as inherent / universal / absolute / independent of the subject(s), NOTHING TO REJECT IN ABSOLUTE TERMS; not even making a wish / having a goal, or not … The important point is to use a virtuous gradual path — more and more in accord with the true nature of Perceived / Apparent Reality as it is here & now (dharmata) and with the Fruit (enlightenment / buddhahood) -- leading to the gradual transcendence of all illusions / conditioning / karma by directly realising their true nature & dynamic. Only this direct wisdom will liberate us definitively from our karmic cycle.)

I haven't heard this face to face with the Blessed One, I haven't received this face to face with the Blessed One, but there is the possibility that the Blessed One would answer in this way.'

"'If that is what Master Bhumija's teacher says, if that is his view, if that is what he declares, then yes, Master Bhumija's teacher stands, as it were, having struck all of those many brahmans & contemplatives down by the head.'

"Answering in this way when thus asked, lord, am I speaking in line with what the Blessed One has said, am I not misrepresenting the Blessed One with what is unfactual, am I answering in line with the Dhamma so that no one whose thinking is in line with the Dhamma will have grounds for criticizing me?"

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[D.1 THE BUDDHA’S ANSWER — A. THE INAPPROPRIATE WAY (e. using the opposite of the Octuple Noble Path) — WITH 4 SIMILES:]

"Certainly, Bhumija, in answering in this way when thus asked, YOU ARE SPEAKING IN LINE WITH WHAT I HAVE SAID, you are not misrepresenting me with what is unfactual, and you are answering in line with the Dhamma so that no one whose thinking is in line with the Dhamma will have grounds for criticizing you.

For any brahmans or contemplatives endowed with wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, & wrong concentration: 

  1. [VII] If they follow the holy life even when having made a wish (1) [for results], they are incapable of obtaining results.

  2. If they follow the holy life even when having made no wish (2), they are incapable of obtaining results.

  3. If they follow the holy life even when both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish, they are incapable of obtaining results.

  4. If they follow the holy life even when neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, they are incapable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an inappropriate way of obtaining results.

[Simile 1.] "Suppose a man in need of oil, looking for oil, wandering in search of oil, would pile gravel in a tub and press it, sprinkling it again & again with water.

If he were to pile gravel in a tub and press it, sprinkling it again & again with water even 

  1. [VIII] when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, he would be incapable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an inappropriate way of obtaining results.

"In the same way,
any brahmans or contemplatives endowed with wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, & wrong concentration: 

  1. [IX] If they follow the holy life even when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, they are incapable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an inappropriate way of obtaining results.

[Simile 2.] "Suppose a man in need of milk, looking for milk, wandering in search of milk, would twist the horn of a newly-calved cow.

If he were to twist the horn of a newly-calved cow even 

  1. [X] when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, he would be incapable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an inappropriate way of obtaining results.

"In the same way,
any brahmans or contemplatives endowed with wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, & wrong concentration: 

  1. [XI] If they follow the holy life even when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, they are incapable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an inappropriate way of obtaining results.

[Simile 3.] "Suppose a man in need of butter, looking for butter, wandering in search of butter, would sprinkle water on water in a crock and twirl it with a churn-stick.

If he were to sprinkle water on water in a crock and twirl it with a churn-stick even 

  1. [XII] when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, he would be incapable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an inappropriate way of obtaining results.

"In the same way,
any brahmans or contemplatives endowed with wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, & wrong concentration: 

  1. [XIII] If they follow the holy life even when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, they are incapable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an inappropriate way of obtaining results.

[Simile 4.] "Suppose a man in need of fire, looking for fire, wandering in search of fire, would take a fire stick and rub it into a wet, sappy piece of wood.

If he were to take a fire stick and rub it into a wet, sappy piece of wood even 

  1. [XIV] when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, he would be incapable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an inappropriate way of obtaining results.

"In the same way,
any brahmans or contemplatives endowed with wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, & wrong concentration: 

  1. [XV] If they follow the holy life even when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, they are incapable of obtaining results. 

Why is that? Because it is an inappropriate way of obtaining results.

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[D.2 THE BUDDHA’S ANSWER — B. THE APPROPRIATE WAY (ex. using the Octuple Noble Path) — WITH 4 SIMILES:]

"But as for any brahmans or contemplatives endowed with 1. right view, 2. right resolve, 3. right speech, 4. right action, 5. right livelihood, 6. right effort, 7. right mindfulness, & 8. right concentration:

  1. [XVI] If they follow the holy life even when having made a wish (1), they are capable of obtaining results.

  2. If they follow the holy life even when having made no wish (2), they are capable of obtaining results.

  3. If they follow the holy life even when both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish, they are capable of obtaining results.

  4. If they follow the holy life even when neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, they are capable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an appropriate way of obtaining results.

[Simile 1.] "Suppose a man in need of oil, looking for oil, wandering in search of oil, would pile sesame seeds in a tub and press them, sprinkling them again & again with water.

If he were to pile sesame seeds in a tub and press them, sprinkling them again & again with water, even

  1. [XVII] when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, he would be capable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an appropriate way of obtaining results.

"In the same way,
any brahmans or contemplatives endowed with right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration: 

  1. [XVIII] If they follow the holy life even when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, they are capable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an appropriate way of obtaining results.

[Simile 2.] "Suppose a man in need of milk, looking for milk, wandering in search of milk, would twist the teat of a newly-calved cow.

If he were to twist the teat of a newly-calved cow even

  1. [XIX] when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, he would be capable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an appropriate way of obtaining results.

"In the same way,
any brahmans or contemplatives endowed with right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration: 

  1. [XX] If they follow the holy life even when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, they are capable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an appropriate way of obtaining results.

[Simile 3.] "Suppose a man in need of butter, looking for butter, wandering in search of butter, would sprinkle water on curds in a crock and twirl them with a churn-stick.[3]

If he were to sprinkle water on curds in a crock and twirl them with a churn-stick even

  1. [XXI] when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, he would be capable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an appropriate way of obtaining results.

"In the same way,
any brahmans or contemplatives endowed with right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration: 

  1. [XXII] If they follow the holy life even when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, they are capable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an appropriate way of obtaining results.

[Simile 4.] "Suppose a man in need of fire, looking for fire, wandering in search of fire, would take a fire stick and rub it into a dry, sapless piece of wood.

If he were to take a fire stick and rub it into a dry, sapless piece of wood even

  1. when having made a wish (1) [for results]...

  2. having made no wish (2)...

  3. both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish...

  4. neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, he would be capable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an appropriate way of obtaining results.

"In the same way,
any brahmans or contemplatives endowed with right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration: 

  1. [XXIII] If they follow the holy life even when having made a wish (1) [for results], they are capable of obtaining results.

  2. If they follow the holy life even when having made no wish (2), they are capable of obtaining results.

  3. If they follow the holy life even when both (3) having made a wish and having made no wish, they are capable of obtaining results.

  4. If they follow the holy life even when neither (4) having made a wish nor having made no wish, they are capable of obtaining results.

Why is that? Because it is an appropriate way of obtaining results.

(i.e. It is not because everything is empty of inherent existence (truths, methods, goals; subjects, actions, objects; body, speech, mind; individual, collective, cosmic), that there are no valid useful dependently co-arisen conventional truths, methods & goals — temporary imperfect adapted skillful means -- that could be used; whether one makes a wish, or not, or both, or neither; whether one uses one extreme about any duality, or its opposite, or both together, or neither —. There is NOTHING TO ACCEPT as inherent / universal / absolute / independent of the subject(s), NOTHING TO REJECT IN ABSOLUTE TERMS; not even making a wish / having a goal, or not … The important point is to use a virtuous gradual path — more and more in accord with the true nature of Perceived / Apparent Reality as it is here & now (dharmata) and with the Fruit (enlightenment / buddhahood) -- leading to the gradual transcendence of all illusions / conditioning / karma by directly realising their true nature & dynamic. Only this direct wisdom will liberate us definitively from our karmic cycle.)

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[E. CONCLUSION OF THIS SUTTA:]

"Bhumija, if these four similes had occurred to you in the presence of Prince Jayasena, he would have naturally felt CONFIDENCE in you and — feeling confidence — would have shown his confidence in you.

"But, lord, how could these four similes have occurred to me in the presence of Prince Jayasena, as they are natural to the Blessed One and have never before been heard from him?"

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, Ven. Bhumija delighted in the Blessed One's words.

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[F. GENERALISATION: THE REFUTATION OF THE FOUR EXTREME POSITIONS USING THE TETRALEMMA SHOULD BE APPLIED ITERATIVELY TO WHATEVER IS LEFT]

[F.1 THE FOUR EXTREME POSITIONS OF ANY DUALITY:]

The affirmative form of the tetralemma: for any duality there are FOUR EXTREME POSITIONS, no more:

  1. Affirming / accepting the thesis / opposite-1, (only the first opposite is true)

  2. Affirming / accepting the antithesis / opposite-2, (only the second opposite is true)

  3. Affirming / accepting the BOTH thesis & antithesis together / both opposite-1 & opposite-2 together, (both opposites are true)

  4. Affirming / accepting the NEITHER thesis nor antithesis / neither opposite-1 nor opposite-2. (both opposites are false)

This is the equivalent to:

  1. Affirming / accepting {accepting the thesis / opposite-1 and rejecting the antithesis / opposite-2}, (the first opposite is true and the second false)

  2. Affirming / accepting {accepting the antithesis / opposite-2 and rejecting the thesis / opposite-1}, (the second opposite is true and the first false)

  3. Affirming / accepting {accepting both thesis / opposite-1 and antithesis / opposite-2 together}, (both opposites are true)

  4. Affirming / accepting {rejecting both thesis / opposite-1 and antithesis / opposite-2}. (both opposites are false)

[Note: this could be generalised to groups of more than two opposites / thesis.]

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F.2 [REFUTATION OF THE FOUR EXTREME POSITIONS OF ANY DUALITY:]

The negative form of the tetralemma: for any duality there are FOUR EXTREME POSITIONS TO REFUTE, no more:

  1. Refuting / rejecting the thesis / opposite-1, (refuting that the first opposite is true)

  2. Refuting / rejecting the antithesis / opposite-2, (refuting that the second opposite is true)

  3. Refuting / rejecting the BOTH thesis & antithesis together / both opposite-1 & opposite-2 together, (refuting that both opposites are true)

  4. Refuting / rejecting the NEITHER thesis nor antithesis / neither opposite-1 nor opposite-2. (refuting that both opposites are false)

This is the equivalent to:

  1. Refuting / rejecting the {accepting the thesis / opposite-1 and rejecting the antithesis / opposite-2}, (refuting that the first opposite is true and the second false)

  2. Refuting / rejecting the {accepting the antithesis / opposite-2 and rejecting the thesis / opposite-1}, (refuting that the second opposite is true and the first false)

  3. Refuting / rejecting the {accepting both thesis / opposite-1 and antithesis / opposite-2 together}, (refuting that both opposites are true together)

  4. Refuting / rejecting the {rejecting both thesis / opposite-1 and antithesis / opposite-2}. (refuting that both opposites are false)

[Note: this could be generalised to groups of more than two opposites / thesis.]

But the Middle Way is about NOT ACCEPTING NOT REJECTING ANYTHING in absolute terms (as if inherently / universally / absolutely / independently of the subject(s) good or bad, right or wrong), just relatively / conventionally / co-dependently. So, when we refute / reject the four extreme positions of any duality (this, not-this, both, neither), we are not yet on the Middle Way. We still have to go beyond this tetralemma / fourfold refutation/rejection, and realise that this is not a refutation/rejection in absolute terms of those four possible positions but just a refutation that they were inherent / universal / absolute / independent of the subject(s) truths, methods or goals.

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F.3 [THE FOUR EXTREME POSITIONS ABOUT THE TETRALEMMA:]

Using the affirmative form of the tetralemma on the two forms of the tetralemma: for this duality there are FOUR EXTREME POSITIONS, no more:

  1. Affirming / accepting the thesis / the affirmative form of the tetralemma, (grasping at the affirmative form of the tetralemma) (ex. accepting the four possibilities that something could exist / be-true, not-exist / be-false, both together, or neither)

  2. Affirming / accepting the antithesis / the negative form of the tetralemma, (grasping at the negative form of the tetralemma) (ex. rejecting the four possibilities that something could exist / be-true, not-exist / be-false, both together, or neither) (this is “the view espoused by some brahman & contemplatives” above — see section C — rejecting the four possible means of obtaining results: making a wish, not making a wish, both together, neither.) 

  3. Affirming / accepting the BOTH thesis & antithesis together / both together, (accepting / grasping at both affirmative and negative forms of the tetralemma, together)

  4. Affirming / accepting the NEITHER thesis nor antithesis / neither. (rejecting both affirmative and negative forms of the tetralemma, together)

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F.4 [REFUTATION OF THE FOUR EXTREME POSITIONS ABOUT THE TETRALEMMA:]

Using the negative form of the tetralemma on the two forms of the tetralemma: for this duality there are FOUR EXTREME POSITIONS TO REFUTE, no more:

  1. Refuting / rejecting the thesis / the fourfold-affirmation/acceptation, (refuting that the affirmative form of the tetralemma is true in absolute terms)

  2. Refuting / rejecting the antithesis / the fourfold-negation/rejection, (refuting that the negative form of the tetralemma is true in absolute terms) (Refuting this “view espoused by some brahman & contemplatives” above — see section C — refuting the simple rejection of the four possible means of obtaining results: making a wish, not making a wish, both together, neither. Or more generally: refuting the simple rejection — in absolute terms -- of the four extreme positions in any duality.)

  3. Refuting / rejecting the BOTH thesis & antithesis together / both together, (refuting that both affirmative and negative forms of the tetralemma are true is true in absolute terms)

  4. Refuting / rejecting the NEITHER thesis nor antithesis / neither. (refuting that both affirmative and negative forms of the tetralemma are false is true in absolute terms)

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