The Four Logical Arguments, Part 2
The four wrong views The first logical argument: Examining the cause The second logical argument: Examining the result The third logical argument: Being neither one nor many The fourth logical argument: Interdependent origination Questions The compassionate lord Buddha Shakyamuni has revealed us many different levels of teachings. Among all the teachings that he has given, if you know how to take the essence of his teachings in terms of instructions and implement these, this would be the best. Whether we are involved with listening to teachings or reflecting and meditating upon what we have heard, it is essential to precede such phases of practice by the altruistic mind of bodhicitta. Having thus generated the altruistic mind of bodhicitta, the teachings that we are trying to study and meditate upon can be termed dharma. If we want to find the essence of the Buddha’s teachings, we should understand the fourfold knowledge of impermanence, the suffering nature, emptiness and selflessness. If we implement this knowledge in our practice, this would constitute the essential instruction for practice. During the previous session, we finished talking about the subjects of impermanence and the suffering nature. The law of impermanence and the suffering nature are the characteristics of the relative truth. One should also understand the division of impermanence in terms of the grosser level of impermanence and the subtle level of impermanence. One will realize the subtle form of impermanence by understanding the grosser form of impermanence. For example, the very fact that there is smoke above a hill signifies that there must be fire somewhere behind that hill. Mere understanding will not allow us to ultimately eradicate the root of misery. In the beginning, it is crucial to gain understanding of the different levels of impermanence. Based on this knowledge, one should try to attain the actual realization of the grosser and subtle form of impermanence. Mere intellectual understanding of the various forms of impermanence will allow us to suppress the
very few will claim that I am impure and I am ugly. and fixating onto the notion of permanence and self. we tend to generate the conflicting emotions of hatred. then the question of purity and impurity does not apply at all. will still feel that they are enjoying happiness. it can be said to be grasping onto our spirit and matter. whereas the actual realization of the various levels of impermanence will allow us to eradicate the very root of the conflicting emotions. If we were to look at the reality of matter and spirit from the ultimate perspective. But how do we generate these wrong views? We generate them on the basis of our psycho-physical aggregates. Based on these various causes. were to realize the
. matter and spirit eludes permanence and impermanence as well as self and others. we hold onto the notion of ourselves being supreme while others are inferior. Nevertheless. In brief. In the same way. And. if we fixate onto the notion of not having to depend on others. we cultivate the notion of a truly existing self. What we need to eliminate from our mind stream is our fixation on the notion of the four wrong views: fixation on the notion of purity. This is the reason these individuals are not willing to separate themselves from the worldly existence of samsara. or the five skandhas. then motivation for generating love and compassion for others will not arise. and develop grasping onto these aggregates.conflicting emotions. Most individuals claim that I am pure or that I am beautiful. In the same way. in the same way. and on the basis of this polarity. And most individuals. Because of our grasping onto matter and spirit. or singularity. These four wrong views should be abandoned. Also. In other words. Hence. and beyond self and others as well. the notion of one. for example. If you. jealousy and other forms of negative emotions. they transcend permanent and impermanent. fixation on the notion of happiness. happiness and unhappiness does not exist with regard to matter and spirit. beginners on the path should try to understand the reality of matter and spirit in terms of suffering and impermanence. and the notion of permanence without having to depend on others come about. while actually being submersed in the midst of suffering. we develop the notion of self being the owner of the five aggregates. Why should they do that? Because understanding of impermanence will gradually give rise to an understanding of emptiness. yet again.
due to the hand being the composition of many atoms and sub atoms. the hand seems to be single. Also. but will not remove the conflicting emotion completely. or practice that pertains to the
. The most subtle level of atomic particle is not static for even a moment. you would be able to attain certainty of the emptiness of the hand. the scientist will delve into the level of the sub-particles that acts as building blocks for the grosser reality. when we undertake the samadhi. and if you were to further dissect the atoms. The followers of the shravakayana are able to realize the emptiness of personal self because they are able to analyze down to the most subtle level of the partless particle. they are not able to realize it. one needs to understand the mode of emptiness. Similarly. when one arrives at this level. then such a meditation can be termed shamatha. in order to change the grosser aspect of reality. by relying on the sword of wisdom. Shamatha meditation will allow us to temporarily suppress the conflicting emotions. or your own hand for that matter. and will try to do something at this level in order to produce a measurable result on the grosser level. These particles are not static. there does not exist a single finger. If one fails to understand the proper mode by which emptiness exists. they are able to attain the realization of the emptiness of the personal self. and such an understanding leads to the realization of the emptiness of the phenomenal self. whereas the followers of the mahayana realize the impermanent nature of even these partless particles. But as far as the realization of the emptiness of the phenomenal self is concerned. For example. we should try to dissect the reality to arrive at the level of the most subtle particles. because the finger is also a composite of joints and many other particles. they realize only the emptiness of the personal self based on their arguments that bring them to the partless particles. but it eludes singleness because there are five fingers joined together. For example. but dynamic because they go through a constant change. To understand emptiness.impermanence of my hand. and then. these particles should be realized to be emptiness. Even with such a partial understanding. holding that these are static. It is not meditation of vipashyana. but they hold onto the notion that these partless particles are static. you will arrive at the partless particles. and that on the atomic level the hand is going through a constant change. and still persists in meditating on emptiness. the manner by which emptiness exists. that they do not go through change. Similarly.
to be able to understand the empty nature of the things. it should be understood that the phenomena are empty in themselves. one should familiarize oneself with the understanding of the four great arguments and attain certainty on the basis of that. Similarly. One thinks in terms of neither existence nor non-existence. we begin by conceptualizing that all phenomenal appearances and experiences are equal to space. when we cultivate emptiness as a pure view. This is because we are already very familiar with the idea of something being permanent and something having a self. as it pertains to the four formless god realms. A mere understanding of the classification of reality is not effective in terms of equalizing suffering and happiness. one should apply this knowledge in one’s meditation practice. it will be difficult. To start with. without any tangible form. but all these arguments can be summed up as the four logical arguments. These are the four samadhis that are cultivated in connection with the four formless god realms. or of equalizing self and others. it will be easy to grasp their meaning. selflessness and emptiness. and purity and impurity and so forth. when we talk about emptiness. The purpose of meditation practice is to familiarize oneself. But these four types of meditation are worldly meditations that will not bring the meditator beyond the worldly realm. we are not talking about the seeming emptiness as meditation. It is quite difficult to understand these logical arguments. If you are familiar. all phenomenal experiences and appearances are thought of as equal to consciousness. Here. But it is not necessary to meditate on permanence. Then one puts it into
. Instead. When one has understood the different levels of the logical arguments. or the antidote to avert the four wrong views. Also. Because of hearing this and the practice that I put it to. There have been created many logical arguments to establish a genuine understanding of emptiness. Since I entered the Buddhist academic institutes in Tibet.four formless god realms. Further. and actually it comes down to the question whether you are familiar with this manner of analysis or not. one meditates on the concepts that all phenomenal appearances and existence do not exist at all. if not. it is not necessary to meditate on self. I have heard many lectures on impermanence. occasionally there would arise a certain understanding. Only by putting into practice what one has understood on the intellectual level will one attain the equalization of self and others.
remain for a while. If something is born as a result of a certain cause. The example of the father is used in order to establish that self is not born from itself or that certain phenomena are born from the particular phenomena themselves. If it were so. One cannot find another manner of birth than these four extremes. For example. then the subsequent birth also becomes meaningless. we would attain the realization of the unborn state. The first logical argument is the vajra prongs that analyze the cause. For example.” The other options are that the birth of the phenomena comes from both self and other. you cannot say that I am born from myself. When we talk about a certain phenomena being born from itself. And from the perspective of the individual who has not undertaken the practice of analysis. no individual will be ready to accept such a proposition. then the initial birth of that father becomes meaningless. If self were to be born from itself. Most of us conceive that matter and spirit come into being at some beginning.practice. and then disintegrate at the end. then the birth of that phenomena must occur from itself or it must come from something else. Why is one required to meditate on the first argument? Because usually we believe that all phenomena arise because of certain causes. Question: But the definition of a father is that somebody else is born. So we are trying to establish the unborn state. One should try to establish the reality of the unborn by relying on the practice and understanding of the four great logical arguments. so that the father is born as a father. But if we were to profoundly scrutinize the reality. or that the birth comes from the absence of self and others. “from other. If the initial birth is meaningless. it seems to be so: that certain phenomena come from certain causes. If one can do so. then there comes about two faults: The birth becomes meaningless and the birth
. because the father is born twice. one can remove suffering. This logical argument should be applied to all classifications of the reality. one can not claim that the father is born from the father himself. the initial birth becomes meaningless. If the father is born from the father himself. These are called the four extremes.
the birth of a son from a father. but hundreds of subsequent births become meaningless as well. When we were investigating the first logical argument of the vajra prongs. Not only one birth becomes meaningless. one should try to think about it. it is easy to understand the third and fourth. as for example. Now. and you will grasp the meaning. it refutes the notion of holding onto a self that is permanent. If the phenomena are not born from self and neither born from others. The purpose of the logical argument is to prove that birth does not happen from any of the four extremes. we have refuted the first extreme. We shall try to refute the birth that occurs from others. we were primarily analyzing the cause of the phenomena. one primarily analyzes the first two extremes. then there comes the fault of the birth of light from darkness. Particularly. as only women can do this. then a static phenomenon could not perform any function. Examples of these are the birth of misery from the performance of virtuous acts.
. Another example is a man giving birth to a child. If the self would be permanent. this logical argument is actually rather sharp. we are primarily investigating the result of the phenomena in terms of existence and non-existence. as opposed to a dynamic phenomenon. Actually. the birth of self from itself. During the second logical argument. and the birth of happiness from the performance of negative actions. When one understands the two first. then it will be easy to deny the third extreme that proposes that phenomena are born from self and others. then that very performance implies impermanence.becomes ceaseless. Meditating in this manner will allow you to refute the notion of fixating onto the self. If something is born from other. If a function is being carried out. Question: What are the relationships between the logical arguments and the four extremes? In the analysis of the first logical argument. like some non-Buddhist schools propose. The main point is that all this falls into the category of birth from other. If one is not able to grasp it.
we established the emptiness of that cause. the cause cannot give birth to something that does not exist. result or essence. or production and cessation.We shall now examine the second logical argument in terms of existence and non-existence. it becomes meaningless to give birth to a new existence. because than there would be nothing. Matter and spirit will be either cause. and you go on refuting this also?
. one tries to establish that the result is free from desire. Both are examples of things that do not exist. It would not be very meaningful to say that something that is non-existent has been born. the result or the essence of a certain phenomenon. The fourth logical argument is said to be the king of all logical arguments and is the logical argument of interdependent origination. For example. By the first argument that analyzes the cause. The third logical argument is the argument of being neither one nor many. we tend to fixate on these. And by this argument we try to cut through the desire that aspires to attain that result. We shall examine the characteristics of matter and spirit. Let us suppose that we vaguely understand what is meant by analyzing the cause through the first logical argument. By the second logical argument. It follows that all non-existent things would come into existence by following this line of reasoning. Do you understand? Question: Is this where one talks about the hair of the tortoise? Yes. or the non-characteristics of that cause. and the horn of the rabbit. does that result truly exist or does it not exist? If the newly formed result was said to exist prior to its birth. If a result is born from a cause. what kind of result is born? Is it nonexistent or existent? Do you understand the question? Question: Is this where we say neither. By establishing the cause. The first three logical arguments are sometimes called the three doors of liberation. the pear in my hand is either cause. In that case a lotus flower could be born in the midst of space. we usually aspire to attain that result. Conversely. If there is a result. If a result is being born by relying on the cause. result or essence. Let us go back and delve a little deeper into the second logical argument of analyzing existence and non-existence.
and comment on it. one must prepare with some analytical meditation. we perceive the skandhas. We try to attack the enemy that holds onto the notion of a truly existing self. it can seem like it is analytical meditation. In order to avert such wrong views. and that one meditates on the logical arguments in order to lessen the impact of these thoughts and emotions. matter and spirit. The real nature of the leopard can be very non-peaceful. how to win a victory over the enemy. If such phenomena exist. So try to grasp and be mindful of the logical arguments. Its intention is to capture the prey and devour it. the leopard walks very quietly when hunting. When we talk about performing analytical meditation. we can analyze the spirit or the mind. thoughts and attitudes have we not generated in our mind? All these patterns constitute our mind. Because through this kind of logic we would be able to make everything that is non-existent become existent. and the body does not exist in terms of one single lump. we are not talking about analyzing how to subdue our enemy. because from birth up to this point. then it follows that it will be a possible to find hair on a tortoise and horn on a rabbit. as well as the conflicting emotions. Should one meditate on analytical or concentrative meditation? To answer. The main thing is that we usually experience many discursive thoughts and conflicting emotions. we contemplate on the third argument. they exist either in terms of one or many. The phenomena do not exist in terms of one.If the answer is that the result is non-existent. forget about the time
. otherwise there is actually nothing to concentrate on. The mind does not exist in terms of one lump. In the same way. examine it. but it lacks the true meaning of true meditation. Now. A mere adoption of physical postures does not imply a peaceful nature of an individual. The meditation works by challenging our discursive thoughts and emotions. by using the arrow of the logical arguments. Sometimes the audience will ask the teacher how one should proceed with one’s meditation. You are welcome to analyze it. how many conceptual minds. For example. as being truly existent. If we focus on this. Generally. or how to accumulate wealth and so forth. The third logical argument is termed neither being one or many. and there is no single entity that exists within the mind or the body.
then it will be easy for you to actually meditate on the true meaning of emptiness. all phenomena are shown to be interdependent-originated. or one week up to this time. even within the presentation of Mahamudra or Dzogchen. one needs to understand the meaning of the presentation of the Prasangika-Madhyamika. Therefore. you will not find a more superior view than this. According to this logical argument. Hence. The great logical argument of interdependent origination analyzes the cause of the phenomena. “In order to truly realize the meaning of the primordial purity. therefore. The number of discursive thoughts and conflicting emotions that we have generated are limitless. Rinpoche jokes. The forth logical argument is the argument of interdependent origination. just look from one month ago up to this moment. the logical argument of interdependent origination is said to be the king of all logical arguments. and the essence of the phenomena. the sound is interdependent on the vajra. If “one” cannot be established.” You are welcome to ask questions concerning the four logical arguments. If you have not heard this before. But if you grasp the meaning of these logical arguments. then naturally “many” cannot be established as well. Its actual nature is emptiness. the result of the phenomena. or from yesterday up to this moment. and there is no phenomenal experience that lies beyond the law of interdependent origination. All this constitutes our mind. If you realize the view of these logical arguments. Therefore Lama Mipham said. or interdependent connectedness. Question: But does this not show that something can arise from something that is
. Question: Can you please give an example of the fourth logical argument? Rinpoche strikes the bell sharply with the vajra The sound that is produced comes from striking the bell with the vajra. it is rather difficult to comprehend. phenomena are said to not be truly existent. That is the reason the bell is rung quite often: to teach you interdependent origination. This presentation is unique to Buddhism and is not shared by other spiritual traditions. so the sound is the result of many causes and conditions coming together.from birth up to this point.
” He further stated that he had “familiarized with nothing whatsoever. there is a risk that one falls into the pitfall of nihilism. When the path is traversed—when the boat has been used to cross the river and one has arrived safely on the other shore—the boat can be left behind. one should establish the negative emptiness into tögal. the path is compared with a boat. then. we tried to establish emptiness through negatives. In his Entering the Middle Way.” meaning leaving even the familiarization of emptiness behind. In the Uttaratantrashastra. then the vajra is the other. you
. Question: But cannot happiness be born from suffering? Well. in that case. right? Then the vajra should be able to produce the sound by itself. if the vajra were placed as it is. without being used to strike the bell. Like Shantideva said. In the beginning. In this treatise. the author objects to the meditator to meditate on the emptiness of the law of causation. In order to prevent the meditator from falling into the nihilistic state. in the same way. Chandrakirti objects to the meditator meditating on the emptiness of the karmic law of cause and result. but that is just how it seems. a state completely free from any form of elaboration. and the risk is that one can do away with karmic causations. the author says that even the dharma or the sangha are not the ultimate object of refuge. using terms as “non-existence” and so forth. say. This negative emptiness can be further analyzed in tögal (Tibetan). In the process of trying to establish emptiness. This is very serious. where nothing exists and there is no meaning. therefore. you will arrive at the fact that the sound is not born from other. the meditator will cast away his familiarity with materialistic clinging to the solidity of the phenomena. It seems like the sound is born from something else other than the sound. If you delve deeper into this seeming reality. “When the meditator becomes familiar with emptiness. For example. When the meditator focuses his meditation on emptiness with regard to the law of karmic causations. one must conclude that suffering is born from happiness. But if the negative emptiness remains.different than itself? Certainly the sound is different from the vajra. there is a risk involved. this form of meditation can cause the practitioner to disregard karmic law.
Therefore. if you mistake a statue for a real person at a distance. Having realized emptiness. then as you get closer. we are talking about cultivating positive fixations in the initial state of one’s meditation. one leaves the fixations behind and enters into a state free from fixation. one needs to attain the realization of the meaning of emptiness. Maybe your bladder is full. this is said to be the realizing selflessness. This is a common problem during the
. one usually meditates with a certain amount of fixation. Positive conceptual thoughts or states of mind are compared with a very fertile ground. But when we talk about cultivating fixations in meditation.don’t need it anymore. you will realize the suchness of the statue to be a statue. when we understand emptiness. In the beginning. If we. because one simply leaves behind the realization of emptiness. the possibility of generating the wisdom that knows the reality as it is by relying on negative thoughts and emotions is nil. because even the claim that “I am meditating without fixations” is a subtle fixation in itself. and the mistaken idea will disappear. there is a possibility to give rise to the wisdom that knows the nature of the reality. But cultivation of negative thoughts and emotions can be compared with an infertile ground. Emptiness tries to establish the emptiness of the phenomenal self. by examining the body and mind. whereas selflessness tries to establish the emptiness of the personal self. it becomes rather easy to understand what we mean by selflessness. Generally. gradually. selflessness should be understood in terms of cultivating the emptiness of the personal self. For example. there is no point in holding onto the notion of emptiness. it is important to attempt to cultivate a noble mind or heart. Similarly. understand the emptiness of the person. As long as we possess a belly. making it impossible to give rise to a prosperous crop. But to realize emptiness. But if we claim that we are meditating on a state that is free from fixation. we have to think in terms of conceptual thoughts and fixations because we have a mind. it actually becomes very difficult to meditate and sustain such a state. On the other hand. Hence. we need to eat because we get hungry. on the basis that on this fertile ground one can reap a very prosperous crop. I will stop here. the realization of the emptiness of the personal self. and then. By basing the cultivation on wholesome or positive thoughts and emotions. we are not talking about cultivating negative fixations.
Of course. these khenpos would be a little inconsiderate and continue their teachings for several. From now on. This fundamental fear prevents them from fully realizing the emptiness of the phenomenal self.teaching sessions in Tibet. the bullet pierced the hand. (Everybody is laughing. but also realizing it. When I used to attain the teachings of certain khenpos. one Tibetan boastfully claimed that he had realized the profound meaning of emptiness. maybe three hours. This liberates the
. This is confusion. but why are they not able to use this argument to realize the inherent emptiness of the phenomena? The fundamental reason is because the followers of the shravakayanas are fearful of realizing the emptiness of the phenomenal self. Question: If you understand selflessness and the fact that things are not truly existent. he had the man tied to a post and shot him in his hand. if you have a very full bladder and a lot of pain. in the early stage of the Chinese occupation. Question: What is the difference in realizing the emptiness of the self and the emptiness of the phenomena? Mipham Rinpoche gave a very good example of this. The mistake can be eliminated by lighting a lamp and realizing the absence of the snake in the rope. he would not be harmed by anything. In reality. In East Tibet. not only understanding it. During those days. if there is a rope lying in a very dark room. how will that remove the suffering of the bladder? (laughter) That means you haven’t understood the true meaning of emptiness and selflessness. the man was killed. the rope can be mistaken for a snake. the Communists were very hostile towards religious proclamations like this.) If you were truly able to understand the true meaning of emptiness. he had simply proclaimed it. and the man began to scream. Finally. like we have been going through—if you have a good understanding of this. and a person happens to enter the room. Question: The shravakayanas are able to realize the emptiness or the absence of self by reducing the self to partless particles. When a Chinese leader heard of this. he had not understood the meaning of emptiness. then the fullness of the bladder will not be a problem.
Question: Is this Madyamika? Yes. what I have taught today could be understood in many different ways by many different people. The reason they are able to realize the emptiness of the phenomenal self is because they have arrived at the subtlest level of particle.person from the fear of encountering a snake. But the person has not realized the suchness of the rope itself. All the explanations that I have given to you are based on my personal understanding of the scriptures. do you mean all the dharmas or what I spoke about? Same person: I mean everything. For example. But they fixate onto their notion of this. the speech from one single person can be heard in many different ways. Question: Why do they believe that these particles are permanent? Does it not say in the sutras that everything is impermanent? This is because one single teaching of the Buddha is being interpreted on many different levels. and because of this. it has to start somewhere. All things come from emptiness. that of the permanent partless particle. The rope is not realized to be empty of true existence.
. When you say where all these things are coming from. Your very thought is emptiness. Your thoughts also come from emptiness. Also. Question: Does everything come from the mind? It has to start somewhere or we would not have to do all these things. This is the reason they are not able to realize the emptiness of the phenomenal self.
Followers of the shravakayana analyze the body-mind phenomena to its most subtle level and attain the realization of the emptiness of the personal self. they are not able to move further.
Among many of the treatises on this subject. these two are considered most important. then you need to go through the different phases of these four great arguments. the emptiness of the self of the phenomena. According to the sutra tradition of the Buddha. You have to conduct analytical meditation. So we will stop here and conclude with the prayers. we primarily allow our mind to rest within the state of certainty. but this does not mean that you should not use your intelligent mind to analyze the selflessness of the phenomena.Question: How would you meditate on selflessness? To meditate on selflessness. you should stop further analysis and let your mind rest within that certainty.
Translated by Lama Changchub at Karma Tashi Ling Buddhist Centre. For example. but according to the tantric tradition. if you want to meditate on the selflessness on the phenomena. Norway
. the medium of these four great arguments. first one has to establish the selflessness by analytical meditation. we are welcome to do so. If we can come up with our own version of logical arguments in order to establish and validate the selflessness of phenomena. Once you gain profound certainty. we analyze and experiment. and The Root Verses of the Middle Way by Nagarjuna. Question: Can you recommend a book on the four logical arguments? You will find the presentation of the four logical arguments in the books known as Entering into the Middle Way by Chandrakirti. The presentation of the four logical arguments is like a handle that you can hold onto while trying to establish the selflessness of phenomena. And you should analyze the meaning of the selflessness of the phenomena until you gain profound certainty with regard to selflessness of the phenomena. We should also alternate our meditation with the sutra tradition of the Buddha and the tantric presentation of the Buddha.