Talk:Two extremes

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At some point somebody should edit the following quote and insert it here as a form of meditation in stages...

Mipham Rinpoche - Shantarakshita, The Adornment of the Middle Way: Shantarakshita's Madhyamakalankara with Commentary by Jamgon Mipham, Translated by Padmkara Translation Group (Boston: Shambhala, 2005), p. 336-7.

The gross, simplistic view of permanence consists in considering that phenomena are not momentary. The simplistic view of nihilism is the belief that although phenomena are caused, they themselves do not generate their own effects—in the sense that the present aggregates will not give rise to future aggregates or that actions will not give rise to (karmic) results. These false, non-Buddhist views are like a yawning abyss. The way to refute them is to hold, on the one hand, that phenomena cease at every moment and, on the other, that if causes are present, effects will surely manifest. To believe that the former instant of the cause has ceased is not the extreme view of nihilism; it is the antidote that rids one of the view of permanent entities. To hold that subsequent moments of things are produced from foregoing causes is not the extreme of permanence; it is the antidote for nihilism. These two notions are in agreement with the nature of phenomena on the conventional level. However, they alone are unable to produce the correct view that transcends the world, and it is consequently necessary to recognize that all phenomena are lacking in inherent existence. And in respect of this recognition, the view of permanence is to hold that phenomena exist truly, whereas the view of nihilism is to hold that things have no existence whatever, even on the conventional level. As to their antidotes, conventional existence is the remedy that dispels the extreme view of nonexistence (a remedy, however, that does not imply the extreme of existence or eternalism). On the other hand, the lack of inherent existence is the antidote to the extreme of existence (without implying the extreme of nonexistence or nihilism). Nevertheless, to apprehend things in this way—holding to conventional appearance on the one hand and the lack of inherent existence on the other—is no more than a dualistic concept held in terms of subject and object. It is still necessary to cultivate the nonconceptual primordial wisdom of meditative equipoise. The thought-free state, devoid of conceptual construction, transcends the notions of existence and nonexistence. When all mental fixations with regard to this state and also with regard to the equality of all phenomena subside, one is free from the two extremes of considering that phenomena are without inherent existence and yet exist conventionally. Since at that point all views fixing on extreme positions subside, one is certainly emancipated from all views. When this freedom from conceptual extremes is reached— that is, after the simplistic, refined, and utterly refined views that hold to extreme positions are progressively eliminated (in the sense that the lower view serves as the basis for the removal of the higher view)—no further progress is possible. For this is the view that accords with the ultimate nature of things. It is consequently said that existence and nonexistence are two extreme positions, and it is important to know how to apply the non-dual wisdom of meditative equipoise and the discerning wisdom of the postmeditative state to these refined and unrefined conceptual extremes that are to be eliminated.