Contemporary Buddhism 9 (2):265-280 (2008)

Sonam Thakchoe
University of Tasmania
In this paper I explore Gorampa’s conception of the objects of negation. My primary aim is to show that, in Gorampa’s conception of the objects of negation, negating the extreme existent (bha ̄va/yod pa)—the first of the tetralemma (catuskoti/mtha’ bzhi)— __ entails negating the conventional realities qua truths themselves. The paper first identifies Gorampa’s notions of the objects of negation soteriogically and epistemically, and second it considers Gorampa’s arguments defending his treatment of truths (bden pa) as the objects of negation. The chief arguments Gorampa employs for negating the truths (by way of eliminating the extreme of existence) can be summarised as follows: that all things are conceptually reified elaborations (sprospa), the Prāsaṅgika is committed to the transcendent of all spros pa; that all entities are false as they all fail to reveal their reality when they are subjected to logical analysis; that an enlightened consciousness does not verify the existence of truths; that there is no commonly agreed appearance that can be taken as a common basis for the debate between the Buddhist reificationist and the Prāsaṅgika Mādhyamikas; that truths are the catalysts for driving ignorance through conceptual graspings to truths; that grasping to truths obstructs a seeker from attaining the enlightenment; and finally that seeing things as dependently arisen amounts to seeing nothing at all.
Keywords Go rampa  Object of Negation  Prāsaṅgika  Mādhyamika  Reificationism
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DOI 10.1080/14639940802556594
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