Saturday, September 29, 2012

Metaphysics and hegemony

Balder started an IPS thread on his recent JITP paper. Therein he's posting his discussions of the paper with some folks at Integral Life. One section is on inclusivism in religious traditions, how they can make room for sub-schools within their own tradition as well as other traditions, but always while subsuming them to a lower order within their own. As on example Balder mentioned Wilber's Vedanta-influenced ranking and I responded:

As to which forms of Buddhism Kennilingam favors as more ‘developed,’ I’ve assiduously explored this in numerous threads and argued as to which is truly more enlightened. This post in the Batchelor thread, which rehashes some of my previous sources and arguments, shows his bias toward the Murti interpretation, which is reiterated by Thakchoe in this post of the same thread.

Re-reading pp. 1-2 of the Batchelor thread, providing context for the above references as well as excerpts to and commentary on Kennilingam,  I came upon this post.

"In a discussion on this topic Jackson says:

'The great Madhyamaka outlook associated with certain Tibetan proponents of other-emptiness...[assert that] buddhahood is empty only of those conventionalities, while its natural purity, luminosity, and gnosis are eternally established and independently existent; thus... [it] involves negating the self-existence of conventional entities and concepts, but not of the ultimate buddha-mind' (232).

"Granted some, including Balder, have argued that Dzogchen for example does not adhere to this other-emptiness doctrine. But Thakchoe (cited above) says of Gorampa on this topic:

'Gorampa argues that ultimate truth is ontologically unconditioned, and hence it is not a dependently arisen phenomenon; it is distinct from empirical phenomenon in every sense of the is an absolutely timeless and eternally unchanging phenomenon' (73).

"And Thakchoe reminds us that Mipham*, the eminent Nyingma-Dzogchen proponent, is in agreement with Gorampa on this (42). As are more contemporary modern monists like Murti, on whom Wilber draws heavily in interpreting Nagarjuna.

"* in footnote 170 Thakchoe says: 'Mipham not only attempts to show that ultimate truth is the only truth but also takes one step further to show that ultimate truth is an absolute, therefore truly existent'" (188).

And this post, where Batchelor specifically names the Lingam, though spells his name incorrectly. After linking Wallace to a reifying view he says:

"This kind of view is becoming normative of much 'Eastern spirituality' in the West, particularly under the influence of the neo-Vedantist Ken Wilbur."

Then Balder discusses how the forum previously addressed Levin's hermeneutic phenomenology as an integration of the always already with the not yet. This contextualizes some traditions that posit a primordial awareness as being our direct link to the thing-in-itself, either God or Reality or whatever. I responded:

Recall in our discussions of this that the ego was a necessary ingredient to not only to get us 'back' there but integrate it. And just as the past is integrated so is the future becoming, but a future that never arrives as an end state. It seems there is this need to arrive at the end of history with a final enlightenment or final stage of development. Even though the kennilinguists say that the relative continues to evolve they still maintain an absolute that has always been and forever will be in the present, direct experience of the ultimate. And therein lies the rub as to what constitutes a post-egoic realization, and what is postmetaphysical, since that kind of dichotomous (dual nondual) interpretation of such experience is part and parcel of the metaphysics of presence.

Also see kela's blog post on inclusivism, which after providing numerous examples ends thusly:

"In the end it is about the dominance of some particular tradition -- whether it be Advaita Vedanta, Tantra, or whatever -- and the subordination of all other traditions to that tradition."

Or a more broad orienting generalization might be, metaphysics is largely about hegemony.

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