The cittamatra and its Madhyamaka critique' Some phenomenological reflections

Kennard Lipman
Philosophy East and West, 32, no. 3(July, 1982).
(c) by the University of Hawaii Press.
pp.295-308


. P.295 I In the introduction to his extensive commentary on 'Saantarak.sita's Madhyamakaala.mkaara, Mi-pham rgya-mtsho (1846-1912), probably the foremost scholar of non-Tantric Buddhist philosophy in the history of the Nyingmapa school of Tibet, sums up 'Saantarak.sita's approach to the Cittamaatra ("Experientialist") philosophy as follows:(1) By accepting the variety of presences (snang-ba, aabhaasa) as the magical play (rnam-''phrul) of experience (sems, citta), one knows the mode of being (yid-lugs) of the conventional and obtains a trusting conviction (yin-ches) about the way in which one is involved in and disengaged from sa.msaara. Regarding this, in respect of the presence of Being (gnas-lugs) which is free from all discursiveness, characteristics, and objectification, even the statement, 'Presence is experience, is not established. While this is the ultimate which is beyond the conventional, when one remains in the range of conventional presence, since the existence of an object-in-itself is contradicted by reasoning and 'experience only' is established by reasoning if one asserts a conventional which does not go beyond the level of ordinary perception (tshur-mthong), there is.no going beyond that (reasoning).... By virtue of the sedimenting (bzhag) in experience of various errant habituating tendencies (bag-chags, vaasanaa), a variety of presences make themselves felt, like in a dream, in the uninterrupted stream of projective existence (srid-pa, bhava). Because there is no other case apart from experience for this, experience which has come under the power of emotionality enters into the realm of projective existence and even the hand of the Tathaagata cannot put a stop to it. Elsewhere in his introduction to the Madhyamakaalamkaara, Mi-pham characterizes the Cittamaatra-Madhyamaka relation in this way:(2) Since the very fact of the relative (gzhan-dbang, paratantra), as the ground of the conceptual (kun-btags, parikalpita) is not established in truth (bden-grub), one should be aware of the refutation by Candrakiirti and others.(3) All such arguments which refute the horizontal awareness (kun-gzhi rnam-shes, aalayavij~naana) and reflexive awareness (rang-rig, svasa.mvedana) although they apply to the acceptance of reflexive awareness as established in truth by the Cittamaatra, one should know that they do not apply to all aspects of the method which affirms the horizontal awareness and reflexive awareness merely conventionally. For example, the reasoning which refutes the establishment in truth of all cause and result, as well as psychophysical constituents, components of experience, and sense fields, does not contradict the acceptance of cause and result and the establishment of the psychophysical constituents and experiential components merely conventionally by the Maadhyamikas. One should know that the atman as an eternal substance, etc., of the Tiirthikas is impossible even conventionally. In brief, if (something) is established as existing on the level of conventional valid means of knowledge (tha-snyad tshad-ma), conventionally who is able to refute it, while if there is a contradiction according to conventional valid means, who is able to establish its existence conventionally? If (something) is found to be non-existent through a logical inquiry from the ultimate (point of view) (don-dam tshad-ma), then who is able to establish that it exists ultimately? This is the reality (chos-nyid) of all particular existents. _____________________________________________________ kennard Lipman is Instructor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary. p.296 We shall focus on the Madhyamaka critique of the paratantra, rather than the critiques of the aalayavij~naana and svasa.mvedana, because this forms the heart of the distinction between the Madhyamaka and Yogaacaara points of view.(4) The key passage here involves the application of the Madhyamaka technical term "existence in truth" (bden-grub) to the Cittamaatra theories.(5) It is always a difficult problem when one philosophical approach criticizes another using its own terms. Is one tradition merely misrepresenting another? It is clear that the later Indian and Tibetan Maadhyamikas for the most part leveled their attacks on later developments among the Yogaacaaras, that is, on the Yogaacaara-pramaa.navaada fusion of Dignaaga and Dharmakiirti. Does this then exempt Asa^nga, Vasubandhu, and Sthiramati from their critiques? How can we mediate these claims? The aim of this article is twofold. First, through the aid of phenomenology we hope to make clear, in a way that has never been done before (discussions of the relation of Cittamaatra to Madhyamaka being purely descriptive accounts by Buddhologists), what the different approaches to the key concept of 'suunyataa (stong-pa-nyid), usually translated emptiness, voidness, nothingness, or openness, are in these two traditions. As a result, the reasons for the Maadhyamika critique will hopefully become clear. Basically, we will attempt to interpret the Cittamaatra and Madhyamaka approaches to 'suunyataa as two accounts of the perspectival nature of experience. Second, through this interpretive endeavor we also hope to increase our self-understanding of contemporary phenomenology, by revealing, in the course of its encounter with Buddhist thought, how phenomenology, in trying to describe experience, leads over into a prescriptive transformation of experience. This brings it closer to the traditional Indian conception of philosophy as a means of liberation. II Don Ihde, in his Experimental Phenomenology, has hit on a brilliant means of introduction to the complexities of the phenomenological method initiated by Edmund Husserl, through an investigation of multistable phenomena (for example, the Necker cube) along phenomenological, as opposed to conventional psychological lines. This approach involves a deconstruction of the phenomena, which is made possible by the epoch‚ or "suspension of belief in accepted reality claims."(6) As Ihde states,(7) Deconstruction occurs by means of a variational method, which possibilizes all phenomena in seeking their structures. In this context, epoch‚ includes suspension of belief in any causes of the visual effects and positively focuses upon what is and may be seen. It is important to note here that the epoch‚ does not establish a presuppositionless point of view or a disinterested spectator, as is often thought, (8) rather it "is needed to open the possibilities of the seen to their topographical features."(9) That is, the epoch‚ is the beginning of the de-struction of the sedimented (habituating) passivity of ordinary perception in the "natural attitude" It does p.297 not reveal a fundamental stratum of reality in a 'pure description', but is the basis for "the attainment of a new and open noetic context."(10) It is a matter of educating ourselves to see more, just as a bird watcher (the example is Ihde's) learns to 'see' the markings of different species of birds not 'seen' by the naive viewer. Here the ambiguous term 'see' is given a precise meaning:(11) The educated viewer does not create these markings. (of the birds), because they are there to be discovered, but--in phenomenological language-he constitutes them. He recognizes and fulfills his perceptual intention and so sees the markings as meaningful. Although utilizing the dubious Husserlian language of perceptual intention and fulfillment which has been much criticized, Ihde tries to steer a middle course between Husserl and his 'existentialist' critics.(12) The important point of concern to us here is that perception is an active process, an activity of knowing which has especially been stressed in modern psychology and philosophy since the advent of Gestalt psychology. Phenomenologists of perception, such as Gurwitsch and Merleau-Ponty, have in effect tried to work out an adequate philosophy of the perceptual Gestalt. It should be noted here that a rejection of the passivity of perception does not entail making it into a judgment--the extreme of "Intellectualism," to use Merleau-Ponty's term. Rudolf Arnheim, in his wellknown study in the Gestaltist tradition, of art and psychology, Art and Visual Perception, states:(13) ... in looking at an object, we reach out for it. With an invisible finger we move through the space around us, go out to the distanct places where things are found, touch them, catch them, scan their surfaces, trace their borders, explore their texture. Perceiving shapes is an eminently active occupation. Yet, paradoxically it seems, we must struggle to recover what is already ours: the creativity of perception. Phenomenology is no longer description, but prescription, as we shall see. Sedimented, habitual ways of perceiving limit the possibility of the 'object' to a static 'essence' (svabhaava), that is, "an exhaustively specifiable and unvarying mode of being."(14) For example, for most people (and the psychologists who test them), the Necker cube has two possibilities, either as a forward-downward-facing cube or a forward-upward-facing cube. But this is merely due to the laziness of conventionalized viewing. There are other equally 'essential' possibilities of the topographical form own as the Necker cube, that is, other ways to see' (gestalt) it without doing violence to the form. Ihde reveals three other possibilities. This is what is meant by opening the form to its topographical structure. Any of these possible forms (noema) is correlated with a way of looking (noesis) . But this does not mean that perception is a series of 'thin, transparent' presences. Ihde states:(15) What is important to note in this account is the co-presence within experience of both a profile and latently meant absence which, together, constitute the p.298 Presence of a thing. To forget or ignore the latent or meant aspect of the Presence of the thing reduces the appearance of the world to a facade, lacking weightiness and opacity. Phenomenologists also claim that what makes any object 'transcendent', having genuine otherness, is locatable in this play of presence and absence-in-presence in our perception of things. But note that transcendence is constituted within experience... Now, both the Cittamaatra and Madhyamaka trends within Mahayana Buddhism claim to be exegeses on the Praj~naapaaramitaasuutras, whose message may be epitomized as,'Presence is openness (stongpa-nyid, 'suunayataa) and openness is presence.' The Necker cube example, phenomenologically considered, provides us with an excellent tool for showing their two different approaches to this statement. The Cittamaatra emphasizes the inseparability of noesis ('dzinpa, graahaka) and noema (gzung-ba, graahya), in order to establish that there is no object-in-itself but "only experience" (sems-tsam, cittamaatra). This dualistic mode of presencing into an object-in-itself and a subject-for-itself is occasioned by the maturation (smin-pa) or activation (sad-pa) of habituating tendencies (bag-chags, vaasanaa), which in regard to perception, we may refer to as 'schemata'.(16) This dualism is analyzed into a tripartite structure in Mahaayaanasuutraala.mkaara XI, 40 and Madhyaantavibhaaga III, 23 as follows:(17) NOEMA NOESIS world-as-horizon (gnas, emotively-toned ego-act prati.s.tha or pada) (nyon-yid, kli.s.tamanas) objects-within-horizon thematization (rnam-rtog, (don, artha or longs- vikalpa) spyod, bhoga) body as focal-point of sense-perception (`dzin-pa experience (lus, deha) udgraha or rnam-shes, vij~naana) These presences characterize the contextuality of experience (gzhan-dbang, para-tantra) as a duality. The habituating tendencies which constitute this experience collectively as a 'stream' or 'stratum' (compare Husserl: substrate of ha-bitualities)(18) are known as foundational-horizonal perception (kun-gzhi rnam-shes, aalayavij~naana), which is an indistinct awareness of being-in-the-world, in- eluding the appropriation of these habitualities (sa-bon, biija) and the body as one's own. These are technically known as the referents (dmigs-pa, aalambana) of the foundational-horizonal awareness.(19) Contextuality is the basis for straying into a world of fictions (the in-itself and for-itself) (kun-btags, parikalpita), or, on the other hand, divesting oneself of these fictions and recognizing the real in its initial purity (yongs-grub, parini.spanna). The interpretation of contextuality, as mentioned earlier, is the crucial issue in assessing Madhyamaka critiques of the Cittamaatra. For the Cittamaatra, the parikalpita is nonexistent(20) in that it is a mere name for the reality (bdag) on the paratantra level to which the parikalpita refers.(21) The paratantra is the basis for the (dualistic) presencing (snang-gzhi)(22) of the parikalpita. The paratantra is said to be like a dream, an apparition, and so forth. Tri.m'sikaa 24 explains the reason for this: the contextual is without actual p.299 origination (utpattini.hsvabhaavataa, Skye-ba ngo-bo-nyid med-pa), because it does not come about by itself but is dependent upon others, which means contextuality.(23) This contextuality is none other than the maturation of sedimented and habituating noetic-noematic contexts, that is, the activity of the aalayavij~naana, being (cognitive)-in-the-world. To return, then, to the Necker cube example, we should understand that gestalts of the form in any of its possibilities, such as a cube, are not private sensedata nor are they passive views (mere appearances) of a single 'object'. Rather, active ways of looking intend or structure the form in different ways, but one could equally say that the seen actualizes the seer. In Ihde's language, the order of perception (on the 'object'-side) and the sedimentation of beliefs (on the subject'-side) are inseparable, but we may focus on either through his two "strategies, " the transcendental and the hermeneutic.(24) One should note that the sedimented order is on the noetic and the noematic sides. Here is where Husserl's transcendental strategy of intentions and fulfillments is weak: by fulfilling one's intentions isn't one just substituting one form of habituation for another, as in the case of the bird-watcher example cited by Ihde above. Admittedly, phenomenological viewing opens up the phenomena more than naive vie wing does. One does not escape from contextuality through the epoch‚, but one does realizes its openness by freeing oneself from habituation to a noncontextual subject and object. One realizes that the object is not just 'there' but is constituted. That is, one can question the meaning of objectivity; how does it arise within experience? But one should not imagine that by this questioning the possible forms of the cube become 'merely subjective' and arbitrary. I cannot see the 'cube' as an ostrich, although I can see it as a strangely cut gem if I follow Idhe's "strategies." I can learn to adjust my "noetic focus'' to see the different possibilities ('If you do so and so, you will see such and such.'), but there are no intersubjective instructions for seeing the 'cube' as an ostrich. This probem of 'appearance' has been a great stumbling block in the way of the analytic/linguistic tradition's understanding of phenomenology (and their tendency, if they consider it at all, to see it as a kind of phenomenalism). For example, in his book Sensation and Perception, D. W. Hamlyn expresses his central critique of phenomenology (with specific reference to Merleau-Ponty) as follows:(25) An investigation of this pre-objective world would be an investigation of the categories applicable to perceptual consciousness prior (logically and perhaps temporally prior) to the construction of an objective world. Merleau-Ponty has much of interest to say about this. But the question may still be asked whether he has any right to assume the necessary 'bracketing-off' has been complete. May his account not be after all another account of how things appear to us under very special conditions? As befits a 'descriptive psychology', phenomenology may larlgely be looked upon as an attempt to describe how things appear under different conditions. But once it is assumed that a pure experience can be discovered, the use of words like 'appears' becomes inappropriate. In saying that p.300 we are studying how things appear to us, we presuppose the notion of things and how they really are (for we use the word 'appears' very largely to make a contrast with how things really are). It is difficult in consequence to see how a description of appearances can be a description of pure experience. In this respect Phenomenology finds itself in the same dilemma as Ayer. Either we can look on the experience as basic or we can define it in terms of appearance but not both. Such critiques of phenomenology are very helpful, for they push it on to better self-understanding, that is, that phenomenology at a certain point ceases to be descriptive and becomes prescriptive, as we have noted.(26) Merleau-Ponty himself realized that "The most important lesson which the reduction teaches us is the impossibility of a complete reduction."(27) Phenomenology is not pure presuppositionless description of the perceived-intended-as-such, but the opening of phenomena as illustrated in the Necker cube example. The "very special conditions" of phenomenological seeing are not just another habituated, naive way of seeing. The "pure experience" of phenomenology is the open noetic-noematic complex which discovers presences and not mere phenomenal appearances. Hamlyn's appeal to the proper usage of the word "appears' is based on naive (prereduction) presuppositions. For reasons such as these misunderstandings of "appearance' we have avoided this term as a translation of snang-ba (aabhaasa) in the Yogaacaara or Madhyamaka context, preferring 'presence'. It is unfortunate that one speaks of phenomenological description, where explication would be the better term. Phenomenology, in its ultimate possibility, is not description of ordinary experience so much as prescription for that experience as transformed by radical reflection or explication. That is, reflection modifies the reflected-on by opening it up and situating it, such as to make presuppositionless description impossible. Ultimately, there is nothing to describe, as Merleau-Ponty stated: "nothing exists... everything is temporalized".(28) But in order to understand this one must try to reflect radically, to undertake the reduction. Once one is on one's way, experience, the dialectic of reflection and reflected-on, or as Merleau-Ponty put it, "the communication of a finite subject with an opaque being from which it emerges but to which it remains committed,"(29) widens and deepens. As the old saying goes, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink," as two critics of Merleau-Ponty have noted:(30) But there is no way of proving a priori that a phenomenoiogical description of perception will provide an account of the genesis of experience. Those who refuse to undertake the experiment will remain forever unconvinced. This MerleauPonty readily admits.'In this sense (phenomenological) reflection is a system of thought as self-enclosed as madness.' 'But', he maintains, 'this change of standpoint is justifted in the outcome by the abundance of phenomena which it makes comprehensible'. The goal of a prescriptive phenomenology, as we have called it, which is a kind of deconstruction, is to deconstruct until there is nothing left to deconstruct, or rather, to realize that there has never been anything to deconstruct, the world not being a construction or constitution of 'transcendental' experience. p.301 This is an important point, for now we can begin to consider how a subtle constructivism remains within the Yogaacaara phenomenology, and this is bound up with their theory of the three constitutive principles of reality (ngo-bo nyid gsum, trisvabhaava). There is a crucial ambiguity here which forms the basis for the later developments in Indian Buddhist philosophy of the saakaara-j~naanavaada and niraakaaraj~naanavaada, that is, the theories which held that consciousness was intentional, always 'containing' a noema (rnam-pa, aakaara) , and those which held that consciousness ultimately transcended intentionality, and was without noema. The crucial question is: does presence (snang-ba, aabhaasa) as the noema belong to the parikalpita or the paratantra? (31) Compare the Husserlian question: "Is the perceptual sense (Wahrnehmungssinn) to be understood as the interpretive sense (Auffassungssinn) or as the intuitive sense (Anschauungssinn)?"(32) If the noema belongs to the parikalpita, then this is the position of the niraakaaraj~naanavaada or aliikaaj~naanavaada (rnam-rdzun-pa) .(33) If presence belongs to the paratantra, then this is the position of the saakaaraj~naanavaada. The earlier (classical) Yogaacaara (of Asa^nga, Vasubandhu, and Sthiramati) avoided this problem by stating that the habituating tendencies, as cause and effect, were simultaneous. The structuring (sedimenting) arises and ceases together with the structured (sedimenting), like the odor of a flower perfuming sesame seeds.(34) Or, they held that the relation between the parikalpita and the paratantra is one of 'both... and' or 'neither... nor', as Ruegg has pointed out in analyzing the Madhyaantavibhaaga:(35) On the ontological level, the Vij~naanavaadin speaks both of sattva "existence" with respect to abhuutaparikalpita and 'suunyataa, and of asattva 'non existence' with respect to duality (MV I,3)... and,(36) ... if abhuutaparikalpita is then neither as it appears, i.e. as affected by duality-nor altogether non-existent-because it is the condition for error and for release--this is to be understood in terms of the theory of the three natures (svabhaava) of the Yogaacaara. That is, abhuutaparikalpa as paratantrasvabhaava exists as such: where as it is not as it appears when affected by the subject/object duality of the parikalpitasvabhaava, once freed from the latter it is the perfect nature of the parini.spannas vabhaava (MVBh 1.6). Why this ambiguity? Because, from the phenamenological point of view, the perceived-as-such is never completely isolatable and implicates the rest of the phenomenal field. The 'object' is always determinable but never determinate. The intentionality of perception is not a transparent positing of meaning by a consciousness. As Merleau-Ponty says of 'Intellectualism':(37) The object is made determinate as an identifiable being only through a whole open series of possible experiences, and exists only for a subject who carries out this identification. Being is exclusively for someone who is able to step back from it and thus stand wholly outside being. In this way the mind becomes the subject of perception and the notion of 'significance' becomes inconceivable. p.302 And then he says of the intentionality of sensation:(38) The sensation of blue is not the knowledge or positing of a certain identifiable quale throughout all the experiences of it which I have, as the geometer's circle is the same in Paris and Tokyo. It is in all probability intentional, which means that it does not rest in itself as does a thing, that it is directed and has significance beyond itself. But what it aims at is recognized only blindly, through my body's familiarity with it. It is not constituted in the full light of day, it is reconstituted or taken up once more by a knowledge which remains latent, leaving it with its opacity and its thisness. The ambiguities of the phenomenology of perception seem only to get richer. Is there perhaps another way to attack the problem, to deal with the contextuality of experience? To return again to our example of the Necker cube, the Madhyamaka offers what I would call a more radical de-construction of multi-stable phenomena. We have seen that each variation is a gestalt. The Cittamaatra has shown how a gestalt does not come into being apart from its sedimented contextuality. They make use of contextuality to show that this very contextuality is devoid of ('suunya) the duality of neoesis and noema as independent entities. But what is the internal structure of a gestalt-as-noema it self? A gestalt has a dynamic," "hidden structure," to use Arnheim's terms, who also states: "Visual perception consists in the experiencing of visual forces."(39) These Forces seem occult and subjective to the psycho-physiologist still under the spell of the "stimulus error" and the "constancy hypothesis," those psychological counterparts of the atomism of British Empiricism.(40) These "forces" are the expression of the famous gestalt part-whole complex. A part is a "whole-part":(41) What a person or animal perceives is not only an arrangement of objects, of colors and shapes, of movements and sizes. It is, perhaps first of all, an interplay of directed tensions. These tensions are not something the observer adds, for reasons of his own, to static images.... Notice further that if the disk is seen as striving toward the center of the square, it is being attracted by something not physically present in the picture. The center point is not identified by any marking in figure 1; as invisible as the North Pole or the Equator, it is nonetheless a part of the perceived pattern, an invisible focus of power, established at a considerable distance by the outline of the square. It is 'induced', as one electric current can be induced by another. There are, then, more things in the field of vision than those that strike the retina of the eye.... Such perceptual inductions differ from logical inferences. Inferences are thought operations that add something to the given visual facts by interpreting them. p.303 These "perceptual forces" and "tensions" make multistable phenomena possible. A given variation is actualized, say as in a forwarddownward-facing cube, when point A is seen forward and down (as part of a forwarddownward-facing cube). It is difficult to focus on A in the rear of a forward-upward-facing cube, but B can easily be seen as forward and up as part of such a cube. A and B have completely different significances in these cases, different meanings (which are not intellectual judgments) as "partwholes" in different variational structures. Intentions are "fulfilled" not as 'ideal' variations of positings by a transparent consciousness, but, as Merleau-Ponty states,(42) a sensible datum which is on the point of being felt sets a kind of muddled problem for my body to solve. I must find the attitude which will provide it with the means of becoming determinate,... I must find the reply to a question which is obscurely expressed. But what makes such gestalts possible? The Gestalt psychologists, as natural scientists, looked to the structure of the nervous system, phenomenologists to noetic-noematic correlations. But this phenomenon can be opened up further, and here is where the Madhyamaka critique enters. What is the relation between the whole and the part? Does seeing the part produce the whole? Which comes first, or are they simultaneous? How do they depend on each other? How are they contextual? The Yogaacaara accepts that the y are; contextuaiity exists, but no separate, individual existence comes into being. This is how the Yogaacaara interprets the 'essencelessness' (ni.hsvabhaava) of the paratantra: as utpattini.hsvabhaava, as we noted earlier (see p. 7). Now, the part-whole relation is just one of many relations referred to by the Madhyamaka as upaadaaya praj~napti (brten-nas btags-pa), ida.mpratyayataamaatra (rkyen-nyid 'di-pa tsam), parasparaapek.sikiisiddhi (phan-tshun bltos-pa'i grubpa).(43) These terms indicate the Madhyamaka interpretation of pratiityasamutpaada as 'suunyataa. In his commentary on Muulamadhyamakakaarikaa VIII, 13c-d, Candrakiirti gives us a list of such relations: act and agent, appropriated and appropriator, producer and produced, mover and movement, seer and seen, characteristic and characterized, originator and originated, part and whole (literally, "part-possessor"), substance and quality, .and means of knowledge and object of knowledge.(44) These are not merely intellectual constructions but have their source in experience which the Madhyamaka calls prapa~nca (sprospa), discursiveness, linguistic proliferation [which is intimately related to vikalpa (rnam-rtog), dichotomous conceptualization, thematization].(45) Not to understand relation in this way is to 'establish things in truth' (bden-grub). That which P.304 is not established in truth is not worthy of the name "existence" in the Madhyamaka understanding, but is a mere appropriation of one relatum to the other, which may become a mutual conspiracy, if we may use such language, when not properly understood. This "dependent origination" is not causality or even conditionality (the conditions (pratyaya, rkyen), having been refuted by Nagarjuna in MMK I). Our common-sense and the common natural scientific notions of causality are deeply rooted in the experience of 'making things happen'. Many of Husserl's problems with intentionaiity and its 'object' stem from such an 'agency' perspective: I can, I "hold sway," as Husserl liked to say.(46) I can push this away. I can also raise my arm. In the second case, the problem is compounded by trying to subsume the mental and physical (the willing and the raising of my arm) under this notion of causality. But in both cases, a question remains which is not addressed by these causal notions: what 'gives' my arm to that which it pushes, what 'gives' my intention to the movement of my arm. How do they belong together?(47) (With the Yogaacaara we have inquired into the role of habituating tendencies in making the contextual 'relate'). Our question is not how are they coordinated or correlated, but how do they co-respond? How are they appropriated and appropriate to one another? An object I move must'beiong' to my movement in the 'order' of mover and moved. Although my arm which I move is not just an object, it is also a part of this 'order' of mover and moved. Mover and moved are a field of action; in moving my arm this field is the expressive space of gesture. Because of this, the symbolism of bodily gesture is not 'merely subjective'. That is, the gesture is solicited, but this solictitation is already interpreted (appropriated) through what has been called the hermeneutical 'as' of understanding.(48) For example, aesthetic theories centered on 'expression' neglect the solicitation with which expression "belongs together," just as theories of scientific discovery which emphasize psychological factors, neglect the hermeneutical situation of the scientist in his tradition.(49) To return to our example, the part and the whole belong together through a field called space, which is not an empty container, but, from the earliest times in Buddhism was defined as having the function of "opening up a place," "making room" (go-'byed) for events.(50) 'Saantideva, in the Praasa^ngika context, has provided us with a radical deconstruction of the body (which can be taken as paradigmatic for all gestalts) as a part-whole gestalt in Bodhicaryaavataara IX, 78-87, in his presentation of Kaayasm.rtyupasthaana (lus dran-pa nye-bar bzhagpa), the application of attentiveness to the body.(51) If the body (as whole) is composed of parts, is the body contained in each of its parts? If so, this would lead to the absurd consequence of as many bodies as parts. No, my body is partially contained in its parts, that is what it means to be a part. But what is a 'part' apart from this circular definition as 'a part of the body?' A part, for its own sake (if you try to give it some independent, 'absolute' status), may be continually divided and so never become a solid basis to be built up into a body. Only the p.305 part-whole gestalt holds it, but this relation is untenable. The body is not a partwhole relation, but is open like space or, rather, the opening of the space of motility and gesture, the body's essential 'activities'.(52) III Thus, through the Madhyamaka analysis a more radical deconstruction of a gestalt is accomplished and we can understand why they critique the Yogaacaara conception of the paratantra. The Yogaacaara must distinguish between the fictional parikalpita and the factual paratantra, because according to his phenomenological method the evidence for the latter (relativity, contextuality) is indubitable. As 'Saantarak.sita states:(53) Therefore, if the conventional is without a (real) causal basis, then says [the reductionist (dngos-po smra-ba), its presence] is not possible. This is not so. If the founding basis is real, then say so (with reason). To state this in phenomenological terms: for the Cittamaatra, as for Husserl, the concepts of "evidence, " "intuition, " and "presence" remain indubitable and unquestioned. But with the Maadhyamika understanding of 'suunyataa we can question even these experiences of "evidence," and so on, in a way that is reminiscent of the critiques of Husserlian phenomenology by Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, whom we have utilized in making our analyses. One should especially note Merleau-Ponty's critique of intuition, entitled "Interrogation and Intuition," in The Visible and the Invisible,(54) as well as Heidegger's basic objection, which may be summed up in his famous questions:(55) Whence and how is it determined what must be experienced as 'the things themselves' in accordance with the principle of phenomenology? Is it consciousness and its objectivity or is it the Being of beings in its unconcealedness and concealment? Like Heidegger, the Maadhyamika tries to uproot every last vestige of ontic, representational thinking in order to reveal the openness of Being, 'suunyataa, which is 'devoid of' all the limitations placed on 'it' by representational thinking (which in Buddhism may be summed up by the term citta [sems], "mind"). In this respect, Heidegger's later understanding of Being as a "clearing" in which presence and absence can play, like the play of light and shadow in a forest clearing, bears further comparison with the Madhyamaka.(56) One should not conclude from this that the Cittamaatra and phenomenological approaches contradict the Madhyamaka and Heideggerian. As long as one is still within the realm of conventional criteria, that is, of establishing evidence according to 'indubitable' conventional criteria, which in Buddhist epistemology is called tha-snyad tshad-ma (the Madhyamaka, on the other hand, employs a dondam tshad-ma, a logical inquiry from the ultimate standpoint), then the Cittamaatra approach is justified.(57) In fact, in the view of 'Saantarak.sita, with whom we began, there can be no conventional theory superior to that of p.306 "Experience-only" (Cittamaatra), As Merleau-Ponty recognized, one must undertake the phenomenological reduction because of the Husserlian motive of overcoming naive, 'worldly' prejudices and the resulting "abundance of phenomena which it makes comprehensible."(58) But the impossibility of ever completing the epoch‚ should take us beyond philosophy (here Merleau-Ponty is one with Heidegger) to what Merleau-Ponty called "Wild Being" or "The Flesh of the World" ("one knows there is no name in traditional philosophy to designate it, "(59) he adds), and Heidegger simply, "Being." NOTES 1. Collected Writings of 'Jam-mgon 'Ju Mi-pham rgya-mtsho, vol. 12 (Gangtok, 1976), f.52, 5-53, 6. Hereafter cited as UG. 2. UG, f.45, 1-5. Mi-pham also states in his commentary on the Dharmadharmataavibhaaga: So, if this presence as a noema by its very mode of being is established as not existing apart from a noesis, it is established that this presence as a noesis also does not exist. On account of this, although the noesis is established dependent upon the noema, it is never found separately. Thus, cognitiveness (rig-pa) in which there is no object nor subject and which is free from all the aspects of the duality of noesis and noema, naturally lucent and just inexpressible, is the completely established (yongs-grub) which is devoid of the two forms of ontological status. If this non-dividedness and as-it-is-ness is necessarily realized even by the Cittamaatra, then it is even more the case for the Madhyamaka. According to the Cittamaatra, the essential existence of this is the complete meaning of the sixteen (facets) of Openness, which they assert as freedom from discursiveness because it is inexpressible and inconceivable as any noesis or noema, internal or external, etc. Now, it is just this residue (Ihag-mar lus-pa) of a very subtle philosophical position which posits the very fact of this inexpressible noetic (shes-pa) as established in truth, which should be refuted by a reasoned inquiry. As to this noetic in which there is no noesis or noema, if one claims one's own experience (sems) which has been unified with openness which doesn't exist in truth, as sheer lucency, pure from the very beginning,(this) is the true Middle. (Chos dang chos-nyid rnam-par 'byed-pa'i tshig-le'ur byas-pa'i grel-pa ye-shes snang-ba rnam-'byed, in Collected Writings of 'Jam-mgon 'Ju Mi-pham rgya-mtsho, Vol. 3 (Gangtok, 1976), f.626, 1-627, 1). Any mention, however, of a "non-dual noetic (shes-pa)" is absent from classical Yogaacaara literature. The Madhyaantavibhaaga.tiikaa of Sthiramati speaks of an advayaj~naana (ed. Yamaguchi, Suzuki Research Reprint Series, No. 7, p. 1 33.3), but this refers to the parini.spanna and is translated into Tibetan as gnyis-su med-pa'i ye-shes (Peking ed., Vol. 109, 166, 4, 5). Once again, the Maadhyamikas seem to be referring to the later Cittamaatra of the Logicians. Perhaps the source of this "non-dual noetic" is Pramaa.navaarttika III, 212, where Dharmakiirti says: "j~naanasyaabhedino bhedapratibhaaso hy upaplava.h" which is rendered into Tibetan as: "tha dad med can shes pa yi/tha dad snang ba bslad pa nyid" (ed: Miyasaka, p. 69). 3. This refers to critiques of the Cittamaatra by Candrakiirti in the sixth chapter of the Madhyamakaavataara, by 'Saantideva in the ninth chapter of the Bodhicaryaavataara, and by Bhavya in his Tarkajvaalaa. There is a great deal of misunderstanding and controversy regarding these critiques. Maadhyamika scholars of the dGe-lugs-pa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism claim that the Svaatantrikas and Praasangikas are distinguished by whether they accept "essences" (svalak.sa.na, rang-gi mtshannyid) conventionally or not. This interpretation is by no means universally accepted. Mi-pham rgyamtsho, for example was engaged in heated debate over this and other questions raised by his commentary on the Bodhicaryaavataara in the last century. On this see my "A Controversial Topic from Mi-pham's Analysis of 'Saantarak.sita's Madhyamakaala.mkaara," in Wind Horse (Proceedings of the First Annual Conference of the North American Tibetological Society, Berkeley, California, August, 1977), in press. 4. As has been noted by Iida and Hirabayashi, "Another Look at the Maadhyamika vs Yogaacaara Controversy Concerning Existence and Non-Existence, " in Lancaster, ed., Praj~naapaaramitaa and Related Systems (Berkeley, California: Berkeley Buddhist Series, 1977) pp. 341-360. p.307 5. Note that the term bden-grub is not a translation from the Sanskrit but a Tibetan formulation of Indian Madhyamaka ideas. 6. Don Ihde, Experimental Phenomenology (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1977), p. 69. 7. Ibid. 8. Husserl speaks of the "disinterested spectator" in The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, D. Carr trans. (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1970), p. 235. 9. Ihde, Experimental Phenomenology, p. 79. 10. Ibid. 11. Ihde, ibid., p. 81. 12. On the problems which have beset an orthodox Husserlian phenomenology of perception, see especially Hubert Dreyfus, "The Perceptual Noema: Gurwitsch's Crucial Contribution", in Lester Embree, ed., Life-World and Consciousness (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1972), pp. 135-170. 13. Rudolf Arnheim, Art and Visual (Perception, new ed. (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1974), p. 43. 14. This felicitous phrase is to be found in David Bohm, Causality and Chance in Modern Physics (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1971), p. 153. 15. Ihde, Experimental Phenomenology, p. 63. 16. Compare Neisser, U.; Cognition and Reality (San Francisco, California: W. H. Freeman, 1976), chap. 4, for a discussion of a contemporary theory of schemata. 17. Mahaayaanasuutraala.mkaara, ed. S. Levi (Paris: Champion, 1907), p. 64; Madhyaantavibhaagabhaa.sya, ed. G. M. Nagao (Tokyo: Suzuki Research Foundation, 1964), p. 48. 18. Husserl, Crisis, p. 193. 19. See Tri.m'sikaa 3, Vij~naptimaatrataasiddhi--Tri.m'sikaa, ed. S. Levi (Paris: Champion, 1925), pp. 19-21. Merleau-Ponty expresses beautifully the idea of an aalayavij~naana as a "setting," as follows (M. Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception, trans. C. Smith (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1962), p. 320): But in reality all things are concretions of a setting, and any explicit perception of a thing survives in virtue of a previous communication with a certain atmosphere (p. 320). 20. Mahaayanasa.mgraha, ed. E. Lamotte, Publications de L'Institute Orientaliste de Louvain, No. 8 (Louvain: Universit‚ de Louvain, 1973), II, 26; hereafter cited as MS. 22. Ibid., II, 2. Mi-pham's term is snang-gzhi; MS uses snang-ba'i gnas. 23. Tri.m'skaa 24. 24. Ihde, Experimental Phenomenology, pp. 88-90. 25. D. W. Hamlyn, Sensation and Perception (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1961), pp. 183-184. 26. I wish to thank Dr. David Levin for opening up this possibility of phenomenology to me in a course he gave at the Nyingma Institute, Berkeley, California, Summer 1978. 27. M. Merleau-Ponty, p. xiv. 28. Ibid. p. 332. 29. Ibid., p. 219. 30. M. Kullman and C. Taylor, "The Pre-objective World," Review of Metaphysics (1958): 113. 31. See Y. Kajiyama, "Controversy between the Saakaara and Niraa-kaara-vaadins of the Yogaacaara School--Some Materials," Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies 14, no. 1 (December, 1965); and "Later Maadhyamikas on Epistemology and Meditation", Mahaayaana Buddhist Meditation, M. Kiyota, ed. (Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press, 1978). 32. Dreyfus, "The Perceptual Noema," p. 152. 33. Compare Kajiyama, "Later Maadhyamikas," p. 128. 34. See MSI, 15. 35. D. Seyfort Ruegg, "The Uses of the Four Positions of the Catu.sko.ti and the Problem of the Description of Reality in Mahaayaana Buddhism," Journal of Indian Philosophy 5 (1977): 23. 36. Ibid., p. 25. p.308 37. Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception, p. 212. 38. Ibid., p. 213. On the meaning of "reconstitution" see ibid., p. 326. 39. Arnheim, Art and Visual Perception, p. 42. 40. Compare Neisser; and Gurwitsch, "Some Aspects and Developments of Gestalt Psychology, " in his Studies in Phenomenology and Psychology (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1966). 41. Arnheim, Art and Visual Perception, pp. 11-12. Note the importance of the part-whole relation in Gurwitsch's theory of the perceptual noema; see his Studies, pp. 346-347. 42. Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Pesception, p. 214. 43. See May, Prasannapadaa (Paris: Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1959), pp. ]53-154, etcetera. 44. Ibid., p. 155, 380. 45. See Madhyamakakaarikaa, XVIII, 5. 46. See, for example, Husserl, Crisis, p. 212. 47. Compare M. Heidegger, Identity and Difference, trans. J. Stambaugh (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), p. 29ff. 48. The locus classicus for the hermeneutical theory of understanding is M. Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. J. Macquarrie, and E. Robinson (New York: Harper & Row, 1962), p. 189. 49. See T. Kisiel, "The Logic of Scientific Discovery," in D. Carr and E. Casey, Explorations in Phenomenology (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1973). 50. See Abhidharmako'sa I, 5d; Vyaakhyaa of Ya'somitra, ed. U. Wogihara (Tokyo: Sankibo, 1971), p. 15, 7: "avakaasa.m dadaatiiti akaa'sam". 51. Tibetan Tripitaka, Peking ed., Vol. 49, 259, 4, 1-5, 1. 52. On motility, see Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception, Part I, Chapt. 3; and the many works of H. V. Guenther on Tibetan tantrism. 53. Madhyamakaala.mkaara, v. 66. 54. Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the invisible, A. Lingis, trans. (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1968), chapt. 3. 55. Heidegger, On Time and Being (New York: Harper & Row, 1974), p. 66. 56. This process has been begun, although with only one explicit reference, by H. V. Guenther in his Introduction to Part III of his translation, Kindly Bent to Ease Us, of Klong-chen rab-'byams-pa's Ngal-gso skor-gsum (Emeryville, California: Dharma Publishing, 1976). 57. On the different tshad-ma (pramaa.na) according to the Tibetan tradition, see my "What is Buddhist Logic?," in Wind Horse II (Proceedings of the Second Annual Conference of the North American Tibetological Society, Berkeley, California, August, 1980), in press. 58. Ibid., p. 10. Here, one might add, Western philosophy needs to pay more attention to the frustration and suffering caused by the naive, worldly perspective (which includes science and philosophies which do not undertake the epoch‚). In this respect Heidegger also has made a start in the analyses he has made of the inadequacies of representational thinking. 59. Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible, p. 139.