5a. Unity in Duality - Introduced Through an Exposition of Tendrel.
Tarab Tulku, Dr. Phil. / Lharampa Geshe
The Nature of Tendrel
Tendrel gives a perspective and insight into the progressively unfolding stages of reality as well as into the interconnected enfolding stages. The unfolding and the enfolding processes are like the breathing of nature - its exhalation and inhalation. Exhalation being the materialisation of the original energy, and inhalation being the transformation back into its origin. This pulsation takes place in every split second or every shortest moment of time. Dharmakirti (AD 600) in his work on Pramana distinguishes the shortest duration of time as the "time, which is measured on the basis of the disintegration of an atom" *3. Even at this early stage Dharmakirti had the insight that the nature of matter in its most subtle level is subject to continuous movement and change.
Matter is thus said to be both compounded and fleeting. For matter to continue its existence at each split second it needs the interaction of many components, and this implies that the existence of matter is dependent on the cooperation of all these components coming together in each and every moment. Not only the object but also the subject's experience of the object is subject to a compounded, interrelated, interdependent and changing-from-moment-to-moment nature.
So when we examine the nature of reality we find that the subject and the object both, as well as the meeting between the two have a compounded and interdependent nature. In that sense there is a uniting nature behind the appearance of reality, or in a deeper sense reality has a nature of unity within its unfolding into duality. Unity in Duality.
Exposition of Tendrel in regard to Nargajuna's four essential pairs of opposites
Tendrel has been expounded in various ways. Nargajuna, in his work Mulamadhyamikakarika has enumerated four pairs of interdependent relationships: becoming and cessation, finite and infinite, localization and de-localization, as well as part and whole. Later Tsongkhapa pointed out the reason *4 for Nargajuna's enumerating particularly these four pairs of Tendrel. It was to investigate the nature of reality in its natural expression of the four essentials: "individual identity", "time", "space" and the "conjunct nature". On the basis of this investigation the four pairs of opposing natures of phenomena naturally crystallized.
When clarifying Tendrel, the inter-determination of reality, in regard to the essentials of "individual identity", "time", "space" and the "conjunct nature", apart from an opposing nature, at the same time the four essential pairs of opposites have integral unity natures, Unity in Duality.
Thus, if we examine the four pairs of essentially opposing natures of phenomena, the Unity in Duality nature of existence is naturally highlighted and at the same time we seem to approach important meeting points of Eastern wisdom and deeper trends within Western scientific research.
So please let me at some length elaborate on the four essentials of Tendrel.
1) The individual identity *5 of phenomena
The opposing pair of becoming and cessation is inherent in the nature of the individual identity of phenomena.
All that exists is subject to causality and therefore has a composite nature. Any individual identity of phenomena is created by its particular causes. Due to being causal and composite it is partaking in an incessantly changing process of becoming, until its peak point of maturation, which is followed by its cessation. I.e. cause implies becoming, becoming implies incessant change and transformation, as well as cessation. However, as we look more closely into phenomena it appears that becoming and cessation of a phenomenon does not just happen once in a lifetime. In order for a phenomenon to uphold its existence this pulsation of becoming and cessation takes place within every split second.
Thus, the opposing nature of becoming and cessation is at the same time integral to the continuing existence of a phenomenon and therefore inseparable from the individual identity of phenomena -- Unity in Duality.
2) The "time *6 nature" of phenomena
The opposing pair of finite and infinite is inherent in the nature of phenomena.
Due to the causal nature of the individual identity of phenomena the three times of future, present and past are integral components of the process of: "becoming"; "being"; and "cessation" respectively.
However, due to the moment-to-moment-changing-nature of phenomena, necessary to sustain their existence, becoming, being and cessation take place every split second. Therefore, from the universal perspective becoming, being and cessation are to be viewed as an infinite uninterrupted stream of unfolding (becoming) and enfolding (cessation); and at the same time from the perspective of the individual identity of phenomena, a phenomenon is subject to its particular becoming, being and cessation, implying finity.
Thus, in accordance with these natural conditions of phenomena, the opposing natures of the finite and infinite are both at the same time integral and inseparable from the time nature of phenomena - Unity in Duality.
3) The extension in space *7 of phenomena
The opposing pair of localization and de-localization is inherent in the nature of the extension of phenomena in space.
The existence of matter is characterized by the occupying of a defined extension in space preventing all other material phenomena from occupying that space at the same time. Hence the material nature of phenomena implies their spatial confinement or localization.
However, the nature of phenomena also implies, that apart from an outer - matter *8 nature, phenomena simultaneously possess an inner - energy nature. The 'inner nature' of phenomena is not simply confined by the matter extension in space. The more deeply we penetrate into the inner/energy nature of phenomena the more the boundaries spatially open, i.e. phenomena become less spatially confined and therefore to a greater and greater extend de-localized.
Thus the opposing natures of localization and de-localization are integral and inseparable from the extension in space of phenomena - Unity in Duality.
4) The conjunct nature *9 of phenomena
The opposing pair of part and whole is inherent in the conjunct nature of phenomena.
Nothing exists in and by itself. In each split second it takes the cooperation of a multitude of different components for a phenomenon to come into being and to continue to exist. Thus compounded phenomena exist as a web of interdependent relationships characterized by the fact that they simultaneously are component or part of a whole as well as being the whole of many components or parts. The individual parts of the whole, while separate and distinct, in their unification form the 'wholeness' of the phenomenon. This whole is again partaking in another phenomenon as one of its necessary components. Conversely, the individual parts of a certain phenomenon are themselves constituting a wholeness or unity composed by single parts.
Thus the opposing natures of part and whole are at the same time integral and inseparable from the conjunct nature of phenomena - Unity in Duality.
4.In Tsongkhapa's work dBu-ma'tsa-ba'i tshig-le'ur byas-pa shes-rab ces bya-ba'i rnam-bshad rigs-pa'i rgya-mtsho.
5. (Tib.)Ngo-bo. In various Tibetan-English dictionaries Ngo-bo is translated to "essense". However, as a philosophical term Ngo-bo always means "individual characteristics" or "individual identity" of a certain phenomenon; fx. like Ngo-bo in Bum-pa'i ngo-bo which means "the individual identity of a vase".
6. (Tib.) Dus
7. (Tib.) Yul: Yul used in connection with Yul-chen means subject, where Yul means object; Yul in Bod-yul means country (Bod-yul means the country of Tibet); Yul used in connection with Dus means the space which can be filled in with form/matter, where Dus means time (Yul dang-dus means space & time).
8. In accordance with the self commentary of Abhidharmakosakarika by Vasubandhu (approx. 400-480), evolution is described in terms of matter (Tib. 'Byung-gyur) appearing from energy (Tib. 'Byung-ba).
9. (Tib.) Phrad-pa
Unity in Duality in its Expression of the Three Interdependent Relationships, Tendrel, of Subject-Object and Body-Mind as well as Energy-Matter
To make the ancient universal knowledge of Tendrel more easily accessible and applicable for persons of today, I have expressed the view of Tendrel as the paradigm created by the entwined relationship between the three inter-determining unities of body and mind, subject and object, as well as energy and matter - interrelationships that saturate all of existence.