Questions for discussion
- How convincing is the claim that the ultimate cause of dissatisfaction is ignorance or misunderstanding? Can you think of examples of dissatisfaction that do not seem to be caused by ignorance or misunderstanding? Can you make a case for the view that dissatisfaction that appears to have some cause other than misunderstanding is, when examined more closely, in fact due to misunderstanding?
- Vasubandhu claims that what causes something to begin existing is sufficient to cause it to cease existing at the same time. This departure from common sense entails numerous other departures from how most of us usually look at the world. What do you see as the advantages and the disadvantages of such a departure from common sense?
- How useful do you find Nāgārjuna’s approach to causality? In laying out the possible relationships between a cause and an effect, were there possibilities that he failed to take into consideration? What do you think it means to say that “never in any way is there any existing thing that has arisen”? How would your daily life be different than it now is if you took that claim seriously?