The great masters set forth various conceptual analyses that can lead toward new kinds of knowledge.
Nagarjuna and Candrakirti present a Seven-fold Reasoning that questions persons and things that make up our everyday conventional truth.
Applied to the body, one would analyze in the following manner:
- Is the body inherently the same as its parts, such as arms, legs, head, torso, feet?
- If not, is the body inherently different from its parts?
- Does the body inherently depend upon its parts?
- Do the parts inherently depend on the body?
- Does the body possess its parts?
- Is the body the collection of its parts?
- Is the body the shape of its parts?
We speak as if there is a foundation that holds the parts together, but if the body were the same as the parts, how could we take away an arm and still have a body?
Similarly, we can examine the self in relation to the body. Is the self the same as the body? Is it different from the body? Is the self the same as the mind?
Performing such an analysis in careful detail changes the raw naïveté that would never think to question the existence of the self.
Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Milking the Painted Cow