We do have a tendency to assume time works in one direction only, and our view of the world, of history, of science, all work around this assumption.
Jikan wrote:I think that the anxious self is itself a modern thing, a product of history. Besides, isn't recognition of one's self-emptiness the beginning of liberation, and not the opposite as Loy and Jones seem to have it? It seems more plausible to suggest that dependent origination may offer a more straightforward and comprehesive understanding of historical time and the formations that arise in it.
jeeprs wrote: What he says is that whereas Buddhism actually enables us to live with our own self-less-ness, through the 'realization of emptiness' as a religious discipline, modern thinking has no model or metaphor to deal with it.
As a post above says, "history" is only ever just a tiny snapshot of a global system, and that makes understanding that system and how it changes over time very difficult if not impossible, because the smallest variable could have significant effects.. Some ant was walking down the sidewalk scouting for a food source, and a kid playing there went ewww and tried to kick it but missed and hit a pebble that ended up in the street and a passing car ran over this pebble got stuck in the wheel treds and accelerated the wear and tear on the tire after months on the road, and the driver eventually needs to stop to get new ones and goes to the bank to get some cash and a gang robs that bank just then and takes the driver as one of the hostages but things go wrong and he gets murdered and the robbers are eventually stopped and go to jail for decades and one is eventually released on parole but the driver's son has a hatred thing going because of years of a pain and loss induced grudge brewing and so gets his gang to go after the released robber and kill him savagely, but the other robbers hear of this and a little gang was takes place that escalates and draws in a bunch of people and.. So on and so forth.. Poor little ant, just wanted to find food for his colony, but will the history books remember him? Nooo
jeeprs wrote:Where historicism is helpful is in understanding how mentality changes over time. Different historical periods produce very different kinds of mentalities or mind-sets. I'm sure one of the reasons that early Buddhism was so metaphysically sparse was because the people in those times had a completely different 'mind-set'. So over the course of history, as means of expression and the nature of society changed, it was necessary to introduce new ways of conceptualizing the teachings (equating with the subsequent 'turnings of the wheel'). Not because the actual content of the sassana had changed, but the minds of the receivers was different.
This is still happening. We are all very much people of our times. But this manifests in ways that we can barely comprehend, exactly because we're products of the times, and embedded in those ways-of-thinking, which seem natural and obvious to us.
I think one of the Western philosophers who was really aware of this was Hegel. His notion of the 'dialectic' is really important in that regard.
So - I don't agree that historical perspectives are out of reach, or barren.
Tobes wrote: I have found that my Buddhist presuppositions have lead me to a position where there is only the particular, which has no necessary relationship to the universal.
Jikan wrote: It seems to me that the word "history" is another word for "samsara."
Jikan wrote: what does Buddha Dharma have to say about history? Is this even a worthwhile line of inquiry?
Randomseb wrote:Whether or not there is some "third realm" from which form is seeded from via some kind of archetypal blueprints or whatever platonism posits is beside the point.
jeeprs wrote:Tobes wrote: I have found that my Buddhist presuppositions have lead me to a position where there is only the particular, which has no necessary relationship to the universal.
That is really interesting. I have discovered that Buddhist philosophy is formally 'nominalist' and eschews universals. But I tend towards the opposite view, namely, realism - that universals (and numbers, logical laws, and so on) are real. But I'm aware that my views on the subject are far more Platonist than Buddhist. That might have something to do with my cultural background. I am still thinking through all of that.
tobes wrote:I can't think of any Buddhist tradition that isn't deeply nominalist and anti-realist.
PadmaVonSamba wrote:tobes wrote:I can't think of any Buddhist tradition that isn't deeply nominalist and anti-realist.
What Buddhism argues is that anything which can be truly divided or reduced to components
does not have any intrinsic reality.
As such, and in that context, notions such as "realist" or "anti-realist" don't really mean anything.
But there are two things that can be considered as "real" or universals:
One is depth, meaning the space in which all appearances arise.
Space can be conceptually divided by measurements, of course.
You can imagine divisions in the space between two objects by millimeters or inches.
Space can also expand and contract.
But the "fact of depth itself is something that truly cannot be reduced or divided.
It's like slicing air with a knife. Nothing happens. Depth has no component parts.
You could suggest that height and width are components, that they come before depth,
and mathematically, this may be an accurate statement
but that is not what is being expressed here.
Depth is universally true.
The other is the ground of awareness,
which is only experienced as mind when met with an object of awareness.
Depth, and the ground of awareness are both 'givens', or "universals", meaning that
they cannot be denied, and they cannot be reduced to any other component parts.
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