Stephen Batchelor - A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby ground » Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:27 am

Namdrol wrote:
TMingyur wrote:[

Matter can be transformed into non-material energy. Why shouldn't it be possible that matter is transformed into consciousness?



There is no such thing as "non-material" energy.

If gamma-ray radioactivity is considered "material". Or visual rays like visual light are considered "material". But where or what is "matter" in these cases? As far as light is concerned you may see it both ways "corpuscular" or "wave".
One may also considers matter to be energy but then there is no basis for your differentiation between "material" and "non-material".



Namdrol wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Namdrol wrote:The first moment of mind in this life therefore must be dependent on a previous moment of mind from the last life.

Ergo, it is proven through inference that rebith is a valid teaching.

Now that's a logic that is based on presuppositions that beg the question themselves.


Yes, that is the point. Either one assumes mind has a material cause or not. If not, rebirth is proven.

So you admit that your reasoning is based on an arbitrary assumptions that actually is not different from the alleged "inference". Circular reasoning.


Namdrol wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
But rebirth neither can be validly proven nor validly disproven. Obviously this causes discontent in the minds of some so that they are willing to even discredit logic.


Rebirth can be inferred, and inference is a type of pramana. The only people who reject inference as a pramana are materialists and some modern so called "Buddhists" who have a hard time giving up their materialist views.

Yes, rebirth can be "inferred" if one assumes that
1. there is rebirth
2. the supporting factor is what is called and known as "consciousness"
3. rebirth is based on a continuity of what is called and known as "consciousness"
4. that the arbitrary categorization of "material" and "non-material" is a valid one
5. based on 4 that "homogeneity between causes and effects" is required.

In brief:
If one is interested to infer rebirth one may choose the appropriate assumptions and take those as valid and "infer" rebirth.

I am a Buddhist. I am not a "materialist". I do not reject rebirth. But I reject dishonest reasoning which discredits reasoning and which also dicredits Buddhism if conducted in the context of Buddhism.

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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:22 am

TMingyur wrote:If gamma-ray radioactivity is considered "material". Or visual rays like visual light are considered "material".


Light has mass.







So you admit that your reasoning is based on an arbitrary assumptions that actually is not different from the alleged "inference". Circular reasoning.


I assume you are not a stupid person and are capable of filling in the blanks. Perhaps I have overestimated your intelligence.


Yes, rebirth can be "inferred" if one assumes that
1. there is rebirth


Non sequitor.

2. the supporting factor is what is called and known as "consciousness"


You deny you are conscious?

3. rebirth is based on a continuity of what is called and known as "consciousness"


You deny your consciousness has continuity?

4. that the arbitrary categorization of "material" and "non-material" is a valid one


You can question Buddha's differentiation between matter and mind if you choose.

5. based on 4 that "homogeneity between causes and effects" is required.


If you think that wheat can come from apple seeds, then you gave a problem.

But I reject dishonest reasoning which discredits reasoning and which also dicredits Buddhism if conducted in the context of Buddhism.


You have not shown Dharmakirti's logic is invalid. You merely claim it be so.

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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby ground » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:00 am

Namdrol wrote:
TMingyur wrote:If gamma-ray radioactivity is considered "material". Or visual rays like visual light are considered "material".


Light has mass.

You are owing the proof. And in case there is one then you have to prove that only what is called "matter" can have an effect called "mass" with reference to a certain type of experimental setting.

Namdrol wrote:
So you admit that your reasoning is based on an arbitrary assumptions that actually is not different from the alleged "inference". Circular reasoning.


I assume you are not a stupid person and are capable of filling in the blanks. Perhaps I have overestimated your intelligence.

ad hom. One of the standard approaches of tibetan "logicians".

Namdrol wrote:
Yes, rebirth can be "inferred" if one assumes that
1. there is rebirth


Non sequitor.

Yes I agree that rebirth is a non sequitor since there is no valid inference.

Namdrol wrote:
2. the supporting factor is what is called and known as "consciousness"


You deny you are conscious?

No, but that's no proof of rebirth.


Namdrol wrote:
3. rebirth is based on a continuity of what is called and known as "consciousness"


You deny your consciousness has continuity?

As far is this present life in concerned no, but that's no proof of rebirth.

Namdrol wrote:
4. that the arbitrary categorization of "material" and "non-material" is a valid one


You can question Buddha's differentiation between matter and mind if you choose.

Nama rupa. "Matter and mind" is your translation.

Namdrol wrote:
5. based on 4 that "homogeneity between causes and effects" is required.


If you think that wheat can come from apple seeds, then you gave a problem.

we are not discussing wheat and apple here.


Namdrol wrote:
But I reject dishonest reasoning which discredits reasoning and which also dicredits Buddhism if conducted in the context of Buddhism.


You have not shown Dharmakirti's logic is invalid. You merely claim it be so.


I have nothing to show about anybody else's position.



No we could stray further and further into papanca and follow tibetan papanca idols. Why is that? Simply because there is no valid inference for rebirth but tibetan orthodoxy wants to have it that there is one.


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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby Indrajala » Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:45 am

TMingyur wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
TMingyur wrote:[

Matter can be transformed into non-material energy. Why shouldn't it be possible that matter is transformed into consciousness?



There is no such thing as "non-material" energy.

If gamma-ray radioactivity is considered "material". Or visual rays like visual light are considered "material". But where or what is "matter" in these cases? As far as light is concerned you may see it both ways "corpuscular" or "wave".
One may also considers matter to be energy but then there is no basis for your differentiation between "material" and "non-material".


Matter possesses mass.
Energy exhibits mass.

The questions to ask is does consciousness possess mass ( does it exhibit weight in a gravitational field)? Do thoughts "take up space"? Do mental phenomena have mass?

If mental phenomena -- in particular the "mind" -- do not possess mass, then how could matter OR energy, which possess mass, produce it?

Even if you suggest thoughts are electrochemical signals between neurons, still do qualia possess mass?
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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby ground » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:37 am

Huseng wrote:Matter possesses mass.
Energy exhibits mass.

The questions to ask is does consciousness possess mass ( does it exhibit weight in a gravitational field)? Do thoughts "take up space"? Do mental phenomena have mass?

If mental phenomena -- in particular the "mind" -- do not possess mass, then how could matter OR energy, which possess mass, produce it?

Even if you suggest thoughts are electrochemical signals between neurons, still do qualia possess mass?

The discussion was not about "mass".

The discussion was about the validity of the reason put forward as to the arbitrary categorization of "material", "non-material" and the assertion of a "given" homogenity of causes and effect in this context.

Because matter may be transformed into non-material energy, I asked why shouldn't matter be transformed into consciousness? Please note that I asked and that I did not assert that this is so. Why? Because there is neither valid reason for "homogenity" nor valid reason for "non-homogenity" of cause and effect.

Each and every reasoning pro this or pro that in the context of rebirth is based on presuppositions that beg the question themselves.

And this debate whether the orthodox view that asserts that there is "valid inference of rebirth" is valid or not just shows that the question
"Rebirth - should one believe it or not?"

has turned into a question

"There is valid inference of rebirth - should one believe it or not?" :)



Anyway ... may those who have found their "valid inference of rebirth" be happy and live happily ever after. People believe what they want to belief. Unbiased reason rarely is the determining factor.

Having said this let me repeat:
I do not reject rebirth. And I do not deny that the Buddha has taught rebirth.

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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby Indrajala » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:41 am

What exactly is non-material energy?
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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby ground » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:44 am

Huseng wrote:What exactly is non-material energy?


Good question. The dimension is [Joule]. What is matter?

BTW
Huseng wrote:Matter possesses mass.
Energy exhibits mass.

I don't accept this wording. Matter exhibits mass. Matter exhibits energy. Both depends on experimental setting applied.


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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby Indrajala » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:17 pm

TMingyur wrote:
Huseng wrote:What exactly is non-material energy?


Good question. The dimension is [Joule]. What is matter?


I would define matter as that which takes up space and more specifically that which possesses mass.

I don't think qualia or thought possess mass.

I don't accept this wording. Matter exhibits mass. Matter exhibits energy. Both depends on experimental setting applied.


Does not energy affect a gravitational field?

Mass likewise has an effect on a gravitational field (weight).

In any case, my point is that mental phenomena don't take up space or possess mass.

Anyway, getting to your point:

The discussion was about the validity of the reason put forward as to the arbitrary categorization of "material", "non-material" and the assertion of a "given" homogenity of causes and effect in this context.


The distinction between material and non-material is important and quite relevant. They are not arbitrary if we keep to commonly defined ideas about what is material. Material is that which possesses mass and takes up space.

Homogeneity of causes and effect is a essential to understanding causality. As Namdrol pointed out, you don't harvest wheat from apple seeds. You don't get mental phenomena from rocks.

Because there is neither valid reason for "homogenity" nor valid reason for "non-homogenity" of cause and effect.


In that case flowers should grow in the sky, but they do not.


And this debate whether the orthodox view that asserts that there is "valid inference of rebirth" is valid or not just shows that the question
"Rebirth - should one believe it or not?"

has turned into a question

"There is valid inference of rebirth - should one believe it or not?"


If you accept inference as a valid means of knowing, there is no belief. There is an assertion of knowing something to be so.

Anyway ... may those who have found their "valid inference of rebirth" be happy and live happily ever after. People believe what they want to belief. Unbiased reason rarely is the determining factor.


'Unbiased reason' being what exactly? You have to establish criteria when reasoning things out. Those criteria are subject to personal biases and presuppositions.
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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:40 pm

TMingyur wrote:


...there is no valid inference for rebirth...



There is certainly a valid inference for rebirth.

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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby ground » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:52 pm

Huseng wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Huseng wrote:What exactly is non-material energy?


Good question. The dimension is [Joule]. What is matter?


I would define matter as that which takes up space and more specifically that which possesses mass.

Now that is a definition never given before. Obviously Namdrol has take the term "material" for granted.
I would add divisiblity being a characteristic of matter. But not specific since this may be a characteristic shared with consciousness.
If it "possess mass" then it also "possesses energy".

Huseng wrote:
I don't think qualia or thought possess mass.

May be a matter of experimental setting. So far nobody (in science) was interested.


Huseng wrote:Does not energy affect a gravitational field?
Mass likewise has an effect on a gravitational field (weight).

In general relativity the gravitational field is determined as the solution of Einstein's field equations. These equations are dependent on the distribution of matter and energy in a region of space, unlike Newtonian gravity, which is dependent only on the distribution of matter.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_field



Huseng wrote:Anyway, getting to your point:

The discussion was about the validity of the reason put forward as to the arbitrary categorization of "material", "non-material" and the assertion of a "given" homogenity of causes and effect in this context.


The distinction between material and non-material is important and quite relevant. They are not arbitrary if we keep to commonly defined ideas about what is material. Material is that which possesses mass and takes up space.


Homogeneity of causes and effect is a essential to understanding causality. As Namdrol pointed out, you don't harvest wheat from apple seeds. You don't get mental phenomena from rocks.

Everbody can observe wheat and apple, it can be objectivied. It is commonly known in the world. Several people can observe and agree about what they can observe. But nobody can observe consciousness outside their own sphere. Nobody can observe or recall a first moment consciousness appears/appeared (in this life). This fosters the thought of "having no beginning" which may be an utter illusion. The point is you will never be able to exclude that your consciousness has been produced by some matter of your body simply because it cannot be observed and recalled. Objectification is impossible. The observer, the thinker ... all necessarily connected to consciousness which beginning can neither be observed nor recalled in both cases: whether it is produced by matter in the embryo or whether is is produced by a moment of consciousness external to the embryo ... in both cases there is no chance to directly observe or to recall. You simply cannot know. However you can prefer one of the two options.


Huseng wrote:
Anyway ... may those who have found their "valid inference of rebirth" be happy and live happily ever after. People believe what they want to belief. Unbiased reason rarely is the determining factor.


'Unbiased reason' being what exactly? You have to establish criteria when reasoning things out. Those criteria are subject to personal biases and presuppositions.

Open to all results. If there is an intent from the beginning to prove this or that then there is bias. Then of course definition of terms applied.
In that way you of course establish a conventional environment which necessarily entails "If you accept this and that convention then the consequence is ... if not then not".

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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:55 pm

TMingyur wrote:Why? Because there is neither valid reason for "homogenity" nor valid reason for "non-homogenity" of cause and effect.



Of course there is a valid reason i.e. observation. Rice seeds produce rice sprout and not wheat. Wheat seeds produce wheat sprouts and not rice.

It is foolish to suppose, based in observation, that causal homogeneity is unreasonable.
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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby ground » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:01 pm

Okay ... now I am out. I really don't care about proving or disproving what can neither be proven nor disproven.

My only concern is that you are discrediting unbiased logical reasoning and that you provide food for those who are just waiting to ridicule Buddhism.


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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:04 pm

TMingyur wrote:Now that is a definition never given before. Obviously Namdrol has take the term "material" for granted.


I use the Buddha's definition: rūpa i.e. the four mahābhutanis -- all states of matter are included . Nāma refers to all mental phenomena.

This split is basic to Buddha's phenomenolgy, and is basic to India pre-Buddhist phenomenology as well.

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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby Indrajala » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:27 pm

TMingyur wrote:The point is you will never be able to exclude that your consciousness has been produced by some matter of your body simply because it cannot be observed and recalled. Objectification is impossible. The observer, the thinker ... all necessarily connected to consciousness which beginning can neither be observed nor recalled in both cases: whether it is produced by matter in the embryo or whether is is produced by a moment of consciousness external to the embryo ... in both cases there is no chance to directly observe or to recall. You simply cannot know. However you can prefer one of the two options.


However, there is no 'observer' or 'thinker' when we initiate the analysis of this process which conventionally gets designated as "I".

Here's a question: is prajñā perceived by the mental consciousness (mano-vijñāna)?


Open to all results. If there is an intent from the beginning to prove this or that then there is bias. Then of course definition of terms applied.
In that way you of course establish an conventional environment which necessarily entails "If you exept this and that convention then the consequence is ... if not then not".


Based on simple observation we can witness that indeed there is homogeneity between cause and effect. That isn't arbitrary. That's simple observation. Sow corn and harvest corn, not apples.
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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby ground » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:01 pm

Huseng wrote:
TMingyur wrote:The point is you will never be able to exclude that your consciousness has been produced by some matter of your body simply because it cannot be observed and recalled. Objectification is impossible. The observer, the thinker ... all necessarily connected to consciousness which beginning can neither be observed nor recalled in both cases: whether it is produced by matter in the embryo or whether is is produced by a moment of consciousness external to the embryo ... in both cases there is no chance to directly observe or to recall. You simply cannot know. However you can prefer one of the two options.


However, there is no 'observer' or 'thinker' when we initiate the analysis of this process which conventionally gets designated as "I".


Huh? Where do these words come from?



Huseng wrote:Based on simple observation we can witness that indeed there is homogeneity between cause and effect. That isn't arbitrary. That's simple observation. Sow corn and harvest corn, not apples.

May be utter illusion.

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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby ground » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:18 pm

Side note to Dharmakirti:

Basis of valid cognition is direct perception. Even inference may be valid only if an instance ("particular") of the inferred ("universal" or "generality character") can be directly perceived at other times and/or in other places.

Dharmakirti in Nyayabindu wrote:
And indeed the direct perception cognition is an authority-result, because it has the form of the object-entity's cognitive dawning.

Its authority is the likeness to the object-entity.

Inference is twofold

for onself and others

Among them, the inference for oneself is the cognition, in regard to the inferable, from evidence having the three modes.

Here also, the establishment of the authority as a result is the same as in the case of perception
.

The last sentence "the establishment of the authority as a result is the same as in the case of perception" means that the authority of inference is based on the same as in the case of [direct] perception which is the "object-entity's cognitive dawning".

i.e.

object-entity's cognitive dawning = effect of direct perception

which entails

inference is effect of direct perception's effecting the possibility of indirect perception (conceptual thinking in terms of "universals")


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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby ground » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:32 pm

To validly infer rebirth therefore would have as prerequisite the posibility to directly perceive re-birth at some places and times. But what can be directly perceived is just birth, but not re-birth.
So putting the "homogenity and material" stuff aside according to Dharmkirti's own logic inference of rebirth is utterly impossible.

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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:36 pm

TMingyur wrote:Side note to Dharmakirti:

Basis of valid cognition is direct perception. Even inference may be valid only if an instance ("particular") of the inferred ("universal" or "generality character") can be directly perceived at other times and/or in other places.



An inference is based in a valid pratyakaska, but not all pramanas are pratyakshas. You are arguing for validity of rebirth based solely on the third, a Buddha's testimony. I am asserting rebirth can be logically inferred for oneself, based on Dharmakirti's reasoning set forth in the Pramanasiddhi chapter of the Pramanvarttikas.

The basis for this inference is the logical exclusion of rūpa as the cause of citta and caittas. Once one has ruled out a material cause for the mind, one must accept rebirth or accept causeless arising for the mind.
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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:37 pm

TMingyur wrote:To validly infer rebirth therefore would have as prerequisite the posibility to directly perceive re-birth at some places and times. But what can be directly perceived is just birth, but not re-birth.
So putting the "homogenity and material" stuff aside according to Dharmkirti's own logic inference of rebirth is utterly impossible.

kind regards



Nonsense, even commoners can directly perceive their own past lives and those of others. Proof of this can be found in Buddha's own liberation where he intuited the truth of dependent origination prior to full awakening by remembering his past lives.

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http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: A Critique of "Buddhism Without Beliefs"

Postby ground » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:41 pm

Namdrol wrote:The basis for this inference is the logical exclusion of rūpa as the cause of citta and caittas.

which is utterly arbitrary.

Namdrol wrote:Once one has ruled out a material cause for the mind, one must accept rebirth or accept causeless arising for the mind.

Based on arbitrary assumptions there is no "one must". There is only "one must" if one feels that "one must" comply with orthodoxy that asserts valid inference.

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