Achieving Epistemic Certainty

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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby Jnana » Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:16 pm

charles wrote:Can anyone here give references to Buddhist texts or Buddhists that discuss this?

Look into translations and studies of the writings of Dharmakīrti, and the Indian and Tibetan commentaries on them. For example:

Is Enlightenment Possible?: Dharmakīrti and RGyal Tshab Rje on Knowledge, Rebirth, No-self and Liberation.

Foundations of Dharmakīrti's Philosophy.

Recognizing Reality: Dharmakīrti's Philosophy and Its Tibetan Interpretations.
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby plwk » Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:54 pm

I'm asking a question on whether or not this type of knowledge is possible; if it is possible, I'm curious as to the path one must walk to achieve this. What is(are) the path(s) suggested by Buddhism to achieve this? Can anyone here give references to Buddhist texts or Buddhists that discuss this?
If these are of any use...
At one time Venerable Sàriputta was living in the hamlet Nàlagà.
Then the wandering ascetic Jambukhàdana approached Venerable Sàriputta, exchanged friendly greetings and sat on a side.

Sitting on a side the wandering ascetic Jambukhàdana said to Venerable Sàriputta: "Friend Sàriputta, it is said `extinction', what is extinction?"
"Friend, the destruction of greed, hate and delusion is extinction."

"Friend, is there a path and method for the realization of extinction?"
"Friend, there is a path and method to realize extinction."

"Friend, what is the path and method to realize extinction?"
"Friend, it is this same Noble Eightfold Path, for the realization of extinction, such as right view, right thoughts, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right establishment of mindfulness and concentration."

"Friend, the path and method is excellent for the realization of extinction. It is suitable that I should be diligent."

Nibbana
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:52 pm

It seems like most of the "knowing" in Buddhism comes from negating what can be seen and examined as not true, rather than asserting something that is.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby charles » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:29 pm

randomseb wrote:The kind of knowledge that arises from direct knowing, that arises, emerges, from the Dharma, as circumstance dictates, as opposed to that kind of book knowledge that is programmed into your brain, into what we could call your brain's memory databank, through careful study and training?

I recall some patriarchal zen texts touching on this, but not specifically which one.. Perhaps the Platform Sutra of the 6th Patriarch, which you can conveniently find in book form with the wonderful Diamond Sutra, or not, as you see fit!

By knowledge, I refer to a type of "knowing" that, without a doubt, knows absolutely true information. As well, this "knowing" knows, without a doubt, that it knows absolutely true information.
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:04 am

charles wrote:Is there a type of knowledge that can be attained whereby one knows with absolute certainty that something is true?

Yes. You can be absolutely sure of awareness, that awareness is occurring at this very second.
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby LastLegend » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:06 am

charles wrote:Is there a type of knowledge that can be attained whereby one knows with absolute certainty that something is true?


Yes, stop grasping to anything is the true knowledge. But this takes practice.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:34 am

'Stop looking for it on internet forums' would probably run a close second......
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby charles » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:09 am

jeeprs wrote:'Stop looking for it on internet forums' would probably run a close second......

I'm interested in people's responses to these questions. I don't automatically believe that the responses here alone will give me certainty on the issue.




How do you suggest I go about looking for this knowledge I've been discussing?
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:17 am

When you say:

By knowledge, I refer to a type of "knowing" that, without a doubt, knows absolutely true information. As well, this "knowing" knows, without a doubt, that it knows absolutely true information.


I think this refers to a state of being. What else could it refer to? It is not referring to a scientific formula, but realizing a truth about the nature of existence itself. So how could what anyone here says, impart that kind of knowledge, whether or not it exists?

As far as what the Buddhist tradition says about the question, I think those books that jnana mentioned are very good, although they are not easy books to read. But it is a very difficult question, and I don't think there are any easy answers to it.
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby charles » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:14 am

jeeprs wrote:When you say:

By knowledge, I refer to a type of "knowing" that, without a doubt, knows absolutely true information. As well, this "knowing" knows, without a doubt, that it knows absolutely true information.


I think this refers to a state of being. What else could it refer to? It is not referring to a scientific formula, but realizing a truth about the nature of existence itself. So how could what anyone here says, impart that kind of knowledge, whether or not it exists?

I never said that what anyone here says is going to impart that kind of knowledge, all I asked was for information and responses to my questions. If someone here shares information on a path to achieve this state, then I might be curious to look more into that path.
Last edited by charles on Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby ground » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:32 am

charles wrote:
ground wrote:
charles wrote:Is there a type of knowledge that can be attained whereby one knows with absolute certainty that something is true?

No. Either there is knowledge or not. :sage:

I'm not sure what you mean here, can you elaborate?

When there is knowledge then "attain" does not apply and "something is true" does not apply. :sage:
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby gad rgyangs » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:55 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
charles wrote:Is there a type of knowledge that can be attained whereby one knows with absolute certainty that something is true?

Yes. You can be absolutely sure of awareness, that awareness is occurring at this very second.
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yes, this is it exactly, except I would perhaps call it "presence" without defining exactly what is present (since all descriptions and definitions are arbitrary). This is the first recognition. The next step is recognizing the context of this recognition. This is harder to talk about, although it can be pointed at by first arriving at astonishment at the fact that there is something (presence) rather than nothing, then "turning towards" that in you which is able to experience the state-of-affairs which enables you to be astonished. It then becomes possible to understand existentially that there is indeed a ground of being (your being, the world's being, it makes no difference, its all the same), that that ground is beyond any particulars (it would be the same for any sentient being of any kind in any possible place and time), that the ground, since it is beyond all particulars, is not a "thing", but that is not a lack of any kind, rather it makes our "thinghood" both infinitely illusory and, at the same time, infinitely profound and beautiful, and at the same time confirms that our real nature is beyond our thinghood and is, indeed, the ground. Neither the Buddha, nor Plato, nor Jesus, was lying.
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby 5heaps » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:21 am

Jnana wrote:
charles wrote:Can anyone here give references to Buddhist texts or Buddhists that discuss this?

Look into translations and studies of the writings of Dharmakīrti, and the Indian and Tibetan commentaries on them. For example:

Is Enlightenment Possible?: Dharmakīrti and RGyal Tshab Rje on Knowledge, Rebirth, No-self and Liberation.

Foundations of Dharmakīrti's Philosophy.

Recognizing Reality: Dharmakīrti's Philosophy and Its Tibetan Interpretations.

:good:

the question you ask is called the study of pramana. its one of the main reasons why the geshe curriculum takes 20+years to complete

Elaboration of "What Does It Mean to Understand Something?"
Introduction to Ways of Knowing and Debate
Overview of Phenomena that Have Objects and Their Objects
Recognizing the Basic Factors of Mental Activity

buddhism provides rigorous explanations for a type of mind that is absolutely undeceived and which can be achieved through mental development. its almost like a type of clairvoyance, and as youd expect, its a very exalted and rare thing
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby ground » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:29 am

5heaps wrote:the question you ask is called the study of pramana. its one of the main reasons why the geshe curriculum takes 20+years to complete

Since one may die in each and every moment, scholary ideas not being able to postpone death, that may be an interesting diversified pastime. :sage:
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby 5heaps » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:23 am

ground wrote:
5heaps wrote:the question you ask is called the study of pramana. its one of the main reasons why the geshe curriculum takes 20+years to complete

Since one may die in each and every moment, scholary ideas not being able to postpone death, that may be an interesting diversified pastime. :sage:

in buddhism ideas do postpone death and can even overcome it. they also endure from lifetime to lifetime, thats why its extremely important to study deeply
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:18 am

final gratuitous advice: if you want to understand certainty, start with what you have, which is uncertainty, and understand it thoroughly.
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:22 am

ground wrote:When there is knowledge then "attain" does not apply and "something is true" does not apply. :sage:
How do you know that?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:26 am

SN 56.22 PTS: S v 432 CDB ii 1853
Vijja Sutta: Knowledge (excerpt)
translated from the Pali by Maurice O'Connell Walshe
© 2009–2013

The Pali title of this sutta is based on the PTS (Feer) edition.

Those who know not suffering,
Nor how suffering comes to be,
Nor yet how all such suffering
To a final end is brought,

They do not know the Path
Leading to its calming down,
Cannot find the heart's release
Cannot be by wisdom freed,
With no chance to make an end,
To birth and aging they're condemned.

Those who do know suffering,
And how suffering comes to be,
Know too how all such suffering
To a final end is brought,

They who know the Path indeed
Leading to its calming down,
They can find the heart's release,
They can be by wisdom freed.
They know how to make an end,
To birth and aging no more bound.
From here.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby Astus » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:34 pm

Besides the advice to look into epistemology and logic, the way to gain certainty about the Buddha's teaching is wisdom. Wisdom includes the studying and understanding of the teachings, and then confirming them in meditation by direct experience. While epistemology and logic are subjects studied mainly in Tibetan Buddhism, wisdom is an essential part of the path to liberation in every school. Obtaining certainty in the Dharma is the first stage of enlightenment, so every practitioner has to work towards this in the beginning.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Achieving Epistemic Certainty

Postby ground » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:38 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
ground wrote:When there is knowledge then "attain" does not apply and "something is true" does not apply. :sage:
How do you know that?

Question not applicable. :sage:
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