Omniscience and the future

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Omniscience and the future

Postby AlexanderS » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:57 pm

Since buddhists don't believe that whatever happens is determined or "fate, how can Buddhas know the future?
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Re: Omniscience and the future

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:04 pm

AlexanderS wrote:Since buddhists don't believe that whatever happens is determined or "fate, how can Buddhas know the future?



I believe the standard answer is something like they are "seeing" cause and effect on a larger scale, well beyond what deluded beings see.
"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: Omniscience and the future

Postby AlexanderS » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:08 pm

I just feel that if they can see what kind of karma I create then they already know which choices and actions I will make in this and future lives. For me that is pretty close to determinism.
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Re: Omniscience and the future

Postby LastLegend » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:42 pm

AlexanderS wrote:Since buddhists don't believe that whatever happens is determined or "fate, how can Buddhas know the future?


You will have to ask a Buddha if there is a future at all. :lol:
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NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Omniscience and the future

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:52 pm

AlexanderS wrote:I just feel that if they can see what kind of karma I create then they already know which choices and actions I will make in this and future lives. For me that is pretty close to determinism.



There ARE some logical hiccups in it on the surface, especially when people say "everything is Karma", because if everything is Karma, it is basically determinism, including your practice of Dharma, it's pre-ordained. There has to be some moment of choice at some point.

There's a good Berzin article on it though, that goes a good way to answering some of these questions:

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... birth.html

I believe it's this article somehwere, he really goes into the exact question you are asking, basically about free will vs. determinism in a karmic context.
"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: Omniscience and the future

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:58 pm

Do buddhas know the future? Then lot of classical incidents of Shakyamuni would not have happened. Some discussed here: The Buddha and Omniscience
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Omniscience and the future

Postby theanarchist » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:40 pm

AlexanderS wrote:Since buddhists don't believe that whatever happens is determined or "fate, how can Buddhas know the future?


I don't think that an enlightened being can know EVERYTHING that is going to happen in the future, but as someone else mentioned, it's a matter of perceiving the depths of cause and effect. So some future events are set due to the causes that make an outcome inevitable, but a lot more are not and those are of course beyond even a buddha's clairvoiance.
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Re: Omniscience and the future

Postby AlexanderS » Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:15 pm

Perhaps this question belongs to the 4 imponderables?
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Re: Omniscience and the future

Postby Nosta » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:13 pm

Maybe a Buddha could know all the possibles results of all actions, but not know wich actions people would choose.

Wich sutras could give an answer to the op question?
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Re: Omniscience and the future

Postby Sherab » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:27 pm

Nosta wrote:Maybe a Buddha could know all the possibles results of all actions, but not know wich actions people would choose.
Wich sutras could give an answer to the op question?

From the suttas and sutras that I have read, I have not come across any that could give an answer.

However, I remember reading Guru Rinpoche's predictions for his tertons taking the form of ... if terton X choose A then the outcome would be Y, else if he chooses B then the outcome would be Z. So Guru Rinpoche seemed to recognize that the outcome of his prediction is dependent on the choices that his tertons will make.

Modern science has shown that the physical world is not entirely deterministic. I think the same applies to the mental world as well.
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Re: Omniscience and the future

Postby dimeo » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:21 pm

I'm just guessing here... but perhaps it has to do with the idea of "one taste".

That if you could know all... perhaps at the root of it all you'd simply see the arising and cessation of all phenomena and the suffering of sentient beings.

Sometimes we think of possessing omniscience as being an awesome super power... but for a being of infinite compassion then I imagine omniscience would reveal the infinitely vast experience of suffering in all sentient life.

And that whole idea feels rather sad - breaks my heart just thinking about it really.
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