First Cause in Buddhism (?)

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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby shel » Tue May 01, 2012 2:21 am

seeker242 wrote:The Buddha didn't teach a "first cause" of everything because doing so would be irrelevant to the task. He taught suffering and the end of suffering and that's it. One does not need to know who shot you with a poison arrow in order to remove the arrow. Learning who shot the poison arrow or why or how, is useless information when it comes to the job of removing it.

Uh... it is a poison arrow! Removing the arrow would be a fruitless task without know how to treat the poison so whatever information you could get about hwho shot the arrow etc could help to save the life of the victim.
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby xabir » Tue May 01, 2012 5:42 am

SN 15.13
PTS: S ii 187
CDB i 658
Timsa Sutta: Thirty
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 2009–2012

Now on that occasion the Blessed One was dwelling in Rajagaha, in the Bamboo Grove. Then thirty monks from Pava — all wilderness dwellers, all alms-goers, all triple-robe wearers, all still with fetters — went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side.

Then the thought occurred to the Blessed One, "These thirty monks from Pava... are all still with fetters. What if I were to teach them the Dhamma in such a way that in this very sitting their minds, through lack of clinging, would be released from fermentations?"

So he addressed the monks: "Monks."

"Yes, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "From an inconceivable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. What do you think, monks? Which is greater, the blood you have shed from having your heads cut off while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time, or the water in the four great oceans?"

"As we understand the Dhamma taught to us by the Blessed One, this is the greater: the blood we have shed from having our heads cut off while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time, not the water in the four great oceans."

"Excellent, monks. Excellent. It is excellent that you thus understand the Dhamma taught by me.

"This is the greater: the blood you have shed from having your heads cut off while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time, not the water in the four great oceans.

"The blood you have shed when, being cows, you had your cow-heads cut off: Long has this been greater than the water in the four great oceans.

"The blood you have shed when, being water buffaloes, you had your water buffalo-heads cut off... when, being rams, you had your ram-heads cut off... when, being goats, you had your goat-heads cut off... when, being deer, you had your deer-heads cut off... when, being chickens, you had your chicken-heads cut off... when, being pigs, you had your pig-heads cut off: Long has this been greater than the water in the four great oceans.

"The blood you have shed when, arrested as thieves plundering villages, you had your heads cut off... when, arrested as highway thieves, you had your heads cut off... when, arrested as adulterers, you had your heads cut off: Long has this been greater than the water in the four great oceans.

"Why is that? From an inconceivable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident,
though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries — enough to become disenchanted with all fabrications, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released."

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words. And while this explanation was being given, the minds of the thirty monks from Pava — through lack of clinging — were released from fermentations.
See also: SN 15.3.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby seeker242 » Tue May 01, 2012 12:49 pm

shel wrote:
seeker242 wrote:The Buddha didn't teach a "first cause" of everything because doing so would be irrelevant to the task. He taught suffering and the end of suffering and that's it. One does not need to know who shot you with a poison arrow in order to remove the arrow. Learning who shot the poison arrow or why or how, is useless information when it comes to the job of removing it.

Uh... it is a poison arrow! Removing the arrow would be a fruitless task without know how to treat the poison so whatever information you could get about hwho shot the arrow etc could help to save the life of the victim.


Not really! :) The Buddha gave a recipe of how to treat the poison as well as remove the arrow, none of which involves anything about who shot the first arrow or why. We already have all the information necessary about how to save the victim. More information is unnecessary.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby shel » Tue May 01, 2012 4:32 pm

seeker242 wrote:
shel wrote:
seeker242 wrote:The Buddha didn't teach a "first cause" of everything because doing so would be irrelevant to the task. He taught suffering and the end of suffering and that's it. One does not need to know who shot you with a poison arrow in order to remove the arrow. Learning who shot the poison arrow or why or how, is useless information when it comes to the job of removing it.

Uh... it is a poison arrow! Removing the arrow would be a fruitless task without know how to treat the poison so whatever information you could get about hwho shot the arrow etc could help to save the life of the victim.


Not really! :) The Buddha gave a recipe of how to treat the poison as well as remove the arrow, none of which involves anything about who shot the first arrow or why. We already have all the information necessary about how to save the victim. More information is unnecessary.

Well... I very glad that you've been saved!
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby seeker242 » Wed May 02, 2012 1:13 am

shel wrote:
seeker242 wrote:
shel wrote:Uh... it is a poison arrow! Removing the arrow would be a fruitless task without know how to treat the poison so whatever information you could get about hwho shot the arrow etc could help to save the life of the victim.


Not really! :) The Buddha gave a recipe of how to treat the poison as well as remove the arrow, none of which involves anything about who shot the first arrow or why. We already have all the information necessary about how to save the victim. More information is unnecessary.

Well... I very glad that you've been saved!


Everyone is saved, they just have to do what the Buddha taught to do. :smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed May 02, 2012 6:11 am

seeker242 wrote:
shel wrote:
seeker242 wrote:
Not really! :) The Buddha gave a recipe of how to treat the poison as well as remove the arrow, none of which involves anything about who shot the first arrow or why. We already have all the information necessary about how to save the victim. More information is unnecessary.

Well... I very glad that you've been saved!


Everyone is saved, they just have to do what the Buddha taught to do. :smile:


I'd say the Buddhas recipe is more akin to helping one realize that the poison, arrow, victim, assailant, the task of removing the arrow, the treatment of the poison and the one saved were all figments of a dream which dissipates upon awakening.

Being "saved" has a bit of a western overtone to it (in my opinion).
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby seeker242 » Wed May 02, 2012 1:21 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:
seeker242 wrote:
shel wrote:Well... I very glad that you've been saved!


Everyone is saved, they just have to do what the Buddha taught to do. :smile:


I'd say the Buddhas recipe is more akin to helping one realize that the poison, arrow, victim, assailant, the task of removing the arrow, the treatment of the poison and the one saved were all figments of a dream which dissipates upon awakening.

Being "saved" has a bit of a western overtone to it (in my opinion).


There are just conventional terms IMO, that make grammatical sense. I don't think it's all that western. After all, the Bodhisattva vow, is to save all beings from suffering. :smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby KeithBC » Wed May 02, 2012 9:01 pm

steveb1 wrote:What I don't "get" is how, in a view so utterly dominated by causality/causation, Buddhism is able to evade the (particularly Western/Christian) necessity for a First Cause Uncaused or a Prime Mover Unmoved. As most Christians will say, you can't multiply causes infinitely without destroying the very basis of causality itself.

Because Buddhism is dominated by causality, there can be nothing uncaused. Simple as that. You can multiply causes infinitely - why not? The Christians are wrong about that.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed May 02, 2012 11:50 pm

seeker242 wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:
seeker242 wrote:
Everyone is saved, they just have to do what the Buddha taught to do. :smile:


I'd say the Buddhas recipe is more akin to helping one realize that the poison, arrow, victim, assailant, the task of removing the arrow, the treatment of the poison and the one saved were all figments of a dream which dissipates upon awakening.

Being "saved" has a bit of a western overtone to it (in my opinion).


There are just conventional terms IMO, that make grammatical sense. I don't think it's all that western. After all, the Bodhisattva vow, is to save all beings from suffering. :smile:


True, however the bodhisattva, (having seen the mountain top) remains unattached to his/her compassionate action and (although [s]he takes her/his task seriously, [s]he) knows that ultimately the "act of saving" and "sentient beings" themselves are merely illusions within the dream.
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby shel » Thu May 03, 2012 6:35 am

KeithBC wrote:You can multiply causes infinitely - why not?

Well, why don't you try it. Let us know how far you get. :tongue:
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Re: First Cause in Buddhism (?)

Postby shel » Thu May 03, 2012 6:38 am

seeker242 wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:I'd say the Buddhas recipe is more akin to helping one realize that the poison, arrow, victim, assailant, the task of removing the arrow, the treatment of the poison and the one saved were all figments of a dream which dissipates upon awakening.

Being "saved" has a bit of a western overtone to it (in my opinion).


There are just conventional terms IMO, that make grammatical sense. I don't think it's all that western. After all, the Bodhisattva vow, is to save all beings from suffering. :smile:

Saved, and a Bodhisattva. You are impressive, Seeker!
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