Ikkyu wrote:I've often wondered if the Buddhist epistemic approach is similar to the Jain one:
"Although, historically, Jain authors have adopted different views on truth, the most prevalent is the system of anekantavada or "not-one-sidedness". This idea of truth is rooted in the notion that there is one truth, but only enlightened beings can perceive it in its entirety; unenlightened beings perceive only one side of the truth (ekanta). Anekantavada works around the limitations of a one-sided view of truth by proposing multiple vantage points (nayas) from which truth can be viewed (cf. Nayavāda). Recognizing that there are multiple possible truths about any particular thing, even mutually exclusive truths, Jain philosophers developed a system for synthesizing these various claims, known as syadvada. Within the system of syadvada, each truth is qualified to its particular view-point; that is "in a certain way", one claim or another or both may be true."
"According to Jain epistemology, reality is multifaceted (anekanta, or 'non-one-sided'), such that no finite set of statements can capture the entire truth about the objects they describe.
The Jain list of pramanas (valid sources of knowledge) includes sense perception, valid testimony, extra-sensory perception, telepathy, and kevala, the state of omniscience of a perfected soul. Inference, which most other Indian epistemologies include, is interestingly absent from this list. However, discussion of the pramanas seem to indicate that inference is implied in the pramana that provides the premises for inference. That is, inference from things learned by the senses is itself knowledge gained from the senses; inference from knowledge gained by testimony is itself knowledge gained by testimony, etc. Later Jain thinkers would add inference as a separate category, along with memory and tarka or logical reasoning.
Since reality is multi-faceted, none of the pramanas gives absolute or perfect knowledge. Consequently, all knowledge is only tentative and provisional. This is expressed in Jain philosophy in the doctrine of naya, or partial predication (also known as the doctrine of perspectives or viewpoints). This insight generates a sevenfold classification of predications, which can be schematized as follows:
Perhaps a is F (syat asti).
Perhaps a is not-F (syat nasti).
Perhaps a is both F and not-F (syat asti-nasti).
Perhaps a is indescribable (syat avaktavyam).
Perhaps a is indescribable and F (syat asti-avaktavyam).
Perhaps a is indescribable and not-F (syat nasti-avaktavyam).
Perhaps a is indescribable, and both F and not-F (syat asti-nasti-avaktavyam)."
Ikkyu wrote:You can still be a compassionate and wise individual even if you're an ardent skeptic, no?
Ikkyu wrote:And you can still realize emptiness and non-self even if you don't believe in all those things mentioned above, no?
Ikkyu wrote:Then what's the point in believing in them?
Ikkyu wrote:And doesn't the Kalama Sutta sort of invite us to cherry-pick from Buddhist doctrine anyway?
PadmaVonSamba wrote:It is a mistake to say that because the extent of my ignorance is boundless,
the chance that anything I can imagine as true is thus much more likely to be proven.
gregkavarnos wrote:Dear Ikkyu,
Don't you get bored of saying the same thing over and over and geting the same answers every time?
It's quite simple, if it don't sit right with you then just leave it. Continue practicing and it will all make complete sense for you when you finally realise it instead of trying to know it.
nilakantha wrote:In the same vein, a quote from an interesting book I’m reading at the moment: MATERIALS FOR THE STUDY OF ĀRYADEVA, DHARMAPĀLA AND CANDRAKĪRTI
Once one understands the Buddhist position as found in CS (Four Hundred Verses of Aryadeva) and the Epistemologists, it is difficult to resist the impression that the Buddhist, especially as explained by Dharmakīrti, sets his standards almost impossibly high. It should be apparent that no one, Buddhist or non-Buddhist, can in practice inferentially or empirically test for himself all rationally analysable propositions on which he must make a decision. The result to which a Buddhist philosopher is led, therefore, is that his stringent standards force him into a type of skepticism about much of what we would wish to term "justified true belief or "knowledge", for inevitably the majority of our knowledge about matters which are not at all transcendent (such as e.g. geography, history, etc.) is not due to our own personal observations or inferences. (We do not, for example, observe or infer the rationally analysable truth that Columbus sailed with three ships to America: we read about it. Nonetheless, is it not reasonable to claim that we know this fact?) Interestingly enough, some later Buddhist philosophers seem to accept this skeptical consequence, saying that in non-transcendent matters, reliance on testimony, books or any other type of information apart from one's own direct perception and inference, does not yield real knowledge, but rather, "true presumption", to use the epistemic category elaborated upon in the Tibetan scholastic.
viniketa wrote:Ikkyu wrote:You can still be a compassionate and wise individual even if you're an ardent skeptic, no?
Yes. Buddha was a more ardent skeptic than even the Jains.Ikkyu wrote:And you can still realize emptiness and non-self even if you don't believe in all those things mentioned above, no?
Maybe, maybe not.Ikkyu wrote:Then what's the point in believing in them?
No point whatsoever. Belief is never required. Experience is.Ikkyu wrote:And doesn't the Kalama Sutta sort of invite us to cherry-pick from Buddhist doctrine anyway?
Not on the basis of whim or fancy. Re-read the sutta...
viniketa wrote:Ikkyu wrote:I've often wondered if the Buddhist epistemic approach is similar to the Jain one...
Similar, not the same:
deepbluehum wrote:Ikkyu wrote:Split from here:
@ Huseng and undefineable:
I can't help but feel that I'm reliving the creationists' spouting off "transcendent truths" and how they go beyond science because "science is only concerned with the material". This anti-science rhetoric you've got smacks of the normal religious person's argument when they're backed into a corner of facing irrational beliefs. Yes, in some way it is certainly possible that Buddhist metaphysical theories are true because, yeah, not everything is necessarily a part of the material world. But here's how I'm thinking about it, and just to sum it all up I'll reiterate and condense:
1. We can believe anything without evidence if we already have an underlying notion that anything is in a sense possible because our senses don't fully determine all of reality. ("brain in the vat", Descartes' dream world, etc.) Yes, there are perhaps realities beyond our five senses but in any case wouldn't it be prudent to assume, just for practical purposes at least, that our senses and thus the empirical observations we make with are the most probably the most accurate ways of determining reality that we know of, and thus can't we trust them more than abstract concepts thrown at us from antiquated religious texts? We experience things with our senses. The only reason we know about Buddhism is because we HEARD about it or READ (as in seeing) it somewhere or from someone. We use our SENSES in order to contemplate Buddhism. Buddha used his MATERIAL body in order to convey his ideas. People LISTENED to him using their sense of HEARING. In short, our senses are quite obviously the best way of determining reality and the reality we determine through them is probably, based on the evidence, a material, physical world. That's how we know that meditation-consciousnesses or jhanas take place in the brain, in our neural framework. That's how we know that when we feel empowered or spiritually enlightened by the Dharma it is dopamine being released in our brain causing us to feel happy. Everything we know comes from and is a part of the material, as far as we can directly tell. That isn't to say there may not be a spiritual world beyond the material. There may very well be universes outside of the material one that function in ways we cannot comprehend with our normal state of mind, but how can we infer this with absolute proof? Quantum physics provides some insight into this but to get as detailed as the Buddhist texts do about metaphysical realities seems like sort of a stretch, no?
2. Evidentialism would suggest that instead of believing in bodhisattvas, karma, rebirth, etc. and then working out the evidence as to why these things are true, that a more logical approach would be to learn and gather evidence and come to a conclusion based on that evidence. A priori knowledge clearly doesn't include bodhisattvas, rebirth, etc. We learn these things.
I would actually be very interested in reading about the Buddhist approach to epistemology since there doesn't seem to be a lot written on the subject.
The Omniscient one has declared that all there is to know is the six senses and all those senses are just mind.
gregkavarnos wrote:Feeling emotions would be another example of non-material perception. Though granted that some can also have bodily sensations associated with them.
Ikkyu wrote:I observe the world around me and understand that, while it may be a false one, it seems much more substantial, obersevable, experiential, testable and open to evaluation and consensus than the reality purported in often conflicting or contradictory antiquated religious texts, i.e. sutras, tantras and suttas.
Ikkyu wrote:in Buddhism no view (well, "commonsese" vs. "ultimate" views, sticking to the two truths doctrine) is outside the realm of mental conditioning (compare "mental formation" as it is traslated from the Heart Sutra, if you will), and therefore all views, and I imagine thus beliefs, are guided by the passions, and are in that sense false.
Ikkyu wrote:I like the Buddhist emphasis on the experiential, but whose experience is correct? The Muslim's, the Buddhist's, the Jain's or the Hindu's? Don't these conflict, as they purport that their respective experience come from a great spiritual power endemic to their own religions, which all state that theirs is the ultimate truth about reality, vis a vis the other guy's experiences can't be true?
"James' central argument in "The Will to Believe" hinges on the idea that access to the evidence for whether or not certain beliefs are true depends crucially upon first adopting those beliefs without evidence." This stands in stark contrast to [particularly Alston's] evidentialism, which suggests that we begin with evidence and then work our way up to an idea or truth, eventually.
Ikkyu wrote:Evidentialism. Rationalism. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I suggest you all take a look at Eleanore Stump's "Philosophy of Religion: The Big Questions". While it doesn't really cover Eastern religions, it thoroughly tackles the use of empirical evidence in a metaphysical argument.
Ikkyu wrote:Madhyamaka _ _ really influenced the Mahayana... the school which has such a diverse pantheon of Bodhisattvas to believe in. Aren't they non-existent in an ultimate sense? Can't we look at them, along with Buddhist cosmology and other Buddhist beliefs about karma, rebirth, enlightenment, merit, etc. as an analogy then? Just like we are? An abstraction from the truth? Why then does Buddhism hinge on a literal interpretation of many these beliefs?
Ikkyu wrote:I'm consistently amused that people who claim not to cling to anger become just so vaguely annoyed and defensive when their ideologies are questioned. That keeps me going. I think it makes sense to "repeat oneself" in different ways until someone gives me a viable answer, or rather actually understands my question and responds in a way that really addresses what I'm saying. A couple people have done this, but I just don't feel that arguing that I'm a materialist is really a rebuttal of my argument. Granted, I haven't sifted through ALL the responses on this or other threads yet. It's a work in progress and takes me a while as, frankly, I'm otherwise pretty busy.
Ikkyu wrote:If I reason that enlightenment or [insert other Buddhist supernatural claims here] isn't/aren't real then, can I still attain it according to Buddha?
Ikkyu wrote:But is working a doctrine to tear apart other views before they can even come to the forefront a real effort at understanding reality, or rather obscuring it further?
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