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Is Theravada "Realist"? - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

Is Theravada "Realist"?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Prasadachitta
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Prasadachitta » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:05 pm

"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Prasadachitta » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:11 pm

"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Travis
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Travis » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:14 pm

:meditate:
Last edited by Travis on Sat Sep 10, 2011 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:54 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Nicro » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:55 pm


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Alex123
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:56 pm

Hello Nicro,

What about the idea of asaññasatta where it is said that only matter (rūpa) is present and no mind? That shows that Buddhism allows for mind independent rūpa to exist.

What about state called cessation of perception and feelings (saññāvedayitanirodha)? The meditator's body doesn't vanish when his perception & feelings cease. This shows that matter (rūpa) can exist independent of one's perception and feelings.

So in this way, Dhamma is realist when it comes to dhammas such as "rūpa".

Of course the nature of rūpa is not be the same as "whole thing" in naive realism (it seems closer to Mereological nihilism), but rūpa does seem to exist independent of one's perception of it.


With best wishes,

Alex
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Nicro » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:33 pm

I guess it depends on how you view those situations. In terms of the actual person its happening to, if there was nothing there at all, they would experience nothing, meaning either they would not remember it all(as in deep sleep) or reality would be nothing in that there is nothing for them to experience.

In the first case you listed it doesn't seem to me to be "no mind" but unconsciousness. This would be like deep sleep where nothing is remembered. So say you were born human, then born into a state of unconsciousness, then human again and you could remember your past lives, it would seem to you that you were human, then died, then were born human again. There would be no remembrance of that state, so as far you are concerned it wasn't real.

In the second case, if one doesn't experience the body then it isn't real. If you were in such a state and were burned, cut, etc.. You wouldn't experience pain, therefore it wouldn't be real to you. This would be seeing not self, impermanence and suffering. If you can enter into a state where there is no connection to the body, then obviously it is not "you". The fact that this change from being aware of the body to being unaware shows impermanence. And you see dissatisfaction because of these changes.

From my point of view, we can only verify what we experience to be reality. In the same way one who is happy, upon seeing a rose will find it beautiful, while one who is angry will only see the thorns. One's reality is beautiful the others is ugly and hurtful. I find this to be the reason to practice Metta and cultivate good thoughts, it impacts your reality. Without practicing Metta, when someone wrongs you, you only see it as them striking out at you. With a Metta filled mind you understand they are the same as you and act out of ignorance just like all unenlightened beings.

In Vipassana you note what you experience. You don't think, "It someone brought me a piece of pie right now I would be so happy!!". Well, you may think that :jumping: but you just note it, you don't purposefully cultivate "what ifs".


Edit: Just to clarify this is just how I see these things from my own experience in practice, I'm not playing the Devil's Advocate or something like that.

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:53 pm


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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby SDC » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:00 am

I've actually posted this by Venerable Punnaji before in a discussion of nama and rupa, but it addresses this issue too. He discusses John Locke's "theory of mind", the subjective idealism/immaterialism of George Berkeley, and then the phenomenalism of David Hume (which he mistakenly refers to as phenomenology - an almost completely different idea of which, ironically, the Venerable Nanavira Thera did consider to be very closely related to the practice of the Buddha's teaching.)

He briefly explains how he sees Hume's phenomenalist view to be very closely related to the dhamma. And this view, being rooted in both idealism and empiricism, is pretty much the philosophical opposite of realism.

The part of the talk that addresses this is over after the first seven minutes, but the rest of the talk is quite interesting.

I hope this helps. :smile:

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Alex123
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Alex123 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:17 am

Hello SDC,

In the early suttas the meditator's body can exist independently of perception and feelings in the state called saññāvedayitanirodha. So personal perception (saññā) and feeling (vedanā) are not causes of the material body.

We cannot will things to change. The external world is not one's imagination, that in theory could be manipulated through "lucid dreaming" or change of perception. This can occur only in a lucid dream.

Because we cannot alter external world, we cannot base stable happiness on it. Pleasure, status, and all the "good" stuff is ultimately dukkha and we need to realize that completely so as to see futility of trying to attain what we cannot attain from the world. The more we see uncontrollability of the world, the more dispassion can be developed leading to cessation of all dukkha.



With best wishes,

Alex
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Viscid » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:20 am

"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Alex123
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Alex123 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:25 am

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:02 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Viscid » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:04 am

"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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retrofuturist
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:06 am

Greetings,

Is an explanation of rupa, interpreted as matter, realist?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Viscid » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:06 am

"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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SDC
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby SDC » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:19 am


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SDC
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby SDC » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:27 am


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Alex123
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Alex123 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:39 am

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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retrofuturist
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:44 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine


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