What is real?

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What is real?

Postby oushi » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:10 am

I think that if people cannot agree on the definition of what "real" is, they cannot agree on what is real.

This part of the Matrix always comes to my mind.
So, how do you define "real"?

Ps. first person pointing to an error in Morpheus logic will get a candy :smile:
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Re: What is real?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:47 am

Why don't you start the ball rolling? :shrug:
"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: What is real?

Postby oushi » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:52 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Why don't you start the ball rolling? :shrug:

Because it is an invitation to an open topic, not a lecture on "I will tell you what is real!". There is no agenda, and guests are allowed to go first. I think that the main purpose is to present diversity in this area. If there is diversity, then how will we decide which "real" is real? We need a common definition of real to do that ;). That implies that "real" is nothing but agreement. But that is just my view... to get the ball rolling.
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Re: What is real?

Postby Nothing » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:27 pm

n: This isn't real?
m: What is real? how do you define real? If you are talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see then real is simply electrical signals interpretated by your brain.

"Real" cannot exist without a "definition"
"definition" is subjective due to ones understanding.....therefore varies(just views).....yet its limitation is the language itself.
Yet how can language describe what it is?
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Re: What is real?

Postby oushi » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:32 pm

Nothing wrote:"Real" cannot exist without a "definition"

So, you agree that "real" is just an agreement?
Yet how can language describe what it is?

Language cannot be that which it points to, but it can describe it. So, we have an object and its description. Real thing and a pointer. But is this pointer (language) unreal? If we are pointing to it, then it is real. We hear it, we use it. It looks like reality depends on the way we are using it. When we use real A, to express real B, than we have unreal situation although it fully constitutes of real stuff.
Real and Unreal coexists, and it depends on our perspective which one it is now. Reality is relative.

Whatever we are pointing to with our awareness, is real. Until someone points his awareness to it, it is unreal for him. When they agree, they can confirm that it is real.
Last edited by oushi on Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is real?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:34 pm

"real" and "exist" in the Buddhist context
refers to something which,
if one were to divide it, dissect it, reduce it,
one would find a finite point at which it could not be
divided or dissected, reduced any further,
where some essential aspect would still remain.
That essential aspect would be defined as "real" or "existent".

Something "real" or "existent" does not have to have any defining qualities or characteristics.
in fact, if it did, these qualities and characteristics could thus be divided
or said to occur only in some relative way.

Space, meaning the area of depth between objects,
that third dimension in our 3D world
can be said to be real even though it has no defining characteristics,
even though, obviously, any length of area within space can be divided
and even if , through modern physics and the theory of wormholes or whatever,
space can be stretched or compressed,
or shown to only occur relative to time
because there is no point at which space can be divided
where you do not simply find more space.

Awareness, too, can be said to be real,
even though it has no defining characteristics, for the same reasons as space.
But awareness shouldn't be confused with mind or consciousness,
which arise in awareness
just as the appearances of objects that arise within space
shouldn't be confused with the space itself.
.
.
.
Last edited by PadmaVonSamba on Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is real?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:43 pm

Language is merely a method of encryption.
I have a thought,
I convert that thought into sounds, symbols, or gestures.
And, if you know the language,
you can decipher those sounds and symbols, and gestures,
and know my thoughts.
.
.
.
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Re: What is real?

Postby oushi » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:57 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:"real" and "exist" in the Buddhist context
refers to something which,
if one were to divide it, dissect it, reduce it,
one would find a finite point at which it could not be
divided or dissected, reduced any further,
where some essential aspect would still remain.

I would go totally opposite way, and say that "real" in Buddhism is lack of differentiation. If you don't shatter your perception into pieces, and you don't apply meaning to those pieces, you see things as they are, that is without seeing them, or without duality. But this way, you are unable to share it as a whole, as it is irreducible.
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Re: What is real?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:11 pm

oushi wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:"real" and "exist" in the Buddhist context
refers to something which,
if one were to divide it, dissect it, reduce it,
one would find a finite point at which it could not be
divided or dissected, reduced any further,
where some essential aspect would still remain.

I would go totally opposite way, and say that "real" in Buddhism is lack of differentiation. If you don't shatter your perception into pieces, and you don't apply meaning to those pieces, you see things as they are, that is without seeing them, or without duality. But this way, you are unable to share it as a whole, as it is irreducible.

That's really real.
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Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: What is real?

Postby Jesse » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:16 pm

It depends what you mean by "real", if I drop a heavy object and there is gravity it is always going to fall, obviously... but outside of that what we perceive is mostly an interpretation, and perception has almost limitless interpretations..but for society to actually work those interpretations have to similar, thus why most people experience reality in similar ways.

What makes our waking life any more real than a dream? I suppose it's the value you place on the experiences. I wonder if continuity make something more "real"?

PadmaVonSamba wrote:by PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:43 pm
Language is merely a method of encryption.


I agree, Language can actually vividly replicate reality, when we read a book for example our brain can literally create the entire fictional world, with imagery and all. Most of the time this is the type of reality we actually perceive, an abstracted interpretation of it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_relativity
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Re: What is real?

Postby Nothing » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:19 pm

oushi wrote:So, you agree that "real" is just an agreement?

Only if there is an agreement.....even if there is an agreement, it has limitations bound by language itself.

Language cannot be that which it points to, but it can describe it. So, we have an object and its description. Real thing and a pointer. But is this pointer (language) unreal? If we are pointing to it, then it is real. We hear it, we use it. It looks like reality depends on the way we are using it. When we use real A, to express real B, than we have unreal situation although it fully constitutes of real stuff.
Real and Unreal coexists, and it depends on our perspective which one it is now. Reality is relative.

Language can be a pointer and can describe, yet the language is real in itself.....but language cannot be the "actual" experience.....is this not the difference here?.....hence limitation of language.
Therefore reading or hearing is not the same thing as one who has experienced it.

By using language to express something, it does not express the "real" experience.....it becomes an unreal situation.

Real and unreal coexists and it exist because the "gap" cannot be bridged because of the use of language itself.
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Re: What is real?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:24 pm

ghost01 wrote: What makes our waking life any more real than a dream?


According to the dharma, much of your waking life is basically dream-like,
until you wake up, which is what the Buddha did.
(Buddha = "awakened")

I mentioned awareness and space as real.
But one might ask, "what if all of my experience is just a dream?
Wouldn't that space and awareness be a dream, and not real, too?"

Well, if it is a dream, then you have two options:
1. You will at some point wake up from the dream, but you will still be confronted with awareness and space,
or
2. You will not wake up, but will continue dreaming, in which case you will still be confronted with awareness and space,
and their 'reality' will be a moot concern. It won't matter.

There is no denying space or awareness.
.
.
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: What is real?

Postby oushi » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:37 pm

And who can validate this experience of wakefulness? What metrics do you use, to label it "real"? That's the essence of this topic. How can you tell that "awakened" see things as they really are? What those that even mean?
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Re: What is real?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:26 pm

Reality is unreal.

Relatively speaking.

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Re: What is real?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:35 pm

oushi wrote:And who can validate this experience of wakefulness? What metrics do you use, to label it "real"? That's the essence of this topic. How can you tell that "awakened" see things as they really are? What those that even mean?

Well, the Buddha put his hand on the ground and said, "the Earth is my witness".

A while ago, I asked my teacher about what it is i think you are asking. I said, "if what we experience is confusion, meaning that we experience a distorted perception of the way things really are, then how would we know it when we really are awakened? He basically said that you'd know it because there would be no more confusion. In other words, if you think you are awakened and you are not, you will still experience suffering because the cause of suffering (confusion) is still there. When that happens, you will realize that you are not really awakened after all.

If you are not experiencing any more dukkha (suffering) then either you are enlightened, or if you aren't enlightened, then it really doesn't matter anyway because what the Buddha taught was the cause & end of suffering (dukkha) so, six of one, half a dozen of the other.
.
.
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: What is real?

Postby oushi » Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:52 pm

Well, the Buddha put his hand on the ground and said, "the Earth is my witness".

What did that mean? How did it prove anything?
Is matter (earth) a reference point in establishing what is real? Things are real in the relation with matter?
And if you have no reference... is that state unreal? Here I would see awakening.
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Re: What is real?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:30 pm

Hate to get all quotey but:

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

So reality usually means the small, attenuated sliver of experience we are choosing to focus on at the time, the problem is, we think the sliver is "everything" and it's not even close.
"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: What is real?

Postby oushi » Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:27 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:So reality usually means the small, attenuated sliver of experience we are choosing to focus on at the time, the problem is, we think the sliver is "everything" and it's not even close.

How do you know that?
Unreal can occur when a pointer points to something nonexistent. By referring to something beyond your experience, you are making a guess. Desire to know it ALL, while not knowing what ALL is.
Still, reality doesn't depend on the amount of knowledge. The more you know about the earth, the more real it becomes? Not knowing anything is unreal? We differ alot when we compare our knowledge, but we are the same in not knowing.
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Re: What is real?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:15 pm

oushi wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:So reality usually means the small, attenuated sliver of experience we are choosing to focus on at the time, the problem is, we think the sliver is "everything" and it's not even close.

How do you know that?
Unreal can occur when a pointer points to something nonexistent. By referring to something beyond your experience, you are making a guess. Desire to know it ALL, while not knowing what ALL is.
Still, reality doesn't depend on the amount of knowledge. The more you know about the earth, the more real it becomes? Not knowing anything is unreal? We differ alot when we compare our knowledge, but we are the same in not knowing.



Well to me it seems like that's the whole point of Buddhism, instead of trying to figure out what's "real", and then striving to reach the real, you cut through all the stuff that makes you want to ask the question in the first place, so that "real" is just a designation. "Real" is a dichotomous word that assumes that ultimate truth or whatever you call it exists in opposition to something that's "unreal".

Again just look at the quote, definitive ontological statements don't lead anywhere, they can just be used provisionally is how it seems..ironically heh, can't express what i'm saying without making another dichotomy.
"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: What is real?

Postby oushi » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:21 pm

The cause of me starting this topic was the amount of "real" and "truth" in Buddhist teachings and discussion. I started it in "Language" just to keep it more broad. We can exchange quotes leaning on authority, but it will somehow go against the topic. :smile:
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