The path with no goal aka nirvana

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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby shel » Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:47 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:Of course a Buddha is independent, beyond causality, omniscient, can travel through time, etc etc. They have any attributes anyone might care to give them. Why? Because as Gregkavarnos expresses, it doesn't matter...

Gregkavarnos wrote:Actually, it doesn't mean squat to me if the Buddha is omniscient or not anyway. It's not at all important to me. Doesn't really impact on my suffering one way or another.


Religion only needs to be meaningful, it doesn't need to be true.
You shouldn't generalise from my statement of personal opinion to all Buddhists (and then to all religious people). You may find yourself tripping over your words (yet again).

It's true. You are merely an example.
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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby wisdom » Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:18 am

shel wrote:He grasps dependent origination better than many in a small group of varied individual who visit a Buddhist online forum. Hmm... impressive!


So much venom. Why? Whats the point :shrug:

shel wrote:A lot of words to merely say what anyone would agree with, that we can predict future events. If it matters to you, the subject was knowing the future, not predicting the future. This is relation to omniscience. Omniscience is about knowing and not guessing. I hope you world agree that there is a difference between knowing and predicting.


Actually its impossible to know the whole future (which is presumably infinite) with absolute certainty because if the future was absolutely certain, then there is no free will, no real karma, and we can't change anything so there is no reason to practice Dharma or do anything at all. Omniscience and prescience are different things, just because a Buddha is omniscient doesn't mean that the Buddha will see the causal universe as an immutable unfolding of pre-determined events. In fact there is no basis in any scripture that I can think of to support that idea, however what is said about karma, change, rebirth and so forth as well as the extent and duration of samsara indicates that events are not pre-determined, and that things can go one way or another. If you understood what Buddhism teaches about the empty but appearing nature of reality, it would be clear to you that there is no actual omniscience *outside of* realizing ones own Buddha nature. Once one is fully enlightened, thats it, you know everything, you're done. Hence "The Path of No More Learning". Literally there is nothing else to learn at that point, so such a being is called "Omniscient" because they know everything there is to know.

shel wrote:
From the absolute standpoint, anyone who realizes the true nature of reality in themselves becomes a Buddha and obtains omniscience. Why? Because if you know the true face of reality and abide in that, then you also understand the true nature of every phenomenal appearance whatsoever and have totally transcended the three times. In that sense you are all knowing because there is nothing which can appear to cause you delusion, confusion, ignorance or distraction. In essence, there is nothing in the universe you do not comprehend from the ultimate level and view, and so are omniscient in regards to all phenomenal appearances and the true nature of all beings. Since all relative knowledge is only a dream like appearance anyways, from the ultimate point of view there are no facts to learn, remember, or calculate with. So wondering whether or not a Buddha knows rocket science is totally moot, a Buddha knows all there is to *actually* know and in that sense is omniscient. Factual knowledge is the food of a deluded mind. Since there is nothing of substance to know outside of a Buddhas realization, there is no basis for forming an argument for or against a Buddha knowing worldly facts, since those facts never existed in the first place, and this is regardless of whether or not a Buddha would know such facts. Even if they did, they would place little to no importance on them and only use them as skillful means to guide others to liberation, and would only seek such facts if it were to be of use to a sentient being achieving realization.


So you don't know if a Buddha knows factual knowledge. I don't know either.


Im saying that it not only doesn't matter, but its not even possible for omniscience to have that meaning because to apply the concept of omniscience to relative/factual knowledge is to totally discard the fact that such knowledge is not real in the first place.

There is also a major problem with omniscience meaning relative/factual knowledge because the process of becoming omniscient would go on forever. Since the universe is presumably infinite, with infinite worlds, sentient beings, and so forth, and every moment everything changes and so new kinds and arrangements of knowledge are born constantly, a Buddhas mind would instantly become preoccupied with an endless "download" of information that would actually have no end. Buddahood would be a form of imprisonment, and the mind would be constantly assailed with a barrage of almost entirely useless facts. There is no basis anywhere to support the idea that this is what happens when we reach enlightenment, and since this is the only logical conclusion to omniscience meaning knowing every detail of samsara, it shows that omniscience is not that. It could not happen in an instant not only because every moment brings new unfoldings of new details of samsara, but also to "know" something you must first have it in memory, you have to be able to "recall" it otherwise its not known, but since there would be new knowledge every moment, it would be forever impossible to ever know every detail of samsara since new details would arise every (ultimately an indivisible and itself infinite) moment.

So my whole point is this. Prescience is a skill of mental calculation, and there are things that can be known with 100% accuracy. Omniscience implies having understood the nature of all phenomena, it implies perfect Buddhahood. An Omniscient Buddha has much, much more far reaching prescience than a non Buddha. Furthermore the limits of that prescience might be unlimited, meaning they could see as far as they wanted whenever they wanted. However, the primary motivating factor for the powers and activity of a Buddha is the spontaneous compassion that arises as a result of the needs of sentient beings and their suffering.
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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby oushi » Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:20 am

shel wrote:Of course a Buddha is independent, beyond causality, omniscient, can travel through time, etc etc. They have any attributes anyone might care to give them.

It is a great tool, for people who believes that, to test if a master is true buddha, or a crook. For the good of the Dharma, all should agree to implement this test method. Buddhas will not mind, and we will get ride of all those crooks slandering Dharma. If you don't know what's in my pocket, you are not a buddha! ;)
And if you are buddha then great! You will help us find a cure for diseases that are decimating third world countries.
Sounds like a perfect plan to benefit humanity! Unfortunately by now, you all will probably gave up omniscience, or just few will keep on arguing that only Sakyamuni was omniscient.

Omniscience as feature of a buddha creates an incredible high goal to achieve. People practice for buddhahood, and as buddhahood is a mystery, they will replace it with omniscience which will create a goal impossible to achieve. I don't have to add that striving for something impossible creates great suffering. Is this the intent of those promoting omniscience? I don't think so.
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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby Sigh » Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:35 pm

[size=50][/size] :coffee: ... "When the Iron-Bird flies..." PadmaSambhava 8th Century. :meditate: :shrug: :spy: :thinking: :meditate:
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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby Koji » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:33 pm

'Nirvana' is one of many names which are about awakening to the unconditioned, i.e, finding the treasure in one's home. We have to go through a long process of purification before awakening. To purify, we have to take up a proper spiritual path which acts to get rid of obstructions thereby yielding the fruit practice which is the unconditioned. An ordinary person cannot distinguish between the conditioned and the unconditioned whereas an awakened person or Buddha can. That is the main difference between ordinary people and a Buddha.
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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby porpoise » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:44 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
porpoise wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:If Nirvana was somehow seperate to samsara (which is where we are right now) then it would be unattainable.


But if Nirvana wasn't somehow separate ( different ) from samsara, then it would be the same experience as samsara.


I didn't say they were the same thing, I just said that they are not seperate. Heads is not the same as tails, but it is not seperate to tails.


But your heads and tails analogy suggests that Nirvana, the unconditioned, is defined as the opposite of the conditioned. But that would make the unconditioned conditional on the conditioned.
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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:57 am

porpoise wrote:But your heads and tails analogy suggests that Nirvana, the unconditioned, is defined as the opposite of the conditioned. But that would make the unconditioned conditional on the conditioned.
Heads is not the opposite of tails. Anyway, you are taking the metaphor too literally. Metaphors are not meant to be taken literally, that's why they are metaphors.
"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: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby porpoise » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:01 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
porpoise wrote:But your heads and tails analogy suggests that Nirvana, the unconditioned, is defined as the opposite of the conditioned. But that would make the unconditioned conditional on the conditioned.


Heads is not the opposite of tails. Anyway, you are taking the metaphor too literally. Metaphors are not meant to be taken literally, that's why they are metaphors.


But heads is the opposite of tails, it's an either/or situation. Perhaps head and tails isn't a very good metaphor?
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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Aug 03, 2013 12:21 pm

Sorry, I thought you meant opposite as in adverse.
"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: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby shel » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:48 am

wisdom wrote:
shel wrote:He grasps dependent origination better than many in a small group of varied individual who visit a Buddhist online forum. Hmm... impressive!


So much venom. Why? Whats the point :shrug:

Venom? Exaggerating and characterizing me as venomous, rather than addressing the issue, is an ad hominem attack.

... events are not pre-determined...

If true then it's not possible to know the future, much less know how things (such as jet planes) that haven't arisen yet work.

... the limits of that [a Buddhas] prescience might be unlimited...

What good is "might be" ?
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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby wisdom » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:25 am

shel wrote:Venom? Exaggerating and characterizing me as venomous, rather than addressing the issue, is an ad hominem attack.


Actually it was not a personal attack. I didn't say "Shel you are venomous" I referred specifically to your statement which even if not venomous, was at least belittling to this whole community and sarcastic, and for that reason It was pointless. Now you cry foul instead of addressing the fact that you basically, not so subtly, put down everyone in this group for no good reason other than a minor disagreement over an interesting but mostly irrelevant topic.

However I see where you are coming from and you're right that technically the future cannot be "known" in any absolute sense because it is not pre-determined. Although it can be "guessed" with great accuracy. Anyone who saw someone "guess correctly" over and over would say "That person is prescient!".

In terms of future inventions, I don't think Buddha Shakyamuni would have been able to predict jet engines- unless he had been shown a cause that leads to them! If he had seen some cause that could lead to the invention of a jet engine, for example an explosive of some kind, he may have been able to reason it out. Also if it was important to the needs of a sentient being, then compassion might have caused that foreknowledge to spontaneously arise. But who knows what a Buddha has seen or remembered from their past lives? Who knows what causes they are able to perceive and how long they are able to follow the cycles of those causes? Who knows what knowledge can be obtained from more subtle realms?

There have been many people who predicted future inventions. I can't tell the difference between what they have done, imagination, and prescience. It all seems the same to me. Furthermore the definition of prescience doesn't even require that one be capable of seeing every event, only that one can see into the future, which is another reason why its different from omniscience as well. I've already explained my stance on the true meaning of omniscience.
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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby jeeprs » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:50 am

I think the problem with the discussion of the Buddha's 'omniscience' is that it is impossible to understand what it is supposed to mean. I think there is a consensus that it doesn't simply mean 'knowledge of every fact about the Universe'. (Although I do recall the astonishing abilities of 'savants' to know things that we would generally regard as unknowable, for instance the weather conditions for any day in a given city for the last 50 years.) But in any case, if anyone is interested in a recent scholarly consideration of the question of the Buddha's omniscience, have a look at Omniscience and the Rhetoric of Reason: Santaraksita and Kamalasila on Rationality, Argumentation, and Religious Authority (Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism) by Sarah McLintock:

Sara L. McClintock’s Omniscience and the Rhetoric of Reason is a philosophical discussion of a curious Buddhist question: Does a buddha know everything at all times, have the ability to know anything they wish, or simply know all that is necessary for liberation? McClintock’s masterful exploration is built around two important eighth-century Indian Buddhist philosophical works: Shantarakshita’s Tattvasamgraha, and Kamalashila’s commentary on it. She nimbly draws out the twists and turns of their argumentation and their shifting definition of omniscience, and formulates a compelling theory of reason as rhetoric. Even logic, she argues, is designed to persuade, and thus every argument has to be understood in relation to its intended audience. The study is an elegant exposition of what happens when a tradition that prides itself on rational argument inherits a wildly irrational doctrinal position and uses it to defend and advance the tradition."


—Buddhadharma Magazine
He that knows it, knows it not.
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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby shel » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:23 pm

wisdom wrote:I see where you are coming from and you're right that technically the future cannot be "known" in any absolute sense because it is not pre-determined.

And so it's not possible to know the future, much less know how things (such as jet planes) that haven't arisen yet work. I'm glad we agree.

Although it can be "guessed" with great accuracy.

There's a difference between knowing and guessing.

who knows what a Buddha has seen or remembered from their past lives? Who knows what causes they are able to perceive and how long they are able to follow the cycles of those causes? Who knows what knowledge can be obtained from more subtle realms?

No one, so when called on the carpet for any wild claims we should respond honestly, or at least considerately.

wisdom wrote:... you basically, not so subtly, put down everyone in this group for no good reason...


I strongly doubt anyone felt put down by forum members being described as a "small group of varied individual who visit a Buddhist online forum." Now please give it a rest.
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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:38 pm

shel wrote:No one, so when called on the carpet for any wild claims we should respond honestly, or at least considerately.
I wouldn't say "no one". Actually there are plenty of realised and wise people out there that can predict outcomes based on current causes and conditions.
"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: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby shel » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:41 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:No one, so when called on the carpet for any wild claims we should respond honestly, or at least considerately.
I wouldn't say "no one". Actually there are plenty of realised and wise people out there that can predict outcomes based on current causes and conditions.

My dear sir, anyone can predict outcomes based on current causes and conditions.
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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:01 pm

shel wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:No one, so when called on the carpet for any wild claims we should respond honestly, or at least considerately.
I wouldn't say "no one". Actually there are plenty of realised and wise people out there that can predict outcomes based on current causes and conditions.

My dear sir, anyone can predict outcomes based on current causes and conditions.
Anyone? You are sure? Coz I have seen people do some of the most obviously dumbest things you can imagine!
"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: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby shel » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:41 pm

Yes, Gregkavarnos, believe it or not anyone can make a guess, educated or otherwise.
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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:45 pm

shel wrote:Yes, Gregkavarnos, believe it or not anyone can make a guess, educated or otherwise.
You didn't say "make a guess" you said "predcict outcomes based on current causes and conditions". I should I add "correctly" to the beginning of the phrase to get the meaning I was aiming for.
"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: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby shel » Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:06 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:Yes, Gregkavarnos, believe it or not anyone can make a guess, educated or otherwise.
You didn't say "make a guess" you said "predcict outcomes based on current causes and conditions". I should I add "correctly" to the beginning of the phrase to get the meaning I was aiming for.


Once again, we can only "predcict" [sic] the future, we cannot know it. Do you think omniscience means all estimating or guessing?

And sure, anyone can correctly predict or guess what may happen in the future. Or they may predict incorrectly.
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Re: The path with no goal aka nirvana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:26 pm

Excellent. So now we have established that samsaric beings can correctly or incorrectly predict the future. So what?

As for what I think omniscience means, well, it's completely irrelevant coz I am not omniscient so my opinion can be correct or incorrect. (plus, I don't think anybody really cares, including me).
"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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