Conceptuality in Buddhism

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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:02 pm

From all the Theravadra Sutta and commentaries I have read (and quoted from in another thread viewtopic.php?f=66&t=5911&start=20#p68443 ) it is clear that the Buddha is considered omniscient. What is it that makes you believe that there is no common agreement between Mahayana and Theravadra on the subject?
:namaste:
"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: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Mr. G » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:49 pm

I thought it was the same as well. Jnana wrote here:

Just to add: A buddha has knowledge and abilities not shared by arahant disciples. The Paṭisambhidāmagga lists the following:

  • knowledge of the penetration of other beings' faculties
  • knowledge of other beings' biases and underlying tendancies
  • knowledge of the twin miracle*
  • knowledge of the attainment of great compassion
  • omniscience & unobstructed knowledge

    *i.e. the ability to produce fire and water from various parts of the body, as well as walk amid an aura of colors while a created image of his body sits or lies down, etc.


http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 35#p160653
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    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Madyamika Sautrantika vs Prasangika

Postby Mariusz » Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:54 pm

RichardLinde wrote:
Mariusz wrote:unblurred unimpared vision (omniscience)


Yes, but what does that have to do with the ability to predict the details of future events with 100% accuracy?

An unblurred, unimpaired vision doesn't help one to see a square circle.



I guess if your idea of omniscience (unblurred, unimpaired vision) is to know all infinitive causes/conditions during these very causes/conditions, there would be no need to wait (what happens in the future) because the solving already contained in the very incalculable moment. Therefore concepts would be not necessary because what is evident.

Nevertheless I wish you good luck, with this amasing abstract, which like every abstract is a concept only, a simplification, in endless hardship what is total and beyond concepts :smile:
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Mariusz » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:22 pm

I think the cruicial point here is:

"the unblurreb unimpared vision" is really not such at all, but only because our blurred and imparred reference points are real for us only, for example like these enormous amasing abstracts, the concepts "all of infinitive causes", "incalculable moment", "the future", and we can not realize nothing beyond them, nothing "out there" to be caught. In other words "the unblurred unimpared vision" is also an amasing fantasied abstract.
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby RichardLinde » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:07 am

gregkavarnos wrote:From all the Theravadra Sutta and commentaries I have read (and quoted from in another thread viewtopic.php?f=66&t=5911&start=20#p68443 ) it is clear that the Buddha is considered omniscient. What is it that makes you believe that there is no common agreement between Mahayana and Theravadra on the subject?
:namaste:


It should be clear that the word "omniscience" means different things to different people.

The following sums it up nicely

"The commentarial view is that all knowable things are potentially accessible to [the Buddha's understanding, panna], but that they are not all simultaneously accessible." This then leads to the question of what is meant by a knowable thing, which, as Ven. Dhammanando explains, "is an important qualification, for nowhere is it asserted that all things are knowable things." And so the Buddha's "omniscience" as the commentators understand it, is far from being the Allah-like or Jehovah-like omniscience that some Mahayana Buddhists posit. (from here)


The details of future events are not knowable things, and therefore a Buddha can't know them. The knowledge of the details of future events is not an obstacle to a Buddha since it is not something the Buddha seeks - since these details are not knowable.
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Re: Madyamika Sautrantika vs Prasangika

Postby Yontan » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:02 am

A buddha in a vacuum would have nothing to say, nothing to do.
Confusion and suffering present themselves and buddha activity responds in a completely harmonious way, but there's no intention or craft on the part of the buddha. We provide the conceptual framework for our own learned teaching, our own received compassionate activity. This isn't that hard to grasp.
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Mariusz » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:42 am

RichardLinde wrote:The details of future events are not knowable things, and therefore a Buddha can't know them. The knowledge of the details of future events is not an obstacle to a Buddha since it is not something the Buddha seeks - since these details are not knowable.

yes. details of future events are just imaginary nature, and the knowable things are other-dependent nature (the seeming which is not totally faulty). Both of them are just the seeming, experienced by sentient beings as reference points for their clingings and cognitive obcurations. The perfect nature is beyond these reference points because liberation from samsara (dukkha) and all the seeming, the deceived (not only concepts). Yogacara
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Mariusz » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:48 am

RichardLinde wrote:
It should be clear that the word "omniscience" means different things to different people.

The following sums it up nicely

"The commentarial view is that all knowable things are potentially accessible to [the Buddha's understanding, panna], but that they are not all simultaneously accessible." This then leads to the question of what is meant by a knowable thing, which, as Ven. Dhammanando explains, "is an important qualification, for nowhere is it asserted that all things are knowable things." And so the Buddha's "omniscience" as the commentators understand it, is far from being the Allah-like or Jehovah-like omniscience that some Mahayana Buddhists posit.


Again, I wish you good luck with this concept-simplification, in endless hardship what is total and beyond concepts, if you prefer it. Moreover every concept, no matter if omniscience or other, always means different things to different people.

RichardLinde wrote:the details of future events
Moreover details of future events are just imaginary nature because there is no "fatum" or "sin" in Buddhism as you know, unlike Islam or Christianity. Again, if such things will be possible to know they would be only by all-knowing buddhas "out there", so out of our reach "out here". One more object-side perspective paradox. One more view of eternalism according to Madhyamaka.
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:44 am

RichardLinde wrote:It should be clear that the word "omniscience" means different things to different people.
The question was directed at Namdrol and not you, sorry for not making that clear. Anyway, I am not interested in what a term means for each individual, I am interested in the apparent lack of congruence between Theravadra and Mahayana.
:namaste:
"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: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby RichardLinde » Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:28 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:I am interested in the apparent lack of congruence between Theravadra and Mahayana.


It's not like all Theravadins believe one thing and all Mahayanists believe another. Thankfully, some few people follow their own conscience rather than go along with the party line.

There are two main camps: those who believe that it is possible to perfectly know all details about everything, including future events, and those who don't. The way I see it, the former are those who have "faith" in what they believe to be authority, and the latter are those who have investigated the issue.
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:59 pm

RichardLinde wrote:It's not like all Theravadins believe one thing and all Mahayanists believe another. Thankfully, some few people follow their own conscience rather than go along with the party line.
Like I said before, I am not interested in what each individual believes, I am interested in the apparent difference between Mahayana and Theravadra theory regarding omniscience.
There are two main camps: those who believe that it is possible to perfectly know all details about everything, including future events, and those who don't. The way I see it, the former are those who have "faith" in what they believe to be authority, and the latter are those who have investigated the issue.
I am also not interested in your opinion on the matter, unless you have some citations to back it up of course. Your opinon on the matter means as much to me as the local bakers opinion on the matter. ZERO!
:namaste:
"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: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Thug4lyfe » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:51 pm

Academic discussion for the l33t.
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby catmoon » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:10 pm

Food_Eatah wrote:Academic discussion for the l33t.



sorry about that, FE. It seems the inmates of the asylum have constructed a university campus, but for some reason the professors are not attending. Maybe we should scatter some professor seed about the place and see if that attracts them. Or we could construct a big cardboard and duct tape model of a Toyota Prius on the front lawn. Yeah that oughta do it...
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:15 pm

RichardLinde wrote:
There are two main camps: those who believe that it is possible to perfectly know all details about everything, including future events, and those who don't. The way I see it, the former are those who have "faith" in what they believe to be authority, and the latter are those who have investigated the issue.


No, the difference is that former are not realists; and the latter are realists i.e. realists in the sense of thinking that phenomena are fundamentally real (even if they try excuse themselves with the 'lacking inherent existence clause) and that there are therefore concrete limitations on what an "unimpeded mind", such as a Buddha's, can know.

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Acchantika » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:43 pm

Namdrol wrote:
RichardLinde wrote:
There are two main camps: those who believe that it is possible to perfectly know all details about everything, including future events, and those who don't.


No, the difference is that former are not realists; and the latter are realists i.e. realists in the sense of thinking that phenomena are fundamentally real (even if they try excuse themselves with the 'lacking inherent existence clause) and that there are therefore concrete limitations on what an "unimpeded mind", such as a Buddha's, can know.

N


If it is possible to know any detail about anything with certainty, that is a realist position, asserting the objective existence of an object of knowledge. A physicist would argue that all details cannot be known about a given object precisely because it lacks objective existence i.e. is not real; that is, said details are non-objective and dependent on the measurement used, and some details do not exist in all contexts, such as the momentum and position of an electron, for example. This is the exact opposite of realism, and thus a counter-example.
...
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:08 pm

Acchantika wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
RichardLinde wrote:
There are two main camps: those who believe that it is possible to perfectly know all details about everything, including future events, and those who don't.


No, the difference is that former are not realists; and the latter are realists i.e. realists in the sense of thinking that phenomena are fundamentally real (even if they try excuse themselves with the 'lacking inherent existence clause) and that there are therefore concrete limitations on what an "unimpeded mind", such as a Buddha's, can know.

N


If it is possible to know any detail about anything with certainty, that is a realist position...


The counter-example to your assertion is the omniscience of a buddha, which has unimpeded knowledge of all phenomena precisely because all phenomena are illusory and unreal.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Acchantika » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:37 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Acchantika wrote:If it is possible to know any detail about anything with certainty, that is a realist position...


The counter-example to your assertion is the omniscience of a buddha, which has unimpeded knowledge of all phenomena precisely because all phenomena are illusory and unreal.

N


Only if we consider unimpeded knowledge of all phenomena to be the same as knowing all details about everything with certainty.

I do not understand how this can be so if certainty is an existential qualification and knowledge, in the Western philosophical sense, is a concept, as neither are held by Buddhas, yet a Buddha is omniscient.
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:39 pm

Acchantika wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Acchantika wrote:If it is possible to know any detail about anything with certainty, that is a realist position...


The counter-example to your assertion is the omniscience of a buddha, which has unimpeded knowledge of all phenomena precisely because all phenomena are illusory and unreal.

N


Only if we consider unimpeded knowledge of all phenomena to be the same as knowing all details about everything with certainty.


Yes, that is the Mahāyāna definition of omniscience.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby RichardLinde » Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:12 am

Namdrol wrote:Yes, that is the Mahāyāna definition of omniscience.


Who is it who is making these definitions on behalf of the whole of the Mahayana? I am a Mahayanist, and I don't grant them permission to do so. I think they are giving the Mahayana a bad name.

Acchantika says "If it is possible to know any detail about anything with certainty, that is a realist position." And that is absolutely correct. Such a position is "realist" in the sense of "believing in fantasies", and reifying things that cannot be reified.

It does not follow from the knowledge and perception of the lack of inherent existence of things - the direct realization of emptiness - that one can know all details about everything. If anyone thinks that it does, then please present your reasons. If you can't present reasons then you don't have a case.

It doesn't help to appeal to the imagined "Mahayana definition", which doesn't even exist.
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Re: Conceptuality in Buddhism

Postby devilyoudont » Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:17 am

My understanding comes straight from the Diamond Sutra: It is because the mind is unreal that all past, present and future minds are known to the Tathagata. Because his consciousness is perfectly empathetic and unimpeded by false ego boundaries, anything you have felt, ("feeling", as I use it here, encompasses seeing*, knowing and all other mental configurations) are feeling, or will ever feel has already been perceived by the Buddha as clearly as you would have if you had been paying attention. Since all minds are known to the Tathagata, the dharmas arising before each of these minds are also known to him. And if all illusory mental perceptions are known to the Tathagata, what dharmas exist apart from these?

Now you might believe that such a state is unattainable, (or that traditional training is not conducive to its cultivation) which is something else altogether.

PS. There are other ways out of this too. Eg. You might assign ontological priority to some other framework than this whole ego/egoless narrative, but that would make it difficult to work within the Buddhist tradition.

*Is it, though? I've always assumed the Buddha's perception to include a full range of experiences. I may have been wrong, but that would mean I can experience something a Buddha cannot perceive as long as it doesn't register in my "mind" somehow. Is such a thing even possible? Depends on the definitions involved, so I humbly request instruction on this point.
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