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Free-will is it an illusion? - Dhamma Wheel

Free-will is it an illusion?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Wind
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Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby Wind » Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:45 am

Christians would say God gave us Free-will. Does Free-will exist? Or is it similar to Anatta where it's only an illusion?

Kenshou
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby Kenshou » Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:06 am

That's kind of an interesting question. There is choice, but then again those choices or acts of will come about due to other conditions, so I'm not sure which way to go.

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jcsuperstar
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:18 am

there is a sorta limited freewill, your present situation is determined by your past kamma, but that does not mean your present kamma has no influence over it, and both influence your future situation.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

PeterB
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:56 am

Is anatta an illusion ? Or is it atta that is the illusion ? And anyway do we not mean delusion ? atta is an idea isnt it ? Not something we encounter at lunch or in the bathroom and mistake it for something else.

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mikenz66
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:28 am

Well, the free-will question is intimately related to anatta. The "person" who we think is in control really isn't, since that person not only doesn't exist, but doesn't have control. If everything is dependent on causes and conditions, as the Buddha teaches, is there any point in even asking about free will?

Before Peter has to say it, the Buddha's message is radical --- and scary. But (I'm told) liberating...

Mike

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tiltbillings
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:30 am


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jcsuperstar
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:32 am

สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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mikenz66
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:59 am


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jcsuperstar
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:02 am

oh this is where Buddhism becomes confusing, because yes you are right, but what then is it conditioned by if not past choices?
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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tiltbillings
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:07 am


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jcsuperstar
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:21 am

สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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tiltbillings
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:26 am


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mikenz66
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:27 am


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cooran
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby cooran » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:28 am

The really scary thing for me is that there is No real Control.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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tiltbillings
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:30 am


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cooran
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby cooran » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:34 am

Hello all,

This long article may be of interest:
Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Annual, 2007 by Peter Harvey

"A well known issue in Western Philosophy is that of "freedom of the will": whether, how and in what sense human beings have genuine freedom of action in the context of a broad range of external and internal conditioning factors. Any system of ethics also assumes that humans have, in some sense, a freedom to choose between different courses of action. Buddhist ethics is no different in this--but how is freedom of action to be made sense of in a system that sees human beings as an interacting cluster of conditioned and conditioning processes, with no substantial I-agent either within or beyond this cluster? This article explores this issue within Theravada Buddhism, and concludes that the view of this tradition on the issue is a "compatibilist" middle way between seeing a person's actions as completely rigidly determined, and seeing them as totally and unconditionally free, with a variety of factors acting to bring, and increase, the element of freedom that humans have. In a different way, if a person is wrongly seen as an essential, permanent Self, it is an "undetermined question" as to whether "a person's acts of will are determined" or "a person's acts of will are free." If there is no essential person-entity, "it" can not be said to be either determined or free."
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_7 ... n28513265/

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

Shonin
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby Shonin » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:51 am

The "person" who we think is in control is a mental construct.
The "person" who we think is NOT in control is a mental construct.

It's all self-views.

Phenomena just are. 'Me' being or not being in control doesn't come into it. It's a kind of clinging. The Buddhist practice is to see that and thus let go.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:01 am


PeterB
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:06 am


PeterB
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Re: Free-will is it an illusion?

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:21 am

The person is real but transient. The person stubs her/his toe. The person loves and is aversive. The person laughs and cries. They are real.
The idea that they will have existence permanently in whole or part is the construct. Not just a mental construct but a psycho -social construct among psycho- social constructs.
What arises when you clench your hand is a fist. When you open your hand the fist does not arise. Nevertheless for the duration of your clenching the fist had reality as a fist. As that which in the English language is named "fist". Which is an action not a thing. A person is an action not a thing. It does have existence however while the conditions for its arising are present..


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