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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:16 pm 
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nowheat wrote:
I would be interested in hearing how you perceive the relationship between the "ignorance" that's in the first step of dependent origination, and non-conceptual mental processes.

see last sentence at the bottom of this post.


nowheat wrote:
I'm not a scientist, so I can't *show* you anything, but when the component parts of the brain are severely damaged, cognitive function ceases. The link between the two has been evident for quite a long time.


Yes, of course that's true, just as a mirror doesn't reflect properly if smashed. The human brain only provides the physical environment, the conditions for the movement of neurons and so forth that are required for the experience we have as humans. But the parts combined don't create the thoughts. Another analogy is a deer in the woods. The woods provide the conditions, the habitat, for the deer species to arise. But the deer do not grow on trees. However, we can also say that in fact the deer do grow on plants, because they eat the types of plants that grow in the woods & meadows. And the plants grow the way they do partly because of the impact of the animal population. The two arise together but one is not a direct byproduct of the other, Similarly, cognitive awareness arises when subject, object, and the interaction between them occur all at once. Now, you may ask, "who is the subject?" but I will address that below.



nowheat wrote:
I can also understand, from a historical and scientific perspective, why it would be that these many component processes generate that sense of self -- evolution would quite naturally lead to the sort of complexity that develops that sense of self as a method of preserving the organism that passes on the genes.

Well, I don't understand that. Please explain to me how carbon and water, salt and so on generates a sense of self.




PadmaVonSamba wrote:
It is that apparent reality which makes up this realm or that, this lifetime or that lifetime. If you are greedy in a past life, maybe you will be needy in this one.

nowheat wrote:
Who is this "you"?


There isn't one, really. The "you" is simply the appearance which occurs, which ignorant beings take for real and which awakened beings see as illusory. Some Buddhists, I think some Navayana Buddhists, perhaps, see the various 'celestial beings' and hungry ghosts and so forth of traditional buddhism as metaphors, as personifications of concepts and ideas. Well, that is precisely what you are and what I am: personifications of concepts and ideas .
The term commonly used in Buddhism is, "a projection of mind".

Of course they are all made up, but you and I am too.

(This is the reply to the quote at the top of this post.)


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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:17 pm 
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Caz wrote:
Nangwa wrote:
Caz wrote:
I wonder do people actually know how dangerous it is to spread wrong views, With wrong views the path to liberation is closed. More Samsara. :buddha1:

They don't think it's wrong view.
Which oddly enough is good. If they knew it was wrong view and still worked to convince others to share it the situation would be far worse.
It is however a good way to continue in samsara, since the root of both wrong view and samsara is ignorance.


Gee its pretty clear in the Sutta's what is wrong view, Then again I know people who select the bits they like and Ignore the bits they don't so why should I be surprised.

Not only is it clear in the suttas, but someone like Stephen Batchelor, who is actively propagating this nonsense, has studied in Dharamsala and trained in Korean monasteries, and should know very well that what he is now teaching as "Buddhism" is based on wrong view. Batchelor, No Future In A Parrot's Egg:

    I reject karma and rebirth not only because I find them unintelligible, but because I believe they obscure and distort what the Buddha was trying to say.

Of course, this kind of rejection of Buddhist dharma can all too easily lead to a rejection of the entire Buddhist tradition as being grossly ignorant and therefore worthy of contempt. For example, Sam Harris, Killing the Buddha:

    As students of the Buddha, we should dispense with Buddhism.... I believe that merely being a self-described "Buddhist" is to be complicit in the world's violence and ignorance to an unacceptable degree.

It seems that in both cases this rejection of Buddhist teachings and tradition is rooted in a narcissistic urge to remake the Buddha in one's own image in order to feel good.


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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:03 pm 
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The approach to Buddhism by the New Atheists in interesting. They are attracted to since it offers access to the transcendent/ mysterious/nouminous/extra-rational aspect of human experience without all that nonsense about a creator God. They hate it too because Buddhism contains concepts that cannot be neatly reduced and explained via the scientific method. What a let-down!
However, once you remove all the non-rational elements you are left largely with an anodyne, warm-fuzzy insipid set of psychotherapeutic techniques that doesn’t satisfy either. No wonder they are all so grumpy. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:05 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
First Noble Truth: Life (existence) is suffering. It has nothing to do with traditional vs secular Buddhism, it has to do with Buddhism vs nowheat's ridiculous BS.

I wonder if you could, please, would you show me a sutta in which the original language (not translations) actually have the Buddha saying that "*life* is suffering"? I hear this stated as what the Buddha said was his first noble truth, but have yet to find it in the Pali canon, though I have looked for it. I have found, many times, him naming aspects of life as dukkha, but not the whole of life itself.

Quote:
Control meaning?

"to exercise restraining or directing influence over" (Merriam Webster dictionary)

Quote:
As long as there is ignorance there will be wholesome and unwholesome actions (karma)

Yes, this is true. And is that what the Buddha has us aiming for? a continuation of wholesome and unwholesome actions? Or is he teaching us the way to end these?


Quote:
Yes they do, it just won't be this "me", it'll be a continuation of your mental continuim (the same one that flows from moment to moment pushed propelled by ignorance).

Ah, now this is what's interesting. You are positing a continuation of some aspect of the present existence into the future. The Buddha suggests we look within, and see if we can locate anything lasting in ourselves; probably you've done this exercise and thrown out the five aggregates, right? but here you've found *something else* -- defined it as "not me" and said *that's* what's lasting. As a behavioral scientist, I'm betting you've read about "cognitive dissonance"?

gregkavarnos wrote:
nowheat wrote:
Some of the consequences of my actions here and now will surely extend into the future and those effects will be felt by many -- that's actually a critical point: the concern with my actions affecting the many should be greater than concern for how my karma affects "me" in the future (especially since there ain't no "me" in the future).
Yes, well, this is where your ignorance of the workings of karma really become blaringly obvious.

Did I say that what was going on after my death was "karma"? I thought I said "the consequences of my actions" will extend into the future and should be of greater concern than how "karma affects 'me' in the future". Did you miss the distinction?

Quote:
I will not reap the consequences of you killing my mother.

So that I am clear on what you're saying, are you saying there is *no effect on you at all* (no consequences for you) if I kill your mother? Or are you saying there are no *karmic* effects for you?


gregkavarnos wrote:
nowheat wrote:
Craving is craving for confirmation of the existence of self, a confirmation that we look for and believe we find in our experiences; clinging is developing views (based on our experiences) that feed the sense that there is a lasting self and that the things we do to nurture and protect that "self" will lead to the good outcome we want for ourselves; becoming is the way those opinions shape our sense of self which (you didn't ask about birth but I'll carry on anyway) results in our sense of self becoming (there's that word again) a visible manifestation of our beliefs through our actions.
Hogwash, yet again. There are three doors of action (karma): mind, speech and body. Craving and clinging are karma of mind, becoming is karma of body. You have no idea what you are talking about.

I have plenty of clarity on what I'm talking about, I'm just not working from the same understanding of DO that you are. You didn't ask what my understanding of the Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist clinging, craving and becoming were. We were talking about what my understanding of these things were, and I answered within that discussion.

gregkavarnos wrote:
nowheat wrote:
And I do it all for you, because you are concerned about karma. I can also do the whole DO without it -- as I have said I can -- but I'm still talking to you about it from the perspective of karma. I am trying to learn from the Buddha's methods, because he had amazing skill at talking to people within the framework they were familiar with. I doubt I'll ever be as good at it as he was though.
No, you recourse to karma (action) and rebirth because there is no other way to explain DO. You have deluded yourself into believing that you have come up with a new explanation but you have not because you cannot (not being enlightened and all...)

Ah, delusion: thinking we know what's going on when we don't; coming to conclusions on too few facts. I know you feel that's what I'm doing, but here you're clearly doing it. You've assumed that because I haven't done something, I can't. You haven't seen that bird fly? It can't! Strange leap you're making there.

Tell you what: when my paper comes out (mid-May, I think) I will be doing a series of posts on DO on the Secular Buddhist Association . I just pulled up my copy of the posts and the word "karma" doesn't appear in them even once. Keep an eye out (you know you want to -- hah!) I'm sure you'll find it entertaining.

:namaste:


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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:26 pm 
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nowheat wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
First Noble Truth: Life (existence) is suffering. It has nothing to do with traditional vs secular Buddhism, it has to do with Buddhism vs nowheat's ridiculous BS.

I wonder if you could, please, would you show me a sutta in which the original language (not translations) actually have the Buddha saying that "*life* is suffering"? I hear this stated as what the Buddha said was his first noble truth, but have yet to find it in the Pali canon, though I have looked for it. I have found, many times, him naming aspects of life as dukkha, but not the whole of life itself.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html

Quote:
In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha


Basically, all of the elements of the mind and body are suffering.

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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:37 pm 
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Dechen Norbu wrote:
So make your points and address criticism in an honest way. If you have no evidence to show that Buddha meant this or that teaching metaphorically, and that means his admission


Just to be clear, I am not talking about metaphor. Metonyms, on occasion, but not metaphor. Mostly I am talking about making reference to another lesson, which isn't really either metaphor or metonym.

And what constitutes "admission"? Do you require a statement made in a structure that would be used by modern speakers (albeit in another language)? So, for example, if someone says "First Noble Truth: Life (existence) is suffering" -- should they be required, when asked, to post a quote that has Pali or Sanskrit words for "life" or "existence" and "dukkha" in a grammatical construction that could be precisely translated as "life (or existence) is suffering"? Or do you accept, as "an admission" (in this case "that life is suffering") a somewhat less direct quote, one that lists, say, certain aspects of life (sickness, aging, death, sorrow, pain, lamentation, despair) as being dukkha -- so that it's open for interpretation? One person might interpret that as the Buddha *meaning* that "life is suffering" (though the Buddha didn't "admit" it in so many words) while another person -- one who works with the literal, rather than the metaphorical or metonymic -- would say "he never said life is suffering"?

Quote:
It's just not entitled to impose it as being Buddhist to others.

Time to define "Buddhist" I think. What I mean when I speak of "a Buddhist" is someone who does their utmost to follow the Buddha's teaching by studying those teachings and putting them into practice. Therefore discussion of "being Buddhist" includes what all sincere practitioners (not trolls) work with. Would you define it differently?

Quote:
So, debate as you wish, but address criticism properly. Otherwise you'll force me to moderate the discussion and I really wouldn't like to do that.


Might you also ask people to specifically detail their reasoning in quoting a sutta (or in pasting the whole thing into a message) rather than just, effectively, saying "you're wrong" and then pasting in a sutta? I am genuinely interested in discovering how my understanding of Buddhism differs from those I am engaging with, and don't find great hunks of suttas thrown in without good explanation of much use. I note that when I ask the point of these quotations, I don't get answers -- which is surely not "addressing criticism properly". I end up ignoring them, which is not something I wish to do -- because if they are part of criticism of my points, I *would* like to address them properly, but can't for lack of explanation of how the individual is reading the quote's relevance to the discussion.

:namaste:


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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:04 pm 
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nowheat wrote:
I just pulled up my copy of the posts and the word "karma" doesn't appear in them even once. Keep an eye out (you know you want to -- hah!) I'm sure you'll find it entertaining.

:namaste:


viewtopic.php?f=66&t=7990&p=96006#p96006

Here is a post of yours, selected more or less at random, that contains an extensive discussion of karma.

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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:23 pm 
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PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Another analogy is a deer in the woods. The woods provide the conditions, the habitat, for the deer species to arise. But the deer do not grow on trees. However, we can also say that in fact the deer do grow on plants, because they eat the types of plants that grow in the woods & meadows. And the plants grow the way they do partly because of the impact of the animal population. The two arise together but one is not a direct byproduct of the other

It seems to me you are confusing the meaning of "conditions" -- of cause and effect -- to a large degree here, but I'm not quite sure where exactly the confusion comes from. It's almost as if you are saying that however many component conditions go into something, that's not enough to make it come into existence -- there has to be something else thrown in to make it happen.

I'm also not sure what you mean by "byproduct". I find it defined as "1. a secondary or incidental product, as in a process of manufacture. 2. the result of another action, often unforeseen or unintended" (Dictionary.com). I'm sure a deer is not a secondary or incidental effect of forests, or the results of a forests' actions -- or vice versa -- so I'm not sure what you're trying to say here.

Certainly there are many conditions that go into the making of a deer -- there are many conditions that go into the making of a forest. But I don't see how this relates to the brain producing thoughts, or cognitive ability, or consciousness (if that's where we're heading).


PadmaVonSamba wrote:
nowheat wrote:
I can also understand, from a historical and scientific perspective, why it would be that these many component processes generate that sense of self -- evolution would quite naturally lead to the sort of complexity that develops that sense of self as a method of preserving the organism that passes on the genes.

Well, I don't understand that. Please explain to me how carbon and water, salt and so on generates a sense of self.


A primary operating system in our world seems to be survival. This makes sense: that which does not have survival as a priority is not going to last long enough to reproduce; that which does not reproduce breaks down (ceases to exist); that which reproduces continues and if it is very successful, multiplies and spreads.

One mechanism that enhances survival is protective strategies, and the one we are working with here is the recognition, on some level, that "I exist and I want to continue to exist". Having a very strong sense of self worked as a strategy that increased survival. It is that need to protect the vehicle that generates a sense of self, because it was a successful strategy for genes to survive.



PadmaVonSamba wrote:
It is that apparent reality which makes up this realm or that, this lifetime or that lifetime. If you are greedy in a past life, maybe you will be needy in this one.

nowheat wrote:
Who is this "you"?

PadmaVonSamba wrote:

There isn't one, really. The "you" is simply the appearance which occurs, which ignorant beings take for real and which awakened beings see as illusory. Some Buddhists, I think some Navayana Buddhists, perhaps, see the various 'celestial beings' and hungry ghosts and so forth of traditional buddhism as metaphors, as personifications of concepts and ideas. Well, that is precisely what you are and what I am: personifications of concepts and ideas .


The term commonly used in Buddhism is, "a projection of mind".

This is, I believe, my original point. There is nothing to tie the karma of this present existence to any existence beyond death.

I suspect, though, that this is why we are talking, above, about deer and forests, about physical brains not being enough (to your way of thinking) to produce thoughts. For karma to work -- for the remainder (the unused results, so to speak) of karma to get from here and now to a time after the breakup of this body, there has to be something (let's call it "a vehicle" though it need not be concrete) to carry it forward and let that karma get dealt with by a "projection of mind" in that future. By suggesting that the brain is not enough, are you looking for that vehicle for unused karma?


PadmaVonSamba wrote:
nowheat wrote:
I would be interested in hearing how you perceive the relationship between the "ignorance" that's in the first step of dependent origination, and non-conceptual mental processes.

see last sentence at the bottom of this post.



Of course they are all made up, but you and I am too.

(This is the reply to the quote at the top of this post.)

This doesn't really answer my question, but then I didn't ask the question all that specifically, for which I apologize.

I was wondering if what you are calling "non-conceptual thought" is involved in the ignorance that is the first condition for DO. Is that non-conceptual thought something that must be changed or done away with to end that ignorance? If not, is it affected by the end of ignorance at all?

:namaste:


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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:27 pm 
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Paul wrote:
nowheat wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
First Noble Truth: Life (existence) is suffering. It has nothing to do with traditional vs secular Buddhism, it has to do with Buddhism vs nowheat's ridiculous BS.

I wonder if you could, please, would you show me a sutta in which the original language (not translations) actually have the Buddha saying that "*life* is suffering"? I hear this stated as what the Buddha said was his first noble truth, but have yet to find it in the Pali canon, though I have looked for it. I have found, many times, him naming aspects of life as dukkha, but not the whole of life itself.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html

Quote:
In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha


Basically, all of the elements of the mind and body are suffering.


Yes, each and every one that we cling to is dukkha. Not all of life is clung-to. Arahats live, and they do not cling. It is not "life" that is dukkha, it is the cliinging that is dukkha.

:namaste:


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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:32 pm 
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nowheat wrote:
Paul wrote:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html

Quote:
In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha


Basically, all of the elements of the mind and body are suffering.


Yes, each and every one that we cling to is dukkha. Not all of life is clung-to. Arahats live, and they do not cling. It is not "life" that is dukkha, it is the cliinging that is dukkha.

:namaste:


And so you agree that for those that aren't completely awakened, all of experience is suffering because by definition, they cling to every phenomena they experience.

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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:34 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
nowheat wrote:
I just pulled up my copy of the posts and the word "karma" doesn't appear in them even once. Keep an eye out (you know you want to -- hah!) I'm sure you'll find it entertaining.

:namaste:


viewtopic.php?f=66&t=7990&p=96006#p96006

Here is a post of yours, selected more or less at random, that contains an extensive discussion of karma.


It does indeed. But I am quite sure I have never said that I never talk about dependent origination with reference to karma. I said I am entirely capable of talking about it without reference to karma. I have also said that I do my best to talk to people from within their own preferred frame of reference -- which on these boards includes karma. So, yes, I do that quite a lot. By extension, the reason I don't mention karma at all in the Secular Buddhist posts I have here in draft is because they don't tend to see the world in terms of karma.

Incidentally, I find nothing wrong with the concept of karma; I use it myself. I disagree with Batchelor that karma and rebirth are "unintelligible". Because I find the concept of karma useful, I will sometimes use it with Secular types, too, because I am trying to counteract the idea that it is unintelligible, and show the ways that it is meaningful.

:namaste:


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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:46 pm 
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Paul wrote:
And so you agree that for those that aren't completely awakened, all of experience is suffering because by definition, they cling to every phenomena they experience.


Interesting point, Paul, thank you for bringing it up.

I don't agree, actually. The assumption you're making (about my beliefs, if not about your own) is that what's being described is two states: on and off. You're fully enlightened or you're totally deluded; you cling to everything or you cling to nothing. But this is not what I see in practice, nor is it what I find the Buddha saying in the suttas.

The way I understand it, the reason the Buddha qualifies those aggregates so often as being about clinging is because we can experience non-clinging and he wants to be clear that it's not the experiences we have in which we don't cling that need to be examined; it's the ways in which we do cling that are the focus.

In actual practice, there are experiences anyone can have that aren't interpreted through clinging-to-self. For example, when the Buddha -- er, Bodhisatva at that point, I should say -- sat down under the Bodhi tree, and recalled the experience he had had as a boy of pleasure in a meditative state, and decided that pleasure was not problematic and he decided, then, to use that state while he sat seeking enlightenment -- that pleasurable feeling that comes from that kind of meditation, he suggests to us is not the problematic kind of feeling. So I would interpret that state as not being about clinging.

What I perceive is a process in which we learn not to cling to self. It's not that somehow practice leads to throwing the switch to the "clinging off" position. So, no, I don't agree that "all of experience is suffering because by definition, they cling to every phenomena they experience."

:namaste:


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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:05 pm 
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nowheat wrote:
I wonder if you could, please, would you show me a sutta in which the original language (not translations) actually have the Buddha saying that "*life* is suffering"? I hear this stated as what the Buddha said was his first noble truth, but have yet to find it in the Pali canon, though I have looked for it. I have found, many times, him naming aspects of life as dukkha, but not the whole of life itself.
The Pali wording of the first noble truth is as follows:
"Idam kho pana, bhikkhave, dukkham ariyasaccam: jātipi dukkhā, jarāpi dukkhā, byādhipi dukkho, maranampi dukkham, appiyehi sampayogo dukkho, piyehi vippayogo dukkho, yampiccham na labhati tampi dukkham: samkhittena pañcupādānakkhandhā dukkhā."

"This, monks, is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, disease is suffering, death is suffering, association with the unloved is suffering, separation from the loved is suffering, not getting what one wants is suffering, in brief the five aggregates of grasping are suffering." Well I guess to out it in one word "life" or "living" is suffering since any specific instance of life will be included under one of the descriptive factors in the list.
Quote:
"to exercise restraining or directing influence over" (Merriam Webster dictionary)
Yes, I am aware of what the word means, I want you to define what it means in the context of your view.
Quote:
Yes, this is true. And is that what the Buddha has us aiming for? a continuation of wholesome and unwholesome actions? Or is he teaching us the way to end these?
Until you are enlightened you cannot end karma, BUT by engaging in wholesome activities (Noble Eightfold Path) you will set up future causes and conditions conducive to practice and subsequent enlightenment.
Quote:
Ah, now this is what's interesting. You are positing a continuation of some aspect of the present existence into the future.
Nope, the metaphor generally used is lighting a candle from the flame of another candle, continuation? Yes, Of something? Yes. Of what?
Quote:
Did I say that what was going on after my death was "karma"? I thought I said "the consequences of my actions" will extend into the future and should be of greater concern than how "karma affects 'me' in the future". Did you miss the distinction?
Consequences of actions = karma vipakka. The bit about the "me" has already been explained.
Quote:
So that I am clear on what you're saying, are you saying there is *no effect on you at all* (no consequences for you) if I kill your mother? Or are you saying there are no *karmic* effects for you?
I've already explained this in the last post. Go back and read it and don't be so eager to respond without first understanding.
Quote:
I have plenty of clarity on what I'm talking about, I'm just not working from the same understanding of DO that you are. You didn't ask what my understanding of the Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist clinging, craving and becoming were. We were talking about what my understanding of these things were, and I answered within that discussion.
If you cannot tell your ass from your elbow I am not to blame.
Quote:
Tell you what: when my paper comes out (mid-May, I think) I will be doing a series of posts on DO on the Secular Buddhist Association . I just pulled up my copy of the posts and the word "karma" doesn't appear in them even once. Keep an eye out (you know you want to -- hah!) I'm sure you'll find it entertaining.
I am sure I will find it boring and irrelevant and most probably won't read it, I base this prediction on the synoptic insight into your theory over the past 6-7 pages of discussion.

The best of luck on your thankless (and pointless) endeavour.
:namaste:

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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:19 pm 
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nowheat wrote:
It's almost as if you are saying that however many component conditions go into something, that's not enough to make it come into existence -- there has to be something else thrown in to make it happen.


Ummm, no, that's not what I am saying, and that is not what the teachings say. And actually that statement doesn't make sense because Mind is a component (some would argue the whole thing). Without some level of awareness, meaning the experience of a witness there is no experience of an event or of a "self." Consider the tree that falls in the forest and nobody hears it. It does not make a sound. It does cause molecular vibrations but only when they come into contact with an ear, and that vibration on the eardrum is experienced, and by experienced, I mean interpreted by the mind, witnessed that way, is it a sound. The vibrations can be recorded, but only when that recording is heard does it become sound. until then, it is only the recording of a vibration. The vibration may be part of the cause of a sound but it isn't the sound. It's like that. The actual sound only occurs in the mind.

nowheat wrote:
I'm also not sure what you mean by "byproduct".

What I mean is that deer do not grow on trees like apples!! There is some symbiosis. the deer eat the apples, they poop apple seeds and more apple trees grow. Mind and object arise together, but the physical parts of the brain do not produce thoughts. Thoughts are not composed of molecules. Thoughts are not physical things. they do not exist in space, they only for durations of time (and perhaps not even that).

nowheat wrote:
This is, I believe, my original point. There is nothing to tie the karma of this present existence to any existence beyond death.
That may be your original point but that is not what I am saying. Your statement implies that a self needs to exist in order for karma to function, and for rebirth to occur. You are saying that without a self, there is no karma, no rebirth. This is a misunderstanding.

it is preciseley because there is no existent "self" that that karma operates and that rebirth occurs. If there were a "self" (atma), it would have to be a constant, and unchanging finite entity. Karma and rebirth have to do withe the causes and effects of lots of events, not a 'self'. Those causes and events are not bound to the coming and going a physical body.
If it were, the body (brain) could be shown to produce thoughts and store thoughts. But the brain does not store thoughts or memories. The brain only maintains the chemistry through which electrical impulses are experienced as thought and memory.
It's like a mirror. A mirror does not produce or store visual information. It only provides the smooth physical surface by which light can be reflected.

If you are a buddhist, then you accept the idea of "no self".
if there is no self, how are you keeping track of things from one moment to the next?
there is no self doing that.
it is because of a lot of events going on.
But the material part of those events do not produce thoughts.
Thoughts are not composed of atoms.

karma is like the flame of a candle consuming the wick and wax. We think it is the same flame as it burns all the way down. But it is not. It merely consumes oxygen, string, and wax in a continuous chain of combustion, each link hot enough to cause the next to burn. The string, the wax and the flame only appear as the 'self' of the candle.

karma is like that. Rebirth is like that. One link fires up the next, and what we experience as "me" is merely a seemingly infinite bunch of links, like a handful of candles.

it is pointless for a person to say they don't agree with the buddhist teaching
of a self being reborn or experiencing karma,
because that isn't what buddhism teaches.
but it seems that this is your objection.
it seems that you are still asserting some kind of self.

.
.
.

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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:23 pm 
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Okay, you want an example that will help grasp the idea of karma and rebirth with no self? Consider a jpeg image of a cute kitten on a computer which actually contains a virus and every time the jpeg is downloaded, it replicates itself and sends the same picture out again. on handheld devices it is a tiny picture. On big computer screens the kitten appears big. the color may be different here and there. It depends on the computer exactly how the picture looks. The thing is, no picture of a cute kitten actually exists. Just millions of different colors of pixels grouped together to create the appearance of a picture of a kitten. And those pixels don't really exist either. they are just bits of hexidecimal code dictating which kind of colored light appears on the computer screen. Nonetheless, in the realm of the computer user (Cyberloka?) it exists as a kitten replicating itself as a virus. the hardware of the computer is not producing the image. In fact, no image is actually produced until it is seen by the mind of the user, as a picture of a kitten. A cute kitten. One that talks about cheezburgers.

Likewise, no self exists, but millions of conditions replicating themselves, changing a little bit each time when the situation arises. The physical hardware of the brain does not produce the thoughts. It just provides the opportunity for the events of of the physical body to be experienced by the basic awareness of the mind.
.
.
. :coffee:

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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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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:58 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
"This, monks, is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, disease is suffering, death is suffering, association with the unloved is suffering, separation from the loved is suffering, not getting what one wants is suffering, in brief the five aggregates of grasping are suffering." Well I guess to out it in one word "life" or "living" is suffering since any specific instance of life will be included under one of the descriptive factors in the list.

Funny to find myself in this situation. Here I am, the one usually being told that I am not reading what's there, but am reading into the words, now in the position of pointing out to you that the Buddha doesn't say "life is suffering" -- you are reading into a series of words, and interpreting them the way you prefer. I prefer to take him fairly literally -- that it is in these aspects of life that we find suffering. I would suggest that he lists them because this is what he means -- we should take him at his word. If he had meant "life is suffering" he sure could have said it.

gregkavarnos wrote:
nowheat wrote:
"to exercise restraining or directing influence over" (Merriam Webster dictionary)
Yes, I am aware of what the word means, I want you to define what it means in the context of your view.

But that says it as well as I could. We were speaking about actions that are within our control -- so this would be actions that we can exercise restraint over and have a directing influence over.

nowheat wrote:
(3) But the actions we take are those we can observe, that are within our control if we are but educated to understand the issues (thereby ending ignorance), and the consequences of those actions are those we can see for ourselves quite clearly -- within this very lifetime.

gregkavarnos wrote:
nowheat wrote:
...if we are but educated to understand the issues (thereby ending ignorance), and the consequences of those actions...
I'll take it you are talking about wholesome vs unwholesome actions here.

gregkavarnos wrote:
nowheat wrote:
Actually I'm talking about the end of wholesome and unwholesome (ala MN 78).
As long as there is ignorance there will be wholesome and unwholesome actions (karma)
Quote:
Yes, this is true. And is that what the Buddha has us aiming for? a continuation of wholesome and unwholesome actions? Or is he teaching us the way to end these?
Until you are enlightened you cannot end karma, BUT by engaging in wholesome activities (Noble Eightfold Path) you will set up future causes and conditions conducive to practice and subsequent enlightenment.


This conversation has gone full circle from me saying that the ending portion of DO is about how actions result in consequences, and only understanding what's going on ends ignorance, to you saying the same thing in reverse -- the end of ignorance brings the end of those problematic actions. We seem, pretty much, in agreement on that reading of DO.

When you point out in today's post that wholesome activities are conditions that lead to enlightenment, I agree with you on that point also -- but the difference this brings up is that it seems to me the emphasis here is so much on wholesome activities that the important aspects of the Buddha's teachings on how to *end* wholesome activities gets shuffled into the background.

As has been pointed out elsewhere in this thread, ethics aren't the whole of Buddhism. They are wholesome things, true. But *anyone* can do wholesome -- any system of ethics can, anyway. But an ethical system -- even with meditation and mindfulness thrown in -- isn't Buddhism, is it?

Wholesome is just a starting place -- it's not what Buddhism is *about* -- its a great beginning place, sets up an environment in which learning can take place, and provides the tools for that learning. But the essence of what needs to be learned and understood is in those four seals (or three marks of existence if you want to look at it from the Theravadan view). Why is the emphasis more on wholesome behavior than it is on the deeper teachings, I wonder? Is it because we're mostly trying to aim the conversation at people with perceive as "beginners"? The ones who most need the rudiments of morality drilled into them? and to be encouraged to set up an environment in which they can have a stable practice? That would be a really good reason for focus on adopting wholesome behavior over unwholesome.

Or might it have more to do with the idea that it takes *many* lifetimes to reach enlightenment, so pretty much *everyone* is a beginner for the whole of their lives? This life and the next and the next and the next -- beginners through the ages? And since we assume that everyone is a beginner for a long, long time, we talk mostly about the early basics, and don't focus much on the parts we *really* need to understand to get off that track?



gregkavarnos wrote:
Quote:
Ah, now this is what's interesting. You are positing a continuation of some aspect of the present existence into the future.
Nope, the metaphor generally used is lighting a candle from the flame of another candle, continuation? Yes, Of something? Yes. Of what?


It doesn't matter "what". The metaphor of the flame is positing a what. It doesn't matter if you call it "something" or "nothing" or "the unknowable" or "a process" or "energy" or "heat" or "flame" or "it's a mystery" or just describe it with a metaphor. Being unable to name it doesn't make it any more real or excuse it being unverifiable. Something is being posited and it goes from the temporary conditions of this life, past death, into the aggregates of some future existence. You could even say "it's the karma that goes from this life to the next". Whatever you want to call it, it transcends death, and you're back to having something identified with my present existence that goes to some future existence.

You can't tell me how that future existence gets to be the one that gets the karma generated in this existence -- it's just dumb, random luck, isn't it? Or is there some other connection besides random dumb luck that assigns the karma generated by *this* collection of aggregates to *that* collection of aggregates? (In case you've forgotten, that was a point I made a long time ago when you were saying that without karma, the conditions we have in this life are perhaps just luck or some other thing you couldn't waste time suggesting.) Either there is something that ties this heap's existence to that heap's existence, or it's just random, in which case karma is no different than the materialist's description of why I have celiac disease.

Cognitive dissonance requires the unnamed mystery. It is not consistent to say there is no "me" but "my karma" should be a concern because otherwise in the future "I" will suffer -- and the only way to solve the problem is to provide a mysterious "not me" to do the job. Putting a mystery there patches the problem but doesn't actually solve it. But cognitive dissonance probably won't let you see this. Unfortunately, it also prevents seeing the way adopting the mystery undermines the deepest of the Buddha's teachings about how adopting views of things for which we have no good evidence harms our progress on the path.

gregkavarnos wrote:
Quote:
Tell you what: when my paper comes out (mid-May, I think) I will be doing a series of posts on DO on the Secular Buddhist Association . I just pulled up my copy of the posts and the word "karma" doesn't appear in them even once. Keep an eye out (you know you want to -- hah!) I'm sure you'll find it entertaining.
I am sure I will find it boring and irrelevant and most probably won't read it, I base this prediction on the synoptic insight into your theory over the past 6-7 pages of discussion.

I arrived at the same prediction based on a somewhat different set of observations.

:namaste:


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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:22 am 
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PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Okay, you want an example that will help grasp the idea of karma and rebirth with no self? Consider a jpeg image of a cute kitten on a computer which actually contains a virus and every time the jpeg is downloaded, it replicates itself and sends the same picture out again. on handheld devices it is a tiny picture. On big computer screens the kitten appears big. the color may be different here and there. It depends on the computer exactly how the picture looks. The thing is, no picture of a cute kitten actually exists. Just millions of different colors of pixels grouped together to create the appearance of a picture of a kitten. And those pixels don't really exist either. they are just bits of hexidecimal code dictating which kind of colored light appears on the computer screen. Nonetheless, in the realm of the computer user (Cyberloka?) it exists as a kitten replicating itself as a virus. the hardware of the computer is not producing the image. In fact, no image is actually produced until it is seen by the mind of the user, as a picture of a kitten. A cute kitten. One that talks about cheezburgers.

Likewise, no self exists, but millions of conditions replicating themselves, changing a little bit each time when the situation arises. The physical hardware of the brain does not produce the thoughts. It just provides the opportunity for the events of of the physical body to be experienced by the basic awareness of the mind.


Thanks for your patient explanations, Padma.

But the code exists physically, as (I'm not a computer expert) magnetic alignments of molecules on a chip. That it can be transferred into different media and interpreted different ways doesn't make it unreal. The image of a kitty cat isn't a kitty cat, it's an image. A rock perceived by me and perceived by a spider will look substantially different, too. That the image looks different doesn't affect the reality of the rock. Our perception of the rock is not capable of perceiving it in all possible ways -- that doesn't make the rock unreal.

I don't disagree that there is no fixed self. I simply see that there is nothing that can tie the karma created by the heap that people perceive as me to some other heap in the future without violating the lack of a fixed nature of this heap. As soon as there is something that goes from this heap to some other heap, then there is something lasting. You can see my post on page 9 of this thread, the section that begins "It doesn't matter "what". The metaphor of the flame is positing a what" for details if you'd like.

More important than that, though, is *why* the Buddha would teach us to be concerned about *one particular life in the future". Even without the illogic of the cosmology that has karma going from this life to the next, there is the total non-sense of fostering a concern with anything remotely like "the condition of my future life" rather than fostering a total lack of concern with what happens to *me* (since there is no *me*) and being, instead, concerned with the well-being of *all* beings in the future. Shouldn't my concern about my acts be focused on all beings, instead of one life in the future? Does it actually make sense to you that the Buddha would want you to have as your strong focus that one life, rather than the life of all beings?

:namaste:


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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:07 am 
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nowheat wrote:

Thanks for your patient explanations, Padma.


patience is a virtue.
But I think you are just talking to yourself now. I've said all I can.
If you don't try to at least understand what I am saying then there is nothing else to say.

:namaste:

_________________
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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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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:25 am 
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PadmaVonSamba wrote:
nowheat wrote:
This is, I believe, my original point. There is nothing to tie the karma of this present existence to any existence beyond death.
That may be your original point but that is not what I am saying. Your statement implies that a self needs to exist in order for karma to function, and for rebirth to occur. You are saying that without a self, there is no karma, no rebirth. This is a misunderstanding.

Actually, no, my statement doesn't imply a self at all -- karma comes out of the aggregates, not the self (because there is no self, only that which we mistake for a self). I am saying that since there is nothing we can find that lasts beyond death, there is no evidence that karma lasts beyond death. If you posit karma as lasting beyond death, you have posited something lasting. And since karma is defined as belonging to its creator (that which is not self), if it survives death then there is something lasting belonging to that creator.

Quote:
If it were, the body (brain) could be shown to produce thoughts and store thoughts. But the brain does not store thoughts or memories. The brain only maintains the chemistry through which electrical impulses are experienced as thought and memory.
It's like a mirror. A mirror does not produce or store visual information. It only provides the smooth physical surface by which light can be reflected.

I think most brain surgeons would disagree with you on that point. Do you have any evidence for this? How, exactly, do you envision these not-in-the-brain thoughts and memories being stored and created?

Quote:
If you are a buddhist, then you accept the idea of "no self".

I do.
Quote:
if there is no self, how are you keeping track of things from one moment to the next?

Here your cat image comes in handy; the metaphor of a computer chip is a fair match: brains do store information. Heck, even DNA stores information. Just because something isn't *eternal* doesn't equate to it not lasting even a moment. Brains do store information, DNA stores information, information that is useable over a long period of time, even most of a lifetime.
Quote:
there is no self doing that.
True. There doesn't need to be a self for a process of storage and retrieval to run. Computers have no self either.
Quote:
it is because of a lot of events going on.
I'd agree with that statement, but I'm not sure if you and I would mean the same thing. Can you explain how you see that working?
Quote:
But the material part of those events do not produce thoughts.
I'd like to see your evidence for this statement.
Quote:
Thoughts are not composed of atoms.
Maybe think of this in terms of the magnetic alignment of molecules on a chip? because I suspect you're only seeing the cat in the picture. How do you *know* thoughts are not composed of atoms?

Quote:
it is pointless for a person to say they don't agree with the buddhist teaching
of a self being reborn or experiencing karma,
because that isn't what buddhism teaches.
but it seems that this is your objection.
it seems that you are still asserting some kind of self.


Padma, that is not what I am saying. But I don't think I have the skills required to make it clear, at least not at this point in time.

:namaste:


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 Post subject: Re: Navayana Buddhism
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:27 am 
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PadmaVonSamba wrote:
But I think you are just talking to yourself now. I've said all I can.
If you don't try to at least understand what I am saying then there is nothing else to say.


It isn't for lack of trying, Padma. I ask questions because I am trying to understand. But I wish you peace.

:namaste:


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