Is Theravada "Realist"?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby cooran » Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:40 am

Hello all,

bhavanga-sota and bhavanga-citta
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/b_ ... a_sota.htm

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 ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7761
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby chownah » Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:08 am

Alex123 wrote:
chownah wrote:I haven't been differentiating betweent the two so can you give some ideas about what the difference is between "real world" and your view of rupa? It seems to me that they are both beyond range ("beyond range" as from The All sutta) and are some kind of substrate upon which our fabrications are based....so I'm hoping you can show me the difference which I am missing.
chownah



The objective base (āyatana) for Forms, sounds, smells, flavors, tangible objects exist regardless of whether you cognize it or not.
These make up part of the All, so it is not beyond range.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Of course objectively these material things may not be exact as our consciousness of them, and different sense faculty may interpret the same source differently. But they do exist regardless of whether there is consciousness or not. Without consciousness one wouldn't be able to describe or know them, but they still are.

IMHO idea or perception about an object, and object are different layers.


With best wishes,

Alex

Good. If I'm reading you correctly you are saying that forms, odors, flavors, sounds, tactile sensations, and ideas (this list is from The All at your link) all have an "objective base" called "ayatana" and that the base of the six on the list, namely "ayatana" exists whether we cognize any of the six on the list or not....is that right?....or are you saying that each of the six on the list has its own ayatana and they all exist whether we cognize them or not?

I agree that forms, odors, flavors, sounds, tactile sensations, and ideas are in The All....I'll have to consider what it might mean if there is some objective base for them whether it is in The All or not....so I'm going to think about it a bit.

Also, can you give some references which talks about "ayatana"? Sorry if you've done this already and I missed it.

I guess for right now my main question about this is how would it be possible to know if "ayatana" exists when we don't cognize it?....seems like an impossible thing to do and so could only be a conjecture but perhaps I'm wrong on this...it's just a question that popped into my head.....
chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2941
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby kirk5a » Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:34 pm

chownah wrote:I guess for right now my main question about this is how would it be possible to know if "ayatana" exists when we don't cognize it?

Gravity?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby santa100 » Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:34 pm

It'll be a long list: electro-magnetic force, strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, photons, quarks, quasars, etc...and many many more out there, waiting for scientists to discover. The universe is like a gigantic dark room full of objects yet to be seen and humans are like a man in this dark room with a flash light, discovering one object at a time with his tool. The objects are already there, they just have to be found..
santa100
 
Posts: 1585
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby SDC » Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:20 pm

santa100 wrote:The universe is like a gigantic dark room full of objects yet to be seen and humans are like a man in this dark room with a flash light, discovering one object at a time with his tool. The objects are already there, they just have to be found..


You know, I was perfectly content with the time I spent in this thread and did not plan to post in it again, but....:D

While I agree with you from a conventional standpoint, do you think this is what the Buddha was teaching? I only ask because this thread was about realism in Therevada. If this is just a casual statement then you can disregard everything after this sentence.

I believe the thinking process, in response to our ever growing array of experience, continually (and more assuredly over time) gives rise to the idea of the "universe being dark room full of objects yet to be seen". We give objects which have only been theorized and imagined, the permission to theoretically exist “out there”. We even give that status to blank objects that haven't even been given any type of specific attributes. They're just things "out there" waiting to be things.

But I will go even further to say that our thinking process requires that anything, once experienced, automatically assigned some type of official status and position “out there in the world”, and it will remain there until a future experience gives us a reason to think otherwise. Let’s say I try to go to my favorite cafe today and when I get there I find out it closed down. Up until the point I got there, the cafe was still there as far as I chose think. And rightfully so, I was given no reason to think otherwise.

So, as I said earlier in this thread, I do not believe that the Buddha was teaching about a world "out there". I believe the dhamma will help us see that this world we think is outside, and the world we are 99% sure is inside, are both just the most reasonable, yet incorrect, conclusion to be drawn in an attempt to understand what the hell is going here in this life. (I feel like I stole the essense of that last line from a movie - call me out if I did)

Once again, I agree with you on a conventional level and have no reason to disagree with you in that regard. But as far as this idea in the Buddha’s teaching I can not say we see things the same way.

This is how I have come to understand the dhamma so far, but I may be wrong. :smile:
User avatar
SDC
 
Posts: 1050
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm
Location: North Jersey

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Viscid » Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:30 pm

Alex123 wrote:The objective base (āyatana) for Forms, sounds, smells, flavors, tangible objects exist regardless of whether you cognize it or not.


No they do not.

'Redness' does not exist outside 'in the world.' You can go out and measure, with an instrument, the presence of light at a specific wavelength, but you cannot measure the experience of red. Likewise, you cannot measure form, sound, smell or flavour. These are subjective experiences. We have no way of knowing for certain that anyone else aside from ourself is having these experiences. We can measure neurological activity which corresponds to them reporting this experience, but we can't measure the experience itself.

To someone who is deaf from birth, sounds do not exist. To someone who is colourblind, colours do not exist. A deaf person simply believes you when you say there are sounds he cannot hear. 'Red' is considered to exist because we all mutually experience seeing 'redness'. If someone were to say they experience something which we are not familiar, we would say they are likely delusional, and that such a thing is not 'real' and thus does not 'exist.'

In order to perceive phenomena, you must cognize them. What is considered 'real' is just a shared consensus.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
User avatar
Viscid
 
Posts: 926
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:55 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:55 pm

chownah wrote:Good. If I'm reading you correctly you are saying that forms, odors, flavors, sounds, tactile sensations, and ideas (this list is from The All at your link) all have an "objective base" called "ayatana" and that the base of the six on the list, namely "ayatana" exists whether we cognize any of the six on the list or not....


Right, except that I mention only 5 āyatana. More detailed description of them is found in corresponding section of VsM.

Viscid wrote:'Redness' does not exist outside 'in the world.' You can go out and measure, with an instrument, the presence of light at a specific wavelength, but you cannot measure the experience of red.


The objective matter does exist that would be perceived as red when viewed from a kind of eye that can see certain color (in that case red). Same with sound. There is movement and vibration of particles that carry the sound wave whether we hear it or not, hear it in one way or the other.


I understand what you say. I have asked myself all these questions. Example: One person sees that warm object to be one color, color blind person will see that object be another color, a person without working eyes will not see that object or its color, a being who has different type of vision (ex: infra red, x-ray, whatever) will see additional and/or different colors.

In all these cases the difference is in faculty of eyes, not the same external object. So difference is in internal cakkhu-āyatana , not in objective mind independent external rūpa āyatana.

SDC wrote:I believe the thinking process, in response to our ever growing array of experience, continually (and more assuredly over time) gives rise to the idea of the "universe being dark room full of objects yet to be seen". We give objects which have only been theorized and imagined, the permission to theoretically exist “out there”. We even give that status to blank objects that haven't even been given any type of specific attributes. They're just things "out there" waiting to be things.


This sounds like Direct/Naive/Common sense realism that I reject. I don't believe that outside of my cognition the world is exactly as I, Alex, see it. No. The material basis is there and it can be cognized differently through different functioning sense organs.
"dust to dust...."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2944
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby santa100 » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:26 pm

SDC wrote:
But as far as this idea in the Buddha’s teaching I can not say we see things the same way.


I don't think the Buddha advocated either "realism" or "anti-realism". Freedom from attachment to views is the ultimate wisdom He taught. But in order to get to the ultimate dimension, one has to start with the conventional one. I don't think one has to go as far as saying that Theravada is "Realist", but IMO, at least some level of "realism" will be needed to make sense of conventional phenomena and concepts. Although "virus" as a name or label, is something only came into existence after the invention of the microscope, these entities have been in existence long before that, way before we humans came into existence. Same thing with galaxies, electro-magnetic force, photon, etc..
santa100
 
Posts: 1585
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby SDC » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:28 pm

Alex123 wrote:
SDC wrote:I believe the thinking process, in response to our ever growing array of experience, continually (and more assuredly over time) gives rise to the idea of the "universe being dark room full of objects yet to be seen". We give objects which have only been theorized and imagined, the permission to theoretically exist “out there”. We even give that status to blank objects that haven't even been given any type of specific attributes. They're just things "out there" waiting to be things.


This sounds like Direct/Naive/Common sense realism that I reject. I don't believe that outside of my cognition the world is exactly as I, Alex, see it. No. The material basis is there and it can be cognized differently through different functioning sense organs.


I think we agree on something...maybe. :D I'm sure you realized that in my post I was not in any way supporting this idea, but pointing out how it is a critical error. Also, I in no way figured you for this type of thinking. I just wanted to present it at its most fundamental level.

But let me ask you this - if the idea of the "world outside", that you aren't currently experiencing, isn't based on what you've experienced and your ideas from those experiences, then what is it based on when you are thinking about it?

EDIT for clarification
Last edited by SDC on Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
SDC
 
Posts: 1050
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm
Location: North Jersey

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby SDC » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:35 pm

santa100 wrote:I don't think the Buddha advocated either "realism" or "anti-realism". Freedom from attachment to views is the ultimate wisdom He taught. But in order to get to the ultimate dimension, one has to start with the conventional one. I don't think one has to go as far as saying that Theravada is "Realist", but IMO, at least some level of "realism" will be needed to make sense of conventional phenomena and concepts.


Well said.
User avatar
SDC
 
Posts: 1050
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm
Location: North Jersey

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:45 pm

SDC wrote:But let me ask you this - if the idea of the "world outside", that you aren't currently experiencing, isn't based on what you've experienced and your ideas from those experiences, then what is it based on when you are thinking about it?


You made a good point. Yes we often imagine the world outside to be exactly as one experienced or imagined. We need to remember that we are projecting our perception of it due to our sense organs.

If the external rūpa is perceived differently, it is due to difference in sense organ (cakkhu āyatana).
For external rūpa to be perceived similarly, the sense organ (cakkhu āyatana) has to be similar .

The difference is in one's sense faculty and arisen consciousness, not in the external rūpa.

BTW, we always need a sense organ to perceive sense object. Of course we can never know how something looks like if we don't have eyes and/or the mind to imagine or to infer (possibly subjectively) it.
"dust to dust...."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2944
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby SDC » Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:14 pm

I knew there was some middle ground in this discussion. It's small, but we found it....I think. :tongue:
User avatar
SDC
 
Posts: 1050
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm
Location: North Jersey

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby chownah » Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:18 am

kirk5a wrote:
chownah wrote:I guess for right now my main question about this is how would it be possible to know if "ayatana" exists when we don't cognize it?

Gravity?

kirk5a,
You suggestion of the existence of gravity is actually sort of funny....Isaac Newton "discovered" gravity....but really he didn't discover anything....he fabricated a theory which explained why celestial objects moved the way they did and part of this theory was a hypothetical force of attraction between objects which he called "gravity". When Newton put forward his theory it was met with scepticism because it did not contain anything about the origins of gravity or its qualities and characteristics etc....they considered it to be only imaginary and was not substantiated in reality.....but....Newton's theory was so good at explaining how celestial bodies move and how things fall that it was accepted and fruitfully used for a long time....it eventually was seen that the orbit of Mercury deviated appreciably from what would be expected from Newton's theory and no explanation could be found until Albert Einstein put forward his General Theory of Relativity which accounted for the deviations......Einstien rejected "gravity" in favor of warped space-time.
So you see the idea of gravity was just a mental fabrication at least as far as the scientific community is concerned....I guess one of the things I'm going to try to establish is whether a similar thing is happening in regards to "ayatana".
chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2941
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby chownah » Fri Sep 16, 2011 4:02 am

Alex123 wrote:
chownah wrote:Good. If I'm reading you correctly you are saying that forms, odors, flavors, sounds, tactile sensations, and ideas (this list is from The All at your link) all have an "objective base" called "ayatana" and that the base of the six on the list, namely "ayatana" exists whether we cognize any of the six on the list or not....


Right, except that I mention only 5 āyatana. More detailed description of them is found in corresponding section of VsM.

Alex123,
I looked through alot of the posts trying to find where you referenced VsM and only found one place where you only posted Pali. I didn't look through every post. Can you provide a link here to the VsM in English? I went to Nayanatiloka's dictionary and there is a detailed discussion of ayatana...the first definition pertains to jhana so I think it is not what we are discussing...I pasted here the first part of the second definition which I think is pertinent:

http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... dic3_a.htm
Āyatana:
1: Spheres, is a name for the four formless absorptions; see: jhāna 5-8.
2: The 12 sources or bases on which depend the mental processes, consist of five physical sense-organs and consciousness, being the six internal ajjhattika sources; and the six objects, the so-called external bāhira sources - namely:

- eye, or visual organ and visible object
- ear, or auditory organ and sound, or audible object
- nose, or olfactory organ and odour, or olfactive object
- tongue, or gustatory organ and taste, or gustative object
- body, or tactile organ and body-contact, or tactile object
- mind-base, or consciousness and idea or mental-object manāyatana dhammāyatana

It seems that this definition is saying that ayatana is itself made up of both the six sense bases and the six sense objects.......it does not seem to be saying that ayatana is a basis from which these are derived. I am in agreement with this definition in that these twelve items are contained in The All. I think that your position differs from mine in that I think that you are describing ayatana as being some substrate from which the five sense objects arise. I'm hoping that you can provide another link or more which provides more perspective on this.
Also, an important question for me in this is how would it be in any way possible to know if "ayatana" exists when we don't cognize it?
chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2941
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:05 am

chownah wrote:You suggestion of the existence of gravity is actually sort of funny....Isaac Newton "discovered" gravity....but really he didn't discover anything....he fabricated a theory which explained why celestial objects moved the way they did and part of this theory was a hypothetical force of attraction between objects which he called "gravity". ...

Good point. For some reason science is often identified as "realist". Scientists really don't think in those terms. They think in such terms like theories (such as gravity) agreeing with observations. If they can construct a theory that then agrees with new observations they are very happy. And, furthermore, they are most likely to be found trying to get the equipment to work, the computer program debugged, or the paper accepted by the **** referees....


:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10662
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Akuma » Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:00 am

tiltbillings wrote:Actually, the bhavanga-citta takes care of those "holes."


Prove it then.
The way I see it bhavanga is covered by the arguments given above so its prone to the same problem.
Akuma
 
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:56 pm
Location: NRW, Germany

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:06 am

Akuma wrote:The way I see it bhavanga is covered by the arguments given above so its prone to the same problem.
Not that you have shown.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19901
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Akuma » Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:16 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Akuma wrote:The way I see it bhavanga is covered by the arguments given above so its prone to the same problem.
Not that you have shown.


Its accompanied by the seven universals therefore its not around in Nirodha and so forth.
Now prove your point or stop throwing unconstructive oneliners at me.

Edit:

Maybe I'm also that you really dont see the point here...

So let me explain that shortly. The thing is that there is as said in my post to Mingyur a dichotomy apparently between whats written in some Sutras, what we as Putthujanas think and whats written in the Abhidharma; I think thats obvious enough.
The question - relevant for this thread - is if there is "outside" rupa then where does it exist and is there a possibility to cause citta; since if there is a stream of rupas which can actually be in a causal relation to itself (I tried to explain the problem with that to Alex) then in the case of rupa-deities for example or also in the case of the Arahant in Nirodha it would have to be explained somehow and or somewhere how the citta stream sets on afterwards.
Now if all of this is actualyl explaiend by bhavanga that would be great. But then it would be the easiest to just show a authoritative text which says so or at least logically derive it.
Last edited by Akuma on Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Akuma
 
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:56 pm
Location: NRW, Germany

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:23 am

Akuma wrote:Its accompanied by the seven universals therefore its not around in Nirodha and so forth.
Now prove your point or stop throwing unconstructive oneliners at me.
That does not tell me anything. You are going to actually have to make a real argument, showing what it is you think is going on, which you have yet to do, which also mean citing actual Theravadin sources and the like. Also, you have not addressed MN I,43 (MLD 126-7)? VSM 720 (POP 720)?.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19901
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Postby Akuma » Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:36 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Akuma wrote:Its accompanied by the seven universals therefore its not around in Nirodha and so forth.
Now prove your point or stop throwing unconstructive oneliners at me.
That does not tell me anything. You are going to actually have to make a real argument, showing what it is you think is going on, which you have yet to do, which also mean citing actual Theravadin sources and the like. Also, you have not addressed MN I,43 (MLD 126-7)? VSM 720 (POP 720)?.


Mahavedalla Sutta, Vitality-Fabrications.
VSM is on page 731, explanation to (i).

Also see edit above maybe this clears sth up *shrug*
Akuma
 
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:56 pm
Location: NRW, Germany

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Sylvester and 11 guests