Sources of true knowledge

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Sources of true knowledge

Postby Alex123 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:34 pm

Hello all,

Some meditation teachers say that direct sense experience is source of true knowledge and insight into nature of dhammas, while some thinkers claim that reason is the source. I believe that both are involved. On one hand we cannot bypass experience and we learn from it. On the other hand some ideas such as "causation" are inborn and cannot be found in sense-experience alone.

For example when we see a cup that falls and breaks: we see the floor, we see the cup, we see it falling and breaking, but we DO NOT see another phenomenon called "cause". Same with any other series of events. We can see that A happens before B, but we don't see a third thing that shows that A causes B. We can see that good person gets rewarded, and bad person gets intro trouble, but we don't see third thing called "kamma vipāka". We can't see, hear, smell, taste or touch cause, effect, conditionality, kammavipāka, past, future.

Many good meditation teachers often tell us that "direct experience!" is the way.

Maybe it is even possible that we could directly see that current dhamma is anicca, dukkha, anatta - but how do we know that ALL dhammas in the future will be anicca, dukkha, anatta? How do we know that all past dhammas were asubha, dukkha, anatta? We have to use induction, deduction or some other kind of rational argument to claim that. :geek:

If direct experience is the way, then why don't everyone see anicca, dukkha, anatta?

I wonder what the repercussions of this on developing insight about all dhammas. It seems that it requires induction as we lack omniscience.

Any comments, ideas?

With best wishes,

Alex :namaste:
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: Sources of true knowledge

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:30 pm

Some meditation teachers say that direct sense experience is source of true knowledge and insight into nature of dhammas, while some thinkers claim that reason is the source. I believe that both are involved. On one hand we cannot bypass experience and we learn from it. On the other hand some ideas such as "causation" are inborn and cannot be found in sense-experience alone.


This is the Western philosophical debate regarding empiricism, rationalism, and Kantianism, respectively.

These points of view are often "read into" the Dhamma as per the student's preference at the time. I haven't seen anything in the Dhamma which convinces me that one of them is somehow more "correct" or beneficial than the others, or that we need to worry about such things. I tend to see them as "views", each with their own allure, drawbacks, and escape. If you wait long enough, though, someone will probably turn up and set me straight...
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Re: Sources of true knowledge

Postby daverupa » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:52 pm

SN 12.61 wrote:“Therein, monks, the noble disciple, learned in spiritual knowledge, properly and legitimately cognizes just dependent co-arising, thus: ‘In the event of the being of this, there is (also) this; from the arising of this, this (also) arises. In the event of the non-being of this, there is (also) not this. From the cessation of this, this (also) ceases.’


This isn't a matter of inference with respect to past or future, but a direct seeing in the present. Accordingly, there is no problem with respect to seeing or not seeing "cause" as an abstract truth; there is simply the recognition that everything which depends on something else is necessarily anicca, simply by definition. It's a structural thing, as opposed to a comprehensive experiment done on every actual & possible dhamma.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Sources of true knowledge

Postby ground » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:58 pm

Alex123 wrote:Maybe it is even possible that we could directly see that current dhamma is anicca, dukkha, anatta - but how do we know that ALL dhammas in the future will be anicca, dukkha, anatta? How do we know that all past dhammas were asubha, dukkha, anatta?

Whatever arises there is direct seeing instantaneously. This is called direct. No phase lag. No experience of time involved. "Timeless awareness".

Alex123 wrote:We have to use induction, deduction or some other kind of rational argument to claim that. :geek:

Induction or deduction are not direct. Thinking, remembering is not direct. :sage:
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Re: Sources of true knowledge

Postby Alex123 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:41 pm

ground wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Maybe it is even possible that we could directly see that current dhamma is anicca, dukkha, anatta - but how do we know that ALL dhammas in the future will be anicca, dukkha, anatta? How do we know that all past dhammas were asubha, dukkha, anatta?

Whatever arises there is direct seeing instantaneously. This is called direct. No phase lag. No experience of time involved. "Timeless awareness".


But how do we directly see past or future dhammas as being anicca, dukkha, anatta, etc? Just because we have perceived presently arisen dhamma to have quality "X" a 100 times in a row, it doesn't mean that 1001st instance will also be "X".
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: Sources of true knowledge

Postby Alex123 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:44 pm

daverupa wrote:This isn't a matter of inference with respect to past or future, but a direct seeing in the present. Accordingly, there is no problem with respect to seeing or not seeing "cause" as an abstract truth; there is simply the recognition that everything which depends on something else is necessarily anicca, simply by definition. It's a structural thing, as opposed to a comprehensive experiment done on every actual & possible dhamma.


So your definition of direct seeing does involve proper use of inference of "structural thing".

Also causality is not some third thing given in experience that we can see, hear, smell, taste, touch. It is our interpretation of pattern of events that we say that "this caused that effect".
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: Sources of true knowledge

Postby detrop » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:02 pm

Alex123 wrote:But how do we directly see past or future dhammas as being anicca, dukkha, anatta, etc? Just because we have perceived presently arisen dhamma to have quality "X" a 100 times in a row, it doesn't mean that 1001st instance will also be "X".


I think it was Ven. Bodhesako who used the example of a circle: If you understand the nature of a circle, its "roundness", than it will be clear without doubt that each and any circle has to be round, because it is the nature of a circle to be round, whether it is a past, present or future circle and regardless of its other features, like colour or diameter. So the point is to see the nature of things. Only then you don't need to check every single thing.
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Re: Sources of true knowledge

Postby daverupa » Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:44 am

Alex123 wrote:It is our interpretation of pattern of events


For example, the body is premised on food, requires food; with food, the body continues, without food, it begins to deteriorate. With food as condition, body. This is not an interpretation.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Sources of true knowledge

Postby ground » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:13 am

Alex123 wrote:
ground wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Maybe it is even possible that we could directly see that current dhamma is anicca, dukkha, anatta - but how do we know that ALL dhammas in the future will be anicca, dukkha, anatta? How do we know that all past dhammas were asubha, dukkha, anatta?

Whatever arises there is direct seeing instantaneously. This is called direct. No phase lag. No experience of time involved. "Timeless awareness".


But how do we directly see past or future dhammas as being anicca, dukkha, anatta, etc? Just because we have perceived presently arisen dhamma to have quality "X" a 100 times in a row, it doesn't mean that 1001st instance will also be "X".

You have to differentiate between "direct" and any conceptual fabrication in the wake of "direct" when "direct modus" is terminated. :sage:
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Re: Sources of true knowledge

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:16 am

Greetings,

detrop wrote:I think it was Ven. Bodhesako who used the example of a circle: If you understand the nature of a circle, its "roundness", than it will be clear without doubt that each and any circle has to be round, because it is the nature of a circle to be round, whether it is a past, present or future circle and regardless of its other features, like colour or diameter. So the point is to see the nature of things. Only then you don't need to check every single thing.

I like it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Sources of true knowledge

Postby danieLion » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:22 am

I thought the tilakkhana were recognized in terms of saññā not "direct experience"?

And didn't Hume (Mr. Inductivist himself) say (basically) the same thing about causation--that it, too, is just a perception?

And if that's true, then the tilakkhana AND causation are to be recognized in terms of saññā?

And by "direct experience" do you mean yathā-bhūta-ñāna-dassana?
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Re: Sources of true knowledge

Postby Mr Man » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:53 am

We have conceptual knowledge 1)to create a structure or convention. We also have conceptual knowledge as 3)a way of assimilating experience. Between 1 & 3 we have 2, which is direct experience. 1 & 3 reinforce 2 - A dynamic process.
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Re: Sources of true knowledge

Postby Alex123 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:29 pm

detrop wrote:
Alex123 wrote:But how do we directly see past or future dhammas as being anicca, dukkha, anatta, etc? Just because we have perceived presently arisen dhamma to have quality "X" a 100 times in a row, it doesn't mean that 1001st instance will also be "X".


I think it was Ven. Bodhesako who used the example of a circle: If you understand the nature of a circle, its "roundness", than it will be clear without doubt that each and any circle has to be round, because it is the nature of a circle to be round, whether it is a past, present or future circle and regardless of its other features, like colour or diameter. So the point is to see the nature of things. Only then you don't need to check every single thing.


That was a good essay that the Venerable wrote. What you have said is what I would call "reason" in a good way, without there being anything reasonably wrong with it.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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