Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:52 pm

tinhtan wrote:Well you missed the point, the pre-requisite condition before listening the Dhamma is to have "appropriate attention - yoniso manasikara" .


According to AN10.61 yoniso manasikara is well after listening to the Dhamma. Before one knows what things are appropriate to examine and has faith in the usefulness of such kind of examination, how can one examine appropriate (rather than inappropriate) things?

avijjāsuttaṃ AN 10.61 wrote:Thus bhikkhus, not associating Great beings leads to listening to the incorrect Teaching. Listening to the incorrect Teaching leads to lack of faith. Lack of faith leads to unwise attention. Unwise attention leads to lack of mindful awareness Lack of mindful awareness leads to unrestrained mental faculties. Unrestrained mental faculties lead to the three misbehaviours. The three misbehaviours lead to the five obstructions. The five obstructions lead to ignorance. Thus these are the supportive conditions for ignorance.
...
Associating Great beings leads to listening to the correct Teaching. Listening to the correct Teaching leads to faith. Faith leads to wise attention. Wise attention leads to mindful awareness Mindful awareness leads to restrained mental faculties. Restrained mental faculties lead to the three right behaviours. The three right behaviours lead to the four establishments of mindfulness. The four establishments of mindfulness lead to the seven enlightenment factors. The seven enlightenment factors lead to knowledge and release. Thus these are the supportive conditions for knowledge and release.
http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... ggo-e.html


Do you see step by step progression? Do you think it is possible to skip over some parts?

"like water from the big drops of rain, that fall on top of the mountains coming down to the lowlands fill up mountain creeks and streams. They in turn fill up the small rivers and the huge rivers and fill up the great ocean. And that water becomes the supportive condition for the ocean." - AN 10.61



With metta,

Alex
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:06 pm

Alex123 wrote:1) Saṅkhāra are conditioned by Avijjā.
2) Avijjā, not "choice", is the condition for volitional activities/fabrications/saṅkhāra.

3) saṅkhāra compared to its condition, Avijjā, is like "a leaf being blown by the wind".


Where is the choice involved?

4) Do saṅkhāra's have a choice to be like this or like that?
No.
5) Avijjā causes saṅkhāra's to arise or cease. It is the wind that blows saṅkhāra's around like "wind blowing the leaf cause it to fly here or there". . . .
Because ignorance conditions saṅkhāra, there is no way that could it be choice that gives rise to awakening, the opposite of ignorance, being that ignorance is the conditioning basis of the kamma conditiongs, saṅkhāra. So, how did the self awakened Buddha become awakened if what is required is an outside influence? Before there was a Buddha of any sort, what was the cause of awakening if there is no choice and X always leads to Y? God? Accident?
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.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:14 pm

Hi Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:1) Saṅkhāra are conditioned by Avijjā.
2) Avijjā, not "choice", is the condition for volitional activities/fabrications/saṅkhāra.

3) saṅkhāra compared to its condition, Avijjā, is like "a leaf being blown by the wind".


Where is the choice involved?

4) Do saṅkhāra's have a choice to be like this or like that?
No.
5) Avijjā causes saṅkhāra's to arise or cease. It is the wind that blows saṅkhāra's around like "wind blowing the leaf cause it to fly here or there". . . .
Because ignorance conditions saṅkhāra, there is no way that could it be choice that gives rise to awakening, the opposite of ignorance, being that ignorance is the conditioning basis of the kamma conditiongs, saṅkhāra. So, how did the self awakened Buddha become awakened if what is required is an outside influence? Before there was a Buddha of any sort, what was the cause of awakening if there is no choice and X always leads to Y? God? Accident?



Not every moment of consciousness for worldling contains only ignorance, but when ignorance arises - it invariably conditions saṅkhāra and all that follows.

Please don't forget that outside factors can influence worldling's knowledge or ignorance.


"Associating Great beings leads to listening to the correct Teaching. Listening to the correct Teaching leads to faith. Faith leads to wise attention..." - AN10.61, and these things weaken ignorance.

Bodhisatta in his former lives has met great beings such as Buddha Kassapa, so some of his knowledge were from those sources.


With metta,

Alex
Last edited by Alex123 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:18 pm

Alex123 wrote:"Associating Great beings leads to listening to the correct Teaching. Listening to the correct Teaching leads to faith. Faith leads to wise attention..." - AN10.61, and these things weaken ignorance.
So, choice plays a pivotal role in awakening.
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
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:23 pm

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:1) Saṅkhāra are conditioned by Avijjā.
2) Avijjā, not "choice", is the condition for volitional activities/fabrications/saṅkhāra.

3) saṅkhāra compared to its condition, Avijjā, is like "a leaf being blown by the wind".


Where is the choice involved?

4) Do saṅkhāra's have a choice to be like this or like that?
No.
5) Avijjā causes saṅkhāra's to arise or cease. It is the wind that blows saṅkhāra's around like "wind blowing the leaf cause it to fly here or there". . . .
Because ignorance conditions saṅkhāra, there is no way that could it be choice that gives rise to awakening, the opposite of ignorance, being that ignorance is the conditioning basis of the kamma conditiongs, saṅkhāra. So, how did the self awakened Buddha become awakened if what is required is an outside influence? Before there was a Buddha of any sort, what was the cause of awakening if there is no choice and X always leads to Y? God? Accident?



Not every moment of consciousness for worldling contains only ignorance. Outside factors can influence worldling's knowledge or ignorance.

Please don't forget that outside factors can influence worldling's knowledge or ignorance.


"Associating Great beings leads to listening to the correct Teaching. Listening to the correct Teaching leads to faith. Faith leads to wise attention..." - AN10.61, and these things weaken ignorance.

Bodhisatta in his former lives has met great beings such as Buddha Kassapa, so some of his knowledge were from those sources.


With metta,

Alex
Does not answer the question.
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
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:25 pm

Hi Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:"Associating Great beings leads to listening to the correct Teaching. Listening to the correct Teaching leads to faith. Faith leads to wise attention..." - AN10.61, and these things weaken ignorance.
So, choice plays a pivotal role in awakening.


What are the causes for that "choice" and for whom is there this "choice"?

Why was X vs Y choice made? What motivated it, and what was the cause for motivation?


1) If choice arises due to causes, then causes dictate the choice. So the choice is not real choice, but merely a "leaf being blown in the wind".
2) If choice doesn't arise due to causes, then it is not free choice either. There was no cause to make it arise. It just randomly appeared. This has no control as well. No control in either case.

Choice as an effect of its causes, does exist. But it is not a choice in the sense of free full choice.

With metta,

Alex
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:27 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Does not answer the question.



What question? If ignorance only leads to sankharas, then how can one break that cycle?

1) Outside influence that injects wisdom helps to break this cycle.
2) The more Dhamma one hears, the more wisdom (or potential for wisdom) is accumulated and ignorance is weakened more and more.
3) For some, not every moment of consciousness contains avijja. Thus avijja isn't always operating in real time. The trick is to gain enough wisdom to counteract avijja.


With metta,

Alex
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:33 pm

Alex123 wrote:Hi Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:"Associating Great beings leads to listening to the correct Teaching. Listening to the correct Teaching leads to faith. Faith leads to wise attention..." - AN10.61, and these things weaken ignorance.
So, choice plays a pivotal role in awakening.


What are the causes for that "choice" and for whom is there this "choice"?

Why was X vs Y choice made? What motivated it, and what was the cause for motivation? No control in either case.
You'd have to ask the individual involved, it would seem. As for "control" this has been discussed at length and you have avoided addressing the issue.

Choice as an effect of its causes, does exist. But it is not a choice in the sense of free full choice.
Finally, coming to my point of view. Choice requires viable of options that are in play. And it is the teaching of choice that the Buddha used as a basis treading the path in exhortation to do good and avoid bad. If there was no real choice there would be no need for such exhortations choosing good over bad. Slowly, you seem to be getting it.
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
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:38 pm

Alex123 wrote:Hi Kirk5a,

kirk5a wrote:Ahh thanks for the reminder that dependent origination and anatta are not just linear mechanical theories of causality - they also point to interrelationship. Assertions of "control" or "no control" ... very narrow views.


What is the difference in meaning between interrelationship and conditionality? How do you think "paccaya" should be translated?

Do you think that D.O. is a narrow view?


Do you see what I have said as "taking a position" which I am now obligated to defend?
Because I see it as an encouragement to abandon clinging to views and open to reality.
An encouragement definitely for my own consumption, and if it should benefit others, bonus.
"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
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:40 pm

tiltbillings wrote: Finally, coming to my point of view. Choice requires viable of options that are in play. And it is the teaching of choice that the Buddha used as a basis treading the path in exhortation to do good and avoid bad. If there was no real choice there would be no need for such exhortations choosing good over bad. Slowly, you seem to be getting it.


I have been talking in this and other thread about the choice that is fully conditioned like "a leaf being blown by the wind". Do you agree?


Because of cause-effect, the good actions lead to good result, and unwholesome actions lead to unwholesome result. Good actions only lead to good results, and bad actions lead only to bad results. Hard determinism does not reject ethics or kamma. On the contrary, hard determinism affirms the power of kamma and results that it can bring.

Kamma and results of kamma does not require a Self, Choice, or control.
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:42 pm

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Does not answer the question.



What question? If ignorance only leads to sankharas, then how can one break that cycle?

1) Outside influence that injects wisdom helps to break this cycle.
2) The more Dhamma one hears, the more wisdom (or potential for wisdom) is accumulated and ignorance is weakened more and more.
3) For some, not every moment of consciousness contains avijja. Thus avijja isn't always operating in real time. The trick is to gain enough wisdom to counteract avijja.


With metta,

Alex
How was the first Buddha awakened? Outside influence? Nothing he did himself? Where does he say that about his awakening that he made no choices in his quest for awakening? Doing nothing himself is not the story the Buddha told of his own awakening. His story is a story of choice and personal action.

"I [the Buddha] am an all-transcender, an All-knower, unsullied in all
ideas, renouncing all, by craving ceasing freed, and this I owe to my
own insight. To whom should I point?"
- Dhammapada 353

If avijja is not operating, not always in play, then there are choices that can be made from wholesome roots, altering the conditioning in a positive way, which is what the Buddha taught, which is consistent with the quotes of the Buddha I gave and which you ignored.
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
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:48 pm

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: Finally, coming to my point of view. Choice requires viable of options that are in play. And it is the teaching of choice that the Buddha used as a basis treading the path in exhortation to do good and avoid bad. If there was no real choice there would be no need for such exhortations choosing good over bad. Slowly, you seem to be getting it.


I have been talking in this and other thread about the choice that is fully conditioned like "a leaf being blown by the wind". Do you agree?
Choice is not like a leaf blown in the wind. A leaf exerts no influence on where it goes.


Because of cause-effect, the good actions lead to good result, and unwholesome actions lead to unwholesome result. Good actions only lead to good results, and bad actions lead only to bad results.
And the Buddha clearly indicated that we can choose either good or bad. In our ability to choose, to alter our conditioning by our choices, we are not like a leaf blown in the wind. A leaf blown in the wind has no choice but to be blown where the outside force blows it. That is not what the Buddha taught. What he taught, clearly, is that we can alter our conditioning by using the very process by the choices we make.
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
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:49 pm

And don't forget, Alex, that this msg still await your response:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=6322&start=140#p100630
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
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:51 pm

Hi Tilt, all,

tiltbillings wrote:How was the first Buddha awakened? Outside influence? Nothing he did himself?


Due to external and internal conditions. No need to postulate a Person as an agent that is its own cause.


Where does he say that about his awakening that he made no choices in his quest for awakening? Doing nothing himself is not the story the Buddha told of his own awakening. His story is a story of choice and personal action.


The Buddha, like everyone else is just a mental&physical process that is fully conditioned. His conditions were just much better than ours.


"I [the Buddha] am an all-transcender, an All-knower, unsullied in all
ideas, renouncing all, by craving ceasing freed, and this I owe to my
own insight. To whom should I point?"
- Dhammapada 353


Are you saying that the Buddha is a cause-in-itself and somehow immune to external and internal conditions? You seem to like quoting suttas that talk about beings being in control of situation or choices. Please don't forget that all references to people, beings, etc, are merely names. There are 5 aggregates and no thing apart from 5 aggregates.



If avijja is not operating, not always in play, then there are choices that can be made from wholesome roots, altering the conditioning in a positive way, which is what the Buddha taught, which is consistent with the quotes of the Buddha I gave and which you ignored.


Imagine choice to be the leaf and wind being Avijja or Wisdom. Wind blowing to the East is Avijja and wind blowing to the west is wisdom. When wind blows to the east, leaf has no choice but to fly to the east. When wind blows to the west, leaf has no choice but to fly to the west. When both winds are blowing, then the stronger wind will overpower the weaker and the leaf (the choice) will be blown in that direction.


With metta,

Alex
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:52 pm

You keep editing msgs after they have responded to. That is a bit of a problem.

Alex wrote:Hard determinism does not reject ethics or kamma. On the contrary, hard determinism affirms the power of kamma and results that it can bring.
There is no ethics in hard determinism. If it is hard determinism, there is no choice. No choice, no ethics.
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
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:55 pm

tiltbillings wrote: Choice is not like a leaf blown in the wind. A leaf exerts no influence on where it goes. [/quote

And do you think there is no influence on the choice? Does choice arise unconditionally? Does leaf fly to this or that direction, or lie on the ground not due conditions?

If choice arises due to conditions, then conditions dictate the choice and what it will choose.


And the Buddha clearly indicated that we can choose either good or bad.


Wisdom or Ignorance is a primary condition for choice. Not "we" or "I". Believe what you will, but I don't believe that "Alex chooses". There is no Alex, just conditions and conditioned phenomena. So how can "Alex" choose? Same for other people.


With metta,

Alex
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:58 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex wrote:Hard determinism does not reject ethics or kamma. On the contrary, hard determinism affirms the power of kamma and results that it can bring.
There is no ethics in hard determinism. If it is hard determinism, there is no choice. No choice, no ethics.



There is kamma and kammavipāka.

Kusala kamma leads to kusala vipāka and akusala kamma lead to akusala vipāka.

When kamma occurs, there is no choice but to bring a corresponding vipāka.

When sufficient paññā occurs, there is no choice but for the process to eventually evolve toward parinibbāna.

What is so unethical?

With metta,

Alex
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:04 pm

Alex123 wrote:Hi Tilt, all,

tiltbillings wrote:How was the first Buddha awakened? Outside influence? Nothing he did himself?


Due to external and internal conditions. No need to postulate a Person as an agent that is its own cause.
Here comes the straw-man. In other words the Buddha's telling of his own awakening, which clearly points to the choices he made are lies.


Where does he say that about his awakening that he made no choices in his quest for awakening? Doing nothing himself is not the story the Buddha told of his own awakening. His story is a story of choice and personal action.


The Buddha, like everyone else is just a mental&physical process that is fully conditioned. His conditions were just much better than ours.
Because of the choices he made.


"I [the Buddha] am an all-transcender, an All-knower, unsullied in all
ideas, renouncing all, by craving ceasing freed, and this I owe to my
own insight. To whom should I point?"
- Dhammapada 353


Are you saying that the Buddha is a cause-in-itself and somehow immune to external and internal conditions? You seem to like quoting suttas that talk about beings being in control of situation or choices. Please don't forget that all references to people, beings, etc, are merely names. There are 5 aggregates and no thing apart from 5 aggregates.
Gawd almighty, if it is not your straw-men again. These straw-men argument, which you keep trotting has been dealt with, repeatedly. Please do not forget that conventional Dhamma language, as we see the Buddha using it, is still Dhamma and I am using it no differently.

If avijja is not operating, not always in play, then there are choices that can be made from wholesome roots, altering the conditioning in a positive way, which is what the Buddha taught, which is consistent with the quotes of the Buddha I gave and which you ignored.


Imagine choice to be the leaf and wind being Avijja or Wisdom. Wind blowing to the East is Avijja and wind blowing to the west is wisdom. When wind blows to the east, leaf has no choice but to fly to the east. When wind blows to the west, leaf has no choice but to fly to the west. When both winds are blowing, then the stronger wind will overpower the weaker and the leaf (the choice) will be blown in that direction.
What is to imagine here? Wind is an external force to the leaf. What you are describing is not choice. External force aside, Alex, choice to be choice is that both options are viable. In what you described, there is no option, which means: no choice.
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
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:11 pm

Alex123 wrote:There is kamma and kammavipāka.

Kusala kamma leads to kusala vipāka and akusala kamma lead to akusala vipāka.

When kamma occurs, there is no choice but to bring a corresponding vipāka.

When sufficient paññā occurs, there is no choice but for the process to eventually evolve toward parinibbāna.

What is so unethical?
The problem with what you you are saying is that the Buddha taught, kamma, intentional action, which encompasses choice and that is not hard determinism. In hard determinism there is no choice, conditioned or not, no choice, just mechanical, linear causality.
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
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:11 pm

Hi Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote: Now there is “conventional” choice. I have never argued for “free choice,” which is your bugbear. Choice, Alex, is conditioned. I never said it was not, but for choice to be really choice there has be viable options. If, Alex, there are no viable options upon which to act for the individual, there IS no choice, but keep in mind, Alex, that conventional Dhamma language, that of the suttas and what I have been adhering to all along, is - according to the Theravada - no less true than the supposed “ultimate” Dhamma language -- that is to say, speaking of the reality of choice from a standpoint of conventional Dhamma language is speaking the Dhamma/Truth.


So Tilt has never argued for “free choice. Good.

Do you know what "free" choice is? Choice that is supposedly not conditioned or constrained by conditions, and that doesn't arise randomly. It is good that you admit that choice is conditioned.

Viable options, being within 5 aggregates, are also conditioned. Do you agree with this?

Choice and viable options are conditioned. What does it mean to be conditioned? It means that:
If there are condition is for X to occur, X not Y occurs.
If there are conditions for Y to occur, then Y occurs, never X.

So when there are conditions for akusala choice to occur, akusala choice occurs not kusala.
And when there are conditions for kusala choice to occur, kusala choice occurs not akusala.

So we are back to "leaf being blown by the wind".

Just because "choice" and "options" are fully conditioned it doesn't mean that they as a conditioned process (of thoughts, intentions, etc) doesn't occur. They occur, but occur conditioned like "leaf being blown by the wind".

tiltbillings wrote:While we cannot control the aggregates in a way that runs counter to the principles of conditionality as the Buddha clearly states


Right.

tiltbillings wrote: we cannot, we can, as the Buddha clearly points out in the texts I quoted, choose to act one way or another; we can act in a way that positively influences/alters our conditioning, giving us the control/mastery over the senses the Buddha said that we can have, or we can act in a way that binds us more sharply to samsara. It is our choice; that is the Buddha’s teachings and the texts I quoted support this.


But how is "choosing to act one way or another" differ from aggregates that you have admitted cannot be controlled? Choosing to act one way or another is included in saṅkhāra khandha, an aggregate that is anatta and cannot be controlled.

So not only 5 aggregates cannot be controlled in a way that runs counter to the principles of conditionality, but "choosing to act" being included within the aggregates cannot be controlled in a way that runs counter to the principles of conditionality.


With metta,

Alex
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