Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:11 am

Alex123 wrote:Can one control contact? No.
Depends. There is always going to be contact, but via the choice I make via the intention I bring to bear, I can alter the contact I have.
So one cannot control the Kamma that is being done.
Kamma is not a passive thing.

If that were the case, may I do only that Kamma which leads to awakening! May I never do bad kamma! Unfortunately these things cannot be controlled like that.
This is a distorted picture.
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: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:16 am

Alex123 wrote:
bodom wrote:
You know, I've tried to control the thoughts and reactions. It doesn't work..


You haven't attained mastery of mind:


Right. There is no Master, no Overlord who can control the mind. Neither mine, nor Self for the Buddha.
None of these things, but there is still choice, intention, will.

Thought happens due to impersonal causes and conditions (mano + dhamma), and not due to some Self. It is all fully conditioned and happens because that is the only way it could happen.
Don't need a "Self" for there to be willed action, choice.

Not even the Buddha could have it 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' Same goes for other khandhas.
Give us the full context of that, please.
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: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:18 am

bodom wrote:Well then according to you were all screwed alex. None of us has the choice to follow and practice the Buddha's path. We are all bound to samsara forever.
He is giving us the Makkhali Gosala point of view and calling it the Buddha's teachings, and we know what the Buddha said about Makkhali Gosala.
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: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:39 am

bodom wrote:Right. There is choice, there is free will. This was my only point to begin with. Where is the problem and what do we disagree on?

:anjali:


Well if you define choice as the feeling that we have the capability to change our behaviour, then we have no disagreement. But that feeling of choice is an epiphenomenon of a deterministic (if a bit chaotic) system which self-regulates through a type of feedback loop, without any external agency involved.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:49 am

Viscid wrote:
bodom wrote:Right. There is choice, there is free will. This was my only point to begin with. Where is the problem and what do we disagree on?

:anjali:


Well if you define choice as the feeling that we have the capability to change our behaviour, then we have no disagreement. But that feeling of choice is an epiphenomenon of a deterministic (if a bit chaotic) system which self-regulates through a type of feedback loop, without any external agency involved.
And what does that mean in the real world? Are you saying, as Alex seems to saying, we have no choice, no will, no intention to act and no action dependent upon the intention?
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: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:08 am

tiltbillings wrote:Are you saying, as Alex seems to saying, we have no choice, no will, no intention to act and no action dependent upon the intention?


No choice: I said we are convinced we have this thing called 'choice,' but there is no clear definition as to what choice is.

No will, intention, action: If I'm hungry, I will eat. There is intention insofar as we experience intent. But do I have this intention because I choose to have this intention? No. My stomach is empty and I haven't eaten for a day, so I am hungry. Intention arises without effort.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:26 am

Viscid wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Are you saying, as Alex seems to saying, we have no choice, no will, no intention to act and no action dependent upon the intention?


No choice: I said we are convinced we have this thing called 'choice,' but there is no clear definition as to what choice is.

No will, intention, action: If I'm hungry, I will eat. There is intention insofar as we experience intent. But do I have this intention because I choose to have this intention? No. My stomach is empty and I haven't eaten for a day, so I am hungry. Intention arises without effort.
Wow. So, we are simply organic automata in control of nothing, simply being pushed about by conditions of which we have absolutely no control. I did not know the Buddha taught that.
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: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:33 am

Wow. So, we are simply organic automata in control of nothing, simply being pushed about by conditions of which we have absolutely no control. I did not know the Buddha taught that.

I'm not speaking for the Buddha or Buddhism, just what I currently feel is the truth of how things really are.

But the feeling of choice, the metacognition of choice, is incredibly important! If we did not feel like we had a choice, we would just respond immediately by reaction. We'd be fatalists. We wouldn't improve our moral conduct, we wouldn't want to gradually expand our knowledge about the world-- we simply would not have the capacity to have the characteristics that make us human. I'm not dismissing choice; it's just not something which transcends cause and effect.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:43 am

Viscid wrote:
Wow. So, we are simply organic automata in control of nothing, simply being pushed about by conditions of which we have absolutely no control. I did not know the Buddha taught that.

I'm not speaking for the Buddha or Buddhism,
I, however, am.

just what I currently feel is the truth of how things really are.
I think I'll go with the Buddha.

But the feeling of choice, the metacognition of choice, is incredibly important! If we did not feel like we had a choice, we would just respond immediately by reaction. We'd be fatalists. We wouldn't improve our moral conduct, we wouldn't want to gradually expand our knowledge about the world-- we simply would not have the capacity to have the characteristics that make us human. I'm not dismissing choice; it's just not something which transcends cause and effect.
I never said choice did transcend cause and effect, but you position lacks a certain clarity. So, you are saying we, in fact, have 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: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:50 am

tiltbillings wrote:I never said choice did transcend cause and effect, but you position lacks a certain clarity. So, you are saying we, in fact, have choice.

Listen: you give me a clear definition of 'choice' and I'll tell you whether or not I agree with it.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:03 am

Viscid wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I never said choice did transcend cause and effect, but you position lacks a certain clarity. So, you are saying we, in fact, have choice.

Listen: you give me a clear definition of 'choice' and I'll tell you whether or not I agree with it.
And I should care if you agree with it or not?
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: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:05 am

I'll go with a straighfoward, conventional definition: Choice consists of the mental process of judging the merits of multiple options and selecting one of them.
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: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:10 am

tiltbillings wrote:I'll go with a straighfoward, conventional definition: Choice consists of the mental process of judging the merits of multiple options and selecting one of them.

Sure, no prob. Any programmed, deterministic artificial intelligence is capable of making a 'choice' which satisfies that definition also. (If you swap 'mental' with 'computational')
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:29 am

Viscid wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I'll go with a straighfoward, conventional definition: Choice consists of the mental process of judging the merits of multiple options and selecting one of them.

Sure, no prob. Any programmed, deterministic artificial intelligence is capable of making a 'choice' which satisfies that definition also. (If you swap 'mental' with 'computational')
I don't think so. Again, I have no problem framing human choice within the context of condionality, but what we are looking at is hardly a hard determinism, in which there no need for choice or even the illusion of it. Is an AI self aware? Can it act other than how it is programmed? We are not quite yet to the point of HAL 9000, but even if we were, that would not negate choice as an actual human process.

As I said, I'll go with the Buddha on this, seeing no reason not to.

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: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:31 am

tiltbillings wrote:I don't think so.


Of course it does. A chess program will weigh the strategical benefit of many options of where to move a chess piece and choose the best move to make. According to you, our ability to make choices is equivalent to that of a computer's.

tiltbillings wrote:II'll go with a straighfoward, conventional definition: Choice consists of the mental process of judging the merits of multiple options and selecting one of them.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:44 am

Viscid wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I don't think so.


Of course it does. A chess program will weigh the strategical benefit of many options of where to move a chess piece and choose the best move to make. According to you, our ability to make choices is equivalent to that of a computer's.
According me? I don't think so, and you are not paying attention to what is being said, which starts making this a waste of time. Is your chess program self aware? Does it act on that basis? Can it act against its own self interest? Wait. It has no self interest, not being self aware. We are, in fact, talking about two very different things.

As I said, I'll go with the Buddha.
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: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:47 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Viscid wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I don't think so.


Of course it does. A chess program will weigh the strategical benefit of many options of where to move a chess piece and choose the best move to make. According to you, our ability to make choices is equivalent to that of a computer's.
According me? I don't think so, and you are not paying attention to what is being said, which starts making this a waste of time. Is your chess program self aware? Does it act on that basis? Can it act against its own self interest? Wait. It has no self interest, not being self aware. We are, in fact, talking about two very different things.

As I said, I'll go with the Buddha.

You never defined choice as requiring self-awareness. So yes, if you're going to weasel your way out of argument, then it is a waste of time.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:55 am

Viscid wrote:]
You never defined choice as requiring self-awareness. So yes, if you're going to weasel your way out of argument, then it is a waste of time.
You are pushing it here. In a follow-up msg after the "definition" msg, I said: Again, I have no problem framing human choice within the context of condionality, but what we are looking at is hardly a hard determinism, in which there no need for choice or even the illusion of it. Is an AI self aware? Can it act other than how it is programmed? We are not quite yet to the point of HAL 9000, but even if we were, that would not negate choice as an actual human process. A direct question concerning self-awareness in the context of making choices was put to you, which you blew off. The time wasting is coming from you. If you want a debate, then pay attention.
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: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:07 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Viscid wrote:]
You never defined choice as requiring self-awareness. So yes, if you're going to weasel your way out of argument, then it is a waste of time.
You are pushing it here. In a follow-up msg after the "definition" msg, I said: Again, I have no problem framing human choice within the context of condionality, but what we are looking at is hardly a hard determinism, in which there no need for choice or even the illusion of it. Is an AI self aware? Can it act other than how it is programmed? We are not quite yet to the point of HAL 9000, but even if we were, that would not negate choice as an actual human process. A direct question concerning self-awareness in the context of making choices was put to you, which you blew off. The time wasting is coming from you. If you want a debate, then pay attention.


Tilt, I think in the end we'd both agree to the tenets of compatibilism.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:12 am

Viscid wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Viscid wrote:]
You never defined choice as requiring self-awareness. So yes, if you're going to weasel your way out of argument, then it is a waste of time.
You are pushing it here. In a follow-up msg after the "definition" msg, I said: Again, I have no problem framing human choice within the context of condionality, but what we are looking at is hardly a hard determinism, in which there no need for choice or even the illusion of it. Is an AI self aware? Can it act other than how it is programmed? We are not quite yet to the point of HAL 9000, but even if we were, that would not negate choice as an actual human process. A direct question concerning self-awareness in the context of making choices was put to you, which you blew off. The time wasting is coming from you. If you want a debate, then pay attention.


Tilt, I think in the end we'd both agree to the tenets of compatibilism.
Which is what I have been saying.
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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