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 » Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:35 am

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Wholesome and unwholse actions do come about because of choice, kamma. Where else would they come from?


But the sutta state that they come due to present roots, the required causes for action. If there is unwholesome root, then action will only be unwholesome. If there is wholesome root, then the action can only be wholesome. The wholesome action to "plant the causes for more wholesome roots in the future" depends on wholesome roots.
While all that is true that if I act badly that bad action has an unwholesome root, but in the real world what grouping of conditions is solely one thing or another, solely unwholesome or wholesome? There is a reason we do certain practices to cultivate wholesome roots and to attenuate the unwholesome. It is gounded in choice.

The idea that this strict conditionality can be bypassed through choice or will or whatever, just adds to the Self View, it just adds more delusion, and makes liberation be further away.
Then you are saying there is not a thing we can do to alter our conditioning, which makes the Buddha a liar, but fortunately the Buddha taught us that we can, indeed, alter our conditioning and that choice - kamma - is very much part of what we are and it is the tool we use.
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: 19624
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:40 am

tiltbillings wrote: While all that is true that if I act badly that bad action has an unwholesome root, but in the real world what grouping of conditions is solely one thing or another, solely unwholesome or wholesome? There is a reason we do certain practices to cultivate wholesome roots and to attenuate the unwholesome. It is gounded in choice.


During those moments when there are wholesome roots, the resultant action is always wholesome - never unwholesome. During those moments when there are unwholesome roots, the resultant action is always unwholesome - never wholesome.

The reason to do wholesome and wise things (like doing certain practices) is due to wholesome roots. The reason to do misguided practices is due to unwholesome roots.


The idea that this strict conditionality can be bypassed through choice or will or whatever, just adds to the Self View, it just adds more delusion, and makes liberation be further away.
Then you are saying there is not a thing we can do to alter our conditioning, which makes the Buddha a liar, but fortunately the Buddha taught us that we can, indeed, alter our conditioning and that choice - kamma - is very much part of what we are and it is the tool we use.



By listening to true Dhamma and considering it, more understanding grows. The wholesome root of wisdom becomes stronger, and that makes wholesome and wise actions appear more often and better and better. The voice of another IS one of the required conditions for changing the roots (for better or worse). But one cannot make oneself "let me believe in the Buddha" or "let me not believe the Buddha". One can't force oneself to believe the Buddha so much, that s/he becomes liberated by faith.


To alter our condition for the better, requires wholesome roots and never unwholesome roots. To alter our condition for the worse, requires unwholesome roots and never wholesome roots.
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2865
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:44 am

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: While all that is true that if I act badly that bad action has an unwholesome root, but in the real world what grouping of conditions is solely one thing or another, solely unwholesome or wholesome? There is a reason we do certain practices to cultivate wholesome roots and to attenuate the unwholesome. It is gounded in choice.


During those moments when there are wholesome roots, the resultant action is always wholesome - never unwholesome. During those moments when there are unwholesome roots, the resultant action is always unwholesome - never wholesome.

The reason to do wholesome and wise things (like doing certain practices) is due to wholesome roots. The reason to do misguided practices is due to unwholesome roots.
So? Doesn't change or contravene anything I have said.

By listening to true Dhamma and considering it, more understanding grows.
Listening and considering are choices. In other words, ways of altering one's conditioning in a wholsesome manner.

The voice of another IS one of the required conditions for changing the roots (for better or worse). But one cannot make oneself "let me believe in the Buddha" or "let me not believe the Buddha".
Voice of another. Says who?
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: 19624
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:
The voice of another IS one of the required conditions for changing the roots (for better or worse). But one cannot make oneself "let me believe in the Buddha" or "let me not believe the Buddha".
Voice of another. Says who?
If you mean the Buddha's teaching, sure, but only to a point. It is an impetus. It is up to us to act in accordance with it, to cease to do the unwholesome, to cultivate the unwholesome and to purify our minds (Dhp 183). We have to act. No one can act for us.

Dhp 276. You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way. Those meditative ones who tread the path are released from the bonds of Mara. Striving, which is a choice, following the way the Buddha points to, 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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19624
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:20 am

tiltbillings wrote: Listening and considering are choices. In other words, ways of altering one's conditioning in a wholsesome manner.


But listening requires that one considers that to be important. It requires a wholesome state of mind that prefer listening to the Buddha vs something else.

Not everyone has that opportunity. Most do not get to hear the Dhamma or cannot listen and understand it (ex: animals, or humans under deep delusion)

If at that moment unwholesome roots are present, one may not even want to listen - and listening occurs, understanding will not one may not understand.


tiltbillings wrote:Dhp 276. You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way. Those meditative ones who tread the path are released from the bonds of Mara.


If the roots are wholesome, the actions will be wholesome never unwholesome. If roots are unwholesome, then one may not want to do those things at all. Or if one does, those actions will be misguided and never correct. No alternative choices here.
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2865
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:24 am

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: Listening and considering are choices. In other words, ways of altering one's conditioning in a wholsesome manner.


But listening requires that one considers that to be important. It requires a wholesome state of mind that prefer listening to the Buddha vs something else.
Which comes about because of the choices we made

tiltbillings wrote:Dhp 276. You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way. Those meditative ones who tread the path are released from the bonds of Mara.


If the roots are wholesome, the actions will be wholesome never unwholesome. If roots are unwholesome, then one may not want to do those things at all. Or if one does, those actions will be misguided never correct.
It all depends upon the choices we have made.
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: 19624
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:30 am

tiltbillings wrote:Which comes about because of the choices we made...It all depends upon the choices we have made.


And the choices that are made are determined by the roots from which they are based. If there is unwholesome root, then choice or action will only be unwholesome and never wholesome. If there is wholesome root, then the choice or action can only be wholesome and never unwholesome. The wholesome action to "plant the causes for more wholesome roots in the future" depends on present wholesome roots and not on unwholesome roots.

If the causes and conditions are for Choice X to be made, then only choice X can be made, never choice Y.
If the causes and conditions are for Choice Y to be made, then only choice Y can be made, never choice X.
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2865
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:40 am

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Which comes about because of the choices we made...It all depends upon the choices we have made.


And the choices that are made are determined by the roots from which they are based. If there is unwholesome root, then choice or action will only be unwholesome and never wholesome. If there is wholesome root, then the choice or action can only be wholesome and never unwholesome. The wholesome action to "plant the causes for more wholesome roots in the future" depends on present wholesome roots and not on unwholesome roots.

If the causes and conditions are for Choice X to be made, then only choice X can be made, never choice Y.
If the causes and conditions are for Choice Y to be made, then only choice Y can be made, never choice X.
Except, there is never just one "root" at play, which is why when one has a raging case of lust, one may make the choice not to act upon 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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19624
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:42 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Which comes about because of the choices we made...It all depends upon the choices we have made.


And the choices that are made are determined by the roots from which they are based. If there is unwholesome root, then choice or action will only be unwholesome and never wholesome. If there is wholesome root, then the choice or action can only be wholesome and never unwholesome. The wholesome action to "plant the causes for more wholesome roots in the future" depends on present wholesome roots and not on unwholesome roots.

If the causes and conditions are for Choice X to be made, then only choice X can be made, never choice Y.
If the causes and conditions are for Choice Y to be made, then only choice Y can be made, never choice X.
Except, there is never just one "root" at play, which is why when one has a raging case of lust, one may make the choice not to act upon it.


Still, that unwholesome root will only bring unwholesome action, never wholesome. And that wholesome root will only bring wholesome result, never unwholesome.

So mixture of roots does not negate the strict conditionality: "when this is, that is". The choice not to act upon lust it is due to a wholesome root, never unwholesome root. It is fully conditioned. The arising of lust is always due to unwholesome root, never wholesome root. It is fully conditioned.
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2865
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:52 am

Alex123 wrote:
Still, that unwholesome root will only bring unwholesome action, never wholesome. And that wholesome root will only bring wholesome result, never unwholesome.

So mixture of roots does not negate the strict conditionality: "when this is, that is". The choice not to act upon lust it is due to a wholesome root, never unwholesome root. It is fully conditioned. The arising of lust is always due to unwholesome root, never wholesome root. It is fully conditioned.
Okay, but given the almost infinite complexity of the conditioning at play at any one time, things are never simple, nor is it a "strict conditionality."

"If one says that in whatever way a person performs a kammic action, in that very same way he will experience the result — in that case there will be no (possibility for a) religious life and no opportunity would appear for the complete ending of suffering.

"But if one says that a person who performs a kammic action (with a result) that is variably experienceable, will reap its results accordingly — in that case there will be (a possibility for) a religious life and an opportunity for making a complete end of suffering."
— AN 3.110
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: 19624
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:10 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Okay, but given the almost infinite complexity of the conditioning at play at any one time, things are never simple, nor is it a "strict conditionality."

A mixture of different causes will produce a mixture of results. Each result has a specific cause. If there are many different causes at play, then there will be results for each of those causes, and the sum total of those results can be of infinite complexity.

Let me give you an example. Lets say wholesome roots are like seed + all conditions necessary that grow into trees that give sweet fruits. Unwholesome roots are like seeds + all conditions necessary that grow into trees that give bitter fruits.

If the field is sown with only one type of seeds, then the result will be the fruits of one type. If there is mixture (50/50, 40/60, 99/1, etc) of kinds of seeds, the resultant crop will be according to those ratios. Still a specific seed gives a specific result. And there can be many different seeds each giving their own result.

"If one says that in whatever way a person performs a kammic action, in that very same way he will experience the result — in that case there will be no (possibility for a) religious life and no opportunity would appear for the complete ending of suffering.

"But if one says that a person who performs a kammic action (with a result) that is variably experienceable, will reap its results accordingly — in that case there will be (a possibility for) a religious life and an opportunity for making a complete end of suffering."
— AN 3.110



What that quote is saying is that often the active roots at a given period of time are not always all unwholesome or wholesome. Because of that the wholesome roots by producing wholesome results can "dilute" the negative effects of unwholesome roots, and vice versa with unwholesome roots diminishing the positive result of wholesome roots.

None of that refutes strict conditionality. It just adds more diverse causes & conditions, each of those causes has a specific result. The sum total of specific cause + specific result, can produce overaly mixed result when judged as a whole. But this never means that individually a unwholesome root can be the sole cause for wholesome result, and wholesome root individually cannot be the cause for unwholesome result.
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2865
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby kirk5a » Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:55 pm

Apologies if by chance this has been mentioned in this thread already, but I found a scholarly article titled "What Kind of Free Will Did the Buddha Teach?" by Asaf Federman here: http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/3142/

To my mind it's as thorough an examination of the topic as one could hope for. I'm satisfied with his conclusions too, which in part say

"The Cartesian and Brahmanical understandings of free will refer to a power that
belongs in the soul, that transcends the physical, and that has ultimate control over
the body. The Buddha rejects this notion and at the same time rejects fatalism, which
leaves no room for significant choices."

If your mind isn't satisfied with that well then you can continue in perplexity about the issue and see what that gets ya :rolleye:
"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: 1759
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:47 pm

Hello Kirk5a, welcome to this discussion.

As I understand it, the fatalism that Buddha rejected is the fatalism of "there is no good or bad actions. there is no kamma or results of kamma. There is no cause for awakening or for defilement of beings".

I understand how no-control is difficult for many people to consciously or subconsciously accept. The self view goes really deep, and one of the beliefs is the possibility of control, "I am in charge. I can do this, I can abstain from that. I can freely chose to do this or that, and it is my choice, not a fixed outcome of specific causes & conditions "

There is nothing bad about the teaching that once you see things as they really are, there is no freedom of choice to escape becoming Awakened. This is awesome! It would be much worse if what happens now (choices, intentions, etc) is totally unrelated to what happened before. That would be chaos, total insecurity and fatalism.


"For a person who knows & sees things as they actually are, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I feel disenchantment.' It is in the nature of things that a person who knows & sees things as they actually are feels disenchantment.

"For a person who feels disenchantment, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I grow dispassionate.' It is in the nature of things that a person who feels disenchantment grows dispassionate.

"For a dispassionate person, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I realize the knowledge & vision of release.' It is in the nature of things that a dispassionate person realizes the knowledge & vision of release.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


The choices that are made are determined by the roots from which they are based and not due to free agency that is independent of causes&conditions. If there is unwholesome root, then choice or action will only be unwholesome and never wholesome. If there is wholesome root, then the choice or action can only be wholesome and never unwholesome. The wholesome action to "plant the causes for more wholesome roots in the future" depends on present wholesome roots and not on unwholesome roots.

If the causes and conditions are for Choice X to be made, then only choice X can be made, never choice Y.
If the causes and conditions are for Choice Y to be made, then only choice Y can be made, never choice X.


If the same set of causes and conditions could equally likely to produce X or not-X outcome, then not only would this deny the resultant distinction between wholesome/unwholesome roots, but it would invalidate the possibility of step-by-step progress of the path or regress. This would be because none of the steps would affect the later stages in a meaningful way. Killing 100 people or giving charity to 100 people would then equally be random in producing wholesome or unwholesome result. This would be terrible. This would invalidate the point of Buddha's teaching.
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2865
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:44 pm

Alex123 wrote:. . . .
You keep repeating yourself; you do not really engage any of what is said in response, you keep trying to redefine any claim for choice as supposedly meaning "free" - unconditioned - choice, totally ignoring what is said to the contrary, and on and on.

The fact of the matter is that there is choice. That choice is conditioned does not mean there is no choice. It just means that choice is conditioned and choice being conditioned does not mean that there is no active choice. The Buddha taught that we have active, direct choice, albeit conditioned, and we should actively utilize our capacity to choose via the precepts, which are guidelines on how to choose and are a way of changing our conditioning to a more positive color, we should meditate, which is a way of cultivating wisdom and attenuating the unwholesome roots, altering our conditioning.

Cease to do evil, cultivate the good and purify our own minds, which is all stuff we can actively choose do to alter our conditioning - it is what the Buddha taught. Choice, it is what directly and strongly matters. That choice is conditioned is not a problem, because it is choice that conditions. Also, the conditioning is not ever a singular thing. A person may have hot and hairy lust, but there is a choice as to what to do with it and that choice is what matter. If we did not have that choice there would be no way to awakening. "This being is bound to samsara, kamma [choice] is his means for going beyond." -SN I, 38.

The choices that are made are determined by the roots from which they are based and not due to free agency that is independent of causes&conditions.
Which is what I have been saying from the start.
If there is unwholesome root, then choice or action will only be unwholesome and never wholesome. If there is wholesome root, then the choice or action can only be wholesome and never unwholesome. The wholesome action to "plant the causes for more wholesome roots in the future" depends on present wholesome roots and not on unwholesome roots.
The problem with this overly simplistic and overly narrow statement is that there is rarely - if ever - one "root" or one bit of conditioning at play, which is why the lustful person can choose not to act upon his or her lustful drive, altering his or her conditioning. A lustful action may come from a lustful "root," but there may be - and far more likely than not, are - other conditionings at play as well. Not acting on a lustful bit of conditioning may come from a wholesome root, but other bits of conditioning may be - and far more likely than not, are - at play.

The bottom line is that we can choose within the context of the complexity of conditions in which we find ourselves and by our choice we can alter our conditioning, making it easier or harder - depending upon the choice - to choose in a particular way the next time. The Buddha taught that we have choice for which we are responsible.
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: 19624
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:15 am

Hi Tilt, all,

If by choice you mean: certain thoughts, intentions, picking available options, deliberating course of action to do, making a decision - then I agree that this happens. However, why were there only these available options? Why does someone picks this, rather than that action? Due to causes.
What I disagree is with the implicit idea that above are independent of past causes. If (certain thoughts, intentions, picking available options, deliberating course of action to do, making a decision) are not unconditioned, then they aren't freely chosen. It refutes the idea of a REAL choice made independent of conditionality, which is what I tried to show not to exist.

I deny the idea of anything that relates to samsara and is unconditioned by any kind of cause (wholesome, unwholesome, neutral, physical or mental).

tiltbillings wrote:"This being is bound to samsara, kamma [choice] is his means for going beyond." -SN I, 38.


I don't deny the importance or validity of kamma. I only deny the idea that it is uncaused, random, or that it is due to a will of a trully existing being


tiltbillings wrote:Cease to do evil, cultivate the good and purify our own minds, which is all stuff we can actively choose do to alter our conditioning -


That is a good instruction. However it requires certain causes to be present in order to do that. Choice and decision to do or not to do the above are fully conditioned, so they are not Free Will. You can't ask, lets say, a fundamentalist Christian to follow Buddha's instruction to the full - because they have different conditioning. You can't force yourself to believe in Zeus, Jehovah, or whatever. Why does a person believe X rather than Y? Due to conditioning.


tiltbillings wrote:The problem with this overly simplistic and overly narrow statement is that there is rarely - if ever - one "root" or one bit of conditioning at play, which is why the lustful person can choose not to act upon his or her lustful drive, altering his or her conditioning. A lustful action may come from a lustful "root," but there may be - and far more likely than not, are - other conditionings at play as well. Not acting on a lustful bit of conditioning may come from a wholesome root, but other bits of conditioning may be - and far more likely than not, are - at play.


Right, there are rarely if ever one root in a period of time. This is why a lustful person can understand the drawbacks of his/her lustful drive. But why do some people ACT on lust even without thinking that lust is bad, and some people resist it? Due to presence or absence of other roots.


With metta,

Alex
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2865
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:34 am

Alex123 wrote:Hi Tilt, all,

If by choice you mean: certain thoughts, intentions, picking available options, deliberating course of action to do, making a decision - then I agree that this happens. However, why were there only these available options? Why does someone picks this, rather than that action? Due to causes.
So? There is still is a choosing this over that, or it could have gone the other way. It is choice.

What I disagree is with the implicit idea that above are independent of past causes.
The "implicit idea" is your silly bugbear, having not a thing to do with what I am saying; it is part of your insistence upon a dead, mechanical determinism, which is something the Buddha did not teach, but rather comes out of a dry, spiritless reading of the Abhidhamma, little related to actual life.

If (certain thoughts, intentions, picking available options, deliberating course of action to do, making a decision) are not unconditioned, then they aren't freely chosen. It refutes the idea of a REAL choice made independent of conditionality, which is what I tried to show not to exist.
Again, this is your attempt at redefining choice to fit your limited, contracted point of view. Choice may be conditioned, but it is still choice.

I deny the idea of anything that relates to samsara and is unconditioned by any kind of cause (wholesome, unwholesome, neutral, physical or mental).
So? I never made such a claim. Choice does not have to be unconditioned to be choice.

tiltbillings wrote:"This being is bound to samsara, kamma [choice] is his means for going beyond." -SN I, 38.


I don't deny the importance or validity of kamma. I only deny the idea that it is uncaused, random, or that it is due to a will of a trully existing being
Have I said otherwise? Quite the contrary. Just because choice is conditioned does not mean there is no choice.

Choice and decision to do or not to do the above are fully conditioned, so they are not Free Will. You can't ask, lets say, a fundamentalist Christian to follow Buddha's instruction to the full - because they have different conditioning. You can't force yourself to believe in Zeus, Jehovah, or whatever. Why does a person believe X rather than Y? Due to conditioning.
And who is saying otherwise? Not me; however, conditioning does not prevent choice from being made, altering one's conditioning.


tiltbillings wrote:The problem with this overly simplistic and overly narrow statement is that there is rarely - if ever - one "root" or one bit of conditioning at play, which is why the lustful person can choose not to act upon his or her lustful drive, altering his or her conditioning. A lustful action may come from a lustful "root," but there may be - and far more likely than not, are - other conditionings at play as well. Not acting on a lustful bit of conditioning may come from a wholesome root, but other bits of conditioning may be - and far more likely than not, are - at play.


Right, there are rarely if ever one root in a period of time. This is why a lustful person can choose not to act upon his/her lustful drive. But why do some people ACT on lust even without thinking that lust is bad, and some people resist it? Due to presence or absence of other roots.
Well, you have just totally undercut your own argument. People do ACT and they can choose how to act in the context of their conditioning, which what the Buddha has said. If cannot choose how to act there is no awakening.

Instead of repeating the same crap over and over about unconditioned choice, which is not what I am saying, why don't you try something new, like taking the Buddha's teachings seriously beyond trying excuse away bad behavior because of conditioning.
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: 19624
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:48 am

tiltbillings wrote:
So? There is still is a choosing this over that, or it could have gone the other way. It is choice.


And why where there only certain choices present, and not some others? Why was this decision rather than that decision? Why was there the need for solving this or that problem and coming with a choice in the first place? Because due to being conditioned by many different factors (aggregates, wholesome or unwholesome roots, etc)


If lets say a situation would repeat in exactly the same way, with all internal & external complex causes being exactly the same, would the final choice, and that action following the choice be exactly the same? Of course it would. Otherwise how can we say that X was a cause for Y if in some cases it isn't cause of Y?

To say that a same situation can turn out differently even if absolutely all conditions were the same, would undercut conditionality and the idea of a cause.

If the same set of causes and conditions could produce X or not-X outcome, then not only would this deny the resultant distinction between wholesome/unwholesome roots, but it would invalidate the possibility of step-by-step progress of the path or regress. This would be because none of the steps would affect the later stages in a meaningful way. Killing 100 people or giving charity to 100 people would then equally be random in producing wholesome or unwholesome result. This would be terrible. This would invalidate the point of Buddha's teaching.
Last edited by Alex123 on Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2865
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:05 am

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
So? There is still is a choosing this over that, or it could have gone the other way. It is choice.
. . .
Are you going to actually say anything new here that actually addresses what I have said? That would be novel, but the point is the Buddha taught that there is choice and that we can and should use choice as a means to our awakening.

To say that a same situation can turn out differently even if absolutely all conditions were the same, would undercut conditionality.
And you keep trying to play this game, which assumes a rigid, mechanical universe, but while you believe this, you don't know if that is actually true. We are not talking about a rigid mechanical universe when talking about human beings - which is what we are talking about -; rather, we are talking about a dynamic, ever changing organic causality/conditionality in which there is 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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19624
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:17 am

tiltbillings wrote: ]Are you going to actually say anything new here that actually addresses what I have said?


ALL you've said was addressed. Maybe not directly, but it was. Since all phenomena arise from a cause, there is no possibility to alter the results of a specific set of causes. Sure they can be complex, dynamic and manifold. But causes are called causes for a reason.

That would be novel, but the point is the Buddha taught that there is choice and that we can and should use choice as a means to our awakening.


Are you saying that "choice" is fully independent of anything? Could a person who doesn't know anything about Dhamma and has no capability to follow it, chose to follow Dhamma and succeed while never knowing about Dhamma and not having the capability to follow it? No.

Those people who grew up in a certain fanatic religious environment and may not have even heard a word about other faiths, freely chose which faith to follow no? They will follow what they have been taught to believe.

And you keep trying to play this game, which assumes a rigid, mechanical universe, but while you believe this, you don't know if that is actually true.


It was the Buddha who has said:
When this is, that is. From the arising of this comes the arising of that. When this isn't, that isn't. From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


He didn't state that X can arise without its cause, or that X can cease without a cause.


If, lets say, awakening can arise without specific causes, then why do anything? If a thing is not caused by anything, then anything done previously would have no influence on the outcome. Killing 100 people or abstaining from killing 100 people would equally likely affect or not affect the Awakening, if Awakening was uncaused. But if Awakening has specific causes, then it cannot be willed to occur. Only when the causes are met, the results follow.

If there are only 5, and not more, aggregates. If they are fully conditioned, then it leaves no room for anything unconditioned outside of them (such as will, choice, knowing, etc) to affect them. The choices that are made, are fully conditioned and do not go above conditionality.

To think that free (rather than "inevitable") choice can be outside of conditionality and 5 aggregates is almost identical to postulation of a Self that can control things.
Last edited by Alex123 on Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2865
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:30 am

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: ]Are you going to actually say anything new here that actually addresses what I have said?


ALL you've said was addressed. Maybe not directly, but it was.
Not really. Your "addressing" what I said was not much more than your continually saying that choice implies choice without conditions, even though I said choice very clearly involved conditioning.

That would be novel, but the point is the Buddha taught that there is choice and that we can and should use choice as a means to our awakening.


Are you saying that "choice" is fully independent of anything?
Now you are doing it again. What have I said about choice, repeatedly, over and over? What have I said, directly and clearly? What have I said?

Could a person who doesn't know anything about Dhamma and has no capability to follow it, chose to follow Dhamma and succeed while never knowing about Dhamma and not having the capability to follow it? No.
Non sequitur.

He didn't state that X can arise without its cause, or that X can cease without a cause.
And I never implied or said that, did I? So, why do you keep going back to this when it is not my argument or even remotely implied in my argument?

If, lets say, awakening can arise without specific causes, then why do anything? If a thing is not caused by anything, then anything done previously would have no influence on the outcome. Killing 100 people or abstaining from killing 100 people would equally likely affect or not affect the Awakening, if Awakening was uncaused. But if Awakening has specific causes, then it cannot be willed to occur. Only when the causes are met, the results follow.
Again, not a thing to do with what I have said. Not a thing, except for the last sentence, which is why the Buddha taught that we have to make choices in following the path.
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: 19624
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

PreviousNext

Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests