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Did the Buddha teach that we have choice? - Page 6 - Dhamma Wheel

Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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tiltbillings
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:19 am


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

Postby robertk » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:21 am


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

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:28 am


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

Postby Hanzze » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:59 am

*dancing the monkey dance*
Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:03 am

The monkey needs to calm itself down, though according to Alex, that is impossible.

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

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:07 am


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

Postby Hanzze » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:12 am

Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Kim OHara
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:01 am

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Individual » Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:53 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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Alex123
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:08 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Alex123
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:30 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:55 am

The best things in life aren't things.


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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:40 am


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Dan74
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:25 am

I guess this discussion calls for a closer investigation of this dynamic of choice. To an arahat, the choice of right action is clear and is practically not a choice at all, it would seem. There is what in Mahayana is called according with the causes and conditions, I believe.

I will give it a shot in anticipation of being happily pulled to shreds. ;)

To the not-yet-enlightened, the varying degree of clarity muddy up the waters somewhat :) but the so-called choice, I guess, is a conditioned by the decision-making dynamics - a set of heuristics that serve to optimise various priorities, like pleasure, satisfaction, etc etc. In a simple situation, the hand touches something hot, quickly pulls back and subsequently chooses not to touch the same spot, in order to minimize the chance of harm. Navigating through the world of attraction/aversion, choice is being tosses between those. To the extent that we emancipate ourselves, it becomes first wholesome/unwholesome, then skillful/unskillful, then total accord with the causes and conditions - panna.
_/|\_

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Kim OHara
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:54 am

I'm sorry to disappoint you, Dan, but I'm not going to pull you to shreds.
In general I think your position is very reasonable. I'll just throw in an off-topic parallel: "To an arahat, the choice of right action is clear and is practically not a choice at all, it would seem. There is what in Mahayana is called according with the causes and conditions, I believe," reminded me very strongly of the Taoist 'superior man' according with the Tao or 'will of heaven'.
I could come up with two plausible reasons for the parallel - choose either, neither or both:
1. The idea was borrowed or carried from tradition to another.
2. That's the way wisdom works: the wiser one is, the easier it is to see the best course of action and the less attractive the other options become.

:namaste:
Kim

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

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:27 am


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

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:41 am

Thank Tiltness for that post.
Someones got to address it.


Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:44 am


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

Postby tinhtan » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:58 am


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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:19 pm

Hi all,

Glad to see this topic being hashed out here on DW -- it's been much in my thoughts lately, especially on the commute to and from work. :) Hope you don't mind if I throw in some amateurish observations.

The post earlier by Modus.Ponens struck me as the most plausible explanation. In a world governed by causality, we could -- in theory -- know the outcome of any "choice" if we knew all the conditioning factors. (Indeed, this is probably why dhamma posits the Buddha's omniscience). To dispute this would amount to setting up some sort of autonomous agent that is capable of making unconditioned choices. Such an idea presents logical problems, not to mention a dhamma problem.

Practically speaking, though, it's impossible for any of us to know all the factors and thus the illusion of choice remains in effect. From the conditioned POV it always appears that we have a choice to make, and therefore the concept of free will has functional meaning, as Geoff said.

There's another complication, however: our belief in free will is itself one of the conditioning factors. A person who rejects the idea of choice and one who accepts it may act in different ways. If you have two nearly equivalent sets of factors, but one contains "belief in free will" and the other contains "fatalism" it's likely we won't see the same outcomes.

Humans often make apparently illogical and/or unpredictable choices...often out of the sheer joy of being contrarian. Anyone who has been around small children knows this to be true! However, we would not act in this way if we didn't believe in our own willpower; instead, we'd behave like automatons (David Chalmers' zombies, perhaps).

Therefore, although determinism is true in principle, in practice it is subject to observational constraints and something akin to the observer effect.


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