Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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

Hanzze wrote:Dear robertk,

so does that insight comes by it self or is it forced/choose? Or is dukkha insight?
Or may be inisight arises as a result of conditioning brought about by the choices we make. That is what the Buddha taught.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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

"
Because the functions of the elements give rise to the concepts of continuity, collection and form, the ideas arise:

1. the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed, and

2. the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion and this leads to the subsequent ideas

3. "I can perform" and 4) "I can feel"

Thus these four imaginary characteristic functions of being have bought about a deep-rooted belief in their existence.



This is from the preface to the book of elements in the abhidhamma pitaka
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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

robertk wrote:"
Because the functions of the elements give rise to the concepts of continuity, collection and form, the ideas arise:

1. the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed, and

2. the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion and this leads to the subsequent ideas

3. "I can perform" and 4) "I can feel"

Thus these four imaginary characteristic functions of being have bought about a deep-rooted belief in their existence.



This is from the preface to the book of elements in the abhidhamma pitaka
There you go. The self that has to be dealt with until we are awakened. Cannot wish it away, but must see into its nature via vipassana.
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 Hanzze » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:59 am

*dancing the monkey dance*
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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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.
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 » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:07 am

Alex123 wrote:Hi Mike, all,

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alex,
I'm not sure exactly who or what you are still arguing with.
:anjali:
Mike


Idea of an Agent, and idea of free choice that is done (by what amounts to being an Agent).


With metta,

Alex
Geez, Alex, the Buddha did not teach the idea of an unconditioned - in absolute control - “Agent” thingie, nor did he teach free - unconditioned - choice.

As for the issue of control, Geoff neatly responded to it:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=6322&start=20#p100052

Your response, as usual, missed what Geoff said and went off on a tangent, which is a favorite tactic of yours for not directly addressing a response to something you said.

The issue of control of the khandhas has been directly addressed in the other thread, which you then tried to side step. There are aspects of the khandhas that are out of our control - the fact that there is change is the primary one. One cannot will or wish away change. Nor can one wish or will away ignorance, because that would run against the conditioned nature of the khandhas. All the examples the Buddha gave in terms of control based upon an unconditioned Atman/Self thingie and are examples that run against the truth of anicca and conditionality.

On the other hand the Buddha was quite direct about what we can do when we choose to work within laws conditionality, as the Buddha discovered them and taught:

Dhp 375. Control of the senses [indriyagutti], contentment, restraint according to the code of monastic discipline — these form the basis of holy life here for the wise monk.

Unlike the “control” based upon the assumption of a permanent Atman/Self thingie and rejected by the Buddha, there is nothing in the control of the senses, as the Buddha taught, that is outside of the Buddha’s teachings of conditionality.

He keeps watch over his faculty of sight and he attains to mastery over it. - DN I 70.

Dhp 362. He who has control over his hands, feet and tongue; who is fully controlled, delights in inward development, is absorbed in meditation, keeps to himself and is contented — him do people call a monk.

363. That monk who has control over his tongue, is moderate in speech, unassuming and who explains the Teaching in both letter and spirit — whatever he says is pleasing.

364. The monk who abides in the Dhamma, delights in the Dhamma, meditates on the Dhamma, and bears the Dhamma well in mind — he does not fall away from the sublime Dhamma.
All of this is clearly grounded in direct action - choices - taken by the monk.

Dhp 157. If one holds oneself dear, one should diligently watch oneself. Let the wise man keep vigil during any of the three watches of the night.

158. One should first establish oneself in what is proper; then only should one instruct others. Thus the wise man will not be reproached.

160. One truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be? With oneself fully controlled, one gains a mastery that is hard to gain.

165. By oneself is evil done; by oneself is one defiled. By oneself is evil left undone; by oneself is one made pure. Purity and impurity depended on oneself; no one can purify another.

166. Let one not neglect one's own welfare for the sake of another, however great. Clearly understanding one's own welfare, let one be intent upon the good.
And here, without recourse to an unchanging Atman/Self thingie, we have direct action grounded in choice being clearly taught by the Buddha. It is what one does that matters. If one does this . . .; one should do that . . . ; by one’s self is an action done. There is not a thing here that suggests that it is just all mechanical causation.

Because we are not enmeshed in a mechanical causality where no choice is possible, rather because we find ourselves in a dynamic flow of conditionality, how we choose to act is what is central to the Path: "This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond." - SN I, 38.

If we were dealing with mechanical causality, we would be dealing with essences, atmans/attas, which would be the only basis for a total invariability of a mechanical causality. It would be, as the Buddha stated, falling “ back on what was done in the past as being essential” {AN 3.61}. The Buddha, on the other hand, taught conditionality, which does not require self-existence, does not require falling “ back on what was done in the past as being essential”. This is clearly seen in the pivotal Kaccaayanagotto Sutta. Conditionality is open to the possibility of the alteration of the conditions by the conditioning influence of choice - kamma, intended action. Otherwise, what would be the point of the Buddha’s teachings? If the core of the Buddha’s teachings were just mechanical causality, the Path would be a lie. There would be no way to attain it and the Buddha’s exhortations, as quoted above, would be a lie because there would be no way to act on them.

“From the arising of this comes the arising of that.”
“From the arising of choice comes the arising of choosing.”
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 Hanzze » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:12 am

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

Yes sir :-) As we have now the choice to do vipassana, I thought it would be nice to honore all beings which teaches and lead us to vipassana! Not wast your merits, you had much that you could came in touch with it. Uncountable beings will not have it in there lifes.

_/\_
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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

Kim O'Hara wrote:Strict determinism rules out free will.
The Buddha taught us to *choose* between skillful and unskillful actions.
Therefore the Buddha did not teach strict determinism.
... I think.
:namaste:
Kim

tiltbillings wrote:Conditionality is open to the possibility of the alteration of the conditions by the conditioning influence of choice - kamma, intended action. Otherwise, what would be the point of the Buddha’s teachings? If the core of the Buddha’s teachings were just mechanical causality, the Path would be a lie. There would be no way to attain it and the Buddha’s exhortations, as quoted above, would be a lie because there would be no way to act on them.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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

tiltbillings wrote:
Hanzze wrote:Thats why he teaches sometimes that and sometimes that :-) mind is tricky
Damdifino what you just said.


alan wrote:Hamzze serves as comic relief. A useful function.

Allow me to translate:

If there is no self-thinking in the first place, there is no need for practice because suffering is dependent on self-thinking. For some people, they start with the cessation of self-thinking and therefore practice. For others, they practice first and in that practice there is the cessation of self-thinking. Therefore, sometimes the Buddha teaches our minds are conditioned by ignorance, while other times he teaches they are luminous. :)
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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

Hanzee,

Hanzze wrote:Dear robertk,
so does that insight comes by it self or is it forced/choose? Or is dukkha insight?


I am not RobertK, but I'll answer it. It comes due to causes and conditions, such as listening & considering the Dhamma.

One is not fated to remain permanently in samsara. If wisdom is developed, then the process will eventually disband and parinibbana will be achieved. No Fatalism here.


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


If the proper conditions happen, then it will stop. In any case, restlessness is impermanent and will pass.
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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

Hi Tilt, all,

tiltbillings wrote:Geez, Alex, the Buddha did not teach the idea of an unconditioned - in absolute control - “Agent” thingie, nor did he teach free - unconditioned - choice.


If the choice in not a "thing of an Agent", nor is it unconditioned - then choice is conditioned like "a leaf being blown by the wind". There can be many dynamic causes for the choice, but in essence it still means that choice is an effect of those causes and not something that happens on "its own and solely due to itself" or as what an Agent does.

tiltbillings wrote:As for the issue of control, Geoff neatly responded to it:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 20#p100052
Your response, as usual, missed what Geoff said and went off on a tangent, which is a favorite tactic of yours for not directly addressing a response to something you said.


My way is to discuss about general idea about "control", rather than specific instances of teachings that sound as if there is control. If there is no control (in free will sense) at all, then all sutta quotes do not talk about control out of free choice, but control that happens due to causes, and control that is like ""a leaf being blown by the wind".


tiltbillings wrote:The issue of control of the khandhas has been directly addressed in the other thread, which you then tried to side step. There are aspects of the khandhas that are out of our control - the fact that there is change is the primary one. One cannot will or wish away change. Nor can one wish or will away ignorance, because that would run against the conditioned nature of the khandhas.


If one can't wish or will away ignorance, then one can't will or wish away that which is caused by ignorance, namely saṅkhāra. And Saṅkhāra includes all choice, intention and will.

" From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications". avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā - Ud1.3 and many suttas.



tiltbillings wrote:Dhp 375. Control of the senses [indriyagutti], contentment, restraint according to the code of monastic discipline — these form the basis of holy life here for the wise monk.

Unlike the “control” based upon the assumption of a permanent Atman/Self thingie and rejected by the Buddha, there is nothing in the control of the senses, as the Buddha taught, that is outside of the Buddha’s teachings of conditionality.


If there is nothing in the "control of the senses, as the Buddha taught, that is outside of the Buddha’s teachings of conditionality. " then control of the senses is conditioned like "a leaf being blown by the wind"


tiltbillings wrote:Because we are not enmeshed in a mechanical causality where no choice is possible, rather because we find ourselves in a dynamic flow of conditionality, how we choose to act is what is central to the Path: "This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond." - SN I, 38.


I thought that you've said that everything is conditioned and nothing lies outside of the Buddha’s teachings of conditionality ?

Conditionality is conditionality. It can be complex and dynamic, but for all intents and purposes it is the same. Conditions dictate results.

tiltbillings wrote: If we were dealing with mechanical causality, we would be dealing with essences, atmans/attas, which would be the only basis for a total invariability of a mechanical causality. It would be, as the Buddha stated, falling “ back on what was done in the past as being essential


That wrong view missess the point that during this life there can be new causes (such as hearing true Dhamma) injected that will alter the development of cause-effect stream that we call "this or that person". So "one" is not doomed to spiral downhill, and liberation is possible.

tiltbillings wrote:
Otherwise, what would be the point of the Buddha’s teachings?


To inject wholesome conditions for wisdom to arise, and alter the course of that cause-effect stream we call a person.

tiltbillings wrote: If the core of the Buddha’s teachings were just mechanical causality, the Path would be a lie.


Quite the opposite. By hearing and understanding the Dhamma, the path will emerge and will have no other choice but to eventually result in parinibbana.


tiltbillings wrote:“From the arising of this comes the arising of that.”
“From the arising of choice comes the arising of choosing.”



And from arising of what does choice arise? Or does it arise spontaneously and unconditionally?


With metta,

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

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

Alex123 wrote:If one can't wish or will away ignorance, then one can't will or wish away that which is caused by ignorance, namely saṅkhāra. And Saṅkhāra includes all choice, intention and will.

" From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications". avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā - Ud1.3 and many suttas.

Let's be clear here by what we mean by "requisite condition." Ignorance is a sufficient condition for fabrications, but it is not a necessary condition. The same applies to all the factors of dependent origination. :)
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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

Hi Individual,
Individual wrote:
Alex123 wrote:If one can't wish or will away ignorance, then one can't will or wish away that which is caused by ignorance, namely saṅkhāra. And Saṅkhāra includes all choice, intention and will.

" From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications". avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā - Ud1.3 and many suttas.

Let's be clear here by what we mean by "requisite condition." Ignorance is a sufficient condition for fabrications, but it is not a necessary condition. The same applies to all the factors of dependent origination. :)

It seems to me you have your terminology backwards. When ignorance ceases fabrications cease (and the whole DO sequence). That, it seems to me, makes ignorance a necessary condition. Or am I misunderstanding your wording?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... #dependent
"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

Mike
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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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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.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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

Alex123 wrote:Hi Tilt, all,

tiltbillings wrote:Geez, Alex, the Buddha did not teach the idea of an unconditioned - in absolute control - “Agent” thingie, nor did he teach free - unconditioned - choice.


If the choice in not a "thing of an Agent", nor is it unconditioned - then choice is conditioned like "a leaf being blown by the wind". There can be many dynamic causes for the choice, but in essence it still means that choice is an effect of those causes and not something that happens on "its own and solely due to itself" or as what an Agent does.
This is the usual male bovine coproforms you offer us. You may believe that we are naught more than leaves blowing in the winds, but you have given us nothing compelling in your “arguments.” But, you said it, leaves blowing in the winds, which is to say we are at the mercy of external forces acting upon us.

Also, your above statement is simply incoherent as is your overarching argument. You state: “There can be many dynamic causes for the choice,” but if we are leaves blowing in the winds and your mechanical, linear X always gives rise to Y, then there is nothing that could possibly be called choice. Choice, of course, requires viable albeit conditioned options, but for you, no such thing as viable options exists, which renders your above paragraph meaningless.

tiltbillings wrote:As for the issue of control, Geoff neatly responded to it:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=6322&start=20#p100052
Your response, as usual, missed what Geoff said and went off on a tangent, which is a favorite tactic of yours for not directly addressing a response to something you said.


My way is to discuss about general idea about "control", rather than specific instances of teachings that sound as if there is control. If there is no control (in free will sense) at all, then all sutta quotes do not talk about control out of free choice, but control that happens due to causes, and control that is like "a leaf being blown by the wind".
Your way. So, rather than actually deal with the Buddha’s words that talk about choice, we have to listen to you expound your un-Buddhist theories based upon vague generalities. And as usual, you bring in your usual straw-man dodge of free will, which is not what I am talking about. It is a waste of time.

As the Buddha makes quite clear in the words I quoted, control, in the sense he is advocating, in the texts I have quoted, is the result of active choices of the individual, not external forces acting upon the individual in a dead mechanical fashion.

tiltbillings wrote:The issue of control of the khandhas has been directly addressed in the other thread, which you then tried to side step. There are aspects of the khandhas that are out of our control - the fact that there is change is the primary one. One cannot will or wish away change. Nor can one wish or will away ignorance, because that would run against the conditioned nature of the khandhas.


If one can't wish or will away ignorance, then one can't will or wish away that which is caused by ignorance, namely saṅkhāra. And Saṅkhāra includes all choice, intention and will.
Again, with the straw-man. I very carefully pointed out that what I am talking about is not a wishing away of ignorance or anything else. This comment of yours is a non sequitur and can be ignored.

The thing is, Alex, the Buddha taught how use the very nature of conditionality to modify it and to gain insight into it in order to free one’s self from its enslavement.

tiltbillings wrote:Dhp 375. Control of the senses [indriyagutti], contentment, restraint according to the code of monastic discipline — these form the basis of holy life here for the wise monk.

Unlike the “control” based upon the assumption of a permanent Atman/Self thingie and rejected by the Buddha, there is nothing in the control of the senses, as the Buddha taught, that is outside of the Buddha’s teachings of conditionality.


If there is nothing in the "control of the senses, as the Buddha taught, that is outside of the Buddha’s teachings of conditionality. " then control of the senses is conditioned like "a leaf being blown by the wind"
Not that you have shown. The texts I quoted makes it quite clear that one’s own action, choice, is involved, but then you do not want to talk about what the Buddha actually said on the matter; rather, you trot out a few texts you distort to try to make your point.

tiltbillings wrote:Because we are not enmeshed in a mechanical causality where no choice is possible, rather because we find ourselves in a dynamic flow of conditionality, how we choose to act is what is central to the Path: "This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond." - SN I, 38.


I thought that you've said that everything is conditioned and nothing lies outside of the Buddha’s teachings of conditionality ?
Conditionality, not your mechanical, linear dead causality.

Conditionality is conditionality. It can be complex and dynamic, but for all intents and purposes it is the same. Conditions dictate results.
Mechanical, linear causality dictates invariable results. This is what you are saying the Buddha taught, ignoring everything that points otherwise.

If any one says that a man must reap according to his deeds, in that case there is no religious life nor opportunity afforded for the entire extinction of sorrow. But if any one says that what a man reaps accords with his deeds, in that case there is a religious life and an opportunity is afforded for the entire extinction of sorrow. AN I 249.
What the Buddha taught is that if Y happens X is the cause, but he pointed out in terms of human action - kamma - that if X happens that does not necessitate Y. Other conditions may intervene, and choice is the obvious one, which is why he told us repeatedly to act this way but not that way. If there were no choice, the Buddha’s exhortations would be a lie. In what you are advocating, no religious life is possible.

tiltbillings wrote: If we were dealing with mechanical causality, we would be dealing with essences, atmans/attas, which would be the only basis for a total invariability of a mechanical causality. It would be, as the Buddha stated, falling “ back on what was done in the past as being essential


That wrong view missess the point that during this life there can be new causes (such as hearing true Dhamma) injected that will alter the development of cause-effect stream that we call "this or that person". So "one" is not doomed to spiral downhill, and liberation is possible.
There is no willful, intended action - kamma - here. Hearing the Dhamma is not the result of any action one may have done. It is merely an external force exerting pressure upon an inactive entity, according to your model. Because there is no intention and willful action in hearing the Dhamma, following your model of invariable, linear dead mechanical causality - leaves blown about by the wind - there is no difference in hearing the Dhamma from mass murder. Yours is a position of abject, contemptible absurdity.

tiltbillings wrote:
Otherwise, what would be the point of the Buddha’s teachings?


To inject wholesome conditions for wisdom to arise, and alter the course of that cause-effect stream we call a person.
From your model of inert objects blown about by external forces, wholesome and unwholesome means nothing.

tiltbillings wrote: If the core of the Buddha’s teachings were just mechanical causality, the Path would be a lie.


Quite the opposite. By hearing and understanding the Dhamma, the path will emerge and will have no other choice but to eventually result in parinibbana.
What would be the point? None that you have shown. Again, you are calling the Buddha liar by so distorting his teachings. The Buddha, as in the texts I quoted and you so assiduously ignored, advocated choice between acting badly and acting in accordance to the Dhamma, but you, without just reason, deny this.

The Calvinist Buddhism you are advocating is an ugly, horrific distortion.

tiltbillings wrote:“From the arising of this comes the arising of that.”
“From the arising of choice comes the arising of choosing.”


And from arising of what does choice arise? Or does it arise spontaneously and unconditionally?
Already, clearly addressed in this thread and in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=6234

Either we grow up and take responsibility for our actions, acting as the Buddha taught, or we become sad little things blown about by forces out of our control, hiding behind that as an excuse, finding a childish liberation in no responsibility, rather than striving to become the adult the Buddha demands of us.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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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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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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

gabrielbranbury wrote:Thank Tiltness for that post.
Someones got to address it.


Gabe
You are welcome. There is a real possibility that this is just an elaborate joke by Alex.
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 tinhtan » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:58 am

Hello Alex,

tiltbillings wrote: There is a real possibility that this is just an elaborate joke by Alex.


It's funny, i've just realized that the cause of your partial view is the use of magnifiant glasses, dear Alex Sherlock's ducky. From my personal experience, the magnifiant glasses show you clearly the small part but it also hide the whole picture. Oh yes ! that's maybe the reason why you don't see the whole path described in the 37 Boddhipakiyadhamma , especially the "four bases of power". (note that they are also taught in the 2nd book of the Abhidhamma pitaka).

_______________________________________________

Seriously, :alien:
I have seen your original first post on "Meditation, conditionality, and anatta". I've just have some comments...

Alex123 wrote:Sit down in meditation posture, close your eyes, be aware of the present moment, and give yourself a firm resolution "for the next 5 minutes do not think any thought or imagine any thing". You will see that very quickly thoughts or images will arise. Perhaps in as soon as 10 seconds.
.......
A lot of my sitting meditations were following a certain Ajahn's teaching to get into deep samatha, where all thoughts are supposed to cease and so do the 5 senses. He had (what sounded brilliant to me) teachings about "put the peace between the observer and the observed", or "stop struggling with the hindrances" . But, as if The One could put peace or anger toward whatever one is doing. As if one could just observe without interfering. It seems to be missing the point of anatta. Not only there is no control over big events, there is no control over smaller scales.


Your kind of resolution "do not think any thought or imagine any thing" is incorrect.
In the samatha meditation, you have just to apply your attention to an unique subject of meditation, that's it.
There's no room to think "I want this, or that". Otherwise, instead of focusing your attention on the subject, your mind is jumped to a future - not realised" project "to be this or that".
After a while (on the base of 2 hour minium /day, maybe 1 week, or 1, 3 months or more dependant on your merit - parami), your mind comes to be more focused on the subject, so more quiet. And you will approach the 1st jhana. Only from this time, before meditating that you have to make a resolution "i will emerge from meditation after 1 hour, or 2 hours,...". This is completely different from your resolution above.
More details are found in Visuddhi Magga. :reading:

On the other hand, if you don't arrive at all to focus your attention after a while, say 3 months after, than maybe you don't have affinity with your teacher or the meditation subject, so I think that you have to change teacher, or take another subject of samatha meditation.

_________________________________


Alex123 wrote:
Hanzze wrote:Dear robertk,
so does that insight comes by it self or is it forced/choose? Or is dukkha insight?

I am not RobertK, but I'll answer it. It comes due to causes and conditions, such as listening & considering the Dhamma.


- Can you tell me what is the pre-requisite condition before listening the Dhamma ?
- Could you explain more in a pratical way what do you mean by "considering the Dhamma" ?
- What do you think about the proved formula Sila->Samadhi->Panna (in the context of the Buddha teachings, of course) ?

_________________________________

thanks
bests wishes :console:
metta
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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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