The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
lostitude
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by lostitude » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:32 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
lostitude wrote:
pegembara wrote: What you cannot perceive through the senses(not forgetting the mind or 6th sense) cannot be said to exist. For something to exist, you have to start conceiving it. That includes using formula and equations.
So you confirm that, say, Pluto did not exist until it was discovered in 1930?
It seems highly unlikely that "Pluto" only sprang into existence in 1930. I think the debate here is really about phenomenoly v. ontology.
I am trying to understand his logic. Isn't it what it implies ?

chownah
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by chownah » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:54 am

lostitude wrote:
chownah wrote: My view is that it is not possible to know with total certainty whether "stuff" exists or not.
What makes you think that?
Everything you explained previously points to the fact that our perceptions of things may not always be 100% accurate. But how does it follow that we can't be sure things exist? 'How do you apply such reasoning to the keyboard in front of you right now, for example? how can you not be sure that it's there? Just to help me understand...
1. I have on many occasions similar to our exchange asked if anyone can show how it might be possible even in theory to prove that "stuff" exists. No one has come up with a way. So, I ask again....can anyone show a method which might possibly even in theory prove that "stuff" exists?

2.If you see something on TV that looks like it exists but doesn't then you might question whether your senses could possibly lead you to believe that something exists which doesn't.

3. Quantum science has shown that what we usually thing of as "stuff" existing might not be as unshakeable a belief as we thought.

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

Don't get me wrong here. It really really really seems like there is some kind of stuff out there....it really does. I am not thinking that accepting the fact that there is no way to prove the existence of "stuff" out there should make a major change in the way you think about life and the world you live in....I do think, though, that it is a matter of honesty to admit that the method for such proof does not exist and to accept the limitations on what one can know.
lostitude wrote:
chownah wrote:I think that the answer as to why many people engage in this pointless quest is that many people delight in their intellectual prowess.....it is a form of pleasure and attachment and part of their self view.
chownah
Or it may be that they are not convinced that it's impossible to say if *stuff* exists, because to them the uncertainty is more in how things are perceived than whether the object perceived really is there or not...? I really fail to understand that inference ('I see things from a certain pespective, ergo those things may not exist').
Please note that I said "many people" and I did not say "everyone". Someone who encounters the arguement 'I see things from a certain pespective, ergo those things may not exist' might very well enter into a discussion to find out what's up with that reasoning....I hope you see from what I presented above that this questionable assertion is not what I am offering. It seems like you are stuck with wanting it to be either "stuff does exist" or "stuff does not exist" as being the only acceptable and satisfying answers and you want to stay with the former. I am saying that the answer is that it is impossible to prove either of these so one should admit that it is impossible to know with total certainty.
Also, my point is given the undeniable fact that there is no way to prove it, then why is grasping on to it so tightly so important or such a good idea?....is it a threat to your sense of self in some way?
chownah

lostitude
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by lostitude » Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:45 am

1. Of course it can be proven, quite easily actually :jumping:
If the stuff that surrounds us was made up by the mind, then it would follow that the mind would have the ability to modify it at will. Yet no one has ever managed to set fire to a tree by looking at it, or to fly just by wishing it, or to bend a spoon by the power of one's will, despite what Hollywood would have us believe. This clearly shows that this stuff is beyond our mind and has an existence which the mind cannot influence. Please tell me what you find wrong in this argument.

2. Not sure I understood your example with the TV, but when it comes to unreliable perceptions, everyone knows they can happen, and if they can identify them, it is precisely because they can distinguish those anecdotal events from the normal and majority cases where our perceptions are just fine enough for us to make proper sense of our surroundings. Going from 'i saw a mirage, once' to 'nothing we perceive can be trusted' is a huge jump I don't see myself taking given the logical gap between the two statements.

3. Would you have a concrete example, re quantum science ?

Thanks.

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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:54 am

lostitude wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
It seems highly unlikely that "Pluto" only sprang into existence in 1930. I think the debate here is really about phenomenoly v. ontology.
I am trying to understand his logic. Isn't it what it implies ?
That would be implied with a phenomenological approach, which is only concerned with our immediate experience. With this approach "Pluto" would only exist for us when we learned about it, or saw an image of it.

This sutta seems relevant:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
Buddha save me from new-agers!

chownah
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by chownah » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:00 pm

lostitude wrote:1. Of course it can be proven, quite easily actually :jumping:
If the stuff that surrounds us was made up by the mind, then it would follow that the mind would have the ability to modify it at will. Yet no one has ever managed to set fire to a tree by looking at it, or to fly just by wishing it, or to bend a spoon by the power of one's will, despite what Hollywood would have us believe. This clearly shows that this stuff is beyond our mind and has an existence which the mind cannot influence. Please tell me what you find wrong in this argument.

2. Not sure I understood your example with the TV, but when it comes to unreliable perceptions, everyone knows they can happen, and if they can identify them, it is precisely because they can distinguish those anecdotal events from the normal and majority cases where our perceptions are just fine enough for us to make proper sense of our surroundings. Going from 'i saw a mirage, once' to 'nothing we perceive can be trusted' is a huge jump I don't see myself taking given the logical gap between the two statements.

3. Would you have a concrete example, re quantum science ?

Thanks.
In 1. you haven't proven anything. Since the only mind which you have access to is your own, perhaps you have just shown the weakness of your mind.....or perhaps you have shown that your mind can think of things that it can not do. None of this need necessarily be in reference to anything external. Basically you are just assuming that there are external things which exist and since your mind can't do whatever you imagine then this proves that external things exist. Why not just assume that external things don't exist and the mind can not manipulate it's internal model in many ways that you can imagine? Really, you haven't proven anything.

In 2. you talk about 'nothing we perceive can be trusted'. I don't know where you got this but certainly not from me. Also note that all perceptions are internal....you are just once again relying on your preconceived notion of stuff out there to think that a perception of a thing is somehow connected with some kind of "out there" in some way other than as an internal conception.

About 3. Quantum science is just full of stuff that challenges our ideas of reality. Maybe you should take some time and learn about some of this stuff. I don't want to duel with you over it unless there is some definite issue involved.


chownah

lostitude
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by lostitude » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:18 pm

I'm surprised you see this exchange as a duel, no idea where I gave the impression I was trying to win an argument. Too bad, I still had several follow-up remarks / questions, but if this is an unpleasant or negative exercise for you, I'll just leave it at that.

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Circle5
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Circle5 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:44 pm

PuerAzaelis wrote:
Circle5 wrote:A very common mistake about a self not existing is understanding that the 5 aggregates that make up a being don't exist either. Let's take for example a tree or a computer. They don't have a self, yet the wood, the metal, the plastic, etc. do exist. Not having a self does not imply non-existence of the aggregates ... A being made up of 5 aggregates does exist, just like a car or a computer does exist. But it does not have a self, same as a car or a computer do not have a self.
Hi all. May I?

Experience is my universe. It's everything. There's nothing that can be determined outside this everything.

So any predicate can be abstracted only, ever, from my experience.

Nothing can be said to "exist" or "not exist" outside of my experience.
You are saying that if you die, the world with all the beings in it would not exist anymore, a solipsist position. But have you ever thought that maybe things do exist, and that is why you can experience them ? It is difficult to refute the solipsist position head on, but it can be refuted through showing that it's implications can be refuted. For example, if a person loses half his brain, his experience will change. His experience will be influenced by that loss of physical matter. If the solipsist position would be correct, that would not happen.

As for Buddhism, the solipsist position is not buddhist. Buddha had this to say about existence and non-existence of the aggregates:
At Savatthi. “Bhikkhus, I do not dispute with the world; rather, it is the world that disputes with me. A proponent of the Dhamma does not dispute with anyone in the world. Of that which the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, I too say that it does not exist. And of that which the wise in the world agree upon as existing, I too say that it exists.

“And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, of which I too say that it does not exist? Form that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, and I too say that it does not exist. Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, and I too say that it does not exist.

“That, bhikkhus, is what the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, of which I too say that it does not exist.

“And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon as existing, of which I too say that it exists? Form that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists. Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists.

“That, bhikkhus, is what the wise in the world agree upon as existing, of which I too say that it exists.
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.94

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Circle5
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Circle5 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:06 pm

Buddha path is called "the middle way" because it refuses all extremes. But what does an extreme mean ?

For example those that study sociology are overwhealmingly postmodernist. They start from the truth that society does have an influence on culture. A child raised in Saudi Arabia will be different than a child raised in Switzerland. Nobody can deny the importance of society and culture. But they fall into an extreme and go on to say that everything comes from cultural conditioning and end up contradicted by reality. They end up saying gender is just a social construct and other such ideas. They end up saying "everything comes from cultural conditioning" and ignore the importance of matter or other things. As Buddha would say, "they overshoot what can be know though direct observance and end up contradicted by reality".

In the same way, those who study form end up in an extreme. Nobody can deny the importance of matter and how many things it does determine. But when they say "everything comes from matter, including consciousness, including volition" they overshoot what can be known through direct ovservance, since the hard problem of consciousness is called like that for a reason. And they end up contradicted by reality, such as neuroplasticity, the placebo effect, quantum phisics etc. They fall into an extreme.

In the same way, solipsism too is an extreme. It says everything comes from consciousness and perception. It defends itself by saying "if there would be no consciousness and no perception, nothing would be perceived and therefore nothing would exist in the being internal world". And who can contradict them ? But they are fighting with a strawman, because buddhism does not deny the importance of consciousness or perception, buddhism does not say consciousness and perception are irrelevant and the world is made out of 3 aggregates. And just like other extremes, they end up contradicted by reality. They end up contradicted by the fact that if you lose half of you're physical brain in an accident, you're consciousness and perception will be influenced by the change in the form aggregate, contradicting the idea of "everything comes from consciousness and perception".

Solipsism is an extreme just like materialism. Just like materialism claims everything comes from the form aggregate, solipsism claims all comes from consciousness and perception aggregate. Buddha path is the middle way, refusing all extremes and claiming to see things from above. Buddhism proposes the 5 aggregate model, showing how all 5 aggregates (form, consciousness, volition, feeling, perception) have their role to play and how they interact with each other.

chownah
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by chownah » Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:20 pm

lostitude wrote:I'm surprised you see this exchange as a duel, no idea where I gave the impression I was trying to win an argument. Too bad, I still had several follow-up remarks / questions, but if this is an unpleasant or negative exercise for you, I'll just leave it at that.
Feel free to ask what you want or comment as you wish. It is not unpleasant or negative for me because if I don't want to provide an answer I simply decline to do so and thus avoid the unpleasant or negative. There are plenty of quantum quandries and I think you can find some of your own....I doubt that you will find anything which you will not be able to work around though.

If I sound sort of blasé about this it is probably because I've gone a few rounds with this issue and so it's not as exciting as it was the first few times.....but don't let this deter you, ask or comment away if you wish.

I don't think you will be able to prove the existence of stuff out there because since our range is limited to what is experience through the senses and since these are experienced internally then all of our experience can be explained as being internal and this includes our thoughts and ideas about what is "external". Thus all ideas perceptions experience etc etc can be internalities.....the external is not necessary. This does not prove that there is no external, just that whatever arguement you bring it can be explained without reference to any externalities....so the external is not necessary in construing an answer.

Another approach is to dissolve whatever it is that seperates the internal from the external and just call it whatever you want. An example of how this might work from a physical standpoint is that the photon of light which reacts with the photoreceptor chemical on the retina of the eye should be seen as not being seperate from the chemical at all and that same photon of light which was emitted by an electron changing its orbital in the flame of a candle should be seen as not being seperate from the electron in the flame....in this way the photon is not seen as being seperate from the flame or the eye but is an extension of both....flame, photon, and eye are not seperate entities but just one extended energy flux and this concept would cover all that "stuff" which we see as seperate entitities but would actually be just one big ball of wax...the whole ball of wax so to speak.
Of course this is ridiculous and of course all of this is just some internal speculation....but then isn't everything?

Seems like alot of mucking around to just get to the point where someone can feel comfortable admitting that the human mechanism does not have the ability to determine conclusively if there is external stuff or not.....something which is really pretty obvious once one sees it.....and its actually not a very exciting discovery.....but it is hard to let go of old thoughts and ideas....
chownah

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aflatun
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by aflatun » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:13 pm

I think its good to remember that there's a lot of nuance here, so as to avoid conflating things that don't necessarily go together. Just some examples, which could be parsed differently:

1) Solipsism: My experience alone is real and knowable.

2) Experience alone is real

3) Experience alone is knowable

4) There is a substantial mind that sustains the world of experience (i.e. a form of self view)

(4 could be further divided into a persona individual substantial mind vs. a universal one).

These four positions (and there are others) are quite distinct and do not necessarily go with one another.

On a related note, there is a rather large distinction between Idealism and Transcendental Idealism, the latter significantly overlapping with Phenomenology (when I say Transcendental Idealism I'm talking about Kant, Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein primarily, although Husserl seemed to embrace association with it in his latter days, and understandably so, and the term could fairly be used to describe others)

Idealism can also be parsed into objective and subjective idealisms, which are very different.

So for Kant, to take one example: the phenomenal (the appearance) is all that is knowable, and despite its being entirely shaped by our cognitive apparatus, this is hardly volitional or tantamount to the mind "making things up." Our forms of representation are the transcendental conditions which make experience possible in the first place (an experience which arrives as thoroughly processed and conceptual before we've begun any process of abstraction and reasoning, a point he waffles on a bit, which Schopenhauer tirelessly lambastes him for, correctly so in my opinion). Further, and more to the point of this thread, the phenomenal is not reality, or all that is, but hinges on the noumenal, "things in themselves" about which we can say nothing. So he would reject 1) and 2). He argues for 4, but admirably accepts that the mind is only aware of it "self" in the apperceptive act, i.e. the subject only conceives of itself as subject because of and through objects. If he had pursued this farther he might have become Buddhist :tongue:

As a contrast, for Bradley, all talk of a "thing in itself" amounts to nonsense (i.e. if we're talking about something unknowable or without perspective, we're contradicting ourselves and talking about nothing, see the quote I posted) and he means quite what he says when he asserts that sentient experience *is* reality. But this does not make it my sentient experience. Quite the contrary. If you want to see one of the most insightful and ruthless critiques of the notion of self, check out the work I cited already. So he rejects 1), and would only ascribe 4) to the Absolute.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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Bundokji
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Bundokji » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:50 pm

The aggregates provide us with possible interpretations of reality, and each interpretation serves a purpose. The view that experience is everything, is a self fulfilling thought, merely another possible interpretation of reality which can be utilized for introspection, but many fall into the mistake of thinking that it is the ultimate nature of reality, as the OP did.

Refuting it is easy, simply by asking: what happens to the notion "experience is everything" when you don't think about it?

To reduce reality to one particular interpretation is confusing the conventional with the ultimate, and yet, we have no choice but to use conventions to make the inconceivable conceivable.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

pegembara
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by pegembara » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:48 am

lostitude wrote:
pegembara wrote: What you cannot perceive through the senses(not forgetting the mind or 6th sense) cannot be said to exist. For something to exist, you have to start conceiving it. That includes using formula and equations.
So you confirm that, say, Pluto did not exist until it was discovered in 1930?
It did not exist(for us) until you conceive that it does. Like discovery of previously unknown animal species. Or the discovery of electricity.

It is about what is real for us in our experience - not what is really out there if there even is such a thing.

Spiny explains it better.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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PuerAzaelis
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by PuerAzaelis » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:46 am

Bravo aflatun and SN. Watching and learning ... so, so much to learn, so little time.

Btw "Kant as Buddhist" has always been the Silk Road which has been worth exploring to me. At the moment this has led to Schopenhauer, Jakob Fries, Leonard Nelson, Rudolf Otto, Karl Popper.

Pretty stodgy stuff. But I'm digging it.

:redherring:
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Pseudobabble » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:48 am

PuerAzaelis wrote:Nothing can be said to "exist" or "not exist" outside of my experience.

From the perspective of personal empirical knowledge, yes , this is true, and it is also the operative framework of Buddhism, as far as I understand.

However, the scientific method is a means for positing, and validating, regularities in the intersubjective realm. My experience is that, on most days, a very bright light rises into the sky, and then goes down again, in an arc. Many, many others have this experience too, with great regularity. On some days though, the light doesn't rise, but instead, there is a white/grey sheet in the sky. In many cases, when that white/grey sheet is in the sky, water falls from the sky. But sometimes it doesn't. But water never falls from the sky when the white/grey sheet is not there.

We can, to the extent that our terminological framework is capable of handling it, and to the extent that our instruments can measure, posit and validate (ie: disprove) regularities in the intersubjective realm. These regularities may never attain the level of truth that tautology holds (1+1 is always 2, unmarried men are always bachelors), being only probabilistic, but within the framework of currently validated 'facts', 'facts' can have sufficiently high probability that we can treat them as true.

Take for example, the ball of light in the sky. For a long time, people thought that the ball went around the earth. And this seemed entirely reasonable, given that there was very little evidence to the contrary. Then people, armed with new 'facts', began to build devices and perform calculations which enabled them to understand that actually, the earth goes around the ball. This was very upsetting for some people. But a deeper consistency of facts had been discovered, deeper than the consistency of conventionally agreed intersubjective regularities, ie: we all observe the sun 'going around the earth', when in fact it does not.

So, we can assume, for the purposes of action, that while not 'certain', the tree that falls in the forest while nobody is around to hear it, does make a sound. But for the purposes of becoming Enlightened, this is irrelevant, since for that purpose, we need only consider suffering, its origination, the possibility of the removal of its cause, and the method for the removal of its cause.

Hence,
Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta wrote:I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi, at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "How is it, Master Gotama, does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is eternal: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is not eternal: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is finite: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is infinite: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The soul & the body are the same: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The soul is one thing and the body another: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'After death a Tathagata exists: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'After death a Tathagata does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"How is it, Master Gotama, when Master Gotama is asked if he holds the view 'the cosmos is eternal...'... 'after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless,' he says '...no...' in each case. Seeing what drawback, then, is Master Gotama thus entirely dissociated from each of these ten positions?"

"Vaccha, the position that 'the cosmos is eternal' is a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. It is accompanied by suffering, distress, despair, & fever, and it does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation; to calm, direct knowledge, full Awakening, Unbinding.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

'Some fart freely, some try to hide and silence it. Which one is correct?' - Saegnapha

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Bundokji
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Bundokji » Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:07 am

Pseudobabble wrote:From the perspective of personal empirical knowledge, yes , this is true, and it is also the operative framework of Buddhism, as far as I understand.

------

So, we can assume, for the purposes of action, that while not 'certain', the tree that falls in the forest while nobody is around to hear it, does make a sound. But for the purposes of becoming Enlightened, this is irrelevant, since for that purpose, we need only consider suffering, its origination, the possibility of the removal of its cause, and the method for the removal of its cause.

Hence,
Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta wrote:I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi, at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "How is it, Master Gotama, does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is eternal: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is not eternal: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is finite: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is infinite: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The soul & the body are the same: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The soul is one thing and the body another: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'After death a Tathagata exists: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'After death a Tathagata does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"How is it, Master Gotama, when Master Gotama is asked if he holds the view 'the cosmos is eternal...'... 'after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless,' he says '...no...' in each case. Seeing what drawback, then, is Master Gotama thus entirely dissociated from each of these ten positions?"

"Vaccha, the position that 'the cosmos is eternal' is a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. It is accompanied by suffering, distress, despair, & fever, and it does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation; to calm, direct knowledge, full Awakening, Unbinding.
:goodpost:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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