The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
Circle5
Posts: 898
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 2:14 am

Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Circle5 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:28 pm

BasementBuddhist wrote:The idea of a debate on the ultimate nature of reality among Buddhists makes me smile. :clap:
It is rather a debate between the solipsist world view and the 5 aggregates buddhist model.

SamKR
Posts: 998
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:33 pm

Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by SamKR » Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:41 pm

Circle5 wrote: But what if there is a physical world and beings can experience it due to consciousness. Maybe form is not there because of consciousness, but through consciousness you can experience form.
The point is "you" can never directly experience a "physical world". All that an experience experiences is experience only. This is very simple to verify here and now directly.
Circle5 wrote: And if you die or get reborn somewhere else, other beings will be able to experience the city you live in through their consciousness even without SamKR consciousness being there in the city.
I don't even need to die. Right now, at this moment, all "I am" non-conceptually sure of is this direct ordinary experience, anything else appears "to me" via the mediation of concepts or thoughts.
Circle5 wrote: At least this is the Buddhist position regarding the problem.
That maybe the mainstream Buddhist position but not the only Buddhist position.
Circle5 wrote: Try disproving this. You do the disproving this time.
I think you are missing my point. "I" cannot disprove. All that can undoubtedly be said is that there is this directness (experience), and beyond this directness "I" cannot prove or disprove anything to "anyone". Remaining with this mere directness is a doorway to the realization of "no-self".

User avatar
Circle5
Posts: 898
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 2:14 am

Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Circle5 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:55 pm

The point is "you" can never directly experience a "physical world". All that an experience experiences is experience only. This is very simple to verify here and now directly.
Nothing new under the sun.
I don't even need to die. Right now, at this moment, all "I am" non-conceptually sure of is this direct ordinary experience, anything else appears "to me" via the mediation of concepts or thoughts.
Not true, you can know other things through logical deduction. Many things can be known through logical deduction, such as things about far away planets known through mathematics measurements. Many things can be known through logical inference.
That maybe the mainstream Buddhist position but not the only Buddhist position.
I agree, many people who identify as Buddhist believe in solipsism or materialism or all kind of other philosophies different than the 5 aggregate model. What I meant to say by "buddhist" was that the 5 aggregate model was what the historical Buddha position was.
All that can undoubtedly be said is that there is this directness (experience), and beyond this directness "I" cannot prove or disprove anything to "anyone". Remaining with this mere directness is a doorway to the realization of "no-self".
That would be true if logical inference would not exist, or if a person does not believe in the power of logic. But through logical deduction, many things can be known to be true or false.

If you are a person not believing in the power of logic, then your position can easily be disproved. You claim your position is true by using logical inference, trying to show you can not know anything other than direct experience. You are using logical inference in trying to make your point. But if logical inference is useless, then your position is not based on anything and is as wrong as saying you are actually a unicorn typing these posts through the power of your mind without using a computer.
Last edited by Circle5 on Sun Jun 04, 2017 3:06 pm, edited 4 times in total.

SamKR
Posts: 998
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:33 pm

Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by SamKR » Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:56 pm

Bundokji wrote: The problem is in the meaning and our use of language. In fact, the whole confusion is related to meaning. You cannot know everything at once, but you can know one thing at a time. Imagine you are thinking about ice cream, then what happens to the notion/the meaning of "everything is experience" while you are thinking about ice cream? If the meaning is relevant or exists only when you think about it, then you are falling into the same problem you are trying to avoid, that is, giving existence to something that does not exist, which is experience. For instance, when someone wants to argue that a self exists, you can simply ask them: what happens to the self when you go to sleep?

To know something, you have to make it into a "thing", and if you have ever observed how your mind conceives a "thing", it is conceived as something that has "objective existence", and this includes the notion "experience is everything" you are making a statement which conveys a meaning whether you are thinking about it or not, or in other words, whether you are experiencing it or not, which is self defeating
I am not sure how to reply your post above because I agree part of what you are saying, but I did not say, at least in this thread, "experience is everything". My point is "experience is all that 'we' can be certain of". Whether there is something else or not beyond expereience, I can only speculate but will never be able to be certain of. It is because it lies out of range of experience. I agree with the main theme this this saying of the Buddha:
Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." -- Sabba Sutta
Bundokji wrote:
Remaining in that certainty of experience is an important aspect of meditation.
In a previous post, i explained the utility of such a thought for introspection, because thinking of existence in terms of experience helps you become aware of your experience (which you have to make effort to remind yourself of it all time, which shows its limitation), but once you turn it into certainty, you cease to know what you are doing.
When I used the word "certainty" I did not mean it in the sense of intellectual certainty. This certainty I am talking about is non-conceptual certainty where no thoughts is relevant. Certainty is the essential nature of direct experience. There can't be any uncertainty about the being of direct experience; all uncertainty arises (and ironically intellectual certainty becomes stronger) once the conceptual mind becomes active and fabricates.
Last edited by SamKR on Sun Jun 04, 2017 3:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Circle5
Posts: 898
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 2:14 am

Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Circle5 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:58 pm

So do you believe in the power of logical inference SamKR ? Cause if you do believe in that power, then your point of "we can know nothing except what we know through direct experience" is wrong, cause you can know things through logical inference. You can know for example that things exist out there and that form has a big role to play through the use of logical inference. Or you can prove the 5 aggregate model is correct or wrong based on logical inference.

If you do not believe in the power or logic, then your position is wrong and self-refuting. Your opinion has zero validity in this case, since where does it draw it's validity from if you deny the power of logic ?

I need to know your position on this so that I know how to discuss with you.
Last edited by Circle5 on Sun Jun 04, 2017 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
PuerAzaelis
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:44 pm

Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by PuerAzaelis » Sun Jun 04, 2017 3:04 pm

aflatun wrote:All wonderful stuff! I'm guessing you're familiar with the writings of Kelley Ross?

Kant was so close in many ways, sometimes I wish I could just slap him: "Dude you're RIGHT THERE, just JUMP."

As was Schopenhauer, for some similar, and some different, reasons.

Not to be pedantic, but don't let anyone tell you Wittgenstein doesn't belong with this crew. If you ignore everything the nit wits we know as logical empiricists have heaped onto the interpretation of Witt, it becomes glaringly obvious to what extent he's entirely assumed a Kantian-Schopenhauerian framework without explicitly telling us he's done so. Have you checked out Bryan Magee? The chapter on Witt is mind blowing.
Mr. (Professor?) Ross' website was definitely one of the most important finds for me. Just amazing and wonderful and quite extraordinary. A lone voice in the desert of course all of this kind of thing is not considered exactly on the cutting edge of anything these days.

V v funny comment re: Kant. Reading these guys is not easy going, but it's worth it.

What you say about Wittgenstein is interesting I'll have to put that book on the list. I don't see how that view (or either of his two views) could work in this vein, but I guess the plot thickens ...
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

User avatar
Bundokji
Posts: 1755
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:57 pm

Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Bundokji » Sun Jun 04, 2017 3:40 pm

SamKR wrote: When I used the word "certainty" I did not mean it in the sense of intellectual certainty. This certainty I am talking about is non-conceptual certainty where no thoughts is relevant. Certainty is the essential nature of direct experience. There can't be any uncertainty about the being of direct experience; all uncertainty arises (and ironically intellectual certainty becomes stronger) once the conceptual mind becomes active and fabricates.
I would argue that you cannot "experience" unless the experience is preceded by "knowledge" that what you are experiencing is a thing (whether you know what this thing is as a concept/label is a different matter). Who knows, maybe in this very certainty deception lies.

Certainty (by definition) is knowledge, isn't it? where did this certainty come from?

As you said:
There can't be any uncertainty about the being of direct experience
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.

SamKR
Posts: 998
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:33 pm

Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by SamKR » Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:03 pm

Bundokji wrote: I would argue that you cannot "experience" unless the experience is preceded by "knowledge" that what you are experiencing is a thing (whether you know what this thing is as a concept/label is a different matter). Who knows, maybe in this very certainty deception lies.
I agree with you (when the word "experience" and "knowledge" is used in the sense implied in your post above), but in my post I am using it in a different sense. Due to limitation of language the conversations of this sort is bound to get confusing.
Bundokji wrote: Certainty (by definition) is knowledge, isn't it? where did this certainty come from?

As you said:
There can't be any uncertainty about the being of direct experience
Well, I confess "certainty" may not be a perfect word to use here, and I don't think any word used can be perfect either (so I am continuing to use that word). But what I am implying is that there cannot be certainty of knowing of a separate being. There can only be certainty of non-conceptual knowing as being (knowing-being). This sounds like sort of philosophical jumble of words, but this can be verified directly and non-conceptually; the last sentence is only an attempt to put that into words, and in doing so I may have failed to encapsulate what I am trying to imply (it's a bit frustrating :)).
Last edited by SamKR on Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
aflatun
Posts: 814
Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:40 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA

Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by aflatun » Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:05 pm

PuerAzaelis wrote:What you say about Wittgenstein is interesting I'll have to put that book on the list. I don't see how that view (or either of his two views) could work in this vein, but I guess the plot thickens ...
It didn't make sense to me either at first, because I had been reading Witt through so much baggage, and then all of a sudden, it was like... duh. All those elliptical statements he makes about the mystical, the Will, what cannot be said, ethics, the eye not appearing in its own field of vision, the meaning of the world as not within the world, railing on 'scientific explanation,' even his 'obsession' with language...it all just falls right into place.

Anyway, sorry for the off topic. I'm happy to take this conversation up elsewhere.

:focus:
"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

SamKR
Posts: 998
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:33 pm

Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by SamKR » Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:23 pm

Circle5 wrote:So do you believe in the power of logical inference SamKR ? Cause if you do believe in that power, then your point of "we can know nothing except what we know through direct experience" is wrong, cause you can know things through logical inference. You can know for example that things exist out there and that form has a big role to play through the use of logical inference. Or you can prove the 5 aggregate model is correct or wrong based on logical inference.

If you do not believe in the power or logic, then your position is wrong and self-refuting. Your opinion has zero validity in this case, since where does it draw it's validity from if you deny the power of logic ?

I need to know your position on this so that I know how to discuss with you.
I believe in the power of logic and inference (otherwise I would have to give up my present career :) ), but perhaps not in the way you are suggesting. I cannot be more clear than my posts above, so I have nothing more significant to add. But one thing would I like to emphasize is that "five aggregate model" is not something I disagree with.

lostitude
Posts: 428
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:02 am

Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by lostitude » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:53 pm

chownah wrote: Your mention of probabilities is not appropriate.
How so?
You say, "The evidence is overwhelming in favor of an external world. Maybe not fully conclusive, but still overwhelming."

I said, "it really really really seems like there is an external world but I do not have the faculties to be able to determine that conclusively."
Yes, sorry if I was supposed to take these two statements as synonymous and failed to do so. I interpreted yours differently, after reading it again I realise I simply misinterpreted it, sorry about this.
chownah wrote: The latest example: "saying that both hypotheses are equally likely is another and that we can't favor one over the other really looks exaggerated to me". I never said this and did not even imply it. This is totally your fabrication.....I think this is what is called a strawman arguement. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man)
You never said this but you're not saying you agree either. Sorry I've always had trouble with ambiguous positions. But if I should take it as agreement, then everything is settled for me. About the strawman, I'm just a bit sad that you keep ascribing such intentions to my postings, but I'll survive... thanks for your patience...

chownah
Posts: 7575
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by chownah » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:50 am

lostitude wrote: About the strawman, I'm just a bit sad that you keep ascribing such intentions to my postings, but I'll survive... thanks for your patience...
If I say you present a strawman arguement it only says that you are making a mistake in your arguement.....it does not imply any intention. I would guess that most people who engage in a strawman arguement have no intention of doing so except perhaps for politicians who seem to be constantly doing this as their standard operating procedure.
chownah

chownah
Posts: 7575
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by chownah » Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:01 am

It really really really seems like something is happening. However I conceive of what is happening is fabrication and subject to error.
chownah

justindesilva
Posts: 824
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:38 pm

Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by justindesilva » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:28 am

chownah wrote:It really really really seems like something is happening. However I conceive of what is happening is fabrication and subject to error.
chownah
What puzzles me on this context is that in this meaning Lord Budda himself has to be a conventional truth as a person. Then there are those in his presence who listned to his valuable sutta. And those who listened to budda as conventional truths ,would not have existed.
We as such have to realise that conventional truth exists as a need for the equilibrium of the earth and cosmological objects but only exists as the need be with the equilibrium of the cosmos and is not eternal .Water clouds seas planets will exist until and unless necessary by the system. This is a temporary need of the universe. We are part of the conventional truth where as that earth and beings are temporarily bound with the conventional truth of paticca samuppada.
Cula Rahulovada and Rahulovada sutta explains this in a better manner though the term conventional truth is not mentioned.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], robertk, SarathW, xofz and 82 guests