The problem of infinity in Buddhism

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
R1111 = rightviewftw
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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:11 am

justindesilva wrote: It is bad to treat others as fools when we wish to share our knowledge.
He does not care about any opinion but his own and will resort to blatant ignorance if confronted with factual Sutta reference which beyond doubt prove him wrong.

Bakmoon
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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by Bakmoon » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:24 am

justindesilva wrote:Then why does Lord Buddha declare that " it is in this very fathom long physical frame with its perceptions and mind that, I declare , lies the world, and the arising of the world, and the cessation of the world, and the path leading to the cessation of the world" ; as in Rohitassa sutta.?
Good point. There are other suttas that say similar things such as SN 12.044.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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robertk
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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by robertk » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:39 am

R1111 wrote:
justindesilva wrote: It is bad to treat others as fools when we wish to share our knowledge.
He does not care about any opinion but his own and will resort to blatant ignorance if confronted with factual Sutta reference which beyond doubt prove him wrong.
warning: anymore insults and suspensions will be given out.

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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by DNS » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:48 am

Perhaps it is our Judaeo-Christian conditioning (most of us here anyway) that makes us want to find a beginning and an end, thinking in linear terms. Maybe time can be infinite, but cyclical and then even with infinite time, there are periods of complete destruction of our solar system (world system), the milky way, even the known universe and then it cycles back (re-evolving), making it somewhat limited possibilities; not necessarily infinite possibilities. I believe this is compatible with Brahmajala Sutta and astronomy.

See: eternal return

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robertk
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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by robertk » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:49 am

befriend wrote:n. In Buddhism there is no concept of time so the idea of there being a beginning does not apply.
Tayo'me bhikkhave addh�. Katame tayo. At�to addh�, an�gato addh�,
paccuppanno addh�. Ime kho bhikkhave tayo addh� ti.
Itivuttaka III,ii,4 <Iti.53>
Monks there are these three times. What three? The past time, the
future time, the present time. These, monks, are the three times

R1111 = rightviewftw
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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:29 am

robertk wrote: warning: anymore insults and suspensions will be given out.
I am sorry it was inappropriate, maybe he does care about someone else's opinion i would not know if he did, but he certainly does not seem care about mine and has expressed what seems to be firm fixation in his view. Am i allowed to make that observation?

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robertk
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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by robertk » Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:32 am

No doubt we all.have our opinions and rate the opinions of others high or low: it is to be expected.
best to just comment on the actual.ideas expressed.

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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:03 am

I just think that it is problematic if someone is being proven wrong beyond doubt to keep propagating that view, at some point it will border to trolling or just madness. I think it incites conflict with no upside and is a drain on people's resource, a shame when people are genuinely try to help. At the very least we should be allowed to call people out on it.

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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by Friend » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:26 am

If dependent origination had to be described by analogy I'd say it's like a strange loop. No discernable beginning to samsara can be found because "to have a beginning" necessarily means fabrication. With no fabrication there is no discernable beginning.

If you're looking for the beginning or the end of the cosmos, you might be chasing your own tail, stuck in a "strange loop" of dependent origination.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeNUO2mg_vE

The tragedy of samsara is that its worst victims are the most oblivious to being victims.
Last edited by Friend on Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by binocular » Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:14 am

Oh, how well this sound depicts the horrors of samsara!
Friend wrote:The tragedy of samsara is that its worst victims are the most oblivious to being victims.
On the grounds of what do you call them "victims"?
And how come you used the term "tragedy", given that it has several meanings?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by justindesilva » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:09 pm

chownah wrote:If the universe is infinite and has existed for an infinite amount of time does that mean that eveything that everyone has imagined will happen or has already happened?

If the universe is infinite and has existed for an infinite amount of time couldn't something arise after an infinite amount of time has passed, persist for a finite length of time, and then cease to exist and never to arise again?

If the universe is infinite and has existed for an infinite amount of time does this mean that whatever is happening has happened before?....and will happen again?

If there was a cosmic wall which extends infinitely in both directions then the universe on one side would be infinite and the universe on the other side would be infinite in such a way that the two universes would never touch and be mutually unknowable.

Can a universe which is constrained to be within some fixed finite dimensions of space and time still be infinite?

Would a universe which has existed for an infinite lenght of time and then winked out of existence still be considered infinite?

Would a universe which started at some definite time and having finite dimentions when it started expand for an infinite length of time and thus be considered infinite in time and space?

Etc.
chownah
It is quite interesting. How can we address "ANICCA" or momentary changes in this infinite time. What existed say the earth eons ago ( millions of years ago) has changed each kshana (moment) and to day we live on a relatively new earth.
This is a question and not a suggestion.

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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by aflatun » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:41 pm

Just my take:

There is no problem because infinity only exists as a transcendental ideal (a regulative structure of the understanding), not a transcendental real (something outside of experience)

An infinite time would lead to the conclusion that the present moment could not exist. This can't be coherently formulated. Both Zeno and Nagarjuna were quite hip to this, in different ways.

A time that is finite or bounded, i.e. has a beginning, can also not be coherently formulated because that concept (that is, "beginning") of necessity presumes another time within which that beginning happens, ad infinitum.

The same holds for space in exactly the same ways.

Please see Kant's antinomies for further clarification. These antinomies are just some of the reasons naive realism cannot be stated without contradiction. In brief the the problem occurs when we try to take space and time as features of "things in themselves" (how things are independent of our experience of them) as opposed to what they actually are, i.e. our forms of intuition. No mind --> no space, no time, no causality.

As far as I can tell the Buddha didn't answer these kinds of questions (imponderables) for at least two reasons:

1) They're irrelevant to the path

2) They rest on sakkaya ditthii, and hence Contact, and therefore belong in the metaphysical poop can of DN1
Professor Peter Harvey wrote:The Buddha was frequently asked a set of ten 'undetermined (avyiikata) questions' (Para.1.8}, four of which are on the 'world' (loka): is it eternal, not eternal, finite or infinite? The Buddha 'set aside' all such questions, saw them as improper, or met them with silence. He clearly saw them as a timewasting distraction from the spiritual life (M.I.429), but also as linked to the Self-illusion. This can be seen from S.IV.395, where he says that others give answers to the undetermined questions because they have some kind of 'view on the existing group' (sakkaya-ditthi): a view which sees a Self as somehow or other related to the personality-factors; he does not answer them as he has no such view. Likewise, the monk lsidatta says that the views enshrined in the questions cannot exist without such Self-views (S.IV.287). Clearly, the questions are asked by those who projected the concept of Self onto the ideas of 'world', 'life- principle' and 'tathagata'. Their questions are about the nature of 'Selfs world', 'Life-principle-Self' and 'tathagata-Self', even though 'Self' is a baseless concept. As such, no answer can be given to the questions, just as an innocent man cannot answer either 'yes' or 'no' to 'have you stopped beating your wife?'
The Selfless Mind, 84-85
"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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Coëmgenu
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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by Coëmgenu » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:52 pm

aflatun wrote: There is no problem because infinity only exists as a transcendental ideal (a regulative structure of the understanding), not a transcendental real (something outside of experience)
:goodpost:

The wordage is strong with this one.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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aflatun
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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by aflatun » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:54 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
aflatun wrote: There is no problem because infinity only exists as a transcendental ideal (a regulative structure of the understanding), not a transcendental real (something outside of experience)
:goodpost:

The wordage is strong with this one.
I'm a lightweight compared to you! :heart:

PS: Please keep going with your Dharmakaya thread !
"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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Circle5
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Re: The problem of infinity in Buddhism

Post by Circle5 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:05 pm

aflatun wrote:Just my take:

An infinite time would lead to the conclusion that the present moment could not exist.
Why ? Why in the world would an infinite time lead to the conclusion that present moment could not exist lol ?
As far as I can tell the Buddha didn't answer these kinds of questions (imponderables) for at least two reasons:
The fact that we, as beings, exist since forever and have been reborn again and again since forever is not one of the imponderables. It is a clearly stated fact and important part of buddhist doctrine.
In brief the the problem occurs when we try to take space and time as features of "things in themselves" (how things are independent of our experience of them) as opposed to what they actually are, i.e. our forms of intuition. No mind --> no space, no time, no causality.
Here is my simple answer to such postmodernist type of thinking. There are 2 possibilities:

1) There does not exist such a thing as a chair. It's just an illusion that it exists based on our perception of it and the language we use to describe it. In reality, there is only the language and perception and not the chair itself.

2) There does exist such a thing as a chair. And we, as beings, have the ability to perceive this chair that exists though our sense bases. Not only are we able to perceive it, but we can also describe it to other beings through the use of commonly accepted terms used to describe such a thing, through language. Other beings such as dolphins for example even have the ability to visually transmit this information to one another (though sonar), but we as humans can only use language and not visual systems such as the dolphins.

My question for postmodernist is this: How do you prove the first posibility of these two options is correct and not the second ? You have to prove these things, you can't just state them and say "This is how it is". You need to prove them. Otherwise it's equal to saying "the world was made by a spagette monster"

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