The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

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Bundokji
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The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by Bundokji » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:54 am

When we study dependent origination, we find that ignorance precedes kamma. The problem is, ignorance has a negative quality (by definition) so how it can be a cause of anything?

The only explanation would be that Kamma is not only what we know/do, but also what we don't know/do. Consequently, would it be inaccurate to say that Kamma (by definition) is ignorance. In other words, can we say that our ignorance is willful?
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by binocular » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:14 am

A discussion on this started earlier here: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=30126&start=20#p440283

2600htz
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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by 2600htz » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:22 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:54 am
When we study dependent origination, we find that ignorance precedes kamma. The problem is, ignorance has a negative quality (by definition) so how it can be a cause of anything?

The only explanation would be that Kamma is not only what we know/do, but also what we don't know/do. Consequently, would it be inaccurate to say that Kamma (by definition) is ignorance. In other words, can we say that our ignorance is willful?
Hello:

If you ignore how to start a car, it doesn`t start.
The cause of that is that you ignore how to do it.
Thats how ignorance having a negative quality can be the cause of something happening, or not happening.
I am missing some philosophical topic? :jumping:. But yes, not knowing something still is in the field of kamma.

Regards.

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by Bundokji » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:16 pm

2600htz wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:22 pm
Hello:
If you ignore how to start a car, it doesn`t start.
The cause of that is that you ignore how to do it.
Thats how ignorance having a negative quality can be the cause of something happening, or not happening.
I am missing some philosophical topic? :jumping:. But yes, not knowing something still is in the field of kamma.

Regards.
It might help to understand conditioned reality in the form of worldly knowledge. Is not suffering caused by putting too much faith in what we think we know?

Maybe you did not know how to start a car because you spend your time knowing other things, so is it the ignorance that caused the car not running, or is it everything else you did at the expense of learning how to start a car?
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by Garrib » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:27 pm

As I understand it, avijja in dependent origination refers specifically to not having penetrated the Four Noble Truths with wisdom. From this place of not knowing suffering, its cause, its cessation, and the path to its cessation - we create kamma through the three doors. In samsara, not knowing the Four Noble Truths automatically entails intentional action that perpetuates dependent origination ad infinitum.

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by Bundokji » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:57 pm

Garrib wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:27 pm
As I understand it, avijja in dependent origination refers specifically to not having penetrated the Four Noble Truths with wisdom. From this place of not knowing suffering, its cause, its cessation, and the path to its cessation - we create kamma through the three doors. In samsara, not knowing the Four Noble Truths automatically entails intentional action that perpetuates dependent origination ad infinitum.
Yes, but what prevents not knowing the four noble truth? maybe attachment to worldly know (Kamma).

If i understand correctly, the four noble truths cannot be understood by mundane knowledge (worldly knowledge). I also remember Ajahn Chah advising his disciple to use the notion "not sure" to everything that arise, and he said that if you do only this, it would initiailly lead to Nibbana. The name of the talk was "not sure, the standard of the noble ones"

“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by binocular » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:07 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:57 pm
Yes, but what prevents not knowing the four noble truth? maybe attachment to worldly know (Kamma).
Wouldn't knowing what prevents knowing the 4NT require actual knowledge of the 4NT?

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by Bundokji » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:16 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:07 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:57 pm
Yes, but what prevents not knowing the four noble truth? maybe attachment to worldly know (Kamma).
Wouldn't knowing what prevents knowing the 4NT require actual knowledge of the 4NT?
Yes. The problem we call both knowledge, while they seem to be different. To end suffering you need reliable knowledge, and worldly knowledge is not reliable.

Also, ignorance is described as not knowing the three marks of existence, and the ways of the world is to end ignorance with unreliable knowledge (believing that it is reliable) which produces more ignorance.
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by binocular » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:35 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:16 pm
binocular wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:07 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:57 pm
Yes, but what prevents not knowing the four noble truth? maybe attachment to worldly know (Kamma).
Wouldn't knowing what prevents knowing the 4NT require actual knowledge of the 4NT?
Yes.
Strictly speaking, answering Yes to that question seems to require actual knowledge of the 4NT ...
The problem we call both knowledge, while they seem to be different. To end suffering you need reliable knowledge, and worldly knowledge is not reliable.

Also, ignorance is described as not knowing the three marks of existence, and the ways of the world is to end ignorance with unreliable knowledge (believing that it is reliable) which produces more ignorance.
You're formulating this in quite Catch-22 terms ...
I'm not sure things are so hopeless. I think it would be good if you would speak about this topic with someone more knowledgeable than we are.

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by DooDoot » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:56 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:54 am
When we study dependent origination, we find that ignorance precedes kamma. The problem is, ignorance has a negative quality (by definition) so how it can be a cause of anything?
Good topic.

Ignorance in Dependent Origination is more than mere "blindness" or "not-knowing". It also includes defiled drives called "asava" ("taints") & "hindrances" that erupt or flow out from the mind. MN 9 (below) provides are more detailed explanation of the ignorance link of Dependent Origination.
Not knowing about suffering, not knowing about the origin of suffering, not knowing about the cessation of suffering, not knowing about the way leading to the cessation of suffering — this is called ignorance. With the arising of the taints there is the arising of ignorance.

There are three taints: the taint of sensual desire, the taint of being and the taint of ignorance. With the arising of ignorance there is the arising of the taints.

MN 9 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html
I say, bhikkhus, that ignorance has a nutriment; it is not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for ignorance? It should be said: the five hindrances.

AN 10.61 https://suttacentral.net/en/an10.61
Therefore, what precedes kamma are these "asava" & "hindrances" which exist due to ignorance.

Ignorance also includes & is one of the "underlying tendencies" ("anusaya"), here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html).

Ignorance includes the dhamma topics of "anusaya" (underlying tendencies); "asava" (eruption of these tendencies); "nivarana" (hindrances) & defilement in general ("kilesa"). All of these unwholesome mental phenomena drive kamma (action).
Bundokji wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:54 am
The only explanation would be that Kamma is not only what we know/do, but also what we don't know/do. Consequently, would it be inaccurate to say that Kamma (by definition) is ignorance. In other words, can we say that our ignorance is willful?
Ignorance is not willful/intentional. Kamma means intentional action. Ignorance is not an action but an element (dhatu).
There are, Ānanda, these six elements: the pleasure element, the pain element, the joy element, the grief element, the equanimity element, and the ignorance element. When he knows and sees these six elements, a bhikkhu can be called skilled in the elements.

MN 115 http://www.yellowrobe.com/component/con ... ments.html
Bhikshus,
dependent on the sensuality element, perception of sensuality arises;
dependent on perception of sensuality, sensual intention arises;
dependent on sensual intention, sensual desire arises;
dependent on sensual desire, sensual passion arises;
dependent on sensual passion , sensual quest arises;
engaged in the quest of sensuality, the uninstructed worldling conducts himself (kamma) wrongly in these three
ways—with the body, with speech, and with the mind

viewtopic.php?t=27897
:candle:
Bundokji wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:57 pm
Yes, but what prevents not knowing the four noble truth? maybe attachment to worldly know (Kamma).
Yes, partially. Ignorance is a pre-existing blindness (without knowable preceding cause) however unwholesome kamma certainly is a factor or "nutriment" (food; ahara) in the maintanence or non-diminishing of ignorance.

Here, AN 10.61 is the sutta that explains your query: https://suttacentral.net/en/an10.61
Bhikkhus, this is said: ‘A first point of ignorance, bhikkhus, is not seen such that before this there was no ignorance and afterward it came into being.’ Still, ignorance is seen to have a specific condition.

I say, bhikkhus, that ignorance has a nutriment; it is not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for ignorance? It should be said: the five hindrances. The five hindrances, too, I say, have a nutriment; they are not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for the five hindrances? It should be said: the three kinds of misconduct (duccarita; kamma).

AN 10.61
Last edited by DooDoot on Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:21 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by form » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:09 pm

Ignorance is more deeply embedded in the psy than volitional tendencies.

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by binocular » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:09 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:56 pm
Ignorance is not willful/intentional. Kamma means intentional action. Ignorance is not an action but an element (dhatu).
Ignorance (of something particular) can sometimes be willful. For example, if one doesn't look up what the atomic number of carbon is, but ones knows where and how to find this information and is able to do so -- then it can be said that one's ignorance of the atomic number of carbon is willful.
Of course, there is also the added parameter of whether one feels a need to know the atomic number of carbon to begin with. If such a need is not felt, then this makes for a different dynamics as to when it is felt.

When one isn't able to find information about something, or there exists doubt as to which source of information is reliable and authoritative, then one is still ignorant of said thing, but it cannot be said that the ignorance is willful.


On the whole, I find that charges of willful ignorance are usually made by monotheists, claiming that people are willfully ignorant about God. Another group are psychologists and other moralizing busybodies who accuse of willful ignorance (or at least self-deception) everyone who doesn't comply with them.

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by DooDoot » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:19 am

binocular wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:09 am
On the whole, I find that charges of willful ignorance are usually made by monotheists, claiming that people are willfully ignorant about God. Another group are psychologists and other moralizing busybodies who accuse of willful ignorance (or at least self-deception) everyone who doesn't comply with them.
Because ignorance rather than god is the 1st cause is possibly why a Buddha has infinite metta, compassion & forgiveness.

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by Bundokji » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:12 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:56 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:54 am
When we study dependent origination, we find that ignorance precedes kamma. The problem is, ignorance has a negative quality (by definition) so how it can be a cause of anything?
Good topic.

Ignorance in Dependent Origination is more than mere "blindness" or "not-knowing". It also includes defiled drives called "asava" ("taints") & "hindrances" that erupt or flow out from the mind. MN 9 (below) provides are more detailed explanation of the ignorance link of Dependent Origination.
Not knowing about suffering, not knowing about the origin of suffering, not knowing about the cessation of suffering, not knowing about the way leading to the cessation of suffering — this is called ignorance. With the arising of the taints there is the arising of ignorance.

There are three taints: the taint of sensual desire, the taint of being and the taint of ignorance. With the arising of ignorance there is the arising of the taints.

MN 9 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html
I say, bhikkhus, that ignorance has a nutriment; it is not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for ignorance? It should be said: the five hindrances.

AN 10.61 https://suttacentral.net/en/an10.61
Therefore, what precedes kamma are these "asava" & "hindrances" which exist due to ignorance.

Ignorance also includes & is one of the "underlying tendencies" ("anusaya"), here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html).

Ignorance includes the dhamma topics of "anusaya" (underlying tendencies); "asava" (eruption of these tendencies); "nivarana" (hindrances) & defilement in general ("kilesa"). All of these unwholesome mental phenomena drive kamma (action).
Bundokji wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:54 am
The only explanation would be that Kamma is not only what we know/do, but also what we don't know/do. Consequently, would it be inaccurate to say that Kamma (by definition) is ignorance. In other words, can we say that our ignorance is willful?
Ignorance is not willful/intentional. Kamma means intentional action. Ignorance is not an action but an element (dhatu).
There are, Ānanda, these six elements: the pleasure element, the pain element, the joy element, the grief element, the equanimity element, and the ignorance element. When he knows and sees these six elements, a bhikkhu can be called skilled in the elements.

MN 115 http://www.yellowrobe.com/component/con ... ments.html
Bhikshus,
dependent on the sensuality element, perception of sensuality arises;
dependent on perception of sensuality, sensual intention arises;
dependent on sensual intention, sensual desire arises;
dependent on sensual desire, sensual passion arises;
dependent on sensual passion , sensual quest arises;
engaged in the quest of sensuality, the uninstructed worldling conducts himself (kamma) wrongly in these three
ways—with the body, with speech, and with the mind

viewtopic.php?t=27897
:candle:
Bundokji wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:57 pm
Yes, but what prevents not knowing the four noble truth? maybe attachment to worldly know (Kamma).
Yes, partially. Ignorance is a pre-existing blindness (without knowable preceding cause) however unwholesome kamma certainly is a factor or "nutriment" (food; ahara) in the maintanence or non-diminishing of ignorance.

Here, AN 10.61 is the sutta that explains your query: https://suttacentral.net/en/an10.61
Bhikkhus, this is said: ‘A first point of ignorance, bhikkhus, is not seen such that before this there was no ignorance and afterward it came into being.’ Still, ignorance is seen to have a specific condition.

I say, bhikkhus, that ignorance has a nutriment; it is not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for ignorance? It should be said: the five hindrances. The five hindrances, too, I say, have a nutriment; they are not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for the five hindrances? It should be said: the three kinds of misconduct (duccarita; kamma).

AN 10.61
Thanks DooDoot,

I appreciate your wisdom, and your willingness to help. Your post made a differentiation between ignorance and a whole battery of mostly condemnatory words (taints, hindrances, defilement, misconduct ...etc) which i know that you did not invent these terms, they are Buddhist terminology, and they are used to convey a meaning of warning/danger/something to avoid, to stay away from.

Did not the Buddha wanted us to understand, and how can there be understanding when there is condemnation? The other day, a monk who is a member of this forum, posted a video of dissecting a dead woman body, in order to help us see the foulness of the body. I watched the video, and my sexual desire remains intact. I used to go to the cemetery contemplating death, i washed dead bodies, i searched disgusting photos on the internet, nothing really changed, and even if there is a change, it is temporary, not irreversible.

When i encountered Buddhism seven or eight years ago, i came with the attitude of "I know" and Buddhists challenged me that the "i know" does not exist, and told me search for it and you wont be able to find, and i did, and since then, my journey with Buddhism has been a one of self deception. When i see an object of desire, my mind longs for it. When i say there is no self, my actions speaks otherwise. So, we have the ability to tell ourselves things, but we seem to act differently. This is where the idea of "willful ignorance" came from.

On a different thread, you mentioned something about the writings of philosopher of a different sect, that what he wrote cannot be confirmed by meditation, hence its only theories. What is it that can be confirmed in meditation if i may ask? I personally cannot see dependent origination. All i can do is to think of each link and try to project it on my experience!

This is why, the "i know" attitude is to be questioned. We usually follow objects of knowledge, but what is knowledge itself? Is there knowledge without an object?

Now, Buddhism used negative terms and expects us to understand them. Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta and Avijja are all negative terms, which the mind cannot understand without making them into something positive. We understand the negative in relation to something positive, so again, those terms become "things" in our mind. What makes them knowable is what prevents us from knowing them! This is why i said knowing is what seem to cause ignorance. A negative cannot be a cause of anything.

For the unenlightened, the sutta references as well as Pali and Sanskrit terminology will fall under this, hence i fail to see how they are going to change anything. In fact, the only ones who are capable of understanding the suttas are the ones who realized the teaching and no longer need the suttas.
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by Spiny Norman » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:35 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:54 am
When we study dependent origination, we find that ignorance precedes kamma. The problem is, ignorance has a negative quality (by definition) so how it can be a cause of anything?
The first two verses of the Dhammapada seem relevant here:

1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.
2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by Bundokji » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:17 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:35 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:54 am
When we study dependent origination, we find that ignorance precedes kamma. The problem is, ignorance has a negative quality (by definition) so how it can be a cause of anything?
The first two verses of the Dhammapada seem relevant here:

1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.
2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html
Thanks for the reference spiny. The following is an attempt to analyze.

The above verses describe Kamma (worldly knowledge). It all starts with the mind, which is a name, and names by their nature are tautologies. They exist by virtue of being named and accepted to have a meaning. A meaning of a name is understood to be an independent entity in the world, and the problem arises when you ask: "what is the mind" you would unconsciously mention its functionality so you would say: it is that which thinks.

The mind (or the name) being accepted as an independent entity that is well defined, this implies space, and space implies movement, and movement implies time. In the Cetanna sutta, the Buddha mentioned three types of volition: will (present), plan (future), dwelling (past).

Also being independent and able to move in time and space, this implies being autonomous (having a will of its own), and having a will of its own, this implies that it is a cause (an initiator of actions). The above verses mentions the word "if" which implies conditionality (causality) so ironically, the idea of independence creates the idea of dependence.

In addition, being independent and willing, it should have qualities of its own. The words "pure and impure" are descriptions of qualities, and qualities are linked to feeling. The word "impure" is associated with the feeling of disgust.

Finally, being independent, having space, time, willing and having qualities of its own implies a beginning and an end, which is birth and death.
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by binocular » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:01 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:12 am
I appreciate your wisdom, and your willingness to help. Your post made a differentiation between ignorance and a whole battery of mostly condemnatory words (taints, hindrances, defilement, misconduct ...etc) which i know that you did not invent these terms, they are Buddhist terminology, and they are used to convey a meaning of warning/danger/something to avoid, to stay away from.

Did not the Buddha wanted us to understand, and how can there be understanding when there is condemnation?
I think what matters here is the attitude that one assumes the Buddha (and the arahants) would have towards one. If one imagines the Buddha as a severe teacher eager to punish and to dismiss and also reject his students, then I can see how what you're saying applies.
The other day, a monk who is a member of this forum, posted a video of dissecting a dead woman body, in order to help us see the foulness of the body. I watched the video, and my sexual desire remains intact. I used to go to the cemetery contemplating death, i washed dead bodies, i searched disgusting photos on the internet, nothing really changed, and even if there is a change, it is temporary, not irreversible.
See this thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=30392 I posted a link to a talk by Ven. N. Nyanamoli. It might be helpful.
Also, based on personal experience, I find that one's sexual desire can be mixed with other intentions, esp. the intention to distract oneself or to live up to social standards. When that is the case, all the usual warnings about the problems that can come with acting on sexual desire are useless, and the contemplation of the repulsiveness of the body is useless as well.
So, we have the ability to tell ourselves things, but we seem to act differently. This is where the idea of "willful ignorance" came from.
Merely telling ourselves things often isn't enough to change behavior. If telling ourselves things doesn't lead to a change of behavior, this also isn't necessarily willful ignorance.
It's when one operates out of a trivial standard of knowledge that the kinds of problems arise that you're describing.

An example from another religion: There are Christian missionaries who stop a person on the street, rattle down the message of the Gospel in 60 seconds, and then say, "Now you have heard the Gospel. Now you have no excuse on Judgment Day." This is a good example of a trivial standard of knowledge.

In education, there is a model called Bloom's taxonomy:
Bloom's taxonomy is a set of three hierarchical models used to classify educational learning objectives into levels of complexity and specificity. The three lists cover the learning objectives in cognitive, affective and sensory domains. The cognitive domain list has been the primary focus of most traditional education and is frequently used to structure curriculum learning objectives, assessments and activities.
Here the cognitive domain:
Image

Just because one hears something, doesn't mean one knows it -- in the sense of understanding it or even being able to apply it. Not rarely, one doesn't even recall it. To expect oneself to change one's behavior solely upon hearing something for the first time is unrealistic. Not because one would be "a bad person" or "willfully ignorant." But simply because it takes a lot more to change behavior. And yes, this goes against some very strongly ingrained tendencies and expectations that many people have about themselves and others.
This is why, the "i know" attitude is to be questioned.
I think one simply needs to have a better understanding of knowledge, how there are different levels of it. Studying Bloom's taxonomy can help with that, as it can provide a different perspective.
Now, Buddhism used negative terms and expects us to understand them. Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta and Avijja are all negative terms, which the mind cannot understand without making them into something positive. We understand the negative in relation to something positive, so again, those terms become "things" in our mind. What makes them knowable is what prevents us from knowing them! This is why i said knowing is what seem to cause ignorance. A negative cannot be a cause of anything.

For the unenlightened, the sutta references as well as Pali and Sanskrit terminology will fall under this, hence i fail to see how they are going to change anything. In fact, the only ones who are capable of understanding the suttas are the ones who realized the teaching and no longer need the suttas.
I think that what you're describing happens for someone who has walked too far solely on faith; someone whose knowledge has stayed mostly on the lowest two levels.

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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by Bundokji » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:36 pm

binocular wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:01 pm
I think what matters here is the attitude that one assumes the Buddha (and the arahants) would have towards one. If one imagines the Buddha as a severe teacher eager to punish and to dismiss and also reject his students, then I can see how what you're saying applies.
I think you understood my input in exactly the opposite way i intended it to be. I said the suttas are full of condemnatory words, and i said that the Buddha wanted us to understand. To understand is to go beyond blame of praise. It has nothing to do with strict or lenient. Praise and blame is what you keep on insisting.
See this thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=30392 I posted a link to a talk by Ven. N. Nyanamoli. It might be helpful.
Also, based on personal experience, I find that one's sexual desire can be mixed with other intentions, esp. the intention to distract oneself or to live up to social standards. When that is the case, all the usual warnings about the problems that can come with acting on sexual desire are useless, and the contemplation of the repulsiveness of the body is useless as well.
I mentioned sexual desire as an example of what i begin to see as an ineffective way of practice. Desire has negative connotation in Buddhism, and Buddhists, out of faith, suppress their desire believing that its bad/harmful. Desire is not really understood as harmful in the mind (other wise it would not appear). The mere fact that desire appears implies that its desirable. And how desires no longer appears? by seeing the three marks of existence, which is not worldly knowledge. Anything else other than that has to be ineffective.
Unchastity is the taint in a woman; niggardliness is the taint in a giver. Taints, indeed, are all evil things, both in this world and the next.

A worse taint than these is ignorance, the worst of all taints. Destroy this one taint and become taintless, O monks!
Not sure why only women are mentioned above, but while the Buddha mentioning unchastity as a taint, he is describing ignorance as "the worst of all taints" and emphasizing "Destroy this one taint and become taintless"

Ajahn Chah said:
If we come to understand the true nature of things like this, lust, infatuation and attachment fade away. Why do they fade away? Because we understand, we know. We shift from ignorance to understanding. Understanding is born from ignorance, knowing is born from unknowing, purity is born from defilement. It works like this.
http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Not_Sure_Standard.php
Merely telling ourselves things often isn't enough to change behavior. If telling ourselves things doesn't lead to a change of behavior, this also isn't necessarily willful ignorance.
It's when one operates out of a trivial standard of knowledge that the kinds of problems arise that you're describing.

An example from another religion: There are Christian missionaries who stop a person on the street, rattle down the message of the Gospel in 60 seconds, and then say, "Now you have heard the Gospel. Now you have no excuse on Judgment Day." This is a good example of a trivial standard of knowledge.

In education, there is a model called Bloom's taxonomy:
Bloom's taxonomy is a set of three hierarchical models used to classify educational learning objectives into levels of complexity and specificity. The three lists cover the learning objectives in cognitive, affective and sensory domains. The cognitive domain list has been the primary focus of most traditional education and is frequently used to structure curriculum learning objectives, assessments and activities.
Here the cognitive domain:
Image

Just because one hears something, doesn't mean one knows it -- in the sense of understanding it or even being able to apply it. Not rarely, one doesn't even recall it. To expect oneself to change one's behavior solely upon hearing something for the first time is unrealistic. Not because one would be "a bad person" or "willfully ignorant." But simply because it takes a lot more to change behavior. And yes, this goes against some very strongly ingrained tendencies and expectations that many people have about themselves and others.
I don't think Bloom's taxonomy has anything to say about whether ignorance is willful or not, it just describes different degrees of knowledge. Many theories in psychology makes a distinction between conscious and subconscious, and what is described as subconscious is what we hide from ourselves to protect our self image. Personally, i avoid taking anything on authority, but that we hide things from ourselves is evident when you observe yourself or other people. It is easy to notice that people overestimate their strengths and overlook their weaknesses, so no theory is needed to confirm this simple fact.

What i am proposing that worldly knowledge is not only unreliable, but its ignorance. It something to be used, that is all, but beyond that, it has no value.
I think that what you're describing happens for someone who has walked too far solely on faith; someone whose knowledge has stayed mostly on the lowest two levels.
Why not to focus on the message? I made certain points that can be easily confirmed by looking at how our minds function. What does that have to do with faith? Can you describe why the idea that "a negative cannot be a cause of anything" is right or wrong?
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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Bundokji
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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by Bundokji » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:09 pm

Surprisingly, i just received a notification on my phone of a new video released by the school of life channel on youtube

“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

DooDoot
Posts: 440
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by DooDoot » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:47 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:12 am
ignorance and a whole battery of mostly condemnatory words (taints, hindrances, defilement, misconduct ...etc) which i know that you did not invent these terms, they are Buddhist terminology, and they are used to convey a meaning of warning/danger/something to avoid, to stay away from.
These are unwholesome or suffering generating phenomena within all ordinary minds.
Did not the Buddha wanted us to understand, and how can there be understanding when there is condemnation?
The words are not condemnatory.
The other day, a monk who is a member of this forum, posted a video of dissecting a dead woman body, in order to help us see the foulness of the body. I watched the video, and my sexual desire remains intact. I used to go to the cemetery contemplating death, i washed dead bodies, i searched disgusting photos on the internet, nothing really changed, and even if there is a change, it is temporary, not irreversible.

Personally, I have never practised dead body meditation. I think it is not necessary.
my journey with Buddhism has been a one of self deception.
Sure. Buddhism was never meant to be easy but, instead, against the stream of what is naturally ordinary.
When i see an object of desire, my mind longs for it.
Sure. But desire creates suffering when not getting what is desired or when losing what is desired or when what is desired conflicts with what another person desires. This is not anything profound. Other religions & even the secular world understands conflicting & unmet desires create suffering & conflict.
When i say there is no self, my actions speaks otherwise.
Asserting 'no self' without realisation is the same as assertion 'God' without realisation. It means nothing.
So, we have the ability to tell ourselves things, but we seem to act differently. This is where the idea of "willful ignorance" came from.
OK.
What is it that can be confirmed in meditation if i may ask? I personally cannot see dependent origination. All i can do is to think of each link and try to project it on my experience!
Surely, you can see some parts of it, such as how sense contact leads to feelings, craving & attachment in relation to those sense objects.
This is why, the "i know" attitude is to be questioned. We usually follow objects of knowledge, but what is knowledge itself? Is there knowledge without an object?
Yes, I agree. There is no knowledge without an object.
Now, Buddhism used negative terms and expects us to understand them. Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta and Avijja are all negative terms, which the mind cannot understand without making them into something positive. We understand the negative in relation to something positive, so again, those terms become "things" in our mind. What makes them knowable is what prevents us from knowing them! This is why i said knowing is what seem to cause ignorance. A negative cannot be a cause of anything.
Yes. I agree here, which is why I mentioned "asava, hindrances, defilements, etc". Ignorance cannot be seen, apart from assumed when defilements arise and more, importantly, when suffering occurs. You can experience suffering. When suffering is experienced, you can ask yourself: "What did I do wrong to end up in this situation? What knowledge did I lack to end up in this suffering situation?"

From a Buddhist perspective, meditation allows the mind to feel greed, hatred, anger, selfishness, etc, are & cause suffering. But, you are correct in saying that if a positive alternate state has not been experienced, the mind cannot know the defilements are unwholesome, suffering & ignorant.
For the unenlightened, the sutta references as well as Pali and Sanskrit terminology will fall under this, hence i fail to see how they are going to change anything. In fact, the only ones who are capable of understanding the suttas are the ones who realized the teaching and no longer need the suttas.
My original reply was to help you understand that whenever asava & hindrances erupt non-willfully & spontaneously from the mind; that is the manifesting of ignorance according to the teachings.

Regards

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