The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
binocular
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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by binocular » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:18 pm

Bundokji wrote:
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.
You say things like:
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?
When you say things like that (and you do so regularly), I conclude your concern is with blaming, condemnation.
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.
I've offered a model of the levels of knowledge/learning, in an effort to explain how some common expectations about how quickly we are supposed to learn and change, are unrealistic.
but that we hide things from ourselves is evident when you observe yourself or other people.
I disagree.
I don't believe that humans are evil by nature and I don't believe anyone is "hiding things from themselves."
It is easy to notice that people overestimate their strengths and overlook their weaknesses, so no theory is needed to confirm this simple fact.
There are alternative explanations for those phenomena.
If people would correctly estimate their strengths and know their weaknesses, they would probably never move past slurping soup or wiping their snotty noses.
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.
You are free to propose so.
I have no horse in this race.
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?
What you're saying is so foreign to me that I can't comment on it any more than saying that it seems to be a matter of your faith (which you don't seem to be at ease enough with, hence this discussion).

You say:
Bundokji wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:12 am
Now, Buddhism used negative terms and expects us to understand them.
Buddhism expects us to understand them? Buddhism isn't an entity with volition so that it could have expectations.
Bundokji wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:12 am
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.
How are they "negative" terms, other than three of them being grammatical negations?

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Bundokji
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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by Bundokji » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:58 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:18 pm
When you say things like that (and you do so regularly), I conclude your concern is with blaming, condemnation.
I am not saying that the Buddha's teachings is blaming, but i claim that the language used describing certain mental state are condemnatory. Blaming is personal, while the aim of using certain terminology in Buddhism is not pointing fingers, but to point out that there is danger, that this particular mind state is problematic.

I am not questioning the accuracy of the use of these term. For example, words like "hindrance" or "defilement" are indeed accurate descriptions of mental states that prevents progress on the path, but this comes at an expense. In the practitioner mind, there is the possibility that these things are problems in themselves (which is not entirely accurate in my opinion) rather than seeing them as an inevitable consequence of a vicious cycle.

Here where the confusion can happen. The energy and time will be spent on dealing with these mental states (because i have been told that they are harmful) rather than focus on why they appear in the first place.
I've offered a model of the levels of knowledge/learning, in an effort to explain how some common expectations about how quickly we are supposed to learn and change, are unrealistic.
If change takes time, it means i am forming a habit. Is wisdom a habit? In fact, i came across a source that claims that wisdom is a habit, which i neither understand nor i agree with.



Watch at 3:38
I don't believe that humans are evil by nature and I don't believe anyone is "hiding things from themselves."
No one said that humans are evil by nature, but it is the nature of "self view" is to be selective. Human nature (if such a thing exists) and self view are two completely different things, at least in my mind.
If people would correctly estimate their strengths and know their weaknesses, they would probably never move past slurping soup or wiping their snotty noses.
Why would you make such an assertion. In fact, if people can know their strengths and weaknesses without overestimation of underestimating, they would become wiser human beings.
Buddhism expects us to understand them? Buddhism isn't an entity with volition so that it could have expectations.
:coffee:
How are they "negative" terms, other than three of them being grammatical negations?
They are a lack or absence. A lack or absence in itself cannot be a cause. Only when you assume/imagine what would be the effect of these things if they were present, they become a cause. In other words, you have to reinvent nothing into a thing.

So, if i ask you when human beings behave in a certain way? and you answer because of ignorance. Your answer would only make sense if you "assume" or "imagine" if this so-called knowledge was present, they would act differently. So, for "nothing" to become a cause, it has to be reinvented/fabricated/assumed into something to become a cause. And if you understand what i am trying to say, you would see why i am claiming that Kamma/worldly knowledge is 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

binocular
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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by binocular » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:39 am

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:58 pm
I am not questioning the accuracy of the use of these term. For example, words like "hindrance" or "defilement" are indeed accurate descriptions of mental states that prevents progress on the path, but this comes at an expense. In the practitioner mind, there is the possibility that these things are problems in themselves (which is not entirely accurate in my opinion) rather than seeing them as an inevitable consequence of a vicious cycle.
What do you mean? That the person's defilements are preventing them to see their defilements?
Here where the confusion can happen. The energy and time will be spent on dealing with these mental states (because i have been told that they are harmful) rather than focus on why they appear in the first place.
I'm not sure what you mean here.
And what is the significance of "because i have been told"?
If change takes time, it means i am forming a habit.
Sometimes yes, other times, no.
Projects like losing 50 pounds or cleaning out a cluttered garage will take a lot of time and effort, but that doesn't mean they are habits.
Is wisdom a habit? In fact, i came across a source that claims that wisdom is a habit, which i neither understand nor i agree with.
There's a popular saying: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
.

Watch at 3:38
And they say that wisdom is a habit in the sense that one must exercise one's nobler impulses on a regular basis, the way one would train a limb. What do you object to that?
I don't believe that humans are evil by nature and I don't believe anyone is "hiding things from themselves."
No one said that humans are evil by nature
I think that to claim that humans are hiding things from themselves requires that one believes that humans are evil by nature, for only an evil entity could hide things from themselves (although, arguably, precisely an evil entity would not consider it in their interest to do that).
, but it is the nature of "self view" is to be selective.
Being selective is not the same as hiding things from oneself.

As for hiding things from others -- what objections do you have to that?

It seems to me that most of the times when people get accused of hiding things from themselves, what is actually happening is that the accused isn't living in line with the accuser's standards. Which really is not indicative that the accused is "hiding things from themselves."
If people would correctly estimate their strengths and know their weaknesses, they would probably never move past slurping soup or wiping their snotty noses.
Why would you make such an assertion.
Because I think it is true.
In fact, if people can know their strengths and weaknesses without overestimation of underestimating, they would become wiser human beings.
How does that work out?
Buddhism expects us to understand them? Buddhism isn't an entity with volition so that it could have expectations.
:coffee:
It's true. You feel that something is expected from you, but you won't say who exactly expects what exactly from you and on what terms.
How are they "negative" terms, other than three of them being grammatical negations?
They are a lack or absence. A lack or absence in itself cannot be a cause. Only when you assume/imagine what would be the effect of these things if they were present, they become a cause. In other words, you have to reinvent nothing into a thing.
I find that you're giving too much emphasis on features that may be merely grammatical.
There is probably a standard explanation for why many terms in Pali Buddhism are negations and how exactly this feature is to be understood. (Worth a thread!)

As for a lack or an absence not being a cause -- of course it can be a cause!
Lack of order is a cause for confusion.
Lacking keys means you can't unlock the door, so lack of keys causes you to stay outside.
A lack of sobriety causes one to have less control over one's body and mind.
So, if i ask you when human beings behave in a certain way? and you answer because of ignorance. Your answer would only make sense if you "assume" or "imagine" if this so-called knowledge was present, they would act differently.
Sure.
So, for "nothing" to become a cause, it has to be reinvented/fabricated/assumed into something to become a cause.
It's not clear how this follows.
And if you understand what i am trying to say, you would see why i am claiming that Kamma/worldly knowledge is ignorance.
The Hare Krishnas, for example, come to a similar conclusion (namely, that worldly knowledge is nescience/ignorance), but they use a different line of thinking than you do.

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Bundokji
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Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by Bundokji » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:22 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:39 am
What do you mean? That the person's defilements are preventing them to see their defilements?
No, this is not what i mean. We (puthajjanas) are not free from self view, we take things personal. Self view becomes that which perceives the problem (as if he and the problem are two separate things) and attempts to get rid of the so-called "defilement" which becomes the justification for its continuation/existence, another game we play with ourselves.
And what is the significance of "because i have been told"?
That it does not reflect understanding. If i understood what i have been told, i would be free. The mere fact that suffering still exists, it means i did not understand. In other words, this can be a way we sedate ourselves (i am following the teachings of the Buddha)
Projects like losing 50 pounds or cleaning out a cluttered garage will take a lot of time and effort, but that doesn't mean they are habits.
Irrelevant example, but can be used. When you try to lose weight, at the beginning, it happens very fast, until it becomes a habit, the process will start to slow down. They usually describe it as "the body entered starving mode", and the instinct for survival will stop burning calories. This is why the invent what they call "shock meals" to "deceive" the body.
There's a popular saying: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
When i google the meaning of habit, this is what i found:
a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
If something is hard to give up, it is attachment/clinging. Also the Buddha said that if we still have tendencies, we are not free.
And they say that wisdom is a habit in the sense that one must exercise one's nobler impulses on a regular basis, the way one would train a limb. What do you object to that?
When you train a limb, it becomes stronger, but only for a while. In fact, you would most likely become infatuated with your "strong limb".
I think that to claim that humans are hiding things from themselves requires that one believes that humans are evil by nature, for only an evil entity could hide things from themselves (although, arguably, precisely an evil entity would not consider it in their interest to do that).
You continue to make assertions and then explain why these assertions are wrong. You are simply equating "humans" with "self view" hence your confusion, while i made this distinction already few times, and from your previous posts, i am not too optimistic that this is going to change
:juggling:
Being selective is not the same as hiding things from oneself.
Why they are different?
It seems to me that most of the times when people get accused of hiding things from themselves, what is actually happening is that the accused isn't living in line with the accuser's standards. Which really is not indicative that the accused is "hiding things from themselves."
That is exactly right, it is the standards they set for themselves, and to that extent, their ignorance is willful.
Because I think it is true.
Thinking things are true, without providing reasoning, does not make them true. :shrug:
How does that work out?
By simply seeing how overestimating or underestimating leads to suffering.
It's true. You feel that something is expected from you, but you won't say who exactly expects what exactly from you and on what terms.
With all due respect, this is a bit childish. The Buddha mentioned four lights, ended them by the light of wisdom/understanding. Your answer (Buddhism is not an entity) is below you. From many of your answers, i feel that you avoid addressing the real issue, by ignoring context, or by :redherring:
I find that you're giving too much emphasis on features that may be merely grammatical.
There is probably a standard explanation for why many terms in Pali Buddhism are negations and how exactly this feature is to be understood. (Worth a thread!)
Again, you repeated the assertion "that i am giving too much emphasis on features that may be merely grammatical" without addressing the points i raised which shows the worldly mindset and how it is affected by Kamma (worldly knowledge) which relies on endless fabrications, a vicious cycle.

What Ludwig Wittgenstein said can be relevant:
"We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched. Of course there are then no questions left, and this itself is the answer"
As for a lack or an absence not being a cause -- of course it can be a cause!
Lack of order is a cause for confusion.
Lacking keys means you can't unlock the door, so lack of keys causes you to stay outside.
A lack of sobriety causes one to have less control over one's body and mind.
Another avoidance of addressing what i said by giving another example. This what i said:
They are a lack or absence. A lack or absence in itself cannot be a cause. Only when you assume/imagine what would be the effect of these things if they were present, they become a cause. In other words, you have to reinvent nothing into a thing.
So, repeating your original point by providing new examples is not the same as addressing what i said.
Sure.
If you agree with my point, then why did you feel the urge to provide examples on "absence being a cause". The point is not that absence is a cause or not. The point is that for absence to be a cause, it has to fabricated into a thing, which is the process of becoming.

To explain further, worldly knowledge when not seen for what it is, is the cause for becoming. I am unenlightened, but i will become enlightened when ignorance comes to an end. What happens in the puthujjana's mind is exactly what you described, thinking that he lacks "something" and he uses his imagination "fantasy" to work towards a future state called "enlightenment" and this process continues ad infinitum ensuring that it will never happen.
The Hare Krishnas, for example, come to a similar conclusion (namely, that worldly knowledge is nescience/ignorance), but they use a different line of thinking than you do.
The Hare Krishna AGAIN! :shrug:
“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

binocular
Posts: 3896
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: The relationship between Kamma and ignorance

Post by binocular » Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:33 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:22 pm
It seems to me that most of the times when people get accused of hiding things from themselves, what is actually happening is that the accused isn't living in line with the accuser's standards. Which really is not indicative that the accused is "hiding things from themselves."
That is exactly right, it is the standards they set for themselves, and to that extent, their ignorance is willful.
Do read again.

I'm talking about other people who accuse you of hiding things from yourself; and that they do so because you don't live up to _their_ standards.
It's true. You feel that something is expected from you, but you won't say who exactly expects what exactly from you and on what terms.
With all due respect, this is a bit childish. The Buddha mentioned four lights, ended them by the light of wisdom/understanding. Your answer (Buddhism is not an entity) is below you.
It's not below me.
From many of your answers, i feel that you avoid addressing the real issue, by ignoring context, or by :redherring:
Suit yourself.

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