Are we nouns or verbs?

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Kim OHara
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Are we nouns or verbs?

Post by Kim OHara » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:33 am

Another way of thinking about our "I" - making habit.
nouns-or-verbs.jpg
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I'm not sure how far it goes, but I do know I have chosen for a long time to say things like "I try to follow the Buddhist teachings" and "I support Labor" rather than "I am a Buddhist" or "I am a Labor voter."
And there are parallels with the idea of focusing on the doing, not the doer.

Thoughts?

:namaste:
Kim

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retrofuturist
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Re: Are we nouns or verbs?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:43 am

Greetings Kim,

He is talking about becoming (bhava). (Verb)

This is a requisite for birth (jati). (Noun)
SN 12.2 wrote:"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.

"And what is becoming? These three are becomings: sensual becoming, form becoming, & formless becoming. This is called becoming.
"Only when there is a concept of existence, can there be a concept of birth." (Ven. Nanananda)

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Are we nouns or verbs?

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:56 am

I was involved in amateur dramatics when I was younger, and found it quite liberating. Playing different roles, loosening up preconceptions about character and personality, exploring different ways of being. Fascinating.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Kim OHara
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Re: Are we nouns or verbs?

Post by Kim OHara » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:20 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:43 am
Greetings Kim,

He is talking about becoming (bhava). (Verb)

This is a requisite for birth (jati). (Noun)
SN 12.2 wrote:"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.

"And what is becoming? These three are becomings: sensual becoming, form becoming, & formless becoming. This is called becoming.
"Only when there is a concept of existence, can there be a concept of birth." (Ven. Nanananda)

Metta,
Paul. :)
That seems to be a radical re-interpretation of Wilde (or Fry - you're not clear about who "he" is). Can you justify it?

:thanks:
Kim

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Re: Are we nouns or verbs?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:32 am

Greetings Kim,
Kim OHara wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:20 am
That seems to be a radical re-interpretation of Wilde
Not really. He managed to work back up the chain of dependent origination as far as... "Dependent upon bhava, jati comes to be." Good for him. It sounds as if it was liberating for him, as far as it went of course. Nice work fop.
Kim OHara wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:20 am
Can you justify it?
I did, with recourse to sutta and a quote from ven. Nanananda. When I am at a PC next, I'll try to source a sutta quote which shows how dependent origination is explored in reverse order.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Sam Vara
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Re: Are we nouns or verbs?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:48 am

Fry raises an interesting and somewhat topical idea, but fails to see the contradiction in what he has said. He is not a "thing" (as instantiated by the things which are actors or writers) but goes on to say that he is a person (which is every bit as much of a thing as an actor or a writer is).

This is an example of what Wittgenstein termed "bewitchment by language". We are neither nouns nor verbs, because these are nothing more than parts of speech which we have identified. It is impossible to think of oneself as merely and essentially "verbing" because, as Fry's contradiction shows, there has to be some thing that does the action of the verb. Conversely, it is impossible to think of oneself as merely and essentially a noun, because that thing which the noun denotes must be doing something, even if it is only existing or remaining.

Gombrich is my favourite writer on this issue. He talks in terms of processes, and says that a lot of our (modern, Western) confusion over what the Buddha taught stems from the fact that he had no word which exactly corresponds to our word "process", and was therefore inclined or compelled to describe it elliptically, by means of pariyaya.

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Re: Are we nouns or verbs?

Post by JiWe2 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:16 pm

There are nouns, there are verbs, there are processes. "We" are not nouns, "we" are not verbs, "we" are not processes.

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Re: Are we nouns or verbs?

Post by Bundokji » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:24 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:48 am
Gombrich is my favourite writer on this issue. He talks in terms of processes, and says that a lot of our (modern, Western) confusion over what the Buddha taught stems from the fact that he had no word which exactly corresponds to our word "process", and was therefore inclined or compelled to describe it elliptically, by means of pariyaya.
I remember you shared a quote not long ago describing how the practice begins with nouns and identities being dropped and things are seen as verbs and how verbs will start to disappear as the path develops.

I tried to search it but could not find it. Grateful if you could share it once again on this thread.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: Are we nouns or verbs?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:54 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:24 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:48 am
Gombrich is my favourite writer on this issue. He talks in terms of processes, and says that a lot of our (modern, Western) confusion over what the Buddha taught stems from the fact that he had no word which exactly corresponds to our word "process", and was therefore inclined or compelled to describe it elliptically, by means of pariyaya.
I remember you shared a quote not long ago describing how the practice begins with nouns and identities being dropped and things are seen as verbs and how verbs will start to disappear as the path develops.

I tried to search it but could not find it. Grateful if you could share it once again on this thread.
I don't think it was me, Bundokji. Or, if it was, I have completely forgotten it, I'm afraid!

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Kim OHara
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Re: Are we nouns or verbs?

Post by Kim OHara » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:14 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:48 am
Fry raises an interesting and somewhat topical idea, but fails to see the contradiction in what he has said. He is not a "thing" (as instantiated by the things which are actors or writers) but goes on to say that he is a person (which is every bit as much of a thing as an actor or a writer is).

This is an example of what Wittgenstein termed "bewitchment by language". We are neither nouns nor verbs, because these are nothing more than parts of speech which we have identified. It is impossible to think of oneself as merely and essentially "verbing" because, as Fry's contradiction shows, there has to be some thing that does the action of the verb. Conversely, it is impossible to think of oneself as merely and essentially a noun, because that thing which the noun denotes must be doing something, even if it is only existing or remaining.

Gombrich is my favourite writer on this issue. He talks in terms of processes, and says that a lot of our (modern, Western) confusion over what the Buddha taught stems from the fact that he had no word which exactly corresponds to our word "process", and was therefore inclined or compelled to describe it elliptically, by means of pariyaya.
:goodpost:

I see what you mean but I think we should give him a bit more credit. A person is still a thing, as you say, but it's not such a narrowly defined - and therefore restrictive - thing as being an actor or writer.
Our identity is multi-layered and shedding or loosening any of the layers is taking a small step towards freedom.
Perhaps.

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: Are we nouns or verbs?

Post by Kim OHara » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:20 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:32 am
Greetings Kim,
Kim OHara wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:20 am
That seems to be a radical re-interpretation of Wilde
Not really. He managed to work back up the chain of dependent origination as far as... "Dependent upon bhava, jati comes to be." Good for him. It sounds as if it was liberating for him, as far as it went of course. Nice work fop.
Kim OHara wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:20 am
Can you justify it?
I did, with recourse to sutta and a quote from ven. Nanananda. When I am at a PC next, I'll try to source a sutta quote which shows how dependent origination is explored in reverse order.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Okay ... I now understand what you think the relationship is. I already did know about dependent origination and I can see how it could contortionately be applied to what Fry said. I still don't think it's what Fry meant. If anything, it's the reverse of what he meant.
Never mind.

:namaste:
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Re: Are we nouns or verbs?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:21 pm

Greetings,
retrofuturist wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:32 am
When I am at a PC next, I'll try to source a sutta quote which shows how dependent origination is explored in reverse order.
DN 14 wrote:‘Now there arose, brethren, in the mind of Vipassī the Bodhisat, when he had gone to his place, and was meditating in seclusion, the following consideration—“Verily this world has fallen upon trouble; one is born, and grows old, and dies, and falls from one state, and springs up in another.”

‘“And from this suffering, moreover, no one knows of any way of escape, even from decay and death. O when shall a way of escape from this suffering be made known, from decay and from death?”

‘Then to Vipassī the Bodhisat, brethren, this occurred—“What now being present, is birth also present; what conditions birth?” Then, brethren, from attention to the cause arose the conviction through reason—“When becoming is, birth also is present; becoming is the condition of birth.”

‘Then to Vipassī the Bodhisat, brethren, this occurred—“What now being present, is becoming also present; what conditions becoming? “Then, brethren, from attention to the cause arose the conviction through reason—“Where grasping is, there is becoming; grasping is the condition of becoming.”

‘Then to Vipassī the Bodhisat, brethren, this occurred—“What now being present, is grasping also present; what conditions grasping? “Then, brethren, from attention to the cause arose the conviction through reason—“Where craving is, there is grasping; craving is the condition of grasping.”

‘Then to Vipassī the Bodhisat, brethren, this occurred—“What now being present, is craving also present; what conditions craving?” Then, brethren, from attention to the cause arose the conviction through reason—“Where feeling is, there is craving; feeling is the condition of craving.”

‘Then to Vipassī the Bodhisat, brethren, this occurred—“What now being present, is feeling also present; what conditions feeling? “Then, brethren, from attention to the cause arose the conviction through reason—“Where contact is, there is feeling; contact is the condition of feeling.”

‘Then to Vipassī the Bodhisat, brethren, this occurred—“What now being present, is the sixfold field also present; what conditions the sixfold field? “Then, brethren, from attention to the cause arose the conviction through reason—“Where name-and-form is, there is the sixfold field; name-and-form is the condition of the sixfold field.”

‘Then to Vipassī the Bodhisat, brethren, this occurred—“What now being present, is name-and-form also present; what conditions name-and-form?”

Then, brethren, from attention to the cause arose the conviction through reason—“Where cognition is there is name-and-form; cognition is the condition of name-and-form.”

‘Then to Vipassī the Bodhisat, brethren, this occurred—“What now being present, is cognition also present; what conditions cognition?’ Then, brethren, from attention to the cause arose the conviction through reason—“Where name-and-form is, there is cognition; name-and-form conditions cognition.”

‘Then to Vipassī the Bodhisat, brethren, this occurred—“Cognition turns back from name-and-form; it goes not beyond. Only as follows can one be born or stow old or die or fall from one condition or reappear in another; that is, in that cognition is conditioned by name-and-form, and name-and-form by cognition, the sixfold field by name-and-form, contact by the sixfold field, feeling by contact, craving by feeling, grasping by craving, becoming by grasping, birth by becoming, decay and dying by birth, and so too grief, lamentation, ill, sorrow and despair come to pass. Such is the coming to be of this entire body of Ill.”

‘“Coming to be, coming to be!”—at that thought, brethren, there arose to Vipassī the Bodhisat a vision into things not called before to mind, and knowledge arose, reason arose, wisdom arose, light arose.

‘Then to Vipassī the Bodhisat, brethren, this occurred—“What now being absent, is decay and dying also absent; by the ceasing of what does decay and dying cease?” Then, brethren, from attention to the cause arose the conviction through reason—“Where birth is absent, decay and dying are absent; when birth ceases, decay and dying cease … Where becoming is absent, birth is absent; when becoming-ceases, birth ceases … Where grasping is absent, becoming is absent; when grasping ceases, becoming ceases … Where craving is absent, grasping is absent; when craving ceases, grasping ceases … Where feeling is absent, craving is absent; when feeling ceases, craving ceases … Where contact is absent, feeling is absent; when contact ceases, feeling ceases … Where the sixfold field is absent, contact is absent; when the sixfold field ceases, contact ceases … Where name-and-form is absent, the sixfold field is absent; when name-and-form ceases, the sixfold field ceases … Where cognition is absent, name-and-form is absent; when cognition ceases, name-and-form ceases … Where name-and-form is absent, cognition is absent; when name-and-form ceases, cognition ceases.”
Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Sam Vara
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Re: Are we nouns or verbs?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:34 pm

Kim OHara wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:14 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:48 am
Fry raises an interesting and somewhat topical idea, but fails to see the contradiction in what he has said. He is not a "thing" (as instantiated by the things which are actors or writers) but goes on to say that he is a person (which is every bit as much of a thing as an actor or a writer is).

This is an example of what Wittgenstein termed "bewitchment by language". We are neither nouns nor verbs, because these are nothing more than parts of speech which we have identified. It is impossible to think of oneself as merely and essentially "verbing" because, as Fry's contradiction shows, there has to be some thing that does the action of the verb. Conversely, it is impossible to think of oneself as merely and essentially a noun, because that thing which the noun denotes must be doing something, even if it is only existing or remaining.

Gombrich is my favourite writer on this issue. He talks in terms of processes, and says that a lot of our (modern, Western) confusion over what the Buddha taught stems from the fact that he had no word which exactly corresponds to our word "process", and was therefore inclined or compelled to describe it elliptically, by means of pariyaya.
:goodpost:

I see what you mean but I think we should give him a bit more credit. A person is still a thing, as you say, but it's not such a narrowly defined - and therefore restrictive - thing as being an actor or writer.
Our identity is multi-layered and shedding or loosening any of the layers is taking a small step towards freedom.
Perhaps.

:namaste:
Kim
Yes, on further reflection, I think you are right. Defining oneself in terms of personhood is certainly a step up from occupation. Especially when that occupation is acting:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipita ... .than.html

:jawdrop:

Thanks Kim.

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