Doubt, Dhamma and the Middle Way

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Saengnapha
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Re: Doubt, Dhamma and the Middle Way

Post by Saengnapha » Sun May 27, 2018 3:36 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 11:51 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 8:28 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 8:15 am


I think they go together. One can easily test whether some practices have an effect. But one needs confidence in order to bother with the practice.
Everything has an effect. You have to specify what it is that you are testing and what you are testing it for.
One might find that approach useful, but I don't find it necessary for avoiding the extremes of doubt and dogmatism, which is what this thread is about.
Are you plagued with doubt and dogmatism?

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Sam Vara
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Re: Doubt, Dhamma and the Middle Way

Post by Sam Vara » Sun May 27, 2018 3:42 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 3:36 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 11:51 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 8:28 am

Everything has an effect. You have to specify what it is that you are testing and what you are testing it for.
One might find that approach useful, but I don't find it necessary for avoiding the extremes of doubt and dogmatism, which is what this thread is about.
Are you plagued with doubt and dogmatism?
No, I wouldn't say that. But sometimes I doubt what later turns out to be true, and sometimes I get too settled in an opinion about something, which then takes effort to dispel; just like MN 95 says, really. So I find it good to be aware of them. It's like driving in traffic - I'm not "plagued" by oncoming lanes of cars, or by the nearside verge, but I keep an eye on them as the boundaries of safe conduct.

Saengnapha
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Re: Doubt, Dhamma and the Middle Way

Post by Saengnapha » Sun May 27, 2018 3:46 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 3:42 pm
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 3:36 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 11:51 am


One might find that approach useful, but I don't find it necessary for avoiding the extremes of doubt and dogmatism, which is what this thread is about.
Are you plagued with doubt and dogmatism?
No, I wouldn't say that. But sometimes I doubt what later turns out to be true, and sometimes I get too settled in an opinion about something, which then takes effort to dispel; just like MN 95 says, really. So I find it good to be aware of them. It's like driving in traffic - I'm not "plagued" by oncoming lanes of cars, or by the nearside verge, but I keep an eye on them as the boundaries of safe conduct.
You are just talking about your own mind, your own thinking processes. Are you separate from them? Are they not you, in the general sense of what we call 'me'?

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Sam Vara
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Re: Doubt, Dhamma and the Middle Way

Post by Sam Vara » Sun May 27, 2018 3:54 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 3:46 pm

You are just talking about your own mind, your own thinking processes.
Yes, that's correct.
Are you separate from them? Are they not you, in the general sense of what we call 'me'?


Sorry, I'm not sure I understand this bit. I don't think that there is another object of consciousness which differs from them and which I call "me", if that's what you mean. They are part of my thinking which comes and goes.

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Doubt, Dhamma and the Middle Way

Post by Modus.Ponens » Mon May 28, 2018 12:26 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 3:50 am
Greetings,

In the Dhamma, doubt is one of the five hindrances.

Doubt specifically about the Dhamma also causes issues...
AN 4.184 wrote:"Furthermore, there is the case of the person in doubt & perplexity, who has not arrived at certainty with regard to the True Dhamma. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought occurs to him, 'How doubtful & perplexed I am! I have not arrived at any certainty with regard to the True Dhamma!' He grieves & is tormented, weeps, beats his breast, & grows delirious. This, too, is a person who, subject to death, is afraid & in terror of death.
Yet, if one has absolutely certainty of their understanding of the Dhamma, and has no doubt about it whatsoever, they may be closing their minds to further advancement...
MN 95 wrote:"Bharadvaja, first you went by conviction. Now you speak of unbroken tradition. There are five things that can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now. Which five? Conviction, liking, unbroken tradition, reasoning by analogy, & an agreement through pondering views. These are the five things that can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now. Now some things are firmly held in conviction and yet vain, empty, & false. Some things are not firmly held in conviction, and yet they are genuine, factual, & unmistaken. Some things are well-liked... truly an unbroken tradition... well-reasoned... Some things are well-pondered and yet vain, empty, & false. Some things are not well-pondered, and yet they are genuine, factual, & unmistaken. In these cases it isn't proper for a knowledgeable person who safeguards the truth to come to a definite conclusion, 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless."
What is the "middle way" between the two extremes of experiencing debilitating skeptical doubt, and ensuring that we don't falsely conclude that "Only this is true; anything else is worthless"?

Metta,
Paul. :)
Hello, Retro.

Oddly enough, I think the Kalama Sutta provides the proper guidance, specifically the commonly overlooked part of the sutta:

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

So, I think the middle way between debilitating doubt and certainty is a balance between being prudent and being humble with respect to what the wise praise.

Añjali

PS: Thank you for raising this question. It actually solved something important in my head.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

Saengnapha
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Re: Doubt, Dhamma and the Middle Way

Post by Saengnapha » Mon May 28, 2018 3:34 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 3:54 pm
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 3:46 pm

You are just talking about your own mind, your own thinking processes.
Yes, that's correct.
Are you separate from them? Are they not you, in the general sense of what we call 'me'?


Sorry, I'm not sure I understand this bit. I don't think that there is another object of consciousness which differs from them and which I call "me", if that's what you mean. They are part of my thinking which comes and goes.
Yet, you are looking at them as if they are separate from this 'you'.

chownah
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Re: Doubt, Dhamma and the Middle Way

Post by chownah » Mon May 28, 2018 3:53 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 12:26 am


Hello, Retro.

Oddly enough, I think the Kalama Sutta provides the proper guidance, specifically the commonly overlooked part of the sutta:

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

So, I think the middle way between debilitating doubt and certainty is a balance between being prudent and being humble with respect to what the wise praise.

Añjali

PS: Thank you for raising this question. It actually solved something important in my head.
:goodpost:
.....and I would like to add that in respect to being prudent and humble that a good thing to do to promote these two attitudes is to cultivate the characteristic of being freely admitting of being wrong when one commits errors....not only freely admitting the error but to be glad that ones error has been shown and grateful to the one who has shown it.
chownah

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Sam Vara
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Re: Doubt, Dhamma and the Middle Way

Post by Sam Vara » Mon May 28, 2018 8:21 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 3:34 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 3:54 pm
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 3:46 pm

You are just talking about your own mind, your own thinking processes.
Yes, that's correct.
Are you separate from them? Are they not you, in the general sense of what we call 'me'?


Sorry, I'm not sure I understand this bit. I don't think that there is another object of consciousness which differs from them and which I call "me", if that's what you mean. They are part of my thinking which comes and goes.
Yet, you are looking at them as if they are separate from this 'you'.
I'm not sure what point you are getting at here, but it doesn't seem to have much to do with doubt, dhamma, and the middle way.
:focus:

pegembara
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Re: Doubt, Dhamma and the Middle Way

Post by pegembara » Mon May 28, 2018 10:34 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 3:50 am
Greetings,

In the Dhamma, doubt is one of the five hindrances.

Doubt specifically about the Dhamma also causes issues...
AN 4.184 wrote:"Furthermore, there is the case of the person in doubt & perplexity, who has not arrived at certainty with regard to the True Dhamma. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought occurs to him, 'How doubtful & perplexed I am! I have not arrived at any certainty with regard to the True Dhamma!' He grieves & is tormented, weeps, beats his breast, & grows delirious. This, too, is a person who, subject to death, is afraid & in terror of death.
Yet, if one has absolutely certainty of their understanding of the Dhamma, and has no doubt about it whatsoever, they may be closing their minds to further advancement...
MN 95 wrote:"Bharadvaja, first you went by conviction. Now you speak of unbroken tradition. There are five things that can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now. Which five? Conviction, liking, unbroken tradition, reasoning by analogy, & an agreement through pondering views. These are the five things that can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now. Now some things are firmly held in conviction and yet vain, empty, & false. Some things are not firmly held in conviction, and yet they are genuine, factual, & unmistaken. Some things are well-liked... truly an unbroken tradition... well-reasoned... Some things are well-pondered and yet vain, empty, & false. Some things are not well-pondered, and yet they are genuine, factual, & unmistaken. In these cases it isn't proper for a knowledgeable person who safeguards the truth to come to a definite conclusion, 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless."
What is the "middle way" between the two extremes of experiencing debilitating skeptical doubt, and ensuring that we don't falsely conclude that "Only this is true; anything else is worthless"?

Metta,
Paul. :)
Have faith. Trust and verify.

This sutta comes to mind.
"Sariputta, do you take it on conviction that the faculty of conviction, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its goal & consummation? Do you take it on conviction that the faculty of persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its goal & consummation?"

"Lord, it's not that I take it on conviction in the Blessed One that the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its goal & consummation. Those who have not known, seen, penetrated, realized, or attained it by means of discernment would have to take it on conviction in others that the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its goal & consummation; whereas those who have known, seen, penetrated, realized, & attained it by means of discernment would have no doubt or uncertainty that the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its goal & consummation. And as for me, I have known, seen, penetrated, realized, & attained it by means of discernment. I have no doubt or uncertainty that the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its goal & consummation."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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