Buddhism and memory

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Bundokji
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Buddhism and memory

Post by Bundokji » Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:36 am

The aim of the Buddha's teachings is to end suffering/stress. The teachings talks about the mind, Kamma, self view, cause and effect, past lives ...etc all of which memory plays central role, and yet, as far as i know, the term "memory" has not been explicitly mentioned or included in the teachings.

Why?
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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Sam Vara
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Re: Buddhism and memory

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:51 am

Sati?

Memory of past lives?

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Bundokji
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Re: Buddhism and memory

Post by Bundokji » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:02 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:51 am
Sati?

Memory of past lives?
Thanks Sam,

Sati is mindfulness, which is constant remembering, so it is using memory, but not addressing memory.

Remembering past lives happens to some practitioners, but it does not explain the relationship between memory and suffering.
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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Bundokji
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Re: Buddhism and memory

Post by Bundokji » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:15 am

To put it differently. There is a lot of emphasis in the Buddha's teachings on the relationship between self view and suffering.

There seem to be a relationship between our feeling of self continuity and memory. Our ability to recall past events gives us the impression that there is somehow an enduring self through time. And yet, this seemingly obvious link do not seem to be addressed directly in the teachings.
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.

paul
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Re: Buddhism and memory

Post by paul » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:37 am

Memory is at the forefront of mindfulness:

"Just as the royal frontier fortress has a gate-keeper — wise, experienced, intelligent — to keep out those he doesn't know and to let in those he does, for the protection of those within and to ward off those without; in the same way a disciple of the noble ones is mindful, highly meticulous, remembering & able to call to mind even things that were done & said long ago. With mindfulness as his gate-keeper, the disciple of the noble ones abandons what is unskillful, develops what is skillful, abandons what is blameworthy, develops what is blameless, and looks after himself with purity. With this sixth true quality is he endowed.”—AN 7:63,
Thanissaro.

form
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Re: Buddhism and memory

Post by form » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:07 am

Memory is only part of buddhism. It is included in mindfulness, something to do with noting without distortions. There is probably nothing about directly training memory in the suttas.

If memory is about total recall of past lives in sequence that only happened with fourth jhana. But there are people that can recall a bit here and there, they may not have any jhana. I personally suspect, being unable to recall past live could be a mental protective mechanism.

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Bundokji
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Re: Buddhism and memory

Post by Bundokji » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:34 am

My approach to the practice is trying to understand how reality is constructed, and the more i contemplate this, the more i see that memory is central to our knowledge and how we interact with the world. To me, Buddhism seem to be concerned with knowledge, evident by the four noble truths, and it is right knowledge that leads to release.

Mindfulness seem to be quite beneficial in changing the self into more positive/peaceful direction, but i don't understand how it leads to transcending Kamma.
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.

JiWe2
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Re: Buddhism and memory

Post by JiWe2 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:03 am

I think that the combination of sati, as reflective awereness, and sañña, as apperception, includes some of the memory aspects you are looking after.
The translation of sati as mindfulness is something of a compromise, as sati doesn’t really mean simply mindfulness, which in normal English is synonymic with carefulness; but nor is it simple awareness or bare attention, rather the word seems to combine the two meanings and intends a careful sort of attention to whatever objects are arising in consciousness. If it wasn’t so cumbersome reflective awareness might be more indicative than mindfulness.

Ānandajoti Bhikkhu, Mahāsatipaṭṭhānasuttaṁ, p.9 note 4.
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/ ... tthana.pdf
Apperception is thus a general term for all mental processes in which a presentation is brought into connection with an already existent and systematized mental conception, and thereby is classified, explained or, in a word, understood; e.g. a new scientific phenomenon is explained in the light of phenomena already analysed and classified. The whole intelligent life of man is, consciously or unconsciously, a process of apperception, in as much as every act of attention involves the appercipient process.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apperception

paul
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Re: Buddhism and memory

Post by paul » Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:32 pm

“every act of attention involves the appercipient process.”

This shows how attention (manasikara) and perception (sanna) are combined, with attention being the initial contact with the object, and perception the awareness of the object’s distinctive marks (SN 22:79).

“If in repeated perception of an object, the distinctive marks are recognized, sanna functions as memory.”—-Buddhist Dictionary.

In Thearvada there are always two opposing attitudes to every question, in this case while memory is an important component of mindfulness, at the same time memory itself is not given predominance because it involves attachment.

I think this simultaneous existence of two truths in Buddhism is something westerners are blind to, and look for a linear understanding, whereas a balance between two extremes is what should be sought.

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Bundokji
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Re: Buddhism and memory

Post by Bundokji » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:58 pm

Thanks JiWe2 and paul for introducing the term "apperception". I did not encounter before. :anjali:
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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cappuccino
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Re: Buddhism and memory

Post by cappuccino » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:26 pm

memory depends on virtue

if virtue is strong, memory is strong

2600htz
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Re: Buddhism and memory

Post by 2600htz » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:56 pm

Hello:

Because its not fundamental to the practice.
The aggregate of perception contains memory, but we don´t really NEED to know that.

Regards.

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_anicca_
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Re: Buddhism and memory

Post by _anicca_ » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:56 pm

The Buddha's teachings almost entirely deal with what is going on in the present moment, so perhaps he saw expounding on memory as unnecessary.

There is paccavekkhana (reviewing, recollecting, bringing to mind), which is a conducted form of memory and not exactly what you speak about.

Memory is ultimately the consciousness clinging to mental formations.
"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self."

:buddha1:

http://vipassanameditation.asia

form
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Re: Buddhism and memory

Post by form » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:15 pm

_anicca_ wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:56 pm
The Buddha's teachings almost entirely deal with what is going on in the present moment, so perhaps he saw expounding on memory as unnecessary.

There is paccavekkhana (reviewing, recollecting, bringing to mind), which is a conducted form of memory and not exactly what you speak about.

Memory is ultimately the consciousness clinging to mental formations.
Is there any sutta that directly use the term "living in the present moment"?

SarathW
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Re: Buddhism and memory

Post by SarathW » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:00 pm

the term "memory" has not been explicitly mentioned or included in the teachings.
There are three levels of the mind according to teaching.
Latent, transgression and manifestation.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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