Determinism vs Dependent origination

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Bundokji
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Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by Bundokji » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:02 am

From another thread:
DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 7:59 pm
See some of the determinism vs. free will discussions that we had here at DW. I believe we are mostly -- almost entirely deterministic; however there can be some breath-throughs out of the cycle of Buddhist determinism, i.e., Dependent Origination, although they can be rare and can happen as SV noted with Right Effort, but then still an impersonal mind-stream process.
We encounter many discussions comparing determinism and free will, but not determinism with dependent origination.

From your understanding, what are the similarities and differences between the two?
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.

chownah
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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by chownah » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:27 am

Determinism is a rigid statement about what can happen......dependent origination is a description of what happens in certain instances.......seems like to compare them is like comparing apples and oranges.

Dependent origination can be one interpretation which arises within a matrix of determinism just like free will can be one interpretation which arises within a matrix of determinism just like "making a decision" can be one interpretation which arise within a matrix of determinism.

I think that really people should just admit the fact that determinism is a fabricated idea which both in practice and in theory can not be shown to be true or false......so all the discussion surrounding it is just unsupportable conjecture.....

Can someone show some benefit for accepting determinism as the way things really are?.....there seems to be alot of suffering by those who do so.
Can someone show some benefit for accepting dependent origination as the way things really are?....there seems to be alot of suttas which claim that there is.
chownah

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Bundokji
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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by Bundokji » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:19 am

chownah wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:27 am
Determinism is a rigid statement about what can happen......dependent origination is a description of what happens in certain instances.......seems like to compare them is like comparing apples and oranges.
Determinism can also be a description of what happens in certain instances, and dependent origination do not compromise clarity. The Buddha said:
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.
The above can be interpreted as rigid, but it does not have to be this way, both in relation to determinism and dependent origination
Dependent origination can be one interpretation which arises within a matrix of determinism just like free will can be one interpretation which arises within a matrix of determinism just like "making a decision" can be one interpretation which arise within a matrix of determinism.
Similarly, determinism and free will can be both one interpretation using dependent origination to explain them.
I think that really people should just admit the fact that determinism is a fabricated idea which both in practice and in theory can not be shown to be true or false......so all the discussion surrounding it is just unsupportable conjecture.....
I respectfully disagree. Dependent origination is in itself a fabrication which explains suffering hence the aim of Buddhist practice is to break free from it.
Can someone show some benefit for accepting determinism as the way things really are?.....there seems to be alot of suffering by those who do so.
Can someone show some benefit for accepting dependent origination as the way things really are?....there seems to be alot of suttas which claim that there is.
Most scientists are determinists as well as most Buddhists according to Dr. David's statement (which i happened to agree with). This does not stop them from trying to end 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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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by budo » Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:34 am

I don't see determinism and dependent origination as conflicting with eachother but instead layering each other.

Determinism sets the context, free will sets the probability within the context. Or in other words, the process sets the context, and the outcomes of the process are probable.

Enlightenment is just an outcome probability of the human condition. The human condition is just an outcome probability of a planet that has the right distance from a star allowing for life. A planet is just an outcome probability of the various types of objects in space.

Outcomes are just a probability. Just like only one sperm can make it to the egg per conception event, but all over the world an infinite amount of sperm are reaching eggs. Just like that, this planet has a certain amount of enlightened beings during an event, in a series of infinite events.

So determinism doesn't conflict with dependent origination, dependent origination is a process, and enlightenment is just one of many probable outcomes in that process.

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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by Bundokji » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:01 am

budo wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:34 am
I don't see determinism and dependent origination as conflicting with eachother but instead layering each other.

Determinism sets the context, free will sets the probability within the context. Or in other words, the process sets the context, and the outcomes of the process are probable.

Enlightenment is just an outcome probability of the human condition. The human condition is just an outcome probability of a planet that has the right distance from a star allowing for life. A planet is just an outcome probability of the various types of objects in space.

Outcomes are just a probability. Just like only one sperm can make it to the egg per conception event, but all over the world an infinite amount of sperm are reaching eggs. Just like that, this planet has a certain amount of enlightened beings during an event, in a series of infinite events.

So determinism doesn't conflict with dependent origination, dependent origination is a process, and enlightenment is just one of many probable outcomes in that process.
Would it be accurate to say that in your view, in order to understand DO, the opposite of determinism (free will) should be brought up? Because in the OP, i did not mention free will at all. I noticed similar tendency in chownah's reply.

For example, when you said:

"Determinism sets the context, free will sets the probability within the context. Or in other words, the process sets the context, and the outcomes of the process are probable."

If we take determinism by itself (without inserting free will into the equation) then the outcome is not probable, but certain.

Why the need to introduce the opposite?
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: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by SarathW » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:12 am

We encounter many discussions comparing determinism and free will, but not determinism with dependent origination./quote]
I think Dependent Origination is free will because DO depends on your free will.
For instance, Sankhara is the result of Avijja.
Elimination of Avijja you eliminate (Nirodha) Sankhara.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Bundokji
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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by Bundokji » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:27 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:12 am
I think Dependent Origination is free will because DO depends on your free will.
For instance, Sankhara is the result of Avijja.
Elimination of Avijja you eliminate (Nirodha) Sankhara.
The root cause of DO is avijja, hence DO is suffering (while enlightenment is certainty). Also DO is often described as the middle way between two extremes. The two extremes in this particular instance are free will and determinism.

The middle way is what every human seek, which is a state of contentment and satisfaction. For instance, between the two extremes of thirst and water, there is the middle way of satisfaction. They are described as "extremes" from the point of view of the middle way (satisfaction). Not having enough water causes thirst, and having too much water causes pain in the stomach.

The above makes you wonder if the problem lies with the middle way (which is rarely achieved) or with the extremes. Do not we suffer because we want to be satisfied?
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.

SarathW
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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by SarathW » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:33 am

Do not we suffer because we want to be satisfied?
If we want to satisfy six senses that could be a cause of suffering.
That is why even the highest Jhana is Dukkha.
That is why you discard the raft (Buddha Dhamma) once you cross the flood.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

chownah
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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by chownah » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:44 am

budo wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:34 am
Determinism sets the context, free will sets the probability within the context. Or in other words, the process sets the context, and the outcomes of the process are probable.
Perhaps we need a definition of determinism. For me, determinism means that all things (events) have outcomes which can be predicted from the previous conditions for all of time. This does not allow for probability of what outcome will appear.....all outcomes are 100% predictable (in theory) if the prior conditions are known.
So for my definition of determinism, there can be no probabilities associated with whether an event actually happens. People could calculate probabilities but they would only do so because of a lack of knowledge of the previous conditions.....probabilities, then, would be just ways to try to predict what is already pre-determined.
chownah

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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by budo » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:55 am

chownah wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:44 am
budo wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:34 am
Determinism sets the context, free will sets the probability within the context. Or in other words, the process sets the context, and the outcomes of the process are probable.
Perhaps we need a definition of determinism. For me, determinism means that all things (events) have outcomes which can be predicted from the previous conditions for all of time. This does not allow for probability of what outcome will appear.....all outcomes are 100% predictable (in theory) if the prior conditions are known.
So for my definition of determinism, there can be no probabilities associated with whether an event actually happens. People could calculate probabilities but they would only do so because of a lack of knowledge of the previous conditions.....probabilities, then, would be just ways to try to predict what is already pre-determined.
chownah
It will never be possible to know 100% with certainty all prior conditions as not even a super computer can calculate all the layers of movement happening from quarks, electrons, atoms, anti matter, dark matter, vs all the possible interactions with the infinite number of cases and environments.. At best we can use vague extrapolations like Game theory for certain hypothetical scenarios.

Regardless, there's an infinite amount of cases and variables, therefore it's impossible to predict everything. Even the Buddha himself ignored questions of determinism, absolutism, eternalism, annihilationism, etc.. The Buddha didn't bother answering such metaphysical questions. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_unanswered_questions

A better way to look at it is that everything you choose to look at and study is just a restricted contextual snapshot in time and space, a very small slice of reality. Therefore we are limited to probability because that's all we can "capture".

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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by James Tan » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:28 am

There is Relative(free) will but Not Absolute free will .
:reading:

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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by Bundokji » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:09 pm

budo wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:55 am
A better way to look at it is that everything you choose to look at and study is just a restricted contextual snapshot in time and space, a very small slice of reality. Therefore we are limited to probability because that's all we can "capture".
The same applies to DO? If i understand you correctly, then the answer would be yes, but what is it that makes the Dhamma superior to other doctrines then? is it merely a subjective opinion?
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.

chownah
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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by chownah » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:15 pm

budo wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:55 am
chownah wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:44 am
budo wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:34 am
Determinism sets the context, free will sets the probability within the context. Or in other words, the process sets the context, and the outcomes of the process are probable.
Perhaps we need a definition of determinism. For me, determinism means that all things (events) have outcomes which can be predicted from the previous conditions for all of time. This does not allow for probability of what outcome will appear.....all outcomes are 100% predictable (in theory) if the prior conditions are known.
So for my definition of determinism, there can be no probabilities associated with whether an event actually happens. People could calculate probabilities but they would only do so because of a lack of knowledge of the previous conditions.....probabilities, then, would be just ways to try to predict what is already pre-determined.
chownah
It will never be possible to know 100% with certainty all prior conditions as not even a super computer can calculate all the layers of movement happening from quarks, electrons, atoms, anti matter, dark matter, vs all the possible interactions with the infinite number of cases and environments.. At best we can use vague extrapolations like Game theory for certain hypothetical scenarios.

Regardless, there's an infinite amount of cases and variables, therefore it's impossible to predict everything. Even the Buddha himself ignored questions of determinism, absolutism, eternalism, annihilationism, etc.. The Buddha didn't bother answering such metaphysical questions. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_unanswered_questions

A better way to look at it is that everything you choose to look at and study is just a restricted contextual snapshot in time and space, a very small slice of reality. Therefore we are limited to probability because that's all we can "capture".
It seems that your first paragraph along with the first sentence of your second paragraph is a restatement of my having said "People could calculate probabilities but they would only do so because of a lack of knowledge of the previous conditions".

I think that your statement "A better way to look at it is that everything you choose to look at and study is just a restricted contextual snapshot in time and space, a very small slice of reality" is pretty much a truism and can be taken as an accurate description regardless of whether determinism is accepted or not....it seems like just a general statement about an individual's experience.

You say that we are limited to probability....I'm not sure in what way we are limited (perhaps you could explain your ideas on this) but I think that probability is the way we do in fact anticipate future events.....but this says nothing about whether the events are already determined by previous conditions or not.....we use probability to predict the future regardless so this observation does not bear on any characteristic of determinism but only on how we predict the future in general.
chownah

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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by justindesilva » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:42 pm

Dependant origination is the process of existence based on kamma. How can it be then deterministic?. It is also anicca dukka anatma explained through 12 nidanas.

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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by Bundokji » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:43 pm

justindesilva wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:42 pm
Dependant origination is the process of existence based on kamma. How can it be then deterministic?. It is also anicca dukka anatma explained through 12 nidanas.
It is deterministic in the sense it teaches about conditions and how they lead to certain outcomes. Whatever the nature of these conditions or the phenomena it attempts to explain (whether this phenomena is existence itself or a phenomena within existence) does not seem to make any difference.
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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