Universe and its constant change....purpose

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
InsightVision
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:09 pm

Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by InsightVision » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:38 am

Dear Dhamma Wheel members, this is my first post after my introduction. :anjali: What I am wondering about tonight has to do with the universe. Since the Buddha felt no need for there to be a creator God involved in the creation of our universe and everything is in a constant state of change. Why would it be necessary to have a universe with such a variety of diverse and complex beings, planets and galaxies? Since there would be no force or God behind all of creation according to Buddhism, what is the purpose of all contained in the universe? Would this be one of those questions the Buddha preferred to remain silent about?

Metta, :anjali:

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 21729
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:55 am

Greetings InsightVision,
InsightVision wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:38 am
Dear Dhamma Wheel members, this is my first post after my introduction. :anjali: What I am wondering about tonight has to do with the universe. Since the Buddha felt no need for there to be a creator God involved in the creation of our universe and everything is in a constant state of change. Why would it be necessary to have a universe with such a variety of diverse and complex beings, planets and galaxies? Since there would be no force or God behind all of creation according to Buddhism, what is the purpose of all contained in the universe? Would this be one of those questions the Buddha preferred to remain silent about?

Metta, :anjali:
You're thinking here that there is no "purposeful" God, yet that there must be a "purpose" behind the creation and alteration of these things.

Do you see the contraction in your thinking? It seems to me you would have both, or have neither... not just one of these things.

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

User avatar
Bundokji
Posts: 2413
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:57 pm

Re: Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by Bundokji » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:01 am

InsightVision wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:38 am
Dear Dhamma Wheel members, this is my first post after my introduction. :anjali:
Hello InsightVision. Welcome to DW :anjali:
What I am wondering about tonight has to do with the universe. Since the Buddha felt no need for there to be a creator God involved in the creation of our universe and everything is in a constant state of change. Why would it be necessary to have a universe with such a variety of diverse and complex beings, planets and galaxies?
To be more precise, the Buddha did not say there is no need for there to be a creator god. What he taught is that speculating about God is futile when it comes to suffering and ending it:
"It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a brahman, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Since there would be no force or God behind all of creation according to Buddhism, what is the purpose of all contained in the universe? Would this be one of those questions the Buddha preferred to remain silent about?
You seem to be associating God with purpose, but there can be a God as a first cause without a purpose. Conversely, there can be no God but a purpose imagined by humans. Whether a God exists or does not exist, it does not necessitate purpose. Also there can be a purpose at the level of an individual task, but no purpose at a universal level. See the fallacy of composition:

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

Also you might want to contemplate the relationship between ontology (things exist or do not exist) and purpose. Buddhism does not encourage ontological thinking, but teaches dependent origination (the middle way):
"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
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.

santa100
Posts: 3781
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by santa100 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:14 pm

InsightVision wrote:Since there would be no force or God behind all of creation according to Buddhism, what is the purpose of all contained in the universe?
Assuming there was an almighty designer, why would he create a system that has all the builtin variables full of chaos and bound for destruction at the end? Why sending the great flood from time to time to correct/adjust an error-prone design? And if he's allowed to have a second chance to correct his mistake, why only allows his signature design, humans, only one shot to either be with him for eternal life or casted away for eternal damnation? So, unfortunately, adding an almighty creator into the equation doesn't make the issue of life's purpose any better, if not making it even more confusing.

User avatar
Alīno
Posts: 587
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:24 pm

Re: Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by Alīno » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:51 pm

Wecome to DW :anjali:

I will answer with a counter question:
- What is the purpose of rainbow? Who created rainbow? Why there is so many colors in it?

Metta :anjali:
Upāsaka Alīno - free from attachement and desire, undettered, one who perseveres, one who never gives up..._/\_

dharmacorps
Posts: 1004
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:18 pm

Welcome to DW. Something to think about as you explore the dhamma would be to examine that western culture has ideas of Abrahamic faiths suffused throughout-- even in western atheism there is a lot of this. So underpinning this question may be many almost pre-verbal assumptions about the universe, its beginning, existence, and ending, which the Buddha didn't have, so his message is totally different. Also see Thanissaro Bhikkhu's writings on Buddhist romanticism.

When asked directly if the universe served any greater purpose, the Buddha said no.

He also said your purpose in life is to find your purpose.

There are a variety of lifeforms because of a variety of causes and conditions to bring them into being. :anjali:

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 21729
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:49 pm

Greetings,
dharmacorps wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:18 pm
When asked directly if the universe served any greater purpose, the Buddha said no.

He also said your purpose in life is to find your purpose.
Do you have access to sutta or commentary that says anything resembling these statements?

I ask because it's one thing to say what you believe, and another to say "the Buddha said" if he didn't, because he regarded that as a form of slander.

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16981
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:27 pm

dharmacorps wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:18 pm
Welcome to DW. Something to think about as you explore the dhamma would be to examine that western culture has ideas of Abrahamic faiths suffused throughout-- even in western atheism there is a lot of this. So underpinning this question may be many almost pre-verbal assumptions about the universe, its beginning, existence, and ending, which the Buddha didn't have, so his message is totally different. Also see Thanissaro Bhikkhu's writings on Buddhist romanticism.
I think that this is a very important point. One could add that Western Buddhists invariably have this cultural background, which probably underlies many of the modernist interpretations of Dhamma.
dharmacorps wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:18 pm
When asked directly if the universe served any greater purpose, the Buddha said no.

He also said your purpose in life is to find your purpose.
Like Retro, I had a bit of a double take on this statement. However, this sutta does talk about a search:
“And what is the noble search? Here someone being himself subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, seeks the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being himself subject to ageing, having understood the danger in what is subject to ageing, he seeks the unageing supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being himself subject to sickness, having understood the danger in what is subject to sickness, he seeks the unailing supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being himself subject to death, having understood the danger in what is subject to death, he seeks the deathless supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being himself subject to sorrow, having understood the danger in what is subject to sorrow, he seeks the sorrowless supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being himself subject to defilement, having understood the danger in what is subject to defilement, he seeks the undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna. This is the noble search.
https://suttacentral.net/mn26/en/bodhi#sc15
dharmacorps wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:18 pm
There are a variety of lifeforms because of a variety of causes and conditions to bring them into being. :anjali:
:heart:
Mike

User avatar
Lucas Oliveira
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:07 pm

Re: Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:06 pm

Simsapa Sutta: The Simsapa Leaves

Once the Blessed One was staying at Kosambi in the simsapa[1] forest. Then, picking up a few simsapa leaves with his hand, he asked the monks, "What do you think, monks: Which are more numerous, the few simsapa leaves in my hand or those overhead in the simsapa forest?"

"The leaves in the hand of the Blessed One are few in number, lord. Those overhead in the simsapa forest are more numerous."

"In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.

"And what have I taught? 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': This is what I have taught. And why have I taught these things? Because they are connected with the goal, relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. This is why I have taught them.

"Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Vajira Sutta: Vajira
...
Why now do you assume 'a being'?
Mara, have you grasped a view?
This is a heap of sheer constructions:
Here no being is found.

Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
The word 'chariot' is used,
So, when the aggregates are present,
There's the convention 'a being.'

It's only suffering that comes to be,
Suffering that stands and falls away.
Nothing but suffering comes to be,
Nothing but suffering ceases.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .bodh.html
:anjali:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. http://translate.google.com.br

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

dharmacorps
Posts: 1004
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by dharmacorps » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:58 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:49 pm

I ask because it's one thing to say what you believe, and another to say "the Buddha said" if he didn't, because he regarded that as a form of slander.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Sure, and it would be slander if there were no basis in the canon and tradition for my admittedly general/broad statements. Like if I said, the Buddha doesn't teach rebirth, then that would be slanderous.

But of course there is a basis for these pithy things I have repeated as others have identified. Some of this is sticky as it has to do with interpretation of the suttas and how it applies to practice. I tend to agree with Thanissaro Bhikkhu on many of these issues of the universe (although probably many traditional theravadins disagree), who has written and speaks extensively on this: https://www.dhammatalks.org/books/uncol ... orlds.html is a great guide.

confusedlayman
Posts: 390
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:16 am

Re: Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by confusedlayman » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:02 am

There is no purpose for which universes behaves like this. things change and that change leads to another change and so on.

There is no god to make any purpose. if reward or entertainment is the purpose, then god if he is a creator can create reward directly instead of using universe as stimulant.

We humans using our 5 sence create a purpose so we strive and activate our reward system which leads to good feel for which we cling and cycle goes on. Anger arise when we create a purpose and don't achieve it. individuals have different purpose made by their own based on surrounding of others and their own intensions driven by desire.
non-agitation is highest peace
living unaffected by other cause and condition to suffering is true bliss
not associating with stupid people is immediate peace
- CL (confused layman)

User avatar
seeker242
Posts: 927
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

Re: Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by seeker242 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:07 pm

Why would there need to be any purpose behind it all?

binocular
Posts: 6689
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by binocular » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:51 pm

InsightVision wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:38 am
What I am wondering about tonight has to do with the universe. Since the Buddha felt no need for there to be a creator God involved in the creation of our universe and everything is in a constant state of change.
There is no Abrahamic-style God in Buddhism, but there is Brahma who is in charge of creation and related issues.

The Buddhist universe is not atheistic in the sense that Christian theists conceive of atheism.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
Posts: 6689
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by binocular » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:54 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:07 pm
Why would there need to be any purpose behind it all?
Because then one could, as an individual person, make sense of one's life, have a purpose to it -- or such is many people's intuition about these matters.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

User avatar
Alīno
Posts: 587
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:24 pm

Re: Universe and its constant change....purpose

Post by Alīno » Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:52 pm

Purpose/meaninh is dukkha.
Seeking for purpose is seeking for object of dukkha.

Why?
Because purpose/meaning make things havy, it add a weight to them, make them important, by making them important it makes our mind clinging to them, and craving to them, and suffering about them...
But thing are light by they nature, they have no weight if we don't give it to them.
Happy mind is a light mind, light mind is a mind that see the meaningless of Samsara, seeing purposeless of Samsara he is not afraid to live, he is not afraid to die, he is desenchanted with it. He enjoys the lightness of the heart and purposeless of the world.
Upāsaka Alīno - free from attachement and desire, undettered, one who perseveres, one who never gives up..._/\_

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Aniccato, JohnK, mikenz66, retrofuturist, thepea and 140 guests