Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
zan
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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by zan » Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:17 pm

SteRo wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:43 pm
zan wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:56 pm
Rules for this thread:

...

3.) Stay in the suttas. Using bizarre theories or science fiction are not allowed as they do not exist in the suttas.

4.) Making everything imaginary does not solve the issue as the mind, and therefore imagination, is dependently originated too, and so does not ultimately exist.
Sorry but that "does not ultimately exist" reminds me of "the two truths". But staying in the suttas I cannot recall the Buddha teaching two truths.

zan wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:56 pm
Further the Buddha didn't teach that all is consciousness, and it is incompatible with dependent origination, even if it only applies in it's minimal function to describe beings. All as consciousness is one hundred percent an Upanishadic teaching, not Buddhist.

That said here we are:

If everything, without exception, is dependently originated, nothing has any independent existence, there is no single thing. Everything depends on something else to exist.

If there is no single thing then obviously there cannot be many things.

So literally nothing whatsoever exists: pure nihilism.
This is your fabrication. The Buddha did not teach this. Remember? "Stay in the suttas"
This is tough because I agree with you in principle but not in practice. I want you to be right, but cannot see how you are.

We are not necessarily outside of the suttas. The Buddha taught DO and this is a possible outcome of that teaching.

I didn't mean "stay in the suttas" as in "you can only quote the suttas", but rather "stay in the suttas, discussing only what might be discussed within the suttas". For example someone might ask the Buddha: "Does dependent origination mean nothing exists?"

However no one would ask him: "Does quantum mechanics and the many worlds theory prove such and such?" Because these things weren't discussed back then. So an answer that contained things that are utterly foreign to the suttas is what I was trying to avoid.

Further this is absolutely not my fabrication. I would never come up with such an extreme idea. This is something that was thought up by Buddhist thinkers millennia ago. I practiced and studied Buddhism for twenty years before I came across this idea and really understood it. I wish I was smart enough to come up with something like this! If I was, maybe I could work my way around it without help too lol!
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

zan
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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by zan » Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:30 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:20 pm

It pays to investigate what we mean and what the Buddha said about 'existing'.

There is a view of the world as being composed of discrete entities, discrete selves, somehow interacting, but remaining separate. A view where there is a Dan who has such-and-such characteristics, such-and-such possessions and attainments, titles and honours.

And then there is a view of the world as a flux, a flow of interdependent phenomena, nothing separate, except in the language for convenience's sake. No actual Dan, since the phenomenon that goes by the name 'Dan' is ever-changing, originated in dependence on his parents, raised by myriad influences, continuing to depend on the nourishment and the chemicals in the body that is also not 'his', the milieu, even the chair that provides support and this keyboard that enables this post. Nor are any of the so-called possessions, but only due to conventions and beliefs, etc etc. Do you get the drift?

It seems to me the Buddha's main objective in this regard was to help us relinquish grasping onto 'me' and 'mine'. We can argue till we are blue in the face whether there is a soul or a self of some sort. That is kinda missing the point, which is to let go. The other was to understand how various phenomena come about dependently originated. Both require insight.
On letting go, yes I agree! Thank you. However as to this strange logical paradox, I don't see how this solves it.

If no single thing exists independently, there cannot be many depending on each other as without one there cannot be many. So nothing exists.

It's nonsense, I don't agree with it but no one seems to be able to explain why it's wrong. Of course it's a wrong view and etc. but I'm looking for literally the exact reason it's wrong.

Why is this logic wrong? Why does stating that no single thing exists independently not mean that there cannot be many things depending on each other and therefore make literally everything but nibbana non-existent?
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

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cappuccino
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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:00 pm

saying no thing exists independently isn't saying no thing exists


it's rather saying that no thing is independent


in other words, every thing is dependent on other things

Dan74
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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by Dan74 » Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:37 pm

zan wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:30 pm
Dan74 wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:20 pm

It pays to investigate what we mean and what the Buddha said about 'existing'.

There is a view of the world as being composed of discrete entities, discrete selves, somehow interacting, but remaining separate. A view where there is a Dan who has such-and-such characteristics, such-and-such possessions and attainments, titles and honours.

And then there is a view of the world as a flux, a flow of interdependent phenomena, nothing separate, except in the language for convenience's sake. No actual Dan, since the phenomenon that goes by the name 'Dan' is ever-changing, originated in dependence on his parents, raised by myriad influences, continuing to depend on the nourishment and the chemicals in the body that is also not 'his', the milieu, even the chair that provides support and this keyboard that enables this post. Nor are any of the so-called possessions, but only due to conventions and beliefs, etc etc. Do you get the drift?

It seems to me the Buddha's main objective in this regard was to help us relinquish grasping onto 'me' and 'mine'. We can argue till we are blue in the face whether there is a soul or a self of some sort. That is kinda missing the point, which is to let go. The other was to understand how various phenomena come about dependently originated. Both require insight.
On letting go, yes I agree! Thank you. However as to this strange logical paradox, I don't see how this solves it.

If no single thing exists independently, there cannot be many depending on each other as without one there cannot be many. So nothing exists.

It's nonsense, I don't agree with it but no one seems to be able to explain why it's wrong. Of course it's a wrong view and etc. but I'm looking for literally the exact reason it's wrong.

Why is this logic wrong? Why does stating that no single thing exists independently not mean that there cannot be many things depending on each other and therefore make literally everything but nibbana non-existent?
There is no one, nor many. Just processes, doings. It's the tendency to think in terms of nouns that leads to problems, not the actual happenings. You don't need 'a fire' in order to burn, just burning. And burning stands for a nexus of numerous processes, which extend finally to everything.
_/|\_

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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by Srilankaputra » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:19 am

zan wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 3:20 pm
As to your second question, I personally don't think this is a tenable position within the suttas, so the question cannot be answered. Once the suttas become interpreted as showing all to be non existent there is literally nothing to discuss.
Hi,
i was not asking about what the suttas says. What do these teachers say who teach that not even Dependant Origination exists. What result do they declare for those who don't realise this?
(I hope you are not trying to avoid this question)
O seeing one,we for refuge go to thee!
O mighty sage do thou our teacher be!

Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati

“Yato yato mano nivāraye,
Na dukkhameti naṃ tato tato;
Sa sabbato mano nivāraye,
Sa sabbato dukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by dhammacoustic » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:47 am

zan wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:56 pm
Dependent origination doesn't allow for monism, nor plurality.
what do you understand by the word monism?

***

nihilism would deny nibbana..
There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that escape from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, escape from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
DN 34 wrote: And what one thing should be realized?

The unshakable deliverance of mind.

(...)

these (...) are things that are real and true, so and not otherwise, unerringly and perfectly realized by the Tathágata.

SteRo
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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by SteRo » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:46 am

zan wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:17 pm
...

Further this is absolutely not my fabrication. I would never come up with such an extreme idea. This is something that was thought up by Buddhist thinkers millennia ago. I practiced and studied Buddhism for twenty years before I came across this idea and really understood it. I wish I was smart enough to come up with something like this! If I was, maybe I could work my way around it without help too lol!
If you want to leave the area of sutta and refer to "Buddhist thinkers millennia ago" claiming that those expounded nihilism the way you do then you definitely are confusing what you have understood with what these "Buddhist thinkers" have expounded. Why? Because all "Buddhist thinkers" who rejected independent existence equally rejected nihilism. So nihilism following from absence of independent existence is definitely your fabrication.

Back to sutta:
At Savatthī. Then the Venerable Kaccanagotta approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Venerable sir, it is said, ‘right view, right view.’ In what way, venerable sir, is there right view?”

“This world, Kaccana, for the most part depends upon a duality—upon the notion of existence and the notion of nonexistence. But for one who sees the origin of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of nonexistence in regard to the world. And for one who sees the cessation of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of existence in regard to the world.

“This world, Kaccana, is for the most part shackled by engagement, clinging, and adherence. But this one with right view does not become engaged and cling through that engagement and clinging, mental standpoint, adherence, underlying tendency; he does not take a stand about ‘my self.’ He has no perplexity or doubt that what arises is only suffering arising, what ceases is only suffering ceasing. His knowledge about this is independent of others. It is in this way, Kaccana, that there is right view. “‘All exists’: Kaccana, this is one extreme. ‘All does not exist’: this is the second extreme. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma by the middle: ‘With ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be; with volitional formations as condition, consciousness…. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering. But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance comes cessation of volitional formations; with the cessation of volitional formations, cessation of consciousness…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.”
https://suttacentral.net/sn12.15/en/bodhi

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SDC
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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by SDC » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:39 pm

zan wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:04 pm
If no single thing exists independently, then there are not many things, as without one, there cannot be many. So nothing exists.

I do not like this! I think it is not what the Buddha taught but a wild extrapolation and misunderstanding of what he taught. Nonetheless, without reinterpreting DO to be less literal and all encompassing, I fail to see a way around it.
Before we continue, I think it is important - even if we don't agree on the specifics of the distinction - to agree that there is a distinction between "the root of all things" (sabbadhammamūlapariyāyaṃ) and "the arising of this whole mass of suffering" (evam etassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.) I'm including the Pali so we can agree that different terms have been translated to form these phrases.

In addition, where does this idea of DO being a theory of everything come form? Sounds like physics. Sorry if you already addressed this.

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zerotime
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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by zerotime » Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:54 pm

zan wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:30 pm
I don't see how this solves it.

If no single thing exists independently, there cannot be many depending on each other as without one there cannot be many. So nothing exists.

It's nonsense, I don't agree with it but no one seems to be able to explain why it's wrong. Of course it's a wrong view and etc. but I'm looking for literally the exact reason it's wrong.
"nothing exist" cannot be right while you says the existence of that nothingness depends from the rest of things existing dependently.
Concept of a nothingness is an absurdity. It is just an intellectual concept like the zero number. Without the rest of numbers the zero doesn't have any sense

Buddha teaching is about realizing the common atta experience is a source of dukkha without end. Anatta is the cease of atta but no a nothingness.

nmjojola
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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by nmjojola » Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:18 pm

zan wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:56 pm
nothing has any independent existence, there is no single thing.
right view sees an alternative to existence (and non-existence)

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equilibrium
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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by equilibrium » Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:11 am

zan wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:09 pm
Nibbana does exist according to the suttas. It is said to be a thing (dhamma). But since it is not part of DO, it does not solve the issue. If nothing exists but nibbana, we have all already reached nibbana, since that's all there is.

If you're correct and it can't be said to exist, then there's literally nothing left of the dhamma whatsoever.
First word under DO is “delusion”:
samsara is the realm of suffering governed by greed, hatred, and delusion,....., while Nibbana is irreversible release from samsara, to be attained by demolishing greed, hatred, and delusion, and by relinquishing all conditioned existence.
SN 11.15:
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.
AN 8.53: Dhamma:
As for the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction.

zan
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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by zan » Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:12 pm

Srilankaputra wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:19 am
zan wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 3:20 pm
As to your second question, I personally don't think this is a tenable position within the suttas, so the question cannot be answered. Once the suttas become interpreted as showing all to be non existent there is literally nothing to discuss.
Hi,
i was not asking about what the suttas says. What do these teachers say who teach that not even Dependant Origination exists. What result do they declare for those who don't realise this?
(I hope you are not trying to avoid this question)
Avoiding? No. But going into the teachings of teachers that teach such things would be outside the suttas. My op doesn't allow for this. Don't want to break my own rule! Hence I assumed you meant inside the suttas and answered your question accordingly.

Within the suttas it is flatly stated in SN 22.94 that the aggregates exist. Making my hypothetical assertion in the op contradictory, which is why I'm looking for clarification and correction: this assertion cannot be true.
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

zan
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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by zan » Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:23 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:37 pm
zan wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:30 pm
Dan74 wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:20 pm

It pays to investigate what we mean and what the Buddha said about 'existing'.

There is a view of the world as being composed of discrete entities, discrete selves, somehow interacting, but remaining separate. A view where there is a Dan who has such-and-such characteristics, such-and-such possessions and attainments, titles and honours.

And then there is a view of the world as a flux, a flow of interdependent phenomena, nothing separate, except in the language for convenience's sake. No actual Dan, since the phenomenon that goes by the name 'Dan' is ever-changing, originated in dependence on his parents, raised by myriad influences, continuing to depend on the nourishment and the chemicals in the body that is also not 'his', the milieu, even the chair that provides support and this keyboard that enables this post. Nor are any of the so-called possessions, but only due to conventions and beliefs, etc etc. Do you get the drift?

It seems to me the Buddha's main objective in this regard was to help us relinquish grasping onto 'me' and 'mine'. We can argue till we are blue in the face whether there is a soul or a self of some sort. That is kinda missing the point, which is to let go. The other was to understand how various phenomena come about dependently originated. Both require insight.
On letting go, yes I agree! Thank you. However as to this strange logical paradox, I don't see how this solves it.

If no single thing exists independently, there cannot be many depending on each other as without one there cannot be many. So nothing exists.

It's nonsense, I don't agree with it but no one seems to be able to explain why it's wrong. Of course it's a wrong view and etc. but I'm looking for literally the exact reason it's wrong.

Why is this logic wrong? Why does stating that no single thing exists independently not mean that there cannot be many things depending on each other and therefore make literally everything but nibbana non-existent?
There is no one, nor many. Just processes, doings. It's the tendency to think in terms of nouns that leads to problems, not the actual happenings. You don't need 'a fire' in order to burn, just burning. And burning stands for a nexus of numerous processes, which extend finally to everything.
Thank you. I agree but don't see how there can even be processes or doings if literally everything is DO. If absolutely nothing can self create, no thing can come into existence without a cause, nothing has ever been created, nothing exists. Because there would be no cause for the first thing, or any or many things.

I personally think the elements in the suttas just exist as temporary, not self phenomena and are not part of DO. This avoids the issue entirely. I know of nothing in the suttas that rules this understanding out. I am looking for concensus, support, or to be corrected, or another interpretation that fixes the issue.

Rupa is stated to be DO. Rupa is stated to come from the elements which are not stated as DO to my knowledge but are stated to be not self and temporary as part of "sabbe dhamma anatta" sabbe sankhara anicca". Here conditioned (sankhara) and dependently originated cannot be perfect synonyms.
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

zan
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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by zan » Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:34 pm

SDC wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:39 pm
zan wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:04 pm
If no single thing exists independently, then there are not many things, as without one, there cannot be many. So nothing exists.

I do not like this! I think it is not what the Buddha taught but a wild extrapolation and misunderstanding of what he taught. Nonetheless, without reinterpreting DO to be less literal and all encompassing, I fail to see a way around it.
Before we continue, I think it is important - even if we don't agree on the specifics of the distinction - to agree that there is a distinction between "the root of all things" (sabbadhammamūlapariyāyaṃ) and "the arising of this whole mass of suffering" (evam etassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.) I'm including the Pali so we can agree that different terms have been translated to form these phrases.

In addition, where does this idea of DO being a theory of everything come form? Sounds like physics. Sorry if you already addressed this.
Thank you! Please elaborate.

As far as I know DO applying to literally everything is a common understanding in all schools of Buddhism. It was news to me as the twelve links clearly are talking about a being, not literally everything. So I think there's some confusion or something got passed on wrong.

The Madhyamaka school is built on this idea and influenced much or nearly all of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. I don't think this extrapolation is tenable within the Pali Canon, yet no one can show this as wrong and that DO does not apply to literally everything in the suttas definitively.
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

Dan74
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Re: Either Buddhism is pure nihilism or dependent origination must be reinterpreted?

Post by Dan74 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:38 pm

zan wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:23 pm
Dan74 wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:37 pm
zan wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:30 pm


On letting go, yes I agree! Thank you. However as to this strange logical paradox, I don't see how this solves it.

If no single thing exists independently, there cannot be many depending on each other as without one there cannot be many. So nothing exists.

It's nonsense, I don't agree with it but no one seems to be able to explain why it's wrong. Of course it's a wrong view and etc. but I'm looking for literally the exact reason it's wrong.

Why is this logic wrong? Why does stating that no single thing exists independently not mean that there cannot be many things depending on each other and therefore make literally everything but nibbana non-existent?
There is no one, nor many. Just processes, doings. It's the tendency to think in terms of nouns that leads to problems, not the actual happenings. You don't need 'a fire' in order to burn, just burning. And burning stands for a nexus of numerous processes, which extend finally to everything.
Thank you. I agree but don't see how there can even be processes or doings if literally everything is DO. If absolutely nothing can self create, no thing can come into existence without a cause, nothing has ever been created, nothing exists. Because there would be no cause for the first thing, or any or many things.

I personally think the elements in the suttas just exist as temporary, not self phenomena and are not part of DO. This avoids the issue entirely. I know of nothing in the suttas that rules this understanding out. I am looking for concensus, support, or to be corrected, or another interpretation that fixes the issue.

Rupa is stated to be DO. Rupa is stated to come from the elements which are not stated as DO to my knowledge but are stated to be not self and temporary as part of "sabbe dhamma anatta" sabbe sankhara anicca". Here conditioned (sankhara) and dependently originated cannot be perfect synonyms.
Well, here we are entering the realm of cosmology. I think the Buddha said "from beginningless ignorance..." and cosmologists postulate no cause of the Big Bang. Since there was no time before, no moment when 'it' started. Time and space were created with the Big Bang. Hawking's A Brief History of Time goes into it a bit. I am not a physicist, but as a mathematician, I guess such things are not too hard to imagine - we have much weirder stuff.
_/|\_

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