Theories are useless

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
alfa
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Theories are useless

Post by alfa » Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:59 am

:namaste:

I think it's all useless. After pages and pages of discussion, after hundreds of articles and books, what's changed?

The anxiety, the desire, the pain ... all this continues.

Whether you believe in no-self or not-self, dependent origination or emptiness, this or that, it doesn't seem to make a difference. You can believe in any religion or no religion, and still things will continue as before.

So what good is a theory when it has no impact on your life? :anjali:

char101
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Re: Theories are useless

Post by char101 » Sat Dec 21, 2019 3:52 am

Theories are useless without practice.

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Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta
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Re: Theories are useless

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Sat Dec 21, 2019 4:08 am

alfa wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:59 am
...
...
You can believe in any religion or no religion, and still things will continue as before.
...
...

:namaste:

Do you yourself agree 100% with your statement? Without any reservation?


:heart:
.


🅢🅐🅑🅑🅔 🅓🅗🅐🅜🅜🅐 🅐🅝🅐🅣🅣🅐

Self ...
  • "an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" :D ~ MN22

Srilankaputra
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Re: Theories are useless

Post by Srilankaputra » Sat Dec 21, 2019 4:57 am

Four times, five, I ran amok from my dwelling,
having gained no peace of awareness,
my thoughts out of control.
So I went to a trustworthy nun.
She taught me the Dhamma:
aggregates, sense spheres, & elements.
Hearing the Dhamma,
I did as she said.
For seven days I sat in one spot,
absorbed in rapture & bliss.
On the eighth, I stretched out my legs,
having burst the mass
of darkness. ~Arahant Theri Uttama
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
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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Crazy cloud
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Re: Theories are useless

Post by Crazy cloud » Sat Dec 21, 2019 7:04 am

How about taking personality self as real, and not like 1 thing, but many sub selves? Those are the ones "hiding" behind thoughts and feelings. One has to respect that one is fragmented, and if one does not respect and cooperate with those entities, they will continue to make themselves shown.

They have important information for you.

Listen! :)
If you didn't care
What happened to me
And I didn't care for you

We would zig-zag our way
Through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain

Wondering which of the
Buggers to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing
- Roger Waters

form
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Re: Theories are useless

Post by form » Sat Dec 21, 2019 7:26 am

alfa wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:59 am
:namaste:

I think it's all useless. After pages and pages of discussion, after hundreds of articles and books, what's changed?

The anxiety, the desire, the pain ... all this continues.

Whether you believe in no-self or not-self, dependent origination or emptiness, this or that, it doesn't seem to make a difference. You can believe in any religion or no religion, and still things will continue as before.

So what good is a theory when it has no impact on your life? :anjali:
U hit the jackpot.

SarathW
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Re: Theories are useless

Post by SarathW » Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:07 am

alfa wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:59 am
:namaste:

I think it's all useless. After pages and pages of discussion, after hundreds of articles and books, what's changed?

The anxiety, the desire, the pain ... all this continues.

Whether you believe in no-self or not-self, dependent origination or emptiness, this or that, it doesn't seem to make a difference. You can believe in any religion or no religion, and still things will continue as before.

So what good is a theory when it has no impact on your life? :anjali:
Agree.
Why don't you start to observe five precepts and see how it impact your life.
Just take one step at a time.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Crazy cloud
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Re: Theories are useless

Post by Crazy cloud » Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:24 am

It's all about reading one*s own mind - that's the BOOK. Fera and disgust hold's one back from doing it, I think.
If you didn't care
What happened to me
And I didn't care for you

We would zig-zag our way
Through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain

Wondering which of the
Buggers to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing
- Roger Waters

SteRo
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Re: Theories are useless

Post by SteRo » Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:09 am

alfa wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:59 am
:namaste:

I think it's all useless. After pages and pages of discussion, after hundreds of articles and books, what's changed?

The anxiety, the desire, the pain ... all this continues.

Whether you believe in no-self or not-self, dependent origination or emptiness, this or that, it doesn't seem to make a difference. You can believe in any religion or no religion, and still things will continue as before.

So what good is a theory when it has no impact on your life? :anjali:
The Buddha's teachings certainly are not useless if - and only if - one puts them to use through practice. If one doesn't put them to use through practice then one cannot make use of them but still they are useful for those who put them to use through practice.
Reading pages and pages of discussion or even becoming involved in these discussions or reading hundreds of articles and books is NOT 'putting the Buddha's teaching to use through practice'.

Anxiety, desire and pain are what is called dukkha (='stress').
Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

You are right, belief or non-belief don't make a difference, if one doesn't put the Buddha's teachings to use through practice. But if one does put the Buddha's teachings to use through practice then belief or non-belief don't make a difference either.

If one doesn't put the Buddha's teachings to use through practice, how could it ever have an impact on one's life? But one has to be realistic and not to expect too much too quickly. There is the need to balance study of 'theory' and practice that is not study and to combine study of 'theory' with meditation about 'theory'.
The initial path is attained when the 'theory' as such is understood, one has take the decision to follow the teachings and no open questions remain which does not mean that there may not be occurrences of doubt. But doubt vanishes along the path through practice which is different from study but which is based on study.

befriend
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Re: Theories are useless

Post by befriend » Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:14 am

I learned from Buddhism I can't control my mind but I can control what I use it for if I use it for good my mind gets happy and healthy. I did not know this from psychotherapy but as my late teacher told me if you keep doing good your mind will be conditioned by the good and you will go from dark to bright. She was right and so was Stephenk the initial poster on this forum who changed my life.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

Garrib
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Re: Theories are useless

Post by Garrib » Sat Dec 21, 2019 4:13 pm

I think sometimes being overly theoretical can be a problem, especially when the theory in question is a)irrelevant, b)fundamentally flawed, or c) does not result in meaningful behavior change (which may not really be the theory's fault - we might need to take responsibility). However, I would caution against thinking that beliefs or views are inconsequential. This would clearly be at odds with the Dhamma. Not saying this is what you are getting at, but just something to be careful about. Some views are to be disregarded, others are to be developed, understood and used as a basis for behavior change.

freedom
Posts: 222
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Re: Theories are useless

Post by freedom » Sat Dec 21, 2019 5:44 pm

alfa wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:59 am
:namaste:

I think it's all useless. After pages and pages of discussion, after hundreds of articles and books, what's changed?

The anxiety, the desire, the pain ... all this continues.

Whether you believe in no-self or not-self, dependent origination or emptiness, this or that, it doesn't seem to make a difference. You can believe in any religion or no religion, and still things will continue as before.

So what good is a theory when it has no impact on your life? :anjali:
When you are chasing theories for your intellectual satisfaction, your intellectual satisfaction will be up and down with them. Anxiety, desires and pain remain untouched.

When you explore theories to understand your own anxiety, desires and pain, you will start to understand what are they, where do they come from, why do you get them, what do they do to you, why do you keep them, how to get rid of them? Until then, you will develop dispassion to them. With enough dispassion, you will relinquish them for good and they will come to the end (cessation).
One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm - MN 140.

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Bundokji
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Re: Theories are useless

Post by Bundokji » Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:29 pm

alfa wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:59 am
So what good is a theory when it has no impact on your life? :anjali:
A theory is beneficial because it has an explanatory power of how nature behaves under certain conditions. Being independent of whatever the theory is trying to explain, it does not change the behavior of nature, but simply explains it.

Through controlling conditions, experiments can be conducted to achieve the desired result.

Usually theories are constructed through observing phenomena, and finding causal links between variants. If a causal link can be detected, then the theory can be repeated. When the theory is repeated and achieves the same results, then trust in the explanatory power of the theory is improved. Theories can be tested through falsification. The process of falsification refines the theory and makes it more precise.

Therefore, theories are far from useless. They can be quite useful depending on the purpose they are constructed for.

Instead of blaming theories, try to understand why the nature of the problem you are trying to solve is different. For example, the theory being independent of what it tries to explain, when you try to construct a theory about yourself, then who are you? the one constructing the theory, or the one the theory is trying to predict, control and repeat?

The following by Ludwig Wittgenstein can be relevant:
We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched. Of course there are then no questions left, and this itself is the answer. The solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of the problem. What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence
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.

binocular
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Re: Theories are useless

Post by binocular » Sun Dec 22, 2019 5:47 pm

alfa wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:59 am
I think it's all useless. After pages and pages of discussion, after hundreds of articles and books, what's changed?

The anxiety, the desire, the pain ... all this continues.

Whether you believe in no-self or not-self, dependent origination or emptiness, this or that, it doesn't seem to make a difference. You can believe in any religion or no religion, and still things will continue as before.

So what good is a theory when it has no impact on your life?
In my experience, the theories and discussions are mostly useful indirectly. It's usually not so important what is being said, but my own reactions to it and how I interpret those reactions and what I further do about them. That has proven very fruitful, with some measurable progress. (Although it's not the type of progress that Buddhists would generally appreciate or even notice.)

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DNS
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Re: Theories are useless

Post by DNS » Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:06 pm

alfa wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:59 am
I think it's all useless. After pages and pages of discussion, after hundreds of articles and books, what's changed?
The anxiety, the desire, the pain ... all this continues.
Interesting theory. :popcorn:
So what good is a theory when it has no impact on your life? :anjali:
If it doesn't have any impact on your life, then no need to give it any concern. If theories of thermodynamics don't interest you or don't apply to your career, no need to study them that deeply or at all.

If you have suffering and are looking for a way out or to have less suffering, then the theories of Four Noble Truths might be something to examine.

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