binocular wrote: ↑Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:34 am
Bundokji wrote: ↑Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:06 pm
I cannot imagine a belief in an essence (or lack of) without reference to feelings, and essence is also linked to purity or lack of. If there is no belief in an essence, then what is there to purify?
And if there is an essence, how can it be dirty, ie. such that it would need purifying? And if the essence is dirty, isn't the dirt then essential to it, and purification is impossible and efforts to purify futile?
Because it has an essence it is dependent on its opposite, the human logic goes. It is akin to cleaning your room which would eventually gets dirty which begets more cleaning ad-infinitum.
The idea of essence is what makes the world real or significant. Our inability to describe this essence in a precise manner, or that we can dispute its existence at the intellectual level does not make it less real for all the practicle reasons. If you encounter a wild animal you experience fear and you set all arguments about the existence of an essence or lack of aside.
In Bhikkhu Payutto's book "Good, Evil and Beyond - Kamma in the Buddha's Teachings", the following story is relevant. It shows the role of feelings in constructing our reality:
Tit Porngn went to visit the Venerable Abbot of the nearby monastery. At one point, he asked:
Eh, Luang Por, the Buddha taught that everything is not-self, and is without an owner – there is no-one who commits kamma and no-one who receives its results. If that’s the case, then I can go out and hit somebody over the head or even kill them, or do anything I like, because there is no-one commit-ting kamma and no-one receiving its results.”
No sooner had Tit Porng finished speaking, when the Abbot’s walking stick, concealed somewhere unknown to Tit Porng, swung down like a flash. Tit Porng could hardly get his arm up fast enough to ward off the blow. Even so, the walking stick struck squarely in the middle of his arm, giving it a good bruise.
Clutching his sore arm, Tit Porng said, “Luang Por! Why did you do that?” His voice trembled with the anger that was welling up inside him.
“Oh! What’s the matter?” the Abbot asked offhandedly.
“Why, you hit me! That hurts!”
The Abbot, assuming a tone of voice usually reserved for sermons, slowly murmured: “There is kamma but no-one creating it. There are results of kamma, but no-one receiving them. There is feeling, but no-one experiencing it. There is pain, but no-one in pain ... He who tries to use the law of not-self for his own selfish purposes is not freed of self; he who clings to not-self is one who clings to self. He does not really know not-self. He who clings to the idea that there is no-one who creates kamma must also cling to the idea that there is one who is in pain. He does not really know that there is no-one who creates kamma and no-one who experiences pain.”
The moral of this story is: if you want to say “there is no-one who creates kamma,” you must first learn how to stop saying “Ouch!”
Yet people have come up with the notions of "good pain" and "bad pain".
E.g. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/orthopa ... /pain.html
As for the inherent repulsiveness of pain: Speaking from personal experience with chronic pain, I find that the sense of repulsiveness subsides after some time. But if one takes steps to cure the underlying reason for the pain, and does so early enough, the pain can go away completely, which leaves the problem of pain unresolved.
The notions of good pain and bad pain proves that we cannot imagine pain but being repulsive. Here the terms "good" and "bad" are adds on to the original essence or meaning that the word pain came to describe. Similarly, the sense of repulsiveness is referenced in a way that conveys that the nature of pain is stable. This is why i said in my previous post:
Also the way pain is (repulsive) is not subject to our will/volition. We believe that we can use our will/volition to control it or to change it, but not to change its nature. Even if we change its name, it will continue to be painful.
In other words, your description of your personal experience with pain does not change the nature of pain, which is painful. Anything we do is an adds-on to the original meaning of pain. At least, this is the way i am reading it.
Here, the idea of philosophical zombies might be relevant. They act as if they feel, but they do not. Their lack of this subjective quality "quailia" which can also be defined as "of what kind" is what makes us describe them as zombies.
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.