Is Theravada "Realist"?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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daverupa
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by daverupa » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:15 pm

How might those engaged in this thread thus far explain the term yathābhūtadassana, "seeing things as they really are"?
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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acinteyyo
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by acinteyyo » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:28 pm

Alex123 wrote:Hello Acinteyyo,
acinteyyo wrote:The four great elements (dhātu or mahā-bhūta) have their footing in consciousness. Without contact the dhātu are not established. Then they're not here, not there, nor inbetween. Rather like fire without sustenance, which is simply classified as "out" (unbound) the dhātu are brought to an end. It is wrong to assume the four great elements to be "out there", it's just a futile attempt to objectify non-objectification (se AN4.174).
DN11 wrote:"Where do water, earth, fire, & wind have no footing? Where are long & short, coarse & fine, fair & foul, name & form brought to an end?
"'And the answer to that is:
Consciousness without feature, without end, luminous all around: Here water, earth, fire, & wind have no footing. Here long & short coarse & fine fair & foul name & form are all brought to an end. With the cessation of consciousness each is here brought to an end.'"

best wishes, acinteyyo
Here the Buddha talks about experience of four great elements. There is difference between experience of four great elements , and four great elements that are not experienced such as in the case of Asaññasattā devā according to Vibhaṅgapāḷi PTS 419.
There is nothing to say about the four great elements apart from experience because "here water, earth, fire & wind have no footing. With the cessation of consciousness each is here brought to an end. Existence, non-existence,what ever else doesn't apply to the four great elements when not experienced. Every attempt to add any significance to unexperienced mahā-bhūta is objectifying non-objectification according to AN4.174.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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acinteyyo
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by acinteyyo » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:38 pm

santa100 wrote:Talking about the 4 great elements, let's use an example. The speed of light is ~ 300,000 km/sec. If there's a star 600,000 km away from earth, it'll take its photons (units of light) ~ 2 seconds to reach our eyes. So, the star already existed 2 seconds ago. It just didn't "exist in our eyes" until 2 seconds later..
This is just a way to describe experience within the framework of rulez set by science. It's only valid within that very framework. You're conclusion that the star existed 2 seconds ago is nothing but deduction according to the applied rulez. But you can't tell anything about the stars existence or non-existence, not even about anything at all apart from the moment you actually experiencing it. Everything else is just imagination, deduction, supposition, objectifiying non-objectification.
Certainly according to the applied framework and rulez it is at least imaginable that the star might have existed 2 seconds ago, but to get that straight there's no way to varify it by direct experience.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Alex123
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:45 pm

According to orthodox Theravada citta is not the cause of four primary elements, and the latter does not depend on the former for its existence.

One doesn't think a rock into existence in order to accidentally trip on it. It, as material cause, exists independent of whether we perceive it or not, hence why we can trip on it.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Alex123
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:47 pm

daverupa wrote:How might those engaged in this thread thus far explain the term yathābhūtadassana, "seeing things as they really are"?
This refers to seeing anicca, dukkha and anatta clearly enough to produce revulsion, dispassion and liberation from clinging toward phenomena. This does not mean that one gets super X-Ray vision or gets a 7th sense.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:49 pm

Alex123 wrote:
daverupa wrote:How might those engaged in this thread thus far explain the term yathābhūtadassana, "seeing things as they really are"?
This refers to seeing anicca, dukkha and anatta clearly enough to produce revulsion, dispassion and liberation from clinging toward phenomena. This does not mean that one gets super X-Ray vision or gets a 7th sense.
I've asked about the technicalities of this phrase over here in the Pali section: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 82&start=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
Mike

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acinteyyo
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by acinteyyo » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:03 pm

Alex123 wrote:According to orthodox Theravada citta is not the cause of four primary elements, and the latter does not depend on the former for its existence.
Yes I agree, citta is not the cause for the mahā-bhūta. The mahā-bhūta are independent of citta. But you can't tell anything about the existence or non-existence of mahā-bhūta without citta. It doesn't apply. That's what I'm trying to point out.
Alex123 wrote:One doesn't think a rock into existence in order to accidentally trip on it.
Sure thing. I never said that a rock has to be thought into existence. Dependent on sense base and sense object there arises the corresponding consciousness.
Alex123 wrote:It, as material cause, exists independent of whether we perceive it or not, hence why we can trip on it.
A rock is an mind made concept. We can't tell anything about a rock without mind. Whether a rock was there or not cannot be verified by direct experience before the moment we trip on it. It is an imagination how the world may be.
I'm trying to point out that the "material cause", the mahā-bhūta are independent of perception but we cannot say that it did exist or that it didn't before it appeared in consciousness dependent on sense base and sense object.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Alex123
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:07 pm

Hello Acinteyyo,

without perception there is no knowledge about existence or non-existence of something. But lack of perception does not mean that it doesn't exist, we simply don't have perception of it.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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acinteyyo
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by acinteyyo » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:11 pm

daverupa wrote:How might those engaged in this thread thus far explain the term yathābhūtadassana, "seeing things as they really are"?
MN1
"A monk who is a Worthy One, devoid of mental fermentations — who has attained completion, finished the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, destroyed the fetters of becoming, and is released through right knowledge — directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive things about earth, does not conceive things in earth, does not conceive things coming out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because he has comprehended it, I tell you.

"He directly knows water as water... fire as fire... wind as wind... beings as beings... gods as gods... Pajapati as Pajapati... Brahma as Brahma... the luminous gods as luminous gods... the gods of refulgent glory as gods of refulgent glory... the gods of abundant fruit as the gods of abundant fruit... the Great Being as the Great Being... the dimension of the infinitude of space as the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness as the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness as the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception as the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception... the seen as the seen... the heard as the heard... the sensed as the sensed... the cognized as the cognized... singleness as singleness... multiplicity as multiplicity... the All as the All...

"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because he has comprehended it, I tell you.

"A monk who is a Worthy One, devoid of mental fermentations... directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive things about earth, does not conceive things in earth, does not conceive things coming out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because, with the ending of passion, he is devoid of passion, I tell you.

"He directly knows water as water... the All as the All...

"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because, with the ending of passion, he is devoid of passion, I tell you.

"A monk who is a Worthy One, devoid of mental fermentations... directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive things about earth, does not conceive things in earth, does not conceive things coming out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because, with the ending of aversion, he is devoid of aversion, I tell you.

"He directly knows water as water... the All as the All...

"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because, with the ending of aversion, he is devoid of aversion, I tell you.

"A monk who is a Worthy One, devoid of mental fermentations... directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive things about earth, does not conceive things in earth, does not conceive things coming out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because, with the ending of delusion, he is devoid of delusion, I tell you.

"He directly knows water as water... the All as the All...

"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because, with the ending of delusion, he is devoid of delusion, I tell you.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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acinteyyo
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by acinteyyo » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:13 pm

Alex123 wrote:Hello Acinteyyo,

without perception there is no knowledge about existence or non-existence of something. But lack of perception does not mean that it doesn't exist, we simply don't have perception of it.
Exactly. I'm not the one who claims it doesn't exist. But you're the one who claims it exists, although you know that you don't have perception of it you still objectify non-objectification.
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

santa100
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by santa100 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:21 pm

Acinteyyo wrote:
I'm trying to point out that the "material cause", the mahā-bhūta are independent of perception but we cannot say that it did exist or that it didn't before it appeared in consciousness dependent on sense base and sense object.
Yes we can, with the help of logical reduction and deduction, beside raw perception. The "John Doe" thought experiement just proved that raw perception (from us mere mortals) alone could be errorneous and as a result, leads to a mistaken view of reality. And this is not just for science, even for Dhamma training, human's perception alone is extremely error-proned. "Mistaken the rope for the snake in the dark" simile is an example. And not too long ago, we all believed the earth was flat because our direct experience told us so!!! The result was that a bunch of smart good guys were burned alive because their view ran counter to the offical view! There's also a funny story about a group of blind elephants. They never knew what human beings are like and decided to "directly" experience us. After some times, they all reached the same conclusion: "All human beings are flat"!!!!

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acinteyyo
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by acinteyyo » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:29 pm

santa100 wrote:
Acinteyyo wrote:
I'm trying to point out that the "material cause", the mahā-bhūta are independent of perception but we cannot say that it did exist or that it didn't before it appeared in consciousness dependent on sense base and sense object.
Yes we can, with the help of logical reduction and deduction, beside raw perception. The "John Doe" thought experiement just proved that raw perception (from us mere mortals) alone could be errorneous and as a result, leads to a mistaken view of reality. And this is not just for science, even for Dhamma training, human's perception alone is extremely error-proned. "Mistaken the rope for the snake in the dark" simile is an example. And not too long ago, we all believed the earth was flat because our direct experience told us so!!! The result was that a bunch of smart good guys were burned alive because their view ran counter to the offical view! There's also a funny story about a group of blind elephants. They never knew what human beings are like and decided to "directly" experience us. After some times, they all reached the same conclusion: "All human beings are flat"!!!!
I disagree. Logical reduction and deduction creates a world in the mind which is logically imaginable of course according to the applied framework. I don't need such a mind-made-world-model I don't even assume a "real world" "out there" with which such a world created from logical reduction and deduction could possible be compared or even be congruent. Assuming such a wold is in my eyes what is mentioned in MN1:
The Blessed One said: "There is the case, monks, where an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — perceives earth as earth. Perceiving earth as earth, he conceives [things] about earth, he conceives [things] in earth, he conceives [things] coming out of earth, he conceives earth as 'mine,' he delights in earth. Why is that? Because he has not comprehended it, I tell you.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

santa100
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by santa100 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:36 pm

Then we agree that we disagree. I totally disagree with your statement "Logical reduction and deduction creates a world in the mind which is locically imaginable according to the applied framework". From logical reduction and deduction, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force were found. And they're no mere "world in the mind". Try to tell that it's all just "world in the mind" to the relatives of ~ 350,000 people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki!!

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acinteyyo
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by acinteyyo » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:49 pm

santa100 wrote:Then we agree that we disagree. I totally disagree with your statement "Logical reduction and deduction creates a world in the mind which is locically imaginable according to the applied framework". From logical reduction and deduction, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force were found. And they're no mere "world in the mind". Try to tell that it's all just "world in the mind" to the relatives of ~ 350,000 people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki!!
Don't jump to conclusions my friend. I didn't say "that's all world in the mind". What I say is that from what we experience we create a world-view, we conceive [things] about what we experience, we conceive [things] in what we experience, we conceive [things] coming out of what we experience, we conceive what we experience as 'mine,' we delight in what we experience.

Apart from that I never dismissed that the rulez established by science don't work within their framework. But the "world of science" is in the end just a mind-made-world-view based on regularities from experience which were expressed as principles. As a matter of course those principles are more or less convenient to our experience though.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

santa100
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by santa100 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:57 pm

I'm not jumping to conclusion. If the practicality and usefulness of science could help in any way for our Dhamma practice, especially in correcting the wrong view as a result of blind belief in raw perception only, call it mind-made or whatnot, it is a good tool to be used..

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