Is Theravada "Realist"?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
SDC
Posts: 4402
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by SDC » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:08 am

Alex123 wrote:The Buddha was clear when He defined rūpa:
"The four great elements, and the form dependent on the four great elements: This is called form."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Four great elements have to exist for it to be called "rūpa".
I don't think it was intended to be understood that the elements are existing independent of a subject. But I am not saying that there is only the subject imagining all these objects.

These elements can be identified in experience. Whether it is something I am seeing in front of me right now or something I am imagining, those elements can be identified in that experience. That make sense to me, but that doesn't make it correct.

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:18 am

“What is con­sid­ered the ‘truth’ is rel­a­tive to each indi­vid­ual. Each per­son gives evi­dence in the court of real­ity based on his own level of expe­ri­ence. For exam­ple, par­ents often give false expla­na­tions to their lit­tle chil­dren. But these are true to the kids. When asked, the kid will tell what his par­ents told him. It’s true for the child, but not for us. In the famous com­men­tar­ial story about Ven. Tissa Thera we find him see­ing a woman as a skele­ton, and say­ing so when asked by her hus­band. The ven­er­a­ble was closer to the truth.
"Truth is relative" is a powerful tool used by the sophists to prove validity of additional, their own views using rhetoric and logic.
Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration...Sophists are considered the founding fathers of relativism in the Western World... Notably, it was Protagoras who coined the phrase, "Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not."...In a well known paraphrased dialogue with Socrates, Protagoras said: "What is true for you is true for you, and what is true for me is true for me."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"The truth is one,[1] there is no second ..." - Snp 4.12

We could more correctly state that perceptions are relative, but not The Truth. Dhamma is true, adhamma is false.
"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..."

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:22 am

SDC wrote:
Alex123 wrote:The Buddha was clear when He defined rūpa:
"The four great elements, and the form dependent on the four great elements: This is called form."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Four great elements have to exist for it to be called "rūpa".
I don't think it was intended to be understood that the elements are existing independent of a subject. But I am not saying that there is only the subject imagining all these objects.

These elements can be identified in experience. Whether it is something I am seeing in front of me right now or something I am imagining, those elements can be identified in that experience. That make sense to me, but that doesn't make it correct.
So if a subject doesn't truly exist, than who "imagines" or experiences all these objects?
Just the experience. But this experience has to be real.

Also, I think that we need to keep in mind that perception of an object, and object as the source (of experience, perception, etc) are different layers.

One can be mistaken about the truth, but it doesn't mean that mistake for that person is The Truth.

Truth is one, and wrong opinions about it are another.
"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..."

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20090
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:27 am

Greetings Alex,
Alex123 wrote:"The truth is one,[1] there is no second ..." - Snp 4.12
Do you know what word is being translated here as "truth"? Is it "Dhamma"?

If it is, I don't think there was any suggestion in those words of each person having a subjective Dhamma of their own. In fact, by saying "The ven­er­a­ble was closer to the truth" it is made quite clear that Relativism is not at play.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

User avatar
ground
Posts: 2591
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by ground » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:59 am

I don't think that "truth" and "reality" are synonym. In my understanding applying the term "reality" (as argument) coincides with an absolute claim whereas "truth" is relative from the first place because every alleged "truth" is a contextual statement which can be validly called "truth" if there is proof.

Kind regards
Last edited by ground on Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
SDC
Posts: 4402
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by SDC » Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:06 am

Alex123 wrote:So if a subject doesn't truly exist, than who "imagines" or experiences all these objects?
Just the experience. But this experience has to be real.
It is real. It is happening. No denial of that at all. The experience of whatever (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, thinking) is happening.
Alex123 wrote:One can be mistaken about the truth, but it doesn't mean that mistake for that person is The Truth.

Truth is one, and wrong opinions about it are another.
I couldn't agree more.

EDIT - I may be done for the night. This has been a great discussion so far. Take care, all. :smile:

User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:56 am

Alex123 wrote:What about state called cessation of perception and feelings (saññāvedayitanirodha)? The meditator's body doesn't vanish when his perception & feelings cease. This shows that matter (rūpa) can exist independent of one's perception and feelings.
But not presumably independent of consciousness?

Spiny

User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:00 am

Alex123 wrote:Also, I think that we need to keep in mind that perception of an object, and object as the source (of experience, perception, etc) are different layers.
Does it help to describe rupa as an appearance rather than as an object?

Spiny

User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:02 am

Prasadachitta wrote:What is ontological independence?
It wasn't my phrase, but I think ontological implies independence of an observer.

Spiny

User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:04 am

Alex123 wrote: But this experience has to be real.
It certainly feels real.

Spiny

User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:06 am

Nicro wrote: I was saying reality is our experience and what we experience would be reality. It then goes further because by saying what we experience is reality, we can't say if there is anything beyond what we experience. Experience = Reality= Experience.
:goodpost:

User avatar
piotr
Posts: 405
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:33 pm
Location: Khettadesa

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by piotr » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:24 am

Hi retrofuturist,
retrofuturist wrote:Do you know what word is being translated here as "truth"? Is it "Dhamma"?
Sacca.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20090
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:31 am

Greetings Piotr,

Thanks as always for your Pali contributions.

In what sense do you believe the word is being used in the quotation that Alex provided? Do you believe it supports his contention?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

Nyana
Posts: 2233
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Nyana » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:27 am

retrofuturist wrote:For readers, I have attached below what seem to be some pertinent highlights from the interview, as they relate to the question of "Is Theravada Realist?"... (actual quotes by Nanananda are in quotation marks, the rest are by the author)
Ven. Ñāṇananda has understood this deeper than most. All things are relational and merely established according to agreed upon conventions.

The Paradox of the Heap.

Far better to walk away from the whole language game, calm the mind, and then let go of even that.

:buddha1:
Last edited by Nyana on Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

pulga
Posts: 1319
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:02 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by pulga » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:02 pm

"I can paint A and I can paint B, and I can paint them both on the same canvas: I
cannot, however, paint the both, nor paint the A and the B" (from Husserl's Sixth Logical Investigation)

"...in order to discover the general it is only necessary to put two particulars together, and what they have in common will be the general. This, I think, is clear. But also we can put it in a different way: we can say that whenever two particulars are found together, they ipso facto reveal the general. This means that whenever we perceive a togetherness of particulars, we do so because we perceive what they have in common (though it may be difficult to say precisely what it is). Whenever we see two (or more) different things that nevertheless seem to belong to each other, we are at once entitled to turn the situation the other way round and say that we see one and the same more general thing presenting two different aspects.

If you have grasped this idea, you will see that it can be applied to perception of change. In perception of change, we have first A, and then B; but we must also have the 'belonging-togetherness' of A and B, otherwise we fail to connect A's disappearance and B's appearance and do not say that 'A has changed into B' or that 'A has become B'." (from Ved. Ñanavira's to Mr. Wijerama)

"We have seen that categorial perception is founded on sense perception but does
not reduce to it, and that categorial objectualities are founded on sensible objects but do not reduce to
them. Now, once categorial objectualities of this first level — like sets or relations
— are given to us, new categorial intuitions can be built on the corresponding categorial
intuitions of the first level, and in such categorial intuitions of the second level new categorial
objectualities of second level are constituted — eg, relations between sets, say bijections between sets, and also sets of
relations, sets of sets (as, eg, the power set of a given set), and so forth. In this way, repeating the process indefinitely, a hierarchy of categorial intuitions is obtained and a
corresponding hierarchy of categorial objectualities is given to us, so that in categorial intuitions
of the nth level categorial objectualities of the nth level are constituted." ( from Husserl or Frege?: meaning, objectivity, and mathematics by Claire Ortiz Hill, Guillermo E. Rosado Haddock

I find the last quote bears a striking resemblance to Ven. Ñanavira's Fundamental Structure.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: AgarikaJ, Baidu [Spider], Google [Bot] and 93 guests