Is Theravada "Realist"?

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

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:13 pm

Greetings SDC,

It does to me - well said.

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)

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Nicro » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:14 pm

SDC wrote:
I think this is just another breakdown of experience in order for it to be observed and understood properly in separate, specific ways. I don't see that it is confirming an objective reality.

If you or I believe in matter existing "outside of experience", we are believing in the validity of a concept (that we constructed) which represents all other possible concepts that we believe could eventually be formed. But since it is explicitly something "outside of experience" it will never be experienced, because once observed it would cease to "outside". It will not fit the criteria for that concept of matter "outside of experience". Defining it strictly as "outside experience" doesn't allow it to ever be anything, but a fantasy.

I think that makes sense. :thinking: :rolleye:

Exactly.

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:32 pm

SDC wrote: I think this is just another breakdown of experience in order for it to be observed and understood properly in separate, specific ways. I don't see that it is confirming an objective reality.

If you or I believe in matter existing "outside of experience", we are believing in the validity of a concept (that we constructed) which represents all other possible concepts that we believe could eventually be formed. But since it is explicitly something "outside of experience" it will never be experienced, because once observed it would cease to "outside". It will not fit the criteria for that concept of matter "outside of experience". Defining it strictly as "outside experience" doesn't allow it to ever be anything, but a fantasy.

I think that makes sense. :thinking: :rolleye:

If something happens without anyone knowing or experiencing it, does it mean that that thing doesn't exist simply because you haven't experienced it as it was occuring?
"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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SDC
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by SDC » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:59 pm

I think it's irrelevant to declare either way because if it's something we're not experiencing then we're just imagining what it would be like if we we're experiencing it.

Sorryy for the quick response, I'm on a train. :smile:

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by santa100 » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:56 am

At least some level of "realism" will be needed to make sense of conventional phenomena. Else, our houses would cease to exist when we're sleeping or lost consciousness. Viruses and bacterias would never exist before the invention of the microscope. Neither did stars and galaxies before the invention of the telescope, etc...

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:01 am

Hello SDC,

My understanding is that phenomena are anicca, dukkha and anatta regardless of whether one knows about it or believes in wrong views (nicca, sukha, atta). Phenomena are anicca and anatta regardless of whether there is perception of it or not. So in at least this way Theravada is realist.
Also since it believes in mind independent rūpa, it is realist in that regard. Of course not in "naive realism", but realism nonetheless.

santa100 wrote:At least some level of "realism" will be needed to make sense of conventional phenomena. Else, our houses would cease to exist when we're sleeping or lost consciousness. Viruses and bacterias would never exist before the invention of the microscope. Neither did stars and galaxies before the invention of the telescope, etc...
Right. If a person drinks a tea that one thinks is healthy but is poisoned in reality, that person will still get poisoned. If one puts salt into one's tea thinking that one is putting sugar will still make the tea salty regardless of one's beliefs in what one is experiencing. Such kind of examples are many.

Of course I don't think that one should go into metaphysics beyond useful and pragmatic limit, but the reality independent of mind should not be totally denied.


With best wishes,

Alex
"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 ground » Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:23 am

Alex123 wrote:My understanding is that phenomena are anicca, dukkha and anatta regardless of whether one knows about it or believes in wrong views (nicca, sukha, atta).
If this were so how could there ever be liberation from dukkha? It would be utterly impossible.


Kind regards

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by chownah » Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:24 am

Alex123 wrote: Of course I don't think that one should go into metaphysics beyond useful and pragmatic limit, but the reality independent of mind should not be totally denied.
At first I thought I understood this and then I realized I didn't....can you explain this a bit more. For instance...are you saying that the Buddha's teachings are metaphysics....or that some of them are and some are not? Are you saying that there is a realm where the Buddha's teachings do not apply? Can you give an examaple of "going into metaphysics beyond useful and pragmatic limit"?
I'm not trying to put any words into your mouth with what I have posted....these are just the thoughts which arose when pondering if I understood your statement or not.
chownah

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Akuma » Sat Sep 10, 2011 6:48 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Friends, is Theravada Realist? If so, in what form?

To start with, here's a definition from our friends at Wikipedia...

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Realism, Realist or Realistic are terms that describe any manifestation of philosophical realism, the belief that reality exists independently of observers, whether in philosophy itself or in the applied arts and sciences. In this broad sense it is frequently contrasted with Idealism.
One of the more peculiar aspects of Buddhism is that if I hit you with my fist for example your pain is not due to my fists hitting you but due to your own karma. Also being hit-by-a-fist is of course no reality but your different streams of consciousness reflect different rupas one after another based on inversions of your own past intentions and those are then interpreted by you to be "fists that hit me".
You can see yourself that this is quite far from simple realism.
One could of course also argument against realism and say its either attavada or nonsensica because there is either a base or no-base.

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by dreamov » Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:25 am

Of course I don't think that one should go into metaphysics beyond useful and pragmatic limit, but the reality independent of mind should not be totally denied.
:goodpost:

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:00 am

TMingyur wrote:
Alex123 wrote:My understanding is that phenomena are anicca, dukkha and anatta regardless of whether one knows about it or believes in wrong views (nicca, sukha, atta).
If this were so how could there ever be liberation from dukkha? It would be utterly impossible.


Kind regards
If one takes the view that the 3 characteristics are inherent properties of conditioned existence, then logically liberation from dukkha would require liberation from conditioned existence.

Spiny

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:04 am

Alex123 wrote: Since consciousness is not the first cause, it doesn't determines The Truth.
That isn't the impression given in the first 2 verses of the Dhammapada.

Spiny

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:08 am

Alex123 wrote:Phenomena are anicca and anatta regardless of whether there is perception of it or not.
So are you suggesting a difference between dukkha as a characteristic which is experienced, and anicca and anatta as characteristics which somehow exist outside of experience?

Spiny

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by SDC » Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:43 pm

I think it is possible to find the middle ground with this quote.
Alex123 wrote:My understanding is that phenomena are anicca, dukkha and anatta regardless of whether one knows about it or believes in wrong views (nicca, sukha, atta). Phenomena are anicca and anatta regardless of whether there is perception of it or not.
I think that we must accept the possibility that this is the case and then we should look to see if it is present in our own experience. Once again, if we accept it as something happening "regardless", then we run the risk of trapping that concept in obscurity.

EDIT - Spelling

EDIT #2 - To clarify the above statement: I think we must accept the possibility that impermanence, suffering and not-self may be a part of our experience, but that we can not yet see it as such.
Last edited by SDC on Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by ground » Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:57 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Alex123 wrote:My understanding is that phenomena are anicca, dukkha and anatta regardless of whether one knows about it or believes in wrong views (nicca, sukha, atta).
If this were so how could there ever be liberation from dukkha? It would be utterly impossible.


Kind regards
If one takes the view that the 3 characteristics are inherent properties of conditioned existence, then logically liberation from dukkha would require liberation from conditioned existence.

Spiny
Well yes, but conditioned existence is conditioned and not unconditioned as Alex123 seems to imply.

Kind regards

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