Hi daverupa. I do appreciate how you patiently field my queries even while our perspectives are bound to be so much at odds. Life on the fringe!daverupa wrote:Well, you're assuming that the post-death situation is the goal, but the ultimate aim is the reduction & elimination of dukkha, which doesn't have to make reference to post-death scenarios.Pragmatic wrote:That is to say, the annihilation the materialist assumes to achieve without effort the Buddha tells us must be laboriously earned.
In the case of parinibbana, it's simply a result of attaining nibbana - it is not in and of itself the goal (which centers on the four Truths) but simply a component of the result.
It altogether bypasses the question of a person somehow existing forever or else being annihilated.Again, how is this the middle way?
Dukkha here and now is reduced & even eliminated, to various degrees; as the simple Sutta above shows, these three altogether encompass 'the suck', and do not make metaphysical references.And why would a materialist, or anyone who doesn't remember former lives be interested in the Buddhist path?
But again I feel your responses miss my point, although I'm sure my defective way of putting things are partly at fault. Neither the materialist nor the Buddhist of the type in question have a goal of annihilation, I agree. The one merely assumes it will happen, the other pursues a course that, in my view, effectively leads in that direction.
Dukkha as you know better than I is much more than literal pain or suffering; it's sometimes translated as unsatisfactoryness and together with anicca and anatta is expressive of the way things are, as matter of empirical fact: impermanent, in flux, lacking effective inner control and thus if not always literally painful never altogether satisfactory or the way one would wish.
It seems to me that anicca has the logical priority; everything follows from the fact of impermanence. But as we can gather from the four noble truths dukkha in the end comes to stand for the rest, and finally to stand in a sense for the later formulations of dependent origination. The overcoming of dukkha is simultaneously it would seem the overcoming, the dissolution of pratityasamutpada or conditionality.
But here's the point I've already made in another post in slightly different words: conditionality is precisely how we exist; we know of no other existence outside of conditionality. So if we are to dissolve conditionality without having in view any other mode of existence, but simply the end of rebirth, how is this not a practice that aims, if indirectly, at annihilation?
Finally I would add that this is not a question in my view of the shell game self/non-self, empirical self, attributed self, relative self - no one in our age who in any way seriously thinks about the matter really believes in an inherently existing, non-relational soul that can be located in some particular place. Rather it's about our paradoxical ongoing participation in the play of existence, and whether our spiritual practices seek to enhance that play or seek to end it.