Soul theories and the Dhamma

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Sylvester
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by Sylvester » Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:59 am

binocular wrote:
Sylvester wrote:Why must it be my cross to bear, by repeating my same old tired refrain, over and over again? :cry:
Because from them it does not follow what you claim follows.
Are you going to prove your allegation about the alleged fallacy of my reasoning or are you just going to issue an ex cathedra?

While you're at it, pls demonstrate some familiarity with Pali and Textual Buddhism Chinese.

ToVincent
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by ToVincent » Sun Sep 11, 2016 4:12 pm

Not that I agree with them thoroughly, but there is this interesting standpoint of the pudgalavadins.

What the pudgalavadins are saying is that, beyond the mere "world," as defined by Buddha, the pudgala is neither the aggregates, nor is it different from them. Pudgala kind of transcends that.

On one hand, if I am identical to the aggregates, then I should be annihilated; because the khandhas are intrinsically impermanent (anicca), says the pudgalavadin.
On the other hand, if I am different from the aggregates, then I should be eternal.
For the pudgalavadins, the pudgala transcends this, as the middle way.


Thich Thien Chau has written some interesting notes on that:
http://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/in ... /8616/2523
https://web.archive.org/web/20140722073 ... /8707/2614 (french)


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Bud ... bined_list
In this world with its ..., Māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
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We are all possessed - more or less.
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And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
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https://justpaste.it/j5o4

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by Coëmgenu » Sun Sep 11, 2016 10:06 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:Well not all of us have your fancy Jesuit education in twisting things around backwards. Some of us majored in computer science rather than sophistry.
Your imported anti-Catholic baggage is showing. In your discourse on self and with your problems with Buddhist orthodoxy.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgata-seed, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmāḥ. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmāḥ. The conventional truth establishes all dharmāḥ.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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binocular
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by binocular » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:42 pm

Sylvester wrote:Are you going to prove your allegation about the alleged fallacy of my reasoning or are you just going to issue an ex cathedra?
While you're at it, pls demonstrate some familiarity with Pali and Textual Buddhism Chinese.
As long as a person holds "Either p or not-p", regardless of what p is, this long there's nothing I can do for them.

Sylvester
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by Sylvester » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:10 am

Well, then you have to prove that such a characterisation commits the fallacy of the excluded middle. Or are you going to issue another ex cathedra?

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Oct 11, 2016 10:30 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:Who believes in an 'unchanging' soul? Its a strawman. No religion nor philosophy says souls are 'unchanging'.
A simple google of the keywords "atman unchanging" and you'll get a host of Hindu websites that answer your question.
That's because atman in Vedanta is GOD not really a soul. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Deism, Gnosticism, none would argue an "unchanging" soul. Since the strawman only applies to Vedanta then its extremely weak, more like a dustman.
Like I said before
Coëmgenu wrote:The human soul has to be fundamentally unchanging, at least during and immediately after death, in order to survive said death, if one believes in an afterlife which the self/soul/spirit "goes to".

Alternatively, consider someone who experiences a traumatic brain injury, and whose mind and individual personality is drastically transformed. Perhaps this is accompanied by brain damage and a loss of some higher cognitive faculties. Is this soul also damaged? Will the individual be brain damaged in heaven? No, because souls are fundamentally unchangeable by such things frequently, in religious systems. Souls are like "ideal 'you' prototypes" that can survive death and injury.
This is sidestepped in most orthodox Christianity, which believes in a "glorification of the body". Similarly, Judaism also has pseudo-theosis-discourses that exalt the self and the body, fundamentally changing them, after death, but many "regular blokes", unschooled in technical philosophical theology/religious discourse, entertain the notion that Heaven is somewhat fundamentally like earth, just "perfect", and that heavenly existence is a "perfected" continuation of earthly existence.

But in the case of Christianity, the "glorification of the body" occurs after judgement, which, in turn, is after the raising of the dead. Meaning the soul has to be unaffected by the death of the body and the injuries of the body, thus, in one aspect, "unchangeable". This is what is considered a wrong-view in Buddhism. The fundamentally unchangeable soul/self/spirit.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgata-seed, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmāḥ. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmāḥ. The conventional truth establishes all dharmāḥ.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Oct 11, 2016 11:25 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:After all the cells in your body supposedly get replaced the DNA of all those new cells is the same as the old ones. So your body must be "fundamentally unchanging".
But the DNA isn't the same. There are numerous genetic mutations. Similarly, the aging process has compromised the integrity of the DNA in the cells, if only little-by-little.
And positing a soul, it seems its ability to recall all its past memories is compromised with each reincarnation and only regained with full enlightenment, so it can't be "unchanging." Even in Vedanta where its GOD and therefore they need desperately for it to be unchanging, they also have to have this same problem with memory to be realistic. So for all their (supposed) saying its unchanging they don't really mean unchanging.
Yes, the continuity between births, in Buddhism, is not unchanging, and cannot be viably posited as a self, since selfhood is a static and unchanging concept in-and-of-itself, and if it exists, it exists in contradiction to the 3 marks of existence.

On the issue of memory, it is not necessary for the Awakened mind to remember and recall as we do our own past experiences, indeed, if the Awakened mind remembered as we do, the knowledge of the Awakened mind would not be perfect, because our remembrances and knowledges are not perfect, and ever-tempered by ideology and bias. The supreme, utter, and perfect understanding of dhammas and causality is sufficient for the understanding of all "past lives":
“All these dharmas are the status of dharma, the standing of dharma, the suchness of dharma; the dharma neither departs from things-as-they-are, nor differs from things-as-they-are; it is the truth, reality, without distortion. Such conformity to conditioned genesis is called the dharmas arisen by causal condition, namely: Ignorance, activities, consciousness, name-and-form, the six sense-spheres, contact, feeling, craving, attachment, becoming, birth, aging-sickness-death-sorrow-affliction-suffering. This is called the dharmas arisen by causal condition.

“The noble disciple who has learned much attains right wisdom regarding both the dharma of arising by causal condition and the dharmas arisen by causal condition, and truly sees. He will not look backwards into time past, saying: ‘Did I exist in the past, or did I not? Of what caste was I in the past? How was I in the past?’ Nor he will look forwards to the coming time: ‘Shall I exist in the future, or shall I not? Of what caste shall I be? How shall I be?’ Nor does he inwardly hesitate thinking: ‘What is this? Why does it exist? Who was this in the past? What will it become in the end? Where do all these beings come from? What will they become when they die?’
(SA 296, 因緣法, "Causal Law")
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgata-seed, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmāḥ. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmāḥ. The conventional truth establishes all dharmāḥ.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

davidbrainerd
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what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by davidbrainerd » Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:40 pm

Consider this attempt to explain no-self:
Imagine a self-sufficient machine that exists made out of 5 aggregates. This self-sufficient machine continues to exist because of fuel that is put into it. When no more fuel is put into it, it will continue to exist until the aggregates finally break up (arahant death). Same as the body for example continues to exist after death, after no more food is put into it until it gets eaten up by worms and dissappears.
I would reply to it as follows:
You die and your body is rotting in the grave, but you are reborn. Is your old body still there in the grave? Or did all its atoms get used on your new body? See you're engaging in lazy thinking. If you are being reborn and you're just the aggregates, how are the aggregates rotting in the grave with you in new aggregates? You're not the aggregates after all. Or are you actually going to argue that in each life your body is made of the same atoms?
But then I realize that the person making the argument must think of the aggregates as something non-physical? Something other than the body? :shock:

Is that how no-selfer see the aggregates?

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Goofaholix
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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by Goofaholix » Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:45 pm

The aggregates are processes.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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cappuccino
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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by cappuccino » Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:48 pm

Aggregates only.
Dhamma is karma & rebirth.

SarathW
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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by SarathW » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:04 pm

Aggregates are there but it is not you,yourself or yours!
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

davidbrainerd
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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by davidbrainerd » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:18 pm

cappuccino wrote:Aggregates only.
Lol.
Goofaholix wrote:The aggregates are processes.
What is their relationship to the body?

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Goofaholix
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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by Goofaholix » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:28 pm

davidbrainerd wrote: What is their relationship to the body?
The body participates in processes.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

davidbrainerd
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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by davidbrainerd » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:31 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote: What is their relationship to the body?
The body participates in processes.
So these processes are they like non-material things that cause the creation of the body? Or they arise from the body?

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Goofaholix
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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by Goofaholix » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:43 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:So these processes are they like non-material things that cause the creation of the body? Or they arise from the body?
That's a chicken and egg question, the body just is, it's the situation we've found ourselves in, if you want a creation myth you're in the wrong religion.

Digestion is a process, running is a process, can running create a body? Of course not, but the processes of sexual intercourse can, or the process of evolution can. These weren't the processes the Buddha was specifically interested in though when he laid out his methodology for awakening, the 5 aggregates outlines some of these.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

Caodemarte
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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by Caodemarte » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:56 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote: What is their relationship to the body?
The body participates in processes.
So these processes are they like non-material things that cause the creation of the body? Or they arise from the body?
The standard Buddhist definition is that the aggregates are the body. All things are made of aggregates. Processes, like cause and effect, are not a cause in the sense of a pre-existing first cause, but rather how things relate. In a sense you can say that cause and effect is the aggregates as it is not a separate thing floating around in the ether as dome Platoinc ideal. It gets more subtle after that according to the school.

davidbrainerd
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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by davidbrainerd » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:00 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:So these processes are they like non-material things that cause the creation of the body? Or they arise from the body?
That's a chicken and egg question, the body just is, it's the situation we've found ourselves in, if you want a creation myth you're in the wrong religion.

Digestion is a process, running is a process, can running create a body? Of course not, but the processes of sexual intercourse can, or the process of evolution can. These weren't the processes the Buddha was specifically interested in though when he laid out his methodology for awakening, the 5 aggregates outlines some of these.
I'm not asking how the cycle of rebirth started, just what the relationship between body and aggregates is if the aggregates are not simply the body. I've always thought of form aggregate as the body, and the other 4 as different functions of the physical brain. So to find that someone interprets them as totally distinct from the body is shocking. I just want to know what the aggregates are in everyone else's view and saying "processes" doesn't mean anything to me without some explanation of their relationship to the body.

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cappuccino
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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by cappuccino » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:01 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skandha

The perfect state of enlightenment is one without any personality, no "I am" conceit, no physical identification, no intellectual identification
Dhamma is karma & rebirth.

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Goofaholix
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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by Goofaholix » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:06 pm

Caodemarte wrote:In a sense you can say that cause and effect is the aggregates as it is not a separate thing floating around in the ether as dome Platoinc ideal. It gets more subtle after that according to the school.
That's a good way to put it. I think the Buddha taught in terms of the only constant is change, once we understand this we stop defining our world in terms of objects or in terms of thingness but instead look at in terms of processes, or cause and affect, or in changing relationships. Of course things participate in processes but they are no longer the focus of our attention.

When we aren't attached to seeing the world in terms of thingness we are free to participate in change rather than resisting it. When we aren't attached to seeing the world in terms of self we are free to participate in change rather than resisting it.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

davidbrainerd
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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by davidbrainerd » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:12 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
Caodemarte wrote:In a sense you can say that cause and effect is the aggregates as it is not a separate thing floating around in the ether as dome Platoinc ideal. It gets more subtle after that according to the school.
That's a good way to put it. I think the Buddha taught in terms of the only constant is change, once we understand this we stop defining our world in terms of objects or in terms of thingness but instead look at in terms of processes, or cause and affect, or in changing relationships. Of course things participate in processes but they are no longer the focus of our attention.

When we aren't attached to seeing the world in terms of thingness we are free to participate in change rather than resisting it. When we aren't attached to seeing the world in terms of self we are free to participate in change rather than resisting it.
How does any thing change if there is no thing? No thing = no thing to change.

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