Soul theories and the Dhamma

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
binocular
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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by binocular » Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:37 am

Javi wrote:You're right that quests for a self are the problem, which is precisely because there is no such thing. It's like searching for an invisible unicorn.
No.
People who say there is no self, when asked to define what that self is that doesn't exist, usually offer no definition. Well, if you search for nothing, guess what you'll find ...
"Why do you suppose the flying spaghetti monster can be sought for experientially. Experientially we know, see and understand very little"
"Why do you suppose the invisible pink unicorn can be sought for experientially. Experientially we know, see and understand very little"
You see how ridiculous this argument is? It can support the existence of anything if you take it as valid.
No, you're misrepresenting him. He's just allowing for the possibility of the existence of something, on the grounds that experiential knowledge is limited. Allowing for the possibility that something exists is not the same as saying it exists.
The question here is, what epistemic reason can actually ground the belief in a permanent self?
We'd need to ask, for example, Christians, Muslims, and Hindus about that.
The Buddha would say, there is no way to ground that, and therefore, the view that there is no self is the only rational one.
So you know what the Buddha would say? Sweet!
Javi wrote:None of this addresses the Buddha's arguments for not self which are based on phenomenal experience.
Phenomenal experience is not some objective, neutral, passive given.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Nov 03, 2016 7:59 am

binocular wrote:
Javi wrote:You're right that quests for a self are the problem, which is precisely because there is no such thing. It's like searching for an invisible unicorn.
No.
People who say there is no self, when asked to define what that self is that doesn't exist, usually offer no definition. Well, if you search for nothing, guess what you'll find ...
The self that does not exist is the self that is arisen from delusion, arisen through self-clinging, the self that is, in fact, a self-conception. That is the self than can be said to not exist, IMO of course.
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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

Post by Javi » Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:50 am

binocular wrote:
Javi wrote:You're right that quests for a self are the problem, which is precisely because there is no such thing. It's like searching for an invisible unicorn.
No.
People who say there is no self, when asked to define what that self is that doesn't exist, usually offer no definition. Well, if you search for nothing, guess what you'll find ...
As can be seen in this thread and in others, any concept of Self which is seen as unchanging, permanent, substantially existing (sat) cannot be something that is in line with the Buddha's teachings.

"Why do you suppose the flying spaghetti monster can be sought for experientially. Experientially we know, see and understand very little"
"Why do you suppose the invisible pink unicorn can be sought for experientially. Experientially we know, see and understand very little"
You see how ridiculous this argument is? It can support the existence of anything if you take it as valid.
No, you're misrepresenting him. He's just allowing for the possibility of the existence of something, on the grounds that experiential knowledge is limited. Allowing for the possibility that something exists is not the same as saying it exists.
Nope, he's been peddling his own self view for a while now and attributing it to the Buddha.
The question here is, what epistemic reason can actually ground the belief in a permanent self?
We'd need to ask, for example, Christians, Muslims, and Hindus about that.
I am asking the folks in this thread pushing a self theory, In fact, I am challenging them. Come on, I await a coherent philosophical argument for an atman, eagerly.
The Buddha would say, there is no way to ground that, and therefore, the view that there is no self is the only rational one.
So you know what the Buddha would say? Sweet!
I was speaking figuratively, your attempts at ridicule fall way off the mark.
Javi wrote:None of this addresses the Buddha's arguments for not self which are based on phenomenal experience.
Phenomenal experience is not some objective, neutral, passive given.
I agree, I never said it was and this is actually in line with the Dhamma. It is many self theories in fact that hold that view - that awareness is a really existing, eternal given.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Javi
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by Javi » Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:01 am

No_Mind wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote: but maybe we will disagree ;)
After five straight days or arguing let us agree to rest :group:

Javi, if you read through the last two pages .. no offence was meant to you by "hubris".

The substantive part of what you said is correct -- God means an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being to everyone -- it is the "majority + Abrahamic God" part that I have an issue with.

:namaste:
No worries, my point was about how easy it is to get confused when using a term in a radically different way, most people in the West (which was what I meant and I should have been clearer) understand monotheism when hearing the word "God".

Same thing with "atman" in India, most people assume an eternal soul when hearing that term.

Also, I apologize if I came off as condescending to Hindus, that was in bad form. Most Buddhists in Asia don't read the Buddha either anyways. It's just as condesending though when Hindus adsorb the Buddha into their pantheon and go around saying that he taught the same thing they teach - which I've seen from a sect who will not be named here.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:47 am

So there is supposed to be a true-self beyond the aggregates? The only thing that can be considered beyond the aggregates is Nibbana, and there is no support in the suttas for that being a true self. So where is this true self hiding?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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

Post by No_Mind » Thu Nov 03, 2016 12:07 pm

Javi wrote:
"Why do you suppose the flying spaghetti monster can be sought for experientially. Experientially we know, see and understand very little"
"Why do you suppose the invisible pink unicorn can be sought for experientially. Experientially we know, see and understand very little"
You see how ridiculous this argument is? It can support the existence of anything if you take it as valid.
No, you're misrepresenting him. He's just allowing for the possibility of the existence of something, on the grounds that experiential knowledge is limited. Allowing for the possibility that something exists is not the same as saying it exists.
Nope, he's been peddling his own self view for a while now and attributing it to the Buddha.
Nopes that is plain wrong, false speech.

Before we got to the part about unicorns (page 14), I said first argument about no soul is finished as far as I am concerned. This is the second argument. You asked me why the concept of atman appeals to me and I replied (page 12 -- as shown in following quotes) .. after which comparison with unicorns was made in page 14.
No_Mind wrote:
Javi wrote: If you dont mind me asking, what is it for you that the concept of atman brings to the table that the Dhamma does not? Do you have a strong philosophical argument that convinces you for it?
Instead of looking at it bottom up, I prefer to look at the problem top down. I believe in an universal consciousness or Supreme Soul, Brahman Paramatman .. others may call it Tao or even Spinoza's God.

Jivatman is the individual soul, a reflection of Brahman in avidya. The Jivatman merges with Paramatman when avidya is destroyed.

If the top down explanation is insufficient then all I can say is like the eye cannot see itself, Buddha's attempt to search for soul in the khandas is flawed method. How can the soul find itself? But I have a feeling that expanding upon it is going to be controversial because this is after all a Buddhist forum and who am I to find a flaw in his teachings. I prefer not to expand upon it.

:namaste:
Your reply
Javi wrote:
No_Mind wrote:
Javi wrote: If you dont mind me asking, what is it for you that the concept of atman brings to the table that the Dhamma does not? Do you have a strong philosophical argument that convinces you for it?
Instead of looking at it bottom up, I prefer to look at the problem top down. I believe in an universal consciousness or Supreme Soul, Brahman Paramatman .. others may call it Tao.

Jivatman is the individual soul, a reflection of Brahman in avidya. The Jivatman merges with Paramatman when avidya is destroyed.

If the top down explanation is insufficient then all I can say is like the eye cannot see itself, Buddha's attempt to search for soul in the khandas is flawed method. How can the soul find itself? But I have a feeling that expanding upon it is going to be controversial because this is after all a Buddhist forum and who am I to find a flaw in his teachings. I prefer not to expand upon it.

:namaste:
But the eye can see itself by using a reflective surface and through reason.

The atman is a concept which when analyzed and sought for experientially dissolves upon further analysis.
My reply
No_Mind wrote:
Javi wrote: But the eye can see itself by using a reflective surface and through reason.

The atman is a concept which when analyzed and sought for experientially dissolves upon further analysis.
The first argument was did Buddha teach about no self or not self. That has been decided (as far as I am concerned) in favour of no self.

This argument is a different one.

You presuppose that soul exists in the khandas -- the argument being somewhat like No_Mind must be in General Theravada Discussion or Lounge or News or Wellness .. I did not find No_Mind's name as a browser at bottom of any sub-forum; so No_Mind is not browsing DW ..

Well, No_Mind might be browsing as a guest ..

Looking for soul in khandas is like looking for my user name at bottom of each sub-forum.

Why do you suppose atman can be sought for experientially. Experientially we know, see and understand very little.
I specifically remember this part because when I completed writing this post on page 12, your name showed at bottom of the page for about fifteen minutes .. you did not reply .. then you came back much, much later to reply on page 14 (the unicorn post).

I formally ended the no soul conversation before embarking on why I subscribe to the idea of soul .. so I cannot be blamed for peddling. I object to this characterization. You asked me, my idea about soul. I replied. What is my fault that you accuse me?
he's been peddling his own self view for a while now and attributing it to the Buddha.
Last edited by No_Mind on Thu Nov 03, 2016 12:50 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Dinsdale
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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Nov 03, 2016 12:20 pm

No_Mind wrote:If the top down explanation is insufficient then all I can say is like the eye cannot see itself, Buddha's attempt to search for soul in the khandas is flawed method. How can the soul find itself? But I have a feeling that expanding upon it is going to be controversial because this is after all a Buddhist forum and who am I to find a flaw in his teachings. I prefer not to expand upon it.
How would know a soul if you found it? What do you think it is like?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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

Post by No_Mind » Thu Nov 03, 2016 12:21 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
No_Mind wrote:If the top down explanation is insufficient then all I can say is like the eye cannot see itself, Buddha's attempt to search for soul in the khandas is flawed method. How can the soul find itself? But I have a feeling that expanding upon it is going to be controversial because this is after all a Buddhist forum and who am I to find a flaw in his teachings. I prefer not to expand upon it.
How would know a soul if you found it? What do you think it is like?
Spiny .. we are both members of DP. This question is best answered there. Ask there.
I know one thing: that I know nothing

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Javi
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by Javi » Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:05 pm

No_Mind

You're right, that actually should have been directed at davidbrain.
Last edited by Javi on Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by No_Mind » Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:07 pm

Javi wrote:No_Mind

You're right, that actually should have been directed at davidbrain
Of course I am right!! I have obsessive compulsive disorder. I remember tiniest details from 35 years ago. Two days is a breeze.

No problem as long as I am cleared of atman peddling charges.
I know one thing: that I know nothing

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Javi
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by Javi » Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:17 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Javi wrote:No_Mind

You're right, that actually should have been directed at davidbrain
Of course I am right!! I have obsessive compulsive disorder. I remember tiniest details from 35 years ago. Two days is a breeze.

No problem as long as I am cleared of atman peddling charges.
The thread moving / merging has sort of thrown me off. You are free of charge sir :lol:
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

ToVincent
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by ToVincent » Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:37 pm

It's just as condesending though, when Hindus adsorb the Buddha into their pantheon and go around saying that he taught the same thing they teach
Should Heraclitus be kicked out the pre-Socratic greek philosophy, because he did not belong to the Milesian, or Pythagorean, or Eleatic, or Pluralist, or Atomist Pluralists schools?
Weren't the categories on which he philosophized, the same than the sayed schools?

Again, Buddha did use the Vedic categories - Vital breath, perception, consciousness, nāmarūpa occur in the Veda - from the samhitas to the Aranyakas. And He also used the Sramanas categories; that certain brahmins had also inserted in their faith.
Again in DN1 (https://suttacentral.net/en/dn1/84), He summarized the views of his time, about the philosophical views around these categories.
And if you have read my previous post, you should have noticed that He showed what the fundamental difference was between Him, and all these different views. Namely that you should have "no contact" with the sphere of senses (saḷāyatana), for a rightful discernment of the truth..
This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture (not within the sphere of reasoning, [atakkāvacaro]) subtle, to be experienced by the wise. But this generation delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising are hard to see.
Adhigato kho myāyaṃ dhammo gambhīro duddaso duranubodho santo paṇīto atakkāvacaro nipuṇo paṇḍitavedanīyo. Ālayarāmā kho panāyaṃ pajā ālayaratā ālayasammuditā. Ālayarāmāya kho pana pajāya ālayaratāya ālayasammuditāya duddasaṃ idaṃ ṭhānaṃ yadidaṃ idappaccayatāpaṭiccasamuppādo.
SN 6.1
Having a cognition beyond the "world" - beyond the physical body - beyond contact with saḷāyatana - does not mean that there is an eternal Self/self. Only that it goes beyond the purely materialistic view of DN 1.

A question remains: "Is the vacaro in atakkāvacaro, beyond the vicāra in saṅkhāra nidāna (https://justpaste.it/v08v & https://suttacentral.net/en/mn44/57-), or is it just beyond the vicāra, as in manopavicārā (MN 137)?
Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
In this world with its ..., māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------
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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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by ancientbuddhism » Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:11 pm

ToVincent wrote:Having a cognition beyond the "world" - beyond the physical body - beyond contact with saḷāyatana...
…were not assertions of the Tathāgata or of any credible authority on the Dhamma or Buddhism.
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

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

Post by davidbrainerd » Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:17 pm

No_Mind wrote:I formally ended the no soul conversation before embarking on why I subscribe to the idea of soul .. so I cannot be blamed for peddling. I object to this characterization. You asked me, my idea about soul. I replied. What is my fault that you accuse me?
I don't understand why you concede so early. The situation is not so simple. The canon doesn't present Buddha simply saying there is no self. It presents him on side (1) saying nibbana is deathless state and supreme security (i.e. an afterlife), it presents him as saying those who say he's teaching obliteration are misrrpresenting him (i.e. supports afterlife again), but then side (2) there are the agnostic suttas that turn him into a court jester saying that although his whole religion is about getting to nibbana after death he cannot tell you if you will cease or continue in nibbana. Hello, he told us that already many times! He taught side 1 all over the place. It should be obvious that side 2 is a characature making fun of Buddha. I don't get why I seem to be the only one to see that.

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

Post by Goofaholix » Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:44 pm

binocular wrote:No, you're misrepresenting him. He's just allowing for the possibility of the existence of something, on the grounds that experiential knowledge is limited. Allowing for the possibility that something exists is not the same as saying it exists.
You haven't been reading his posts then, he is emphatically stating that there is a self outside of the aggregates, that it exits, he shows no interest in taking an agnostic view on the topic and practicing the teachings as taught.
“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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