Hi Tilt, all,
If by choice you mean: certain thoughts, intentions, picking available options, deliberating course of action to do, making a decision - then I agree that this happens. However, why were there only these available options? Why does someone picks this, rather than that action? Due to causes.
What I disagree is with the implicit idea that above are independent of past causes. If (certain thoughts, intentions, picking available options, deliberating course of action to do, making a decision) are not unconditioned, then they aren't freely chosen. It refutes the idea of a REAL choice made independent of conditionality, which is what I tried to show not to exist.
I deny the idea of anything that relates to samsara and is unconditioned by any kind of cause (wholesome, unwholesome, neutral, physical or mental).
"This being is bound to samsara, kamma [choice] is his means for going beyond." -SN I, 38.
I don't deny the importance or validity of kamma. I only deny the idea that it is uncaused, random, or that it is due to a will of a trully existing being
Cease to do evil, cultivate the good and purify our own minds, which is all stuff we can actively choose do to alter our conditioning -
That is a good instruction. However it requires certain causes to be present in order to do that. Choice and decision to do or not to do the above are fully conditioned, so they are not Free Will. You can't ask, lets say, a fundamentalist Christian to follow Buddha's instruction to the full - because they have different conditioning. You can't force yourself to believe in Zeus, Jehovah, or whatever. Why does a person believe X rather than Y? Due to conditioning.
The problem with this overly simplistic and overly narrow statement is that there is rarely - if ever - one "root" or one bit of conditioning at play, which is why the lustful person can choose not to act upon his or her lustful drive, altering his or her conditioning. A lustful action may come from a lustful "root," but there may be - and far more likely than not, are - other conditionings at play as well. Not acting on a lustful bit of conditioning may come from a wholesome root, but other bits of conditioning may be - and far more likely than not, are - at play.
Right, there are rarely if ever one root in a period of time. This is why a lustful person can understand the drawbacks of his/her lustful drive. But why do some people ACT on lust even without thinking that lust is bad, and some people resist it? Due to presence or absence of other roots.