Phenomenology question - view about the world

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Witch view is correct ?

Option 1
3
21%
Option 2
11
79%
 
Total votes: 14

Sylvester
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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by Sylvester » Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:18 am

If, friends, internally the eye is intact but no external forms come into its range, and there is no corresponding conscious engagement (tajja samannāhāra = attention), then there is no manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness. If internally the eye is intact and external forms come into its range, but there is no corresponding conscious engagement, then there is no manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness. But when internally the eye is intact and external forms come into its range and there is the corresponding conscious engagement, then there is the manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness.

MN 28
Strange, but it appears that external sense objects can exist independently of consciousness and attention...

Rather than saying that the external sense objects are dependent on consciousness, MN 28 flips the equation the other way -
cont'd from above -
The material form in what has thus come to be is included in the material form aggregate affected by clinging. The feeling in what has thus come to be is included in the feeling aggregate affected by clinging. The perception in what has thus come to be is included in the perception aggregate affected by clinging. The formations in what has thus come to be are included in the formations aggregate affected by clinging. The consciousness in what has thus come to be is included in the consciousness aggregate affected by clinging. He understands thus: ‘This, indeed, is how there comes to be the inclusion, gathering, and amassing of things into these five aggregates affected by clinging. Now this has been said by the Blessed One: “One who sees dependent origination sees the Dhamma; one who sees the Dhamma sees dependent origination.” And these five aggregates affected by clinging are dependently arisen.
It's a bit unfortunate that the passage preceding the above 2 has been rendered too idiomatically into English. What we have as -
Friends, just as when a space is enclosed by timber and creepers, grass, and clay, it comes to be termed just ‘house,’ so too, when a space is enclosed by bones and sinews, flesh and skin, it comes to be termed just ‘material form.’
is actually more involved -
Seyyathāpi, āvuso, kaṭṭhañca paṭicca valliñca paṭicca tiṇañca paṭicca mattikañca paṭicca ākāso parivārito agārantveva saṅkhaṃ gacchati; evameva kho, āvuso, aṭṭhiñca paṭicca nhāruñca paṭicca maṃsañca paṭicca cammañca paṭicca ākāso parivārito rūpantveva saṅkhaṃ gacchati.
Instead of just a simple painting of bones, sinews, flesh and skin being the constituent of the form aggregate, it actually says that the form aggregate is paṭicca (dependent) upon these 4 things.

Janalanda
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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by Janalanda » Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:11 am

I too am in favor of option 2. The "external world" exists, it has some sort of substance but what we get to experience is entirely phenomenological. Phenomenons that "appear" every second and get experienced by us are determined to an extent by this "external world" witch acts as a condition for the appearence of one phenomenon or another.

The placebo effect:

There are things that can be fixed through placebo, others that can't. Some illnesses require physical operations, some require pills with real substances not just suggar pills. When I had the view that "external world is phenomenological, it does not exist, it does not have substance" - it would have meant that everything should be able to get fixed through palcebo. But there are things that require physical medical intervention. The external world does exist, no matter what it's actually made of, but what we are able to percieve is only a phenomenological world. The physical world acts as a condition for the manifestation of phenomenons that appear in the phenomenological world that we are experiencing. For example if you lose your sight, you'll percieve different phenomenons. Different phenomenons will become manifest because of that condition created by the "external world". If one gains sight again through a medical intervention, that agains is a condition for different phenomenons to appear in the phenomenological world we are experiencing. (or "internal world"). In the view described at option 1, everything should be able to get fixed through placebo.

Acording to science, the external world is not made of hard matter but of mainly nothing and just a small amount of energy. As the double slide experiment shows, the observer has a role, interacts, acts as a condition for things that appear (in our phenomenological world that represents our experience). But nevertheless, there is something of substance out there that acts as an influence, as a thing that creates conditions for one thing or another to appear and manifest in the phenomenological wolrd experienced by us.

Janalanda
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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by Janalanda » Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:24 am

The reason I started this topic is because I was holding view nr 1 untill recently. Contemplation about the placebo effect and the "Great Causes Discourse" straithened my view.

There are 2 frames witch we have to understand: the temporal and the atemporal.

The temporal:
From second to second, different things appear in our experience depending on conditions. Let's look at going to the bathroom.

Body discomfort manifests and give rise to intention to go to the bathroom. Body discomfort acts as a condition for that intention to appear. After that intention appears, the act of going to the bathroom takes place. Intention that arose because of conditions is now a condition itself for determining future "things that appear". There is no room for "me" in this story. Everything that appears does so because of conditions in an endless chain.

Because of this, intention will still be there even when the sense of self is removed. Buddha had intention too. And he functioned even better without a sense of self (that gives rise to greed) been present. This sense of self was nothing more than a condition influencing his intentions, actions, etc. A condition influencing things that appear. This sense of self or conceit is like an addiction (like food or alcohol addiction) that is only removed at arahantship.

The atemporal (timeless):
The wheel of paticca-samuppada explains the technical mechanism behind these things that appear. For example how craving technically appears/manifests/exists because of feeling.


In this whole picture, there is no room for "me". It's just a chain of conditions both on the temporal and on the atemporal level. It's like a clock well built with no room for a self there. It does not require a self in order to work and there is no place where to fit a self in this picture.

Buddha said his dhamma is clear and complete. All that is needed to understand this is in the suttas.
The "Great Causes Discourse": http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

pulga
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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by pulga » Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:07 pm

SamKR wrote:
Whatever appears is what is present. Whatever does not appear as seen, heard, and sensed can only appear (or be present) as cognized else does not appear and so is not present.
Suñño gāmoti kho, bhikkhave, channetaṃ ajjhattikānaṃ āyatanānaṃ adhivacanaṃ. Cakkhuto cepi naṃ, bhikkhave, paṇḍito byatto medhāvī upaparikkhati rittakaññeva khāyati, tucchakaññeva khāyati, suññakaññeva khāyati … pe … jivhāto cepi naṃ, bhikkhave … pe … manato cepi naṃ, bhikkhave, paṇḍito byatto medhāvī upaparikkhati rittakaññeva khāyati, tucchakaññeva khāyati, suññakaññeva khāyati.

Corā gāmaghātakāti kho, bhikkhave, channetaṃ bāhirānaṃ āyatanānaṃ adhivacanaṃ. Cakkhu, bhikkhave, haññati manāpāmanāpesu rūpesu; sotaṃ, bhikkhave … pe … ghānaṃ, bhikkhave … pe … jivhā, bhikkhave, haññati manāpāmanāpesu rasesu; kāyo, bhikkhave … pe … mano, bhikkhave, haññati manāpāmanāpesu dhammesu.

Mahā udakaṇṇavoti kho, bhikkhave, catunnetaṃ oghānaṃ adhivacanaṃ—kāmoghassa, bhavoghassa, diṭṭhoghassa, avijjoghassa.

“‘The empty village’: this is a designation for the six internal sense bases. If, bhikkhus, a wise, competent, intelligent person examines them by way of the eye, they appear to be void, hollow, empty. If he examines them by way of the ear... by way of the mind, they appear to be void, hollow, empty.

“‘Village-attacking dacoits’: this is a designation for the six external sense bases. The eye, bhikkhus, is attacked by agreeable and disagreeable forms. The ear ... The nose ... The tongue ... The body ... The mind is attacked by agreeable and disagreeable mental phenomena.

“‘The great expanse of water’: this is a designation for the four floods: the flood of sensuality, the flood of existence, the flood of views, and the flood of ignorance. SN 35.235
I take the Buddha to be putting forth a relational ontology, i.e. existence comes about through the eye being "attacked" by forms, the nose being "attacked" by odors, and so on. In of itself the eye as rūpa is a non-relational void. One might say that it "exists" in a non-sensual way, but such an existence would have no meaning, i.e. it would be outside the pathways the Buddha speaks of. To postulate the "existence" of such a non-relational whole would be an act of speculative realism not relevant to our suffering. Yet the eye does exist due to its appearance within the duality of the saḷāyatana. (Mutatis mutandis, in the absence of the eye the same can be said of external visible forms.)
“Tasmātihānanda, eseva hetu etaṃ nidānaṃ esa samudayo esa paccayo viññāṇassa yadidaṃ nāmarūpaṃ. Ettāvatā kho, ānanda, jāyetha vā jīyetha vā mīyetha vā cavetha vā upapajjetha vā. Ettāvatā adhi­vacana­patho, ettāvatā niruttipatho, ettāvatā paññattipatho, ettāvatā paññāvacaraṃ, ettāvatā vaṭṭaṃ vattati itthattaṃ paññāpanāya yadidaṃ nāmarūpaṃ saha viññāṇena añña­mañña­pac­ca­yatā pavattati.

“It is to this extent, Ānanda, that one can be born, age, and die, pass away and re-arise, to this extent that there is a pathway for designation, to this extent that there is a pathway for language, to this extent that there is a pathway for description, to this extent that there is a sphere for wisdom, to this extent that the round turns for describing this state of being, that is, when there is name-and-form together with consciousness. DN 15
Yāvatā, ānanda, adhivacanaṃ yāvatā adhi­vacana­patho, yāvatā nirutti yāvatā niruttipatho, yāvatā paññatti yāvatā paññattipatho, yāvatā paññā yāvatā paññāvacaraṃ, yāvatā vaṭṭaṃ, yāvatā vaṭṭati, tada­bhiñ­ñā­vimutto bhikkhu...

...that bhikkhu is liberated by directly knowing this: the extent of designation and the extent of the pathway for designation, the extent of language and the extent of the pathway for language, the extent of description and the extent of the pathway for description, the extent of wisdom and the extent of the sphere for wisdom, the extent of the round and the extent to which the round turns. DN 15
The nature of rūpa is important to the Buddha's teaching because of its independence from nāma. It is beyond our control and thus lies at the root of our suffering. All we can do is to make sense of it through its manifestation as nāmarūpa.

SamKR
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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by SamKR » Sun Sep 11, 2016 2:42 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
SamKR wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
If you don't believe that cars and buses are real, why bother avoiding them?
First, what do you mean by "real"? I also believe that cars and buses are undoubtedly real (my definition of real) as they appear. I just don't assume that they are out there independent of existence/consciousness/name. Both 'my' body and 'car' appear as consciousness/name-form. Anything beyond that is always a cognized (again consciousness).
So what if you are crossing a road and there is a bus bearing down on you, but you are distracted by something and don't notice it?
If I am distracted and don't notice a bus bearing down on me (there isn't that particular bus present in 'my' world yet), most probably there will be sudden arising of experience of being crushed and painful sensations. Next experience could be that 'I' am in a hospital, or that I am 'reborn' as another being if I am not an Arahant.

SamKR
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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by SamKR » Sun Sep 11, 2016 2:57 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Sam,
SamKR wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
Personally I go for option (2) and assume something "out there". Sp when crossing a busy "road" I do make a point of avoiding moving "cars" and "buses". ;)
Are you implying that not having a view about something "out there" means when crossing a road one would not avoid cars? Perhaps not.

I strongly (I can not emphasize more) do not believe in option (2) :). But still when crossing a busy road I also avoid moving cars and buses which are appearing and are present as they appear.
Is this a view based on the suttas, or on your personal philosophy? I'm interested in how people view this. The suttas seem to me to mostly take a pretty basic common-sense view of external things, though some seem to be open to a range of interpretations...

:anjali:
Mike
This view is based on suttas - my interpretation of suttas just like everyone has their own interpretations. Your interpretation might be that they teach basic common-sense view of external things. My opinion is that the Buddha did not teach a uniform teaching to everyone; he taught and talked about different level of things based on the level of the understanding of the audience. The suttas also contain a broad spectrum of teachings -- all of which could be relatively true based on particular situation, context, and level of understanding of people. When certain suttas talk about a basic common-sense view of external things, I am not saying that is absolutely incorrect. In my personal life too when I have to deal with other people I use the common-sense view of the world - that is relatively true in most of the contexts and situations; when I am alone I see the world is substanceless.

SamKR
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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by SamKR » Sun Sep 11, 2016 3:08 pm

chownah wrote:
chownah wrote:I think it is impossible to know which view is correct....knowing this is out of range. If someone has found a way to know this I would like to hear it.
chownah
Its the same old arguements again and again. All conjecture, all construal. Impossible to know. If it was possible to know it would be known and the arguements would cease. The continuation of the argument keeps reaffirming that it is impossible to know.
chownah
One approach (and I think that would be the best approach) is to drop all conjectures and construing (which by nature are uncertain) and have certainty only about that which can be directly known as they are without any need of any interpretations. Both options in the OP can not be directly known, and are mere conjectures/construing (except the part "The "external world" has no substance").

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L.N.
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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by L.N. » Sun Sep 11, 2016 3:14 pm

What is meant by "external," and how is this distinguished from "not external"?

What is meant by "world," and how is this distinguished from "not world"?

I'm not sure it really matters as to one's progress along the path. We work with what presents itself. I think it is less helpful to puzzle through the various theoretical/conceptual overlays which we, as human beings, naturally are inclined to create, as part of our survival instinct.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

SamKR
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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by SamKR » Sun Sep 11, 2016 3:20 pm

pulga wrote:
... In of itself the eye as rūpa is a non-relational void. One might say that it "exists" in a non-sensual way, but such an existence would have no meaning, i.e. it would be outside the pathways the Buddha speaks of. To postulate the "existence" of such a non-relational whole would be an act of speculative realism not relevant to our suffering. Yet the eye does exist due to its appearance within the duality of the saḷāyatana. (Mutatis mutandis, in the absence of the eye the same can be said of external visible forms.)
I agree, especially the part I emphasized.
pulga wrote: The nature of rūpa is important to the Buddha's teaching because of its independence from nāma. It is beyond our control and thus lies at the root of our suffering. All we can do is to make sense of it through its manifestation as nāmarūpa.
I have difficulty having the view that rūpa is independent. Both nāma and rūpa are certainly beyond our control, but both are also not independent. Anything being independent does not make sense to me at all.

SamKR
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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by SamKR » Sun Sep 11, 2016 3:45 pm

Janalanda wrote:I too am in favor of option 2. The "external world" exists, it has some sort of substance but what we get to experience is entirely phenomenological. Phenomenons that "appear" every second and get experienced by us are determined to an extent by this "external world" witch acts as a condition for the appearence of one phenomenon or another.
While this view sounds the most logical (as a sort of middle way) to most people in modern world, all I can say is that this is nothing more than a speculation; it can never be found true directly.
Janalanda wrote: The placebo effect:

There are things that can be fixed through placebo, others that can't. Some illnesses require physical operations, some require pills with real substances not just suggar pills. When I had the view that "external world is phenomenological, it does not exist, it does not have substance" - it would have meant that everything should be able to get fixed through palcebo. But there are things that require physical medical intervention. The external world does exist, no matter what it's actually made of, but what we are able to percieve is only a phenomenological world. The physical world acts as a condition for the manifestation of phenomenons that appear in the phenomenological world that we are experiencing. For example if you lose your sight, you'll percieve different phenomenons. Different phenomenons will become manifest because of that condition created by the "external world". If one gains sight again through a medical intervention, that agains is a condition for different phenomenons to appear in the phenomenological world we are experiencing. (or "internal world"). In the view described at option 1, everything should be able to get fixed through placebo.
I don't see how this argument supports your option 2.
Janalanda wrote: Acording to science, the external world is not made of hard matter but of mainly nothing and just a small amount of energy. As the double slide experiment shows, the observer has a role, interacts, acts as a condition for things that appear (in our phenomenological world that represents our experience). But nevertheless, there is something of substance out there that acts as an influence, as a thing that creates conditions for one thing or another to appear and manifest in the phenomenological wolrd experienced by us.
External world is mainly nothing but small amount of "energy"? What is this "energy"? Is the nature of this concept "energy" any different from "matter"?

We should be careful while relating quantum mechanics (including the most abused double-slit experiment) with the Dhamma; it usually sounds like a pseudoscience without having any scientific credibility (Although there could be connection between some interpretations of quantum mechanics and some spiritual teachings; in fact certain interpretations of quantum mechanics support option 1 more than option 2).

The view that "there is something of substance out there that acts as an influence" is a view which entangles in such a way that no escape or necessity of escape from that entanglement is ever noticed. That's just my view.
Last edited by SamKR on Sun Sep 11, 2016 7:03 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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DNS
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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by DNS » Sun Sep 11, 2016 3:55 pm

Sound is not a thing that dwells inside the conch-shell and comes out from time to time, but due to both, the conch-shell and the man that blows it, sound comes to arise: Just so, due to the presence of vitality, heat and consciousness, this body may execute the acts of going, standing, sitting and lying down, and the 5 sense-organs and the mind may perform their various functions. (DN 23).

Just as a wooden puppet though unsubstantial, lifeless and inactive may by means of pulling strings be made to move about, stand up, and appear full of life and activity; just so are mind and body, as such, something empty, lifeless and inactive; but by means of their mutual working together, this mental and bodily combination may move about, stand up, and appear full of life and activity.

Bhante Madawela Punnaji has translated Nama as "label" and Rupa as "Image" which is more compatible to the anatta doctrine as there is no permanence in either nama or rupa.

I'd say a middle way position is best as everything is dependent on each other and option 2 does appear to be a mostly middle way stance with the proviso and caveats listed. I heard once existence described as: "Life is illusory, but the dukkha is real." By convention in the mundane world, there is a being, who suffers.

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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by SDC » Sun Sep 11, 2016 3:58 pm

Sylvester wrote:
If, friends, internally the eye is intact but no external forms come into its range, and there is no corresponding conscious engagement (tajja samannāhāra = attention), then there is no manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness. If internally the eye is intact and external forms come into its range, but there is no corresponding conscious engagement, then there is no manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness. But when internally the eye is intact and external forms come into its range and there is the corresponding conscious engagement, then there is the manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness.

MN 28
Strange, but it appears that external sense objects can exist independently of consciousness and attention...
But does that constitute being independent of mind especially in regards to Dhp 1? Where is this "range" located?

I'm not claiming to have a reconciliation here, but it is knowable i.e. there can exist the thought of "independent objects", but that thought is not independent of experience nor can any objects therein be granted such independence either. But the question is, can we suffer in regard to such thoughts and the objects therein through assuming an independent existence? Obviously the answer is yes. So you would want a view which would allow this situation to be relevant in order for an understanding of suffering to be possible.

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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by SamKR » Sun Sep 11, 2016 4:04 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Sound is not a thing that dwells inside the conch-shell and comes out from time to time, but due to both, the conch-shell and the man that blows it, sound comes to arise: Just so, due to the presence of vitality, heat and consciousness, this body may execute the acts of going, standing, sitting and lying down, and the 5 sense-organs and the mind may perform their various functions. (DN 23).

Just as a wooden puppet though unsubstantial, lifeless and inactive may by means of pulling strings be made to move about, stand up, and appear full of life and activity; just so are mind and body, as such, something empty, lifeless and inactive; but by means of their mutual working together, this mental and bodily combination may move about, stand up, and appear full of life and activity.
Which is, of course true ('relatively'). Talking about conch-shell and anything does not mean it has a substance of its own.
David N. Snyder wrote: Bhante Madawela Punnaji has translated Nama as "label" and Rupa as "Image" which is more compatible to the anatta doctrine as there is no permanence in either nama or rupa.
Which I agree, and that's my understanding too. I did not know any Buddhist teacher teaching that.
David N. Snyder wrote: I'd say a middle way position is best as everything is dependent on each other and option 2 does appear to be a middle way stance with the proviso and caveats listed. I heard once existence described as: "Life is illusory, but the dukkha is real." By convention in the mundane world, there is a being, who suffers.
Option 2 is not the middle position, it is an extreme position (based on the Buddha's teachings) since it views 'external things' (whatever that means) as full of substance, independent and non-empty.

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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by DNS » Sun Sep 11, 2016 4:21 pm

SamKR wrote: Option 2 is not the middle position, it is an extreme position (based on the Buddha's teachings) since it views 'external things' (whatever that means) as full of substance, independent and non-empty.
I think you're right. Since you put it that way, then perhaps my position is more towards option 1.

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Re: Phenomenology question - view about the world

Post by Nicolas » Sun Sep 11, 2016 4:23 pm

What does it mean for something to "exist"? Does it matter?

The way I see it, the external world exists in a way and doesn't exist in another way. When something is experienced, it is "there" for a moment, it "exists". But that something is also insubstantial and only comes into experience through consciousness, through that experience, and only temporarily; in that sense it doesn't "exist".

When I am in the world, the world exists to me. But this "existence" is not fundamental, not ultimate, a sham of the defiled mind in a sense. The world appears to our senses, that's what matters, not whether or not the world is "real". In effect, it is "real" in the sense that it is happening to us through experience and matters to us in the sense that we generate kamma based on our relationship with it.

My view is that the Middle Way is to go beyond these ideas of "existence" or "non-existence", which are meaningless terms in a sense, and to look at things from a phenomenological perspective, paṭiccasamuppāda.
Naḷakalāpa Sutta (SN 12.67) wrote:Just as two sheaves of reeds might stand leaning against each other, so too, with name-and-form as condition, consciousness comes to be; with consciousness as condition, name-and-form comes to be.
PS: I voted for option 1 in a certain interpretation of it, but have the same reservations as SamKR regarding it.

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