Solipsism

Exploring modern Theravāda interpretations of the Buddha's teaching.
perkele
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Solipsism

Post by perkele » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:49 am

Opening the gazillionth thread about solipsism here. I found this nice answer to some question on Reddit:
Tenshon on Reddit wrote:In many ways solipsism is the opposite of Buddhism: it not only expresses a solid belief in self, but goes even further to say that the self is an absolute and nothing else exists outside ones sensations. The fundamental teaching of the Buddha is that clinging to ones sensations in this manner is the very basis of suffering, so solipsism can therefore only lead to great suffering. It seems to be the very epitome of delusion.
Somehow I find this is a very good thought.

I don't have anything further to say about this at the moment, but maybe someone else may find it interesting or want to elaborate on this or argue against it or ask questions about it or discuss it. Or maybe I will do that at some point.

I just thought, this is a good thought. So maybe someone can use it.

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Bundokji
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Re: Solipsism

Post by Bundokji » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:51 pm

Hello perkele,

As you opened this thread, and in order to have a meaningful discussion, i think you should specify the meaning of Solipsism as well as the meaning of knowledge, as both terms can be used in different ways or to different degrees. Once clear definitions is agreed upon, then they can be compared/contrasted with Buddhism in a meaningful way.

The above, of course, is only a suggestion.
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

perkele
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Re: Solipsism

Post by perkele » Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:09 am

Bundokji wrote:As you opened this thread, and in order to have a meaningful discussion, i think you should specify the meaning of Solipsism as well as the meaning of knowledge, as both terms can be used in different ways or to different degrees. Once clear definitions is agreed upon, then they can be compared/contrasted with Buddhism in a meaningful way.
Okay, good idea. I will try to define my understanding of those terms.

Solipsism: the idea that nothing except my own consciousness and my experience exists, and in particular, that every other perceived "actor" in that movie that I live through has in fact no consciousness and is just part of my fantasy.

Knowledge: That is a bit tricky to pin down. So it's going to be somewhat lengthy.

I believe that "knowledge" and "belief" are two different qualia:
  • If one knows something then one knows that one knows it. Knowing has a distinctive experiential quality. It can be distinguished from believing if one pays close attention with enough scrutiny.
  • If, on the other hand, one merely believes something then one does not know that one knows it (and hence, one does in fact not really know it, but merely believe it at best). Belief has always potential for doubt. After close scrutiny, one knows that one only believes it.
Knowledge is, by definition, final and never wrong.

Of course there are cases where people believe that they know something, while they in fact only believe it. People who are convinced of something without doubt, which is but in actual fact false. This may seem to contradict the assertion that knowledge and belief are two different qualia which can be clearly distinguished without doubt. But the crux of the matter here is scrutiny: People who falsely believe something which is not true have simply not scrutinized their belief closely enough to see that it is actually just a belief and not knowledge. Upon close enough scrutiny, however, the knowledge about whether something is actual knowledge or mere belief is final and never wrong, without potential for doubt, due to the clearly distinguishable qualia associated with knowing vs. believing that can be clearly isolated.

Now for the content of belief or knowledge. That is another tricky thing. What does it mean to say that something is known or can be known (or believed, for that matter)?

I can clearly know about my beliefs: I know what I believe. And, according to what I claimed about "belief" and "knowledge" being two clearly distinguishable qualia, I also know about my knowledge: I know what I know, because I can distinguish what I know from what I believe by the different qualia of knowing vs. believing. I know the different qualia of knowing vs. believing, just as I know the different qualia of the colors red and blue. They feel different, and in a way that is unambiguous upon close enough scrutiny. Only with sloppy scrutiny can one confuse knowledge with belief.

I believe that we are usually so overwhelmed with sensory input of all sorts and assumptions and perceptions about it that our scrutiny becomes sloppy for the most part, and thus we are confused at times about the difference between knowledge and belief, although we could on principle always know whether we know something or not. (See also MN 95 about "safeguarding of the truth" on that matter.)

One famous case of confusion about such things was Socrates who falsely believed that he knew nothing and even claimed to know that. Of course that cannot be true.

I can know such abstract things about my knowledge and my beliefs by distinguishing the different qualia of "knowing" vs. "believing". I can know the distinctions between different qualia, the experience of comparing the two and knowing the difference. I can know all sorts of distinctions between different qualia: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, thinking, believing, knowing. And maybe that is all I can know.

Knowledge, like any qualia, cannot be communicated directly. They can only be experienced first-hand.

Now I think I have still not managed to give an actual definition of "knowledge". But I'll try to escape this conundrum by claiming that an actual definition of knowledge is impossible, and stop here for the time being. :thinking: :shrug: :roll: :?: :!:

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Bundokji
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Re: Solipsism

Post by Bundokji » Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:23 pm

perkele wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:09 am

Okay, good idea. I will try to define my understanding of those terms.

Solipsism: the idea that nothing except my own consciousness and my experience exists, and in particular, that every other perceived "actor" in that movie that I live through has in fact no consciousness and is just part of my fantasy.
Hello perkele,

I am not sure if the above is an accurate definition of Solipsism. My understanding of the definition is that my own consciousness and experience is all that i can be sure of. I can be sure that i have a qualia because it is a first hand experience to me, but i cannot be sure that you have one. That of course does not mean that i can make the assertion/claim that you are a part of my fantasy and that i am certain that you are a philosophical zombie, but that you could be a philosophical zombie remains a possibility even though a tiny one.

In the Loka sutta, the Buddha described the senses as the world (from the individual point of view) which is quite similar to Solipsism but for totally different reasons according to my understanding. The above view is beneficial to the extent that it can be utilized to help the practitioner to understand suffering in order to end it.
Knowledge: That is a bit tricky to pin down. So it's going to be somewhat lengthy.

I believe that "knowledge" and "belief" are two different qualia:
  • If one knows something then one knows that one knows it. Knowing has a distinctive experiential quality. It can be distinguished from believing if one pays close attention with enough scrutiny.
  • If, on the other hand, one merely believes something then one does not know that one knows it (and hence, one does in fact not really know it, but merely believe it at best). Belief has always potential for doubt. After close scrutiny, one knows that one only believes it.
Knowledge is, by definition, final and never wrong.

Of course there are cases where people believe that they know something, while they in fact only believe it. People who are convinced of something without doubt, which is but in actual fact false. This may seem to contradict the assertion that knowledge and belief are two different qualia which can be clearly distinguished without doubt. But the crux of the matter here is scrutiny: People who falsely believe something which is not true have simply not scrutinized their belief closely enough to see that it is actually just a belief and not knowledge. Upon close enough scrutiny, however, the knowledge about whether something is actual knowledge or mere belief is final and never wrong, without potential for doubt, due to the clearly distinguishable qualia associated with knowing vs. believing that can be clearly isolated.

Now for the content of belief or knowledge. That is another tricky thing. What does it mean to say that something is known or can be known (or believed, for that matter)?

I can clearly know about my beliefs: I know what I believe. And, according to what I claimed about "belief" and "knowledge" being two clearly distinguishable qualia, I also know about my knowledge: I know what I know, because I can distinguish what I know from what I believe by the different qualia of knowing vs. believing. I know the different qualia of knowing vs. believing, just as I know the different qualia of the colors red and blue. They feel different, and in a way that is unambiguous upon close enough scrutiny. Only with sloppy scrutiny can one confuse knowledge with belief.

I believe that we are usually so overwhelmed with sensory input of all sorts and assumptions and perceptions about it that our scrutiny becomes sloppy for the most part, and thus we are confused at times about the difference between knowledge and belief, although we could on principle always know whether we know something or not. (See also MN 95 about "safeguarding of the truth" on that matter.)

One famous case of confusion about such things was Socrates who falsely believed that he knew nothing and even claimed to know that. Of course that cannot be true.

I can know such abstract things about my knowledge and my beliefs by distinguishing the different qualia of "knowing" vs. "believing". I can know the distinctions between different qualia, the experience of comparing the two and knowing the difference. I can know all sorts of distinctions between different qualia: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, thinking, believing, knowing. And maybe that is all I can know.

Knowledge, like any qualia, cannot be communicated directly. They can only be experienced first-hand.

Now I think I have still not managed to give an actual definition of "knowledge". But I'll try to escape this conundrum by claiming that an actual definition of knowledge is impossible, and stop here for the time being. :thinking: :shrug: :roll: :?: :!:
So, belief is necessary for knowledge but not vice versa (i cannot know something if i don't believe it). A belief by definition is a claim, and it needs evidence (justification) in order to become knowledge. But the problem with justification in itself is that it includes elements of belief, at least, the belief in the viability of our tools to obtain/formulate that knowledge. We use both inductive and deductive reasoning to justify our beliefs and present them as knowledge. We also rank knowledge to the extent that it survives scrutiny. The more a theory is tested, the more reliable it becomes.

Solipsism is also a claim, and it challenges people to prove it wrong. It is difficult to disprove it because of the very nature of our experience. A functioning body and mind are the mediums in which all knowledge is obtained including other sentient beings we happen to encounter. The content of the experience changes all the time, but the mere fact that it is experienced is what makes it knowable.

The above also resonates in Buddhism by the emphasis that only the individual can end his/her own suffering. The nature of our experience made it impossible for the Buddha to enlighten us directly, hence the teachings became necessary.

I think the main difference between Solipsism and Buddhism is that Buddhism took a pragmatic approach to knowledge. For instance, the Buddha described his teachings as a "handful of leafs" and advised not to speculate about matters that is not related to the end of suffering. The irony is, in our search for the Buddhist truth, we inadvertently encounter all kind of theories that try to explain the world (including solipsism). Our search for Nibbana is a search for true knowledge as you defined it: final and never wrong.

Finally, i have sympathy to Socrates's position even though it sounds paradoxical. Maybe in his life, he did encounter a real knowledge, an infallible one, hence made his claim. Buddhism also is full of paradoxes :smile:
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

Circle5
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Re: Solipsism

Post by Circle5 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:41 am

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:23 pm
That of course does not mean that i can make the assertion/claim that you are a part of my fantasy and that i am certain that you are a philosophical zombie, but that you could be a philosophical zombie remains a possibility even though a tiny one.
Why is it a tiny one ?
Buddhism also is full of paradoxes
I don't know on any such paradoxes, can you name a few ? If it does have logically self-refuting claims (paradoxes) then that would mean Buddhism is wrong, same as the Church of the Flying Spaghete monster is wrong https://www.venganza.org/ or same as materialism is wrong.

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Bundokji
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Re: Solipsism

Post by Bundokji » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:09 am

Circle5 wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:41 am
Why is it a tiny one ?
Because there is a lot of evidence that other people have qualia. The way they react and interact. The way they express their feelings which is very similar to mine. If i am sure that i have a qualia, they way other people act implies that they have one, and yet, i don't have a first hand experience of their qualia, hence it remains a tiny possibility.
I don't know on any such paradoxes, can you name a few ? If it does have logically self-refuting claims (paradoxes) then that would mean Buddhism is wrong, same as the Church of the Flying Spaghete monster is wrong https://www.venganza.org/ or same as materialism is wrong.
The whole practice is paradoxical. On the one hand, we are told that the mind and the body are fragile, unstable and cannot be trusted, and on the other hand, we are asked to use them to attain liberation.

The idea of impermanence is inherently paradoxical, because it is in itself is impermanent (which makes impermanence permanent).

We are told that the wise control themselves, but we are also told that the mind and the body, ultimately, cannot be controlled.

The idea of Anata is paradoxical. We are told that there is a self, but this self is impermanent, while the idea of a self (by definition) implies that their is something permanent.

If all conditioned things are impermanent, then who is it that is going to get liberated. And how can a conditioned mind know the unconditioned "nibbana"? and what is it that going to get re-birthed (here i am talking about literal rebirth)?

Some Buddhist schools such as zen intentionally use paradoxes (koans). I have read once that the use of koans helps the mind "get out of its own ways" and to help the practitioner to "know that he does not know" preparing the mind to perceive the highest truth.
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

Circle5
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Re: Solipsism

Post by Circle5 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:10 am

Bundokji wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:09 am

The whole practice is paradoxical. On the one hand, we are told that the mind and the body are fragile, unstable and cannot be trusted, and on the other hand, we are asked to use them to attain liberation.
Warplanes from WW2 were also fragile, unstable and could not trusted, yet people still used them to achieve their goal with success. First cars that were invented were the same.
The idea of impermanence is inherently paradoxical, because it is in itself is impermanent (which makes impermanence permanent).
You're losing yourself in words. Impermanence is not an element, it is a characteristic, it is a property. Everything that exists is impermanent and everything that will ever exist will always be impermanent. It is a universal characteristic that aplies to all elements that exist or will ever exist. If you want do to some verbal jugglerly and say "impermanence is a permanent characteristic therefore it contradicts itself, cause characteristics are supposed to be impermanent too" - then you are just finding paradoxes through using verbal jugglerly. A property can only apply to elements not to the property itself.

You forgot the reason why words and language was invented in the first place. It was invented for the purpose of describing the word and communicating to one another, not for the purpose of losing ourselves in words. If I want to communicate to you that everything that existed, exists or will ever exists is impermanent, I will say "everything is impermanent" hoping you will get the idea I am trying to communicate, not doing verbal jugglerly like "oh but how about impermanence itself, does it apply to it too ?" - no, cause that is not something that exists so that it could have things apply to it, impermanence is a property of things that exist, not a thing that exists. That is what the word is meant to describe in english language.

If we would could communicate through sonar like dophins, sending images to one another similar to telephaty, then this kind of verbal jugglerly paradoxes would never happen. We would instead forget that those images are meant to communicate something and are not that something itself and we would then have problems losing ouselves in immage jugglerly instead of verbal jugglerly.
The idea of Anata is paradoxical. We are told that there is a self, but this self is impermanent, while the idea of a self (by definition) implies that their is something permanent.
Buddha said there never was a self. Show me where he said there is a self that is impermanent. The idea that there never was a self to begin with is the most fundamental teaching of the Buddha. This is what sets an enlightened teacher apart from other teachers. Even atheist believe there is a self that gets anihilated at death. Buddha was the only one in the world to claim that there never was a self to begin with and it was just a delusion, a simple opinion that there is a self. A wrong opinion that is one of the 3 fetters removed at stream entry.
If all conditioned things are impermanent, then who is it that is going to get liberated. And how can a conditioned mind know the unconditioned "nibbana"? and what is it that going to get re-birthed (here i am talking about literal rebirth)?
Nobody is going to be liberated. There was never a self to begin with. For example a computer is made out of plastic, metal, hardware, software etc. There is no self inside, no "self of the computer" - there is just the metal, the plastic, etc. In the same way, there is no self inside humans, there are just the 5 aggregates that make it up like in the case of a computer.

If a computer is destroyed, if the metal, plastic etc. - would disappear without a trace, with not even a molecule remaining of them: In that case, would it be correct to ask: "who has been vanished ? How can a conditioned computer know the unconditioned ? etc." - nope, there is no conditioned computer self knowing the unconditioned. There is just the metal, plastic etc. that have disappeared without reminder. There is no computer-self feeling anything, experiencing any unconditioning or etc. There never was a computer self, there always was just the plastic, the metal, etc. that are now no more. There is just nothing left whatsoever. So it is incorrect to ask "is the computer-self experiencing the unconditioned right now?" - nope, there is nothing left and there was never a computer-self to begin with.

As for who gets reborn, imagine taking a candle, then lighting up another candle with it and then ending the fire on the first candle. This flame of the new candle that is lightened up right now, the only one lightened up, is it the same flame or is it a different flame ? It is neither of the two. It is rather that conditioned by fire, by oxigen, by moving the candle, etc. the phenomenon described above took place. Picture it more like a chain of conditions, an uninterupted chain of conditions that goes on. This is why you can not answer the question of weather it is the same flame or a different flame.

There is also the story of the fisherman who believed it is the same consciousness that gets reborn and was scolded by the Buddha and other monks: https://suttacentral.net/en/mn38
Some Buddhist schools such as zen intentionally use paradoxes (koans). I have read once that the use of koans helps the mind "get out of its own ways" and to help the practitioner to "know that he does not know" preparing the mind to perceive the highest truth.
This has nothing to do with what the historical Buddha taught. The label "buddhist" has been used over time and continues to be used on so many ideas and practices that have nothing to do with what the historical Buddha taught and most of the times are contrary to that.

Circle5
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Re: Solipsism

Post by Circle5 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:16 am

Because there is a lot of evidence that other people have qualia. The way they react and interact. The way they express their feelings which is very similar to mine. If i am sure that i have a qualia, they way other people act implies that they have one, and yet, i don't have a first hand experience of their qualia, hence it remains a tiny possibility.
Why not just ignore all this evidence and take only 1 single piece of evidence as truth ? Why use all piece of evidence instead of using just a small piece of all the evidence that exists and start building a philosophy based on this small piece of truth, ignoring all other pieces of truths ? Why not do that ?

And speaking of evidence for refuting solipsism, the case was pretty much closed with the new discoveries in quantum physics. After the double slide experiment, all kinds of interpretations ranging from new age to solipsism to all kind of funky stuff appeared. But that is so outdated, we now have things like the double slit eraser experiment and many more variations of it.

To put it short: We now know that if there is a chair and nobody looks at it, if there is no consciousness perceiving it in that moment, that chair still exists, it is still there. Why ? Because there is the possibility for a consciousness perceiving it in the future. The existence of that possibility is causing the wave function to collapse. It is not consciousness being present at that moment that causes it to collapse, it is the possibility of it ever being present that is causing it to collapse. This is what we know today, therefore solipsism is refuted.

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Bundokji
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Re: Solipsism

Post by Bundokji » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:25 pm

Circle5 wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:10 am
Warplanes from WW2 were also fragile, unstable and could not trusted, yet people still used them to achieve their goal with success. First cars that were invented were the same.
Not sure if your analogy is relevant. You can use the conditioned to attain a conditioned goal, but to attain the unconditioned is where the paradox lies. How can we use something constantly changing to attain a changeless state.
You're losing yourself in words. Impermanence is not an element, it is a characteristic, it is a property. Everything that exists is impermanent and everything that will ever exist will always be impermanent. It is a universal characteristic that aplies to all elements that exist or will ever exist. If you want do to some verbal jugglerly and say "impermanence is a permanent characteristic therefore it contradicts itself, cause characteristics are supposed to be impermanent too" - then you are just finding paradoxes through using verbal jugglerly. A property can only apply to elements not to the property itself.

You forgot the reason why words and language was invented in the first place. It was invented for the purpose of describing the word and communicating to one another, not for the purpose of losing ourselves in words. If I want to communicate to you that everything that existed, exists or will ever exists is impermanent, I will say "everything is impermanent" hoping you will get the idea I am trying to communicate, not doing verbal jugglerly like "oh but how about impermanence itself, does it apply to it too ?" - no, cause that is not something that exists so that it could have things apply to it, impermanence is a property of things that exist, not a thing that exists. That is what the word is meant to describe in english language.

If we would could communicate through sonar like dophins, sending images to one another similar to telephaty, then this kind of verbal jugglerly paradoxes would never happen. We would instead forget that those images are meant to communicate something and are not that something itself and we would then have problems losing ouselves in immage jugglerly instead of verbal jugglerly.
A lot of assertions, with no substance. The idea of impermanence exists as any other idea evident by the fact that we are both using it and reaching different conclusions about it! If your assertion that it is a property of a thing that exists, but does not exist in itself, then how your mind is capable of understanding its meaning? If what you are describing is accurate, then the meaning of the word "impermanent" would have alluded you, would it not?

My point is quite simple and based on evidence of this very discussion. If the term impermanence means anything to you, that very meaning implies a separate existence in your mind, and it seems to have a meaning in your mind by the mere fact that you are arguing about it. Therefore, it can be a property of things that exists, and it also exists as a separate idea. In my reply to you in my previous post, i was quite clear:
The idea of impermanence is inherently paradoxical, because it is in itself is impermanent (which makes impermanence permanent).
So, instead of addressing my point, you denied the existence of impermanence as an idea claiming that it is only a property that applies to elements but not to property, shooting yourself in the foot in the process.

To be fair to you, i don't deny the accuracy of your claims, but with your attempt to avoid the simple fact that some truths cannot be put into words without falling into paradoxes.
Buddha said there never was a self. Show me where he said there is a self that is impermanent. The idea that there never was a self to begin with is the most fundamental teaching of the Buddha. This is what sets an enlightened teacher apart from other teachers. Even atheist believe there is a self that gets anihilated at death. Buddha was the only one in the world to claim that there never was a self to begin with and it was just a delusion, a simple opinion that there is a self. A wrong opinion that is one of the 3 fetters removed at stream entry.
Another half truth. May i share with you the following by Ven. Thanissaro:
The second mistaken inference is that, given the thoroughness with which the Buddha teaches not-self, one should draw the inference that there is no self. This inference is treated less explicitly in this discourse, although it is touched upon briefly in terms of what the Buddha teaches here and how he teaches.

In terms of what: He explicitly states he cannot envision a doctrine of self that, if clung to, would not lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair. He does not list all the possible doctrines of self included under this statement, but MN 2 provides at least a partial list:

I have a self... I have no self... It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self... or... This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will endure as long as eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

Thus the view "I have no self" is just as much a doctrine of self as the view "I have a self." Because the act of clinging involves what the Buddha calls "I-making" — the creation of a sense of self — if one were to cling to the view that there is no self, one would be creating a very subtle sense of self around that view (see AN 4.24). But, as he says, the Dhamma is taught for "the elimination of all view-positions, determinations, biases, inclinations, & obsessions; for the stilling of all fabrications; for the relinquishing of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Suffering arises due to believing in a self that is not subject to change. The view "i have no self" is equally invalid as per the above.

Nobody is going to be liberated. There was never a self to begin with. For example a computer is made out of plastic, metal, hardware, software etc. There is no self inside, no "self of the computer" - there is just the metal, the plastic, etc. In the same way, there is no self inside humans, there are just the 5 aggregates that make it up like in the case of a computer.

If a computer is destroyed, if the metal, plastic etc. - would disappear without a trace, with not even a molecule remaining of them: In that case, would it be correct to ask: "who has been vanished ? How can a conditioned computer know the unconditioned ? etc." - nope, there is no conditioned computer self knowing the unconditioned. There is just the metal, plastic etc. that have disappeared without reminder. There is no computer-self feeling anything, experiencing any unconditioning or etc. There never was a computer self, there always was just the plastic, the metal, etc. that are now no more. There is just nothing left whatsoever. So it is incorrect to ask "is the computer-self experiencing the unconditioned right now?" - nope, there is nothing left and there was never a computer-self to begin with.

As for who gets reborn, imagine taking a candle, then lighting up another candle with it and then ending the fire on the first candle. This flame of the new candle that is lightened up right now, the only one lightened up, is it the same flame or is it a different flame ? It is neither of the two. It is rather that conditioned by fire, by oxigen, by moving the candle, etc. the phenomenon described above took place. Picture it more like a chain of conditions, an uninterupted chain of conditions that goes on. This is why you can not answer the question of weather it is the same flame or a different flame.

There is also the story of the fisherman who believed it is the same consciousness that gets reborn and was scolded by the Buddha and other monks: https://suttacentral.net/en/mn38
The above is an over simplification. We can argue all day that there was never a self to begin with, and yet, suffering is real. Your computer analogy is a poor one and not really relevant. Computers does not seem to suffer, humans do. According to the teachings, the root cause of suffering is ignorance, and release is caused by insight, which is knowledge. Usually, knowledge is stored in the memory and retrieved for use when needed. Memory itself is unreliable. Also knowledge, by definition, implies time. You know something if you have seen it or experienced it before. If you see something or someone for the first time, you simply declare that you don't know it/him.

Due to the inseparability of knowledge from time and memory, the question rises: how can knowledge bring about a permanent state of peace? Even if you claim that this can be understood only in negative terms, that enlightenment is the disappearance of wrong views, this begs the question of how wrong views can disappear without replacing it with right views. Even if you say that by seeing the danger of this cycle, the cycle is ended, again, how knowledge (or its effects) either positive or negative can be permanent.

In relation to the candle and flame analogy, it serves to avoid the difficult question: which part of the aggregates that goes to the next life? By the way, i do have sympathy with the fisherman, because self consciousnesses seems to be pretty persistent, and if have to pick one of the aggregates to be reborn into a next life, it would be that.
This has nothing to do with what the historical Buddha taught. The label "buddhist" has been used over time and continues to be used on so many ideas and practices that have nothing to do with what the historical Buddha taught and most of the times are contrary to that.
That is an appeal to authority, which i happen to agree with, but for the sake of objective discussion, we will have to pretend to be neutral.
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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Re: Solipsism

Post by Bundokji » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:36 pm

Circle5 wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:16 am
Why not just ignore all this evidence and take only 1 single piece of evidence as truth ? Why use all piece of evidence instead of using just a small piece of all the evidence that exists and start building a philosophy based on this small piece of truth, ignoring all other pieces of truths ? Why not do that ?
Because this would not be objective!
And speaking of evidence for refuting solipsism, the case was pretty much closed with the new discoveries in quantum physics. After the double slide experiment, all kinds of interpretations ranging from new age to solipsism to all kind of funky stuff appeared. But that is so outdated, we now have things like the double slit eraser experiment and many more variations of it.

To put it short: We now know that if there is a chair and nobody looks at it, if there is no consciousness perceiving it in that moment, that chair still exists, it is still there. Why ? Because there is the possibility for a consciousness perceiving it in the future. The existence of that possibility is causing the wave function to collapse. It is not consciousness being present at that moment that causes it to collapse, it is the possibility of it ever being present that is causing it to collapse. This is what we know today, therefore solipsism is refuted.
I don't see how the above is a good refutation of solipsism, as your knowledge of the above is second hand. To put it simply: why all of the above is not a part of your fantasy?
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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Re: Solipsism

Post by Circle5 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:56 pm

Not sure if your analogy is relevant. You can use the conditioned to attain a conditioned goal, but to attain the unconditioned is where the paradox lies. How can we use something constantly changing to attain a changeless state.
This is why I keep saying we are losing ourselves in words.

To put things simple: There is a machine made out of different parts. All these parts are changing, same as the cells in the human body are changing. Every couple of years, all the cells are replaced with different ones, no cell is the same. These 5 aggregates are like a self-sustaining water fountain that recycles it's own water through an internal mechanism. It's build in such a way to be entirely self sustaining. One part of it conditiones another to work in a certain way, that part conditions another etc. It produces it's own fuel out of it's own waste and keeps existing and re-building itself.

At one point, the fuel is cut. The path through which the fuel is cut is entirely conditioned of course. For example abstaining from a tendency will cause that tendency to disappear. It's dissappearence is conditioned by abstaining. At one point, this self-sustaining machine cuts it's own fuel and there will be no more re-building of it. The parts that are still there will continue to exist for a small period but, since there is no more fuel, they will break down and disappear without reminder eventually. There will be nothing left, not a trace of any aggregates that make up that machine. There will simply be nothing.

And now I will ask you: Since all of the changing aggregates disappeared without reminder, is there anything changing left there ? Is it correct to say there is anything changing left ?
A lot of assertions, with no substance. The idea of impermanence exists as any other idea evident by the fact that we are both using it and reaching different conclusions about it! If your assertion that it is a property of a thing that exists, but does not exist in itself, then how your mind is capable of understanding its meaning? If what you are describing is accurate, then the meaning of the word "impermanent" would have alluded you, would it not?

My point is quite simple and based on evidence of this very discussion. If the term impermanence means anything to you, that very meaning implies a separate existence in your mind, and it seems to have a meaning in your mind by the mere fact that you are arguing about it. Therefore, it can be a property of things that exists, and it also exists as a separate idea. In my reply to you in my previous post, i was quite clear:
But here you are making a confusion. There exists impermanence as a property of things out there in the world and there exists the idea of impermanence in my mind, which is simple thought. This thought, this concept that exists in my mind is indeed an element, but it is not impermanence itself, it is simply a thought, a concept. It belongs in the category of concepts. And of course the existence of this concept in my mind is impermanent. If I die, this concept that exists today in my mind will exist no more. When I was a baby it didn't exist. etc.

There are 2 idea here, one of them is correct one false:

1) The concept of impermanence in my mind is indeed impermanent. - this is correct
2) Impermanence in itself being impermanent, therefore having the property of changing into something permanent is a stupidity. Impermanence is not a thing in itself having properties of it's own, it is a property.

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Re: Solipsism

Post by Circle5 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:14 pm

Suffering arises due to believing in a self that is not subject to change. The view "i have no self" is equally invalid as per the above.
If you say "I have no self" you are already claiming you have a self that has no self. The correct statement is "there is no self".

And suffering does not arise beacause of believing in a self that is not subject to change. That might be a distant cause, such as saying "this car works this way because some people assembled it like this 5 years ago in the factory", while the proximate cause has to do with the steering wheel moving the wheels, the electromotor conditioning the electricity, the lights etc. If Buddha would be hit by a rock, suffering would arrise in him despite not believing in a self not subject to change. Belief in a self + craving are the 2 distant causes that keep the wheel spinning. The proximate cause is a rock hitting you.

Due to the inseparability of knowledge from time and memory, the question rises: how can knowledge bring about a permanent state of peace? Even if you claim that this can be understood only in negative terms, that enlightenment is the disappearance of wrong views, this begs the question of how wrong views can disappear without replacing it with right views. Even if you say that by seeing the danger of this cycle, the cycle is ended, again, how knowledge (or its effects) either positive or negative can be permanent.

In relation to the candle and flame analogy, it serves to avoid the difficult question: which part of the aggregates that goes to the next life? By the way, i do have sympathy with the fisherman, because self consciousnesses seems to be pretty persistent, and if have to pick one of the aggregates to be reborn into a next life, it would be that.
The above is an over simplification. We can argue all day that there was never a self to begin with, and yet, suffering is real. Your computer analogy is a poor one and not really relevant. Computers does not seem to suffer, humans do. According to the teachings, the root cause of suffering is ignorance, and release is caused by insight, which is knowledge. Usually, knowledge is stored in the memory and retrieved for use when needed. Memory itself is unreliable.
Then I will give you a much, much better analogy. Take for example animals. Only 5 animals have a view of a self. Also, babies do not have a view of a self.

Take 5 minutes (I said 5 minutes, not 5 seconds) to contemplate how things work inside such an organism. There is no-one suffering, there is just suffering that arrises. When contacted by an unpleasant stimulus, inside this organism there does not arise the "I am suffering" perception. Instead, it is just suffering itself that arises.

This suffering that arises is just like a window poping up on a computer, or the smoke eliminated by a car. There is no self of the car eliminating smoke, there is just the smoke eliminated due to the conditioned process going on inside the car. In the same way, for most animals and baby humans, there is just suffering that arises, there is no "I am suffering" distorted perception to arise.

In adult humans and some animals, when that organism is contacted by an unpleasant stimulus, instead of bare suffering arises, we now have a perception arising. This perception that arises is "I am suffering". This perception that arises is also a bare perception, a perception that arrised entirely conditioned (by being human, by not understanding the higher dhamma, etc).

The stimulus that caused the perception "I am suffering" to appear is impermanent. The perception itself "I am suffering" is impermanent too. That perception is not yourself. It is just like a window popping up on a computer or like the smoke eliminated by a car.

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Re: Solipsism

Post by Bundokji » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:17 pm

Circle5 wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:56 pm
This is why I keep saying we are losing ourselves in words.
This is what you seem to be doing, which is a bit unfortunate. Let us examine your input.
To put things simple: There is a machine made out of different parts. All these parts are changing, same as the cells in the human body are changing. Every couple of years, all the cells are replaced with different ones, no cell is the same. These 5 aggregates are like a self-sustaining water fountain that recycles it's own water through an internal mechanism. It's build in such a way to be entirely self sustaining. One part of it conditiones another to work in a certain way, that part conditions another etc. It produces it's own fuel out of it's own waste and keeps existing and re-building itself.
To avoid the paradox, you decided to throw the whole of the teachings into the garbage bin. You came with the idea of "self sustaining" while the conditioned, by definition, has no independent existence. For example, for the body to continue functioning, it needs air, food, liquids, certain temperature ..etc and if you cut those, the aggregates will no longer function, so the idea that there is a "thing" that sustains itself is clearly false. In fact, what you are presenting here seems to be self view, the very thing the Buddha tried to eliminate.
At one point, the fuel is cut. The path through which the fuel is cut is entirely conditioned of course. For example abstaining from a tendency will cause that tendency to disappear. It's dissappearence is conditioned by abstaining. At one point, this self-sustaining machine cuts it's own fuel and there will be no more re-building of it. The parts that are still there will continue to exist for a small period but, since there is no more fuel, they will break down and disappear without reminder eventually. There will be nothing left, not a trace of any aggregates that make up that machine. There will simply be nothing.
Imagine yourself driving your car, and you run out of fuel, the car will no longer functions because one of the necessary conditions for the car to function is absent, but this absence in itself is a condition that can be restored. You can always go to the gas station and refill your tank. Also, to abstain from a tendency, in the conditioned world, can only happen by an opposite tendency, which will also be conditioned.
And now I will ask you: Since all of the changing aggregates disappeared without reminder, is there anything changing left there ? Is it correct to say there is anything changing left ?
Where did you get the idea that the aggregates disappear? After his enlightenment, his body remained intact, the Buddha remained conscious, he experienced pain, and he communicated with other people.
But here you are making a confusion. There exists impermanence as a property of things out there in the world and there exists the idea of impermanence in my mind, which is simple thought. This thought, this concept that exists in my mind is indeed an element, but it is not impermanence itself, it is simply a thought, a concept. It belongs in the category of concepts. And of course the existence of this concept in my mind is impermanent. If I die, this concept that exists today in my mind will exist no more. When I was a baby it didn't exist. etc.

There are 2 idea here, one of them is correct one false:

1) The concept of impermanence in my mind is indeed impermanent. - this is correct
2) Impermanence in itself being impermanent, therefore having the property of changing into something permanent is a stupidity. Impermanence is not a thing in itself having properties of it's own, it is a property.
Are you implying that there is something "mind independent" in Buddhism? because this would be the only way to justify your distinction between "the concept of impermanence as an idea" and "impermanence as a characteristic". To put it differently, is there a world without an idea? and if there is one, how do know it? is it not through ideas?
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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Re: Solipsism

Post by Circle5 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:35 pm

To avoid the paradox, you decided to throw the whole of the teachings into the garbage bin. You came with the idea of "self sustaining" while the conditioned, by definition, has no independent existence. For example, for the body to continue functioning, it needs air, food, liquids, certain temperature ..etc and if you cut those, the aggregates will no longer function, so the idea that there is a "thing" that sustains itself is clearly false. In fact, what you are presenting here seems to be self view, the very thing the Buddha tried to eliminate.
Neither of us is a native english speaker. When I said "self-sustaining", I don't mean it to have anything to do with a "self". I meant it like a self-sustaining watter fountain, like the water is recicled and reused and sustains itself with no output from the outside. I mean it in the sense of a "self-sustaining eco system" - not in the sense of "a system that sustains a self".

There is no self inside the water fountain, there is just a selfless process happening due to conditions, due to the way the water fountain is assembled. There is no "water fountain-self" that is self-sustaining itself. It's just a selfless process, a selfless machine, with it's parts being recycled and transformed into something else. As selfless as a computer.
Imagine yourself driving your car, and you run out of fuel, the car will no longer functions because one of the necessary conditions for the car to function is absent, but this absence in itself is a condition that can be restored. You can always go to the gas station and refill your tank. Also, to abstain from a tendency, in the conditioned world, can only happen by an opposite tendency, which will also be conditioned.
This is why jhana itself is not enough. A simple temporary removal of fuel is not enough. That would be like blocking the water for 5 minutes in the self-sustaining water fountain. What needs to be done is to cut that at the root, to cut the source of the fuel, to make it "like a palm stump" that can never grow back.
Where did you get the idea that the aggregates disappear? After his enlightenment, his body remained intact, the Buddha remained conscious, he experienced pain, and he communicated with other people.
I said they will continue to exist for a small amount of time and only then break up and disappear without reminder. For them to disappear without reminder paranibanna is needed.
Are you implying that there is something "mind independent" in Buddhism? because this would be the only way to justify your distinction between "the concept of impermanence as an idea" and "impermanence as a characteristic". To put it differently, is there a world without an idea? and if there is one, how do know it? is it not through ideas?
The computer in front of you is one thing. The concept of "computer" that you have is another thing.
Impermanence "out there" is one thing (a property of things), the concept of impermanence in your mind is another.

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Re: Solipsism

Post by Bundokji » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:51 pm

Circle5 wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:14 pm
If you say "I have no self" you are already claiming you have a self that has no self. The correct statement is "there is no self".
I agree, and yet, self view is usually present in the unenlightened mind even if it does not explicitly express itself as "I"
And suffering does not arise beacause of believing in a self that is not subject to change. That might be a distant cause, such as saying "this car works this way because some people assembled it like this 5 years ago in the factory", while the proximate cause has to do with the steering wheel moving the wheels, the electromotor conditioning the electricity, the lights etc. If Buddha would be hit by a rock, suffering would arrise in him despite not believing in a self not subject to change. Belief in a self + craving are the 2 distant causes that keep the wheel spinning. The proximate cause is a rock hitting you.
Just a point to clarify which i think you already know that the difference between pain and suffering is important. Getting hit by a rock causes physical pain in both the enlightened and the fool, but the only difference is that in the enlightened mind, pain does not become suffering.

The belief in a self not subject to change is by definition self view.
Then I will give you a much, much better analogy. Take for example animals. Only 5 animals have a view of a self. Also, babies do not have a view of a self.

Take 5 minutes (I said 5 minutes, not 5 seconds) to contemplate how things work inside such an organism. There is no-one suffering, there is just suffering that arrises. When contacted by an unpleasant stimulus, inside this organism there does not arise the "I am suffering" perception. Instead, it is just suffering itself that arises.

This suffering that arises is just like a window poping up on a computer, or the smoke eliminated by a car. There is no self of the car eliminating smoke, there is just the smoke eliminated due to the conditioned process going on inside the car. In the same way, for most animals and baby humans, there is just suffering that arises, there is no "I am suffering" distorted perception to arise.

In adult humans and some animals, when that organism is contacted by an unpleasant stimulus, instead of bare suffering arises, we now have a perception arising. This perception that arises is "I am suffering". This perception that arises is also a bare perception, a perception that arrised entirely conditioned (by being human, by not understanding the higher dhamma, etc).

The stimulus that caused the perception "I am suffering" to appear is impermanent. The perception itself "I am suffering" is impermanent too. That perception is not yourself. It is just like a window popping up on a computer or like the smoke eliminated by a car.
I fail to see how all of the above answers the points i raised about knowledge and memory, or how a conditioned mind and body can be a solution to the problem of suffering.
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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Re: Solipsism

Post by Bundokji » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:22 am

Circle5 wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:35 pm
There is no self inside the water fountain, there is just a selfless process happening due to conditions, due to the way the water fountain is assembled. There is no "water fountain-self" that is self-sustaining itself. It's just a selfless process, a selfless machine, with it's parts being recycled and transformed into something else. As selfless as a computer.
That the process itself is selfless is something i agree with, but the conclusions you are building on it can be misleading. The process might be itself selfless but it manifests itself as a self, and that does not make the self any less real. The self is what we know regardless of how it came about, and what we know is what shapes our state of mind.

Just think if i lie to you and tell you that one of your relatives passed away. If you believe me, you will suffer, regardless if the knowledge i put in your mind corresponds to reality or not. The opposite can be true, if one of your relatives passed away and you don't know about it you wont suffer.

The self precedes all knowledge, without it, knowledge as we know it seems impossible, and this is where the paradox lies. In the practice, we are suppose to have knowledge that eliminates self view, but knowledge itself begets self view. And everything you have been saying so far serves only to avoid the paradox instead of acknowledging it.
Are you implying that there is something "mind independent" in Buddhism? because this would be the only way to justify your distinction between "the concept of impermanence as an idea" and "impermanence as a characteristic". To put it differently, is there a world without an idea? and if there is one, how do know it? is it not through ideas?
The computer in front of you is one thing. The concept of "computer" that you have is another thing.
Impermanence "out there" is one thing (a property of things), the concept of impermanence in your mind is another.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but you left me with no choice but to repeat my questions:

1- Are you implying that there is something "mind independent" in Buddhism?
The Blessed One said: "And what is the origination of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. This is the origination of the world.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

2- To put it differently, is there a world without an idea? and if there is one, how do we know it? is it not through ideas?

Is not the very distinction between impermanence as a characteristic and as a concept in the mind, is merely another idea?
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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Re: Solipsism

Post by Circle5 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:02 am

That the process itself is selfless is something i agree with, but the conclusions you are building on it can be misleading. The process might be itself selfless but it manifests itself as a self, and that does not make the self any less real. The self is what we know regardless of how it came about, and what we know is what shapes our state of mind.

Just think if i lie to you and tell you that one of your relatives passed away. If you believe me, you will suffer, regardless if the knowledge i put in your mind corresponds to reality or not. The opposite can be true, if one of your relatives passed away and you don't know about it you wont suffer.

The self precedes all knowledge, without it, knowledge as we know it seems impossible, and this is where the paradox lies. In the practice, we are suppose to have knowledge that eliminates self view, but knowledge itself begets self view. And everything you have been saying so far serves only to avoid the paradox instead of acknowledging it.
There is a little trick. If there would be no little trick, everybody would know it already or get it by themselves somehow with no need for the long, 1500 pag of higher dhamma present in SN. (chapter 2,3, and half of chapter 4) If the little trick would be super short and easy to explain in 1 message, all would have eliminated self-view already. To understand this little trick, it takes some long reading and some long contemplation, it takes looking at things from a different angle, an angle one has not looked from before. By looking from the same angle, things will look just like before and there will be no insight arising. The little trick can't simply be told directly, it first requires one to see conditionality in every detail, it requires the understanding in detail of how the aggregates work, etc. There would not be 1500 pag of higher dhamma if only a single page could do it. If we look in the suttas, most people did it in a couple of days but some took months to do, and that was with a wise man like the Buddha explaining it in person.

But to try to answer ur questions and hint at the little trick: No, there is nothing matifesting itself as a self. There really was never any self to begin with, just the opinion that there is a self. A simple opinion, a wrong opinion same as "the world is flat". The argument that "the world is flat is the only thing we ever knew so we might as well go along like the world would really be flat. For us, the world is flat, regardless of how that came about and what we know shapes our state of mind" - this kind of argument is not a good one.

There is no self preceding all knowledge, same as there is no self of a computer preceding all knowledge avaliable to the computer. There is simply knowledge without a self behind it, same as in the example with animals and babies where there is just suffering arising with no-one suffering. There exists knowledge in computers, in animals, in babies without a self behind it all, same for adult humans only that there is a distorted perception making it look like there is a self.

Imagine this situation: There is an computer/machine/organism made out of different aggregates, be it metal or plastic, perception or form, etc. It is as selfless as a computer, empty of a self just like a machine. There are just the things that make it up but no self inside. It's made out of 5 aggregates: form, feeling, perception, volition, consciousness - these are like the metal and plastic and software of a computer. The software of a computer is something immaterial, but still it is a simple element making it up. In the same way, consciousness or perception is something immaterial, but it's just an element part of the selfless machine.

But because of the way these aggregates are assembled, there might arise a particular point a perception. At 22:47, there might arise the perception, the feeling that "I am suffering" or "I am happy" or "this is me, this is mine" etc. etc. etc. In a selfless machine, a particular feeling/thought/perception arises at 22:47 due to conditions, same as an antivirus alert window might pup up on a computer due to conditions at 22:47.

Because there is lack of knowledge in the machine, lack of information, this feeling that arises at 22:47 causes another thought to arise. Since there appeared the feeling that "I am suffering" at 22:47, conditioned by this feeling, there will appear the thought "this means that there is a self, otherwise why would such a feeling appear ? If there would be no self, how could such a feeling that there is a self appear ?". This is a natural reaction, a natural development for the machine because there simply is no better information inside it. If there would be better information, this thought would not appear. But, with the information the machine has at the moment, this is the only output the machine can give to such a phenomenon arising, it's the only thing that makes sense with so little information avaliable to the machine, the only conclusion it can draw.

Based on conditions, a feeling/thought/perception might appear at 22:47 --- "I am suffering" or "I am happy". This then goes on to condition the arising of another thought that "there is a self, otherwise why would this feeling that there is one appear ?". The conditions that gave rise to that feeling are impermanent, they can not be self. The feeling that arised at 22:47 is itself impermanent, that feeling can not be oneself. The thought that there is a self arising 2 minutes later is also impermanent, it can not be self. There is no self in them, there is no self beneath them, there is no self watching them all. There are just these feelings, thoughts, perceptions arising depending on conditions same as a window pops up on a computer due to the software, to the hardware that sustains the software, etc.

But why did this feeling that "I am suffering, I am happy, etc." arise in the first place if there is no self ? What is the condition for that ? Well the condition is conceit. The existence of the conceit tendency is conditioning such a feeling to arise, and then this feeling goes on to give rise to the opinion that there is a self. What is happening at that moment at 22:47 is a meeting of many conditions (necessary human inteligence, reading something about that idea somewhere on the internet at 22:46, etc.) + the tendency for conceit existing in that machine. The meeting of all these is causing that feeling to arise. The lack of information about why that feeling actually arose at 22:47 is causing the opinion that there is a self to arrise at 22:49.

In a machine, there might be a tendency toward pleasure, or laziness, or anger etc. developed over time in the past. The existence of this might cause a certain reaction when met with a certain stimulus. In the same way, the existence of conceit and the existence of ignorance (lack of infomation) will cause a certain reaction in the machine when a certain stimulus will appear. What this tendency for conceit is, is a little hard to perfectly explain. It is a tendency same as the tendency for anger, laziness etc.

All this explanation is very technical and not too helpful at all. Buddha did not explain things like this, he explained in a way leading the person to see this, he explained from a certain angle, making the person look from a suitable angle. And he was also very good at doing this. For example he kept repeating how "this is impermanent, this is impermanent" or repeating things about conditionality. He would have written that about 10 times if writing a post like this. It's not to make the person know they are impermanent, cause the person probably knew already and did not need it repeated 100 times from 100 different angles. But contemplating things from every one of those angles, contemplating conditionality of every little thing, impermanence of every little thing from every little angle of looking etc. - this is what leads to person to see it. That is actually what makes one see it much better than technical explanations which are present too in the higher dhamma but they are not the only thing written in there. And this is why the higher dhamma section has 1500 pag and nothing there is repetitive. It just takes contemplating the things written in there, contemplating from all those angles until "evrika". The little trick is not necessarily rocket science in terms of difficulty, it just that it takes contemplation from angles one has not looked from before. The trick is not because of difficulty, the trick is because being about feelings/perceptions/thoughts etc. - it's tricky because it requires a certain angle of contemplating it. The problem comes from a distorted perception and lack of information.

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Re: Solipsism

Post by Bundokji » Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:13 am

In this conversation with you, i tried to focus on knowledge because it is related to the topic of the OP, and provided reasons to show why knowledge as we know it cannot lead to the end of suffering. You on the other hand decided to share your understanding of suffering and self view, but not addressing directly the points i raised nor showing why the Dhamma is not paradoxical, which is fine.

It is said that the knowledge of the Dhamma is associated with the arising of the Dhamma Eye (whatever that means), which implies, at least to my mind, that the knowledge of the Dhamma is mystical, different from worldly knowledge.
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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Re: Solipsism

Post by Circle5 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:24 am

Bundokji wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:13 am
In this conversation with you, i tried to focus on knowledge because it is related to the topic of the OP, and provided reasons to show why knowledge as we know it cannot lead to the end of suffering. You on the other hand decided to share your understanding of suffering and self view, but not addressing directly the points i raised nor showing why the Dhamma is not paradoxical, which is fine.

It is said that the knowledge of the Dhamma is associated with the arising of the Dhamma Eye (whatever that means), which implies, at least to my mind, that the knowledge of the Dhamma is mystical, different from worldly knowledge.
The arrising of the dhamma eye is about seeing conditionality, patticasamupata, etc. - it's the arising of the scientist eye, the eye that sees cause and effect and understands how things work.

But I understand what your question actually is, cause you also said this:
2- To put it differently, is there a world without an idea? and if there is one, how do we know it? is it not through ideas?

Is not the very distinction between impermanence as a characteristic and as a concept in the mind, is merely another idea?
Well what is knowledge ? Knowledge means the result of information + the ability to process that information. For example a computer with no anti-virus installed will not detect a virus. The information is there, but there is no ability to process it. In a computer with an antivirus installed it will be detected and cause the computer to behave in a different way. It will cause the arising of a certain knowledge inside that computer.

I know the point where you are trying to get, the point that I have indeed forgot to address is about the relationship between this and solipsism. It is one of the classic arguments for solipsism that was indeed not addressed yet.

Well, let's take the same example with the computer and use it here too. So there is the knowledge of a virus being present when the antivirus is installed, but there is no knowledge of that virus being there when it is not installed. Is the virus still there ? Will the virus still cause damage even if there is no knowledge of it ? Of course it will, cause it's existence is independent of weather knowledge about it exists or not.

And it is the same for humans. Thorough using the same logic as the above, we can disprove solipsism. For example if everybody believes the world is flat, does that make the world really be flat ? If one of these flat-earthers would sail a ship, would that ship behave like on a flat earth or like on a round one ? Their perception aggregate is one thing, the form aggregate is another thing. Regardless of their perception, the form aggregate will behave independent of their perception. The world laws will work the same regardless of their perception.

This is also confirmed by the Buddha who said "weather there is knowledge about the dhamma (the way the world works) or there is no knowledge of the dhamma, the world will still behave the same way" and "weather there is a Buddha proclaiming the world or not, the world will still work the same way". If i remember correctly it's even called "the fixed course of the dhamma".


What solipsism does is claiming form comes from perception and claiming there is only a one-way conditionality going on between perception and form. It is similar to materialism which claims the same thing only in reverse, it claims form gives rise to perception and that the only conditionality going on is a one way conditionality, from form to perception and not the other way around.

Things are simply not like this. Neuroplasticity disproves the kind of conditionality materialism claims exists. The fact that if you lose half your brain the perceptions that will arise will be different disproves the kind of conditionality solipsism claims exists. Solipsism simply got wrong the kind of conditionality that exists between the 5 aggregates.

Circle5
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Re: Solipsism

Post by Circle5 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:07 am

And to make sure solipsism is dead and burried, there is also this last classical argument for it that needs to be adressed. The one you spoke about here:
is that my own consciousness and experience is all that i can be sure of
Well first, there is no you knowing that, there is just knowledge arising. Same as in the example with animals or babies, there is just bare knowledge that arises.

And now let's look at this knowledge. Out of what is it made ? Like any knowledge, it's made out of 1) information + 2) ability to process.

This information you are getting comes through the 6 senses. The 6th sense in Buddhism is "mind" - it is the very ability to process and make sense of information.

What this classical argument is claiming is that only bare information coming from the 5 sense is reliable and the ability to process that information is unreliable and therefore "I can never be sure of it". This is wrong because even that bare information coming from the 5 senses is useless without ability to process it. A mentally retarded person will not make too much sense of that information. Even that knowledge is based on information + ability to process, not on information alone as the classical argument is implying.

Therefore there is no difference in terms of value between what the classical argument claims is "things that can be known for sure" and "things that can't be known for sure" since both are based on information + ability to process. It is therefore an invalid attack against logic/ability to process. It is a false dichotomy.

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