Did the Buddha teach we have choice? (aka The Great Free Will v Determinism Debate)

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
alan
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by alan » Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:36 am

Agreed. In this case, the comic is known to be a joker. No need to pay attention.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:39 am

alan wrote:Agreed. In this case, the comic is known to be a joker. No need to pay attention.
I am a moderator; I am supposed to pay attention.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Hanzze
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by Hanzze » Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:41 am

Was something wrong? Just to help a comic figure... :-)
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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tiltbillings
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:49 am

Hanzze wrote:Was something wrong? Just to help a comic figure... :-)
Relax. Nothing is wrong. I did not understand your msg above, but it is no big deal.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Hanzze
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by Hanzze » Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:55 am

I admirer your sovereignty tiltbillings. Changing from a fox to a smart mouse. :twothumbsup:
I call you the greatest teacher her on board! That is like all the time, said honest!
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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mikenz66
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:41 am

retrofuturist wrote: No one is arguing in favour of an agent.
Not in the sense of a separate soul, but "agent" was the technical term used in the paper I and others quoted:
http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/3142/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Although the Buddha denied ultimate agency—the singular point from which soul
ultimately controls the body—he acknowledged moral choice and personal retribution.
The agent in this case is nothing but a collection of physical and mental processes,
but as such it can still choose what to do.
:anjali:
Mike

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Hanzze
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by Hanzze » Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:49 am

So study Buddhism is nothing else than to bring down a real peaceful democracy into the collections of all particles and influences one consist of. So we can call it "personal" Democratism.
Maybe someone can translate it, I guess my lack of language is real comic *haha*
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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robertk
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by robertk » Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:49 am

tiltbillings wrote:That is playing with words. If there is no person, then there is no practice.
Actually there is not and never was any person. There is however dukkha and the path leading to the ending of dukkha.

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Hanzze
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by Hanzze » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:00 am

Dear robertk,
Good quote! But do dukkha have a choice to end it? :-)
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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robertk
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by robertk » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:12 am

________
I wrote this a while back based on the Dhammapada: The Buddha said (my translation): 279:
"Sabbe dhamma anattati, yada paaya passati; atha nibbindati dukkhe, esa maggo visuddhiya"ti."

All dhammas are not-self: when one sees this with insight then one is detached (or disenchanted, nibbindati) from dukkha, This is the Path (magga)to Purity (visuddhi
).

The commentary says:

Tattha sabbe dhammati paakkhandha eva adhippeta.

Here(tattha)by all (sabbe) phenomena (dhammati), five aggregates (pancakkhandha) is meant (adhippeta).

Anattati "ma jiyantu ma miyantu"ti vase vattetum na sakkati
avasavattanatthena anatta attasua assamika anissarati attho.

Are not-self (anattati) because Birth(jiyantu), decay and death (miyantu) are not able to have power exercised over them (vase vattetum na). In the sense of powerlessness (avasavattanatthena) anatta, void of self (attasu~n~na).

RobertK

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Hanzze
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by Hanzze » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:17 am

Dear robertk,

so does that insight comes by it self or is it forced/choose? Or is dukkha insight?
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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tiltbillings
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:17 am

robertk wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:That is playing with words. If there is no person, then there is no practice.
Actually there is not and never was any person. There is however dukkha and the path leading to the ending of dukkha.
Not quite true. For us unawakened folk there is a self with which we have to contend which does not completely go away until we are fully awakened. Even a mirage has a reality that may need to be dealt with. Also, practice and suffering have no essence.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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tiltbillings
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:19 am

Hanzze wrote:Dear robertk,

so does that insight comes by it self or is it forced/choose? Or is dukkha insight?
Or may be inisight arises as a result of conditioning brought about by the choices we make. That is what the Buddha taught.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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robertk
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by robertk » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:21 am

"
Because the functions of the elements give rise to the concepts of continuity, collection and form, the ideas arise:

1. the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed, and

2. the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion and this leads to the subsequent ideas

3. "I can perform" and 4) "I can feel"

Thus these four imaginary characteristic functions of being have bought about a deep-rooted belief in their existence.

This is from the preface to the book of elements in the abhidhamma pitaka

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tiltbillings
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:28 am

robertk wrote:"
Because the functions of the elements give rise to the concepts of continuity, collection and form, the ideas arise:

1. the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed, and

2. the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion and this leads to the subsequent ideas

3. "I can perform" and 4) "I can feel"

Thus these four imaginary characteristic functions of being have bought about a deep-rooted belief in their existence.

This is from the preface to the book of elements in the abhidhamma pitaka
There you go. The self that has to be dealt with until we are awakened. Cannot wish it away, but must see into its nature via vipassana.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Hanzze
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by Hanzze » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:59 am

*dancing the monkey dance*
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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tiltbillings
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:03 am

The monkey needs to calm itself down, though according to Alex, that is impossible.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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tiltbillings
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:07 am

Alex123 wrote:Hi Mike, all,
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alex,
I'm not sure exactly who or what you are still arguing with.
:anjali:
Mike
Idea of an Agent, and idea of free choice that is done (by what amounts to being an Agent).


With metta,

Alex
Geez, Alex, the Buddha did not teach the idea of an unconditioned - in absolute control - “Agent” thingie, nor did he teach free - unconditioned - choice.

As for the issue of control, Geoff neatly responded to it:

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 20#p100052" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Your response, as usual, missed what Geoff said and went off on a tangent, which is a favorite tactic of yours for not directly addressing a response to something you said.

The issue of control of the khandhas has been directly addressed in the other thread, which you then tried to side step. There are aspects of the khandhas that are out of our control - the fact that there is change is the primary one. One cannot will or wish away change. Nor can one wish or will away ignorance, because that would run against the conditioned nature of the khandhas. All the examples the Buddha gave in terms of control based upon an unconditioned Atman/Self thingie and are examples that run against the truth of anicca and conditionality.

On the other hand the Buddha was quite direct about what we can do when we choose to work within laws conditionality, as the Buddha discovered them and taught:

Dhp 375. Control of the senses [indriyagutti], contentment, restraint according to the code of monastic discipline — these form the basis of holy life here for the wise monk.

Unlike the “control” based upon the assumption of a permanent Atman/Self thingie and rejected by the Buddha, there is nothing in the control of the senses, as the Buddha taught, that is outside of the Buddha’s teachings of conditionality.
He keeps watch over his faculty of sight and he attains to mastery over it. - DN I 70.

Dhp 362. He who has control over his hands, feet and tongue; who is fully controlled, delights in inward development, is absorbed in meditation, keeps to himself and is contented — him do people call a monk.

363. That monk who has control over his tongue, is moderate in speech, unassuming and who explains the Teaching in both letter and spirit — whatever he says is pleasing.

364. The monk who abides in the Dhamma, delights in the Dhamma, meditates on the Dhamma, and bears the Dhamma well in mind — he does not fall away from the sublime Dhamma.
All of this is clearly grounded in direct action - choices - taken by the monk.
Dhp 157. If one holds oneself dear, one should diligently watch oneself. Let the wise man keep vigil during any of the three watches of the night.

158. One should first establish oneself in what is proper; then only should one instruct others. Thus the wise man will not be reproached.

160. One truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be? With oneself fully controlled, one gains a mastery that is hard to gain.

165. By oneself is evil done; by oneself is one defiled. By oneself is evil left undone; by oneself is one made pure. Purity and impurity depended on oneself; no one can purify another.

166. Let one not neglect one's own welfare for the sake of another, however great. Clearly understanding one's own welfare, let one be intent upon the good.
And here, without recourse to an unchanging Atman/Self thingie, we have direct action grounded in choice being clearly taught by the Buddha. It is what one does that matters. If one does this . . .; one should do that . . . ; by one’s self is an action done. There is not a thing here that suggests that it is just all mechanical causation.

Because we are not enmeshed in a mechanical causality where no choice is possible, rather because we find ourselves in a dynamic flow of conditionality, how we choose to act is what is central to the Path: "This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond." - SN I, 38.

If we were dealing with mechanical causality, we would be dealing with essences, atmans/attas, which would be the only basis for a total invariability of a mechanical causality. It would be, as the Buddha stated, falling “ back on what was done in the past as being essential” {AN 3.61}. The Buddha, on the other hand, taught conditionality, which does not require self-existence, does not require falling “ back on what was done in the past as being essential”. This is clearly seen in the pivotal Kaccaayanagotto Sutta. Conditionality is open to the possibility of the alteration of the conditions by the conditioning influence of choice - kamma, intended action. Otherwise, what would be the point of the Buddha’s teachings? If the core of the Buddha’s teachings were just mechanical causality, the Path would be a lie. There would be no way to attain it and the Buddha’s exhortations, as quoted above, would be a lie because there would be no way to act on them.

“From the arising of this comes the arising of that.”
“From the arising of choice comes the arising of choosing.”
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Hanzze
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by Hanzze » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:12 am

The monkey needs to calm itself down, though according to Alex, that is impossible.
Yes sir :-) As we have now the choice to do vipassana, I thought it would be nice to honore all beings which teaches and lead us to vipassana! Not wast your merits, you had much that you could came in touch with it. Uncountable beings will not have it in there lifes.

_/\_
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Kim OHara
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Post by Kim OHara » Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:01 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Strict determinism rules out free will.
The Buddha taught us to *choose* between skillful and unskillful actions.
Therefore the Buddha did not teach strict determinism.
... I think.
:namaste:
Kim
tiltbillings wrote:Conditionality is open to the possibility of the alteration of the conditions by the conditioning influence of choice - kamma, intended action. Otherwise, what would be the point of the Buddha’s teachings? If the core of the Buddha’s teachings were just mechanical causality, the Path would be a lie. There would be no way to attain it and the Buddha’s exhortations, as quoted above, would be a lie because there would be no way to act on them.
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:namaste:
Kim

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