Is Theravada "Realist"?

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retrofuturist
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Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:46 am

Greetings,

Friends, is Theravada Realist? If so, in what form?

To start with, here's a definition from our friends at Wikipedia...

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Realism, Realist or Realistic are terms that describe any manifestation of philosophical realism, the belief that reality exists independently of observers, whether in philosophy itself or in the applied arts and sciences. In this broad sense it is frequently contrasted with Idealism.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_realism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Contemporary philosophical realism is the belief that our reality, or some aspect of it, is ontologically independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc. Realism may be spoken of with respect to other minds, the past, the future, universals, mathematical entities (such as natural numbers), moral categories, the material world, or even thought. Realism can also be promoted in an unqualified sense, in which case it asserts the mind-independent existence of a visible world, as opposed to idealism, skepticism and solipsism. Philosophers who profess realism also typically believe that truth consists in a belief's correspondence to reality.

Realists tend to believe that whatever we believe now is only an approximation of reality and that every new observation brings us closer to understanding reality. In its Kantian sense, realism is contrasted with idealism. In a contemporary sense, realism is contrasted with anti-realism, primarily in the philosophy of science
Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:50 am

No. It is nominalist: The doctrine holding that abstract concepts, general terms, or universals have no independent existence but exist only as names.
>> 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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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:52 am

Greetings Tilt,
No. It is nominalist: The doctrine holding that abstract concepts, general terms, or universals have no independent existence but exist only as names.
Does Theravada hold that these "abstract concepts, general terms, or universals" point to a "reality, or some aspect of it, [that] is ontologically independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc"?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:55 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
No. It is nominalist: The doctrine holding that abstract concepts, general terms, or universals have no independent existence but exist only as names.
Does Theravada hold that these "abstract concepts, general terms, or universals" point to a "reality, or some aspect of it, [that] is ontologically independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc"?Metta,
Retro. :)
There is no reality in those terms.
>> 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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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:59 am

Greetings Tilt,

Does that make the answer "no", or does it mean you wish to redefine the terms to show what the "abstract concepts, general terms, or universals" point to?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:03 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Does that make the answer "no", or does it mean you wish to redefine the terms to show what the "abstract concepts, general terms, or universals" point to?

Metta,
Retro. :)
Damdifino what you mean here. The no means
[that there] is [no] ontologically [something or other] independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc"?
>> 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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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:08 am

Greetings Tilt,
[that there] is [no] ontologically [something or other] independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc"?
Does this mean according to Theravada, that outside of "our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc", nothing (ontologically) exists?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Prasadachitta » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:03 am

this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

or
The world in general, Kaccaayana, inclines to two views, to existence[2] or to non-existence.[3] But for him who, with the highest wisdom, sees the uprising of the world as it really is,[4] 'non-existence of the world' does not apply, and for him who, with highest wisdom, sees the passing away of the world as it really is, 'existence of the world' does not apply.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html


In my opinion Theravada is not realist. I think there is value in attending to objects with discernment as if they existed as the Abhidhamma instructs. I think it helps for becoming more lucid to the nature of that "existence". It also helps to see the "existence" as not wholly "objective". Therein lies the lucidity. In my opinion individuals might interpret the detailed Abhidhamma "map" as a definitive description of actuality. In which case they might find themselves holding a realist position. On the other hand, while holding this realist position, they might look into it with practice and find that it does not perfectly describe actuality. They still benefit from Dhamma. If they dont practice then they will certainly find no benefit. I dont think there is a perfect description of actuality.

Only individuals hold views. Theravada is the conveyance of a way which leads beyond views. Its mode's of conveyance are varied and include many practices as well of descriptions of how those practices unfold if successful.

Take care

Prasadachitta
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:15 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
[that there] is [no] ontologically [something or other] independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc"?
Does this mean according to Theravada, that outside of "our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc", nothing (ontologically) exists?
What would it be?
>> 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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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:17 am

Greetings Prasadachitta,

Thank you for sharing your perspective.

Reading the sutta you present, I share your conclusion that what is presented in SN 12.15 does not advocate a Realist view.
Only individuals hold views.
A point well made.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:23 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:
[that there] is [no] ontologically [something or other] independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc"?
Does this mean according to Theravada, that outside of "our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc", nothing (ontologically) exists?
What would it be?
Immaterialism is the theory propounded by Bishop Berkeley in the 18th century which holds that there are no material objects, only minds and ideas in those minds.

Further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immaterialism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:24 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Prasadachitta,

Thank you for sharing your perspective.

Reading the sutta you present, I share your conclusion that what is presented in SN 12.15 does not advocate a Realist view.
Only individuals hold views.
A point well made.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Which is even better in its fuller context: Only individuals hold views. Theravada is the conveyance of a way which leads beyond views. Its mode's of conveyance are varied and include many practices as well of descriptions of how those practices unfold if successful.
>> 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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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:26 am

retrofuturist wrote:Immaterialism is the theory propounded by Bishop Berkeley in the 18th century which holds that there are no material objects, only minds and ideas in those minds.

Further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immaterialism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta,
Retro. :)
Not at all.
>> 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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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:47 am

Greetings Tilt,

It is not Immaterialist then.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:27 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
No. It is nominalist: The doctrine holding that abstract concepts, general terms, or universals have no independent existence but exist only as names.
Does Theravada hold that these "abstract concepts, general terms, or universals" point to a "reality, or some aspect of it, [that] is ontologically independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc"?

Metta,
Retro. :)
Could the 3 characteristics be pointing to a "reality" which is ontologically independent of our conceptual schemes?

Spiny

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