Is Theravada "Realist"?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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tiltbillings
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:06 pm

Alex123 wrote: . . . .
Quite frankly Alex, I don't care, because it doesn't matter. You'll need to find someone else with whom to argue.
>> 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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Alex123
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:00 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote: . . . .
Quite frankly Alex, I don't care, because it doesn't matter. You'll need to find someone else with whom to argue.
Tilt, i am discussing not arguing. If my tone of voice is inappropriate, then i am sorry, i didn't meant that. I am discussing this thread which is titled "Is Theravada Realist"?. Those who want to discus this issue are welcomed to post here. You have posted, and i have answered.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

danieLion
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by danieLion » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:39 am

tiltbillings wrote:Now, if you want to actually learn something about Buddhist history I can suggest a book or two for you to read.
Yes, please.

danieLion
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by danieLion » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:42 am

daverupa wrote:My earlier :focus: was because I was off-topic, not anyone else. Alas for confusion on teh internetz. :computerproblem:
LOL! Thanks Dave. I realized you were referring to yourself falling asleep last night. I apologize for any confusion I cause.

danieLion
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by danieLion » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:51 am

tiltbillings wrote:

Recall that from the perspective of the Buddha’s teachings in the Pali, the ‘All’ {SN IV 15} is composed entirely of phassa, contact between sense base and sense object. We can only directly know phenomena within this ‘world of experience’, so from the Theravadin perspective, we cannot know whether there really exists a ‘brain’ or a ‘body’ apart from moments of intellectual consciousness, of seeing (the image of a brain), and so on. The discourses of the Pali describe an individual world of experience as composed of various mental and physical factors, nama and rupa. These two are not the separate, independent worlds that Rene Descartes envisioned.

"…the Buddha spoke of the human person as a psychophysical personality (namarupa). Yet the psychic and the physical were never discussed in isolation, nor were they viewed as self-subsistent entities. For him, there was neither a ‘material-stuff’ nor a ‘mental-stuff’, because both are results of reductive analyses that go beyond experience."53

The physical and mental aspects of human experience are continually arising together, intimately dependent on one another.

53 Kalupahana 1976: 73, refers to D.15{II,62}, where the Buddha speaks of both
physicality and mentality mutually dependent forms of contact (phassa).
Physicality is described as contact with resistance (pat.ighasamphassa),
mentality as contact with concepts (adhivacanasamphassa).


STRONG ROOTS by Jake Davis, page 190-1. http://www.dharma.org/bcbs/Pages/docume ... gRoots.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
:goodpost:

danieLion
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by danieLion » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:54 am

Alex123 wrote: So rūpakkhandha can exist independent of mind, and there can be factors that are not experienced.
Do you mean by "mind' citta-sankhara?
DL :heart:

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Alex123
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:02 am

danieLion wrote:
Alex123 wrote: So rūpakkhandha can exist independent of mind, and there can be factors that are not experienced.
Do you mean by "mind' citta-sankhara?
DL :heart:
Four mental aggregates. Or we could simply call it citta.

How do you interpret that statement from Vibhaṅgapāḷi PTS 419?
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 79#p150747" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

danieLion
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by danieLion » Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:09 am

Alex123 wrote:...there can be factors that are not experienced.

Hi Alex123,
1. Which/what kind of factors?
2. What is it that is not experiencing?
DL :heart:

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Alex123
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:17 am

danieLion wrote:
Alex123 wrote:...there can be factors that are not experienced.

Hi Alex123,
1. Which/what kind of factors?
2. What is it that is not experiencing?
DL :heart:
According to the Vibhaṅgapāḷi , for example:
Such as Form aggregate (rūpakkhandho),form sphere (rūpāyatanaṃ), Form Element (rūpadhātu), and life faculty (rūpajīvitindriyaṃ) for example.

Absence of experience is absence of experience. Absence is not itself presence.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Alex123
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:25 am

Since the OP asked about Theravada, I've answered as I understood Theravada to teach.

When it comes to what I understand the Buddha has taught, was pragmatical path to the cessation of all suffering with minimal ontological teaching. At least I hope so. Ultimately, often abstract views are not very helpful to the path and can be source of disputes and arguments. Since suffering is internal truth, its solution is internal. If one is wounded with the arrow, one treats the wound, not the archer or the bow.

What I think is interesting is that we use words to convey something to others. Words and experience to which they point to are not the same. "Sweetness" as a word and sweetness as experience of sugar on the tongue are different. Some metaphysical problems may be more of expression problems than real ones. Some words may not even have objective references. So I think it is important not to value too much linguistics. Too often the mind likes to proliferate with purely mental distinctions (papañcasaññāsaṅkhā) and be caught up by them. We need to put less personal significance to distinctions, ideas and thoughts. The more one clings to ones own ideas, the more chance there is for arguments with people who cling to other ideas. Many philosophical abstractions such as "wholes" and "parts" (or general and particulars) are words. Other people can measure the phenomena in another way. The mind that prefers analysis can think about parts, and mind that likes synthesis can think about wholes. I think that wholes/parts, and many other conventions are just that. Sometimes what we call "a part" can be a "whole" when compared to something else. What one calls "whole" can be a "part" when compared to something bigger. These terms and many others (perhaps all words) have intrinsically variable things they point to. If so, how can pointers that can point to different things at different times be absolute? It is mind that minds and makes measurements, relations, distinctions, etc. So words which we have to use for the sake of communication are not absolute and fixed truth. Some ontological ideas seem almost identical in meaning but use different word "mind" or "matter". Example: Common sense Direct realism asserts that the world is as we perceive it. Same is with idealism. The only difference seems that while those realists say that the world is made of matter, Idealists say it is made of mind... In this case the distinction seems to be whether we call the basis as "matter" or as "mind". Indirect realism states that we perceive only one's own mental representation of the world, and so is with idealism in that regard. The difference is that idealism goes step further and rejects the existence of external material world, while indirect realism still accepts it. Some differences in these views may be due to usage of words. This shouldn't be taken to mean that we should not drop dead like insentient wood without thinking anything. Rather we should not get caught up and consider our thoughts to be too personally significant. I have suspicion that later Buddhist philosophy has put too much significance on analysis or synthesis of words rather than to work on fading of all personal craving.


"Perceiving in terms of signs, beings take a stand on signs. Not fully comprehending signs, they come into the bonds of death. But fully comprehending signs, one doesn't construe a signifier... Having shed classifications, gone beyond conceit, he has here cut through craving for name & form: This one — his bonds cut through, free from trouble, from longing — though they search they can't find him, human & heavenly beings, here & beyond, in heaven or any abode." http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

danieLion
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by danieLion » Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:00 am

Alex123 wrote:
danieLion wrote:
Alex123 wrote: So rūpakkhandha can exist independent of mind, and there can be factors that are not experienced.
Do you mean by "mind' citta-sankhara?
DL :heart:
Four mental aggregates. Or we could simply call it citta.

How do you interpret that statement from Vibhaṅgapāḷi PTS 419?
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 79#p150747" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Thanks. I'd have to see in English to interpret it.
DL

danieLion
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by danieLion » Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:02 am

Alex123 wrote:
danieLion wrote:
Alex123 wrote:...there can be factors that are not experienced.

Hi Alex123,
1. Which/what kind of factors?
2. What is it that is not experiencing?
DL :heart:
According to the Vibhaṅgapāḷi , for example:
Such as Form aggregate (rūpakkhandho),form sphere (rūpāyatanaṃ), Form Element (rūpadhātu), and life faculty (rūpajīvitindriyaṃ) for example.

Absence of experience is absence of experience. Absence is not itself presence.
This (the red words) is a very good point.
DL

danieLion
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by danieLion » Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:35 am

Alex123 wrote:...I have suspicion that later Buddhist philosophy has put too much significance on analysis or synthesis of words rather than to work on fading of all personal craving....
Very likely true. However, since I want to do as the Buddha instructed, I also want to know if the translation I'm going by is accurate. I know very, very, very little Pali. I study it as much as I'm able and use it here as much as possible to get better at it, and so take the risk involved in public displays of my ignorance in the hopes I'll be corrected if I'm wrong. Take your phrase "fading of all personal craving". Sounds great! It is great. But since the Buddha didn't speak English I don't know if the Buddha actually said and/or taught that. He probably did, if not something extremely close (I can think of a few references). I've heard/read "Theravadin" teachers say similar if not identical things, but they don't know if the Buddha actually said and/or taught that either.

My understanding is that it is not known for sure what language(s) the Buddha spoke, and that he probably didn't speak Pali. I agree we should not get hung up on language, but there are layers of languages between us and the Buddha and if we really want to understand him we have to do our best to understand the languages involved. This, unfortunately, is what hearing The Buddha's Dhamma has come to mean for living aspirants.

When I've tried to have this discussion in the past (not here), I usually get the typical "you just have to experience it for yourself" response. But with all these linguistic obstacles to overcome (without proliferating about them if you can) are we sure we understand it? And if you do experience and understand it, no words can do it justice--right?

Buddhism is a beautifully complex religion. Perhaps that complexity is a reflection of one of the Buddha's main subject matters: reality.

DL :heart:
Last edited by danieLion on Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

danieLion
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by danieLion » Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:58 am

Is there a thread here that discusses what Theravada itself is--beyond the standard "tradition of the Elders"? I've been proceeding as if the participants of this thread all basically agree on what Theravada means, but now I think that was probably a hasty generalization. :?:

alan
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by alan » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:22 am

Hi Dl
There is no reason for you to get all twisted out of shape in reference to the translations. You are making a big deal about nothing. There are several good translations available online.
Your characterization of Buddhism as a beautifully complex religion is inaccurate. That is the type of thought that keeps these inappropriate discussions going on and on without ever coming to a point.

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