REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

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Zom
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by Zom » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:55 pm

I wouldn't call Buddhist faith "blind" exactly, rather confidence (saddha) is based on intellectual understanding, personal experience ect
Now where there is that intellectual understanding, pesonal experience and so on when we are talking about kamma, rebirth, hells, devas and so on?
That is pure blind faith. As it is.

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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by Coyote » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:01 pm

Zom wrote:
I wouldn't call Buddhist faith "blind" exactly, rather confidence (saddha) is based on intellectual understanding, personal experience ect
Now where there is that intellectual understanding, pesonal experience and so on when we are talking about kamma, rebirth, hells, devas and so on?
That is pure blind faith. As it is.
I would say yes. My acceptance of those teachings is based on intellectual understanding and experience - party of the Buddha's teaching as a whole, which then allows for faith in teachings that I have not yet "seen for myself". But also intellectual understanding of the Buddha's arguments for belief in rebirth and kamma, e.g moral argument, praised by the wise ect. There is Faith, yes. But I don't think it is "blind" faith, rather a "seeing" faith. But maybe this is just me getting hung up on semantics. I agree with what you are saying in principle.

Coyote
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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kirk5a
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by kirk5a » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:24 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The problem with this approach is that even if someone had attained knowledge of previous lives, and said that they had, you would still be doubtful whether they were deluded or their experience was trustworthy.

There is another method to gain confidence in the Buddha's enlightenment, by using logical inference.

Sāriputta's Lion's Roar

Whatever anyone says, or whatever one reads in the Pāli texts or Commentaries, it is still going to be something that will remain beyond one's personal experience until and unless one can attain psychic powers, which by all accounts is very rare these days.

One can visit any hospital or farm to see birth and death taking place on a daily basis. Most of us only rarely see either event happen in front of own eyes. Still, even if one sees birth and death frequently, it takes a leap of faith to make the connection to believe in rebirth.

If you have trouble with the doctrine, then set it aside for now, and focus on what you can know in the present life — the birth and death of your own thoughts, feelings, cravings, fears, etc., and try to understand how the arise and pass away dependent on conditions.
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... start=2160" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by danieLion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:33 pm

danieLion wrote:"Seriously"? I've been serious the whole time.
LonesomeYogurt wrote:That is not what I meant, I apologize; I mean I am seriously asking what your position or purpose for this thread is.
Apology accepted and thank you for the valuable clarification.
danieLion wrote:What do you mean by "position"? Reason (I try not to reason in a traditonal philsopical sense but in terms of Korzybksi's General Semantics and Non-Artistotelian Logic or what Robert Anton Wilson--the guy in my avatar--called Maybe Logic, Zeteticism, and, of course, in terms of critical thinking, REBT, and CBT) and necessity factor into it, but it's ultimately a matter of faith/confidence and personal experience.
Pope Daniel
LonesomeYogurt wrote:Hail Eris!
All Hail Discordia!

...delete...

I said I'm keeping an open mind (an application of critical thinking about it) and that I will continually test it in concert with what faith/confidence I do have in the Buddha with the hope of further verifying the validity of my faith. I never said I believe in "the authority of the suttas," either, nor did I mention them in terms of "history." When I study the suttas, I do investigate (again, guided by my verificationist faith in the Buddha) and explore and bring historical scholarship into to it as much as possible to aid me. As an ultimate authority, the suttas are not reliable, as historical-critical methods (a la Analayo et al) have highlighted. I do hope and desire, however, to find a corpus of suttas that best reflect the message of the Buddha as close to his "original" teachings as possible. But even the term "original" in this sense can be misleading because the Buddha changed his mind on occasion, tailored his teachings to individuals and contexts, and, along with other arahants, admitted to making mistakes. So if by "original" we mean something static, I cannot accept that, for the Buddha was a dyanamic thinker and teacher, as were many of his disciples. The complexity of investigating in this way is further deepened by the facts of textual corruptions, inconsistencies, and a schismatic climate all ready evident in the parisa and sangha during the Buddha's times. In fact, I suspect that the self-refuge passages are an indication of the Buddha's own exasperation with attempts of those around him to pin him down or twist his message to suit their own biases.

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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by danieLion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:34 pm

Zom wrote:Blind faith is needed in Buddhism. Subdue to that and this won't be a problem anymore =) :cool:
To quote Jesus, "If the blind lead the blind, they'll both fall into a hole."

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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by danieLion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:36 pm

Zom wrote:
I wouldn't call Buddhist faith "blind" exactly, rather confidence (saddha) is based on intellectual understanding, personal experience ect
Now where there is that intellectual understanding, pesonal experience and so on when we are talking about kamma, rebirth, hells, devas and so on?
That is pure blind faith. As it is.
In which sutta(s) did the Buddha recommend blind faith? And what do you mean by "pure"?

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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by danieLion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:40 pm

...delete...
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:15 pm

Hi Daniel,
danieLion wrote:
Zom wrote:
I wouldn't call Buddhist faith "blind" exactly, rather confidence (saddha) is based on intellectual understanding, personal experience ect
Now where there is that intellectual understanding, pesonal experience and so on when we are talking about kamma, rebirth, hells, devas and so on?
That is pure blind faith. As it is.
In which sutta(s) did the Buddha recommend blind faith? And what do you mean by "pure"?
Let alone rebirth, hells, devas. What about faith that nibbana is possible?
SN 48.44: Pubbakotthaka Sutta — Eastern Gatehouse
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Those who have not known, seen, penetrated, realized, or attained it by means of discernment would have to take it on conviction in others
that the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless,
has the Deathless as its goal & consummation;
Mike

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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by Cittasanto » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:50 pm

cittasanto wrote:As I see it rebirth can be used as a working model for framing things, one can accept or deny it, it certainly isn't required by the Buddha to accept this specific teaching if you have no means of knowing its truth or not. but I put this down to trust, are the teachings to some extent doing what they say on the tin? if so is it reasonable to trust that it will have some benefit along the path?
danieLion wrote:I agree. And so does Thanissaro: when it comes to karma, faith/confidence is necessary. I have such faith/confidence. But it is still not blind. It is a wager. Thanissaro has also said that Pascal's wager makes the most sense if one replaces "God' with "karma" (He got the idea form K.N. Jayatilleke's Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge who says the same thing. Since Thanissaro's citation style is what Wikipedian editors call a "weasel" style--I do not mean that derogatorily--it's hard to say for sure. But if you read Thanissaro's passages in the Wings to Awakening on faith and cross reference that with the fact that he inlcudes Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge in the bibliography, it's not hard to put two and two together.) In fact, it was a persoanal experience with such a faith/confidence based verification of the Buddha's own law of karma that turned me from someone who meditated a lot and had an interest in the teachings of the Buddha to a convicted Buddhist.
I do not see pascals wager here exactly.
it is not hedging ones bets as belief is the safe bet, but just on a ditti level, there does come a point when hedging ones bets that something is of benefit for the path, whether or not it is true is something else, but whether or not it has benefit as a ditti in the here and now.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by Alex123 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:57 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Secular Buddhists absolutely do not have the real, original teachings of the Buddha! I have no quarrel with them, honestly, but those who reject rebirth are in fact rejecting a teaching of the Buddha that cannot be cast into historical invalidity without inviting scholarly anarchy regarding the true message of the Pali Canon. If you reject rebirth, or claim that it was not taught by the Buddha, then you are in fact rejecting a core part of the original teachings - and you're free to do that, but please do acknowledge it.
How do we know the Buddha as a historical person even existed? What physical evidence do we have?

Also how do we know what He has actually said, and in which dialect(s) vs what was later standardized and written centuries later into suttas? We don't have any audio or video recordings....

So what the Buddha really taught is speculation.
"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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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by Viscid » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:03 pm

daniel wrote:But first, you have to believe in rebirth so when you have questions about progress variance, I can easily dismiss your inquiries and over-simplistically tell you that it depends on the work you've done in previous lives.
yogurt wrote:I have not been a Buddhist for more than about four years, but in those four years, during which time I have made contact with many different monks and teachers, I have never heard anyone, lay or ordained, make a claim like this to me or anyone else. This is a strawman.
m0rl0ck wrote:From what i have seen over the past 20 years that does quite often go with the territory. Beleiving in rebirth, karma to excuse inconsistent results i mean.
I've asked this question to people before, and some of them have explained their ability to meditate well based upon the influence of their past lives. If you accept the rebirth doctrine, it makes sense to do so. It is difficult to understand the complex dynamics which generate a propensity for developing any skill, including meditative ability, and so we are driven to devise some simpler mechanism to account for it. I can see many, many factors which lead an individual into becoming better or worse at meditating-- similar to the factors which determine temperament and personality. Many of these factors extend beyond our birth, beyond our individual history, and so it is tempting (and easier) to imagine a personality from one lifetime influencing the current one rather than trying to determine how the conditions of the world before our birth wrought our current composition.
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"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:47 pm

danieLion wrote:So my purpose was and is to engage in a free exchange of ideas (here, I'm influenced by J.S. MIll and Paul Feyerabend) about these important issues. I don't know if originalism is "in error" and that's why I avoided the term. I am, however, perplexed by how anyone could make such a strong claim without being there themselves (a question still not answered to my satisfaction and looking like it probably won't be).
I guess I would argue that while we can't know what the Buddha's original teachings were in a concerete, verificationist sense, it is absolutely reasonable to say that the assumption of their general accuracy is the best model that fits the data, i.e. assuming the teachings attributed throughout time to a historical figure referred to as the Buddha are in fact related in a "strong" sense to his actual teachings is the best way to make sense of the data we have. The other assumptions we could possibly make - that the suttas as we have them represent a massive, intentional case of fraud, that through sloppy recording or transmission they have become meaningless, or that they refer back to a figure that did not actually exist, rendering them almost a simulacra in themselves - are not nearly as reasonable or pragmatically useful models by which to relate to the suttas.


The same goes for my concerns about rebirth. I don't know if it's "unreasonable." But I am concerned about teachers presenting it in a way that turns off otherwise genuine inquirers into Buddhism. I never said I "support rebirth" or "I don't support rebirth." I said I'm keeping an open mind (an application of critical thinking about it) and that I will continually test it in concert with what faith/confidence I do have in the Buddha with the hope of further verifying the validity of my faith.
I don't think anyone thinks that an inquiry into Buddhism cannot absolutely be made in earnest without an accompanying assumption of rebirth. The problem is that many monks and lay teachers honestly believe, either through scholarship into the doctrines of Right View or through personal experience gained by teaching meditators of different philosophies and temperaments, that attempting to present meditation (or Buddhism in general) without a presupposition of rebirth, at least as a moral framework, is in the end an unhelpful and almost Sisyphean task. I used the analogy of someone attempting to study evolutionary biology without an understanding of the Second Law of Thermodynamics; it may not immediately hinder their efforts, but the concept is built implicitly into the structure of the discipline. If one is teaching a method that relies, even only tangentially, on a set of philosophical assumptions, it might be best to "turn off" someone whose antipathy towards those assumptions renders their adoption, at least, again, as a moral framework, impossible.
I never said I believe in "the authority of the suttas," either, nor did I mention them in terms of "history." When I study the suttas, I do investigate (again, guided by my verificationist faith in the Buddha) and explore and bring historical scholarship into to it as much as possible to aid me. As an ultimate authority, the suttas are not reliable, as historical-critical methods (a la Analayo et al) have highlighted. I do hope and desire, however, to find a corpus of suttas that best reflect the message of the Buddha as close to his "original" teachings as possible. But even the term "original" in this sense can be misleading because the Buddha changed his mind on occasion, tailored his teachings to individuals and contexts, and, along with other arahants, admitted to making mistakes. So if by "original" we mean something static, I cannot accept that, for the Buddha was a dyanamic thinker and teacher, as were many of his disciples. The complexity of investigating in this way is further deepened by the facts of textual corruptions, inconsistencies, and a schismatic climate all ready evident in the parisa and sangha during the Buddha's times. In fact, I suspect that the self-refuge passages are an indication of the Buddha's own exasperation with attempts of those around him to pin him down or twist his message to suit their own biases.
I absolutely agree. Any attempts to render the suttas infallible or even "accurate" is silly; Paññobhāsa Bhikkhu, for example, estimates that roughly 10% of the suttas refer to direct statements made by the Buddha himself. But there is a huge difference between seeing the Canon as a collection of historical records referring to a real but often-changing teaching, while applying various methodologies in order to determine what constitutes the most accurate heartwood, and tossing the whole thing out and declaring a kind of epistemological anarchism (in the "eel-wriggling" sense, not Feyerabend's) or hand-wringing indecision. I am not implying that you are doing this, be clear; I am just stating that the two extremes - slavish obedience to an imperfect collection of scriptures and skepticism that renders all possible truths about the Buddha as completely, irreparably hidden behind a vale of time - are both not only detrimental to practice but also unjustified from a scholarly position.
At least one other poster here agrees that this is a subtext of some modern teachers. But the my choice of the word "seems" here is of no small importance. Like I said, I'm trying to understand another's perspective. Yes, the Buddha believed in rebirth, but he didn't demand others do so.
It's not simply that he believed it, but instead that he spent much of his time formulating a specific doctrine of rebirth that played a large part of his Dhamma. Transmigration is affirmed in the First Noble Truth, for example. It wasn't tangential. So yes, you're right that the Buddha didn't demand it from his followers; that doesn't mean, however, that he didn't consider it a very wholesome and helpful belief to hold.
There is no such thing as Right Rebirth in the Noble Eight Fold Path, and it is not part of the bodhipakkhiyadhamma either.
I'm sorry, but I disagree. Right View includes denial of annihilationism. I don't believe that such a discrepancy is going to immediately torpedo someone's practice, but I do think that it will be a detriment.

I want to make it clear that, of all divergent views, a disbelief in rebirth is about the least bothersome to me. I think, for example, that a belief in a Creator God or a permanent self is essentially a brick wall to many a meditation practice. In comparison, rebirth is just a particularly rough speed bump.
Having said that, would you beleive that I want to beleive--and not only that, if rebirth is knowable beyond doubt, I want that too? But even if I did come to know for myself, how could I elminate the possibilty that what I experienced was not a product of my imagination influenced by the Buddha's and other Buddhists beliefs in rebirth? When folks in the suttas gain such knowledge it's an inner-vision experience. I have lots of inner experiences that seem very persuasive at the time but get contradicted in the future. How would knowledge of rebirth be any different? Believe it or not, I'm slowly starting to think there might be something to rebirth, but I'm cautious and concerned lest I end up self-deluded in yet one more way.
This is a great approach to the situation! I hope you don't think that I claim to know that rebirth is true. In terms of personal experience regarding knowledge of rebirth, I have essentially zip. I believe in rebirth, or at least place my confidence it the likelihood of its accuracy, because I think it's a model that is praised by the wise and fits well with what I do know about my mind and its experience. I guess the thing I'd like to highlight is that there is a middle ground between pure agnosticism and blind acceptance, and that's where I believe Buddhists should fall. We can have doubts, and be unsure, and be open and honest about those things, without tossing up our hands and claiming that such an important issue is unknowable; I don't think we have that luxury should we really hope to progress on the path.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by danieLion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:22 pm

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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by danieLion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:43 pm

mikenz66 wrote:What about faith that nibbana is possible?
SN 48.44: Pubbakotthaka Sutta — Eastern Gatehouse
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Those who have not known, seen, penetrated, realized, or attained it by means of discernment would have to take it on conviction in others
that the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless,
has the Deathless as its goal & consummation;
I consider faith that nibbana is possible to be an essential part of what I've said about faith in the Buddha'a law of karma. You can't verify the cause and effect realities of awakening without assuming it's possible. Otherwise I don't see why anyone would be motivated to try at all.

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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Post by danieLion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:50 pm

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