Skeptical doubt

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Polar Bear
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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by Polar Bear » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:23 am

barcsimalsi wrote:
Then faith should be the driving force
Dukkha is what gets someone searching for a path out of dukkha and faith is what motivates someone to follow the path laid out by the Buddha. So it is the driving force in some sense.

Here is a great work to read if you're interested:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el277.html
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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ground
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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by ground » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:34 am

... birth is the supporting condition for suffering, suffering is the supporting condition for faith, faith is the supporting condition for joy, ...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html

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ground
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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by ground » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:50 am

just for illustration purposes

...

"One who has conviction & belief ... is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted ... is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees ... is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

mogg
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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by mogg » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:14 am

barcsimalsi wrote:
5. Sceptical Doubt

A man traveling through a desert, aware that travelers may be plundered or killed by robbers, will, at the mere sound of a twig or a bird, become anxious and fearful, thinking: "The robbers have come!" He will go a few steps, and then out of fear, he will stop, and continue in such a manner all the way; or he may even turn back. Stopping more frequently than walking, only with toil and difficulty will he reach a place of safety, or he may not even reach it.

It is similar with one in whom doubt has arisen in regard to one of the eight objects of doubt.[4] Doubting whether the Master is an Enlightened One or not, he cannot accept it in confidence, as a matter of trust. Unable to do so, he does not attain to the paths and fruits of sanctity. Thus, as the traveler in the desert is uncertain whether robbers are there or not, he produces in his mind, again and again, a state of wavering and vacillation, a lack of decision, a state of anxiety; and thus he creates in himself an obstacle for reaching the safe ground of sanctity (ariya-bhumi). In that way, sceptical doubt is like traveling in a desert.
The 5 hindrances
If not because of doubt, Gautama Buddha would never left his 2 great teacher to pursue higher attainment.

Between a pagan who has 100% faith and an dubious atheist, though ignorance imbedded in both of them but i think most people will agree that the atheist is in a better position.

Is it not doubt that keep a person from practicing blind faith and being proud and naive?
Is it not doubt that regulates the act of further investigation to gain more knowledge?

I failed to deeply understand how skeptical doubt is a hindrance. Please enlighten me.
I don't believe there is such thing as 100% faith. To me, 100% faith equates to knowledge.

I had the misfortune of living in a country for a year, where the predominant religion is a most troublesome one indeed (no prizes for guessing which one I'm talking about). It became clear to me after a time, that the reason said followers were so edgy about criticism of their religion was that they themselves had major internal doubts about its validity. You will never hear an admission of that, but its clear as day. They feel inferior and oppressed, but its almost like Stockholm Syndrome and peer pressure (on a massive scale) combined into a nefarious trap of wrong view. So as far as I'm concerned, there is no one with 100% faith who isn't a sotapanna. Ergo, I believe 100% faith (i.e knowledge) can't exist outside of Buddhism.

barcsimalsi
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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by barcsimalsi » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:44 pm

ground wrote:
... birth is the supporting condition for suffering, suffering is the supporting condition for faith, faith is the supporting condition for joy, ...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html
polarbuddha101 wrote: Here is a great work to read if you're interested:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el277.html
Thanks, the exact thing i needed to read.

But faith is good only when the information is right. I don't want to have a false sense of joy condition by a deluded faith.
As what i see, oppose to other dogmatic religions, the key to a proper faith is right understanding which is the foundation of Buddhism. That's why i think we shall not cultivate faith on things we do not understand.
ground wrote: Sorry, I have no idea what "pure knowledge" is meant to stand for... :sage:

Sorry, i must have misread your earlier post and end up writing a non related reply.

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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by barcsimalsi » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:53 pm

mogg wrote: So as far as I'm concerned, there is no one with 100% faith who isn't a sotapanna. Ergo, I believe 100% faith (i.e knowledge) can't exist outside of Buddhism.
Yes they do.
A few people from Abrahamic religions i have encountered shows that syndrome. Maybe not 100% but close like 99.999%. Not to mention those who are bathing in Ganges river...

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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by mogg » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:55 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:
mogg wrote: So as far as I'm concerned, there is no one with 100% faith who isn't a sotapanna. Ergo, I believe 100% faith (i.e knowledge) can't exist outside of Buddhism.
Yes they do.
A few people from Abrahamic religions i have encountered shows that syndrome. Maybe not 100% but close like 99.999%. Not to mention those who are bathing in Ganges river...
99.99% is not 100% my friend. They are a world apart

with metta

alan
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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by alan » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:02 pm

I'd like to focus everyone's mind on the original premise, which is incorrect. The discussion has wandered.

MN 26 is the relevant Sutta. Summary: Buddha met many teachers, attained their level, but was not satisfied, so he went out on his own.

It wasn't wisdom that made him feel incomplete. It was his desire to find "the unexcelled relief from the yoke..unbinding"

Wisdom is what happens after you awaken, not something that propels it. As for doubt, that is another matter entirely, and should be taken up in another context.

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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by DNS » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:20 pm

alan wrote:I'd like to focus everyone's mind on the original premise, which is incorrect. The discussion has wandered.
I don't think it has wandered. The title of the thread is "Skeptical doubt" and that is what is being discussed.
alan wrote: MN 26 is the relevant Sutta. Summary: Buddha met many teachers, attained their level, but was not satisfied, so he went out on his own.
I agree, it wasn't skeptical doubt in them as teachers, just that they could only take him so far. He needed to go on his own for the final stretch.

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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by DNS » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:28 pm

barcsimalsi wrote: Lets compare a person on a spiritual path with driving:
Vision/driving skill = spiritual knowledge and experience
Acceleration pedal = determination and effort
Brake pedal = doubt
Road sign = Dhamma
*It seems like faith doesn't fit anywhere.

A naive and over confident attitude is like driving a car without using the brake pedal. It's true the road sign is there to help us get to our destination but we need to use the brake and slow down whenever:
-there's limitation of vision upon the journey. (poor weather, bad and confusing road sign etc...)
-there's limitation of our own skills upon facing extreme situation. (overtaking another speeding vehicle, dangerous traffic etc...)
Here is another version of that:

The person with too much doubt has his foot on the brake. He refuses to take it off, not knowing or afraid of what might happen. He sees a green light but knows that the green color has no intrinsic meaning and is culturally based. It might mean stop in one culture or go in another. He has no faith or confidence that the cars going the other way are stopped or will stop. So he keeps his foot on the brake. He goes no where.

Another person has a good balance of some skepticism and confidence. He has confidence in the people who placed the signs that they did so at the right places. He follows those signs. He trusts that the signs will take him to the place where he is supposed to go. He is also careful, so when he enters the intersection, he still checks with his head and eyes to make sure it is clear. He gently puts his foot on the accelerator. He progresses toward his destination.

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kirk5a
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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by kirk5a » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:35 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:He gently puts his foot on the accelerator.
Or "emphatically" puts his foot on the accelerator, if his vehicle has an entertaining horsepower/weight ratio.
"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

binocular
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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by binocular » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:03 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:Thanks for the inputs guys, i like to add another simple simile.

Lets compare a person on a spiritual path with driving:
Vision/driving skill = spiritual knowledge and experience
Acceleration pedal = determination and effort
Brake pedal = doubt
Road sign = Dhamma
*It seems like faith doesn't fit anywhere.

A naive and over confident attitude is like driving a car without using the brake pedal. It's true the road sign is there to help us get to our destination but we need to use the brake and slow down whenever:
-there's limitation of vision upon the journey. (poor weather, bad and confusing road sign etc...)
-there's limitation of our own skills upon facing extreme situation. (overtaking another speeding vehicle, dangerous traffic etc...)
I don't think this is an adequate analogy.

"To doubt" basically means "to be of two minds; to be torn in two; to not be able to decide; to be uncertain."

If we are to go with a vehicular analogy, then doubt would be to have one's vehicle pulled by two horses, each of them going in different directions.

Back to Dhamma, i see that doubt may still exist along the practice of noble 8 fold path for example when nimitta arise for the first time and especially when coming across some obscurities in the sutta. But, it is there to alert and keep us from clinging to one particular view. And of course it must be pair with right determination and effort to make progress.
The raft is to be clung to until one reaches the other shore, and only then let go.
Last edited by binocular on Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by binocular » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:15 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:A healthy amount of skepticism is good and is probably how most of here came across the Dhamma; for example being skeptical of some of the things in the Bible, creation-stories, chosen race above the rest, a Divine being with many human frailties, etc.
I don't relate to what you seem to mean here ... It's as if your default is to believe anything anyone says, and only afterwards put a stop to it. ...?

But too much skepticism and one cannot make progress as shown in some of the similes here. Everything is considered relative, there are no absolutes, everything is culturally nuanced, etc. and no progress can be made.
Skeptics aren't interested in making progress to begin with.

I think there can be a middle way where you start with some faith or confidence in the Path and the teachings and try it out for yourself and see if it works; sanditthiko.
I am skeptical (!) about such a verificationist approach.
In a true experiment, there are constants and there are variables. But in "spirituality," we cannot perform real experiments (ie. we cannot really test or verify anything) because we are operating only with variables and no constants. We can just go, putting one foot in front of the other.

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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by DNS » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:43 pm

binocular wrote: I don't relate to what you seem to mean here ... It's as if your default is to believe anything anyone says, and only afterwards put a stop to it. ...?
And I am not sure what you mean here. :lol: I don't agree with everyone here on every issue and I don't put a stop to anyone expressing their views. If you see something I posted that suggests otherwise, please report it to another moderator or admin.
binocular wrote: I am skeptical (!) about such a verificationist approach.
In a true experiment, there are constants and there are variables. But in "spirituality," we cannot perform real experiments (ie. we cannot really test or verify anything) because we are operating only with variables and no constants. We can just go, putting one foot in front of the other.
Sure we can (in my opinion). We can see if we are happier, if we have less suffering. We can see if we are making progress.

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Alex123
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Re: Skeptical doubt

Post by Alex123 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:19 pm

binocular wrote:"To doubt" basically means "to be of two minds; to be torn in two; to not be able to decide; to be uncertain."
Right. When one knows a bit more, one can see other ways of looking at same things and this can create doubt until one has enough wisdom to see the precise truth (if there is such a thing).


If one has enough certain (if there is such a thing) knowledge, doubt and faith is no longer needed.
"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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