Buddhism and logic?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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daverupa
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Re: Buddhism and logic?

Post by daverupa » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:19 pm

Pending approval:
greenjuice wrote:
daverupa wrote:One shouldn't accept soteriological claims based solely on reasoning, but on knowing and seeing for oneself.
This sounds a little hypocritical to say. I don't think anyone has accepted Buddhism by giving a try and then trough practice achieving arahantship, thereby seeing with the eye of the mind one's all previous incarnations and directly acquiring knowledge of the nature of reality, at least I've never heard of such an example, but all accept Buddhism based on faith and/or rational deliberation.
"Accepted Buddhism"? This is a very intriguing phrase, with a lot of inbuilt assumptions. Note that you are taking an "all or nothing" approach, which isn't very nuanced. Faith and rational deliberation are the two approaches, yes, but they don't necessitate "in for a penny, in for a pound", and the practices which lead to stream-entry and conviction are themselves amenable to motives grounded in critical analysis as well as faith, however one wants to investigate.

But the trick is to reserve judgment about those things for which one hasn't got evidence. You can say "the texts say X" or "I heard Y from someone" or "I experienced Z" and protect the truth at all stages of discussion, for example. One then doesn't accept the claims one hasn't verified for oneself, as I said above, even as one investigates various claims and various practices, Dhamma among them.

I'd like you to point out any hypocrisy here, for our scrutiny, as long as this remains within the scope of the inquiry...
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

mahat
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Re: Buddhism and logic?

Post by mahat » Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:21 pm

Buddhism is about bringing about greater states of mental clarity which is a prerequisite to logic.

Without mental clarity there is no logic. This is why Buddha in the Kalama Sutta said don't go by your logic or reasoning, because your logic might be incorrect since you are lacking the mental clarity to thoroughly understand your arguments.

For example, theists insist on saying they are using logic when they say this:

1) I was created by the union of my mother and father.

Therefore, if I see another human being I can assume they too had a mother and father.

2) The world was created.

Therefore, I can assume there is a creator since something created automatically assumes there is a creator.

Is that logical? Yes, in a way. Is that completely correct? No. There might be faulty assumptions and kinks in your logic and reasoning due to lack of mental clarity and insight.

mahat
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Re: Buddhism and logic?

Post by mahat » Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:28 pm

Practicing Buddhism is about gaining greater and greater levels of mental clarity until Nirvana is reached.

Mental clarity is the prerequisite to correct logic and reasoning.

In the Kalama Sutta Buddha said to not go by logic or reasoning because those might be faulty due to a lack of mental clarity and proper mental development.

:anjali: Sorry about the repeat, when I am new here so when I didn't see the post I reposted.
Last edited by mahat on Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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greenjuice
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Re: Buddhism and logic?

Post by greenjuice » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:54 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Alternatively, greenjuice, if you're happy for the scope of the question to be relaxed a bit we can move the topic to a different forum without such stringent quality controls. Let us know.
Yes, maybe it would be better that way, it seems that the topic as I formulated it is a bit narrow, and could use a laxer discussion.
SamKR wrote:Maybe but then the same can be said of "something is" and "something is not" too.
Yes, if one is a solipsist or an epistemological nihilist, thus negating the existence of one's body, other people, and the whole outer world, thereby negating the existence of kamma and planes of existence in which the fruit of kamma actualize. Which I don't think has anything to do with Buddhism.
daverupa wrote:I'd like you to point out any hypocrisy here, for our scrutiny, as long as this remains within the scope of the inquiry...
Saying that one shouldn't accept anything on tradition, hearsay, scripture etc. or logic and rational inquerty, but on seeing for oneself- is a bit hypoctical, because, I'm pretty sure, not only all the people on this forum, but virtually every Buddhist alive accepted Buddhism on the bases on what is said that shouldn't be one's basis for acceptance. If there is some Buddhist who has tried and experimented with Buddhism to the point of reaching the direct knowledge of nature and e.g. remembering all one's past births, let him step forward and explain the knowledge he has attained, and the way he has attained it.

For example, it sounds like Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo (1907-1961) achieved such knowledge. In a text called "Knowledge", translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, he talks about various 'powers' developed by concentration, like seeying the thoughts of other people, remembering one's past lives, or seeing with one's mind's eye into the reamls of hell or hungry ghosts- and talks about conversing with the people in hell and about how many hungry ghost look funny.

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reflection
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Re: Buddhism and logic?

Post by reflection » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:53 pm

Hi,

First of all I'd like to say it is not about fully accepting or fully discarding. One can also accept certain parts and not accept others. Then also, the "seeing for oneself" is not saying we have to see the entire path and results of the Buddha. Ideally of course, yes, but if we just see a starting part of it, for example how virtue leads to happiness, we may begin to have some faith in the path. This faith is then arrived at not through logic or merely accepting what somebody else says, but by having a taste for ourselves.

Is the fact that virtue leads to happiness something we can arrive at logically? I don't think so, but if it does, then it will not generate the faith in a similar manner.

:anjali:

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daverupa
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Re: Buddhism and logic?

Post by daverupa » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:58 pm

greenjuice wrote:Saying that one shouldn't accept anything on tradition, hearsay, scripture etc. or logic and rational inquerty, but on seeing for oneself- is a bit hypoctical, because, I'm pretty sure, not only all the people on this forum, but virtually every Buddhist alive accepted Buddhism on the bases on what is said that shouldn't be one's basis for acceptance.
I think you're conflating "basis for acceptance" with "grounds for investigation". The proper basis for acceptance is knowing and seeing for oneself. Grounds for investigation necessarily precede this, as you say, but this doesn't render a hypocritical position.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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greenjuice
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Re: Buddhism and logic?

Post by greenjuice » Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:19 am

reflection wrote:for example how virtue leads to happiness, we may begin to have some faith in the path.
But, logically looking at it :D , Buddhism is not the only path that propagates virtue and where virtue leads to happiness. Having faith in the Buddhist path because of that makes no sense, being that there are many other path that have that same part. It the differential specifics of Buddhism, the points that it has but other paths do not, that define it as Buddhism, and that one needs to accept if accepting Buddhism. But those specifics are not plain, general principles, instead they are intricacies of teaching that to the common-sense sound confusing and hardly verifiable (annata, 31 planes of existence, etc.), and a problem arises if Buddha doesn't provide rational analysis of those intricacies, but instead calls people to try his dhamma some time, even for a week, and see for themselves. And again, if there really is someone who accepted Buddha's teaching, not on the basis of tradition, scripture, or rational deliberation, but on the basis of trying it out, and his "dhamma eye" being opened, he directly saw and gained knowledge, let him come forward and describe and explain his achievement and his journey.

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reflection
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Re: Buddhism and logic?

Post by reflection » Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:48 pm

greenjuice wrote:
reflection wrote:for example how virtue leads to happiness, we may begin to have some faith in the path.
But, logically looking at it :D , Buddhism is not the only path that propagates virtue and where virtue leads to happiness. Having faith in the Buddhist path because of that makes no sense, being that there are many other path that have that same part. It the differential specifics of Buddhism, the points that it has but other paths do not, that define it as Buddhism, and that one needs to accept if accepting Buddhism. But those specifics are not plain, general principles, instead they are intricacies of teaching that to the common-sense sound confusing and hardly verifiable (annata, 31 planes of existence, etc.), and a problem arises if Buddha doesn't provide rational analysis of those intricacies, but instead calls people to try his dhamma some time, even for a week, and see for themselves. And again, if there really is someone who accepted Buddha's teaching, not on the basis of tradition, scripture, or rational deliberation, but on the basis of trying it out, and his "dhamma eye" being opened, he directly saw and gained knowledge, let him come forward and describe and explain his achievement and his journey.
It seems to me again you are thinking of full faith or no faith at all. In the Buddhist path faith is something that develops. It develops until the word faith is inaccurate and better is "conviction". So when you start to see that virtue leads to happiness, you don't have full faith, but at least you see that part of the Buddha's words are true. Then he says the happiness leads to better meditation. If that happens, faith will also develop further. Of course, this is one example. Many people come from another direction, like hoping meditation will bring them something and then see results.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Buddhism and logic?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:27 pm

Greetings,
greenjuice wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Alternatively, greenjuice, if you're happy for the scope of the question to be relaxed a bit we can move the topic to a different forum without such stringent quality controls. Let us know.
Yes, maybe it would be better that way, it seems that the topic as I formulated it is a bit narrow, and could use a laxer discussion.
OK, moving to the General Theravada section...

Thanks.

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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