Suffering as a gateway to the truth

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Bundokji
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Bundokji » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:34 pm

chownah wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:13 pm
If you want to think that stones are better than humans that's ok with me.....where does it get you?....where do you go with this as a starting point?....but....don't try to make believe that this is what the buddha taught or the message he intended you to receive.
chownah
Where did i say that stones are better than humans?

Thanks :anjali:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

binocular
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by binocular » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:56 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:32 pm
Again, is it a mere obsession? or to serve a purpose? and if there is purpose, what is it?
I think you're taking yourself (ie. a person -- a person with specific needs, interests, and concerns) out of the equation too quickly.

It looks like you're trying to depersonalize religious choice. You might ask yourself how so.
If the purpose if only ending suffering, we would have looked forward to be a stone in the same way we seek Arahantship. Both, as you indicated in another post, do not suffer and do not have the ability to suffer. So, why one, but not the other?
People have been envying stones for millennia -- those (shiny) things that don't suffer. They kill and die for diamonds, for example. Your point is moot.
But suffering is an outcome, but purposely presented as "the problem" (the first noble truth). Why ignorance is not "the problem"?
Framing it like that already lands you in Buddhism (where you don't seem to be too keen on being).

Pretty much every human can relate to suffering, but very few can relate to "ignorance of the Four Noble Truths".
But I'm not sure that this is how the Buddha layed out his teachings after he became enlightened. Nor is it how we are supposed to approach them.
Rather, the salient point is that suffering is the only relevant problem, the only problem worth solving, the only problem worth focusing on.
But we are also taught that the way we formulate/fabricate things is dependently originated and therefore not reliable, impermanent and not self.
So?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

chownah
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by chownah » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:25 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:00 pm
binocular wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:56 pm
Doesn't apply. Stones don't suffer and can't suffer.
Indeed. If the only criteria as to why the Buddha's teachings are superior is ending suffering, then stones would be superior to the average human being by virtue of what you mentioned: they don't suffer and can't suffer.
Here is where you talked about stones being better than humans....is your memory so short?....
chownah

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Bundokji
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Bundokji » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:42 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:56 pm
I think you're taking yourself (ie. a person -- a person with specific needs, interests, and concerns) out of the equation too quickly.

It looks like you're trying to depersonalize religious choice. You might ask yourself how so.
The path itself is not personal. In fact, the teachings identify taking things personal as primary cause of suffering (self view). The teachings are something to be used skillfully and to let go of after achieving its purpose (the raft simile) .

If the ultimate goal is reduced to ending or reducing suffering, there are many ways of doing so. I don't see a Buddhist, by virtue of being so, suffering less than any other human being. If he/she are suffering less, it is because they are relying on knowledge that is more reliable.

The interrelationship between reliability, vulnerability and knowledge is essential in my opinion. The focus on impermanence has to do with lack of reliability and/or vulnerability. Accordingly, the path becomes letting go of the less reliable and holding into the more reliable , gradually, until reaching certainty (the ultimate reliability, nibbana).
People have been envying stones for millennia -- those (shiny) things that don't suffer. They kill and die for diamonds, for example. Your point is moot.
We seem to be living in different plants. Where i live, people don't envy stones, but might envy others who possess certain types of stones due to associations with status and value. Reducing the ultimate goal to "ending suffering" would make stones enviable due to their lack of suffering or ability to suffer (same as the Arahant).

So, my question is valid: if all we care about is to end suffering, then why we don't envy stones?
Framing it like that already lands you in Buddhism (where you don't seem to be too keen on being).
I don't deny that framing it like that is appealing to some people. My initial interest in Buddhism was not through the four noble truths, but a symbolic story interpreting being rich as being content. It amazed me how a simple change of language would change perception.
Pretty much every human can relate to suffering, but very few can relate to "ignorance of the Four Noble Truths".
Not really. Most people crave for certain types of knowledge to gain power.
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness.
But I'm not sure that this is how the Buddha layed out his teachings after he became enlightened. Nor is it how we are supposed to approach them.
Rather, the salient point is that suffering is the only relevant problem, the only problem worth solving, the only problem worth focusing on.
In the four noble truths, suffering is presented as "the problem". In DO, ignorance (not knowing) is presented as the root cause:
Like a thoroughbred horse touched by the whip, be strenuous, be filled with spiritual yearning. By faith and moral purity, by effort and meditation, by investigation of the truth, by being rich in knowledge and virtue, and by being mindful, destroy this unlimited suffering.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Bundokji
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Bundokji » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:46 pm

chownah wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:25 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:00 pm
binocular wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:56 pm
Doesn't apply. Stones don't suffer and can't suffer.
Indeed. If the only criteria as to why the Buddha's teachings are superior is ending suffering, then stones would be superior to the average human being by virtue of what you mentioned: they don't suffer and can't suffer.
Here is where you talked about stones being better than humans....is your memory so short?....
chownah
The above is not evidence of my short memory, but possibly your inability to understand what a conditional statement means (beginning with "if") and which was designed to show what is potentially wrong with reducing the goal to ending suffering. It is not a reflection of what i believe! I am surprised that you read it as such!
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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SDC
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by SDC » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:54 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:13 pm
...the Buddhist view of the universe is that it has no teleology, but how enlightenment is then possible? Is the whole thing ultimately a pure chance?
There can be a teleological nature present in experience not free of self-view and the conceit "I am". From the position of things being "mine" and "for me", there will always be significance and purpose. No matter how far a person accepts, denies (both or neither) their own existence, things will always remain purposeful and significant when ownership over the nature of ownership is not uprooted.
What one is responsible for, in that whole structure, is “delighting in, welcoming and holding to…” the “source through which perceptions and notions [born of] mental proliferation beset a man…”. Thus the hierarchy of signifying things continues to arise (cease and change-while-standing) but it no longer grows; it is “cut off at the root, made like a palm stump”. Its root was ignorance in itself and with its absence everything founded upon it comes to an end—one is free. In other words the respective experiences of the puthujjana and arahant alike, share the same fundamental nature of impermanence (arising and ceasing) but the respective intensities of those experiences are changed; for the arahant feeling none of it and for the puthujjana dependant on the amount of ignorance being present. More ignorance, more ‘intensity’, things appear as more ‘pressing’ and one is easily prone to giving in to desire-and-lust. The arising of things in the puthujjana‘s mind brings diffusion of perceptions and notions which, while not understood at its roots, will in return diffuse further and further and so on. This cannot happen in the arahant‘s mind any more. His consciousness has ‘ceased’ so there is nothing to follow and diversify upon this teleological characteristic of the existential structure, which will remain only until his aggregates ‘break apart’.

- Ven. N. Nyanamoli, Papañca-Saññā-Sankhā

binocular
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by binocular » Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:21 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:42 pm
So, my question is valid: if all we care about is to end suffering, then why we don't envy stones?
Who is "we"?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by binocular » Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:25 pm

SDC wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:54 pm
There can be a teleological nature present in experience not free of self-view and the conceit "I am". From the position of things being "mine" and "for me", there will always be significance and purpose. No matter how far a person accepts, denies (both or neither) their own existence, things will always remain purposeful and significant when ownership over the nature of ownership is not uprooted.
Conversely, significance and purpose only exist for persons.
When someone wonders about significance, purpose, they are operating out of a self-identity view.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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SDC
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by SDC » Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:47 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:25 pm
SDC wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:54 pm
There can be a teleological nature present in experience not free of self-view and the conceit "I am". From the position of things being "mine" and "for me", there will always be significance and purpose. No matter how far a person accepts, denies (both or neither) their own existence, things will always remain purposeful and significant when ownership over the nature of ownership is not uprooted.
Conversely, significance and purpose only exist for persons.
When someone wonders about significance, purpose, they are operating out of a self-identity view.
That is precisely what I meant by "experience not free from self-view". Good insight.

binocular
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by binocular » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:07 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:32 pm
But we are also taught that the way we formulate/fabricate things is dependently originated and therefore not reliable, impermanent and not self.
If you start off with that, then you're in a deadlock position. Similar to the person who is contemplating to be baptized into a Christian church, but who acknowledges that he is fallen and sinful and therefore incapable of recognizing which Christian church is the right one and thus to be baptized into.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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cappuccino
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by cappuccino » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:22 pm

Bundokji wrote: then stones would be superior to the average human being by virtue of what you mentioned: they don't suffer and can't suffer.
stones can't appreciate

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Bundokji
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Bundokji » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:10 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:21 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:42 pm
So, my question is valid: if all we care about is to end suffering, then why we don't envy stones?
Who is "we"?
Human beings in general and Buddhists in particular. Please note that i am not saying that we don't care about ending suffering, surely we do. However, reducing the goal only to that (by disassociating it from knowledge) is absurd in my opinion.

The similarities between a stone and Arahant is that both don't suffer and incapable of suffering, but the difference is that the Arahant is wise (attained true knowledge) while the stone does not. This is why we want to be Arahants, but not stones.

Describing the goal only in negative terms might have its own purposes too, such as countering our tendency for becoming? That does not mean the goal has no positive aspects (ultimate-true knowledge/certainty)
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Nwad
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Nwad » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:22 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:38 pm
Hello Nwad,

Is a stone, by being free from Dukkha, superior to a human being who is vulnerable to dukkha? if not, why not?
What I wanted to say is that 5 khandhas and 6 sense doors it's a big burden, and while one can experience the absence of this burden, he can understand how much is actually a burden and how dukkha all experiences are, pleasant or unpleasant, bodily or mentaly.
No body wants to live with constantly 100 kilos on his shoulders, in the same way there is no any wise man who wants to continue experiencing 5 khandhas an 6 senses...

When there is form, feeling, perception, formation, sense consciousness - there is burden, when there is burden -there is dukkha, unless you a powerlifter and you enjoy to not be able to breath because of the weight on your shoulders. The breath of the freedom from burden is the foremost among beathings.

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Bundokji
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Bundokji » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:26 pm

SDC wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:54 pm
There can be a teleological nature present in experience not free of self-view and the conceit "I am". From the position of things being "mine" and "for me", there will always be significance and purpose. No matter how far a person accepts, denies (both or neither) their own existence, things will always remain purposeful and significant when ownership over the nature of ownership is not uprooted.
Even if the teleological nature is a result of self view, the teachings seem to encourage acknowledging it rather than denying it through formulating the end of suffering as a "goal". Also the idea of endless rebirths and having insight as the only way out does not encourage an aimless interpretation of nature regardless of its literal truth. Or to put it differently, the aimless nature of things would give rise to "cessation" as an ultimate goal for a purposive being living in an aimless world.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Bundokji
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Bundokji » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:30 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:07 pm
If you start off with that, then you're in a deadlock position. Similar to the person who is contemplating to be baptized into a Christian church, but who acknowledges that he is fallen and sinful and therefore incapable of recognizing which Christian church is the right one and thus to be baptized into.
If it is a position, then your description would be correct. In Buddhism as i understand it, we are not encouraged to take "positions" but to investigate.
"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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