Is Theravada "Realist"?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:24 am

danieLion wrote:
The Theravada Schools . . . .
Hinayana schools according to the Mahayana tenet systems, but Theravada?
>> 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

danieLion
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by danieLion » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:41 am

tiltbillings wrote:
danieLion wrote:
The Theravada Schools . . . .
Hinayana schools according to the Mahayana tenet systems, but Theravada?
No. According to Keith E. Yandell's (U of Wisconsin, Madison) Buddhism entry in The Cambridge Dicitonary of Philosophy (2nd Ed.) According the same entry, The Mahayana "schools" are The Madhyamika, Yogacara (which I have no current personal interest in) and Zen.
DL :geek:

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:14 am

danieLion wrote:According to Keith E. Yandell's (U of Wisconsin, Madison) Buddhism entry in The Cambridge Dicitonary of Philosophy (2nd Ed.) According the same entry, The Mahayana "schools" are The Madhyamika, Yogacara (which I have no current personal interest in) and Zen.
DL :geek:
Keith Yandell is not an Asian religion specialist. He taught philosophy of religion in the Philosophy Dept at the U of W, Madison. What he parrotting in that article is the Tibetan Gelugpa take on things Buddhist, which he got from Geshe Sopa who taught in the Southeast Asian/Buddhist Studies program. Yandell's specialty is in Christianity.

The Mahayana/Tibetan Buddhist Tenet system includes the Madhayamaka and the Yogachara, and two non-Mahayana schools: the Sautrantika and the Vaibhasika, and the major source of information about those two schools is the Abhidharmakosha and its commentary, both of which are clearly not Theravadin.

Now, if you want to actually learn something about Buddhist history I can suggest a book or two for you to read.
>> 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

User avatar
acinteyyo
Posts: 1691
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Bavaria / Germany

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by acinteyyo » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:37 am

danieLion wrote: Hi Ron, Retro, et al.
From Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Skill In Questions, Ch. 3, "Categorical Answers:
Direct knowledge of unbinding is not something that one person can give to another even in an approximate form, not even through language or logic. This is a point the Buddha repeatedly makes, for in his eyes language is too slippery, and logic too unreliable, to form an adequate guide to what is true.... Because his approach was utilitarian and pragmatic, he neither affirmed nor denied the existence of essences. They were simply irrelevant to his program. Thus the later Buddhist scholars who tried to use his teachings to affirm or deny the existence of such essences were applying inappropriate attention to his instructions....

In his definition of right view...he describes a stage...where, after one has watched the arising and passing away of the world...one drops all reference to these factors, along with ideas of 'existence' and 'non-existence'.... 'Whatever rises and passes away' would cover no only the first noble truth, but the second and fourth as well. Thus, at this advanced stage of right view, concepts of 'four noble truths' get dropped along with 'aggregates.' [They] function as concepts useful at a certain point..., but are then dropped as one comes closer to awakening. They are not meant to be viewed as ultimate realities.... Instead of being ultimate truths, they are instrumental truths: correct opinions that serve to function when they are appropriate, to be abandoned when unbinding is touched.... Knowledge is required to achieve [direct] knowing, and knowledge follows on it..., but the knowing and the knowledge are two different things. Knowing is the goal, knowledge, merely instrumental.... [H]owever, the Buddha...also realized that what worked for him didn't work only for him. 'What works' is not simply a matter of personal preference. Even though the truths of right view are instrumental rather than ultimate, they are still categorical: true for all.

So even though the Buddha could not provide his listeners with direct knowledge of unbinding, he could provide them with reliable guidance on how to get there. And given the nature of his guidance--as instrumental but categorical truths--the question is not how a comprehensive view of reality can be constructed from his categorical statements, or how his statements can be made to fit one's own preferences or preconceived notions, but how to put aside one's preferences and apply those categorical statements in pursuit of the path. Because the path has many stages, with many levels of right view, one of the functions of appropriate attention after listening to the Buddha's words is to view his categorical answers as an array of tools, and to ask oneself which tool is suitable for one's practice at any given moment.
Pp. 85-91, my italics, bolds.
DL :heart:
:goodpost:
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by daverupa » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:59 pm

My earlier :focus: was because I was off-topic, not anyone else. Alas for confusion on teh internetz. :computerproblem:
  • "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]

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:05 pm

Hello Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote: The Mahayana/Tibetan Buddhist Tenet system includes the Madhayamaka and the Yogachara, and two non-Mahayana schools: the Sautrantika and the Vaibhasika, and the major source of information about those two schools is the Abhidharmakosha and its commentary, both of which are clearly not Theravadin.

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

How is Theravada tenet system cardinally different from Vaibhashika/Sautrantika in context of realism or anti-realism?
"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..."

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:23 pm

Alex123 wrote:
How is Theravada tenet system cardinally different from Vaibhashika/Sautrantika in context of realism or anti-realism?
Theravada is not part of the Mahayana?Tibetan Buddhist Tenet system.

As far as this realism business is concerned, I find it a fruitless, if not bootless, discussion.
>> 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

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:38 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
How is Theravada tenet system cardinally different from Vaibhashika/Sautrantika in context of realism or anti-realism?
Theravada is not part of the Mahayana?Tibetan Buddhist Tenet system.
Is Theravada realist or anti-realist regarding the existence of mind independent dhammas?
"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..."

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:50 pm

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
How is Theravada tenet system cardinally different from Vaibhashika/Sautrantika in context of realism or anti-realism?
Theravada is not part of the Mahayana?Tibetan Buddhist Tenet system.
Is Theravada realist or anti-realist regarding the existence of mind independent dhammas?
It doesn't matter in terms of what is necessary for awakening. I am not wasting my time on this discussion.

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;
>> 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

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:11 pm

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.

That sutta does not talks about Phassa. It talks about 6 internal and 6 external sense bases.
"The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range.""

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.

What about body being like a senseless log without consciousness?
""When this body lacks these three qualities — vitality, heat, & consciousness — it lies discarded & forsaken like a senseless log.""
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Body can be without consciousness.

Or beings that exist as matter without mind?
Vibhaṅgapāḷi PTS 419 it says this about Asaññasattā:
1017.... Asaññasattānaṃ devānaṃ upapattikkhaṇe eko khandho pātubhavati – rūpakkhandho; dve āyatanāni pātubhavanti – rūpāyatanaṃ, dhammāyatanaṃ; dve dhātuyo pātubhavanti – rūpadhātu, dhammadhātu; ekaṃ saccaṃ pātubhavati – dukkhasaccaṃ; ekindriyaṃ pātubhavati – rūpajīvitindriyaṃ. Asaññasattā devā ahetukā anāhārā aphassakā avedanakā asaññakā acetanakā acittakā pātubhavanti.

Please note that rūpakkhandho is present even though there are no mental things such as: vedanā, saññā, cetanā, citta.

So rūpakkhandha can exist independent of mind, and there can be factors that are not experienced.
"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..."

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

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

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

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
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

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
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

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
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

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:

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: dharmacorps, Lankamed, Majestic-12 [Bot], Volovsky and 92 guests