Reply Fri 6 Mar, 2009 09:45 am
I've been thinking about Buddhism and I realized that the concept of the intransigence of everything that one derives from duhkha and interdependent arising is a rather problematic statement, when analyzed metaphysically.

Basically, I think that by saying everything is impermanent you are implying permanent impermanence, that is, that there is a permanent thing, and that thing is permanence, which of course inherently means that not everything could possibly be impermanent--that is, the statement is an absurdity. Sure, most things are impermanent but you've got to have a permanence (even if it's impermanent).

The best solution to this problem would seem to be that everything material is impermanent, but that opens the door to the existence of a soul, which the Buddhists emphatically dispute, but anything tighter (i.e., everything is impermanent except for permanence itself) would seem to become so exclusionary as to become no provable statement but rather a tautology, and anything looser (i.e., most things are impermanent) doesn't really tell us anything.

So, what do you think? Is this a resolvable issue or is it an irresolvable problem within Buddhism, a foundation card that can destabilize the whole stack?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,941 • Replies: 26
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boagie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Mar, 2009 10:41 am
@hammersklavier,
Smile

"Eturnity is in love with the productions of time." William Blake The temporal are the players upon the field, the field is eternity, when the game is done the players leave the field, but the field remains, or do the players leaving the field become the field. "A salt doll walks into the cosmic ocean." Upanishads
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Mar, 2009 02:32 pm
@boagie,
Why would it even be a problem? Tautologies are part of religios doctrine. Its only a problem if you apply more secular forms of logic. Within Buddhism 'the permanent impermanent may not be a contradiction in terms much the same way "the only thing i know is that I know nothing" really isn't a contradiction of terms in western Philosophy.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Mar, 2009 06:18 pm
@GoshisDead,
Or restated: "the only constant is change". There is no contradiction here.
0 Replies
 
meditationyoga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 12:38 am
@hammersklavier,
Buddha said the Buddhism was never meant to be philosophical discussion. He would never converse or answer Philosophical questions. He stuck to reason to illustrate why people drive themselves to pain and anguish by desire. That desire is constant thinking. Thus thinking must be removed if you are ever to be at peace from yourself.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2009 09:45 pm
@hammersklavier,
I agree with the above, there is no point in idle speculation about what the Buddha did or didn't mean. The meaning of the Buddhist teaching can only be discovered by serious engagement and deep meditation. By all means, don't engage with it, try something else, but standing on the sidelines taking potshots ain't going to help you. Buddhism is 'trans-rational', it is not like Aristotleanism.
0 Replies
 
Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 03:24 am
@hammersklavier,
The Buddha's intention was soteriological and for this reason he avoided idle philosophising like the plague, and advises us to do the same. But his doctrine makes perfectly good sense in philosophy. This was shown by Nagarjuna. His doctrine is not trans-rational, (which means irrational as far as I can tell), it can be etablished by dialectical reasoning. But demonstrating that Everest exists does not have the same result as climbing it.

As a metaphysical scheme Buddhism obeys Aristotle's principles of logic to the letter. This is why dialectical reasoning is a core curriculum subject for the Buddhist universities and always has been. The idea that it is 'illogical' or irrational is a misunderstanding, or so I believe I can prove. Whether it is true is another matter.

I can see no paradox in the the idea that every 'thing' is impermanent. For Buddhist there is one phenomenon which cannot be called a 'thing'.
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 09:15 am
@Whoever,
Hi,

This is what I have observed about Buddhism:

1) There are many, many practices and interpretations of Buddhism.

2) The Four Noble Truths suggest that suffering (or however one wishes to interpret it) is caused by craving (or desire, or how one wishes to call it).

3) That if you desire to cease your suffering you should do things, which are called the Noble Eightfold Path.

4) So you end up doing things because you desire to do away with desire.

This may work (I believe there are many paths), but I have also noticed that it ends up frustrating a lot of people, so it is probably not for everyone.

Rich
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 03:08 pm
@richrf,
Rich,

What you have "learned" seems to be steeped in translation problems. The technical terms often rendered in English as desire and suffering are not, in Buddhism, to be interpreted however one wishes - instead, these technical terms have well defined meanings.

Understanding the terminology will help eliminate a great deal of the confusion.

Also, the Eightfold Path is not so much things to be done but the way to do things.

My advice is to pick up Robert Thurman's brilliant introduction to Buddhism called Inner Revolution. He covers the history, philosophy and teachings of Buddhism.

Good luck,
Thomas
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 03:47 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;71183 wrote:
Rich,

What you have "learned" seems to be steeped in translation problems. The technical terms often rendered in English as desire and suffering are not, in Buddhism, to be interpreted however one wishes - instead, these technical terms have well defined meanings.

Understanding the terminology will help eliminate a great deal of the confusion.

Also, the Eightfold Path is not so much things to be done but the way to do things.

My advice is to pick up Robert Thurman's brilliant introduction to Buddhism called Inner Revolution. He covers the history, philosophy and teachings of Buddhism.

Good luck,
Thomas


Thanks. I will check out the book.

I always have a problem with "the way to do things", as if the opposite way is somehow incorrect. For me there is no "way to do things", so I support all endeavors.

Also, when one provides some method to achieve something, there is an intrinsic call to desire - which I personally think always exists in a human existence. So, if one is meditating just to meditate, then there is no desire. But I think it gets boring very fast, so some desire to achieve something seems to seep in.

As I listen the Thurman's lectures on video, he seems to be drenched in objectives. But this is just my perspective.

Rich
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 04:10 pm
@richrf,
richrf;71196 wrote:

I always have a problem with "the way to do things", as if the opposite way is somehow incorrect. For me there is no "way to do things", so I support all endeavors.


Would you support endeavors to execute newborn babies? Probably not, right?

The Eightfold Path has three aspects: wisdom, ethical conduct and concentration. Wisdom is concerned with right view and right intention; that is understanding reality as it truly is and the aim of eliminating harmful and immoral personal qualities so that our goals are morally upright.

The Ethics is concerned with right speech, right action and right livelihood.
The Pali Canon says, "And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter: This is called right speech."
"And what is right action? Abstaining from taking life, from stealing, and from illicit sex [or sexual misconduct]. This is called right action."
Right livelihood is when the practitioner has given up dishonest living and abstains from making a living in ways that harm others, specifically by doing business in weapons, human beings, meat industry, intoxicants and toxic products designed to cause harm.

I doubt you really think that the opposite of abstaining from selling human beings is appropriate; I doubt you would condone slavery. Buddhism does not demand that everyone act the same, instead Buddhism takes note of ways of doing things that are harmful and suggests that you not do things that are harmful.

richrf;71196 wrote:
Also, when one provides some method to achieve something, there is an intrinsic call to desire - which I personally think always exists in a human existence. So, if one is meditating just to meditate, then there is no desire. But I think it gets boring very fast, so some desire to achieve something seems to seep in.


And, according to Buddhism, desire is not necessarily a bad thing.

Ta?h? - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tanha is a technical term in Buddhism with a very precise and well defined meaning. It is not simply "desire" or "craving" in English.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TanhaAs I listen the Thurman's lectures on video, he seems to be drenched in objectives. But this is just my perspective.[/QUOTE]

What do you mean, "drenched in objectives"? He most certainly has a goal in mind when he teaches about Buddhism. Thurman is a professor at Columbia who teaches eastern thought; he was the first westerner to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Thurman is a teacher.
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 05:57 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;71204 wrote:
Would you support endeavors to execute newborn babies? Probably not, right?

The Eightfold Path has three aspects: wisdom, ethical conduct and concentration. Wisdom is concerned with right view and right intention; that is understanding reality as it truly is and the aim of eliminating harmful and immoral personal qualities so that our goals are morally upright.

The Ethics is concerned with right speech, right action and right livelihood.
The Pali Canon says, "And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter: This is called right speech."
"And what is right action? Abstaining from taking life, from stealing, and from illicit sex [or sexual misconduct]. This is called right action."
Right livelihood is when the practitioner has given up dishonest living and abstains from making a living in ways that harm others, specifically by doing business in weapons, human beings, meat industry, intoxicants and toxic products designed to cause harm.

I doubt you really think that the opposite of abstaining from selling human beings is appropriate; I doubt you would condone slavery. Buddhism does not demand that everyone act the same, instead Buddhism takes note of ways of doing things that are harmful and suggests that you not do things that are harmful.



And, according to Buddhism, desire is not necessarily a bad thing.

Ta?h? - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tanha is a technical term in Buddhism with a very precise and well defined meaning. It is not simply "desire" or "craving" in English.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TanhaAs I listen the Thurman's lectures on video, he seems to be drenched in objectives. But this is just my perspective.


What do you mean, "drenched in objectives"? He most certainly has a goal in mind when he teaches about Buddhism. Thurman is a professor at Columbia who teaches eastern thought; he was the first westerner to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Thurman is a teacher.[/QUOTE]

Thanks.

Support would probably not be the right word. Maybe accept as part of life.

Abortion is one example of where one side thinks that it is killing the newborn, while the other side thinks it is a question of a woman's right to choose. There is always gray. Even with killing. If someone tries to kill me, should I defend myself even if it means killing the other person. So there are edicts and then the gray areas and exceptions.

I am more in the Hercalitus/Dao camp. Things exist in pairs.

Rich
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 12:51 am
@hammersklavier,
Quote:
drenched in objectives

boy that must be a sight.
"Dripping wet with purposes" - would this be another way of putting it?
Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 05:37 am
@hammersklavier,
Maybe if you delve into the relationship between desire and attachment the situation will become more clear. But maybe not. All these questions and more arise for practitioners and they are not easy to answer. The point is that one is expected to discover the answer, not just believe someone elses answer, and that discovering the answer requires understanding ones own psychology, and that this requires apperception and analysis, not easy things to do without the high degree of focus and concentration made possible by certain methods of practice. But there's nothing to stop you inventing a new method. All that matters is whether it works.
0 Replies
 
Dearhtead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 07:25 am
@richrf,
There is an other problem in the Buddhism, which is the so-called experience of the nirvana which I consider is a sort of trick.
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 07:28 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;71321 wrote:
boy that must be a sight.
"Dripping wet with purposes" - would this be another way of putting it?


Yes. It seemed that way from the video. But it is just a video. I would have to read his books also.

Rich

---------- Post added at 08:29 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:28 AM ----------

Whoever;71346 wrote:
But there's nothing to stop you inventing a new method. All that matters is whether it works.


Yes, I agree. Each person finds his/her own way.

Rich
0 Replies
 
Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 01:14 pm
@Dearhtead,
Dearhtead;71361 wrote:
There is an other problem in the Buddhism, which is the so-called experience of the nirvana which I consider is a sort of trick.

I can't imagine how to meet this objection.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 02:36 pm
@Whoever,
Dearhtead;71361 wrote:
There is an other problem in the Buddhism, which is the so-called experience of the nirvana which I consider is a sort of trick.


This is not a problem in Buddhism, my friend.

Buddhism says very little about Nirvana except that you should find out for yourself. Unless you have had the experience for yourself, it seems impossible to comment upon the experience - and especially impossible to belittle the experience as a trick.

Besides, reducing the experience to a trick requires a very cynical view of the people suggesting Buddhism: to call enlightenment a trick is to suggest that the Buddhists are all out trying to swindle you in some way. I see no reason to make such a leap.
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 02:59 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;71475 wrote:
This is not a problem in Buddhism, my friend.

Buddhism says very little about Nirvana except that you should find out for yourself. Unless you have had the experience for yourself, it seems impossible to comment upon the experience - and especially impossible to belittle the experience as a trick.

Besides, reducing the experience to a trick requires a very cynical view of the people suggesting Buddhism: to call enlightenment a trick is to suggest that the Buddhists are all out trying to swindle you in some way. I see no reason to make such a leap.


Some sects of Buddhism place a lot of emphasis on Nirvana, and they are as assured that they are practicing Buddhism as any other practitioner in any other sect. But at my age, I really don't want to get into a loud discussion about it, so I just exercise my ability to disagree and choose to practice it in the way that I might see fit.

Rich
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 05:06 pm
@richrf,
richrf;71487 wrote:
Some sects of Buddhism place a lot of emphasis on Nirvana,


All Buddhist sects place emphasis on enlightenment - that's the goal. That's why you practice. The idea is to become a Bodhisattva.

richrf;71487 wrote:
and they are as assured that they are practicing Buddhism as any other practitioner in any other sect.


I know of no Buddhist sect that does not recognize it's uniqueness among other Buddhist sects.
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