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Buddhism - Four Noble Truths - Suffering

 
 
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 09:32 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:
Sure there is a difference between delusion, hallucination and veridical perception. But you can't dismiss the constructive role of consciousness in the creation of perception of objects. The thing perceived and the act of perception are always seamlessly conjoined.


Well maybe you are correct in the sense that these philosophical positions were defined in the past. Maybe. But surely you are aware that many believe that quantum physics has undermined the idea of absolute objectivity and of philosophical objectivism? I think the notion that reality is composed of absolute objects was really shot down with the discovery of quantum mechanics. It has been definitely shown that on the sub-atomic level, many 'objects' do not 'exist' until they are measured. Which leads many to wonder if they really are 'existing objects' in the everyday sense of the term.

I don't believe that this means that reality 'exists in the mind'. As soon as you say 'in the mind', the listener will try and form a concept of 'what is the mind in which this occurs?'. Invariably, this become an image of something 'going on inside your head'.

However, mind, or consciousness, being that which synthesises all the raw sense data and computes it as 'existing object' and the like, is never, and cannot be, an object of perception. There is no such 'thing' as consciousness. Sure, some materialists will feel that they have 'explained' consciousness, but who or what is doing the explaining? We cannot be object to ourselves. (This is what David Chalmers calls the 'hard problem of consciousness', correctly in my view.)

The belief you have in absolute objectivity is in fact a religious belief that developed in the West, as a result of the development of Western scientific and religious thought. It is the flipside of Protestantism. It is characteristic of a specific religious outlook, namely, the religion of secularism, and the idea that Truth is ultimately objective, and the Science is the only valid means of discoveing truth, and the only true knowledge is scientific knowledge.

Just so long as we're clear about that.


Please define absolute objectivity? I know that some things are completely subjective, like axiology for example. As much as you want to call something a religion when it's not, secularism is not a religion, it is the opposite of religion. Maybe you have your own definition, but find another word for it.

Problems of quantum mechanics can be explained with the uncertainty principle. It is a misconception that quantum mechanics implies indeterminism. What it implies is an epistemic limitation.

Idealism is dead, dualism is dead, and absolute skepticism is dead. I know, science and materialism (or physicalism) can be a pain in the ass for adherents of these positions.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 11:10 pm
@hue-man,
jeeprs wrote:
Sure there is a difference between delusion, hallucination and veridical perception. But you can't dismiss the constructive role of consciousness in the creation of perception of objects. The thing perceived and the act of perception are always seamlessly conjoined.

Please define the difference. How can one know that he is sane and the other has hallucinations?
jeeprs wrote:
However, mind, or consciousness, being that which synthesises all the raw sense data and computes it as 'existing object' and the like, is never, and cannot be, an object of perception. There is no such 'thing' as consciousness. Sure, some materialists will feel that they have 'explained' consciousness, but who or what is doing the explaining? We cannot be object to ourselves. (This is what David Chalmers calls the 'hard problem of consciousness', correctly in my view.)

That's true. I am recalling that idea they call in Hindooism 'neti-neti' (not that, not that) which denotes inability of mind to define itself.

hue-man wrote:
Idealism is dead, dualism is dead, and absolute skepticism is dead. I know, science and materialism (or physicalism) can be a pain in the ass for adherents of these positions.

Smile "Idealism is dead and buried". Hahaha. It's interesting when. Materialism and Idealism have coexisted throught the whole history and surely idealists have not been so stupid as thou wantest them to be. That resembles me the thought of Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin. After the revolution he spoke about the rise of materialism: "In Russia half-intellectuals have come to power: for them only matter is real. Philosophical difficulty of apprehension of the world is beyond them".
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 11:29 pm
@Kage phil,
I am sorry, I thought you were advocating absolute objectivity by saying that

Quote:
Having reality independent of the mind simply means that objective truth does not need a conscious perception of it in order to exist. It will exist regardless of whether it is perceived or not.


To me, this equals the assertion that objective reality has absolute existence.

The counter position is that things always exist in perception, (or, perhaps, that experience exists prior to objects) as is indeed expressed by the constellation of philosophies known as 'idealistic'.

You may say that quantum mechanics only indicates the limits of what we know, but it also clearly demonstrates that at the quantum level, the reality of particulars is determined by the act of measuring them. This is indisputable. And the philosophical implications of this, and other quantum peculiarities such as non-locality, have always disturbed thinkers who regard themselves as physical realists (Einstein included).

Accordingly, I don't agree at all the idealism is dead (just badly injured by lumbering Teutons.) In fact I believe that most of the developments in science since the Theory of Relativity pose more of a threat to materialism- the idea that reality consists of discrete objects arrayed in absolute space - than it does to idealism. Science itself has advanced well past physicalism or materialism, but the culture in which it finds itself is still a hundred years behind.

---------- Post added at 03:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:29 PM ----------

Quote:
Please define the difference. How can one know that he is sane and the other has hallucinations?


hey, be sensible:bigsmile:. Otherwise I will think it is YOU who is having delusions.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Apr, 2009 03:57 am
@jeeprs,
hue-man wrote:
As much as you want to call something a religion when it's not, secularism is not a religion, it is the opposite of religion.

If secularism is the system of values that implies that one should have interests only in what they call worldly things than this by all means is a kind of religion, kind of belief. And atheism at least can be religion as it was in the Soviet Union. Religion with all its attributes: holy ideas instead of holy writs, pasters and, of course, propaganda against other religions. And if thou, hue-man, basest thy attitude towards the world on deduction from secularism, then thou art religious man.Smile
hue-man wrote:
I know, science and materialism (or physicalism) can be a pain in the ass for adherents of these positions.

Does not the very style of these phrase show how dear is thy belief for thee? To the extent that thou wantest to offend opponents.
jeeprs wrote:
hey, be sensible:bigsmile:. Otherwise I will think it is YOU who is having delusions.

Out of pure subjectivism, because we necessary have to admit that everything which appears to us is reality. The point is that reality, it seems to me, is purely subjective. And delirium has no less reality than sanity, does it not?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Apr, 2009 04:16 am
@Kage phil,
Quote:
The point is that reality, it seems to me, is purely subjective

NOTHING can be 'purely subjective.' For something to be subjective, there must be something objective, and visca versa. For there to be delusion, there must be wisdom (or whatever is the opposite of delusion. Hence I saith, be sensible. Nevertheless I agree with the earlier part of your post but am also a bit puzzled about why thou dost use the archaic forms of English.

---------- Post added at 08:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:16 PM ----------

I would not say that 'things only exist in perception' meaning that, if there was nobody to perceive them, nothing would exist. What I would say is that everything that exists does so in a subjective as well as objective sense, in that it exists for us, it exists for creatures with exactly this kind of sensory perception, living in this particular kind of environment, and at this point in time. Furthermore that the intelligible qualities of things so exactly corresponds with our ability to understand them intelligently that, with the ancients, I believe it is meaningless to say that the order which is perceptible throughout the Universe and every aspect of every thing 'just happened to occur'. So I believe that the argument best expressed by Jacques Monod in Chance and Necessity is much more unlikely than that expressed by Plato in Timeaus, specifically, that there is a cosmic blueprint which was an expression of the mind of the Cosmic Architect.

I believe that homo sapiens evolved through 4.5 billion years through the process described in the Origin of Species. However I also believe that as a result of this evolution, homo sapiens actually mirrors and makes patent the latent intelligence that directed the entire evolutionary process 'from within' as well as 'from beyond'. Furthermore that the sapiential traditions of all world cultures, of which the Four Noble Truths are an exact expression, affirm this profound reality in many diverse ways.
0 Replies
 
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Apr, 2009 07:12 am
@Eudaimon,
Dictatorships do operate like religions, but they are not religions. Look up the definition of the term religious. It doesn't just mean that you believe in something. Secularism, by definition, is the opposite of religion. It defines something or someone that is not associated with any religion whatsoever.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Apr, 2009 09:49 am
@hue-man,
jeeprs wrote:
NOTHING can be 'purely subjective.' For something to be subjective, there must be something objective, and visca versa. For there to be delusion, there must be wisdom (or whatever is the opposite of delusion.Hence I saith, be sensible.

Surely there must be something. There must be dualism. But not only what is that thing which is "without" in itself but also how it can affect somene - this is purely subjective. That's what I meant.
jeeprs wrote:
Nevertheless I agree with the earlier part of your post but am also a bit puzzled about why thou dost use the archaic forms of English.

Smile Well, I like to preserve that difference between 2nd person singular and plural which exist in every Aryan tongue, it just helps discriminate to whom directly one is addressing.
jeeprs wrote:
I would not say that 'things only exist in perception' meaning that, if there was nobody to perceive them, nothing would exist.

Surely we cannot know that.
jeeprs wrote:
I believe that homo sapiens evolved through 4.5 billion years through the process described in the Origin of Species. However I also believe that as a result of this evolution, homo sapiens actually mirrors and makes patent the latent intelligence that directed the entire evolutionary process 'from within' as well as 'from beyond'.

Belief is purely personal affair because here common ground can never be established. I personally don't have any fixed opinion on that account: sometimes I it seems to me yes, sometimes no. I may say it might be so or might not which itself doesn't change anything. Concerning gods I like that idea of Epicurus who gave them pure ideal meaning having said that if they exist, they abide in blithe and really don't care about human affairs. See, to create the world as well as to do anything one must have desire or preference to something. Desire God cannot have because desire supposes dissatisfaction, discontent with what is - this thing can abandon even mortals. Preference he can't have also for their root, as it was e.g. explicitly shown in buddhism lays in some imprints of past delusions, some habits - they call that samskaras. Therefore god cannot create the world.
I am amused to read that evolution of animals enabled man to understand the World Order. What is that evolution? Surviving of the fittest. Who is that fittest? The most cruel, ignoble, lustful... Is it intelligent design? Were there Someone or Something to move that, it would meant that the things how they are now, with what, I think, thou art not so content, are absolutely normal state. And everything noble is just abnormal.
hue-man wrote:
Dictatorships do operate like religions, but they are not religions. Look up the definition of the term religious. It doesn't just mean that you believe in something. Secularism, by definition, is the opposite of religion. It defines something or someone that is not associated with any religion whatsoever.

I suppose that what I have written above is real atheism. What atheism means? It is not antitheism. Atheism means "indifferent attitude towards something or someone "supreme" (particulary gods)", not its rejection. It implies self-value of being and man according to dictionary. As soon as it turns into antitheism it becomes new kind of religion. Just because we cannot pretend to know ultimate truth and every radical assertions is but a belief.
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Apr, 2009 10:16 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon, athiesm (nor anti-theism) is not a religion! Stop applying words where they do not apply. That is not a good way to argue your point. What you are describing is weak atheism or agnosticism, and strong atheism. I only consider strong atheism (the thesis that supernatural agency does not exist) to be true atheism. Also, the word secular is not synonymous with the word atheist. In other words, because your secular doesn't mean you're an atheist.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Apr, 2009 10:34 am
@hue-man,
hue-man wrote:
Eudaimon, athiesm (nor anti-theism) is not a religion! Stop applying words where they do not apply. That is not a good way to argue your point. What you are describing is weak atheism or agnosticism, and strong atheism. I only consider strong atheism (the thesis that supernatural agency does not exist) to be true atheism. Also, the word secular is not synonymous with the word atheist. In other words, because your secular doesn't mean you're an atheist.

Supernatural agency does not exist... What is supernatural agency? If it exists, it will be natural agency. And how canst thou assert that there is no one who tugs at threads just like in a puppet theatre? And we, children, are so impressed that believe that puppet can speak. This is belief.
By the way, what is religion? In my dictionary it means a system of beliefs in something supernatural. Surely, for a savage airplane is supernatiral.
0 Replies
 
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 04:02 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:
Also it is not true that Buddhism is not dogmatic. Buddhism has its dogmas, and dogma per se is not actually pernicious (dogma being "a system of settled or established beliefs and principles). What Buddhism is NOT, and what is pernicious in all religions, is authoritarian. Religion in the West practically invented authoritarianism. Buddhism, by contrast, has always been a way for volunteers (except for where it has become hereditary.) But basically, it was a faith for volunteers, it was never forced on anyone, in fact traditionally you had to 'ask three times' to be instructed. And it has always proceeded by peaceful dialog, example, reason, and pointing out. Everywhere is has gone, with a very few exceptions (e.g. the Japanese Imperial Army) it has been a profoundly civilizing and humane influence. And it remains so.

In Buddhism we deal with the same distortions as in Christianity, do we not? I am speaking not only about miracles and all the stuff which occur in this so-called 'intelligent religion'. Do we not have to believe that the Buddha was enlightened? Who told us that following his Eightfold Path we shall arrive at enlightenment? Where is guarantee that Gautama was not one of those numerous charlatans who have so many times in history occured, especially in India? Or here much as in Christianity we have the only proof: "He who follows My word (that is hypnotising himself through different "practices": meditation, prayer, vespers etc., etc.) shall know whether it is from God or I am speaking from myself!"?
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 04:44 am
@Kage phil,
There is no way in which you can argue that Buddhism is dependent on miracles. To do so is to demonstrate your ignorance of the subject. Buddha did not guarantee enlightenment to anybody. He said, 'come and see'. You can actually do that, with Buddhism - you can apply the teachings, and see if they work or not. Time to get off your armchair. You can go on a vipassana meditation retreat - no miracles promised, or required - and see for yourself.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 09:16 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:
There is no way in which you can argue that Buddhism is dependent on miracles. To do so is to demonstrate your ignorance of the subject. Buddha did not guarantee enlightenment to anybody. He said, 'come and see'. You can actually do that, with Buddhism - you can apply the teachings, and see if they work or not. Time to get off your armchair. You can go on a vipassana meditation retreat - no miracles promised, or required - and see for yourself.

Vipasana (or Vipashyana) meditation takes a lot of time, does it not? To meet an enlightened person, as Buddha stated, is a very rare thing (I am recalling Dhammapada). So, I imagine, I am sitting in a room, trying to extinguish thought, trying to fix my mind on certain objects etc. And maybe in 40 forty years, as Krishnamurti said, I shall succeed in it. Or maybe I shall die before, XD. Without enlightenment. Should I believe then that I shall someday reborn to get enlightened, or that Buddha Amitabha will put me in his Pure Lands? The first problem is that every practice (it is specially important when it comes to spiritual things, that is to that which deal straight with our well-being) implies time, when I shall be in process of following that path. And whether I get the "Fruit", no one can promise.
Look, to say that the Buddha did not guaranteed Nirvana to anybody is the same as to say: it may come, or it may not. That is no one can do anything for his emancipation. It's just as to put our happiness in dependence of those impermanent thing, Gautama denied, say money, home, etc., etc.
And the second thing is that when following so many years a certain practice, out of pure egoism it is difficult to admit that it is false. It would mean that one's life passed for nothing. That's another trap in all "religions of practice".
The third is that hypnotising ourselves for so many years we shall eventually be able to see anything whatsoever. Allow me to remember the words of Krishnamurti again: "If you are Christian, you will see your Christ, if you are Hindu, you will see your Krishna".(Beyond Violence)
Jeeprs, I am not going to offend anyone, I just want to know truth, if some claims to know that.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 03:02 pm
@Kage phil,
Vipassana is dificult practise, no question. I don't know if I am able to 'succeed' through it or not. But I also don't know if it is about reaching the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Nor is it about trying to do this or reach that. The essence of the practise is to learn to observe. I don't go about telling people about this practise or lecturing them on Buddhism.

I read Krishnamurti for years. I learned something from him, but in the end I don't know if he was able to convey very much to an audience. He himself said as much towards the end of his life.

It is all difficult. It would be a lot easier to forget about all of these ideas.
0 Replies
 
meditationyoga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 12:18 am
@Kage phil,
Suffering is caused by desire. Desire to be rich, be on vacation when you are at work. Have a better mate that treats you better. Desires all the time in every shape in form. Including appearance and so on.

Desire is thinking. You are here, you want to be there. You are fat, in your brain you see an image of you skinny and it makes you sad.

Thus the only way to be free of desire, is to be free of thought. Thus meditation evolved as a medicinal practice for mental health.

So if you have no more desire you become innocent like a child. You totally reside in the present moment.
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 05:38 pm
@meditationyoga,
meditationyoga;70272 wrote:
Suffering is caused by desire. Desire to be rich, be on vacation when you are at work. Have a better mate that treats you better. Desires all the time in every shape in form. Including appearance and so on.

Desire is thinking. You are here, you want to be there. You are fat, in your brain you see an image of you skinny and it makes you sad.

Thus the only way to be free of desire, is to be free of thought. Thus meditation evolved as a medicinal practice for mental health.

So if you have no more desire you become innocent like a child. You totally reside in the present moment.


Yep, all kinds of desires.

Desire for Elightenment.

Desire for the Truth.

Desire to be Right.

Desire to be Better.

Desire to Live.

Desire permeates everywhere, and yes while it is true that desire may end when thought ends (e.g. Death), I kind of like Thinking, so I'll just keep living Life.

I don't think Buddha suggested that there was a way out of suffering (or as I would think it, conflict), I just think he was saying it was part of life. But it is OK if someone desires something different, only .... Smile

Rich
meditationyoga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 07:22 pm
@richrf,
"thought ends (e.g. Death)"

Yes thought may end at death, this may be possible. But for certain thought can end during life. You might have had one or two moments in your life when time stopped. When you were so much at peace you couldn't describe it, or try to capture it. This is no-mind.
LWSleeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 07:34 pm
@meditationyoga,
meditationyoga;70272 wrote:
Desire is thinking.


[SIZE="3"]I personally haven't found that to be true, but rather that desire is desire and thinking is thinking. [/SIZE]


meditationyoga;70272 wrote:
Thus the only way to be free of desire, is to be free of thought. Thus meditation evolved as a medicinal practice for mental health.


[SIZE="3"]How can this be? If we accept that the Buddha had realized what he taught, then he couldn't even have talked if he didn't think.

Further, I have developed the ability to stop thinking, but that doesn't stop me from feeling I want something.

The real problem with thinking is the inability to stop our thinking machine (mind) when we want to, or to prevent it from thinking according to established patterns. And the real problem with desire isn't desire per se, it is making our happiness dependent on having what we desire. That dependence on reality being exactly as we "desire" is what creates suffering, and what the Buddha was trying to teach how to avoid. He taught a way, samadhi mediation, through which one could be happy independent of external reality.[/SIZE]
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 07:40 pm
@meditationyoga,
meditationyoga;70468 wrote:
"thought ends (e.g. Death)"

Yes thought may end at death, this may be possible. But for certain thought can end during life. You might have had one or two moments in your life when time stopped. When you were so much at peace you couldn't describe it, or try to capture it. This is no-mind.


Hi,

Actually happens to me everyday. Time stops when I am asleep. But I still am "thinking' in the sense of dreams. However, this thinking is nothing like the thinking when I a awake and observing space-time.

Rich
0 Replies
 
meditationyoga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 11:17 pm
@LWSleeth,
Yes I understand what you are saying. But there are phenomenal levels to "not thinking". It can go from mediocre to extreme, like in an accident or near-death experience. It may only happen a couple times in a life. But meditation in nature is probably the best thing to be present. Unless you have a great difficult problem and then you completely relent. In that giving up you may become free. Otherwise you are going to have to be your own teacher today and find your own truth. But there are ingredients to the recipe. If you want Enlightenment you know what those ingredients are.
LWSleeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2009 10:25 am
@meditationyoga,
meditationyoga;70538 wrote:
But there are phenomenal levels to "not thinking". It can go from mediocre to extreme . . . If you want Enlightenment you know what those ingredients are.


[SIZE="3"]I'll offer my experience, distilled from 30+ years of daily samadhi meditation, on how "not thinking" fits into a devoted meditation practice. Possibly you practice something other than samadhi, but I think for this thread we have to discuss that specific meditation because it is what the Buddha taught.

Let me start with an analogy. If I want to develop a perfect tennis backhand shot, but I have a habit of stiffening up every time I take swing, then relaxing is necessary for me to learn. Let's say I have such a habit of tensing up that years later all I do is practice relaxing, to the point that I have completely forgotten that a great backhand stroke was my objective.

Similarly, we have a habit of thinking, but "not thinking" doesn't achieve samadhi even though the ability to quiet the mind is an important step toward samadhi. To explain this I'll have to break this idea into several bite-sized portions.

First, it isn't thinking that's the problem exactly, it is that we can't stop thinking when we want to. Most people know that if they close their eyes and try to stop, it is hopeless. Further, patterns of thought established by our life history not only has us thinking non-stop, but thinking in ways we don't control. That's why a guy raised by parents who were too strict might react angrily to authority, where someone else would be just fine. Essentially, that conditioning combined with the inability to stop the mind adds up to a mind that isn't under our control, and mental experiences we aren't necessarily so pleased about.

Intelligent people put their mind in order, learn to be logical and other feats of intelligence. While it may help thinking to be more reasonable, it doesn't free the mind from conditioning or run-away thinking. Yet thinking, when under full conscious control, can be a wonderful tool. It is a mistake to believe thinking is the enemy of enlightenment.

That brings us to what samadhi is, and why not thinking won't achieve it. As you surely know, the term "samadhi" is sanskrit for integrated or wholeness, and often translated as an inner practice as union. (In Western monastic settings we find many of the great saints who referred to the practice actually as "union.") Of course, the question becomes, what exactly does one unite with?

I have in threads at this site many times quoted the Buddha saying, "There is, monks, that plane where there is neither extension nor motion. . . there is no coming or going or remaining or deceasing or uprising. . . . There is, monks, an unborn, not become, not made, uncompounded . . . [and] because [that exists] . . . an escape can be shown for what is born, has become, is made, is compounded."

What samadhi practitioners discover is that there is a foundation of consciousness behind the operations of the mind, a "plane" from which the mind itself emerges. Because it is the origin of mind, mind can rejoin its foundation. That plane, as the Buddha says, is one and absolutely still ("not coming or going . . . or uprising"), so when a practitioner's mind is joined with that rock-steady foundation, the mind is automatically brought to stillness.

Yet stillness is just part of the experience because in joining one experiences a vastness, and a freedom, and a joy unlike any other. That is why I say not thinking isn't samadhi; plus, one can't "not think" anyway without discovering the foundation of consciousness because one is trying to stop the moving mind with one's mind itself (which is moving) . . . utter futility!

In samadhi, one turns one's attention around 180 degrees, experiences the light and vibrancy of that foundational plane, feels the subtle throb of it, and waits in patience in its presence to be absorbed. It is true the mind must still to be absorbed, but approaching the inner foundation with patience daily has a quieting effect on mind, which in turn allows one to move closer to the foundation, which again then quiets the mind a little more, and so on until union/samadhi occurs.

It's funny because after the first time it happens, most people (I know it was true for me) try to pursue union during practice because they want it again so badly. All that does is send it flying off further the way chasing a wild bird chases him off. The ability to wait quietly, very subtly letting go towards the foundation is a skill that takes many hours of practice to master. Interesting too is how much clearer one can think when one can think from a mind that is still, and when thinking follows what you want rather from being unconsciously propelled in various directions by conditioning.[/SIZE]
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