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#1 RobertK

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:44 AM

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E-sangha, Buddhist Forum and Buddhism Forum _ Classical Theravada _ We have the power to control our circumtances!
Posted by: robertk2 Sep 25 2007, 08:02 PM

QUOTE(Raga Mala @ Sep 25 2007, 02:55 PM)

Indeed, robert, if there is no free will, then what are we all here arguing about? Why did the Buddha teach or indeed anyone strive to practice, if we have no power to control our circumstances?

Are all these practicioners just "doing their duty"? Buddhism without free-will just sounds like karma marga, straight out of the Bhagavad-Gita. Might as well be Hindus.




Well actually, according to Dhamma there is no free will. There is not even a we who could control anything.



Posted by: ben oloughlin Sep 25 2007, 08:45 PM
Dear Robert

Could you be so kind as to provide a refutation of free will and show how it is inconsistent with Dhamma?
Many thanks

Ben


Posted by: robertk2 Sep 25 2007, 08:48 PM
Dear Ben

Thanks for the request. I have a few thought and quotes on this and will add them as time permits:

From Nyanatiloka Mahathera:


QUOTE



QUOTE
This phenomenality and egolessness of existence has been beautifully expressed in two verses of the Visuddhimagga:

No doer of the deeds is found,
No one who ever reaps their fruits.
Empty phenomena roll on.
This only is the correct view.
No god nor Brahma can be called
The maker of this wheel of life:
Empty phenomena roll on,
Dependent on conditions all.

In hearing that Buddhism teaches that everything is determined by conditions, someone might come to the conclusion that Buddhism teaches some sort of fatalism, or that man has no free will, or that will is not free. Now, with regard to the two questions:

(1) "Has man a free will?" and

(2) "Is will free?" the Buddhist will say that both these questions are to be rejected for being wrongly put, and therefore unanswerable.

The first question "Has man a free will?" is to be rejected for the reason that, beside these ever-changing mental and physical phenomena, in the absolute sense no such thing or entity can be found that we could call "man," so that "man" as such is merely a name without any reality.

The second question "Is will free?" is to be rejected for the reason that "will" is only a momentary mental phenomenon, just like feeling, consciousness, etc., and thus does not yet exist before it arises, and that therefore of a non-existent thing — of a thing which is not — one could, properly speaking, not ask whether it is free or unfree. The only admissible question would be:

"Is the arising of will independent of conditions, or is it conditioned?"

But the same question would equally apply also to all the other mental phenomena, as well as to all the physical phenomena, in other words, to everything and every occurrence whatever. And the answer would be: Be it "will", or "feeling", or any other mental or physical phenomenon, the arising of anything whatsoever depends on conditions; and without these conditions, nothing can ever arise or enter into existence.

According to Buddhism, everything mental and physical happens in accordance with laws and conditions; and if it were otherwise, chaos and blind chance would reign. But such a thing is impossible and contradicts all laws of thinking.



Posted by: notself Sep 25 2007, 08:53 PM
Dear all,

We do not have absolute free will. We have conditional free will. This dependent on form, feeling, perception, and mental formations. If we did not have conditional free will we could not change our mental formations. Without conditional free will we could not train the body or the mind. We would be robots.

Metta
notself


Posted by: ben oloughlin Sep 25 2007, 08:54 PM
Thanks Robert for providing the material by Nyanatiloka Mahathera. It confirmed my own thinking on the subject.
Kind regards

Ben

EDIT: I'm confusing my authors! Its late here in Australia. With that note, goodnight!


Posted by: cooran Sep 25 2007, 08:57 PM
Hello Rob,

Do you think within Dependent Origination, that there could be said to be room for Choice?

We are what we are because of everything that ever happened to the stream of consciousness - but, for example, even though I am planning a trip to Thailand and India over the next weeks, I still have the capability to go or not go, wouldn't you say?

metta
Chris


Posted by: njupasaka Sep 25 2007, 09:08 PM
It would seem that from the standpoint of momentariness that it would be equally erroneous to assert that there is no free will.


Posted by: robertk2 Sep 25 2007, 09:42 PM

QUOTE(cooran @ Sep 25 2007, 08:58 PM)
Hello Rob,

Do you think within Dependent Origination, that there could be said to be room for Choice?

We are what we are because of everything that ever happened to the stream of consciousness - but, for example, even though I am planning a trip to Thailand and India over the next weeks, I still have the capability to go or not go, wouldn't you say?

metta
Chris





dear Chris
Just the illusion of control.

Underlying any actions are lobha, or dosa, or avijja(ignorance) or panna(wisdom) .
It seems like "I can decide to go to Thailand", but actually it is lobha arising and this conditions certain movements and speech.
Or it might be wisdom arising that conditions the action. But most of the time it is lobha that is a dominant cause.
Either way no one can make wisdom or lobha arise, they arise because they are conditioned...

QUOTE
Therefore, just as a marionette is void, soulless and without curisosity, and while it works and stands merely through the combination of strings and wood yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness, so too this materiality (rupa)-mentality (nama) is void, soulless and without curiosity, and while it walks and stands merely through the combination of the two together, yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness."
Visuddhimagga XVIII 31




Usually we think "I'm interested or bored or excited or calm, or sad or happy or wise or confused or making effort or being negligent." But there are only different elements performing different functions - and they have no agenda:


QUOTE
"The uninterestedness becomes evident to him though seeing rise and fall according to condition owing to his discovery of the inability of states to have mastery exercised over them. Then he more thoroughly abandons the self view."
Visuddhimagga XX 102

Robert


Posted by: Raga Mala Sep 25 2007, 11:54 PM

QUOTE(robertk2 @ Sep 25 2007, 03:02 AM)
Well actually, according to Dhamma there is no free will. There is not even a we who could control anything.






As the quotes from Ven. Thanissaro in the previous thread make clear, this is hardly a universal assertion.

While Ven Thanissaro can be unorthodox in many areas, I am not inclined to trust your own personal scholarship on the matter over his.

Simply put, the Dhamma makes no sense without an element of volition, even if such an element is held to be anatta. If there is no power to change from the "individual"'s side, there is no hope of directed self-improvement.


Posted by: Upsaka JC Sep 26 2007, 12:35 AM

QUOTE(Raga Mala @ Sep 25 2007, 07:54 AM)




Simply put, the Dhamma makes no sense without an element of volition, even if such an element is held to be anatta. If there is no power to change from the "individual"'s side, there is no hope of directed self-improvement.





agreed i mean if kamma is volition that means we are making choices unless we have absolutly no control over our kamma which would make us puppets but then puppets of whom? that would imply a self or greater self


Posted by: WML Sep 26 2007, 02:32 AM
Since my post was deleted after the move, I'll contribute something from the canon that raises an important distinction about free will/no-self in the canon.

Determinism is incompatible with the Dhamma according to this sutta:



QUOTE(DN 2)
"When this was said, Makkhali Gosala said to me, 'Great king, there is no cause, no requisite condition, for the defilement of beings. Beings are defiled without cause, without requisite condition. There is no cause, no requisite condition, for the purification of beings. Beings are purified without cause, without requisite condition. There is nothing self-caused, nothing other-caused, nothing human-caused. There is no strength, no effort, no human energy, no human endeavor. All living beings, all life, all beings, all souls are powerless, devoid of strength, devoid of effort. Subject to the changes of fate, serendipity, and nature, they are sensitive to pleasure and pain in the six great classes of birth.
...
...
"'Though one might think, "Through this morality, this practice, this austerity, or this holy life I will ripen unripened kamma and eliminate ripened kamma whenever touched by it" — that is impossible. Pleasure and pain are measured out, the wandering-on is fixed in its limits. There is no shortening or lengthening, no accelerating or decelerating. Just as a ball of string, when thrown, comes to its end simply by unwinding, in the same way, having transmigrated and wandered on, the wise and the foolish alike will put an end to pain.'


Likewise, a reduction of everything to aggregates doesn't negate the moral aspects and consequences of cetana [intention]:


QUOTE(Samannaphalla-sutta @ wrong view of Pakudha Kaccayana)
Even if a man cleaves another's head with a sharp sword, he does not take life, for the sword [merely] passes between the seven elements.


Best wishes,
FancyMan


Posted by: Sobhana Sep 26 2007, 02:50 AM
I believe in no control because consciousness, thoughts, feelings etc,etc arises and passes away on its own accord. Eventhough I believe in no control, there are still a few questions left unanswered. For example:

(1) If every one of us are puppets who has "no control" then who is the controller/puppeteer?

(2) If we have no control, wouldn't it be logical to believe in a God, or Tao or a Force which conditions and controls us?

(3) Why are some people born rich and some are born poor when everyone of us have the "same degree of no control"? How do we justify Karma, if there is no control?

(4) What is the difference between a mindful person's "no control" compared to a drug addict on "high" type of "no control" or an insane's person's "no control". It seems like there are different degrees of no control too, isn't it?

Thank you in advance.


Posted by: Upsaka JC Sep 26 2007, 04:32 AM
i think there must be some sort of middle way here that people are missing
it reminds me of LP Buddhadasa's teaching on paticcasamuppada and the three kinds of births, theres our birth from a a mothers womb and theres birth in the abhidhammic sense that arises and passes away in an instant but there is also the middle birth the birth of the 8 fold path and paticcasamuppada which arises each time there is a sense contact
maybe our free will is linked to this type of birth and not to the abhidhammic one


i have to agree that in one sense there can be no free will cause if there is no self (isn't it actually non, not no self though) who's will would it be. we are simply a matter of processes, an event, i was once part of a salon type function with a quantum physicist and he explained things in this matter too, take for example a chair, in quantum physics there is no THING called a chair only an event we call a chair the chair happening it came from different sources to be what we are seeing as a chair and will break up into other stuff at some point. we are the same, we are a series of processes (sometimes when mindfull one can really "see" this) but at the same time there is something, not a self, but not nothing not eternalism nor anihilationism, but something in the middle. i guess

but i wish there was more posted here from the buddha and not just buddhaghosa, im willing to write buddhaghosa off completely it doesnt bother me one bit, its really only the words of the buddha himself that matter.



Posted by: WML Sep 26 2007, 04:40 AM
Hi Sobhana,

I personally disagree with the view "there is no free will" or "there is no control" but I will offer what I understand to be the main defenses used for the "no control" position.



QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 25 2007, 01:51 PM)
(1) If every one of us are puppets who has "no control" then who is the controller/puppeteer?


The Abhidhammic position is that there is no "controller" but there is specific conditionality. In other words, the "controller" if you could call it that, is the persistent conditionality that manifests in relationships between dhammas. So there is no controller since control implies conscious decision, but there is conformity with the cosmic laws that determine how dhammas interact with each other. So in a word: no control, but conformity with Nature. (But here "Nature" simply describes the laws governing the dhammas and those dhammas themselves.)

QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 25 2007, 01:51 PM)
(2) If we have no control, wouldn't it be logical to believe in a God, or Tao or a Force which conditions and controls us?


In the Abhidhammic view, the Law (nature) is what conditions dhammas. But this is different than God, or Tao, or a Force because the latter are usually attributed creative power or responsibility for existence. In the the Dhamma, however, no God or Force is responsible for existence, but rather "ignorance conditions formations." (And ignorance is not a first cause, just a requisite condition. The Buddha says no first cause can be discerned.)

QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 25 2007, 01:51 PM)
(3) Why are some people born rich and some are born poor when everyone of us have the "same degree of no control"? How do we justify Karma, if there is no control?


According to the orthodox view, there is no need to "justify" kamma because its results are not "punishments" or "rewards," but rather are simply consequences of cosmic law. In this way of thinking, trying to "justify" kamma is like trying to "justify" gravity.

QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 25 2007, 01:51 PM)
(4) What is the difference between a mindful person's "no control" compared to a drug addict on "high" type of "no control" or an insane's person's "no control". It seems like there are different degrees of no control too, isn't it?


In your definition of "no control" you are implying "control that is partially not-control." Your usage of "no control" creates the confusion. The orthodoxy says that there is no difference between an addict's "no control" and a disciplined disciple's "no control." The difference is that the disciple develops the supporting conditions for spiritual progress (faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, wisdom) and the addict does not. Likewise, the disciple progresses on the Eightfold Path and the addict does not. The difference between them would be ascribed to differences in papanca (kammic accretions) and being born with a difference in the strength of wholesome/unwholesome roots. Also, the supporting conditions for right view would differ between them, as right view has two conditions: the voice of another (hearing the true Dhamma) and appropriate attention. Another important factor that could differ between them: association with bad friends versus association with good friends. Both of these are listed as causes of shamelessness and negligence, and conscience and diligence, respectively.

Sorry for the lack of sutta references, I don't have them on hand. However, most of the assertions here are backed with sutta references in other posts of mine that you could find with the search feature.

Best wishes,
FancyMan


Posted by: Upsaka JC Sep 26 2007, 06:22 AM
also arent
Attakaravada or Sayankaravada: The school which upholds the view that happiness and suffering are entirely self-determined (kammic autogenesism)
and
Parakaravada: The school which upholds the view that happiness and suffering are entirely caused by external factors (kammic heterogenisism)

both seen as heritical views?


QUOTE
To say 'suffering is caused by the self,' is the same as saying 'he who acts receives the results (suffering).' This tends to the eternalist view (sassataditthi). Saying 'suffering is caused by other agents,' as a person who experiences sharp and painful feelings would feel, is just like saying, 'one person acts, another suffers.' This tends to the annihilationist view (ucchedaditthi). The Tathagata, avoiding those two extremes, proclaims a teaching that is balanced, thus, 'With ignorance as condition there are volitional impulses; with volitional impulses as condition, consciousness ... with the complete abandoning of ignorance, volitional impulses cease; with the cessation of volitional impulses, consciousness ceases ...' [S.II.19]






Posted by: Sobhana Sep 26 2007, 07:24 AM
Hello FancyMan,
Thank you for providing the orthodoxy explanation of "no control". I have a few more questions.


QUOTE(FancyMan @ Sep 25 2007, 03:41 PM)
The orthodoxy says that there is no difference between an addict's "no control" and a disciplined disciple's "no control." The difference is that the disciple develops the supporting conditions for spiritual progress (faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, wisdom) and the addict does not. Likewise, the disciple progresses on the Eightfold Path and the addict does not. The difference between them would be ascribed to differences in papanca (kammic accretions) and being born with a difference in the strength of wholesome/unwholesome roots. Also, the supporting conditions for right view would differ between them, as right view has two conditions: the voice of another (hearing the true Dhamma) and appropriate attention. Another important factor that could differ between them: association with bad friends versus association with good friends. Both of these are listed as causes of shamelessness and negligence, and conscience and diligence, respectively.

I understand that the associations with good/bad friends are conditioned, the papanca/kammic accretions are also conditioned.

(1) Based on "what criteria" which type of condition goes to each individual?

(2) How does "nature" choose the conditions that is meant for each of us?

(2) What determines this "kammic accretions" (papanca) of every individual?

(3) Why does everyone have different conditions?

I hope these questions are valid.


Posted by: ben oloughlin Sep 26 2007, 07:41 AM
Dear Friends

As this thread has been moved into the Classical Theravada Forum, it may be wise to remind members the special guidelines for discussion in the Classical Forum.



QUOTE(Classical Theravada Posting Etiquette)
4. The Classical Theravada sub-forum is intended for those wishing to understand the teachings of the Pali Tipiṭaka (i.e. Vinaya, Suttanta and Abhidhamma) and its Mahāvihāra commentaries. In this sub-forum these texts will be treated as authoritative and the focus of discussion will be on understanding what they teach. Criticisms of these sources, or posts discussing them from a non-Theravādin point of view, should not be posted here.
http://www.lioncity....hp?act=SR&f=109



Please also take the time to become familiar with the other guidelines especially in relation to referencing and quoting.

Thanking you for your kind cooperation.

Ben


Posted by: robertk2 Sep 26 2007, 08:38 AM
The burmese Abhidhamma teacher Thein Nyun in his preface to the DhatuKathu (Pali Text Society) xxvii writes about this:


"Because the functions of the elements give rise to the concepts of continuity, collection and form, the ideas arise:

1)the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed and

2) the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion and this leads to the subsequent ideas

3)"I can perform" and

4) "I can feel".

This is a very pithy explanation and well worth contemplating.

He further explains that the elements arise and pass away far too quickly to be able to do the actions above:

"

QUOTE
The elements..arise and cease within a very short time. In the wink of an eye or a flash of lightning the mental elements arise and cease a trillion times.`This is just an estimate . the subcommentary takes an even higher figure....."



Posted by: robertk2 Sep 26 2007, 08:39 AM
This is an old letter I wrote to someone who disagreed with teh quote from Thein Nyun(see last post)

SW: I do not understand how "conceit" and "personality belief" can be called ideas. I know that "conceit" is a cetasika and not an idea. I know that "personality belief" is a cetasika and not an idea. How are "effort" and "care" imaginary characteristics? I don't think my effort and care to write you this letter is an imaginery characteristic. It is as real as the khandas as it can be. I don't think the effort and care expended by the Buddha to teach his Disciples is an imaginary characteristic.

------------

When studying the Dhamma a prime requisite is to understand the difference between concept and reality (paramattha dhamma). In the case you mention above "I don't think my effort and care to write you this letter is an imaginary characteristic" you are talking about a long chain of events, moments. The story writing a letter is a concept. Even in one second so many dhammas have arisen and passed away. When we talk about long periods like writing a letter it is countless. During the writing effort arose and fell away and each moment was different from the other - but because each moment also is one of the conditions (among many ) for the next this is not fully realised. There may have been some moments with kusala effort, some without, some with weak concentration (right or wrong) some with stronger. Moments of energy, moments of slightly less energy: and all usually taken as 'my' energy. Even when we talk about one brief moment this is a very complex thing many different conditions needed.

Without hearing the dhamma we imagine "we" are controlling everything, not understanding the intricate conditions that make up each moment. Take the act of seeing while you were writing the letter. So many different moments of seeing and each moment conditioned:

"

QUOTE
Firstly the eye element is a condition in six ways namely, dissociation, prenascence, presence, non-disapearance, support, and faculty for the eye-consciouness (cakkhu vi~n~nana) element. The visible object is a condition in four ways, namely, prenascent, presence, non-disappearance, and object for the eye- consciousness element"
Visuddhimagga XV 40


Then following that flash of seeing there are many mental processes similarly conditioned by several factors, none of which are in the control of anyone. And these conditioning factors are all likewise conditioned by many conditions. Because of ignorance of this the illusion of beings and self, like actors in an endless play, continues.

We can understand conceptually how this is by looking at bodily functions - say the way the body heals cuts - very complex, and if even one condition is not present then infection can arise and so other complex conditions are needed to heal. Nama (mentality) is more subtle than rupa and more complex:

"
QUOTE
It would be better for the unlearned worldling to regard this body, built up of the four elements, as his self, rather than the mind. For it is evident that this body may last for a year, for two years, for three years, four, five, or ten years, or even a hundred years and more; but that which is called thought, or mind, or consciousness, is continuously, during day and night, arising as one thing, and passing away as another thing."
S. XII. 62


============================

Robert: Because of continuity there is a belief, a vipallasa, perversion of perception, that believes there is somewhere, somehow a controller of the whole complex.

----------------------------------

SW: I do not understand how this continuity can result in "personality belief". It it because of this continuity that magga and then phala arises. It is because of this continuity that the Noble Eightfold Path can be perfected. If it is because of this continuity that there arises "personality belief", then there can be no escape from samsara. The Buddha could not rightly proclaim his Lion's Roar.

--------------

"
QUOTE
When continuity is disrupted by discerning rise and fall, the characteristic of impermanence becomes apparent in its true nature."
(Visuddhimagga XXI 4
)

Of course continuity is only one aspect of why it is hard to discern the tilakkhana.

--------------

SW: What is the actual root cause of "personality belief"?

-------------

This is like asking what is the root cause of ignorance. No beginning is discerned to the paticasamuppada, the wheel of dependent origination) but personality belief is uprooted gradually by seeing the actual characteristics of the different dhammas:


QUOTE
"When the resolution of the compact is effected by resolution into elements (dhatus), the characteristic of not-self become apparent in its true nature."
(Visuddhimagga XX 15)





QUOTE
"The characteristic of not-self becomes evident to him through seeing rise according to conditions owing to his discovery that states have no curiosity and have their existence depending upon conditions"
XX 102



QUOTE
"All the formed bases(eye base, ear base, tongue base etc) should be regarded as having no provenance and no destination. On the contrary, before their rise they had no individual essence and after their fall their individual essences are completely dissolved. And they occur without mastery being exercisable over them since they exist in dependence on conditions and in between the past and the future."
XV 15


I think everyone has no problem in accepting that there is no control over the eye or ear base. But the same applies also to the other elements which are all equally conditioned - whether they be nama or rupa.

They often talk about dhatus (elements) in the suttas. What does it mean - element? There are several definitions including this:


QUOTE
"Element is a term for what is soulesss."
Visuddhimagga XV 22, and


"
QUOTE
They are only mere sortings out of suffering because no mastery is exercisable over them."
Visuddhimagga XV 20


"
QUOTE
There is removal of false view in one who sees thus: "If formations were self it would be right to take them as self; but being not-self they are taken as self. Therefore they are not self in the sense of no power being exercisable over them; they are impermanent in the sense of non-existence after having come to be; they are painful in the sense of oppression by rise and fall"
Visuddhimagga XX 83


__________

Robert: There are only elements arising and ceasing and performing their many different functions which - like a brilliant puppet show - delude one into thinking there is some special element behind it all.

_________

SW: Is it the case that the arising and ceasing of the elements performing their different functions the actual root cause of this delusion?

---------------

It is not seeing the actual arising and ceasing that allows the delusion to continue.

--------------


________

SW: If the elements have not the time or span of duration to carry out the 'ideas' "I can perform" or "I can feel", then I do not see how these 'ideas' can survive in the first place. For without the elements, there cannot be the 'ideas'.
________

The ideas are the shadows of what is really there. I recently quoted a letter Kom wrote which helps to explain this:

"Before a process can arise, there must be thousands of them, and processes already taken place repeatedly. By this description, we can deduce that, it is not enough for a single rupa (17 moments of cittas) to condition the cittas to start experiencing pannati. It must take thousands of panja-dvara-javana-vithi and mano-dvara-javana vithi, which actually experience paramatha aramana, for the citta to start organizing and arranging the sense objects into a concept. The concepts also change as the mano-dvara-javana vithi, experiencing the concept, repeats. For seeing, in the beginning we may just see an unidentified shape, and then it becomes a familiar shape, and then we may attach a name to the shape. At this point, the process of taking paramatha object all the way to a memorable, identifiable, namable concept is complete: a perfect aramana for upadana to hold on to."

.

________

Robert: . In the Atthasalini it notes that the monks who are reciters of the suttanta (the second basket which includes the 5 nikayas) may come to wrong view because in the suttas they often talk about beings and things. In reality there are simply dhammas arising and passing, utterly conditioned.
_____

SW: It seems that the Buddha liked to perform linguistic acrobatics...really? Isn't the Buddha speaking in "conventional language" when he said in Samyutta Nikaya XXII.59:

And it is not possible to say with regard to consciousness, 'Let MY consciousness be thus. Let MY consciousness not be thus.'

The Buddha is basically performing linguistic acrobatics all over the Suttas. What gives?

========================== ______________________

Important to know when conventional speech (vohara vacca) is being used:


QUOTE
"As with the assembly of parts the word chariot is countenanced, so, when the aggregates are present, a being is said in common usage."
(Samyutta I, 135)

"These, Citta, are merely names, expressions, turns of speech, designations in common use in the world. And of these a Tathagata makes use indeed, but he does not misapprehend them."
(Digha 9)


The suttas often use such words as MY, and we can too, but we need to know that they are mere concepts.

Such forms as woman or man are local forms of speech. ..In those who have not fully understood what a physical base is there comes to be the misinterpretation "this is really a woman..." But since this is mere concept, which depends on states made to occur in such ans such a wise, one who sees and knows the dependent origination does not interpret it as ultimate meaning."
Note 4, Visuddhimagga VII (Pm
.
_____________

Robert


Posted by: retrofuturist Sep 26 2007, 08:44 AM

QUOTE(robertk2 @ Sep 25 2007, 10:49 PM)
From Nyanatiloka Mahathera:


QUOTE
In hearing that Buddhism teaches that everything is determined by conditions, someone might come to the conclusion that Buddhism teaches some sort of fatalism, or that man has no free will, or that will is not free. Now, with regard to the two questions:

(1) "Has man a free will?" and

(2) "Is will free?" the Buddhist will say that both these questions are to be rejected for being wrongly put, and therefore unanswerable.

The first question "Has man a free will?" is to be rejected for the reason that, beside these ever-changing mental and physical phenomena, in the absolute sense no such thing or entity can be found that we could call "man," so that "man" as such is merely a name without any reality.

The second question "Is will free?" is to be rejected for the reason that "will" is only a momentary mental phenomenon, just like feeling, consciousness, etc., and thus does not yet exist before it arises, and that therefore of a non-existent thing — of a thing which is not — one could, properly speaking, not ask whether it is free or unfree. The only admissible question would be:

"Is the arising of will independent of conditions, or is it conditioned?"







Exactly. The concept of "Free will" is irrelevant in Buddhism.

Metta,
Retro.


Posted by: ben oloughlin Sep 26 2007, 09:33 AM

QUOTE(robertk2 @ Sep 26 2007, 11:40 AM)
"Before a process can arise, there must be thousands of them, and processes already taken place repeatedly. By this description, we can deduce that, it is not enough for a single rupa (17 moments of cittas) to condition the cittas to start experiencing pannati. It must take thousands of panja-dvara-javana-vithi and mano-dvara-javana vithi, which actually experience paramatha aramana, for the citta to start organizing and arranging the sense objects into a concept. The concepts also change as the mano-dvara-javana vithi, experiencing the concept, repeats. For seeing, in the beginning we may just see an unidentified shape, and then it becomes a familiar shape, and then we may attach a name to the shape. At this point, the process of taking paramatha object all the way to a memorable, identifiable, namable concept is complete: a perfect aramana for upadana to hold on to."






Thanks Robert for that excellent post.
My experience of having started my study of the Abhidhammathasangaha (Ven. Bodhi's) is like that individual mental agregates are so incredibly subtle, ephemeral and yet their inter-relationships so complex. Having read the suttas and then having some exposure (albeit via a commentarial source) of the Abhidhamma, I liken it to someone who has been looking at a photograph of a landscape who then sees the same landscape again through a stereoscope. So much more detail, perspective, relief.
Kind regards

Ben


Posted by: Sobhana Sep 26 2007, 09:35 AM
There are many quotes from the Visuddhimagga but Visuddhimagga is written by Buddhaghosa and they are not the words of the Buddha, isn't it? Which sutta did the Buddha say we are puppets? The Buddha taught Anatta but Buddha didn't explicitly say we are puppets, or did he actually say that?



QUOTE(retrofuturist @ Sep 25 2007, 07:44 PM)
"Is the arising of will independent of conditions, or is it conditioned?"

Does anyone have the internet link to the rest of the article?
I believe that "Will" is conditioned but "what" determines the conditions for goodwill or illwill which arises in each of us?


Posted by: ben oloughlin Sep 26 2007, 09:45 AM

QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 26 2007, 12:35 PM)
There are many quotes from the Visuddhimagga but Visuddhimagga is written by Buddhaghosa and they are not the words of the Buddha, isn't it?





Dear Sobhana

I refer you to point 4 of the http://www.lioncity....hp?act=SR&f=109, repeated here again:

QUOTE
The Classical Theravada sub-forum is intended for those wishing to understand the teachings of the Pali Tipiṭaka (i.e. Vinaya, Suttanta and Abhidhamma) and its Mahāvihāra commentaries. In this sub-forum these texts will be treated as authoritative and the focus of discussion will be on understanding what they teach. Criticisms of these sources, or posts discussing them from a non-Theravādin point of view, should not be posted here.


If you wish to discuss whether the Visuddhimagga is or is not authoritative or to criticise Ven Buddhaghosa's work, please feel free to create a thread in the General Theravada or Modern Theravada Forums.
Kind regards

Ben


Posted by: WML Sep 26 2007, 10:38 AM

QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 25 2007, 08:35 PM)
Which sutta did the Buddha say we are puppets? The Buddha taught Anatta but Buddha didn't explicitly say we are puppets, or did he actually say that?




QUOTE(SN 5.9 (Bhikkhu Bodhi trans.))
Then Mara the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhuni Sela, desiring to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:

By whom has this puppet been created?
Where is the maker of the puppet?
Where has the puppet arisen?
Where does the puppet cease?

Then it occurred to the bhikkhuni Sela: "Now who is this...? This is Mara the Evil One... desiring to make me fall away from concentration."

Then the bhikkhuni Sela, having understood, "This is Mara the Evil One," replied to him in verses:

This puppet is not made by itself,
Nor is this misery made by another.
It has come to be dependent on a cause,
When the cause dissolves then it will cease.
...
...




QUOTE(http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/khantipalo/wheel271.html)
ง51 Verses of the Arahat Ratthapala
...
"Behold a puppet here pranked out,
A body built up out of sores,
Sick, and much object for concern,
Where no stability abides.
Behold a figure here pranked out
With jewelry and earrings too,
A skeleton wrapped up in skin,
Made creditable by its clothes.
Its feet adorned with henna dye
And powder smeared upon its face,
It may beguile a fool, but not
A seeker of the Further Shore....
.......
.......
— M. 82, trans. Ven. ัanamoli



I cannot recall an instance of people being called puppets. There are instances of the body being called a puppet.

I do not know of an instance where the Buddha calls the body a puppet, but here are two instances in the canon of elders doing so.

Best wishes,
FancyMan


Posted by: WML Sep 26 2007, 10:50 AM

QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 25 2007, 06:24 PM)

(1) Based on "what criteria" which type of condition goes to each individual?

(2) How does "nature" choose the conditions that is meant for each of us?

(2) What determines this "kammic accretions" (papanca) of every individual?

(3) Why does everyone have different conditions?

I hope these questions are valid.






From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. Over an incalculable number of eons different individuals experience different contacts and fabricate different kamma in various times and places. There is a virtually infinite number of possible combinations for the meeting of papanca and present contacts, and therefore there is an almost infinite combination of possible new kamma and how that kamma will affect the existing nama-rupa in the future:


QUOTE(AN 4.77)
"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?

"The Buddha-range of the Buddhas is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"The jhana-range of a person in jhana...

"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...

"Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"These are the four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them."


The diversity of elements (six internal and external sense bases, four great elements, etc.) conditions the diversity of contacts. From this diversity of feelings, perceptions, and intentions are conditioned, with these conditioning papanca.

I am not sure how to address your questions one by one. I think this post should shed a bit of light though, particularly that it may be impossible to answer them.


Posted by: mikenz66 Sep 26 2007, 12:36 PM
Dear Ben,


QUOTE(ben oloughlin @ Sep 26 2007, 09:45 AM)
QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 26 2007, 12:35 PM)
There are many quotes from the Visuddhimagga but Visuddhimagga is written by Buddhaghosa and they are not the words of the Buddha, isn't it?



...
I refer you to point 4 of the http://www.lioncity....hp?act=SR&f=109
...





I take the point that in the Classical Theravada Forum the Canon and the Commentaries are taken as the basis for discussion, but surely it is permissible to rephrase Sobhana's question as:
"Can someone explain how the Commentaries and the Visuddhimagga came to this conclusion on the basis of the Canon?"
or:
"Is there an obvious teaching on this in the Suttas?"
I don't see that as violating the guideline that:

QUOTE
Criticisms of these sources, or posts discussing them from a non-Theravādin point of view, should not be posted here.


I think that it is useful, and "Classical", to know exactly where certain ideas originate (Suttas, Abhidhamma, Commentaries. That is not "criticism", it's "clarification".

Metta
Mike


Posted by: ben oloughlin Sep 26 2007, 12:50 PM
Mike

My intention is to ensure the focus of this thread is not lost and thus, the opportunity to explore this interesting topic from the Classical Theravada viewpoint, is not lost.

I have no problem with people seeking clarification. But let's try and keep the focus in mind.
Kind regards

Ben


Posted by: robertk2 Sep 26 2007, 02:26 PM

QUOTE(Upsaka JC @ Sep 26 2007, 04:33 AM)
i but i wish there was more posted here from the buddha and not just buddhaghosa, im willing to write buddhaghosa off completely it doesnt bother me one bit, its really only the words of the buddha himself that matter.





Anatta-lakkhana Sutta
The Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic
Translated from the Pali by
ัanamoli Thera
Alternate translation: Mendis ัanamoli Thanissaro

"Bhikkhus, form is not-self. Were form self, then this form would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.' And since form is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.'"Bhikkhus, feeling is not-self...

"Bhikkhus, perception is not-self...

"Bhikkhus, determinations are not-self...

"Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.'
"


Posted by: CHS Sep 26 2007, 04:51 PM

QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 26 2007, 01:51 AM)
I believe in no control because consciousness, thoughts, feelings etc,etc arises and passes away on its own accord. Eventhough I believe in no control, there are still a few questions left unanswered. For example:

(1) If every one of us are puppets who has "no control" then who is the controller/puppeteer?

(2) If we have no control, wouldn't it be logical to believe in a God, or Tao or a Force which conditions and controls us?

(3) Why are some people born rich and some are born poor when everyone of us have the "same degree of no control"? How do we justify Karma, if there is no control?

(4) What is the difference between a mindful person's "no control" compared to a drug addict on "high" type of "no control" or an insane's person's "no control". It seems like there are different degrees of no control too, isn't it?

Thank you in advance.






Hi all
"(4) What is the difference between a mindful person's "no control" compared to a drug addict on "high" type of "no control" or an insane's person's "no control". It seems like there are different degrees of no control too, isn't it?"

Well, let me try to answer the question. It may be wrong.

For ordinary person, sense perception leads to Vedana ( pleasing, displeasing or neutral). When pleasing, due to ignorance, we want this mind state to stay forever and strive to prolong it. When displeasing, we want to eradicate this suffering mind state. So the mind does come up with choices how to manage the situation and chose to proceed along the path that is thought to be most satisfactory. Our ultimate goal: to stay away from suffering and to pursue happiness. (It this free? How can one be liberated from this goal which is controlling almost all aspects of our lives?)

For a sane person, he or she will be careful on how to proceed with these choices and will be more rational in managing the situation, with anticipation of negative consequences of getting rid of suffering or the costs to pay for pursuing happiness; balancing between emotional gratification and rationality. ( For Buddhists, the five precepts are our guideline.)

For a drug addict on "high" type of "no control" or an insane's person's "no control", actually he or she will blindly follow his or her own impulses without pondering reality or rationality. They are just carried away by their impulses without inhibition. They are controlled by their impulses, but they feel that they are free to do whatever they wish; an ultimate exercise of free will.

For either sane or insane, they always do and do.

For a mindful person of a moderate skillfulness, arising of sense perception and Vedana may be coupled with arising of Sati-Sampajanna, and in this mind state, Vedana is being perceived simply as Vedana, without following impulses and intention to get rid of or to prolong these mind states. So he or she does nothing, manage nothing, or control nothing. But arising of Sati-Sampajanna cannot be dictated at will since only if we intend to manage, how slightest it is, there will be no true Sati-Sampajanna. Arising of Sati-Sampajanna is by conditioning. We train our minds to have Sati-Sampajanna. No free will can dictate arising of Sati-Sampajanna. An exercise of free will occurs after mental concoction of choices has been accomplished. (This explanation is for an intermediate accheivement involving the lower half of dependent origination, not much wisdom has be accrued yet.)

Control or not control: a headache to talk about. It sounds all or none. For me, I like an analogy of sport training. By practicing, changes come. In Buddhism, they say assembling all relevant good causes and contributing factors, results will arise.

Metta




Posted by: robertk2 Sep 26 2007, 06:36 PM
My understanding of Buddhism, and hence my whole perspective on life, is quite different from the early years. After learning a little about the nature of the mind I realized how powerful ignorance and desire were. - . I wished to stop them. .
Later, I understood that they can't be quickly got rid of. That when desire arises it is by conditions - that the uncontrollabilty of it demonstrates the truth of anatta. Now my focus is to understand conditions and let go of trying to control. Before, unknowingly I was trying to get something for myself, trying to be better a better person, trying to have less dosa, less lobha, but done with a subtle sense of self.

Sometimes people wonder how it is that so many monks , nuns, laypeople and devas could become enlightened just while listening to a Dhamma talk from the Buddha or one f his followers.

Firstly it is because they have fulfilled the parami and developed the necessary supporting conditions over aeons. They did not rush blindly following any teacher – they developed understanding and other wholesome qualities whenever the opportunity arose, while working, while thinking, while playing. Sometimes under ideal conditions of solitude and quiet other times admist pain, fear and illness- Sometimes they went off course, they did evil, or briefly followed a misguided teaching, maybe even an imitation Buddhist practise but they had developed the parami of sacca, truth to such an extent that they could not be fool themselves by overestimating any state.

Further than this the Dhamma itself is the foundation for insight. Thus hearing the Dhamma, for those developed ones, is an immediate condition for direct insight into namas and rupas and they are able to progress through the stages of insight.

A similar process can happen with us . We are not as wise as those at the Buddha’s time but we have an interest in the Dhamma . This is not accidental. It is because of past interest and past insight.

By studying the Tipitaka, considering it, applying it and testing it, even at the very moment of study, then gradually the necessary supports will develop. If the conditions are fulfilled then insight must arise -no self or God who could stop it.





Robert




Posted by: Tikaviro Sep 26 2007, 07:43 PM
I have got a question.

When the Buddha was enlightened and thought that his realizations and liberation were too difficult for most people, he innitially didnot aim to teach.

But later, he decided to teach. And 2500 years from then, we still learn of his teachings.

Did the Buddha not act on free will on both occations?



Posted by: njupasaka Sep 26 2007, 08:57 PM
If I could join in with some things I posted in another thread related to "the path arises" and the five recollections...

It seems to me that realizing the five aggregates are beyond our control is indeed a first step towards realizing anatta. That "one has not succeeded" is itself a method, so to speak. This coincides to some extent with the Buddha's years prior to his Enlightenment. But to extend that and say there is no free will?

Related to this: if meditation can be considered a form of I-seeking and I-making laden with lobha, how are Dhamma discussions exempt from that possibility? How is the study of Abhidhamma not exempt from I-making?

It seems to me that the Buddha makes good use of "clinging."


Posted by: robertk2 Sep 26 2007, 09:04 PM

QUOTE(Tikaviro @ Sep 26 2007, 07:44 PM)
I have got a question.

When the Buddha was enlightened and thought that his realizations and liberation were too difficult for most people, he innitially didnot aim to teach.

But later, he decided to teach. And 2500 years from then, we still learn of his teachings.

Did the Buddha not act on free will on both occations?





In the ultimate sense there was no Buddha, there were only the khandhas arising and ceasing.
But even conventionally the Buddha was only thinking what every Buddha always thinks upon enlightenment. It was only after he attained that he realised just how difficult and profound the path was, this despite the uncountable period of time he spent developing the parmai to become Buddha. And every Buddha waits for Brahma God to invite them to teach the Dhamma.

The Buddha has no conditions anymore for lobha to arise, he can't take a day off from compassion, no such possibility exists. He can't have sex or even lust for woman. He can't be irritated even if someone tries to kill him or lies about him. Simply no conditions for such behaviour exist.


Posted by: Sobhana Sep 26 2007, 10:14 PM

QUOTE(robertk2 @ Sep 26 2007, 08:04 AM)
But even conventionally the Buddha was only thinking what every Buddha always thinks upon enlightenment. It was only after he attained that he realised just how difficult and profound the path was, this despite the uncountable period of time he spent developing the parmai to become Buddha. And every Buddha waits for Brahma God to invite them to teach the Dhamma.

Is it safe to say that even the life of the Buddha is "predictable" (that he must wait for Brahma God to invite him to teach)? Then Buddha should know beforehand that it is useless to even "think of not teaching" because he would know that eventually Brahma God will come to persuade him to teach, right? Unless, all of these events have to happen in that sequence.

It seems like the Buddha's life and his journey to enlightenment is like a script and they use the same script for all the other Buddhas too. It is very predictable, wouldn't you think so? There's nothing wrong with the repetitive storyline, but it's making me think like there is "someone" writing that script for each of us. sigh...

Is it really true that every event that will happen in our lives is already written for everyone of us?

P/S: Ben, sorry about asking the question about the Visuddhimagga, I wasn't doubting its authenticity, I just wanted some clarifications.
Mike, thanks. That's what I really wanted to ask. Thanks.


Posted by: Peter Sep 26 2007, 11:47 PM
There are many people in this world who's lives seem to follow the same script.

A kid goofs off in school, doesn't study, skips class, then can't get anything other than a minimum wage job and lives in poverty. Another kid pays attention, studies hard, goes to college and gets a decent paying job and lives well.

Certainly there are lots of variations and exceptions to these stories too. But it seems to me that the more effort that goes into a particular story the less likely it is to vary in it's ending. A person that absolutely refuses to work hard or respect any authority is almost destined to have a poor life. A person that always appreciates the benefits of hard work and always rises to the challenge is almost destined to have a rich life.

Considering how much effort goes into making a Buddha... the countless lifetimes of effort all pointing towards this one goal... it doesn't surprise me that every Buddha might have the same story.


Posted by: Sobhana Sep 27 2007, 12:13 AM
Hi Kc, thanks for the reply. I always enjoy reading your replies.

With some degree of "control or choice", then comes predictability ~ is logical and acceptable. If you study hard, then you'll pass your exams. But if you "cannot control" whether you study hard or not, then.... ?

If there is "no control" but there is "predictability" ~ why are we here for? What roles do we play? Are we here just to act out our life stories which we cannot control? For what reason?

I have faith in the Buddha's teachings but I don't understand "no free will" sad.gif


Posted by: njupasaka Sep 27 2007, 03:18 AM

QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 26 2007, 12:13 PM)
Hi Kc, thanks for the reply. I always enjoy reading your replies.

With some degree of "control or choice", then comes predictability ~ is logical and acceptable. If you study hard, then you'll pass your exams. But if you "cannot control" whether you study hard or not, then.... ?

If there is "no control" but there is "predictability" ~ why are we here for? What roles do we play? Are we here just to act out our life stories which we cannot control? For what reason?

I have faith in the Buddha's teachings but I don't understand "no free will" sad.gif






That might be because Buddhism (or the Abhidhamma) doesn't teach that there is no free will.

While acknowleging the effects of previous conditions and that one cannot in effect "control" the five aggregates, the recognition of this becomes a basis, a first step towards liberation. The assumption being made is that control is the essential mechanism or dynamic of the Buddhist path in the first place and not a gradual development. Moreover, free will is equated with absolute free will which even the Buddha could not not possess. One could conclude, therefore, and equally erroneously that a layfollower (without free will) could through studying Abhidhamma (from a literalist, atomist viewpoint? avoiding meditation for fear of lousing up one's realization of anatta, though such a practice would not be considered "I-making" or less so?) continue to cultivate panna (still without free will. mostly by reading and discussion) towards a liberation in which one is still without free will, like the Buddha.

Why even include Right Effort or the numerous exhortations towards striving? Because even unwholesome states of mind can become the condition for Right Effort. That someone because of the involuntary arising of an unwholesome state of mind moves toward a wholesome state of mind (or equanimity)... does this invalidate Right Effort or free will? Could they not have amplified that unwholesome state? Though a conditioned choice, is it absolutely beyond free will? Is all kamma unintentional essentially?

This thread is perfumed with an erroneous sense of kamma and a literalist, atomist view, a misappropriation of the Abhidhamma. Most significantly, what has arisen, and is yet unmentioned among the names of Buddhagosa and the Buddha himself is the name of a certain Thai layteacher. It seems fair to state that though, when so frequently forum members are rightfully asked to supply references, the most essential name in this entire thread has not been solicited, especially when notions are being promoted about what Buddhism teaches regarding free will.


Posted by: Sally Gross Sep 27 2007, 03:50 AM

QUOTE(FancyMan @ Sep 25 2007, 08:32 PM)
Determinism is incompatible with the Dhamma according to this sutta:


QUOTE(DN 2)
"When this was said, Makkhali Gosala said to me, 'Great king, there is no cause, no requisite condition, for the defilement of beings. Beings are defiled without cause, without requisite condition. There is no cause, no requisite condition, for the purification of beings. Beings are purified without cause, without requisite condition. There is nothing self-caused, nothing other-caused,nothing human-caused. There is no strength, no effort, no human energy, no human endeavor. All living beings, all life, all beings, all souls are powerless, devoid of strength, devoid of effort. Subject to the changes of fate, serendipity, and nature, they are sensitive to pleasure and pain in the six great classes of birth ...."


In saying that the Dhamma teaches determinism or a form of determinism, Robert makes it clear that his contention is because the Dhamma teaches that everything is dependently arisen -- that is to say, everything is caused. By contrast, the fatalism of Makkhali Gosala described in the quotation above involves an out-and-out denial of causality and thus denies the very possibility of dependent arising. Fatalism presumably teaches that nothing makes any difference to the way things pan out. Causal determinism, by contrast, surely holds that the way things work themselves out depend very much indeed on the specifics of the chains of causes involved.

Does the canonical passage cited above actually constitute a basis for the rejection of causal determinism as inconsistent with the Dhamma?

Metta,

Sally


Posted by: WML Sep 27 2007, 04:10 AM

QUOTE(njupasaka @ Sep 26 2007, 02:19 PM)
That might be because Buddhism (or the Abhidhamma) doesn't teach that there is no free will.

While acknowleging the effects of previous conditions and that one cannot in effect "control" one's the five aggregates, the recognition of this becomes a basis, a first step towards liberation.



This is not free will. This is merely acknowledgment that defilement is caused and conditioned, and purification is likewise caused and conditioned. By what? By that recognition.

QUOTE(njupasaka @ Sep 26 2007, 02:19 PM)
The assumption being made is that control is the essential mechanism or dynamic of the Buddhist path in the first place and not a gradual development. Moreover, free will is equated with absolute free wi

#2 RobertK

RobertK

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:49 AM


An old letter:

Someone wrote to me who feels that no control is a dangerous idea.

They want to stress control and volitional intention which is what they believe that Buddha really taught and they feel uncontrollabilty to be a pernicious belief leading to apathy.

"I have a choice whether to get angry in the present moment." the writer said.

I replied:

"Yes, the processes of cittas during anger are new kamma. However, they are also conditioned. The Patthana, the last and most important book of the Abhidhamma, goes into enormous detail about the 24 paccaya (conditions). Some of which are past and some present. But even the present ones do not simply arise out of nothing. Nor do they arise because "I" want them to. The processes of mind are happening at enormous speed and there is no "person" who can do anything to stop them or change them. Even the cittas that are arising at this moment are conditioned by previous cittas as well as well as by other conditions that are present at the same time. .

They further wrote that "we are not just helpless automata acting out our old kamma - that is absurd. I hope the above helps overcome the despair that comes from the belief that we are a slave to our conditioning."

I said "This sounds like the debates that western Philosophy used to have (and still does) about Free-will versus Determinism. The Buddha's analysis of the world is neither, it is the middle path. Thus the statement about "we being helpless automata acting out our old kamma" misses the point. There is no "we" to be anything. And kamma is not the only condition. Hearing the teachings of Buddhism - especially the deep teachings on anatta, are a condition for understanding. This understanding leads to energy: energy to hear more, and energy to carry on with the study and practice of vipassana. It leads to the type of determination that will gladly keep developing understanding moment after moment, life after life, aeon after aeon, no matter how long it takes. And if understanding grows then there will be detachment from the idea of self and of control. Then there is no more despair about the path - because "I" have been taken out of the equation. Then, as the Visuddhimagga says,

'there is a path but no one on the path."

Robert



QUOTE(FancyMan @ Sep 27 2007, 04:46 AM)
QUOTE(DN 2)
Pleasure and pain are measured out, the wandering-on is fixed in its limits. There is no shortening or lengthening, no accelerating or decelerating. Just as a ball of string, when thrown, comes to its end simply by unwinding, in the same way, having transmigrated and wandered on, the wise and the foolish alike will put an end to pain.'


It does seem that if everything is determined by conditions over which one has no real "control" then the length of transmigration would be fixed in its limits.

In other words, Abhidhammic determinism seems to create the same end result as Gosala's doctrine on that particular point, even if by a different means. And that seems problematic.



Only those who develop wisdom will attain nibbana according to Abhiddhamma.

Wisdom never arises by chance, it arises because of the right conditions.



This round of births and deaths is beginningless. However, it is not random in any sense. Because of conditions birth occurs in one plane and because of different conditions birth occurs in another plane. Panna (wisdom) is a conditioned phenomena and it is itself conditioned. What are the conditions for panna to develop : hearing the Dhamma, considering it, applying it and also accumulations of merit from the infinite past (pubekata punnata). Why are we so interested in Dhamma? Why aren't muslim terrorists; surely they make effort, surely they have the intention to do what is best. They have convictions and are willing to do whatever they can do achive their goals.

Why do some people hear Dhamma but find it unappealing while others can't get enough even after hearing it just once? Why are some initially not interested and then later they get interested and surpass in understanding those who studied much longer? It is clear that there must be reasons for all this; and the Dhamma explains it all.

You wrote, "that's where I get stuck...if all dhammas except nibbana are conditioned (i'm going on saddha with this, of course), then thinking one can develop anything seems like an exercise in micchaditthi...."
_________________
I think it depends on the thinking. If we have the idea of "I can do it", then we are likely to be caught in self view. Or we think we can manufacture sati by effort or good intention - self. But there can be wisdom - not us- that sees the danger in samasara and thus there is naturally effort that arises with that understanding. It is subtle: often we slip into self view; either towards the freewill end of the continuum or towards the fatalistic end that thinks nothing can be done.
________________

Can the path be developed? or do we just leave it up to (for lack of a better f-word) "fate"? ""
__________________

Fate implies a preordained outcome. In that case whether we did this that or the other nothing would make a thread of difference. We could go out and kill and pillage and nothing would have any effect and we would all get enlightened or not get enlightened depending on our "fate". This is not what the Buddha taught. He explained in detail many different conditions. It is true that some are past conditions but there are also present ones thus it is not fatalism. Both the idea of fatalism and the idea of freewill are bound up in self view - a self who can control and a self who can't. The Dhamma is the middle way and is neither. When we hear a teacher say "develop it" this can be a condition for either wrong effort or right effort. It depends on the understanding of the listener.

Robert

There is no fixed determination and everything is possible and can happen - but only by the correct conditions. It is wisdom, understanding - panna - a conditioned , mental phenomena that has the function of seeing rightly and it comes with alobha, detachment. It is not a self.
Intention, cetana, arises all the time but it too is not a self, it is conditioned. Where did our wish and intention to learn about Dhamma come from? It was because of hearing Dhamma and so wisdom is conditioned by this and the intention to hear more strengthens, the intention cannot grow from nothing. Some people hear Dhamma and it means nothing to them. Why? Different tendencies, also conditioned.

All types of kusala; giving, sila, samatha can be successfully developed with sakkya ditthi (self view) still intact - all types except vipassana. Thus it is only when we want to understand the path of insight that such ideas as 'freewill' hinder.

The Buddha taught about the five khandhas , the elements, the ayatanas, so that we could begin to see what really exists. And what exists is evanescent, conditioned phenomenena, no person. But thinking about it can't break up the idea of self and control; it is only by direct insight that takes any of these dhammas as an object that the (mis)perception of a whole, a person is erased. It seems like 'we' can control and do as we wish, but this is an illusion that is at the heart of the self view; as the different elements are resolved the 'whole' is found to be concept and instead there is a complex concantenation of conditioned dhammas with no controller or overlord, anywhere.

Resolution into the component parts is an antidote to the wrong idea of a self that exists and is somehow directing this conglomerate of namas and rupas. It is like a butcher; when he takes the whole cow he thinks 'this is a cow'. But by the time he has skinned, chopped, cut, boned, diced, sliced and minced the carcass that idea of "cow" is gone.

When we think of intention and choice and being able to control, this is thinking and it is not understanding the nature of cetana, intention, as a momentary phenomena -it cannot last even for a split second, nor can any feelings or consciousness.

We have much ignorance about dhammas, they have to be known directly. But if we overestimate the role of intention the knowing is likely to be tied up with craving - and then the links of the Paticcasamuppada are strenghtened. I believe the knowing and investigation should be with detachment otherwise self slips in and distorts. Effort is often "self effort", but right effort is not obtrusive, it is associated with seeing rather than doing, it can feel almost effortless.

Robert





Dear Robertk2
" My understanding of Buddhism, and hence my whole perspective on life, is quite different from the early years. After learning a little about the nature of the mind I realized how powerful ignorance and desire were. - . I wished to stop them. .

Later, I understood that they can't be quickly got rid of. That when desire arises it is by conditions - that the uncontrollabilty of it demonstrates the truth of anatta. Now my focus is to understand conditions and let go of trying to control.

Before, unknowingly I was trying to get something for myself, trying to be better a better person, trying to have less dosa, less lobha, but done with a subtle sense of self. "



Nathan once wrote me: "Whatever is closet to inaction is closet to peace."

My teacher once quoted Luang Ta Maha Bua teaching that no one can liberate the mind, the mind liberates itself. Only dhamma reaches Dhamma.

Other sects teach Nondoing.

Why and how does "nondoing" work? Because in the nondoing mind mode, Cetana associated with lobha, dhasa and moha cannot be prolonged and is dissolved by itself. It is annica. By "nondoing" the mind will be spontaneously flipped into Kusala mind states. If we put in Cetana to control, to clean or to change a mind state, it will be further doing dictated by desires.

Metta






QUOTE(robertk2 @ Sep 26 2007, 05:39 PM)
QUOTE(FancyMan @ Sep 27 2007, 04:46 AM)

In other words, Abhidhammic determinism seems to create the same end result as Gosala's doctrine on that particular point, even if by a different means. And that seems problematic.


Only those who develop wisdom will attain nibbana according to Abhiddhamma.

Wisdom never arises by chance, it arises because of the right conditions.






Yes, but if "the right conditions" themselves are not even partially under one's control then the point still stands, I think.




[Formerly "FancyMan"]


Peter Sep 27 2007, 11:05 PM Post #47


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Forgive me if this has been said in this thread already but...

In these discussions I think it is important to remember the distinction between "necessary conditions" and "sufficient conditions". Also to remember that just because A is a condition for B does not necessarily mean A caused B.

Feeling is a necessary condition for craving - without feeling there can be no craving. But it is not a sufficient condition; there can be feeling without craving too - just look at a Buddha. Feeling doesn't cause craving. Craving is caused by feeling plus ignorance. If both conditions are present then the effect will arise.

So in any discussion of will, I think it is important to not simply assert "All mind states are conditioned." We need to understand which conditions are sufficient (in which case we have a causal relationship) and which are merely necessary (in which case the whole story hasn't yet been told).




- Peter

Achieve your goal through heedfulness. sad.gif ? smile.gif ->


cakravartin Sep 28 2007, 09:34 AM Post #48


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The notions of 'free' and 'will' are merely mentally formed.

In emptiness, such notions are absent.

This post has been edited by cakravartin: Sep 28 2007, 09:35 AM




Know all things to be like this:
Like a magician makes mock shows
of horses, oxen, carts and other things
Nothing is what it seems



Sobhana Sep 28 2007, 11:20 AM Post #49


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If there is no free-will, we are all waiting for the right conditions to arise to get to Nibbana, right? How long do we have to wait? How do we know when or what the right conditions are? I thought the Buddha said we can see the results "here and now" (sorry I don't have the exact quote, and please correct me if I'm wrong).

If we are only here to wait for the right conditions to come about, doesn't it sound a bit like Hinduism? My Hindu friend said that Hindus believe they need to spend an X number of life cycles and when they have completed these life cycles, they will get to their Nirvana. No free-will sounds a bit like this, isn't it? We are waiting for our right conditions to appear. We don't know what tomorrow brings, what if the right conditions is just around the corner?

And if we have no free-will in deciding what's right or wrong; and no free-will to differentiate what is kusala or akusala, then we don't deserve to be in Nibbana, isn't it? You think we deserve to be somewhere we didn't even make an effort for?

What do you think of the question "are we responsible for our actions?". If there is no free-will then the answer would be "no, we aren't responsible at all". Because there is no "we" or "I" to start with, so nobody is responsible for their actions. I really doubt the Buddha taught this kind of thing. It doesn't sound Buddhist to me.

I am not saying that we can control our thoughts and feelings from coming or going. But I think in our mind, there is yoniso manasikara that knows. Maybe we really are playing a waiting game. We are all waiting for our yoniso manasikara to "mature" and when we complete the life cycles that we were destined with and then we'll reach Nibbana. If this is true, then, I don't know what is the difference between Buddhism and Hinduism...





"You are your own teacher. Looking for teachers can’t solve your own doubts. Investigate yourself to find the truth - inside, not outside. Knowing yourself is most important."- Ajahn Chah


njupasaka Sep 28 2007, 11:01 PM Post #50


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QUOTE(CHS @ Sep 26 2007, 09:57 PM)
Dear Robertk2
" My understanding of Buddhism, and hence my whole perspective on life, is quite different from the early years. After learning a little about the nature of the mind I realized how powerful ignorance and desire were. - . I wished to stop them. .

Later, I understood that they can't be quickly got rid of. That when desire arises it is by conditions - that the uncontrollabilty of it demonstrates the truth of anatta. Now my focus is to understand conditions and let go of trying to control.

Before, unknowingly I was trying to get something for myself, trying to be better a better person, trying to have less dosa, less lobha, but done with a subtle sense of self. "



Nathan once wrote me: "Whatever is closet to inaction is closet to peace."

My teacher once quoted Luang Ta Maha Bua teaching that no one can liberate the mind, the mind liberates itself. Only dhamma reaches Dhamma.

Other sects teach Nondoing.

Why and how does "nondoing" work? Because in the nondoing mind mode, Cetana associated with lobha, dhasa and moha cannot be prolonged and is dissolved by itself. It is annica. By "nondoing" the mind will be spontaneously flipped into Kusala mind states. If we put in Cetana to control, to clean or to change a mind state, it will be further doing dictated by desires.

Metta





Perhaps the error was thinking things would change "quickly" or they are "quickly rid of" or there is something to attain. The fact that the Buddha taught Right Effort? Aside from "non-doing" equanimity comes to mind. Do you now have "no subtle sense of self?" The fact that you concern yourself about being "flipped into kusala mind states" says otherwise. And there's nothing wrong with that.

This post has been edited by njupasaka: Sep 28 2007, 11:14 PM


njupasaka Sep 28 2007, 11:05 PM Post #51


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QUOTE(ben oloughlin @ Sep 25 2007, 09:45 PM)
QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 26 2007, 12:35 PM)
There are many quotes from the Visuddhimagga but Visuddhimagga is written by Buddhaghosa and they are not the words of the Buddha, isn't it?





Dear Sobhana

I refer you to point 4 of the Classical Theravada Forum Guidelines, repeated here again:

QUOTE
The Classical Theravada sub-forum is intended for those wishing to understand the teachings of the Pali Tipiṭaka (i.e. Vinaya, Suttanta and Abhidhamma) and its Mahāvihāra commentaries. In this sub-forum these texts will be treated as authoritative and the focus of discussion will be on understanding what they teach. Criticisms of these sources, or posts discussing them from a non-Theravādin point of view, should not be posted here.


If you wish to discuss whether the Visuddhimagga is or is not authoritative or to criticise Ven Buddhaghosa's work, please feel free to create a thread in the General Theravada or Modern Theravada Forums.
Kind regards

Ben





Yes, Buddhagosa is authoritative. But is the Visudhimagga equally authoritative with the Suttas?


njupasaka Sep 28 2007, 11:12 PM Post #52


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QUOTE(kc2dpt @ Sep 27 2007, 11:05 AM)
Forgive me if this has been said in this thread already but...

In these discussions I think it is important to remember the distinction between "necessary conditions" and "sufficient conditions". Also to remember that just because A is a condition for B does not necessarily mean A caused B.

Feeling is a necessary condition for craving - without feeling there can be no craving. But it is not a sufficient condition; there can be feeling without craving too - just look at a Buddha. Feeling doesn't cause craving. Craving is caused by feeling plus ignorance. If both conditions are present then the effect will arise.

So in any discussion of will, I think it is important to not simply assert "All mind states are conditioned." We need to understand which conditions are sufficient (in which case we have a causal relationship) and which are merely necessary (in which case the whole story hasn't yet been told).






The assumption being made in this thread is that while the discussion of Khun Sujin Borinharnwanaket's teachings qualifies for the Classical Forum her particular conclusions are also completely orthodox, what Buddhism teaches.



Sobhana Sep 29 2007, 12:19 AM Post #53


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QUOTE(CHS @ Sep 26 2007, 08:57 PM)
Nathan once wrote me: "Whatever is closet to inaction is closet to peace."
Who is Nathan? Is the statement that he made orthodox?
How to practise "inaction"? Can you provide the sutta number where the Buddha said that inaction is closest to peace?


QUOTE(CHS @ Sep 26 2007, 08:57 PM)
Other sects teach Nondoing.
Which sects are these?


QUOTE(CHS @ Sep 26 2007, 08:57 PM)
Why and how does "nondoing" work? Because in the nondoing mind mode, Cetana associated with lobha, dhasa and moha cannot be prolonged and is dissolved by itself. It is annica. By "nondoing" the mind will be spontaneously flipped into Kusala mind states. If we put in Cetana to control, to clean or to change a mind state, it will be further doing dictated by desires.
Can you please elaborate more on "nondoing"? Is nondoing the same as idleness? Or is nondoing similar to equanimity/upekkha or indifference? Why does "nondoing" flip into Kusala instead of Akusala? Nondoing is not laziness, right?

There is an old saying which says "An idle man's mind is the devil's workshop". "Nondoing" is definitely different from idleness, in what way is it different?

Sorry for asking newbs questions. I hope to learn Buddhism from the seniors here. Thank you.




"You are your own teacher. Looking for teachers can’t solve your own doubts. Investigate yourself to find the truth - inside, not outside. Knowing yourself is most important."- Ajahn Chah


njupasaka Sep 29 2007, 01:35 AM Post #54


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QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 28 2007, 12:20 PM)
QUOTE(CHS @ Sep 26 2007, 08:57 PM)
Nathan once wrote me: "Whatever is closet to inaction is closet to peace."
Who is Nathan? Is the statement that he made orthodox?
How to practise "inaction"? Can you provide the sutta number where the Buddha said that inaction is closest to peace?


QUOTE(CHS @ Sep 26 2007, 08:57 PM)
Other sects teach Nondoing.
Which sects are these?


QUOTE(CHS @ Sep 26 2007, 08:57 PM)
Why and how does "nondoing" work? Because in the nondoing mind mode, Cetana associated with lobha, dhasa and moha cannot be prolonged and is dissolved by itself. It is annica. By "nondoing" the mind will be spontaneously flipped into Kusala mind states. If we put in Cetana to control, to clean or to change a mind state, it will be further doing dictated by desires.
Can you please elaborate more on "nondoing"? Is nondoing the same as idleness? Or is nondoing similar to equanimity/upekkha or indifference? Why does "nondoing" flip into Kusala instead of Akusala? Nondoing is not laziness, right?

There is an old saying which says "An idle man's mind is the devil's workshop". "Nondoing" is definitely different from idleness, in what way is it different?

Sorry for asking newbs questions. I hope to learn Buddhism from the seniors here. Thank you.





Sobhana, What you have to realize is that you are replying to non-replies. Like several other posts on this thread, you are attempting to connect with a cut and paste entity, which sort of reinforces the notion of non-doing... and yes, "the puppet" in Buddhagosa's poem.

It was my understanding that the Classical Forum was truly one of dialogue rather than an annex to the Dhamma Study Group or Abhidhamma Vipassna. Who knows? Maybe someone will respond. Maybe another letter will appear. Until then. do nothing.


CHS Sep 29 2007, 10:39 AM Post #55


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Dear Sobhana, njupasaka and all

I will try to explain things in an ordinary language assuming I, mine, you, control and free will.

Left see how the following chains of argument lead to the conclusion.

No control: we will be trapped by old habits and unable to liberate ourselves from Samara without an end.
Control: we can choose to change our mind at will, so we must be now in a perfect blissful state.

If we throw someone who cannot swim into the water, he will be drowned. But after that guy has learned how to swim, if he is thrown into the water again, he can float himself almost automatically. When this guy floats himself, he unknowingly uses some physical property that his body is only a little bit denser than that of water. But before he can swim, he would not be able to dictate himself to stay afloat even if this physical property is inherent to him since he was born.

We control ourselves when we do calming meditation (Samatha) or when we inhibit ourselves not to transgress the five precepts.

But when practicing Vipassana, we do not attempt to clean our minds. We learn to see things ( this body and mind) as they are, in order to realize that this body and mind are suffering ( all upadhana skandas are suffering ). Suffering is to know, not to get rid of but when suffering is well realized, the cause of suffering, Tanha will be abandoned. We cannot choose to abandon Tanha at our will. The roots of Tanha will be eradicated when the mind enters Ariyamagga. The factor that will bring us to the doorstep of Ariamagga is equanimity. The early stage of equanimity arises from Sati-Sampajanna and later it will be consolidated by the accrued wisdom.

When practicing Vipassana, we exploits some innate property of the mind in that if the mind is not consumed by Kilesa, it will be in a resting peace by itself ( Kusula mind states: Sati-Sampajanna and equanimity). And after a kilesa is being realized by Sati-Sampajanna, there will be no kilesa in the mind at that “small moment” of mind. (There are still the inherent roots of kilesa.) So there is nothing to be cleaned at that moment. By just simple seeing with sati-sampajanna without reacting or attempts of controlling, we will learn to appreciate the alternation between Akusala and Kusala Cittas, until one day the mind realize that both of them are Anicca, Dhukka and Anatta and enters equanimity which is at the doorstep of Ariyamagga.

So we train ourselves to have Sati-Sampajanna arising as often, in order to just simply see without doing and that will bring us to equanimity accepting this body and mind as they are.

What I wrote above, I has learned it from monks of forest traditions, not Abidhammist teachers. When things fell apart for me, I stuck to the recommendation by a monk who is a disciple of Laung Pu Sim - one of Ajahn Mun’s senior disciple, who instructed me not to do anything but just simply saw suffering.

Metta.





njupasaka Sep 29 2007, 11:53 AM Post #56


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I will say this: this thread has had a salutary effect after all. Like David Hume's feeling of nausea with his own philosophy or more colloquially, as an ad nauseam "method."

Time to let go.


CHS Sep 29 2007, 03:16 PM Post #57


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Dear Sobhana

"Who is Nathan? Is the statement that he made orthodox?"

I raised Nathan who is a member of this board because he is in the opposite pole to Robertk2. Nathan is a good example of a Samathayanika who is skillful in Jhana while Robert is a good example of a Vipassanayanika who practices dry insight. Both sides tend to clash in every web boards. However, from their very own experieces, both Nathan and Robertk2 came up with the same conclusion. Amazing isn't it. It is a good point to ponder.

Metta.



Tikaviro Sep 29 2007, 04:10 PM Post #58


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What is the meaning of "anicca"? Is it simply "impermanent", or does it also include an element of "uncertainty"?

Assuming that it does have an element of "uncertainty", does it imply that some sort of "freewill" that a stream of causes and effects can take form (x) rather than (y), and the determination factor that lead to either (x) or (y) is "freewill" whether that freewill is influenced by the notion of "self" or the lack of "self-belief"?

Tik

This post has been edited by Tikaviro: Sep 29 2007, 04:12 PM


njupasaka Sep 29 2007, 10:02 PM Post #59


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QUOTE(Tikaviro @ Sep 29 2007, 04:10 AM)
What is the meaning of "anicca"? Is it simply "impermanent", or does it also include an element of "uncertainty"?

Assuming that it does have an element of "uncertainty", does it imply that some sort of "freewill" that a stream of causes and effects can take form (x) rather than (y), and the determination factor that lead to either (x) or (y) is "freewill" whether that freewill is influenced by the notion of "self" or the lack of "self-belief"?

Tik





Saying "There is no free will" is an attempt to introduce, paradoxically, a peculiar kind of certainty into this life. We can look at questions about eternalism or annilhism as philosphical questions, wrong views, while forgetting they are also questions related to human fears. If asking whether or not the Buddha exists or does not exist after death is the wrong question with respect to anatta, saying "There is no free will" seems a wrong conclusion and actually, a view of "self." The conclusion is drawn from an overextension of anatta. Actually, it is anatta which is the basis for bhavana and Right Effort. The consoling belief for some that "There is no free will" is not what Buddhism teaches. This is also, I believe, a not so subtle form of theism, but that would be another thread.

What is interesting to me is that while the "eternalism" of the Forest monks is so thoroughly criticized by Buddhists who consider themselves "orthodox" some of these same "orthodox" Buddhists accept the conclusions of Khum Sujin Boriharnwanalet as the "orthodox" teachings of Buddhism. We all need to take it easy even though "uncertainty" may not seem so easy.

This post has been edited by njupasaka: Sep 29 2007, 10:18 PM


Sally Gross Sep 30 2007, 08:47 PM Post #60


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QUOTE(njupasaka @ Sep 29 2007, 04:03 PM)
Saying "There is no free will" is an attempt to introduce, paradoxically, a peculiar kind of certainty into this life. We can look at questions about eternalism or annilhism as philosphical questions, wrong views, while forgetting they are also questions related to human fears. If asking whether or not the Buddha exists or does not exist after death is the wrong question with respect to anatta, saying "There is no free will" seems a wrong conclusion and actually, a view of "self." The conclusion is drawn from an overextension of anatta. Actually, it is anatta which is the basis for bhavana and Right Effort. The consoling belief for some that "There is no free will" is not what Buddhism teaches. This is also, I believe, a not so subtle form of theism, but that would be another thread.



One reason for my attraction to compatibilism, an attraction to which FancyMan drew attention earlier in the thread, is that in a sense it views the dichotomous question as to whether there is free-will or whether the universe is deterministic as the wrong question with regard to our actions. In formal congresses, it is sometimes put to the participants with respect to a particular unfortunate motion that "this motion be not put", in other words, that the motion not go to the vote and that it be left in some kind of limbo. Compatibilism is in some ways like that. It recognises that we are a bundle of conditioned processes, and that any account of our actions needs to be predicated upon this. It is my impression that it sits well with the Dhamma, largely for that reason.

Apologies for the digression into secular philosophy.

Metta,

Sally




Dukkham eva hi, na koci dukkhito, / kaarako na, kiriyaa 'va vijjati.
atthi nibbuti, na nibbuto pumaa, / maggam atthi, gamako na vijjati

Dukkha certainly is, but no-one suffering dukkha, / there's no doer, but the deed is found.
There is Nibbaana-ing, but nobody nibbaana-d, / The Way is, but the walker is not found.

- Visuddhimagga XVI 90




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njupasaka Sep 30 2007, 09:06 PM Post #61


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QUOTE(Sally Gross @ Sep 30 2007, 08:48 AM)
QUOTE(njupasaka @ Sep 29 2007, 04:03 PM)
Saying "There is no free will" is an attempt to introduce, paradoxically, a peculiar kind of certainty into this life. We can look at questions about eternalism or annilhism as philosphical questions, wrong views, while forgetting they are also questions related to human fears. If asking whether or not the Buddha exists or does not exist after death is the wrong question with respect to anatta, saying "There is no free will" seems a wrong conclusion and actually, a view of "self." The conclusion is drawn from an overextension of anatta. Actually, it is anatta which is the basis for bhavana and Right Effort. The consoling belief for some that "There is no free will" is not what Buddhism teaches. This is also, I believe, a not so subtle form of theism, but that would be another thread.



One reason for my attraction to compatibilism, an attraction to which FancyMan drew attention earlier in the thread, is that in a sense it views the dichotomous question as to whether there is free-will or whether the universe is deterministic as the wrong question with regard to our actions. In formal congresses, it is sometimes put to the participants with respect to a particular unfortunate motion that "this motion be not put", in other words, that the motion not go to the vote and that it be left in some kind of limbo. Compatibilism is in some ways like that. It recognises that we are a bundle of conditioned processes, and that any account of our actions needs to be predicated upon this. It is my impression that it sits well with the Dhamma, largely for that reason.

Apologies for the digression into secular philosophy.

Metta,

Sally





No need to apologize. Didn't the Buddha look at the religious and secular views of his day?


robertk2 Oct 2 2007, 02:38 PM Post #62


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QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 28 2007, 11:21 AM)
If there is no free-will, we are all waiting for the right conditions to arise to get to Nibbana, right? How long do we have to wait? How do we know when or what the right conditions are? I thought the Buddha said we can see the results "here and now" (sorry I don't have the exact quote, and please correct me if I'm wrong).

I




I believe it is not so much a matter of doing and trying but of learning to see. The dhammas in the Abhidhamma are here and now. We don't have to go anywhere or do anything; but there does have to be sufficient conditions. There should be awe and respect for the Dhamma so that one studies not with the aim of getting something, but rather of genuinely testing out what is heard against this moment. The more we listen and consider and investigate directly, then for sure there are more conditions been built up for insight. In the very beginning there are only conditions for ignorance and craving so almost everyone tries so hard to see. But the sort of seeing that the Buddha meant is detached. Thus real insight comes not from trying and wanting but through fulfilling the correct conditions. However, this doesn't mean 'well it's all conditioned, I'll just let it happen'. So I am not saying 'don't try to be aware", but by being awake to lobha(craving) we know it is always trying to slip in. It can be extremely refined. Also I feel the moments when there is only heedlessness are very natural , conditioned , not self: we don't need to be frightened of unwholesome moments as they are only conditioned dhammas- insignificant and fleeting- we should see them as they are. Then again it is not the middle way if we tolerate the kilesa either, then we are not sincere... Another point. I find different reminders and different ways of considering very helpful. Otherwise there is a tendency, because life has become easier (through more understanding, or samattha or sila), to get comfortable and coast. Reading different suttas reminds us of different realities and the complex ways they are conditioned; it helps us see these dhammas as anatta when they appear in daily life These are just my reflections. I think there are not rules we should follow because everyone's accumulations are vastly different.


njupasaka Oct 2 2007, 09:22 PM Post #63


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QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 27 2007, 11:21 PM)
If there is no free-will, we are all waiting for the right conditions to arise to get to Nibbana, right? How long do we have to wait? How do we know when or what the right conditions are? I thought the Buddha said we can see the results "here and now" (sorry I don't have the exact quote, and please correct me if I'm wrong).

If we are only here to wait for the right conditions to come about, doesn't it sound a bit like Hinduism? My Hindu friend said that Hindus believe they need to spend an X number of life cycles and when they have completed these life cycles, they will get to their Nirvana. No free-will sounds a bit like this, isn't it? We are waiting for our right conditions to appear. We don't know what tomorrow brings, what if the right conditions is just around the corner?

And if we have no free-will in deciding what's right or wrong; and no free-will to differentiate what is kusala or akusala, then we don't deserve to be in Nibbana, isn't it? You think we deserve to be somewhere we didn't even make an effort for?

What do you think of the question "are we responsible for our actions?". If there is no free-will then the answer would be "no, we aren't responsible at all". Because there is no "we" or "I" to start with, so nobody is responsible for their actions. I really doubt the Buddha taught this kind of thing. It doesn't sound Buddhist to me.

I am not saying that we can control our thoughts and feelings from coming or going. But I think in our mind, there is yoniso manasikara that knows. Maybe we really are playing a waiting game. We are all waiting for our yoniso manasikara to "mature" and when we complete the life cycles that we were destined with and then we'll reach Nibbana. If this is true, then, I don't know what is the difference between Buddhism and Hinduism...





Actually you are right on track with this connection to Hinduism and may I add Mahayana Buddhism. One needs to have and cultivate the correct realization/understanding of emptiness or in this case anatta on Abhidhammic terms. Right View gets overextended into Abhidhammic terms (taken literally, atomistically). It's almost all Right View. Paradoxically, at least for me, the value of the Abhidhamma gets lost in an overly literal apporach. You then hear very little about the Four Noble Truths applied directly to everyday life. Why not just say "look at suffering, clinging." Instead, it's the mechanism that fascinates, gets talked about, leads one to conclude erroneously "there's no free will." This can be a consoling position, not necessarily a liberative one. But this is what can happen when you think you got (or are getting ) the goods on ultimacy.


Seeker Of Calm Oct 5 2007, 06:47 AM Post #64


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In contrast with Nina van Gorkom's 'Abhidhamma in Daily Live', Narada Maha Thera in the explanatory notes of the 'A Manual of Abhidhamma' says that there's some kind of freewill in the sense-door and mind-door thought-processes:


QUOTE
27. Thought-Process -
(...)
After this comes that stage of representative cognition termed the determining consciousness (Votthapana). Discrimination is exercised at this stage. Freewill plays its part here.
(…)
The Manodvàràvajjana (mind-door consciousness), a Kriyà Citta, functions as the Votthapana consciousness. One can use one’s freewill at this stage.


Sobhana Oct 6 2007, 09:40 AM Post #65


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RobertK asked this question in the KS forum but it's more appropriate in here.
QUOTE(robertk2 @ Oct 4 2007, 10:58 PM)
Anyway you say that there is conditioned freewill. Which khandha is it that has freewill, or is freewill outside the khandhas? And what conditions are needed that give freewill?


Then there is a contrast between two Abhidhamma teachers.

QUOTE(danielff @ Oct 4 2007, 05:47 PM)
In contrast with Nina van Gorkom's 'Abhidhamma in Daily Live', Narada Maha Thera in the explanatory notes of the 'A Manual of Abhidhamma' says that there's some kind of freewill in the sense-door and mind-door thought-processes:


QUOTE
27. Thought-Process -
(...)
After this comes that stage of representative cognition termed the determining consciousness (Votthapana). Discrimination is exercised at this stage. Freewill plays its part here.
(…)
The Manodvàràvajjana (mind-door consciousness), a Kriyà Citta, functions as the Votthapana consciousness. One can use one’s freewill at this stage.




So, the conclusion is that even among Abhidhamma teachers, there is No agreement on this topic. Yes?

Well, if everyone agrees with each other, there would be peace on earth (amen) but that's impossible.





"You are your own teacher. Looking for teachers can’t solve your own doubts. Investigate yourself to find the truth - inside, not outside. Knowing yourself is most important."- Ajahn Chah


njupasaka Oct 6 2007, 10:27 AM Post #66


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Sobhana, Danielff, If you review the first four posts there is a disconnect between all involved. Robert posts "according to the Dhamma there is no free will. " Ben asks for a clarification (Robert provides one does that not support his first statement). Retro agrees (presumably with the clarification of Nyanatolika Thera related to the error of questions related to free will, free will as a permament entity). Meanwhile, Nyanatolika Thera is saying before the bold print... BUT effectively, in application to Cooran's "trip to Thailand" ... the "illusion of free will."

This post has been edited by njupasaka: Oct 6 2007, 10:31 AM


mikenz66 Oct 6 2007, 11:29 AM Post #67


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I'm waiting for a Vacchagotta Sutta where the Buddha says "Has free will or does not have free will does not apply..."

I was recently studying MN109. http://www.accesstoi...n.109.than.html
While the emphasis there is on not-self I think these issues are intimately connected.

There's several pages of the "usual stuff":

QUOTE
...
"One sees any consciousness whatsoever — past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near — every consciousness — as it actually is with right discernment: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'"

"Monk, knowing in this way, seeing in this way is there — with regard to this body endowed with consciousness, and with regard to all external signs — no longer any I-making, or my-making, or obsession with conceit."
But then this bit:

QUOTE
Now at that moment this line of thinking appeared in the awareness of a certain monk: "So — form is not-self, feeling is not-self, perception is not-self, fabrications are not-self, consciousness is not-self. Then what self will be touched by the actions done by what is not-self?"

Then the Blessed One, realizing with his awareness the line of thinking in that monk's awareness, addressed the monks: "It's possible that a senseless person — immersed in ignorance, overcome with craving — might think that he could outsmart the Teacher's message in this way: 'So — form is not-self, feeling is not-self, perception is not-self, fabrications are not-self, consciousness is not-self. Then what self will be touched by the actions done by what is not-self?'
Of course, the Buddha does not launch into a philosophical discourse. He just continues with what Thanissaro would call the "strategy" of chipping away at the self view.

QUOTE
Now, monks, haven't I trained you in counter-questioning with regard to this & that topic here & there? What do you think — Is form constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord." "And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?" "Stressful, lord." "And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."
.... [More of the "usual stuff"]...



Of course, it sounded a lot better than what I pasted above with Ajahn Brahm reading the Nanamoli/Bodhi tranlation (cue working-class London accent):
"... some misguided man here, obtuse and ignorant, with his mind dominated by craving, might think that he can outstrip the Teacher's Dispensation..."
http://www.bswa.org/...taStudy.rss.php

Metta
Mike




Peter Oct 6 2007, 12:29 PM Post #68


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I think the fact that the Buddha does not meet the question head on but instead goes into his "strategy" tells us that the line of questioning is a bad one. That is: to ask "free will or no free will?" is a badly formed question.




- Peter

Achieve your goal through heedfulness. sad.gif ? smile.gif ->


mikenz66 Oct 6 2007, 01:21 PM Post #69


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Yes, I agree kc2dpt.

That is, in fact, what I was trying to imply. In this case the thought is leading the monk towards the "no consequences" annihilationist argument. This also appears to be a problem with an explicit "no free will" declaration. My (simplistic) view is that the Buddha carefully avoided ever explicitly saying either "There is no self" or "There is no free will", but proceeded to chip away at the foundations of both by repeatedly pointing to the impermanence and lack of (our) control over the aggregates. I take this as a signal that we should carry on with our own chipping away rather than clinging to any absolute doctrine of (not-)self or (non-)free will.

I'm now surprised that I didn't see this Sutta wheeled out in the last incarnation of the "not-self and kamma - what is reborn?" thread, which seems to have wandered off to another realm for now.

Metta
Mike


njupasaka Oct 6 2007, 07:42 PM Post #70


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QUOTE(mikenz66 @ Oct 6 2007, 01:21 AM)
Yes, I agree kc2dpt.

That is, in fact, what I was trying to imply. In this case the thought is leading the monk towards the "no consequences" annihilationist argument. This also appears to be a problem with an explicit "no free will" declaration. My (simplistic) view is that the Buddha carefully avoided ever explicitly saying either "There is no self" or "There is no free will", but proceeded to chip away at the foundations of both by repeatedly pointing to the impermanence and lack of (our) control over the aggregates. I take this as a signal that we should carry on with our own chipping away rather than clinging to any absolute doctrine of (not-)self or (non-)free will.

I'm now surprised that I didn't see this Sutta wheeled out in the last incarnation of the "not-self and kamma - what is reborn?" thread, which seems to have wandered off to another realm for now.

Metta
Mike





Mike, The reason remains the same: we may even restate/quote a nuanced understanding (the Nyanatolika Thera reference) but in various moments of application, do we really "get it?" These understandings thmeselves it seems are impermanent, dukkha, without an "abiding self." This happens even when discussiong ultimacies, how to "use" ultimacies. Invariably we give a substance to them, which depite even denials, can become coarse subtleties. This is the appeal of the "puppet" in the first place. The images we offer to explain tequire further explanation.

What is useful is a consideration of what our consciousness, understanding depends on, especially which lens (teachers, interpretations) we use to see the teachings of the Buddha.

This post has been edited by njupasaka: Oct 6 2007, 08:01 PM


njupasaka Oct 7 2007, 05:15 AM Post #71


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QUOTE(robertk2 @ Sep 25 2007, 09:43 AM)
QUOTE(cooran @ Sep 25 2007, 08:58 PM)
Hello Rob,

Do you think within Dependent Origination, that there could be said to be room for Choice?

We are what we are because of everything that ever happened to the stream of consciousness - but, for example, even though I am planning a trip to Thailand and India over the next weeks, I still have the capability to go or not go, wouldn't you say?

metta
Chris





dear Chris
Just the illusion of control.

Underlying any actions are lobha, or dosa, or avijja(ignorance) or panna(wisdom) .
It seems like "I can decide to go to Thailand", but actually it is lobha arising and this conditions certain movements and speech.
Or it might be wisdom arising that conditions the action. But most of the time it is lobha that is a dominant cause.
Either way no one can make wisdom or lobha arise, they arise because they are conditioned...

QUOTE
Therefore, just as a marionette is void, soulless and without curisosity, and while it works and stands merely through the combination of strings and wood yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness, so too this materiality (rupa)-mentality (nama) is void, soulless and without curiosity, and while it walks and stands merely through the combination of the two together, yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness."
Visuddhimagga XVIII 31




Usually we think "I'm interested or bored or excited or calm, or sad or happy or wise or confused or making effort or being negligent." But there are only different elements performing different functions - and they have no agenda:


QUOTE
"The uninterestedness becomes evident to him though seeing rise and fall according to condition owing to his discovery of the inability of states to have mastery exercised over them. Then he more thoroughly abandons the self view."
Visuddhimagga XX 102

Robert





Robert, When you say lobha "conditions certain movements and speech" does lobha "determime" these movements?

Does the inability to "control" lobha equate with the illusion of control when going to Thailand?

How in application is "the illusion of control" different from saying the illusion of choice? If choice is an "illusion" is one then stating "no free will"? Is this view really supported by Nyanatolika Thera's exposition? Especially when one's very movements and speech are conditioned? (Yet not "determined"?)

Is it not an overextension (and must it follow?) to say that because one cannot control the arising of lobha or wisdom one has only the illusion of choice?

Does that make it OK to watch violent movies or films with explicit sexual content? Or the opposite?


robertk2 Oct 7 2007, 06:37 AM Post #72


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QUOTE(mikenz66 @ Oct 6 2007, 11:30 AM)
I'm waiting for a Vacchagotta Sutta where the Buddha says "Has free will or does not have free will does not apply..."



Which sutta addressed to vacchagotta do you mean? There is one sutta that the people who claim Buddha never taught no self say proves that he didn't. usually they quote the part where the Buddha was silent and ignore the fact that he was a non-buddhist at that time

http://www.accesstoi...4.010.than.html

I am always puzzled why this section after vacchagotta goes isn't stressed:
If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"





QUOTE
...
"One sees any consciousness whatsoever — past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near — every consciousness — as it actually is with right discernment: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'"

"Monk, knowing in this way, seeing in this way is there — with regard to this body endowed with consciousness, and with regard to all external signs — no longer any I-making, or my-making, or obsession with conceit."
But then this bit:

QUOTE
Now at that moment this line of thinking appeared in the awareness of a certain monk: "So — form is not-self, feeling is not-self, perception is not-self, fabrications are not-self, consciousness is not-self. Then what self will be touched by the actions done by what is not-self?"

Then the Blessed One, realizing with his awareness the line of thinking in that monk's awareness, addressed the monks: "It's possible that a senseless person — immersed in ignorance, overcome with craving — might think that he could outsmart the Teacher's message in this way: 'So — form is not-self, feeling is not-self, perception is not-self, fabrications are not-self, consciousness is not-self. Then what self will be touched by the actions done by what is not-self?'




The fact that the Buddha calls the monk a senseless person immersed in ignorance is of import.

The monk was reacting against the teaching of anatta; he was so attached to self that hearing there is no self made him think all actions are without result, as if the Buddha was teaching like Makkali.

Of course the opposite is true; it is because every moment is conditioned, because there is no randomness that any action, any thought, has potency. The one who sees that there are no beings, only elements arising and ceasing, must be understanding this and seeing how kamma and result is so real.About Kamma-sakata-nana: at one level as buddhists we understand that kamma gives results, but usually this understanding is very weak and diminished because of self view. It goes much deeper the more anatta is comprehended.

http://www.abhidhamm...boriharnwanaket

QUOTE
When panna of a higher level arises, it will clearly realize, and deepen the understanding of the characteristics of realities as kamma or vipaka. For example being mindful of the characteristics of the citta that is seeing (cakkhu-vinnana). It would be obvious then that no one creates or controls the characteristics of seeing or the dhatu (element) that sees. One need not think about any gati-sampati or gati-vipati (birth in a good or a bad plane), all are reduced to one instant of citta to arise. Any citta that is vipaka (result), must arise because of kamma as one of the paccaya (conditions). Therefore while seeing or hearing, if there is panna, one would know the differences among the dhatu (elements). The instants of seeing and hearing arise because there are paccaya (conditions) for them to arise, and after the seeing and hearing one knows whether the following cittas are kusala (wholesome) or akusala (unwholesome).

This is to know realities at the instant they arise. It is not merely pondering about it, or thinking that one knows kamma, vipaka, kammasakata-nana or kammasakata-panna, when one sees a beggar or something. Here we arrive at realities: what we perceive as the great wide world with lots of people, is in reality one instant of citta that arises only for the briefest moment


This post has been edited by robertk2: Oct 7 2007, 08:03 AM


njupasaka Oct 7 2007, 07:56 AM Post #73


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Robert and all, after dinner I realized why even though I'm not really trying to change your mind about anything, why I won't get through to you in particular.

First, as a preface, I reallly wish Clasical Theravada was truly "classical" in the sense that the Commentaries ARE authoritative albeit lLESS SO than the Suttas. This notion can be a problematic one, since when beginning with a point in the Commetarial literature, in practice, in application, does one necessarily give greater authority to the Suttas? Is this approach an advantage? When STARTING with the image of the "marionette" the authority of which I will accept, has one in effect "conditioned" their readings of the Suttas, the teachings of the Blessed One?IN APPLICATION what may be revealed is that the orthodox teaching fully elaborated by Nynatolika Thera (about what Buddhism teaches) has somehow been a little if not distorted, mishandled? Your whole exhange with Cooran about Thailand? Is the image of the "marionette" an ultimacy or an attempt with simile to understand an ultimacy?

When asked to respond with the correct summary or backing of quotes, yes, completely orthodox, but in application? What does one at the very least infer from your APPLICATION of the correct position? What are at least the inferred conclusions? The misunderstanding of your audience? Maybe. But not all the time. The first four posts in this thread are very telling since it might seem that someone is agreeing with you by saying "Exactly." as Retro did. But "Exactly, what?" What is Retro really agreeing with you or Nynatolika Thera, especially when your very first statement in this post is structured in a somewhat imprecise way or should I say, a way that gives you more for your money by including a statement and a presumed proviso? When asked to clariify you do so with another source, which is excellent. But YOUR APPLICATION of those sources reveals your sometimes shaky level of understanding, underlying coarse conclusions not the fact that you can point to very excellent scriptures and reiterate Abhidhammic summaries and summaries of the opinions of others. The fact that we can recognize good music doesn't mean we can play it.

What complicates the matter is a shifting of terms... control... free will... choice... there is no common ground or consistency of terms as in the use of the Abhidhamma. This happens not just because of you but terms are not always qualified. specified by others: here's what these terms mean even when we speak colloquially. And that's why the "discussion" method has its benefits and dangers like in this topic. In the rush to agree, there are sometimes "misagreements." In the rush to insight? We can cut and paste and download the "correct" answers while IN APPLICATION remain rank amateurs.

That's why I am not really trying to get through to "you" as a correct multireferenced "self."

But Robert, this thead has been a benefit for me and I am sure others.

This post has been edited by njupasaka: Oct 7 2007, 08:16 AM


robertk2 Oct 7 2007, 08:45 AM Post #74


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QUOTE(danielff @ Oct 5 2007, 06:47 AM)
In contrast with Nina van Gorkom's 'Abhidhamma in Daily Live', Narada Maha Thera in the explanatory notes of the 'A Manual of Abhidhamma' says that there's some kind of freewill in the sense-door and mind-door thought-processes:


QUOTE
27. Thought-Process -
(...)After this comes that stage of representative cognition termed the determining consciousness (Votthapana). Discrimination is exercised at this stage. Freewill plays its part here.
(…)
The Manodvàràvajjana (mind-door consciousness), a Kriyà Citta, functions as the Votthapana consciousness. One can use one’s freewill at this stage.







How many votthapana cittas arise in a split second? According to the Commentaries Thein Nyun in his preface to the DhatuKathu (Pali Text Society) Book of elements).

QUOTE
"The elements..arise and cease within a very short time. In the wink of an eye or a flash of lightning the mental elements arise and cease a trillion times.`This is just an estimate . the sub-commentary takes an even higher figure....."



And the votthapana citta is conditioned by other elements.





As I quoted before Thein Nyun preface to the DhatuKathu (PTS) xxvii writes

"Because the functions of the elements give rise to the concepts of continuity, collection and form, the ideas arise:

1)the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed and

2) the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion and this leads to the subsequent ideas

3)"I can perform" and

4) "I can feel".


Thus these four imaginary characteristic functions of being have bought about a deep-rooted belief in their existence.

But the elements have not the time or span of duration to carry out such functions" .


This post has been edited by robertk2: Oct 7 2007, 08:45 AM


Sobhana Oct 7 2007, 08:49 AM Post #75


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QUOTE(robertk2 @ Oct 6 2007, 05:37 PM)
QUOTE(mikenz66 @ Oct 6 2007, 11:30 AM)
I'm waiting for a Vacchagotta Sutta where the Buddha says "Has free will or does not have free will does not apply..."

Which sutta addressed to vacchagotta do you mean?

Rob, I think Mike meant this as a tonque-in-cheek joke (see the at the end of the sentence).


QUOTE(robertk2 @ Oct 6 2007, 05:37 PM)
QUOTE
.... Therefore while seeing or hearing, if there is panna, one would know the differences among the dhatu (elements). The instants of seeing and hearing arise because there are paccaya (conditions) for them to arise, and after the seeing and hearing one knows whether the following cittas are kusala (wholesome) or akusala (unwholesome).
This part KS talks about the citta from the sense-doors, e.g. seeing, hearing, and I agree with her.

How about the "reactions" to the hearing or seeing? Does a person get to choose what to do after the seeing and hearing? For e.g. if I see someone whom I dislike, don't I get to choose whether to walk away or to face a confrontation? Or are you saying that , if the next citta that comes is kusala, then a good reaction will happen and if akusala citta comes, then a bad reaction will happen? Are we determined by whatever kusala/akusala citta that happens to appear in our mind at that particular time? Isn't there a "screening" process in our mind, where we can sieve the info and decide what is kusala and akusala, and react properly?

If humans have no ability to "decide" what is kusala or akusala, aren't we equivalent to animals who go by their instincts? I saw a documentary called "Planet Earth" narrated by Sir David Attenborough and I realize that animals actually have no freewill. If they had freewill, the birds would say they don't want to fly south during the winter, but they can't, when the season comes, they fly south by instinct, there is no freewill there. Are you saying, human beings are also like that?? I thought the Buddha said the human realm is special because in this realm we can experience pain and pleasure, differenciate right from wrong. The manussa realm is also a special realm because a human can only become a Sammasambuddha in this realm.

I don't think animals can differenciate right from wrong, they go by instinct. I don't think humans are like the animals, if you interchange instinct with uncontrollable cittas.


QUOTE(robertk2 @ Oct 6 2007, 05:37 PM)
QUOTE
.... Here we arrive at realities: what we perceive as the great wide world with lots of people, is in reality one instant of citta that arises only for the briefest moment
What does KS mean by this sentence? Is this briefest moment, significant or insignificant? I think she's trying to tell us about "inconstancy", right?

I understand the no control of seeing and hearing, but the "reaction" after the seeing and hearing is also not controllable, according to the Abhidhamma - if this is true, then Buddhism is pessimistic. You can only "hope" that your kusala cittas appears most of the time, there is nothing else you can do.

Sorry for being persistent in this thread. I just need some more clarifications. Thank you.




"You are your own teacher. Looking for teachers can’t solve your own doubts. Investigate yourself to find the truth - inside, not outside. Knowing yourself is most important."- Ajahn Chah


robertk2 Oct 7 2007, 09:58 AM Post #76


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Dear sobhana,

The mind-door processes occurring after the sense inputs are classified under vedana khandha, sankhara khandha , vinnana khandha and sanna khandha.
What you are referring to in the post above are mainly sankhara khandha. What did
the Buddha say about sankhara khandha:
Anatta-lakkhana Sutta
"Bhikkhus, determinations are not-self...
none can have it of determinations: 'Let my determinations be thus, let my determinations be not thus.'
Still, no one can stop volition arising because it is a conditioned dhamma. But when volition, along with other dhammas, is properly understood (a long process) there is detachment from taking volition for self.

I think the idea of freewill is part of the illusion that keeps the wheel of dependent origination(paticcasamuppada) forever spinning.
It occurs and is repeatedly 'confirmed' because avijja , ignorance, runs among concepts and takes what are merely elements, performing different tasks, as wholes. When we think of wholes we do not see the nature of dhammas. It is by breaking down the wholes (the direct study of realities in the present moment)that insight grows.

"
QUOTE
When they are seen (the khandhas) after resolving them by means of knowledge into elements, they disintegrate like froth subjected to compression by the hand. They are mere states (dhammas)occurring due to conditions and void. In this way the characteristic of not-self becomes more clear"

Pm (visuddhimagga xxi n.4)

If there were freewill it would be great, we could decide to always have metta, always sati. However, all elements are conditioned and only when there are the right conditions can metta or sati arise.
So it takes time for the right conditions to become dominant, a long time, cira kala bhavana. Think how long just one aeon is: during just this time the amount of blood we each spilled when being beheaded as criminals is greater than the waters in the ocean. And there are more of these aeons than the particles of dust in the universe. Buddhists often panic when they hear this and make enormous effort to control sati and other kusala, but this mostly reinforces the idea of self and so the cycle is strengthened.
By understanding that

"It is not-self on account of the insusceptibility to the exercise of power. It is not self for four reasons, that is, in the sense of voidness, of having no owner-master, of having no overlord, and of opposing self"
(see vis. note 3 xxi)
Then it becomes easier to let go, a different type of effort.

The crucial factor in the eight fold path is samma-ditthi, right view. This type of view depends on hearing correct Dhamma from the Buddha or his disciples and reflecting in a correct and profound way on it. There are other factors listed such as discussion on subtle points which are said to assist insight *##see below . Now these factors all depend to some degree on conditions that arise now, however they are also conditioned partly by conditions from the past. Even hearing deep Dhamma is to some extent a matter of vipaka conditioned by kamma, a past factor. How fast and how deep one understands what one hears is largely conditioned by pubbekata punnata (merit done in the past).
This then conditions effort to hear more, consider more and 'let go' more and these are new conditions arising in the present, but built on past ones.
Nevertheless, it doesn't always work exactly how we wish it would; why does one person go so fast, so far, and another doesn't. Venerable Sunnakhata (sp?) was the Buddha's attendant before Ananda. He listened to Dhamma and attained Jhana, but he eventually left the Buddha, spoke badly of the Dhamma, and followed ascetics who used to live a life of severe ascetism, copying dogs (dog-duty ascetics). Why, when he had all this going for him? The commentary says that this man had lived 500 consecutive past lives as a ascetic and had these tendencies. Even the Buddha's teaching couldn't overcome them. And so we see how dependent past factors are in conditioning behaviour. Of course Sunnakhata made choices, he had conventional volitional control over what he did, but what he couldn't see was that ditthi (wrong view)and lobha were underlying all his choices..

On the other hand a queen tried to avoid seeing the Buddha because she
was beautiful and had heard that beauty was said to be a temporary thing by the Buddha. She was eventually forced to listen by the king's orders, but managed to put herself at the back of the crowd. It didn't matter - the Buddha used his powers and made an image of a woman even more beautiful than the queen, and then made the image quickly age- conditions worked so that she heard the teaching and there and then became enlightened. She didn't want to get enlightened, but conditions follow their own ways.
.
I think learning about the anattaness of all dhammas gradually gives a type of detachment that isn't much shaken by misfortune. One doesn't expect any dhamma to give satisfaction because they are inherently unstable and every change, whether for better or worse, simply confirms this - at the micro and macro level. But this is understanding, panna, a conditioned mental factor doing its job- not us.





###There are other factors helpful to wisdom also. Here is something from the Satipatthana sutta commentary: "Six things lead to the arising of this enlightenment factor(wisdom): Inquiring about the aggregates and so forth; the purification of the basis (namely, the cleaning of the body, clothes and so forth); imparting evenness to the (five spiritual) controlling faculties; avoiding the ignorant; associating with the wise; reflecting on the profound difference of the hard-to-perceive processes of the aggregates, modes (or elements), sense-bases and so forth; and the inclining (sloping, bending) towards the development of the enlightenment factor of the investigation of mental objects.

Inquiring about the aggregates and so forth means: seeking the meaning of the aggregates, the modes (or elements), sense-bases, controlling faculties, powers, enlightenment factors, way factors, absorption factors, the meditation for quietude, and the meditation for insight by asking for explanation of knotty points regarding these things in the Five Nikayas with the commentaries from teachers of the Dhamma.

Purification of the basis is the cleaning of the personal basis: the body, and of the impersonal basis: clothes and dwelling place. The flame of a lamp is unclear when its wick, oil and container are dirty; the wick splutters, flickers; but the flame of a lamp that has a clean wick, oil and container is clear and the wick does not spit; it burns smoothly. So it is with knowledge. Knowing that arises out of the mind and mental qualities which are in dirty external and internal surroundings is apt to be impure, too, but the knowledge that arises under clean conditions is apt to be pure. In this way cleanliness leads to the growth of this enlightenment factor which comprises knowledge.

Personal cleanliness is impaired by the excessive length of hair of the head, nails, hair of the body, by the excess of humours, and by the dirt of perspiration; cleanliness of impersonal or external things is impaired when robes are worn out, dirty and smelly, and when the house where one lives is dirty, soiled and untidy. So personal cleanliness should be secured by shaving, hair-cutting, nail-paring, the use of pectoral emetics and of purgatives which make the body light, and by shampooing, bathing and doing other necessary things, at the proper time. In similar way external cleanliness should be brought about by darning, washing and dyeing one's robes, and by smearing the floor of one's house with clay and the like to smoothen and clean it, and by doing other necessary things to keep the house clean and tidy. "

This post has been edited by robertk2: Oct 7 2007, 10:34 AM


njupasaka Oct 7 2007, 10:36 AM Post #77


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Robert, Do you recall posting this?

"In hearing that Buddhism teaches that everything is determined by conditions, someone might come to the conclusion that Buddhism teaches some sort of fatalism, or that man has no free will, or that will is not free. Now, with regard to the two questions: (Nyanatolika Thera)

What part of your reference is your preference?

The "marionette": as it is understood? Or misunderstood?

Ventriloquism is not an option here.

This post has been edited by njupasaka: Oct 7 2007, 10:40 AM


mikenz66 Oct 7 2007, 10:40 AM Post #78


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Dear Robert, and others,

Thank you for your input. It is very useful to have these ideas clarified.

Of course, as Sobhana says, I was mostly joking about Vacchagotta, but I would not have been surprised to find such a passage.

I agree that Thanissaro and others tend to deemphasise passages such as:
"If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"
And that the repeated teachings on not-self and non-control of the aggregates does make "There is no self" and "There is no fee will" an arguably logical conclusion.

What is in the back of my mind is that the "truth" about self and free will is something I need to see for myself (the "arising of knowledge" in the quote above) and that if I cling to the idea that I "understand" not-self and free will this will be a hindrance to my progress. I think there is a fine line here in the "right view" area.

Please note that I am speaking for myself, at my level of understanding and realisation, which is at this point, rather low...

Metta
Mike



njupasaka Oct 7 2007, 10:41 AM Post #79


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QUOTE(mikenz66 @ Oct 6 2007, 10:40 PM)
Dear Robert, and others,

Thank you for your input. It is very useful to have these ideas clarified.

Of course, as Sobhana says, I was mostly joking about Vacchagotta, but I would not have been surprised to find such a passage.

I agree that Thanissaro and others tend to deemphasise passages such as:
"If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"
And that the repeated teachings on not-self and non-control of the aggregates does make "There is no self" and "There is no fee will" an arguably logical conclusion.

What is in the back of my mind is that the "truth" about self and free will is something I need to see for myself (the "arising of knowledge" in the quote above) and that if I cling to the idea that I "understand" not-self and free will this will be a hindrance to my progress. I think there is a fine line here in the "right view" area.

Please note that I am speaking for myself, at my level of understanding and realisation, which is at this point, rather low...

Metta
Mike





Mike, Welcome to the club.


njupasaka Oct 7 2007, 10:52 AM Post #80


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Robert, Would you say this section of your response to Sobhana is also a fair summary of some of the teachings of Khun Sujin Borinharnwanaket?

"I think the idea of freewill is part of the illusion that keeps the wheel of dependent origination(paticcasamuppada) forever spinning.
It occurs and is repeatedly 'confirmed' because avijja , ignorance, runs among concepts and takes what are merely elements, performing different tasks, as wholes. When we think of wholes we do not see the nature of dhammas. It is by breaking down the wholes (the direct study of realities in the present moment)that insight grows.

"
QUOTE
When they are seen (the khandhas) after resolving them by means of knowledge into elements, they disintegrate like froth subjected to compression by the hand. They are mere states (dhammas)occurring due to conditions and void. In this way the characteristic of not-self becomes more clear"

Pm (visuddhimagga xxi n.4)

If there were freewill it would be great, we could decide to always have metta, always sati. However, all elements are conditioned and only when there are the right conditions can metta or sati arise.
So it takes time for the right conditions to become dominant, a long time, cira kala bhavana. Think how long just one aeon is: during just this time the amount of blood we each spilled when being beheaded as criminals is greater than the waters in the ocean. And there are more of these aeons than the particles of dust in the universe. Buddhists often panic when they hear this and make enormous effort to control sati and other kusala, but this mostly reinforces the idea of self and so the cycle is strengthened."

I realize these are your musings but do they also represent in a kind of summary form Khun Sujin Borinharnwanaket's teachings realted to this thread?






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#4 RobertK

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:50 AM






QUOTE(Sally Gross @ Sep 30 2007, 08:48 AM)
QUOTE(njupasaka @ Sep 29 2007, 04:03 PM)
Saying "There is no free will" is an attempt to introduce, paradoxically, a peculiar kind of certainty into this life. We can look at questions about eternalism or annilhism as philosphical questions, wrong views, while forgetting they are also questions related to human fears. If asking whether or not the Buddha exists or does not exist after death is the wrong question with respect to anatta, saying "There is no free will" seems a wrong conclusion and actually, a view of "self." The conclusion is drawn from an overextension of anatta. Actually, it is anatta which is the basis for bhavana and Right Effort. The consoling belief for some that "There is no free will" is not what Buddhism teaches. This is also, I believe, a not so subtle form of theism, but that would be another thread.



One reason for my attraction to compatibilism, an attraction to which FancyMan drew attention earlier in the thread, is that in a sense it views the dichotomous question as to whether there is free-will or whether the universe is deterministic as the wrong question with regard to our actions. In formal congresses, it is sometimes put to the participants with respect to a particular unfortunate motion that "this motion be not put", in other words, that the motion not go to the vote and that it be left in some kind of limbo. Compatibilism is in some ways like that. It recognises that we are a bundle of conditioned processes, and that any account of our actions needs to be predicated upon this. It is my impression that it sits well with the Dhamma, largely for that reason.

Apologies for the digression into secular philosophy.

Metta,

Sally





No need to apologize. Didn't the Buddha look at the religious and secular views of his day?


robertk2 Oct 2 2007, 02:38 PM Post #62


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QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 28 2007, 11:21 AM)
If there is no free-will, we are all waiting for the right conditions to arise to get to Nibbana, right? How long do we have to wait? How do we know when or what the right conditions are? I thought the Buddha said we can see the results "here and now" (sorry I don't have the exact quote, and please correct me if I'm wrong).

I




I believe it is not so much a matter of doing and trying but of learning to see. The dhammas in the Abhidhamma are here and now. We don't have to go anywhere or do anything; but there does have to be sufficient conditions. There should be awe and respect for the Dhamma so that one studies not with the aim of getting something, but rather of genuinely testing out what is heard against this moment. The more we listen and consider and investigate directly, then for sure there are more conditions been built up for insight. In the very beginning there are only conditions for ignorance and craving so almost everyone tries so hard to see. But the sort of seeing that the Buddha meant is detached. Thus real insight comes not from trying and wanting but through fulfilling the correct conditions. However, this doesn't mean 'well it's all conditioned, I'll just let it happen'. So I am not saying 'don't try to be aware", but by being awake to lobha(craving) we know it is always trying to slip in. It can be extremely refined. Also I feel the moments when there is only heedlessness are very natural , conditioned , not self: we don't need to be frightened of unwholesome moments as they are only conditioned dhammas- insignificant and fleeting- we should see them as they are. Then again it is not the middle way if we tolerate the kilesa either, then we are not sincere... Another point. I find different reminders and different ways of considering very helpful. Otherwise there is a tendency, because life has become easier (through more understanding, or samattha or sila), to get comfortable and coast. Reading different suttas reminds us of different realities and the complex ways they are conditioned; it helps us see these dhammas as anatta when they appear in daily life These are just my reflections. I think there are not rules we should follow because everyone's accumulations are vastly different.


njupasaka Oct 2 2007, 09:22 PM Post #63


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QUOTE(Sobhana @ Sep 27 2007, 11:21 PM)
If there is no free-will, we are all waiting for the right conditions to arise to get to Nibbana, right? How long do we have to wait? How do we know when or what the right conditions are? I thought the Buddha said we can see the results "here and now" (sorry I don't have the exact quote, and please correct me if I'm wrong).

If we are only here to wait for the right conditions to come about, doesn't it sound a bit like Hinduism? My Hindu friend said that Hindus believe they need to spend an X number of life cycles and when they have completed these life cycles, they will get to their Nirvana. No free-will sounds a bit like this, isn't it? We are waiting for our right conditions to appear. We don't know what tomorrow brings, what if the right conditions is just around the corner?

And if we have no free-will in deciding what's right or wrong; and no free-will to differentiate what is kusala or akusala, then we don't deserve to be in Nibbana, isn't it? You think we deserve to be somewhere we didn't even make an effort for?

What do you think of the question "are we responsible for our actions?". If there is no free-will then the answer would be "no, we aren't responsible at all". Because there is no "we" or "I" to start with, so nobody is responsible for their actions. I really doubt the Buddha taught this kind of thing. It doesn't sound Buddhist to me.

I am not saying that we can control our thoughts and feelings from coming or going. But I think in our mind, there is yoniso manasikara that knows. Maybe we really are playing a waiting game. We are all waiting for our yoniso manasikara to "mature" and when we complete the life cycles that we were destined with and then we'll reach Nibbana. If this is true, then, I don't know what is the difference between Buddhism and Hinduism...





Actually you are right on track with this connection to Hinduism and may I add Mahayana Buddhism. One needs to have and cultivate the correct realization/understanding of emptiness or in this case anatta on Abhidhammic terms. Right View gets overextended into Abhidhammic terms (taken literally, atomistically). It's almost all Right View. Paradoxically, at least for me, the value of the Abhidhamma gets lost in an overly literal apporach. You then hear very little about the Four Noble Truths applied directly to everyday life. Why not just say "look at suffering, clinging." Instead, it's the mechanism that fascinates, gets talked about, leads one to conclude erroneously "there's no free will." This can be a consoling position, not necessarily a liberative one. But this is what can happen when you think you got (or are getting ) the goods on ultimacy.


Seeker Of Calm Oct 5 2007, 06:47 AM Post #64


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In contrast with Nina van Gorkom's 'Abhidhamma in Daily Live', Narada Maha Thera in the explanatory notes of the 'A Manual of Abhidhamma' says that there's some kind of freewill in the sense-door and mind-door thought-processes:


QUOTE
27. Thought-Process -
(...)
After this comes that stage of representative cognition termed the determining consciousness (Votthapana). Discrimination is exercised at this stage. Freewill plays its part here.
(…)
The Manodvàràvajjana (mind-door consciousness), a Kriyà Citta, functions as the Votthapana consciousness. One can use one’s freewill at this stage.


Sobhana Oct 6 2007, 09:40 AM Post #65


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RobertK asked this question in the KS forum but it's more appropriate in here.
QUOTE(robertk2 @ Oct 4 2007, 10:58 PM)
Anyway you say that there is conditioned freewill. Which khandha is it that has freewill, or is freewill outside the khandhas? And what conditions are needed that give freewill?


Then there is a contrast between two Abhidhamma teachers.

QUOTE(danielff @ Oct 4 2007, 05:47 PM)
In contrast with Nina van Gorkom's 'Abhidhamma in Daily Live', Narada Maha Thera in the explanatory notes of the 'A Manual of Abhidhamma' says that there's some kind of freewill in the sense-door and mind-door thought-processes:


QUOTE
27. Thought-Process -
(...)
After this comes that stage of representative cognition termed the determining consciousness (Votthapana). Discrimination is exercised at this stage. Freewill plays its part here.
(…)
The Manodvàràvajjana (mind-door consciousness), a Kriyà Citta, functions as the Votthapana consciousness. One can use one’s freewill at this stage.




So, the conclusion is that even among Abhidhamma teachers, there is No agreement on this topic. Yes?

Well, if everyone agrees with each other, there would be peace on earth (amen) but that's impossible.





"You are your own teacher. Looking for teachers can’t solve your own doubts. Investigate yourself to find the truth - inside, not outside. Knowing yourself is most important."- Ajahn Chah


njupasaka Oct 6 2007, 10:27 AM Post #66


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Sobhana, Danielff, If you review the first four posts there is a disconnect between all involved. Robert posts "according to the Dhamma there is no free will. " Ben asks for a clarification (Robert provides one does that not support his first statement). Retro agrees (presumably with the clarification of Nyanatolika Thera related to the error of questions related to free will, free will as a permament entity). Meanwhile, Nyanatolika Thera is saying before the bold print... BUT effectively, in application to Cooran's "trip to Thailand" ... the "illusion of free will."

This post has been edited by njupasaka: Oct 6 2007, 10:31 AM


mikenz66 Oct 6 2007, 11:29 AM Post #67


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I'm waiting for a Vacchagotta Sutta where the Buddha says "Has free will or does not have free will does not apply..."

I was recently studying MN109. http://www.accesstoi...n.109.than.html
While the emphasis there is on not-self I think these issues are intimately connected.

There's several pages of the "usual stuff":

QUOTE
...
"One sees any consciousness whatsoever — past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near — every consciousness — as it actually is with right discernment: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'"

"Monk, knowing in this way, seeing in this way is there — with regard to this body endowed with consciousness, and with regard to all external signs — no longer any I-making, or my-making, or obsession with conceit."
But then this bit:

QUOTE
Now at that moment this line of thinking appeared in the awareness of a certain monk: "So — form is not-self, feeling is not-self, perception is not-self, fabrications are not-self, consciousness is not-self. Then what self will be touched by the actions done by what is not-self?"

Then the Blessed One, realizing with his awareness the line of thinking in that monk's awareness, addressed the monks: "It's possible that a senseless person — immersed in ignorance, overcome with craving — might think that he could outsmart the Teacher's message in this way: 'So — form is not-self, feeling is not-self, perception is not-self, fabrications are not-self, consciousness is not-self. Then what self will be touched by the actions done by what is not-self?'
Of course, the Buddha does not launch into a philosophical discourse. He just continues with what Thanissaro would call the "strategy" of chipping away at the self view.

QUOTE
Now, monks, haven't I trained you in counter-questioning with regard to this & that topic here & there? What do you think — Is form constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord." "And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?" "Stressful, lord." "And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."
.... [More of the "usual stuff"]...



Of course, it sounded a lot better than what I pasted above with Ajahn Brahm reading the Nanamoli/Bodhi tranlation (cue working-class London accent):
"... some misguided man here, obtuse and ignorant, with his mind dominated by craving, might think that he can outstrip the Teacher's Dispensation..."
http://www.bswa.org/...taStudy.rss.php

Metta
Mike




Peter Oct 6 2007, 12:29 PM Post #68


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I think the fact that the Buddha does not meet the question head on but instead goes into his "strategy" tells us that the line of questioning is a bad one. That is: to ask "free will or no free will?" is a badly formed question.




- Peter

Achieve your goal through heedfulness. sad.gif ? smile.gif ->


mikenz66 Oct 6 2007, 01:21 PM Post #69


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Yes, I agree kc2dpt.

That is, in fact, what I was trying to imply. In this case the thought is leading the monk towards the "no consequences" annihilationist argument. This also appears to be a problem with an explicit "no free will" declaration. My (simplistic) view is that the Buddha carefully avoided ever explicitly saying either "There is no self" or "There is no free will", but proceeded to chip away at the foundations of both by repeatedly pointing to the impermanence and lack of (our) control over the aggregates. I take this as a signal that we should carry on with our own chipping away rather than clinging to any absolute doctrine of (not-)self or (non-)free will.

I'm now surprised that I didn't see this Sutta wheeled out in the last incarnation of the "not-self and kamma - what is reborn?" thread, which seems to have wandered off to another realm for now.

Metta
Mike


njupasaka Oct 6 2007, 07:42 PM Post #70


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QUOTE(mikenz66 @ Oct 6 2007, 01:21 AM)
Yes, I agree kc2dpt.

That is, in fact, what I was trying to imply. In this case the thought is leading the monk towards the "no consequences" annihilationist argument. This also appears to be a problem with an explicit "no free will" declaration. My (simplistic) view is that the Buddha carefully avoided ever explicitly saying either "There is no self" or "There is no free will", but proceeded to chip away at the foundations of both by repeatedly pointing to the impermanence and lack of (our) control over the aggregates. I take this as a signal that we should carry on with our own chipping away rather than clinging to any absolute doctrine of (not-)self or (non-)free will.

I'm now surprised that I didn't see this Sutta wheeled out in the last incarnation of the "not-self and kamma - what is reborn?" thread, which seems to have wandered off to another realm for now.

Metta
Mike





Mike, The reason remains the same: we may even restate/quote a nuanced understanding (the Nyanatolika Thera reference) but in various moments of application, do we really "get it?" These understandings thmeselves it seems are impermanent, dukkha, without an "abiding self." This happens even when discussiong ultimacies, how to "use" ultimacies. Invariably we give a substance to them, which depite even denials, can become coarse subtleties. This is the appeal of the "puppet" in the first place. The images we offer to explain tequire further explanation.

What is useful is a consideration of what our consciousness, understanding depends on, especially which lens (teachers, interpretations) we use to see the teachings of the Buddha.

This post has been edited by njupasaka: Oct 6 2007, 08:01 PM


njupasaka Oct 7 2007, 05:15 AM Post #71


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QUOTE(robertk2 @ Sep 25 2007, 09:43 AM)
QUOTE(cooran @ Sep 25 2007, 08:58 PM)
Hello Rob,

Do you think within Dependent Origination, that there could be said to be room for Choice?

We are what we are because of everything that ever happened to the stream of consciousness - but, for example, even though I am planning a trip to Thailand and India over the next weeks, I still have the capability to go or not go, wouldn't you say?

metta
Chris





dear Chris
Just the illusion of control.

Underlying any actions are lobha, or dosa, or avijja(ignorance) or panna(wisdom) .
It seems like "I can decide to go to Thailand", but actually it is lobha arising and this conditions certain movements and speech.
Or it might be wisdom arising that conditions the action. But most of the time it is lobha that is a dominant cause.
Either way no one can make wisdom or lobha arise, they arise because they are conditioned...

QUOTE
Therefore, just as a marionette is void, soulless and without curisosity, and while it works and stands merely through the combination of strings and wood yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness, so too this materiality (rupa)-mentality (nama) is void, soulless and without curiosity, and while it walks and stands merely through the combination of the two together, yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness."
Visuddhimagga XVIII 31




Usually we think "I'm interested or bored or excited or calm, or sad or happy or wise or confused or making effort or being negligent." But there are only different elements performing different functions - and they have no agenda:


QUOTE
"The uninterestedness becomes evident to him though seeing rise and fall according to condition owing to his discovery of the inability of states to have mastery exercised over them. Then he more thoroughly abandons the self view."
Visuddhimagga XX 102

Robert





Robert, When you say lobha "conditions certain movements and speech" does lobha "determime" these movements?

Does the inability to "control" lobha equate with the illusion of control when going to Thailand?

How in application is "the illusion of control" different from saying the illusion of choice? If choice is an "illusion" is one then stating "no free will"? Is this view really supported by Nyanatolika Thera's exposition? Especially when one's very movements and speech are conditioned? (Yet not "determined"?)

Is it not an overextension (and must it follow?) to say that because one cannot control the arising of lobha or wisdom one has only the illusion of choice?

Does that make it OK to watch violent movies or films with explicit sexual content? Or the opposite?


robertk2 Oct 7 2007, 06:37 AM Post #72


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QUOTE(mikenz66 @ Oct 6 2007, 11:30 AM)
I'm waiting for a Vacchagotta Sutta where the Buddha says "Has free will or does not have free will does not apply..."



Which sutta addressed to vacchagotta do you mean? There is one sutta that the people who claim Buddha never taught no self say proves that he didn't. usually they quote the part where the Buddha was silent and ignore the fact that he was a non-buddhist at that time

http://www.accesstoi...4.010.than.html

I am always puzzled why this section after vacchagotta goes isn't stressed:
If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"





QUOTE
...
"One sees any consciousness whatsoever — past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near — every consciousness — as it actually is with right discernment: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'"

"Monk, knowing in this way, seeing in this way is there — with regard to this body endowed with consciousness, and with regard to all external signs — no longer any I-making, or my-making, or obsession with conceit."
But then this bit:

QUOTE
Now at that moment this line of thinking appeared in the awareness of a certain monk: "So — form is not-self, feeling is not-self, perception is not-self, fabrications are not-self, consciousness is not-self. Then what self will be touched by the actions done by what is not-self?"

Then the Blessed One, realizing with his awareness the line of thinking in that monk's awareness, addressed the monks: "It's possible that a senseless person — immersed in ignorance, overcome with craving — might think that he could outsmart the Teacher's message in this way: 'So — form is not-self, feeling is not-self, perception is not-self, fabrications are not-self, consciousness is not-self. Then what self will be touched by the actions done by what is not-self?'




The fact that the Buddha calls the monk a senseless person immersed in ignorance is of import.

The monk was reacting against the teaching of anatta; he was so attached to self that hearing there is no self made him think all actions are without result, as if the Buddha was teaching like Makkali.

Of course the opposite is true; it is because every moment is conditioned, because there is no randomness that any action, any thought, has potency. The one who sees that there are no beings, only elements arising and ceasing, must be understanding this and seeing how kamma and result is so real.About Kamma-sakata-nana: at one level as buddhists we understand that kamma gives results, but usually this understanding is very weak and diminished because of self view. It goes much deeper the more anatta is comprehended.

http://www.abhidhamm...boriharnwanaket

QUOTE
When panna of a higher level arises, it will clearly realize, and deepen the understanding of the characteristics of realities as kamma or vipaka. For example being mindful of the characteristics of the citta that is seeing (cakkhu-vinnana). It would be obvious then that no one creates or controls the characteristics of seeing or the dhatu (element) that sees. One need not think about any gati-sampati or gati-vipati (birth in a good or a bad plane), all are reduced to one instant of citta to arise. Any citta that is vipaka (result), must arise because of kamma as one of the paccaya (conditions). Therefore while seeing or hearing, if there is panna, one would know the differences among the dhatu (elements). The instants of seeing and hearing arise because there are paccaya (conditions) for them to arise, and after the seeing and hearing one knows whether the following cittas are kusala (wholesome) or akusala (unwholesome).

This is to know realities at the instant they arise. It is not merely pondering about it, or thinking that one knows kamma, vipaka, kammasakata-nana or kammasakata-panna, when one sees a beggar or something. Here we arrive at realities: what we perceive as the great wide world with lots of people, is in reality one instant of citta that arises only for the briefest moment


This post has been edited by robertk2: Oct 7 2007, 08:03 AM


njupasaka Oct 7 2007, 07:56 AM Post #73


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Robert and all, after dinner I realized why even though I'm not really trying to change your mind about anything, why I won't get through to you in particular.

First, as a preface, I reallly wish Clasical Theravada was truly "classical" in the sense that the Commentaries ARE authoritative albeit lLESS SO than the Suttas. This notion can be a problematic one, since when beginning with a point in the Commetarial literature, in practice, in application, does one necessarily give greater authority to the Suttas? Is this approach an advantage? When STARTING with the image of the "marionette" the authority of which I will accept, has one in effect "conditioned" their readings of the Suttas, the teachings of the Blessed One?IN APPLICATION what may be revealed is that the orthodox teaching fully elaborated by Nynatolika Thera (about what Buddhism teaches) has somehow been a little if not distorted, mishandled? Your whole exhange with Cooran about Thailand? Is the image of the "marionette" an ultimacy or an attempt with simile to understand an ultimacy?

When asked to respond with the correct summary or backing of quotes, yes, completely orthodox, but in application? What does one at the very least infer from your APPLICATION of the correct position? What are at least the inferred conclusions? The misunderstanding of your audience? Maybe. But not all the time. The first four posts in this thread are very telling since it might seem that someone is agreeing with you by saying "Exactly." as Retro did. But "Exactly, what?" What is Retro really agreeing with you or Nynatolika Thera, especially when your very first statement in this post is structured in a somewhat imprecise way or should I say, a way that gives you more for your money by including a statement and a presumed proviso? When asked to clariify you do so with another source, which is excellent. But YOUR APPLICATION of those sources reveals your sometimes shaky level of understanding, underlying coarse conclusions not the fact that you can point to very excellent scriptures and reiterate Abhidhammic summaries and summaries of the opinions of others. The fact that we can recognize good music doesn't mean we can play it.

What complicates the matter is a shifting of terms... control... free will... choice... there is no common ground or consistency of terms as in the use of the Abhidhamma. This happens not just because of you but terms are not always qualified. specified by others: here's what these terms mean even when we speak colloquially. And that's why the "discussion" method has its benefits and dangers like in this topic. In the rush to agree, there are sometimes "misagreements." In the rush to insight? We can cut and paste and download the "correct" answers while IN APPLICATION remain rank amateurs.

That's why I am not really trying to get through to "you" as a correct multireferenced "self."

But Robert, this thead has been a benefit for me and I am sure others.

This post has been edited by njupasaka: Oct 7 2007, 08:16 AM


robertk2 Oct 7 2007, 08:45 AM Post #74


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QUOTE(danielff @ Oct 5 2007, 06:47 AM)
In contrast with Nina van Gorkom's 'Abhidhamma in Daily Live', Narada Maha Thera in the explanatory notes of the 'A Manual of Abhidhamma' says that there's some kind of freewill in the sense-door and mind-door thought-processes:


QUOTE
27. Thought-Process -
(...)After this comes that stage of representative cognition termed the determining consciousness (Votthapana). Discrimination is exercised at this stage. Freewill plays its part here.
(…)
The Manodvàràvajjana (mind-door consciousness), a Kriyà Citta, functions as the Votthapana consciousness. One can use one’s freewill at this stage.







How many votthapana cittas arise in a split second? According to the Commentaries Thein Nyun in his preface to the DhatuKathu (Pali Text Society) Book of elements).

QUOTE
"The elements..arise and cease within a very short time. In the wink of an eye or a flash of lightning the mental elements arise and cease a trillion times.`This is just an estimate . the sub-commentary takes an even higher figure....."



And the votthapana citta is conditioned by other elements.





As I quoted before Thein Nyun preface to the DhatuKathu (PTS) xxvii writes

"Because the functions of the elements give rise to the concepts of continuity, collection and form, the ideas arise:

1)the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed and

2) the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion and this leads to the subsequent ideas

3)"I can perform" and

4) "I can feel".


Thus these four imaginary characteristic functions of being have bought about a deep-rooted belief in their existence.

But the elements have not the time or span of duration to carry out such functions" .


This post has been edited by robertk2: Oct 7 2007, 08:45 AM


Sobhana Oct 7 2007, 08:49 AM Post #75


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QUOTE(robertk2 @ Oct 6 2007, 05:37 PM)
QUOTE(mikenz66 @ Oct 6 2007, 11:30 AM)
I'm waiting for a Vacchagotta Sutta where the Buddha says "Has free will or does not have free will does not apply..."

Which sutta addressed to vacchagotta do you mean?

Rob, I think Mike meant this as a tonque-in-cheek joke (see the at the end of the sentence).


QUOTE(robertk2 @ Oct 6 2007, 05:37 PM)
QUOTE
.... Therefore while seeing or hearing, if there is panna, one would know the differences among the dhatu (elements). The instants of seeing and hearing arise because there are paccaya (conditions) for them to arise, and after the seeing and hearing one knows whether the following cittas are kusala (wholesome) or akusala (unwholesome).
This part KS talks about the citta from the sense-doors, e.g. seeing, hearing, and I agree with her.

How about the "reactions" to the hearing or seeing? Does a person get to choose what to do after the seeing and hearing? For e.g. if I see someone whom I dislike, don't I get to choose whether to walk away or to face a confrontation? Or are you saying that , if the next citta that comes is kusala, then a good reaction will happen and if akusala citta comes, then a bad reaction will happen? Are we determined by whatever kusala/akusala citta that happens to appear in our mind at that particular time? Isn't there a "screening" process in our mind, where we can sieve the info and decide what is kusala and akusala, and react properly?

If humans have no ability to "decide" what is kusala or akusala, aren't we equivalent to animals who go by their instincts? I saw a documentary called "Planet Earth" narrated by Sir David Attenborough and I realize that animals actually have no freewill. If they had freewill, the birds would say they don't want to fly south during the winter, but they can't, when the season comes, they fly south by instinct, there is no freewill there. Are you saying, human beings are also like that?? I thought the Buddha said the human realm is special because in this realm we can experience pain and pleasure, differenciate right from wrong. The manussa realm is also a special realm because a human can only become a Sammasambuddha in this realm.

I don't think animals can differenciate right from wrong, they go by instinct. I don't think humans are like the animals, if you interchange instinct with uncontrollable cittas.


QUOTE(robertk2 @ Oct 6 2007, 05:37 PM)
QUOTE
.... Here we arrive at realities: what we perceive as the great wide world with lots of people, is in reality one instant of citta that arises only for the briefest moment
What does KS mean by this sentence? Is this briefest moment, significant or insignificant? I think she's trying to tell us about "inconstancy", right?

I understand the no control of seeing and hearing, but the "reaction" after the seeing and hearing is also not controllable, according to the Abhidhamma - if this is true, then Buddhism is pessimistic. You can only "hope" that your kusala cittas appears most of the time, there is nothing else you can do.

Sorry for being persistent in this thread. I just need some more clarifications. Thank you.




"You are your own teacher. Looking for teachers can’t solve your own doubts. Investigate yourself to find the truth - inside, not outside. Knowing yourself is most important."- Ajahn Chah


robertk2 Oct 7 2007, 09:58 AM Post #76


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Dear sobhana,

The mind-door processes occurring after the sense inputs are classified under vedana khandha, sankhara khandha , vinnana khandha and sanna khandha.
What you are referring to in the post above are mainly sankhara khandha. What did
the Buddha say about sankhara khandha:
Anatta-lakkhana Sutta
"Bhikkhus, determinations are not-self...
none can have it of determinations: 'Let my determinations be thus, let my determinations be not thus.'
Still, no one can stop volition arising because it is a conditioned dhamma. But when volition, along with other dhammas, is properly understood (a long process) there is detachment from taking volition for self.

I think the idea of freewill is part of the illusion that keeps the wheel of dependent origination(paticcasamuppada) forever spinning.
It occurs and is repeatedly 'confirmed' because avijja , ignorance, runs among concepts and takes what are merely elements, performing different tasks, as wholes. When we think of wholes we do not see the nature of dhammas. It is by breaking down the wholes (the direct study of realities in the present moment)that insight grows.

"
QUOTE
When they are seen (the khandhas) after resolving them by means of knowledge into elements, they disintegrate like froth subjected to compression by the hand. They are mere states (dhammas)occurring due to conditions and void. In this way the characteristic of not-self becomes more clear"

Pm (visuddhimagga xxi n.4)

If there were freewill it would be great, we could decide to always have metta, always sati. However, all elements are conditioned and only when there are the right conditions can metta or sati arise.
So it takes time for the right conditions to become dominant, a long time, cira kala bhavana. Think how long just one aeon is: during just this time the amount of blood we each spilled when being beheaded as criminals is greater than the waters in the ocean. And there are more of these aeons than the particles of dust in the universe. Buddhists often panic when they hear this and make enormous effort to control sati and other kusala, but this mostly reinforces the idea of self and so the cycle is strengthened.
By understanding that

"It is not-self on account of the insusceptibility to the exercise of power. It is not self for four reasons, that is, in the sense of voidness, of having no owner-master, of having no overlord, and of opposing self"
(see vis. note 3 xxi)
Then it becomes easier to let go, a different type of effort.

The crucial factor in the eight fold path is samma-ditthi, right view. This type of view depends on hearing correct Dhamma from the Buddha or his disciples and reflecting in a correct and profound way on it. There are other factors listed such as discussion on subtle points which are said to assist insight *##see below . Now these factors all depend to some degree on conditions that arise now, however they are also conditioned partly by conditions from the past. Even hearing deep Dhamma is to some extent a matter of vipaka conditioned by kamma, a past factor. How fast and how deep one understands what one hears is largely conditioned by pubbekata punnata (merit done in the past).
This then conditions effort to hear more, consider more and 'let go' more and these are new conditions arising in the present, but built on past ones.
Nevertheless, it doesn't always work exactly how we wish it would; why does one person go so fast, so far, and another doesn't. Venerable Sunnakhata (sp?) was the Buddha's attendant before Ananda. He listened to Dhamma and attained Jhana, but he eventually left the Buddha, spoke badly of the Dhamma, and followed ascetics who used to live a life of severe ascetism, copying dogs (dog-duty ascetics). Why, when he had all this going for him? The commentary says that this man had lived 500 consecutive past lives as a ascetic and had these tendencies. Even the Buddha's teaching couldn't overcome them. And so we see how dependent past factors are in conditioning behaviour. Of course Sunnakhata made choices, he had conventional volitional control over what he did, but what he couldn't see was that ditthi (wrong view)and lobha were underlying all his choices..

On the other hand a queen tried to avoid seeing the Buddha because she
was beautiful and had heard that beauty was said to be a temporary thing by the Buddha. She was eventually forced to listen by the king's orders, but managed to put herself at the back of the crowd. It didn't matter - the Buddha used his powers and made an image of a woman even more beautiful than the queen, and then made the image quickly age- conditions worked so that she heard the teaching and there and then became enlightened. She didn't want to get enlightened, but conditions follow their own ways.
.
I think learning about the anattaness of all dhammas gradually gives a type of detachment that isn't much shaken by misfortune. One doesn't expect any dhamma to give satisfaction because they are inherently unstable and every change, whether for better or worse, simply confirms this - at the micro and macro level. But this is understanding, panna, a conditioned mental factor doing its job- not us.





###There are other factors helpful to wisdom also. Here is something from the Satipatthana sutta commentary: "Six things lead to the arising of this enlightenment factor(wisdom): Inquiring about the aggregates and so forth; the purification of the basis (namely, the cleaning of the body, clothes and so forth); imparting evenness to the (five spiritual) controlling faculties; avoiding the ignorant; associating with the wise; reflecting on the profound difference of the hard-to-perceive processes of the aggregates, modes (or elements), sense-bases and so forth; and the inclining (sloping, bending) towards the development of the enlightenment factor of the investigation of mental objects.

Inquiring about the aggregates and so forth means: seeking the meaning of the aggregates, the modes (or elements), sense-bases, controlling faculties, powers, enlightenment factors, way factors, absorption factors, the meditation for quietude, and the meditation for insight by asking for explanation of knotty points regarding these things in the Five Nikayas with the commentaries from teachers of the Dhamma.

Purification of the basis is the cleaning of the personal basis: the body, and of the impersonal basis: clothes and dwelling place. The flame of a lamp is unclear when its wick, oil and container are dirty; the wick splutters, flickers; but the flame of a lamp that has a clean wick, oil and container is clear and the wick does not spit; it burns smoothly. So it is with knowledge. Knowing that arises out of the mind and mental qualities which are in dirty external and internal surroundings is apt to be impure, too, but the knowledge that arises under clean conditions is apt to be pure. In this way cleanliness leads to the growth of this enlightenment factor which comprises knowledge.

Personal cleanliness is impaired by the excessive length of hair of the head, nails, hair of the body, by the excess of humours, and by the dirt of perspiration; cleanliness of impersonal or external things is impaired when robes are worn out, dirty and smelly, and when the house where one lives is dirty, soiled and untidy. So personal cleanliness should be secured by shaving, hair-cutting, nail-paring, the use of pectoral emetics and of purgatives which make the body light, and by shampooing, bathing and doing other necessary things, at the proper time. In similar way external cleanliness should be brought about by darning, washing and dyeing one's robes, and by smearing the floor of one's house with clay and the like to smoothen and clean it, and by doing other necessary things to keep the house clean and tidy. "

This post has been edited by robertk2: Oct 7 2007, 10:34 AM


njupasaka Oct 7 2007, 10:36 AM Post #77


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Robert, Do you recall posting this?

"In hearing that Buddhism teaches that everything is determined by conditions, someone might come to the conclusion that Buddhism teaches some sort of fatalism, or that man has no free will, or that will is not free. Now, with regard to the two questions: (Nyanatolika Thera)

What part of your reference is your preference?

The "marionette": as it is understood? Or misunderstood?

Ventriloquism is not an option here.

This post has been edited by njupasaka: Oct 7 2007, 10:40 AM


mikenz66 Oct 7 2007, 10:40 AM Post #78


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Dear Robert, and others,

Thank you for your input. It is very useful to have these ideas clarified.

Of course, as Sobhana says, I was mostly joking about Vacchagotta, but I would not have been surprised to find such a passage.

I agree that Thanissaro and others tend to deemphasise passages such as:
"If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"
And that the repeated teachings on not-self and non-control of the aggregates does make "There is no self" and "There is no fee will" an arguably logical conclusion.

What is in the back of my mind is that the "truth" about self and free will is something I need to see for myself (the "arising of knowledge" in the quote above) and that if I cling to the idea that I "understand" not-self and free will this will be a hindrance to my progress. I think there is a fine line here in the "right view" area.

Please note that I am speaking for myself, at my level of understanding and realisation, which is at this point, rather low...

Metta
Mike



njupasaka Oct 7 2007, 10:41 AM Post #79


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QUOTE(mikenz66 @ Oct 6 2007, 10:40 PM)
Dear Robert, and others,

Thank you for your input. It is very useful to have these ideas clarified.

Of course, as Sobhana says, I was mostly joking about Vacchagotta, but I would not have been surprised to find such a passage.

I agree that Thanissaro and others tend to deemphasise passages such as:
"If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"
And that the repeated teachings on not-self and non-control of the aggregates does make "There is no self" and "There is no fee will" an arguably logical conclusion.

What is in the back of my mind is that the "truth" about self and free will is something I need to see for myself (the "arising of knowledge" in the quote above) and that if I cling to the idea that I "understand" not-self and free will this will be a hindrance to my progress. I think there is a fine line here in the "right view" area.

Please note that I am speaking for myself, at my level of understanding and realisation, which is at this point, rather low...

Metta
Mike





Mike, Welcome to the club.


njupasaka Oct 7 2007, 10:52 AM Post #80


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Robert, Would you say this section of your response to Sobhana is also a fair summary of some of the teachings of Khun Sujin Borinharnwanaket?

"I think the idea of freewill is part of the illusion that keeps the wheel of dependent origination(paticcasamuppada) forever spinning.
It occurs and is repeatedly 'confirmed' because avijja , ignorance, runs among concepts and takes what are merely elements, performing different tasks, as wholes. When we think of wholes we do not see the nature of dhammas. It is by breaking down the wholes (the direct study of realities in the present moment)that insight grows.

"
QUOTE
When they are seen (the khandhas) after resolving them by means of knowledge into elements, they disintegrate like froth subjected to compression by the hand. They are mere states (dhammas)occurring due to conditions and void. In this way the characteristic of not-self becomes more clear"

Pm (visuddhimagga xxi n.4)

If there were freewill it would be great, we could decide to always have metta, always sati. However, all elements are conditioned and only when there are the right conditions can metta or sati arise.
So it takes time for the right conditions to become dominant, a long time, cira kala bhavana. Think how long just one aeon is: during just this time the amount of blood we each spilled when being beheaded as criminals is greater than the waters in the ocean. And there are more of these aeons than the particles of dust in the universe. Buddhists often panic when they hear this and make enormous effort to control sati and other kusala, but this mostly reinforces the idea of self and so the cycle is strengthened."

I realize these are your musings but do they also represent in a kind of summary form Khun Sujin Borinharnwanaket's teachings realted to this thread?






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#5 RobertK

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:50 AM


robertk2 Oct 8 2007, 01:09 PM Post #101




QUOTE(mikenz66 @ Oct 8 2007, 09:56 AM)
QUOTE
Question: In considering the not-self and conditioned nature of the aggregates how does one avoid becoming fatalistic?


Metta
Mike

QUOTE


FATALISM: A doctrine that events are fixed in advance for all time in such a manner that human beings are powerless to change them; also: a belief in or attitude determined by this doctrine. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary


Beliefs in fatalism or freewill are based on an assumption of a being who is either fated or has freewill. The buddha taught the middle path, that there is no being, there are only conditioned elements arising and ceasing.

By learning the Dhamma one comes to realize that each moment has real importance. This leads to more care- more kusala- and also more interest to learn more - a virtuous circle...




QUOTE
QUOTE(mikenz66 @ Oct 8 2007, 01:28 PM)
But... But...

My question was based on the not-self dependent-origination premise, not on the assumption of a being.

To put it in a very simplistic way that relates to the Sutta I quoted a while back: "If there is no self, why should "I" care what happens?"

[This is a somewhat rhetorical question, but I'm interested in seeing how it plays out.]

Mike






Because there is kamma, and there are results. Dukkha is not happening to a being, but there is dukkha. And
dukkha arises all the time, sometimes very painful dukkha.
If akusala kamma is performed then the resiult in the near or distant future will be unpleasant. No need to invoke a being.

\

QUOTE
mikenz66 Oct 8 2007, 04:35 PM Post #104
So, there is no "self" but there is some choice in there somewhere over whether or not the akusala kamma is performed?

Mike









Dear Mike
the way it works is that , if there are the right conditions, panna(understanding, wisdom) grows. And this mental factor, along with other sobhana cetasikas, arises more frequently so that it interupts the usual stream of akusala cetasikas.

Volition,(cetana ) arises every moment, so like with the example of Sunnakhata I gave, he chose to leave the Buddha and follow another path. Why? Because the mental factors that arose were wrong view and ignorance. These factors arise together with cetana and so certain actions and thoughts occured.

Whether we sit up or lie down, go left or go right, chose Christianity, materialism, Mahayana or Theravada, in a conventional sense there is always choice. And even in the ultimate sense cetana arises and along with other factors determines these events. But in the uninstructed worldling the underlying roots of each 'choice' is almost always lobha (craving) and avija (ignorance). It seems like someone is deciding, but there are only disinterested elements performing their functions, conditioned by a concantenation of complex conditions( those from the distant past and some from the here and now). Even when wisdom begins to develop it too is only an element, equally disinterested and merely performing its function.
Robert


Lars Oct 11 2007, 09:02 PM Post #107


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QUOTE(Upsaka JC @ Sep 25 2007, 12:35 PM)
QUOTE(Raga Mala @ Sep 25 2007, 07:54 AM)




Simply put, the Dhamma makes no sense without an element of volition, even if such an element is held to be anatta. If there is no power to change from the "individual"'s side, there is no hope of directed self-improvement.





agreed i mean if kamma is volition that means we are making choices unless we have absolutly no control over our kamma which would make us puppets but then puppets of whom? that would imply a self or greater self





I agree as well. I had this discussion with a former monk at my Vihara. Apparently there is a segment near the end of the Anguttara Nikaya (The part that hasnt been translated to English yet) where there is a teacher who teaches fate or a lack of free will. The Buddha attacks this line of thinking as the worst of wrong views. The reason being that even if it were true that line of thinking would be unbenificial. And in the worste case scenario it can lead to extremist views. Take the samurai for example, they used buddhist pedagogy and this philosophy to become better killing machines and to justify "skillfull" killing. i.e. killing humans with out generating bad kamma.
peace.


chownah Oct 11 2007, 10:06 PM Post #108


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QUOTE(mikenz66 @ Oct 8 2007, 04:36 PM)
So, there is no "self" but there is some choice in there somewhere over whether or not the akusala kamma is performed?

Mike





Mikenz66,
Perhaps it would make more sense if you didn't refer to what I perceive to be your doctrine of self...specifically the doctrine of self summarized by the words, "there is no self". If you remove this from the post you end up with your question being, "there is some choice over weather or not the akusala kamma is perfomed?"...and one possible answer, I guess, would be, "yes there is and it is called 'volition' and it arises every moment." (The doctrine of self is not needed to make sense of volition.)

Maybe this does not suit you but for me it seems to make it more understandable.

Chownah

This post has been edited by chownah: Oct 11 2007, 10:09 PM




"We shouldn't be too literalistic about etymology-based translations of a word." (Dhammanando)


mikenz66 Oct 12 2007, 10:46 AM Post #109


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QUOTE(chownah @ Oct 11 2007, 10:07 PM)
Perhaps it would make more sense if you didn't refer to what I perceive to be your doctrine of self...specifically the doctrine of self summarized by the words, "there is no self".





Dear Chownah,

I didn't mean to take sides on the details of Anatta.

I wrote the sentence like that because I was specifically addressing the question to Robert (who has made his opinion about self clear) and I didn't want to make the sentence too long. I agree with your analysis, but one of the arguments that Robert was using seemed to be that "without a self we cannot speak of free will" and I wanted to clarify that.

Metta
Mike




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