Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Maarten2
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Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby Maarten2 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:16 am

After a deep meditation experience, I think I realized the key to understanding the deeper teaching of the Buddha for myself. It took me about a week to find a way to put it words, but I came up with the following: “Everything we believe is untrue. Even this.”

Alternatively: "Every belief or conception is an oversimplification of complex reality (chaos theory)".

If the Buddha says something is wrong view, wrong belief, delusion, he actually means it is useless, ultimately leading to Dukkha.

If the Buddha says something is a right view, right belief, truth, he actually means it is useful, leading to the cessation of Dukkha.

Is this is interpretation justified?
Last edited by Maarten2 on Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Goofaholix
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Re: Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:58 am

Maarten2 wrote:“Everything we believe is untrue. Even this.” Every belief, conception is an oversimplification of complex reality, if you will (see chaos theory).


I would have said "Every belief, conception is an over-complication of simple reality."
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

Maarten2
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Re: Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby Maarten2 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:08 am

I would have said "Every belief, conception is an over-complication of simple reality."

That was just a way of putting it words, actually "reality is simple", "reality is wrong", "today is sunday" are all believes which are not true (but also also not wrong). I hope that made it less clear.

EDIT: I think I found a less Zen, more mathematical way of putting it: "Under the assumption that reality is simple, every believe is a complexification of reality. Under the assumption that reality is complex, every believe is a simplification. Without any assumption nothing can be said.".
Last edited by Maarten2 on Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Kim OHara
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Re: Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:03 am

Goofaholix wrote:
Maarten2 wrote:“Everything we believe is untrue. Even this.” Every belief, conception is an oversimplification of complex reality, if you will (see chaos theory).


I would have said "Every belief, conception is an over-complication of simple reality."

I might have said, "There are no words which do not mis-represent reality."

:juggling:
Kim

Maarten2
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Re: Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby Maarten2 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:15 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:I might have said, "There are no words which do not mis-represent reality."

The problem is there is no way of saying it without contracting yourself, but I think the idea is clear enough now. Anyway, I originally posted it in classical Theravada, because I was hoping some provide concrete sutta reference for or against this view, especially the interpretation of wrong and right believes.
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Re: Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:41 am

Maarten2 wrote:“Everything we believe is untrue. Even this.”

depends on conventional or ultimate level.
Alternatively: "Every belief or conception is an oversimplification of complex reality (chaos theory)".

or over-complication sometimes something seams simple yet we over complicate it, and sometines something seems complex yet we over simplify it.
If the Buddha says something is wrong view, wrong belief, delusion, he actually means it is useless, ultimately leading to Dukkha.
If the Buddha says something is a right view, right belief, truth, he actually means it is useful, leading to the cessation of Dukkha.

There is what is given, there is mother & father and spontaniously born beings, there are results for good and bad actions...
seams both factual and useful form of right view is being described.

I would say "how we see things may not be in-line with the dhamma. Even this"
meaning even if it is true, there may be a dissonance in the understanding.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby Maarten2 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:04 am

Never mind. This question was not phrased well. I will find more concrete sutta references for my point of view and ask it again.
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Kare
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Re: Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby Kare » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:34 am

‘Misschien is niets geheel waar, en zelfs dát niet’

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Mettāya,
Kåre

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reflection
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Re: Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby reflection » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:56 am

In a way, yes, if ´belief´ refers to conceptual belief. A conceptual belief, for example based on words, is always wrong.

However, through the practice of the path, we can have experiences that show the way the mind works. These experiences give us a belief that is not conceptual, because it is based on a direct encounter with the truth. If it was a real insight and not a mistaken one, these beliefs are not untrue. Of course, unless we start to put them into words again.

That´s why all the suttas are wrong in a way, but right in another way. The buddha tried to explain his experiences in words. But words never become the truth. Just like someone describing the way something looks to a blind person, it is on another dimension.

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Re: Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby Maarten2 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:15 pm

reflection wrote:However, through the practice of the path, we can have experiences that show the way the mind works.

It is my point of view (not necessarily rooted in teaching of the Buddha) that this is just conceptualizing on a deeper level.
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Re: Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby Alex123 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:54 pm

Hello Maarten2,

Personally I believe this: Every word is about something. Word is not the object itself.

Saying "food" will not feed you, saying "hot" will not warm you. To say "sweet" is different from actually putting sugar on your tongue.

The same event can be called using different words. Words are not inherent in the phenomenon, but are social agreements...


So the problem with philosophy is that it can be merely juggling of these words which may not even point to anything existing...
"dust to dust...."

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Dan74
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Re: Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:58 pm

Maarten2 wrote:
reflection wrote:However, through the practice of the path, we can have experiences that show the way the mind works.

It is my point of view (not necessarily rooted in teaching of the Buddha) that this is just conceptualizing on a deeper level.


I think what you yourself said above should be applied to what you are putting forward here:

If the Buddha says something is wrong view, wrong belief, delusion, he actually means it is useless, ultimately leading to Dukkha.

If the Buddha says something is a right view, right belief, truth, he actually means it is useful, leading to the cessation of Dukkha.


So with theories, insights and understandings - do they lead to cessation of Dukkha? We experience something and then we think about it, theorize about it, try to encapsulate the insight into words and get a handle on reality as it is now, post-insight. Putting down all handles, theories, and concepts is almost impossible, but I guess the more we focus on the actual task at hand, the less important these handles, theories and concepts become.

Or at least, this is my theory! :)
_/|\_

Maarten2
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Re: Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby Maarten2 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:52 pm

First to clarify we are on the same page: what I mean with conceptualizing is any form of interpretation or generalization of sensual stimuli.

The following is one view, not necessarily mine:

Assuming there is no ultimate reality [to be gasped by the human mind] is a view that might be helpful, because it leads to detachment and tolerance.


The following is another view, again not necessarily mine:

"Conceptualizing less" is an important tool in Buddhism. Without conception there can be no perception, thus stopping to conceptualize entirely leads to the highest meditative attainment of "neither perception nor non-perception". However, Conceptualizing is a bad thing if and only if it leads to attachment to concepts. One can't stop conceptualizing permanently (in ones lifetime), but if one becomes mindful about the fact that one is conceptualizing, that person can stop clinging to concepts (including ones views, ones believes and the self itself).
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Re: Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby ringo » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:01 pm

Maarten2,

This might be of help: Kaccayanagotta Sutta: To Kaccayana Gotta (on Right View), http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

This world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle.



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Ringo

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Re: Is this a valid interpretation of Buddhism?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:44 pm

Hi Ringo, Maarten,
ringo wrote:This might be of help: Kaccayanagotta Sutta: To Kaccayana Gotta (on Right View), http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

It may help, but be sure to read the discussion here about what "existence" and "non-existence" means:
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=11269
In brief, the commentators I quoted there see it as talking about eternalism vs annihilationism, not a commentary on "reality".

:anjali:
Mike


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