Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

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Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby silver surfer » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:16 am

Hi, just registered - this being my first thread i'd like to keep it as simple as possible.

I'm new to Buddhism, for like a month old. I'm getting an understanding that -all is mind-, and a human being has to "blow out" in order to liberate its own consciousness.

I've learned that the Buddha was sort of against all sorts of philosophies and ideas, because they might not be of truth (am i right on that?) and after one's enlightenment, they won't have the need to ask any more questions about the physical existence and/or concepts>human perceptions that are within the physical existence.

I understand this like, there is no more thinking after the nibbãna since ideas are no more needed - thus no more speculation about where it all began.

But mathematically speaking, 0+0 will always equal to another zero. I'm not so sure that someone as smart as Gautama didn't ever think about this. So, saying there is no ultimate entity - means we (our consciousness) are the ultimate (eternal) entities. What i don't understand is, why would we get our absolute-selves in this cyclical everchanging flux of illusions, if we have always been the absolute existence? I'd like to hear your opinions on this.

I'd also like to hear your opinions on the geometrical patterns in the physical existence. Phi (the golden ratio), the Fibonacci sequence (and the spiral), other mathematical systems that make the universe as it is, using particles/waves, et cetera. Are all these also products of our illusionary minds? How is that? Also, what do you think about the existence of the void, and how our consciousness became involved with it in the first place and what was the reason?

My final question is, what makes the laws of the karmic wheel? Why do they exist? What is responsible for it? Our consciousness? Since when, and why?

I'll appreciate if i can get a few detailed responses, from all of you and i'm really looking forward to read the "enlightened" ones - if there's any.

Thank you
“This, O monks, truly is the peace, this is the highest, namely the end of all formations, the forsaking of
every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving, detachment, extinction, Nibbãna.”
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby culaavuso » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:24 am

The Buddha did not teach these kinds of abstract and ontological things. He taught the nature of stress and suffering and the path to its cessation based on what can be observed through direct experience. Questions unrelated to these topics were not the subject of his teaching.

MN 63
MN 63: Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta wrote:"It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a brahman, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.


MN 63: Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta wrote:And what is declared by me? 'This is stress,' is declared by me. 'This is the origination of stress,' is declared by me. 'This is the cessation of stress,' is declared by me. 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress,' is declared by me. And why are they declared by me? Because they are connected with the goal, are fundamental to the holy life. They lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That's why they are declared by me.
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby Mkoll » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:30 am

Hi silver surfer,

culaavuso made a good post that I agree with.

I've emphasized the gist of what I think you're missing in the passage below.

This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise.
SN 6.2

I recommend In the Buddha's Words by Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi for a good introduction to the Dhamma. It may help to clear some of your doubts.

All the best.

:anjali:
Peace,
James
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby Sam Vara » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:01 am

silver surfer

I agree whole-heartedly with the other two posters about the importance of practice rather than speculation, but was puzzled by this bit in your post:

So, saying there is no ultimate entity - means we (our consciousness) are the ultimate (eternal) entities.


This seems to be self-contradictory, in that if there are no ultimate entities, then we cannot be ultimate entities - any more than anything else can.

In addition, the Buddha often spoke about our consciousness being conditioned and impermanent. And as it is anatta, or not self, it would not be right to think of it as "we" in anything more than a conventional sense.
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby Vakresvara » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:16 pm

namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
buddham dhammam sangham namasami

Hi

Welcome to the forum, and truly hope you may find the answers you are searching for.

Throughout this text, I will support this writing with some links that you may follow, in order to provide you with additional information that may help you to get more familiar with the Teachings of the Buddha, and this will make much easier for you to begin to navigate on what it seems a very complex philosophy; convention that is extremely far from the true.

Now, going directly into your question, Anatta, o No Self, is one of the Pillars of Foundations of the Teachings of the Buddha; The Dhamma, and for someone as newbie as yourself, it might be a very tough cookie to begin with, not because the concept is complex and out of your reach, but because is something that only by realizing it, can be comprehend. So, at this moment, makes no sense to approach something that you won’t be able to grasp, but for the sake of things, I will give you some important elements to consider.

First, you should read with open heart and look into one of the most profound teachings in Buddhism; Dependent Origination: Pratītyasamutpāda http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%AB ... tp%C4%81da . The Buddha taught, that everything that has origin and cause and depend on something else for its existence is temporal, impermanent, and it is bound to die, expire or disappear, and as consequence of this, it is Empty by Nature and lacks of substance, it is not truly existent.

As an example, if we accept the concepts of science about the age of the current universe, we will understand how minimal our footprint on this world is, how insignificant our existence in comparison with time and space is, and with this approach, have a little grasp about the concept of impermanence and uncertainty of life and existence. http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh015.pdf

If after reading all these concepts, you start to feel bored and your head is wanting to explode, I don’t blame you, it is not something for novices as I said previously, and for this reason, I would like to move to something easier to approach.

In the beginning of our practice, doubts and estheticism arise on our minds due to the lack of proper knowledge and faith, and it is completely natural, please, do not feel bad about it, it is just part of the process; and yes, there is faith on Buddhism, but I will prefer at this time, to use the term of Dhamma, instead of Buddhism, I will explain this later on this response.

Dhamma has been traditionally defined as the teachings of the Buddha; The Enlightened One, The Blessed One, and when we apply those teachings to our daily lives, this is called Practice. This practice, at the beginning, is plagued by overwhelming chain of thoughts (Mental Fermentations) that arise from our own mental defilements, and these mental defilements are called Kilesas: http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/g_m/kilesa.htm

These Kilesas have been polluting our minds since long, long time ago, but, let’s concentrate on the present moment for this specific response. For this reason, it is necessary for us to purify our minds, in order to have a better chance to begin to understand and assimilate some of the most basic concepts of the Teachings of the Buddha; Dhamma.

To begin, these are the most important things you should know at the start of your practice: Do Not Harm, Do Good and Purify Your Heart.

These three instructions contain the complete essence of Buddhism; Dhamma, in which the Eightfold Path; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_Eightfold_Path and the Seven Factors that support the fruition of Enlightenment; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Fact ... ightenment comes together. Please, put your heart and efforts on this aspect of the practice and follow it with enthusiasm and faith, and you will see results on a very short time.

Great Masters and Teachers, which had been known for their wisdom and for being recognized as Enlightened Beings, have made emphasis on three essential aspects of the practice; Sīlaṃ samādhi paññā, usually translated as Morality, Concentration or Absorption, and Wisdom; and If you are able to incorporate these important aspects of the practice into your life, you will be able to soon have the clearness of mind to begin to grasp into Dhamma, and by doing so, you will see that everything you have been searching for, have been within you at all times, it is just that the dust covering your eyes did not allow you to see what it was right in front of you all along; The Ultimate True, to see things as They Truly Are, Anicca, Dukkha, and Anatta: Impermanence or Uncertainty, Unsatisfactoriness and Ultimately NO Self.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_marks_of_existence
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threefold_Training
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebmed019.htm

If you are really interested in Buddhism, then, you should practice and find out for yourself if what has been taught by the Buddha is true, no one else can do it for you. If within your heart, these questions are not mean to find a way for you to realize the true nature of things, then, you may lose a unique opportunity of experiencing something that may bring true happiness to your life and the certainty of knowing for yourself, not because you read it or hear it, but because you experience it, and there is nothing more powerful than that, because 2500 year ago, one special individual, through his one efforts and sacrifices, realized the true nature of his mind and this world, and thanks to him, you and I, are having this conversation, this individual is who we call The Buddha.

The Enlightened One, The Awaken One said;

“He who sees Dhamma, Vakkali, sees me; he who sees me sees Dhamma. Truly seeing Dhamma, one sees me; seeing me one sees Dhamma” The Buddha.

If you place true efforts on your practice, someday the Eye of the Dhamma will awake on you, and you will see the True Buddha you have been anxiously looking for, don’t stop, hurry, there is no time to waste; sit, cross your legs, and place your right hand in top of your left hand palm, straighten your back and comfortably bring mindfulness in front of you (Be aware of the purpose of your meditation and fix your mind on the in and out of your breathing, at the tip of your nose, your stomach or anywhere on your body that suit better to yourself) and use the word Buddho with your in breath and your out breath. With this part of the practice, steady and permanent, at least once a day, and increase it until you may sit for one hour at the time, you will begin to purify your mind, and by voluntarily following the Five Precepts, you practice will grow stronger to the point that your faith and practice will bring real joy to your life and those around you, and without no doubt, you will become a better human being.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharma_(Buddhism)

It is my true wish that you find happiness and contentment and someday, you will be on the other side of the questions, and responding to others based in your own true experience of your Practice and the Dhamma.

Take Refuge in The Buddha, The Dhamma and the Sangha, which are all one inside of you.

Blessings for you and your practice

Sincerely,

Your brother in Dhamma
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby manas » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:41 pm

Greetings Silver,
It's been mentioned already that the Buddha Dhamma is for addressing stress, not the kinds of questions you asked in your post. But regarding the deep underlying order in Nature, and how beauty, for example, seems to correlate with phi, these are very interesting, and I do reflect on such things also.

Kind regards
Manas
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby alan » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:46 am

We regard balanced relationships as beautiful--the ratio itself contains no inherent truth.
Of course there is an underlying order in nature. Without it there would be chaos, and we would not be here to comment on it.
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby alan » Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:38 am

SS, all your assumptions are incorrect.
This does not make you a bad person, and I'm not trying to upset you. There is a lot of nonsense out there pretending to be Buddhist, and it isn't easy to determine what is real.
Keep in mind that the Dhamma goes against the grain--what might seem sensible at first glance is not always the best approach to understanding, and sometimes questions that seem logical are often artifacts of misunderstood ideas.
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby SarathW » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:19 am

Hi SS
This is how I understand it.

what makes the laws of the karmic wheel? This question is not relevant in attaining the final goal highest happiness (Nirvana)
eg: Avoid the pain cause by a falling stone

Why do they exist? It is just the cause and effect. There is no reason. If you throw a stone up in the air it will come down because of the gravity.

What is responsible for it? Cause - throwing the stone.

Our consciousness? Cetana (volition activities) - Wish to throw the stone.

Since when, and why? Again not relevant to final goal. Buddha’s am is not to make you a scientist.
Only thing you should know is, if you throw a stone up in the air, it will come down and hit your or someone else
:)
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby culaavuso » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:30 am

SarathW wrote:Buddha’s am is not to make you a scientist.


While the Buddha's aim is not to make you a scientist, the teaching of the Buddha has a lot in common with science. Science is an orderly investigation of experience looking for how cause and effect operates, and this is the basis of the teaching of the Buddha.

SN 12.20
SN 12.20: Paccaya Sutta wrote:Whether or not there is the arising of Tathagatas, this property stands — this regularity of the Dhamma, this orderliness of the Dhamma, this this/that conditionality.


AN 10.92
AN 10.92: Vera Sutta wrote:"And which is the noble method that he has rightly seen & rightly ferreted out through discernment?

"There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones notices: When this is, that is. From the arising of this comes the arising of that. When this isn't, that isn't. From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
...
"This is the noble method that he has rightly seen & rightly ferreted out through discernment.


This is the same way that science operates. The difference is that science focuses on cause and effect in the domain bringing about greater sensory pleasure and becoming of specific complex sensory experiences. The Dhamma focuses on bringing about the end of stress, of suffering, of unsatisfactoriness.

Science can answer questions about the laws of cause and effect: how does gravity work? Specifically, if an object with a certain mass is caused to have a certain velocity in a certain physical relation to other objects with certain masses, what will the effect be and how will the situation change over time? Yet science is unable to penetrate to the levels of understanding of saying "why is there natural law and order in the first place?". In the case of science and in the case of dhamma, the natural order of cause and effect is understood in order to bring about the results that each field seeks. The ultimate reason why natural order is the way it is can not be found through either method. This limitation of science is why Occam's Razor is useful and important.
Last edited by culaavuso on Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby alan » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:30 am

No.
Forget this idea of a Karmic wheel.
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby alan » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:16 am

Also, I have to say that science does not show us how gravity works, which, by the way, has nothing to do with cause and effect. No one knows how gravity works.
Buddha's teachings are not science, and should not be understood as such.
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby SarathW » Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:47 am

By the way Goenka said that Buddha' teaching as the "science of mind and matter"
Perhaps he must be correct.
If you can test some thing over and over again and produce similar results it comed down to a science.
It also appears to me that "Vipassana meditation" full fill all the requirements to identified as a science.
:shrug:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hz6VwkSJVY
:)
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby alan » Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:42 am

To qualify as a science, at the minimum Vipassana would need to be tested against a background of other behaviors in a blind study, and then the results would be examined by others who have done similar work.
Not saying it is bad--many have benefited. But it is not science. Goenka does no service to himself with these claims.
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby Vakresvara » Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:31 pm

Hello Forum

What is science? isn't science a tool for which a "Reality" or "True" may be confirmed or denied by an exhaustive process of establishing possibilities by:

1 - Observing a Phenomena
2 - Formulating an Hypothesis
3 - Exhaustive Testing through a Rigorous Process of such Hypothesis
4 - Prove or Conclusion of the Validation or Failure of the Tested Hypothesis, based on the output of data through the repeated results of the same test process.

I don't dare to call myself a Buddhist, because many of us failed and continuously to fail on using our own Lab (Our minds) to test the theories placed in this world by The Buddha. On my opinion, Dhamma, Buddhism, however you want to call it, it is the closer to science that I have ever get close to duplicate out of a Science Lab.

Everything that have been taught by the Buddha of which I have intended to experiment, I obtain the same results, once and once again, following the same process any Rigorous Science Methodology Requires.

1 - Suffering Exist
2 - The Causes of Suffering also Exist
3 - The End of Suffering Exist (Not there Yet, but I truly Hope one day get there)
4 - The Path to the End of Suffering also Exist ( Completely Realizable if you are Sincere with yourself)

I have absolute faith on the teachings of the Buddha, The Dhamma and The Sangha. All of them can be submitted to Science Methodologies, you just have to do it yourself.

"Warning, Results and Time for accomplishment may variate."

Humbly,

Vakresvara
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby suttametta » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:26 am

silver surfer wrote:Hi, just registered - this being my first thread i'd like to keep it as simple as possible.

I'm new to Buddhism, for like a month old. I'm getting an understanding that -all is mind-, and a human being has to "blow out" in order to liberate its own consciousness.

I've learned that the Buddha was sort of against all sorts of philosophies and ideas, because they might not be of truth (am i right on that?) and after one's enlightenment, they won't have the need to ask any more questions about the physical existence and/or concepts>human perceptions that are within the physical existence.

I understand this like, there is no more thinking after the nibbãna since ideas are no more needed - thus no more speculation about where it all began.

But mathematically speaking, 0+0 will always equal to another zero. I'm not so sure that someone as smart as Gautama didn't ever think about this. So, saying there is no ultimate entity - means we (our consciousness) are the ultimate (eternal) entities. What i don't understand is, why would we get our absolute-selves in this cyclical everchanging flux of illusions, if we have always been the absolute existence? I'd like to hear your opinions on this.

I'd also like to hear your opinions on the geometrical patterns in the physical existence. Phi (the golden ratio), the Fibonacci sequence (and the spiral), other mathematical systems that make the universe as it is, using particles/waves, et cetera. Are all these also products of our illusionary minds? How is that? Also, what do you think about the existence of the void, and how our consciousness became involved with it in the first place and what was the reason?

My final question is, what makes the laws of the karmic wheel? Why do they exist? What is responsible for it? Our consciousness? Since when, and why?

I'll appreciate if i can get a few detailed responses, from all of you and i'm really looking forward to read the "enlightened" ones - if there's any.

Thank you


The Buddha did not entertain metaphysical speculations. There is no "ultimate entity" because none can be found, period. This does not imply an eternal consciousness. There is no "absoluteness." "Ultimate reality" is understood to be the five aggregates. Nirvana is the cessation of these. Nirvana was not "there all along." It is not your "original mind," as many speculate through various reasonings. Nirvana arises due to the path. This is why it is called wisdom and not a soul.
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby Mkoll » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:04 am

suttametta wrote:Nirvana arises due to the path.

Just to make it clear, it's not a matter of cause-effect here like it may sound reading your words. The path doesn't "cause" Nibbana. Nibbana is unconditioned and permanent which means it doesn't arise or pass away. The path is fabricated and conditioned. There are suttas supporting my last two sentences but I'm too lazy to dig them out.

But this is semantics and maybe you already knew this but didn't make it clear in your wording. Or maybe you have another idea? I'd be interested to hear it.
Peace,
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Re: Please explain how there is no ultimate entity?

Postby suttametta » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:15 pm

Mkoll wrote:
suttametta wrote:Nirvana arises due to the path.

Just to make it clear, it's not a matter of cause-effect here like it may sound reading your words. The path doesn't "cause" Nibbana. Nibbana is unconditioned and permanent which means it doesn't arise or pass away. The path is fabricated and conditioned. There are suttas supporting my last two sentences but I'm too lazy to dig them out.

But this is semantics and maybe you already knew this but didn't make it clear in your wording. Or maybe you have another idea? I'd be interested to hear it.


Of course nibbana is unconditioned, but without the path, one will never realize it. So for practical purposes, nibbana arises (for the practitioner) from transcendent dependent arising as a fruit. -Upanisa Sutta. Buddha always describes the path practices in this way: as great benefit, great fruit for oneself and for the world.
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