5heaps wrote:thereductor wrote:It occurred to me that certain ontological conclusions could be drawn from what the Buddha taught, but that by doing so we depart from the directly experiential.
can you give an example of what you had in mind
When I posted, I had the concept of non-duality in mind. But since I'm not familiar with all the details of that subject it wouldn't be fair for me to discuss it at length. Allow me to demonstrate my meaning in a different way.
Suppose a person were to read the suttas in a selective manor, attending only to those discourses that spoke of continued existence between lives. What would the likely conclusion be for that person? In all likelihood they would conclude that there is some essence/soul/self that links all these lives together. If they then sat down and meditated, looking for this essence, would they find it?
Suppose now that a person were to ignore all talk of continued existence, instead attending only to the talk of dependent arising, cessation and final extinction. What would the conclusion be for one that read in such a selective manor? It seems possible, to me, that they would come away with an annihilationist view. If they're a modern scientific sort then they may opine that mind is merely an emergent property and leave it at that. Would meditation further uproot such a view? Heck, would someone with such a view meditate?
If we grab hold of one ontological extreme or the other (eternalism or annihilationism) then we would be unlikely to practice the path to its culmination. Then why did he teach in a manor that creates this tension in views? I would contend that he left them side by side and unreconciled for the very reason that it doesn't matter which is true: only suffering and its end matter, regardless of the time scale involved. In that sense these teachings of his might be meant to confound both ontological positions altogether, as they are usually a distraction from the task he wanted us to undertake.
What do the other members think?