Buddhist response to Western ontology

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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:34 am

Greetings Contemplans,

retrofuturist wrote:A Buddhist response to Western ontology...SN 12.15: Kaccayanagotta Sutta

contemplans wrote:However one wants to direct their perception, the question is still out there.

Only to those subject to what is called in Pali, papañca (or in English, "conceptual proliferation")... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conceptual_proliferation

Concepts derived from this process of conceptual proliferation are referred to in Pali as papañca-saññā-sankhā and this is all I see expressed in your ontological argumentation.

To experience the cessation of papañca on the other hand is nipapañca, which is a synonym for nibbana.

Thus, your papañca and papañca-saññā-sankhā are not appealing propositions for those in search of nipapañca.

Metta,
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby Kenshou » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:51 am

But existence is something which is currently not explained through logic by any other system. Aristotle is unique in this manner.
You don't seem to get that just having an explanation is worthless if it can't be demonstrated to have any reality to it.

The fact is that Buddhism take a lot for granted as working assumptions. One big one is that happiness is good and samsara/dukkha is bad. He never explains why.
It seems like you are trying to pull this into the realm of absolute value judgements, but that's beside the point. It's quite possible to decide "I don't like dukkha" without implicitly or intentionally subscribing to any philosophical doctrine.

For those that decide they don't like it, there's a method available. If philosophically justifying it one way or the other is more important, then okie dokie, but that is a separate path. You can go dream up explanations for Why, or you can learn to sit down and be content.
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:07 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Contemplans,

retrofuturist wrote:A Buddhist response to Western ontology...SN 12.15: Kaccayanagotta Sutta

contemplans wrote:However one wants to direct their perception, the question is still out there.

Only to those subject to what is called in Pali, papañca (or in English, "conceptual proliferation")... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conceptual_proliferation

Concepts derived from this process of conceptual proliferation are referred to in Pali as papañca-saññā-sankhā and this is all I see expressed in your ontological argumentation.

To experience the cessation of papañca on the other hand is nipapañca, which is a synonym for nibbana.

Thus, your papañca and papañca-saññā-sankhā are not appealing propositions for those in search of nipapañca.

Metta,
Retro. :)


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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:43 am

Thanks for the link AB!

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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby contemplans » Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:35 pm

tiltbillings wrote:I am addressing the direct implications of the ontological questions raised, which directly goes to the coherence of the ontological claims of a god's existence. As pointed out, you are simply trying to shift the goal posts, again. I can understand why you would not want to address the problem of suffering in the world created by your god, but it is part and parcel of the issue of the existence of such a thing.

The is very much to the point: Freser: "At least where the sheer existence of things is concerned, He and He alone is directly causing them at every instant."


There are living and non-living things. An example of living thing is human being. An example of a non-living thing is a spatula. A spatula is just a "thing". It has no process or operation. A living thing is something which has processes and operations. The processes are the moments of actualizing the potential in its organs. The operations are actions. One of those operations is will. When given multiple choices (objects), as every situation is, the person determines itself to the object which is deemed through reason to be the better of the choices. God at the moment of an evil act is giving life to the person doing the evil at that moment, acts at the moment as the object of desire (inclines it to good), and moves the will to its operation. God wills the will to will itself, i.e., the sheer existence of free will as a possibility. As to the actual willed action, that is where we choose to act. Feser's statement is that God lays the ground that make free will possible -- "sheer existence". As for evil, you treat it like a positive reality, instead of a negation. Evil is a negation. If it was a positive reality, then nobody, not even the Buddha, could escape from it. The fact that he attained Nibbana shows that evil is a result of imperfection, not an embracing on an evil nature. So where did he start then? With our actions. If an evil doer is determined, then the Buddha's path is a waste. If an evil doer has free choice, then evil is not inherent, but a negation of good. If good is not inherent, then Nibbana is impossible. The act of God lays the groundwork for free action. he doesn't do the actions, but provides the conditions of existence for the action to take place. If you admit that they are determined, then you must also admit that Buddhism is a waste of time. So as you can see the implications of your line of reasoning are against both the theory of hylomorphism and Buddhism.




retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Contemplans,

retrofuturist wrote:A Buddhist response to Western ontology...SN 12.15: Kaccayanagotta Sutta

contemplans wrote:However one wants to direct their perception, the question is still out there.

Only to those subject to what is called in Pali, papañca (or in English, "conceptual proliferation")... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conceptual_proliferation

Concepts derived from this process of conceptual proliferation are referred to in Pali as papañca-saññā-sankhā and this is all I see expressed in your ontological argumentation.

To experience the cessation of papañca on the other hand is nipapañca, which is a synonym for nibbana.

Thus, your papañca and papañca-saññā-sankhā are not appealing propositions for those in search of nipapañca.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Yes. But the Buddha's path itself is said to be subtle and deep, hard for the average person to understand. The line of reasoning given follows a similar line of complexity as dependent co-arising and similar, but leads to a unity (pure actuality). Pure actuality as a concept of understanding is compltely free of papanca. There is no compostion, change, or inconstancy. If we would in meditation run through the nidanas over countless lives, how is that incredibly different than running through the process of actualzing potencies, and then seeing through that the necessaity of pure actuality. Both are deep and subtle.




Kenshou wrote:You don't seem to get that just having an explanation is worthless if it can't be demonstrated to have any reality to it.


Reality is the demonstration. I am only pointing to existence. It is all there. The reasoning is all there right in front of our eyes. This reasoning is more demonstrable than reasoning that giving your mother flowers is a nice thing. You have to actually draw on mor assmptions to make tha decision. You think the flowers things is easier because you already implicitly accept the argument I am giving. I say implicit. Somehow you think kindness and love this is nice.


Kenshou wrote:It seems like you are trying to pull this into the realm of absolute value judgements, but that's beside the point. It's quite possible to decide "I don't like dukkha" without implicitly or intentionally subscribing to any philosophical doctrine.

For those that decide they don't like it, there's a method available. If philosophically justifying it one way or the other is more important, then okie dokie, but that is a separate path. You can go dream up explanations for Why, or you can learn to sit down and be content.


The Buddha said everybody doesn't like dukkha. He said that is universal. He said that all beings universally love themselves. he said all beings universally seek happines. He is the one presenting to you universal values. The reason they don't achieve it is through ignorance. He doesn't say you need to wake up and smell the coffee of reality. You can live in ignorance of the Four Noble Truths still. That doesn't change the truth of sukha/dukkha. Let's be clear. The Buddha didn't set down his flavor of the path. He said that all beings who come to awakening, come to it through his path (explicitly or implicitly). I.e., he is saying this is a universal path to happpiness. This is not a statement we like to face in our relativistic modern mindset. Univeral path to a universal goal. The question one asks then is, he never explains why any of this is universal. You have to admit that. You can live with that silently in your heart, and that may be fine. It's been fine for others I assume. But like I've said in other places, we are not in 500 BC India anymore. There are a lot of things that have happened since, human discoveries in knowledge, etc. So how does his universal discoveries fit in. Western ontology offers new data to the equation. Is the Buddhist reponse really, all gains in human knowledge since 500 BC India are irrelevant to the goal, particularly philosophical ones.
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby SDC » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:44 pm

contemplans wrote:He said that all beings who come to awakening, come to it through his path (explicitly or implicitly). I.e., he is saying this is a universal path to happpiness. This is not a statement we like to face in our relativistic modern mindset. Univeral path to a universal goal. The question one asks then is, he never explains why any of this is universal. You have to admit that. You can live with that silently in your heart, and that may be fine.


The Buddha never called it "his" path. He never claimed it as his creation. Let's please be clear on this. It was his only in the regard that he was responsible for rediscovering it and presenting it to the world. Many times in the suttas others referred to it as "his" dhamma, but not him.

It's a universal because we are all facing a universal problem - that this self was born, this self exists and the self at some point is going to die. This stated clearly in the first noble truth. Is there a reason that you don't think that to be clear explanation?

EDIT - My apologies ahead of time if I cannot respond frequently today.
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:23 pm

contemplans wrote:
Kenshou wrote:You don't seem to get that just having an explanation is worthless if it can't be demonstrated to have any reality to it.

Reality is the demonstration. I am only pointing to existence. It is all there. The reasoning is all there right in front of our eyes.


I'm afraid it's not, reality demonstrates reality only, there is nothing about reality that demonstrates some kind of being behind it orchestrating it all as far as I can tell. To say such a thing is pure presumption and does not address Kenshou's point.
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby contemplans » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:26 pm

SDC wrote:
contemplans wrote:He said that all beings who come to awakening, come to it through his path (explicitly or implicitly). I.e., he is saying this is a universal path to happpiness. This is not a statement we like to face in our relativistic modern mindset. Univeral path to a universal goal. The question one asks then is, he never explains why any of this is universal. You have to admit that. You can live with that silently in your heart, and that may be fine.


The Buddha never called it "his" path. He never claimed it as his creation. Let's please be clear on this. It was his only in the regard that he was responsible for rediscovering it and presenting it to the world. Many times in the suttas others referred to it as "his" dhamma, but not him.

It's a universal because we are all facing a universal problem - that this self was born, this self exists and the self at some point is going to die. This stated clearly in the first noble truth. Is there a reason that you don't think that to be clear explanation?

EDIT - My apologies ahead of time if I cannot respond frequently today.


You just restated what I said. Obviously if I meant that it was just "his", it couldn't be universal. And it is universal in the problem it is addressing, and universal in its solution. He doesn't say, this is the path that applies to only some being, and some beings have this problem, there are other paths for . All other problems fall under his path, i.e., dukkha is a root issue. And all solutions come under his solution, i.e., nibbana is a final solution to the problem. And mind you that the problem is not that you exist, it is that you haven't risen above that "wandering on" in which you currently exist.
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby contemplans » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:32 pm

Goofaholix wrote:I'm afraid it's not, reality demonstrates reality only, there is nothing about reality that demonstrates some kind of being behind it orchestrating it all as far as I can tell. To say such a thing is pure presumption and does not address Kenshou's point.


I am not saying it is "some kind of being", you are anthropomorphizing the concept. The concept is being-as-such. At our level we say, "What is it?" And we expect a subject and predicate sentence. At that level we are already dividing the unity of the object. We start from what we are, and reason to pure actuality. Pure actuality isn't like us, just bigger and better, but beyond our complete understanding. When I say it is reality where you'll find it, I am saying that whatever exists reflects in some way this "being". Reality isn't reflecting "some kind of being", but is reflecting "being".
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:47 pm

contemplans wrote:I am not saying it is "some kind of being", you are anthropomorphizing the concept. The concept is being-as-such. At our level we say, "What is it?" And we expect a subject and predicate sentence. At that level we are already dividing the unity of the object. We start from what we are, and reason to pure actuality. Pure actuality isn't like us, just bigger and better, but beyond our complete understanding. When I say it is reality where you'll find it, I am saying that whatever exists reflects in some way this "being". Reality isn't reflecting "some kind of being", but is reflecting "being".


So to summarise by your definition this actuality, this "being" that is reflected, doesn't necessarily create, just is and needs no proof of existence, isn't really a being behind it all and orchestrating it all.

Sounds like a very insipid definition of god, what's the point? what value does this concept add to your perception of reality? what benefit is there in arguing for it over 10+ pages of a Buddhist forum?

You may as well just call it Buddha nature, or krishna conciousness, or mother nature, or anything else for that matter.

Everybody here agrees that reality just is, your definition of god is that god just is, you aren't adding anything that wasn't already there, there is no value add that I can tell, so what is there to defend at such length?

When one waters things down one should be careful to not end up with just water.
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby contemplans » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:57 pm

Goofaholix wrote:So to summarise by your definition this actuality, this "being" that is reflected, doesn't necessarily create, just is and needs no proof of existence, isn't really a being behind it all and orchestrating it all.

Sounds like a very insipid definition of god, what's the point? what value does this concept add to your perception of reality? what benefit is there in arguing for it over 10+ pages of a Buddhist forum?

You may as well just call it Buddha nature, or krishna conciousness, or mother nature, or anything else for that matter.

Everybody here agrees that reality just is, your definition of god is that god just is, you aren't adding anything that wasn't already there, there is no value add that I can tell, so what is there to defend at such length?

When one waters things down one should be careful to not end up with just water.


I am saying this thread is about western ontology. So we are explaining why anything exists. The theory given reasons to "pure actuality". It doesn't go onto other debates about like creation, evil, free will, salvation, damnation, whatever. Those are the next debates. So at this level there is a lot with other concepts of God, like the Hindu beliefs. Those later debates would consist of, is this being one or many, and we part of it or separate, how do we come from it, or don't we, all that stuff. That is when the lines are drawn more clearly. Some points of creation were explained in the post I gave on page 5, but those we for the purpose of explaining that errors concerning pure actuality are that this pure actuality uses material to create, and then something pre-exists this creator. The context is that this concept is continually misunderstood by the atheist folks like Hitchins, et al. If the topic was wider, then the conversation would be wider. All these arguments attempt to prove is an explanation for existence. You want more than the context of the thread presented, and more than I am willing to give to take the thread way off track.
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby SDC » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:06 pm

contemplans wrote:And mind you that the problem is not that you exist


If this isn't the problem then I have no further reason for practicing. What makes you so confident in this declaration?
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby contemplans » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:11 pm

SDC wrote:
contemplans wrote:And mind you that the problem is not that you exist


If this isn't the problem then I have no further reason for practicing. What makes you so confident in this declaration?


Because the Buddha said that there is dukkha is life, not that life is dukkha. You're not trying to escape existence, you are escaping the round of suffering. As for what happens to you after you die, the Buddha didn't say anything except you won't be reborn. That statement does not equal an ontological statement about final nibbana. The "life is suffering" message is not what the Buddha was saying.
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:21 pm

contemplans wrote:
SDC wrote:
contemplans wrote:And mind you that the problem is not that you exist


If this isn't the problem then I have no further reason for practicing. What makes you so confident in this declaration?


Because the Buddha said that there is dukkha is life, not that life is dukkha. You're not trying to escape existence, you are escaping the round of suffering. As for what happens to you after you die, the Buddha didn't say anything except you won't be reborn. That statement does not equal an ontological statement about final nibbana. The "life is suffering" message is not what the Buddha was saying.
"Existence" is, for the Buddha is not matter of an ontology of being; is is a matter of becoming in which there is no self-identical self thing to be found. Damdifino what you mean by "existence."
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:34 pm

contemplans wrote:I am saying this thread is about western ontology. So we are explaining why anything exists. The theory given reasons to "pure actuality". It doesn't go onto other debates about like creation, evil, free will, salvation, damnation, whatever. Those are the next debates.


What you are effectively saying is that "creation" is not a valid answer to explain why anything exists.

Ok fine we are in agreement here.

So Buddhist ontology would say something like "What is, just is, so get on with it".

Wheras as far as i can tell your view of western ontology is something like "What is, just is, so lets call it god or actuality".

I'm not sure this is a true reflection of the spectrum of western ontology, but we aren't that much different as far as i can see other than your use of language to reify concepts.
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"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
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby SDC » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:48 pm

contemplans wrote:
SDC wrote:
contemplans wrote:And mind you that the problem is not that you exist


If this isn't the problem then I have no further reason for practicing. What makes you so confident in this declaration?


The "life is suffering" message is not what the Buddha was saying.


I guess we have to come to understand things differently.
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby Kenshou » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:16 pm

This reasoning is more demonstrable than reasoning that giving your mother flowers is a nice thing. You have to actually draw on mor assmptions to make tha decision. You think the flowers things is easier because you already implicitly accept the argument I am giving. I say implicit. Somehow you think kindness and love this is nice.
I do not assume that anything is inherently "nice". I think that pleasure and pain and good and bad are issues that have no significance beyond the subjective. From a wider, impersonal perspective, they are meaningless. But I am not a creature of the impersonal. I am a subjectively driven thing, which I cannot help, so the objective significance of anything is irrelevant to me. But the problem of suffering is relevant.

The Buddha said everybody doesn't like dukkha. He said that is universal. He said that all beings universally love themselves... he never explains why any of this is universal. You have to admit that.
I'm not sure its ever really said that "this is universal" in the way that you want it to mean, but even so, no, he doesn't, but I don't feel particularly pressured to philosophically justify these statements because they have enough subjective common-sense truth to them that they are effective working assumptions.

I can't provide a logical proof that "everyone universally dislikes suffering", but I can take a look around me, and back on everything that I have experienced, and see that this has enough apparent truth that even if it can't be absolutely justified through reasoning, it is still evident enough that it is an effective pragmatic starting point. And what is practical and useful in the subjective is what is important to this Buddhist, which should be obvious enough by now.

we are not in 500 BC India anymore. There are a lot of things that have happened since, human discoveries in knowledge, etc. So how does his universal discoveries fit in.
Well since the purpose of the Buddhist endeavor is not really to lay down ontologies it kind of is irrelevant. You say "universal discoveries" as if you were trying to make out the Buddha as a fledgling ontologist, so that you might corral Buddhism into a pen it does not belong and so judge it by standards that are not particularly relevant to it, but this misses the point.

Which is, that entire path and the working assumptions it contains, is a construction put together for the purpose of facilitating the attainment of a particular psychological goal. What Thomas Aquinas and whoever else had to say about the metaphysics of reality is irrelevant to that particular project.
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:52 pm

contemplans wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I am addressing the direct implications of the ontological questions raised, which directly goes to the coherence of the ontological claims of a god's existence. As pointed out, you are simply trying to shift the goal posts, again. I can understand why you would not want to address the problem of suffering in the world created by your god, but it is part and parcel of the issue of the existence of such a thing.

The is very much to the point: Freser: "At least where the sheer existence of things is concerned, He and He alone is directly causing them at every instant."


There are living and non-living things. An example of living thing is human being. An example of a non-living thing is a spatula. A spatula is just a "thing". It has no process or operation.
And so is will a thing. There is nothing in Freser’s quote that limits what a thing is.

A living thing is something which has processes and operations. The processes are the moments of actualizing the potential in its organs. The operations are actions. One of those operations is will. When given multiple choices (objects), as every situation is, the person determines itself to the object which is deemed through reason to be the better of the choices. God at the moment of an evil act is giving life to the person doing the evil at that moment, acts at the moment as the object of desire (inclines it to good), and moves the will to its operation. God wills the will to will itself, i.e., the sheer existence of free will as a possibility.
Yes, even though this god knows that what is being willed will cause great suffering, but you have not shown any free will, because we cannot will other than how the supposedly omniscient, omnipotent god knows how we are going to will, even before the supposed act of free will comes into being. We cannot act other than how the god knows we are going to act, and all of that is the god’s creation

God wills the will to will itself,
There it is, the god’s responsibility for what is being willed. Add to that what we will cannot be outside the god’s knowledge, cannot be outside what the god’s knows is going to happen because it all is the god’s creation.

As to the actual willed action, that is where we choose to act. Feser's statement is that God lays the ground that make free will possible -- "sheer existence".
Which the god created, along with the will to act, but by what you say there is no will to act without god’s willing us to act. The god willed Hitler to act, knowing fully and completely how Hitler would act and knowing fully and completely what the consequences would be. Simply, the god by withholding its will, no Shoah. Also, how Hitler would act is totally dependent on how the god set up its creation, knowing even before an atom of it was in place how it would unfold.

In a court of law this god would be held fully liable for the consequences of this action.

As for evil, you treat it like a positive reality, instead of a negation. Evil is a negation.
Pain and suffering are not negations any more than happiness and pleasure are negations.

If it was a positive reality, then nobody, not even the Buddha, could escape from it.
As has been pointed out to you via textual evidence, the Buddha was able to attain awakening because there is no unchanging eternal existent self that we truly are.

So where did he start then? With our actions. If an evil doer is determined, then the Buddha's path is a waste.
Fortunately that is not a problem in the Buddha’s universe, but it is the fatal flaw in the theistic universe you describe.

If an evil doer has free choice, then evil is not inherent, but a negation of good. If good is not inherent, then Nibbana is impossible.
And what Buddhist text says that?

The act of God lays the groundwork for free action. he doesn't do the actions, but provides the conditions of existence for the action to take place.
Exactly, knowing full well what the action and its consequences will be, and knowing that the action and the consequences are all a result of its very creative act and exist because, by your own admission, it is what the god directly, purposely wills.

If you admit that they are determined, then you must also admit that Buddhism is a waste of time.
In the theistic universe you are positing, it is a total waste of time, but fortunately that does not seem to be the universe we live in.

So as you can see the implications of your line of reasoning are against both the theory of hylomorphism and Buddhism.
You have yet to show that hylomorphism has any empirical, functional basis, and it certainly has not a thing to do with what the Buddha taught, so this comment of your carries no weight.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby contemplans » Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:17 pm

Goofaholix wrote:What you are effectively saying is that "creation" is not a valid answer to explain why anything exists.

Ok fine we are in agreement here.


I am saying that we start with the assumption that we exist, reason to pure actuality, and then reason from there the relation we have to that. If we started with creation, we've already assumed that the creator has an explanation.

Goofaholix wrote:So Buddhist ontology would say something like "What is, just is, so get on with it".

Wheras as far as i can tell your view of western ontology is something like "What is, just is, so lets call it god or actuality".


Here I am saying "pure being" just is. Not everything that exists "just is". Why would I need to eat food if I just existed? My eating of food is an act based out of wanting something I did not have. We see through experience that there is existence, but there is also a lack in our experience. Why would anyone change if there was no lack? Aristotle labeled the process of things, qualities etc. which actually exist "actualities", and those things which were potenital, or latent, "potentiality". A common one was that cold water has the potential to be hot water, and vice versa. From this he discerned that nothing within the system explains why anything in the system exists. From that he reasoned that "pure actuality" is necessary for there to be an "incomplete" actuality at any time. It literally is necessary at every moment, or things instantaneously would cease to exist. We exist, but our being is incomplete. Through this lack we are continually replacing our existence, through food, procreation, etc. We have to multiply to continue. Even if we take rebirth as a truth, a being at the end of life would continue beyond death because of a desire to fill a lack. We are constantly "feeding". This is where Aristotle is coming from.

As a side note, Aristotle was searching for a refutation of Parmenides' teachings when he came upon hylomorphism. Parmenides taught that there was no change, all was one being, and that one being is eternal. All the stuff we experience is illusion. Sort of what the Buddha was facing with Hinduism at that time.


Kenshou wrote:I do not assume that anything is inherently "nice". I think that pleasure and pain and good and bad are issues that have no significance beyond the subjective. From a wider, impersonal perspective, they are meaningless. But I am not a creature of the impersonal. I am a subjectively driven thing, which I cannot help, so the objective significance of anything is irrelevant to me. But the problem of suffering is relevant.


If nothing has objective significance, then how could the Buddha teach universal principles? Do you disagree with the Buddha? When he laid down the precept not to kill, was that only applicable to you, or to everyone? Even if you say, he said it applies if you want to attain nibbana, did he ever teach not killing as anything less than a universal moral principle?

Kenshou wrote:I'm not sure its ever really said that "this is universal" in the way that you want it to mean, but even so, no, he doesn't, but I don't feel particularly pressured to philosophically justify these statements because they have enough subjective common-sense truth to them that they are effective working assumptions.

I can't provide a logical proof that "everyone universally dislikes suffering", but I can take a look around me, and back on everything that I have experienced, and see that this has enough apparent truth that even if it can't be absolutely justified through reasoning, it is still evident enough that it is an effective pragmatic starting point. And what is practical and useful in the subjective is what is important to this Buddhist, which should be obvious enough by now.


Yes, but the topic is not what is practical and useful for me and you, it is the response Buddhism has to western ontology. Pragmatism is a useful spiritual tool, but it does nothing to explain anything outside your head. Buddhists felt this in the past when they entered into logical discussions with their neighbors. That can be considered a misstep from a Buddhist perspective. To be quite straightforward, the pragmatic working assumption strategy is effective with a small minority of people, no matter what teaching or religion. On a long spiritual path, many people jump ship before getting to port. I say this in reference to all serious spiritual paths which are long-term, and take effort.
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Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:19 pm

contemplans wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:What you are effectively saying is that "creation" is not a valid answer to explain why anything exists.

Ok fine we are in agreement here.


I am saying that we start with the assumption that we exist, reason to pure actuality, and then reason from there the relation we have to that.
But there is absolutely no reason why reason must take us in the direction of "pure actuality."
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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