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Materialism and Buddhism - Dhamma Wheel

Materialism and Buddhism

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Laurens
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Materialism and Buddhism

Postby Laurens » Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:25 pm

This topic is in response to several posts I have seen by the user 5heaps, who seems to condemn materialism. In his/her latest attack, it was claimed that materialism was 'stupid' and I would like to address this viewpoint, as well as explain how I feel that materialism does not conflict with Buddhism, at least not the majority of Buddhist philosophy.

Firstly a distinction should be made; I am not referring to materialism in the sense of a world view in which one wishes to accrue as many material possessions as possible, rather the philosophical view that there is nothing, or at least very unlikely to be anything existent beyond measurable material processes.

The first thing to say is that this view is by no means at conflict with reality, whether or not you agree with it is a different matter, however, everything that we can observe to exist, exists due to natural material processes. Even our thoughts are material, electronic impulses between various neurons in the brain. We have observed this, and we know that when certain areas of the brain are damaged or removed our thought processes can be affected. In light of this, it is not unreasonable, or stupid to assume that all existent things have a material cause.

One can still meditate and practice mindfulness if one holds a materialistic view. Indeed the materialistic view actually agrees with the doctrine of not self, this body, these thoughts etc, are made up of chemical processes that under examination do not construct a solid self. It does not conflict with emptiness, in fact it supports it - nothing has any real substance, its all atoms vibrating at different frequencies. All of the teachings about releasing one's self from greet hatred and delusion still stand.

The only conflict one might find is with the doctrine of rebirth - but even this could be attributed to an as yet undiscovered material process.

For some reason, 5heaps seems to think materialism is at complete odds with Buddhism, and I would state otherwise. Materialism is not stupid, in fact, in light of what we know about the universe, its quite an intelligible view to adhere to.

Laurens
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

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Goofaholix
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Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:45 pm

I think materialism is quite a reasonable viewpoint, it's a reasonable assumption, a reasonable starting point. It's certainly more reasonable than beliefism, and very compatible with a mindful enquiry into ones experience of reality.

However adhering to it dogmatically and to the exclusion of all other possibilities is where problems arise, as is the case with beliefism, just because we can explain all of our experience so far in terms of materialism does not mean that this will always be the case.

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Laurens
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Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby Laurens » Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:11 pm

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

5heaps
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Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am

Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby 5heaps » Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:11 pm

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

Moggalana
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Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby Moggalana » Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:41 pm

If you want to challenge your views on materialism, listen to this podcast: (direct link to audio .)
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.

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Laurens
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Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby Laurens » Sat Nov 13, 2010 11:30 pm

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

5heaps
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Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am

Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby 5heaps » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:14 am

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

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andre9999
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Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby andre9999 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:20 am


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Prasadachitta
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Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:35 am

Let me know if this is congruent with the general understanding.

Materialism reduces all cause and effect to the operations of something called "material".

Ok?

But if materialism is true what purpose does the designation "material" have? It would be a thing without context. Since there is nothing which is not material what need do we have for the word. All designations are useful only because they are not something else.


Hmmmm :thinking:

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Hanzze
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Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby Hanzze » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:04 am

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Laurens
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Location: Norfolk, England

Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby Laurens » Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:20 am

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

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Spiny O'Norman
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Location: Suffolk, England

Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:46 am


Sanghamitta
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Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:48 am

The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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kirk5a
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Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby kirk5a » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:36 pm

Awareness is not an objective phenomenon. Are Buddhist teachers who talk about awareness engaging in "spiritism in contrast to the Buddha Dhamma"?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

Sanghamitta
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Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:51 pm

No , because they do not posit an owner of that awareness. Awareness is an process that arises when the conditions for its arising are present. It needs no "mind" entity to account for it.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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kirk5a
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Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby kirk5a » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:30 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

Sanghamitta
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Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:57 pm

Perhaps Kirk5a you could cite Theravadin Buddhist sources that suggest that awareness arises independantly ?
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

5heaps
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am

Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby 5heaps » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:54 am

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

5heaps
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am

Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby 5heaps » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:08 am

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

5heaps
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am

Re: Materialism and Buddhism

Postby 5heaps » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:20 am

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."


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