Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:53 am

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: Which means, according to hard determinism stance, there is no choice. No choice, no kamma, no moral responsibility.


There is choice, kamma, and moral responsibility. The way in which they operate is what I disagree with.
The problem is the way you say they operate; there is no choice, which means no kamma or moral responsibility.

tiltbillings wrote:
The point is, if there is choice, at the moment of choosing the conditions do not determine the outcome in a dead mechanical causality of a leaf being blown about the ground by the wind as you advocate.


So the choice is indeterminate, since there are no conditions that determine it. Right?
As I have already said - repeatedly -, the determining factor/condition is that of the act of choosing. You really do not read what I write.

Following that line of logic, things can appear out of nowhere, randomly, not due to any cause. Even in this case there is no free will. Stuff just happens due to no-cause.
Wrong, as usual.

tiltbillings wrote:What I have said is that at time of choosing, if there is choice, that must mean that there that the conditions in play are such that a number of conditioned options are viably possible to be chosen.


Those condition condition the choice. The conditions condition the viable options. The choice happens in the only way that it ever possibly could occur given its conditions (such as Paññā and Avijjā, and other conditions).
Sure. At the moment of choosing this could be chosen or that could be chosen. Each are viably possible at that moment. Conditioning may influence a predeliction in one direction, but that via other conditiuoning can be resisted and another option chosen. Conditioning does not dictate what will happen next. If is was a dictation, it would not be a choice.

I have no idea hat you mean by choice or options other than for you choice is naught more than domino C falling because it was hit by domino B. We are not dominoes, we are not a dead mechanical causilty of a leaf blown about the ground by the winds.
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: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:58 am

Greetings Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alex,

Alex wrote:I do talk about important of morals and Paññā.

... but as Tilt has pointed out previously, you deny the underlying principle of morality, by denying the possibility of volitional action which could go either way in terms of being skilful or unskilful, moral or immoral... depending upon the action chosen.


But when faced with either choice A or choice B, why was one choice chosen over another? What was the reason?

There were more kusala or akusala qualities at that time. There was more Paññā or Avijjā. There was present or absent fear of wrongdoing. Etc.


retrofuturist wrote:To you it is 100% pre-determined, leaving no scope for moral input.


Moral qualities present in the mindstream to affect the choices made.


retrofuturist wrote: Ball of string.



In Makkhali Gosala's heretical view, awakening would occur no matter what (Paññā or Avijjā), just through wondering on.

Here what MG said.
"Having transmigrated and wandered on through these, the wise and the foolish alike will put an end to pain."





retrofuturist wrote:Cue the dinosaur who cannot make a moral decision not to squash the house, because it was pre-determined by previous causes that he would do so.
Metta,
Retro. :)


So? Dinasaurs and animals do not have Paññā and enough kusala qualities to be able to do intentional and highly moral choice.


With metta,

Alex
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Virgo » Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:58 am

tiltbillings wrote:I have no idea hat you mean by choice or options other than for you choice is naught more than domino C falling because it was hit by domino B. We are not dominoes, we are not a dead mechanical causilty of a leaf blown about the ground by the winds.

Actually we are. The thing is that because of our self-view and delusion we have a sense of self and self respect, the wish to achieve, to be the best we can be, and so forth, so we feel we must make the "right" choice, the "best" choice, and if we think that best choice is following the Buddhist path well because we know that things like sila and discernment cause the wisdom that sees things clearly arises, we set forth to make that "best" choice. It is all a matter of conditions. On days when we are lazy, we are overcome by unwholesome emotions and cetasikas, they get the best of us, and we "make choices" that we know are not the best ones.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:03 am

Hi Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:The problem is the way you say they operate; there is no choice, which means no kamma or moral responsibility.


There is choice, kamma and moral responsibility. Just no agent to which they belong.


tiltbillings wrote:At the moment of choosing this could be chosen or that could be chosen.


But only one option was chosen. Why was this rather than that chosen? What was the reason for this vs that choice? What was the reason that set A of options rather than set B was considered?

Only the most viable option was chosen, and the choice was inevitable based upon its conditioning factors.


tiltbillings wrote:As I have already said - repeatedly -, the determining factor/condition is that of the act of choosing. You really do not read what I write.


And as AN6.63 states, contact is the cause for choosing (cetana). If you can't control phassa, than what makes you think you can control cetana?


With metta,

Alex
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:14 am

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I have no idea hat you mean by choice or options other than for you choice is naught more than domino C falling because it was hit by domino B. We are not dominoes, we are not a dead mechanical causilty of a leaf blown about the ground by the winds.

Actually we are.
No we are not, but now you have shown that you do not have a consistent, coherent point of view.

The thing is that because of our self-view and delusion we have a sense of self and self respect, the wish to achieve, to be the best we can be, and so forth, so we feel we must make the "right" choice, the "best" choice, and if we think that best choice is following the Buddhist path well because we know that things like sila and discernment cause the wisdom that sees things clearly arises, we set forth to make that "best" choice. It is all a matter of conditions. On days when we are lazy, we are overcome by unwholesome emotions and cetasikas, they get the best of us, and we "make choices" that we know are not the best ones.

Kevin

Image

We have a sense of self. That is not a delusion. What is a delusion is the assumption that the sense of self is other than it is. The Buddha quite clearly taught us how to use and tame the sense of self that we are going to be stuck with until we attain full awakening. And choice is not a delusion, though choice can be wrongly grasped.
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: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:20 am

Alex123 wrote:Hi Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:The problem is the way you say they operate; there is no choice, which means no kamma or moral responsibility.


There is choice, kamma and moral responsibility. Just no agent to which they belong.
No unchanging, permanent agent entity. Again, you have not shown there to be actual choice, which means no choice, no kamma, etc.


tiltbillings wrote:At the moment of choosing this could be chosen or that could be chosen.


But only one option was chosen. Why was this rather than that chosen? What was the reason for this vs that choice? What was the reason that set A of options rather than set B was considered?

Only the most viable option was chosen, and the choice was inevitable based upon its conditioning factors.
Well, duh, only one option chosen, but that not does mean that the other options could not have been chosen.


tiltbillings wrote:As I have already said - repeatedly -, the determining factor/condition is that of the act of choosing. You really do not read what I write.


And as AN6.63 states, contact is the cause for choosing (cetana). If you can't control phassa, than what makes you think you can control cetana?
From contact cetana arises, Cetana is part of what makes choice possible.
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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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Virgo » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:21 am

tiltbillings wrote:The Buddha quite clearly taught us how to use and tame the sense of self that we are going to be stuck with until we attain full awakening.

I agree completely and I agree that we should make the right choices, e.g. when we feel like masturbating to pornography we should not. We should not sit on our laurels but take action for our deliverance. That is not in question by me. What I am saying that even though we have these choices and even thought we should make them, they are just made by conditioned mentallity. You and I have conceit and fear and dread and pride. We don't want to go on in samsara because of aversion, we think we can attain if we try because of conceit (conceit cetasika is slighty different form how the word is frequently used in English) and so and and so forth. And because of that aversion, because of that conceit, because of many factors we _choose_ to do things like meditate, study, learn, etc. We choose to, but the choices are conditioned by these internal factors which arise.

All the best,

Kevin
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:29 am

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The Buddha quite clearly taught us how to use and tame the sense of self that we are going to be stuck with until we attain full awakening.

I agree completely and I agree that we should make the right choices, e.g. when we feel like masturbating to pornography we should not.
Gee, thanks for sharing that about you, but it is an image I'd rather not have.
We should not sit on our laurels but take action for our deliverance. That is not in question by me. What I am saying that even though we have these choices and even thought we should make them, they are just made by conditioned mentallity.
I have not said otherwise, but certainly we are not falling dominoes.
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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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Virgo » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:32 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The Buddha quite clearly taught us how to use and tame the sense of self that we are going to be stuck with until we attain full awakening.

I agree completely and I agree that we should make the right choices, e.g. when we feel like masturbating to pornography we should not.
Gee, thanks for sharing that about you, but it is an image I'd rather not have.
We should not sit on our laurels but take action for our deliverance. That is not in question by me. What I am saying that even though we have these choices and even thought we should make them, they are just made by conditioned mentallity.
I have not said otherwise, but certainly we are not falling dominoes.

Do you understand my point though?

We are faced with choices and we must make them (or at least should). If we throw caution to the wind and cry "everything is simply conditioned so there is no point trying to develop wisdom" we will never get anywhere. However, even the choices we make are conditioned by internal factors like pride and aversion and chanda and want and so forth. It's conditioned.
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:49 am

tiltbillings wrote:No unchanging, permanent agent entity. Again, you have not shown there to be actual choice, which means no choice, no kamma, etc.



If there is "No unchanging, permanent agent entity" then there are changing phenomena that are fully conditioned. Without a permanent agent standing above phenomena that it controls, mere phenomena roll on without anyone standing behind them. Choice as a fully conditioned phenomena is (according to Dhamma) but no one is choosing.


tiltbillings wrote:Well, duh, only one option chosen, but that not does mean that the other options could not have been chosen.


Why was one option chosen over the other? What was the reason, what was the motivation, what were the causes?

tiltbillings wrote:From contact cetana arises, Cetana is part of what makes choice possible.


Cetanā (and kamma) is dependent on contact - not choice.

"Intention (Cetanā), I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.
Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play.
From the cessation of contact is the cessation of kamma
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



With metta,

Alex
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:36 am

Virgo wrote:Do you understand my point though?
You agreed, seemingly with the dominoes things, so the question as what your point is, was not always clear.

We are faced with choices and we must make them (or at least should). If we throw caution to the wind and cry "everything is simply conditioned so there is no point trying to develop wisdom" we will never get anywhere. However, even the choices we make are conditioned by internal factors like pride and aversion and chanda and want and so forth. It's conditioned.
Concise and to the point. Even if the choices we make are conditioned in part by the negative things, which we cannot avoid, making the choices in terms of trying to follow the Dhamma is a good things, altering our conditioning for the better. Obviously we agree on this, unless there is more you are not saying.
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: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:42 am

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:No unchanging, permanent agent entity. Again, you have not shown there to be actual choice, which means no choice, no kamma, etc.



If there is "No unchanging, permanent agent entity" then there are changing phenomena that are fully conditioned. Without a permanent agent standing above phenomena that it controls, mere phenomena roll on without anyone standing behind them. Choice as a fully conditioned phenomena is (according to Dhamma) but no one is choosing.
Well, that is, of course, not the the whole story. As always, it depends, but choice, to be really choice, is more than what you have tried make it be.


tiltbillings wrote:Well, duh, only one option chosen, but that not does mean that the other options could not have been chosen.


Why was one option chosen over the other? What was the reason, what was the motivation, what were the causes?
You'd have to ask the person making the choice.

tiltbillings wrote:From contact cetana arises, Cetana is part of what makes choice possible.


Cetanā (and kamma) is dependent on contact - not choice.
It is part of makes up the choice. This has already been dealt with a number of times. Contact is the occasion for action. If there are viable options available the action becomes one of choice. Nothing here violates the Buddha's teachings; rather, what I said is quite consistent with the teachings and texts that Geoff and I have quoted.

"Intention (Cetanā), I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.
Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play.
From the cessation of contact is the cessation of kamma
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
That certainly does not present a problem.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Virgo » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:48 am

tiltbillings wrote:[Concise and to the point. Even if the choices we make are conditioned part by the negative things, which we cannot avoid, making the choices in terms of trying to follow the Dhamma is a good things, altering our conditioning for the better. Obviously we agree on this, unless there is more you are not saying.


No, I think we see eye to eye.

I think the factors that influence which choice is made are all conditioned, such as wisdom, chanda, aversion, and so on and so forth. Hearing the dhamma, reflecting on it, and so on and so forth can condition these things, in turn they condition action, whatever is strongest prevails. No excuse for resting on our laurels. With this, we know that we must act, when we know we must act, then there are conditions for deciding what to pursue. We decide what to pursue, but what we pursue and the very fact that we choose to pursue is conditioned. I know it is confusing, but samsara is confusing, I guess.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:53 am

Virgo wrote:, whatever is strongest prevails.
But maybe not, which is what makes choice truly choice.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:57 am

Alex wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Well, duh, only one option chosen, but that not does mean that the other options could not have been chosen.


Why was one option chosen over the other? What was the reason, what was the motivation, what were the causes?

tiltbillings wrote:You'd have to ask the person making the choice.


But the point is choice is always a response on how to deal with the situation that just has occurred. What has occured cannot be altered. It is past.
Different people have different tendencies, different moral qualities, etc, so their choice is conditioned by that.

Alex wrote:
Cetanā (and kamma) is dependent on contact - not choice.

tiltbillings wrote:It is part of makes up the choice.


Others parts are Anatta and fully conditioned as well.


When phassa and all other relevant phenomena to produce akusala cetanā arises, akusala cetanā arises, never kusala cetanā.
When phassa and all other relevant phenomena to produce kusala cetanā arises, kusala cetanā arises, never akusala cetanā.
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:01 am

Hi Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:, whatever is strongest prevails.
But maybe not, which is what makes choice truly choice.



Lets say there is a force pushing an object to the east and simultaneously there is force pushing that object to the west.

The strongest force will cause that object to move in the direction of strongest force.

I really hope that your are not proposing that the object can choose to go against force acting on it.

I really hope that you are not proposing that whenever there are all required causes for domino to fall, the domino can remain standing.

With metta,

Alex
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:02 am

Alex123 wrote:
Alex wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Well, duh, only one option chosen, but that not does mean that the other options could not have been chosen.


Why was one option chosen over the other? What was the reason, what was the motivation, what were the causes?

tiltbillings wrote:You'd have to ask the person making the choice.


But the point is choice is always a response on how to deal with the situation that just has occurred. What has occured cannot be altered. It is past.
Right, and choice in the present.
Different people have different tendencies, different moral qualities, etc, so their choice is conditioned by that.
Sure.

Alex wrote:
Cetanā (and kamma) is dependent on contact - not choice.

tiltbillings wrote:It is part of makes up the choice.


Others parts are Anatta and fully conditioned as well.
And still there is choice.


When phassa and all other relevant phenomena to produce akusala cetanā arises, akusala cetanā arises, never kusala cetanā.
When phassa and all other relevant phenomena to produce kusala cetanā arises, kusala cetanā arises, never akusala cetanā.
{{{Yawn}}} Already dealt with this somewhat over simplistic statement.
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: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Virgo » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:04 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:, whatever is strongest prevails.
But maybe not, which is what makes choice truly choice.

Here is a post I wrote earlier but deleted afterwards. I saved it because I thought I might post it later. I will now, because I think it will sum up my point.

Let me try to sum up my POV by saying this: without zeal to practice sila, samadhi, and, wisdom (which encompasses the eight-fold path according to the Buddha in one Sutta -- if I come across the reference I will post it later) we will not develop towards the Ariyan path. We must have zeal and we must choose to develop sila, samadhi, and so forth. However, that zeal itself is a conditioning factor in our choice to do so. Hearing the Dhamma is a conditioning factor. Reflecting on the drawbacks of samsara is a conditioning factor, and so on. Choices are conditioned. We have a degree of input, but that input appears in the guise of a seperate agent while it is not. Because of sublte cetasikas such as aversion, and many other ones, we reaffirm constantly developing our zeal again and again... all conditioned but taking the guise of a doer. No doer there.

The following line is from the above paragraph. I think it is the most important one. But it can only be understood within the context of everything I wrote above, I think.

"Because of sublte cetasikas such as aversion, and many other ones, we reaffirm constantly developing our zeal again and again... all conditioned but taking the guise of a doer" This leads to decisions.

Kevin
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:07 am

tiltbillings wrote: Right, and choice in the present.


But that doesn't alter the fact that it can have trillions of conditions (present and from far past) conditioning it.





tiltbillings wrote:
Alex wrote: When phassa and all other relevant phenomena to produce akusala cetanā arises, akusala cetanā arises, never kusala cetanā.
When phassa and all other relevant phenomena to produce kusala cetanā arises, kusala cetanā arises, never akusala cetanā.
{{{Yawn}}} Already dealt with this somewhat over simplistic statement.


So do you think that When phassa and all other relevant phenomena to produce akusala cetanā arises, kusala cetanā can arise?
Do you think that When phassa and all other relevant phenomena to produce kusala cetanā arises, akusala cetanā can arise?
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:09 am

Alex123 wrote:Hi Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:, whatever is strongest prevails.
But maybe not, which is what makes choice truly choice.



Lets say there is a force pushing an object to the east and simultaneously there is force pushing that object to the west.
The object, however, has some say in how it being pushed, assuming the object is a human being.

The strongest force will cause that object to move in the direction of strongest force.

I really hope that your are not proposing that the object can choose to go against force acting on it.
Since human being are not inert objects, it can exert some force in the situation. It may not be much, but it may be enough to change the course of one's life.

I really hope that you are not proposing that whenever there are all required causes for domino to fall, the domino can remain standing.
Dominoes I don't give a damn about, but human beings are significantly different from dominoes. Well, I am, but as for you, I can only shrug my shoulders.
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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