Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Virgo » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:11 am

tiltbillings wrote:Since human being are not inert objects, it can exert some force in the situation.


Yes, but that force is conditioned by past experiences and impressions.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:12 am

Alex123 wrote:
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.
Trillions? Multiple conditions, sure, which is what gives us the place of choice.


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?
I have already answered this, more than once.
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 3:13 am

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Since human being are not inert objects, it can exert some force in the situation.


Yes, but that force is conditioned by past experiences and impressions.
So?
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 Alex123 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:17 am

tiltbillings wrote:The object, however, has some say in how it being pushed, assuming the object is a human being.
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.
Dominoes I don't give a damn about, but human beings are significantly different from dominoes.


A human being is a label put onto 5 aggregates. There is no human being apart from aggregates, right? Then what aggregate is there other than the 5 aggregates?

If the aggregates are fully conditioned, then that which we call "human being" is fully conditioned process of 5 aggregates.

Aggregates arise, alter, and cease due to many causes. They are anatta and cannot be controlled "Let my aggregate be thus, let my aggregate be not thus" like it is said in Anattalakkhana sutta SN 22.59 .

Choice, even a little choice (to influence future development of aggregates) is fully conditioned and belongs to the aggregates. So what other than conditioned process (that occurs due to causes and conditions) can alter the conditioned process which itself happens due to causes and conditions?
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Virgo » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:21 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Since human being are not inert objects, it can exert some force in the situation.


Yes, but that force is conditioned by past experiences and impressions.
So?

So, as I've been saying, you have choice, but it is conditioned by what data you are working with and have been submitted to.
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:21 am

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The object, however, has some say in how it being pushed, assuming the object is a human being.
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.
Dominoes I don't give a damn about, but human beings are significantly different from dominoes.


A human being is a label put onto 5 aggregates. There is no human being apart from aggregates, right? Then what aggregate is there other than the 5 aggregates?
And 5 aggregates is a way of talking about a complex mind/body process called a human being.

If the aggregates are fully conditioned, then that which we call "human being" is fully conditioned process of 5 aggregates.
Yes, and within that complex is, interestingly, choice, as the Buddha teachings clearly indicate.

Aggregates arise, alter, and cease due to many causes. They are anatta and cannot be controlled "Let my aggregate be thus, let my aggregate be not thus" like it is said in Anattalakkhana sutta SN 22.59 .

Choice, even a little choice (to influence future development of aggregates) is fully conditioned and belongs to the aggregates. So what other than conditioned process (that occurs due to causes and conditions) can alter the conditioned process which itself happens due to causes and conditions?
Don't need anything else. Why would you think we do?
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 tiltbillings » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:23 am

Virgo wrote:So, as I've been saying, you have choice, but it is conditioned by what data you are working with and have been submitted to.
Yes, indeedy, and it is within that matrix that options are available upon which to act.
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 3:26 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:So, as I've been saying, you have choice, but it is conditioned by what data you are working with and have been submitted to.
Yes, indeedy, and it is within that matrix that options are available upon which to act.

Yes, exactly.

Those option are not formed by us, nor do they arise out of the blue, etc., they are based on what experiences we have had before, things we have seen... conditioned.

Kevin
Last edited by Virgo on Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:27 am

tiltbillings wrote:And 5 aggregates is a way of talking about a complex mind/body process called a human being.


Human being is a mental designation of 5 aggregates.



tiltbillings wrote:Yes, and with that complex is, interestingly, choice, as the Buddha teachings clearly indicate.

Don't need anything else. Why would you think we do?



If 5 aggregates are all there is, and if they are anatta, then choice is anatta too.
What makes something anatta is dependence of conditions that results in anicca and dukkha.

Choice is conditioned by its conditions, and as such is not a phenomena in itself. The many forces acting on choice condition the kind of choice that will appear.


Without anything other than 5 aggregates, all is just a conditioned process of causes and effects. Causes dictate results, that is why they are called causes. Choice does not fall out of the blue sky.
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:35 am

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And 5 aggregates is a way of talking about a complex mind/body process called a human being.


Human being is a mental designation of 5 aggregates.
And the 5 aggregates is a designation set for the complex we call human being. Kind of amazing how that works.



tiltbillings wrote:Yes, and with that complex is, interestingly, choice, as the Buddha teachings clearly indicate.

Don't need anything else. Why would you think we do?



If 5 aggregates are all there is, and if they are anatta, then choice is anatta too.
What makes something anatta is dependence of conditions that results in anicca and dukkha.

Choice is conditioned by its conditions, and as such is not a phenomena in itself. The many forces acting on choice condition the kind of choice that will appear.
But choice is still choice between or among viable options. It is not dominoes falling, fortunately.


Without anything other than 5 aggregates, all is just a conditioned process of causes and effects. Causes dictate results, that is why they are called causes. Choice does not fall out of the blue sky.
Causes do not dictate results, they condition, influence results. Results, via choice, are not dominoes falling, fortunately.
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 clw_uk » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:13 pm

Is this still going on lol

Alex the problem is that your not very clear. You say there is intentional choice but then say all is determined
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 5:58 pm

clw_uk wrote:Is this still going on lol

Alex the problem is that your not very clear. You say there is intentional choice but then say all is determined


Lets drop "determined" and use the word "conditioned" instead.


This is what I understand. Intentional choice is. But it is fully conditioned and is not property of any one.


As I examine my own motives and intentions, there is realization that "Alex" has nothing to do with them. The books I have read, the experiences I had, the upbringing, media, other people, and internal considerations have conditioned the kind of intentions Alex has.

Even if we took identical twins at birth, and put them in different environment then their personality would be drastically different.

Child A placed in Zimbabwe or some oppressive fundamentalist country would grow up with different mental qualities than a twin (Child B) placed in affluent secular America. They would respond to the same event differently in accordance with their conditioning. If their position would be different, they would be conditioned to respond in a different way. Nurture and nature does affect the kind of intentional choices one would make.
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:02 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Causes do not dictate results, they condition, influence results. Results, via choice, are not dominoes falling, fortunately.



So if causes do not dictate results and results are not dominoes falling due to their cause: than wisdom (cause) could be just as likely to produce Awakening (result) as ignorance could produce Awakening. One could equally become awakened by following the path or not-following the path. Fire could equally result in water, as water could result in fire. This is why I believe that strict-conditionality helps the Dhamma, rather than makes it irrelevant.

If things could occur randomly and without a cause, then it would not make sense to do anything because nothing would be a strict cause for its effect.

tiltbillings wrote:But choice is still choice between or among viable options


Lets say there are two options available ( A and B). Is the likelihood of choosing option A the same as option B?

If, in theory, one was omniscient, then could one predict that "such and such a person will always choose this option in this situation"?
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:37 pm

Lets drop "determined" and use the word "conditioned" instead.


Fine

This is what I understand. Intentional choice is. But it is fully conditioned and is not property of any one.


So there is a choice then yes? Choice is conditioned but if it is fully, 100% conditioned one way then this is determinism since the action it takes is already determined by the conditioning

As I examine my own motives and intentions, there is realization that "Alex" has nothing to do with them. The books I have read, the experiences I had, the upbringing, media, other people, and internal considerations have conditioned the kind of intentions Alex has.


A permanent "Alex" does not. I agree and so does everyone else here

Like I said before, there is conditioning but one can choose to go against it.


Even if we took identical twins at birth, and put them in different environment then their personality would be drastically different.

Child A placed in Zimbabwe or some oppressive fundamentalist country would grow up with different mental qualities than a twin (Child B) placed in affluent secular America. They would respond to the same event differently in accordance with their conditioning. If their position would be different, they would be conditioned to respond in a different way. Nurture and nature does affect the kind of intentional choices one would make.


I dont think anyone is arguing different. What they are saying is that the notion that conditioning 100% dicates an action and cant be changed is a notion the Buddha did not teach
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:13 pm

Hi Craig,
clw_uk wrote:So there is a choice then yes? Choice is conditioned but if it is fully, 100% conditioned one way then this is determinism since the action it takes is already determined by the conditioning

Yes, this determinism, and what it actually means in practice, is a rather difficult and subtle point that is discussed in the references I gave here:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=6322&start=280#p101086

I doubt that anyone is arguing that phenomena arise randomly. That would certainly defeat the law of kamma, and so on.

However, as the article I referenced (and his references) argues, determinism is not the same a fatalism. It seems common to mix them up. I'm not going to attempt summarise the whole argument, but I'll repeat that my key objection to Alex's line of reasoning (from determinism) is that idea that the khandas are powerless (dust in the wind) rather than active agents (like the battle robots I referred to in the above post).

But, to repeat, I think this is an extremely difficult and subtle point. At least it is for me...

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

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:18 pm

Hello Tilt, Clw, Mike, Retro, Geoff, Individual,

If omniscience is possible then it denies things happening in any other way but what was omnisciently seen. So no alternative choices could occur in the future to falsify the prediction. If one can accurately predict the future, (ex: what will happen at 10:59 EST on Nov 25, 2011 AD, or even the next hour, minute or second) then it means that that future will happen only in that single way. This means that the future will happen in only one way, which is why it can be accurately predicted.

Was Buddha omniscient?


In Ptsm of Sutta-Pitaka there is whole chapter on that
598. What is the Perfect One's omniscient knowledge?
599. It knows without exception all that is formed and unformed, thus it is omniscient knowledge: it is without obstruction there, thus it is unobstructed
knowledge.

All that is past it knows, thus it is omniscient knowledge: it is without obstruction there, thus it is unobstructed knowledge.
All that is future it knows,...


607. Here in this world is naught unseen by him,
Naught uncognized, and naught unknowable;
He has experienced all that can be known:
Therefore the Perfect One is called All-seer

CHAPTER LXXII. -LXXIII. - OMNISCIENT AND UNOBSTRUCTED KNOWLEDGE


Since Buddha could know the future through his omniscient knowledge (All that is future it knows...), it means that only that kind of future would ever occur, which is why it is predictable like sunrise or sunset.

So whatever is going to happen, will happen. This makes knowledge of the future possible.


With metta,

Alex
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:37 pm

The Buddha was not all knowing. He just knew the nature of things, i.e. three marks etc


If the Buddha was all knowing then why would he teach a mediation subject to a group of monks that lead to their suicide?


Then the Blessed One, emerging from his seclusion after half a month's time, said to Ven. Ananda, "Ananda, why does the community of monks seem so depleted?"

"Because, lord, the Blessed One, with many lines of reasoning, gave the monks a talk on the unattractiveness [of the body], spoke in praise of [the perception of] unattractiveness, spoke in praise of the development of [the perception of] unattractiveness. The monks — [thinking,] 'The Blessed One, with many lines of reasoning, has given a talk on the unattractiveness [of the body], has spoken in praise of [the perception of] unattractiveness, has spoken in praise of the development of [the perception of] unattractiveness' — remained committed to the development of [the perception of] unattractiveness in many modes & manners. They — ashamed, repelled, & disgusted with this body — sought for an assassin. In one day, ten monks took the knife. In one day, twenty monks took the knife. In one day, thirty monks took the knife. It would be good, lord, if the Blessed One would explain another method so that this community of monks might be established in gnosis."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:03 pm

clw_uk wrote:The Buddha was not all knowing. He just knew the nature of things, i.e. three marks etc
If the Buddha was all knowing then why would he teach a mediation subject to a group of monks that lead to their suicide?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



As I understand Buddha's omniscience (according to suttas), is that it was not real-time and ever present. He could know something when he deliberately adverted to that. Real time knowing the future, or when deliberately adverted to, doesn't alter my point. Even if the future (or some event in the future) is accurately known just once, it means that it will occur only in that way, which is why it can be known.

If He knew the nature of things, then He could know the way it would develop. For my argument even the certain knowledge of what will happen next hour or even next minute would mean that things would occur only in that single way.
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:52 pm

If He knew the nature of things, then He could know the way it would develop. For my argument even the certain knowledge of what will happen next hour or even next minute would mean that things would occur only in that single way.



Knowing the nature of dhammas doesnt mean your know everything about the dhamma


One can know that a spoon is anicca, dukkha and anatta without knowing anything about atomic theory
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:03 pm

Hi clw_uk,
clw_uk wrote:
Alex wrote:If He knew the nature of things, then He could know the way it would develop. For my argument even the certain knowledge of what will happen next hour or even next minute would mean that things would occur only in that single way.


Knowing the nature of dhammas doesnt mean your know everything about the dhamma

One can know that a spoon is anicca, dukkha and anatta without knowing anything about atomic theory



How do you explain this line:

"All that is future it knows,..." - Ptsm Chapter LXXII. -LXXIII. - Omniscient and Unobstructed Knowledge.

BTW, this omniscience is for Buddha only ("598. What is the Perfect One's omniscient knowledge"), it is not knowledge shared by disciples. Are you saying that only Buddha knows that phenomena in the future are anicca, dukkha, anatta? Of course not, even stream-enterer knows that. So this knowledge is of something else.


Can the Buddha accurately predict that "this person in such and such a situation will behave in this way only"? If He can, than it means that the future for that person is set, it is predictable, it is not random, it happens only in one way. If Buddha cannot, then about what omniscience Ptsm LXXII. -LXXIII is talking about?


With metta,

Alex
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