Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:02 am

kirk5a wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
kirk5a wrote:I asked about what the Buddha taught.



"When this is, that is. From the arising of this comes the arising of that. When this isn't, that isn't. From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that." - Ud 1.3
"the Tathagata understands as it actually is the results of actions undertaken, past, future and present, with possibilities and with causes." - MN12

According to Ptsm found in Sutta Pitaka, Buddha had omniscient knowledge.

So that's it then. That's the entirety of what you're hanging all this on. No "leaves in the wind" there. No unrolling balls of string, no balls subjected to various forces, marionettes, falling dominos, and I don't see anything that says "You can't alter the ride"
It is an ugly distortion of the Buddha's teachings that is being offered us here.
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 kirk5a » Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:23 am

tiltbillings wrote:It is an ugly distortion of the Buddha's teachings that ois being offered us here.

And dangerous. How would someone with tendencies to harm self or others in a variety of tempting but immoral ways take up the view "I can't alter the ride. I'm just a leaf in the wind. Everything that happens has to happen this way." ?

We can ask the former coke addict, I think he was pretty clear in what his response would have been to such a teaching. Bring on the nose candy then!

Never would I dare to interpret the Buddha's teachings in such a fashion. And here on the internet for the whole world to see, and take up those views if they find the arguments a convincing "right view" (!)

Our words have effects, our views have effects, the views we convince others of, have effects, are we ready to take responsibility for those effects in line with causality?
"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
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:28 am

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:It is an ugly distortion of the Buddha's teachings that ois being offered us here.

And dangerous. How would someone with tendencies to harm self or others in a variety of tempting but immoral ways take up the view "I can't alter the ride. I'm just a leaf in the wind. Everything that happens has to happen this way." ?

We can ask the former coke addict, I think he was pretty clear in what his response would have been to such a teaching. Bring on the nose candy then!

Never would I dare to interpret the Buddha's teachings in such a fashion. And here on the internet for the whole world to see, and take up those views if they find the arguments a convincing "right view" (!)

Our words have effects, our views have effects, the views we convince others of, have effects, are we ready to take responsibility for those effects in line with causality?
Basically, Alex is offering us the Dastardly Dinosaur The-Causes-Made-Me-Do-It approach to the Buddha's teachings.

Image
It is not what the Buddha taught.
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 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:42 am

tiltbillings wrote:Basically, Alex is offering us the Dastardly Dinosaur The-Causes-Made-Me-Do-It approach to the Buddha's teachings.

I don't think he is. I think he is offering us the we have choices idea, but that those choices are conditioned by our past experiences and accumulations, feelings based on those experiences and so forth, which are based themselves on more on past experiences and thought patterns and so on which are conditioned by other experiences and conditions, so that we make a choice but it is really just accumulated thoughts making the decision which are realistically all conditioned in and of themselves. This really doesn't deny choice in my eyes, it just means that all things, even choices, are conditioned by various, sometimes subtle factors, yet they are conditioned.

Perhaps I don't understand him clearly though.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:50 am

Virgo wrote:.

Perhaps I don't understand him clearly though.
That is accurate.
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 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:17 am

Alex123 wrote:
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.
Taking your falling dominoes position seriously, there is no following the path. It is being pushed relentlessly, without choice, in whatever direction by the dead mechanical causality that acts upon us. Speaking of following the path is meaningless.

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.
For you it is either an absolute dead mechanical causality or utter chaos. Fortunately such stark black and white thinking does not reflect human beings' reality.
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 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:19 am

mikenz66 wrote: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.
As would dominoes falling determinism.
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 kirk5a » Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:27 am

WHOOPS!

"the Tathagata understands as it actually is the results of actions undertaken, past, future and present, with possibilities and with causes." - MN12

What's this? Possibilities? Hasn't the Buddha been characterized by some here as speaking only of causes and effects, and not possibilities? Of certainties, not possibilities? What is the meaning of understanding the results of actions taken... with possibilities?
"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
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:03 am

kirk5a wrote:WHOOPS!

"the Tathagata understands as it actually is the results of actions undertaken, past, future and present, with possibilities and with causes." - MN12

What's this? Possibilities? Hasn't the Buddha been characterized by some here as speaking only of causes and effects, and not possibilities? Of certainties, not possibilities? What is the meaning of understanding the results of actions taken... with possibilities?
Both Vens Thanisaro and Bodhi use "possibilities" here (MN i 70).
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 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:14 am

Image
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 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:34 am

Image
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 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:51 am

And here we are following the Buddha's path according to Alex:



or there is this version

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 cooran » Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:23 am

Hello all,

Ven. Dhammanando has something to say in this thread:
The Buddha’s Omniscience
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=132&start=0

Other discussions on DhammaWheel:

Omniscience of the the Buddha
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=3005&p=43410
Omniscience
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1591&p=20881

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:26 am

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:It is an ugly distortion of the Buddha's teachings that ois being offered us here.

And dangerous. How would someone with tendencies to harm self or others in a variety of tempting but immoral ways take up the view "I can't alter the ride. I'm just a leaf in the wind. Everything that happens has to happen this way." ?

We can ask the former coke addict, I think he was pretty clear in what his response would have been to such a teaching. Bring on the nose candy then!

Never would I dare to interpret the Buddha's teachings in such a fashion. And here on the internet for the whole world to see, and take up those views if they find the arguments a convincing "right view" (!)

Our words have effects, our views have effects, the views we convince others of, have effects, are we ready to take responsibility for those effects in line with causality?

I agree entirely. And if we cross refer Alex views on this post with his long diatribe which appeared to be advocating or at least condoning suicide we have something which approaches the sinister, and which a major distortion of Buddhadhamma.......... seriously.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:07 am

Anyone interested in the nuances of the arguments for and against the compatibility of determinism and free will can study these various articles in the Stanford Encycolpedia of Philosophy:
http://plato.stanford.edu/search/search ... eterminism

A quick scan through those should be enough to convince anyone that most of the arguments presented on this thread are rather superficial, and have been discussed in the philosophy literature for centuries.

Like Sangamitta, I worry that Alex's obsessive attempts to interpret the Buddha's teachings through the lens of simplistic logic and philosophy is a seriously negative distortion of the Dhamma.

Perhaps the title of this thread is flawed. The key part of the Dhamma related to what we are discussing here has to do with kamma: actions have consequences; there is moral responsibility. That is a recurring theme in the Suttas. Since there is certainly not agreement in the philosophy literature that determinism is incompatible with free will and moral responsibility (with many, perhaps the majority, arguing the opposite) I see no reason for anyone to conclude that there is any reason to conclude that free will (in some not-self sense) or moral responsibility are incompatible with the Dhamma.

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

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:13 am

mikenz66 wrote: Since there is certainly not agreement in the philosophy literature that determinism is incompatible with free will and moral responsibility (with many, perhaps the majority, arguing the opposite) I see no reason for anyone to conclude that there is any reason to conclude that free will (in some not-self sense) or moral responsibility are incompatible with the Dhamma.


A fascinating debate though I admit some of the philosophical arguments go over my head. ;)
It seems to me that at a practical level our choices are conditioned but not predetermined. Also it occured to me that if we interpret dependent origination in a completely deterministic way then liberation from suffering would be impossible - feeling would always lead to craving and there would be no way out of the cycle.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:20 am

mikenz66 wrote:Anyone interested in the nuances of the arguments for and against the compatibility of determinism and free will can study these various articles in the Stanford Encycolpedia of Philosophy:
http://plato.stanford.edu/search/search ... eterminism

A quick scan through those should be enough to convince anyone that most of the arguments presented on this thread are rather superficial, and have been discussed in the philosophy literature for centuries.

Like Sangamitta, I worry that Alex's obsessive attempts to interpret the Buddha's teachings through the lens of simplistic logic and philosophy is a seriously negative distortion of the Dhamma.

Perhaps the title of this thread is flawed. The key part of the Dhamma related to what we are discussing here has to do with kamma: actions have consequences; there is moral responsibility. That is a recurring theme in the Suttas. Since there is certainly not agreement in the philosophy literature that determinism is incompatible with free will and moral responsibility (with many, perhaps the majority, arguing the opposite) I see no reason for anyone to conclude that there is any reason to conclude that free will (in some not-self sense) or moral responsibility are incompatible with the Dhamma.

:anjali:
Mike
Obviously the level of discussion is rather shallow in terms of philosophical discourse, but since the OP is mine I'll state quite frankly, having been there I no longer give a rat's tookus about those debates. They are out there for whomever wishes to study them and to take sides. For me the question is what the Buddha taught, not Plato or Dennett, and I am also not arguing that what the Buddha said is true or false. I am arguing for what it is he taught, and that certainly is not a choice that is no choice or that we are naught more than leaves blown by the winds, which leads to rather unfortunate conclusions.
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 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:21 am

Spiny O'Norman wrote: Also it occured to me that if we interpret dependent origination in a completely deterministic way then liberation from suffering would be impossible - feeling would always lead to craving and there would be no way out of the cycle.
Yes.
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 mikenz66 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:28 am

tiltbillings wrote:Obviously the level of discussion is rather shallow in terms of philosophical discourse, but since the OP is mine I'll state quite frankly, having been there I no longer give a rat's tookus about those debates. They are out there for whomever wishes to study them and to take sides. For me the question is what the Buddha taught, not Plato or Dennett, and I am also not arguing that what the Buddha said is true or false. I am arguing for what it is he taught, and that certainly is not a choice that is no choice or that we are naught more than leaves blown by the winds, which leads to rather unfortunate conclusions.

Yes, I agree, it should be about the Dhamma. My point is that the arguments that Alex has been making have been dealt with in detail by many philosophers and so there is no reason to accept his conclusions.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby tinhtan » Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:30 am

Hello all

just some popcorns for thoughts :popcorn:

nothing serious ,nor authentic , relax and enjoy :coffee:

____________________________

choice to teach or not to teach ?

The Buddha hesitated after he attained full Awakening.[1] He saw
that it would be difficult to those in the world who delighted in sensual
pleasures to attain the knowledge which meant the calming of all the
habitual tendencies, renouncing all attachment, the destruction of
craving, attaining dispassion, cessation, Nibbana. It would be wearying
and troublesome to teach what he had attained if others did not understand
him.

Brahma Sahampati was aware of what the Buddha was thinking.
According to the commentaries,[2] this Brahma had become a Non-Returner
under the Buddha Kassapa and was reborn in the Pure Abodes (Suddhavasa) of
the Brahma planes. Brahma Sahampati realized that the world could be lost
if the Buddha did not teach others the way to Nibbana. So he went to the
Buddha and requested that he teach. "There are those who have few
defilements," he said, "who are going to ruin through not hearing the
Doctrine (Dhamma). They will be the ones who fully understand the
Doctrine."

After being requested to teach three times, the Buddha, out of
compassion for the world, surveyed the world with the eye of an Awakened
One. He saw that there were all sorts of beings and that many of them
would not understand what he had to teach. There were a few, however, who
would be able to understand. Seeing this, the Buddha accepted the
invitation to teach.
http://www.skepticfiles.org/mys5/teaching.htm


____________________________________

another place, another enligtened being

According to the tradition, and a biography included in Sima Qian's work, Lao Tse was an older contemporary of Confucius and worked as an archivist in the Imperial Library of the Zhou Dynasty court. Confucius intentionally or accidentally met him in Zhou, near the location of modern Luoyang, where Confucius was going to browse the library scrolls. According to these stories, Confucius, over the following months, discussed ritual and propriety, cornerstones of Confucianism, with Lao Tse. The latter strongly opposed what he felt to be hollow practices. Taoist legend claims that these discussions proved more educational for Confucius than the contents of the libraries.
Afterwards, Lao Tse resigned from his post, perhaps because the authority of Zhou's court was diminishing. Some accounts claim he travelled west on his water buffalo through the state of Qin and from there disappeared into the vast desert. These accounts have a guard at the western-most gate convincing Lao Tse to write down his wisdom before heading out into the desert. Until this time, Lao Tse had shared his philosophy in spoken words only, as was also the case with Socrates, Jesus, the Buddha and Confucius (whose Analects were most likely compiled by disciples). Lao Tse's response to the soldier's request was the Tao Te Ching.


If one have seen the Tao Te Ching (Book of The Path and Virtue) under the light of the Buddha teachings, one will recognise many wisdom inside.
But choice of teaching made by Lao tze is different from the Buddha.

___________________________________


Narada Maha Thera wrote:According to Buddhism, there are five orders or processes (niyama) which operate in the physical and mental realms.
They are:

1. Utu Niyama - physical inorganic order, e.g. seasonal phenomena of winds and rains. The unerring order of seasons, characteristic seasonal changes and events, causes of winds and rains, nature of heat, etc., all belong to this group.


2. Bija Niyama - order of germs and seeds (physical organic order), e.g. rice produced from rice-seed, sugary taste from sugar-cane or honey, peculiar characteristics of certain fruits, etc. The scientific theory of cells and genes and the physical similarity of twins may be ascribed to this order.


3. Kamma Niyama - order of act and result, e.g., desirable and undesirable acts produce corresponding good and bad results. As surely as water seeks its own level so does kamma, given opportunity, produce its inevitable result, not in the form of a reward or punishment but as an innate sequence. This sequence of deed and effect is as natural and necessary as the way of the sun and the moon.

4. Dhamma Niyama - order of the norm, e.g., the natural phenomena occurring at the advent of a Bodhisattva in his last birth. Gravitation and other similar laws of nature. The natural reason for being good and so forth, may be included in this group.

5. Citta Niyama - order or mind or psychic law, e.g., processes of consciousness, arising and perishing of consciousness, constituents of consciousness, power of mind, etc., including also telepathy, telaesthesia, retro-cognition, premonition, clairvoyance, clairaudience, thought-reading and such other psychic phenomena which are inexplicable to modern science.

Every mental or physical phenomenon could be explained by these all-embracing five orders or processes which are laws in themselves. Kamma as such is only one of these five orders. Like all other natural laws they demand no lawgiver.

Of these five, the physical inorganic order and the order of the norm are more or less mechanistic, though they can be controlled to some extent by human ingenuity and the power of mind. For example, fire normally burns, and extreme cold freezes, but man has walked scatheless over fire and meditated naked on Himalayan snows; horticulturists have worked marvels with flowers and fruits; Yogis have performed levitation. Psychic law is equally mechanistic, but Buddhist training aims at control of mind, which is possible by right understanding and skilful volition. Kamma law operates quite automatically and, when the kamma is powerful, man cannot interfere with its inexorable result though he may desire to do so; but, here also, right understanding and skilful volition can accomplish much and mould the future. Good kamma, persisted in, can thwart the reaping of bad kamma, or as some Western scholars prefer to say 'action influence', is certainly an intricate law whose working is fully comprehended only by a Buddha. The Buddhist aims at the final destruction of all kamma.


Linear thinking can be usefull to explain something. But It can lead to a rigid view. And the rigid view lead to determinism, like this kind of rigid affirmation.
If there are causes for X to occur, X occurs, never Y.
If there are causes for Y to occur, Y occurs, never X.

Here the expression places on the result-end point of view. Then one can say woah these are causes (and I'm not sure that one can see all causes...).
The Kamma law does not affirm such a way, because Kamma is action at the beginning point.
Instead of cause/effect, the most appropriate image to express the Kamma law is stone-fruit / fruits. That means a stone-fruit (deed) may give n fruits where n is from 0 to many fruits. This is an opening view to possibilities : not deterministic thinking.

Linear thinking is very common, because it's easier to understand and to memorize. But it leads to completely an unbalanced state. You can see it in the advertisements about nutrients emphasizing on only ONE nutrient, one day it claims only Vitamin C, another day only Omega-3 , another day only Vitamin D, etc.. This is a MONO cultural thinking.
But real life is multi-dimensionnal, so learn to think GLOBAL., to see the whole picture, all the environment around in real life that is "conditionned", "influenced" by the above 5 elements. And citta niyama is "you", is dependently on "you".

Long ago, I wondered when does a being realize that he is in a wrong way ? all conditions around him seems to contribute to put him deepenly in "hell", but "suddenly" , he sees the other side. Why ? because, when after satisfying sensual desires, he will be in a calm,quiet state , then suddenly he may be in an un-conditionned state and sees the real nature of things : impurity of the body, impermanence. Then a choice will arise. Even this moment is very short but it will mark him.


The Buddha taught about Dependent Originations and Conditions.
So when one just answer : ... conditionned ..... conditionned .... conditionned .... , one have great probability to be in line with the teachings.
But when asked more details, it reveals a rigid, deterministic view.

Yes the Buddha taugh Dependent Origination, but in the samsara order due to conditionned things and in the unbinding order due to Un-conditionned things.

The main purpose of the DO is to point out the way dukkha arised due to mental conditions, and the way one can be liberated from these mental chains. That is to break upadana, tanha, and avijja links.

And how is it possible, by praticing the 8NP. basically, by observing, seeing and penetrating the true caracteristics of life.

The Buddha also taught the Dependent arising of enlightenment (SN Upanisa Sutta)
1. suffering (dukkha)
2. faith (saddhā)
3. joy (pāmojja, pāmujja)
4. rapture (pīti)
5. tranquillity (passaddhi)
6. happiness (sukha)
7. concentration (samādhi)
8. knowledge and vision of things as they are (yathābhūta-ñāna-dassana)
9. disenchantment with worldly life (nibbidā)
10. dispassion (virāga)
11. freedom, release, emancipation (vimutti)
12. knowledge of destruction of the cankers (āsava-khaye-ñāna)


What does it mean to stay in an un-conditionned state ? see the following instructions :

"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus:
In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen.
In reference to the heard, only the heard.
In reference to the sensed, only the sensed.
In reference to the cognized, only the cognized.
That is how you should train yourself.
When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen,
only the heard in reference to the heard,
only the sensed in reference to the sensed,
only the cognized in reference to the cognized,
then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that.
When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there.
When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two.
This, just this, is the end of stress."

Oh yes, before one come to such spiritual state, one need to practice and to see for himself.

"sensual cravings result only in sensual clinging,
but craving for ideas results in view clinging, practice clinging and self clinging, all of which eventually lead to suffering."


_______________________________

best wishes :zzz:
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