About experience(s)

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About experience(s)

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:24 am

Hi,

lately I'm thinking about (my) experience. Usually we're talking about experiences as if there would be more than one. It seems to me that there aren't many different experiences but only one constantly changing experience. Everything else seems to be just an arbitrary differentiation of certain parts of that experience.

I can't perceive any beginning or ending of (my) experience, there's just one constantly changing experience (or I'm just experiencing one constantly changing experience). Within that particular experience, becoming, changing existence and ceasing of various things (dhammas) can be perceived.

What do you think?

And is there any connection between "my" experience and "your" experience? Do they have something in common and if so what may it be? (I don't ask for similarities, e.g. every experience consists of name and form and consciousness)

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: About experience(s)

Postby Ben » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:49 am

Interesting thoughts, acinteyyo!
Usually we're talking about experiences as if there would be more than one. It seems to me that there aren't many different experiences but only one constantly changing experience. Everything else seems to be just an arbitrary differentiation of certain parts of that experience.
This to me sounds like samsara. In fact, I have heard my teacher refer to the realm of experience as the realm of samsara.

And is there any connection between "my" experience and "your" experience?
Connection? I don't know, but I do wonder whether the only difference between your experience and mine is just perception.
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Re: About experience(s)

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:08 am

Ben wrote:Interesting thoughts, acinteyyo!
Usually we're talking about experiences as if there would be more than one. . . .
This to me sounds like samsara. In fact, I have heard my teacher refer to the realm of experience as the realm of samsara.
That is probably the point. It is samsara that we experience and it is within our experience that insight unfold.

It seems to me that there aren't many different experiences but only one constantly changing experience. Everything else seems to be just an arbitrary differentiation of certain parts of that experience.
Seems 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.

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Re: About experience(s)

Postby unspoken » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:46 am

acinteyyo wrote:And is there any connection between "my" experience and "your" experience? Do they have something in common and if so what may it be? (I don't ask for similarities, e.g. every experience consists of name and form and consciousness)


I think we all have "similar" experience but not exactly connection of experiences. When we both got pinched, we feel pain. that experience is similar because both of us do feel that pain.
Whereas connection of experience is what I think, some concept or thought that "mine" and "yours" are connected or not-connected in a way. But it's a mind game of differentiate between you and me. Remember non-self. To conclude what I said, I think there's no direct or indirect connections between "mine" and "yours" experience, it's us that splits and to name it as "mine" and "yours". Pain is pain, but don't add some flavorings on it like "my pain or your pain and do it connected in a way?"
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Re: About experience(s)

Postby Kenshou » Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:09 pm

acinteyyo wrote:And is there any connection between "my" experience and "your" experience? Do they have something in common and if so what may it be? (I don't ask for similarities, e.g. every experience consists of name and form and consciousness)
I've considered that, looking at the "all" empirically, we can't really completely prove anything about other people's experience, of if they even have it. (unless you've got that particular iddhi) However, I think that it can be inferred that other people probably do most likely have experiences and minds like ours. So I'm not being a solipsist here. It's just that we don't any direct knowledge of other minds.

So then, what are the practical ramifications of this? I'm not sure there are any. But it's sort of interesting.
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Re: About experience(s)

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:29 pm

Hi all,

so the good thing is, if there is only one constantly changing experience we have all the necessary means for enlightenment altogether. We don't have to wait for some special experience nor do we have to develop a particular experience. All we have to do is penetrate all there is, this current experience, happening in the here and now with insight and wisdom. We simply have to see things for what they are (certainly easier said than done :tongue: ).
Kenshou wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:And is there any connection between "my" experience and "your" experience? Do they have something in common and if so what may it be? (I don't ask for similarities, e.g. every experience consists of name and form and consciousness)
I've considered that, looking at the "all" empirically, we can't really completely prove anything about other people's experience, of if they even have it. (unless you've got that particular iddhi) However, I think that it can be inferred that other people probably do most likely have experiences and minds like ours. So I'm not being a solipsist here. It's just that we don't any direct knowledge of other minds.

So then, what are the practical ramifications of this? I'm not sure there are any. But it's sort of interesting.

Hmmm dunno either... but I agree, it's sort of interesting. I actually never noticed that we don't have any direkt knowledge of other minds, although it's quite obvious now that you brought it up.
unspoken wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:And is there any connection between "my" experience and "your" experience? Do they have something in common and if so what may it be? (I don't ask for similarities, e.g. every experience consists of name and form and consciousness)
I think we all have "similar" experience but not exactly connection of experiences. When we both got pinched, we feel pain. that experience is similar because both of us do feel that pain.
Whereas connection of experience is what I think, some concept or thought that "mine" and "yours" are connected or not-connected in a way. But it's a mind game of differentiate between you and me. Remember non-self. To conclude what I said, I think there's no direct or indirect connections between "mine" and "yours" experience, it's us that splits and to name it as "mine" and "yours". Pain is pain, but don't add some flavorings on it like "my pain or your pain and do it connected in a way?"
Yes, I know what you mean. But I was looking for something else. When we both get pinched, what I know is that I feel pain. If you don't tell me nothing, I could at most assume from your behaviour that you probably feel pain too. However fact is, that I don't feel what you feel. In "my" experience there is no pain of "your" body. Do you now understand what I am looking for? "My" experience is all there is, I don't have any direct knowledge of anything else but that particular experience which I experience. When I think about Ben's post:
Ben wrote:Interesting thoughts, acinteyyo! This to me sounds like samsara. In fact, I have heard my teacher refer to the realm of experience as the realm of samsara.

When I act on the assumption that what you're telling me is true and you really feel pain too, then it seems that there are two different experiences (realms of samsara) and the only connection between them is the perception of parts of each other experience. It becomes very speculative now...
Ben wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:And is there any connection between "my" experience and "your" experience?
Connection? I don't know, but I do wonder whether the only difference between your experience and mine is just perception.
It seems a bit like that. Thinking about that makes me dizzy :rolleye:
tiltbillings wrote:
Ben wrote:Interesting thoughts, acinteyyo!
Usually we're talking about experiences as if there would be more than one. . . .
This to me sounds like samsara. In fact, I have heard my teacher refer to the realm of experience as the realm of samsara.
That is probably the point. It is samsara that we experience and it is within our experience that insight unfold.

I agree. I would go as far as to say that samsara and our experience are one and the same "thing". But maybe that's exactly what you were trying to say :D

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: About experience(s)

Postby pulga » Tue May 17, 2011 3:35 am

I'm not really comfortable with their scientific approach to studying the phenomena, but there's a branch of neuroscience that investigates the phenomena of "event perception".

People perceive and conceive of activity in terms of discrete events. Here we propose a theory according to which the perception of boundaries between events arises from ongoing perceptual processing and regulates attention and memory. ...

The world as presented to human sense organs is continuous, dynamic, and fleeting. Yet people seem to perceive events as stable entities, to identify parts of events and their relations to other parts. For example, one might describe baking cookies by listing the following parts: “Preheating the oven, mixing the ingredients in a bowl, putting the dough on a cookie sheet…” This could reflect mere happenstance or accidents of linguistic structure, but a growing body of research suggests that talk of discrete events reflects a deeper psychological reality, that people perceive activity in terms of discrete events, that ongoing processing resources are devoted to this perceptual process, and that the on-line perception of events determines how episodes are encoded in memory (Zacks & Tversky, 2001). Thus, events are key components of perception, attention, and memory.

Perception can be described as a roughly hierarchical process in which sensory information is successively transformed into representations that form the basis for action. Particularly important are representations of states of the world in the near future, which may be called perceptual predictions. Perceptual predictions are valuable because they allow an organism to anticipate the future and to plan appropriate actions rather than merely react to incoming stimuli. Such representations are critical for avoiding interception by predators, intercepting prey, and coordinating behavior with others. To the extent that information processing is hierarchical, perceptual predictions arise late in the processing hierarchy because incoming sensory information is transformed to generate predictions.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2852534/

Now if experience is hierarchically ordered according to the context of segmented events, then the most general of generalities, the stablest of perceived events is ultimately grounded on the most fleeting of perceived events. The figure-cum-ground is itself a figure against a more general ground, and so on.
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Re: About experience(s)

Postby ground » Tue May 17, 2011 5:08 am

"Experience" is a term that "summarizes" the aggregates under one heading, right?

The Buddha taught the aggregates (khandas) to render "experience" more accessible analytically.

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Re: About experience(s)

Postby altar » Tue May 17, 2011 2:15 pm

This does sound solipsist, except for that it is coming from an experiential investigation as opposed to pure philosophical inquiry.
This phrase from the dhammapada came to mind, I am wondering if it is of any help.
"Mistaking the false for the true, the true for the false, you overlook the heart."
- Thomas Byrom rendering.
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Re: About experience(s)

Postby rowyourboat » Tue May 17, 2011 9:41 pm

Ven Nananda uses this simile to denote the fractured nature of experience, at deep levels of concentration (samadhi):

"Monks, have you ever seen a moving-picture show?"

"Yes, lord."

"That moving-picture show was created by the mind. And this mind is even more variegated than a moving-picture show. Thus one should reflect on one's mind with every moment: 'For a long time has this mind been defiled by passion, aversion, & delusion.' From the defilement of the mind are beings defiled. From the purification of the mind are beings purified.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... cting_self


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Re: About experience(s)

Postby acinteyyo » Tue May 17, 2011 11:17 pm

pulga wrote:The world as presented to human sense organs is continuous, dynamic, and fleeting.

I don't agree. I would rather say that the world as fabricated by the mind appears to be continous, dynamic and fleeting. This doesn't assume "a world" which is continous, dynamic and fleeting in the first place presented unaltered to human sense organs, which seems to be the necessary preassumption here one has to accept in order to come to this conslusion.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: About experience(s)

Postby pulga » Wed May 18, 2011 12:35 am

acinteyyo wrote:
pulga wrote:The world as presented to human sense organs is continuous, dynamic, and fleeting.


Hello acinteyyo,

You've quoted a passage from the excerpt of the article I provided a link to. I would agree that they're inconsistent in the passage you've pointed out. It seems to me that if their thesis is correct any perception of continuity would have to present itself in segmented events. But like Ven. Ñanananda's moving-picture show where a series of segmented frames gives the illusion of continuous motion, it seems their studies have shown that experience is hierarchically structured, composed of discrete events, their meaning being determined by the more general context in which they appear. And of course in order for such a context to have any meaning, it too must be a discrete event, a figure surrounded by other discrete events of the same order that make up the ground. And of course the level of generality needn't stop there.
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Re: About experience(s)

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 18, 2011 1:21 am

Hi acinteyyo,
acinteyyo wrote: I would rather say that the world as fabricated by the mind appears to be continous, dynamic and fleeting. This doesn't assume "a world" which is continous, dynamic and fleeting in the first place...

I think that this is an interesting point, and illustrates that we probably need to be careful about how exactly we interpret the teachings.

As you are alluding to, it's clearly not logical to take:
    When the Buddha talks about "the world" he is talking about "our experience" (fabrications, etc).
    This "world" is dynamic and fleeting
And conclude that either:
    The external world is dynamic or fleeting.
or
    The Buddha taught that there is no external world.

Though we could certainly argue that:
    Questions about the nature, or existence, of the external world are irrelevant to the elimination of suffering.

For a bit of a variety from SN 12.15 Kaccayanagotta Sutta: To Kaccayana Gotta (on Right View) http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.015.than.html, See:
SN 12.48 Lokayatika Sutta: The Cosmologist
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"'Everything exists' is the senior form of cosmology, brahman."
"Then, Master Gotama, does everything not exist?"
"'Everything does not exist' is the second form of cosmology, brahman."
"Then is everything a Oneness?"
"'Everything is a Oneness' is the third form of cosmology, brahman."
"Then is everything a Manyness?"
"'Everything is a Manyness' is the fourth form of cosmology, brahman. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: ...

Note:
    The cosmologist (lokayata) schools of thought reasoned from what they saw as the basic principles of the physical cosmos in formulating their teachings on how life should be lived. In modern times, they would correspond to those who base their philosophies on principles drawn from the physical sciences, such as evolutionary biology or quantum physics.



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Re: About experience(s)

Postby Alex123 » Wed May 18, 2011 1:46 am

Hello Mike, all,

mikenz66 wrote:Though we could certainly argue that:
    Questions about the nature, or existence, of the external world are irrelevant to the elimination of suffering.
Mike


I think you are right here. Suffering is experiential, and its solution lies in the experiential. What is beyond experience and can never be experienced is irrelevant from the POV of experience of suffering and its cessation. Besides, what can never be directly or indirectly experienced can not be verified - only through logic, inferences, deductions and argumentation. But often there are as many opinions as there are people. Ultimately, I believe that results are truly what matters. Talk is talk, walk is walk.

Just IMHO.
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Re: About experience(s)

Postby pulga » Wed May 18, 2011 2:41 am

Hi MIke,

As I read SN 12.48 it seems the Buddha is putting forth his own ontology, avoiding the extremes of the Lokayata by putting forth his teaching of Paticcasamupada.
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Re: About experience(s)

Postby alan » Wed May 18, 2011 4:07 am

The point of Vipassana meditation is to slow down the experiential process, take a good look at it, and then become aware of why it will never lead to real happiness.
Who could argue that the world of our senses is not fleeting?
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Re: About experience(s)

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 18, 2011 4:22 am

Hi pulga,
pulga wrote:As I read SN 12.48 it seems the Buddha is putting forth his own ontology, avoiding the extremes of the Lokayata by putting forth his teaching of Paticcasamupada.

I'm not sure you should call it an ontology. You risk the wrath of Retro doing that... :tongue:

But, seriously, isn't the Buddha taking more of a phenomenological approach? Crudely, "we can only know what we experience"?

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Re: About experience(s)

Postby kirk5a » Wed May 18, 2011 5:16 am

mikenz66 wrote:But, seriously, isn't the Buddha taking more of a phenomenological approach? Crudely, "we can only know what we experience"?

I don't think that's crude enough. :smile: It's this "we can only know..." that kicks off the whole philosophical proliferating about the unknowable external world. "There is this" is how the Buddha put it.

And there is just this non-emptiness: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, pure — superior & unsurpassed.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"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: About experience(s)

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 18, 2011 6:00 am

Hi kirk,

It depends how one interprets the word "know". I'm not interpreting "know" to mean "it's true", but in the sense of what one can be aware of.

"There is this" sounds to me to be too objective, whereas the Buddha talked about first (non- :))person experience. Perhaps "there is this that is experienced" would be a compromise...

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Re: About experience(s)

Postby retrofuturist » Wed May 18, 2011 8:37 am

Greetings,

mikenz66 wrote:You risk the wrath of Retro doing that... :tongue:

:spy:

(Whilst not feeling compelled to participate in the discussion to date, I am enjoying it...)

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Retro. :)
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