Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Alex123
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Re: Did the Buddha teach strict determinism?

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:22 am

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Did the Buddha teach strict determinism?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:33 am


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Alex123
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:41 am

Last edited by Alex123 on Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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

Postby Guy » Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:46 am

Hi All,

Regardless of whether will is "free" or conditioned (it appears to me to be conditioned) it can be useful to "pretend" that we have a choice so we can use that "choice" (whether that choice is real or delusion) to practice the Noble Eightfold Path. Whether or not there is free will, there is still the law of kamma. There are still good actions leading to good results and bad actions leading to bad results. So we should be careful, regardless of whether "being careful" is a result of our conditioning (e.g. hearing the Buddha's teachings on morality, etc.) or whether "being careful" is something that some independent "doer" decides on its own somehow.

Sorry, that was quite long-winded even though it was intended to be as short as possible.

Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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Alex123
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:52 am

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Did the Buddha teach strict determinism?

Postby Nyana » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:00 am


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

Postby robertk » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:10 am

Dear guy,
I think what you say is basically correct except that there is no need to pretend there is an agent choosing to do this or that.
In fact it is because anatta is directly related to conditionality that kamma does bring results, and the more there is realization of the fact of this that naturally there should arise less inclination to evil.
This article is by sujin boriharnawanaket on kamma and result
http://www.abhidhamma.org/forums/index. ... 0&hl=Kamma

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

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:12 am

Very good post, Geoff.

:goodpost:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Did the Buddha teach strict determinism?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:14 am


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Alex123
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Re: Did the Buddha teach strict determinism?

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:40 am

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Alex123
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Re: Did the Buddha teach strict determinism?

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:41 am

Last edited by Alex123 on Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:42 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Alex123
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:45 am

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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

Postby alan » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:59 am

Alex,
Don't get your motivation for assuming such an extreme position. Obnoxious contrarianism?

Instead I'll just ask: what good comes from assuming your view?

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Alex123
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:05 am

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:06 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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

Postby Hoo » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:08 am

Well said, Geoff :goodpost: One needs to get past freshman and sophomore philosophy to see what the Buddha discovered - and the forest of views, the thicket of views, that don't lead to the end of suffering. IMHO, it doesn't matter if there is ultimately "free will, freedom of choice" or not. Neither is a "thing" of inherent existence. At best they are concepts, fabricated and composite.

IMHO, it's a matter of asking the wrong question and applying the wrong criteria. Does one ask what is the origin of Cherry Tarts? What is the truth of Cherry Tarts? I think all of us can see that Cherry Tarts have essentially nothing to do with what the Buddha taught.

To this, I can picture the Buddha saying, "Look at the recipe. Try it, see if it works, keep it if it does, discard it if it doesn't." (Poorly paraphrased from the advice to the Kalamas)

I can't picture him saying, "There is only one recipe for Cherry Tart. There is only this, all else is wrong." (Canki Sutta for reference) IMO, the question is not "What is the only right way?" It is more like, "how does it work for you" because there is more than one way to go at it." IMHO, this implies that I have choice.

In my brief exposure, Buddhism is "learn and do" more than learn and debate. It's useful to swap ideas and look at the interpretations but for me, at least, it then comes down to "what difference does this make to my practice or my snail's pace toward liberation."

Can I ever truly know the ultimate answers, or will I end up taking refuge in the words of others or just my own preferences/views? "Did I really just solve what hasn't been resolved in 2,500 to 4,000 years of philosophical debate?" It can be a humbling reality check when I'm engaged in debate. On my beter days I choose not to pick it up. On other days I set it back down as not conducive to the goal.

I'm not good at this, mind you. I only share this thought because it has helped me on the path. May it be of benefit to others, too.

With Metta,
Hoo

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

Postby alan » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:18 am

Alex,
Please explain the relationship between your position and Right View. Using Suttas, not experiential examples.
It is obvious you haven't understood some very basic teachings--Buddha railed against determinists, in straight language, many times.

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Alex123
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Re: Did the Buddha teach that we have choice?

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:33 am

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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

Postby alan » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:44 am

I'm afraid that Great Dhamma Discussion is going on only in your mind, and that you are misreading the texts you cited.
Your position is extreme; you have shown no awareness of that. You have ignored several intelligent, well meaning posts by DW members I've come to respect. I see no reason to continue discussing this or any other matter with you.


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