Materialism and Physicalism

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Materialism and Physicalism

Postby clw_uk » Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:07 am

Are Materialism and Physicalism really incompatible with the Dhamma if they are true?
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: Materialism and Physicalism

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:18 am

No, I don't think so, Dhamma (as in Buddhist path) does not damn owning things, or that things exist, so if we change the meaning of Dhamma to Truth if it is true it is compatible to Dhamma
but I am taking these to be the Sciences, not another thing which can be given the same name.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5861
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Materialism and Physicalism

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:32 am

Hi Craig,

clw_uk wrote:Are Materialism and Physicalism really incompatible with the Dhamma if they are true?


Materialism is the wrong wrong view taught by Ajita of the Hairy Blanket. It's absolutely incompatible with the Buddha's Dhamma, being the first of the four wrong views that negate the very possibility of the brahmcariya.

    “But, Master Ananda, what are those four ways that negate the living of the holy life that have been declared by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened, wherein a wise man certainly would not live the holy life, or if he should live it, would not attain the true way, the Dhamma that is wholesome?”

    “Here, Sandaka, some teacher holds such a doctrine and view as this: ‘There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed; no fruit or result of good and bad actions; no this world, no other world; no mother, no father; no beings who are reborn spontaneously; no good and virtuous recluses and brahmins in the world who have themselves realised by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world. A person consists of the four great elements. When he dies, earth returns and goes back to the body of earth, water returns and goes back to the body of water, fire returns and goes back to the body of fire, air returns and goes back to the body of air; the faculties are transferred to space. [Four] men with the bier as fifth carry away the corpse. The funeral orations last as far as the charnel ground; the bones whiten; burnt offerings end with ashes. Giving is a doctrine of fools. When anyone asserts the doctrine that there is [giving and the like], it is empty, false prattle. Fools and the wise are alike cut off and annihilated with the dissolution of the body; after death they do not exist.’

    “About this a wise man considers thus: ‘This good teacher holds this doctrine and view: “There is nothing given … after death they do not exist.” If this good teacher’s words are true, then here [in this teaching] I have done [my duty] by not doing [it], here I have lived [the holy life] by not living [it]. Both of us are exactly equal here [in this teaching], both have arrived at equality, yet I do not say that both of us are cut off and annihilated with the dissolution of the body, that after death we shall not exist. But it is superfluous for this good teacher to go about naked, to be shaven, to exert himself in the squatting posture, and to pull out his hair and beard, since I, who live in a house crowded with children, who use Benares sandalwood, who wear garlands, scents, and unguents, and accept gold and silver, shall reap exactly the same destination, the same future course, as this good teacher. What do I know and see that I should lead the holy life under this teacher?’ So when he finds that this way negates the living of the holy life, he turns away from it and leaves it.

    “This is the first way that negates the living of the holy life that has been declared by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened, wherein a wise man certainly would not live the holy life, or if he should live it, would not attain the true way, the Dhamma that is wholesome.
    (Sandaka Sutta, MN. 76)

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
User avatar
Dhammanando
 
Posts: 1363
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: Materialism and Physicalism

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:36 am

Hi Manapa,

Manapa wrote:No, I don't think so, Dhamma (as in Buddhist path) does not damn owning things,


I think the OP is referring to ontological materialism and cognitive physicalism, not to materialism in the sense of treating physical possessions as the most desirable kind of good.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
User avatar
Dhammanando
 
Posts: 1363
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: Materialism and Physicalism

Postby Ravana » Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:14 am

clw_uk wrote:Are Materialism and Physicalism really incompatible with the Dhamma if they are true?

Isn't this going to be basically a repeat of the "Views and Beliefs" thread?
“The incomparable Wheel of Dhamma has been set in motion by the Blessed One in the deer sanctuary at Isipatana, and no seeker, brahmin, celestial being, demon, god, or any other being in the world can stop it.”
User avatar
Ravana
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:33 pm

Re: Materialism and Physicalism

Postby clw_uk » Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:27 pm

Bhante, that quote though is in reguards to negating morals because of materialism is it not?
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: Materialism and Physicalism

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:59 pm

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Manapa,

Manapa wrote:No, I don't think so, Dhamma (as in Buddhist path) does not damn owning things,


I think the OP is referring to ontological materialism and cognitive physicalism, not to materialism in the sense of treating physical possessions as the most desirable kind of good.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu


the last line in my post says
but I am taking these to be the Sciences, not another thing which can be given the same name.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physicalism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materialism
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5861
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Materialism and Physicalism

Postby Individual » Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:50 pm

clw_uk wrote:Are Materialism and Physicalism really incompatible with the Dhamma if they are true?

Materialism and idealism were both specifically refuted, though I forget where. He said something to the effect that nama and rupa do not arise without cause, or "of their own effort\power". Instead, both arise together in dependence on another (namarupa).

"Physicalism" can be incompatible, depending on what you mean. If by physicalism, you acknowledge the existence of mental dhammas (feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness) in addition to rupa ("form"), then this is not materialism. But if by physicalism, you mean that rupa is the basis for all aggregates -- materialism -- that rupa is without foundation, then this was not something taught by the Buddha, no, and it conflicts with dependent origination, the five aggregates, implies determinism and fatalism, etc..
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
Individual
 
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Materialism and Physicalism

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Mar 15, 2009 1:27 am

Hi Craig,

Bhante, that quote though is in reguards to negating morals because of materialism is it not?


Every single clause in Ajita's view contradicts the Dhamma and moral nihilism (natthikavāda) is only one of the three wrongnesses it embodies. The others are acausalism (ahetukavāda), and the inefficacy of action (akiriyavāda). These are the niyati-micchādiṭṭhi (views that lead to rebirth in hell) in his teaching.

In addition to this, Ajita's view is incompatible with the Dhamma in that it asserts beings comprise just one aggregate. According to the Dhamma this would be true only of the impercipient beings. All other beings comprise four or five aggregates. And so Ajita not only undermines morality, but also the possibility of developing paññā.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
User avatar
Dhammanando
 
Posts: 1363
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: Materialism and Physicalism

Postby DarkDream » Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:10 am

Dhammanando wrote:Materialism is the wrong wrong view taught by Ajita of the Hairy Blanket. It's absolutely incompatible with the Buddha's Dhamma, being the first of the four wrong views that negate the very possibility of the brahmcariya.

    A person consists of the four great elements. When he dies, earth returns and goes back to the body of earth, water returns and goes back to the body of water, fire returns and goes back to the body of fire, air returns and goes back to the body of air; the faculties are transferred to space.
    (Sandaka Sutta, MN. 76)


I'm not so sure that this one piece listed above is wrong view. In the Sattipathana Sutta the Buddha specifically mentions the four great elements being associated with the body (I agree it does not have the element of space):

Again, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu reviews this same body, however it is placed, however disposed, as consisting of elements thus: ‘In this body there are the earth element, the water element, the fire element and the air element.’ Just as though a skilled butcher or his apprentice had killed a cow and was seated at the crossroads with it cut up into pieces; so too, a bhikkhu reviews this same body…as consisting of
elements thus: ‘In this body there are the earth element, the water element, the fire element, and the air element


In the Kamabhu Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn41/sn41.006.than.html) you have the following quote from the Buddha:

In the case of a monk who has died & passed away, his bodily fabrication has ceased & subsided


So it sounds like the Buddha agreed that the bodily fabricaton (which consists of four great elements) dissipate after death, which is what Ajita is saying. I don't understand shy this is considered a part of wrong view.

--DarkDream
DarkDream
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:25 am

Re: Materialism and Physicalism

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:40 am

Hi DarkDream,

DarkDream wrote:So it sounds like the Buddha agreed that the bodily fabricaton (which consists of four great elements) dissipate after death, which is what Ajita is saying. I don't understand shy this is considered a part of wrong view.


Ajita's view is that beings consists of the four elements and nothing else. It's a view that denies mind.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
User avatar
Dhammanando
 
Posts: 1363
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: Materialism and Physicalism

Postby nathan » Sun Mar 15, 2009 3:06 pm

The first step towards finding a solution is admitting you have a problem.

How is one to transcend gross material forms and realms if one remains ignorant of gross material forms? How is one to transcend blissful and rapturous heavenly forms and realms if one remains ignorant of the same?

Overcoming craving, aversion and ignorance will require investigating these as arising and ceasing in the present. How could one, observing such compounded things in the present, deny the arising and passing of the same in the past, present and future? Seeing the escape from suffering one seeks greater release.

Not seeing the gross material suffering, not seeing the path of escape one despairs of the body. Not seeing the body one does not see what is superior to the body and one does not see the bearing of the path to escape nor it's end. Not seeing the blissful and rapturous, heavenly and omniscient suffering, one cannot see the escape in all the ages of heaven.

Awakened there is no denial or affirmation of these compounded things being and becoming, arising and passing. There is only awareness, understanding and acknowledgment of dhamma in those who have become such.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
nathan
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am

Re: Materialism and Physicalism

Postby appicchato » Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:44 pm

nathan wrote:Awakened there is no denial or affirmation of these compounded things being and becoming, arising and passing. There is only awareness, understanding and acknowledgment of dhamma in those who have become such.

Professing knowledge of the awakened state here is a bold statement...exactly what it is, or isn't, is pretty much here say from anyone who has yet to attain...
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1603
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: Materialism and Physicalism

Postby nathan » Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:36 am

My apologies, Ven. Appicchato, all.

Not here and never has it been my intention to claim or imply any attainments, etc..

I usually make some kind of attempt to get a train of thought to the station at the end of the line. In this case yes, hearsay, or I'd expect to be enabled to write something far more illuminating. I didn't really know how to complete or contrast the first bits which were more to the point I was trying to make. By themselves they just seemed disconnected from the liberation that is said to be at the end of the line. How about something like...
It has been said by and about those who have arrived at the summit of the path of insight that...
appicchato wrote:
nathan wrote:Awakened there is no denial or affirmation of these compounded things being and becoming, arising and passing. There is only awareness, understanding and acknowledgment of dhamma in those who have become such.

Professing knowledge of the awakened state here is a bold statement...exactly what it is, or isn't, is pretty much here say from anyone who has yet to attain...
I agree and this usually appears somewhat cryptic, enigmatic or paradoxical in some ways to the rest of us. Why I appreciate Theravada and it's 'just the discernible and expoundable facts please' approach.

Sorry if that seemed presumptuous, every post is a work in progress. A search for a 21st century way to understand or to restate things that have always been hard to put into language in an accessible way. I usually stumble around for awhile searching for nouns that might imply selflessness and usually give up.

The standard I envision at this point for declaring full gnosis or having arriving at the goal would be awareness that there is a full understanding and release from ongoing bondage to causes and conditions for suffering AND a blameless in body, speech and mind, notable clearly and consistently internally and manifesting externally to others and even then only after long reflection on that purported state of being.

This is why I hope to live as a bhikkhu. Not because I expect it to give me access to any special meditation trade secrets but because I have seen how it can provide a context for living as fully in conformity with the Buddhadhamma as possible. It is an opportunity to bring the teachings and practice into every moment and aspect of life without having to break with the path in order to see to the requisites for life. I hope to have at least some kind of meager insights into the dhamma to offer lay supporters in return. I intend to be a lot less of a loudmouth as a monk (so lasting relief from the 'nathan' form of agitation is rapidly approaching everyone!), if anyone hears from this lowly heap again at all! So I have been making the most of the liberties of householder life to discover how and why my ways of thinking and speaking fall short, which is to say in many ways.

Thanks Ven. Appicchato I really appreciate criticism and challenges to my thinking and writing even if it doesn't appear that way very often. I have learned so much from everyone in online forums. Thanks everyone for your patience and tolerance, you have all taught me so much.
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
nathan
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am


Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MisterRunon, Modus.Ponens, Wri and 9 guests