Bases for Skillful Action?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:29 pm

Most teachers teach that good karma (kusalakamma) is a basis to cultivating the path, while bad karma (akusalakamma) leads one away from enlightenment. Now the Buddha taught that some things were universally good, like the five precepts for all his disciples. Not only are they universally good for deepening one's practice of his teachings, but they are good by nature, which is shown by them leading to better births in the future. So they are a law of the cosmos. But if there is a law of the cosmos, then should there not be a law giver? And if they are universal, should not that law giver be all good? For otherwise, no law can truly me universal without a universal good from which it emanates. And while in meditation one lays aside questions deemed wrong views and inquiry, as is done in theistic meditation as well sometimes (via negativa), in everyday life is the ethical system of Buddhism only founded upon custom or some other relative framework? For if the ethical system is not absolute, then how can one make statements that killing beings is always bad, or stealing is always bad? What becomes of the vinaya of the dhamma-vinaya?
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Ben » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:35 pm

Hi contemplans,

contemplans wrote:But if there is a law of the cosmos, then should there not be a law giver?


Why?

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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:49 pm

contemplans wrote:Most teachers teach that good karma (kusalakamma) is a basis to cultivating the path, while bad karma (akusalakamma) leads one away from enlightenment. Now the Buddha taught that some things were universally good, like the five precepts for all his disciples. Not only are they universally good for deepening one's practice of his teachings, but they are good by nature, which is shown by them leading to better births in the future. So they are a law of the cosmos. But if there is a law of the cosmos, then should there not be a law giver? And if they are universal, should not that law giver be all good? For otherwise, no law can truly me universal without a universal good from which it emanates. And while in meditation one lays aside questions deemed wrong views and inquiry, as is done in theistic meditation as well sometimes (via negativa), in everyday life is the ethical system of Buddhism only founded upon custom or some other relative framework? For if the ethical system is not absolute, then how can one make statements that killing beings is always bad, or stealing is always bad? What becomes of the vinaya of the dhamma-vinaya?

Hi,

hm... I disagree that the Buddha taught the precepts are "universally good" and I don't consider them "laws". The precepts are tools, if they're used properly they can be a guide to wholesome actions, if used inappropriately they may lead to more suffering. I don't think your premiss is valid therefore your conclusions don't follow in my eyes. I abstain from speculations about the cosmos, a cosmic law and things like that. I try to go only as far as to the edge of the all. The basis of skillful action is wisdom. It can be developed here and now because here and now is everything we need to know, IF we can be mindful...

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: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:14 pm

Ben wrote:Hi contemplans,

contemplans wrote:But if there is a law of the cosmos, then should there not be a law giver?


Why?

kind regards,

Ben


If all was relative, then how can the relative give rise to the absolute? It's like building on a sandy foundation. The Buddha appealed to absolutes in his teaching. The four noble truths are especially taught as universal. The concept of dukkha must have a universal basis on which to even consider it bad. Most people go about their life thinking dukkha is just fine. If dukkha = bad is not universal, then the path is optional at best. But the Buddha said it is universal. In fact he said that all beings who come to enlightenment, come to the knowledge of the four noble truths. Nibbana itself is an absolute. But Nibbana isn't created by the path, but attained. Apparently that plane of existence exists outside of our ability to achieve it. I understand the Buddha wished to set aside a discussion like this because it leads one to creates stories about the world, etc. But it seems like Buddhism in America, at least, creates opposite stories to contrast themselves with Christianity and other theistic traditions, as the early Buddhists did to contrast themselves with the Hindus. With that said, can we then conclude that the Buddha in fact did not make proclamations about the absolute nature of reality?

acinteyyo wrote:hm... I disagree that the Buddha taught the precepts are "universally good" and I don't consider them "laws". The precepts are tools, if they're used properly they can be a guide to wholesome actions, if used inappropriate they may lead to more suffering. I don't think your premiss is valid therefore your conclusions don't follow in my eyes. I abstain from speculations about the cosmos, a cosmic law and things like that. I try to go only as far as to the edge of the all. The basis of skillful action is wisdom. It can be developed here and now because here and now is everything we need to know, IF we can be mindful...

best wishes, acinteyyo


I understand. Appropriate and inappropriate are value measures. If they are not based on absolute values, then they are relative. What is appropriate for one is inappropriate for another. And so murder and the other offenses might actually be a skillful action on the path. They are laws not in the sense of commands, but in the sense of reflections of nature. Since the Buddha taught to investigate nature, and cause and effect, it would seem logical to me that this would be within scope of inquiry outside of concentration meditation. Ultimately, we need to ask the why.


It would seem that the Buddha taught things such as not-self, and right view, not as metaphysical assertions, but as strategies to no longer identify with the reality we experience. It may well be that God exists, there are universal moral principles, we have souls, etc., but such discussions the Buddha would say would perpetuate dukkha. If these things are objective realities, then how can a path that denies them lead to the realization of them. And if they are not true, and there is no absolute reality, then how can the path that leads to Nibbana be anything more than one choice among many to pass the time, or Nibbana be anything more but a mirage-like goal, simply a state of our temporal minds?
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:06 am

Welcome contemplans,

The Lord Buddha was a radical phenomenologist not a metaphysician. It appears you are trying to straight-jacket the Dhamma with theological understandings of the universe. I wish you all the best but please don't be offended if not many here take the bait. Mettaya.
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby santa100 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:56 am

Contemplans wrote:
For if the ethical system is not absolute, then how can one make statements that killing beings is always bad, or stealing is always bad? What becomes of the vinaya of the dhamma-vinaya?


The Buddha was a practical physician who would remove the arrow from a man's chest instead of just sit and explain what type of arrow, or who shot him, etc.. Buddhist ethical system is not absolute in the sense that it's flexible, practical, and conducive to the elimination of suffering. It focuses on what is skillful/un-skillful instead of good/bad. That's why there's only statement like "abstain from killing", instead of "killing is always bad"; or "abstain from stealing" instead of "stealing is always bad"; The problem with "absolute" statements, systems, doctrines are that they open the door to extreme attachment to views. This form of attachment is very dangerous because if there's something absolutely good, there must be something absolutely evil, and if I was absolutely correct, you would've been absolutely wrong. This is where conflict arises. And this is the beginning of suffering. THere's an interesting story I'd like to share:

"Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a beautiful young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed.

As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. "Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!"

"Brother," the second monk replied, "I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her."
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby ground » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:07 am

From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


The "Bases for Skillful Action" is just this.


Kind regards
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:28 am

:goodpost:
contemplans wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:hm... I disagree that the Buddha taught the precepts are "universally good" and I don't consider them "laws". The precepts are tools, if they're used properly they can be a guide to wholesome actions, if used inappropriate they may lead to more suffering. I don't think your premiss is valid therefore your conclusions don't follow in my eyes. I abstain from speculations about the cosmos, a cosmic law and things like that. I try to go only as far as to the edge of the all


I understand. Appropriate and inappropriate are value measures. If they are not based on absolute values, then they are relative. What is appropriate for one is inappropriate for another. And so murder and the other offenses might actually be a skillful action on the path. They are laws not in the sense of commands, but in the sense of reflections of nature. Since the Buddha taught to investigate nature, and cause and effect, it would seem logical to me that this would be within scope of inquiry outside of concentration meditation. Ultimately, we need to ask the why.

My friend, things are not as black and white as you try to lay them down. Appropriate and inappropriate are value measures. But not based on absolute values, based on experience and any experience is relative/subjective or "private". What is appropriate for one may be inappropriate for another. But to conclude that murder for example might actually be a skillful action on the path then ignores how things originate dependently.
"Intention, I tell you, is action. Intending, one does action by way of body, speech, & intellect." - AN 6.63
Intentions rooted in greed, hatred and delusion, originate from ignorance of the nature of things, cause and effect or dependent origination, different labels for the same thing... and can only lead to suffering.
These things are within the scope of inquiry outside of concentration meditation. As long as one doesn't go beyond the all, because then one entangles oneself in the net of speculative views for sure.
Imho to ask "why" ultimately never led to satisfying answers. Liberating wisdom is not to be attained by asking questions. But don't get me wrong, certainly asking questions has its significance on the path.
contemplans wrote:It would seem that the Buddha taught things such as not-self, and right view, not as metaphysical assertions, but as strategies to no longer identify with the reality we experience. It may well be that God exists, there are universal moral principles, we have souls, etc., but such discussions the Buddha would say would perpetuate dukkha.

As I said... in my eyes great danger of entanglement in a net of speculative views...
contemplans wrote:If these things are objective realities, then how can a path that denies them lead to the realization of them.

I don't know what path you talking about, but the noble 8-fold path is not meant to lead to the realization of existence or non-existence of God, universal moral principles or that we have a soul, it's meant to liberate from suffering.
contemplans wrote:And if they are not true, and there is no absolute reality, then how can the path that leads to Nibbana be anything more than one choice among many to pass the time, or Nibbana be anything more but a mirage-like goal, simply a state of our temporal minds?

By asking you won't know. Doesn't matter what answer you will get it seems you already took up your position.

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: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:52 am

Some people manage to reconcile Buddhism and Theism for themselves. Others opt for one or the other. But I don't think there is an objective answer. If you find Christianity truly spiritually nourishing, there is no reason to abandon it. And there is no reason to worry about the Buddha's position on this. My personal suspicion is that if he saw that another faith was beneficial to a person he would have encouraged that person to give it 100%, but I may be wrong.

Many Buddhists believe that Theism is flawed and the Buddha's teaching is truer and more profound. This may be so, but how many of us fully avail ourselves of the depth and richness of our spiritual tradition? There are certainly Christians who are much more enlightened than many Buddhists, so perhaps more depends on the practitioner than the faith. Perhaps a Christian who has truly exhausted what his tradition has to offer would be reborn as a Buddhist? I don't know - just speculation.

In any case, all the best with your practice, whatever it may be!
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:59 am

I am just trying to see if anyone sees an absolute basis for any Buddhist teaching, including the Four Noble Truths, and if so, then where do they think such an absolute comes from. This is worthy of inquiry, since later Buddhists often took up theistic teachings and beliefs, and in our time many take up atheistic teachings and beliefs. How can any ethical system be worthy of practice that is not absolute on its key teachings? I am truly wondering how some reconcile this with the wider Buddhist teaching. Or maybe some just haven't asked themselves what is the basis for the ethical teachings.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Brizzy » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:15 am

contemplans wrote:I am just trying to see if anyone sees an absolute basis for any Buddhist teaching, including the Four Noble Truths.................................................................


Nibbana. (Please note - NOT the ground of being).
If one wishes to create a Law Giver, that is entirely their prerogative.

Metta

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Ignorance is an intentional act.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Kenshou » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:16 am

The thing Buddhist ethics revolves around is, whether actions are beneficial and lead to the reduction of suffering and stress, or do not. It is a pragmatic distinction drawn up for a specific purpose, and not for establishing a theory of objective moral absolutes.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:23 am

contemplans wrote:I am just trying to see if anyone sees an absolute basis for any Buddhist teaching, including the Four Noble Truths, and if so, then where do they think such an absolute comes from. This is worthy of inquiry, since later Buddhists often took up theistic teachings and beliefs, and in our time many take up atheistic teachings and beliefs. How can any ethical system be worthy of practice that is not absolute on its key teachings? I am truly wondering how some reconcile this with the wider Buddhist teaching. Or maybe some just haven't asked themselves what is the basis for the ethical teachings.


I don't see the need for any absolute basis at all. In fact I think any purported absolute basis is a recipe for corrosive doubt and unnecessary inner conflict.

The Buddhist practice yields results - practitioners become more patient, kind, clear-minded, present and thoughtful, in my experience. So the proof is in the pudding. Plus, as one practices, a lot of what the teachings say begins to make a great deal of sense.

Returning to the absolute basis, the Buddhist teachings on emptiness/not-self pretty much lay this to rest. I don't know what you mean when you say that "later Buddhists took up theistic teachings and beliefs." Whatever looks that way are only expedient means, never absolutes.

If there is one absolute in Buddhism, it is that awakening is preferable to ignorance and delusion.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby ground » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:28 am

contemplans wrote:I am just trying to see if anyone sees an absolute basis for any Buddhist teaching, including the Four Noble Truths, and if so, then where do they think such an absolute comes from.

There is a dependently originated basis, no absolute one. When thinking "absolute" where does this thought arise from? It arises from body and mind, right? Body and mind are impermanent, do have beginning and end and are changing from moment to moment and so they have been dependently arisen and do change continuously and dependently. How could something dependently arisen and changing (body and mind) produce something (the thought "absolute") that is absolute?


contemplans wrote:This is worthy of inquiry, since later Buddhists often took up theistic teachings and beliefs, and in our time many take up atheistic teachings and beliefs. How can any ethical system be worthy of practice that is not absolute on its key teachings? I am truly wondering how some reconcile this with the wider Buddhist teaching. Or maybe some just haven't asked themselves what is the basis for the ethical teachings.

The basis for the ethical teachings is dependent origination, since it is dependent origination it is the aggregates (consciousness, perception, feeling, volitional formations, form/rupa/body) which can also be called "body and mind".

These aggregates are called clinging aggregates because they are continuously clinging to their own products which in your case is the thought "absolute".
Ethical conduct is just the means to generate an environmental sphere for this clinging to cease. In this context it is called "conducive". Having contextual meaning it is itself a relative phenomenon. There is no need to grasp an absolute support for ethical conduct.


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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby danieLion » Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:57 am

Where exactly is the Buddha recorded as clearly, distinctly, and without equivocation stating that anything is "universally good"? "Universal goodness" is for Kantian, categorical imperative dogmatists, not drop-out, "F**k you, society!", rebels like the Buddha.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:34 pm

contemplans wrote:How can any ethical system be worthy of practice that is not absolute on its key teachings?
Because it works and the results of the path can be seen by anyone who is willing to practice for a while. No believing, no doubts, liberating insight knowledge because you have seen for yourself...

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: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:23 pm

You need the absolute. Otherwise the path is worth about as much as a Dr Phil program. And the absolute does not arise, IT IS. That's the theistic argument. You can't get universal moral principles from impermanent changing phenomena. Dependent co-arising as a teaching points to relative nature of created things. So what was Buddha going for then than the absolute? But as displayed here, so many deny this reality in his teachings. That always seemed odd to me. I wonder what the Buddha would have thought, after having examined cause and effect, of Thomas Aquinas five proofs of an absolute being, i.e., 1) things subject to impermanence and change cannot have ever come into reality without a first permanent unchanged thing to give rise to the impermanence and change. 2) That we know of no thing that is the efficient cause of itself, because it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. 3) That all impermanent things have the potential to not be, and that being the case, then nothing would actually exist, so there has to be something that is pure being/pure actuality that exists -- a necessary being. 4)That there are degrees of perfection (moral and otherwise). In all genuses there is a maximum (an absolute), by which we can form judgements of more or less. So there is something that is truest, best, noblest, and consequently, something that is most being. 5) And that all things tend to act toward an end, that there is order to the universe. This includes the order of action by which we can formulate what is skillful and what is unskillful. Without the underlying order, then things would be arbitrary, and there would be no way to lead a skillful life. There must exist some being that governs this order.

This is just giving you a little background to this notion that action is not arbitrary, that logic indicates that there is a being that is goodness itself, and by which we can judge what is skillful, and what is not, what is good and what is not. And it seems many teachers admit the absolute in their teachings without seeing the conclusion which is logically necessary.

(My emphasis.)

If the desire aimed at a happiness based on things that can age, grow ill, die, or leave you, notice how that fact sets you up for a fall. Then notice how the distress that comes from acting on this sort of desire is universal. It's not just you. Everyone who has acted, is acting, or will act on that desire has suffered in the past, is suffering right now, and will suffer in the future. There's no way around it.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... imits.html

In contrast to the relative, often false values of our age, the Buddha's teaching is a revelation of true and absolute values.
...
Thereby we preserve the well-being of our whole personality, both here and in the hereafter, by living in harmony with the universal laws governing our mental and moral life.
...
But regardless of one's personal inclinations, the universal moral laws operate objectively — action being followed by due reaction, deeds by their fruits. The Buddha merely reveals the laws of life, and the more faithfully we follow them, the better it is for us, for then we act according to the Dhamma.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bl139.html

But the Buddha applies the characteristic of suffering to all conditioned things, in the sense that, for living beings, everything conditioned is a potential cause of experienced suffering and is at any rate incapable of giving lasting satisfaction. Thus the three are truly universal marks pertaining even to what is below or beyond our normal range of perception.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... hings.html

One might gain the impression from this account, that it needed Ananda's intense and clever arguments to change the Buddha's mind. But an awakened one's mind cannot be changed, because he is always in touch with absolute reality.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el273.html

In terms of Absolute Truth, there is no "immortal soul" that manifests in a succession of bodies, but in terms of the relative truth by which we are normally guided, there is a "being" that is reborn.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el261.html

(Notice how he just said we have no individual soul, entering the thicket of views, for sure, positing that we do not have anything truly unique about us. What he just stated indirectly is called monism -- that we are all one being. He says we don't have unique being, even though it is plainly evident that we are unique.)

The Buddha was an extremely demanding person, unwilling to bend to this supposed wisdom or to rest with anything less than absolute happiness.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/truths.html

This Dhamma, or universal moral law discovered by the Buddha, is summed up in the Four Noble Truths
...
That which we call a being, an individual, a person does not in itself, as such, possess any independent abiding reality. In the absolute sense (paramattha) no individual, no person, is there to be found, but merely perpetually changing combinations of physical states, of feelings, volitions and states of consciousness.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el394.html

(Another absolute statement, which defies logic -- we are all one, but we only perceive multiplicity. A mark of Hinduism as well, for sure.)

The Eightfold Path stands at the very heart of the Buddha's teaching. It was the discovery of the path that gave the Buddha's own enlightenment a universal significance and elevated him from the status of a wise and benevolent sage to that of a world teacher.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html

No absolutes?
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby chownah » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:48 pm

There are absolutely no absolutes in the Buddha's teachings.
In the Buddha's teachings everything you think of as beign absolute (absolutely everything you think of as being absolute) are to be taken as being absolutely relative. For example The All and The World are defined as being made entirely up of fabrications and of course fabrications arise due to conditions so they are absolutely not absolute in that they are relatively relative to the conditions that they arose from.
Is this absolutely clear or is it relatively confusing?
chownah
P.S. Every time a word is used its meaning is dependent on its context and since context is constantly changing every time you use a word it means something slightly different. I think your use of the words "absolute" and "relatiave" shows a lack of appreciation for the nuances of meaning imparted by context...in other words....there is no absolute meaning for any word and all words have only relative meaning which arises from context.....I guessssssss....
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby santa100 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:15 pm

And right within our conversations on this topic, you can see that the "absolute" only has a dependent existence as long as the "relative" exists. It's impossible to have an "absolute" that inherently exists by itself. Contemplans, you mentioned "You need the absolute", and that might be true...as long as there still exists the "in-absolute". Same thing for the rest: something that is truest, best, noblest, most being only exists relative to that which is false-est, worst, ignoble-est, least being, etc..If you look at things from this perspective, it might help answering your main question: "What was the Buddha going for then than the absolute?". No, the Buddha wasn't going for the "absolute", He was going for Nibbana, the "un-binding", that which is free from all duality: good/bad, noble/ignoble, true/false, and also...absolute/relative..
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:28 pm

santa100 wrote:And right within our conversations on this topic, you can see that the "absolute" only has a dependent existence as long as the "relative" exists. It's impossible to have an "absolute" that inherently exists by itself. Contemplans, you mentioned "You need the absolute", and that might be true...as long as there still exists the "in-absolute". Same thing for the rest: something that is truest, best, noblest, most being only exists relative to that which is false-est, worst, ignoble-est, least being, etc..If you look at things from this perspective, it might help answering your main question: "What was the Buddha going for then than the absolute?". No, the Buddha wasn't going for the "absolute", He was going for Nibbana, the "un-binding", that which is free from all duality: good/bad, noble/ignoble, true/false, and also...absolute/relative..


Excellent post... if an absolute can exist only in relative with the non-absolutes... then why call it an "absolute"? Or to put it in a different way... if there ever was an absolute, then why would that be divided into the non-absolutes, in the first place? It's nothing but an illusion.

:anjali:
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