Bases for Skillful Action?

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

Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:57 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..
If the absolute were really absolute, it could have no meaningful relationship to the relative. The solution, of course, is that it does and it is a mystery as to how.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Sam Vara » Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:15 pm

contemplans

Is this what you are after?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:26 pm

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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:28 pm

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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:30 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..


Thomas Aquinas didn't teach duality in the sense you are using. So there is no duality of absolute/relative, etc., as though they were both independent entities. Evil is a privation of good. Evil does not have true being. So even Satan in the Christian tradition is not pure evil, since such a thing does not exist. The false is a privation of the true. Etc. In the case of absolute reality, it is pure actuality. It has no potentiality in it. It lacks nothing, nor needs to be anything else. The need for absolute is not my mental wishing for it, but a logical necessity. There is no change, no impermanence, no motion in existence ifs there is not a being that is pure actuality. If the Buddha attained to ultimate reality, then this is where he attained. Now if he saw this true state as so ineffable that it is beyond categories, etc., that is reflective of his purely apophetic path -- you strip away conditioned reality until Nibbana. But also he seems to favor pure monism, and pure idealism. But ultimately everything that is conditioned is unskillful. Ultimately every karmic act is negative. Ultimately you relinquish the path. And so the absolute then is really that quietistic repose. And from this viewpoint, having a path at all seems to be utterly without foundation. Many others of the quietists come to the natural conclusion, which I think some Buddhists do, that any exterior behavioral code is utterly unnecessary to the enlightened. He only acts in a ""skillful" way for other people. He doesn't need it himself. Then we may ask if the next conclusion is necessary. Is he God? Some later Buddhists got there. Maybe Buddhism is really not all that different from the Hindu traditions. But my point is, do we see how the rabbit hole goes when you take out the absolute basis of moral action?


And right within our conversations on this topic, you can see that the "absolute" only has a dependent existence as long as the 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.


The absolute is self-existent, and that existence is never divided. We would never have the relative without it, but it doesn't get our existence from it. The relative is mixed actuality and potentiality. It is impossible to have pure actuality arise out of a mixed being.

If the absolute were really absolute, it could have no meaningful relationship to the relative. The solution, of course, is that it does and it is a mystery as to how.


It depends on how you approach that knowledge. There are some who come by analogy (catephatic). Other by negative (apophetic), which is the Buddhist way. I prefer a balance. So mystery doesn't mean impossible. The Buddha certain supported this view, since he told everyone that the absolute was possible.

contemplans

Is this what you are after?

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


It certainly is getting there. Looks like a description of God, and a description of . Was the Buddha denying God, the soul, etc., or was he trying to cut the tethers to created existence that we create based on our concepts of God, the soul, etc.?
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:08 am

contemplans

"Looks like a description of God, and a description of the Thomistic teaching on actuality/potentiality."

You can call it God if you want to, but doing so might lead you astray. You ought to look at

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

as well. It is a relentlessly astringent commentary on speculative ontology, regardless of any experiential basis.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby santa100 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:03 am

Contemplans wrote:
Thomas Aquinas didn't teach duality in the sense you are using. So there is no duality of absolute/relative, etc., as though they were both independent entities
.

Notice that in my previous message, I mentioned the duality pairs of good/evil, absolute/relative,...as "dependent" entities, not independent, such that one exists because the other exists. From this "dependent" angle, Evil and Good dependently exist, True and False dependently exist, etc. This explains why Buddhists don't see the Buddha's enlightenment as an attainment of "God-hood" because like any pairs of duality, God/Satan is just another nominally-labeled, conditioned, and dependently existing pair.

Then we may ask if the next conclusion is necessary. Is he God? Some later Buddhists got there. Maybe Buddhism is really not all that different from the Hindu traditions


Just curious about who those "later Buddhists" are...Also, what's the exact definition of God? just so that we could accurately address your inquiry about whether the Buddha is one or not..
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby DarwidHalim » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:29 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.


You won't be able to find one answer which is accepted by all Buddhist school.

Some Buddhist schools accept the notion of discreteness. Some Buddhist school totally reject it.

Some Buddhist schools accept a sense of absolute. Some Buddhist school totally reject the notion of absolute.

Take an example of suffering.

Let's say someone gets a cancer.
One Buddhist school will say cancer is absolutely suffering.
Other Buddhist school will completely reject it. They will say that cancer is just a phenomena. The value that you put on top of it as a suffering is just a label which is accepted by general consensus that cancer is suffering.

Simply because by general consensus that cancer is suffering, doesn't mean cancer is suffering.

Killing is absolutly bad action.
This is accepted by a particular Buddhist school
But other Buddhist schools completely reject it.

What I want to deliver is in Buddhism we cannot make a general consensus. The final answer depends on you, how wide is your exposure to the different interpretations between Buddhist school

Some people think this kind of study is not necessary.

But some people think this is absolutely necessary. What we want to ask are actually already asked by Buddhist scholars long long time ago in their debate. Their reasons why this is not accepted, why this is not rejected become the valuable tool of learning.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby danieLion » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:41 am

If "absolute" does not allude to Plato's forms, or Kant's categorical imperative, or Anselm's proof for the ontological existence of God, or Descartes cogito ergo sum, or Christian Scholastic arguments, or some such nonsense as that , then I guess I'd be okay with calling the Buddha's teachings absolute.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:36 pm

santa100 wrote:Contemplans wrote:
Notice that in my previous message, I mentioned the duality pairs of good/evil, absolute/relative,...as "dependent" entities, not independent, such that one exists because the other exists. From this "dependent" angle, Evil and Good dependently exist, True and False dependently exist, etc. This explains why Buddhists don't see the Buddha's enlightenment as an attainment of "God-hood" because like any pairs of duality, God/Satan is just another nominally-labeled, conditioned, and dependently existing pair.


There are the contraries in dependent, created existence. Satan as well in the Christian tradition fits under this process. But Christians hold that God does not, which bring him out of the contraries you cite. He is pure actuality, pure being. He doesn't depend on anything to exist. He would still exist if the concept of evil, or atheism did not exist. This is what you are not addressing. I am pointing to something that is singular, not dual, which is outside of dependent conditioning.

danieLion wrote:If "absolute" does not allude to Plato's forms, or Kant's categorical imperative, or Anselm's proof for the ontological existence of God, or Descartes cogito ergo sum, or Christian Scholastic arguments, or some such nonsense as that , then I guess I'd be okay with calling the Buddha's teachings absolute.
Daniel :heart:


Why? Reality is reality. Who cares who discovers and explains it. If the scholastics have a better explanation of the absolute basis of moral action in a holy life, then why reject it? What from within the Buddhist system provides such a basis? Is Buddhism utterly subjective?
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby santa100 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:01 pm

Contemplans wrote:
But Christians hold that God does not, which bring him out of the contraries you cite. He is pure actuality, pure being. He doesn't depend on anything to exist. He would still exist if the concept of evil, or atheism did not exist. This is what you are not addressing. I am pointing to something that is singular, not dual, which is outside of dependent conditioning.


Then maybe this is just a matter of semantics because others and myself in this thread already mentioned Nibbana, the "un-binding", the transcendence of all dualities and conditioned phenomena. If these are the criteria for your definition of God, then maybe we're referring to the same "thing" afterall. Just notice that the "Gods" (or devas) in Buddhist vocabulary carry a different meaning: they're highly evolved sentient beings endowed with great merits and powers, but are still yet-to-be-enlightened sentient beings nevertheless..
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:30 pm

Contemplans,

I was wrong...the bait has been swallowed down into the innards. Let us say we grant that your definition of God as being equivalent to Nibbana is correct. How, then, does this have anything to do with praxis? We have been speaking in terms of ontologies but I have yet to hear you propose how your belief puts an end to, let alone addresses the question of suffering. I would be interested to hear your repsonse. 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 whynotme » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:20 pm

santa100 wrote:
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.

well said :clap:
IMO the arrow example is not there to prohibit people from discovering the world but only after taking the wrong view away.
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."

Monks should not intentionally touch women, there are rules about it.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:32 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Contemplans,

I was wrong...the bait has been swallowed down into the innards. Let us say we grant that your definition of God as being equivalent to Nibbana is correct. How, then, does this have anything to do with praxis? We have been speaking in terms of ontologies but I have yet to hear you propose how your belief puts an end to, let alone addresses the question of suffering. I would be interested to hear your repsonse. Mettaya.


Well, it seems to me that Nibbana is a description of the state of deification (impermanent beings attaining to a state of divine qualities), not of God Himself. But going off of karma a little, but related still, I always had a problem with behaving as though God didn't exist. I went through twists and turns in my mind to bury the Catholicism (albeit imperfect) that I grew up with. Don't think about God. Don't think about God. Catholics say there is a God, we can know He exists with certainty, we can only understand Him imperfectly, and we can base a life of praxis from this reality. Now there is also the factor of belief, and that includes Revelation and Faith. But beside that, there is the factor that right view always amounted to me as more than just avoiding endless discussion about metaphysics, but also amounted to denying that God which exists, which would seem to be the only thing which would make Nibbana possible. But if we are to avoid the topic of God because, some may say, we can't see Him or sense Him, then what of any discussion about the path and Nibbana, since we can't see or sense that either. But then some say, Oh, yes we can. Come and see. And the Christians also say, Oh, yes we can. Come and see. But if there is a God, which I believe logic proves quite clearly, no need to get caught in a net of views, then why not adapt our behavior to acknowledge that reality as the theistic schools do? The Wats that I've been to have statues of Buddha, pictures of accomplished teachers, dhamma wheels on the wall, but what about some symbol of the divine? Some symbol of the source of the existence of the state of Nibbana? Is Buddhism's goal so ineffable, that no image is possible, like Islam, or something like that?
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby perkele » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:40 pm

Hello contemplans!

Just some remarks.

contemplans wrote:
Well, it seems to me that Nibbana is a description of the state of deification (impermanent beings attaining to a state of divine qualities), not of God Himself.

The ethymological meaning of Nibbana is "extinction". The Buddha speaks about cessation of fermentations and so on. Divine qualities are not implied.
In fact I have not attained Nibbana myself, but from what I understood, Nibbana can be characterized as the end of craving, the end of ignorance, or the end of suffering. And these three are equivalent.

But beside that, there is the factor that right view always amounted to me as more than just avoiding endless discussion about metaphysics, but also amounted to denying that God which exists, which would seem to be the only thing which would make Nibbana possible.

That is your mistake, this view that Nibbana is not possible without an absolute God. In fact, it has nothing to do with an absolute God.
Some little comments on your (in my eyes rather contrived) argumentation to support this view follow.

You cited Thomas Aquines five proofs for the existence of an absolute being:
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.

This argument seems to be very popular. But it is not valid.
Things subject to impermanence and change cannot have come into existence without a cause. That seems evident to me.
But why should there have been a first cause? Why not an infinite regress of causes? From where comes the axiom that an infinite chain of causes preceding causes is impossible? I have never understood that whenever I heard this argument.
So please explain this axiom to me, if you can.

2) That we know of no thing that is the efficient cause of itself, because it would be prior to itself, which is impossible.

Okay... (infinite chain of causes, as above)

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.

This seems contrived and meaningless to me, although I have been hooked on this same thought previously, too.
Why should "existence" exist? Because of its name? Existence is just a concept, and so is nonexistence.
The main thing to (mis)understand here is that logic operates on concepts, not on reality. You can make up all kinds of concepts in language with some loose correspondence to experiential reality. But then when these concepts refer to more abstract and subtle aspects of experience and you draw rigid conclusions from your concepts things are not as they "are" anymore.
I hope I make some sense. If not I blame it on the limitations of language. :P

(4) and (5) don't make any sense to me. So I can't say anything meaningful about them.

But if we are to avoid the topic of God because, some may say, we can't see Him or sense Him, then what of any discussion about the path and Nibbana, since we can't see or sense that either. But then some say, Oh, yes we can. Come and see. And the Christians also say, Oh, yes we can. Come and see. But if there is a God, which I believe logic proves quite clearly, no need to get caught in a net of views, then why not adapt our behavior to acknowledge that reality as the theistic schools do?

If the existence of an absolute God could be proven, this would indeed be reasonable. But I don't see that that is the case.

The Wats that I've been to have statues of Buddha, pictures of accomplished teachers, dhamma wheels on the wall, but what about some symbol of the divine? Some symbol of the source of the existence of the state of Nibbana? Is Buddhism's goal so ineffable, that no image is possible, like Islam, or something like that?


Why allude to something "divine", to some higher state of being? Longing for an elusive higher state of being would only perpetuate suffering. But reverence to accomplished teachers who are living examples of morality and wisdom that leads to satisfaction.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:45 pm

contemplans wrote:
Khalil Bodhi wrote:Contemplans,

I was wrong...the bait has been swallowed down into the innards. Let us say we grant that your definition of God as being equivalent to Nibbana is correct. How, then, does this have anything to do with praxis? We have been speaking in terms of ontologies but I have yet to hear you propose how your belief puts an end to, let alone addresses the question of suffering. I would be interested to hear your repsonse. Mettaya.


Well, it seems to me that Nibbana is a description of the state of deification (impermanent beings attaining to a state of divine qualities), not of God Himself. But going off of karma a little, but related still, I always had a problem with behaving as though God didn't exist. I went through twists and turns in my mind to bury the Catholicism (albeit imperfect) that I grew up with. Don't think about God. Don't think about God. Catholics say there is a God, we can know He exists with certainty, we can only understand Him imperfectly, and we can base a life of praxis from this reality. Now there is also the factor of belief, and that includes Revelation and Faith. But beside that, there is the factor that right view always amounted to me as more than just avoiding endless discussion about metaphysics, but also amounted to denying that God which exists, which would seem to be the only thing which would make Nibbana possible. But if we are to avoid the topic of God because, some may say, we can't see Him or sense Him, then what of any discussion about the path and Nibbana, since we can't see or sense that either. But then some say, Oh, yes we can. Come and see. And the Christians also say, Oh, yes we can. Come and see. But if there is a God, which I believe logic proves quite clearly, no need to get caught in a net of views, then why not adapt our behavior to acknowledge that reality as the theistic schools do? The Wats that I've been to have statues of Buddha, pictures of accomplished teachers, dhamma wheels on the wall, but what about some symbol of the divine? Some symbol of the source of the existence of the state of Nibbana? Is Buddhism's goal so ineffable, that no image is possible, like Islam, or something like that?


Contemplans,

Thank you for your reply but you really haven't addressed my question. How does this belief translate into praxis. How does it become soteriologically efficacious?
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 acinteyyo » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:23 pm

Hi contemplans,

the only thing which really matters is whether it works or not. When it is helpful for you to have your belief in god and it reduces suffering for you and for others then everything is fine.
As for me I have my doubts concerning that but what I think doesn't matter. One thing about God which I think is worth consideration is that people usually can only approach this issue from either the position of denying god or believing in god... few say they don't know... but in the end it doesn't bring you even one tiny step further. I don't consider it worth spending any more time, I don't even know why people wrack their brains about all those views about god and I don't think it is worth any view at all. I rather prefer practicing and seeing the benefits for myself instead of wallowing in a thicket of views actually doing nothing but disporting myself in speculation.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:41 am

contemplans wrote:
danieLion wrote:If "absolute" does not allude to Plato's forms, or Kant's categorical imperative, or Anselm's proof for the ontological existence of God, or Descartes cogito ergo sum, or Christian Scholastic arguments, or some such nonsense as that , then I guess I'd be okay with calling the Buddha's teachings absolute.
Daniel :heart:


...Is Buddhism utterly subjective?

Did I say that?

No.

See Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika, Ch. 1, vs. 3. (preferably Nishijima's translation).

D :heart:
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:28 am

perkele wrote:You cited Thomas Aquines five proofs for the existence of an absolute being:
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.

This argument seems to be very popular. But it is not valid.
Things subject to impermanence and change cannot have come into existence without a cause. That seems evident to me.
But why should there have been a first cause? Why not an infinite regress of causes? From where comes the axiom that an infinite chain of causes preceding causes is impossible? I have never understood that whenever I heard this argument.
So please explain this axiom to me, if you can.


Well there is some background knowledge to understand it (four causes, actuality, privation), but ... the basic argument is:

(1) In sensible things we find an order of efficient causes.
(2) It is impossible for this order of causes to proceed to infinity.
(3) There must be a first efficient cause.
(4) This first cause is God.

You cannot have an infinite regress because nothing can move (= change/cause) itself in the same respect and in the same manner, it is always moved by another. A thing is not the efficient cause of itself, but another is the efficient cause. Otherwise it would be prior to itself. Since there is one thing needed to cause another, there has to be something which is the unmoved first mover or motion would never begin. Without the cause the effect would never begin. Without a first cause, there would be no middle causes, and no final effect. (Movement is a change from potentiality to actuality.) This first mover is called God.


This seems contrived and meaningless to me, although I have been hooked on this same thought previously, too.
Why should "existence" exist? Because of its name? Existence is just a concept, and so is nonexistence.
The main thing to (mis)understand here is that logic operates on concepts, not on reality. You can make up all kinds of concepts in language with some loose correspondence to experiential reality. But then when these concepts refer to more abstract and subtle aspects of experience and you draw rigid conclusions from your concepts things are not as they "are" anymore.
I hope I make some sense. If not I blame it on the limitations of language. :P


Well, I guess you are operating on the "I think, therefore I am" mode, which most modern people operate on. I think that sentence is wrong. The sentence should read, "I am, therefore I think." With this viewpoint we understand that being came before thought, and reality before concepts about reality. While we do use our thought to come up with all sorts of ideas about what we are and aren't, it is plain that we exist, and our thought depends on our existence.

(4) and (5) don't make any sense to me. So I can't say anything meaningful about them.


As for 4, With out perfect good, a privation of good (called evil) could never be distinguished. As regard to being, if there was no perfect being, being itself, then no imperfect being would ever exist. We exist and have imperfect being. This is related to the previous arguments.

As for 5, all things tend toward an end (goal/purpose). Chance is not chance. In fact, if there wasn't any order or design, then we'd never be able to distinguish things as "chance", like happening upon a friend while walking. You didn't intend to meet, so it is chance, but it wasn't chance. You didn't intend to meet, but you were acting on a purpose. Birds don't just happen to find themselves with wings. We don't look at our legs and wonder, What are they for? And the Buddhist path would never have been formulated if the Buddha did not know that if you do a, b, and c, x, y, and z will result. The cosmos is not arbitrary. It is complex, but not arbitrary. And since things which lack intelligence cannot act towards an end, it must be directed by something with knowledge and intelligence.

Why allude to something "divine", to some higher state of being? Longing for an elusive higher state of being would only perpetuate suffering. But reverence to accomplished teachers who are living examples of morality and wisdom that leads to satisfaction.


Okay, then I'll just call it reverence for the divine. The divine as defined has all he qualities I want, and never needed to follow a path in the first place. He is the path and goal wrapped in one.


Khalil Bodhi wrote:Thank you for your reply but you really haven't addressed my question. How does this belief translate into praxis. How does it become soteriologically efficacious?


Buddhism is about squaring with the way things really are. Are behavior stems from there. If things are different then we think, then our behavior would change. Efficacious? It really depends how far you go with it. But immediately it leads me to reframe my existence. Samsara takes on a different view. Asking this being for help may come into view. Worship may come into view. The goal will probably change from escape from samsara, to union with the divine.


acinteyyo wrote:I rather prefer practicing and seeing the benefits for myself instead of wallowing in a thicket of views actually doing nothing but disporting myself in speculation.


Buddhism is not immune from any of these things. Buddhism posits a world view, beliefs, and outsiders who view their wranglings as a thicket of views. It isn't speculation for speculation's sake. The path involves investigation into reality, so why is this investigation outside of the path to truth. And while I don't think fostering conflict is good, people of good will argue because they care. It is more than just distraction hiding as a mental exercise.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:07 am

contemplans wrote:(1) In sensible things we find an order of efficient causes.
(2) It is impossible for this order of causes to proceed to infinity.
(3) There must be a first efficient cause.
(4) This first cause is God.


There is no logic at all in the above. The premises and the conclusion do not follow at all. Here are some other so-called arguments for the existence of a supreme being which also contain many logical fallacies:

http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2011/03/l ... ology.html

The logical fallacies are so easy to spot, they might even be humorous.
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