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 Ben » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:14 pm

chris98e wrote:As for Buddhism, I maintain that the Buddha has brought up the idea of lesser Gods.

The notion of hierarchy of celestial beings was a pre-existing idea.

chris98e wrote:And The Buddha has also brought up the idea of there being a super supreme God in recognizing Brama as that super supreme God.

That is not right. There is no supreme being in Buddhism. No almighty god or overlord. Brahmas are described in the canon but they are described as beings subject to samsara. Rebirth as a brahma or any celestial being (apart from rebirth as an ariya in a celestial realm) is considered far from ideal.
kind regards,

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby chris98e » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:30 pm

Ben wrote:There is no supreme being in Buddhism.

The Buddha has recognized Brahma before in the suttas.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby chris98e » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:55 pm

The Buddha does not recognize a supreme God. Okay right. But he recognizes different kinds of Gods. And let's just leave it at that.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Ben » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:48 pm

chris98e wrote:
Ben wrote:There is no supreme being in Buddhism.

The Buddha has recognized Brahma before in the suttas.


In this sutta, the Buddha faces two antagonists: Baka, a brahma who believes that his brahma-attainment is the highest attainment there is; and Mara, who wants (1) to keep Baka under his power by allowing Baka to maintain his deluded opinion, and (2) to prevent the Buddha from sharing his awakened knowledge with others. Of the two, Mara is the more insidious, a point illustrated by the fact that Mara always speaks through someone else and never directly shows his face. (Another interesting point is illustrated by the fact that Mara is the source of the demand that one obey a creator god.)

The Blessed One said: "On one occasion recently I was staying in Ukkattha in the Subhaga forest at the root of a royal sala tree. Now on that occasion an evil viewpoint had arisen to Baka-Brahma: 'This is constant. This is permanent. This is eternal. This is total. This is not subject to falling away — for this does not take birth, does not age, does not die, does not fall away, does not reappear.[1] And there is no other, higher escape.'..

..."When this was said, I told Baka Brahma, 'How immersed in ignorance is Baka Brahma! How immersed in ignorance is Baka Brahma!...

-- MN49: Brahma-nimantanika Sutta
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Ben » Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:46 am

Furthermore:

The Buddha declared: “Monks, of these three views, there are some samanas and Brahmins who hold and set forth the following view: “All bodily and mentally agreeable sensations, all bodily and mentally disagreeable sensations and all indifferent sensations enjoyed by beings in the present existence are created by a supreme brahma or god”.

‘I approach them and ask: “Friends, is it true that you hold and set forth this view: ‘That all bodily and mentally agreeable sensations, all bodily and mentally disagreeable sensations, all indifferent sensations enjoyed by beings in the present life are created by a supreme brahma or god?”
‘To this those samanas and Brahmins reply, “Yes, Venerable sir”.
“Then I say to them: “Friends, if that be the case, there will be persons who, owing to the creation of a supreme brahma or god:

1. Will kill any living being
2. Will steal
3. Will tell lies
4. Will indulge in immoral sexual intercourse
5. Will slander
6. Will use harsh language
7. Will foolishly babble
8. Will be avaricious
9. Will maintain ill-will against others
10. Will maintain wrong views.

‘Monks, indeed, in the minds of those who confidentily and solely rely on the creation of a supreme brahma or god, there cannot arise such mental factors as desire-to-do and effort, as to differentiate between what actions should be done and what actions should be refrained from.

‘Monks, this is the second factual statement to refute the heretical beliefs and views advanced by those samanas and Brahmins who maintain that all sensations enjoyed by beings in the present life are created by a supreme brahma or god’

AN Tika-Nipata, translated by Ledi Sayadaw in Sammaditthi Dipani
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:38 am

Ben wrote:1. Will kill any living being
2. Will steal
3. Will tell lies
4. Will indulge in immoral sexual intercourse
5. Will slander
6. Will use harsh language
7. Will foolishly babble
8. Will be avaricious
9. Will maintain ill-will against others
10. Will maintain wrong views.

‘Monks, indeed, in the minds of those who confidentily and solely rely on the creation of a supreme brahma or god, there cannot arise such mental factors as desire-to-do and effort, as to differentiate between what actions should be done and what actions should be refrained from.

‘Monks, this is the second factual statement to refute the heretical beliefs and views advanced by those samanas and Brahmins who maintain that all sensations enjoyed by beings in the present life are created by a supreme brahma or god’

AN Tika-Nipata, translated by Ledi Sayadaw in Sammaditthi Dipani


Please note that what is being criticized here is not theistic belief, but that God is the actor, while the human is an empty passive vessel. This is also a heresy rejected in Catholicism, which is called quietism (related to another thread loosely). Protestantism also holds a type of this teaching, i.e., faith suffices without any need for good works (i.e., your deeds ultimately don't matter). Such teachings say that any act is just because God is the actor, so they are not bound by universal moral laws, etc. Please read the context and you'll see this. What Buddha is saying is that we are responsible for our acts. The theistic bit is just one of the ways people shift responsibility from themselves to something else. Past karma made me do it, God made me do it, and what happened is just chance. You can put in now, the Devil made me do it, too. It should be noted for public record that Catholicism rejects the view that anyone does our actions but us. God offers us grace (assistance to be good), but we act by free will, and hold the responsibility. So this quote cannot be used to say that the Buddha rejected every theistic belief. It is fairly clear that he laid that question aside, though. In this matter of responsibility the two religions are in common.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:46 am

    "The assumption that a God is the cause (of the world, etc.) is based on the false belief in the eternal self (atman); but that belief has to be abandoned, if one has clearly understood that everything is impermanent and subject to suffering." Abhidharmakosha 5, 8 vol IV, p 1
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby danieLion » Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:59 am

Dear contemplans,
I offer this for your edification.
metta
Daniel :heart:

The Problem with Aristotle & Aquinas

Prelude:

As words are not the things we speak about, and structure is the only link between them, structure becomes the only content of knowledge. If we gamble on verbal structures that have no observable empirical structures, such gambling can never give us any structural information about the world. Therefore such verbal structures are structurally obsolete, and if we believe in them, they induce delusions or other semantic disturbances.

-Alfred Korzybkski, Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics. “The Old ‘Matter’” (p. 697, 4th Ed)

The actual Dhamma is right there in the body, in the mind. It's not in the words of the talk. One of the Pali terms for a Dhamma talk, dhamma-desana, literally means pointing to the Dhamma. In other words, the words aren't the Dhamma. The words point to the Dhamma that can be found in the breath, in the mind, in this area of awareness where you experience the body from within….

So right here is where you want to look. And get used to looking again and again and again, so that you can see things more precisely and accurately. Now, words are useful to help you to discern and distinguish some of the things you might be experiencing here. It's like people who are trained to be professional tasters. Part of their training lies in learning how to notice very carefully what their taste buds are telling them, but an equally large part is learning a vocabulary that helps them make precise distinctions. This is the purpose of these words pointing to the Dhamma: to help you notice subtle things happening right here that you might have overlooked or glommed together. You might have missed some subtle distinctions.

-Ajaan Geoff (Ven. Thanissaro), Meditations 5, "The Body from Within"

The self is a process, not a thing. (Summary Paraphrase of the Buddha).
-Daniel et al

Aristotle

From Alfred Korzybski’s Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics (4th Ed.)

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) was born in Stagira, Greece. He was the son of a physician and had marked predilection for natural history and a distinct dislike for mathematics. Plato, who is considered the 'father of mathematicians', was his teacher. Early in his career Aristotle reacted strongly against the mathematical philosophy of his teacher, and began to build up his own system, which had a strongly biological bias and character. Psycho-logically, Aristotle was a typical extrovert, who projects all his internal processes on the outside world and objectifies them: so his reaction against Plato, the typical introvert, for whom 'reality' was all inside, was a natural and rather an inevitable consequence. The struggle between these two giants was typical of the two extreme tendencies which we find in practically all of us, as they represent two most diverse, and yet fundamental psycho-logical tendencies. In 1933 we know that either of these extremes in our make-up is undesirable and un-sound, in science as well as in life. In science, the extreme extroverts have introduced what might be called gross empiricism, which, as such, is a mere elementalistic fiction - practically a delusion. For no 'facts' are ever free from 'doctrines': so whoever fancies he can free himself from 'doctrines', as expressed in the structure of the language he uses, simply cherishes a delusion, usually with strong affective components. The extreme introverts, on the other hand, originated what might be called the 'idealistic philosophies', which in their turn become elementalistic delusions. We should not overlook the fact that both these tendencies are elementalistic and structurally fallacious. Belief in the separate existence of elements ,and, therefore, fictitious, entities must be considered as a structurally un-sound semantic reactions and accounts in a large degree for many bitter fights in science and life....

Now we shall be able to understand why Aristotle, the extrovert, and his doctrines have appealed, and still appeal, to those who can 'think' but feebly. The fact that the fuller linguistic system of the extrovert Aristotle was accepted in preference to the work of the introvert, Plato, is of serious semantic consequence to us. It is evident that mankind, in its evolution, had to pass through a low period of development; but this fact is not the only reason why the Aristotelian doctrines have had such a tremendous influence upon the Aryan race. The reason is much more deeply rooted and pernicious. In his day, over two thousand years ago, Aristotle inherited a structurally primitive-made language. He, as well as the enormous majority of us at present, never realized that what is going on outside of our skins is certainly not words. We never 'think' about this distinction, but we all take over semantically from our parents and associates their habitual forms of representation involving structure as the language in which to talk about this world, not knowing, or else forgetting, that a language to be fit to represent this world should at least have the structure of this world.

Let me illustrate this by a structural example: let us take a man-made green leaf. We see that in it green colour was added. Now let us take a natural green leaf. We see that the green colour was not added to it, but that the natural green leaf must be considered a process, a functional affair which became green without anybody's adding green colour. In the old savage mythologies, there were always demons in human shape, who actually made everything with their hands. This primitive mythology built up a 'plus' or additive language which attributed to the world an anthropomorphic structure. This false notion of the world's structure was, in turn, reflected in the language. It was a subject-predicate, 'plus' language, and not as it should be, to fit the structure of the world, a functional language.

Here we come across a tremendous fact; namely, that a language, any language, has at its bottom certain metaphysics, which ascribe, consciously or unconsciously, some sort of structure to this world. Our old mythologies ascribed an anthropomorphic structure to the world, and, of course, under such a delusion, the primitives built up a language to picture such a world and gave it a subject-predicate form. This subject-predicate form also was closely related to our 'senses', taken in a very elementalistic, primitive form....

Neither Aristotle nor his immediate followers realized or could realize what has been said here. They took the structure of the primitive-made language for granted, and went ahead formulating a philosophical grammar of this primitive language, which grammar - to our great semantic detriment - they called 'logic', defining it as the 'laws of thought'. Because of this formulation in a general theory, we are accustomed even today to inflict this 'philosophical grammar' of primitive language upon our children, and so from childhood up imprison them unconsciously by the structure of the language and the so-called 'logic', in an anthropomorphic, structurally primitive universe.

Investigation shows that three great names in our history have been very closely interconnected: Aristotle, who formulated a general theory of a primitive language, a kind of 'philosophical grammar' of this language, and called it 'logic'; Euclid, who built the first nearly autonomous 'logical' system, which we call 'geometry'; and, finally, Newton, who rounded up these structural systems by formulating the foundations of macroscopic mechanics. These three systems happen to have one underlying structural metaphysics, in spite of the fact that Newton corrected some of the most glaring errors of Aristotle. Such first systems are never structurally satisfactory, and, in time, it was found that these systems contained unjustified structural assumptions which their followers tried to evade. It was natural that the innovators should meet with a strong resistance, as these old systems had become so elaborated as to impress the 'thoughtless' with their finality. So the revisions went very slowly and very shyly. In the case of Aristotle, revision was still more difficult because the current religious 'philosophies' of the Western world were inextricably bound up with the Aristotelian-system. The religious leaders took a strong stand, and as late as the seventeenth century threatened death to the critics of Aristotle.

Even today a revision of Aristotle is extremely difficult, for these three systems have a tremendous semantic hold upon us
(pp. 87-90).

---

From Bertrand Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy (Simon & Schuster 1972 Ed.)

Aristotle's metaphysics, roughly speaking, may be described as Plato diluted by common sense, lie is difficult because Plato and common sense do not mix easily. When one tries to understand him, one thinks part of the time that he is expressing the ordinary views of a person innocent of philosophy and the rest of the time that he is setting forth Platonism with a new vocabulary. It does not do to lay too much stress on any single passage, because there is liable to be a correction or modification of it in some later passage. On the whole, the easiest way to understand both his theory of universals and his theory of matter and form is to set forth first the common-sense doctrine which is half of his view, and then to consider the Platonic modifications to which he subjects it....

God does not have the attributes of a Christian Providence, for it would derogate from His perfection to think about anything except what is perfect, i.e. Himself "It must be of itself that the divine thought thinks (since it is the most excellent of things),and its thinking is a thinking on thinking...." We must infer that God does not know of the existence of our sublunary world. Aristotle, like Spinoza, holds that, while men must love God, it is impossible that God should love men.

God is not definable as "the unmoved mover." On the contrary, astronomical considerations lead to the conclusion that there are either forty-seven or fifty-five unmoved movers....

The relation of these to God is not made clear; indeed the natural interpretation would be that there are forty-seven or fifty-five gods. For after one of the above passages on God Aristotle proceeds: "We must not ignore the question whether we are to suppose one such substance or more than one," and at once embarks upon the argument that leads to the forty-seven or fifty-five unmoved movers.

The conception of an unmoved mover is a difficult one. To a modern mind, it would seem that the cause of a change must be a previous change, and that, if the universe were ever wholly static, it would remain so eternally. To understand what Aristotle means we must take account of what he says about causes. There are, according to him, four kinds of causes, which were called, respectively, material, formal, efficient, and final. Let us take again the man who is making a statue. The material cause of the statue is the marble, the formal cause is the essence of the statue to be produced, the efficient cause is the contact of the chisel with the marble, and the final cause is the end that the sculptor has in view. In modern terminology, the word "cause" would be confined to the efficient cause. The unmoved mover may be regarded as a final cause: it supplies a purpose for change, which is essentially an evolution towards likeness with God.

I said that Aristotle was not by temperament deeply religious, but this is only partly true. One could, perhaps, interpret one aspect of his religion, somewhat freely, as follows:

God exists eternally, as pure thought, happiness, complete self-fulfillment, without any unrealized purposes. The sensible world, on the contrary, is imperfect, but it has life, desire, thought of an imperfect kind, and aspiration. All living things are in a greater or less degree aware of God, and are moved to action by admiration and love of God. Thus God is the final cause of all activity. Change consists in giving form to matter, but, where sensible things are concerned, a substratum of matter always remains. Only God consists of form without matter. The world is continually evolving towards a greater degree of form, and thus becoming progressively more like God. But the process cannot be completed, because matter cannot be wholly eliminated. This is a religion of progress and evolution, for God's static perfection moves the world only through the love that finite beings feel for Him. Plato was mathematical, Aristotle was biological; this accounts for the differences in their religions.

This would, however, be a one-sided view of Aristotle's religion; he has also the Greek love of static perfection and preference for contemplation rather than action. His doctrine of the soul illustrates this aspect of his philosophy.

Whether Aristotle taught immortality in any form, or not, was a vexed question among commentators. Averroes, who held that he did not, had followers in Christian countries, of whom the more extreme were called Epicureans, and whom Dante found in hell. In fact, Aristotle's doctrine is complex, and easily lends itself to misunderstandings....

(“Motion/Unmoved Mover”)

Motion, we are told, is the fulfilling of what exists potentially. This view, apart from other defects, is incompatible with the relativity of locomotion. When A moves relatively to B, B moves relatively to A, and there is no sense in saying that one of the two is in motion while the other is at rest. When a dog seizes a bone, it seems to common sense that the dog moves while the bone remains at rest (until seized), and that the motion has a purpose, namely to fulfill the dog's "nature." But it has turned out that this point of view cannot be applied to dead matter, and that, for the purposes of scientific physics, no conception of an "end" is useful, nor can any motion, in scientific strictness, be treated as other than relative.

Aristotle rejects the void, as maintained by Leucippus and Democritus. He then passes on to a rather curious discussion of time. It might, he says, be maintained that time does not exist, since it is composed of past and future, of which one no longer exists while the other does not yet exist. This view, however, he rejects. Time, he says, is motion that admits of numeration. (It is not clear why he thinks numeration essential.) We may fairly ask, he continues, whether time could exist without the soul, since there cannot be anything to count unless there is someone to count, and time involves numeration. It seems that he thinks of time as so many hours or days or years. Some things, he adds, are eternal, in the sense of not being in time ; presumably he is thinking of such things as numbers. There always has been motion, and there always will be; for there cannot be time without motion, and all are agreed that time is uncreated, except Plato. On this point, Christian followers of Aristotle were obliged to dissent from him, since the Bible tells us that the universe had a beginning. The Physics ends with the argument for an unmoved mover, which we considered in connection with the Metaphysics. There is one unmoved mover, which directly causes a circular motion. Circular motion is the primary kind, and the only kind which can be continuous and infinite. The first mover has no parts or magnitude and is at the circumference of the world (pp. 162, 168-170, 205-206).

Aquinas

From Bertrand Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy (Simon & Schuster 1972 Ed.)

Aquinas, unlike his predecessors, had a really competent knowledge of Aristotle. His friend William of Moerbeke provided him with translations from the Greek, and he himself wrote commentaries. Until his time, men's notions of Aristotle had been obscured by Neoplatonic accretions. He, however, followed the genuine Aristotle, and disliked Platonism, even as it appears in St. Augustine. He succeeded in persuading the Church that Aristotle's system was to be preferred to Plato's as the basis of Christian philosophy, and that Mohammedans and Christian Averroists had misinterpreted Aristotle. For my part, I should say that the De Anima leads much more naturally to the view of Averroes than to that of Aquinas; however, the Church, since St. Thomas, has thought otherwise. I should say, further, that Aristotle's views on most questions of logic and philosophy were not final, and have since been proved to be largely erroneous; this opinion, also, is not allowed to be professed by any Catholic philosopher or teacher of philosophy.

St. Thomas's most important work, the Summa contra Gentiles, was written during the years 1259-64. It is concerned to establish the truth of the Christian religion by arguments addressed to the reader supposed to be not already a Christian; one gathers that the imaginary reader is usually thought of as a man versed in the philosophy of the Arabs, He wrote another book, Summa Theolgiae, of almost equal importance, but of somewhat less interest to us because less designed to use arguments not assuming in advance the truth of Christianity. What follows is [part of] an abstract of the Summa contra Gentiles.

“Let us first consider what is meant by "wisdom." A man maybe wise in some particular pursuit, such as making houses; this implies that he knows the means to some particular end. But all particular ends are subordinate to the end of the universe, and wisdom per se is concerned with the end of the universe. Now the end of the universe is the good of the intellect, i.e. truth. The pursuit of wisdom in this sense is the most perfect, sublime, profitable, and delightful of pursuits. All this is proved by appeal to the authority of the 'The Philosopher,' i.e. Aristotle...."

In its general outlines, the philosophy of Aquinas agrees with that of Aristotle, and will be accepted or rejected by a reader in the measure in which he accepts or rejects the philosophy of the Stagyrite. The originality of Aquinas is shown in his adaptation of Aristotle to Christian dogma, with a minimum of alteration. In his day he was considered a bold innovator; even after his death many of his doctrines were condemned by the universities of Paris and Oxford. He was even more remarkable for systematizing than for originality. Even if every one of his doctrines were mistaken, the Summa would remain an imposing intellectual edifice. When he wishes to refute some doctrine, he states it first, often with great force, and almost always with an attempt at fairness. The sharpness and clarity with which he distinguishes arguments derived from reason and arguments derived from revelation are admirable. He knows Aristotle well, and understands
him thoroughly, which cannot be said of any earlier Catholic philosopher.

These merits, however, seem scarcely sufficient to justify his immense reputation. The appeal to reason is, in a sense, insincere, since the conclusion to be reached is fixed in advance….

Take the arguments professing to prove the existence of God. All of these, except the one from teleology in lifeless things, depend upon the supposed impossibility of a series having no first term. Every mathematician knows that there is no such impossibility; the series of negative integers ending with minus one is an instance to the contrary. But here again no Catholic is likely to abandon belief in God even if he becomes convinced that St. Thomas's arguments are bad ; he will invent other arguments, or take refuge in revelation.

The contentions that God's essence and existence are one and the same, that God is His own goodness, His own power, and soon, suggest a confusion, found in Plato, but supposed to have been avoided by Aristotle, between the manner of being of particulars and the manner of being of universal. God's essence is, one must suppose, of the nature of universals, while His existence is not. It is difficult to state this difficulty satisfactorily, since it occurs within a logic that can no longer be accepted. But it points clearly to some kind of syntactical confusion, without which much of the argumentation about God would lose its plausibility. There is little of the true philosophic spirit in Aquinas, he does not, like the Platonic Socrates, set out to follow wherever the argument may lead, He is not engaged in an inquiry, the result of which it is impossible to know in advance. Before he begins to philosophize, he already knows the truth; it is declared in the Catholic faith. If he can find apparently rational arguments for some parts of the faith, so much the better; if he cannot, he need only fall back on revelation. The finding of arguments for a conclusion given in advance is not philosophy, but special pleading. I cannot, therefore, feel that he deserves to be put on a level with the best philosophers either of Greece or of modern times.

(pp. 454-455, 461-462).

Reference links (which do not correspond to hard copy page numbers citations).

Korzybski
http://www.rodsmith.org.uk/alfred-korzybski/

Russell
http://ia700200.us.archive.org/23/items ... 502mbp.pdf

(all bolds and underlines are mine; all italics are original to authors)
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:10 am

tiltbillings wrote:
    "The assumption that a God is the cause (of the world, etc.) is based on the false belief in the eternal self (atman); but that belief has to be abandoned, if one has clearly understood that everything is impermanent and subject to suffering." Abhidharmakosha 5, 8 vol IV, p 1

:goodpost:
this is a crucial point...
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.

:anjali:
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Nyana » Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:54 pm

danieLion wrote:I offer this for your edification.

Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 1.13.4:

    The mysteries are transmitted mysteriously.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:19 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
    "The assumption that a God is the cause (of the world, etc.) is based on the false belief in the eternal self (atman); but that belief has to be abandoned, if one has clearly understood that everything is impermanent and subject to suffering." Abhidharmakosha 5, 8 vol IV, p 1


Two question from such a quote:

1) The "that" refers to the belief in a creator God, or in the belief in an eternal self?
2) Is Nibbana impermanent and subject to suffering since everything is?

Please also note that the logic of God as cause does not stem from a belief in an eternal soul. The belief in an eternal soul stems from God as cause. The writer is mixing this up, or it is a bad translation. Also does this writer 900 years after the Buddha point out that he taught also that annihilationism is also a false belief?
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:20 pm

danieLion, I'll read it over very soon. Thanks.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:31 pm

God does not have the attributes of a Christian Providence, for it would derogate from His perfection to think about anything except what is perfect, i.e. Himself "It must be of itself that the divine thought thinks (since it is the most excellent of things),and its thinking is a thinking on thinking...." We must infer that God does not know of the existence of our sublunary world. Aristotle, like Spinoza, holds that, while men must love God, it is impossible that God should love men.


This statement assumes that humans have no perfection in them, that imperfection is an absolute, and hence we are unloveable.

God is not definable as "the unmoved mover." On the contrary, astronomical considerations lead to the conclusion that there are either forty-seven or fifty-five unmoved movers....


Aristotle finally concluded that there is only one unmoved mover. Thomas Aquinas stated that is because He is neither composed of quantitative parts, nor of matter and form, nor does His nature differ from His intelligence, nor does His essence differ from His existence, etc. Nor does He depend on the pre-existence of His parts to exist afterwards as a composite of those parts. Nor is there any potentiality in Him, nor cause of Him.

Motion, we are told, is the fulfilling of what exists potentially. This view, apart from other defects, is incompatible with the relativity of locomotion. When A moves relatively to B, B moves relatively to A, and there is no sense in saying that one of the two is in motion while the other is at rest. ... But it has turned out that this point of view cannot be applied to dead matter, and that, for the purposes of scientific physics, no conception of an "end" is useful, nor can any motion, in scientific strictness, be treated as other than relative.


The relativity of locomotion as well as the science of physics relate to material created things. They see no “end” because the end is outside their consideration. That is where philosophy picks up. Physics itself is not concerned with why we exist or why we change as in first origin.

this opinion, also, is not allowed to be professed by any Catholic philosopher or teacher of philosophy.


Not true. Aquinas is held in very high esteem, but improvements of his work were always welcomed.

Take the arguments professing to prove the existence of God. All of these, except the one from teleology in lifeless things, depend upon the supposed impossibility of a series having no first term. Every mathematician knows that there is no such impossibility; the series of negative integers ending with minus one is an instance to the contrary. But here again no Catholic is likely to abandon belief in God even if he becomes convinced that St. Thomas's arguments are bad ; he will invent other arguments, or take refuge in revelation.


Infinite series are intellectual constructs used as tools. Furthermore this does not address the real crux of the argument which relates to causality. This line never comes to be without a first plot of this line from which the series can run. It can be any number for the sake of this line.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:29 am

contemplans wrote:
God does not have the attributes of a Christian Providence, for it would derogate from His perfection to think about anything except what is perfect, i.e. Himself "It must be of itself that the divine thought thinks (since it is the most excellent of things),and its thinking is a thinking on thinking...." We must infer that God does not know of the existence of our sublunary world. Aristotle, like Spinoza, holds that, while men must love God, it is impossible that God should love men.


This statement assumes that humans have no perfection in them, that imperfection is an absolute, and hence we are unloveable.

Can you demonstrate the assumption, or is it just a hunch you have?
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:33 am

God is not definable as "the unmoved mover." On the contrary, astronomical considerations lead to the conclusion that there are either forty-seven or fifty-five unmoved movers....


contemplans wrote:Aristotle finally concluded that there is only one unmoved mover.

No. Aristotle merely desired it to be true--thought it must be true--and invented an "argument" to support his wish--which is really just a wish to have a "permanent "soul.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:36 am

contemplans wrote:Physics itself is not concerned with why we exist or why we change as in first origin.

Depends on which physicist you ask.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:37 am

contemplans wrote:Not true. Aquinas is held in very high esteem, but improvements of his work were always welcomed.

Again: depends on who you ask. If you ask me, there's nothing worth trying to improve on.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:42 am

contemplans wrote:But if there is a law of the cosmos, then should there not be a law giver?
We cannot know if this is necessary or not. That's why the Buddha set it aside.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:43 am

contemplans wrote:Infinite series are intellectual constructs used as tools. Furthermore this does not address the real crux of the argument which relates to causality. This line never comes to be without a first plot of this line from which the series can run. It can be any number for the sake of this line.

The "real" crux of what/which argument?
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby ground » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:48 am

contemplans wrote:2) Is Nibbana impermanent and subject to suffering since everything is?

As per definition the term "nibbana" means mere permanent absence of what has been eliminated before.
There is no connotation of "place", "locus", or "state", or "experience" implied. There is no affirmation of anything implied when saying "nibbana". (At least from my perspective).

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