Is there a real world out there?...

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby binocular » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:07 pm

acinteyyo wrote:The part which bothers me is the "out there". Internal and external can easily be confused when comparing it to vague terms like "in here" and "out there". Internal are the sense bases the faculties; whereas external are the corresponding sense objects. This I guess, is clear for most of us, but I'm quite sure that one who thinks in terms of "in here" (inside of me or myself) and "out there" (outside of me or myself) would consider thoughts and ideas as internal, "in here" BUT according to the way the suttas describe the six sense media only the faculty of mind or intellect is considered internal, thoughts and ideas are external because they are the corresponding sense objects and not faculties. Thus a thought or an idea would have to be "out there" in the same way as any form, smell, taste and so on is "out there".

So for one who says there is a real world out there in the same time has to accept that this real world out there not only consists of what is sensible via the five senses but also includes ideas and thoughts.

To view things like that is odd and in some way distorted to common sense, isn't it?

I think it's distorted only to Western common sense.

Which I think is essential for understanding the problem at hand.


Edited for tags.
Last edited by binocular on Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby binocular » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:16 pm

reflection wrote:Earlier I said I think it doesn't matter what's real. But one thing I think is worth saying is I think the distinction "world out there" versus "us in here" is strange. We are part of the world, so if anything the world is not just "out there", but just as much "in here".

It cannot possibly be "just as much."
If what you're saying would be true, you could eat, and all the poor hungry Africans would be fed. Obviously, it doesn't work that way.


And in another way, all there is can only come into reality if it is experienced, so if there is no six senses, it makes no sense to speak about the world.

For an individual, yes: And in another way, all there is can only come into reality for the individual if it is experienced by the individual, so if there is no six senses, it makes no sense to speak about the world

But to say that the Buddha, or Mt. Everest etc. do not exist unless there is someone to experience them - that the falling tree in the forest makes no sound if there is noone to hear it - that ventures into the absurd.
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby reflection » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:11 pm

Hi binocular,

I think you are putting up some straw men, probably not deliberately, but to me being not clear enough. But the points you are addressing are not what I was arguing. As I said, I don't really care what's real or not, so what followed was mostly out of a practical point of view, not making a definitive statement about reality.

acinteyyo already more or less explained it further. When we ask "is there a real world out there", the question implies there is thus a "me" in here, a separation between "out" and "in". A great example was the mind sense. Thoughts and emotions, are they "in here" or "out there"? Or take optical illusions. What we see in those illusions is not really "out there", but it is also not really correct to say it is "in here".

So in my experience it is better to let go of this distinction and look at experiences as they occur without wondering if they are based on an "outside world" or not. If anything, logically, you are never going able to prove it. It's like trying to see the inside of your eye.
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby binocular » Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:53 am

reflection wrote:I think you are putting up some straw men, probably not deliberately, but to me being not clear enough. But the points you are addressing are not what I was arguing. As I said, I don't really care what's real or not, so what followed was mostly out of a practical point of view, not making a definitive statement about reality.

I think there is a thin line between a practical statement and a metaphysical statement.
While a good case can be made for "skillful means" (that include even lying), I think there is a limit to the use of such "skillful means". At some point, a practical statement is a metaphysical statement. One's practice cannot be totally divorced from one's metaphysics. One can say that the end justifies the means; but sometimes, the means one uses simply do not lead to the intended end.


So in my experience it is better to let go of this distinction and look at experiences as they occur without wondering if they are based on an "outside world" or not. If anything, logically, you are never going able to prove it. It's like trying to see the inside of your eye.

Before one can let go of this distinction, one has to clarify what one means by it to begin with. Hence discussion/discernment is necessary. Forcibly shutting it down, without looking into what one actually means by the problematic terms - that sounds like a recipe for confusion and trouble down the line.
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby reflection » Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:01 am

binocular wrote:
reflection wrote:I think you are putting up some straw men, probably not deliberately, but to me being not clear enough. But the points you are addressing are not what I was arguing. As I said, I don't really care what's real or not, so what followed was mostly out of a practical point of view, not making a definitive statement about reality.

I think there is a thin line between a practical statement and a metaphysical statement.
While a good case can be made for "skillful means" (that include even lying), I think there is a limit to the use of such "skillful means". At some point, a practical statement is a metaphysical statement. One's practice cannot be totally divorced from one's metaphysics. One can say that the end justifies the means; but sometimes, the means one uses simply do not lead to the intended end.


So in my experience it is better to let go of this distinction and look at experiences as they occur without wondering if they are based on an "outside world" or not. If anything, logically, you are never going able to prove it. It's like trying to see the inside of your eye.

Before one can let go of this distinction, one has to clarify what one means by it to begin with. Hence discussion/discernment is necessary. Forcibly shutting it down, without looking into what one actually means by the problematic terms - that sounds like a recipe for confusion and trouble down the line.

Sure, you are right. I have some ideas that shape my practice. But your analogies of the Africans or the falling trees were way more metaphysical and set in stone than I was intending to be. I hope that's cleared up now.
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:12 am

binocular wrote:
reflection wrote:Earlier I said I think it doesn't matter what's real. But one thing I think is worth saying is I think the distinction "world out there" versus "us in here" is strange. We are part of the world, so if anything the world is not just "out there", but just as much "in here".

It cannot possibly be "just as much."
If what you're saying would be true, you could eat, and all the poor hungry Africans would be fed. Obviously, it doesn't work that way.

Come on binocular, this analogy is nonsense. The total of our experience through the six sense media is the all or the world. This is the frame of reference in order to understand each other. Then even what is perceived as "out there" or "in here" is nothing else but an experience and thus, what reflection was trying to point out, any experience may it be "in here" or "out there" happens within the world (loka). So "out there" is just as much "in here" as well as "in here" is just as much "out there" with reference to the world.
binocular wrote:
reflection wrote:And in another way, all there is can only come into reality if it is experienced, so if there is no six senses, it makes no sense to speak about the world.

For an individual, yes: And in another way, all there is can only come into reality for the individual if it is experienced by the individual, so if there is no six senses, it makes no sense to speak about the world
But to say that the Buddha, or Mt. Everest etc. do not exist unless there is someone to experience them - that the falling tree in the forest makes no sound if there is noone to hear it - that ventures into the absurd.

And to say that the Buddha, or Mt. Everest etc. do exist although there's no one there to experience them - that the falling tree in the forest makes a sound if there is no one to hear it - that also ventures into the absurd.

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: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:12 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:1......the skin is the border which separates what is internal and external...
2......the way the suttas define internal and external, namely internal are the sense bases, external the corresponding objects.


I'm not sure I see the difference between 1 and 2.

I made the distinction above because I suppose that many people consider their thoughts and ideas as being part of their "inner" world, so to say they're thoughts and ideas are "in here" and not "out there" in the external world. So for them the border between what is internal and external is their own body or better what they consider as themselves. What "I am" opposed to what "I am not". Here the reference for what is internal or external is what one considers as him or herself. This would be the understanding of example 1.

But the suttas describe what is internal and external with reference to the world differently. Internal are the sensebases and external are the corresponding sense objects.
mn148 wrote:"'The six internal media should be known.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? The eye-medium, the ear-medium, the nose-medium, the tongue-medium, the body-medium, the intellect-medium. 'The six internal media should be known.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said. This is the first sextet.

"'The six external media should be known.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? The form-medium, the sound-medium, the aroma-medium, the flavor-medium, the tactile sensation-medium, the idea-medium. 'The six external media should be known.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said. This is the second sextet.

My eye is external but sight is internal,
my ear is external but hearing is internal,
my nose is external but olfaction is internal,
my tongue is external but taste is internal,
my body is external but sense of touch is internal
and my thoughts and ideas are external but my mind is internal.
It's not brain external, mind internal! (dhammāyatanaṃ is external and manāyatanaṃ is internal)
Here the reference for what is internal or external is the world (loka) and the world is the six-sense media. This would be the understanding of example 2.

There is another Sutta (MN28 - Maha-hatthipadopama Sutta) where the Buddha talks about internal and external with reference to the four great elements (mahābhūta).
Here the border between internal and external with reference to the four great elements is in fact what is this or inside of this body and what is outside of this body. But both what is internal or external with reference to the four great elements is just the four great elements. Still the reference for what is internal or external is not what "I am" opposed to what "I am not" but what is this body and what is not this body.

Imho it's important not to mix up these two ways of talking about internal and external. One is with reference to the world and the other is with reference to the four great elements.
The most important thing to understand is that this all is not in any way about a real existing world in or out anywhere but that we usually make a distinction between what "I am" and what "I am not", i.e. a view of my-self and the rest of the world "out there".

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: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:36 am

acinteyyo wrote:
mn148 wrote:"'The six internal media should be known.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? The eye-medium, the ear-medium, the nose-medium, the tongue-medium, the body-medium, the intellect-medium. 'The six internal media should be known.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said. This is the first sextet.

"'The six external media should be known.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? The form-medium, the sound-medium, the aroma-medium, the flavor-medium, the tactile sensation-medium, the idea-medium. 'The six external media should be known.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said. This is the second sextet.


My eye is external but sight is internal,
my ear is external but hearing is internal,
my nose is external but olfaction is internal,
my tongue is external but taste is internal,
my body is external but sense of touch is internal
, acinteyyo


I'm not following you here, acinteyyo. Aren't the eye, ear etc internal, and the sense objects - form, sound etc - external?
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:59 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:
mn148 wrote:"'The six internal media should be known.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? The eye-medium, the ear-medium, the nose-medium, the tongue-medium, the body-medium, the intellect-medium. 'The six internal media should be known.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said. This is the first sextet.

"'The six external media should be known.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? The form-medium, the sound-medium, the aroma-medium, the flavor-medium, the tactile sensation-medium, the idea-medium. 'The six external media should be known.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said. This is the second sextet.


My eye is external but sight is internal,
my ear is external but hearing is internal,
my nose is external but olfaction is internal,
my tongue is external but taste is internal,
my body is external but sense of touch is internal
, acinteyyo


I'm not following you here, acinteyyo. Aren't the eye, ear etc internal, and the sense objects - form, sound etc - external?

Yes they are. I now see that what I wrote can easily be misunderstood.
Above I tried to point out that my actual eye as being form (rupa) is external while the faculty of seeing (the eye as sense-base) itself is internal. My intention in this particular example is to make clear that this body ("my" body) is external while the senses hosted by this body are what actually is internal. The same applies for the other senses. I also structured it that way because I want to make clear that ideas and thoughts are external, too. In order to point out that one from the point of view "there is a real world out there" has to accept that his ideas and thoughts are "out there" if he or she equates internal/external with in here/out there and still wants to be in line with the suttas.

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: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby SarathW » Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:21 am

§ 190. These four things are real, not unreal, not other than what they seem. Which four?

'This is stress,' is real, not unreal, not other than what it seems. 'This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress,' is real, not unreal, not other than what it seems.

These are the four things that are real, not unreal, not other than what they seem.

Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'

— SN 56.20
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... part3.html
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:27 am

Greetings,

Ven. Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli wrote:For inauthentic man, when he does think about the nature of his experience and the world around him, his views would generally pertain to a common notion of a hidden reality behind the everyday world (either material or mental, depending on the direction his mind takes). What is meant by this is that he simply assumes that there is something more real or fundamental in relation to what he is or can experience. Simply put, if he was to assume a 'mental' type of reality, as something which underlies the present experience, he would fall into (one of the forms of) idealism; alternatively, if the reality was to have a more 'material' basis, he would fall into some form of materialism (or realism). Either way, the puthujjana oscillates between the two.

For example, in present times, a spiritual/mystical view of the hidden 'Reality' (one's 'true Self', or 'universal consciousness') would be a form of idealism, while the very common and prevalent scientific objectification of the experience would most certainly come under materialism. These two can serve as the two prominent poles of the Wrong View spectrum. These views differ from the Right View because as they are focused on developing and providing explanations of the nature of one's experience, while failing to see that fundamentally they are derived from it. No matter how plausible and accurate a theory or an explanation of the origins and nature of the experience is, the fact is that experience, as a phenomenon, will always have to come first. This means that the explanation cannot be applied retrospectively to describe its own origin which is simultaneously present.

Source: http://pathpress.wordpress.com/2014/02/ ... existence/

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby chownah » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:03 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Ven. Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli wrote:For inauthentic man, when he does think about the nature of his experience and the world around him, his views would generally pertain to a common notion of a hidden reality behind the everyday world (either material or mental, depending on the direction his mind takes). What is meant by this is that he simply assumes that there is something more real or fundamental in relation to what he is or can experience. Simply put, if he was to assume a 'mental' type of reality, as something which underlies the present experience, he would fall into (one of the forms of) idealism; alternatively, if the reality was to have a more 'material' basis, he would fall into some form of materialism (or realism). Either way, the puthujjana oscillates between the two.

For example, in present times, a spiritual/mystical view of the hidden 'Reality' (one's 'true Self', or 'universal consciousness') would be a form of idealism, while the very common and prevalent scientific objectification of the experience would most certainly come under materialism. These two can serve as the two prominent poles of the Wrong View spectrum. These views differ from the Right View because as they are focused on developing and providing explanations of the nature of one's experience, while failing to see that fundamentally they are derived from it. No matter how plausible and accurate a theory or an explanation of the origins and nature of the experience is, the fact is that experience, as a phenomenon, will always have to come first. This means that the explanation cannot be applied retrospectively to describe its own origin which is simultaneously present.

Source: http://pathpress.wordpress.com/2014/02/ ... existence/

Metta,
Retro. :)

I think I agree with the substance of the excerpt but I have a couple of comments.

The first sentence is great. The rest of the first paragraph seems to be setting up the idea that the putthujanna will oscillate between what is experienced and an assumed hidden reality......seems to me that the putthujanna does not consider experience itself to be a central focus of concern but rather there is an assumption of the existence of the every day world.....so....I would think it more accurate to say that the putthujanna will oscillate between their notion of the everyday world and their notion of a hidden reality behind the everyday world......that is I don't think that they cognize that there is an existence based just on experience or even that experience can constitute a significant base from which existence arises.....I think for the putthujanna ther is the real world and the hidden reality and experience is a result or by product of that duality.
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby SamKR » Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:56 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Ven. Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli wrote:For inauthentic man, when he does think about the nature of his experience and the world around him, his views would generally pertain to a common notion of a hidden reality behind the everyday world (either material or mental, depending on the direction his mind takes). What is meant by this is that he simply assumes that there is something more real or fundamental in relation to what he is or can experience. Simply put, if he was to assume a 'mental' type of reality, as something which underlies the present experience, he would fall into (one of the forms of) idealism; alternatively, if the reality was to have a more 'material' basis, he would fall into some form of materialism (or realism). Either way, the puthujjana oscillates between the two.

For example, in present times, a spiritual/mystical view of the hidden 'Reality' (one's 'true Self', or 'universal consciousness') would be a form of idealism, while the very common and prevalent scientific objectification of the experience would most certainly come under materialism. These two can serve as the two prominent poles of the Wrong View spectrum. These views differ from the Right View because as they are focused on developing and providing explanations of the nature of one's experience, while failing to see that fundamentally they are derived from it. No matter how plausible and accurate a theory or an explanation of the origins and nature of the experience is, the fact is that experience, as a phenomenon, will always have to come first. This means that the explanation cannot be applied retrospectively to describe its own origin which is simultaneously present.

Source: http://pathpress.wordpress.com/2014/02/ ... existence/

Metta,
Retro. :)


+1
The part you have emphasized is a profound statement.

Among these two extreme views, the extreme of materialism is a gross and much worse view than the extreme of idealism (ex: spiritual teachings like neo-advaita).
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:21 am

SamKR wrote:Among these two extreme views, the extreme of materialism is a gross and much worse view than the extreme of idealism (ex: spiritual teachings like neo-advaita).


Do you mean because it leads to more grasping and clinging?
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby Dan74 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:26 am

Regarding the quote from the Venerable, perhaps it is worth recalling that physics and science in general, even though they originate in the senses, succeed in many way to reach beyond what is immediately perceivable. We could for instance predict the existence of black holes before we could see them, but more importantly they provide insight into how the physical Universe operates. The point I am trying to make is that it is possible in a certain sense to go beyond. Conversely mathematics provides example where we can make statements about ordinary numbers which require assumptions about infinities in order to verify them (eg Goodstein's theorem). These statements implicitly go beyond their domain.

So even though our experience is circumscribed by our senses, not everything we produce using these senses is merely a solipsistic reflection of ourselves.
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby SamKR » Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:46 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
SamKR wrote:Among these two extreme views, the extreme of materialism is a gross and much worse view than the extreme of idealism (ex: spiritual teachings like neo-advaita).


Do you mean because it leads to more grasping and clinging?

The actual degree of clinging or grasping could be similar, or any one of them could be more or less grasped than the other. Both have the view that there is a primary "hidden reality" or a "substance" behind the immediate appearance or experience. In actuality, experience or appearance is the primary out of which hidden reality of "material substance" (materialism) or the hidden reality of "universal consciousness" ("idealism") are derived or imputed or conceived.

But my point is that materialism clings such that it does not take even the first step of subtlety and is far behind "idealism" (in our context, spiritual teachings that teach "universal consciousness", "true self" etc.) regarding the nature of reality. The latter transcends many obstacles of views (like ego, "separate self", subject-object duality, etc.) and then may halt at some level clinging to the experience and idea of "the source of all phenomena", "the unchanging stillness", " the eternal timeless awareness", or "universal consciousness", or the "true Self".
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby SamKR » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:52 pm

Dan74 wrote:Regarding the quote from the Venerable, perhaps it is worth recalling that physics and science in general, even though they originate in the senses, succeed in many way to reach beyond what is immediately perceivable. We could for instance predict the existence of black holes before we could see them, but more importantly they provide insight into how the physical Universe operates. The point I am trying to make is that it is possible in a certain sense to go beyond. Conversely mathematics provides example where we can make statements about ordinary numbers which require assumptions about infinities in order to verify them (eg Goodstein's theorem). These statements implicitly go beyond their domain.

So even though our experience is circumscribed by our senses, not everything we produce using these senses is merely a solipsistic reflection of ourselves.

It is not possible to go beyond the immediate experiences. Of course, we can predict the existence of black holes before we could see them. That is, there is undoubtedly the experience or arising of that very scientific reasoning and subsequent prediction. And it is sufficient that the black holes arise in reasonings and thoughts (as cognized, which is another dimension of experience besides seen, heard, and sensed). The black holes need not be seen by eyes, or in other words, the black hole itself need not arise in direct visual consciousness through eyes. Nevertheless, they may arise in visual consciousness as signals through data acquisition system and data visualization (as seen). No way you can go beyond the range of experience.
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:37 pm

In my view, the key thing about science is not whether or not it correctly represents "truth" or "reality". The key point is that it gives predictions that are testable, and, in some cases, have a utility. So, for example, Newton's laws of motion give a good enough approximation to the observed motion of objects of various sizes to enable engineering ranging from bicycles to lunar landings. Consequently, it makes sense to work on the provisional assumption that such theories will continue to give correct predictions.

I really don't see why statements like
"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas....

need to be dressed up with complicated philosophical ideas. All we have to work with in a Dhamma context is our senses, and the sense objects. I've yet to see a convincing argument as to why working with a provisional model that what we are sensing is "something out there" is in any way contradictory to the Dhamma as presented in the suttas, or a hindrance to progress in the application of the Dhamma.

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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby SamKR » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:11 pm

mikenz66 wrote:In my view, the key thing about science is not whether or not it correctly represents "truth" or "reality". The key point is that it gives predictions that are testable, and, in some cases, have a utility. So, for example, Newton's laws of motion give a good enough approximation to the observed motion of objects of various sizes to enable engineering ranging from bicycles to lunar landings. Consequently, it makes sense to work on the provisional assumption that such theories will continue to give correct predictions.

Sure. Nobody can deny correct predictions and usefulness of science.
mikenz66 wrote:I really don't see why statements like
"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas....

need to be dressed up with complicated philosophical ideas. All we have to work with in a Dhamma context is our senses, and the sense objects. I've yet to see a convincing argument as to why working with a provisional model that what we are sensing is "something out there" is in any way contradictory to the Dhamma as presented in the suttas, or a hindrance to progress in the application of the Dhamma.

:anjali:
Mike

As long as there is reduction of craving (towards the things) in one's practice, the sensing or having view of "something out there" may not be a hindrance.
But if we are to train ourselves like "in the seen only the seen, in the heard only the heard, in the sensed only the sensed, and in the cognized only the cognized", then it is useful to make distinction between what is purely seen and what is purely conceiving. If we can distinguish conceiving and cognizing from the seen, heard, sensed, and cognized, then we will be able to have pure seen, heard, sensed, and cognized. "Something out there" is a conceiving (that is, the content of the cognized, or the derivation of the seen, heard, and sensed), and it should be regarded as such. This is not a complicated philosophical idea.
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Re: Is there a real world out there?...

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:32 pm

Greetings Sam,

I agree ~ it's not a complicated philosophical idea.

In fact, it's precisely what the Buddha teaches in...

MN 1: Mulapariyaya Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Compare how the putthujana (worldling) sees things...

The Blessed One said: "There is the case, monks, where an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — perceives earth as earth. Perceiving earth as earth, he conceives [things] about earth, he conceives [things] in earth, he conceives [things] coming out of earth, he conceives earth as 'mine,' he delights in earth. Why is that? Because he has not comprehended it, I tell you.

... with how the sekha (learner/trainee) is encouraged to see things...

"A monk who is a trainee — yearning for the unexcelled relief from bondage, his aspirations as yet unfulfilled — directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, let him not conceive things about earth, let him not conceive things in earth, let him not conceive things coming out of earth, let him not conceive earth as 'mine,' let him not delight in earth. Why is that? So that he may comprehend it, I tell you.

... with how the arahant does see things...

"A monk who is a Worthy One, devoid of mental fermentations — who has attained completion, finished the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, destroyed the fetters of becoming, and is released through right knowledge — directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive things about earth, does not conceive things in earth, does not conceive things coming out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because he has comprehended it, I tell you.

As ven. Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli pointed out, "These views [i.e. materialism and idealism] differ from the Right View because as they are focused on developing and providing explanations of the nature of one's experience, while failing to see that fundamentally they are derived from it."

In order words, they are examples of how the putthujana sees things, because they simply cannot fathom any other way of seeing things...
Ven. Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli wrote:For a puthujjana the world exists. He can perceive things in that world, see them appear and disappear, he can see them changing. A puthujjana can also affect his surroundings and modify things according to own preferences, pursue the desirable experiences and avoid the undesirable ones—the puthujjana is involved. This 'involvement' with things represents the very core of the puthujjana's 'experience as a whole'. Most people spend the majority of their lives obliviously absorbed in it, taking the course of 'involvement' for granted.

Mike wrote:I've yet to see a convincing argument as to why working with a provisional model that what we are sensing is "something out there" is in any way contradictory to the Dhamma as presented in the suttas, or a hindrance to progress in the application of the Dhamma.

If one's goal is merely to adopt the putthujana way of looking at the Dhamma (i.e. mundane right view) and maybe aim at rebirth in higher realms etc. then sure, there may not be a hindrance.

However, if one is seeking nobility, then holding to a materialist view is very much a hindrance, as suttas such as MN 1 and SN 12.15 clearly demonstrate.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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