Theravada buddhism and the 'real' cause of everything?

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Theravada buddhism and the 'real' cause of everything?

Postby emma.james » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:51 pm

I am a Buddhist and please could anyone offer a clear answer to the following thoughts.

Buddha said, do not waste your time trying to find an answer to the start/end of Buddhas, Kamma, world systems and concept of Mind as one’s search will be never-ending. I agree with it, but in reality who created the concepts of kamma, world systems, Buddhas, and mind? and why such things function in a sophisticated, pre-programed fashion? (i.e. during the current cycle of Buddhahood the next future Buddha is Maitreya Buddha, so who decided that the next Buddha is Maitreya? and why?). I think with other religions, at this particular point they replace this difficulty in understanding with the concept of a God (example: God create everything including the human body, world etc, God is everywhere and one cannot find who created the God). Some also don't believe in God and hence they cannot find an answer ,they become atheists and agnostics. If things happen according to the law of cause and effect mentioned by Buddha, then who created that cause and effect pathway? In addition, the human body is very complex with each sense organ carrying out complex transmissions. Hence, how come these sense organs and the human body are formed in such a complex manner and work according to a pre-programmed manner? Who decided the functioning of these profound transmissions within the human body? Also, with embryology, (with humans and animals) how come such a formation of a complex body is pre-programmed during the fertilisation? Buddha said, all is due to ignorance, and if you meditate and reach enlightenment then you will/might be able to visualise the answers to these questions.... if that is correct, then why there is no good explanation to these questions given by the already enlightened beings? or is it because that our level of understanding/wisdom is not enough to understand the answers due to lack or medication, followed by lack of insight resulting in ignorance?
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Re: Theravada buddhism and the 'real' cause of everything?

Postby culaavuso » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:55 pm

SN 56.31: Simsapa Sutta wrote:In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.

And what have I taught? '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': This is what I have taught. And why have I taught these things? Because they are connected with the goal, relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. This is why I have taught them.
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Re: Theravada buddhism and the 'real' cause of everything?

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:26 pm

If God created all this who created God?

Who created the one who created the God who created all this?

Who created the one who created the one who created the God who created all this?

... and so on to infinity.

Or perhaps easier, who created the assumption that nothing can exist without a creator?

Buddhism is about what is, not about speculating about why it is and how it came to be.

Buddhism is a path to freedom from suffering, not about speculating about why it is and how it came to be.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Theravada buddhism and the 'real' cause of everything?

Postby SarathW » Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:43 pm

Hi Emma
I see where you coming from. I think your doubts are relevant but as an individual I will never find the answers to those questions.

However I can trust what I experience right here and now. The best thing is to have some faith and do little bit of practice.
With my little experience, I suggest you start with observing five precepts, Brahama Viharas and some meditation.

I know you like to know what is in the top of the mountain but you have to take little step at a time.
:)
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Re: Theravada buddhism and the 'real' cause of everything?

Postby emma.james » Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:53 pm

Thanks for the three replies and agree with all!

Buddhism is very meaningful when I am faced with sadness and sickness.

The above curiosity started in my mind when I started to investigate my own thinking and understanding.

When we realise the truth via meditation and reach enlightenment, it would be fascinating to look back and understand the cause to all of these issues....

At times it is frustrating when a non-Buddhist challenges you with a comment such as ''ok, your Buddha had no idea and that is why he didn't mention about the starting point of Buddha, Kamma, Mind and World'', it is very difficult to convince that person about the Buddhism. I feel like I have lost the fight even before I started the fight.... I hope you all get the idea.
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Re: Theravada buddhism and the 'real' cause of everything?

Postby Ben » Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:01 am

Emma,
Perhaps it is best to avoid meaningless discussions so you don't feel the need to defend yourself and your choices.
Kind regards,
Ben.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Theravada buddhism and the 'real' cause of everything?

Postby santa100 » Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:25 am

emma.james wrote:At times it is frustrating when a non-Buddhist challenges you with a comment such as ''ok, your Buddha had no idea and that is why he didn't mention about the starting point of Buddha, Kamma, Mind and World'', it is very difficult to convince that person about the Buddhism. I feel like I have lost the fight even before I started the fight.... I hope you all get the idea.

No need to involve the Buddha just yet. Neil DeGrasse Tyson already took care of that here ..
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Re: Theravada buddhism and the 'real' cause of everything?

Postby JeffR » Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:07 am

Actually, I don't see much relevancy to your questions. To me they look more like assumptions born of ignorance (excuse my directness).

What makes you assert that these things function in a "sophisticated pre-programmed fashion"?

It's a matter of opinion of them being "sophisticated", I think they are not. And I will assert none of them are "pre-programed". Far from it. The are as they are due to prior causes; kamma. Kamma is just a word to describe what exists, no one and nothing "created" the laws of kamma, they are what they are and the word was invented so one human can name the process when communicating with another human, same with the other things you mention.

We now know from science that the information for the formation of a human being body from a zygot is carried in DNA. The coded information in the DNA has evolved due to causes across the millenia of evolution. The human body is actually quite gross and inefficient, far from sophisticated in my book. We do not know what formed the mind anymore than we know what formed matter or what matter formed from, other than they are the result of previous causes and conditions. Passing on old stories told around ancient campfires by humans far more ignorant then us doesn't explain anything.

Does it really matter how the mind formed in taking the path to end suffering? Do you really need to convince those who cling to ancient tales of gods that there is actually a true way out of suffering in order for you to advance on the path?

With Metta,
Jeff
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Re: Theravada buddhism and the 'real' cause of everything?

Postby emma.james » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:25 am

Thanks Jeff for the kind reply.

So do we need to understand - that these 4 systems (kamma, Buddha, world and mind) exist, yet we cannot understand how these things started or will end... and since Buddha discovered a path within these 4 systems to end the suffering, I guess we need to follow that advice?.....
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Re: Theravada buddhism and the 'real' cause of everything?

Postby JeffR » Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:04 pm

emma.james wrote:Thanks Jeff for the kind reply.

So do we need to understand - that these 4 systems (kamma, Buddha, world and mind) exist, yet we cannot understand how these things started or will end... and since Buddha discovered a path within these 4 systems to end the suffering, I guess we need to follow that advice?.....

That pretty much sums it up.

Buddha is simply another word, it's meaning typically translated as "the awakened one" or the "the enlightened one". The Buddha, as we call him, did not refer to himself as "Buddha". That name was bestowed upon him by others.

There are four imponderables that were given in one of the Sutta's. I do not have a Sutta reference handy, but here is an excerpt from on online glossary (http://www.edepot.com/budglossary.html):
Imponderables: (Four Imponderables). Four things that Buddha warned against. One of these was trying to get into Karmic detail and look to find the "results" of volitional actions (Karma). It is enough to just Know and Understand and Intuitively have insight into the Fact that Volitional Action (karma) begets a result (Vipaka). It is even impossible to judge good and bad because that leads to the intellectual trap of duality and it's Dukkha. From the Pali Canon.... "These four imponderables are not to be speculated about. Whoever speculates about them would go mad & experience vexation. Which four?

The Buddha-range of the Buddhas (i.e., the range of powers a Buddha develops as a result of becoming a Buddha)...
The jhana-range of one absorbed in jhana (i.e., the range of powers that one may obtain while absorbed in jhana)....
The results of kamma...
Speculation about (the first moment, purpose, etc., of) the cosmos is an imponderable that is not to be speculated about. Whoever speculates about these things would go mad and experience vexation."

This agrees with my notes.

Kamma is very complex, although there is some linearity, it is super multifaceted. It's not as simple as referred to in the way the word karma has been adopted into today's common English (which is why I use the pali word Kamma when referring to Kamma/Karma rather than the Sanskrit karma; which has had the meaning butchered by its populist English language usage.)

For some basic understanding, you may want to read this study guide on Kamma put together by the venerable Thanissarro Bikkhu found here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/kamma.html

May you find peace as you travel the path. There are times it gets difficult and dukkha actually strengthens, these are the times when you know a greater peace will reside once you've broken through the hard stuff.

-Jeff
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Re: Theravada buddhism and the 'real' cause of everything?

Postby culaavuso » Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:00 pm

JeffR wrote:Buddha is simply another word, it's meaning typically translated as "the awakened one" or the "the enlightened one". The Buddha, as we call him, did not refer to himself as "Buddha". That name was bestowed upon him by others.


The use in the suttas for himself seems to be more as a description than a name.

AN 4.36: Dona Sutta wrote:Buddhoti maṃ, brāhmaṇa, dhārehīti.
...
Tasmā buddhosmi brāhmaṇā”ti.

Remember me, brahman, as 'awakened.'
...
and so, brahman,
I'm awake.


JeffR wrote:There are four imponderables that were given in one of the Sutta's.

This quote comes from AN 4.77: Acinteyya Sutta
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Re: Theravada buddhism and the 'real' cause of everything?

Postby santa100 » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:19 pm

emma.james wrote:..So do we need to understand - that these 4 systems (kamma, Buddha, world and mind) exist, yet we cannot understand how these things started or will end... and since Buddha discovered a path within these 4 systems to end the suffering, I guess we need to follow that advice?..

You might already heard of that simile about a man wounded by a poisoned arrow here..
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Re: Theravada buddhism and the 'real' cause of everything?

Postby waterchan » Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:18 am

emma.james wrote:At times it is frustrating when a non-Buddhist challenges you with a comment such as ''ok, your Buddha had no idea and that is why he didn't mention about the starting point of Buddha, Kamma, Mind and World'', it is very difficult to convince that person about the Buddhism. I feel like I have lost the fight even before I started the fight.... I hope you all get the idea.


The Buddha did say that a beginning for those things is not evident.

When someone questions you about Buddhism and you aren't confident how to respond, then just be honest and say "I don't know, I'm still investigating what he said and if it's true." It's not for us to convince others that our path is correct; they will find out for themselves if they're interested. The best we can do is make them curious, and if they aren't, that's the end of that discussion.

Getting defensive just makes people less open to accepting new ideas. Everyone around me knows I'm a Buddhist. When people walk up to me and say, "How do you know the Buddha is right about this?" I reply, "I don't... he he he" and grin widely. It confuses the hell out of them.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
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