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Is the future predetermined - Dhamma Wheel

Is the future predetermined

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Stiphan
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Is the future predetermined

Postby Stiphan » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:13 pm

There is the prediction of Dipankara Buddha that Gautama (then Sumedha) would become a Buddha, and even predicted Gautama's chief diciples. There is the prediction of Kondanna when Gotama was a baby that he would become an Enlightened person rather than a Cakkavattin. There is the prediction about Metteyya. There is the prediction that King Ajjatasattu, after his stay in hell would become a pacekkabuddha, same for Devadatta.

So does this mean that the future is predetermined/predictable/knowable? Or just some of it?

Yet, If I look back at my own life, I can see that I could have made other choices and decisions than the ones I did, which would have led to totally different outcomes. So this makes me a strong believer in that the future cannot possibly be predictable, and that it is not predetermined.

Any thoughts?
Last edited by Stiphan on Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:33 pm

The recent movie, Knowing followed the idea that possibly everything is pre-determined. It was pretty good and entertaining and some good discussions on determinism and free will.

I think like you do, that not everything is pre-determined. Certainly many people are pretty predictable, such as those who make little progress and conversely, some like the Bodhisatta, who have made much merit. For those, their futures are probably easy to see if you are an arahant or sammasambuddha. But for those in the middle, I think there is some mix where there can be some choice and volition.
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Stiphan
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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby Stiphan » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:39 pm


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Jechbi
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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby Jechbi » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:27 pm


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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:04 am

I think the future is completely predetermined. I think the universe is a like a machine, moved by the laws of physics. Knowing all the initial conditions of the universe and its laws we can predict everything. It is our inability to know all initial (or present) conditions that produces the ilusion that some things are random or not predetermined. Subjectively we have the feeling of free will but objectively, we don't have that free will. But since we live in our subjective mental world free will is real for us and thus we create karma and so on. This is my opinion.

Metta
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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retrofuturist
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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:48 am

Greetings,

If everything were pre-determined, would the Buddha have bothered teaching for 45 years and finished with "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

Pre-determination renders any spiritual pursuit meaningless.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Guy
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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby Guy » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:07 am

Hello Stefan and All,

Quite a tricky question indeed...

On one level I believe the will has been conditioned by various factors including culture, brain chemistry and physics. We may feel like we are making choices but perhaps that feeling of choice has been conditioned also.

On another level, I believe that there is a possibility to "transcend" the will and the conditioned world through the Jhanas and the Immaterial States. This is a matter of faith since I have not yet entered Second Jhana where the will has supposedly ceased.

However, when we look at the issue from a moral perspective I believe the most pragmatic approach is to believe that we do make choices, otherwise we might fall into the trap of blaming the world for our moral wrongdoings and making no effort to become better people.

Maybe we have no choice other than to make an effort to become better people?

I simply don't know conclusively. I think this is one of those things which is perhaps better to put to one side and maybe if/when we reach nibbana it will all become apparent.

With Metta,

Guy
Last edited by Guy on Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

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clw_uk
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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby clw_uk » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:18 am

I brought this up recently, mawkish has something interesting to say, that quantum mechanics does away with ideas of determinism or predeterminism (he could probably expand more)



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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:39 am

He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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adosa
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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby adosa » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:51 am

"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183

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acinteyyo
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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby acinteyyo » Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:11 am

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby Individual » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:53 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


chownah
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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby chownah » Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:29 pm

From a personal point of view I think that it is not possible to know absolutely if the future is predetermined or not. I can not imagine any method or test which could conclusively determine the answer....if anyone knows of one please post it...i won't hold my breath waiting for a foolproof method to appear. I think the Buddha would say that this is out of range and that we are limited to the six sense doors and their objects to make up the entirety of our experience..and these tools are not adequate to settle this question about the future. And to go one step further...if this question can not be settled in any way then of what value can it be to discuss it?

From a Theravada Scriptural persepective it seems that the Buddha indicated on several occasions the importance of efforts in following the path and the exertion of effort seems to only make sense if the view accompanying the effort is that the effort will have an effect on the future outcome. So it seems to me that the Buddha was teaching that we should at least from time to time have the view that the future is not determined.

chownah

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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby Individual » Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:16 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


chownah
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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby chownah » Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:13 pm


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BlackBird
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Re: Is the future predetermined

Postby BlackBird » Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:02 pm

Buddhism is not fatalistic.

I don't think the future is predetermined, more like past kamma provides a framework and conditions current behaviors. It ain't called volitional activity for nothing. As I'm sure has been said, if everything was predetermined there would be no way to achieve liberation, to achieve Nibbana.

:anjali:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." -


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