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Memory - Dhamma Wheel

Memory

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
MayaRefugee
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Memory

Postby MayaRefugee » Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:52 pm

Greetings,

I've searched around most of today on the trail of an explanation of Buddhisms stance on memory, there's not much online about it so I thought I would ask here, if anyone could give me some terms or offer some help I would really appreciate it.

What I'm wondering is how are things like people from the past that pop up in dreams, things remembered from childhood, flashbacks from war, etc explained?

From what I understand memory is an off-shoot of perception but where would the "memory-bank" perception uses to compare its objects fit into things?

What conditions the present to make us aware again of things we were aware of in the past?

Peace.

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ground
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Re: Memory

Postby ground » Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:59 pm


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Goofaholix
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Re: Memory

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:20 pm

I would say it a function of kamma. What happened in the past conditions what is happening now so it stands to reason that past memories recycling through the mind is just a result of the past actions.

As to why some memories keep coming up for no reason and some don't as far as I can tell for me the ones that keep coming up generally have an emotional reaction involved with them, some clinging, and/or a wish I could have done something different.

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mikenz66
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Re: Memory

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:22 pm

Perhaps of somewhat peripheral interest, there is an Abhidhamma-oriented discussion of perception, memory, and mindfulnss in Abhidhamma Studies by Nyanaponika Thera
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhistudy.pdf

In Chapter 4, Page 111
Appendix: The omission of memory in the list

I was going to post some of it, but my cut and paste is playing up...

Mike

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Ben
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Re: Memory

Postby Ben » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:12 pm

Nice post Mike
I was going to reference the same essay!
metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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ground
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Re: Memory

Postby ground » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:27 am

Each sensation is necessarily a de novo experience. Past, present, future are fabrications of mind although from a perspective of convention these fabrications are capable to guide human successful action. Therefore knowledge of the past and the present and - to a certain very limited extent - projections of a future can be considered right knowledge.
However from the perspective of the "truth" status of appearing phenomena a memory cannot represent a de novo experience (that occured in the past) because it is a fabrication too and the product of merging a de novo experience (in the present) with a memory (fabrication) cannot be a correct representation of a phenomenon being experienced.

Kind regards

Edit:
Of course this is just the presentation of one possible view. From the perspective of realism the function and "truth" status of "memory" and "fabrications" may be assessed quite differently.

MayaRefugee
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Re: Memory

Postby MayaRefugee » Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:47 am

Thanks for the replies guys,

I still haven't found anything substantial that succinctly explains what's going on from a Buddhist perspective.

To TMinzyur in particular (but if anyone else wants to have a stab at this feel free):

If in the present moment I take the summations I made of an event from the past as an object(s) of meditation and recall how things happened or played out in that particualr portion of "time" how do the elements that made/make up that past-event persist through "time" allowing me to "re-watch" them in this present moment.

Can anyone explain from where I am drawing these elements of previous experience that seem to allow me to engage in this recollection?

Does anyone know of something in Buddhism that is akin to what is commonly refered to as a memory-bank?

I'm thinking maybe a Buddhist theory of learning might entail descriptions of this sort of stuff, does anyone know of the existance of such a theory?

Peace.

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Goofaholix
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Re: Memory

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:08 am


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ground
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Re: Memory

Postby ground » Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:21 am


MayaRefugee
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Re: Memory

Postby MayaRefugee » Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:01 am

Goofaholix,

I'll admit I am on the fence here, one leg dangles in the "it's the brain" camp and the other is open to other explanations.

TMinzyur,

I think I'm beginning to see how a reflection is not an accurate portrayal of the actual past event but this reflection does seem to be made of elements that have some sort of endurance.

I suppose I'm attributing permanence to these elements and ignoring the possibilty that they are susceptible to change - :cookoo: - I'll look into it further.

I like the idea of the bhavanga-sota i.e. store-consciousness but when I bought it up in another thread it didn't appear to be common knowledge so I assumed it wasn't a Buddhist fundamental, I could be giving too much credibility to those that didn't know about it and shaping my learning based on what they believe - :shrug:

Taking into account I'm only new to Buddhism would you say the bhavanga-sota is a valid Buddhist concept and therefore something a student of the teachings should know about?

Peace.

Reductor
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Re: Memory

Postby Reductor » Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:11 am


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Goofaholix
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Re: Memory

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:17 am


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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Memory

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:01 am

This is from the Debate of King Milinda :

1 .“In how many ways, Nāgasena, does memory spring up?”

“In seventeen ways, O king. That is to say; by personal experience, as when one like Ānanda can recollect his previous lives (without special development); by outward aid, as when others remind one who is forgetful; by the greatness of some occasion, as when a king remembers his coronation or as one remembers attaining the stage of a Stream-winner; by the impression made by benefit, as when one remembers that which gave him pleasure; by the impression made by detriment, as when one remembers that which gave him pain; by similarity of appearance, as one remembers one’s mother or father or brother or sister on seeing someone like them; by dissimilarity of appearance, as one remembers someone on seeing one unlike them; by the knowledge of speech, as when one is reminded by others; by a sign, as when one recognises a draught bullock by seeing a brand mark; by effort to recollect, as when one is urged again and again; by knowledge of spelling, as one who knows how to write remembers that such a letter follows another; by arithmetic, as when accountants do large sums by their skill with figures; by learning by heart, as reciters of scriptures recollect by their skill in reciting; by meditation, as when a monk recalls his previous lives; by reference to a book, as when kings call to mind a regulation made previously by reference to a book; by a pledge, as when a man recollects by the sight of goods deposited the circumstances under which they were pledged; or by association, as when on seeing or hearing something one remembers other things associated with it.”
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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ground
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Re: Memory

Postby ground » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:22 pm


ashkenn
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Re: Memory

Postby ashkenn » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:24 pm

Preceptions is noting, recognising and remembering

regarding that sutta:
Preception notes and consciousness experience. When you experience red colour, it is the consciousness that experiences the red or yellow colour while preception notes it and remembers it. They arise together, co-joined.

Hope that helps

KC :-)


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