Theravada against mathematics

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
Pseudobabble
Posts: 938
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:11 am
Location: London

Re: Theravada against mathematics

Post by Pseudobabble »

Dan74-MkII wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:21 pm
binocular wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:12 pm
Dan74-MkII wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:55 pmI don't think this kind of contemplations are anything more than an amusing pastime. The OP unfortunately has a knack for making assertions with no actual understanding to back them up. His original thesis has been repeatedly disproved, but like a bot he keeps repeating the same thing instead of engaging with the counterexamples. His persistence may yet convince the ignorant, since the people in the know are likely to give up first.
The way I see it, based on some non-controversial facts and axioms, he's trying to develop an abstract template of what would be the correct theory about enlightenment. And only after developing such a template, see which particular Buddhist school or tradition fits this template best.
Well, sort of. Except that these 'facts and axioms' are controversial. And he is taking Abhidhamma and whether all its statements accord with mathematics as a way to evaluate the Theravada tradition. This is patently absurd. Plus his maths sucks.. OK, this is really enough time spent on this thread...Please PM if really interested.
I'm on the edge of my seat here man. Don't leave me hanging.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

'Some fart freely, some try to hide and silence it. Which one is correct?' - Saegnapha
User avatar
Sherab
Posts: 239
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Re:

Post by Sherab »

Germann wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:32 am
Sherab wrote: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:50 pm
Germann wrote: Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:40 am
For this, a subject of free choice is needed (the subject is a stream of dharmas), and not a denial of the existence of the subject (the stream of dharmas exists, the "man" is called the stream of dharmas). It is not about absolute freedom. There is some degree of freedom, that's enough.
If a subject does not have free choice, but choice as I have described, are you okay with this? Or do you still hold that a subject must have free choice in order to ensure that the Theravadin's interpretation of the Buddha's teachings is not against mathematics?
No one exists, but there is a free choice? This is absurd.

Such a "free choice" is no different from a conditioned event, as in physics (it is simply a conditioned Dhamma), or the freedom of choice of this dhamma itself and has. If the dhamma is a subject, then it has no recompense, because any such Dhamma has the same end regardless of its choice - cessation, death. A man like the Parliament of dhammas, a rather strange idea - but does not save the system.
I said choice exists but not free choice. This is because choice can only happen when a being has limited knowledge and has to rely (i.e. depend) on his past experiences and learning to make an informed (or otherwise) choice. If you are omniscient, you don't have to make a choice since you will automatically know what to do. If in making a choice, that action is not dependent on any factors or causes, that choice is no longer a choice but a random act. If you say that you make a choice by tossing a coin or rolling a dice, then your choice is still dependent on your choosing to use a coin or a dice to make a decision.

Can you give me your definition of free choice?
User avatar
Sherab
Posts: 239
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Re:

Post by Sherab »

Germann wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:32 am
You have not responded to my reply here viewtopic.php?f=13&t=33879&start=570#p509697

Do you disagree with me here viewtopic.php?f=13&t=33879&start=570#p509696
User avatar
Sherab
Posts: 239
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Theravada against mathematics

Post by Sherab »

Germann wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:32 am
Regarding the two types of consciousness that the Buddha taught:

In the MN 38 Mahatanhasankhaya Sutta: The Greater Craving-Destruction Discourse https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html Sati was severely admonished by the Buddha when he insisted that there is a consciousness that wanders from life to life. But before he admonished Sati, he gave Sati the chance to specify which consciousness he was actually referring to: — the consciousness aggregate (viññāṇakkhandha), which is experienced in conjunction with the six sense media, and consciousness without surface (viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ), which is experienced independently of the six sense media (MN 49). See also the notes provided.
Then he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "Is it true, Sāti, that this pernicious view has arisen in you — 'As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another'?"
"Exactly so, lord. As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another."
"Which consciousness, Sāti, is that?" [1]
"This speaker, this knower, lord, that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & evil actions."
"And to whom, worthless man, do you understand me to have taught the Dhamma like that? Haven't I, in many ways, said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness'? [2] But you, through your own poor grasp, not only slander us but also dig yourself up [by the root] and produce much demerit for yourself. That will lead to your long-term harm & suffering."
User avatar
Sherab
Posts: 239
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Theravada against mathematics

Post by Sherab »

binocular wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:12 pm
Dan74-MkII wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:55 pmI don't think this kind of contemplations are anything more than an amusing pastime. The OP unfortunately has a knack for making assertions with no actual understanding to back them up. His original thesis has been repeatedly disproved, but like a bot he keeps repeating the same thing instead of engaging with the counterexamples. His persistence may yet convince the ignorant, since the people in the know are likely to give up first.
The way I see it, based on some non-controversial facts and axioms, he's trying to develop an abstract template of what would be the correct theory about enlightenment. And only after developing such a template, see which particular Buddhist school or tradition fits this template best.
The reality is that there are many interpretations of what the Buddha actually taught amongst Theravadins and Mahayanists and within the Mahayana, the Vajrayanists.

I have seen people on this forum and its sister forum holding a position that is vulnerable to Germann's argument. His argument is logically correct, or mathematically correct as he puts it. It is the implicit premises underlying his argument that you have to look at and address.

We all hold different positions and beliefs. Until we reach enlightenment, it is better to assume that it is possible that there are flaws in our positions and beliefs.
User avatar
Germann
Posts: 463
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:24 pm

Re: Theravada against mathematics

Post by Germann »

Sherab wrote: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:59 pm
Germann wrote: Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:51 am
Sherab wrote: Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:52 pm
If Nibbana is mere cessation, then we can say that mere cessation requires that condition of the cessation of the phenomenon of mind. If Nibbana is not mere cessation but a realization, then that realization cannot come from the mind in the realm of phenomena because that mind has already ceased. The realization of Nibbana therefore comes from a different consciousness. Therefore, that realization has nothing to do with any casually chained events.

The obvious question to ask then is did the Buddha himself alluded to the fact that there is two type of consciousness in the Pali canon? The answer is yes.
If there is no subject of free choice, then the path to Nibbana (the sequence of combinations of dhammas, after which Nibbana manifests) is random or deterministic. In any case, this path will be traversed for an infinite past. Here, in this thread, random events were denied in favor of fully deterministic ones. If reality is such a deterministic algorithm, then any deterministic sequence of combinations of elements is implemented in an infinite number of steps of this algorithm. All steps of the algorithm are a countable set (the “smallest” among infinite sets). All steps of the algorithm fit in the infinite past.
I said that if Nibbana is a REALIZATION, then that realization cannot come from a dependently arisen mind because that mind would have ceased when Cessation happens.

So is Nibbana a realization or not?
I have already written several times: it does not matter what Nibbana is. What is important is that Nibbana manifests after a known sequence of combinations of finite number of elements (dhammas), and not in an arbitrary way. The realization of Nibbana is the passage of a known series of dhammas combinations.
User avatar
Germann
Posts: 463
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:24 pm

Life is a finite sequence of combinations of a finite set of elements (dhammas).

Post by Germann »

Dan74-MkII wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:55 pm
binocular wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:38 pm
Pseudobabble wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:09 pmAgreed. I think this could be massive. Perhaps the biggest ever.
Arrrgh. :toilet:

Seriously. This goes back to whether there is any point in practicing or not; and whether practicing is just something to pass the time with, while the result is not in one's hands in the first place.
I don't think this kind of contemplations are anything more than an amusing pastime. The OP unfortunately has a knack for making assertions with no actual understanding to back them up. His original thesis has been repeatedly disproved, but like a bot he keeps repeating the same thing instead of engaging with the counterexamples. His persistence may yet convince the ignorant, since the people in the know are likely to give up first.
Can an infinite sequence of finite sequences of combinations of a finite number of elements be missing one of such finite sequences?
(If the rules do not prohibit such a finite sequence.)

NO.

If You don't agree with that, why don't You argue with that here among mathematicians?
http://mymathforum.com/number-theory/34 ... ences.html

All Your argument boils down to the fact that a restriction is introduced, a ban on some sequence of combinations. I did not argue with the fact that infinite repetitions are mathematically possible and so on - introducing restrictions in the parameters of the process, making it unattainable for Nibbana.

An example of a deterministic algorithm is the rules for writing a natural number. Combinations of a finite number of elements, obeying these rules, are an infinite countable set. And in this countable set there is a record of any natural number.

You claim that there are no random events - then there is a deterministic algorithm. At the same time, you argue that some combinations in the infinite set may not develop. But it is possible to record each natural number without exceptions - which refutes all your arguments.

Starting with a sufficiently long record of a natural number, it is possible to encode with the help of alternating numbers from 0 to 9 any possible variant of life - to make an exhaustive description of all combinations of dhammas throughout any possible life. Each of the natural numbers corresponding to the coded record of events in any of the possible lives of any duration is in an infinite countable set of natural numbers. By your own logic, it may not be there.

In the infinite set of past lives, there is any possible life - just like in the infinite set of natural numbers there is any inatural number. Including all natural numbers, which are the complete, absolutely exact code of every possible life.
User avatar
Dan74-MkII
Posts: 241
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:22 am

Re: Theravada against mathematics

Post by Dan74-MkII »

Are we talking about any algorithm or are we talking about dhammas that describe a state of a human being, governed by the law of kamma?

Obviously kamma introduces restrictions. And obviously in yours and mine cases, as well as in just about everyone else's this restriction has meant that nibbana has not been attained so far.

And in the case of infinite past, if that were true, kamma can also restrict dhammas so that nibbana is not attained.
binocular
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Theravada against mathematics

Post by binocular »

Sherab wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:39 pmThe reality is that there are many interpretations of what the Buddha actually taught amongst Theravadins and Mahayanists and within the Mahayana, the Vajrayanists.
Which compounds the problem.
I have seen people on this forum and its sister forum holding a position that is vulnerable to Germann's argument. His argument is logically correct, or mathematically correct as he puts it.
Yes. And it seems that some schools/lineages have attempted to fix this by imposing restrictions, like the doctrine on the icchantikas. * Or, more generally, to justify themselves as the necessary means for attaining enlightenment ("Nobody gets to nirvana except through our lineage").
It is the implicit premises underlying his argument that you have to look at and address.
And fortunately or unfortunately, the same premise can be correct in the context of one Buddhist tradition, but not in another's.
We all hold different positions and beliefs. Until we reach enlightenment, it is better to assume that it is possible that there are flaws in our positions and beliefs.
But if we do that, how can we ever hope to reach enlightenment?

- - -
Dan74-MkII wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:21 pmAnd he is taking Abhidhamma and whether all its statements accord with mathematics as a way to evaluate the Theravada tradition.
I agree that this is a major issue with his approach. But on the other hand, what other tangible enough resource can he, or anyone else take?
The suttas aren't suitable for this kind of analysis, they are often too holistic to take single statements out of them and use them as premises adequately.
The Abhidhamma was developed on the basis of the suttas, and yet the two seem to contradict eachother on several points (there's a thread on this somewhere here at the forums).
Last edited by binocular on Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
binocular
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Theravada against mathematics

Post by binocular »

Germann wrote: Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:22 amI have already written several times: it does not matter what Nibbana is.

What is important is that Nibbana manifests after a known sequence of combinations of finite number of elements (dhammas), and not in an arbitrary way. The realization of Nibbana is the passage of a known series of dhammas combinations.
I'm not sure this can be adequately supported with actual Buddhist scriptural references.

I agree that you have worked out a meaningful abstract template for enlightenment. But if there is no actual Buddhist scriptural reference for it, then it looks like you're working with something that is extraneous to Buddhism altogether.


Similar happens when people try to figure out in the abstract what the right kind of monotheism is: they develop an abstract template of the ideal monotheism, and then look in actual monotheistic religions for a (closest) match. (Similar like when some people develop an abstract idea of what their prospective spouse should be like, and then they look for actual people who are the (closest) match.)
But it's not clear whether this works. On the whole, it seems that religion and religious choice are not meant to be approached that way. (There's a lot to unpack here.)
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
binocular
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Theravada against mathematics

Post by binocular »

Dan74-MkII wrote: Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:59 amAre we talking about any algorithm or are we talking about dhammas that describe a state of a human being, governed by the law of kamma?
Whose idea of kamma? Theravada, Mahayana, Hindu, ... they all have doctrines of karma/kamma, but they're not all the same. Why, how pick one over another?
Obviously kamma introduces restrictions. And obviously in yours and mine cases, as well as in just about everyone else's this restriction has meant that nibbana has not been attained so far.
Or it means that attaining nibbana is not something final, permanent, an end to rebirth; and that one has already attained nibbana in the past, but then "fell down" and has to start over, or that progress is infinite, chasing an ever receding horizon.

There are dharmic religions (such as in Hinduism) that teach that cyclical existence is infinite, one being can never exit the cycle permanently, but can just take different stations in it, including the one where it seems that it has exited the cycle.
Then there are other theories according to which nirvana is not some final solution, but a matter of infinite progress.

And in the case of infinite past, if that were true, kamma can also restrict dhammas so that nibbana is not attained.
For your line of reasoning to hold, one has to subscribe to a particular Buddhist school and its definitions of terms.
The OP is trying to decide which Buddhist school is the best, and obviously, this can't be done by favoring one by default and evaluating others from that default.
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
chownah
Posts: 9099
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Theravada against mathematics

Post by chownah »

Germann wrote: Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:22 am The realization of Nibbana is the passage of a known series of dhammas combinations.
....and yet another hugely important and unsupported assumption!!!!!!
chownah
User avatar
Dan74-MkII
Posts: 241
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:22 am

Re: Theravada against mathematics

Post by Dan74-MkII »

binocular wrote: Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:41 am
Dan74-MkII wrote: Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:59 amAre we talking about any algorithm or are we talking about dhammas that describe a state of a human being, governed by the law of kamma?
Whose idea of kamma? Theravada, Mahayana, Hindu, ... they all have doctrines of karma/kamma, but they're not all the same. Why, how pick one over another?
Obviously kamma introduces restrictions. And obviously in yours and mine cases, as well as in just about everyone else's this restriction has meant that nibbana has not been attained so far.
Or it means that attaining nibbana is not something final, permanent, an end to rebirth; and that one has already attained nibbana in the past, but then "fell down" and has to start over, or that progress is infinite, chasing an ever receding horizon.

There are dharmic religions (such as in Hinduism) that teach that cyclical existence is infinite, one being can never exit the cycle permanently, but can just take different stations in it, including the one where it seems that it has exited the cycle.
Then there are other theories according to which nirvana is not some final solution, but a matter of infinite progress.

And in the case of infinite past, if that were true, kamma can also restrict dhammas so that nibbana is not attained.
For your line of reasoning to hold, one has to subscribe to a particular Buddhist school and its definitions of terms.
Not quite. Firstly we assume a certain shared ground. All Buddhist schools traditionally hold to kamma, rebirth and nibbana/nirvana being final. Secondly our actions, moment-from-moment, are obviously causally dependent, regardless of what interpretations of kamma one holds to. Mathematically this is the fatal flaw in what Germann keeps asserting. This causal connection can bring about all kinds of configurations, including the one Germann tries to assert to be impossible - the infinite past in which nibbana has not happened.
User avatar
Germann
Posts: 463
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:24 pm

The final combination of dhammas before the manifestation of Nibbana is an impossible event

Post by Germann »

We define the terms.

A test is a combination of causes and conditions leading to an outcome. The outcome is incidental if the test leading to any outcome has other outcomes.

A random event is any collection of random outcomes.

A deterministic event is an outcome that is sure to occur during a given test.

Impossible event is the outcome, which obviously does not happen during this test.

So, the test is the previous combination of a finite number of dhammas. The end result is a subsequent combination of a finite number of dhammas.

In the absence of a subject of free choice, all events are reduced to random, deterministic and impossible (just as in the physical model).

If there are random events, the topic about the infinite monkeys theorem is valid. If there are no random events, then all events are reduced to deterministic and impossible. If there are no random events, then all possible events are deterministic.

The final combination of dhammas before the manifestation of Nibbana is deterministic event А.

The objection is reduced to the statement that a deterministic event can not occur in an infinite number of tests.

This is possible only if in this infinite set of tests there is no combination of causes and conditions that precedes such a deterministic event А. But this combination - like any test - is also a deterministic event.

If there is no test, there are no reasons for it with conditions, and so we deny the causes and conditions to infinity. In all infinity of causes and conditions, there is not a single combination that could trigger a sequence of steps that ends with a given deterministic event А.

The final combination of dhammas before the manifestation of Nibbana is an impossible event.
User avatar
cappuccino
Posts: 5522
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:45 am

Re: Theravada against mathematics

Post by cappuccino »

The final combination of dhammas before the manifestation of Nibbana is an impossible event.
incredulity
noun
the state of being unwilling or unable to believe something.
"All men's souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine." -Socrates
Good for Your Soul
Post Reply