Arahants and magic tricks

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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dhammacoustic
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by dhammacoustic »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:55 pm I know this might be a silly question, but is it possible that Arahants get deceived by a magic trick?

What i mean is: they do not necessarily get impressed by it, but can the trick work on them without knowing how it works?
yes, the trick can work on an arahant. because understanding how the trick is done is a technical / epistemological problem, whereas the arahant's knowledge covers the ontology of “being”.

an arahant wouldn't directly know about the mechanics of a piano. but he would clearly understand the meaning, the why of its existence.
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by chownah »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:55 pm I know this might be a silly question, but is it possible that Arahants get deceived by a magic trick?

What i mean is: they do not necessarily get impressed by it, but can the trick work on them without knowing how it works?
I know how some magic tricks work but they still deceive me in that there is the appearance of impossible things happening.....but I wouldn't say that I am impressed.

I think you should clarify what you mean by an arahant being deceived and also what you mean by the trick working on them.
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by form »

For example, I can tell the Japanese "researcher" that claimed he can capture loving kindness or aversion in the microscopic structure of water is not true, but some monks are deceived by him.
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by confusedlayman »

When entire existance is illusion magic why arhants has to beleive in small magic in big magic
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by binocular »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:26 pmI am aware of that, which is based on being playful with reference points. Where does the trickery lies: the magician inside consciousnesses? or the consciousness where the magician appears? or both? or none?
From what I've heard, the central tenet among magicians and conmen is that magic works because people want to be deceived and enjoy the deception.

I take it that an arahant has no desire to be deceived, so magic becomes moot for him.

Secondly, when exactly would an arahant find themselves in a situation where they would be exposed to a magician/conman? Like when a lay person would merely pretend to put food into the arhant's bowl?
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Bundokji
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Bundokji »

dhammacoustic wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:25 am yes, the trick can work on an arahant. because understanding how the trick is done is a technical / epistemological problem, whereas the arahant's knowledge covers the ontology of “being”.

an arahant wouldn't directly know about the mechanics of a piano. but he would clearly understand the meaning, the why of its existence.
If i understand your answer correctly, the Arahant is closer to a philosopher than a scientist.

While epistemology can be technically separated from ontology, the two seem to be conjoined. The four noble truths includes both the why "the second noble truth" and the how "the fourth noble truth.

One form of deception we are told that Arhahants are free from is dreaming. Not all dreams are equally delusional as some dreams have predictive power about the future. The Buddha knew the exact workings of Kamma.

So, if we present Arahant knowledge as two extreme: He knows that all phenomena are without substance, or that he is literally omniscient. Probably the truth is somewhere between the two.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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Bundokji
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Bundokji »

chownah wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:56 am I think you should clarify what you mean by an arahant being deceived and also what you mean by the trick working on them.
Good question. It is as difficult as framing in what particular sense samsara is deceptive because a reference point is always needed. In samsara, the reference point is usually nama rupa that is perceived to be persisting, and everything else is being measured against it. In magic, its the laws of nature as they operate normally or perceived as working predictably.

In epistemology, there is always an underlying hypothesis. When a certain phenomena does not operate according to the hypothesis, this leaves us with one of two options: either discarding the hypothesis as false, or knowing why a certain phenomena behaved differently without discarding the hypothesis, but explaining the exception.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Mahabrahma »

Magic is a real thing. And there are references to it in Scripture :tongue: .
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

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Ask Daniel Ingram if you really want to know.

https://www.integrateddaniel.info/

His book is really good.
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Bundokji
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Bundokji »

confusedlayman wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 4:24 am When entire existance is illusion magic why arhants has to beleive in small magic in big magic
I understand your point, but when you use "entire existence" as a main reference point, you do not explain what exactly makes it different from any other thought. This has to do with the issue of reliability. The false or the deceptive is known in contrast to the predictable or reliable. If magic tricks are the norm, then it would be hardly plausible to call them "tricks".
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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Bundokji
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Bundokji »

binocular wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:12 am From what I've heard, the central tenet among magicians and conmen is that magic works because people want to be deceived and enjoy the deception.

I take it that an arahant has no desire to be deceived, so magic becomes moot for him.
I think you raise a good point there. In Buddhism, desire is often described as a defilement. Some analogies are given to liken purifying the mind with purifying water. When water is pure, it becomes transparent and one can see through it.

It is a central tenet to focus on the lack of substance or essence in conditioned phenomena, but the teachings remain largely silent on how a mind free from the main delusion functions in terms of ability, speed and the kinds of knowledge and abilities that become accessible to it.
Secondly, when exactly would an arahant find themselves in a situation where they would be exposed to a magician/conman? Like when a lay person would merely pretend to put food into the arhant's bowl?
This is possibly the silly part of my question because the aims of the two are very different. The magician aims to excite the senses and seek attention and approval, while the Arahant is peaceful and dispassionate who would persuade people to stay away from such endeavors.

And yet, in religions, one of the main characters in storyology is obsessed with deceiving, whether Mara in Indian religions or Satan in Abrahamic religions. We are also told that saints have magic or psychic powers but they use it for different purposes than evil ones. In Mahayana Buddhism, Malirepa sought Arahantship after mastering magic. The miracles performed by prophets are similar to magic. Both challenge the ordinary mind to reproduce the same phenomena.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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Bundokji
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Bundokji »

form wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 4:01 am For example, I can tell the Japanese "researcher" that claimed he can capture loving kindness or aversion in the microscopic structure of water is not true, but some monks are deceived by him.
Traditional healing or medicine before discovering germs linked health and sickness to good and evil powers. Until today, we encounter Buddhists who have little faith in certain aspects of modern science and focus more on the workings of kamma.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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Bundokji
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Bundokji »

Mahabrahma wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 11:12 am Magic is a real thing. And there are references to it in Scripture :tongue: .
It seems to have been more widely accepted in ancient (and possibly modern) India than in the west. In my region, people still believe in evil eye for example. It is difficult to tell to what extent certain phenomena are explained in terms of expectations than in terms of real existence or non-existence, something Buddhism teaches us not to cling to.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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Mahabrahma
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Mahabrahma »

Bundokji wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 11:49 am
Mahabrahma wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 11:12 am Magic is a real thing. And there are references to it in Scripture :tongue: .
It seems to have been more widely accepted in ancient (and possibly modern) India than in the west. In my region, people still believe in evil eye for example. It is difficult to tell to what extent certain phenomena are explained in terms of expectations than in terms of real existence or non-existence, something Buddhism teaches us not to cling to.
It's important to perceive the world correctly, and there is a whole invisible world out there. It is good to accept what the Scriptures tell us about certain phenomena, especially the Scriptures of the path we have decided to follow, so that an actual framework based on Loving Teaching is developed within. The ancient sages knew more about the world than we do today, they simply didn't abuse it and rip it apart like modern so called scientists. Real knowledge develops in the heart of Love, and that is the real way facts can be perceived. Therefore the closer one is to being Loving in every aspect of their life, the closer they are to finding the wisdom that embraces all Species, because True Love is the finest of wisdoms and is the Buddha Eye that understands all phenomena as they are.
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Bundokji
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Bundokji »

Mahabrahma wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:01 pm It's important to perceive the world correctly, and there is a whole invisible world out there. It is good to accept what the Scriptures tell us about certain phenomena, especially the Scriptures of the path we have decided to follow, so that an actual framework based on Loving Teaching is developed within. The ancient sages knew more about the world than we do today, they simply didn't abuse it and rip it apart like modern so called scientists. Real knowledge develops in the heart of Love, and that is the real way facts can be perceived. Therefore the closer one is to being Loving in every aspect of their life, the closer they are to finding the wisdom that embraces all Species, because True Love is the finest of wisdoms and is the Buddha Eye that understands all phenomena as they are.
A part of developing a loving mind/heart is to know how to deal with evil. Magic itself, predictably, is divided into white magic and black magic. Different schools developed different methods on how to deal with this. If evil does not work,similar to magic, people would have given up on it by now. Some paths utilizes more integration of evil or desire such as Tantra which seem to take magic more seriously. Other paths are more straightforward in separating the two such as Theravada.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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