Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Quantum Foam
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Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by Quantum Foam »

Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote in his Tractatus Logicus:

"Not how the world is, but that it is, is the mystery"

I've been wondering about this question for a long time. Even as a child I asked myself why anything even exists. At first glance, the question may even seem mundane, but if you take a closer look, you can see the bizarre nature of our existence. We have hands that have fingers, planets are round and are in the black and infinite universe. Who came out of nowhere and is expanding into nothing. There is space and time. The question is why is all this there at all? There might as well have been nothing. But there is something and we can all perceive it. Then there is the phenomenon of consciousness, which also seems bizarre if you just look at it without any conditioning, preferably from the side, prosaic.

When I think about it, I come out of my bedroom to the Big Bang, from there (unfortunately?) To God, because no matter how I imagine it, you almost have to end at something that was the beginning that is outside of time and space. Even if our reality is a matrix or simulation, it would have to have been created by something and the world of the creators of the simulation could also be a simulation, but it all ends at the creator.And if the Buddhist cosmology is correct with all gods and hells, then this must also have had a beginning. Exactly the same is true when there are parallel universes and other dimensions. It could also be that we fundamentally do not understand reality, it would be the same as an ant to explain that we inhabit a planet. Either way you end up there. One option would be the Hindu, we are the god who forgot he was playing hide-and-seek.

Now to my question: What answer could the Buddha give us to this question? Or Theravada Buddhism in general? I think the question would probably not be answered by the Buddha because it would fall within the realm of speculation. And then the poison arrow comparison would probably come. But maybe I'm wrong.

Here is a Wikipedia entry that illustrates this question very well:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_there ... ing_at_all

And an introduction by Jim Holt:


The video is also very good for contemplating the question more deeply:


(Sorry for my english, I use a google translator)
form
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Re: Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by form »

Depend on conditions.
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Bundokji
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Re: Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by Bundokji »

Things exist because of conditions and cease because of conditions.
I think the question would probably not be answered by the Buddha because it would fall within the realm of speculation. And then the poison arrow comparison would probably come. But maybe I'm wrong.
I think you get this right. The Buddhist practice develops dispassion including the metaphysical impulse that bring these kind of questions into being.
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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Ceisiwr
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Re: Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by Ceisiwr »

At Sāvatthī.

“Mendicants, transmigration has no known beginning. No first point is found of sentient beings roaming and transmigrating, hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving. Suppose a person was to make the whole earth into clay balls the size of jujube seeds. They’d lay them down, saying: ‘This is my father, this is my grandfather.’ The whole earth would run out before that person’s fathers and grandfathers.

Why is that? Transmigration has no known beginning. No first point is found of sentient beings roaming and transmigrating, hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving. For such a long time you have undergone suffering, agony, and disaster, swelling the cemeteries. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.”
https://suttacentral.net/sn15.2/en/sujato
“No one in the world, Dhotaka,
can I release from doubting.
But knowing the most excellent Dhamma,
you will cross over the flood."


Mettagūmāṇavapucchā
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Quantum Foam
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Re: Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by Quantum Foam »

Bundokji wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:22 am Things exist because of conditions and cease because of conditions.
I think the question would probably not be answered by the Buddha because it would fall within the realm of speculation. And then the poison arrow comparison would probably come. But maybe I'm wrong.
I think you get this right. The Buddhist practice develops dispassion including the metaphysical impulse that bring these kind of questions into being.
Yes but conditions can only exist if there was something before, or do I not understand?
form wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:17 am Depend on conditions.
Here the same. Conditions can only become conditions when they have a space where they can exist, I cannot have conditions if the world had not existed. Conditions require a BEFORE, a world or a reality in which they exist. It must have started at some point.
Ceisiwr wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:23 am
At Sāvatthī.

“Mendicants, transmigration has no known beginning. No first point is found of sentient beings roaming and transmigrating, hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving. Suppose a person was to make the whole earth into clay balls the size of jujube seeds. They’d lay them down, saying: ‘This is my father, this is my grandfather.’ The whole earth would run out before that person’s fathers and grandfathers.

Why is that? Transmigration has no known beginning. No first point is found of sentient beings roaming and transmigrating, hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving. For such a long time you have undergone suffering, agony, and disaster, swelling the cemeteries. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.”
https://suttacentral.net/sn15.2/en/sujato
But maybe the Buddha didn't see the very beginning?
justindesilva
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Re: Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by justindesilva »

Quantum Foam wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:00 am Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote in his Tractatus Logicus:

"Not how the world is, but that it is, is the mystery"

I've been wondering about this question for a long time. Even as a child I asked myself why anything even exists. At first glance, the question may even seem mundane, but if you take a closer look, you can see the bizarre nature of our existence. We have hands that have fingers, planets are round and are in the black and infinite universe. Who came out of nowhere and is expanding into nothing. There is space and time. The question is why is all this there at all? There might as well have been nothing. But there is something and we can all perceive it. Then there is the phenomenon of consciousness, which also seems bizarre if you just look at it without any conditioning, preferably from the side, prosaic.

When I think about it, I come out of my bedroom to the Big Bang, from there (unfortunately?) To God, because no matter how I imagine it, you almost have to end at something that was the beginning that is outside of time and space. Even if our reality is a matrix or simulation, it would have to have been created by something and the world of the creators of the simulation could also be a simulation, but it all ends at the creator.And if the Buddhist cosmology is correct with all gods and hells, then this must also have had a beginning. Exactly the same is true when there are parallel universes and other dimensions. It could also be that we fundamentally do not understand reality, it would be the same as an ant to explain that we inhabit a planet. Either way you end up there. One option would be the Hindu, we are the god who forgot he was playing hide-and-seek.

Now to my question: What answer could the Buddha give us to this question? Or Theravada Buddhism in general? I think the question would probably not be answered by the Buddha because it would fall within the realm of speculation. And then the poison arrow comparison would probably come. But maybe I'm wrong.

Here is a Wikipedia entry that illustrates this question very well:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_there ... ing_at_all

And an introduction by Jim Holt:


The video is also very good for contemplating the question more deeply:


(Sorry for my english, I use a google translator)
Out of many suttas the so called beginning is expounded in Agganna sutta. Agganna sutta explains that the world in the beginning was surrounded by a homogeneous nutrition which need not be eaten but could be absorbed. When the earth was formed illuminous beings from abhasaara Loka moved in and was fed by the said homogenous nutrition.
This sutta explains that beings got sperated as male and female as a result of extreme desire while foods later developped as kabalika ahara meaning coarse foods or foods with hard surfaces, this too as a result of extreme unending desires. Evolution and devolution with diminishing age as a result of emotion and desires ( tanha) is well explained in this Sutta.
If we try to answer the question as to why we exist on this earth , the Agganna Sutta, rahulovada Sutta are two of them in
explanation.
While I have addressed this quest my research has been shared by me in the book " Morality through a telescope"
Pl. open web cosmo-bodh.com and read the two books.
The connection of Apo tejo vayo patavi in both human system and earth is mostly addressed here.
Finally it is best to understand that beings are organisms as is also well explained by rev. Punnaji Thero, while emotion or Tanha ties this organism to lasting living as samsara.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by Ceisiwr »

Quantum Foam wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:42 am
But maybe the Buddha didn't see the very beginning?
He states that a beginning point is not evident. If I say I know there is a beginning point, someone can say "Ah, but that's because you can't see fully". If I say there is not, someone can say "Ah, but that's because you can't see fully". Since it cannot truly be known, its a vexing and pointless question to ask.
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Mon Oct 05, 2020 5:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
“No one in the world, Dhotaka,
can I release from doubting.
But knowing the most excellent Dhamma,
you will cross over the flood."


Mettagūmāṇavapucchā
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Re: Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by SteRo »

Quantum Foam wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:00 am Now to my question: What answer could the Buddha give us to this question? Or Theravada Buddhism in general?
The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ
form
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Re: Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by form »

Quantum Foam wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:42 am
Bundokji wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:22 am Things exist because of conditions and cease because of conditions.
I think the question would probably not be answered by the Buddha because it would fall within the realm of speculation. And then the poison arrow comparison would probably come. But maybe I'm wrong.
I think you get this right. The Buddhist practice develops dispassion including the metaphysical impulse that bring these kind of questions into being.
Yes but conditions can only exist if there was something before, or do I not understand?
form wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:17 am Depend on conditions.
Here the same. Conditions can only become conditions when they have a space where they can exist, I cannot have conditions if the world had not existed. Conditions require a BEFORE, a world or a reality in which they exist. It must have started at some point.
Ceisiwr wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:23 am
At Sāvatthī.

“Mendicants, transmigration has no known beginning. No first point is found of sentient beings roaming and transmigrating, hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving. Suppose a person was to make the whole earth into clay balls the size of jujube seeds. They’d lay them down, saying: ‘This is my father, this is my grandfather.’ The whole earth would run out before that person’s fathers and grandfathers.

Why is that? Transmigration has no known beginning. No first point is found of sentient beings roaming and transmigrating, hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving. For such a long time you have undergone suffering, agony, and disaster, swelling the cemeteries. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.”
https://suttacentral.net/sn15.2/en/sujato
But maybe the Buddha didn't see the very beginning?
The Buddha said he cannot see a beginning..... Meaning he also do not know the origin.

The gist of his teaching will be about dukka. Origin, cause, cessation and the way to. Without sticking to these, one will stray.
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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

Everything and Nothing
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2071460/

Everything and Nothing: What is Everything? (Jim Al-Khalili) | Science Documentary | Science
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXbIzc3bcT8

Everything and Nothing: What is Nothing? (Jim Al-Khalili) | Science Documentary | Science
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKPv8zApee0
:namaste:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. http://translate.google.com.br

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/
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Bundokji
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Re: Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by Bundokji »

Quantum Foam wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:42 am Yes but conditions can only exist if there was something before, or do I not understand?
What you did is to turn the conditions into things and then explain them through other conditions. What you seem to be missing is that this is endless (explaining things through conditions, and then turning conditions into things and explain it by other conditions). This is exactly why, conditioned things have no ultimate nature. When the teachings emphasized the lack of essence or ultimate nature in conditioned phenomena, is to end the proliferation of views, which is caused by passion.
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: Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta »

Quantum Foam wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:00 am ...
Big Bang ... God ... time and space ... cosmology ... all gods and hells ... dimensions ... ant ... planet ... Hindu ...
...


These may be non-liberating contextual truths, at best, individual-wise.

What's important, imo, is to realize the four truths of the noble ones.


:heart:
.


🅢🅐🅑🅑🅔 🅓🅗🅐🅜🅜🅐 🅐🅝🅐🅣🅣🅐

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Re: Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by cappuccino »

Quantum Foam wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:00 am Why is there something rather than nothing?
there is nothing, a lot of nothing


there is something, a lot of something


both concepts are reality


:anjali:
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Re: Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by form »

Need to go in between. Even the Buddha will recall, long long time ago, he was so and so.
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Re: Why is there something rather than nothing? (Theravadan answer?)

Post by takso »

In a Buddhist context, dependent nature is known as samsāra. Samsāra literally means continuous flow - referring to a repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth. This is due to the fact of its relevance to inherent existence and anything that inherently exists would not involve change. The inherent quality of the dependent nature is emptiness. In other words, emptiness is the underlying element that exists universally in the dependent nature. Besides, the emptiness of phenomena is both the cause and consequence of the dependent nature of phenomena. This means it exists in the way it appears in direct perception, without the need to reference of any other entity and is completely defined by its own nature. Nothing can be added to it and no change in the external conditions can affect it.

On another front, energy is a quality that can neither be created nor destroyed and the sum of all energies in a system is a constant or never changes; as per the Law of Conservation of Energy. Therefore, one could conclude that both emptiness and energy are fundamental qualities in the system of dependent nature because every single thing or happening would involve with it, without exception. In fact, energy is merely an expression that emptiness exists. When one sees into energy, one sees into emptiness; when one sees into emptiness, one sees into energy. This is the rationale for the saying, “Form is Emptiness.”

The principle in effect: -

Seeing into form is seeing into matter, seeing into matter is seeing into energy and seeing into energy is seeing into emptiness. At the same time, emptiness is a necessary prerequisite for any objects to exist; without it, the object would be impossible and this hypothesis attributes to the saying, “Emptiness is Form.”

In the dependent nature, there would be scenarios of cause and effect. Frankly speaking, these are two different aspects of the same thing i.e. a cause is also an effect and vice versa. For instance, Cause 1 conjures up Effect 1, Effect 1 conjures up Cause 1-1, etc. As such, cause and effect are interchanged, interweaved and interrelated with one another, indefinitely. This is how the conventional reality works i.e. not in-linear but in interdependence, interwoven and interrelation since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive network of existence. In other words, cause and effect cannot be referred to independently in a linear point of reference and as a result, there is no first cause or effect to be found in the dependent nature. On the contrary, one should explicate the scenarios of cause and effect as: this arising, that arises; this ceasing, that ceases. At the end of the day, there is always something out there in the realm of something and there is always nothing out there in the realm of nothing,
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