Does everything change?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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acinteyyo
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by acinteyyo »

Rahula wrote:Not everything changes.
Energy is constant. Nobody could ever observe energy being created or destroyed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_of_energy" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

But the appearances of this energy change.
I think we have to be careful with such concepts.
"Energy" is a concept, developed only for the purpose to explain certain phenomena within experience. There is no energy to be experienced, only phenomena which can be described with the concept of energy. Same applies for "electrons" or "protons" and so on. They're just fictional concepts whose validity will be accepted as long as they are useful to describe phenomena in experience with tolerably accuracy. Those concepts change in the same way like everything else.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.
chownah
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by chownah »

I don't think that the Budha taught that everything changes.....I think what he taught was that nothing is permanent which ils another thing entirely. If the Buddha actually did teach that everything changes I would appreciate a reference so I can read about it.
chownah
David2
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by David2 »

chownah wrote:I think what he taught was that nothing is permanent which ils another thing entirely.
Also, it is not clear to me what Buddha meant with "nothing". Maybe the Pali word for this has a little different meaning?

Is nibbana permanent according to his teachings? I think, yes. Once you are awakened you have entered nibbana and you will never get back to samsara.
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acinteyyo
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by acinteyyo »

AN 3.47 Sankhata Sutta: Fabricated
"Monks, these three are fabricated characteristics of what is fabricated. Which three? Arising is discernible, passing away is discernible, alteration (literally, other-ness) while staying is discernible.

"These are three fabricated characteristics of what is fabricated.

"Now these three are unfabricated characteristics of what is unfabricated. Which three? No arising is discernible, no passing away is discernible, no alteration while staying is discernible.

"These are three unfabricated characteristics of what is unfabricated."
Not exactly "everything changes" but "arising, passing away, alteration while staying of what is fabricated is discernible".

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.
chownah
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by chownah »

Rahula wrote:
chownah wrote:I think what he taught was that nothing is permanent which ils another thing entirely.
Also, it is not clear to me what Buddha meant with "nothing". Maybe the Pali word for this has a little different meaning?

Is nibbana permanent according to his teachings? I think, yes. Once you are awakened you have entered nibbana and you will never get back to samsara.
Thanks for posting this.....I was being a bit sloppy in my posting.....I think I would have done better to have posted that I think what he taught was that all conditioned things are impermanent which is another thing entirely.

In the same vein I think that "you" do not "enter" nibbana....
chownah
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kirk5a
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by kirk5a »

chownah wrote:I don't think that the Budha taught that everything changes.....I think what he taught was that nothing is permanent which ils another thing entirely. If the Buddha actually did teach that everything changes I would appreciate a reference so I can read about it.
chownah
What the Buddha said was "sabbe sankhara anicca" = all conditioned things are impermanent.

If someone wants to try to show that by sankhara the Buddha meant "everything" that would be interesting to see.

As I understand it, when the Buddha meant "everything" he used "dhamma" as in "sabbe dhamma anatta"
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
meindzai
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by meindzai »

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
SamKR wrote:I think "change" implies [or should imply, in my opinion] change in at least one of these: location, speed, direction, time, frequency, wavelength, etc. etc...

If there is change [even if very slightly] in any one of these, then that is change. Isn't it?
But what practical application does this have? Could such knowledge be liberating?

Metta,
Retro. :)
I think it's a useful distinction, because people get hung up on a singular definition of anicca, and I think it can imply a lot of things other than just "change." Still, while science is an interesting place to look for parallels, but it is important not to get too hung up on what science says with regards to one's spiritual practice. I find it lends itself to the "Buddhism is better than other religions because it agrees with science" meme. Then we get the Dalai Lama's blunder statement about science changing Buddhism, etc. etc.

-M
daverupa
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by daverupa »

meindzai wrote:Then we get the Dalai Lama's blunder statement about science changing Buddhism, etc. etc.

-M
I'd suggest this blunder statement, if it's the one I recall, has to do with ideas about cosmogenesis and biogenesis with respect to Mahayana cosmology, not with the fundamentals of the Dhamma. Watching out for the science-spirituality meme is a very good warning, however, and is why I often harp on the fact of the Dhamma being wholly non-ontological.

In thinking further on the issue, imo the Dhamma is more phenomenological than epistemological, as answering the OP's question has shown: it isn't that this or that thing does or doesn't change (ontological), nor even whether we can know what the nature of change is (epistemological, although the Dhamma can respond; cf. Nanavira's FS), it's that nowhere is there a sankhara that lasts unchanged, and this is the important thing to see for oneself.

:buddha1:
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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cooran
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by cooran »

Rahula said: Is nibbana permanent according to his teachings? I think,yes. Once you are awakened you have entered nibbana and you will never get back to samsara.
Nibbana is not a place and no-one enters it. These links may be of interest:

‘’One cannot too often and too emphatically stress the fact that not only for the actual realization of the goal of Nibbāna, but also for a theoretical understanding of it, it is an indispensable preliminary condition to grasp fully the truth of anattā (q.v.), the egolessness and insubstantiality of all forms of existence. Without such an understanding, one will necessarily misconceive Nibbāna - according to one's either materialistic or metaphysical leanings - either as annihilation of an ego, or as an eternal state of existence into which an ego or self enters or with which it merges. Hence it is said:
"Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found;
The deed is, but no doer of the deed is there;
Nibbāna is, but not the man that enters it;
The path is, but no traveler on it is seen." ‘ (Vis.M. XVI)
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/n_r/nibbaana.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

What is Nibbana? ¬ Bhikkhu Pesala
http://www.yellowrobe.com/teachings/nib ... bbana.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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chownah
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by chownah »

daverupa wrote: Watching out for the science-spirituality meme is a very good warning, however,
Science is just a way to look at experience and to try to understand how it works.....Buddha suggests (I think) that we look at experience and try to understand how it works.....

Some scientists are deluded and make claims for their understanding beyond what is appropriate....some Buddhists are deluded and make claims for their understanding beyond what is apparopriate.......

Watching out for the science-spirituality meme is probably a good thing as long as you look out for both sides....

chownah
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Nibbida
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by Nibbida »

"We must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images and establishing mental connections."
--Neils Bohr

"Isolated material particles are abstractions, their properties being definable and observable only through their interaction with other systems."
--Neils Bohr

Even scientists are dealing with mental constructs of reality, and not "reality" itself. To view these as elementary particles, as solid, separate, permanent things is just a concept.
SamKR
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by SamKR »

acinteyyo wrote:
Rahula wrote:Not everything changes.
Energy is constant. Nobody could ever observe energy being created or destroyed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_of_energy" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

But the appearances of this energy change.
I think we have to be careful with such concepts.
"Energy" is a concept, developed only for the purpose to explain certain phenomena within experience. There is no energy to be experienced, only phenomena which can be described with the concept of energy. Same applies for "electrons" or "protons" and so on. They're just fictional concepts whose validity will be accepted as long as they are useful to describe phenomena in experience with tolerably accuracy. Those concepts change in the same way like everything else.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Very True. "Energy", "Electron", "proton" or any other physical thing [how small or big it is, and how fast or slow it is changing], is just a concept.
SamKR
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by SamKR »

meindzai wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
SamKR wrote:I think "change" implies [or should imply, in my opinion] change in at least one of these: location, speed, direction, time, frequency, wavelength, etc. etc...

If there is change [even if very slightly] in any one of these, then that is change. Isn't it?
But what practical application does this have? Could such knowledge be liberating?

Metta,
Retro. :)
I think it's a useful distinction, because people get hung up on a singular definition of anicca, and I think it can imply a lot of things other than just "change." Still, while science is an interesting place to look for parallels, but it is important not to get too hung up on what science says with regards to one's spiritual practice. I find it lends itself to the "Buddhism is better than other religions because it agrees with science" meme. Then we get the Dalai Lama's blunder statement about science changing Buddhism, etc. etc.

-M
I agree. I also don't see much of worth in trying to prove that the Buddhism agrees with science. They have different approaches of knowing the "reality", and their objectives of knowing are completely different.

But it is sometimes quite encouraging when we see that the modern science agrees [at least regarding physical world] with what the Buddha said 2500 years ago. For example, this thing about impermanence, and change. Modern science implies that everything in this physical world is changing [and arising and passing away] unimaginably fast. And the Buddha also said similar things about "loka".
chownah wrote:
daverupa wrote: Watching out for the science-spirituality meme is a very good warning, however,
Some scientists are deluded and make claims for their understanding beyond what is appropriate....some Buddhists are deluded and make claims for their understanding beyond what is apparopriate.......

chownah
True. :thumbsup:
David2
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by David2 »

cooran wrote:
Rahula said: Is nibbana permanent according to his teachings? I think,yes. Once you are awakened you have entered nibbana and you will never get back to samsara.
Nibbana is not a place and no-one enters it.
Yeah, I know, i wrote a little bit imprecise. It is actually pretty hard sometimes to write precisely if you are not a native speaker of English. :tongue:
SamKR
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Re: Does everything change?

Post by SamKR »

Rahula wrote:
cooran wrote:
Rahula said: Is nibbana permanent according to his teachings? I think,yes. Once you are awakened you have entered nibbana and you will never get back to samsara.
Nibbana is not a place and no-one enters it.
Yeah, I know, i wrote a little bit imprecise. It is actually pretty hard sometimes to write precisely if you are not a native speaker of English. :tongue:
Hi Rahula,

Yes, it's my problem too. Nonnative speakers (like us) tend to first think in their own language and then translate to English. That can distort the meaning of what they actually want to say.

Talking about nibbana and "entering" nibbana: It depends upon how you define "entering" (like you said in one of the previous posts regarding "changing").

:namaste:
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