Dhamma and causality

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JackV
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Dhamma and causality

Post by JackV »

Through the course of my practice it is becoming clearer to me how thoughts and ideas arise, the relationship of cause and effect.

I am curious from seeing this in practice (as basic as the understanding I have is) as to what the position of free will is?

Also If all things arise because of their causes which we inevitably follow round and around without being able to alter our path (when ignorant of causes) what does this make the Dhamma? It seems like the Dhamma (and I suppose specifically Sati) is like something outside of this cycle - bolt cutters to break the chains and their links (I know this isn't the most apt simile but I hope you understand my point)

So is there free will? How does this affect the view or place of Viriya as well.

Apologies for the very unspecific and general way in which I have asked this question but I am having some problems verbalising it properly or formulating it clearly in my head :/
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Re: Dhamma and causality

Post by chownah »

Consider that if we discuss free will then we must decide what it is that has freedom to do the willing....is it your "self"?
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JackV
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Re: Dhamma and causality

Post by JackV »

chownah wrote:Consider that if we discuss free will then we must decide what it is that has freedom to do the willing....is it your "self"?
chownah
Hi Chownah.

Thats what I'm on about. If there are simply elements working in conjunction and reacting to causes (which seems to be the case) then it would seem that there is no Free Will at all, there is only an ongoing cycle of dhammas arising and ceasing. This means, to me at least, that our progression or potential to realise the Truth and see things for how they are is dependant not on how skillfully we practice (since skill itself is under no ones control but the factors which allow it to arise) but dependant on impersonal factors and conditions of which there is no way to alter unless its a natural change over time. This then also seems to devalue Viriya.

I know all of this seems silly really. I mean it's not really going to affect me really if I know one way or the other, I will still continue my Dhamma practice, and that even by saying things like, "it's dependant on impersonal factors" is pointless as this is kind of jhist of Dhamma we knew when we began but.... I'm still stuck on trying to get it out properly. It doesn't seem to be clear cut. Free Will or not? Maybe it's the view of the Self (the aggregates) and concsiouness that complicates things in asking this question - as you pointed out with, "...what it is that has freedom to do the willing....is it your "self"?"

I just have always had the belief that if one is to commit themselves to the path, to truly letting go then there is the potential of achieving liberation either in this life or at some point further. My emperical observations seem to lead me to thinking (currently) that it seems that effort (of the right kind) is useless until the factors which determine the result are ripe. We must continue to practice just in order to wait for it all to fall into place at some later date, that there is no Knowing or realisation to be had, simply a natural progression (or maybe regression) or change that then is the Extinguishing.
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Alex123
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Re: Dhamma and causality

Post by Alex123 »

chownah wrote:Consider that if we discuss free will then we must decide what it is that has freedom to do the willing....is it your "self"?
chownah
You are very right. If there is No Atta who posseses a choice, who can choose?
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Re: Dhamma and causality

Post by mikenz66 »

JackV wrote: I know all of this seems silly really. I mean it's not really going to affect me really if I know one way or the other, I will still continue my Dhamma practice, ...
How it can affect you is if not-self and causality are wrongly grasped and you head down the path of nihilism and/or annihilationism.


The Buddha taught a middle way that avoided annihilationism (and eternalism). E.g. see:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 69#p169966" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
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retrofuturist
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Re: Dhamma and causality

Post by retrofuturist »

:goodpost:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Sam Vara
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Re: Dhamma and causality

Post by Sam Vara »

Hi JackV,

You ask an extremely important point. If it is conceded or understood that there is no Atta (or self, or substance, or uncaused element which can cause other things to happen) then what is the status of cetana, or intention?
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Alex123
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Re: Dhamma and causality

Post by Alex123 »

mikenz66 wrote:
JackV wrote: I know all of this seems silly really. I mean it's not really going to affect me really if I know one way or the other, I will still continue my Dhamma practice, ...
How it can affect you is if not-self and causality are wrongly grasped and you head down the path of nihilism and/or annihilationism.
Or one can believe in ownership of will and thus develop Self View (even if one doesn't admit to that).
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."
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Re: Dhamma and causality

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Alex,
Alex123 wrote:Or one can believe in ownership of will and thus develop Self View (even if one doesn't admit to that).
Be careful here not to conflate self-view, which is a metaphysical proposition removed with (or prior to) stream-entry... with phenomena such as asmi-māna ('I am'-conceit, 'ego-conceit'), mama ('mine'), and the anusaya (tendency) towards false perception of self... all of which are finally broken only with arahantship.

Until you're an arahant, if you're going to own anything, it may as well be your actions... then you'll take accountability for them in accordance with Right Effort. Increasingly wholesome formations are the support for attaining the final cessation of all formations.

metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Alex123
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Re: Dhamma and causality

Post by Alex123 »

Greeting Retro,

Just because one can have tendency to feel "I am" and "mine" until Arhatship, it doesn't mean that the will is really "mine". It is delusion that it is mine.



With best wishes,

Alex
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."
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Re: Dhamma and causality

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Alex,
Alex123 wrote:Just because one can have tendency to feel "I am" and "mine" until Arhatship, it doesn't mean that the will is really "mine". It is delusion that it is mine.
True, but since you are often falsely perceiving a self, it would be wrong at such time to believe that your false perception of self does not own that kamma. No amount of "self-denial" on your part is going to cause the Buddha to take back this teaching...
AN 5.57 wrote:"'I am the owner of my actions (kamma), heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir'...

"[This is a fact that] one should reflect on often, whether one is a woman or a man, lay or ordained...

"Now, based on what line of reasoning should one often reflect... that 'I am the owner of my actions (kamma), heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir'? There are beings who conduct themselves in a bad way in body... in speech... and in mind. But when they often reflect on that fact, that bad conduct in body, speech, and mind will either be entirely abandoned or grow weaker...

"A disciple of the noble ones considers this: 'I am not the only one who is owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator; who — whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir. To the extent that there are beings — past and future, passing away and re-arising — all beings are the owner of their actions, heir to their actions, born of their actions, related through their actions, and live dependent on their actions. Whatever they do, for good or for evil, to that will they fall heir.' When he/she often reflects on this, the [factors of the] path take birth. He/she sticks with that path, develops it, cultivates it. As he/she sticks with that path, develops it and cultivates it, the fetters are abandoned, the obsessions destroyed."
Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Alex123
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Re: Dhamma and causality

Post by Alex123 »

retrofuturist wrote:No amount of "self-denial" on your part is going to cause the Buddha to take back this teaching...
But isn't implying that Kamma (as aggregates) can be "owned" and this controlled?


AN 5.57 wrote:"'I am the owner of my actions (kamma), heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir'...
Surely "'I am the owner of my actions (kamma)" is said conventionally and doesn't imply Atta that owns them. Kamma is not external action, it is internal.
how does self-identification come about?"

"There is the case, friend Visakha, where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

"He assumes feeling to be the self...

"He assumes perception to be the self...

"He assumes (mental) fabrications to be the self...

"He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness. This is how self-identification comes about."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Dhamma and causality

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Alex,
Alex123 wrote:Surely "'I am the owner of my actions (kamma)" is said conventionally and doesn't imply Atta that owns them. Kamma is not external action, it is internal.
Who said anything about "atta" owning anything? Not me. Not the Buddha...

Stay ardently with the Buddha's words in AN 5.57, without retreating into the convenient and erroneous assumption that they're underpinned by false metaphysical views concerning atman.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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contemplans
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Re: Dhamma and causality

Post by contemplans »

JackV,
Free will is the beginning of the path, in the sense that you are the owner of your actions, heir to your actions. You craft your experience. So the path is your effort. You need to make an effort and apply your desire to be free from stress and suffering. While you're creating karma, you are also creating an identity. The path is about making that more skillful on both ends. The two are very much intertwined. Once you reach a level of dropping karma, the self drops.
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Re: Dhamma and causality

Post by Cittasanto »

hi Jack
JackV wrote:So is there free will? How does this affect the view or place of Viriya as well.
There is intentional action, we choose to go for some things and run from others, there is skilled and unskilled action, the four upright efforts are skilled action, the opposite of these is unskilled. it is your choice to pick up a burden or to put it down. no one forces you, it can seam like there is no choice, but each action is a volitional, we choose to do it based on causes and conditions pressent, be it part of the DO sequence directly, or other.

Upright Perspective (right view) is the forerunner and Upright Effort & mindfulness accompany this.
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