Bases for Skillful Action?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
santa100
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by santa100 »

Contemplans wrote:
But Christians hold that God does not, which bring him out of the contraries you cite. He is pure actuality, pure being. He doesn't depend on anything to exist. He would still exist if the concept of evil, or atheism did not exist. This is what you are not addressing. I am pointing to something that is singular, not dual, which is outside of dependent conditioning.
Then maybe this is just a matter of semantics because others and myself in this thread already mentioned Nibbana, the "un-binding", the transcendence of all dualities and conditioned phenomena. If these are the criteria for your definition of God, then maybe we're referring to the same "thing" afterall. Just notice that the "Gods" (or devas) in Buddhist vocabulary carry a different meaning: they're highly evolved sentient beings endowed with great merits and powers, but are still yet-to-be-enlightened sentient beings nevertheless..
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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by Khalil Bodhi »

Contemplans,

I was wrong...the bait has been swallowed down into the innards. Let us say we grant that your definition of God as being equivalent to Nibbana is correct. How, then, does this have anything to do with praxis? We have been speaking in terms of ontologies but I have yet to hear you propose how your belief puts an end to, let alone addresses the question of suffering. I would be interested to hear your repsonse. Mettaya.
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

The Stoic Buddhist: https://www.quora.com/q/dwxmcndlgmobmeu ... pOR2p0uAdH
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whynotme
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by whynotme »

santa100 wrote:
Contemplans wrote:
For if the ethical system is not absolute, then how can one make statements that killing beings is always bad, or stealing is always bad? What becomes of the vinaya of the dhamma-vinaya?
The Buddha was a practical physician who would remove the arrow from a man's chest instead of just sit and explain what type of arrow, or who shot him, etc.. Buddhist ethical system is not absolute in the sense that it's flexible, practical, and conducive to the elimination of suffering. It focuses on what is skillful/un-skillful instead of good/bad. That's why there's only statement like "abstain from killing", instead of "killing is always bad"; or "abstain from stealing" instead of "stealing is always bad"; The problem with "absolute" statements, systems, doctrines are that they open the door to extreme attachment to views. This form of attachment is very dangerous because if there's something absolutely good, there must be something absolutely evil, and if I was absolutely correct, you would've been absolutely wrong. This is where conflict arises. And this is the beginning of suffering.
well said :clap:
IMO the arrow example is not there to prohibit people from discovering the world but only after taking the wrong view away.
THere's an interesting story I'd like to share:

"Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a beautiful young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed.

As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. "Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!"

"Brother," the second monk replied, "I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her."
Monks should not intentionally touch women, there are rules about it.
Please stop following me
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contemplans
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by contemplans »

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Contemplans,

I was wrong...the bait has been swallowed down into the innards. Let us say we grant that your definition of God as being equivalent to Nibbana is correct. How, then, does this have anything to do with praxis? We have been speaking in terms of ontologies but I have yet to hear you propose how your belief puts an end to, let alone addresses the question of suffering. I would be interested to hear your repsonse. Mettaya.
Well, it seems to me that Nibbana is a description of the state of deification (impermanent beings attaining to a state of divine qualities), not of God Himself. But going off of karma a little, but related still, I always had a problem with behaving as though God didn't exist. I went through twists and turns in my mind to bury the Catholicism (albeit imperfect) that I grew up with. Don't think about God. Don't think about God. Catholics say there is a God, we can know He exists with certainty, we can only understand Him imperfectly, and we can base a life of praxis from this reality. Now there is also the factor of belief, and that includes Revelation and Faith. But beside that, there is the factor that right view always amounted to me as more than just avoiding endless discussion about metaphysics, but also amounted to denying that God which exists, which would seem to be the only thing which would make Nibbana possible. But if we are to avoid the topic of God because, some may say, we can't see Him or sense Him, then what of any discussion about the path and Nibbana, since we can't see or sense that either. But then some say, Oh, yes we can. Come and see. And the Christians also say, Oh, yes we can. Come and see. But if there is a God, which I believe logic proves quite clearly, no need to get caught in a net of views, then why not adapt our behavior to acknowledge that reality as the theistic schools do? The Wats that I've been to have statues of Buddha, pictures of accomplished teachers, dhamma wheels on the wall, but what about some symbol of the divine? Some symbol of the source of the existence of the state of Nibbana? Is Buddhism's goal so ineffable, that no image is possible, like Islam, or something like that?
perkele
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by perkele »

Hello contemplans!

Just some remarks.
contemplans wrote:
Well, it seems to me that Nibbana is a description of the state of deification (impermanent beings attaining to a state of divine qualities), not of God Himself.
The ethymological meaning of Nibbana is "extinction". The Buddha speaks about cessation of fermentations and so on. Divine qualities are not implied.
In fact I have not attained Nibbana myself, but from what I understood, Nibbana can be characterized as the end of craving, the end of ignorance, or the end of suffering. And these three are equivalent.
But beside that, there is the factor that right view always amounted to me as more than just avoiding endless discussion about metaphysics, but also amounted to denying that God which exists, which would seem to be the only thing which would make Nibbana possible.
That is your mistake, this view that Nibbana is not possible without an absolute God. In fact, it has nothing to do with an absolute God.
Some little comments on your (in my eyes rather contrived) argumentation to support this view follow.

You cited Thomas Aquines five proofs for the existence of an absolute being:
1) things subject to impermanence and change cannot have ever come into reality without a first permanent unchanged thing to give rise to the impermanence and change.
This argument seems to be very popular. But it is not valid.
Things subject to impermanence and change cannot have come into existence without a cause. That seems evident to me.
But why should there have been a first cause? Why not an infinite regress of causes? From where comes the axiom that an infinite chain of causes preceding causes is impossible? I have never understood that whenever I heard this argument.
So please explain this axiom to me, if you can.
2) That we know of no thing that is the efficient cause of itself, because it would be prior to itself, which is impossible.
Okay... (infinite chain of causes, as above)
3) That all impermanent things have the potential to not be, and that being the case, then nothing would actually exist, so there has to be something that is pure being/pure actuality that exists -- a necessary being.
This seems contrived and meaningless to me, although I have been hooked on this same thought previously, too.
Why should "existence" exist? Because of its name? Existence is just a concept, and so is nonexistence.
The main thing to (mis)understand here is that logic operates on concepts, not on reality. You can make up all kinds of concepts in language with some loose correspondence to experiential reality. But then when these concepts refer to more abstract and subtle aspects of experience and you draw rigid conclusions from your concepts things are not as they "are" anymore.
I hope I make some sense. If not I blame it on the limitations of language. :P

(4) and (5) don't make any sense to me. So I can't say anything meaningful about them.
But if we are to avoid the topic of God because, some may say, we can't see Him or sense Him, then what of any discussion about the path and Nibbana, since we can't see or sense that either. But then some say, Oh, yes we can. Come and see. And the Christians also say, Oh, yes we can. Come and see. But if there is a God, which I believe logic proves quite clearly, no need to get caught in a net of views, then why not adapt our behavior to acknowledge that reality as the theistic schools do?
If the existence of an absolute God could be proven, this would indeed be reasonable. But I don't see that that is the case.
The Wats that I've been to have statues of Buddha, pictures of accomplished teachers, dhamma wheels on the wall, but what about some symbol of the divine? Some symbol of the source of the existence of the state of Nibbana? Is Buddhism's goal so ineffable, that no image is possible, like Islam, or something like that?
Why allude to something "divine", to some higher state of being? Longing for an elusive higher state of being would only perpetuate suffering. But reverence to accomplished teachers who are living examples of morality and wisdom that leads to satisfaction.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by Khalil Bodhi »

contemplans wrote:
Khalil Bodhi wrote:Contemplans,

I was wrong...the bait has been swallowed down into the innards. Let us say we grant that your definition of God as being equivalent to Nibbana is correct. How, then, does this have anything to do with praxis? We have been speaking in terms of ontologies but I have yet to hear you propose how your belief puts an end to, let alone addresses the question of suffering. I would be interested to hear your repsonse. Mettaya.
Well, it seems to me that Nibbana is a description of the state of deification (impermanent beings attaining to a state of divine qualities), not of God Himself. But going off of karma a little, but related still, I always had a problem with behaving as though God didn't exist. I went through twists and turns in my mind to bury the Catholicism (albeit imperfect) that I grew up with. Don't think about God. Don't think about God. Catholics say there is a God, we can know He exists with certainty, we can only understand Him imperfectly, and we can base a life of praxis from this reality. Now there is also the factor of belief, and that includes Revelation and Faith. But beside that, there is the factor that right view always amounted to me as more than just avoiding endless discussion about metaphysics, but also amounted to denying that God which exists, which would seem to be the only thing which would make Nibbana possible. But if we are to avoid the topic of God because, some may say, we can't see Him or sense Him, then what of any discussion about the path and Nibbana, since we can't see or sense that either. But then some say, Oh, yes we can. Come and see. And the Christians also say, Oh, yes we can. Come and see. But if there is a God, which I believe logic proves quite clearly, no need to get caught in a net of views, then why not adapt our behavior to acknowledge that reality as the theistic schools do? The Wats that I've been to have statues of Buddha, pictures of accomplished teachers, dhamma wheels on the wall, but what about some symbol of the divine? Some symbol of the source of the existence of the state of Nibbana? Is Buddhism's goal so ineffable, that no image is possible, like Islam, or something like that?
Contemplans,

Thank you for your reply but you really haven't addressed my question. How does this belief translate into praxis. How does it become soteriologically efficacious?
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

The Stoic Buddhist: https://www.quora.com/q/dwxmcndlgmobmeu ... pOR2p0uAdH
My Practice Blog:
http://khalilbodhi.wordpress.com
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acinteyyo
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by acinteyyo »

Hi contemplans,

the only thing which really matters is whether it works or not. When it is helpful for you to have your belief in god and it reduces suffering for you and for others then everything is fine.
As for me I have my doubts concerning that but what I think doesn't matter. One thing about God which I think is worth consideration is that people usually can only approach this issue from either the position of denying god or believing in god... few say they don't know... but in the end it doesn't bring you even one tiny step further. I don't consider it worth spending any more time, I don't even know why people wrack their brains about all those views about god and I don't think it is worth any view at all. I rather prefer practicing and seeing the benefits for myself instead of wallowing in a thicket of views actually doing nothing but disporting myself in speculation.

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.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by danieLion »

contemplans wrote:
danieLion wrote:If "absolute" does not allude to Plato's forms, or Kant's categorical imperative, or Anselm's proof for the ontological existence of God, or Descartes cogito ergo sum, or Christian Scholastic arguments, or some such nonsense as that , then I guess I'd be okay with calling the Buddha's teachings absolute.
Daniel :heart:
...Is Buddhism utterly subjective?
Did I say that?

No.

See Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika, Ch. 1, vs. 3. (preferably Nishijima's translation).

D :heart:
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by contemplans »

perkele wrote: You cited Thomas Aquines five proofs for the existence of an absolute being:
1) things subject to impermanence and change cannot have ever come into reality without a first permanent unchanged thing to give rise to the impermanence and change.
This argument seems to be very popular. But it is not valid.
Things subject to impermanence and change cannot have come into existence without a cause. That seems evident to me.
But why should there have been a first cause? Why not an infinite regress of causes? From where comes the axiom that an infinite chain of causes preceding causes is impossible? I have never understood that whenever I heard this argument.
So please explain this axiom to me, if you can.
Well there is some background knowledge to understand it (four causes, actuality, privation), but ... the basic argument is:

(1) In sensible things we find an order of efficient causes.
(2) It is impossible for this order of causes to proceed to infinity.
(3) There must be a first efficient cause.
(4) This first cause is God.

You cannot have an infinite regress because nothing can move (= change/cause) itself in the same respect and in the same manner, it is always moved by another. A thing is not the efficient cause of itself, but another is the efficient cause. Otherwise it would be prior to itself. Since there is one thing needed to cause another, there has to be something which is the unmoved first mover or motion would never begin. Without the cause the effect would never begin. Without a first cause, there would be no middle causes, and no final effect. (Movement is a change from potentiality to actuality.) This first mover is called God.

This seems contrived and meaningless to me, although I have been hooked on this same thought previously, too.
Why should "existence" exist? Because of its name? Existence is just a concept, and so is nonexistence.
The main thing to (mis)understand here is that logic operates on concepts, not on reality. You can make up all kinds of concepts in language with some loose correspondence to experiential reality. But then when these concepts refer to more abstract and subtle aspects of experience and you draw rigid conclusions from your concepts things are not as they "are" anymore.
I hope I make some sense. If not I blame it on the limitations of language. :P
Well, I guess you are operating on the "I think, therefore I am" mode, which most modern people operate on. I think that sentence is wrong. The sentence should read, "I am, therefore I think." With this viewpoint we understand that being came before thought, and reality before concepts about reality. While we do use our thought to come up with all sorts of ideas about what we are and aren't, it is plain that we exist, and our thought depends on our existence.
(4) and (5) don't make any sense to me. So I can't say anything meaningful about them.
As for 4, With out perfect good, a privation of good (called evil) could never be distinguished. As regard to being, if there was no perfect being, being itself, then no imperfect being would ever exist. We exist and have imperfect being. This is related to the previous arguments.

As for 5, all things tend toward an end (goal/purpose). Chance is not chance. In fact, if there wasn't any order or design, then we'd never be able to distinguish things as "chance", like happening upon a friend while walking. You didn't intend to meet, so it is chance, but it wasn't chance. You didn't intend to meet, but you were acting on a purpose. Birds don't just happen to find themselves with wings. We don't look at our legs and wonder, What are they for? And the Buddhist path would never have been formulated if the Buddha did not know that if you do a, b, and c, x, y, and z will result. The cosmos is not arbitrary. It is complex, but not arbitrary. And since things which lack intelligence cannot act towards an end, it must be directed by something with knowledge and intelligence.
Why allude to something "divine", to some higher state of being? Longing for an elusive higher state of being would only perpetuate suffering. But reverence to accomplished teachers who are living examples of morality and wisdom that leads to satisfaction.
Okay, then I'll just call it reverence for the divine. The divine as defined has all he qualities I want, and never needed to follow a path in the first place. He is the path and goal wrapped in one.

Khalil Bodhi wrote: Thank you for your reply but you really haven't addressed my question. How does this belief translate into praxis. How does it become soteriologically efficacious?
Buddhism is about squaring with the way things really are. Are behavior stems from there. If things are different then we think, then our behavior would change. Efficacious? It really depends how far you go with it. But immediately it leads me to reframe my existence. Samsara takes on a different view. Asking this being for help may come into view. Worship may come into view. The goal will probably change from escape from samsara, to union with the divine.

acinteyyo wrote:I rather prefer practicing and seeing the benefits for myself instead of wallowing in a thicket of views actually doing nothing but disporting myself in speculation.
Buddhism is not immune from any of these things. Buddhism posits a world view, beliefs, and outsiders who view their wranglings as a thicket of views. It isn't speculation for speculation's sake. The path involves investigation into reality, so why is this investigation outside of the path to truth. And while I don't think fostering conflict is good, people of good will argue because they care. It is more than just distraction hiding as a mental exercise.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by DNS »

contemplans wrote: (1) In sensible things we find an order of efficient causes.
(2) It is impossible for this order of causes to proceed to infinity.
(3) There must be a first efficient cause.
(4) This first cause is God.
There is no logic at all in the above. The premises and the conclusion do not follow at all. Here are some other so-called arguments for the existence of a supreme being which also contain many logical fallacies:

http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2011/03/l ... ology.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The logical fallacies are so easy to spot, they might even be humorous.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by Dan74 »

Regarding the first cause, just two quick points:

1. I don't see where above you show that an infinite chain of causes back in time is impossible. Why does there have to be a first?

2. Physicists are quite comfortable with the Big Bang originating by itself. Causation only operates within time, but prior to the Big Bang, there is no time, hence no prior to the Big Bang. I am not a physicist, but as a mathematician, I see a fallacy of applying the our usual logic to a situation where it is inapplicable.

For centuries the greatest minds have attempted to prove the existence of God and failed. I don't think the Church maintains that God is a logical necessity. It is not a subjective necessity either - I certainly see many people living exemplary lives without a theistic belief. But if it makes sense to you, then it makes sense. There are also many people living exemplary lives with theistic beliefs.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by contemplans »

A long one. :reading:
David N. Snyder wrote:
contemplans wrote: (1) In sensible things we find an order of efficient causes.
(2) It is impossible for this order of causes to proceed to infinity.
(3) There must be a first efficient cause.
(4) This first cause is God.
There is no logic at all in the above. The premises and the conclusion do not follow at all. Here are some other so-called arguments for the existence of a supreme being which also contain many logical fallacies:

http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2011/03/l ... ology.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The logical fallacies are so easy to spot, they might even be humorous.


Mr. Snyder, the blog post is interesting, but it is filled with straw men. What is funny (not ha ha) is that a monk of 32 years engages in the debate in such a disingenuous way. What about a teachings on pride and ill-will? I believe that Bhikkhu Thanissaro teaches that most modern humor is hateful these days (puts people down, etc.). Maybe he is right. I can take a laugh, but usually people resort to this stuff when they can't argue on the level.

As for fallacy, please explain the fallacy in this argument:

a) Whatever is in motion, is moved by something else.
b) We cannot regress to infinity in the series of moved movers.

Motion is nothing other than the process by which a substance undergoes change, and that change is one of the actuality of the potential. Whatever is in motion is at each moment of its change gaining new actuality. It is continuous. Consequently, everything subject to change is in potency in some respect, and anything that moves something is in act in precisely that respect in which what moves is in potency. Nothing therefore, can move itself; because in order to do so it would have to be in in act and in potency in the same respect, in one identicacl movement. If that was the case, then the "movement" of the individual would be complete actuality, not the actualization of a potency. But to conceive of motion as a complete actuality is to destroy the concept of change/impermanence itself. Therefore, since nothing can move itself and since nothing can be in motion by its essence, whatever is in motion is moved by something else.

Now everything in motion will require a cause of its own motion, consequently there is no moved mover -- no mover which is itself in motion -- as the true cause or source of motion. It moves something only in virtue of the motion it has received. Therefore it is a transmitter of motion, rather than a true cause of motion. Consequently all the movers-in-motion which make up the world require as the true cause and source of their movement an unmoved mover.

Now this conclusion cannot be escaped by the hypothesis of an infinite series of moved movers. Why? Such a series has an adequate cause, it is argued, the movement prior to it. To say that each memeber of an infinite series of casually connected movements is in motion because a prior member moves it, is not to explain its movement. It is not to explain anything, but merely is a repeat that the series is a series of moved movers. It does not answer the question why members of the series are not in static instead of dynamic relation. It does answer why any of them move at all. This is taking motion/change for granted, and what implies something prior to itself cannot be taken for granted..

To accept that an infinite series of moved movers without an unmmoved mover outside the series causing its movements, is to accept motion within the series as an absolute, a starting point of explanation not to be explained itself. It is clear that the motion of the series does not arise from anything in the series. While motion can, for the sake of method, be taken as an ultimate *within* the series, it cannot be taken as an ultimate absolute, because it necessarily involves a reduction of potency to act, and implies a prior actuality.

The argument is a manifestation and explanation of what every motion utlimately presupposes and implies, namely, a mover is not itself in motion -- a Pure Actuality. God is not dragged in, in default of a natural explanation, but He comes in as a reality rigidly implied by nature's mode of being, which is being in process of actualization.




Dan74 wrote:Regarding the first cause, just two quick points:

1. I don't see where above you show that an infinite chain of causes back in time is impossible. Why does there have to be a first?

2. Physicists are quite comfortable with the Big Bang originating by itself. Causation only operates within time, but prior to the Big Bang, there is no time, hence no prior to the Big Bang. I am not a physicist, but as a mathematician, I see a fallacy of applying the our usual logic to a situation where it is inapplicable.

For centuries the greatest minds have attempted to prove the existence of God and failed. I don't think the Church maintains that God is a logical necessity. It is not a subjective necessity either - I certainly see many people living exemplary lives without a theistic belief. But if it makes sense to you, then it makes sense. There are also many people living exemplary lives with theistic beliefs.
Big Bang has either God as cause, or Big Bang isn't the start. That's it. Big Bang doesn't cause being to come to be. The Big Bang is not God, but an process/event. And let's be quite clear, the Church teaches that God can be known *with certainty* through observation of the created world. Not that we can understand Him completely. While we conclude that logic says God, it does not mean we have all the answers as to why and how. That is where Revelation and Faith come in, which supply some of the why and how of all this. Those are not always drawn from reasoned logic, although they don't against reason either. They are outside the scope of reason (that's why they are propositions of belief).

My basic evolution was that had a lot of problems with the process of rebirth. Secondly I thought the teaching of right view taught by some discouraged independent inquiry into whether Buddhism was completely true, especially logical argument, which is highly discouraged by some as wrong view. I plainly doubted that the Buddha saw all his lives without a beginning being evident, i.e., he posits a circle of existence instead of a line. I also doubted that my body wasn't mine (anatta). If something of mine can attain nibbana, which appparently is also subject to change since it attains something, then why not this body of mine? Why can't the most basic understanding of myself also be part of the deal. (This is related to rebirth. Our bodies are "mirages" in that world-view. It is an idealistic system, while I think the hylemorphism system is a better explanation.) Pieces were missing in the Buddhist story. Applying the logic, God (Pure Actuality) is a necssary conclusion. I then believed that behavior has to acknowledge that. Much of Buddhism doesn't go against this, but endless round of rebirth is certainly off the table. And from there karma is understood in a different way, not only in practice, but in basis. Some people think that rebirth came to be as an explanation because there was not a belief in a personal God. The God of ancient India was impersonal, because of their pantheism and monism. Buddhism shows some signs of this. Certainly a Buddha has no communication with us after his life. So samsara, rebirth, and the goal are impersonal in the sense that us now are really just one version. Me 2.0, Me 3.0, etc. Some even take the me out of it. Certainly the body you look at each day is not yours. So your entire sensory experience is one of disconnection and impersonality. Furthermore there is no personal connection with the ultimate of our existence. Some may say we don't need that, but I think it is evident in Buddhism in places where it has become the religion of the populace. People naturally place things in as the divine. So we have prayer to devas and revential gestures, and what-not which would have been reserved for the divine (not exclusively, of course). Somehow we need to do this stuff. We call it respect for the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, but I think more is at work here. And lastly there is no possible way to ever know that anyone attained the goal, since no one is able to talk about it. So I do jhanic meditation, and have incorporated much of what the Buddha said, but some teachings just didn't square with logic.

Also I would say that your statement that the greatest minds have attempted to prove the existence of God and failed is not correct. The proofs are very strong, and in fact have not been defeated. The defeats, if even attempted, are defeats of straw men. Most people are at a level of ignorance of the arguments, or at a level of belief about our existence which makes argument futile (like we live in matrix cacoons or something). You can read a book called, "The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism" by Edward Feser. I think most people reject the logic of God because of the problem of moral action, bringing us back to karma. Buddhism has a great moral system, which is fit to its goal. But in the wider scheme of things, if that goal is not true, or transmigration is not true, or there is no ultimate basis for good action (which I think is not true), then something has to change. But there is no external test of logic to test that. It is pure faith proceding each act. There is nothing wrong with faith, but everyone prides themselves of that they live by experience and the "come and see" attitude. It's sort of a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by Khalil Bodhi »

Contemplans,

Well, unsurprisingly, your response to my question was unsatisfying and didn't really address the question of praxis. The argumentation and eel-wriggling here really doesn't have much on the fruits of the Dhamma-vinaya of the Lord buddha. I wish you happiness with whatever path you choose and will now bow out. Mettaya!
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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DarwidHalim
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Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:49 am
Location: Neither Samsara nor Nirvana

Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by DarwidHalim »

contemplans wrote:I am just trying to see if anyone sees an absolute basis for any Buddhist teaching, including the Four Noble Truths, and if so, then where do they think such an absolute comes from. This is worthy of inquiry, since later Buddhists often took up theistic teachings and beliefs, and in our time many take up atheistic teachings and beliefs. How can any ethical system be worthy of practice that is not absolute on its key teachings? I am truly wondering how some reconcile this with the wider Buddhist teaching. Or maybe some just haven't asked themselves what is the basis for the ethical teachings.
Four Noble Truth is not absolute. It is relative.

Which part of four noble truth tell us absoluteness?

There is nothing absolute in any Buddhist teaching.

In case you can show me just 1 example which is absolute, I will buy you :toast:
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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contemplans
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Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:10 pm

Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Post by contemplans »

Khalil Bodhi wrote: Well, unsurprisingly, your response to my question was unsatisfying and didn't really address the question of praxis. The argumentation and eel-wriggling here really doesn't have much on the fruits of the Dhamma-vinaya of the Lord buddha. I wish you happiness with whatever path you choose and will now bow out. Mettaya!
We can easily pose the question back in the opposite way. How is it soteriologically inefficacious? Whether the eightfold path changes at all is worthy of investigation. But you'd have to go back to the four nobles truths, and question in light of new evidence if dukkha is the supreme evil of life.
DarwidHalim wrote:
Four Noble Truth is not absolute. It is relative.
Which part of four noble truth tell us absoluteness?
There is nothing absolute in any Buddhist teaching.
In case you can show me just 1 example which is absolute, I will buy you :toast:
How about the precept which says that drinking intoxicants is bad karma. :toast:
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