Did the Buddha teach we have choice? (aka The Great Free Will v Determinism Debate)

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Suddh
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Re: Suttas that show the Buddha taught free will

Post by Suddh »

pops wrote: Sun Apr 07, 2024 12:36 pm ...
Here's a "middle" that I think seems likely:

basically you have freedom in the present as to whether or not you try to make a skillful choice. However, there's sometimes really strong past kamma that makes it extremely compelling to act in one certain way, making it feel like you have little choice - this feeling is made way worse by holding a disempowering view like "I've no free will". The level of ignorance in one's mind will also determine how capable you are of seeing the potential choices available to you.

It's perhaps better compared to a strength - the more you try to exercise your freedom by resisting unskillful impulses and trying to do the skillful thing, the stronger your ability to choose the right course becomes. As shown, when you perfect this strength you become, in effect, totally free to choose what you do, say and think.

The Buddha said it's possible to develop what's skillful, and that he wouldn't have taught if it weren't. Thus he did teach we have the choice to train ourselves, and he taught that this training culminates in being totally free to choose what you think.
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Sasha_A
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Re: Suttas that show the Buddha taught free will

Post by Sasha_A »

pegembara wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 3:13 pm From my viewpoint you don’t have a free will if you have to make a choice between your money or your life with a gun pointing at you.
In the context of the teaching on kamma, the problem of not having enough choices or only having bad choices is insignificant and secondary to the main problem: you don't have the freedom not to choose, not to commit kamma, and therefore you don't have the freedom not to experience the results of that created kamma, the consequences of choices. Until you become an arahant, you are not free from creating kamma, no matter what your views are about having freedom of will.

So in the situation of the inevitability of making choices, of creating kamma, and the inevitability of experiencing its results, the real problem is how to make choices that might bring better results. And that is what teaching is about:
AN4.233
“Mendicants, I declare these four kinds of deeds, having realized them with my own insight. What four?

There are dark deeds with dark results;
bright deeds with bright results;
dark and bright deeds with dark and bright results; and
neither dark nor bright deeds with neither dark nor bright results, which lead to the ending of deeds.
And what are dark deeds with dark results? It’s when someone makes hurtful choices by way of body, speech, and mind. Having made these choices, they’re reborn in a hurtful world, where hurtful contacts strike them. Touched by hurtful contacts, they experience hurtful feelings that are exclusively painful—like the beings in hell. These are called dark deeds with dark results.

And what are bright deeds with bright results? It’s when someone makes pleasing choices by way of body, speech, and mind. Having made these choices, they’re reborn in a pleasing world, where pleasing contacts strike them. Touched by pleasing contacts, they experience pleasing feelings that are exclusively happy—like the gods replete with glory. These are called bright deeds with bright results.

And what are dark and bright deeds with dark and bright results? It’s when someone makes both hurtful and pleasing choices by way of body, speech, and mind. Having made these choices, they are reborn in a world that is both hurtful and pleasing, where hurtful and pleasing contacts strike them. Touched by both hurtful and pleasing contacts, they experience both hurtful and pleasing feelings that are a mixture of pleasure and pain—like humans, some gods, and some beings in the underworld. These are called dark and bright deeds with dark and bright results.

And what are neither dark nor bright deeds with neither dark nor bright results, which lead to the ending of deeds? It’s the intention to give up dark deeds with dark results, bright deeds with bright results, and both dark and bright deeds with both dark and bright results. These are called neither dark nor bright deeds with neither dark nor bright results, which lead to the ending of deeds.

These are the four kinds of deeds that I declare, having realized them with my own insight.”
pegembara wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 3:13 pm It depends on causes and conditions and not agency.
But it is you who make the choice, it is your choice, your agency is in making that choice. The very fact of the presence of greed, aversion and delusion in your action of choosing is the very fact of your appropriation of the ability to choose. In other words, until you become an arahant, you are not free from the appropriation of your choices - those choices would be yours and yours alone.
pegembara wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 3:13 pmThat choice was not made freely and willingly!
Free will by my definition.
The choice under pressure is always only your choice and only your responsibility. Making the choice out of craving, out of greed, aversion, and delusion, and attributing it to the causes and effects is, well, delusion and ignorance.
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Re: Suttas that show the Buddha taught free will

Post by pegembara »

Sasha_A wrote: Wed Apr 10, 2024 10:51 am
pegembara wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 3:13 pmThat choice was not made freely and willingly!
Free will by my definition.
The choice under pressure is always only your choice and only your responsibility. Making the choice out of craving, out of greed, aversion, and delusion, and attributing it to the causes and effects is, well, delusion and ignorance.
Where I am coming from, choices that are being influenced by greed, aversion and delusion is no freedom at all. The cause is craving or tanha. Kamatanha, bhavatanha and vibhavatanha ie. Sense desire, existence and non-existence.

True freedom comes only when all craving has ended. You make decisions based on what is good for “you”. The cause is avijja or ignorance!

"And this, monks is the noble truth of the origination of dukkha: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming."

— SN 56.11

Dependent origination is all about causality.
Did you choose to be born?
If not, what makes you think you have free will?

You view may differ and that’s your choice.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Suttas that show the Buddha taught free will

Post by Sasha_A »

pegembara wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:48 amWhere I am coming from, choices that are being influenced by greed, aversion and delusion is no freedom at all. The cause is craving or tanha. Kamatanha, bhavatanha and vibhavatanha ie. Sense desire, existence and non-existence.
But you see, every time you make a choice, you have the option of not to let it be influenced by greed, aversion and delusion. The fact that you either don't know that this choice exists, or don't know how to make this choice, doesn't mean that you are limited in your freedom of choice, it just means that you are limited in your knowledge and understanding of the choices available to you.
pegembara wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:48 amTrue freedom comes only when all craving has ended. You make decisions based on what is good for “you”. The cause is avijja or ignorance!
Ignorance and craving are not the cause of your choices, ignorance and craving are the cause of why you chose the bad options even though the good options are always present and available for you to choose. Your choices are already based on what is good for you, the problem is that your understanding of what is good for you is wrong.
pegembara wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:48 amDid you choose to be born?
If not, what makes you think you have free will?
Well, yes, your birth is the result of your choices: you had the freedom to make the choices that led to your birth, even though you had the freedom not to make those choices.
pegembara wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:48 amYou view may differ and that’s your choice.
Your view is also the result of your choices: either you choose to pursue learning and truth, or you do not.
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Re: Suttas that show the Buddha taught free will

Post by Sasha_A »

pegembara wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:48 am Where I am coming from, choices that are being influenced by greed, aversion and delusion is no freedom at all.
And here is another point: greed, aversion and delusion are not what influences man's choices, they are man's choices. The person's greed, aversion and delusion are the person's chosen means of getting what he thinks is good for him. And that person chooses greed, aversion and delusion as such a means because his understanding of what is good for him is such that he thinks that greed, aversion and delusion are the best means to achieve that good.

Your understanding of the good determines your understanding of the best choices to achieve that good, because your understanding of the good also determines your understanding of the cause of the good and the bad.

In other words, the presence of greed, aversion and delusion means the presence of a wrong understanding of the way to uproot dukkha, and that is because there is a wrong understanding of the cause of dukkha; and the wrong understanding of the cause of dukkha is present because there is a wrong understanding of dukkha itself right here and now.
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Re: Suttas that show the Buddha taught free will

Post by pegembara »

Sasha_A wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 5:10 am
pegembara wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:48 amWhere I am coming from, choices that are being influenced by greed, aversion and delusion is no freedom at all. The cause is craving or tanha. Kamatanha, bhavatanha and vibhavatanha ie. Sense desire, existence and non-existence.
But you see, every time you make a choice, you have the option of not to let it be influenced by greed, aversion and delusion. The fact that you either don't know that this choice exists, or don't know how to make this choice, doesn't mean that you are limited in your freedom of choice, it just means that you are limited in your knowledge and understanding of the choices available to you.

No, you don't. You already have delusion, ignorance or avijja are already present unless you are already an arahant. We make choices and those choices create kamma(black and white and neither black or white, again unless you are an arahant.

pegembara wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:48 amTrue freedom comes only when all craving has ended. You make decisions based on what is good for “you”. The cause is avijja or ignorance!
Ignorance and craving are not the cause of your choices, ignorance and craving are the cause of why you chose the bad options even though the good options are always present and available for you to choose. Your choices are already based on what is good for you, the problem is that your understanding of what is good for you is wrong.

See above.
pegembara wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:48 amDid you choose to be born?
If not, what makes you think you have free will?
Well, yes, your birth is the result of your choices: you had the freedom to make the choices that led to your birth, even though you had the freedom not to make those choices.

No. Ignorance or avijja has no discernible beginning. This is not a fall from the Garden of Eden story where humankind fell from heaven because of the choice that mankind made against God.
I don't about. As far as I can know, my physical birth wasn't the result of any choices that I made.

pegembara wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:48 amYou view may differ and that’s your choice.
Your view is also the result of your choices: either you choose to pursue learning and truth, or you do not.


If you were not born, would there be any choices to make even?
Do you get to choose not to be hungry or thirsty? Or to not get bombed?
You’re being forced to make choices!
Not something that is done willingly and freely.
Last edited by pegembara on Thu Apr 11, 2024 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Suttas that show the Buddha taught free will

Post by pegembara »

Sasha_A wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 6:39 am
pegembara wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:48 am Where I am coming from, choices that are being influenced by greed, aversion and delusion is no freedom at all.
And here is another point: greed, aversion and delusion are not what influences man's choices, they are man's choices. The person's greed, aversion and delusion are the person's chosen means of getting what he thinks is good for him. And that person chooses greed, aversion and delusion as such a means because his understanding of what is good for him is such that he thinks that greed, aversion and delusion are the best means to achieve that good.

No...it is the reverse. It is only the result of hearing the right teachings that the possibility exists to end them. Unless you are saying that we are all already Buddhas and it our own choices that made us worldlings. There would be many more Buddhas instead of the rarity.
There is an underlying tendency that is already present even in babies! In other words, the 10 fetters are already present by default and we don't get to choose whether to hold on to them or not.

If you were taught to pray five times a day, that is what you will do until you come across another viewpoint that changes this.


Your understanding of the good determines your understanding of the best choices to achieve that good, because your understanding of the good also determines your understanding of the cause of the good and the bad.

It isn't just doing about good and avoiding evil. There is also the matter of mental cultivation to transcend suffering.

"And what is kamma that is neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, leading to the ending of kamma? right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is called kamma that is neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, leading to the ending of kamma."

— AN 4.235



In other words, the presence of greed, aversion and delusion means the presence of a wrong understanding of the way to uproot dukkha, and that is because there is a wrong understanding of the cause of dukkha; and the wrong understanding of the cause of dukkha is present because there is a wrong understanding of dukkha itself right here and now.

Yes. The wrong understanding is not a choice but a default condition. That is why the Noble 8FP is required. In order to have the right understanding, we have no choice but to follow them. Or by your definition we have a choice to follow or not follow them. But what if you were born in a time and place where the Dhamma is not available, what choice would you have?
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Suttas that show the Buddha taught free will

Post by Sasha_A »

pegembara wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 8:51 am ...
In the messages above, could you please correct your quoting?
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Re: Did the Buddha teach we have choice? (aka The Great Free Will v Determinism Debate)

Post by Pondera »

I think a cosmological argument makes sense. Either the Buddha was enlightened and had free will. Or Nietzsche is still going around samsara and will, deterministically, return to his life as Nietzsche when the world contracts and expands.

Assume the Buddha was enlightened. Assume that birth is ended for him. If the world is strictly deterministic, then when the world contracts it will do so in such a way so as to produce a version of the universe which, at some relatively recent or distant point in time, previously existed. As such, the Buddha’s Nibbana will, at some point in time, lose efficacy and he will return to a state in which, either recently or distantly, has been lived through already. Thus, at some point in the cycle of samsara, the Buddha will go full circle and relive both the horrors and pleasures of that life in which he achieved enlightenment. However, to say that the Buddha is destined to relive another life is to contradict his escape from samsara. Thus determinism is proved false, if we assume Nibbana, since the Buddha’s life must have been unique to the extent that it was the only time in beginningless Samara that he lived it and, as we assumed, attained Nibbana.

Now, we can assume that Nietzsche is still wandering through samsara and will, eventually, find himself in a universal configuration which has played out to exact precision many, many, times already. If the world is entirely free it is impossible for Nietzsche to chose the exact same things over and over again as if kamma did not allow for free choice. Thus Nietzsche will never again be Nietzsche and he was wrong about his philosophy of the universal occurrence. But we assumed he was right. So, if Nietzsche was right about Eternal Recurrence, then free will is false.

So, free will is a contradiction to Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence. And strict determinism is a contradiction to the Buddha’s paranibbana.

We cannot have a cycle which is both deterministic and allows for the end of birth.

We cannot have a cycle which is composed of total free will and have an Eternal Recurrence.

So, if you accept determinism you reject Nibbana. If you accept free will you reject Eternal Recurrence.

On a quantum level we can’t even fundamentally determine the speed and location of an electron. Since choices are likely correlated with neuronal activity it stands to reason that the indeterminate nature of electrons is an argument for a somewhat free choice.

Ultimately, I think possibilities are infinite. Futures are what happens when the present moment moves into a near future possibility. When a possibility becomes concrete, then it becomes a present moment. Every present moment becomes a past recollection. In that sense, the past and the present are determined only when the future has temporalized itself as a possibility. Such a possibility is ultimately random. But the choice is a matter of moral cultivation of the personality. Ultimately meaning that our highest degree of free choice occurs when we are the most morally developed on a spiritual and personal level.

To contrast this, Nietzsche once said that to act morally was to strive and pursue the highest moral good one possibly could while knowing full well that this very real and intense struggle has been played out infinite times before in the past and will continue to do so in the future. He also said that you can ride a lame mule to the top of a mountain, but in the end, when you get to the top, you’ve only managed to do so on the back of a lame mule.

For me, my hope is that, even if I continue to roll through samsara, I will change my destiny in such a way that I don’t have to live this particular life over. The scriptures point to the once returner, the never returner, and those destined to be reborn in heaven, never to again fall from that state. The quest only seems to be worth it if one can really put an end to hell realms, ghost, animal, and human realms.

The exact physics of it don’t seem as clear. And even Deja vu suggests that we’ve lived these lives before. But when we interpret any given Deja vu as not a reflection on a strict deterministic universe, but rather a type of insight into a path taken out of numerous other paths, then it appears that the familiarity of the Deja vu experience is an indicator of progress towards something better. Deja vu need only indicate that a particular path is being taken that has been taken before. Not that the path pre-cognizant is the only one.
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Re: Suttas that show the Buddha taught free will

Post by Rambutan »

pegembara wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:48 am
Where I am coming from, choices that are being influenced by greed, aversion and delusion is no freedom at all. The cause is craving or tanha. Kamatanha, bhavatanha and vibhavatanha ie. Sense desire, existence and non-existence.

True freedom comes only when all craving has ended. You make decisions based on what is good for “you”. The cause is avijja or ignorance!
If there is no free will, then trying to convince others of that fact is pointless, because it means that already, others cannot help but to believe what they believe. Changing someone else’s mind would be impossible. If someone once believed that they had free will and now they don’t, then they negate their own argument.

If you say “choices are influenced by” then it means choice (free will) exists. Also, “influenced by” doesn’t mean “controlled by”. The truth of suffering influences our desire to engage in more causes of suffering, but it is also what propels us to practice dhamma. That is a choice we make.

“True freedom comes only when all craving has ended” means that it is impossible at that point to have craving. That may be true freedom from samsara, but the question is about free will. If you say that the arahant has no choice but to be free from craving, then that’s not free will. If you say the arahant still has a choice, then that’s free will.
Don’t confuse free will with samsara.

Ultimately, this question comes down to whether one can choose to have free itself:
If you don’t have it, can you create it? No.
But if you do have free will, can you choose to be without it? Yes. You could flip a coin to decide everything in your life.

It’s really a nonsensical question, only valid within the context of fate: that our existence has been already mapped out by a creator-god. But the Dhamma doesn’t teach that anyway.
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Re: Suttas that show the Buddha taught free will

Post by pegembara »

Rambutan wrote: Thu Apr 18, 2024 12:25 pm
pegembara wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:48 am
Where I am coming from, choices that are being influenced by greed, aversion and delusion is no freedom at all. The cause is craving or tanha. Kamatanha, bhavatanha and vibhavatanha ie. Sense desire, existence and non-existence.

True freedom comes only when all craving has ended. You make decisions based on what is good for “you”. The cause is avijja or ignorance!
If there is no free will, then trying to convince others of that fact is pointless, because it means that already, others cannot help but to believe what they believe. Changing someone else’s mind would be impossible. If someone once believed that they had free will and now they don’t, then they negate their own argument.

If you say “choices are influenced by” then it means choice (free will) exists. Also, “influenced by” doesn’t mean “controlled by”. The truth of suffering influences our desire to engage in more causes of suffering, but it is also what propels us to practice dhamma. That is a choice we make.

“True freedom comes only when all craving has ended” means that it is impossible at that point to have craving. That may be true freedom from samsara, but the question is about free will. If you say that the arahant has no choice but to be free from craving, then that’s not free will. If you say the arahant still has a choice, then that’s free will.
Don’t confuse free will with samsara.

Ultimately, this question comes down to whether one can choose to have free itself:
If you don’t have it, can you create it? No.
But if you do have free will, can you choose to be without it? Yes. You could flip a coin to decide everything in your life.

It’s really a nonsensical question, only valid within the context of fate: that our existence has been already mapped out by a creator-god. But the Dhamma doesn’t teach that anyway.
Free will is a Western concept, I think.
You make a choice freely and willingly.
The operative words are freely and willingly.
Since when is that the case?
The choice that you make has consequences and that to me at least means no free will.
What we do produces kamma-vipaka for we are not arahants.

Fact is you make a choice based on what you think is good for you or others and in some cases based on what is bad or hurtful to the others.
Every choice you make is based on greed, aversion and delusion.

So if the Buddha were to say that He is free to think what he wants to think and not think what he doesn't, are you going to say
"I too can do as you can! I have attained mastery of the mind with regard to the pathways of thought. Like you, I too am a great man."?
“And, yes, I think whatever thought I want to think, and don’t think any thought I don’t want to think. I will any resolve I want to will, and don’t will any resolve I don’t want to will. I too have attained mastery of the mind with regard to the pathways of thought."

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN4_35.html
One who sees the dependent arising sees the Dhamma.
There is neither predetermination or fate nor free will...
Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.
“Sir, there are some ascetics and brahmins who declare that suffering is made by oneself. There are some who declare that suffering is made by another. There are some who declare that suffering is made by both oneself and another. There are some who declare that suffering arises by chance, not made by oneself or another.

What does the Buddha say about this? How does he explain it? How should we answer so as to repeat what the Buddha has said, and not misrepresent him with an untruth? How should we explain in line with his teaching, with no legitimate grounds for rebuke and criticism?”

“Upavāna, I have said that suffering is dependently originated. Dependent on what? Dependent on contact. Saying this you would repeat what I have said, and not misrepresent me with an untruth. You would explain in line with my teaching, and there would be no legitimate grounds for rebuke and criticism.

https://suttacentral.net/sn12.26/en/suj ... ript=latin
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Suttas that show the Buddha taught free will

Post by Rambutan »

pegembara wrote: Fri Apr 19, 2024 3:23 am The choice that you make has consequences and that to me at least means no free will.
That’s not a logical sequence.

Having consequences doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice.
If I choose to take a walk and the result of that choice is that I take a walk, then that’s still a consequence.

Actually, if my choices had no consequences, then I would have no free will. If I choose to flap my arms up and down and fly like a bird, the consequence would be the same as if I didn’t choose, because I don’t have free will with regards to flapping my arms and flying.

And the fact that I can walk but can’t fly doesn’t mean that there is no free will. It simply means that free will only exists or doesn’t exist as applied to conditions. If the conditions are that I am locked inside of a prison, then I don’t have free will with regards to taking a walk. Taking a walk and flying by flapping my arms amount to being the same thing.
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Re: Suttas that show the Buddha taught free will

Post by Rambutan »

pegembara wrote: Fri Apr 19, 2024 3:23 am
Every choice you make is based on greed, aversion and delusion.

So if the Buddha were to say that He is free to think what he wants to think and not think what he doesn't, are you going to say
"I too can do as you can!
Yes, that’s the whole point of dhamma, that eventually you can do just as the Buddha did.
The way you posed the question, however, had two parts. No, right now I have not attained mastery. But I can choose to follow the path that had the consequence of the same attainment as the Buddha.

Otherwise there would be no point in his ever teaching.
This is an important point, because at first, he had to be persuaded to teach. He doubted that he could convey what he had attained.

He also taught that nobody should be coerced into joining the sangha, but that people should freely choose to do so of their own volition.

For most people who do not follow the Buddha’s teachings, yes, every choice might be made based on greed, aversion and delusion. But the point of training the mind in Dhamma is that you can actually change that. It’s the process of changing that gradually cuts off the causes for becoming in samsara.
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Re: Suttas that show the Buddha taught free will

Post by Rambutan »

pegembara wrote: Fri Apr 19, 2024 3:23 am
One who sees the dependent arising sees the Dhamma.
There is neither predetermination or fate nor free will...
Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.
“Sir, there are some ascetics and brahmins who declare that suffering is made by oneself. There are some who declare that suffering is made by another. There are some who declare that suffering is made by both oneself and another. There are some who declare that suffering arises by chance, not made by oneself or another.

What does the Buddha say about this? How does he explain it? How should we answer so as to repeat what the Buddha has said, and not misrepresent him with an untruth? How should we explain in line with his teaching, with no legitimate grounds for rebuke and criticism?”

“Upavāna, I have said that suffering is dependently originated. Dependent on what? Dependent on contact. Saying this you would repeat what I have said, and not misrepresent me with an untruth. You would explain in line with my teaching, and there would be no legitimate grounds for rebuke and criticism.

https://suttacentral.net/sn12.26/en/suj ... ript=latin
You misunderstand what you have quoted here.
Yes, we are limited by conditions,
but you are confusing conditions with fate.
Your logic is that since I cannot change the fact that fire is hot, and I cannot stop fire from burning my hand, that therefore I have no choice but to leave my hand to burn in the fire.

Using the metaphor of “fire Burning your hand”
to mean “Suffering” . . .

Is the fact that fire burns your hand
caused by oneself?
No.
Is the fact that fire burns your hand
made by another?
No.
Is the fact that fire burns your hand
made by both oneself and another?
No.
Is the fact that fire burns your hand
something that arises by chance?
No.
The fact that fire burns your hand arises from contact.

The whole point is that what you choose to do or not do is the cause for the results you experience (suffering or liberation from suffering). That’s what dependently arising is about. It’s not only that phenomena are temporary and arise conditionally, but also that hows we experience phenomena depends on our own thoughts.

Otherwise, no matter how much meditation and discipline of the mind you practice, it would make no difference. You would never be free from suffering.
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Re: Did the Buddha teach we have choice? (aka The Great Free Will v Determinism Debate)

Post by pegembara »

I think it's you have missed my point.
The fact that fire burns your hand arises from contact
.

How did contact come about?
Can you choose not to listen to your thoughts?
Can you choose not to feel angry at will?
Can you choose what you want to think?
Can you choose not to experience suffering?

Why is it that we never allow our children to do what they like until they are more grown up? Do they have a choice? There isn't much of a choice is there between doing your chores or going without dinner? Can you choose to have caring parents?

Aren't we conditioned to think and act in certain ways?

You are free to "choose" but you are not free from the consequences of your "choice". You have a metaphorical gun pointing at your head and that's no freedom. You are only truly free when there isn't a gun there when you make your choices.

So based on the sutta that I quoted. When the Buddha said he can do what he willed and think what he liked, your answer would be that you too can do the same. You too have attained mastery over your mind And that also makes you a great person.

Yes?
“And, yes, I think whatever thought I want to think, and don’t think any thought I don’t want to think. I will any resolve I want to will, and don’t will any resolve I don’t want to will. I too have attained mastery of the mind with regard to the pathways of thought."

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN4_35.htm
Do you have a sutta that says we have free will as clearly the quoted?
Last edited by pegembara on Fri Apr 19, 2024 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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