Author Topic: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner  (Read 2744 times)

Offline Amishrockstar

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Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« on: July 20, 2013, 03:55:45 pm »
I'm not sure if these questions belong here, and if not, I hope they will be moved to the right section of the forum.

I would not quite consider myself a Buddhist although I have gone back-and-forth between my Protestant upbringing and Buddhism since my early teens.

As I've found myself listening to Buddhist lectures and documentaries online a lot lately, there have been multiple questions that have arisen, and I thought I'd post a couple of them here to get some feedback.

My first question has to do with the impersonal nature of the universe according to Buddhism. If the Buddhist understanding of there being no personal creator, God, and that all that exists may just stretch back forever without end (multiple lifetimes and karmic ups and downs), then where does personhood come from? In other words, just as a creationist might ask an evolutionist, "How do you get something out of nothing?" My question is, "How do you get our personal nature (emotion, identity, thought, volition, etc) out of a non-personal universe (from a Buddhist perspective)?

My second question is really more of a statement about a doctrine I'm not comfortable with in Buddhism, and maybe you all have an insight to share. We, as humans, tend to have a deep sense of certain actions being objectively wrong (rape, murder, etc), yet Buddhism teaches that actions are either "skillful" or "unskillful," so how can we live as a Buddhist when we seem to have an inner sense of objective morality? In other words, there seems to be no basis for morality in Buddhism, so there's no objective way to say that rape is wrong --even though we really DO want to say that.

Thank you for taking the time to read my questions, and I hope that what I've asked is clearly stated.

Matthew

 :dharma:

Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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Re: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2013, 04:20:25 pm »
Quote
Amishrockstar
My first question has to do with the impersonal nature of the universe according to Buddhism. If the Buddhist understanding of there being no personal creator, God, and that all that exists may just stretch back forever without end (multiple lifetimes and karmic ups and downs), then where does personhood come from? In other words, just as a creationist might ask an evolutionist, "How do you get something out of nothing?" My question is, "How do you get our personal nature (emotion, identity, thought, volition, etc) out of a non-personal universe (from a Buddhist perspective)?

its doesn't come from anywhere.
look at everything in samsaric existence as numbers 5- 4- 3- 2- 1- 0 1 2 3 4 5
now add on both ends of positive and negative when does the adding of numbers stop?
the added numbers never stop they go on in both directions for infinity.so what is the zero for??
that's simply the place you choose to start counting from,it is really not the beginning
with no beginning nor end how can personhood have a beginning?
life and personhood itself has no beginning
all of samsara is an impermennat continuation of an impermenant continuation.....................

Quote
Amishrockstar
My second question is really more of a statement about a doctrine I'm not comfortable with in Buddhism, and maybe you all have an insight to share. We, as humans, tend to have a deep sense of certain actions being objectively wrong (rape, murder, etc), yet Buddhism teaches that actions are either "skillful" or "unskillful," so how can we live as a Buddhist when we seem to have an inner sense of objective morality? In other words, there seems to be no basis for morality in Buddhism, so there's no objective way to say that rape is wrong --even though we really DO want to say that.

Buddhism teaches true morality,which is to do no harm and to only do what is good.The Buddhas are the embodiment of this True morality it is apart of the Buddhas inherent attributes and the Buddha cannot be opposite of its inherent qualities(it can never do wrong doing).this is what allows Buddhists to have this objective morality.

in truth Abrahamic religions are the ones that have a huge problem with objective morality for instance Duet 13:6-18 here we are being told that it is MORAL and GOOD to murder members of your own family cause they tried to convert you to a different religion.Now you know that this is wrong and immoral to do to others,also you know that you would not want another person to kill you cause you tried to convert them.
as you can see there is no objective set morality in the abrahamic religions,there is only obedience to the word of a deity.and whatever this deity says is moral no matter what it tells you to do.

another example LEV 24:10-16,LEV 20:13
 

Offline songhill

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Re: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2013, 05:58:58 pm »
I'm not sure if these questions belong here, and if not, I hope they will be moved to the right section of the forum.

I would not quite consider myself a Buddhist although I have gone back-and-forth between my Protestant upbringing and Buddhism since my early teens.

As I've found myself listening to Buddhist lectures and documentaries online a lot lately, there have been multiple questions that have arisen, and I thought I'd post a couple of them here to get some feedback.

My first question has to do with the impersonal nature of the universe according to Buddhism. If the Buddhist understanding of there being no personal creator, God, and that all that exists may just stretch back forever without end (multiple lifetimes and karmic ups and downs), then where does personhood come from? In other words, just as a creationist might ask an evolutionist, "How do you get something out of nothing?" My question is, "How do you get our personal nature (emotion, identity, thought, volition, etc) out of a non-personal universe (from a Buddhist perspective)?

My second question is really more of a statement about a doctrine I'm not comfortable with in Buddhism, and maybe you all have an insight to share. We, as humans, tend to have a deep sense of certain actions being objectively wrong (rape, murder, etc), yet Buddhism teaches that actions are either "skillful" or "unskillful," so how can we live as a Buddhist when we seem to have an inner sense of objective morality? In other words, there seems to be no basis for morality in Buddhism, so there's no objective way to say that rape is wrong --even though we really DO want to say that.

Thank you for taking the time to read my questions, and I hope that what I've asked is clearly stated.

Matthew

 :dharma:

A demiurge (i.e., creator god) is a keystone of Judeo-Christian belief. But the Buddha didn't buy such a notion. He said:

Quote
"He who has eyes can see the sickening sight, Why does not God set his creatures right?
 If his wide power no limit can restrain, Why is his hand so rarely spread to bless?
 Why are his creatures all condemned to pain? Why does he not to all give happiness?
 Why do fraud, lies, and ignorance prevail? Why triumphs falsehood -- truth and justice fail?
I count your God one among the unjust , who made a world in which to shelter wrong."  — Bhuridatta Jataka

The entire cosmos is a phenomenalization of Mind which is the universal substance. Siddhartha awakened to it and became Buddha (the one who is awakened).

Quote
When Mind is stimulated by [its own] impressions there comes into view an external world; when the pluralizing imagination is subdued there grows the gnosis, the realm of Thatness, the realm of the wise, which is free from appearance and beyond mentation. — Lankavatarasutra

All things are like a magical display; they arise from discrimination.  In them there is nothing; they are all empty. -- The Sword of Wisdom Sutra

Offline Lobster

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Re: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2013, 07:23:25 pm »
I think you already have good answers.

I am moral, ethical and virtuous (as much as is convenient - so can fail quite a lot) because it is common sense and good tends to come from it . . . it is self evident and preferable as a state of being . . . no need for self created sky monstrosities to watch over my behaviour . . .

Now where did God come from? . . .  better still where was he when evil popped into being and where is he now except in indoctrinated bedazzlement . . .

You can pray to me God but I will always be more real in my act of kindness than you have ever been to a neglected child.

 :hug:



Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2013, 07:33:01 pm »
In my current existence I am co-habitating with two dogs. (I grew up on a farm, and I was taught that dogs are just dumb beasts. This was a practical belief, because we might need to eat, beat, or mistreat the animals as a function of the farm work, so delegating them to a category of "dumb beasts" made these actions easier. I rejected this belief system early on.) My dogs definitely have personality. The one I raised since she was a puppy, well she is nothing like me personality-wise. The one I adopted as a fully developed adult: she and I are two peas from the same pod. Perhaps it is a romantic notion, but I feel as if I have known her for many lifetimes. I have no idea how many other animals can be said to have "personality". I know people who have worked with chimpanzees. These animals are described as "having personality". Dolphins-  yep. Rats- I know people who raise rats, they swear the animals have personality. Snakes? I hope not! Yet people who raise snakes say that even snakes of the same bread behave differently... Personality? Perhaps. Within a Buddhist cosmology, the desire to "be someone", the desire to have a consistent and stable identity, is so powerful that it survives death. It is a far-fetched idea from a Christian point of view, but I don't think it is so far-fetched if you have spent quality time with animals or people.

My first exposure to Buddhism was through American authors writing about Buddhism, and I was led to believe that Buddhism did not emphasize morality. I was really surprised when I started to read sutras, and just how preachy Buddha was about moral conduct! There are the 5 Precepts, the minimal code of moral conduct encouraged for all Buddhists, and then there are the hundreds of rules that monks and nuns follow. Many of these rules serve a practical purpose: they aid in meditation or inspire harmony within a monastic community. But morality is still very central to the teachings. Dissecting the "Big Five": five behaviors that can cause a person life-altering consequences and destroy harmony within a community. Most religions have a ban against killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct. I have really struggled with the fact that Buddha added to the list lying, harmful gossip, and drinking alcohol. These seem like such "victimless" crimes, what is the harm on a cosmic scale? But the Buddha wisely discerned that lying is the grand-daddy of all "sin", that a person who can lie to himself and others is capable of all other moral transgressions, and the practice of lying will erode a person's moral fabric and undermine societal harmony.

Offline ground

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Re: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2013, 09:49:53 pm »
I'm not sure if these questions belong here...
Well, you are posting "Philosophical Questions" unter "Theravada" which are not dealt with in Theravada and you are getting answers from non-Theravadins. So everything is okay.  :fu:

Offline Hanzze

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Re: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2013, 10:32:47 pm »
In its deep, so pay close attention:

Quote from: zze
    Nidana Sutta: Causes


    "Monks, these three are causes for the origination of actions. Which three? Greed is a cause for the origination of actions. Aversion is a cause for the origination of actions. Delusion is a cause for the origination of actions.

    "Any action performed with greed — born of greed, caused by greed, originating from greed: wherever one's selfhood turns up, there that action will ripen. Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.

    "Any action performed with aversion — born of aversion, caused by aversion, originating from aversion: wherever one's selfhood turns up, there that action will ripen. Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.

    "Any action performed with delusion — born of delusion, caused by delusion, originating from delusion: wherever one's selfhood turns up, there that action will ripen. Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.

    "Just as when seeds are not broken, not rotten, not damaged by wind & heat, capable of sprouting, well-buried, planted in well-prepared soil, and the rain-god would offer good streams of rain. Those seeds would thus come to growth, increase, & abundance. In the same way, any action performed with greed... performed with aversion... performed with delusion — born of delusion, caused by delusion, originating from delusion: wherever one's selfhood turns up, there that action will ripen. Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.

    "These are three causes for the origination of actions.

    "Now, these three are [further] causes for the origination of actions. Which three? Non-greed is a cause for the origination of actions. Non-aversion is a cause for the origination of actions. Non-delusion is a cause for the origination of actions.

    "Any action performed with non-greed — born of non-greed, caused by non-greed, originating from non-greed: When greed is gone, that action is thus abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.

    "Any action performed with non-aversion — born of non-aversion, caused by non-aversion, originating from non-aversion: When aversion is gone, that action is thus abandoned, destroyed at the root, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.

    "Any action performed with non-delusion — born of non-delusion, caused by non-delusion, originating from non-delusion: When delusion is gone, that action is thus abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.

    "Just as when seeds are not broken, not rotten, not damaged by wind & heat, capable of sprouting, well-buried, planted in well-prepared soil, and a man would burn them with fire and, burning them with fire, would make them into fine ashes. Having made them into fine ashes, he would winnow them before a high wind or wash them away in a swift-flowing stream. Those seeds would thus be destroyed at the root, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.

    "In the same way, any action performed with non-greed... performed with non-aversion... performed with non-delusion — born of non-delusion, caused by non-delusion, originating from non-delusion: When delusion is gone, that action is thus abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.

    "These, monks, are three causes for the origination of action."

    A person unknowing:
    the actions performed by him,
    born of greed,
    born of aversion, & born of delusion,
    whether many or few,
    are experienced right here:
    no other ground is found.[1]

    So a monk, knowing,
    sheds
    greed, aversion, & delusion;
    giving rise to clear knowledge, he
    sheds
    all bad destinations.[2]


Nothing you can do anything, that the fruits of your deeds will not ripe accept to avoid the causes with this and that effects.


Offline ground

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Re: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2013, 10:47:17 pm »
Nothing you can do anything, that the fruits of your deeds will not ripe accept to avoid the causes with this and that effects.
Ignoring the faulty wording ... this seems to be an utter negation of the Buddha's teaching. Why? Because the Buddha taught the cessation of fruits.  :fu:

Offline Hanzze

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Re: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2013, 11:43:23 pm »
So where do you still see faults in Buddhas teachings. Or was it a defilement effect?

Correcting the spelling: "Nothing you can do, that the fruits of your deeds will not ripe accept to avoid the causes with this and that effects."

should be except :lipsseald: so dont avoid "faulty wording"
« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 11:45:36 pm by Hanzze »

Offline ground

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Re: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2013, 12:13:53 am »

You negated the Budddha's teaching by saying

"Nothing you can do, that the fruits of your deeds will not ripe except to avoid the causes with this and that effects."

 :fu:

Offline Lobster

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Re: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2013, 01:17:43 am »
How do you get our personal nature (emotion, identity, thought, volition, etc) out of a non-personal universe (from a Buddhist perspective)?

As a born again Buddhist . . . how quickly needs and circumstances change . . . here is my interpretation of Christianity.
http://web.archive.org/web/20070210031357/http://pages.britishlibrary.net/edjason/christian/

Does that make me a good Christian or a bad Buddhist? Did this arise through circumstance or deity volition? Who cares? What makes us care? . . . and so on . . .

In Buddhism enlightenment first, arrow questioning later
http://thebuddhistblog.blogspot.co.uk/2006/08/teaching-of-poisoned-arrow.html

Offline Hanzze

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Re: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2013, 04:45:14 am »

You negated the Budddha's teaching by saying

"Nothing you can do, that the fruits of your deeds will not ripe except to avoid the causes with this and that effects."

 :fu:
I am always open to get some notions of your effluence. So where does this negated the sutta above? And back to the main question before: Or was it a defilement effect?  :listen:

Offline ground

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Re: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2013, 05:04:39 am »

You negated the Budddha's teaching by saying

"Nothing you can do, that the fruits of your deeds will not ripe except to avoid the causes with this and that effects."

 :fu:
I am always open to get some notions of your effluence. So where does this negated the sutta above? And back to the main question before: Or was it a defilement effect?  :listen:

If it were the case - as you say - then since past deeds cannot be avoided anymore and would necessarily entail their fruits liberation through treading the path would be impossible. Why? Because past deeds have already been done and necessarily would entail their fruits regardless of a path being trodden or not. The Buddha then would have been been a liar.  :fu:

Offline Hanzze

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Re: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2013, 05:09:03 am »

You negated the Budddha's teaching by saying

"Nothing you can do, that the fruits of your deeds will not ripe except to avoid the causes with this and that effects."

 :fu:
I am always open to get some notions of your effluence. So where does this negated the sutta above? And back to the main question before: Or was it a defilement effect?  :listen:

If it were the case - as you say - then since past deeds cannot be avoided anymore and would necessarily entail their fruits liberation through treading the path would be impossible. Why? Because past deeds have already been done and necessarily would entail their fruits regardless of a path being trodden or not. The Buddha then would have been been a liar.  :fu:

So you have problems with sentences including except. No problem, if I would have know that earlier, Iwould have done a better for you. Just stick to the sutta.

Lets try it again (try to avoid assuming between the words):
"Nothing you can do, that the fruits of your deeds will not ripe except to avoid the causes with this and that effects."

And what are the causes with this and that effect?

"Any action performed with greed — born of greed, caused by greed, originating from greed: wherever one's selfhood turns up, there that action will ripen. Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.

    "Any action performed with aversion — born of aversion, caused by aversion, originating from aversion: wherever one's selfhood turns up, there that action will ripen. Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.

    "Any action performed with delusion — born of delusion, caused by delusion, originating from delusion: wherever one's selfhood turns up, there that action will ripen. Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.


Offline ground

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Re: Philosophical Questions of a Beginner
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2013, 05:19:15 am »

You negated the Budddha's teaching by saying

"Nothing you can do, that the fruits of your deeds will not ripe except to avoid the causes with this and that effects."

 :fu:
I am always open to get some notions of your effluence. So where does this negated the sutta above? And back to the main question before: Or was it a defilement effect?  :listen:

If it were the case - as you say - then since past deeds cannot be avoided anymore and would necessarily entail their fruits liberation through treading the path would be impossible. Why? Because past deeds have already been done and necessarily would entail their fruits regardless of a path being trodden or not. The Buddha then would have been been a liar.  :fu:

So you have problems with sentences including except. No problem, if I would have know that earlier, Iwould have done a better for you. Just stick to the sutta.

Lets try it again (try to avoid assuming between the words):
"Nothing you can do, that the fruits of your deeds will not ripe except to avoid the causes with this and that effects."

And what are the causes with this and that effect?

"Any action performed with greed — born of greed, caused by greed, originating from greed: wherever one's selfhood turns up, there that action will ripen. Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.

    "Any action performed with aversion — born of aversion, caused by aversion, originating from aversion: wherever one's selfhood turns up, there that action will ripen. Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.

    "Any action performed with delusion — born of delusion, caused by delusion, originating from delusion: wherever one's selfhood turns up, there that action will ripen. Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.

Same fault. With your view liberation from samsara is impossible. Poor buddhist Hanzze, you made up an inappropriate religion..

As to past deeds knowing necessarily has to eliminate the potentiality of fruits since past moments of greed, past moments of aversion and past moments of delusion cannot be eliminated.

 :fu:

 


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