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  • hardie karges 11:51 am on September 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Abhidharma, , , , nidanas, past lives,   

    The Buddhist doctrine of Dependent Arising reconsidered… 

    Everything is a cause. Everything is an effect. We are in the middle. Find happiness there. And I think that this is very close to the original intention of the Buddhist doctrine of Dependent Arising, that there are strict causal connections between events and their aftermaths, even if the connections are maybe not as precise as some may imagine.

    Formally known in Sanskrit as प्रतीत्यसमुत्पाद pratītyasamutpāda or in Pali (the related Theravada canonical language as पटिच्चसमुप्पाद paṭiccasamuppāda, it simply means: “if this exists, that exists; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist”. Which is all well and good, as far as it goes, whether you take the doctrine as an ontological principle, on the subject of being, or as an epistemological principle, on the subject of knowledge.

    The problem arises (pun intended) when we get down to the twelve links (nidanas), which supposedly articulate this process, basically: 1) ignorance (tabula rasa?), 2) mental formations (first mental activity?), 3) consciousness (of baby-self?), 4) name-and-form (language?), 5) six senses (as distinguished from each other and mind?), 6) contact (look, listen, touch?), 7) sensation (see, hear, feel?), 8) craving, 9) clinging, 10) becoming (ch-ch-changes?), 11) birth (of a higher consciousness?), and 12) aging and death (all question marks indicate my tentative interpretations).

    The problem is that the ‘rebirthers’ (my term and slightly riffing on Trump), have long since appropriated the whole concept as justification for the predetermination and ‘multiple feedback loops’ of karma, that they find necessary to lock one into a system that rewards and punishes with future retribution and prevents the possibility of suicide as a convenient ‘one way out.’

    This notwithstanding the fact that the whole concept apparently predates Buddhism and manifested in various forms before its final version which has become the standard. But ancient terms are always subject to re-interpretation, a current fashion among pseudo-sorta-Buddhas, and of course—shazam and voila! That changes everything. Or does it?

    So I’ve always enthusiastically accepted the general concept, while remaining agnostic on the particulars as if the excessive list-making of wannabe Abhidharmists and johnny-come-lately bloggers, and left it right there unfinished, since modern physics could hardly support a version of empirical reality so obviously simplistic. But a science of mind might. And since psychology is not a science of mind, now, but a science of behavior, then the filed is wide open for speculation.

    The main problem is the first half, the interpretations of which vary widely, as evidenced from the Wikipedia source material. But I see this as a child opening his eyes for the first time and discovering the world, ‘giving names to all the animals,’ (thanks, Bob) etc., and then finally realizing that he is not only an actor on a new stage, but also a toucher, feeler, craver, clinger, thinker, and hopeful bodhisattva—all before he or she has even had his or her first romance (when it really kicks in)!

    Everything else comes after and comprises the final item in the list of mutual dependences. And only in this way do the twelve links make sense to me, though I doubt that the ‘rebirthers’ will buy it. What do you think? Birth is a product of Nature. Rebirth is a product of imagination. I try to do re-invent myself every day…

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratityasamutpada

     
  • hardie karges 7:37 am on February 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Abhidharma, , , , , , Edward Conze, impeachment, , , SDNY,   

    DJ Trump and the Sarvāstivādin Theory of Momentariness… 

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    Reflections in the back seat

    For those of you who are not in the process of pursuing a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies, let me explain that the Sarvāstivādins were a large Abhidharma-era group that split off from the mainstream Theravādins after Asoka’s third Buddhist Council at Pataliputra c. 250 BCE, over their insistence that ‘everything exists’, i.e. ‘sarvam asti‘ (or something like that, my Sanskrit sucks), while the Theravādins preferred a bit more ‘discrimination’…

    And part of that theory of everything was an atomistic conception of time: atoms, of both time and matter, and classifiable as either: (1) states of consciousness (citta); (2) mental ‘concomitants’ (cetasika); (3) corporeality (rūpa); plus (4) nirvāna. According to the Sarvāstivādin conception of time, these could exist equally well in the past, present or future. For their part the Theravādins only acknowledged the present, albeit in successive moments… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:57 am on August 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Abhidharma, , , Be Here Now, , , Eternal Now, , Mahavira, , Paul Tillich, , Vaibhasikas   

    Buddhist Dilemma #2: If Now-ness = Here-ness, Does Mindfulness = No Travel? 

    img_1661Baba Ram Dass’s famous period piece, and start of his career as motivational and spiritual guru, was ‘Be Here Now’, of course, but these days most people concentrate on the Now-ness, and forget about the ‘Here-ness’. That was hardly his Big Idea, anyway, the idea batted around in Buddhism since time immemorial, reiterated by Hinduism, and immortalized by Christian existentialist theologian Paul Tillich as ‘The Eternal Now’ long before Ram Dass’s book hit the shelves (author’s note: back then books sat on shelves)…

    Back in the Abhidharma days of Buddhism, one ‘school’, Sarvastivadins I believe, or maybe ‘Vaibhasikas’, not sure, even came up with an atomistic conception of time, in which time, indeed, was composed of unique units, and supposedly capable of measurement, which gives some historical support to the concept of precise present moment(s). And this concept of ‘thought-moments’ lives on in some traditions of Buddhism… (More …)

     
    • quantumpreceptor 1:53 am on August 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Moments “For once we know it then it is past, ” I think you are missing the point here. Maybe we don’t need to know it but just stay in it without grasping at the last or the next?

      Secondly, no matter where you go, there you are. It’s unavoidable when you think about it like this.

      QP

      • hardie karges 2:27 am on August 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Maybe, indeed. Grasping, no, certainly not. And that is definitely the role and goal of meditation, to suspend all narratives, for me at least, which I heartily encourage, the ‘bedrock’ of my Buddhism. My point is that ‘eternal now’ better describes and defines the present time than ‘present moment’, at least for me, and apparently confirmed by scientific convention. When Einstein formulated ‘space-time’ and postulated time as the fourth dimension, he wasn’t joking, and it’s interesting that it is one dimension, not three, and often portrayed in a linear fashion. So no, it’s not necessary to ‘know’ the past, but it can help to navigate the future, as a reference point, if nothing else. I’m not a big fan of ‘no-thought’ Buddhism, whether Thich Nhat Hanh or Suchart Abijato, i.e. Mahayana or Theravada, and the first time I heard a Thai Forest monk describe thinking as ‘kilesa’, i.e. defilement, I frankly couldn’t believe it, still can’t. I’ll never subscribe to that, and I don’t think the Buddha would, either: right thinking, not no thinking. Secondly, did you ever read the classic 70’s travel guide, “People’s Guide to Mexico”? That was their slogan: “Wherever you go, there you are”! Thanks for your comments…

        • quantumpreceptor 3:10 am on August 27, 2018 Permalink

          No I have never read the people’s guide to Mexico. But now I know where it comes from. I agree on the right vs no thinking. Many Buddhists think they only have attachment to things but actually it’s our thoughts that really counts. To observe thoughts without attachment is a skill worth knowing.

          Have a great day

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