I don't get Buddhism

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:34 am

phyllo wrote:The main problem that I see with the argument is that it equates "avoiding A" with "fear of A" and also "desire for A not to happen" with "fear of A". Fear is not necessarily a factor although it may be in some cases.

It comes down to ... What is fear? ... When should we say that avoidance or desire is based on fear?

I'm not afraid of losing a game of chess although it is not the desirable outcome. I avoid dying in a fiery crash on the highway but I'm not afraid. If I was afraid, then I would not drive. My daughter is afraid to drive because she doesn't have confidence in her abilities.

One can think of countless other examples.

One should also note that the fight-or-flight response is not an indication of fear.

What you missed in my post above is this very critical point, i.e.

    I have explained many times [in earlier posts above] there are two types of fear of death.

    1. The conscious fear of death

    2. The subconscious 'fear of death'

My main focus is 2, i.e. The subconscious 'fear of death.'

Your examples above, losing at chess, driving, etc. are all involving the conscious fear of death.
If one consciously fear death, that is a mental illness, i.e. THANATOPHOBIA. I have mentioned this many times, but most seem not to get it.


Nature has ensured ALL humans [as programmed] do not have a persistently conscious fear of death, otherwise they will be so paralyzed with fear out of the certainty of death, they will not be able to function productively to ensure the preservation of the human species. Where the normal person feel the fear of death consciously, it is most likely to be temporary for most.

My focus on the fear of death at the level of subconscious mind.
Re the neuroscience of fear, it was once researched the amygdala is responsible for the 'fear' emotion, but now 'fear' is said to arise from deeper in the brain, within the subconscious mind [relatively est. 90% of the mind].

avoiding "A" with "fear of A"
I don't see how this is problematic.
Humans are instinctively programmed to fear snakes to avoid snakes so that the person will survive and not die. Thus this 'fear snakes' is 'fear death'.
By the way this is not a conscious thought of fearing snakes.
We interpret this as, the subconscious mind strive to ensure the person live and thus the subconscious mind fear death, which in turn generate the instinct of fearing snakes and other very poisonous animals which has killed our ancestors throughout eons ago.

The fight-or-flight response is the avoidance of death which linked to the subconscious fear of death. The subconscious mind 'fear of death' programmed the 'fight-or-flight response' to avoid death.

Thus there is a fear of death at the subconscious level of the mind which is NOT communicated to the conscious mind.
Instead the fear of death at the subconscious level is manifested in term of the existential crisis which generate anxieties, despair and Angst as reflected in the Buddha Story. The majority of people are not conscious the anxieties, despair and Angst are driven by the 'fear of death' at the subconscious level.
To soothe these untraceable anxieties, despair and Angst, most theists cling to theism, which is the most effective balm available.

Caution:
Wherever you read 'fear of death' you are likely to think in term of the conscious fear of death. Refrain from such a thought.

In this discussion, the fear of death is related only to the subconscious fear of death that is activated deep in the brain/mind beyond the conscious mind. I often refer this subconscious fear of death as the existential crisis within the subconscious mind.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:01 am

Fanman wrote:Prismatic,

But there is the two-truth theory where there is also the empirical self interacting in the real empirical world [you disagree on this point] which the person must optimize its well being. To do so one must recognize the empirical self is empirically exists as real, so that one has an objective empirical self to work on to achieve optimality.
For example if one is a CEO of an organization, there is an empirical self that is a CEO and this empirical self must be developed to be optimal within empirical reality.


How does one both acknowledge an “empirical-self” and reject the “I” self, what is the difference between the two? Its like reasoning “I am” and “I am not” simultaneously. It seems to me like that would cause cognitive dissonance. To avoid suffering, wouldn't it be more practical to remove (If we have the ability to) the aspects of life which are causing us suffering, rather than removing the whole concept of self?

There is an "empirical-I-self" and there is the "transcendental-I-self."

The 'empirical-I-self' is the self, the person, which can be verify empirically to exist by your own self and others.

In addition to the 'empirical-I-self', a theist will claim he has a "transcendental-I-self" which is his soul or spirit that can survive physical death.

Here is one example to differentiate the two;

Let say you are looking at a friend A.
When your friend claim he has a self, it is not an issue when we understand he is referring his empirical self which you can perceive him as an individual person and a basic human being existing in an empirical world.
In this case, we must respect A as an individual self and respect his human rights as a human being and not as a means we can dispense with.
Meanwhile A must acknowledge his empirical-I-self and live as a person to the best of his abilities without contributing any net-negative impact to humanity.

However if A one day claim his self is a soul [permanent ego] and you also has a soul that can survive physical death that need to be saved by God.
In this case, A is being ignorant and has conflated his 'empirical-I-self', with "transcendental-I-self" which imply he is claiming he has two selves that are real.

This is where we need to enlightened with the concept of the two-truths theory, i.e. there is self and there is no-self which precisely is,

    -there is an 'empirical-I-self and
    -there is no "transcendental-I-self"

the point is A should not think of two-selves and conflate them.

If A insist he has a "transcendental-I-self" in terms of a soul or permanent ego, then he is vulnerable to suffer.

E.g. when one try to cling or own anything there a potential of loss which will trigger suffering. The loss [death] of a self triggers the greatest loss and the greatest suffering.
If one shift one perspective to no-self, then there is nothing to be loss.

On the other hand, one need to acknowledge there is a really real empirical self which one has to take care of efficiently to ensure its optimal well-being.

As such one is not removing the whole concept of the real empirical self at all, what one is removing is the wrong concept of self, i.e. "transcendental-I-self" or permanent ego which is an illusion relatively and non-existent.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:57 am

Fanman wrote:Phyllo,

Everything in life causes suffering ... that's why the ultimate goal in Buddhism, is to end rebirth.


Everything in life causes suffering? Isn't that the perspective of a pessimist? Please elaborate on what you mean? There are aspects of life that cause suffering, but I don't think that everything in life does, not at least in my experience. I don't understand why you would say that?

Everything in life can cause suffering.
It depend on what perspective one look at it, either p or not-p.
As mentioned above re the self, if one cling to the transcendental-I-self as p, then there is sufferings. Thus the transcendental-I-self is not-p, i.e. not-self.
It is the same with anything empirical, if we cling to such things as permanent, then there is likely to be suffering.

Within Buddhism-proper, 'rebirth' refer to the rebirth within the cycle that generate sufferings.
It is like the ruminating a worry arising from a problem, where the ruminated worry cause a greater worry and the cycle get worse. Thus the solution here is to prevent the 'rebirth' of the next amplified worry by stopping the next oncoming worry from being reborn.

The same effect of rebirth is happening in cases of addition, where the high from one dose, stir the impulse to fulfill a next higher high and the cycle of desires and wants increase with each dose of drug. In every cycle the associated sufferings also increase.

The existential crisis also put a spiral spin in desiring the need for security which has its associated sufferings.

In Buddhism-proper, rebirth refer to the rebirth of the next cycle of events that bring forth is increasing sufferings.
Thus the objective of Buddhism-proper is to end rebirth in that sense.

    Analogy:
    Dangerous insects cause untold sufferings to farmers.
    Farmers used all sort of insecticides to kill these insects.
    But every cycle of the birth [rebirth] of the new generations, the insects increase their resistant to the insecticides and bring more sufferings to the farmer.
    Thus the solution to the problem is to ensure there is no rebirth of the next generation of the particular insect species.

Buddhism proper do not believe in the rebirth of the soul in another form. Some Buddhist schools believe in such a rebirth idea but that is not in alignment with the core principles of Buddhism-proper.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:06 am

Fanman wrote:Phyllo,

Just stating one of the fundamental concepts in Buddhism.


#-o Oh okay, I thought that was your opinion... I don't think that a human-being can ever be satisfied. No matter what we have, there will always be something else that we want, which can lead to suffering - that is human nature. So Buddhism's take on this (albeit from a much wider perspective) is that to eliminate this “suffering”, we must eliminate the source, which the self.

Rather than engaging in Buddhism to resolve aspects of ourselves that are inextricably linked to what we are, or our very nature. Why not just accept them and learn to live with them? Negation of the self is an extreme coping mechanism - which I think would lead to cognitive dissonance as one continually suppresses their natural state of being.

You keep repeating 'negating the self' or getting rid of the self.

As I had stated, Buddhism-proper enlightens one to get rid of the WRONG concept of self as a real thing, a soul, permanent ego, that survives physical death.

The natural state of being is only the empirical-I-self that disappears upon physical death. There is no more empirical-I-self that can be empirically verified after the real empirical person dies.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:23 am

phyllo wrote:Not only is the self an illusion but "any number of things" is also an illusion.

All these "things" are a product of the mind.

There are many perspectives to illusion which can be empirical, logical, transcendental illusions.

According to MAYA, all of reality is a transcendental illusion to ensure people do not cling to it as something permanent thus generate sufferings. However we cannot take this as absolute or ultimate.

We cannot ignore the two-truths theory.

Thus empirically, all of reality is real but not absolutely real.
Within the empirical perspective, the person is real so is the oncoming real train the real person is standing on.
In this case we cannot insist and apply the principles of MAYA and thereby insist the oncoming train is an illusion.
The caution within this perspective is not to take whatever is of empirical reality is permanent and exists independent of the human conditions.

There are people who believe the Principles of MAYA is overriding thus all of reality is an illusion thus they do not focus much on empirical reality. These are the one who escape from society into asceticism.

What is critical is to adopt the Path of the Middle-Way [this what Gautama promoted].
In this case, one is in the middle and apply the relevant truth in the right circumstances to optimize one's well being.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:28 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
phyllo wrote:I'm not afraid of losing a game of chess although it is not the desirable outcome. I avoid dying in a fiery crash on the highway but I'm not afraid. If I was afraid, then I would not drive. My daughter is afraid to drive because she doesn't have confidence in her abilities.
And of course if you were controlled by your DNA's desire to live as long as possible, as Prismatic frames it, you wouldn't drive at all.

Nah! you mis-understood my points.
You have mixed up the 'conscious fear of death' with the 'subconscious fear of death'.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:00 am

Fanman wrote:Phyllo,

I think that there is a lot of truth in it.


I certainly don't dispute that there is, or that it works. I just don't find it appealing. There are negative aspects of the sense of self, but if we lose it entirely, we also lose the positive aspects.

You won't lose anything if you avoid clinging to the WRONG concept of self.

Buddhism says that you can do something about it.

As do many other religions, self-help philosophies and practices. I'm quite sure that there are elements of truth in all of them, because they are all derived from the human experience and created by knowledgeable people. They juxtapose our hopes, fears and dreams.

They all claim to improve the human condition, so I suppose the ones we draw from are those which appeal to us the most.
I am not a Buddhist in any official sense.
There are many alternative philosophies that are good.

What is good about Buddhism proper is it is very holistic, structured, is systematic with very sound principles and incorporate a generic model of A Life Problem Solving Technique
Buddha's 4NT-8FP -A Life Problem Solving Technique
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=187395&p=2516029&hilit=4NT#p2516029

One limitation is Buddhism-proper is a bit too advanced for the majority of people at present thus the majority of so-called Buddhists are engaged in sort of compromised and diluted version to suit their current state.

No. There is no self ... there never was ... you need to realize it. Then you need to get rid of "craving, desire or attachment".


Which just seems wrong to me on a fundamental level. Like training oneself to believe that when you close your eyes, the world disappears! Craving, desire and attachment can all lead to suffering, but they can also be the cause of positive experiences. I think it depends on how we balance things up.

As stated before you got the wrong understanding of Buddhism proper regarding the concept of the self.
Craving, desire and attachment are inherent in the empirical-I-self, thus we cannot get rid of them, except to modulate them and ensure we are not caught in the cycle of their compounding rebirths. Thus there is a need to apply skillful actions via the 8 Fold Path.

That means being trapped in an eternal cycle of rebirth and suffering. The point is to end the cycle.

If you take the Buddhist's view then yes, but from my humble perspective many of the things that Buddhism perceives as suffering are not sufferings in and of themselves, but how we perceive and interact with them.

As with the principle of no-self, it also applies to sufferings, i.e. there is no real 'self' in suffering. This means there is no sufferings-in-itself.

Thus as with the two-truths theory, there are empirical sufferings which are sensed and felt by humans and thus must be dealt with accordingly. There are no sufferings in and of themselves.
If one were to insist on sufferings in and of themselves, then one is exposed to more sufferings related this view when trapped in the cycles of contact, craving, desire and attachment, then contact, craving, desire and attachment, which then repeat itself.

There re 12 elements in this cycle, i.e.

    Fundamental ignorance (Pali: avidya)
    Formation (sankhara)
    Consciousness (vinnana)
    Name and form (namarupa)
    Sense faculties (salayatana)
    Contact (phassa)
    Feeling or sensation (vedana)
    Craving or thirst (tanha)
    Clinging or grasping (upadana)
    Becoming or worldly existence (bhava)
    Birth or becoming (jati)
    Old age and death (jaramarana)
Then we start all over again.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Fanman » Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:16 am

Prismatic,

I understand that Buddhism rejects the idea of a soul. I wouldn't argue that there is a soul, but I believe there is a self, empirical and personal. I don't believe that is what Buddhism teaches/practices though. Buddhism practices that there is no personal self, but there is a dharma-self, which they believe is composed of aggregates; material form, feelings, perceptions, mental fabrications, and consciousness. I think that in Buddhism, the acceptance of there being any kind of personal self, which is what I mean by "self" and "negation of self", would hinder the process of detachment from craving, desires, attachment etc. From what I've read on Buddhism, they do not refer to an “empirical-self” that seems to be your interpretation.

Is an “empirical self” your interpretation or something that is actually stated in Buddhism? And also, is “Buddhism-proper” a distinction that you've made?

-I think that this post by KT is a good summary of how Buddhism perceives the self;

There is an aggregate, according to Buddhism, that exists and interacts and has a name. It should be treated with compassion and it should treat others with compassion. But it does not have a self. Ulitmately, there is no self, just a shifting experiencing. The one who will have that name (and likely the same ID forms) next year, is not the same self as you are now, for example. It will have a number of qualities in common, but there is no self that persists through time in Buddhism. The self is considered illusory.


Here, he describes most accurately what I've read about Buddhism (oh and thanks for the links all).
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Fanman » Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:39 am

Prismatic,

You won't lose anything if you avoid clinging to the WRONG concept of self.


What is the WRONG concept of self? If you're stance on this taken from Buddhism, then I would guess you're referring to the transcendental self. But you haven't stated exactly what you mean?

If you are referring to the transcendental self, how could you possibly know that there is no such thing? You can believe there is no such thing, but you cannot know. If I am wrong and you do somehow know, how do you know, by the absence of empirical evidence?
Last edited by Fanman on Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:02 am

Fanman wrote:Prismatic,

I understand that Buddhism rejects the idea of a soul. I wouldn't argue that there is a soul, but I believe there is a self, empirical and personal. I don't believe that is what Buddhism teaches/practices though. Buddhism practices that there is no personal self, but there is a dharma-self, which they believe is composed of aggregates; material form, feelings, perceptions, mental fabrications, and consciousness. I think that in Buddhism, the acceptance of there being any kind of personal self, which is what I mean by "self" and "negation of self", would hinder the process of detachment from craving, desires, attachment etc. From what I've read on Buddhism, they do not refer to an “empirical-self” that seems to be your interpretation.

Is an “empirical self” your interpretation or something that is actually stated in Buddhism? And also, is “Buddhism-proper” a distinction that you've made?

-I think that this post by KT is a good summary of how Buddhism perceives the self;

There is an aggregate, according to Buddhism, that exists and interacts and has a name. It should be treated with compassion and it should treat others with compassion. But it does not have a self. Ulitmately, there is no self, just a shifting experiencing. The one who will have that name (and likely the same ID forms) next year, is not the same self as you are now, for example. It will have a number of qualities in common, but there is no self that persists through time in Buddhism. The self is considered illusory.


Here, he describes most accurately what I've read about Buddhism (oh and thanks for the links all).

In most Buddhist sutra, there is no mentioned of the "empirical self" I brought the concept empirical self in to reconcile the various interpretation of such a self within the various Buddhist schools.

The concept of aggregate is limited to the Theravada School and the other school with describe what is supposedly the empirical-self with different terms.

I don't see any significant difference between what I described as empirical self and the similar self described within the two-truth theory of Buddhism.
In a way I am reconciling the Buddhist view in this case with general philosophy term of 'empirical.

Note the definition empirical,

    Empirical evidence is the information received by means of the senses, particularly by observation and documentation of patterns and behavior through experimentation.[1] The term comes from the Greek word for experience, ἐμπειρία (empeiría).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empirical_evidence

    Empirical:
    based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.

Kant used the term 'empirical self' regularly to distinguish it from the transcendental self [the illusory self or soul].
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Fanman » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:26 am

Prismatic,

In most Buddhist sutra, there is no mentioned of the "empirical self" I brought the concept empirical self in to reconcile the various interpretation of such a self within the various Buddhist schools.

The concept of aggregate is limited to the Theravada School and the other school with describe what is supposedly the empirical-self with different terms.

I don't see any significant difference between what I described as empirical self and the similar self described within the two-truth theory of Buddhism.
In a way I am reconciling the Buddhist view in this case with general philosophy term of 'empirical.


Okay, but I think you need to give these kind of explanations in the introduction not the conclusion, or it can make it seem as though you took it directly (as quoted) from Buddhism.

Kant used the term 'empirical self' regularly to distinguish it from the transcendental self [the illusory self or soul].


This is what Christians do when they struggle to find answers! There's no need to quote scripture brother, I was asking how you know.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:55 am

Fanman wrote:Prismatic,

In most Buddhist sutra, there is no mentioned of the "empirical self" I brought the concept empirical self in to reconcile the various interpretation of such a self within the various Buddhist schools.

The concept of aggregate is limited to the Theravada School and the other school with describe what is supposedly the empirical-self with different terms.

I don't see any significant difference between what I described as empirical self and the similar self described within the two-truth theory of Buddhism.
In a way I am reconciling the Buddhist view in this case with general philosophy term of 'empirical.


Okay, but I think you need to give these kind of explanations in the introduction not the conclusion, or it can make it seem as though you took it directly (as quoted) from Buddhism.
His views are idiosyncratic. Further while the translated term 'aggregate' may be used primarily when translated the same ideas come up in other forms of Buddhism. The fleeing unstable impermanent empty without self nature of reality. This is consistent through every school, each using their own ways of conveying this. He's being slippery, though I don't think he is doing this consciously. But since his post often and in general are mind reading ad homs in relation to theists and other religious people, even Buddhists, I will return the favor again and say that I don't think he wants to face the Buddhist assertion that not only is their no soul that continues after death, there is no continuous or as they say in philosophy persistent self. He sees others as fearing death and so believing X and this is projection since he simply cannot accept that Buddhism is saying he doesn't really exist at all. Yes, there is an experiencer or experiencing, but it is not the same one that will be present using his name next years. Buddhism practices of all kinds and texts lead to this conclusion.

Kant used the term 'empirical self' regularly to distinguish it from the transcendental self [the illusory self or soul].

This is what Christians do when they struggle to find answers! There's no need to quote scripture brother, I was asking how you know.
Or to appeal to authority as is his wont.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:48 pm

What you missed in my post above is this very critical point, i.e.

I have explained many times [in earlier posts above] there are two types of fear of death.

1. The conscious fear of death

2. The subconscious 'fear of death'


My main focus is 2, i.e. The subconscious 'fear of death.'
I didn't miss it. I chose to deal with the issues that I wrote about instead.

I think that your focus on subconscious fear of death makes your theory unfalsifiable.

You identify causes and links which are hidden in the subconscious. Yet, you seem to see them easily and not just in yourself but in all people.

If we bring up cases where a person(s) is not afraid, then you can always say that the fear is subconscious. Which is what you done in your post.
Humans are instinctively programmed to fear snakes to avoid snakes so that the person will survive and not die.
I think that's a good example of a subconscious fear.

But I don't think it can be generalized into 'fear of death'. That's taking it too far.
The fight-or-flight response is the avoidance of death which linked to the subconscious fear of death. The subconscious mind 'fear of death' programmed the 'fight-or-flight response' to avoid death.
You claim a link to fear which you don't demonstrate. Fight-or flight effectively avoids death. There is no need for fear to be inserted as a necessary factor in the fight-or-flight response.
Thus there is a fear of death at the subconscious level of the mind which is NOT communicated to the conscious mind.
Instead the fear of death at the subconscious level is manifested in term of the existential crisis which generate anxieties, despair and Angst as reflected in the Buddha Story. The majority of people are not conscious the anxieties, despair and Angst are driven by the 'fear of death' at the subconscious level.
To soothe these untraceable anxieties, despair and Angst, most theists cling to theism, which is the most effective balm available.
You keep asserting the same beliefs over and over. As if repetition makes them more true.
To soothe these untraceable anxieties, despair and Angst, most theists cling to theism, which is the most effective balm available.
"Untraceable". That's the problem right there.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Fanman » Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:02 pm

KT,

Regarding Prismatic's comment;

Kant used the term 'empirical self' regularly to distinguish it from the transcendental self [the illusory self or soul].


It clearly is an appeal to authority. It seems that because Kant used the phrase/term “empirical self” that somehow reinforces him doing so. I kind of understand what he's trying to say in how an “empirical self” relates to Buddhism, but Kant was using the term in a different context to what we are discussing here. If he thinks that it applies here, he needs to explain why in more detail, rather than just using it and expecting us to understand what he means, accept its relevance and state an authority for using it.

I don't want to change him, but I believe that he is too concerned with being right and creating invincible arguments.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Fanman » Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:37 pm

Phyllo,

You identify causes and links which are hidden in the subconscious. Yet, you seem to see them easily and not just in yourself but in all people.


Precisely. That is a huge problem in terms of how he argues/debates, because he will perceive his interlocutors as lacking insight. Which he does... #-o

His perception of his insight gives the game away, I'm going to try and resist debating with him.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:19 pm

Why Buddhism Is True by Robert Wright
Lachlan Dale considers a naturalistic view of Buddhism.
From the book review section of Philosophy Now magazine.

Robert Wright’s book, Why Buddhism Is True: The Science And Philosophy Of Meditation And Enlightenment (2017) is part of the ‘Secular Buddhist’ movement – a project which seeks to strip away the religion’s metaphysical and mystical content and ground it in a naturalistic or science-based interpretation.


Of course this approach to Buddhism aligns truth with the assumptions of those who are willing to accept the premise that this is at all relevant to any discussion of Buddhism. After all, you could do the same with any other religious/spiritual narrative.

Does this then even count at all?

Thus...

In this sense the title is something of a misnomer. Wright has little interest in preserving tradition if it cannot stand up to his secular critique. Still, he is convinced that Buddhism anticipated by a matter of centuries knowledge about the human mind that we are only now unearthing through science.


So, sure, why not explore it in this manner...if only to assess the coherence of the argument itself. And, for folks like me, to measure against my own set of assumptions.

Additionally, Wright believes that Buddhism has techniques which allow us to lessen certain negative aspects of the human condition, namely ignorance, suffering and discontent. To argue his case, Wright draws upon evolutionary psychology, neuroscience and his own engagement with meditation, in order to analyse the core tenets of Buddhism and reflect upon their moral and philosophical implications. He’s hopes that Buddhism might help realise a more sustainable future for humanity.


Here, I suspect Buddhism is clearly an effective remedy for any number of men and women who, however they regard the "metaphysical and mystical" aspects of Buddhism, are able to live their lives with considerably less mental, emotional and psychological travail. And only a fool in my view would just shrug that part off.

But, from my vantage point, those who are able to benefit "personally" by including Buddhism in their day to day interactions with others, are still no less thrown into a world where neverending moral and political conflicts are far, far, far more relevant to the overwhelming preponderance of Earth's inhabitants.

As individuals, some are able to intertwine Buddhism into their daily lives because their daily lives do not involve coming face to face with the reality of political economy around the globe.

Or they can cloister in small communities able to effectively distance themselves from the conflicting goods that rend those millions less able to. Or those little concerned at all with anything that does not revolve around money transactions in the world of consumption.

Then those who are raised in nations where there are large communities of practicing Buddhists. Here, in my view, they become more or less like the other major religious denomination around the globe. In other words, one way or another they integrate Buddhism into the modern capitalist state. Or the modern state capitalist contraptions in, say, Chine and Russia.

Whatever the actual case, it still revolves around dasein in my estimation. Each individual is thrown into a particular world at birth, is indoctrinated as a child to believe certain "truths" and then goes out into the world as an adult the embodiment of his or her own trajectory of experiences, relationships and access to ideas that predispose them to react to Buddhism [as with all other value judgments] in a certain way.

Subjectively and subjunctively.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:51 am

Fanman wrote:
Kant used the term 'empirical self' regularly to distinguish it from the transcendental self [the illusory self or soul].


This is what Christians do when they struggle to find answers! There's no need to quote scripture brother, I was asking how you know.

Kant is not a Christian. Kant is a deist and he criticized organized Christianity heavily as an inferior ideology.

Kant is one of the greatest philosophers of all times.
Thus I won't be far from wrong when I stand on 'the shoulders of philosopher giants.'

Scientific knowledge [not pure theoretical ones] is the most realistic, objective, reliable and useful* humanity have on hand at present. * After taking note of any of its cons.
Scientific knowledge is grounded on empirical evidence and empirical justification.
Thus when we assign the term 'empirical' to 'self' we will ensure it is as close to scientific as possible plus we imputing critical thinking and philosophical tools into it.

Thus by qualifying that self with 'empirical' we ensure this concept is not led into la la land as woo woo when done by some Buddhists.

Note the Dalai Lama views on Buddhism and Science;

    “If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.”

    ― Dalai Lama XIV, The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality

The concept of the aggregates is:
    Skandhas (Sanskrit) or khandhas (Pāḷi) means "heaps, aggregates, collections, groupings".[1] In Buddhism, it refers to the five aggregates of clinging (Pancha-upadanakkhanda), the five material and mental factors that take part in the rise of craving and clinging.
    They are also explained as the five factors that constitute and explain a sentient being’s person and personality,[2][3][4] but this is a later interpretation in response to sarvastivadin essentialism.

    The five aggregates or heaps are:
    1. form (or material image, impression) (rupa),
    2. sensations (or feelings, received from form) (vedana),
    3. perceptions (samjna),
    4. mental activity or formations (sankhara), and
    5. consciousness (vijnana).
    -wiki

All the 5 aggregates above are covered by Science. While 'consciousness' is starting to be taken up Science, it is well covered within Philosophy.

    They [5 aggregates] are also explained as the five factors that constitute and explain a sentient being’s person and personality,[2][3][4] but this is a later interpretation in response to sarvastivadin essentialism.
    -wiki

Since,
    the 5 aggregates are empirically based and open to Science,
    the 5 aggregates constitute a sentient being’s person and personality [the self]
    thus this 'self' can be described as 'the empirical self' or the empirical-I-self.

Note the point above 'this is a later interpretation in response to sarvastivadin essentialism' i.e. it is counter response.

    Essentialismis the view that every entity has a set of attributes that are necessary to its identity and function.[1]
    In early Western thought, Plato's idealism held that all things have such an "essence"—an "idea" or "form".
    In Categories, Aristotle similarly proposed that all objects have a substance that, as George Lakoff put it, "make the thing what it is, and without which it would be not that kind of thing".[2]
    The contrary view—non-essentialism—denies the need to posit such an "essence'".

Kant's empirical self is also a non-essentialism view.

I believe it is more effective to use the term 'empirical self' when discussing Buddhism to cover what is common within all the schools of Buddhism rather than '5 aggregates' extended to person, personality re essentialism, etc. then have to explain this school use such and such a term.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:08 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Fanman wrote:Prismatic,

In most Buddhist sutra, there is no mentioned of the "empirical self" I brought the concept empirical self in to reconcile the various interpretation of such a self within the various Buddhist schools.

The concept of aggregate is limited to the Theravada School and the other school with describe what is supposedly the empirical-self with different terms.

I don't see any significant difference between what I described as empirical self and the similar self described within the two-truth theory of Buddhism.
In a way I am reconciling the Buddhist view in this case with general philosophy term of 'empirical.


Okay, but I think you need to give these kind of explanations in the introduction not the conclusion, or it can make it seem as though you took it directly (as quoted) from Buddhism.
His views are idiosyncratic. Further while the translated term 'aggregate' may be used primarily when translated the same ideas come up in other forms of Buddhism. The fleeing unstable impermanent empty without self nature of reality. This is consistent through every school, each using their own ways of conveying this. He's being slippery, though I don't think he is doing this consciously. But since his post often and in general are mind reading ad homs in relation to theists and other religious people, even Buddhists, I will return the favor again and say that I don't think he wants to face the Buddhist assertion that not only is their no soul that continues after death, there is no continuous or as they say in philosophy persistent self. He sees others as fearing death and so believing X and this is projection since he simply cannot accept that Buddhism is saying he doesn't really exist at all. Yes, there is an experiencer or experiencing, but it is not the same one that will be present using his name next years. Buddhism practices of all kinds and texts lead to this conclusion.

Note my justification in the above post why I used 'empirical-self' which I think is more effective and potentially more objective.

You are simply forcing words into my mouth.
Note I agree with Buddhism, Hume, Kant, and other non-essentialists,

    "I' the transcendental-I-self do not exists as a permanent thing.
BUT, in another perspective,

    "I" the empirical-I-self do exists as real and empirically justified by Science and Philosophy.

You may not agree to the Two-Truths Theory of Buddhism but this theory is useful for all Buddhists and others to ensure they are not led into essentialism and its la la land and woo woo. This potential error is where some Buddhist believe literally in rebirth, i.e. the person is born into another realm in another form.

Kant used the term 'empirical self' regularly to distinguish it from the transcendental self [the illusory self or soul].

This is what Christians do when they struggle to find answers! There's no need to quote scripture brother, I was asking how you know.
Or to appeal to authority as is his wont.

No shame in standing on the shoulders of giant philosophers.
It is an imperative to quote the proper recognized authority in any thesis paper to lend weight to one's argument.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:45 am

phyllo wrote:
What you missed in my post above is this very critical point, i.e.

I have explained many times [in earlier posts above] there are two types of fear of death.

1. The conscious fear of death

2. The subconscious 'fear of death'


My main focus is 2, i.e. The subconscious 'fear of death.'
I didn't miss it. I chose to deal with the issues that I wrote about instead.

I think that your focus on subconscious fear of death makes your theory unfalsifiable.

You identify causes and links which are hidden in the subconscious. Yet, you seem to see them easily and not just in yourself but in all people.

If we bring up cases where a person(s) is not afraid, then you can always say that the fear is subconscious. Which is what you done in your post.

I believe the subconscious fear of death is critical to Buddhism.
This is reflected and highlighted in the Buddha Story.

Humans are instinctively programmed to fear snakes to avoid snakes so that the person will survive and not die.
I think that's a good example of a subconscious fear.

But I don't think it can be generalized into 'fear of death'. That's taking it too far.

As stated in my argument,
'to live one has to avoid death [premature] till the inevitable,
'to avoid death, one has to fear death'.
This is very logical, if one fear death, then one will avoid death.
But I stated this is not with reference to a conscious fear of death.

Btw, to fear death is merely one impulse to avoid death.
There are many instincts and impulse within the subconscious mind, e.g. food, security, breathing and others.
I mentioned 'to fear death' as this is related to why people turned to religion, i.e. Buddhism and others.

Those avoidances that are related evidence of immediate death by snake, height, poisonous plants, animals, and the like can be generalized within the fear of death. For example those bitten by poisonous snakes, fall from height, eaten by beast do die immediately thus the evidence of death. Thus the mind will naturally associate these with death and the fear of it to trigger avoidance.

Thus there is a fear of death at the subconscious level of the mind which is NOT communicated to the conscious mind.
Instead the fear of death at the subconscious level is manifested in term of the existential crisis which generate anxieties, despair and Angst as reflected in the Buddha Story. The majority of people are not conscious the anxieties, despair and Angst are driven by the 'fear of death' at the subconscious level.
To soothe these untraceable anxieties, despair and Angst, most theists cling to theism, which is the most effective balm available.
You keep asserting the same beliefs over and over. As if repetition makes them more true.

Nope, whatever is stated and repeated must still be justified.
If you don't agree you can offer a counter argument to the above.
Repetition is only a burden to me, one can always ignore it while they could be a good reminder and refresher to others.

To soothe these untraceable anxieties, despair and Angst, most theists cling to theism, which is the most effective balm available.
"Untraceable". That's the problem right there.

Yes, untraceable.
It is noticeable in those who converted to theistic religions.
Their often complain is an anxiety, Angst, hopelessness, depress and despair within a meaningless life.
When they believes in a theistic religion, they have meaning as defined by a God and there is an order and purpose for them to adopt, follow and practice, i.e. having some meaning and ultimate hope of eternal life.
The reality is such meanings are made-beliefs and God is an illusion. But this pretense somehow works and relieve their existential pains.

But then, the theists are unable to trace to the real origins and causes, i.e. the subconscious fear of death.

Buddhism on the other hand identify the true nature of the above existential pains as represented in the Buddha Story and deal with its root cause, i.e. the subconscious fear of death. The main practices of Buddhism is to deal with this inherent subconscious fear of death and learn how to modulate it via skillful actions.

If you are aware of serious and in depth Buddhist practices, the dealing with death is a very critical and essential step.
This is why Buddhist has to imagine and practice mindfulness on how is it to be dead.
There are practices where Buddhists will sleep with corpses and various other practices associated with death.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mara%E1%B9%87asati

    Maraṇasati (mindfulness of death, death awareness) is a Buddhist meditation practice that uses various visualization and contemplation techniques to meditate on the nature of death. The cultivation of Maranassati is said to be conducive to right effort and also helps in developing a sense of spiritual urgency (Saṃvega) and renunciation (Nekkhamma).

There are loads of meditation, mindfulness and other practices that are linked with death in the various school of Buddhism.
I have read tons of materials on Buddhism.

From these, you will note the focus in the subconscious fear of death, i.e. not to eliminate it but to modulate it.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:01 am

Fanman wrote:Phyllo,

You identify causes and links which are hidden in the subconscious. Yet, you seem to see them easily and not just in yourself but in all people.


Precisely. That is a huge problem in terms of how he argues/debates, because he will perceive his interlocutors as lacking insight. Which he does... #-o

His perception of his insight gives the game away, I'm going to try and resist debating with him.

As I had stated the only valid currency in this Philosophical Forum is justified sound argument.
I will always try to throw in justified sound argument and invite counter arguments, if you are incline to it, then we can trade, else its your discretion to ignore.

Btw, in Buddhism arguments are welcomed but not as critical as practicing.
Note Tibetan Monks arguing Buddhist Philosophies;

Image

Video:
https://youtu.be/Fm6WGE_efHw

I am not a Buddhist officially, but I adopt those Buddhism's Philosophies and practices those I am inclined to.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:39 am

Fanman wrote:I don't want to change him, but I believe that he is too concerned with being right and creating invincible arguments.
Hey, I wouldn't mind being right and creating invincible arguments. :D (though I suppose I am a bit more skeptical about how easy those are to create and stricter about what the criteria are)
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:44 pm

Nope, whatever is stated and repeated must still be justified.
If you don't agree you can offer a counter argument to the above.
I already presented arguments.

- you are mistaken when you associate 'avoidance' and 'desires' with fear.

- you don't have a causal link between subconscious fear of death and the actions of theists.

- you have no way to access the subconscious of all humans or even a particular group of humans

Repetition is only a burden to me, one can always ignore it while they could be a good reminder and refresher to others.
I can ignore you, but then your poor arguments and reasoning may proliferate. They may appear to be true to some people who read them. It's in everyone's interest that I point out the problems with your argument.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Arcturus Descending » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:57 pm

phyllo,

No. There is no self ... there never was ... you need to realize it. Then you need to get rid of "craving, desire or attachment".


Well, then, what or who is this image which stares back at you when you look in the mirror which you recognize? Simply an illusion? If that is the case, then what need is there to get rid of "craving, desire or attachment"? If a self does not exist, then all the rest is illusion too.
A puff of smoke will soon dissipate.

What is it about our selves which seems to want to deny what is clearly there?
"Look closely. The beautiful may be small."


"Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me."


“Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt.”

Immanuel Kant
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:19 pm

If a self does not exist, then all the rest is illusion too.
Yes.
A puff of smoke will soon dissipate.
It's not that fast or easy.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” A. Einstein
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Fanman » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:38 pm

Prismatic :D ,

Kant is not a Christian. Kant is a deist and he criticized organized Christianity heavily as an inferior ideology.

Kant is one of the greatest philosophers of all times.
Thus I won't be far from wrong when I stand on 'the shoulders of philosopher giants.'


How did you manage to interpret that I claimed Kant was a Christian? There's nothing wrong with applying Kant's thinking on a philosophy forum, but you used Kant as an authority in your claim that a transcendent-self or “soul”, does not exist – which doesn't make sense unless Kant demonstrated such unequivocally. Kant may have reasoned the soul out of existence in his estimations, but he didn't know that there is no soul, and neither do you - that is a matter of belief. Maybe you can present an argument/syllogism which demonstrates your thinking on this matter? For me, using philosophical authorities kind of kills the discussion, because interlocutors don't want to disagree with them. Like saying: "This is what my big man says on the matter, so I don't have to argue anymore." Which is what some theists do. Only instead of Kant they say God.

I believe it is more effective to use the term 'empirical self' when discussing Buddhism to cover what is common within all the schools of Buddhism rather than '5 aggregates' extended to person, personality re essentialism, etc. then have to explain this school use such and such a term.

I never claimed that you were wrong to use the term “empirical self”. It is idiosyncratic in my view, but I understand what you mean. There's no need for extensive justification. You just need to explain what you meant - which you have... That is what suits you, but it may suit others to actually discuss the aggregates as they relate to Buddhism and philosophy. If you want to use the term “empirical self” that's fine, but from my perspective it is not a qualifying term as such. Rather a description of what you mean. I don't think that people who enjoy philosophy mind discussing things in depth. Using generalisations kind of defeats the purpose I think.
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