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The question of why there is existence

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Hello.
I notice my mind gets caught on this question quite a bit. I've seen in meditation and with psychedelics that I do not exist as an individual separate entity , but rather there is only a field of transient luminous sensations naturally appearing where they are. There is also the misperception of those sensations into the apparent separate and individual self. 

The thing I don't understand is why is this happening? Why are things the way they are? I am aware Buddhism doesn't answer this question. But it's a good question, right? 

One of the things that lead me to spirituality and Buddhism was immense suffering in my life. I fell in love with the Buddha's premise: "There is suffering" as I could totally relate to what he was talking about. I now can see that the suffering wasn't personal, and not "my" suffering, but I can't help but wonder what that was all about. It felt very personal at the time. Also, It seemed sort of inevitable, seeing as the universe is just spinning doing it's natural, causal thing. 

Thank you for reading and I would be grateful for any reply.

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/6/19 5:55 PM as a reply to David Matte.
David Matte:
Hello.
I notice my mind gets caught on this question quite a bit. I've seen in meditation and with psychedelics that I do not exist as an individual separate entity , but rather there is only a field of transient luminous sensations naturally appearing where they are. There is also the misperception of those sensations into the apparent separate and individual self. 

The thing I don't understand is why is this happening? Why are things the way they are? I am aware Buddhism doesn't answer this question. But it's a good question, right? 

One of the things that lead me to spirituality and Buddhism was immense suffering in my life. I fell in love with the Buddha's premise: "There is suffering" as I could totally relate to what he was talking about. I now can see that the suffering wasn't personal, and not "my" suffering, but I can't help but wonder what that was all about. It felt very personal at the time. Also, It seemed sort of inevitable, seeing as the universe is just spinning doing it's natural, causal thing. 

Thank you for reading and I would be grateful for any reply.

aloha david,


   Why not?

   Asking why attempts to apply reason and logic to get a handle on "what is," and "what is" includes reason and logic. The sword of discrimination cannot cut itself.

   Mo' bettah to ask "what is?" of "what is." Causation itself is uncaused. We create so-called meaning out of actual nothing: we see causes in order to manipulate results. Cause and effect result from our attempt to use our environment, including our own bodies, as tools for the gratification of desire.

   The buddha also said that there is an end to suffering, thus it is not inevitable. We suffer on purpose. Consciously.

   Suffering always seems personal, we may recognize suffering by this egoic content. To see the impersonal character of suffering is to realize the reality of the three marks of existence. Phenomena are inherently impersonal, transient, and unsatisfactory. Phenomena as such take place in awareness. What is working fine in our lives - like our most prized possession, good health - generally escapes our notice while every little irritiation forces its way into our consciousness like mosquitoes. Our conscious mind dwells on cares and concerns; even rare moments of self-satisfaction seem hollow.

   Desire and fear go hand in hand, two sides of the same thing, like craving and aversion. Desire is the fear that we won't get what we want in the natural way, so we have to fight for it. Fighting for what we want creates karma, self-inflicted suffering. A blind person recklessly walking into walls and off of curbs.

   The universe of desire spins causally, all its objects are born, live and die. The One Pearl is ever in motion and ever still, life and death two aspects of the same stuff, the tai chi, infinite temporality, unchanging change.


terry



from "the rumi collection" ed kabir helminski


THE MILL, THE STONE, AND THE WATER

All our desire is a grain of wheat.
Our whole personality is the milling-building.
But this mill grinds without knowing about it.
The millstone is your heavy body.
What makes the stone turn is your thought-river.
The stone says: I don’t know why we do all this, but the river has knowledge!
If you ask the river, it says,
I don’t know why I flow.
All I know is that a human opened the gate!
And if you ask the person, he says:
All I know, oh gobbler of bread, is that if this stone
stops going around, there’ll be no bread for your bread-soup!
All this grinding goes on, and no one has any knowledge!
So just be quiet, and one day turn
to God, and say: “What is this about bread-making?”

(translated by Robert Bly)






   

   

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/7/19 7:36 AM as a reply to terry.
Why not?

   Asking why attempts to apply reason and logic to get a handle on "what is," and "what is" includes reason and logic. The sword of discrimination cannot cut itself.
Thanks for your reply Terry.
I've heard that sort of thing before -- as well as statements like "we can't ask why because it implies causality and existence goes beyond causality". It just doesn't settle my mind from wanting an answer though.

 As for why not existence, I just feel it would be simpler if there wasn't existence/experience, no suffering and no problems. 


The buddha also said that there is an end to suffering, thus it is not inevitable. We suffer on purpose. Consciously.

What about all the people that don't know that their suffering on purpose and are blinded by ignorance. They don't understand that their suffering is caused by their choice to.

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/7/19 8:38 AM as a reply to David Matte.
My current understand is this...

Meaning is to create a universe with us being at the centre. Strangely, it seems we have to create that meaning and place ourselves in that centre to see that there is no meaning. The grand picture is that the meanings we impart onto reality are conditional; they are a string of other peoples meanings that gather momentum in us.

Sometimes meaning looses its meaning and the mind turns in on itself. This type of meaning only refers to the mundane worldly things though but it can become an opening allowing us to look further afield into the very nature of existence itself. We turn away from worldly pleasures in search for another meaning outside in the universe but as far as I can make out, it doesn't seem to have the sort of form-substance one would attribute to the generalized concept of meaning. In fact, it nullifies such a thing into a not not-thing. This just points to the manifold curve balls one is dealt in the progress of spiritual development. In all honesty, I really couldn't say with conviction that there is no meaning but instead err on the side of "well, it sure does look that way!" and somehow become comfortable with it. 

I often contemplate: what if there was no meaning, who or what would I be?

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/7/19 11:09 AM as a reply to David Matte.
What existence are you asking about?

The existence of everything? The existence of human experience? The existence of the self? The existence of suffering?

Here's my go at it:

The explanation of origins would depend upon one's world view, and any answer would just create more questions.

An explanation of why there is consciousness, I read, is because of mobility and the need for a means of navigation.

The self seems to be an important stage of development, which, once one understands and incorporates the notion of one's body and mind differentiated from the world, this can be altered after this knowledge has become implicit. And a self is necessary in social groups.

Suffering comes in different forms and acts as a motivator. Some types of suffering comes with a physical body and other types from a psychological 'body'. Not all suffering is inevitable.

Another line of questioning could be why do we ask questions!

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/7/19 11:34 AM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo Cruiser:
My current understand is this...

Meaning is to create a universe with us being at the centre. Strangely, it seems we have to create that meaning and place ourselves in that centre to see that there is no meaning. The grand picture is that the meanings we impart onto reality are conditional; they are a string of other peoples meanings that gather momentum in us.

Sometimes meaning looses its meaning and the mind turns in on itself. This type of meaning only refers to the mundane worldly things though but it can become an opening allowing us to look further afield into the very nature of existence itself. We turn away from worldly pleasures in search for another meaning outside in the universe but as far as I can make out, it doesn't seem to have the sort of form-substance one would attribute to the generalized concept of meaning. In fact, it nullifies such a thing into a not not-thing. This just points to the manifold curve balls one is dealt in the progress of spiritual development. In all honesty, I really couldn't say with conviction that there is no meaning but instead err on the side of "well, it sure does look that way!" and somehow become comfortable with it. 

I often contemplate: what if there was no meaning, who or what would I be?

Thanks, it was nice to read your understanding. 

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/7/19 2:35 PM as a reply to David Matte.
David Matte:
Why not?

   Asking why attempts to apply reason and logic to get a handle on "what is," and "what is" includes reason and logic. The sword of discrimination cannot cut itself.
Thanks for your reply Terry.
I've heard that sort of thing before -- as well as statements like "we can't ask why because it implies causality and existence goes beyond causality". It just doesn't settle my mind from wanting an answer though.

 As for why not existence, I just feel it would be simpler if there wasn't existence/experience, no suffering and no problems. 


The buddha also said that there is an end to suffering, thus it is not inevitable. We suffer on purpose. Consciously.

What about all the people that don't know that their suffering on purpose and are blinded by ignorance. They don't understand that their suffering is caused by their choice to.

   It is my opinion that knowing "why" only strengthens the non-accepting ego; just another thing to forget. The buddha of course did indeed answer the question "why is there suffering" - it was his life's work: he was himself the answer.

   Suffering is "due to" or "caused by" ignorance, which leads to craving and so forth. The second noble truth. You emphasize the first NT as though it were the whole story. Numbah one: there is suffering. Numbah two: the reason why there is suffering is because desire is inevitably associated with it and brings it about. Every object of desire reflects the suffering soul which conjures it.

   Philosophers endlessly discuss why there is anything at all, why is there existence: the answer always comes down to desire. The buddha inherited this from hinduism: "Desire is the creator, desire is the destroyer, desire is the universe." Shiva, vishnu, brahma.

   Why is there desire? Why do we care? It's just the nature of life, bra. Why do you want to know? We impose meaning on meaningless reality in order to effect our will, the will to power, to overpower the world and make it into our image. Here is I, here is me, here is mine. In hoc signo vinces. But the conquered world never lays tamely at our feet, all is strife and discord.

   As you seem to realize, life would be (much!) easier if we were unconscious of all this strife and simply accepted the suchness of the world without analyzing it. The best chess players never think further than their next move. Sometimes they don't know what move they are making until it is made. Or not even then.

   As for people being ignorant, that doesn't make them unconscious of their suffering, clearly. Are they conscious agents of their own suffering? Of course, but they always deny it. Adam blamed eve; eve blamed the snake. And if the snake could talk...



aside:

when adam and eve were first introduced, in the garden of eden, where time runs forward and backward, adam said:

"madam, I'm adam"

eve only replied:

"eve"

the rest is history...  


terry



Every beast is driven to pasture by blows.

We must know that war is common to all and 
strife is justice, and that all things come into being through strife necessarily.


~heraclitus

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/7/19 3:27 PM as a reply to David Matte.
The thing I don't understand is why is this happening? Why are things the way they are? I am aware Buddhism doesn't answer this question. But it's a good question, right?
As far as I understand, the Madhyamaka Buddhist response to this is to refute the basis for asking the question, i.e. the concepts of existence and non-existence and intrinsically existent entities. See Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika.

With practice, one gradually perceives less in terms of thinginess, more in terms of process or interrelatedness. Analogies might be the nature of waves on the surface of the ocean, or how wave interference patterns are created by a diffracted light. So our clear light nature is in a diffracted, agitated state. The diffraction and agitation is exacerbated insofar as we act from a basis of delusion. Insofar as we act without delusion, our confusion and sense of separateness diminishes. There is a delay before we begin to experience the effects of our actions because it takes time for patterns to propagate through the system. But crucially, the true nature of the patterns has always been this clear, virtual light. It's said that a Buddha realizes phenomena to be non-arising.


RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/7/19 6:03 PM as a reply to David Matte.
David, spending energy worrying about this and a few other issues has long been considered an unskillful obstruction to awakening. See the four imponderables: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acinteyya

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/7/19 6:02 PM as a reply to terry.
As for people being ignorant, that doesn't make them unconscious of their suffering, clearly. Are they conscious agents of their own suffering? Of course, but they always deny it. Adam blamed eve; eve blamed the snake. And if the snake could talk...

How can we say their conscious agents of their own suffering when at the ultimate level, there's no self and no one to choose to suffer or not suffer. It's just the inderpendent Universe causing suffering to itself.

This is what I mean when I say that the suffering experienced in my life was inevitable. It's like I had no choice in the matter -- it's just how the Universe spun things. It wanted to experience suffering, and so it was done. It was sort of a wake up for me to wonder what is this all about, this life, this existence. 

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/9/19 4:04 PM as a reply to David Matte.
David Matte:
As for people being ignorant, that doesn't make them unconscious of their suffering, clearly. Are they conscious agents of their own suffering? Of course, but they always deny it. Adam blamed eve; eve blamed the snake. And if the snake could talk...

How can we say their conscious agents of their own suffering when at the ultimate level, there's no self and no one to choose to suffer or not suffer. It's just the inderpendent Universe causing suffering to itself.

This is what I mean when I say that the suffering experienced in my life was inevitable. It's like I had no choice in the matter -- it's just how the Universe spun things. It wanted to experience suffering, and so it was done. It was sort of a wake up for me to wonder what is this all about, this life, this existence. 

mebbe only short replies work?

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/9/19 4:06 PM as a reply to terry.
terry:
David Matte:
As for people being ignorant, that doesn't make them unconscious of their suffering, clearly. Are they conscious agents of their own suffering? Of course, but they always deny it. Adam blamed eve; eve blamed the snake. And if the snake could talk...

How can we say their conscious agents of their own suffering when at the ultimate level, there's no self and no one to choose to suffer or not suffer. It's just the inderpendent Universe causing suffering to itself.

This is what I mean when I say that the suffering experienced in my life was inevitable. It's like I had no choice in the matter -- it's just how the Universe spun things. It wanted to experience suffering, and so it was done. It was sort of a wake up for me to wonder what is this all about, this life, this existence. 

mebbe only short replies work?


just tried again with my copied, longer reply...still didn't work...

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/10/19 4:29 AM as a reply to terry.
terry:


when adam and eve were first introduced, in the garden of eden, where time runs forward and backward, adam said:

"madam, I'm adam"

eve only replied:

"eve"

the rest is history...  



Or

adam replied ”madam, I’m adam” and eve only said ”eve”.

This may seem off topic, but it isn’t.

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/10/19 10:35 AM as a reply to David Matte.
David Matte:
As for people being ignorant, that doesn't make them unconscious of their suffering, clearly. Are they conscious agents of their own suffering? Of course, but they always deny it. Adam blamed eve; eve blamed the snake. And if the snake could talk...

How can we say their conscious agents of their own suffering when at the ultimate level, there's no self and no one to choose to suffer or not suffer. It's just the inderpendent Universe causing suffering to itself.

This is what I mean when I say that the suffering experienced in my life was inevitable. It's like I had no choice in the matter -- it's just how the Universe spun things. It wanted to experience suffering, and so it was done. It was sort of a wake up for me to wonder what is this all about, this life, this existence. 


aloha david,

   Responded to this yesterday but lost it.

    You say: "How can we say their (sic) conscious agents of their own suffering when at the ultimate level, there's no self and no one to choose to suffer or not suffer. It's just the inderpendent Universe causing suffering to itself."

   Here you have confused the two views, the ultimate and the phenomenal. Ultimately, there is no one to cause suffering, and no one to suffer. It is those caught up in samsara who appear to suffer. Ultimately, non-attachment is a fact. People take on attachment: identifying with ego leads to greed and wrath, and hence suffering. The point to forgiveness is so you won't waste your life expiating sin. Rather than suffer for the sake of others, be happy for their sakes. We'll all be better off. This human life should be celebrated, not suffered.

   Think about the phrase, "conscious agents of their own suffering." The self-identified "conscious agent" is a suffering engineer, bra. I wouldn't say both consciousness and agency should be avoided, but... as rumi said, "God is The Only True Agent" and consciousness is essentially consciousness of pain. If you must be conscious, be compassionate.

   You say: "This is what I mean when I say that the suffering experienced in my life was inevitable. It's like I had no choice in the matter -- it's just how the Universe spun things. It wanted to experience suffering, and so it was done. It was sort of a wake up for me to wonder what is this all about, this life, this existence."

   You project your desires on the "Universe." You want to experience suffering. It is precisely you who chooses to suffer, against the universe's wishes. If what you are saying is right - that you have no choice, and what happens is inevitable - then no blame attaches to your actions. No guilt, no shame; no karma. There are only mistakes, which we can correct, in all humility; knowing that even our mistakes are perfect in the light of providence, aka "the ultimate."

   The universe is not unkind, not vindictive, not angry or jealous. There is no super human agency which wants to punish you to rectify some cosmic balance.  You are your own judge, jury and executioner. Have mercy.


terry



from "love's ripening; rumi on the heart's journey" rumi, ed helminski



Your Image


Once Your image settled into our hearts,
we found ourselves sitting in Paradise.

All of our worries of Apocalypse and Armageddon,
each turned into the face of a houri and the charm of
a Chinese beauty.

All that men and women fear to look at,
all that stalks them, now became close companions.

The skies became a rose garden and earth a buried
treasure;
yet, what sort of “thing” are You that all existence became
this way because of You?

Since we saw Him we have been prospering day after day;
the thistle that happened to find Him became a flower bed
of certainty.

The unripe grapes turned ripe by the sun and became sugary;
likewise, dark rock turned into a gem.

Many an earth were transfigured by His charisma;
the sinister turned felicitous out of His hand of
fortune.

The darkness of the heart became an opening of the heart;
the waylayer of faith is now a mentor and a leader.

The dark well of suffering that was a prison to Joseph became
a strong rope to pull himself out.
Every particle is, like the army of Allah, under Divine command,
to the faithful servant a guarantee and to the denier an ambush.

Keep silent. These words are like the Nile:
one, a Copt, will drown in this blood;
another, a blessed Israelite, will be buoyed along.

Keep silent. These words are ripened figs,
but not every bird of the air will come to discover

Divani Shamsi Tabrizi 644

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/10/19 10:40 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
terry:


when adam and eve were first introduced, in the garden of eden, where time runs forward and backward, adam said:

"madam, I'm adam"

eve only replied:

"eve"

the rest is history...  



Or

adam replied ”madam, I’m adam” and eve only said ”eve”.

This may seem off topic, but it isn’t.

eve comes first
like christmas eve

eve comes last
like the eve of the day

(just ribbing you)

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/10/19 10:41 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
terry:


when adam and eve were first introduced, in the garden of eden, where time runs forward and backward, adam said:

"madam, I'm adam"

eve only replied:

"eve"

the rest is history...  



Or

adam replied ”madam, I’m adam” and eve only said ”eve”.

This may seem off topic, but it isn’t.


the rest is herstory...

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/10/19 12:29 PM as a reply to terry.
Haha! 

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/10/19 12:45 PM as a reply to David S.
David S:
What existence are you asking about?

The existence of everything? The existence of human experience? The existence of the self? The existence of suffering?

The explanation of origins would depend upon one's world view, and any answer would just create more questions.
This. Asking "why" is a causal sequence and it warps reality, so just choose an answer and stick with it. Then getting your version of the "truth" as close as possible to the truth is probably another endless endeavor you can think about.

I'm remembering a story told by Hokai Sobol about a Christian missionary in Tibbet. The missionary asked a monk "What is the point of life?" And the monk was perplexed by this question. He regarded one of his monk companions before answering... And he said "Life is the time between birth & death."

The question made no sense because its roots were in "What is your purpose in God's plan". It doesn't translate well to a culture that has no concept of the Christian God. 

People aren't experiencing life, they are experiencing their perceptions of it. People aren't experiencing their emotions, they are experiencing their reactions to them. People are so wrapped up in their own psychological universe that they can't be out in this one.
It's a matter of perspective, are you looking at it negatively? Then we are all born to suffer because that's the nature of the universe. Or you can look at it positively... from my experience, I choose to believe everything is indeed a direct expression of the universe. That includes us and therefore through our ability to exercise consciousness, we are all just the universe's way of helping to raise itself 

If you want meaning... that is what Dharma is. Dharma can't be chained down to a single definition...
Dharma means to live virtuously.
Dharma means harmony.
Dharma means the right path
Dharma means "the law of the universe"
Good & bad is subjective, so its only a question of ethical & unethical. We should be living in a way that is conducive with all that is.

RE: The question of why there is existence
Answer
12/14/19 2:57 AM as a reply to David Matte.
David Matte:

The thing I don't understand is why is this happening? Why are things the way they are? I am aware Buddhism doesn't answer this question. But it's a good question, right? 

One of the things that lead me to spirituality and Buddhism was immense suffering in my life. I fell in love with the Buddha's premise: "There is suffering" as I could totally relate to what he was talking about. I now can see that the suffering wasn't personal, and not "my" suffering, but I can't help but wonder what that was all about. It felt very personal at the time. Also, It seemed sort of inevitable, seeing as the universe is just spinning doing it's natural, causal thing. 

Thank you for reading and I would be grateful for any reply.
Yes very good question. Probably same question when Prince Siddharta left his palace.

If you want to relate buddhism to our time now, after einstein theory of relativity, then this universe only contain matters and energy. Matter have mass, and energy dont have, not even form, we can only seen its cause and effect.

So what you called as body is matter, and yourself is energy.

Energy took on so many kinds and complexities. From heat energy to electromagnetic etc, till the complexity of life energy which create a system in matter. This life energy is what we called existence. From subtle existences like amoeba till most complex which is human, you.

Remember that you came to life, as energy, not this body, the matter. Nature law for energy is it cannot be created or demolished but can be changed.

Looking at the life energy that makes existences on earth, start from grass till human , the level consciousness at the peak in human form, so your life energy is highest form on planet, since your energy already evolved to such a marvelous complexities called intelligence, you should be able to be free, but not if you keep your energy locked in who "you" are as individual, you will only create suffering.

So Buddha teaching is for you to transcend your life energy to go beyond our petty existence, and become energy with no quality that untouched by time and space. Only then we become liberated.

So celebrate life , get into 8 noble paths
Cut off the string of existences ,
Get out from cycles of time and endless energy transformation
Be at the peak of consciousness
Experience the highest bliss or happiness of existence and be free.

From the cessation of bhava (existence) comes the cessation of birth (past)
From the cessation of birth, then aging (present) & death (future), sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."