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Sam Harris talking about dependent origination in modern philosophical term

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http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/life-without-free-will/

Not a word on dependent origination...

Yeah, I would question whether dependent origination and what Harris is talking about are interchangeable or that the former is implied by the latter.

RE: Sam Harris talking about dependent origination in modern philosophical
Answer
9/14/12 7:19 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Apologies, I had wondered whether to use dependent origination (‘do’) as I’m still very slowly teaching myself about it, and my understanding is quite basic. I had thought ‘do’ was essentially the cause and effect of stimulus on perception/cognition. It strikes me that Harris’ article on free will is nothing but that, albeit focused on one facet and delivered in language intentionally stripped of Buddhist terminology.

Either I’ve read too much into his writing, perhaps basing it on the assumption his mediation practise has influenced his thinking as much as current neurological findings? Or, my understanding of ‘do’ is not even at a basic level and I’m completely off the mark!

It seems to me that he's talking about dependant origination. Of course Buddhism is a religion with millions of adherents across years of time. I'm sure you could find many Buddhists who disagree about the meaning of paticcasamuppāda.

Anyway it's a good article and from the sounds of it Harris' realisation about the nature of causality has reduced his suffering, which sounds pretty sweet.

While I think there's a lot to learn from dependent origination, especially as it applies to practice, I would hesitate to say there is any easy or direct translation from DO to the determinism/free will debate. I don't think you can assume that just because someone is talking about determinism/free will, the concepts map on smoothly to how people understood nature 2,500 years ago.

RE: Sam Harris talking about dependent origination in modern philosophical
Answer
9/14/12 10:29 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Fitter Stoke:
While I think there's a lot to learn from dependent origination, especially as it applies to practice, I would hesitate to say there is any easy or direct translation from DO to the determinism/free will debate. I don't think you can assume that just because someone is talking about determinism/free will, the concepts map on smoothly to how people understood nature 2,500 years ago.


I'm sympathetic to the above argument although I wouldn't say it's the mapping that is the problem but the context. If we're getting scholarly then we can only talk about dependant origination within the context of a specific text. Like if we read Nagarjuna we can try and see what he means by dependant origination and then after that we can try and map it. Although we might first want to compare what Nagarjuna says about it in contrast to other Buddhists from the same period or later. I'm guessing what Nagarjuna says about DO is different to what Sautrantika scholars might say since a lot of Nagarjuna's work is criticisms of Sautrantika ideas. Then after doing all that we can map to more modern concepts.

Now I personally don't think it's that important in terms of practice (ending suffering) because while I think DO maps pretty well to some western ideas. Non-self and emptiness do not. Since no one here holds the same view of self that the denizens of the Indian sub-continent did 2,500 years ago I think both concepts are stupid dead ends (non-self more so than emptiness which is just translated really badly imo).

On the other hand, what I think is irrelevant, if it helps you end suffering then it's good.