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Interesting article about Anatman Darrin Rice 3/27/13 1:28 PM
RE: Interesting article about Anatman Mark 8/2/15 8:06 AM
RE: Interesting article about Anatman Chris Marti 8/2/15 10:51 AM
RE: Interesting article about Anatman Chris Marti 8/2/15 10:56 AM
RE: Interesting article about Anatman Eva Nie 8/2/15 12:30 PM
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RE: Interesting article about Anatman Chris Marti 8/2/15 6:39 PM
RE: Interesting article about Anatman Eva Nie 8/2/15 8:16 PM
RE: Interesting article about Anatman . Jake . 8/3/15 11:24 AM
RE: Interesting article about Anatman bernd the broter 8/3/15 12:09 PM
RE: Interesting article about Anatman Eva Nie 8/3/15 1:02 PM
RE: Interesting article about Anatman . Jake . 8/3/15 1:25 PM
RE: Interesting article about Anatman Eva Nie 8/3/15 12:59 PM
RE: Interesting article about Anatman Mark 8/3/15 1:30 AM
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RE: Interesting article about Anatman Chris Marti 8/4/15 11:31 AM
RE: Interesting article about Anatman Psi 8/2/15 11:07 PM
RE: Interesting article about Anatman Mark 8/3/15 1:32 AM
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RE: Interesting article about Anatman Eva Nie 8/3/15 12:51 PM
Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
3/27/13 1:28 PM
Worth reading. It's the 3rd article down on the page.

Taking Anatman Full Strength

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/2/15 8:06 AM as a reply to Darrin Rice.
The link is dead. A very good read. I think it is here now:

https://faithfulbuddhist.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/taking-anatman-full-strength.pdf

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/2/15 10:51 AM as a reply to Mark.
The key to the article, which I like and agree with, is this:

The teaching of anatman, then, can be understood as an assertion that
there is
no eternal and unchanging consciousness, life force, or soul, singular or
plural, nothing which can escape this dependently arisen world and continue on in
eternal bliss. Rather, the only kind of self we have is a dependently arisen self,
completely caused by the conditions of its existence. Full-strength
anatman, then,
does not say that we do not have a “self,” that the self is mere illusion, or that it is
non-existent. Rather, we do have a self, it is real, and has real causal powers, but it
is impermanent, constructed by the conditions of its existence, can be changed, will
come to an end, and is completely non-dualistic, radically immanent to the material
world. 

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/2/15 10:56 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
This is in agreement with what I have experienced to be the case. There is a physical being affected by and affecting the world it resides in, and this being has self-referential abilities - it is self-aware. It is, however, wholly the product of the causes and conditions surrounding it in space and in time (although both of those things are also dependently arising, as eveything is dependently arising). Turtles, all the way down.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/2/15 12:30 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I am not tempted to assume from my very limited antlike perspective that I know all the answers to reality in all its infinity and eternity.  That would be kinda of silly it seems to me.  But the idea that anything would be completely and utterly unchanging in any way for all eternity does certainly seem unlikely at least to me and I suspect the quoted perspective to be probably about right.  As for illusion, IMO, that definition is not well defined.  A tv show could be said to be illusion, the reality it depicts could be said not exist the way it is portrayed, but from another perspective, tv shows affects people and have power in that way, Star Trek did a lot of influence the world, much more than say the lawn ornament in my bushes.  The show does not exist the way it appears on surface glance but in another way it could be said to exist as much as anything else ( or not exist as much as anything else).
-Eva

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/2/15 3:47 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
This is in agreement with what I have experienced to be the case. There is a physical being affected by and affecting the world it resides in, and this being has self-referential abilities - it is self-aware. It is, however, wholly the product of the causes and conditions surrounding it in space and in time (although both of those things are also dependently arising, as eveything is dependently arising). Turtles, all the way down.


Hi Chris,

On his blog he makes the case for different types of dependent origination. It is similar to the idea of things within and outside a circle of influence. Makes a strong case for awakening being a social event rather than an individual one. Thoughts on that\ ?

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/2/15 6:39 PM as a reply to Mark.
On his blog he makes the case for different types of dependent origination. It is similar to the idea of things within and outside a circle of influence. Makes a strong case for awakening being a social event rather than an individual one. Thoughts on that?

Mark, funny you ask as I read that article just yesterday.

I think what's being accomplished in the article is to delineate the various types of errors commonly made by scholarly and other kinds of Buddhists when describing dependent origination, mainly because they tend to openly, inadvertently, or without expllictly saying so, endorse some nascent form of non-dependently arising, permanent or non-changing thing. And then he proposes an alternative that makes sense from my experience. As he says near the end of the piece:

To sum up this long diatribe, then, I would simply say that the most important point to keep in mind is that when we think of dependent origination, we almost always hold out something that is not dependently originated, something that is really real. We may do this overtly, as in the assertions of a “true self” or of Vasubandhu’s “perfected nature,” or subtly, as in Garfield’s insistence on paradox as an ontological truth. To be on guard against this error is major component of Buddhist practice, particularly if we are attempting to reduce the suffering of others in their ordinary experience of life—the common sense, ordinary language way of existing in the world is replete with the error of assuming a fundamental and unchanging truth, of some final thing that is just notdependently arisen.

The italics in the quoted paragraph were added by me for emphasis. So, as in the case of anatman, there is nothing solid (permanent, unchanging) to stand on. It is a case, once again, of turtles all the way down. And why not? The self and everything else are all dependently arising phenomena.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/2/15 8:16 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:


I think what's being accomplished in the article is to delineate the various types of errors commonly made by scholarly and other kinds of Buddhists when describing dependent origination, mainly because they tend to openly, inadvertently, or without expllictly saying so, endorse some nascent form of non-dependently arising, permanent or non-changing thing. And then he proposes an alternative that makes sense from my experience. As he says near the end of the piece:

On the flip side, it gets a tad old when someone tries to ask a question on here and someone else just HAS to come in and say the question doesn't matter because there is no such thing as 'I' in the first place and that the asker does not actually exist anyway.  Which is something I see on here a lot!  ;-P
-Eva 

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/2/15 11:07 PM as a reply to Darrin Rice.
Darrin Rice:
Worth reading. It's the 3rd article down on the page.

Taking Anatman Full Strength


To all, 

If the self or the I making, the me, me, me, is seen in this way...  It arises dependent upon conditions, due to impersonal processes.  These impersonal processes are fast, very fast, and this gives rise to complexity, and this complexity makes it hard to see how all this I making, the me, the self could possibly be arising all by itself, depending upon condtions.

But, subtract away the conditions that cause the I to arise, the me to form, then what happens?

Turtles all the way down, but what happens when the turtles are removed?  What is left?

The me, the self, the I , it is just a concept, anatman is just a concept, take all of that away, what is left?  What happens when thought stops?  Not just in jhana, but when all thinking, judging, comparing, criticizing stops?  When this stops the selfing, I making , the me stops also.  So, the self concept, the me , the self is based upon conditions, conditions are like a support process, the self, me the I making can not stand all by itself, all alone, without the thinking and concept building to support it.  The thinking and concept building also are of an impersonal nature, thoughts arise and form based upon conditions, memories, previous associations, and probably phenomenon we are as yet unaware of.

I am not saying any of this is true, but , if one were to look and investigate the pheonemnon of self, me, and I making is this how it is?  Or is it different?  Is it true for you if you see it this way?

What does anyone see here that is not or at least probably not of an impersonal nature that is based upon conditions, upon the past?

Can we not , or have not at least already investigated the five senses and seen these are all of an impersonal nature, right?

Then , all that is left is thinking, when we really look at that, is not thinking just also arising from an impersonal process?

Yes, there is a mind and body, there is a chair.  We all got that, but where is the self, the me, the I making, and when that process is taken away what is left?  I would like to investigate this, thought it is hard for me to investigate.  When I do investigate, I really do not find that there really is a self.  I see a process, but going down a few turtles this process arises and forms due to an impersonal nature.  So if the self is an impersonal process, how can I really be me?

This all sounds really weird, huh?  I think this language phenomenon is part of the problem, and that humanity has given so much value and importance to thoughts and thought processes.

And, more importantly, can we all use this to our advantage?  Does actually seeing how this works enable us to actually do something with it in the nuts and bolts world?

Can we use this impersonal process to change itself, for the better?  Does the abandoning of clinging, greediness, anger, which all seem to stem from the I concept, leave a more peaceful, energetic and productive mind.

In other words, if the I making is a concept, and requires a support mechansim to exist, then it must need energy to exist, but without the greedy I making process there should be an easier freely running mind, unencumbered, so to speak.

Case in point, as we touched upon in the Competitive Sports post, much more efficient to just make the shot coming at you, than to let the I making worry program get in the way.

I am most reluctant to post this, as I know, from my own experience that the I maker, the me, the ego, does not like this kind of talk, it sees it as nonsense, it wants to be, to control, to actually be the body and mind.  But, since it is not actually the body and mind, conflict arises, is that seen clearly, how this conflict arises?  Why just thinking that one is a body and mind is a delusion, not based on facts?  Even the remnants of my own ego recoils at the very idea.

But, how can I be the intestinal bacteria?  How can I be water, 80 percent of this body is water, but how can I be water?  Who , in there right ind would ever believe they were water and non human dna bacteria?  Non human dna bacteria is about 3-4 percent, and water 80 percent of a human.  So, right there we know, as a fact that 80 plus percent is not me, it can not be, it seems a fact, is that true???  Or am I being delusional?

Why does the thinking process think it is things that is is not?  Why does this thinking process cling to irrational things?

Is this a view, or is this a fact?

I really do not ish to upset anyone, nor do I wish to argue, but I would welcome the idea of brainstorming and disussing phenomenon and what we think of as a self that factually can not even remotley be a me, self, or an I.

One of my sticking points is the Human Pattern, the pattern that is holding a form is seen as a me.

Also, a me is sensed in the head and throat area, it just seems that I am there, that I am that sensation.  Even though intellectually, it is know that it is just a sensation, the center of gravity for the body, a reference point, that feels like me.

Now, there is a mode of consciousness that arises , in meditation and during daily life, that there is no sense of me, but that is to hard to explain, for me, at this juncture anyway.

Yours truly, 

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/3/15 1:30 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
On his blog he makes the case for different types of dependent origination. It is similar to the idea of things within and outside a circle of influence. Makes a strong case for awakening being a social event rather than an individual one. Thoughts on that?

Mark, funny you ask as I read that article just yesterday.

I think what's being accomplished in the article is to delineate the various types of errors commonly made by scholarly and other kinds of Buddhists when describing dependent origination, mainly because they tend to openly, inadvertently, or without expllictly saying so, endorse some nascent form of non-dependently arising, permanent or non-changing thing. And then he proposes an alternative that makes sense from my experience. As he says near the end of the piece:

To sum up this long diatribe, then, I would simply say that the most important point to keep in mind is that when we think of dependent origination, we almost always hold out something that is not dependently originated, something that is really real. We may do this overtly, as in the assertions of a “true self” or of Vasubandhu’s “perfected nature,” or subtly, as in Garfield’s insistence on paradox as an ontological truth. To be on guard against this error is major component of Buddhist practice, particularly if we are attempting to reduce the suffering of others in their ordinary experience of life—the common sense, ordinary language way of existing in the world is replete with the error of assuming a fundamental and unchanging truth, of some final thing that is just notdependently arisen.

The italics in the quoted paragraph were added by me for emphasis. So, as in the case of anatman, there is nothing solid (permanent, unchanging) to stand on. It is a case, once again, of turtles all the way down. And why not? The self and everything else are all dependently arising phenomena.

You are right that the post focuses on that message (the same message as the article linked to in this thread). I'm particularly interested in where he is headed, which is hinted at with :

I would argue that it is crucial to understand the mind as a conventionally real thing, dependently arisen from social practices. This is an extremely important point: while what distinguishes the conventional (in my sense) is that it is malleable in a way the (merely) dependently originated is not

This is where he is making a distinction and your analogy of turtles all the way down would be incorrect. It is more like two stacks of turtles all the way down (the analogy is stretched beyond breaking point there I think).

I have the impression he is very motivated to find an argument for social action based on dependent origination. Offering an alternative to the "free mind" error which is often voiced on DhO.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/3/15 1:32 AM as a reply to Psi.
Hi Psi,

Have you read the article ? It seems to offer some answers to some of your questions. Maybe you could repharse your questions as a critique of what he did or did not get right in the article.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/3/15 11:24 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
Chris Marti:


I think what's being accomplished in the article is to delineate the various types of errors commonly made by scholarly and other kinds of Buddhists when describing dependent origination, mainly because they tend to openly, inadvertently, or without expllictly saying so, endorse some nascent form of non-dependently arising, permanent or non-changing thing. And then he proposes an alternative that makes sense from my experience. As he says near the end of the piece:

On the flip side, it gets a tad old when someone tries to ask a question on here and someone else just HAS to come in and say the question doesn't matter because there is no such thing as 'I' in the first place and that the asker does not actually exist anyway.  Which is something I see on here a lot!  ;-P
-Eva 


Wow, maybe I'm just good at tuning that kind of rhetorical nonsense out, but I don't see that happening here very much if at all. Especially compared to lots of FB Dharma groups with a more 'advaita' or 'nondual' spin, where it appears to be rampant. But maybe I'm completely blind to it here for some reason! Any examples?

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/3/15 12:09 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:
[...]:



Wow, maybe I'm just good at tuning that kind of rhetorical nonsense out, but I don't see that happening here very much if at all. Especially compared to lots of FB Dharma groups with a more 'advaita' or 'nondual' spin, where it appears to be rampant. But maybe I'm completely blind to it here for some reason! Any examples?
Yeah, you don't see it happening, but that's just because you don't really exist and therefore there's no one to whom it might happen.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/3/15 12:44 PM as a reply to Mark.
This is where he is making a distinction and your analogy of turtles all the way down would be incorrect. It is more like two stacks of turtles all the way down (the analogy is stretched beyond breaking point there I think).

I'll re-read the article and see what comes out this time, Mark. That said, I'll be forced to disagree with it if you're correct and he really is advocating two distinctly different forms of dependent origination. I think he's making an argument about language and its ineffective use by Buddhists in describing, or understanding, the one and only dependent origination. In the end, words just don't suffice and we end up using socially convenient and agreed upon terminology, which leads us to unwittingly invent or subliminally accept dualities when there aren't any, according to DO. If he is arguing that I hope he's saying that the social version is subsumed by the one I experience, at which point there's still just one  :-)

There can only be dependent origination because that one leads to the exposing of ALL phenomena, everything we can think of, experience or imagine, as wholly dependent. If that's the case, and my experience says it is, then the article has much less merit than I got from it on first reading. Social conventions are, by definition, empty and dependtly arising. 

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/3/15 12:51 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:


But, subtract away the conditions that cause the I to arise, the me to form, then what happens?
IME, there is still awareness.   Of course, an argument could be made that cessation is what really happens.  But I don't see any way to see what is going on beyond awareness.  And just because something is not stored in aware memory may not mean it did not exist during that time, unless you are into solipsism.  ;-P  

This all sounds really weird, huh?  I think this language phenomenon is part of the problem, and that humanity has given so much value and importance to thoughts and thought processes.
Perhaps we shouldn't just it either way, neither good nor bad?


Case in point, as we touched upon in the Competitive Sports post, much more efficient to just make the shot coming at you, than to let the I making worry program get in the way.
But the I making worry program does not always worry, sometimes it does other things, as well being the driving force of playing the game, setting the rules, etc.  But yeah, the "I" program seems to slow to hit fast moving balls, something else does that.  Science also seems to indicate that fast reflex game responses go beyond the apparent ability of neuron signal speed to the brain and back. 

But, how can I be the intestinal bacteria?  How can I be water, 80 percent of this body is water, but how can I be water?  Who , in there right ind would ever believe they were water and non human dna bacteria?  Non human dna bacteria is about 3-4 percent, and water 80 percent of a human.  So, right there we know, as a fact that 80 plus percent is not me, it can not be, it seems a fact, is that true???  Or am I being delusional?
"Ugly bags of mostly water!"  (alien quote from Star Trek)  Anyway, sounds like basic Buddhist philosophy, shouldn't be anyone super surprised by such theories.  ;-P

Is this a view, or is this a fact?
Sorry, IMO, it is still a view, nonBuddhists probably have a different definition of self, why can't self be defined as 'bag of water and assorted?' Look at a slime mold, it can exist as separate independent cells, then, come together as one entity, and then break up again as separate cells.  Conglomerations of differnet cells do seem able to form a global overarching consciousness.   Even the mitochondria in our cells are thought to have originally lived as separate organisms but slowly formed a symbiotic relationship with us, hence why mitochondria have their own separate DNA from the cell nucleas that are inherited differenly as well.  Many assume awareness comes from a group effect and that has not been proven wrong any more than anything else.   Buddhism is just a diff set of logic processes and algorithms using different assumptions that if followed leads to a different conclusion. 



Now, there is a mode of consciousness that arises , in meditation and during daily life, that there is no sense of me, but that is to hard to explain, for me, at this juncture anyway.
Prob is you need awareness to remember things.  Awareness can't see state of lack of awareness. 
-Eva

Yours truly, 

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/3/15 12:53 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
An interesting language effect, as noted in the article we're talking about, is occurring here on this topic. We are discussing dependent origination as if it were a thing. Why are we doing this? Because we're limited by the social conventions of language, which presumes subjects and  objects existing in time and space, and that's our only means of communicating. All of those things are dependently arising, just like dependent orgination is dependently arising.

It really gets confusing, almost contradictory -- until and unless we can drop the conventionsm -- and at that point we can't talk about it  :-)

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/3/15 12:59 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:

Wow, maybe I'm just good at tuning that kind of rhetorical nonsense out, but I don't see that happening here very much if at all. Especially compared to lots of FB Dharma groups with a more 'advaita' or 'nondual' spin, where it appears to be rampant. But maybe I'm completely blind to it here for some reason! Any examples?
Well 'a lot' is subjective.  I tried visiting other groups in the past but there would be huge angry arguments about stuff like if one should keep eyes open or closed during meditating, and I just didn't have any interest in that kind of angry arguing over tiny details.  I guess I didn't stick around long enough to see the rest of it.  Anyway, I think shortly after people get to a certain stage of feeling more free, they tend to get a bit evangelical for a bit in their excitement, that probably accounts for some of the repetition.  Those that meditated a lot on 'no self' and found more success with that route seem to get a bit dogmatic on it for a while. Say vs those who did more with impermanence or dukkha routes and like those better.  
-Eva

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/3/15 1:02 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
bernd the broter:

Yeah, you don't see it happening, but that's just because you don't really exist and therefore there's no one to whom it might happen.
Maybe it's the kind of thing that if it happens 3 times, that seems like a lot already LOL!  ;-P
-Eva

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/3/15 1:25 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
bernd the broter:

Yeah, you don't see it happening, but that's just because you don't really exist and therefore there's no one to whom it might happen.
Maybe it's the kind of thing that if it happens 3 times, that seems like a lot already LOL!  ;-P
-Eva

lol emoticon

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/3/15 2:20 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
An interesting language effect, as noted in the article we're talking about, is occurring here on this topic. We are discussing dependent origination as if it were a thing. Why are we doing this? Because we're limited by the social conventions of language, which presumes subjects and  objects existing in time and space, and that's our only means of communicating. All of those things are dependently arising, just like dependent orgination is dependently arising.

It really gets confusing, almost contradictory -- until and unless we can drop the conventionsm -- and at that point we can't talk about it  :-)

Hi Chris,

It is a challenge! One of the points worth considering is what do we mean by thing. I think of it as a shared concept, so for example a chair is something, so is a thought, so is a process. Some things are physical e.g. the chair, some have physical correlates like the thought, some are abstract like a process. In any case the word/concept is never the thing but is a relative pointer and the thing is never independent. So I think we can talk about DO as a thing.

It is somewhat similar to the concept of self, as pointed out in the first article, there is a self but it is subject to DO, there is nothing permanent about it. We often hear on DhO that the self is an illusion to be seen through, he is arguing against that, claiming that seeing through the self is the socially conditioned delusion.

Tom is making a distinction, there are things which happen with or without social structure, like the formation of planets. They are also dependently arising but they are not the same as the concepts we use, the concepts are dependent on social structures and personal practices. We can't change the law of gravity but we can change the law regarding slavery.

I don't think he is creating two different types of DO but he is creating two categories of things. Those that are socially constructed (and I think he argues that subjective experience is also socially constructed) and those that are outside of the influence of society/individual e.g. gravity.

The challenge he is trying to address is that if DO is seen as "everything is related" there is a tempation to put everything into the same bucket - I can't change gravity or slavery. This is his "free mind" error I think.

Where he has not gone yet and where it risks to get very complicated is trying to explain choice in the context of DO. I hope he tries! 

Will be interesting to have your thoughts after taking another look at the article, thanks.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/3/15 2:56 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
[quote=
]Where he has not gone yet and where it risks to get very complicated is trying to explain choice in the context of DO. I hope he tries! 


Well, I am not he, but, there is a choice in DO, two spots, at least, first is right between feeling and craving, by mindfulness one is aware of the feeling as a feeling, nothing more, nothing less, that is a choice, and that puts a stop to the whole mess.

Another choice is not being ignorant of the Four Noble Truths, therefore,  when the I-making does not arise, also the whole mess of DO does not arise, it cannot start the process.

Yet another choice, is after craving has arisen, is to abandon craving and clinging, this will also put a stop to the DO process.

Also substituting the opposite will put a stop to DO, after craving arises, this too, will help to bring things back into balance.

That is what comes to mind for the moment.

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/3/15 3:56 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Mark:
[quote=
]Where he has not gone yet and where it risks to get very complicated is trying to explain choice in the context of DO. I hope he tries! 


Well, I am not he, but, there is a choice in DO, two spots, at least, first is right between feeling and craving, by mindfulness one is aware of the feeling as a feeling, nothing more, nothing less, that is a choice, and that puts a stop to the whole mess.

Another choice is not being ignorant of the Four Noble Truths, therefore,  when the I-making does not arise, also the whole mess of DO does not arise, it cannot start the process.

Yet another choice, is after craving has arisen, is to abandon craving and clinging, this will also put a stop to the DO process.

Also substituting the opposite will put a stop to DO, after craving arises, this too, will help to bring things back into balance.

That is what comes to mind for the moment.

Psi

Are you saying the choice is not a dependent arising ?

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/3/15 3:57 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
Hi Psi,

Have you read the article ? 

You got me, you are a smart one.  I just skimmed through the first time, I am re-reading now, four hours of sleep and my eyes are getting droopy, my constructed self will disappear for a while, The me will turn off like a t.v., only to be reignited by some dukkha disturbing external or internal stimuli...

The author is making some good points, but there are some things that do not seem to be seen fully, This may take some time to investigate, digest mentally.

The author while claiming there is a conventionl self, and there is a full stregnth Anatman, at the same time, seems to be missing that a conventional self is no more than thought formations.  Maybe it is just words.  Still reading though.

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/4/15 11:31 AM as a reply to Mark.
Tom is making a distinction, there are things which happen with or without social structure, like the formation of planets. They are also dependently arising but they are not the same as the concepts we use, the concepts are dependent on social structures and personal practices. We can't change the law of gravity but we can change the law regarding slavery.

I don't think he is creating two different types of DO but he is creating two categories of things. Those that are socially constructed (and I think he argues that subjective experience is also socially constructed) and those that are outside of the influence of society/individual e.g. gravity.
Sure, I can see that - and will probably see it better once I get back through the article.

Two kinds of things (objects) is fine, as long as it's not two kinds of DO emoticon

I suspect the ways we can separate types of objects is just about infinite, but I understand the distinctiion between an object with some kind of physical attribute and one that has "mind based" attributes or attributes that come solely by social convention.

More later....



RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/4/15 6:22 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
Are you saying the choice is not a dependent arising ?
Metaphorically speaking here, 

Say there is a common book of matches, and a person holding this book takes out a match, like they have always done, they press the match to the lighting strip and they light the match, then there is a fire, still holding the match it burns down to the fingers, which causes the person to throw away the match, and the fire dies out.

Then, one day, Say there is a common book of matches, and a person holding this book takes out a match, like they have always done, they press the match to the lighting strip, and stop.

So in one way we could say it is a choice to not light the match, or we could say it is cessation of dependent orgination.

On another day, the matchbook is never picked up, the matchbook representing ignorance and I making, me making, becoming.  With no matchbook , or ignorance, no fire striking can arise.

On another day, after the person lit the match, they pour water on the flame, a substitution of the opposite, one could call this a choice, or a cessation of a process.  I.e after anger has arisen,  abandon anger, arouse metta, maintain metta.

In the metaphor the match, the air, and the striking strip represent, senses, contact , and feeling.  The craving represents the ignition of the fire.

As far as I know ,  as part of being humans we can not do anything about senses, contact, and feeling, but we can keep them from coming together and starting craving, through bare attention, mindfulness.  And cessation of craving is cessation of dukkha, at least for that mind moment.

So to sum up from question, 
Are you saying the choice is not a dependent arising ?
I would say it is a cessation of dependent arising.  But, it could be said it is a choice also, makes it easier to explain and use on a conventional level.  

But, Dependent Origination has nothing to do with Determinism and Fatalism, Free Will, and all the rest, as far as I know , anyway.

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 3:26 AM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Mark:
Are you saying the choice is not a dependent arising ?
Metaphorically speaking here, 

Say there is a common book of matches, and a person holding this book takes out a match, like they have always done, they press the match to the lighting strip and they light the match, then there is a fire, still holding the match it burns down to the fingers, which causes the person to throw away the match, and the fire dies out.

Then, one day, Say there is a common book of matches, and a person holding this book takes out a match, like they have always done, they press the match to the lighting strip, and stop.

So in one way we could say it is a choice to not light the match, or we could say it is cessation of dependent orgination.

On another day, the matchbook is never picked up, the matchbook representing ignorance and I making, me making, becoming.  With no matchbook , or ignorance, no fire striking can arise.

On another day, after the person lit the match, they pour water on the flame, a substitution of the opposite, one could call this a choice, or a cessation of a process.  I.e after anger has arisen,  abandon anger, arouse metta, maintain metta.

In the metaphor the match, the air, and the striking strip represent, senses, contact , and feeling.  The craving represents the ignition of the fire.

As far as I know ,  as part of being humans we can not do anything about senses, contact, and feeling, but we can keep them from coming together and starting craving, through bare attention, mindfulness.  And cessation of craving is cessation of dukkha, at least for that mind moment.

So to sum up from question, 
Are you saying the choice is not a dependent arising ?
I would say it is a cessation of dependent arising.  But, it could be said it is a choice also, makes it easier to explain and use on a conventional level.  

But, Dependent Origination has nothing to do with Determinism and Fatalism, Free Will, and all the rest, as far as I know , anyway.

Psi

Hi Psi,

Perhaps there is a mistake in your reasoning because you assume that a decision not to act is not itself an action.

In my understanding DO cannot stop, if you don't strike the match other phenomena and actions will occur, they will be dependent on not having struck the match.

You may not be considering the arisings that lead to the decision not to act (whether that decision is conscious or not) as somehow different from arisings that lead to the decision to act. The process of DO is the same in both cases.

DO seems to have implications for free will - it implies that conventional free will does not exist because there is no independent "decision maker". DO also seems to have implications for Determinism and Fatalism and I think these are the concerns motivating the author in the blog entry that is linked to in this thread.

With determinism or fatalism is could be tempting to conclude there is no such thing as Right Effort. That conclusion is based on the belief that there is an individual who can choose whether to make an effort or not. If we consider the self to be a collection of inter-related processes, for example some tell narritives, some worry about social acceptance, some rebel against norms etc then the tension that exists is healthy. What is perceived as effort could be the balancing of these diverse processes - arriving at compromise. The free mind error the article author points to seems to be related to removing that tension - this gives a sensation of free flowing action in the world but also risks to be socially conformist (sub-consciously avoiding tension). This is one of the big criticisms the non-buddhists make of Buddhism.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 7:49 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:

Hi Psi,

Perhaps there is a mistake in your reasoning because you assume that a decision not to act is not itself an action.


Yes, I understand that, choosing to not act is indeed a choice.
In my understanding DO cannot stop, if you don't strike the match other phenomena and actions will occur, they will be dependent on not having struck the match.
All I can say is that there is cessation, if not , then there is no point in any of this.

You may not be considering the arisings that lead to the decision not to act (whether that decision is conscious or not) as somehow different from arisings that lead to the decision to act. The process of DO is the same in both cases.
I have considered the arisings that lead to decisions not to act, yet, it is not a thinking type of decision, I think that is the error.  The error is thinking that thinking and decision making is all that one can know, experience and work with.  If one thinks that, then indeed they will be forever stuck.  One has to work with at least vedana level to make any changes, otherwise th eprocess will repeat on and ond , endelssly.


DO seems to have implications for free will - it implies that conventional free will does not exist because there is no independent "decision maker". DO also seems to have implications for Determinism and Fatalism and I think these are the concerns motivating the author in the blog entry that is linked to in this thread.
There is mind.  I can see that view, on the implications of free will.  It sure seems like free will.  But is it? 

With determinism or fatalism is could be tempting to conclude there is no such thing as Right Effort. That conclusion is based on the belief that there is an individual who can choose whether to make an effort or not. If we consider the self to be a collection of inter-related processes, for example some tell narritives, some worry about social acceptance, some rebel against norms etc then the tension that exists is healthy. What is perceived as effort could be the balancing of these diverse processes - arriving at compromise. The free mind error the article author points to seems to be related to removing that tension - this gives a sensation of free flowing action in the world but also risks to be socially conformist (sub-consciously avoiding tension). This is one of the big criticisms the non-buddhists make of Buddhism.
Have to go for now

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 8:42 AM as a reply to Psi.
In my understanding DO cannot stop, if you don't strike the match other phenomena and actions will occur, they will be dependent on not having struck the match.

IMHO this is correct, Mark. All things seem to arise in a dependent fashion, including DO. There is nothing outside of DO. I also agree that it implies a deterministic existence. The thing I find interesting about Buddhism is that so few Buddhists take DO seriously. They seem to want DO but still believe in or rely on some kind of safety net (permanence), overtly or inadvertently.


RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 11:49 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
In my understanding DO cannot stop, if you don't strike the match other phenomena and actions will occur, they will be dependent on not having struck the match.

IMHO this is correct, Mark. All things seem to arise in a dependent fashion, including DO. There is nothing outside of DO. I also agree that it implies a deterministic existence. The thing I find interesting about Buddhism is that so few Buddhists take DO seriously. They seem to want DO but still believe in or rely on some kind of safety net (permanence), overtly or inadvertently.

Hi Chris,

I think we are touching on the core of the question Tom is circling around.

Is it fair to say that DO is describing subjective experience ? It does not seem to be explaining cause and effect in the inter-objective world i.e. it is not the same as the concept of causality. One version of causality would have us living in a mechanistic universe - which implies determinism.

I have to catch myself projecting DO onto material systems, I believe the universe would continue to exist if there were no living entities to subjectively experience it.

What do you think ?

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 12:26 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
So, adding to what was said earler, I will add what someone else wrtoe, as it better explains my experience with Dependent Origination.

The paṭicca-samuppāda, with its twelve links starting with ignorance and ending in ageing and death, shows how man, being fettered, wanders in saṃsāra birth after birth. But by getting rid of these twelve factors man can liberate himself from suffering and rebirth. The Buddha has taught us the way to put an end to this repeated wandering. It is by endeavouring to halt this Wheel of Existence that we may find the way out of this tangle.
The Buddha-word which speaks of this cessation of suffering is stated thus:
“Through the entire cessation of ignorance cease volitional formations;
Through the cessation of volitional formations, consciousness ceases;
Through the cessation of consciousness, mentality-materiality ceases;
Through the cessation of mentality-materiality, the sixfold base ceases;
Through the cessation of the sixfold base, contact ceases;
Through the cessation of contact, feeling ceases;
Through the cessation of feeling, craving ceases;
Through the cessation of craving, clinging ceases;
Through the cessation of clinging, becoming ceases;
Through the cessation of becoming, birth ceases;
Through the cessation of birth, cease ageing and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair.
Thus does this whole mass of suffering cease.”37

http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh015.pdf



And I also like to think of it as 12 dominoes, all lined up, though some of the dominoes can not be removed before they fall, it seems.
But, it seems one can remove the craving and stop the other dominoes from falling, at least from my experience.  One can also work backwards with this chain of events and see what exactly caused what, in order to gain insight.  And use the insight to better deal with reality, either the tension or the pleasantness. Craving, as a reminder has two sides, attraction and aversion.  Avoiding tension, as mentioned earlier, upost, would be craving, the aversion side.  And, I agree, that is not dealing with the issue at hand.

Have to leave, again, for work.

Later.

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 2:59 PM as a reply to Mark.
Is it fair to say that DO is describing subjective experience ? It does not seem to be explaining cause and effect in the inter-objective world i.e. it is not the same as the concept of causality. One version of causality would have us living in a mechanistic universe - which implies determinism.


I think this is a great question that, for me, has no satisfying answer. Yes, DO is describing subjective experience - but that's all we have. That is experience.  I don't experience physical systems directly. All of my experiences are mediated by mind via DO, so what's really going on with physical systems isn't something I can talk about. As far as I can tell descriptions of physical systems are all inference and descriptive concepts like measurements, images, and rules derived using math and physics - all coming into my experience via DO, just like everything else. DO applies to the process of perceiving, which is how  we interact with everything that exists. I think that's the primary point and importance of DO - it is truly earth shattering in its scope and its implications, which could be why it's not fully understood by an awful lot of Buddhists, probably the majority. We cannot segment our experience into separate parts and pieces - those that work according to DO and those that don't work according to DO. Is there an underlying reality that would exist "independently" of this body and mind? I have no idea. I think there is an underlying reality but according to DO there is absolutely nothing that is ultimately independent. If conscious creatures weren't here to experience the universe would the universe exist? I have no sensible answer to that question - whatever I say will be based on a belief, or faith.

As an aside, I do think that modern physics is approaching a congruity with DO that is interesting, mainly in regard to how the quantum world is being described - but that's another discussion entirely.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 3:22 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
By the way, I'm carefuly trying to avoid the issues that surround notions of absolute versus relative, and which is really real, or really not real. That gets into interesting territory, too.


emoticon

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 3:32 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Is it fair to say that DO is describing subjective experience ? It does not seem to be explaining cause and effect in the inter-objective world i.e. it is not the same as the concept of causality. One version of causality would have us living in a mechanistic universe - which implies determinism.


I think this is a great question that, for me, has no satisfying answer. Yes, DO is describing subjective experience - but that's all we have. That is experience.  I don't experience physical systems directly. All of my experiences are mediated by mind via DO, so what's really going on with physical systems isn't something I can talk about. As far as I can tell descriptions of physical systems are all inference and descriptive concepts like measurements, images, and rules derived using math and physics - all coming into my experience via DO, just like everything else. DO applies to the process of perceiving, which is how  we interact with everything that exists. I think that's the primary point and importance of DO - it is truly earth shattering in its scope and its implications, which could be why it's not fully understood by an awful lot of Buddhists, probably the majority. We cannot segment our experience into separate parts and pieces - those that work according to DO and those that don't work according to DO. Is there an underlying reality that would exist "independently" of this body and mind? I have no idea. I think there is an underlying reality but according to DO there is absolutely nothing that is ultimately independent. If conscious creatures weren't here to experience the universe would the universe exist? I have no sensible answer to that question - whatever I say will be based on a belief, or faith.

As an aside, I do think that modern physics is approaching a congruity with DO that is interesting, mainly in regard to how the quantum world is being described - but that's another discussion entirely.
Hi Chris,

Agreed all we ever have "direct" access to is experience (I like the word qualia). But it seems reasonable to me to assume that you exist with a large degree of independence from me, if I die today then you and the rest of the universe do not cease. This is an important point because it gives me reason to care about what happens even after I'm dead.

You wrote "I think there is an underlying reality but according to DO there is absolutely nothing that is ultimately independent." and also "Yes, DO is describing subjective experience". I see some contradition there. DO is saying that there is nothing in your subjective experience that is independent or permanent. It is not saying that you are interdependent with everything in existence. If I disappear it will have impacts but it will not impact everything.

If we believe in evolution then I think the answer is that a physical world existed before conscious experience. It also makes sense that qualia did not exist i.e. there is no sound until there is a subject to experience sound. There would of course still exist air pressure differences without conscious beings.

Do you see the distinction between causality and DO ? Causality would apply to everything - both DO and the material world. The sun rises through causality but I experience the sunrise through DO. The sequence of arisings in DO is an expression of causality.

If you buy into this, then DO is not fundamental to everything but still fundamental to our subjective experience. Is this making sense ?

I think we have very strong evidence that causality does not go all the way down i.e. the turtle analogy breaks down. At the quantum level there is randomness i.e. it is not a mechanical universe i.e. it is not a deterministic universe.

I'm not sure how much better is makes people feel to have no free will with a random future - maybe better than no free will and a deterministic future!

There also seems to be something in Tom's distinction of inter-subjective behavior. The social structures massively influence our subjective experience. Individuals also influence the social structures. Meditation could lead to an awareness of DO which could lead to an awareness of the social structures which could lead to an understanding of DO in those social structures and a desire to remove ignorance from society in a similar way to how we would like to remove our personal ignorance.

Hmm, I'm liking where the conversation is going 

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 3:58 PM as a reply to Mark.
But it seems reasonable to me to assume that you exist with a large degree of independence from me, if I die today then you and the rest of the universe do not cease. This is an important point because it gives me reason to care about what happens even after I'm dead.

All I'm saying is that this is, indeed, an assumption, as is this:

DO is saying that there is nothing in your subjective experience that is independent or permanent. It is not saying that you are interdependent with everything in existence. If I disappear it will have impacts but it will not impact everything.

I'm addressing the issues from a subjective experience POV, as you can probably ascertain. I believe what you believe, Mark, so I get what you're saying about causality and the probably very limited interdependence between my existence and the planet Saturn, but I can't prove any of it, no matter how strongly I believe -- and mine actually is a very strong belief in an underlying physical reality.

And this is interesting:

If we believe in evolution then I think the answer is that a physical world existed before conscious experience. It also makes sense that qualia did not exist i.e. there is no sound until there is a subject to experience sound. There would of course still exist air pressure differences without conscious beings.

Because at least one interpretation of quantum theory says that it may not be true - consciousness (measurement is what the physicists usually say) may actually be a requirement for existence - of anything, not just conscious beings.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 3:57 PM as a reply to Mark.
There also seems to be something in Tom's distinction of inter-subjective behavior. The social structures massively influence our subjective experience. Individuals also influence the social structures. Meditation could lead to an awareness of DO which could lead to an awareness of the social structures which could lead to an understanding of DO in those social structures and a desire to remove ignorance from society in a similar way to how we would like to remove our personal ignorance.

Yes, I like that, too.


RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 4:13 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
But it seems reasonable to me to assume that you exist with a large degree of independence from me, if I die today then you and the rest of the universe do not cease. This is an important point because it gives me reason to care about what happens even after I'm dead.

All I'm saying is that this is, indeed, an assumption, as is this:

DO is saying that there is nothing in your subjective experience that is independent or permanent. It is not saying that you are interdependent with everything in existence. If I disappear it will have impacts but it will not impact everything.

I'm addressing the issues from a subjective experience POV, as you can probably ascertain. I believe what you believe, Mark, so I get what you're saying about causality and the probably very limited interdependence between my existence and the planet Saturn, but I can't prove any of it, no matter how strongly I believe -- and mine actually is a very strong belief in an underlying physical reality.


I think we can run with that as a working assumption. For me it is a given that language can only be relative, the same with any concept we hold. I'm not saying I know these things to be 100% sure. But if we can only talk about things that we are 100% certain of I'm not sure there is anything to talk about emoticon Everyone else may be a zombie etc... 



And this is interesting:

If we believe in evolution then I think the answer is that a physical world existed before conscious experience. It also makes sense that qualia did not exist i.e. there is no sound until there is a subject to experience sound. There would of course still exist air pressure differences without conscious beings.

Because at least one interpretation of quantum theory says that it may not be true - consciousness (measurement is what the physicists usually say) may actually be a requirement for existence - of anything, not just conscious beings.

I believe this is a common misconception of layperson's understanding of quantum physics (particularly those with Buddhist leanings) - I've been there. There are a lot of different ways of interpreting quantum physics and no one winner. From this layman it seems the confusion is related to what measuring is. Measurement has an impact on quantum devices and we typically "look" at the instrument but it is not the time at which the scientist looks at the instrument that influences the outcome of the experiment - it is the time at which the measurement (by a device) is made. So basically measurement does not equal consciousness.

I think it is reasonable to say that at the quantum level particles are modelled statistically (not strictly the same as random) but we can say unpredictable (maybe random within some range is a better description). I'd rather avoid going tinto more details of quantum physics. 

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 4:17 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
There also seems to be something in Tom's distinction of inter-subjective behavior. The social structures massively influence our subjective experience. Individuals also influence the social structures. Meditation could lead to an awareness of DO which could lead to an awareness of the social structures which could lead to an understanding of DO in those social structures and a desire to remove ignorance from society in a similar way to how we would like to remove our personal ignorance.

Yes, I like that, too.


Could there be a model like DO for society ? Meditation is a way of deconstructing subjective experience. Society is largely (not completely) about inter-subjective experience. What would be equivalent "technology" to meditation for society ?

It is easier to ask the questions emoticon
 

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 5:54 PM as a reply to Mark.
I believe this is a common misconception of layperson's understanding of quantum physics (particularly those with Buddhist leanings) - I've been there.


Well, no, Mark. that comes from physicists, not me and other buddhists. It's not something I read in Tricycle magazine  emoticon

Measurement has an impact on quantum devices and we typically "look" at the instrument but it is not the time at which the scientist looks at the instrument that influences the outcome of the experiment - it is the time at which the measurement (by a device) is made. So basically measurement does not equal consciousness.


Yes, I know Mark, but consciousness/perception is a form or extension of measurement. Without the perception via a measuring device... etc., etc., etc. Same issue  emoticon

For me it is a given that language can only be relative, the same with any concept we hold. I'm not saying I know these things to be 100% sure. But if we can only talk about things that we are 100% certain of I'm not sure there is anything to talk about emoticon Everyone else may be a zombie etc... 

I'll re-read the article we started with, as I promised to do, and come back with my reactions to a second read. That way we might be more aligned on our perspectives. I don't think I am, frankly, so I'll get on it before responding again. Fair?



RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 5:16 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Oh, I forgot to say -- this is a fun discussion. Thank you for spending your time on it.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 10:46 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Psi:
So, adding to what was said earler, I will add what someone else wrtoe, as it better explains my experience with Dependent Origination.

The paṭicca-samuppāda, with its twelve links starting with ignorance and ending in ageing and death, shows how man, being fettered, wanders in saṃsāra birth after birth. But by getting rid of these twelve factors man can liberate himself from suffering and rebirth. The Buddha has taught us the way to put an end to this repeated wandering. It is by endeavouring to halt this Wheel of Existence that we may find the way out of this tangle.
The Buddha-word which speaks of this cessation of suffering is stated thus:
“Through the entire cessation of ignorance cease volitional formations;
Through the cessation of volitional formations, consciousness ceases;
Through the cessation of consciousness, mentality-materiality ceases;
Through the cessation of mentality-materiality, the sixfold base ceases;
Through the cessation of the sixfold base, contact ceases;
Through the cessation of contact, feeling ceases;
Through the cessation of feeling, craving ceases;
Through the cessation of craving, clinging ceases;
Through the cessation of clinging, becoming ceases;
Through the cessation of becoming, birth ceases;
Through the cessation of birth, cease ageing and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair.
Thus does this whole mass of suffering cease.”37

http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh015.pdf



And I also like to think of it as 12 dominoes, all lined up, though some of the dominoes can not be removed before they fall, it seems.
But, it seems one can remove the craving and stop the other dominoes from falling, at least from my experience.  One can also work backwards with this chain of events and see what exactly caused what, in order to gain insight.  And use the insight to better deal with reality, either the tension or the pleasantness. Craving, as a reminder has two sides, attraction and aversion.  Avoiding tension, as mentioned earlier, upost, would be craving, the aversion side.  And, I agree, that is not dealing with the issue at hand.

Have to leave, again, for work.

Later.

Psi
Wanted to add this, since there is discussion of Dependent Origination in this thread, it might be pertinent to have Dependent Origination displayed, and along with that, Transcendental Dependent Origination, which is ever so often overlooked, yet is of vital importance to anyone tryng to liberate the mind.

Twelve Links of Dependent Origination-
Dependent Co-arising (Paticca-Samuppada)
The doctrine of the conditionality of all physical & mental phenomena; how ignorance conditions old age,disease and death

  • From ignorance (avijja) come karma formations/fabrications/volitional formations (sankhara)
  • From karma formations comes consciousness (viññana)
  • From consciousness comes mind and matter (nama-rupa)
  • From mind and matter come the six senses (salayatana)
  • From the six senses comes contact (phassa)
  • From contact comes feeling (vedana)
  • From feeling comes craving (tanha)
  • From craving comes clinging (upadana)
  • From clinging comes becoming/existence (bhava)
  • From becoming/existence comes birth (jati)
  • From birth, then aging & death
Twelve Links of Transcendental Dependent ArisingThis continues from the 12 “mundane” links of dependent origination, the last one being dukkha (or suffering) instead of “birth, aging and death”.
  • Suffering (dukkha)
  • Faith (saddha)
  • Joy (pamojja)
  • Rapture (piti)
  • Tranquility (passaddhi)
  • Happiness (sukha)
  • Concentration (samadhi)
  • Knowledge and vision of things as they are (yathabhutañanadassana)
  • Disenchantment (nibbida)
  • Dispassion (viraga)
  • Emancipation (vimutti)
  • Knowledge of destruction of the cankers (asavakkhaye ñana)

List taken from here.

http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/dhamma-lists/

Added commentary here, 

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/wheel277.html

And here, 

http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/khema/allofus/dukkha_for_knowledge.php


RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/5/15 11:33 PM as a reply to Mark.

 The sun rises through causality but I experience the sunrise through DO. 
Dear Sun, 

An ironic statement, and points out language problems and shared delusions, i.e. beliefs not based on facts.  Not picking on you Mark, you do not deserve to be picked on.  These are statements common to us all, it is inherent in language, Language itself may be a big part of the problem.

For, the sun does not rise, the Earth rotates, and it looks like the Sun rises, delusion, we believe this because we see it, even when we know intellectually that the Sun does not rise.

I experience the sunrise through DO, same thing, there is no I experiencing anything, another shared delsuion, because we feel that the I sees the Sun rising, delusion again, there is no I, there is the Light , the Eye, and the contact of the Light and the Eye, there is no I involved in that process, it is fabricated later, from thought sensations, which again are a process that arise from the same type of impersonal happenings, in the mind.

I know I did not explain this very well, but can we all see, at least a little how, from noticing the delusion of the Sunrise is similar to the delusion of the I-rise.  Sunrise, I-rise, both impersonal processes, and both delusions, yet, paradoxically, they both occur.  And the I and the Sun Rising can both look and feel real.

And this is not even mentioning that both the physical I and the physical Sun are formed from pieces of other exploded stars, a long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far, away...

Or maybe just this galaxy.

But, wait, back to Anatman and DO.  Subjective, yeah, if I understand subjective.

What if DO is looked at this way.  DO is only describing the process of becoming, the I-making, the core delusion, and how it arises, and wreaks havoc, everywhere.

So, what if there was the state of Full Strength Anatman, DO could not arise.  Is that not so?

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/6/15 4:29 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I believe this is a common misconception of layperson's understanding of quantum physics (particularly those with Buddhist leanings) - I've been there.


Well, no, Mark. that comes from physicists, not me and other buddhists. It's not something I read in Tricycle magazine  emoticon



Agreed you may have physicists talking about it. But we should make a distinction between what a physicist can say and what physics can demonstrate. There are a few points that increased my doubt. Firstly consciousness does not have a clear definition in science. There are radically different ideas from emergence to consciousness all the way down etc. so there is no way physics can tell us something about a concept that is so poorly defined. Of course that does not stop a very few physicists getting their 15 minutes of fame. Buddhists have been quick to pick up on any interpretation of quantum physics that might support their view - it is not based on the science but on opinions.

I believe Tom also makes some arguments for how western Buddhism can grab the notion of consciousness as a replacement for atman. It is subtle but I find the argument convincing. There is a desire to ground DO is something: consciousness, awareness, emptiness, big mind... Tom is arguing against that and saying DO is not grounded in/on something. Basically there is no Ultimate, only relative.

It is an interesting view as it challenges a lot of people who have attained profound states through meditation. They are often talking about having insight into an ultimate reality and Tom would (probably) argue they have just reintroduced atman and have not grasped DO. 

Personally I like the argument for consciousness just being another qualia - like the color blue.


I'll re-read the article we started with, as I promised to do, and come back with my reactions to a second read. That way we might be more aligned on our perspectives. I don't think I am, frankly, so I'll get on it before responding again. Fair?
Yeah, that would be great. The direction that most interests me is this idea of some sort of meta-DO that is operating at the inter-subjective level. It seems so many of the major issues in the world are related to social structures/systems that are not serving the greater good.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/6/15 5:36 AM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:

 The sun rises through causality but I experience the sunrise through DO. 
Dear Sun, 

An ironic statement, and points out language problems and shared delusions, i.e. beliefs not based on facts.  Not picking on you Mark, you do not deserve to be picked on.  These are statements common to us all, it is inherent in language, Language itself may be a big part of the problem.

For, the sun does not rise, the Earth rotates, and it looks like the Sun rises, delusion, we believe this because we see it, even when we know intellectually that the Sun does not rise.

I experience the sunrise through DO, same thing, there is no I experiencing anything, another shared delsuion, because we feel that the I sees the Sun rising, delusion again, there is no I, there is the Light , the Eye, and the contact of the Light and the Eye, there is no I involved in that process, it is fabricated later, from thought sensations, which again are a process that arise from the same type of impersonal happenings, in the mind.

I know I did not explain this very well, but can we all see, at least a little how, from noticing the delusion of the Sunrise is similar to the delusion of the I-rise.  Sunrise, I-rise, both impersonal processes, and both delusions, yet, paradoxically, they both occur.  And the I and the Sun Rising can both look and feel real.



I'm not sure these types of discussions serve any purpose. It has really been done to death on DhO. I don't think there is anyone who writes on DhO who believes there is a permanent entity that they refer to with 'I'.

People are not delusional about the sun rising, that is what it appears like. They also know that it is not a confirmation that the sun rotates around the earth. If you can find anyone on DhO arguing for that then your comment would be relevant - they would be deluded.

Where you seem to be missing the point in Tom's article is that there is a 'self' or 'I' - that is why you talk about it. You experience a self, that is the same as how you experience the sunrise. Now you can draw incoherent conclusions that the self is permanent and unchanging, in the same way you could draw incoherent conclusions about the sun rotating around the earth.

Often on DhO there are references to "the self does not exist" which points to a misunderstanding of DO. If people wrote "there is no permanent unchanging self" then it would be a much less dramatic statement, many people with zero meditation experience would agree with it.

DO seems to show how the experience of self can be deconstructed and that can change one's experience, so the self is no longer experienced as it was previously. In a similar way if I major in the study of art and then look at a painting, my experience will be radically different, it would be impossible to have the same experience as I did prior to studying art. However the experiences of art I had prior to 
 studying are just as valid/real as the experiences I have after studying art. It would be an arrogant critic who would tell someone admiring a piece of art that they are not experiencing it.


But, wait, back to Anatman and DO.  Subjective, yeah, if I understand subjective.

What if DO is looked at this way.  DO is only describing the process of becoming, the I-making, the core delusion, and how it arises, and wreaks havoc, everywhere.


This would imply that someone who no longer experiences a self is not experiencing DO. I think waking up still leaves a personality etc so it seems clear DO is not only about how the "experience of self" is constructed.

Full strength anatman means that DO continues until you die, upon death DO ceases completely. Even resting in a state of Nibbana for some period of time is not a cessation of DO - because what happens afterwards will be influenced by having been in the state of Nibbana. I probably don't need to say this but these are my opinions.




So, what if there was the state of Full Strength Anatman, DO could not arise.  Is that not so?

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/6/15 7:51 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
[quote=
]
I'm not sure these types of discussions serve any purpose. It has really been done to death on DhO. I don't think there is anyone who writes on DhO who believes there is a permanent entity that they refer to with 'I'.

No, but now, some may believe there is an impermanent entity that is an I, but, that too is not a self.  That phenomenon could be looked into a little deeper.


People are not delusional about the sun rising, that is what it appears like. They also know that it is not a confirmation that the sun rotates around the earth. If you can find anyone on DhO arguing for that then your comment would be relevant - they would be deluded.
No, I was pointing out that the very lanquage we use is delusional and incorrect, there is no sun rising, yet we say it, the same way there is no self to be found as a thing in itself, yet we say it.
Where you seem to be missing the point in Tom's article is that there is a 'self' or 'I' - that is why you talk about it. You experience a self, that is the same as how you experience the sunrise. Now you can draw incoherent conclusions that the self is permanent and unchanging, in the same way you could draw incoherent conclusions about the sun rotating around the earth.
Right and by that very logic we can draw incoherent conclusions that the self is impermanent and changing, the self is a process and all that.  The self is not that either.  Just because we talk about a self or an I does not make it real.  That is the problem with language and thoughts, we can talk about many things as things that are not real, what about leprechauns.  Is a rainbow a thing?  What about your soul?  Is there a soul?  talking about a self , to me , is like talking about a soul.  Where is the soul?  Is the soul impermanent , shifting changing, transmigrating?  Or is there simply no soul.  By your logic above, there must be a soul, that is why people talk about it.

Often on DhO there are references to "the self does not exist" which points to a misunderstanding of DO. If people wrote "there is no permanent unchanging self" then it would be a much less dramatic statement, many people with zero meditation experience would agree with it.
Okay, if the not self is a misunderstanding of DO, then show where the self is mentioned or referenced in Dependent Origination.  Where does the idea of a self arise when looking at Dependent Origination?  Where does the self do this or that in Dependent Origination?  Where is the self concept even necessary in discussing Dependent Origination?


DO seems to show how the experience of self can be deconstructed and that can change one's experience, so the self is no longer experienced as it was previously. In a similar way if I major in the study of art and then look at a painting, my experience will be radically different, it would be impossible to have the same experience as I did prior to studying art. However the experiences of art I had prior to 
 studying are just as valid/real as the experiences I have after studying art. It would be an arrogant critic who would tell someone admiring a piece of art that they are not experiencing it.
Why not just the experience, why add in an experiencer?



But, wait, back to Anatman and DO.  Subjective, yeah, if I understand subjective.

What if DO is looked at this way.  DO is only describing the process of becoming, the I-making, the core delusion, and how it arises, and wreaks havoc, everywhere.


This would imply that someone who no longer experiences a self is not experiencing DO. I think waking up still leaves a personality etc so it seems clear DO is not only about how the "experience of self" is constructed.

Full strength anatman means that DO continues until you die, upon death DO ceases completely. Even resting in a state of Nibbana for some period of time is not a cessation of DO - because what happens afterwards will be influenced by having been in the state of Nibbana. I probably don't need to say this but these are my opinions.
So, would Dependent Origination exist while in Nibbana?  

This discussion is at the limit of my current understanding.

I do want to add in Thannissaro Bhikku, because it has seemed in the past that people use soem of his ideas of Not Self being a method, which it can be, and leave it at that.
These last questions merit straightforward answers, as they then help you to comprehend stress and to chip away at the attachment and clinging — the residual sense of self-identification — that cause it, until ultimately all traces of self-identification are gone and all that's left is limitless freedom.In this sense, the anatta teaching is not a doctrine of no-self, but a not-self strategy for shedding suffering by letting go of its cause, leading to the highest, undying happiness. At that point, questions of self, no-self, and not-self fall aside. Once there's the experience of such total freedom, where would there be any concern about what's experiencing it, or whether or not it's a self?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/notself2.html

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/6/15 9:41 AM as a reply to Mark.
I believe Tom also makes some arguments for how western Buddhism can grab the notion of consciousness as a replacement for atman. It is subtle but I find the argument convincing. There is a desire to ground DO is something: consciousness, awareness, emptiness, big mind... Tom is arguing against that and saying DO is not grounded in/on something. Basically there is no Ultimate, only relative. 

I find nothing there to disagree with at all. There is nothing permanent that I can ever find. Tom's writing is worth paying attention to for just that if for no other reason. It's also apparent that consciousness (and awareness, btw) are dependently arising if one carefully investigates using meditation, so I find Tom's argument in this area agreeing with my experience. I'm pretty sure I mentioned that earlier in this topic.

Of course that does not stop a very few physicists getting their 15 minutes of fame. Buddhists have been quick to pick up on any interpretation of quantum physics that might support their view - it is not based on the science but on opinions.

Mark, I think you're being too dismissive of this - yes, it's theoretical, yes, not practical. I don't come to it by way of Buddhism but from other sources. The notion that consciousness is important to modern physics is not something that only gets raised when some random physicist wants publicity. It's one way to help with our understand what is happening at the quantum level. I agree that we don't need to debate this issue here and I'm kind of sorry I raised it. It's taking our attention away from Tom's writings and getting us off track. We just don't agree on whether or not it's an important topic.

So, anyway, back to finding the time to re-read Tom's article and talk about your first interest - social dependent origination.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/6/15 8:54 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I believe Tom also makes some arguments for how western Buddhism can grab the notion of consciousness as a replacement for atman. 

I want to make one more comment -- this is a Big Deal in Buddhism. Many Buddhists somehow find a way to ignore the core, the depth and the real implications of dependent origination. I think there are many reasons for this, from the insecurity of having no "floor" to stand on to just not exploring deeply enough to who knows what.

On a site like this, devoted to a fairly narrow aspect of spiritual practice, it's really easy to fall into a mindset that sees every issue from a fairly narrow perspective. I'm guilty of that in this conversation.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/6/15 9:21 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hi Chris,

Cheers for stering us back on topic. It is tempting but I agree emoticon

For the sake of discussion and exploring I think it is fine to take a narrower view. Being open to other views is great but trying to discuss while holding multiple views is not simple in person, let alone online. There are lots of assumptions in this thread but it allows an exploration, I don't think either of us are expecting any definitive truths to pop out.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/6/15 10:25 AM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:


People are not delusional about the sun rising, that is what it appears like. They also know that it is not a confirmation that the sun rotates around the earth. If you can find anyone on DhO arguing for that then your comment would be relevant - they would be deluded.
No, I was pointing out that the very lanquage we use is delusional and incorrect, there is no sun rising, yet we say it, the same way there is no self to be found as a thing in itself, yet we say it.


Can you provide an example to be found "as a thing in itself" ?



Where you seem to be missing the point in Tom's article is that there is a 'self' or 'I' - that is why you talk about it. You experience a self, that is the same as how you experience the sunrise. Now you can draw incoherent conclusions that the self is permanent and unchanging, in the same way you could draw incoherent conclusions about the sun rotating around the earth.
Right and by that very logic we can draw incoherent conclusions that the self is impermanent and changing, the self is a process and all that.  The self is not that either.  Just because we talk about a self or an I does not make it real.  


I think Tom addresses these concerns. What do you mean by real ? Could you provide an example of something that is real ?

Tom's point is that it is all relative - there is no Ultimate.

Unless you can define the term "real" then saying something is "not real" has no meaning.

Things like racism are as real as tables and chairs.



That is the problem with language and thoughts, we can talk about many things as things that are not real, what about leprechauns.  Is a rainbow a thing?  What about your soul?  Is there a soul?  talking about a self , to me , is like talking about a soul.  Where is the soul?  Is the soul impermanent , shifting changing, transmigrating?  Or is there simply no soul.  By your logic above, there must be a soul, that is why people talk about it.

Perhaps it would help to talk about things that are true rather than real. So for example leprechauns is a concept and can be experienced - seen, heard etc but if you claim leprechauns are an animal that lives in Ireland then you would need to provide evidence to be believed to be saying something that it true. 

DO provides a way to understand that the self you experience is not a soul. Where you seem to be making an error is pretending that the experience of a self is somehow "not real" because it is as real as your experience of anything else.

It seems clear to me that rainbows are a thing - if they are not then what is a thing ?

I did not imply the soul exists because people talk about it, I said your self exists because you experience it.



Often on DhO there are references to "the self does not exist" which points to a misunderstanding of DO. If people wrote "there is no permanent unchanging self" then it would be a much less dramatic statement, many people with zero meditation experience would agree with it.
Okay, if the not self is a misunderstanding of DO, then show where the self is mentioned or referenced in Dependent Origination.  Where does the idea of a self arise when looking at Dependent Origination?  Where does the self do this or that in Dependent Origination?  Where is the self concept even necessary in discussing Dependent Origination?


Self is not a single thing (the "concept of self" is a single thing), it is a process (explained by DO), so for example self can be sounds/thoughts in your head, feelings in your body etc - these are aspects of self which arise. By examining this we can see that the idea of a fixed permanent self is false. Until that belief is abandoned it is very "real" causing you to act in particular ways.

Self is not something outside of DO, when I stub my toe it gives rise to thoughts, feelings, emotions etc including the thought "my toe". I call it a process because it is self re-inforcing, it is being continually renewed (as described by the DO process).

Self is not necessary to discuss DO, people who do not to experience the self still have other experiences as per DO.



DO seems to show how the experience of self can be deconstructed and that can change one's experience, so the self is no longer experienced as it was previously. In a similar way if I major in the study of art and then look at a painting, my experience will be radically different, it would be impossible to have the same experience as I did prior to studying art. However the experiences of art I had prior to 
 studying are just as valid/real as the experiences I have after studying art. It would be an arrogant critic who would tell someone admiring a piece of art that they are not experiencing it.
Why not just the experience, why add in an experiencer?


Because that is the way it is experienced currently. There are people who claim to no longer experience the self, it seems possible given that the self is an experience.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/6/15 10:49 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mu

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/7/15 10:50 AM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Mu


I think there is a point here that is being missed, call this process of mind and body a self, if think you have to use words to exist, but the point , I think is missed, is this.  If the self, the conventional self, does exist, like the chair, or the legal system, and is contained within Dependent Origination, then each self arises and passes away very quickly, one self arises and dies within each mind moment.  That is it, that is the entirety of a self, for lack of a better term for it.  So, it really seems to be kind of a nonsense to be ascribing so much importance to such a wispy phenomenon.

But, once the illusion of continuance occurs, the linking of one mind moment to the next, the linking of one cycle of DO to the next cycle of Do, and thinking that they are of one thing, so to speak, creates the illusion of a continued self existence.  But, by examing what is actually going on, that is not the case, each phenomenon arises and passes away, separately, though, paradoxically, linked in a fashion, as water to a wave.

The teaching of anatman, then, can be understood as an assertion that there is no eternal and unchanging consciousness, life force, or soul, singular or plural, nothing which can escape this dependently arisen world and continue on in eternal bliss. Rather, the only kind of self we have is a dependently arisen self, completely caused by the conditions of its existence. Full-strength anatman, then, does not say that we do not have a “self,” that the self is mere illusion, or that it is non-existent. Rather, we do have a self, it is real, and has real causal powers, but it is impermanent, constructed by the conditions of its existence, can be changed, will come to an end, and is completely non-dualistic, radically immanent to the material world. 

So, from the article, yeah , okay there is a self, but not like one would think, and not like even the author of the article may be leading readers to believe.  So, one can agree to call what is stated above s a self, a conventional self, but, it should be abel to be seen cleary that this lasts for , sometimes only a millionth of a second, then the next, so called self arises.  So , from what the author is proposing, yet may be unaware of, there can be a self unde rthe terms of DO, but, to say so, would mean that there are literally billions and billions of selves arising and ceasing during the cycle of a typical human bodily existence. 


So, yeah , a self, but not so much...

Psi

P.S.

And thi does not even begin to launch into how the DO cycle can be broken and brought to cessation, even a temporary cessation of the cycle brings peace for a bit.  

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/7/15 11:08 AM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Psi:
Mu

It is, it seems to me, the reluctance to accept this fundamental teaching of early Buddhism, the radical contingency and impermanence of consciousness, that has led to a host of watered-down versions of anatman which are much easier to swallow. Most people don’t seem to have trouble accepting that the Buddhist teaching of impermanence applies to their body, their loved ones, their house, the earth—but they draw the line at the impermanence of their consciousness. I plan to argue that it is only by accepting this reality that we can stop suffering. Further, I will argue something that might initially seem paradoxical (but, ultimately, is not): only by accepting a full-strength anatman can we make sense of the concepts of rebirth and karma, and see our obligation to devote our lives to making the world better for others.
 the radical contingency and impermanence of consciousness

So, from this , we do not need yet another watered down version of Anatta.  The impermanence of consciousness, so impermanent each one lasts only milliseconds.  Even a memory of your childhood, go ahead call one up, guess what, that memory consciousness, is a new consciousness, every time it is called up from memory, that memory is not the same exact memory, using the same exact pathways, cells and energy than when the last time it was recollected form memory.  

The contingency of consciousness, Yay for that!  It is this very phenomenon of contingency that we can change, and that alllows us to progress in one way or another.  In Buddha words, to incline the mind in a certain direction.

I am proposing that this is even more radical than the author was putting forth, but that was then, that was many many selves ago. His ideas may have changed since then, who knows. Change, anicca.

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/7/15 11:28 AM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Psi:
Mu


I think there is a point here that is being missed, call this process of mind and body a self, if think you have to use words to exist, but the point , I think is missed, is this.  If the self, the conventional self, does exist, like the chair, or the legal system, and is contained within Dependent Origination, then each self arises and passes away very quickly, one self arises and dies within each mind moment.  That is it, that is the entirety of a self, for lack of a better term for it.  So, it really seems to be kind of a nonsense to be ascribing so much importance to such a wispy phenomenon.

But, once the illusion of continuance occurs, the linking of one mind moment to the next, the linking of one cycle of DO to the next cycle of Do, and thinking that they are of one thing, so to speak, creates the illusion of a continued self existence.  But, by examing what is actually going on, that is not the case, each phenomenon arises and passes away, separately, though, paradoxically, linked in a fashion, as water to a wave.

The teaching of anatman, then, can be understood as an assertion that there is no eternal and unchanging consciousness, life force, or soul, singular or plural, nothing which can escape this dependently arisen world and continue on in eternal bliss. Rather, the only kind of self we have is a dependently arisen self, completely caused by the conditions of its existence. Full-strength anatman, then, does not say that we do not have a “self,” that the self is mere illusion, or that it is non-existent. Rather, we do have a self, it is real, and has real causal powers, but it is impermanent, constructed by the conditions of its existence, can be changed, will come to an end, and is completely non-dualistic, radically immanent to the material world. 

So, from the article, yeah , okay there is a self, but not like one would think, and not like even the author of the article may be leading readers to believe.  So, one can agree to call what is stated above s a self, a conventional self, but, it should be abel to be seen cleary that this lasts for , sometimes only a millionth of a second, then the next, so called self arises.  So , from what the author is proposing, yet may be unaware of, there can be a self unde rthe terms of DO, but, to say so, would mean that there are literally billions and billions of selves arising and ceasing during the cycle of a typical human bodily existence. 


So, yeah , a self, but not so much...

Psi

P.S.

And thi does not even begin to launch into how the DO cycle can be broken and brought to cessation, even a temporary cessation of the cycle brings peace for a bit.  

Hi Psi,

I'm impressed you seem to be questioning yourself and changing opinion.

DO is an observable phenomena - it is not happening in billionths of a second. To be observable with the constraints of a human brain it has to be much slower. It is certainly happening quickly compared to some phenomena.

You seem to be confusing what can arise in DO. I tried to present this earlier, basically only a very limited aspect of the self is observable in one moment. It is not that you have an entire self arising - this would be pointing to something independent of DO. The thought "the self seems continuous" arises and that is just one aspect of the self. While that is arising the vast majority of phenomena that make up the self are not available. 

The self may be a "wispy phenomenon" like a concrete wall is nearly entirely empty space. But running into either is a big deal.

I think we'll have more success trying to explore the DO of self rather than trying to stop DO happening. The states where DO are claimed to cease seem to be extremely difficult to attain - many people who claim to be awakened make no reference to experiences like that.

I'd shy away from the words "conventional self" as it implies there is some other unconventional self - unless that is what you mean. I guess you mean the conventional idea of a permanent self e.g. atman, soul, big mind, consciousness, emptiness etc

I did not understand your post "Mu" can you explain what it means ?

 

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/7/15 1:29 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
[quote=
]
I did not understand your post "Mu" can you explain what it means ?

 
Yes Mark, I wil try, but I will use words of others, if you do not mind.  Maybe it will make the meanings more clear.  You asked a barrage of questions, such as:

Can you provide an example to be found "as a thing in itself" ? 

What do you mean by real ? Could you provide an example of something that is real ?

It seems clear to me that rainbows are a thing - if they are not then what is a thing ?


I did not imply the soul exists because people talk about it, I said your self exists because you experience it. 

In Robert M. Pirsig's 1974 novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenancemu is translated as "no thing", saying that it meant "unask the question". He offered the example of acomputer circuit using the binary numeral system, in effect using mu to represent high impedance:
For example, it's stated over and over again that computer circuits exhibit only two states, a voltage for "one" and a voltage for "zero." That's silly! Any computer-electronics technician knows otherwise. Try to find a voltage representing one or zero when the power is off! The circuits are in a mu state.[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu_(negative)#cite_note-20][20]
The word features prominently with a similar meaning in Douglas Hofstadter's 1979 book, Gödel, Escher, Bach. It is used fancifully in discussions of symbolic logic, particularlyGödel's incompleteness theorems, to indicate a question whose "answer" is to

  • un-ask the question,
  • indicate the question is fundamentally flawed, or
  • reject the premise that a dualistic answer can or will be given.[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu_(negative)#cite_note-21][21]
"Mu" may be used similarly to "N/A" or "not applicable," a term often used to indicate the question cannot be answered because the conditions of the question do not match the reality. A layperson's example of this concept is often invoked by the loaded question "Have you stopped beating your wife?",[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu_(negative)#cite_note-22][22] to which "mu" would be the only respectable response.

And , Mu, also in the old fashioned Zen sense of the word.  
Some English translation equivalents of  or mu 無 are:

  • "no", "not", "nothing", or "without"[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu_(negative)#cite_note-baroni-2][2]
  • nothing, not, nothingness, un-, is not, has not, not any[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu_(negative)#cite_note-shambhala-3][3]
  • [1] Nonexistence; nonbeing; not having; a lack of, without. [2] A negative. [3] Caused to be nonexistent. [4] Impossible; lacking reason or cause. [5] Pure human awareness, prior to experience or knowledge. This meaning is used especially by the Chan school. [6] The 'original nonbeing' from which being is produced in the Daode jing.[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu_(negative)#cite_note-.E7.84.A1-4][4]

So, it seems from your view , that Dependent Arising happens, but one time?  And ends , one time, at physical death?  If so, how strange, I have never run across an interpretation of DO as such.  An, actually never thought of it or , experienced DO in such a fashion.

But in a Mu state DO would not arise, how could it, DO has to have ground to spring from.  How could one have cessation of Craving, or the non arising of Craving, if DO was a closed loop, so to speak?

And this does relate directly to the article, and Anatta, they are all interrelated, as there is no self involved in DO.  

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/7/15 2:06 PM as a reply to Mark.
[quote=
]
Hi Psi,
I'm impressed you seem to be questioning yourself and changing opinion.

Huh?  Are you making Projected Shadow Puppets again?  emoticon

But I never said billionths of a second, did I?  I was referring to DO arising billions of times within a physical human lifetime.

I may be done here, as I stated many months ago, trying to talk about the self as real with someone, talking about aspects of the self, and all that is like discussing Santa Clause, it is just not so real for me.  I mean we can talk about Santa, but why?  Let us go deeper.  Let us get past that issue.

 Let us get past thinking Anatta and DO are philosophies, and thus opinions.

There is a mind and body, there are the six sense bases, the six sense consciousness, the six sense contacts, but there is no self or continuing self in there, I f a person thinks there is one, but examines what is going on, they never find the self, conventional or unconventional, Mu.

There is no awareness of awareness, there is no sensation of another sensation, can't be. Awareness is a sensation.

This section of MCTB may be of relevance, 
One more related thing here that is very important: ego is a process of identification, not a thing in and of itself. It is like a bad habit, but it doesn't exist as something that can be found. This is important, as this bad habit can quickly co-opt the language of egolessness and come up with phrases as absurd as: “I will destroy my ego!” But, not being a thing, it cannot be destroyed, but by understanding our bare experience, our minds, the process of identification can stop. Any thoughts with “I,” “me,” “my” and “mine” in them should be understood to be just thoughts which come and go. This is not something you can talk yourself out of. You have to perceive things as they are to stop this process. 

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/MCTB+No-Self


Does this also tire you Mark, I feel like we are on a Merry go Round in the park, I may need to get off for a while.

I have to admit you are very intelligent and I do not know of a way to have you see what I see.  

And, maybe you do not recognize that I have already seen what you are trying to show me, and think that I do not understand.  I had the same problem communicating these types of subjects with Not Tao, even when we agreed on some matters.

You see, I do care, and I want to share what I have found out to be true, but somehow it always comes off as some type of philosophy, or seems to be an opinion, or is considered as speculation.

It could be I just need to go practice and investigate solo for a while and not get mixed up in this intellectual , philosophy type of threads, I may just be causing more harm than good.

And, maybe I am wrong though, minds are very complex.

And, I wish the best for you, sorry if I am a pain in the ass.  It arises due to past conditionings.  emoticon

Psi





RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/7/15 1:48 PM as a reply to Psi.
My misunderstanding. I guess Tom is on the money, I thought you might be proving him wrong for a second. I'll stop here, thanks. The answers to your questions are in Tom's article and I'm doing a terrible job non-explaining it.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/7/15 3:40 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
My misunderstanding. I guess Tom is on the money, I thought you might be proving him wrong for a second. I'll stop here, thanks. The answers to your questions are in Tom's article and I'm doing a terrible job non-explaining it.

Well, I have now read the full article a couple of times, and I just come away kind of agreeing with some of it here and there, then shaking my head at some of the other sections.  And not in an I am not understanding his article sort of way, but in a , that is an incorrectly arrived conclusion sort of way.

It just seems that he is stuck in thought forms, and seems to think that the thought forms is all there is, kind of a clinging to thoughts and symbols.

Perhaps, this is a form of Intellectual Bypassing, which is just as detrimental as Spiritual Bypassing.  Something we can all learn from.

My suggestion is that I would just be wary of this type of thinking that thinking can saves us all types of idea.  Thought is the saviour belief.  Social selves , Mind outside of the brain, the article gets kind of weird.  But, so have I. emoticon

Then at the end the article seems to cast blame on societal patterns for personal addictions and habits, I dunno...

If the author was trying to convey Memetics and Social Patterns, why go through all the talk about collective minds and whatnot?  Maybe he does not know about Memes, and how they jump from one generation to the next? From one mind to the next? Probably he does, but still.

He seems to be trying to make a case that Mental Formations are a the Real Selves, while at the same time saying it is not, it is the Societal Collective Mental Formations that are our Real Selves.  But, if he is referring to the Universal Consciousness, which he must be, then he should also know that is Anatta also, i.e. of an impersonal nature.

And , just for instance the author of the article will state things like.
It is important here to keep in mind that our non-verbal sensations and perceptions are always just as thoroughly socially constructed as our language and concepts. There is never any such thing as a “pure perception of reality as it is,” because all perceptions are in the imaginary order, and are thoroughly socially constructed.
Which, statements such as these, means that he is not yet aware of the mind processes, and experienced the mind processes just before Craving in DO.  He is articulating is belief one step past Craving, and thus thinks that all perceptions are in the imaginary order and are thoroughly socially constructed.  He thinks that because that is his experience, that is all he knows.

But, I tell you, that is not true, there is a deeper level, one just has to keep the petal to the metal, and keep investigating.

Then, also, one will find out that DO can be brought to Cessation, amazing right?

But, same logic, if a person has not done something, they do not think it is possible, and think everybody else may be delusional, deceiving themselves , off in a lala land, spiritual bypassing etc.

But, does it not occur to people, that maybe there is more, that there are deeper levels.  I always try to reamin humble, and constantly remind myself that I do not know it all, there may always be more.  To not fall into the trap of complacency.

If someone closes there mind to such possibilities, then, of course they will not push the mind into new levels, they give in to the Ego Defense Mechanisms.

Which the author points to correctly here.
As Paul Williams has put it, for Śāntideva “the spiritual path is not one of comfortable feelings and acceptance. It is deeply uncomfortable, and one cause of that necessary uncomfortableness is the persistent search for truth through employing rather than denying our critical faculties” (“General Introduction,” xxv). The goal, for Śāntideva, is never to escape “discursive thought,” in meditative states; rather, as Crosby and Skilton explain, Śāntideva encourages the cultivation of the “first meditative absorption, where discursive thought is still possible” in order to “engage in the discursive thinking of insight meditation”
Though, I would replace the word discursive, with the word, contemplative.  Makes you wonder a little about what these authors think meditative absorptions are, let alone the experience itself.

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/7/15 6:30 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
My misunderstanding. I guess Tom is on the money, I thought you might be proving him wrong for a second. I'll stop here, thanks. The answers to your questions are in Tom's article and I'm doing a terrible job non-explaining it.
Yes, I think Tom is on the money on on some of the points in the article.  I am not here at any time to prove anyone wrong, I am trying to communicate as friend to friend, with some level of respect.  Tom mentions in his article or on his Blog about the collective mind, I am now getting what he is talking about.  And yes, this way of thinking is very important, if not of the utmost importance.  We, presumably, are all trying to work together, as a team, to help reduce or even eliminate suffering.  Maybe it is inherently hard work, and causes a little pain, friction and conflict.  But maybe, just maybe a thought arises from the collective mind that helps us all to awaken, to shake off the preconditioned state of mind.

Knowledge helps, Thinking helps, but to get to the root of the matter, one has to have it all stop, silence, not even mind observing mind, beyond that.  It seems that sometimes Minds, or Brains, having originated at such high level of Intelligence, have to work through more knots, untangle more congested pathways , to get to a level of contentment, peace, silence.

Too much Intelligence placed in the wrong direction may then be a hindrance in finding Nibbana.  Knots upon knots, and the Intelligent mind thinks it can untangle the knots by making and tying together more knots, trying to figure out why there are so many knots.

And thus the invention of the term knothead.  emoticon

My experience was that life and the mind was like this, thinking , thinking , thinking, planning thinking organizing, thinking,, theorizing, hypothecizing, thinking, remembering, worrying, thinking , reading, watching, thinking.  I mean it literally never, ever stopped.  But I started meditating, a little every day, then a little more every day,  and one day, for a small chunk of time, everything ceased, there was complete peace. I did not know that was even possible.

Then it all started up again, just not as...loud.  That was the first time.

And I am saying this, because, thinking , while having its purpose, will not bring peace, my thinking mind brought me through almost every thought, book, religion, and ideology I could lay my hands on.  But thinking did not bring the peace that the thinking mind was looking for.

With respect for all, 

Psi

I should stop here, out of respect for Tom, he gets enough criticsm about his essays on his blog.  And Tom, if you ever read this little post, keep up the good work, these are good subjects, it keeps everyone on their toes, and leads us to Investigate.

Investigation is usually the missing key, though not always.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/7/15 8:23 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
FYI Tom's Blog, Bolding by Psi

http://faithfulbuddhist.com/about/


Points from front page.
  1. This blog rejects idealism or dualism in any form; there is no atman of any kind.

    I will also reject any comments arguing that there is such a thing as an atman/soul/transcendent consciousness, etc.  There are plenty of places to discuss and engage in these deluded beliefs.  Here, we will only discuss the truth.

    It is my fundamental assertion that Buddhism is founded on a truth, not an ideology.  



    Tom +1

    Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/8/15 6:04 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hi Chris,

I've been mulling over "social dependent origination" perhaps co-dependent origination is a better term, cDO [edited to add co-dependent]

I'm focusing on the 12 nidanas as a representation of DO. Also intepreting that as a way of describing subjective experience, so "rebirth" is the next experience. In this model DO is a process. I think you are also up for exploring that framework.

The second step of "fabrication" seems to be the place where the social aspects could be modelled. It also is a step where notions of the unconscious could fit. I've not yet seen a good exploration of that step but it no doubt exists. 

There was a good youtube linked in DO thread recently but it glossed over step 2.

A social DO might explore step 2 in more detail to introduce the social systems and structures that lead to certain formations/volitions. This could lead to a way of "cleaning up" the DO process with direct action in the world. 

I have a feeling the Buddha describes different "angles of attack" for deconstructing DO. I'm not sure if the angle of formations is taken as a central "angle of attack". There is ceratinly the notion of karma which can be a catchall for what drives volition but my understanding is that karma is pretty much causality. There could be a step of exploring the social dimension of karma ?

Anyway, I'd be keen on a critique before I start spinning my wheels!


RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/8/15 8:18 AM as a reply to Mark.
Hi, Mark.

I'm sorry. I was on vacation last week and had to dig back into the meat of things this week, at the office and at home. I'll read the article as soon as I can and provide a critique, or agreement, or whatever falls out. But I want to give it proper attention - no skimming  emoticon

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/9/15 6:59 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hi Chris,

No rush, I'm keen to have a thread to bounce the ideas around in.

I was thinking "society" could be clarified as culture and institutions. It seems the influence of those go beyond the formations to ignorance,  craving, clinging, becoming. For example if I am born into a society that suppresses knowledge of DO then it is more likely I remain ignorant of DO.

I think of becoming as not only mental states but actions in the world, that seems to be the place where DO can impact society. So there could be a process of society influencing DO and society being also influenced. 

Maybe some connection with the concept of Bodhicitta - with a focus on social action. 

This is a link which has a somewhat pragmatic description of the 12 steps in DO http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/2009/09/awakening-to-dependent-origination/ but it does not make a clear case for becoming being action. Observing others it seems "we become what we do" i.e. it is through actions that the identity is solidified "I do this which makes me that"

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/9/15 1:19 PM as a reply to Mark.
Finally!

I've read the Tom Pepper article fully and thoroughly. It's really quite a good read and full of very interesting material. I find little to disagree with, frankly. He's taken what I understand the truth of experience to be and has described it in a way that is different that I have previously considered - no doubt due my failure to take the implications of full strength anatman to a logical conclusion.

As best I can summarize Tom's thinking:

1. There is no "true self," or any kind of permanent self, whatsoever. Buddhists have found a number of ways to focus in the language of "not self" and yet maintain unstated assumptions of a permanent, "true" or "real" self alive. These take the form of ego, the so-called "witness" or observer, and  forms of reified consciousness (without object), awareness, and so on. This kind of Buddism actually makes it almost impossible to focus on the self as Tom sees it because it gets us stuck on some form of atman, of self, and further exploration into the deep nature of self is not needed or wanted, thus not pursued.

2. The mind is not a singular, atomic "thing" that resides in the brain of one human being at a time. It is the product of anatomy, yes, but also social interaction and cooperation in the form of langauge and symbols. The mind, therefore, is not something we possess and that ever arises dependently outside of a collection of human beings. A collective is necessary for the mind to exist because the mind arises, in part and necessarily, as the product of it. Our reality is what we negotiate with each other, what we describe with language, meaning and symbols.

3. Since all systems are incomplete and inconsistent (a reference to Godel), we can continue to explore the nature of our reality and experience because there are things, concepts, actions, thoughts that we can change, that are new, that we can affect. The nature of self is social, purely so, and thus the truest expression of awakening is social. If the real nature of experience was singular and the real cause of suffering was found in a singular , atomic mind, then the best way to end suffering would be self-immolation. Tom says no. That is a terrible misunderastanding of the nature of self.

4. The nature of being awake, then, is to understand and experience the self as a dependently arising entity that is dependent on collections of human beings, a collective that is part and parcel, necessary, to the causes and conditions that create our continued existence. So.... to act ethically and morally is to devote one's self to the betterment of those around us, as we cannot benefit from awakening on a one by one basis. Society and the individual, the self, are inextricably intertwined in a dependently arising web. 


So, Mark - do we agree on the basics of Tom's thinking as I have outlined in this post?

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/10/15 1:45 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Finally!

I've read the Tom Pepper article fully and thoroughly. It's really quite a good read and full of very interesting material. I find little to disagree with, frankly. He's taken what I understand the truth of experience to be and has described it in a way that is different that I have previously considered - no doubt due my failure to take the implications of full strength anatman to a logical conclusion.

As best I can summarize Tom's thinking:

1. There is no "true self," or any kind of permanent self, whatsoever. Buddhists have found a number of ways to focus in the language of "not self" and yet maintain unstated assumptions of a permanent, "true" or "real" self alive. These take the form of ego, the so-called "witness" or observer, and  forms of reified consciousness (without object), awareness, and so on. This kind of Buddism actually makes it almost impossible to focus on the self as Tom sees it because it gets us stuck on some form of atman, of self, and further exploration into the deep nature of self is not needed or wanted, thus not pursued.

2. The mind is not a singular, atomic "thing" that resides in the brain of one human being at a time. It is the product of anatomy, yes, but also social interaction and cooperation in the form of langauge and symbols. The mind, therefore, is not something we possess and that ever arises dependently outside of a collection of human beings. A collective is necessary for the mind to exist because the mind arises, in part and necessarily, as the product of it. Our reality is what we negotiate with each other, what we describe with language, meaning and symbols.

3. Since all systems are incomplete and inconsistent (a reference to Godel), we can continue to explore the nature of our reality and experience because there are things, concepts, actions, thoughts that we can change, that are new, that we can affect. The nature of self is social, purely so, and thus the truest expression of awakening is social. If the real nature of experience was singular and the real cause of suffering was found in a singular , atomic mind, then the best way to end suffering would be self-immolation. Tom says no. That is a terrible misunderastanding of the nature of self.

4. The nature of being awake, then, is to understand and experience the self as a dependently arising entity that is dependent on collections of human beings, a collective that is part and parcel, necessary, to the causes and conditions that create our continued existence. So.... to act ethically and morally is to devote one's self to the betterment of those around us, as we cannot benefit from awakening on a one by one basis. Society and the individual, the self, are inextricably intertwined in a dependently arising web. 


So, Mark - do we agree on the basics of Tom's thinking as I have outlined in this post?
Hi Chris,

That is a great summary of the article, thanks for taking the time to do that. It is very close to my understanding of the article. A few minor comments:

Regarding 1. I think we could add emptiness to the list of standins - anything that "grounds" DO

Regarding 2. I think he implies the mind is also a fabrication of the institutions and environment. It is not purely inter-subjective experience via language and symbols. Of course the institutions and environment are also dependent on a collection of human beings. This is important regarding 4.

Regarding 4. subtle point but I think we experience phenomena that are projected onto a concept of self, the self is never fully experienced, it never actually arises as an entity. It reminds me a little of that story of blind men describing an elephant from various perspectives. DO points toward the self being a projection that is not grounded.

Regarding 4. and 2. if we see the role of societies systems and structures as well as our interactions then the scope changes dramatically. There is not only the awakening of the individual to consider but the transformation of the systems and structures to enable that. I think many x-buddhists are keen to help others awaken but very few see how much that process is dependent on systems and structures ingrained in society. Many awakened western practitioners are focused on working with individuals.

It seems to me that DO is missing the social dimension. Anoter way to desctibe this is with the Ken Wilber's [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_theory_(Ken_Wilber)#All_Quadrants_All_Levels]AQAL model, there is an imbalance toward the Upper Left quadrant.

If this is the case then it is part of our ignorance to this that also causes suffering. My understanding is that the Ignorance step in DO can be further broken down into the Four Truths.

The Buddha seems to have encouraged and adopted a lifestyle somewhat removed from society's structures and systems. Buddhism for better or worse in the west seems to be integrated within those systems and structures. Tom seems to be calling those relationships into question.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/10/15 8:06 AM as a reply to Mark.
So is societal change and redemption to be found in the way we interact with each other and within society? Or is redemption to be found in the details of dependent origination?

I came away from my last reading of Tom Pepper's article thinking it was a call to action, predicated on what Tom sees as the proper understanding of the dependently arising self. Overly simplified:

Action Step #1 -->  Educate human beings on the nature of the self (interdependence)
Action Step #2 -->  Operate in society in a manner consistent with Action Step #1

I think the big question is how do we tactically behave so as to implement Action Step #2. What does that look like? If we saw it in action, would we recognize it for what it is? Does it look like socially engaged Buddhism as we see it today? Or is it leadership modeled on Tom's proper understanding of the interdependent self (I favor this one)?

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/10/15 9:18 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
So is societal change and redemption to be found in the way we interact with each other and within society? Or is redemption to be found in the details of dependent origination?


I was thinking DO may need to be reformulated to deal both with individual freedom and social freedom. This changes your OR into AND. But that might simply be impossible.



I came away from my last reading of Tom Pepper's article thinking it was a call to action, predicated on what Tom sees as the proper understanding of the dependently arising self.



Likewise, it felt like a call to action.


Overly simplified:

Action Step #1 -->  Educate human beings on the nature of the self (interdependence)
Action Step #2 -->  Operate in society in a manner consistent with Action Step #1

I think the big question is how do we tactically behave so as to implement Action Step #2. What does that look like? If we saw it in action, would we recognize it for what it is? Does it look like socially engaged Buddhism as we see it today? Or is it leadership modeled on Tom's proper understanding of the interdependent self (I favor this one)?
There should be education of the individual but that might not be the starting point. Ideally people just need access to the information but we know the social systems and structures are far more influential. Consider nearly any critical topic (e.g. climate change) and the information is widely available but the system has a huge momentum. I feel educated on many topics where I'm making the sutation worse.

It seems to me the action would be best focused on the institutions and culture rather than individuals. Maybe that is too radical. But buddhism was radical in the society that founded it. It seems western buddhism has been absorbed into our consumer society without any waves being created. We can consume buddhism through podcasts, retreats and teachers to carry on our consumer role with less anxiety.

My current understanding of socially engaged buddhism is that is may play a role in smoothing the edges of the modern consumer society which only makes that society more robust. Maybe like priests on the battlefield.

I think Tom is pointing to something more radical than what I'm aware of. 

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/10/15 11:45 AM as a reply to Mark.
This appears to me to be a chicken/egg dilemma. In order to affect change we need to have institutional and societal change, and in order to affect institutional and societal change we need human beings to have a deeper, better understanding of their nature. My vote, if it were ever to matter, would be to somehow make human beings more aware of their innate interdependence (this goes very much against the current here in the U.S.). I think the educational institutions might be the place to start. Maybe - but then that might have to rely on enlightened/awakened individual educators. This is starting to happen in a few school systems here, and even in a few prisons.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/10/15 2:40 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
This appears to me to be a chicken/egg dilemma. In order to affect change we need to have institutional and societal change, and in order to affect institutional and societal change we need human beings to have a deeper, better understanding of their nature. My vote, if it were ever to matter, would be to somehow make human beings more aware of their innate interdependence (this goes very much against the current here in the U.S.). I think the educational institutions might be the place to start. Maybe - but then that might have to rely on enlightened/awakened individual educators. This is starting to happen in a few school systems here, and even in a few prisons.
Hi Chris,

It might be that both need to happen at the same time. Then it is not a chicken and egg situation ?

Does the idea of co-dependent origination make sense at all ?

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/10/15 3:48 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark --

Does the idea of co-dependent origination make sense at all ?

I'm not sure what you mean by co-dependent origination. Can you describe it in more detail?


RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/11/15 1:13 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
So is societal change and redemption to be found in the way we interact with each other and within society? Or is redemption to be found in the details of dependent origination?

I came away from my last reading of Tom Pepper's article thinking it was a call to action, predicated on what Tom sees as the proper understanding of the dependently arising self. Overly simplified:

Action Step #1 -->  Educate human beings on the nature of the self (interdependence)
Action Step #2 -->  Operate in society in a manner consistent with Action Step #1

I think the big question is how do we tactically behave so as to implement Action Step #2. What does that look like? If we saw it in action, would we recognize it for what it is? Does it look like socially engaged Buddhism as we see it today? Or is it leadership modeled on Tom's proper understanding of the interdependent self (I favor this one)?
Hi Chris, just replying in general here, to all, 

It seems very clear to me that poeple that have power, and are influential, and have control over vast amounts of media, educational system, cultural indoctrination, propaganda, corpoartions, military, etc. etc.  It seems that the people in positions of power are very well aware of Dependent Origination, well aware of Craving, how Craving arises, how clinging arises, how suffering carries on, and formations form, become ingrained societal patterns, forever endlessly repeating DO cycles.

So, this is well known, humans today are vastly manipulated by a thorough understanding of the DO process, it works very weel and naturally arises, it just needs a little push , a trigger , or a trap set here and there.  It is as simple as a Snickers Bar in the checkout lane, the Captain Crunch character placed at childrens eye levels, TV ads for new phones, sexy clothing, cars, makeup, etc, etc, 

Sight sensation, pleasant sensation, creates the I want it (craving), stays in the mind (clinging), suffering until it is purchased, then the death of that particular want, the reinforcing of the I want process, Ignorance is formed and reinforced, cycle starts over again.

And it is so ingrained and natural in society, and it relieves dukkha temporarily, it hooks everyone in, each and every time.

And , people know all this already, DO, Craving, Clinging, Behavioral Conditioning , Brands, Branding, Branding the Brain with Emblems, Imprinting, Pavlov, etc etc.

I think it is not that the knowledge of DO is not being used in society, but that the knowledge of DO  actually is , and has been used in society, 

For Power and for Profit, on a mass scale.

To stop all this is like trying to stop ocean waves.

Which is why I think, for now, that the Bodhisattva Vows, are a form of delusion, i.e. wishful thinking, and also a form of craving and clinging.  It is a good ideal, but I do not see how one could get past Anagami by adhering to such a vow, and if one can not get past Anagami, they can only help others up to that stage, and never beyond, so by that logic everyone never gets fully Liberated anyway.  Which leads us back to the point in the article and discussion of trying to help all of society as a Hive Mind type of concept, and not as an Individual Mind concept.

From what I see is kind of a Malcom Gladwell's The Tipping Point kind of approach, or in older days it was the Hundreth Monkey Concept, i.e. get enough people Liberated, it will tip the scales toward Liberation, and everyone will eventually move towards the same path, like minnows, birds, or other herd behavior.

But I have my doubts about humanity, if humanity was moving in the right direction we would see more movement on forums such as this, more youtube hits on the subjects of DO, Jhana, Mindfulness, etc.  Yet we do not.  We are not even close, as humanity, for it to be even a good start, I would think that a Discussion Forum such as DHO would have at least a tenth of a percent of the world earnestly interested in the topics we discuss here, that would mean an average post woud get like, 7 million hits, but it gets like 20 to 40.  I think Tom Pepper , author of the article in the OP, said he was getting 8 or 9 people reading his blog, and was expressing concern if there was anybody out there at times.

This may just be a lonely spiritual world....

The road less travelled, indeed

Dukkha  emoticon

Metta to all, 

May we all stay on the Path as best we can.

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/11/15 2:51 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Mark --

Does the idea of co-dependent origination make sense at all ?

I'm not sure what you mean by co-dependent origination. Can you describe it in more detail?

I'll start with a broad idea - the details are not very clear to me. It seems DO takes a first person perspective but does not consider the social influence in the arising. For example if I am an Eskimo my expereince of snow is very different, partly because that culture has a much larger vocabulary for describing snow. The idea of cDO would be to include those social influences more explicitly. The assumption is that what you are looking for largely influences what you see/find. Perhaps cDO could help make the relationship between society and the individual clearer for the individual. Probably worth discussing at this abstrcation before trying to detail what cDO might modify in DO. 

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/11/15 8:35 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark, my experience with dependent origination, both intellectually and experientially, is that it's a process that describes and accounts for how human beings perceive. Anything we perceive is thus included, from our unique perspective based on the placement of this body to the unique nature of our individual senses to the unique personal history and memories that we have to the influences that affect us as we grow up and live our lives, all from moment ot moment. So to me, dependent origination already includes and accommodates social and institutional influences, be it the Eskimo or anyone else.

What I think Tom Pepper is saying is that we don't emphasize the influence that our environment -- social and institutional -- has on the process enough, so our "framing" of dependent origination isn't what it could be. That is our loss and yes, it could make the relationship between society and the individual clearer and probably more effective.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/11/15 10:57 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Mark, my experience with dependent origination, both intellectually and experientially, is that it's a process that describes and accounts for how human beings perceive. Anything we perceive is thus included, from our unique perspective based on the placement of this body to the unique nature of our individual senses to the unique personal history and memories that we have to the influences that affect us as we grow up and live our lives, all from moment ot moment. So to me, dependent origination already includes and accommodates social and institutional influences, be it the Eskimo or anyone else.

What I think Tom Pepper is saying is that we don't emphasize the influence that our environment -- social and institutional -- has on the process enough, so our "framing" of dependent origination isn't what it could be. That is our loss and yes, it could make the relationship between society and the individual clearer and probably more effective.
This is going to get tricky. I think Tom is more radical, his writings are published in Non-Buddhist blogs and a journal. Those criticisms of Budddhism are profound. I don't think Tom is looking toward a change in emphasis - more a radical rethinking.

There are some very consistent criticisms of contemplation by people claimed to have awoken. One of those I've found most useful is the concept of Shadow Work. This highlights limitations to what can be accessed with contemplation. I've found the critique by Ken Wilber to be useful, that is not to say he has all the answers. https://www.integrallife.com/integral-post/toward-fourth-turning-buddhism

I'm not bringing up these points to fork the debate toward those details. It is more a general feeling that DO does not cover all the bases. This is not to say that DO as is, does not bring up a huge amount of insight, some may be what Shadow Work would bring up, some may be what inter-cultural experience would bring up, some may be what phychoanalysis brings up. It does seem clear to me that DO is not the be all and end all for explaining subjective experience. 

Some examples supporting my position might be the scandals that have occured involving eastern buddhists in western society. I think a huge amount of this is to do with social context, I doubt mant of the same problems would have been exposed if they were not immersed in a new culture. These are people who dedicated decades to intense practise. Some of the accounts I've read of those events refer to cultural mis-interpretation leading to "opportunities" that were not present in more traditional eastern cultures.

DO assumes a somewhat closed system - it is focused on the individual's perception. But as you summarized from Tom's article "The mind, therefore, is not something we possess and that ever arises dependently outside of a collection of human beings." DO does not describe the dependency with the collection of human beings (I can see you could stretch it but it would seem to be personal interpretation - I'd be keen to see references because maybe I'm missing parts of the picture) 

The challenge I've had with this discussion in the past is that it hits a very sensitive spot for buddhists because they believe in the practises, have benefited from them, have 1st person experiences that validate DO. But what you are looking for influences enormously what you see. I have seen remarks sweeping away concerns regarding the behavior of 3rd parties with a  "well they were not deeply realized" which is just ludicrous coming from people with only a tiny fraction of the insight and practise of practitioners who have been caught up in scandals. 

DO as presented in Buddhism comes from a traditional monastic setting. By walking away form the householder's life and living the life of a monastic it seems much clear that DO as presented can bring liberation. But taking that same perosn out of that environment and putting them into a modern householder's situation would probably quickly show them to be less enlightened than previously thought.

I'm in no way implying that what people/you have realized is not insightful or not true. I'm thinking that there could still be more truth to find and more insights, if we consider the social context as fundamental rather than simply an influence.

I'm taking a view for the purposes of exploration/discussion. I don't see anything personal in a critique of that view.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/11/15 11:57 AM as a reply to Mark.
Okay, not having read any of Tom Pepper's other material, and not being very familiar with the non-buddhist movement puts me at a deficit in regard to information but I do see what you're saying. I can explain how I see the issues you raise, however:

In the case of DO, I see it as explaining the entirety of the process of perceiving. It's definitely observable and, using conetmplation, we can get a lot of insight from DO, all they way awakening and whatever follows. That said, DO does not really explain thought content and psychology, so there is a large swath of human existence that DO doesn't have much to say about other than that these thoughts and emotions arise dependently. Some Buddhists tend to say that DO explains everything in a rather literal way and then go on to say that awakening can "cure" a human being of all manner of psychological ills. I do not agree with that. It's clear to me that content, that which Buddhists tend to shy away from as being a "relative" thing, can have a large effect on us, whatever our level of realization of dependent origination. The most astute among us seem to grok that - thinking here of Buddhists like Jack Kornfield. Not everyone does, and in some Buddhist circles it's heresy to say that an awakened person has any negative emotions, triggers or problems at all. You can find discussions like that here.

I can easily argue, and actually do believe, that comtemplative practice and the results we get from it do very much depend on what we're looking for, how we're taught and what we ourselves bring to the exercise. All influences fundamental stuff from outside ourselves, from those around us, from society, education, and so on.

I don't see any of that as being all that radical, however  ;-)

Note: none of this is personal. All of it is good to think about.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/11/15 12:46 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
 

Some examples supporting my position might be the scandals that have occured involving eastern buddhists in western society. I think a huge amount of this is to do with social context, I doubt mant of the same problems would have been exposed if they were not immersed in a new culture. These are people who dedicated decades to intense practise. Some of the accounts I've read of those events refer to cultural mis-interpretation leading to "opportunities" that were not present in more traditional eastern cultures.



The challenge I've had with this discussion in the past is that it hits a very sensitive spot for buddhists because they believe in the practises, have benefited from them, have 1st person experiences that validate DO. But what you are looking for influences enormously what you see. I have seen remarks sweeping away concerns regarding the behavior of 3rd parties with a  "well they were not deeply realized" which is just ludicrous coming from people with only a tiny fraction of the insight and practise of practitioners who have been caught up in scandals. 

Okay, the challenge you have had with this discussion you listed above.

So, what Venerable Thervadan Buddhist Bhikku or Bhikkuni has had such scandals as you are describing?  Who exactly are you accusing? and of what, specifically in the Theravadan tradition?  Not just a monk who happened to sign up, but a serious long term practioner in the Theravadan model?

There may be some hidden problems within any social structure, that is usually where cons and psychopaths ply their path.  And, this should not be accepted.

Also, just because someone says or has been practicing for a long time, and even teaching, is not proof that they really are practicing correctly, and that they should even be teaching.  And, does anyone really need a teacher anyway?

And, to be fair in your objective analysis, what about  the practioners who are advanced or whatever, who have never been involved in such scandals?  Maybe it is their practice that should be examined.

Also, directly to your point, what about scandals with Psycho Therapists, Clinical Psychologists, Counselors, Teachers, Politicians, Scientists and Priests.  How many of those categories, individually have people involved in scandals?  

Also, having sex is not necessarily bad, it is pretty good really, it is just  the sexual misconduct would be considered unwholesome.

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/12/15 5:41 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Okay, not having read any of Tom Pepper's other material, and not being very familiar with the non-buddhist movement puts me at a deficit in regard to information but I do see what you're saying.



Yeah we should keep the discussion on topic. As to whether Tom is formulating something radical, I think there are a few pointers that this is the intention. But we are probably getting hung up on a a point that does not matter: whether it is radical or not. The concern I have is that if you reach the conclusion "this is not radical" and I reach the conclusion "this is radical", is that more because of a different starting point or more because of a different understanding. I see some advantages to leaving that door open - maybe this leads to something radical, seems to be more open to new interpretations. If it is certainly not radical then it fits within my current view and that is what I will see.




I can explain how I see the issues you raise, however:

In the case of DO, I see it as explaining the entirety of the process of perceiving. It's definitely observable and, using conetmplation, we can get a lot of insight from DO, all they way awakening and whatever follows.


Do you consider it to cover both unconscious and conscious perception ? This is perhaps a central point. I think it covers both, I don't think contemplation alone is able to render all the unconscious aspects conscious.



That said, DO does not really explain thought content and psychology,


I agree but I also think this is where you are not seeing what I'm seeing. I'm guessing you are taking the "traditional" subjective individual point of view - but Tom is saying that view/perspective is not valid if we take anatman to the logical conclusion. There is not an individual experiencing content, the mind that is experiencing it is not "my mind". There seems to be an assumption that "my mind" is experienced by me and this is partly because my brain is in my body. Tom is pointing at the fact that my mind is not something that is separate from other minds. Even the perception is a product of a social mind.



so there is a large swath of human existence that DO doesn't have much to say about other than that these thoughts and emotions arise dependently. Some Buddhists tend to say that DO explains everything in a rather literal way and then go on to say that awakening can "cure" a human being of all manner of psychological ills. I do not agree with that.


Agreed.



It's clear to me that content, that which Buddhists tend to shy away from as being a "relative" thing, can have a large effect on us, whatever our level of realization of dependent origination. The most astute among us seem to grok that - thinking here of Buddhists like Jack Kornfield. Not everyone does, and in some Buddhist circles it's heresy to say that an awakened person has any negative emotions, triggers or problems at all. You can find discussions like that here.

I can easily argue, and actually do believe, that comtemplative practice and the results we get from it do very much depend on what we're looking for, how we're taught and what we ourselves bring to the exercise. All influences fundamental stuff from outside ourselves, from those around us, from society, education, and so on.

I don't see any of that as being all that radical, however  ;-)

Note: none of this is personal. All of it is good to think about.

I agree that what you present is not radical but is also not a dominant perspective. I would have agreed completely with what you wrote before reading Tom's article. What stands out to me is that my previous view was not seeing the fundamental social nature of mind, I was thinking in terms of memories, personality, psychology, shadow, as if when I sit and meditate I am separate from society and my experiences are individual.

I'm doing a poor job of explaining this but I hope you'll indulge me as I'm wondering if I have an insight or a misunderstanding! For me Tom's article allows a fresh view of DO and that is why I think it is radical because I've not seen that view before. I think my previous view would have debated in a similar way to you and tried to absorb Tom's insight. Somehow there was a click that left me seeing a more radical change.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/12/15 5:54 AM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Mark:
 

Some examples supporting my position might be the scandals that have occured involving eastern buddhists in western society. I think a huge amount of this is to do with social context, I doubt mant of the same problems would have been exposed if they were not immersed in a new culture. These are people who dedicated decades to intense practise. Some of the accounts I've read of those events refer to cultural mis-interpretation leading to "opportunities" that were not present in more traditional eastern cultures.



The challenge I've had with this discussion in the past is that it hits a very sensitive spot for buddhists because they believe in the practises, have benefited from them, have 1st person experiences that validate DO. But what you are looking for influences enormously what you see. I have seen remarks sweeping away concerns regarding the behavior of 3rd parties with a  "well they were not deeply realized" which is just ludicrous coming from people with only a tiny fraction of the insight and practise of practitioners who have been caught up in scandals. 

Okay, the challenge you have had with this discussion you listed above.

So, what Venerable Thervadan Buddhist Bhikku or Bhikkuni has had such scandals as you are describing?  Who exactly are you accusing? and of what, specifically in the Theravadan tradition?  Not just a monk who happened to sign up, but a serious long term practioner in the Theravadan model?

There may be some hidden problems within any social structure, that is usually where cons and psychopaths ply their path.  And, this should not be accepted.

Also, just because someone says or has been practicing for a long time, and even teaching, is not proof that they really are practicing correctly, and that they should even be teaching.  And, does anyone really need a teacher anyway?

And, to be fair in your objective analysis, what about  the practioners who are advanced or whatever, who have never been involved in such scandals?  Maybe it is their practice that should be examined.

Also, directly to your point, what about scandals with Psycho Therapists, Clinical Psychologists, Counselors, Teachers, Politicians, Scientists and Priests.  How many of those categories, individually have people involved in scandals?  

Also, having sex is not necessarily bad, it is pretty good really, it is just  the sexual misconduct would be considered unwholesome.

Psi

Hi Psi,

I don't have a desire to go into those debates - as I mentioned in the thread to Chris. Obviously this has struck a nerve for you and that is not my intention. At the same time I can imagine no response would be frustrating too.

I'll answer your questions with questions of my own. I hope that may be of more use than a debate.

Why do you not know about these scandals ? The information is available. Why did you accuse me of accusing someone ? I refered to accusations made by other people. Why did you hear "Theravadan" when I wrote about western buddhism ? Why would all other forms of buddhism be irrelevant ? If there is no need for a teacher and practising for a long time does not mean you will practise correctly, how would you know you are not practising correctly ? What is relevant about scandals is other fields and religions ? Why did you hear "sex" when I wrote "scandal" ? If you are convinced about Theravada and monks take a vow of abstinence why does sex get special treatment ? Why try to take this thread off topic ?

I suspect the answer will be "mu" but I really hope not! Either way it would be great if we could stop here.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/12/15 8:05 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark --

I'm guessing you are taking the "traditional" subjective individual point of view - but Tom is saying that view/perspective is not valid if we take anatman to the logical conclusion. There is not an individual experiencing content, the mind that is experiencing it is not "my mind". There seems to be an assumption that "my mind" is experienced by me and this is partly because my brain is in my body. Tom is pointing at the fact that my mind is not something that is separate from other minds. Even the perception is a product of a social mind.

I thought I had agreed but maybe I wasn't clear. It seems obvious to me that consciousness encompasses a collective. How coud it be otherwise? There is no "my mind." For me this is intrinsic to dependent origination.


What stands out to me is that my previous view was not seeing the fundamental social nature of mind, I was thinking in terms of memories, personality, psychology, shadow, as if when I sit and meditate I am separate from society and my experiences are individual.

I think this is, indeed, most commonly the way our meditation practice unfolds but with experience eventually we have to admit that what's arising isn't just my stuff because the derivation of meaning, the context, the values, all come from "external" sources (introducing a false duality) and have a HUGE impact on the what we perceive and experience. Is it possible that we start with the wrong assumptions? I think that's very much the case, and our teachers and the authors of most of the dharma literature over-emphasize the I/me/mine and vastly under-emphasize the "we/us/ours."

 Agreed? Or am I still missing it?


I'm doing a poor job of explaining this but I hope you'll indulge me as I'm wondering if I have an insight or a misunderstanding! For me Tom's article allows a fresh view of DO and that is why I think it is radical because I've not seen that view before. I think my previous view would have debated in a similar way to you and tried to absorb Tom's insight. Somehow there was a click that left me seeing a more radical change.

I'm really not trying to just absorb Tom Pepper's commentary. I'm just not as convinced as you are that this is as radical as you believe it is - that's where I think we're finding dissonance. Of course, maybe you are seeing something that is beyond what I'm getting out of Tom's article. Keep pressing if you think that's the case.


Do you consider it to cover both unconscious and conscious perception ? This is perhaps a central point. I think it covers both, I don't think contemplation alone is able to render all the unconscious aspects conscious. 

I do think DO describes both conscious and unconscious perception and experience. I'm not suggesting that contemplation alone is it - as I said in my last comment, DO only goes so far and when it encounters mental content it doesn't have the cache and "power" it has when it encounters mental process. For example, I have a long standing contemplation practice and yet I have engaged in psychotherapy. I see those two as complimentary, not subsitutes. They are two different and only somewhat overlapping domains.

I've had "clicks" of insight and maybe I haven't yet had that one that comes with a radical understanding of this subject, and maybe this conversation will help snap me into that new paradigm  :-)

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/12/15 9:16 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hi Chris,

Chris Marti:
Mark --

I'm guessing you are taking the "traditional" subjective individual point of view - but Tom is saying that view/perspective is not valid if we take anatman to the logical conclusion. There is not an individual experiencing content, the mind that is experiencing it is not "my mind". There seems to be an assumption that "my mind" is experienced by me and this is partly because my brain is in my body. Tom is pointing at the fact that my mind is not something that is separate from other minds. Even the perception is a product of a social mind.

I thought I had agreed but maybe I wasn't clear. It seems obvious to me that consciousness encompasses a collective. How coud it be otherwise? There is no "my mind." For me this is intrinsic to dependent origination.


I think I'm expecting the collective aspect of mind to open other avenues of investigation and presentation. I'm not sure what they would be.

Apart from a couple of statements like  "It seems obvious to me that consciousness encompasses a collective" the other descriptions you've made can fit with a view that does not see the collective as "intrinsic to dependent origination".

I think that insight could lead to different practises and knowledge. If it is obvious and so fundamental then we should see that aspect being discussed often on DhO or in presentations of DO. It seems that very few people have that view. I believe you have that view but that does not mean it is obvious.

I think you will agree with the statement "there is an impermanent self but there is no individual mind". I also suspect a lot of practitioners would struggle to agree with that.




What stands out to me is that my previous view was not seeing the fundamental social nature of mind, I was thinking in terms of memories, personality, psychology, shadow, as if when I sit and meditate I am separate from society and my experiences are individual.

I think this is, indeed, most commonly the way our meditation practice unfolds but with experience eventually we have to admit that what's arising isn't just my stuff because the derivation of meaning, the context, the values, all come from "external" sources (introducing a false duality) and have a HUGE impact on the what we perceive and experience. Is it possible that we start with the wrong assumptions? I think that's very much the case, and our teachers and the authors of most of the dharma literature over-emphasize the I/me/mine and vastly under-emphasize the "we/us/ours."

 Agreed? Or am I still missing it?


Agreed. So I'm leaning more to us both having different starting points at the beginning of the conversation. Our teachers and the authors of most of the dharma literature over-emphasize the I/me/mine and vastly under-emphasize the "we/us/ours." This leads me to suspect claims that "we/us/ours" is obvious - maybe that is the confusion on my part in our discussion to this point.





I'm doing a poor job of explaining this but I hope you'll indulge me as I'm wondering if I have an insight or a misunderstanding! For me Tom's article allows a fresh view of DO and that is why I think it is radical because I've not seen that view before. I think my previous view would have debated in a similar way to you and tried to absorb Tom's insight. Somehow there was a click that left me seeing a more radical change.

I'm really not trying to just absorb Tom Pepper's commentary. I'm just not as convinced as you are that this is as radical as you believe it is - that's where I think we're finding dissonance. Of course, maybe you are seeing something that is beyond what I'm getting out of Tom's article. Keep pressing if you think that's the case.


I think we are seeing the same thing. But to me DO is presented from the perspective of a subjective experience not an inter-subjective experience. I can see that you've got insight into the social dimension of experience. But I'm wondering whether that is coming from DO or an openness to other sources of information. Personally Tom's article did not give me an insight into the social nature of mind or myself - I already had an intellectual grasp of that. But I did not see the relationship between that and DO - I'm still struggling to see it as I'm arguing for  a redefinition. I also struggle to reconcile Jung's concept of the shadow with DO for example - it seems to point to something missing in DO. Also Wilber's four quadrant model seems to point to missing pieces in DO. I'm wondering if you are reading more into DO than is really there or am I just not grokking it deeply enough - but it also makes me ask why teachers etc don't seem to be grokking it either.

I expect that a experiential understanding of a socially dependent DO would lead to action that is different from what someone without that takes. For example on DhO we see a pattern of making progress with insight meditation then an interest in actualism - seems a refelction of the imbalance toward the "I/me/mine". Does your understanding of DO calls for social action ?



Do you consider it to cover both unconscious and conscious perception ? This is perhaps a central point. I think it covers both, I don't think contemplation alone is able to render all the unconscious aspects conscious. 

I do think DO describes both conscious and unconscious perception and experience. I'm not suggesting that contemplation alone is it - as I said in my last comment, DO only goes so far and when it encounters mental content it doesn't have the cache and "power" it has when it encounters mental process. For example, I have a long standing contemplation practice and yet I have engaged in psychotherapy. I see those two as complimentary, not subsitutes. They are two different and only somewhat overlapping domains.


That is my experience also.



I've had "clicks" of insight and maybe I haven't yet had that one that comes with a radical understanding of this subject, and maybe this conversation will help snap me into that new paradigm  :-)


I would be nice if it did wouldn't it! I think we've got to some fairly solid common ground. If someone is going to walk away with a new paradigm I hope it is me emoticon How's that for greeedy.

I'm not sure how to integrate that social dimension into a meditation practise. I'm not sure if that makes sense. There is "insight dialogue" which I know nearly nothing about. 

I still feel like there is a lot of progress for me to make on the cushion with noting. So I don't feel an urgent need to change my practise. But I'm also wary of the "what you are looking for is what you will find" scenario so I'd like to explore how Tom's insights chould/should impact practise. 

I wonder what would happen if someone spent as much energy as most practitioners do searching for the "no-self" on searching for the "social-self". I can see metta practise might be a part of that but that is often about a relationship between the individual and other.

We are describing a realization of the self being real, impermanent, intersubjective and interobjective e.g. it is also the culture and the environment. Agreed ?

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/12/15 11:44 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark, I want to think about your comments more but I will say this briefly, then get back to work:

I think that insight into the nature of dependent origination is a process. It doesn't reveal itself all at once - at least not for me. It comes in waves and some waves are big and powerful and some waves aren't. There is a cumulative effect. Over time the beach is transformed.. The initial insights for me seem to be very focused on I/me/mine, either because that's what we're told to look for or because (my theory) that's the low hanging fruit. That stuff is easier to pick up on and investigate. After more time passes and we gain more experience and are able to look more deeply more nuance enters the contemplative picture and we start to see things differently, and find that what we thought was an individual phenomenon isn't, and in some important ways.

Just some food for thought until I can read your last comment and respond more thoroughly.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/12/15 12:32 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:

Hi Psi,

I don't have a desire to go into those debates - as I mentioned in the thread to Chris. Obviously this has struck a nerve for you and that is not my intention. At the same time I can imagine no response would be frustrating too.
Not my nerve emoticon, I am trying to uncover why you keep bringing up the subject, I did not, you did.


I'll answer your questions with questions of my own. I hope that may be of more use than a debate.

Why do you not know about these scandals ? The information is available. Why did you accuse me of accusing someone ? I refered to accusations made by other people. Why did you hear "Theravadan" when I wrote about western buddhism ? Why would all other forms of buddhism be irrelevant ? If there is no need for a teacher and practising for a long time does not mean you will practise correctly, how would you know you are not practising correctly ? What is relevant about scandals is other fields and religions ? Why did you hear "sex" when I wrote "scandal" ? If you are convinced about Theravada and monks take a vow of abstinence why does sex get special treatment ? Why try to take this thread off topic ?

I suspect the answer will be "mu" but I really hope not! Either way it would be great if we could stop here.
The reason I brought up the subject about Venerable Theravadan Monks is because, as far as I know, they are not involved in any scandals.  You seem to be lumping together all kinds of traditions into the same category.  If a Theravadan is exposed in some such scandal, it is simple, he or she is not a Theravadan, and they are done.  

I asked about Venerable Thervadans being involved in any scandals because:

1, you brought up the subject of scandals within Western Buddhism, you said it was an issue with you
2, Thervadan monks and laypeople are expected to train in the undertaking of the five precepts, and a Venerable , I think, means at least ten years of training, which should qualify as being long enough to make a personality change, which is of interest to you, correct?
3, As far as I know, no Western Theravadan monks have been in any scandals, though they are considered Buddhist.  And being called Buddhist lumps them into the category of being scandalous.
4, I think you are ,therefore,  from point 3, from what I can tell ,you are making a false representation of Theravadan Buddhism in the West.  Which , I consider as not telling the truth.  If I am wrong, and Western Therevadan Buddhist are involved in scandals,  I apologize in advance.  But, it would be unintentional as I have not heard of any Western Venerable Theravadans involved in any scandals.

Here is a list of so Theravadan Buddhist, though not all are Western, 

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/theravada.htm



So, I was trying to let you see for yourself the difference in what is considered various practices.  When one practices what the Buddha actually taught, scandalous behavior should diminish in nature, not increase.  I was also trying to let you see for yourself so that you may relieve yourself of the skeptical doubt that keeps your mind spinning in circles looking for a path, and an end all solution for the world.

So, you see Mark, I will make it simple, if soemone says they are enlightened, yet uses their position as a position of power, or is drunk, uses drugs, takes money for their persoanl gain, all that, then they are not enlightened, and they are not a Buddhist.  Only a fool would believe so.

You may not think so, but I am on your side, I would like to use pragmatic methods, and practices, but would rather not waste my time on any nonsense.  Same goes for the ohter professions that I brought up, which is a very valid point.

If psychology, education,s ciense and all that is being taught, by someone, especially in the area of self improvement, and that very teacher is scandalous, then those teachings also should be seen as inferior and false teachings. i.e. waste of time nonsense.

Sigind Freud comes to mind as having some behaviour of ill repute, perhaps, yet, many still try to follow some of his odd lines of thinking.

Psi

p.s. I would have broken into another thread, but having respond to a post of yours that initiated this, what I perceive as a correction in your misunderstanding of lumping all Buddhist practices together, was mentioned upthread by yourself, and I have only one intention of clearing the Western Venerable Thervadan Buddhist of scandals they have not been a party to, I will leave post here, in this thread, as a response to the claim in this thread.
Mark

Some examples supporting my position might be the scandals that have occured involving eastern buddhists in western society. I think a huge amount of this is to do with social context, I doubt mant of the same problems would have been exposed if they were not immersed in a new culture. These are people who dedicated decades to intense practise. Some of the accounts I've read of those events refer to cultural mis-interpretation leading to "opportunities" that were not present in more traditional eastern cultures.

The challenge I've had with this discussion in the past is that it hits a very sensitive spot for buddhists because they believe in the practises, have benefited from them, have 1st person experiences that validate DO. But what you are looking for influences enormously what you see. I have seen remarks sweeping away concerns regarding the behavior of 3rd parties with a  "well they were not deeply realized" which is just ludicrous coming from people with only a tiny fraction of the insight and practise of practitioners who have been caught up in scandals

So, are you on topic, or off topic?, I was following you.  I think it is relevant to the topic.  We are discussing DO, this is all a part of it.

So, if Western Venerable Theravadan Biddhist are not involved in these scandals, maybe next time you could state your issue such as, 

There seems to be a problem with eastern and western buddhist practioners seemingly being enlightened, yet some are involved in scandals, except for the Western Venerable Theravadan Buddhists.

Hmmm, maybe we should see what they are practicing, and what we could learn from them.


Or, you could just lump it all together.

Or, maybe there are some scandalous ones, and I missed the newsflash.

In Peace, 

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/12/15 3:24 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Mark, I want to think about your comments more but I will say this briefly, then get back to work:

I think that insight into the nature of dependent origination is a process. It doesn't reveal itself all at once - at least not for me. It comes in waves and some waves are big and powerful and some waves aren't. There is a cumulative effect. Over time the beach is transformed.. The initial insights for me seem to be very focused on I/me/mine, either because that's what we're told to look for or because (my theory) that's the low hanging fruit. That stuff is easier to pick up on and investigate. After more time passes and we gain more experience and are able to look more deeply more nuance enters the contemplative picture and we start to see things differently, and find that what we thought was an individual phenomenon isn't, and in some important ways.

Just some food for thought until I can read your last comment and respond more thoroughly.
Hi Chris,

I was thinking about the distinction you make between process and content. My understanding is you consider the process to be well described by DO and the content not always dealt with in contemplation.

Perhaps what I'm pointing to is that the process is actually different if we see the social nature of mind. I was thinking about the use of the term "interdependent" this is well understood by many practitioners. That is not what I'm pointing at. I would agree there is obviously a lot of interconnectedness and interdependence, that is causality.

One way to think of this might be : the mind is largely a social construct, the arising of consciousness is dependent on social context, that social context is not described in DO.

The social context is not just influencing content but part of the process - does that make sense ?

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/12/15 3:32 PM as a reply to Mark.
One way to think of this might be : the mind is largely a social construct, the arising of consciousness is dependent on social context, that social context is not described in DO. 

Can you describe, at least in concept, how that would work? I'm not sure I understand. I see social context as more or less an automatic part of consciousness, the arising of which is described by dependent origination.


RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/12/15 3:37 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
One way to think of this might be : the mind is largely a social construct, the arising of consciousness is dependent on social context, that social context is not described in DO. 

Can you describe, at least in concept, how that would work? I'm not sure I understand. I see social context as more or less an automatic part of consciousness, the arising of which is described by dependent origination.


I was thinking of the 3rd step in the 12 fold chain of DO. From wiki:

"These six are classes of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, intellect-consciousness. This is called consciousness. As seen earlier, consciousness and the organ cannot function without each other."

The dependence on the organ is noted but not the dependence on other minds.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/12/15 4:02 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark, what would be the mechanism connecting minds or creating a social mind? If it's not one of the existing senses then... ?

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 1:18 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Mark, what would be the mechanism connecting minds or creating a social mind? If it's not one of the existing senses then... ?

Hi Chris, I think we are getting closer. It is a similar reaction I had. If what Tom is claiming is true then it seems to be missing from DO. That is why I started thinking about what it might mean for DO. 

Would it be fair to say that you are assuming the mind is dependent on the brain. Which is why you are looking for the mechanism through the senses - because it is largely through the senses the environment can influence the brain.


But from Tom's article:


My suggestion in this section is that we cannot begin to understand Buddhist thought,
to really grasp the insight necessary to liberation, until we understand that the mind is
not in the brain. Thought, and therefore the mind, is not correspondent to, an
epiphenomenon of, or in any way limited to the anatomy, activity, or capacity of the
brain.
Further, I want to assert that this can be understood in a completely naturalist
manner, with no recourse whatsoever to any kind of dualism, or any idea of a spirit or
soul.


This is what I mean by radical - it raises questions that DO struggles to answer.

Further in Tom's article :

I use the term “atomism” metaphorically here. Most people have absorbed enough of
the popular representations of quantum theory to no longer think of the universe as
being made up of elementary particles interacting in a void. However, we still think of
the mind in this way.  Each individual is understood to have a discrete mind,
contained in her brain, and interacting with the world in sensory experience.
We may
accept that there are some dispositions that are innate, but the mind is a result of
unique memories and experiences. This model of the mind is a nearly universal
assumption in Western thought since Locke’s Essay Concerning Human
Understanding.


I bolded the part that is close to what you are asserting and also what Tom is directly challenging - he is saying the model described above is wrong. He goes on to outline an alternative idea for a collective mind but it is not intended to be a thorough presentation "This understanding of the causes and conditions of the mind is crucial to really grasping the meaning of full-strength anatman"

This is what I'm keen on exploring. It seems that both of us have/had a view similar to the view Tom describes and concludes as incorrect. I'm not claiming that Tom's article is a definitive proof, it is a radical proposition. But it might be worth suspending judgement from the current DO framework to take on a view influenced by Tom's ideas.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 8:18 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark --

Would it be fair to say that you are assuming the mind is dependent on the brain. Which is why you are looking for the mechanism through the senses - because it is largely through the senses the environment can influence the brain.

Well... it's true that my cultural and educational upbringing led me to believe that mind = brain. I'm no longer convinced of that but probably have residual beliefs in that regard. I read that part of Tom's article very carefully. I'm not sure what he's proposing and would love to get more detail, more thought, from Tom. Like, what is it that he thinks is missing from dependenrt origination? My personal experience says that phenomena have several pathways with which they affect this unique mind/body complex (by mind here I don't mean brain but whatever it is that helps cause consciousness to arise). Is there is an as-yet-unobserved pathway that I haven't taken into account after 50+ years of existence and thousands of hours of mediation? Could be. I don't know for sure but if it exists it must be subtle, yet I certainly don't discount the possiblity of as-yet-unknown mechanisms like some form of communication that could create a collective consciousness. Or is Tom proposing that there is no mind/body complex?

Question for you - what could this pathway be if it's not a sense?

My thought experiment for this sounds ridiculous but if every human being were to die leaving just one left, would that last human being be conscious?

Second question, based on my upbringing and education - what Tom is saying ("My suggestion in this section is that we cannot begin to understand Buddhist thought, 
to really grasp the insight necessary to liberation, until we understand that the mind is not in the brain") sounds like a kind of duality. Yes, he explains that it isn't further along but he never gets into any detail in order to provide the mechanism. He suggests a mechanism but without any real detail or phemoninoligical evidence. I'd like to get the detail and the evidence.

My thought on reading that last section of Tom's article was that he was proposing a more radical version of the Boddhisatva vow.

emoticon





RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 10:39 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Mark --

Would it be fair to say that you are assuming the mind is dependent on the brain. Which is why you are looking for the mechanism through the senses - because it is largely through the senses the environment can influence the brain.

Well... it's true that my cultural and educational upbringing led me to believe that mind = brain. I'm no longer convinced of that but probably have residual beliefs in that regard.



Without a clear alternative it is hard not to assume that view.


I read that part of Tom's article very carefully. I'm not sure what he's proposing and would love to get more detail, more thought, from Tom.

Me too. I tried engaging in some debate with Tom on his blog and it went badly. He seems sensitive to critique but at the same time is agressive so it takes quite some patience to dialog with him (I've seen his posts on other blogs regarding non-buddhism with a similar pattern). But if you do not disagree with him, he seems keen to discuss via his blog.



Like, what is it that he thinks is missing from dependenrt origination? My personal experience says that phenomena have several pathways with which they affect this unique mind/body complex (by mind here I don't mean brain but whatever it is that helps cause consciousness to arise). Is there is an as-yet-unobserved pathway that I haven't taken into account after 50+ years of existence and thousands of hours of mediation? Could be. I don't know for sure but if it exists it must be subtle,


I suspect if it does exist it is not so much subtle but requires a different perspective. Often things are obvious when viewed from the right angle. The impact of this is huge so I guess the pathway can't be subtle.



yet I certainly don't discount the possiblity of as-yet-unknown mechanisms like some form of communication that could create a collective consciousness. Or is Tom proposing that there is no mind/body complex?

Question for you - what could this pathway be if it's not a sense?



Exactly. Consider something like "racism" this is not something that is sensed in the traditional understanding of sense. Studies can demonstrate clear bias without the person pronouncing racist views etc. This can be the case even for people who are active in social action against racism. I suspect that some of the processes are available to contemplation but some aren't. Anyway let's not get hung up on the content - racism is just an example.

So racism is not a thought, sound, image, feeling, taste, smell. But following Tom's reasoning racism is a "real" thing. As real as things that we can touch like a table. How the mind deals with a table seems fairly obvious because it impacts the senses directly. But how did the mind become racist ?

I'll go out on a limb with a proposal... One way of understanding the brain is to consider it as a prediction machine, basically it is continually predicting what is going to happen next. So for example at a physical level level you move your hand and need it to stop somewhere. If the brain waited for the eyes to see that the hand is at the right place and then sent signal to "stop", by the time the signal got to the hand it would be past the target. So the brain needs to predict to send the signal before the hand is where it needs to be. On a more complex level the brain is predicting what you will see, we have very little sight data coming into the brain compared to our impression, outside of a very small area the eye has poor resolution. The eye saccads to collect the information and while there is no information for most of the visual field the brain "simulates" (or predicts what is there). When something happens that is not predicted, e.g. an animal moving in peripheral vision, then the brain transfers your attention to that event, your eyes centre on that area to get more data etc. At a more abstract level, if you are watching a lot of television and black men are most often portrayed as dangerous then your brain learns to make that prediction. Then you see a black man walking toward you and have a slightly uncomfortable feeling but it makes no sense. So the culture has constructed a racist mind without ever showing racist images, sounds etc. the individual television programs were perhaps not racist.  It is the ability of the brain to predict (construct patterns) that allows these abstract patterns to be created.

The pattens themselves are not transferred through a sense pathway. Many of those patterns are social constructs - there is no isolated mind.




My thought experiment for this sounds ridiculous but if every human being were to die leaving just one left, would that last human being be conscious?



Reasonable thought experiment. I suspect the effect is not immediate but the person would very quickly loose their "normal" conscious experience and they would be unrecognisable after some time, if everyone suddenly came back! I suspect the brain would try to project consciousness onto other things and would try to maintain internal dialogs "as if" someone else was there. But that charade would have a huge impact on the functioning of the person.

According to DO this would not change much right ? Given what we know about the impacts of forced isolation (recognised as torture) it might raise flags about DO.



Secoind question, based on my upbringing and education - what Tom is saying ("My suggestion in this section is that we cannot begin to understand Buddhist thought, to really grasp the insight necessary to liberation, until we understand that the mind is not in the brain") sounds like a kind of duality. Yes, he explains that it isn't further along but he never gets into any detail in order to provide the mechanism. He suggests a mechanism but without any real detail or phemoninoligical evidence. I'd like to get the detail and the evidence.



Agreed he seems light on that. But it is not the intention of his article. It is also a huge project. I think we can both see that it would be a radical shift in perspective if he could make the connection to practise.



My thought on reading that last section of Tom's article was that he was proposing a more radical version of the Boddhisatva vow

emoticon



Likewise. I think he jumps to the conclusion but it is probably more a reflection of what he wants the conclusion to be.

I'm excited that we both seem to be hitting similar questions when reflecting on Tom's article.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 11:23 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark --

So racism is not a thought, sound, image, feeling, taste, smell. But following Tom's reasoning racism is a "real" thing. As real as things that we can touch like a table. How the mind deals with a table seems fairly obvious because it impacts the senses directly. But how did the mind become racist ?

Reasonable thought experiment. I suspect the effect is not immediate but the person would very quickly loose their "normal" conscious experience and they would be unrecognisable after some time, if everyone suddenly came back! I suspect the brain would try to project consciousness onto other things and would try to maintain internal dialogs "as if" someone else was there. But that charade would have a huge impact on the functioning of the person.

According to DO this would not change much right ? Given what we know about the impacts of forced isolation (recognised as torture) it might raise flags about DO.

I think we may disagree here. I think racism is a series of preferences, conscious and unconscious, that are engendered by the impact that experience has on the body/mind. Racism, at least as I see it, while misguided, is like all preferences, so I think racism is thoughts, emotions and preferences that drive the resulting actions. I think the mechanisms that drive racism are essentially the same that drive beliefs and preferences of all sorts, like tables and chairs, or rain and snow, preferences about movies and music, and so on. I think dependent origination explains all of that pretty well.

I'm starting to suspect this might hinge on what one believes "thoughts" to be and how thoughts, both conscious and unconscious, are "explained" by dependent origination. I still believe that the collective as represented by culture, society, institutions and other human beings is important and extremely influential, and may well contribute to (or possibly be a prerequisite for) mind (although I remain dubious on this part), but I think Tom Pepper is over-reaching if what you describe is what Tom is saying. I reserve the option of changing my mind, however, as always.

I really, still, wonder how Tom Pepper conceives of the social mind mechanism.





RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 11:42 AM as a reply to Mark.
Again, to Mark -

I'll go out on a limb with a proposal... One way of understanding the brain is to consider it as a prediction machine, basically it is continually predicting what is going to happen next. So for example at a physical level level you move your hand and need it to stop somewhere. If the brain waited for the eyes to see that the hand is at the right place and then sent signal to "stop", by the time the signal got to the hand it would be past the target. So the brain needs to predict to send the signal before the hand is where it needs to be. On a more complex level the brain is predicting what you will see, we have very little sight data coming into the brain compared to our impression, outside of a very small area the eye has poor resolution. The eye saccads to collect the information and while there is no information for most of the visual field the brain "simulates" (or predicts what is there). When something happens that is not predicted, e.g. an animal moving in peripheral vision, then the brain transfers your attention to that event, your eyes centre on that area to get more data etc. At a more abstract level, if you are watching a lot of television and black men are most often portrayed as dangerous then your brain learns to make that prediction. Then you see a black man walking toward you and have a slightly uncomfortable feeling but it makes no sense. So the culture has constructed a racist mind without ever showing racist images, sounds etc. the individual television programs were perhaps not racist.  It is the ability of the brain to predict (construct patterns) that allows these abstract patterns to be created. 

The pattens themselves are not transferred through a sense pathway. Many of those patterns are social constructs - there is no isolated mind.

I think you are absolutely right about the brain being a prediction machine. I can experience that at any time. Early in my practice of mediation I would sit and watch the mind/brain derive all kinds of images and concepts from sounds and other sensory objects when my eyes were closed. I can see that I have a constantly updated "map" in my head that keeps track of some of the objects in my vicinity, for a whole lot of reasons but mainly to keep me safe. The brain, above and below the level of consciousness, is making inferences all the time, tirelessly, automatically, without volition. Often right, often wrong. I get that.

As you describe this, however, I see thinking, and thought objects - things I view on television, actions my family members take, for example, and the conclusions I might draw from those experiences. That all comes in through my senses and creates other objects (thoughts, conclusions, emotions and preferences). But the patterns that result, as I see it, are transmitted through sense pathways. I can observe that happening.

Sans another sense and a description of how that sense operates, I have to remain in the dependent origination camp - I'll call it full strength dependent origination.



RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 12:51 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Again, to Mark -

I'll go out on a limb with a proposal... One way of understanding the brain is to consider it as a prediction machine, basically it is continually predicting what is going to happen next. So for example at a physical level level you move your hand and need it to stop somewhere. If the brain waited for the eyes to see that the hand is at the right place and then sent signal to "stop", by the time the signal got to the hand it would be past the target. So the brain needs to predict to send the signal before the hand is where it needs to be. On a more complex level the brain is predicting what you will see, we have very little sight data coming into the brain compared to our impression, outside of a very small area the eye has poor resolution. The eye saccads to collect the information and while there is no information for most of the visual field the brain "simulates" (or predicts what is there). When something happens that is not predicted, e.g. an animal moving in peripheral vision, then the brain transfers your attention to that event, your eyes centre on that area to get more data etc. At a more abstract level, if you are watching a lot of television and black men are most often portrayed as dangerous then your brain learns to make that prediction. Then you see a black man walking toward you and have a slightly uncomfortable feeling but it makes no sense. So the culture has constructed a racist mind without ever showing racist images, sounds etc. the individual television programs were perhaps not racist.  It is the ability of the brain to predict (construct patterns) that allows these abstract patterns to be created. 

The pattens themselves are not transferred through a sense pathway. Many of those patterns are social constructs - there is no isolated mind.

I think you are absolutely right about the brain being a prediction machine. I can experience that at any time. Early in my practice of mediation I would sit and watch the mind/brain derive all kinds of images and concepts from sounds and other sensory objects when my eyes were closed. I can see that I have a constantly updated "map" in my head that keeps track of some of the objects in my vicinity, for a whole lot of reasons but mainly to keep me safe. The brain, above and below the level of consciousness, is making inferences all the time, tirelessly, automatically, without volition. Often right, often wrong. I get that.

As you describe this, however, I see thinking, and thought objects - things I view on television, actions my family members take, for example, and the conclusions I might draw from those experiences. That all comes in through my senses and creates other objects (thoughts, conclusions, emotions and preferences). But the patterns that result, as I see it, are transmitted through sense pathways. I can observe that happening.

Sans another sense and a description of how that sense operates, I have to remain in the dependent origination camp - I'll call it full strength dependent origination.



Hi Chris,

I think you know this but just in case: I'm taking this view to explore it not because I am convinced by it. I appreciate the challenge to it and I'm not trying to convince you to change your view, I'm interested to see if the view is coherent. These are half formed ideas - stabs in the dark - not intended to provide a robust alternative to DO. I would also remain in the DO camp if it was a final choice. By not making a definitive comparison there is a chance constructive critique leads to an alternative. An extremely small chance, I would bet on a better understanding of DO emerging.

I don't claim to be presenting a picture of what Tom thinks. In fact I'm certain that Tom does not buy into this idea of prediction being central - that was the "discussion" I had with him.

You wrote "the patterns that result, as I see it, are transmitted through sense pathways." but as I see it the patterns are not sent. The patterns are constructed. You and I have similar patterns because society evolved causing these patterns to arise. There is not a one to one mapping of a sequence of experiences to a pattern - the prediction engine is going to fabricate.

You wrote "I think you are absolutely right about the brain being a prediction machine." shouldn't that be made clear in DO ? I've not seen explanations of DO pointing to this,  but maybe you have ?

You wrote "I think racism is a series of preferences, conscious and unconscious, that are engendered by the impact that experience has on the body/mind." In the case of patterns it is not any particular experience that causes the pattern, it is not "an experience of racism" that causes a little bit of racism which is then compounded by another experience of racism etc. The individual experiences (as descrived by DO) may in themselves not be racist. For example I see a poor black person, this is not racist, I'll also see poor white people. But if the structures in society are sending the "right" combination of experiences over time then the pattern falls into place - I start making predictions and I'm racist. DO does not seem to point to this meta-level of the social system evolving to create these patterns, I'm basically "tuning in" to those patterns resulting in a shared "mind" dependent on those systems.

Maybe you can help clarify what I want to say emoticon Imagine I have a mental disability and need your help to get ideas onto paper. That is not so far from the truth!

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 1:53 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark -

You wrote "the patterns that result, as I see it, are transmitted through sense pathways." but as I see it the patterns are not sent. The patterns are constructed. You and I have similar patterns because society evolved causing these patterns to arise. There is not a one to one mapping of a sequence of experiences to a pattern - the prediction engine is going to fabricate.

I mis-spoke a bit. The patterns themselves are not transmitted but what gives rise to those patterns is and the patterns then are constructed. Constructed patterns are the result of dependent origination just like everything else. They arise dues to causes and conditons.

You wrote "I think you are absolutely right about the brain being a prediction machine." shouldn't that be made clear in DO ? I've not seen explanations of DO pointing to this,  but maybe you have ?

I think this is clear in DO, Mark. May I ask you how you came to your current understanding of dependent origination? I think that might help us along.

You wrote "I think racism is a series of preferences, conscious and unconscious, that are engendered by the impact that experience has on the body/mind." In the case of patterns it is not any particular experience that causes the pattern, it is not "an experience of racism" that causes a little bit of racism which is then compounded by another experience of racism etc. The individual experiences (as descrived by DO) may in themselves not be racist. For example I see a poor black person, this is not racist, I'll also see poor white people. But if the structures in society are sending the "right" combination of experiences over time then the pattern falls into place - I start making predictions and I'm racist. DO does not seem to point to this meta-level of the social system evolving to create these patterns, I'm basically "tuning in" to those patterns resulting in a shared "mind" dependent on those systems.

You're describing my understanding of dependent origination.

DO very much explains things this meta-level - it's thinking, concepts, calculation, prediction. Patterns. Patterns are the result of cognition. All of these things are objects, right? We can experience similar things and draw similar conclusions over time. We can all be inculcated with experiences that push us in similar directions. We can be educated using the same processes and concepts. However the collective consiousness (culture?) arises, it arises as explained by DO.

I think you may have a more restricted notion of what DO is, and explains, than I do  emoticon









RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 3:07 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

Constructed patterns are the result of dependent origination just like everything else. They arise dues to causes and conditons.



DO is not causality in general right. It is not that anything that in dependent is described by DO. DO describes subjective experience - what can be observed in meditation.



You wrote "I think you are absolutely right about the brain being a prediction machine." shouldn't that be made clear in DO ? I've not seen explanations of DO pointing to this,  but maybe you have ?

I think this is clear in DO, Mark.


It is clear to you but could you point to some published material where that is made clear ?



May I ask you how you came to your current understanding of dependent origination? I think that might help us along.


Sure. I have a terrible memory for names/books etc. A good presentation is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN1vhgGpfDY In my own practise I would not claim insights beyond that description. 



You wrote "I think racism is a series of preferences, conscious and unconscious, that are engendered by the impact that experience has on the body/mind." In the case of patterns it is not any particular experience that causes the pattern, it is not "an experience of racism" that causes a little bit of racism which is then compounded by another experience of racism etc. The individual experiences (as descrived by DO) may in themselves not be racist. For example I see a poor black person, this is not racist, I'll also see poor white people. But if the structures in society are sending the "right" combination of experiences over time then the pattern falls into place - I start making predictions and I'm racist. DO does not seem to point to this meta-level of the social system evolving to create these patterns, I'm basically "tuning in" to those patterns resulting in a shared "mind" dependent on those systems.

You're describing my understanding of dependent origination.


Could you explain how you came to your current understanding of dependent origination? I'm interested to know of teachers/traditions/books that could align with that. It seems things like "social evolution" are a push for a concept (DO) developed a couple of thousand years before evolution was discovered. 



DO very much explains things this meta-level - it's thinking, concepts, calculation, prediction. Patterns. Patterns are the result of cognition. All of these things are objects, right?



My guess is the prediction process/pattern is not directly accessible through contemplation. We can infer that those things exist but they are not directly experienced in the same way as the sense doors for example. They give rise to thoughts but are not in themselves thoughts. Patterns in the sense I am using them is a way of describing the prediction engine - it predicts patterns. But it does that in a way that is far more efficient than having patterns as objects. Patterns in this sense are not a result of cognition but are a way of decsribing the process of cognition.


We can experience similar things and draw similar conclusions over time. We can all be inculcated with experiences that push us in similar directions. We can be educated using the same processes and concepts. However the collective consiousness (culture?) arises, it arises as explained by DO.


I don't think DO explains a collective consciousness - it is describing subjective experience. Culture can be thought about but it is not arising as an object in a subjective experience. I think we agreed earlier up the thread (not certain) that DO was referring to subjective experience.



I think you may have a more restricted notion of what DO is, and explains, than I do  emoticon



Yes I think so too. Will be interesting to hear more about teachers/ings that present your understanding.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 3:16 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Just a fun diversion, but pertinent, here's an excerpt from an article in New Scientist that I just read:

So why did this powerful sense of conscious awareness that we feel on waking evolve? What purpose does it serve?

Although our conscious experience feels personal and intimately real to us, we suggest that it is a product of evolution that provides a survival advantage for the wider social group, rather than directly for the individual. We think that consciousness emerged alongside other developments in brain processing that conferred a powerful social evolutionary benefit of communicating our internal thoughts to others.

In order for this to happen, it was necessary to generate a personalised construction of self and attribute to it the essential cognitive abilities of awareness and agency, as well as the creation of inner perceptions of the world. It is our capacity to tell others of the contents of our consciousness that confers the evolutionary advantage – not the experience of consciousness itself.Why should this ability be advantageous? It lets you share with other people, via unconsciously driven systems, selected contents from your consciousness including beliefs, prejudices, feelings and decisions. This in turn enables the development of adaptive strategies such as predicting the behaviour of others, which could be beneficial to species survival.

This sharing of unconsciously generated, consciously experienced self-narratives also allows for the possibility that the mental content of individuals can be changed by outside influences such as education and other forms of socialising. This is important for disseminating ideas regarding norms and values. In fact, we argue that none of the social systems that human societies depend on would be possible without our compelling sense of self awareness.

Peter Halligan was professor of psychology at Cardiff University, UK, where he researched neuropsychological and psychiatric disorders. David Oakley is honorary professor of psychology at University College London where his main research is on hypnosis.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 3:23 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark, my understanding of dependent origination has evolved over time, mainly from being purely a concept that was an intellectual exercise to an experienced phenomena. So my medititative/contemplative experience has informed my understanding. That said, a really good explanation of dependent origination that I'm familiar with, and agree with, is contained in the book "Seeing That Frees," by Rob Burbea. It's a very detailed exploration of emptiness (yet another way to say "dependently arising"):

http://www.amazon.com/Seeing-That-Frees-Robert-Burbea/dp/0992848911

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 3:51 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Mark, my understanding of dependent origination has evolved over time, mainly from being purely a concept that was an intellectual exercise to an experienced phenomena. So my medititative/contemplative experience has informed my understanding. That said, a really good explanation of dependent origination that I'm familiar with, and agree with, is contained in the book "Seeing That Frees," by Rob Burbea. It's a very detailed exploration of emptiness (yet another way to say "dependently arising"):

http://www.amazon.com/Seeing-That-Frees-Robert-Burbea/dp/0992848911
Hi Chris, 

Sorry to jump in, but is not Dependent Origination also seen in nature.  As I notice DO, I notice it not only in humans , but also birds, and other animals.  It also seems easier to spot in nature externally for soem than it is even within themselves.

I also want to add, that from what I can tell DO has a most impersonal nature to it, from what I can see, there is no me entity involved in the process, or behind the scenes so to speak.  But it seems that the process of Do itself is what the mind does indeed contrive the concoction of the me or the I concept.

So, from following what I am stating above, there would therefore be no DO in the social formation that is different than the DO at the individual mind formation, though this may be a reference to a fractal type of pattern.  Kind of a Russian Doll, one nestled inside the other.  The me concept nesteld inside the local group concept, nested inside the regional group concept, nestled inside the national group concept, and so on, and same goes for other social identification and clinging within the mind.

Gotta go for now

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 4:02 PM as a reply to Mark.
My guess is the prediction process/pattern is not directly accessible through contemplation. We can infer that those things exist but they are not directly experienced in the same way as the sense doors for example. They give rise to thoughts but are not in themselves thoughts. Patterns in the sense I am using them is a way of describing the prediction engine - it predicts patterns. But it does that in a way that is far more efficient than having patterns as objects. Patterns in this sense are not a result of cognition but are a way of decsribing the process of cognition.

DO can only speak to that which I can experience, yes. There are no doubt things going on "underneath" that we can't observe directly. DO is only about our conscious experience. That other stuff - who knows? I would argue that it's all probably part of the same universe and clearly has indirect effects on us. Could these things be what Pepper proposes? How would we ever come to know? Maybe Pepper is proposing the spiritual equivalent of the General Theory of relativity, which no human being has ever consciously experienced but has been proven to exist, albeit indirectly.

I have a framing problem happening - I tend to read your comments and frame them in a familiar manner. It's not helping the conversation but you've been good about pushing back. it doesn't help that I'm replying while I'm working  emoticon

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 3:54 PM as a reply to Psi.
Hi, Psi --

As I notice DO, I notice it not only in humans , but also birds, and other animals.  It also seems easier to spot in nature externally for soem than it is even within themselves.

Maybe. I need to think about that.


RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 4:16 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
By the way, the sutta that best describes dependent origination actually begins with the Buddha cautioning Ananda in this way, after Ananda tells the Buddha that dependent origination is so clear to him:

[Ananda:] "It's amazing, lord, it's astounding, how deep this dependent co-arising is, and how deep its appearance, and yet to me it seems as clear as clear can be."

[The Buddha:] "Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Deep is this dependent co-arising, and deep its appearance. It's because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma that this generation is like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, and bad destinations.

I take that to mean several things, but one of them is that Tom Pepper is correct in saying that THIS is all we have. There is no ultimate. Dual and non-dual describe the same experience. I take it also to mean that DO is something we will struggle to really "get," if we can ever actually do in its entirely and all its implications.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/13/15 4:27 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Chris Marti:
Mark, my understanding of dependent origination has evolved over time, mainly from being purely a concept that was an intellectual exercise to an experienced phenomena. So my medititative/contemplative experience has informed my understanding. That said, a really good explanation of dependent origination that I'm familiar with, and agree with, is contained in the book "Seeing That Frees," by Rob Burbea. It's a very detailed exploration of emptiness (yet another way to say "dependently arising"):

http://www.amazon.com/Seeing-That-Frees-Robert-Burbea/dp/0992848911
Hi Chris, 

Sorry to jump in, but is not Dependent Origination also seen in nature.  As I notice DO, I notice it not only in humans , but also birds, and other animals.  It also seems easier to spot in nature externally for soem than it is even within themselves.

I also want to add, that from what I can tell DO has a most impersonal nature to it, from what I can see, there is no me entity involved in the process, or behind the scenes so to speak.  But it seems that the process of Do itself is what the mind does indeed contrive the concoction of the me or the I concept.

So, from following what I am stating above, there would therefore be no DO in the social formation that is different than the DO at the individual mind formation, though this may be a reference to a fractal type of pattern.  Kind of a Russian Doll, one nestled inside the other.  The me concept nesteld inside the local group concept, nested inside the regional group concept, nestled inside the national group concept, and so on, and same goes for other social identification and clinging within the mind.

Gotta go for now

Psi

Upon further thinking, It seems that the idea of a Socially arising DO is not the case.  I think what is being referred to here is the Formations.  The formations that arise and are reinforced in the mind may pass along and be copied from mind to mind.  For instance , religions, ideas of nationality and whatnot.  These mental formations are passed along from mind to mind , as copies, memes, but arise independently and are reinforced and reinforce each other, separately when minds communicate and contact each other.  And actually it may be more apt to say the thought formations are forming and colliding together, impersonally, as they do within each individual. But, I can not see that they form an actual Hive Mind or a Mind Group, though from a casual inspection this does seem to be the case.

After saying all that , there probably is no diference with one consciousness arising and passing away from another consciousness arising and passing away, no matter who thinks it rises in this mind or another mind.  Thus, there is cause for me to believe, yes believe, as I do not fully know, that there is a Universal Consciousness.  I suspect this may be the case, but have not yet fathomed how it all works, if it does at all.  Except in that there is Consciousness arising, and there is no owner of any one or another consciousness arising from moment to moment.

So, like a river, there are drops of water in the river, yet there really is not, there is just the river, no separation of the water.  Same may be said of consciousness, perhaps.

Whew!!  

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/14/15 2:16 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
My guess is the prediction process/pattern is not directly accessible through contemplation. We can infer that those things exist but they are not directly experienced in the same way as the sense doors for example. They give rise to thoughts but are not in themselves thoughts. Patterns in the sense I am using them is a way of describing the prediction engine - it predicts patterns. But it does that in a way that is far more efficient than having patterns as objects. Patterns in this sense are not a result of cognition but are a way of decsribing the process of cognition.

DO can only speak to that which I can experience, yes. There are no doubt things going on "underneath" that we can't observe directly. DO is only about our conscious experience. That other stuff - who knows? I would argue that it's all probably part of the same universe and clearly has indirect effects on us. Could these things be what Pepper proposes? How would we ever come to know? Maybe Pepper is proposing the spiritual equivalent of the General Theory of relativity, which no human being has ever consciously experienced but has been proven to exist, albeit indirectly.

I have a framing problem happening - I tend to read your comments and frame them in a familiar manner. It's not helping the conversation but you've been good about pushing back. it doesn't help that I'm replying while I'm working  emoticon

Hi Chris,

I like your analogy to knowledge derived rather than experienced. Yes I think Tom is pointing to things that may not be directly experienced but can be derived by inference from direct experience. I believe that is why he implies it has radical implications, it can show the urgence of action in the world, beyond the urgence of awakening a subjective experience of the world.

I can realte to the framing problem. It is really hard to put aside a view. We tend to read everything as a confirmation or denial of our view. The risk is that we kill unknown flowers while weeding our garden. I appreciate that you are aware of that and thanks for the encouragement.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/14/15 2:24 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Mark, my understanding of dependent origination has evolved over time, mainly from being purely a concept that was an intellectual exercise to an experienced phenomena. So my medititative/contemplative experience has informed my understanding. That said, a really good explanation of dependent origination that I'm familiar with, and agree with, is contained in the book "Seeing That Frees," by Rob Burbea. It's a very detailed exploration of emptiness (yet another way to say "dependently arising"):

http://www.amazon.com/Seeing-That-Frees-Robert-Burbea/dp/0992848911

Hi Chris,

I've listened to a few podcasts from Rob. I can't say they motivate me to buy his book. But I'm still not sure I have a good judgement of his work. To be blunt, I had the impression Rob is switching in "emptiness" for a sort of ground (anatman), with some sophistry regarding the emptiness of emptiness. Maybe you can help me with this.

It seems Rob uses the word emptiness with a very broad (and perhaps changing) definition. I had the impression he was referring to emptiness at a more fundamental level than DO, closer to causality. So basically everything is empty, that goes for the physical as well.

In our discussion we've limited DO to the subjective experience (we are both well aware of other interpretations). Does that fit with Rob's description of emptiness ?

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/14/15 7:31 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark --

I've listened to a few podcasts from Rob. I can't say they motivate me to buy his book. But I'm still not sure I have a good judgement of his work. To be blunt, I had the impression Rob is switching in "emptiness" for a sort of ground (anatman), with some sophistry regarding the emptiness of emptiness. Maybe you can help me with this.

It seems Rob uses the word emptiness with a very broad (and perhaps changing) definition. I had the impression he was referring to emptiness at a more fundamental level than DO, closer to causality. So basically everything is empty, that goes for the physical as well.

In our discussion we've limited DO to the subjective experience (we are both well aware of other interpretations). Does that fit with Rob's description of emptiness ?

I think you should read the book before judging it. Burbea does use the word "empiness" broadly but I'm not sure why that would be a problem - what's the official defintion of emptiness? I've heard many, but they all seem to coalesce around the idea that experience has a dependently arising nature. Some traditions use the term "DO" explicitly, some don't. Burbea takes things a long way, and deep, IMHO. Well worth the read.

BTW - I don't think "emptiness of emptiness" is just sophistry, but that's an entirely different discussion to have, maybe if you read Burbea's book.




RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/14/15 7:44 AM as a reply to Mark.
I was mulling over this conversation while driving last night from office to home and it's pretty clear to me why the Buddha himself, at least purportedly, made the case that metaphysical and philosophical musings are, in the bigger picture, not worth spending a lot of time on. He generally declines to engage. I think his sense was that we'd be better off getting to the root of the matter, which is knowing our subjective experience and dealing with that in order to awaken.

There is subjective experience and then there's.... what? Everything else? Nothing? We don't and can't know directly. The line of separation can be tricky. Our conversations about practice easily cross that line and wander back and forth. What do we really know indirectly from inference and what do we really know from personal experience? When is inference valid, and when is it not? Is dependent origination inference, or experience?

Food for thought.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/14/15 9:31 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I was mulling over this conversation while driving last night from office to home and it's pretty clear to me why the Buddha himself, at least purportedly, made the case that metaphysical and philosophical musings are, in the bigger picture, not worth spending a lot of time on. He generally declines to engage. I think his sense was that we'd be better off getting to the root of the matter, which is knowing our subjective experience and dealing with that in order to awaken.

There is subjective experience and then there's.... what? Everything else? Nothing? We don't and can't know directly. The line of separation can be tricky. Our conversations about practice easily cross that line and wander back and forth. What do we really know indirectly from inference and what do we really know from personal experience? When is inference valid, and when is it not? Is dependent origination inference, or experience?

Food for thought.
Hi Chris,

Valid concerns. I think both of us see that contemplation does not provide all the answers. For a householder the situation is much more complex than a monk. I also think Buddhism has a huge amount to offer AND useful knowledge has been found since the death of the Buddha!

A concept Ian And gave to me is of 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person knowledge. He was stressing the importance of 1st person knowledge. I think this is something many practitioners would relate to. It was recently that I realized there is another way to frame that - rather than 1st or 2nd or 3rd we can have 1st and 2nd and 3rd.

We know that subjective experience can be extremely misleading. In the case of vision the prediction engine compares sense data with the prediction, we become aware of errors. But in the case of thoughts there is no objective reference point, so awareness may not even be raised when the prediction is way off.

The pali texts are full of philosophical points. DO is metaphysics. My understanding is the Buddha did engage in those endeavors but he did not answer some questions. I don't think he would support statements like "it is all empty" that I've heard Rob make, I don't think that concept even comes up in the Theravadan texts (but that is 3rd person knowledge!). I also agree he would encourage practise massively over theory. 

It would be great if everyone who claims to be awake reported the same experience but listening to a fairly broad range of interviews makes it clear to me that the practise has a big influence on outcome. If we just get on with 'it', there are a massive amount of assumptions that will dictate what 'it' is.

"There is subjective experience and then there's.... what? Everything else? Nothing?" I think causality tells us a lot, so for example we make mistakes, the prediction engine gets it wrong. Run into a brick wall and the result is predictable, independent of what the person doing the running believes. The Buddha was clear about this I think, it is the first truth i.e. we will die. Full strength anatman makes an obvious statement about death - when the conditions are not there DO ceases.

"We don't and can't know directly." is not a valid statement unless we can define what "directly" would mean. There is no other experience outside of DO, it is not as if there is some other way of experiencing that we know of but can't get to. Terms like "know directly" imply (or assume) there is some alternative to DO.

"Our conversations about practice easily cross that line and wander back and forth." Agreed, the motor for me is the implication by Tom that a "full strength" DO leads to different actions than what we typically see in the western buddhism. There is something about the consumption of buddhism by the west that does not sit well with me. I think the Buddha was a revolutionary and that seems to have been lost in the translation. 

"Is dependent origination inference, or experience?" I think it is clearly inference, it is a process, we experience the sequence of states described by that process but we do not experience the process itself. Likewise we infer the existence of a table we can't experience what a table is.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/14/15 9:43 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Mark --

I've listened to a few podcasts from Rob. I can't say they motivate me to buy his book. But I'm still not sure I have a good judgement of his work. To be blunt, I had the impression Rob is switching in "emptiness" for a sort of ground (anatman), with some sophistry regarding the emptiness of emptiness. Maybe you can help me with this.

It seems Rob uses the word emptiness with a very broad (and perhaps changing) definition. I had the impression he was referring to emptiness at a more fundamental level than DO, closer to causality. So basically everything is empty, that goes for the physical as well.

In our discussion we've limited DO to the subjective experience (we are both well aware of other interpretations). Does that fit with Rob's description of emptiness ?

I think you should read the book before judging it. Burbea does use the word "empiness" broadly but I'm not sure why that would be a problem - what's the official defintion of emptiness? I've heard many, but they all seem to coalesce around the idea that experience has a dependently arising nature. Some traditions use the term "DO" explicitly, some don't. Burbea takes things a long way, and deep, IMHO. Well worth the read.

BTW - I don't think "emptiness of emptiness" is just sophistry, but that's an entirely different discussion to have, maybe if you read Burbea's book.




Hi Chris,

I did not judge the book, I just had a poor impression from a few podcasts - nothing definitive - and not about the book. The sub title to the book is "meditations on emptiness and dependent arisings" so I guess this means that emptiness and DO are not seen as the same thing. I guess it is fair to say that emptiness described by Rob is covering ground beyond the "DO as subjective experience" that we've been discussing. So I probably need to read that book to get a good idea of what you have in mind.

I've ordered the book from Amazon and I hope I'll be proven wrong in my assumptions! 

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/14/15 9:54 AM as a reply to Mark.
"We don't and can't know directly." is not a valid statement unless we can define what "directly" would mean. There is no other experience outside of DO, it is not as if there is some other way of experiencing that we know of but can't get to. Terms like "know directly" imply (or assume) there is some alternative to DO.

I used the word "directly" in the context of dependent origination, assuming that would be clear. Clearly, not  emoticon

So... where does this conversation go next, Mark? You've hinted at various times that you were looking for something. What was it? I'd be curious to know more about you and your practice, if that's possible.








RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/14/15 12:33 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
"We don't and can't know directly." is not a valid statement unless we can define what "directly" would mean. There is no other experience outside of DO, it is not as if there is some other way of experiencing that we know of but can't get to. Terms like "know directly" imply (or assume) there is some alternative to DO.

I used the word "directly" in the context of dependent origination, assuming that would be clear. Clearly, not  emoticon

So... where does this conversation go next, Mark? You've hinted at various times that you were looking for something. What was it? I'd be curious to know more about you and your practice, if that's possible.








Hi Chris,

We could rephrase one of your questions "can you know through DO that there is more than DO" I think the answer is a resounding yes. Partly what Tom is getting at - it is not just about our subjective experience.

I'll try a recap.

Early on you wrote "I hope he's saying that the social version is subsumed by the one I experience" and I think we got to a point where we understood he is not saying that, he is implying DO is largely subsumed by a social process.

This gets confusing because obviously aspects of social behavior are experienced in DO and we can hold the concept of culture etc within DO. But Tom seems to point toward a socially constructed mind that is beyond the subjective experience of any one person. We all have an ability to "tune into it" but it dependently arises through inter-subjectivity not subjectivity.

Perhaps another point is that there are things that do not map to phenomena we can experience. For example you spoke about the theory of relativity which is a thing that can't be experienced. The social mind would be in that category. A bit like the elephant in the room and we can each touch some part of it but can not experience the totality. We can perhaps make inferences by comparing notes.

Following that "All of those things are dependently arising, just like dependent orgination is dependently arising." we raised some doubts about this: "Is dependent origination inference, or experience?" I think it is clearly inference, it is a process, we experience the sequence of states described by that process but we do not experience the process itself. Likewise we infer the existence of a table we can't experience what a table is.

At one point you wrote "DO applies to the process of perceiving, which is how we interact with everything that exists." We explored some ideas challenging this - through the ability of the brain to predict that we might get information into the brain without that information being perceived. The "predictions" could be imagined as assumptions that are made without any perception - the prediction is dealing with the future i.e. prior to perception arising. I think this part of the discussion was a real stretch and I did not do a good job of presenting the ideas - they were coming up as we were discussing and are not clear for me either. I doubt we have the same take away from those exchanges.

I've focused on some points where we saw alternatives but we agreed on a lot more stuff like "Basically there is no Ultimate, only relative" and "how western Buddhism can grab the notion of consciousness as a replacement for atman" and "the brain being a prediction machine"

I think my use early on of terms like "social influence" was confusing as this is observed within DO. I should have used a more distinct term like "social mind". Often vocabulary pointed back to DO when I was trying to point away from it.

You pointed out the book "Seeing That Frees," by Rob Burbea and I've ordered it.

Where to from here:

I think we should let this thread rest. It has been challenging, fun and useful. What was I looking for, I guess I was frustrated that I could not see Tom taking the next step of diving into the details. I wanted to see where his ideas might lead. See if there are implications of "full strength anatman" for practise and action. Nothing conclusive so far.

I'd be happy to chat via other mediums if you are keen, message on DhO  or skype for example.

My meditation practise is pretty much staight out of Shinzen Young's "book". I'm not sure of a good way to present the details without inviting uninvited comments. But I'm all for feedback in a more personal exchange. I've recently also been exploring mindfulness while playing tennis - which is fun and a lot more challenging than the cushion! Most of the Buddhist material I've read is Theravadan. I'm interested in other practises like Shadow Work and Stoic practises but most of my energy for practise is going toward meditation.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
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8/15/15 7:50 AM as a reply to Mark.
I think we should let this thread rest. It has been challenging, fun and useful. What was I looking for, I guess I was frustrated that I could not see Tom taking the next step of diving into the details. I wanted to see where his ideas might lead. See if there are implications of "full strength anatman" for practise and action. Nothing conclusive so far.

Gets up, walks slowly to the door, looks about the room one final time, flicks the light switch of, closes the door.


RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/15/15 10:11 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
[quote=Chris Marti
]Gets up, walks slowly to the door, looks about the room one final time, flicks the light switch of, closes the door.

In the corner, Psi sat silently, the lights were turned off, he heard the closing of the door, the footsteps faded off into the distance. 

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/15/15 1:44 PM as a reply to Psi.
Walks quickly down the hallway, flings open the door, swipes on the lights and says:

The Metaphysics of Dependent Origination: an attempt at a systematic presentation of full-strength anatman

http://faithfulbuddhist.com/2015/01/12/the-metaphysics-of-dependent-origination-an-attempt-at-a-systematic-presentation-of-full-strength-anatman/

By none other than Tom Pepper

I plan to read this as it looks interesting:

On my understanding of Buddhism, the whole point would be to come to an understanding that we do NOT need our meaning to be an inevitable and unavoidable consequence of some ineluctable truth. It may be true that there is a tendency, at least in our culture if not in the species, to look for some absolute guarantee of meaning, some divine word or biological mandate that will assure us that the social formation in which our lives have meaning is unavoidable, that it cannot or at least should not be changed. Such beliefs may be comfortable and comforting, but they are never true. One of the consequences of taking dependent origination and anatman at full strength is that we must understand that we can choose the social practices which give our lives meaning, that in fact we always do so even when pretending we do not. The real challenge of Buddhist practice then becomes the challenge of committing to a way of being in the world without any guarantee of its being “ultimate” or “unavoidable.”

And...

It may be true that our knowledge of the world is intentional and limited. We come to know a thing both for reasons and with our limited range of senses. It does not follow, of course, that the thing therefore is “constructed” by the way we know it. (I hope this part of the argument is obvious, but I will try to argue for it more fully in future posts). The more difficult point is that it is also not the case that our knowledge is “doomed to failure.” We can certainly gain better knowledge of a thing, even if we are gaining that knowledge for a reason and from a particular perspective. To use an analogy: an x-ray is performed for an intentional purpose, and gives information that is limited by the method of creating the image, yet it can really tell us correctly if the bone is broken or not, and give correct knowledge of what to do about it. If we understand “knowledge” not as a “God’s-eye view” of reality, but as a tool for acting within reality, then we can have real knowledge of the world even if we are seeking knowledge with some goal in mind and with limited faculties of observation.

...

 We can come up against reality at points where it conflicts with our construal of it, and these collisions can lead us to alter our construal. Take Einstein’s book 
Relativity as an example here. At the risk of seeming to fall into the old “Einstein says, so it must be true” strategy, I offer an example from the beginning of his attempt to present in an accessible way to a non-specialist audience the concept of relativity. Einstein explains that most educated people begin with the assumption of the truth of Euclidian geometry. However, he explains that what we expect to occur from within this Euclidian model of the world is not what occurs in certain situations. The result is that we must realize that our construal of the world in Euclidian fashion, while useful and close enough in most ordinary applications, is not true of the world as it really is. We have then gained some knowledge of the limitations of our system of thought, and also, through its very failure, of the “determinate reality beyond” it. The point here is that, pace postmodernism and Garfield’s reading of Madhyamaka Buddhist thought, we can often come to increase our knowledge of the world exactly because we can see where our own perspective is limited, where our construal of the world fails, and our predictions and expectations are not met. We can know determinate reality exactly because we start from a limited perspective—but only once we know that perspective is limited.

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/16/15 1:35 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

The Metaphysics of Dependent Origination: an attempt at a systematic presentation of full-strength anatman

http://faithfulbuddhist.com/2015/01/12/the-metaphysics-of-dependent-origination-an-attempt-at-a-systematic-presentation-of-full-strength-anatman/


Hi everyone, 


That is funny, I started reading it, and realized I had already read it a few days ago.  I am unsure exactly what to make of his article, it is long , and for me it is as if it spirals out , ever expanding, idea exploding into idea, but when I am done reading, I am left unsure of any points being made?  Maybe my brain just is not lining up with this level of thinking.

Like I get , 

 Churches would not exist without human societies, but it is entirely possible that rabbits could.
I mean , yes alot of us seem to know this, God seems to be a concept, all in the mind, and thus Churches were built as a result of thoughts.  There is concept and there is reality.
And there was this piece.
Einstein’s book Relativity as an example here. At the risk of seeming to fall into the old “Einstein says, so it must be true” strategy, I offer an example from the beginning of his attempt to present in an accessible way to a non-specialist audience the concept of relativity. Einstein explains that most educated people begin with the assumption of the truth of Euclidian geometry. However, he explains that what we expect to occur from within this Euclidian model of the world is not what occurs in certain situations. The result is that we must realize that our construal of the world in Euclidian fashion, while useful and close enough in most ordinary applications, is not true of the world as it really is. We have then gained some knowledge of the limitations of our system of thought, and also, through its very failure, of the “determinate reality beyond” it.

Which , I thought this was common knowledge, that Einstien was wrong, though there may be still debates, and whatnot.  And I think that was what Tom was alluding to?

http://www.livescience.com/50262-spooky-action-is-real.html

But, not to say Einstein's theories are not used to create and are real and true in that sense, Atomic Bomb comes to mind, same with Euclid, Rocket to Moon, or maybe that is Calculus? But the Thought systems do not grasp the fullness of reality, but come ever closer and closer.  Any scientist out there feel free to correct me, I am just a humble layperson.  

But then there are walls and walls of words in the article.  But, my point is , Dependent Origination, when seen and experienced in a moment to moment fashion, and the understanding that when one link is broken that the rest crumble, and there is cessation.  So that it is the use of this knowledge that enables one to be liberated from dukkha, albeit sometimes only in a temporary fashion.  And I think that is what is the core of importance in DO, for all of humanity.

In other words Dependent Origination is not a Metaphysics, or a philosophy, but a theory,in the scientfic term,  i.e. a collection of facts that can be examined and repeated by everyone that investigates.

One other side issue that seems to be missing form all of the discussion here.

There seems to be a call for Buddhism to be involved in socety and all that, and that there seems to be no plan put forth by Buddhism for societal involvement and action.

I do not think this view is correct.  Here is why, if people would actually adhere to the items and practices listed below, many of societal ills would be solved.

The Five Precepts, if these were followed by society it would free up mass amounts of productivity and energy.  There would be no need for policemen, locks on doors, military, corporations that act for profit, pollution would diminish, drinking and driving deaths would cease, the birth rate would probably decline and disease woud not spread as fast, there would be no more drugs and drug related crimes, the list would go on and on.

Buddhism in general, provides the answers, at the root of the problem, but the change HAS to occur within the individual, that is where it all starts, from within.  And by changing what is within, one changes what is without, and by doing that , one does indeed change and impact society.
And, all this would be nice, the changing society as a whole part, but there is Dukkha, and Dukkha comes from Craving, i.e. Greed , Hatred, and Delusion, and it seems we are all born with this problem , it is part of existing, so it seems it will not just go away on its own, or be swept away by some Social Reform.

And how would we even go about changing society?  After all it is indeed a hard enough battle changing our own minds and habitual tendencies, much less trying to change someone elses.  And, besides they usually do not want to hear all that spiritual path crapola anyway, they just want to have a good time, gratification now, to please the senses.

I like Tom's ten points at the end of the article, in a kind of food for thought kind of way.

I suppose the social formations could change, and be changed, and we , as humans should take resposibility for them. So I would propose a Social Dependent Origination may look something like this, which , in a scary way may shed some light on genocides, wars and causes of famine and poverty in our human history.


  • From Mass ignorance  come Mass karma formations/fabrications/volitional formations Mass (sankhara)
  • From Mass karma formations comes Mass consciousness (viññana)
  • From Mass consciousness comes Mass mind and matter (nama-rupa)
  • From Mass mind and matter come the Mass six senses (salayatana)
  • From the Mass six senses comes Mass contact (phassa)
  • From Mass contact comes Mass feeling (vedana)
  • From Mass feeling comes Mass craving (tanha)
  • From Mass craving comes Mass clinging (upadana)
  • From Mass clinging comes Mass becoming/existence (bhava)
  • From Mass becoming/existence comes Mass birth (jati)
  • From Mass  birth, then Mass aging & Mass death
So, from our understanding of the sessation of any of the links cause the sessation of the other links to crumble, we could maybe, find a way to create a Mass Cessation, and in this manner have a Mass Awakening, or a Mass Path Moment, maybe where all of humanity were to realize Anatta, if even for an instant, I mean it is there all the time anyway.

Maybe it will just take soemthing like the God Helmet, or a new type of Prozac, some type of Mass Direct pointing, Mass Liberation Unleashed. 

Or in some Sci Fi fashion, call the all the worlds cell phones at once and Brainwave Entrain everyone on the Gamma Super Metta Brainwave, let the people know what Love really is all about, and wake up the world, or is it the Heart Math frequency super broadcast?

All this has to get past Bill Gates, Donald Trump, and Warren Buffet first, of course.

Am I off topic ?

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/16/15 8:25 AM as a reply to Psi.
Psi, Tom Pepper is explaining the difference betweem subjective experience (the purvue dependent origination) and our knowledge of the world from inference (science, theory). 

Yes, there are a of of words and I'm still slogging through them. At the end of that extended series of blog posts is Mark's exchange with Tom Pepper, which Mark mentioned earlier here. It really doesn't go well, as it seems Tom was not interested in a discussion even though he asked for comments and criticism.

Later...

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/16/15 10:00 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Psi, Tom Pepper is explaining the difference betweem subjective experience (the purvue dependent origination) and our knowledge of the world from inference (science, theory). 

Right , that is exactly what I am pointing to with the phrase up the posting tree,   There is concept and there is reality.  There is Nama and Rupa.  And, it seems the thought world can only go so far, like a mirror analogy, the mirror does not reflect reality very well, as a mirror is not used to observe sound or smells, in the same fashion, there are phenomenon that the brain/mind can not directly perceive.

Yes, there are a of of words and I'm still slogging through them. At the end of that extended series of blog posts is Mark's exchange with Tom Pepper, which Mark mentioned earlier here. It really doesn't go well, as it seems Tom was not interested in a discussion even though he asked for comments and criticism.

Later...
And that brings me also to another point , the difference between, dialogue, discussion, and debate.  I too,am not so much interested in being bogged down with debate, I am trying to work through old patterns of mental conditioning with regard to debates.  Debates, while they may have some function, seem to be less beneficial than dialogue and discussion.

So Chris, I am wondering, in regards to both articles, is Tom Pepper really writing about Anatta and Dependent Origination?  Or are we left only in the thought world of Anatta and Dependent Origination?  On the one hand it seems that the articles are too deep for my current understanding, and on the other hand the articles seem to not delve as deep as my current understanding.

But maybe that is the whole point Tom Pepper is trying to convey, i.e. that this is not just a scientific theorizing and philosophizing excercise, but that this is a subjective experience, and possibly could be a subjective experience for society at large?

I will probably re-eread the articles , again, but not at the expense of finishing Mindfulness with Breathing by Buddhadasa Bhikku first, the aforementioned book is so relavant, and Buddhasa Bhikkhu tried and did so much to bring the Dhamma into and meld with society as a whole, and not just Buddhists, but in a world view, see his article No Religion,  that it must remain at the top of my studies at this time.

But, importantly, there does seem to be a push to bring the insights of reality into the public mainstream.  It would perhaps be a better society if we could all use and operate our minds in a fashion that , as a whole, we were not simply reacting to the environment around us like some automaton entities, herding ourselves through fast food lanes, and meeting at the bars reminiscent of mating seasons long past ,no different than  the salmon that swim upstream every spring.  Human DO, Salmon DO... But, to break the cycle, swim where we want, to be liberated and not end up in a corporate can somewhere....  At least in the mind, physically we may end up there out of necessity.

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/16/15 1:02 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi --

So Chris, I am wondering, in regards to both articles, is Tom Pepper really writing about Anatta and Dependent Origination?  Or are we left only in the thought world of Anatta and Dependent Origination?  On the one hand it seems that the articles are too deep for my current understanding, and on the other hand the articles seem to not delve as deep as my current understanding.

Psi, Tom Pepper is writing about dependent origination and a subset of that, anatta. His focus is the effect of either taking DO and anatta seriously and as deeply as they deserve, or not taking them as seriously and deeply as they deserve, or otherwise misunderstanding their depth and meaning, thus misleading ourselves. Why? Because for Tom, who seems to be advocating DO and anattman as a basis for real social change, these concepts can be used to support the idea that the structure of any given society is a human construction, dependently arisen by human invention, and are not to be accepted as inevitable. This as opposed to dependently arising things in the natural world. He uses the analogy of strikes versus quarks to explain the difference.

The general purpose of Tom's effort in this series of blog posts seems to be that the current structure of human society (capitalism is mentioned several times, as is our disregard for the abuses he sees humans perpetrating on other humans) is not optimal - to say the least. Ultimately, for Tom Pepper, Buddhism and DO are a way to educate people with these facts. He takes a long time and is careful to lay this out piece by piece, so there are a lot of words and examples and he delves deeply into the difference between various versions of DO, epistemology and metaphysics.

So far I like these essays but I'm not finished reading them yet, either. They require my full attention while reading emoticon

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/17/15 2:46 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti
Well, that made sense, why didn't he just say so!  emoticon 

Psi

RE: Interesting article about Anatman
Answer
8/17/15 5:47 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Mark, my understanding of dependent origination has evolved over time, mainly from being purely a concept that was an intellectual exercise to an experienced phenomena. So my medititative/contemplative experience has informed my understanding. That said, a really good explanation of dependent origination that I'm familiar with, and agree with, is contained in the book "Seeing That Frees," by Rob Burbea. It's a very detailed exploration of emptiness (yet another way to say "dependently arising"):

http://www.amazon.com/Seeing-That-Frees-Robert-Burbea/dp/0992848911

Hi Chris,

I would have messaged you but there are 5 Chris Marti on DhO! I started a separate thread about Seeing That Frees. The concern I raise is close to the concern I had when listening to one of Rob's talks. I also see connections to what we discussed in this thread. If you get a chance please take a look at the thread and let me know your thoughts.  I do expect to get a lot of value from the book so I'm glad you pointed to it, thanks.