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Problem with idea of impermanence

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Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/2/16 11:07 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Banned For waht? 11/3/16 3:41 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Banned For waht? 11/3/16 4:46 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/3/16 6:20 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence neko 11/3/16 10:43 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/3/16 1:56 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence . Jake . 11/7/16 9:37 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Doctor Avocado 11/3/16 12:40 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/7/16 3:06 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/18/16 7:15 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/18/16 7:16 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence pamojja 11/18/16 2:15 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/18/16 3:23 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence pamojja 11/18/16 3:38 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Matt 11/18/16 3:36 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/18/16 3:48 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/18/16 5:23 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/19/16 6:19 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/19/16 10:06 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Banned For waht? 11/19/16 10:23 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/19/16 12:15 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/19/16 12:13 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence neko 11/19/16 2:12 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/19/16 3:31 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence pamojja 11/19/16 5:27 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/19/16 7:10 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence pamojja 11/20/16 6:53 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/20/16 10:31 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence pamojja 11/20/16 11:03 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/20/16 11:18 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence pamojja 11/20/16 12:41 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/19/16 7:18 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/20/16 5:47 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Carlos 11/19/16 8:12 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Andrew K 11/20/16 5:58 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Banned For waht? 11/20/16 6:57 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/20/16 3:25 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Nikolai . 11/20/16 1:41 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Stick Man 11/20/16 3:36 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence shargrol 12/21/16 7:04 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Chris Marti 12/21/16 2:12 PM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence SeTyR ZeN 12/22/16 12:49 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Ward Law 11/21/16 9:31 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Simon Liu 12/22/16 7:30 AM
RE: Problem with idea of impermanence Chris Marti 12/22/16 7:50 AM
Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/2/16 11:07 PM
Consider

(1) To know something is impermanent, you have a sense of change

(2) To have a sense of change, you have to have a memory to compare at least two different situations

(3) This memory has to be accurate and permanent for a comparison to be valid

(4) If memory is impermanent or inaccurate, change cannot be reliably demonstrated or known

(5) If change cannot be reliably demonstrated or known, impermanence cannot be proved

(6) If all things are imperpanent, then so is memory, hence it is an invalid tool for showing impermanence

(7) There is no other tool, knowledge of impermanence relies on memory

(8) Impermanence is unprovable

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/3/16 3:41 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
what you want probably is sure answer but dharmas or things alone are pure and without qualities. It is impossible to tell you what is one-thing and if you have two things you can say only what is not. When you have three things, you can tell what is permanent or the true thing.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/3/16 4:46 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
i think things endure because of the glass half empty or half full phenomena also there is space, things therefore seem to pop out and into existence depending on what side you are. Since we are on one of the side of the did chicken first or egg first we will see only one half of the picture. It is possible to do the crossover tho and see all the otherside too and have completion.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/3/16 6:20 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
emoticon

Yes change depends on there being seperate objects, and separateness is not a reliable perception or state of being, seemingly for some people.
One would have to be in a state of non-separation always for this to be a timeless state. Yet no buddhist can deny the reality of the changing phenomenal world. They talk as if there is a changing phenomenal world - an old problem (that mangles people's minds) of why others people who have proclaimed an end to a sense of separate self talk as if they still have one.

If they do deny the changing phenomenal world, then they cannot make a claim of impermanence, as nothing changes.

But grant that one can enter into this paradox somewhere along the line, OK leave that aside for the moment.

There is a claim that mindfulness practice will reveal the impermanence of phenomena even to the unrealised student - that the mind is constantly changing, that phenomena are composed of scintillating fragments, sensory experience is vibrating - all that stuff.

But that judgement of impermanence definitely requires an accurate memory - a permanent record - with which to compare the state of things now with the state of how they were.

Or, alternatively, one cannot claim to have overcome the sense of seperate, changing objects until one has relinquished one's sense of separate existence and sense of multiple objects.

This is for the enlightened, not for the student on the path, hence students on the path cannot see the impermanence of phenomena, yet they are told they can.

Is it not jumping the gun to say that an unenlightened person practicing vipassana should be able to see into the impermanence of things ?

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/3/16 10:43 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
You are overthinking this.

Sit down, observe your own perceptions and cognitive activity. Is there change?

Yes -> Good, keep at it.

No -> Someone should take you to a neurologist. In fact, you will not be able to go on your own, because you have some severe type of brain damage. Certainly you cannot drive a car if you do not experience change in, say, the redness of a traffic light.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/3/16 12:40 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
I put a similar question to a teacher in a more concise form:


If everything is impermanent, then so is the mind. The only means to observe the characteristic of impermanence is the instrument of the mind. Therefore, how can there be certainty of this knowledge if the instrument of knowledge itself is impermanent? 


The teacher shrugged and told me to keep sitting. 


I wasn't sure he'd heard or understood my question. So I gave the analogy that a deaf person couldn't talk with certainty about the nature of sounds in a room, even if it was his direct experience that the room was devoid of all noise. 


The teacher shrugged and told me to keep sitting.


I kept sitting. 

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/3/16 1:56 PM as a reply to neko.
neko:
You are overthinking this.

Sit down, observe your own perceptions and cognitive activity. Is there change?

Yes -> Good, keep at it.

No -> Someone should take you to a neurologist. In fact, you will not be able to go on your own, because you have some severe type of brain damage. Certainly you cannot drive a car if you do not experience change in, say, the redness of a traffic light.

Is there change ? I'll have to think about it.

No -> see under Jill Bolte-Taylor

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/7/16 9:37 AM as a reply to neko.
neko:
You are overthinking this.

Sit down, observe your own perceptions and cognitive activity. Is there change?

Yes -> Good, keep at it.

No -> Someone should take you to a neurologist. In fact, you will not be able to go on your own, because you have some severe type of brain damage. Certainly you cannot drive a car if you do not experience change in, say, the redness of a traffic light.

hahaha
I just literally cracked up. Love this

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/7/16 3:06 PM as a reply to Doctor Avocado.
Wing Biddlebaum:
I put a similar question to a teacher in a more concise form:


If everything is impermanent, then so is the mind. The only means to observe the characteristic of impermanence is the instrument of the mind. Therefore, how can there be certainty of this knowledge if the instrument of knowledge itself is impermanent? 


The teacher shrugged and told me to keep sitting. 


I wasn't sure he'd heard or understood my question. So I gave the analogy that a deaf person couldn't talk with certainty about the nature of sounds in a room, even if it was his direct experience that the room was devoid of all noise. 


The teacher shrugged and told me to keep sitting.


I kept sitting. 
You should have threatened to withold payment until you got an answer.
Good thinking, though. Respect.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/18/16 7:15 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
You mean that it doesn't work as a philosophy expressed in language, only as an experience ? But if you mean that focus on a stream of experience such as in meditation practice demonstrates impermanance, still I think you can only claim that if you are using memory. To not use the memory is to be thoughtless, and I don't even see how the categories of permanence or impermance can be applied in such a case. By default you haven't got permance, but then again you haven't got impermanence, it remains an unknown.

?

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/18/16 7:16 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
Quantum foam, Planck scale type of thingy ?

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/18/16 2:15 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
John:
Consider

(1) To know something is impermanent, you have a sense of change

First of all, we all have an unproven sense of a permanently satisfyable self. And of objects to some extent permanent, satisfactory or possessable.

(2) To have a sense of change, you have to have a memory to compare at least two different situations

We do have many memories, and further projections from memory - of permanency, satisfactoriness and self. Again subjectively and with Objects.

(3) This memory has to be accurate and permanent for a comparison to be valid

The problem with this memory and projetion of anything permanent, satisfactory or self - ultimately it isn't permanent - grossly experienced with old age, sickness and death. More subtly in meditation when one expiriences everything experiencable: sensations, feelings, thoughts, fabrications and associated consciousness constantly arising and passing.

(4) If memory is impermanent or inaccurate, change cannot be reliably demonstrated or known

The crux in impermanence isn't to memorise it, or even project it like we already do with permanence. It's to let go of any and all perversions in perceptions. There simply isn't any utility for impermanence reliably being demonstraed or known. But in seeing the perversions in perceptions from moment to moment.

(5) If change cannot bey reliably demonstrated or known, impermanence cannot be proved

Again no utility in proving. But in seeing permanence for what it is from moment to moment.

(6) If all things are imperpanent, then so is memory, hence it is an invalid tool for showing impermanence

You've got it.

(7) There is no other tool, knowledge of impermanence relies on memory
(8) Impermanence is unprovable

Now you've lost it again. Real knowledge of impermanence relies on incredibly more factors than just memory, or as you seem to understand it, projections arising out of memories.


I love this sutta for explaining such complicated things so beautifully:


Therefore in an opposite way you're even right, in that the memory and perversion in the perception of permanence gives rise to fabrications, to consciousness, to mind and body, to six sense base, to contact, to feeling, to craving, to clinging, to existance, to birth, to suffering, to faith, to joy, to rapture, to tranquility, to happyness, to concentration, to seeing things as they really are, to disentchantment, to dispassion, to emancipation, to the distruction of the cancers.

Stop philosophising about impermanence. Instead take a closer look at your constant projection of permanence, and everything else outlined above will fall in place at it's own time. That is, if you want to. Otherwise better write a treatise on the 'improvability of impermanence'. Because the distruction of the cancers isn't reversible. ;-)

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/18/16 3:23 PM as a reply to pamojja.
"(7) There is no other tool, knowledge of impermanence relies on memory
(8) Impermanence is unprovable"

"Now you've lost it again. Real knowledge of impermanence relies on incredibly more factors than just memory."

Lost it ? I don't agree. Knowledge of impermanence relies fundamentally on memory. Being in a thoughtless present awareness doesn't rely on memory, but thoughtless present awareness is freedom from the permanent/impermanent duality.... because memory is a form of thought.

Close your eyes, is your coffee mug exactly the same as it was five seconds ago ? You can assume so, but there is nothing empirically provable about that. And when you open your eyes all you have to go on is memory to tell you what your mug looked like.

It's a flaw in the buddhist teaching, as it is handed down anyway, it seems to me.
What would be a more credible claim is that there is no provable permanence. But by the same token there is no provable impermanence.
That's not going to be a popular statement emoticon

"Otherwise better write a treatise on the 'improvability of impermanence'."

Well, it's the thousands of treatises on the provability of impermanence that seem to be the problem. Might as well use them for fire lighters, they weren't going to be around forever anyway.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/18/16 3:38 PM as a reply to Stick Man.

It's a flaw in the buddhist teaching, as it is handed down anyway, it seems to me.
What would be a more credible claim is that there is no provable permanence. But by the same token there is no provable impermanence.

As I said, you can choose to get free from cancers by using momentary experience of everything arising and passing. Or you can prefer not to get free of cancers by inapropriately using these tri-lakana as philosophical views to be proven or disproven, and clung too - as in intelectual entertainment and for wandering on in the cycle of re-becoming. That is fine with me too, if you're ok with it's outcome.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/18/16 3:36 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
John:
It's a flaw in the buddhist teaching, as it is handed down anyway, it seems to me.
What would be a more credible claim is that there is no provable permanence. But by the same token there is no provable impermanence.
That's not going to be a popular statement emoticon


I find that closing my eyes and putting attention on present moment sensations provides ample experience (evidence) of impermanance, and that experience makes an impression on an impressionable brain and that's the whole ball of wax.  Very very little capacity of memory required.  Well, it's hard to 'remember' to keep attention where I was planning, but that what frikken practice is about. emoticon

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/18/16 3:48 PM as a reply to Matt.
"Very very little capacity of memory required."



"Well, it's hard to 'remember' to keep attention where I was planning, but that what frikken practice is about."

Impossible, even. Although, of course, the concept of "impossible" would also have to be impermanent, so "impossibilty" might become "possibility". But you would have to have a reliable memory of what used to be impossible to make that judgement, which is, as I have shown, problematic. But that problematicness might be impermanent too, there's no way to tell.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/18/16 5:23 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
OK, and the the argument for impermanence is ironclad if there is a permanent memory, which, as you say there isn't. At least, according to science - rewriting of memories, decay with time, emotional and social influences etc etc.
Hmm, now, what were the results of that memory experiment... let me think now emoticon I mean, I don't know what the implications of memory research are for the actual scientific method itself, and what sort of assumptions about memory underpin it. Sounds like a nice 10 week philosophy module would cover it.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/19/16 6:19 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
James M Corrigan:
You might be missing the point about the now that is made in Buddhist doctrines. It's not a time. It is not duration. It is realized in a direct meditational insight/accomplishment. It's given descriptive names like "self-liberating pure presence," and similar... or they just call it the "great seal."

That may be so about the now as it is used as present awareness. But the idea of impermanence necessarily involves a sense of a span of time, as the obverse of permanence, and is a claim about the phenomenal cosmos whether seen internally, externally or without that distinction.

What is the difference between the claim of impermanence made by the Buddha, and the claim made by scientists that they understand general laws of the universe that apply in all times and places - yet without actually empirically perceiving those times and places ?

ie - all matter is in motion - generalised from the tiny fraction of matter that has ever been studied ?

OK there is a difference between the scientists outlook from an individual self perspective, and an outlook from a selfless perspective, or a distributed non-local-self perspective. Yet there is still the problem of needing perfect memory, a permanent comparator, to make that claim.

I really don't see how this can be escaped, unless "impermanence" is a bad translation.

Wikipedia says
The five aggregates, monks, are anicca, impermanent.
All is impermanent. And what is the all that is impermanent? The eye
is impermanent, visual objects ... eye-consciousness... eye
contact [cakku-samphassa]... whatever is felt as pleasant or
unpleasant or neither-unpleasant-nor-pleasant, born of eye-contact is
impermanent. [Likewise with the ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind] (SN
35.43/vol. iv, 28)
Excuse me Mr Gotama, but how do you know all things are impermanent, without having a permanent record of everything for comparison ? And didn't you say there are no real things anyway ? How can a category, ie permanence, that applies to and is defined by things, be applied to no-things ? It's not even wrong, as they say.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/19/16 8:12 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
I also think impermanence cannot be proven. In fact, "sabbe sankhara annica" reads like dogmatism imo. All the same, to me the Ideas behind these teachings do not seem to require the manipulation of concepts like anicca as mathematical entities. But why is the annica concept mentioned in particular? Who knows. My best guess: It is a mental crutch/hint that draws attention away from categorization (seasons, countries , species, concepts) and moves it towards the imagination. There, less verbalizable/explainable thought-process-strategies can handle more ambiguities to investigate: Why are these boundaries created and for what purpose? Do I have/do similar boundaries inside my mind for my unshareable experience? Shoud I have paid attention to them before? Where does one end up while neglect/forget(ing) about them?

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/19/16 10:06 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
Supercilious tone doesn't make you right. I don't think you understand any of this.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/19/16 10:23 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
you can't say things are impermanet, but looking others you are able to see what you don't have so the knowledge of these things can arise. So yes you can't say or witness things are impermanent. Those things what arise are with poisons like greed, ignorance and delusion.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/19/16 12:13 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
"Ahhh, Wikipedia. So this...blah"  "Look, you seem to think your intelligence is enough to....blah."

"...behaving or looking as though one thinks one is superior to others."a supercilious lady's maid""

God forbid that the buddha might have been fallible about something. emoticon

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/19/16 12:15 PM as a reply to Banned For waht?.
Rist Ei:
you can't say things are impermanet, but looking others you are able to see what you don't have so the knowledge of these things can arise. So yes you can't say or witness things are impermanent. Those things what arise are with poisons like greed, ignorance and delusion.

See, he  gets it.
emoticonemoticonemoticon

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/19/16 2:12 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
John, James said this:

James M Corrigan:

Look, you seem to think your intelligence is enough to see through the insights of the Buddha and others without doing the work


But you only saw this:

James M Corrigan:

Look, you seem to think your intelligence is enough to see through the insights of the Buddha and others without doing the work. 

Also, it's not the first time someone in this forum tells you that you philosophise too much, is it?

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/19/16 3:31 PM as a reply to neko.
neko:
John, James said this:

James M Corrigan:

Look, you seem to think your intelligence is enough to see through the insights of the Buddha and others without doing the work


But you only saw this:

James M Corrigan:

Look, you seem to think your intelligence is enough to see through the insights of the Buddha and others without doing the work. 
He's a big boy, I'm sure he can say that for himself.
But re: doing work

(1) Impermanence is a tenet given at the beginning of the path for people with no work under their belt.
(2) Literally millions of people have made a claim to agree with the tenet of impermance without ever reaching very far up the contemplative path, or just living a ritual form of buddhism - based on pure faith rather than reason or experience.
(3) it's not made clear at all whether (a) there is a point in the path upon which there is a way to really measure impermanence without referring to a permanent memory (b) my interlocuter has reached that point.
(4) No amount of meditation will change the meaning and conditions necessary for making a claim of permanence or impermanence - because those things lay in the dictionary, not in the length of time spent on retreats.
(5) Didn't Buddha say see for yourself and don't believe me ? Well, I don't.

Also, it's not the first time someone in this forum tells you that you philosophise too much, is it?
Well, buddhism is a philosophy, from a philosopher, so that's par for the course. Now, I'm sure there is a logical fallacy relating to "number of people that told you something therefore you're wrong", can't think what it is for now.
emoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticon

If, as many have said here, someone meditates and heightens their attention so that they can see (for example) 40 internal phenomena per second, implicit in that knowledge is a sense of time passing, and a memory of how things were in a previous time, and that the memory should be unchanging. As memory fades, so does knowledge of whether that phenomenon is permanent or impermanent.

I don't know anything about the language the suttas are translated from into English, so it must be a translation error because I can't see that a lauded philosopher like Gautama would make such an obvious error as to make a claim of impermanence as a fundamental cosmic attribute, without his followers picking up on it. Or Heraclitus, for that matter.
emoticonemoticon

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/19/16 5:27 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
John:
I can't see that a lauded philosopher like Gautama would make such an obvious error as to make a claim of impermanence as a fundamental cosmic attribute, without his followers picking up on it. Or Heraclitus, for that matter.
emoticonemoticon

Gautama was not really a philospher, but foremost a practical men. He realized the time in this body on earth, along with it's pleasures, will definitely end. And wanted to get out of this mess. We cannot prove he accomplish what he had in mind (or rather, getting out of mind and matter; unless following his 8-fold path and prove it each to our self), but he most certainly died.

Infact, to claim impermanence of human life an obvious error is to deny that all humans before us on earth died. Show me just one of them merely beyond 120 years of age still alive. And I would believe you're not just in denial of the most painfull unavoidable fact in every human life.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/19/16 7:10 PM as a reply to pamojja.
Gautama was so totally a philosopher. Philo-sophy love-of-wisdom.
emoticon

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/19/16 7:18 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
You'll never be able to get around the fact that a claim on permanence and impermanence is a function of memory.

Ask a blind girl which colour the ball is, blue or green is meaningless because those categories are impossible without sight

Ask someone in an unthinking or undivided state whether something is permanent is just as meaningless. Yet people keep trying to give an answer, which is like saying the blind girl should be saying green all the time.

Blind - Green
         - Blue
- no possible answer

Unthinking/undivided  - permanent
                                    - impermanent
- no possible answer

Honeslty gys, if was your teacher I would be striking your work through with red ink and relaxing in the knowledge that the world won't run out of janitors any time soon.
emoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticon

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/20/16 5:47 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
Pity there is no emoticon for a slammed door....
emoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticon

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/20/16 5:58 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
John:
Consider

(1) To know something is impermanent, you have a sense of change

(2) To have a sense of change, you have to have a memory to compare at least two different situations

(3) This memory has to be accurate and permanent for a comparison to be valid

(4) If memory is impermanent or inaccurate, change cannot be reliably demonstrated or known

(5) If change cannot be reliably demonstrated or known, impermanence cannot be proved

(6) If all things are imperpanent, then so is memory, hence it is an invalid tool for showing impermanence

(7) There is no other tool, knowledge of impermanence relies on memory

(8) Impermanence is unprovable


1) Yes I think so
2) This is debatable (even without memory, I think one can perceive the sense of something changing in real-time observation. But its complex and so lets just agree that this is true for arguments sake)
3) I disagree here. The memory might be inaccurate, but still there is a sense of change. Also the memory needn't be permanent at all, in fact, I think its impossible to find such a thing as a permanent memory, memory is very fickle and always changing. The memory only needs to last for the duration that the comparison is made, which can be a fraction of a second. So as long as your memory of the previous moment lasts long enough for you to see the next moment has changed, then that's all you need to see impermanence (again assuming .2 is true)


4) Impermanent or inaccurate memory shows impermanence!
5) Change can easily be demonstrated or known, indeed it seems impossible to avoid! Where is there anything permament? One could also state the other, more obvious side: If permanence cannot be reliably demonstrated or known, permanence cannot be proved, and there is nowhere you can look to find anything permanent at all. And I think this is one of the ways the Buddha suggested people understand impermanence, by looking clearly and sharply at experience for something permanent (and they are bound to fail, and see only change and impermanence...)
6) Seems to me that impermanent memory would be a useful tool to demonstrate impermanence!


Have you ever perceived anything permanent?

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/20/16 6:57 AM as a reply to Andrew K.
If to close eyes and open eyes then the darkness and light change is not impermanence or change, it means i put fleshy layer on my eyes so that incoming light is obscured.

Ok if i see lightbulb doesn't show light anymore, it is because there is no power input there or any other reasons. It doesn't show impermanece of light.

..if i close the lightswitch and go to other room then i have noway to prove it that the light is switched off even if i know that i switched it off unless my brain have decided that its off then i still actually can't be sure its off but i can sleep in peace..with ignorance.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/20/16 6:53 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
John:
Gautama was so totally a philosopher. Philo-sophy love-of-wisdom.
emoticon

That's again merely your projection.

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' Because of this, I say, a Tathagata — with the ending, fading away, cessation, renunciation, & relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making & mine-making & obsessions with conceit — is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released."

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/20/16 10:31 AM as a reply to pamojja.
pamojja:
John:
Gautama was so totally a philosopher. Philo-sophy love-of-wisdom.
emoticon

That's again merely your projection.

Buddhist Situationism, I like it! emoticon

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/20/16 11:03 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
Again, your proposition that impermanence the Buddha talked about can't only be accessed with memory is true. It needs all of the following factors to some extent:

Ignorance, fabrications, consciousness, mind and body, six sense base, contact, feeling, craving, clinging, existance, birth, suffering, faith, joy, rapture, tranquility, happyness, concentration, to seeing things as they really are.

You really think, to see things as they really are arises out of learned memory only?

Only a tiny fraction of transcendental dependent origination would suffice? And in this simplified unterstanding isn't proveable with memory?

Again, you are right, perception of experiental impermanence needs a bid more than memory alone.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/20/16 11:18 AM as a reply to pamojja.
pamojja:
Again, your proposition that impermanence the Buddha talked about can't only be accessed with memory is true. It needs all of the following factors to some extent:

Ignorance, fabrications, consciousness, mind and body, six sense base, contact, feeling, craving, clinging, existance, birth, suffering, faith, joy, rapture, tranquility, happyness, concentration, to seeing things as they really are.

You really think, to see things as they really are arises out of learned memory only?

Only a tiny fraction of transcendental dependent origination would suffice? And in this simplified unterstanding isn't proveable with memory?

Again, you are right, perception of experiental impermanence needs a bid more than memory alone.

Well, I think memory is predicated on some of those things, yeah, but I don't think all of them. For instance, you can lose a few senses and still have a functioning memory.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/20/16 12:41 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
John:

Well, I think memory is predicated on some of those things, yeah, but I don't think all of them. For instance, you can lose a few senses and still have a functioning memory.

On the other hand with gradual development of faith, joy, rapture, tranquility, happyness, concentration - you can loose all your memory (momentarily) and gain senses which aren't even fathomable by memory - or sight, sound, smell, taste, sound or thought.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/20/16 1:41 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
John:
Consider

(1) To know something is impermanent, you have a sense of change

(2) To have a sense of change, you have to have a memory to compare at least two different situations

(3) This memory has to be accurate and permanent for a comparison to be valid

(4) If memory is impermanent or inaccurate, change cannot be reliably demonstrated or known

(5) If change cannot be reliably demonstrated or known, impermanence cannot be proved

(6) If all things are imperpanent, then so is memory, hence it is an invalid tool for showing impermanence

(7) There is no other tool, knowledge of impermanence relies on memory

(8) Impermanence is unprovable


My two cents: Impermance is not something to take as a universal characteristic/absolute that we need to argue and try and prove or disprove. It is simply one way of perceiving that acts as cause to the desired effect. One chooses to overlay one's experience with the notion that its transient (or not of self or unsatisfactory). Whether it is or isn't on some absolute sense is not the point, in my experience. We are simply using it as a tool to cease doing what one may have been habitually doing with negative consequences for a lifetime.

"Almost any book on Buddhism will tell you that the three characteristics
the characteristic of inconstancy, the characteristic of stress or suffering, and the
characteristic of not-self
were one of the Buddhas most central teachings. The
strange thing, though, is that when you look in the Pali Canon, the word for
three characteristics,ti-lakkhana, doesnt appear. If you do a search on any
computerized version of the Canon and type in, say, the characteristic of
inconstancy,
anicca-lakkhana, it comes up with nothing. The words not in the Pali
Canon at all. The same with
dukkha-lakkhana and anatta-lakkhana: Those
compounds don
t appear. This is not to say that the concepts of anicca, dukkha,
and anatta dont occur in the Canon; just that theyre not termed characteristics.
They
re not compounded with the word characteristic.The words they are
compounded with are perception, saññaas in the perception of inconstancy, the
perception of stress, and the perception of not-self
and the word anupassana,
which means to contemplate or to keep track of something as it occurs. For
instance,
aniccanupassana, to contemplate inconstancy, means to look for
inconstancy wherever it happens.

Now, its true that youll frequently find in the Canon the statements that all
things compounded or fabricated are inconstant, that they
re all stressful. And all
dhammas
all objects of the mindare not-self. So if thats the way things are,
why not just say that these are characteristic features of these things? Why make
a big deal about the language? Because words are like fingers, and you want to
make sure they point in the right direction
especially when theyre laying
blame, the way these three perceptions do. And in our practice, the direction
they point to is important for a number of reasons.

One is that the Buddhas concern is not with trying to give an analysis of the
ultimate nature of things outside. He
s more interested in seeing how the
behavior of things affects our search for happiness. As he once said, all he taught
was suffering and the end of suffering. The suffering is essentially an issue of the
mind
s searching for happiness in the wrong places, in the wrong way. We look
for a constant happiness in things that are inconstant. We look for happiness in
things that are stressful and we look for
ourhappiness in things that are not-
self, that lie beyond our control. The three perceptions of inconstancy, stress, and
not-self are focused on our psychology, on how we can recognize when we
re
looking for happiness in the wrong way so that we can learn to look for
happiness in the right places, in the right ways. The contemplation of these three
themes, the use of these three perceptions, is aimed at finding happiness of a true
and lasting sort. " Thanisarro Bhikkhu


http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/CrossIndexed/Published/Meditation4/070821%20Three%20Perceptions.pdf

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/20/16 3:25 PM as a reply to Andrew K.
Andrew K:
John:
Consider

(1) To know something is impermanent, you have a sense of change

(2) To have a sense of change, you have to have a memory to compare at least two different situations

(3) This memory has to be accurate and permanent for a comparison to be valid

(4) If memory is impermanent or inaccurate, change cannot be reliably demonstrated or known

(5) If change cannot be reliably demonstrated or known, impermanence cannot be proved

(6) If all things are imperpanent, then so is memory, hence it is an invalid tool for showing impermanence

(7) There is no other tool, knowledge of impermanence relies on memory

(8) Impermanence is unprovable


1) Yes I think so
2) This is debatable (even without memory, I think one can perceive the sense of something changing in real-time observation. But its complex and so lets just agree that this is true for arguments sake)

---- Hmm, I think possibly this would be a different kind of memory than the explicit "mental images of the past" type memory. A very short term sense of flow. It's a good point, and I will have to look this up because I expect this has been studied and written about.

3) I disagree here. The memory might be inaccurate, but still there is a sense of change. Also the memory needn't be permanent at all, in fact, I think its impossible to find such a thing as a permanent memory, memory is very fickle and always changing. The memory only needs to last for the duration that the comparison is made, which can be a fraction of a second. So as long as your memory of the previous moment lasts long enough for you to see the next moment has changed, then that's all you need to see impermanence (again assuming .2 is true)

--- yeah that's a good point, an innacurate memory can also provide a sense of change. As far as I know memory research says that memories are re-written every time they are visited, and are only approximately accurate. But I don't see how you can make a real claim to impermanence without a permanent memory as a comparitor.
I have considered temporary memory, accurate for a period then forgotten, because that's how mine (at least) seems to work. Unless we are mnemonists then we can only remember a few digits - etc. It's a tricky one.
It assumes that reality presents itself in series of moments that can be captured and compared, with the last moment captured in it's entirety so that everything can be compared.
The capturing in the entirety also seems problematic to me. Even in-the-moment perception in entirety seems problematic unless one assumes that the entirety of existence is contained in one's current awareness - which is what the higher end of buddhist experience claims. But does that include a perfect, all encompassing memory to allow reflection ? What if one can only remember 50% of all perceptions ? So size of memory field is another obstacle to accepting impermance, seems to me.

If there is a moment to moment existence (and I know contemplatives and scientists of various stripes say this), is that the same thing as constant flow ?

I'd be interested to know if the buddhist world view is a digital one with a frame rate, or a constant one. Things written here on D.O. suggest a digital one. Does that even count as flow ?
The way our minds work is a kind of analogue fudge where we talk about constant curves and lines but these disappear, in the real world, when we look close enough at them, and only seem to really exist as mathematical convention. A la Plato.
So we talk about constant flow, but is it really moment by moment change of perfectly still slices ?

4) Impermanent or inaccurate memory shows impermanence!

----It shows impermanence and innacuracy of memory, but how do you know that it reflects non-memory reality ?
That would just mean that your memory is unreliable. Everything else could be eternally the same. I know some people pretty much say this.

(I'm not sure how memory researchers figure their own unreliable memories into their experimental setup. I guess they say that it's unreliable but good enough to not ruin their reliance on their experimental results. What if human memory was so faulty that all experiment was also faulty, but the faults could never be recognised ? It's a sort of "how do you know there isn't a gorilla behind you if you haven't got eyes in the back of your head?" question.)

5) Change can easily be demonstrated or known, indeed it seems impossible to avoid! Where is there anything permament? One could also state the other, more obvious side: If permanence cannot be reliably demonstrated or known, permanence cannot be proved, and there is nowhere you can look to find anything permanent at all. And I think this is one of the ways the Buddha suggested people understand impermanence, by looking clearly and sharply at experience for something permanent (and they are bound to fail, and see only change and impermanence...)
6) Seems to me that impermanent memory would be a useful tool to demonstrate impermanence!

---- But how do you prove it ? How many memories can you hold in attention at once to make the comparison ?

Have you ever perceived anything permanent?

---- I don't know. emoticonemoticonemoticon


Cheers.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/20/16 3:36 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Interesting thanks
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RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
11/21/16 9:31 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
To determine whether something is permanent, you first need to define what that "thing" is. Does it even persist, unchanged, for longer than a moment? What thing or phenomenon is other than a process of ceaseless change, analogous to a standing wave?

Then you must determine whether time itself is independently real, as opposed to a fabrication of mind. If it is not, the question of permanency is meaningless.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
12/21/16 7:04 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
John, if you like Nikoli's quote, you might like these too...

From Awareness Itself
by
Ajaan Fuang Jotiko

"§ A woman complained to Ajaan Fuang that she had been meditating for a long time but
still couldn't cut any of her defilements. He laughed and said, "You don't have to cut them.
Do you think you can? The defilements were part and parcel of this world long before you
came. You were the one who came looking for them. Whether or not you come, they exist
on their own. And who says that they're defilements? Have they ever told you their
names? They simply go their own way. So try to get acquainted with them. See both their
good and their bad sides."

"§ "The stages of the practice... Actually the different stages don't say what they are. We
simply make up names for them. As long as you stay stuck on these made-up names,
you'll never get free.""


I only quote these because they both have the "told you their names?"/"say what they are?" lines in them. The point is that there are lots of maps and models and theories and philosophies that the buddha used and others used. None of them stand are their own and The Answer to everything. The whole reason the "practical dharma" circle of meditators exists is to wisely use models and ideas but not dogmatic form allegances with something being The One Right Way.

By the way, just for fun... it's kind of easy to blow up your original list of statements by doing the classic "use it against itself" approach: the whole "you can't trust memory, therefore you can't believe in imperminance" also applies to that very statement as well -- if you can't trust memory then you can't trust logic, because logic is the maintenance of truth through sequential statements. If memory cannot be trusted, then we can't trust our ability to go through a list of narrative statements and determine that the statements lead logically to the next. Therefore, we cannot believe in your original post.

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John, what is your original rationale for rejecting imperminance? I'm sure it wasn't just a concern about the nature of memory. Are you keying into something like the timeless present moment that doesn't really change, so the whole teaching on imperminance seems to tarnish the brightness of experience right now?

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
12/21/16 2:12 PM as a reply to shargrol.
This is where it falls apart for me:

(3) This memory has to be accurate and permanent for a comparison to be valid

It appears to me that impermanence is actually the way things are constructed - "things" being our experience. Everything changes. Nothing stays the same forever. You can't change that using logic or sophistry. You can observe it and yes, you need to use your imperfect memory to do so. I'd also add that memory not being perfect isn't a very good reason that there can be no such thing as impermanence. Nothing is perfect, either, and close enough can be good enough, even in metaphysics. Insisting on some form of artificial permanence or perfection - that doesn't exist - is building your reality on a house of cards. Constructing these kind of rules and objects is something human beings are really, really good at, however, so it's no wonder we fall for them so often.

A serious meditation practice in which we observe the nature of our experience closely is a good way out of this conceptual box canyon.

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RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
12/22/16 12:49 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hi ! This post is great

i dont want to answer something in particular, just add what i understand by impermanence in a Buddhist view;

- A cup ceases to be a cup as soon as there is no sentient being (humans here specifically emoticon) to cognize it, experience it;
- Time ceases to exist as soon as there is no "one" to experience it 

Buddhism speak of impermanence, from materialistic all up to philosophic, of a "label", not necessarly a "materially mesurable quantifiable existing thing" only

Our senses gives rise to emotions and it is cognized and it should stop there, but "we" soon or later fall for permanence trick because we start reifying some past experience and fearing other past experience .. because of of memory .. instead of just letting go "on the fly".. which is what defines the buddhist meaning for using the word "now" .. being right now instead of daydreaming (which can be deep or shallow daydreaming, but nevertheless never here, now) 

Nature is certainly not permanent , it is in constant change, to the molecular level and beneath
Interrestingly, scientifically too, we just recently now know that when you remember something, you are in fact remembering the last time you remembered the thing you experienced, in fact you are replaying a copy of a copy of a copy of a memory of a memory of experience that happened to you once, an emotional replay , which itself can get biased with time .. this is intrinsticaly impermanent.. down to physical death and decay and total neuronal pathways disappearance

and so this gives you then matter to think about all day long, all lfe long, which leads to memory of agregate of experience , then aggregates of aggregates etc.. up to today, adult, you think .. hmm i must not forget that meeting tommorow 7am, oh and ill try to fit a little walk to the shop just afterwoods, i need bananas for tomorrow afternoon whatever activity then this then that then oh i hope i'll get this, manage this, and im fat,  im ugly, im cool, im on top .. oh and this.. etc etc .. past , futur.. thinking , thinking thinking, like a child in a candyshop, but never ever really just still, all senses wide open, and just perception , awarness, being here, now, with no urge to grasp onto anything or anythought

I is impermanent, clearly

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
12/22/16 7:30 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
John:
Consider

(1) To know something is impermanent, you have a sense of change

(2) To have a sense of change, you have to have a memory to compare at least two different situations

(3) This memory has to be accurate and permanent for a comparison to be valid

(4) If memory is impermanent or inaccurate, change cannot be reliably demonstrated or known

(5) If change cannot be reliably demonstrated or known, impermanence cannot be proved

(6) If all things are imperpanent, then so is memory, hence it is an invalid tool for showing impermanence

(7) There is no other tool, knowledge of impermanence relies on memory

(8) Impermanence is 
If there isn't impermanence, a baby will always be a baby. Why do you need memory to compare? Just compare yourself in the mirror with the younger you. That is impermanence.

Quantum physics says the smallest particle is not solid but orbiting energy. That is impermanence. Everything is made from the smallest particle but that is not stationary therefore everything made from it is impermanent.

RE: Problem with idea of impermanence
Answer
12/22/16 7:50 AM as a reply to Simon Liu.
Yes, Simon. It's called observation -- and when coupled with common sense it's amazingly powerful emoticon