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Are beliefs sensations?

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Are beliefs sensations?
Answer
5/10/17 6:13 PM
Maybe this is a silly question,  but I am wondering if beliefs are made up of sensations.

I have beliefs about myself or beliefs about the world. These seem to always be there somewhere but I can't seem to see their impermanent, selfless etc nature.

Any insights?

RE: Are beliefs sensations?
Answer
5/10/17 9:01 PM as a reply to FM Cetin.
Nick N.:
Maybe this is a silly question,  but I am wondering if beliefs are made up of sensations.

I have beliefs about myself or beliefs about the world. These seem to always be there somewhere but I can't seem to see their impermanent, selfless etc nature.

Any insights?
From where I sit (neither at the begining of the path or end), my beliefs reside in the way my mind responds to the things I see/hear/smell/taste/think/feel. Over time, those automatic responses do change.

Have you tried sitting down, getting calm and concentrated, then bringing your attention to one of your beliefs and holding it there?  If so, what is that like?

RE: Are beliefs sensations?
Answer
5/10/17 11:27 PM as a reply to FM Cetin.
All thoughts are subtle sensations IME, but that is just one aspect of them, and one must be pretty deeply concentrated to actually feel them acutely in the head space. For me, that's after a number of retreat days of all-day sitting. But there's also a visual and auditory aspect to thought, which is clear
Then, good and bad thoughts create sensations in the body, and vice versa, pleasant or unpleasant bodily sensation can spawn all sorts of thought 
Beliefs are clearly impermanent, as they change, no? That ones easy
As far as their selfless nature, maybe attack it from another angle. What in your sensory experience is yourself? What is not, and how is that line drawn, is it arbitrary? Does that line (me/not me) change? What does taking ownership of sensation feel like? Is it satisfying? 

RE: Are beliefs sensations?
dreams belief lucid dreaming dream yoga turiya turiyatita
Answer
5/14/17 12:02 AM as a reply to FM Cetin.
I would say that the answer is different for different people.  

For most people whose perception of reality is limited to the gross material realm, beliefs are not sensations but simple concepts experienced in the mind.  

For people with sufficent meditation-type practise and sensitivity to experience subtle realm and subtle body phenomena, then beliefs and emotions and feelings can be experienced as sensations in the subtle body.   I, my wife and others we know oftern beleive we can feel which section of the brain is firing under certain kinds of meditation or emotonal or intellectual activation experiences.  

In practising dream yoga many years ago (circa mid-1970's), after having mastered staying awake and lucid through the dream cycle and then moving into astral phenomena I went to another stage where I stayed awake through the deep sleep cycle and it seemed that I would experience the hormonal and neural firings of the dream sequence as energetic cascades waving though my body: Rather then be in the dream I was in my physical body consciousness feeling the neuronal basis of the dream activity as enegetic sensations.  Pretty trippy and powerful perspective on the creation of these various realities we create/ live in/ cycle through.

RE: Are beliefs sensations?
Answer
5/14/17 6:08 AM as a reply to FM Cetin.
Nick N.:
Maybe this is a silly question,  but I am wondering if beliefs are made up of sensations.

I have beliefs about myself or beliefs about the world. These seem to always be there somewhere but I can't seem to see their impermanent, selfless etc nature.

Any insights?

Interesting question. Interesting answers here. Further perspectives:

The “sensation” part is pretty clear. “Sensation” could be said to be the MCTB term for any mental stimulus, any appearance (phenomenon) that attracts, becomes the “object” of the mind’s attention – external sensory (light, sound, smell, taste, touch) or internal (“thoughts”, mental images).

“Belief” is more complex, both (1) in the range of what individuals may mean by it, and (2) in that it’s generally a relatively high-level concept. (The first case might be Pandora's box.) In the second case, other than figuratively, one doesn’t see, hear, smell, etc. a belief, and considering how a belief might pop-up at the “mind-door”, recognizing it as such would seem to involve some kind of relation to some context. A “fact”,  logical proposition, etc. comes to mind as a sort of literal verbal statement. Can it be considered a “belief” without some degree of reflection on matters like it’s origin or what it’s in relation to? For instance, someone makes a statement, possibly “believing” it to be fact; another person then responds “That’s just your belief”, which, btw, can also be labeled as a belief? Some degree of “fabrication” (Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s – aka Than-Geoff – translation for sankhara) seems to be implied.

No definitive, unequivocal answer I can think of, but it brings to mind a construct, also from a teaching by Than-Geoff: skillful “path” behavior involves observing one’s actions and their intentions (plus evaluating their results etc.), but also understanding how it’s all based on one’s views. Is a belief a sort of view?

Then there are various classifications of “belief”, especially in the sense of “faith”. E.g. one hears of “blind” faith and “verified” faith. I’ve heard darma teachers answer the question “Does Buddhism have an idea of faith?” along the lines that there is a sense of “confidence” involved along the path, for instance relating to the motivation to keep going when the certainty of attainment is not yet in hand.

Another morphology of “faith” uses three flavors:
1: faith as a sort of perhaps wishful thinking, maybe related to “blind” faith;
2: faith as confidence rooted in some degree of verification, maybe sort of probabilistic;
3: faith as more like an absolute knowledge – something that may not be easily demonstrable to someone else, but is unshakably clear to the holder, a firm “realization”.

For instance, Buddhist taking refuge in the Triple-Gem (the RatanaBuddhaDhamma, Sangha). Reciting the Ratana Sutta (Snp 2.1 and Khp 7), which many monks do daily, could function for some as an inspirational religious experience (faith type 1), or as reminder (mindfulness) along a developing path (type 2), or as celebration of a fully established realization (type 3).

RE: Are beliefs sensations?
Answer
5/14/17 9:08 PM as a reply to FM Cetin.
Hi Nick,

I hesitated to answer given all the interesting comments, but your question brought up a response. I think beliefs are what the Buddha called "views", that is, a particular collection of conceptual objects that orient the mind toward a specific position on the world.

"Right View" is the first step of the Eightfold Path, and this is often taken to mean holding a collection of beliefs that are specific to the Buddhist religious position, namely karma and rebirth, the importance of the Sangha, etc. One could of course argue whether these are necessary or even relevent, and some folks who profess to be Buddhists today do, but I think if you dig further into the suttas and especially if you look at Mahayana authors such as Nagarjuna, you'll find that the definition of enlightenment is holding no views whatsoever. About anything, not even about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Alexander Wynne in his book Introduction to Buddhism, cites a number of cases in the suttas where the Buddha is said to be ineffable, in other words, impossible to pin down because he has no beliefs about anything.

Anyway, just a thought.

RE: Are beliefs sensations?
Answer
5/15/17 5:03 AM as a reply to svmonk.
I agree with the general points made above regarding beliefs having two components.

When they arise specifically, as in a thought, such as "I believe in the Buddha Dharma," they are clearly sensate. When they are part of the underlying machinery that generates specific thoughts but are not thought explicitly, and thus serving as a foundation assumption that isn't actually thought out, then they may have no obvious sensate components by which they can be known, though their causal effects are clearly felt.

For example, when I go out to the parking lot to get in my car, I believe my car is there at some operational level, but the going outside might be habitual with no obviously recognizable thought, "My car is in the parking lot," or any clear images from thoughts of my car being in the parking lot. Still, the belief may clearly impact my going to the parking lot in some functional way, even if the sensations regarding the car being there do not arise in a sensate way.

RE: Are beliefs sensations?
Answer
5/16/17 8:58 PM as a reply to FM Cetin.
Thank you all for the responses. I think beliefs are what buddhists call "views".

I will continue my investigating based on this.

RE: Are beliefs sensations?
Answer
10/17/17 8:32 AM as a reply to FM Cetin.
Apologies for digging up an old thread, but I was watching this video of U.G. Krishnamurti that someone else posted up not long ago, and this bit reminded me of this thread:

https://youtu.be/KG8ZZxL82Zo?t=27m5s

Might be interesting.