Inappropriate Questions

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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 6/20/09 1:08 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/20/09 1:08 PM

Inappropriate Questions

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: msj123
Forum: The Big Issues

I was wondering if anyone had considered the possibility that practitioners may have questions that, while fruitful to the individual, could be misleading or even harmful to the general public and their understanding of the dharma.
Hokai Sobol, modified 13 Years ago at 6/20/09 1:43 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/20/09 1:43 PM

RE: Inappropriate Questions

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
Every possible area of knowledge, skill, and practice, has such questions - from medicine to culture to linguistics to technology to physics to psychology to politics and diplomacy to spirituality in both public and esoteric forms. These questions can still be mentioned and perhaps even discussed with due consideration and caveat. If the potential is there to be outright harmful, such points will be discussed in safety of private conversation.

Do you have some idea what those questions could be?
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 6/20/09 11:22 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/20/09 11:22 PM

RE: Inappropriate Questions

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
lol wrong question

i agree with hokai that due consideration, learnt through one's trials and errors, as well as those of others, allows us to talk about some of the more controversial topics that do not specifically foster good practice for many people (as contrasted from some controversial matters this forum is built on, like open discussion of practice methods as well as the understanding/attainment that results from such). however, the best use i've seen for this forum thus far is for helping people get their foot in the door, as in stream-entry. it's done that quite well, and i would like to see the trend continue, and anything that might get in the way of that - and i've had my fair share of such thoughts, questions, and interesting topics of discussion that might - i would prefer be left to private discussion. higher path kinda questions that directly challenge commonly useful assumptions that many people can rely on in order to get first path, in my opinion, are probably better asked off the board.

inb4 cult of secrecy, there's that bit in the buddhist stories where some arahats ask the buddha, 'hey whats the difference between what we know and what you know', and the buddha picks up a handful of leaves and says, 'this is what i teach', and then points to the all the leaves on all the trees in the forest and says, 'this is what i know' ... the idea being, of course, that not all matters of dharma are matters of liberation (the latter of which is our chief concern).
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 6/21/09 4:55 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/21/09 4:55 AM

RE: Inappropriate Questions

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: msj123


DISCLAIMER: This question relates to emptiness teachings, which may not be helpful for some people. If it appears confusing, weird, or otherwise difficult to deal with, please ignore it. All phenomenon are impermanent, strive with diligence.

All right, I'm deferring to Hokai and, per his request, publishing my question.

One question has to do with cause and effect, karma, dependent origination. Over the last few months, I have come to the understanding that logic is something of a fiction. For example:

If I put a seed in the ground, and out comes a flower, I may think that the seed produced the flower.

However, if I am looking at a computer screen, and I see a red light, then a green light, I would not say that the red light produced the green light.

I noticed this specifically with the skandhas. At first, they seemed to be causal: form --> sensation --> perception, etc. but then I realized that there was nothing actually linking these arisings.

Accordingly, how can we justify karma and dependent origination?

Cause and effect seem to be empty, a pattern imposed by the mind which can form a concept of time. Yet, taken to it's "logical" conclusion, this can lead to nihilism, an extreme rejected by the Buddha.

I can see how this discussion may be useful to some, but not to others. I would not want to put doubt in some one's head who is cultivating concentration or investigating the mind/body. On the other hand, it would be helpful to solicit a wide range of thought on these topics, which cannot be done in a pm.

Matt
Hokai Sobol, modified 13 Years ago at 6/21/09 5:33 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/21/09 5:33 AM

RE: Inappropriate Questions

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
I don't think anything that refers to shunyata (most often rendered as "emptiness") is inappropriate. In fact, some notion of emptiness is entertained implicitly or explicitly by most contemporary Buddhists, though most wouldn't be comfortable with explaining what that emptiness meant exactly in terms of their sense of self, way of life, and the details of their practice on and off the cushion. Indeed, there are several major meanings of shunyata, a technical term mostly used in Mahayana teachings of the second turn, based chiefly on Prajna-paramita sutras, and is fundamentally the other side of dependent origination. The "other side" meaning a complement. It's *because* of shunyata that cause and effect, causes and conditions, karma, and dependent origination are not just fully justified, but a fundamental aspect of buddhadharma. In other words, cause and effect, causes and conditions, karma, and dependent origination are attempts to describe and conceptualize and "justify" how great emptiness gives rise to anything, and everything.

I'm not sure we should go into it here, or keep the discussion on the question of appropriateness itself. As we delve into teachings, immerse in practices, and cultivate understanding, there are certainly things that tend to produce problems if seized or focused on prematurely, but to a certain extent that's an inescapable aspect of the path - for example, we can't avoid having some wrong notion of awakening before the fact. Yet some questions are inappropriate for other reasons, whether cultural and social taboos, or their highly specialized context, or their being harmful before a certain experiential introduction etc. but such questions are very few these days.

I'd still like to hear what others consider to be inappropriate questions, perhaps not verbatim, but in principle.
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Florian, modified 13 Years ago at 6/21/09 6:12 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/21/09 6:12 AM

RE: Inappropriate Questions

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Matt,

A teaching found in the Pali Canon which seems to be very closely related to what you've found, is "This-That-Conditionality", or Idappaccayata:

When this is, that is
With the arising of this comes the arising of that
When this isn't, that isn't
With the cessation of this comes the cessation of that

This is the principle connecting the links of DO. I can't help but notice how you phrase it almost identically: "I see a red light, then a green light, I would not say the red produced the green"

Lately, I've found my understanding of both "this-that-conditionality" and the concept of "synchronicity" as developed by C.G. Jung to be converging. What the Buddha described clearly is not causality, otherwise "this causes that" (for sufficient conditions) and "absence of this prevents that" (for necessary conditions) would have sufficed: Yet, there are the other two verses about arising and non-arising.

I realize that there are many ways to interpret idappaccayata. My penetration of both the Dhamma and Jung's work is superficial at best. I offer this as my current understanding.

Cheers,
Florian
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 6/21/09 6:22 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/21/09 6:22 AM

RE: Inappropriate Questions

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: msj123

I have moved my question here:

http://dharmaoverground.wetpaint.com/thread/2981007/Emptiness+and+Karma
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 6/22/09 7:57 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/22/09 7:57 AM

RE: Inappropriate Questions

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
here's an interesting issue: whether there is any necessity, for the sake of the long run, to yoke together progress on certain axes of development, or to make sure that certain developmental stages are reached on some planes before advance is made on other planes. you follow?
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triple think, modified 13 Years ago at 6/22/09 9:23 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/22/09 9:23 AM

RE: Inappropriate Questions

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Looks like hipster has put up a good thread up for tackling that one.
'Sudden vs. Gradual'. Maybe I could be hip if I wasn't so trip.
Hokai Sobol, modified 13 Years ago at 6/26/09 4:33 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/26/09 4:33 AM

RE: Inappropriate Questions

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
Yes, I do believe there is such a necessity, and in the fundamental Buddhist path-model ethics definitely serves as necessary-but-not-sufficient for development. In Mahayana practice, a profound reorientation as exemplified in the four thoughts turning the mind practiced in various Tibetan lineages, may be seen as another "necessity", while in Vajrayana context the sacred outlook would definitely be considered fundamental. Now these all belong to "preparatory" practices, and are often skipped by Western lay practitioners. While I'm not suggesting one should postpone the practice of meditation until reaching a "certain stage" in ethical awareness and behavioral mindfulness, I do believe view>ethics>meditation>insight - feeding into the loop - serve as insufficient-but-necessary components in developmental dynamics (as suggested by Buddhist masters past and present), just as wisdom and love-compassion provide balance in each of these phases.

Did you have some specific ideas in that respect?

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