The inherent injustice of the universe in Buddhism

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Re: The inherent injustice of the universe in Buddhism

Postby Phil2 » Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:53 am

KathleenBrugger wrote:I've participated in some debates on free will here and don't really want to do so now. I'd just say, ww, that I think we have will--it's just not free. We can develop our will to be more powerful and allow us to make better choices, but it will never be free.

What is hurtful about believing in free will is that it inevitably leads to judgment and blame and shame. For example, I got this from buddhanet.net:
"Basic Buddhism: The Theory of Karma: "In this world nothing happens to a person that he does not for some reason or other deserve...According to Buddhism, this inequality is due not only to heredity, environment, "nature and nurture", but also to Karma. In other words, it is the result of our own past actions and our own present doings. We ourselves are responsible for our own happiness and misery. We create our own Heaven. We create our own Hell. We are the architects of our own fate." [Note: I bolded those passages.]


Hi Kathleen,

Nice post :)

I agree with you that will can never be free ... because will means a mental/thought process based on past knowledge and experiences, which are indeed 'conditioned' ie. not free by definition ...

Therefore the only freedom is to accept things as they are NOW ... Tolle 101 ...

Interesting excerpt from Buddhanet btw ... it is clear that the notion of 'karma' is in total opposition with 'free will' ... this is probably the main difference between Asian culture and Western culture ... most Western people believe they can change the world with their 'will power', you find this is all 'management books', this is of course a 'materialistic' approach dear to our culture (and of course it 'works' on the material plane) ... even LoA derives from this, this is why I do not subscribe fully to this 'theory' which only creates more 'expectations', more disorder finally ... though of course the Law of Attraction in itself is not false, just it cannot be 'used' freely (any 'doing' being fundamentally flawed/biased by our conditioning) ...

:)
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Re: The inherent injustice of the universe in Buddhism

Postby epiphany55 » Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:43 am

Webwanderer wrote:"Even if we do have the neurological capacity for free will..."

Free will is not neurological capacity. Neurology is not the origin of consciousness, but merely a conduit. Without this base in which you form the rest of your assumptions, those assumptions readily unravel.


Fair enough. Time and time again we have shown disagreement on this fundamental point. All I can say is that I am open to any evidence, whether subjective or objective, that I am part of a singular consciousness. I am yet to observe or directly experience it, though (and this may surprise you!) I am by no means precious about the origins of consciousness being any particular thing.

"...is there space, between each infinitesimally narrow moment, to exercise it in any meaningful way?"

Time is a perspective within the human experience. In consciousness there is only now. So no matter how infinitesimally narrow a moment may seem it is still a reference to a time that exists only in imagination as only one perspective of being. That it does exist in imagination, gives rise to the experience of it which makes for the unique living conditions we enjoy.


Agreed, but when I use the word "moment" I am referring to psychological time because this is the dimension of the mind and therefore the dimension within which decisions are made and constrained. I do not see the "nowness" of consciousness as part of that dimension, which can be observed when the self and decision making are taken out of the equation, e.g. through meditation, and there is still something of essence left. Can that what is left make decisions on the basis of free will?

"Remember we're talking freedom to initiate, not simply single out, a choice."

It really makes no difference even if this were true. It doesn't work like choice A or B or even C. What does an event or condition 'mean' to you? There are infinite possibilities in that choice. Sure, there are reactions to events based upon existing conditioning, but that conditioning is the result of previous choices even though they may not have been particularly well thought out.


How far do you want to go back to find the determining locus of our present choices? For any decision to be free from this unbroken stream of antecedent conditioning, there must exist an entity capable of intelligent and spontaneous volition independently of the mind, yet still connected in some way to our brain. Again, I think this takes us back to the aforementioned fundamental disagreement.

Once a degree of clarity is gained on the true nature of self, rather than previously adopted thought constructs, one may choose meaning based on conscious choice over unconscious conditioning. Again that choice of meaning is infinite in it's possibilities. Meaning is a perception and perspective and not simply a word document.


That clarity and the resulting conscious decision making has still been determined by prior conditions, whether it be a meditative epiphany or a reading of ET's PoN. I'm not saying it doesn't change the nature of one's decision making in a positive way, but I see it more as a reprogramming, a tweaking of the response mechanism than a doorway to free will. When someone heightens their consciousness to reveal the nature of their past unconscious decisions (I have experienced this first hand), is this not simply a change in perspective, a new path of (albeit more skilful) decision making, rather than a widening of one's choices?

"There has to be a single moment whereby 0 becomes 1..."

This suggests that there is more than one moment. But is that really the case? It is a well argued and demonstrable fact that there is only one moment. It is now. It is always now, this moment. Tolle, for one, wrote a book about it.


The decision making mind does not see it like that though, as you well know.

You philosophize in terms of 'no self', yet you dialog as unique a self as anyone else. How many I's and we's and your's have you used in this dialog and others. That you dialog and interact with 'others' demonstrates that underneath all the intellectualism you acknowledge your own existence.


There's a difference between no self as an ontological concept and using I's, we's and you's as semantic devices to denote the perspective of a particular subject. Give ME a break, this subject is difficult enough to put into words! :lol:

It is the unitary self, which I believe people see or feel as the locus of free will, that does not exist. When I say "I", I mean everything that comes together to create the "I". There is a non-singular entity behind the singular noun "I", in other words.
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Re: The inherent injustice of the universe in Buddhism

Postby epiphany55 » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:13 am

smiileyjen101 wrote:I'm only saying that because each who are interpreting and translating another's 'wisdom' are doing so at a level and experience different to the one who has gained the knowledge in experience. So anyone interpreting what a person - that they now revere as a Buddha, or any superhuman or wise entity through the wisdoms that they've learned - the knowledge gained in experience and implemented in love - are going to to interpret within and with the awe of the projection that they feel separates them self from the original, and with their interpretations and intentions overlaid, not the original speaker's.

For me, as I don't have Jesus or the Buddha or anyone else to say ... when you said this... did you mean that... and evaluate their direct response to my question, I realise that I can only 'assume', others are only assuming, and it will be based on my own or the others' 'wisdom' borne of our own experience.


Yes, there will always be a degree of separation between originator and interpretor. The descriptions of Naraka are disturbingly specific and descriptive. It makes one wonder the intention of the person who thought it up in terms of their conscious state. I find it hard to believe somebody can be supposedly enlightened and not question this.

I'd expect it of Christians and Muslims (with all due respect - they can't help how they've been brought up)... but enlightened Buddhists? Indoctrination works on so many levels.
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Re: The inherent injustice of the universe in Buddhism

Postby Webwanderer » Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:44 am

epiphany55 wrote:It is the unitary self, which I believe people see or feel as the locus of free will, that does not exist.

I would suggest that more clarity on the nature of individualized self may be revealing. If you are saying we don't exist as a separate self, then I can agree. But when you simply say 'you' don't exist, I see it quite different. Behind all the thought constructs and beliefs about being a body and mind and individual person there is a conscious being that transcends all the accumulated perceptual mental/emotional/belief structure. So what is the nature of this conscious being?

Consider the possibility of an eternal infinite Consciousness within which all creation exists. There is certainly plenty of information supporting it old and new. What then is your and my relationship to this Consciousness. I submit that we are expressions and/or aspects of this Consciousness in the form of individualized unique perspectives.

If I may, I'll use my well worn diamond analogy. I submit that you and I and every self aware being that exists are like facets on an infinite diamond of conscious being. There is but one central awareness/diamond that is all inclusive, but there are infinite living perspectives through which this diamond perceives itself and explores its possibilities.

One of the infinite and varied exploratory worlds of conscious being is the human experience. As unique perspectives of infinitely self-aware being we chose to extend a measure of our consciousness and perceptive abilities into a condition of limited form, and develop a temporary perspective built primarily on the direct experience of events and conditions in which the form and consciousness is subject to in this world. This specified experience builds a sense of separate human identity which allows the unique perspectives of the One Being to interact in ways it could not if All was known in all the human extensions.

It makes for a great adventure and potentially evolutionary experience. And while the human forms and perspectives may be temporary, the root consciousness that gives them a sense of self and being is not. The perspective of being separate is an illusion. The essence of being and self-aware life is not. So in saying to someone 'you don't exist', the only part of that that is true is the illusion of separate beingness and the identification with specific thoughts and beliefs. The self-aware consciousness that creates the illusion is as eternal as the Source consciousness of which it is a unique perspective.

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Re: The inherent injustice of the universe in Buddhism

Postby smiileyjen101 » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:18 am

phil2 said:
I agree with you that will can never be free ... because will means a mental/thought process based on past knowledge and experiences, which are indeed 'conditioned' ie. not free by definition ...

Therefore the only freedom is to accept things as they are NOW ...


If there is only NOW, how can there be NEVER Phil?

Tolle 101 ...

Maybe it's in the advanced course ...

Eckhart Tolle: “Most people live in the delusion that they make decisions out of free will. In reality their actions are completely determined by their past. How you think, what you want and what you consider important are all determined by your upbringing, your culture, your religion – in short, by your concepts.

As long as you still think you are your mind, you have no free will. Spiritually you are unconscious. You may think you know what you want, but you don’t. It is only the conditioning of your mind that says: “This is what you need to have”. That’s not a choice, it’s mechanical.

Some people escape from this.

Then it is suddenly as if there is more consciousness, which means that for the first time they truly experience free will. Only then can you take responsibility.

full context as I read it - here http://www.inner-growth.info/power_of_n ... de_mag.htm

Kathleen that last bolded part is for you.... 'only then can you take responsibility' also speaks to only then can anyone have responsibility attributed to them, and it can only be attributed in their level of awareness, capacity and/or willingness, not by any others' level of awareness, capacity and/or willingness. I guess physically yes one can exert punishment or reward but the experience of even that is in the perceiving of the receiver.

Having escaped from the conditioning as ET mentioned above, when one knows they are not their mind, the present is seen as dynamically unfolding natural consequences of responses within awareness, capacity & willingness at various levels.

And so for me there is no sense of punishment or reward to create any sense of blame or shame or judgement.

Instead it appears more (for me anyway) discernible as logical & natural consequences unfolding. Even then - it is what it is, and yes at the bedrock there is much peace to be had in accepting that and responding in an aware state rather than an unconscious one as ET suggests making enemy, obstacle or means to an end of a thing, person or situation which will cause a sense of suffering for self and others.

But even whether a conscious or an unconscious response, it will have natural and logical consequences, - just 'is'.

So if one 'does nothing' it has a natural & logical consequence, even as doing 'something' does. The difference when you know you are not your mind is that you make responses not as if you are your mind or your conditioning, you make whole body, whole awareness, whole capacity and whole willingness responses --- -even if that is to 'do nothing' to doing everything, you do so awarely, capably and willingly with awareness and within your ability - that's what responsibility in awareness is............... aware (use of our) actual response ability.
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Re: The inherent injustice of the universe in Buddhism

Postby smiileyjen101 » Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:20 am

smiileyjen101 wrote:
I'm only saying that because each who are interpreting and translating another's 'wisdom' are doing so at a level and experience different to the one who has gained the knowledge in experience.

etc etc....

For me, as I don't have Jesus or the Buddha or anyone else to say ... when you said this... did you mean that... and evaluate their direct response to my question, I realise that I can only 'assume', others are only assuming, and it will be based on my own or the others' 'wisdom' borne of our own experience.


Ephinany said: Yes, there will always be a degree of separation between originator and interpretor. The descriptions of Naraka are disturbingly specific and descriptive. It makes one wonder the intention of the person who thought it up in terms of their conscious state. I find it hard to believe somebody can be supposedly enlightened and not question this.

I'd expect it of Christians and Muslims (with all due respect - they can't help how they've been brought up)... but enlightened Buddhists? Indoctrination works on so many levels.


That's just tickly Epiphany "indoctrination' does indeed work on so many levels :P
Of course you find it 'hard to believe' something that is not within your awareness, capacity and/or willingness to stand under, and then to say that your 'perspective' of Christians and Muslims is to expect that - painting all those individuals as if the one brush suits all. ... just tickly funny a perfect example of the sender-receiver and 'indoctrination' dichotomies.

Most of the time we just let it pass us by without awareness. Other times it stops to 'muse' us, but still we can only ever be responsible for and aware of our own awareness, capacity and willingness with any accuracy.

A 'story' (oops... 2) to illustrate if I may - I'd had different experiences with different people of different philosophical and religious beliefs and tend to 'discern' and notice rather than judge the differences. In a tenuous and yes both practical and emotive discussion in consideration of turning of life support for my infant son one of the doctors asked a religious person if he had any concerns - mostly for my 'spiritual' well being I guess, so I was more being spoken about, than being spoken to.

This person had had quite a few philosophical discussions with me, was aware of my capacity for acceptance and compassion etc and was aware that I'm not 'tied' to any particular philosophy or doctrines, so it was interesting for me to hear him say - and realised I could not within his awareness, capacity and willingness 'correct' him in any way that he would understand - so I just let it go, but it 'mused' me it provoked another layer of awareness about how we assume we know what another thinks.

What he said was that he had no concern for my 'spiritual' well being because he knew that I knew God as a god of love, of forgiveness etc not as a vengeful god ----- as if somehow that would 'protect me' from all the christianised versions of heaven and hell and eternal suffering that he subscribed to etc that I don't. (and as it was not long after the nde my perspective was kind of 'new' to me too.)

He meant no disrespect and it absolutely was in love and compassion that he said it, it just wasn't 'quite right' as a description of my take on it, or why I would be fine 'spiritually' - there was no way I could have him comprehend my actual philosophy that there is no 'loving god' or 'vengeful or punishing god' in the way he prescribes to, nor do I believe that I or my son or anyone else created any 'karma' or 'deserved', nor equally 'didn't deserve' what was for me just one moment on another unfolding as it was, with each responding according to their knowledge - their awareness, their capacity in this moment.

I guess the base of the answer was the same, I would be spiritually 'okay' and I had no protestation on spiritual grounds which they would have been duty bound to address. Same-same outcome, different reasoning as to why/how.

It was equally 'musing' for me to - absolutely humbly and gratefully - to be in the presence of the Dalai Lama as he blessed a young woman, Buddhist follower (I can only 'guess' that by her words and actions etc :wink: ) who was in the final stages of ovarian cancer.

For all the 'teaching' - and again absolutely in love and in compassion and obviously he's incredibly 'aware', he blessed her and she cried, he hugged her and he soothed her - it was sincerely breathtaking to be in their midst, then he straightened up and said to her 'I will send you something for this when I get back home, it will help you.'

... Now, he'd already addressed the audience that he's not a super-power healer or anything and to caution against such claims or building hopes on such things, and I was dying to ask him what he could send her that would 'help'... and 'help with what & how?' but it would have been ungraceful to do so ( I can behave sometimes :wink: ) but I never forgot it, nor the reaction it created in her and in her friends. She lit up, sat up straighter than she had been in her wheelchair and was beaming glowing smiles and I admit I cannot know what that meant to her either, I can only 'perceive' my experience of it.

After the DL left the media wanted to interview her and one reporter asked what did it do for her having that relatively private audience & blessing - she said among other things: "He gave me hope."

I mused what sort of hope could it give her? and whether that was his intention, was he aware of the natural consequence of it, so many questions that I accepted would never be asked or answered, just 'mused'.

When dying people have shared my space and grace, I tell them not things to give them hope, because hope can be distorted sender to receiver - maybe he was going to send her something that would give her peace in dying - that in his perspective might have been how he could 'help' her. I felt that she and her friends were still looking for hope about life - about her continued living life.

Who knows, not me - it just 'mused' me. It always muses me our various interpretations on stuff.

One thing I do love, that I learned from a few very wise Indigenous folks - one cannot EVER speak for anyone else without their full awareness and permission - and we can never have their awareness we only have our awareness of their awareness. and it works equally for speaking about any other/s with any claim of accuracy, even if the intentions are good.

That works for me :D

Which makes mincemeat of categorically 'judging' anything to any sense of conclusion or suffering or hoping over it.

I can't even categorically be pigeon-holed with 'spiritualists' even though I share some, probably quite a few, of their awareness, capacity & willingness views. One of the 'principles' that they say they believe in (on their material and in their churches) is 'Compensation and Retribution Hereafter for all the Good and Evil Deeds done on Earth.' It just does not compute for me. I cannot 'reconcile' it in my awareness or my capacity to do so.
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