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Aloka
26 Jul 17, 05:42
Are there any Buddhist beliefs and/or practices that you consider to be unnecessary?

If so, please explain what they are and why you think they're not necessary for you.


With many thanks for sharing your thoughts. :hands:

daverupa
26 Jul 17, 19:48
I wrote about this (https://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/showthread.php?6733-so-I-ve-been-thinking) already, but I'll refine it here:


1a. All possible human experience is sensory. We can count the senses in quite a few different ways, such as "seen, heard, sensed, cognized" or "six sense spheres". This is an empiricism, the idea that all knowledge comes in through the senses. The Buddha called this "the All", e.g. at SN 35.23.

1b. Metaphysical certainty is impossible, and can only ever be comprised of illegitimate claims to knowledge. Simply put, the finite range of the All prevents any assertion about infinite-/forever-truths, i.e. metaphysics.

2a. A significant aspect of this empiricism is that the mind is treated as a sense alongside the others. It's unique in that it has access to the other sense processes as well as its own (MN 43), but the operation of contact & feeling is the same in all cases.

2b. Since all input to the mind comes through other senses first, any claim about "extrasensory experience" requires demonstrating that its content had not previously come in through the senses as usual, thereby differentiating an extrasensory experience from day/dreams, hallucinations, phantasies, etc.

3. When we have views, it's always based on feeling. This is because all views are based on the senses, and the senses always contain a hedonic tone (feeling). We could also point out the presence of other aggregates, such as perception, but it's feeling that motivates us to reject or accept certain ideas. DN 1 discusses this, pointing out that all <metaphysical> views are "only the feeling of those who do not know and do not see; that is only the agitation and vacillation of those who are immersed in craving."
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Given this foundation, there are interesting implications:

4a. Most Buddhists adhere to what's called "tainted right view", as found at MN 9. This (a nuanced rebirth cosmology) is simply another metaphysical view, just like everything else in DN 1, and as such it is an illegitimate claim. In fact, at AN 10.29 annihilationism (despite also illegitimately claiming metaphysical certainty) is held to be a comparative advantage over other metaphysical claims because it better supports dispassion.

4b. Most Buddhists also adhere to related ideas about Noble attainments. Nobles know that certain fetters are gone, that certain views are accurate, and so forth... don't they? Well... no. As we can see with AN 10.86 & MN 105 (as well as with common sense) everyone can overestimate themselves, which means that the possibility of error is ever-present. AN 9.12 demonstrates another problem with this pseudo-certainty: laziness. Consider also AN 10.93 & MN 72: the certainty expressed with the phrase "only this is true, all else is worthless" also falls to the criticism DN 1 presents. MN 95 demonstrates yet another way that such a lack of certainty can be understood.

4c. What about psychic powers? These cases involve a mind-made body, which is to say, the mental sense sphere. However, we don't see the evidence we'd need per 2b, above. For example, Iron Age people saw past lives in Iron Age settings; they saw animals and social structures and cosmologies that they expected; they didn't report that e.g. dogs are red-blue colorblind, some snakes have senses to pick up the infrared spectrum, there are penguins and polar bears, etc.
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Are there any Buddhist beliefs and/or practices that you consider to be unnecessary?

Given the above, it seems to me that many Buddhist beliefs & the practices based on them (such as 4a-b-c) are wholly illegitimate. They are cultural metaphysics impinging on an empirical contemplative practice - and yet for all that, they are Traditional metaphysics, and maybe Traditionalists are the people who have the power to say who is & is not a Buddhist.

These days, I find myself more misunderstood than understood, when I say I'm a Buddhist, precisely because of this metaphysical silliness. I still consider the Four Truths to capture a very wise assessment along with a practical way to address it, but I also consider the fact that, to an Iron Age culture, a lot of what seemed obvious is now demonstrably without evidence.

chownah
28 Jul 17, 05:12
1b. Metaphysical certainty is impossible, and can only ever be comprised of illegitimate claims to knowledge. Simply put, the finite range of the All prevents any assertion about infinite-/forever-truths, i.e. metaphysics.

I think that in general certainty is impossible but this becomes more obvious when looking at certainty with respect to metaphysics.

(Side note: I think that the finite range of the All does not stop people from making metaphysical assertions but rather that those assertions do not come from the senses as a base. Faith seems like an avenue leading to such assertions.....maybe faith is silly...I don't know.)

I think that the finite range of the All not only makes acceptance of a metaphysical proposition questionable it also make rejection of a metaphysical proposition questionable as well. No matter how hard we try, critical thinking will not eliminate the uncertainty either way I think.
chownah

daverupa
28 Jul 17, 16:08
I think that the finite range of the All not only makes acceptance of a metaphysical proposition questionable it also make rejection of a metaphysical proposition questionable as well.

There's no need to reject a proposition that has no evidence. If someone makes a metaphysical claim, they have the burden of proof, and if proof isn't demonstrated then the claim isn't to be accepted or rejected. It's to be recognized as the vacuous speculation that it is, and set aside.

chownah
29 Jul 17, 03:15
There's no need to reject a proposition that has no evidence. If someone makes a metaphysical claim, they have the burden of proof, and if proof isn't demonstrated then the claim isn't to be accepted or rejected. It's to be recognized as the vacuous speculation that it is, and set aside.

Are you saying, then, that , for example, if the proposition "beings do not live at the center of the moon" arises and there is no evidence then it isn't to be accepted or rejected and it should be recognized as the vacuous speculation that it is?

If that is what you are saying then I agree with what you are saying....although as a practical consideration in general many people will report that they hold certain views based on faith and in that case you might not find what you consider to be evidence in support while they find that there is.

Aside: I am somewhat dismayed that you use loaded pejorative words like "vacuous speculation" and "silly".

chownah

daverupa
29 Jul 17, 14:58
Are you saying, then, that , for example, if the proposition "beings do not live at the center of the moon" arises and there is no evidence then it isn't to be accepted or rejected and it should be recognized as the vacuous speculation that it is?

Sure. Anyone can pick up the question and look for evidence, though. With this "beings in the moon" issue, it's a matter of inference to best explanation.


... as a practical consideration in general many people will report that they hold certain views based on faith...

It's related to the idea of there being two systems of thinking, which I mentioned in another thread (https://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/showthread.php?6812-Critical-Thinking&p=76207&viewfull=1#post76207). They tend to be opposed: an increase in reliance on one of them reduces the use of the other. It so happens that System 2 - the part that engages critical thinking - is much more difficult to use, so System 1 - intuitive gestalts, etc. - tends to be the default.

Therefore, we could expect that reasoning based on faith et al would be relatively common, and that critical thinking would reduce the use (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-critical-thinkers-lose-faith-god/) of that sort of reasoning.


Aside: I am somewhat dismayed that you use loaded pejorative words like "vacuous speculation" and "silly".

Okay.

binocular
31 Jul 17, 18:09
There's no need to reject a proposition that has no evidence. If someone makes a metaphysical claim, they have the burden of proof, and if proof isn't demonstrated then the claim isn't to be accepted or rejected. It's to be recognized as the vacuous speculation that it is, and set aside.
Wrong. Metaphysical claims, by their nature, cannot be evidenced the same way as physical claims (which are evidenced externally, by third parties). With metaphysical claims, the burden of proof is one the one who wishes to understand.

Element
01 Aug 17, 05:00
With metaphysical claims, the burden of proof is one the one who wishes to understand.
Like the burden of proof in relation to the assertion of "God" falls upon the atheist? :neutral:

The Pali scriptures list two sorts of Dhamma: (i) verifiable liberating noble dhamma called 'lokuttara'; and (ii) worldly moral dhamma pervaded by defilement & clinging.

The verifiable liberating noble dhamma states all experience can be is the 'five aggregates'. In other words, in terms of metaphysical imaginings, such as believing one was Joan of Ark in past life, all that can ever be truly experienced are mental formations, the same as the highly imaginative dreams that occur in sleep.

Therefore, imo, I agree Dave was wrong because all metaphysical claims should be totally rejected as delusions.

:peace:

binocular
01 Aug 17, 05:14
Like the burden of proof in relation to the assertion of "God" falls upon the atheist?
If they wish to understand.


Therefore, imo, I agree Dave was wrong because all metaphysical claims should be totally rejected as delusions.
:peace:
*sigh*

Element
01 Aug 17, 07:20
*sigh*

Actually, this is called *tanha*. :peace:


And this, monks, is the noble truth of the origination of stress: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming.


For those who tend to misconstrue:


The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming: This, friend Visakha, is the origination of self-identification described by the Blessed One.

:peace:

binocular
01 Aug 17, 12:28
Social Darwinism it is.

Element
01 Aug 17, 21:16
Social Darwinism it is.

Please explain in detail so I can refute it. Thanks. :peace: