God is???

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Gatekeeper, May 6, 2010.

  1. Snoopy

    Snoopy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    5,304
    Likes Received:
    38
    [FONT=&quot]How do you distinguish between choice and free will? How does one make compassionate choices? Determinism / fatalism is rejected by Buddhism, I think.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Basic Buddhism: The Theory of Karma -[/FONT]

    “If the present life is totally conditioned or wholly controlled by our past actions, then certainly Karma is tantamount to fatalism or determinism or predestination. If this were true, free will would be an absurdity. Life would be purely mechanistic, not much different from a machine. Being created by an Almighty God who controls our destinies and predetermines our future, or being produced by an irresistible Karma that completely determines our fate and controls our life’s course, independent of any free action on our part, is essentially the same. The only difference lies in the two words God and Karma. One could easily be substituted for the other, because the ultimate operation of both forces would be identical.
    Such a fatalistic doctrine is not the Buddhist law of Karma.”


    [FONT=&quot]s.[/FONT]
     
  2. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Messages:
    6,798
    Likes Received:
    231
    Heh! Madness and vexation? {You rang? :p}
     
  3. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Messages:
    2,906
    Likes Received:
    0
    Please realize I write this from my own particular viewpoint. I am not saying I'm right... but this is what my experience has led to.

    In our usual conventional sense of individuality, yes. Individuality is a temporary function. Our ego is ephemeral and eventually ceases to exist- it is a temporary dream or art work of the Divine. Only the Divine is lasting. The part of us that is eternal is found in being an extension of Her Being.

    In moments I have experienced merging with the Divine, I was nothing but sound and vibration within Her sound and vibration. There was nothing else. At this point, I can mostly choose how much to step into that realm of experience and being, as opposed to stepping into my sense of egoic self, the flows of time, and the trajectory of this sound that I am within the greater river of the Divine. The purpose in doing this is two-fold: to live as art and to find the pleasure of incarnation, which the Divine experiences through all of us as extensions and also, to lift incarnate extension to the light through me, so that there is a harmonious flowing between the Divine and all Her myriad material art works.

    There really is no "I." I am ultimately an extension of Her light. My highest purpose is to express this within time and space, within the realm of form and forgetfulness... until I once again fully merge with Her and find what is actually myself.

    Well, yes... provided the Divine does not continually create new art. Perhaps this will never come to pass, perhaps it will. It is impossible to say. But if the Divine stopped unfolding into the art of existence, then yes, all would return to Her and individuality would cease... we would return to the state of singularity before She began to compose the symphony that is all the multiverse.

    If an individual reaches full merging with the Divine, they are no longer an individual sage, but a vessel or extension of the Divine Itself.

    We may perceive them as individuals, but that is our own faulty understanding. Our own misunderstandings do not define what is truth. They only demonstrate our limitations in perception.

    While we are in an incarnate form, we may take on an individual personality. It is possible to become fully merged with the Divine and still be alive in an incarnate form. In this case, one plays with individuality, knowing deeply that it is not reality, but merely a temporary form of art. One's self becomes a canvas on which to paint a reflection of the Divine... but one realizes that ultimately, the canvas will disintegrate and only the connection to the Light and Love remain. It is the energy of relationship that lasts- of finding the true self, which is held in the Limitlessness of the Divine Embrace.

    "A" being can realize increasingly wide levels of mutual group consciousness and play in each of these, constricting down to a single "individual" and expanding into ever-farther-flung networks of the extension of the Divine... all while realizing, moment to moment, that all of this is temporary. It is performance art, but art with a purpose of remembering, of awakening to the reality that is the One Divine Being Itself.

    Dropping the illusion of disconnect, of individual self-hood... this allows true freedom in individual action, thought, and feeling. What happens is that the divine self within awakens to its true potential and place as an extension of the Divine, having never left Her embrace, but only forgotten that he is in It. At that point, one is awakened to the creative potential of using one's own self- the consciousness, the emotions, the sensory world, actions, intentions, will- as a medium through which to express the temporary experience of an everlasting force.
     
  4. OAT

    OAT Where is the TAO?

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am not bothered. I don't subscribe to the monism of one consciousness.
     
  5. OAT

    OAT Where is the TAO?

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    0
    Is there a meaning or purpose to the process that you describe? I don't believe there is. Neither do I believe that existence in and of itself has any purpose. Each individual may attribute a purpose to their existence but existence per se has no purpose in my opinion.
     
  6. OAT

    OAT Where is the TAO?

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    0
    The idea of no free will is one that attracts very strong emotion from those who feel free will truly exist. This in all likelihood reflects a strong grasping at a self.

    If one considers dispassinately the doctrine of dependent arising/emptiness, the illusion of free will will be clear. We feel we have free will, we feel we are making choices and we do make choices, but the freedom in the making of the choices is really questionable.

    Does holding the position that free will is an illusion implies fatalism or determinism? I am not sure that it does. In stating that our choices are dependent on multitude of factors, causes and conditions, I have not exclude the possiblity of random factors, causes and conditions. In the physical world, quantum physics tells us that there is an inherent probabilistic nature. In the realm of the mind, thoughts seem to be spontaneously arising all the time.
     
  7. OAT

    OAT Where is the TAO?

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    0
    Path-of-one, I think your experience is wonderful. Hopefully, one day, I will experience something similar.

    You may know by now that I follow Buddhism, more specificaly, Tibetan Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism teaches non-duality, but I think it makes a subtle distinction between cognitive non-duality and ontological non-duality. Most followers of Buddhism do not have a doctrine of ontological non-duality.
     
  8. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    3
    Our choices are always dependent on something else?

    Here's an experiment for you to try.

    Lie in the middle of the floor.

    Don't get up until your body rises without conscious volition.

    Don't take a step until your legs and feet move without your intention to move them.

    Let me know when all these things you seem to think you're dependent upon make the choices for you.

    If everything, as you say, is emptiness, how does emptiness have the power to make a choice for you?
     
  9. The Undecided

    The Undecided Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0

    The Buddhist viewpoint, as I understand it, is that we do not have free will in the present, as what happens in the present is a product of our karma. It is an effect of a cause we have created in the past. However, based on our understanding of what happens to us in our present we have a choice of what we do in the future. For example, if something of mine is stolen I could conclude that I have stolen something from someone else in the past. From this I can decide never to steal anything again. This is a free choice, or free will.

    TU:D
     
  10. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    Are you saying that the Buddhist view is that there are only "pre-meditated", but never spontaneous or reflexive, acts of free will? I think I can agree with that.

    Still, it sounds a bit paradoxical to suggest that there is no free will in the present, for how could one consult one's understanding and decide anything freely if one's karma could dictate the pattern of one's thoughts?

    But maybe the Buddha's point is that such mental freedom exists, but there is a time delay before it becomes useful for controlling one's actions. It is only one's plans that are freely made, never one's actions.

    I wonder how this contrasts with Daoist views on spontaneity?


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  11. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    3
    I don't want to call these other viewpoints "incorrect". I'm sure there are many Buddhists who would agree with them. I do not.

    The condition you find yourself in at this moment is a product of everything that has happened in the past. But in this moment is the opportunity for choice, for spontaneity, for freewill.

    Past conditions brought me to this point. Where I go from here, is up to me. That is what the Buddha taught. Otherwise, the Eightfold Path is a charade. The Buddha would have just said, "Do whatever the conditions lead you to do".

    1. Right View
    2. Right Intention
    3. Right Speech
    4. Right Action
    5. Right Livelihood
    6. Right Effort
    7. Right Mindfulness
    8. Right Concentration

    The Noble Eightfold Path describes the way to the end of suffering, as it was laid out by Siddhartha Gautama. It is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the goal of freeing the individual from attachments and delusions; and it finally leads to understanding the truth about all things. Together with the Four Noble Truths it constitutes the gist of Buddhism. Great emphasis is put on the practical aspect, because it is only through practice that one can attain a higher level of existence and finally reach Nirvana. The eight aspects of the path are not to be understood as a sequence of single steps, instead they are highly interdependent principles that have to be seen in relationship with each other.


    These are not instructions for past conditions to carry out. They are instructions for the individual to embody in the moment. Without free will, how could anybody fulfill them? Why would the Buddha have taught them?
     
  12. Snoopy

    Snoopy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    5,304
    Likes Received:
    38
    Yay!

    Let's crack open a bottle of Kalama :D:D:D

    s.
     
  13. Snoopy

    Snoopy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    5,304
    Likes Received:
    38
    If I agreed any more it would smack of sycophancy. :rolleyes:

    The past has gone so there is no free will there. The future is not here yet so there is no free will there. The past has brought us to this moment; moment after moment. And it is here that free will exists.

    "In Buddhist philosophy
    Buddhism accepts both freedom and determinism (or something similar to it), but rejects the idea of an agent, and thus the idea that freedom is a free will belonging to an agent. According to the Buddha, "There is free action, there is retribution, but I see no agent that passes out from one set of momentary elements into another one, except the [connection] of those elements." Buddhists believe in neither absolute free will, nor determinism. It preaches a middle doctrine, named pratitya-samutpada in Sanskrit, which is often translated as "inter-dependent arising". It is part of the theory of karma in Buddhism.

    ...

    In Buddhism it is taught that the idea of absolute freedom of choice (i.e. that any human being could be completely free to make any choice) is foolish, because it denies the reality of one's physical needs and circumstances. Equally incorrect is the idea that we have no choice in life or that our lives are pre-determined. To deny freedom would be to deny the efforts of Buddhists to make moral progress (through our capacity to freely choose compassionate action)."

    (bold mine)

    Free will - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    s.
     
  14. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks. While I'm not a Buddhist, I tend to agree with the idea of interdependent arising (added to this: the possibility of emergent properties), and I think I agree with the views on free will mentioned by Snoopy, citizenzen, and The Undecided. They make good sense to me.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  15. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    2,277
    Likes Received:
    115
    When all varigated phenomena is erased,
    when all Space is erased,
    when all time is erased . . .

    IMO, there is still exists the potential for "Three-Dimensions" along with "Locomotion"

    By my use of the appellation "Potential", I am saying that even in a situation devoid of matter & energy & time & Space . . . there is still Potential for "Three-Dimensions" along with "Locomotion" ---irregardless of who/what/how initiates creation or whether there is an absolute state that transcends material phenomena ---there exists as a pre-creation/substratum/pre-requisite meta-physical blank page that ALLOWS for even empty space to occupy itself before its creative play:

    "Three-Dimensions" along with "Locomotion" lay fallow until it is utilised ---yet interestingly, never are these "3-Dimensions" along with "Locomotion" actually a manifest; they don't manifest as entities unto them selves and yet they underlie all potential possibilities.

    You can't measure "Three-Dimensions" along with "Locomotion".
    You can't make them under your control ---they are a nuetral state that allows even the void to come and go as epochs pass into oblivion again and again.

    When all is erased there sits "Three-Dimensions" along with "Locomotion"; selflessly, or as the prime self?
     
  16. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    2,277
    Likes Received:
    115
    http://www.interfaith.org/forum/god-is-12776-2.html#post227142

    If there is NO GOD, then, we the people,
    are souls transmigrating from body/species of life repeatedly birth after birth

    ---with the souls' journey being a path
    that experieneces the 4-Catagories of Activities
    [eat, sleep, mate & defend]
    during each birth affording and thus allowing for the experience to act
    while evolving (our Souls' experience of 'Acts')
    from birth as ameobas to sub-marine life forms;
    to slithering; to crawling; to walking on all four limbs;
    to flying; to walking; to penthouse flats;
    to prime-ministers; to Golf professional

    ---all is done on one's own recognisance (ergo, individual karma) for no purpose except to be yet another witness to the whole experience of livinig a lifetime.

    BUT, each soul is CONSCIOUS.
    Each soul is individual.
    Each place and pin-point of time is different from the other.
    Each soul is an audience member watching the same show from different POVs.
    The show is absolutely happening and will end and the process will repeat whether you or I are present at the show when the curtain goes up.
    But, with investigation it will be seen that each soul in creation were all in theirown respective location. No two atoms and occupy the same spac ---so no two souls are occupying the same space simultaneously.
    Each soul is an indivisable entity without a choice in occupying another soul's place in time and space.

    I say what the Gurus have said: God is the Supreme Personailty of Godhead ---and only He can reveal that fact . . . we cannot become enlightened because of our own prowess ---even stripping our false-egos away, through silent meditation and prayer, still leaves us beholding to our individuality and our finite selves that we cannot claim lordship over.


    I say what the Gurus have said: all the while deep in the heart of the "Soul in Maya" [the soul living in illusion birth after birth] the soul is actually seeking out the Absolute Personality [the personage of God].
     
  17. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Messages:
    6,798
    Likes Received:
    231
    Isn't "self" defined by limitations? ('self' and 'other') One could easily go into a state of madness and vexation speculating about this.
    Suppose here is a statement. We do not know whether it belongs to one category or another. But if we put the different categories in one, then the differences of category cease to exist. However, I must explain. If there was a beginning, then there was a time before that beginning, and a time before the time which was before the time of that beginning. If there is existence, there must have been non-existence. And if there was a time when nothing existed, then there must have been a time when even nothing did not exist. All of a sudden, nothing came into existence. Could one then really say whether it belongs to the category of existence or of non-existence? Even the very words I have just now uttered, -- I cannot say whether they say something or not.
    ~Chuang Tzu, Discourse on making all things equal
     
  18. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    2,277
    Likes Received:
    115
    I agree that intellectualisaion of thoughts lead to madness ---but, that sort of 'vexation' is NOT inregards to the true nature of the self.

    Such mad vexation is due to "all the forms" of LUST.
    Desire begets more desire ---and when such desires [ie: desire for eating [drug suppressed and propaganda induced]/sleeping [drug induced]/mating [drug enhanced]/defending [drug supply economy] beyond the limits of neccessity . . . such 'co-dependent' motivations are shallow and very far from "Sublime self-realisation".

    Wars are NOT a product of religion.
    Wars are a product of Lust for other's commodities ---always.
     
  19. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    2,277
    Likes Received:
    115
    "self" defined by consciouness.

    The "self" is defined by it's autonomy. We are all lost in space.

    We are all our own individual steward of our own Vector Point Address in space amongst our fellow souls:
    a] searching for the Supreme Soul to engage in reciprocal pastimes with,
    or
    b] Striving to be come a 'Self-proclaimed/self-ascended Supreme Soul' over all we survey, while we can, before me lose our own life and merge back into the Darkness within darkness that can never be named.

    Either way, we are spirit souls (Conscious individual enitities in contrast to the material elements, ie: earth, water, fire, air etc) in the material cosmos consciously preforming actions as per our material species of body seeking gratification of our own senses among millions of our living life forms who are all doing the same.

    Creation, Maintenance, Destruction ["sattva, raja & Tama" guna(s)] cycle all the elements ---while the Conscious soul takes uop residence in a species of body that affords a "Quality of Life" that is in accord with the level of SOphistication that was cultivated in the Stratum of Life that allows for redemption away from Perdition.

    No Heaven No hell? --- then the same rules above still apply . . . for the sake avoiding foolish situations that a soul can be led astray:

    The Swami said to us, "No gentleman over stays his time when using the Toilet"
     
  20. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Messages:
    2,906
    Likes Received:
    0
    If I'm right, everyone will... one day. :)

    In all seriousness, I do find the experience of non-duality wonderful. BUT (and it's a big BUT)... it is also challenging. One confronts what some Pagans call the "shadow self." And the expansion of personal power that brings responsibility and the necessity of willingly meeting fear over and over.

    I guess what I've found so far is that the nifty experiences come along with a good deal of self-discipline. What frees also reduces one's options. The same unity that results in peak ecstatic experiences can cause a good deal of pain as one viscerally feels the suffering around oneself. But, in connecting in to the Limitless, there is a strength that is found to face the pain.

    I guess what I'm saying is that while I am a non-dualist, and experientially so, I am not fluffy about it. Non-duality means all the crap we usually reserve for the "Other"- dark and death, destruction and decay, all our negative emotions and thoughts, suffering and our potential to cause it... this is integrated and transmuted in the work of knowing and transforming the self. It is part of the knowing the temporary so we can become the Divine extension. And it is often unpleasant and challenging, even disturbing.

    I know from my brief studies in Buddhism that there is neither being nor non-being... basically, there is no existence that is permanent- yes? Is the ontological reality postulated to be entirely illusory? But then, wouldn't that sort of qualify as a non-dualist position?

    I'm trying to understand how cognitive non-duality could be maintained without ontological non-duality. I suppose it is in mistrusting one's experiences, or in seeing them as potentially misleading?
     

Share This Page