Another New Paradigm

Discussion in 'Theology' started by Thomas, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    That's learning in general for me!

    I don't know if we actually return to 'the one', did anyone say that?
    The "not ourcellves, but our higher self...why?" I didn't understand.
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    As I say, I think the metaphysic is weak.
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I don't know what the above is, and trying to get a hold of it...but it keeps squirming.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I think A Cup Of Tea might have it:

    Nowhere have I talked of a 'return'. I think 'return' is your paradigm you're trying read in mine? I see an ascent, but not a return.

    I think also you're reading from the perspective of panentheism. Traditional Christianity is not panentheist.

    The being with which we identify as 'my being' is a created nature. A nature created by God, but not of God. God is Uncreate, as the Fathers say, a different nature altogether.

    The soul, we say, is created 'here' and 'now'. It does not 'descend' from a prior state into the corporeal world. It is created in the corporeal world. But it can ascend into a higher realm by incorporation into the Higher, and the highpoint of that possibility is a Divine Union by which a created nature is deified, a doctrine we call theosis.

    So the difference in our pov, if I'm on the right track, is that you see the individual soul as something inherently divine, something of the same essence and substance and nature of God, whereas I see the soul as something created by God, its own essence, its own substance, its own nature and its own sense of self-hood, and the latter is what is meant by 'in our image and likeness' (Genesis 1:26).

    When the Asiatics talk of the True Self, they're talking of the principle of selfhood as such. Everything is 'willed' in that sense by the True Self, not just man, and not just sentient beings; the True Self is not limited to those beings who have a sense of self, the True Self actualises man, microbes, multiverses...

    +++

    As to the perennial question, why is there anything at all, or why did God make the world, the answer lies in the metaphysic – there is no 'reason' why, in the sense of obligation or necessity or need or requirement or whatever on God.

    Simply, if the All-Possible is All-Possible, then why would It not create?
     
  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    So if nothing 'returns' no reincarnation...
     
  6. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I know how that is, so frustrating. So close, yet...
    I don't understand this sentence at all.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't see 'return' defined in samsara. The word means 'continuous flow' and is commonly translated as 'cyclic existence', but the problem is when one picks up the common understanding without properly locating it in the larger picture.

    Remember also that the idea of 'time' and therefore 'succession' is a finite concept being projected onto the Infinite.

    The Infinite is not contained nor condition by space and time, so the view of incarnation in succession must be balanced by the view of incarnation in simultaneity.
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Might I add that I reject the popular idea of reincarnation because it is determined by the popular concept of karma.

    I reject the popular concept of karma for the same reason that Wil rejects the popular concept of the God of the Old Testament. As someone (God) or something (karma) that engineers the rise and fall of peoples, years of plenty and years of famine, plagues, wars, slaughters, disasters, etc., in order to settle the account or balance the books ...
     
  9. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Tea, you discussed,

    "So if nothing 'returns' no reincarnation..." --> "I don't understand this sentence at all."

    --> Most forms of Buddhism teach that we have no soul, that there is nothing which can return and reincarnate. Wil seems to be saying that reincarnation cannot occur unless there is an 'object' such as a soul which can reincarnate, and I agree with this idea.

    By the way, most Buddhists reject the use of the word "reincarnation" and use the word "rebirth" instead.
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Quite.

    Well Buddhism explains what that is, without recourse to the soul. I think the error in assuming that what is reborn is somehow the essence of the person is what gives rise to the idea of repetition of that essence, whatever it may be.

    Buddhism says what is reborn is not a soul, but the aggregate of experience that reflects upon itself and erroneously self-identifies as the essential 'object' of its being. (In effect, a 'soul'.)

    Rebirth in Buddhism is this 'stream of consciousness' which upon death ("the dissolution of the aggregates") contributes to the arising of a new aggregation. The consciousness in the 'person' so formed is neither identical to that of the prior person, nor entirely different to the prior deceased, because the former can adhere as a psychic residue in the latter – explaining prior memories, experiences, identities, etc.

    The basic cause of rebirth is the abiding of consciousness in ignorance, when ignorance is uprooted, rebirth ceases.

    So yes, there is in a minimal and unfortunate sense a continuity, but no, there is no essential being, object or soul that is reborn into the flow of samsara, rather the flow of samsara will continue until the illusion of being is exhausted or worked out.
     
  11. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    The distinction always blurs on me after a while, have to keep going back and refresh.

    When it comes to the 'the soul' as 'a non-object' I have understood the implications before but my understanding have been muddled by fiction literature I enjoy so I can't begin to speak for the traditional understanding.

    EDIT: Seems like Thomas made a go at it!
     
  12. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Tea,

    I do not see the soul as a 'non-object'. Either it exists or it doesn't. Most Buddhists say it doesn't. But when pressured, some Buddhists admit that 'something' must 'exist' in order for it to travel from birth to birth. Again, when pressured, they label this 'thing' as 'consciousness' or 'mind' instead of 'soul'. (It is a strong Buddhist dogma that the term 'soul' is not to be used or admitted to be existing.)

    Some Buddhists also say that nothing 'exists', so that a 'soul' doesn't exist, along with everything else that doesn't exist.
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    "Same world, different planet."

    How often has that ben said?

    The Buddhist philosophy of the causation of being – as we're discussing it here – is much akin to the secular philosophy of the physical sciences that sees the consciousness of an adhering identity (soul) as nothing more the by-product of the conscious process itself, it's the sense of an 'I' that is the substrate of the aggregate of experience. The 'I' is therefore illusory in that it is an effect of consciousness, not the cause of it ... and rebirth will continue as long as that aggregate of effect continues in the illusion of assuming a prior cause.

    Karma then is equally simply the product of the by-product. We are born into a world which is shaped by those before us and which conditions our existence for good or ill. Good karma is essentially provisional, as the ideal is the escape from this and any state.

    Back to the comment above ...

    When I spoke of simultaneity, it should be further understood that all 'potential' states – and any state is a potency actualised and perceived by us as a successive state in that it is the product of the karma of a prior state, is a view from within samsara, whereas in reality all states are simultaneously and immanently present in the here and now.

    So man can rise to Buddhahood in this life, one can fall to demonhood in this life – for some people this life is a heaven, for others this life is a hell. All worlds, or all states, are here and can be experienced here and now. Heaven and hell, and all states in between, because all those states are samsaric in their rising.

    The rebirth Buddhism is aiming at is the transcendence of samsara and the escape from all conditioned states.

    +++

    The Hindus invented 'Snakes And Ladders' to teach this 'succession-and-simultaneity' metaphysic – but that point's been forgotten.

    Another game analogy is 'Pass The Parcel'. Rebirth is seen as unwrapping the parcel. In any given life, we can unwrap the whole thing, as the idea of wrapping is, itself, illusory.

    That which the West thinks of as the object that is wrapped in samsara is itself an illusion of samsara. There is no 'self' buried in the wrapping, the self is the wrapping, which must be discarded!

    Once that is realised, this unwrapping is the last unwrapping and the illusion of selfhood ceases. But equally, as long as the idea of the self endures, then even as the self seeks to unwrap the parcel, they're creating more wrapping.

    Dr Pangloss was half-way right: This (and any) world is the best (potentially) of all possible worlds!
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Indeed the idea of aggregates forming in a vacuum seems illogical ... but then Quantum Physics has shown that it not so illogical after all. The Quantum Vacuum is itself something prior to all perceived existence.

    So far, the Quantum Vacuum is to science what Purusha is to Hindu metaphysics, or 'Essentia' (essence) is to Christian metaphysics. The spontaneous appearance of matter (Prakriti or Substantia) is in that sense a limited creatio ex nihilo.

    Couple that to the fact that Quantum Mechanics says the world 'collapses' into being according to the pov of the viewer and you have succession, couple that to 'Schrödinger's cat' and you have simultaneity ...

    Quite, because 'soul' infers a pre-existing thing, whereas in Buddhism the idea of 'soul' is a by-product of the mind and its consciousness.
     
  15. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I know.

    Well, not everyone reasons that way. The nature of the soul is hard to pin down. Some Christians would argue that the soul isn't anything but a state of being (as best as I can express myself). A person is a soul because it's alive. The result of the physical being and it's conciousness. When the two is split, when a person dies, the soul isn't a thing that goes somewhere. It might continue to exist in another configuration but that's beyond my understanding.

    This might be very far from Buddhist tradition and I know I'm sloppy when referring to the soul in a Buddhist context.

    Thomas, I'll read all that later, this is getting really technical!
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That's in the nature of metaphysics. It's a very technical science! Try reading The Multiple States of Being by René Guénon :eek:

    Can I offer two things to bear in mind:

    One: The need to distinguish between the universal and the particular.
    (The most common cause of error)

    Two: The need to be mindful of simultaneity, not just sequence.
    (Time belongs to the particular)
     
  17. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Tea, your understanding of 'soul' is quite similar to Buddhism!
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Meister Eckhart (1260-1327), the Prince of Mystics in the Latin Tradition, is universally famed in all authentic spiritual traditions for for saying:
    The Ground "where all distinctions disappear".

    St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) underwent some order of 'mystical' experience towards the end of his life. He stopped work on the Summa Theologiae, much to the panic of his secretary, who tried to get him back to work. Thomas replied:
    Aquinas attained the state Eckhart is talking about. The Ground without ground, the Beatific Vision, or the transcendence of the samsaric 'ground' that is Maya, in which allis straw before the reality that is Atma.

    St John got it. St Paul got it. St Augustine (4th century) got it. Dionysius the pseudoAreopagite (6th) got it. Maximus the Confessor (7th) got it. Johannes Scottus Eriugena (9th) got it. St Bonaventure (13th) got it. Nicholas of Cusa (15th) got it. Pope John XXIII (20th) got it and called Vatican II to declare it. I could go on listing those who 'got it' all day...
     
  19. EdgyDolmen

    EdgyDolmen Active Member

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    Re: Nirvana

    From such words as these: "What happens at the end of this journey is returning to a state of non-becoming, non-beingness, non-existence or emptiness, which is Nirvanna."

    I have always thought Nirvana meant essentially the same in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. Which is a state of nothingness. Wrong?

    http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/essays/nirvana.asp

    Edgy
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    No, quite right.

    It is the extinction of all desire of becoming.
     

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