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Emptiness in the physical sense... Beginingless beginings

DavidDavid some guy Veteran
Could there ever have been an absolute first cause? For a few reasons I don't think so but please don't take that to mean I am completely atheistic because that's not the case.

There could never have been nothing because there must always have been the potential for change.
If there is potential, a process is unfolding.
Even empty space is not nothing because something is pulled out of space itself preventing absolute vacuum.

When certain conditions come together a thing will arise or manifest... Cause and effect.
No thing can predate its own potential to manifest... All effects need their causes.
There must have always been conditions or there would be no causes... All causes are also effects.

Manifestation is precisely potential and potential is precisely manifestation.

Just a thought.
gawd12442

Comments

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    Just had to add;

    I think it makes more sense to posit a first effect but it makes even more to say the effect has always been happening.
  • Is this an imponderable? I think so, but I don't have the sutra link.
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    I've been pondering it for years and I haven't gone mad that I'm aware of. I'd ask my girlfriend but she would have too much fun with it.
  • I am not sure that the 'going mad' is the correct translation of that. I think it just means you find a thicket of views which is like a wild goose chase. Again I'm not sure about if it is in the sutras. But I agree one doesn't go mad.
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    I agree it's all a wild goose chase but that's half the fun.

    I try not to have too much faith in my beliefs as it keeps the wonder alive and the dogma dead and so my beliefs can easily change if empirical knowledge ever proves them wrong.
    Jeffrey
  • On the quantum level 'things' are so practically non existent that they seem to pop into existence from nowhere.
    It may be that they are being effected by other dimension being destroyed or by quantum tunnelling or some other causality, such as a future into which they can be. However at the moment the understanding is they can just 'pop into existence'. Pretty weird. :eek:
  • SilouanSilouan Veteran
    edited September 2013
    According to Fr Georges Florovsky:

    “We always calculate time in an inverse order, back from the present, retreating into the depths of time, going backwards in the temporal sequence; and only secondarily do we think in terms of consecutive reckoning. And going backwards into the past, we stop at some determinate link, one which is calculated and calculable from within the series, with a clear consciousness that we have to stop. The very notion of the beginning of time is this necessity of stopping, is the very impossibility of an infinite regression into the past. It makes no difference whether we can or cannot compute this limit of retreat in terms of centuries or of days. The prohibition itself remains in full force. A first unit is absolutely postulated in the temporal series, before which there are no other links, no other moments of time, because there was no change, and no sequence whatever. It is not time that precedes time, but “the height of ever-present eternity”
    Could there ever have been an absolute first cause?
    If it can be considered that the cause and foundation of creation is outside of creation not by location but by nature, that beginning presupposes a change and that the genesis of creation is the beginning of time, that creation exists in time in change, succession, duration and is not self-sufficient or independent, that the beginning of change and duration and the “transition” from void to existence is inaccessible to human thought, and that created existence might have not been then perhaps so.
    lobster
  • A first cause would have to be dependently originated, thus it could not be a first cause.

    The three dharma seals are: impermanent, non-self, and dukkha when clung to.

    How would a non-causal phenomena lead to causal phenomena?
    David
  • How would a non-causal phenomena lead to causal phenomena?
    That is the 84 000 dharma dollar question.
    How does nirvana arise without ever not having been present?
    . . . yet it does . . . one might say it is 'non existent'. Better still
    say Nothing. :om:
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Nirvana is also dependently originated according to some liturgy in my sangha. I am not sure why. In the liturgy is:

    You see that samsara and nirvana are merely dependently arisen...
    You see the dharma power of pure truth, that is the essence of dependent arisings.

    I think this is like in the heart sutra where the path and fruit of path are negated. Non-grasping shockingly means just that. So nirvana as an object of grasping is dukkha.
    lobster
  • ourself said:

    I've been pondering it for years and I haven't gone mad that I'm aware of. I'd ask my girlfriend but she would have too much fun with it.

    instead of pondering, develop calmness of the mind (dyana or jhana, absorption)
    and
    try to see 'your' own past births

    'you' need to develop 4th jhana to do this

    or

    try to understand Dependent Origination with the help of Insight Meditation




    seeker242
  • Wasn't it the Buddha who was credited with saying that neither this line of questioning or it's possible answer has anything to do with the lessening of suffering?
    lobsterriverflowEvenThirdAllbuddhaBound
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    upekka said:

    ourself said:

    I've been pondering it for years and I haven't gone mad that I'm aware of. I'd ask my girlfriend but she would have too much fun with it.

    instead of pondering, develop calmness of the mind (dyana or jhana, absorption)
    and
    try to see 'your' own past births

    'you' need to develop 4th jhana to do this

    or

    try to understand Dependent Origination with the help of Insight Meditation
    I'm pretty sure I understand DO just fine but I'm not too worried about whatever past lives I may or may not have led.
    how said:

    Wasn't it the Buddha who was credited with saying that neither this line of questioning or it's possible answer has anything to do with the lessening of suffering?

    I'm not so sure it was this exact line of questioning and if it is, it may be the first time I've disagreed.

    The answers that may come forth could have the potential to end hunger and greed on Earth as it could lead to replicators as we see on Star Trek.

    Besides, I'm only having a bit of fun.

  • Dependent nature is inherent nature. Anything that inherently exists would not involve change. Within the dependent nature, there are cause and effect. Actually, cause and effect are two different aspects of the same thing. Cause is effect and effect is cause i.e. Cause 1 conjures up Effect 1, Effect 1 conjures up Cause 1-1, etc.

    As such, cause and effect are inter-changing and inter-woven with one another in a complicated network of existence known as dependent nature. This is how the conventional reality works. In other words, cause and effect cannot be referred independently in a linear point of reference. Therefore, within the dependent nature, no first cause, no first effect can be found. Nevertheless, if one insisted on the first cause in the dependent nature, then the answer should be dependent nature itself since it is also inherent nature.
  • How would a non-causal phenomena lead to causal phenomena?
    @Jeffrey I love this question, and from a position of a dependent origination world view I understand why it must be asked, but it is actually answerable from a creation ex nihilo point of view.

    Like the dogma of dependent origination just an intellectual understanding alone will require some extensive investigation and familiarity with traditional texts and commentaries to grasp it. However, for a Buddhist to do so might undermine their belief in dependent origination. :)

    I will attempt to summarize the best I can, but that is where the difficulty lies in discussing the matter.

    Creation is considered substance and not phenomena, and when it is said that the world is created ex nhilo or out of nothing it means there was no world before it came into being.

    The key point is that though it exists it might not have been as there is no necessity for it to, but that it was created in perfect freedom as an act of will and volition that precede creating.

    The reason, purpose, or idea of creation is found not in God's essence but in His uncreated energies. Creation is the realization of his thought will(s), and its contact with the Godhead is through the participation of its created energies with His uncreated energies.

    St Gregory of Nyssa says, “The very subsistence of creation owed its beginning to change," "the very transition from non-entity to existence is a change, non-existence being changed by the Divine power into being."

    Fr Florovsky says, "The Divine idea remains unchangeable and unchanged, it is not involved in the process of formation. It remains always outside the created world, transcending it.

    The world is created according to the idea, in accordance with the pattern it is the realization of the pattern but this pattern is not the subject of becoming. The pattern is a norm and a goal established in God. This distinction and distance is never abolished, and therefore the eternity of the pattern, which is fixed and is never involved in temporal change, is compatible with temporal beginning, with the entering-into-being of the bearers of the external decrees.

    “Things before their becoming are as though non-existent,” said Augustine, utiquae non erant. And he explains himself: they both were and were not before they originated; “they were in God’s knowledge: but were not in their own nature” erant in Dei scientia, non erant in sua natura.

    According to St.Maximus, created beings “are images and similes of the Divine ideas,” in which they are “participants.” In creation, the Creator realizes, “makes substantial” and “discloses” His knowledge, pre-existent everlastingly in Himself. In creation there is projected from out of nothing a new reality which becomes the bearer of the Divine idea, and must realize this idea in its own becoming."

    …"the created nucleus of things must be rigorously distinguished from the Divine idea about things. Only in this way is even the most sequacious logical realism freed from a “pantheistic flavor; the reality of the whole will nevertheless be but a created reality.
    Together with this, pan-logism is also overcome: The thought of a thing and the Divine thought-design concerning a thing are not its “essence” or nucleus, even though the essence itself is characterized by logos, [logikos]. The Divine pattern in things is not their “substance” or “hypostasis;” it is not the vehicle of their qualities and conditions. Rather, it might be called the truth of a thing, its transcendental entelechy. But the truth of a thing and the substance of a thing are not identical."



    Creation is interdependent, relational, in time in change, subject to cause and effect, etc., because it is not self-sufficient and independent and is not self-powered or self-produced. Despite an impermanent or transitory condition once it has been established it endures with movement from one of passability towards its impassible end found in its logos, but not by nature but by grace (uncreated energies).

    However, if uncreated and created are considered the same nature or essence then a first cause could be considered null, as we would have a generation proceeding as a necessity in continual process as a foundation rather than a free act of a realized will.

    Also, I think there is no real dichotomy between both world views regarding self-centered desire as the source of suffering. The accomplishment of personhood and the transcendence of birth, old, age, sickness, and death is not to be found with the grasping of soul and body as what man is, as both are changeable and not eternal or immortal by nature. The soul and body are energies of human nature. They are the mode by which the event of the hypostasis (person) is given effect. They only disclose or reveal what man is.
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited September 2013
    @Silouan, if that is true we should take refuge in God. Buddha taught the emptiness of all skhandas and that means all is compound, impermanent, and non-self.

    Oh and thank you for sharing the quotation and links. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    Also the Mahayana does away with the idea of a universe. So creation doesn't happen without a mind.
    Silouan
  • Jeffrey said:

    Nirvana is also dependently originated according to some liturgy in my sangha. I am not sure why. In the liturgy is:

    You see that samsara and nirvana are merely dependently arisen...
    You see the dharma power of pure truth, that is the essence of dependent arisings.

    I think this is like in the heart sutra where the path and fruit of path are negated. Non-grasping shockingly means just that. So nirvana as an object of grasping is dukkha.

    Of course you would look long and hard in the Pali Nikayas and its parallel the Agamas to find a passage that states nirvana is dependently arisen.

  • Nirvana is letting go of grasping and clinging. It just is there when you stop. Is that right? Like the sutra where the Buddha says 'where does a fire go when it burns out'?
  • Jeffrey
    Monks, there is a not-born, a not-become, a not-made, a not-compounded. Monks, if that unborn, not-become, not-made, not-compounded were not, there would be apparent no escape from this here that is born, become, made, compounded. But since, monks, there is an unborn ... therefore the escape from this here is born, become ... is apparent. — Udâna 80
    Jeffrey
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    Blondel said:

    Jeffrey

    Monks, there is a not-born, a not-become, a not-made, a not-compounded. Monks, if that unborn, not-become, not-made, not-compounded were not, there would be apparent no escape from this here that is born, become, made, compounded. But since, monks, there is an unborn ... therefore the escape from this here is born, become ... is apparent. — Udâna 80
    Precisely potential.

  • Your welcome @Jeffrey, but I'm not implying it should be your truth and that you should take refuge. My intention to discuss this has been that there are equally valid views that can be as simple or every bit complex as necessary to communicate that the source of suffering is self-cherishing desire and that there are other solutions to overcoming that fixation.

    The sublime contemplation of the Holy Trinity is considered the crucifix of the intellect, but as long as the mind remains in a carnal state the Divine Darkness can't be approached. ;)
  • ourself said:

    Blondel said:

    Jeffrey

    Monks, there is a not-born, a not-become, a not-made, a not-compounded. Monks, if that unborn, not-become, not-made, not-compounded were not, there would be apparent no escape from this here that is born, become, made, compounded. But since, monks, there is an unborn ... therefore the escape from this here is born, become ... is apparent. — Udâna 80
    Precisely potential.



    It's quite real. So in this sense it is not a potentiality. According to the commentary to this: "it [nirvana] has as it own nature (sabhâva) that which is antithetical to all formations (sankhâra), so are all conditioned things (not to be found) therein."
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Blondel said:

    ourself said:

    Blondel said:

    Jeffrey

    Monks, there is a not-born, a not-become, a not-made, a not-compounded. Monks, if that unborn, not-become, not-made, not-compounded were not, there would be apparent no escape from this here that is born, become, made, compounded. But since, monks, there is an unborn ... therefore the escape from this here is born, become ... is apparent. — Udâna 80
    Precisely potential.

    It's quite real. So in this sense it is not a potentiality. According to the commentary to this: "it [nirvana] has as it own nature (sabhâva) that which is antithetical to all formations (sankhâra), so are all conditioned things (not to be found) therein."


    There is nothing unreal about potential... Potential IS the not-yet-made, not-yet-become and the not-yet-conditioned.

    If conditions are right, it will manifest... If not, it stays hidden as potential.

    Potential is precisely manifestation and manifestation is precisely potential.





  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    We are temporarily being but the potential for us to be has always been here.
  • ourself said:


    There is nothing unreal about potential... Potential IS the not-yet-made, not-yet-become and the not-yet-conditioned.

    If conditions are right, it will manifest... If not, it stays hidden as potential.

    Potential is precisely manifestation and manifestation is precisely potential.

    An acorn has the potential to become a great oak tree. But it is not actually an oak tree. Puthujjanas (run-of-the-mill people) have the potential to realize nirvana (the unborn, etc.) but actually they have not realized it nor are they Buddhas.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Blondel said:

    ourself said:


    There is nothing unreal about potential... Potential IS the not-yet-made, not-yet-become and the not-yet-conditioned.

    If conditions are right, it will manifest... If not, it stays hidden as potential.

    Potential is precisely manifestation and manifestation is precisely potential.

    An acorn has the potential to become a great oak tree. But it is not actually an oak tree. Puthujjanas (run-of-the-mill people) have the potential to realize nirvana (the unborn, etc.) but actually they have not realized it nor are they Buddhas.

    "Oak tree" is just a label for a part of the process as is "Buddha"



  • ourself said:

    Could there ever have been an absolute first cause? For a few reasons I don't think so but please don't take that to mean I am completely atheistic because that's not the case.

    .

    Just a thought.

    I bet Einstein never ever ask that question.
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    footiam said:

    ourself said:

    Could there ever have been an absolute first cause? For a few reasons I don't think so but please don't take that to mean I am completely atheistic because that's not the case.

    .

    Just a thought.

    I bet Einstein never ever ask that question.
    You would most likely be wrong, but ok... What does that have to do with anything?

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